The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Wall Street Journal (NY, NY, USA)


A Tyrants Club
The U.N. Human Rights Commission is worse than a joke.


Wednesday, January 22, 2003 12:01 a.m. EST

Among those who value liberty and justice, the United Nations' choice
of Libya to chair this year's session of the U.N. Commission on Human
Rights has been widely described as a defeat. By some lights it's a
defeat for the U.S.--which protested giving this post to an emissary
of terror-sponsoring tyrant Moammar Gadhafi. By U.S. standards it's a
defeat for the Human Rights Commission and the entire system of
international justice the U.N. pretends to promote. All of which
sounds bad, but comfortably abstract; just one more round of folly at
the U.N.

It's much worse than that. Putting Libya in a spot to set the U.N.
agenda on human rights is not simply a defeat of justice and human
dignity. It is a betrayal.

It is a betrayal of all those brave souls, world-wide, who don't just
talk about human rights but put their lives on the line to fight for
them in countries where the price can be prison, exile or death. It is
a betrayal of dissident Riad al-Seif, a former "parliamentarian" in
Damascus, Syria, who dared to advocate democracy and has now become
one of the more prominent opposition figures rotting in the dungeons
of a nation that sits on the 53-member Human Rights Commission.

It is a betrayal of human rights defender Nguyen Khac Toan, a former
soldier, teacher and businessman now serving a 12-year sentence in the
prisons of Vietnam, which also enjoys a seat on the Human Rights

It is a betrayal of Chinese supporters of pluralism, such as Wang
Youcai and Qin Yongmin, who helped found the opposition China
Democracy Party, and are now serving long sentences in the laogai, the
gulag of China--yet another member of Gadhafi's constituency at the

Lofting Libya to chair the Human Rights Commission is a gesture of
contempt toward Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who for the
past 15 years has sacrificed her own liberty and dedicated her life to
the struggle for freedom in Burma. It is a note of almost casual scorn
toward thousands upon thousands of courageous people in the world's
darkest places, unknown soldiers in the long, human struggle for
justice, who have chosen to stand up for principles evidently too
demanding for most of the folks who are supposed to be defending them
at the U.N.

It is a betrayal of millions upon millions of people living under
governments so brutal--from North Korea to Turkmenistan to Iraq--that
most citizens do not dare to demand the freedoms that belong by right
to all human beings.

It is absurd, in fact, to describe the exaltation on Monday of Libya's
Ambassador Najat al-Hajjaji to head of the Human Rights Commission as
the product of a "vote." That implies there was some sort of
democratic process at work. In the secret balloting among the 53
nations that currently sit on the Human Rights Commission, only
three--the U.S., Canada and, reportedly, Guatemala--voted against
Libya. Among the 33 governments that voted in favor of Libya were
almost certainly the rulers of such civic sinkholes as Saudi Arabia,
Sudan, Cuba and Zimbabwe. Like the despots in Syria, Vietnam and
China, these are folks who do not have the guts to face a genuine
system of democracy back home, They wield their votes at the U.N. not
as legitimate representatives of their own fellow citizens, but as
two-faced members of the global club of tyrants, who hold sway through
force and fear. Then there are the 17 nations that abstained from the
balloting, including such moral beacons of the European Union as
France and Germany. Their thinking seems to be that they were simply
complying with U.N. etiquette, which, as it happens, operates with
lots of ritual but no regard for the actual needs of the oppressed.
When the Human Rights Commission was founded, back in 1947, the U.S.
chaired its sessions not only for the first year but for the next
five. Maybe that bothered such rivals as Stalin's U.S.S.R., but back
then the idea was to help ordinary people, not tyrants.

Since then, it has become the custom that the chairmanship of the U.N.
Commission on Human Rights rotates yearly among five geographic groups
of member nations. This year was Africa's turn. The African members
nominated Libya which has been liberally dispensing funds to curry
influence among African rulers. Rather than take a stand on this
outrage, the European Union took a coffee break. Thus did Libya take
its seat on the throne of this erstwhile human-rights outfit, which we
should perhaps start describing as the U.N. Commission on Rotating
Chairs--a label that would better reflect its priorities.

All this has created a whole series of awkward moments for the office
of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, where a permanent U.N.
staff works with the 53-nation commission to carry out the agenda that
will now be guided by Libya. Trying to make the best of what I can
only assume is a bit of an ordeal for any civilized man, the new U.N.
High Commissioner, Sergio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian, told me in a
telephone interview Monday that he trusts the professionalism of his
new Libyan colleague, Najat al-Hajjaji, and feels he "must give her
more than the benefit of the doubt." Mr. de Mello noted that with Ms.
Al-Hajjaji's ascension, she ceases to represent Libya, and now stands
for the interests of all citizens of all U.N. member countries.

Oh really? Then why were Ms. Al-Hajjaji's origins the decisive factor,
when Africa's turn came round, in securing her this new job? And why
is Libya's state press right now celebrating Ms. Al-Hajjaji's new
credentials as a sign of high international regard for the regime of
Gadhafi? Beyond that, there's room to wonder if Ms. Al-Hajjaji really
plans to abandon her stock scripts, in which, despite all the world's
many problems, a big order of business has been the trashing of
Israel. Here's a sample of Ms. Al-Hajjaji's rhetoric, from a 1999 U.N.
press release: "With support and conniving by the United States,
Israel continued to commit aggressive and massive human-rights
violations, to take everything and give nothing."

Not that the Human Rights Commission is any stranger to the rants and
demands of assorted dictatorships. But for a sample of the real cost
of turning the show over to Libyan leadership, consider the case of a
group of opposition politicians from Zimbabwe, who visited New York
last fall. They were desperately seeking help for the horrors
unfolding in their country under the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe,
whose government also sits on the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and
who, despite recent quarrels over oil deals, has been a longtime chum
of Gadhafi. These Zimbabweans described the encroaching famine back
home, directed by Mr. Mugabe at his opponents. They talked about the
confiscations, beatings and torture Mr. Mugabe let loose on those who
stood up for human rights. Only one of this group, by the way, was
white. The other three, like most of the millions Mr. Mugabe has sent
forth his mobs to threaten, starve, beat and in some cases
murder--were black.

These Zimbabweans said they hoped to get help from the U.N., which
they saw as their only possible protector. They were hoping that
somehow the U.N. would take the lead in ending Mugabe's monstrous rule
by securing, somehow, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. I mentioned
to them that at the U.N. the fix was already in; that Libya--as has
now happened--would be chairing the Commission on Human Rights.

Their reaction was not remotely to proclaim the vaunted "African
solidarity," which the EU seems to believe is personified by deals
between tyrants like Mugabe and Gadhafi. No, their concern was with
the ordinary people of Africa, those who endure the rule of these
despots. Their response to Libya's impending new role at the U.N. was
shock and disgust. One of these Zimbabweans, a young black politician,
blurted out: "It's outrageous, totally outrageous and revolting."

He then ticked off some of Gadhafi's history, including the Lockerbie
bombing, which he described as "criminal" and said that if Libya were
to be appointed to the chair, "it's an alarming message which we are
receiving in Africa."

That's the truth about Libya's victory at the U.N. It's not just a
defeat for the U.S. It's a horrifying message for all those for who,
in the fight for human rights, man the front lines. Were Ms.
Al-Hajjaji indeed worthy of the high office with which the U.N. has
now entrusted her, the first item on her agenda when the Commission
opens its meetings this March in Geneva should be to call for free and
fair elections in Libya itself. If Gadhafi, ruler since 1969 of the
state he calls the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
says no, yet again, to human rights in his own home, Ms. Al-Hajjaji's
next order of business should be to resign. That would do more for the
global cause of human rights than anything now on the agenda of this
gang we call the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

Ms. Rosett is a columnist for and The Wall Street
Journal Europe. Her column appears alternate Wednesdays.
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Britain agrees deal to let banned Mugabe attend Paris summit

Michael White, Andrew Meldrum in Harare and Paul Kelso
Thursday January 23, 2003
The Guardian

Tony Blair's government was last night accused of "outrageous and
dishonourable" double standards over Zimbabwe as it emerged that Britain had
struck a deal with France that will allow President Robert Mugabe to defy an
EU travel ban and attend a Franco-African summit in Paris next month.
Diplomatic sources in Harare said the British government had agreed to waive
EU sanctions and allow Mr Mugabe to attend the summit as part of a deal in
which France agreed not to oppose the renewal of the sanctions against Mr
Mugabe and his cronies.

Mr Mugabe and 78 of his closest associates are subject to an EU travel ban
and their assets in Europe have been frozen. There would have to be an
exemption for any of them to travel to the summit on February 19, unless the
sanctions are unanimously renewed next week. The current restrictions expire
on February 18. In the Commons yesterday Mr Blair said "no agreement" had
been reached, a claim that looked disingenuous after EU sources confirmed
last night that London was complicit in the deal.

"The British government agreed to lift the sanctions so that Mugabe could
attend the summit in Paris on the condition that France would not oppose the
renewal of EU sanctions when they come up before the general council," said
one diplomat. Earlier Clare Short, the international development secretary,
had de scribed Mr Chirac's invitation as "disgraceful".

The Conservatives seized on the deal, contrasting the government's apparent
willingness to comply with President Chirac's wishes with its opposition to
the England cricket team's impending World Cup match in Harare.

Michael Ancram, the shadow foreign secretary, said: "The British government
has belatedly sought to browbeat the England cricket team into dropping
their World Cup match in Zimbabwe. At the same time they now seek to do a
deal, driving a coach and horses through the one policy they have been brave
enough to pursue against Mugabe."

Zimbabwe's opposition and civic leaders reacted with outrage to the deal,
and a suggestion that sanctions will also be waived in March to allow Mr
Mugabe to attend the Lisbon summit of the EU and its partners in African,
Caribbean and Pacific countries.

"It is like inviting Saddam Hussein to a G8 meeting," said opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai. "The French are bringing him back on the world stage when
we are on the edge of catastrophe," said John Makumbe, chairman of
Transparency International Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is in economic crisis, with inflation at 198% and 6.7 million
people starving - more than half the population. The UN's World Food
Programme has said the shortages are in part a result of the collapse of
commercial farming brought about by Mr Mugabe's land reform policies.
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The Times

            Silence at No 10 as France welcomes Mugabe
            by Philip Webster and Adam Sage

            TONY BLAIR held back from attacking France last night as it
prepared to invite President Mugabe of Zimbabwe to a summit in Paris.
            Downing Street remained silent on the proposed visit, apparently
to avoid a new row with France that could jeopardise both international
consensus on war with Iraq and the renewal of European sanctions against
Zimbabwe - which include a travel ban on the country's rulers.

            EU foreign ministers will decide on Monday whether to renew the
sanctions, which expire on February 18, the day before the Franco-African
summit is due to start in Paris.

            President Chirac wants Mr Mugabe to attend, and a formal
invitation has been prepared. If the sanctions were not renewed there would
be no problem, but most EU countries want them extended for another year.
The price of French agreement appears to be allowing an exemption to be made
for the summit.

            Clare Short, the International Development Secretary, was
clearly unaware of the diplomatic horse-trading when she was asked about the
possible invitation. It would be disgraceful, she told MPs. But Downing
Street was in no mood to match her language. "This is a live issue. There's
been no formal proposal yet from the French Government and I'm not going to
pre-empt our Government's position," Mr Blair's spokesman said.

            Michael Ancram, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, said that it
appeared that a fudge had been arranged. If it had, it was outrageous and
dishonourable, he said."The British Government, which has belatedly sought
to browbeat the England cricket team, without compensation, into dropping
their World Cup match in Zimbabwe, now seek to do a deal, driving a coach
and horses through the one policy they have been brave enough to pursue
against Mugabe.

            "How can they do this? This would be double standards of the
most despicable, cynical and cowardly kind. In the face of Mugabe's evil
there can be no appeasement."

            M Chirac's spokesman refused to comment, but it is clear that
France plans to use the summit to try to extend its influence across Africa.
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The Times

            Second Zimbabwe player wants World Cup moved
            By Thrasy Petropoulos

            AS MALCOLM SPEED, the ICC chief executive, was due to lead a
second security delegation into Harare yesterday, another Zimbabwe cricketer
has told The Times that the national squad is being put under pressure by
local police and its home board into hiding the extent of the troubles in
the country.
            Two days after one Zimbabwe player said that the World Cup would
be "safer in South Africa", where the players' security could be "more
assured", another leading squad member, who also requested not to be named
for security fears, said: "I am strongly in favour of the World Cup games
being staged elsewhere. And a lot of the senior players feel the same. But
they are afraid of speaking out."

            England are due to play their opening World Cup fixture against
Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13 - one of six matches scheduled to be
hosted by the country - but a recent incident involving the father-in-law of
Alistair Campbell, the former Zimbabwe captain, who is not in the World Cup
squad, has swayed the opinion of most of the team that a country in
political and economic turmoil under President Robert Mugabe should not
co-host the tournament.

            "Alistair's father-in-law was jailed for one night and faces
charges for 'maligning the Government' - a recently introduced charge, aimed
principally at the press, which basically means that you can't say anything
that would be construed as being anti- Government or anti-Mugabe," the
cricketer said.

            "This sort of thing is going on all the time and it has to stop.
When that happens to one of your close friends, it makes you take stock. The
sooner people stop talking about this as a security issue the better. It is
now a moral issue, pure and simple."

            The cricketer said that Speed, who is being accompanied by Ali
Bacher, the chief executive of the World Cup organising committee, should be
made aware of the realities of a country in which the truth is often

            "When the delegation arrive here, they will find the Harare
Sports Club surrounded by police carrying weapons, in theory to stop
activists digging up the pitch," he said. "One of our teams, Midlands,
turned up to train there the other day and they were told that if they didn'
t want to be shot they should go and train somewhere else.

            "One of our administrative staff, Ian Robinson (the former
international umpire), had a gun pulled on him the other day as he was
walking around the ground with a mobile phone. If you call that things being
peaceful, then I don't know what is."

            He claimed that much of the press coverage is "choreographed" in
Zimbabwe. "Otherwise all you get is youngsters like Tatenda Taibu (the
wicketkeeper) saying that all they want to do is play cricket. He's too
young to understand."

            The player said another incident that "has affected us all"
involved Dirk Viljoen, who is also not in the squad. He was "barricaded in
for three days with his girlfriend and parents by 'war veterans'. And if it
isn't direct threats, then the economic hardships are taking their toll. It'
s a stressful place to live at the moment."

            He revealed that some members of the Zimbabwe team would refuse
to shake hands with Mugabe. "Some senior players have said that they won't
do it - unless they are absolutely forced to," he said. "One of the stories
doing the rounds is that they will have their and their families' passports
confiscated if they refuse to do so.

            "If it was found out that I had spoken to the press in this way,
I would first be fired by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, then I would get
people from the CIO - the Central Intelligence Organisation, who are the
plain-clothed policemen - at my gate, trying to get me to confess to
maligning the Government.

            "I'd be thrown in jail, probably tortured - there is even talk
of people having been poisoned - and possibly even thrown out the country."
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Speed uneasy amid guns and roses

ICC delegation try to plot safe path through the politics

Neil Manthorp in Harare, Nick Hoult in Sydney and Paul Kelso
Thursday January 23, 2003
The Guardian

If Ali Bacher and Malcolm Speed came to Harare to check out security, they
would have been happy men as they drove from the airport to the city centre
yesterday. Riot police in full combat gear patrolled the main intersections
while helicopters whirled overhead. They said they wanted protection and
they certainly got it.
These are difficult times for Bacher, the chief executive of the World Cup
organising committee, and his counterpart from the International Cricket
Council. Tomorrow they will deliver their final verdict on the suitability
of Zimbabwe to host World Cup matches amid pressure from England and
Australia to shift them, and pressure to leave them alone from most of the
rest of the ICC.

Recent violence has reopened the debate about security and perhaps provided
the England and Wales Cricket Board with a possible means of escape from its
current dilemma. But it will probably not be as easy as that.

Meanwhile the nagging backbeat of Indian players' refusal to sign their
World Cup contracts grows louder. This may yet cause another confrontation.

In Sydney, the ECB chairman David Morgan met with the England players to
discuss their concerns about the opening match in Harare on February 13. He
is still confident that they will go, despite Nasser Hussain's revelations
of "split consciences" among players.

"The players are concerned about how their action of playing in Zimbabwe is
going to be perceived by the British public," Morgan said. "I don't think
there is a single player who would support the regime and therefore I think
they are all finding it quite difficult to come to terms with having to go."

In Harare, troops poured on to the streets yesterday morning in response to
a call for a "stay away" - effectively an unofficial one-day strike - by the
opposition National Constitutional Assembly, a coalition of student, trade
union and church groups.

A police spokesman said the action was aimed at disrupting preparations for
the World Cup but Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, scoffed at the notion
of cricket being the target. "The suffering of the Zimbabwean people is more
important than this game of wealthy folks," he said. "If the police use
brutal force to disrupt our protests, and the crick eters get caught in the
crossfire, it is not us but [President Robert] Mugabe's government who is to

Meanwhile, Harare Country Club was hosting a World Cup warm-up match between
a Zimbabwe XI and South Africa A. "Our land and family home is gone now,"
said a former Zimbabwe international watching the game. "I find it
increasingly difficult to believe that the World Cup people are even
thinking of carrying on here. It's not me that matters, it's the millions

What was very clear among both spectators at the Country Club and others in
Zimbabwean society at large - workers at the hotel in which World Cup teams
will stay, taxi drivers, MPs and shop keepers - was that cricket is no
longer a side issue but, despite the NCA's denials, has now become the

Cricket has become the vehicle that protesters have chosen to make their
point. Many spoke of organised plans to embarrass the event and the
country's government when matches begin next month.

Should Bacher and Speed successfully negotiate the Zimbabwe hurdle, they
still have to face the India issue when the ICC board talks tomorrow. The
Indian players have refused to sign World Cup contracts that forbid them
from participation in their endorsement deals with competitors of the four
main tournament sponsors.

India's players earn much more from sponsorship than from playing, and are
said to appear in 25% of advertising in India. Despite signing up to the
ICC's conditions last March the Indian board last week returned the
contracts signed, but with the contentious clauses effectively deleted.

The ICC's plan is to take the $9m (£5.5m) that India would earn from the
tournament and place it in a trust pending any compensation claims from
sponsors who feel they have not had value for money. Should compensation
exceed that level, the Indian board would be required to cover it or face
expulsion from the ICC.

If the Indian board rejects the compromise and fails to comply with the
contracts, they could face expulsion from the tournament. "The compromise is
an olive branch to the Indian board but it's very conceivable that if all
measures are rejected they could be out of the tournament," said a source.

This dispute has also exposed ICC concerns about its contract with Global
Cricket Corporation, the Rupert Murdoch-owned company that paid $550m
(£350m) last year for the commercial rights to the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

Since then the sports rights market has collapsed and the ICC is desperate
to deny GCC cause for legal action or a reason to withdraw from the deal.

Bacher and Speed are due to leave Zimbabwe this afternoon after just 25
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Daily Telegraph

I was tortured for seven hours by Mugabe's thugs
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 23/01/2003)

In a private hospital a seven-minute drive from the plush headquarters of
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, of which President Robert Mugabe is patron,
Gabriel Shumba is recovering from being tortured by the secret police.

Even as Malcolm Speed, chief executive of the International Cricket Council,
and Ali Bacher, head of the World Cup cricket organising committee, arrived
yesterday to assess security for foreign players at next month's World Cup
fixtures there were reports that government repression had reached a new
intensity in the past week.

      Gabriel Shumba, who says he was tortured for hours
State security agents have picked up scores of activists, particularly in
Harare, accusing them of arson and murder. Yesterday the Amani Trust, the
human rights organisation that closed its offices late last year in fear of
arrest of its executive, had its vehicles impounded and said it had been
warned that its offices would be bombed.

Police cells in Harare are filled with activists from the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. A police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena,
confirmed an upsurge in civil and political unrest and said the opposition
"wanted to cause mayhem".

Mr Shumba, 29, a lawyer who returned from South Africa three weeks ago after
completing a master's degree, told magistrates in Harare last Friday of his
ordeal after he was detained by members of the notorious Central
Intelligence Organisation and police detectives from the Law and Order

He was charged under the Public Order and Security Act with seeking to
overthrow the government. He told the court that a black hood was pulled
over his face. "I became apprehensive, I had difficulty in breathing, I was
sweating. We drove for about an hour. The hood was removed and I was put in
a room. They tied my hands and feet with canvas and I had to bend into a

"A plank was put between my legs and hands. They came with a small telephone
and put it on a table. It was a receiver. Several gadgets were attached. One
was rolled around my left middle toe and was inserted on the left of my
mouth. They asked me to clamp my teeth on the wires and hold the receiver in
my right hand.

"A blast of electricity went through my body. At first I went into spasms
and I lost sight. I felt my eyes bulging, I couldn't hear anything. I was
not breathing, something was choking my throat.

"The dosage of electricity kept being increased. I kept shivering and
trembling. I was bleeding from my mouth and spat blood on the floor. They
said they wanted me to lick the blood. I was in the tied-up position and I
overbalanced trying to reach down to the blood.

"Electricity was tied to my genitals. They asked me to open my mouth, the
cord had to be inserted and the wire was tied to one of my molars. They
switched the electricity on. This time I woke up to find them sprinkling me
with water." His ordeal lasted for seven hours. He was then transferred to
the cells in police custody.

Police said they arrested Mr Shumba, Job Sikhala, an opposition MP, and four
other people in connection with arson which destroyed a new bus. All claim
to have been tortured. They were released on bail after being examined by

Further away from the green fields of Zimbabwe's protected cricket world,
another opposition MP, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, and five other people were in
the dock in the Harare High Court, opposite Mr Mugabe's colonial-style

On the first day of the trial this week, Mr Dulini-Ncube, 61, who spent
years in prison under the Rhodesian regime, told how he had lost an eye
while in custody in Bulawayo last year.

His lawyer said at the time that he was denied adequate medical attention
for chronic diabetes and his eye had to be surgically removed.

He is accused of murdering one of Mr Mugabe's supporters, Cain Nkala, a
veteran, like himself, of the war for independence.

Three fellow accused, all MDC supporters, appeared in court wearing prison
uniforms. They have been in custody for 14 months after Mr Nkala was
abducted from his house in Bulawayo. His body was discovered later in a
shallow grave.

..A petrol bomb attack in a suburb west of Harare killed one person and
injured seven 24 hours before a one-day general strike called by civic
groups was due to start today.
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Further developments in the attacks on the Amani Trust
Mr A.P. Reeler,Former Director of the Amani Trust
January 22, 2003

Following on last night’s alert on the latest campaign against the Amani Trust, there have been a series of new and very disturbing developments. As I reported last night, the state news media had claimed that an Amani vehicle had been identified as one of the vehicles ferrying the alleged attackers into Kuwadzana on Monday night. This allegation was repeated in the Herald this morning where the state-owned newspaper claimed the following:

At least three vehicles linked to the attack have also been impounded and one of them is believed to belong to Amani Trust, which kept safe houses in various high density suburbs, housing opposition youths on the Police wanted list.

These allegations are being repeated regularly by the state-controlled radio.

The Trust has also been informed by a friendly source that there are plans to firebomb the Amani offices tonight.

These allegations are wholly unfounded, but consistent with the continuous attacks that have been mounted against the Trust over the past year. The threat to actually firebomb the offices must be taken very seriously in view of the attacks in the past on the Daily News and the Voice of the People radio station.

There must therefore be concern for the safety of the staff and Trustees of the Amani Trust, and we hope that calls will be made upon the government of Zimbabwe to protect its citizens against unlawful attack. The Trust unreservedly denies that it would have any part in violent action of any kind, and has always stressed its non-partisan position as a human rights organization.

For more information:
Tel: +27-(0)84-764 6995

Victimisation of Amani Trust Continues
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
January 22, 2003

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition regrets Monday night’s petrol bomb attack in Kuwadzana and sends its deepest condolences to the family of those killed and injured in the attack.

However the Coalition unreservedly condemns efforts by the government to try and place blame for the attack on the Amani Trust. The Coalition has it on sound authority that Amani Trust vehicles are grounded without fuel and were therefore nowhere near Kuwadzana on the fateful night.

In the past government has used similar contrived allegations to manipulate public opinion and create a smoke screen in advance of a so-called “retaliatory” attack on legitimate organisations who are seeking creative solutions to Zimbabwe’s current crises.

In particular the Coalition notes with grave concern the government’s sustained attack against media and other groups involved in the documentation of human rights abuses.

The Coalition hopes that recent media attacks on the Amani Trust are not setting the stage for a similar action against the organisation or its members.
For more information:
Tel/Fax +263-(0)4-747817

keeping you informed
the kubatana team and the NGO Network Alliance Project
Tel: +263-(0)4-495484/480435
Fax: +263-(0)4-495169
Visit - Zimbabwe's civic and human rights web site
incorporating an online directory for the non-profit sector.
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Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 05:18 GMT
Mugabe 'not welcome' in Europe
Robert Mugabe
Mr Mugabe has governed since independence
Cabinet minister Peter Hain has told President Robert Mugabe to stay away from a summit of African leaders in Paris.

Mr Hain, minister for the EU, told the BBC's Newsnight programme the Zimbabwean president "was not welcome" in Europe.

European Union foreign ministers will decide next week whether to renew sanctions against Zimbabwe, including a travel ban for the country's rulers.

If they do not, Mr Mugabe would be able - if invited by France - to attend the summit on February 19.

Mr Hain's comments suggest the UK government is opposed to such a relaxation of restrictions.

To be personally invited by the president of France is outrageous

Michael Ancram
Shadow foreign secretary
He said: "As far as we are concerned he is not welcome in Europe.

"Our views on his odious regime are well known and the way he is devastating his country.

"I am sure the French share that view."

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, Tony Blair said the government stood behind travel restrictions on the Zimbabwe president.

The prime minister's spokesman said another set of sanctions would have to be agreed unanimously and the French had yet to submit a proposal over their planned Paris summit.

"This is a live issue. It will obviously be discussed on Monday. There's been no formal proposal yet from the French government and I'm not going to pre-empt our government's position," said the spokesman.


Yves Charpentier, head of press at the French Embassy in London, confirmed France was considering inviting President Mugabe to the summit, but stressed: "Nothing has been decided yet.

"We will be discussing this among the EU members at next week's meeting."

But the Tories demanded to know whether the UK had approved a visit to France by Mr Mugabe at the invitation of Jacques Chirac.

Mr Blair said: "We've made it clear that we support the sanctions in place against Zimbabwe."


The Foreign Office earlier said it had had no request to waive an EU imposed travel ban on Mr Mugabe.

The summit was a matter for the French authorities, Downing Street said.

To allow Mr Mugabe to strut his stuff in Paris would be absolutely unacceptable

Menzies Campbell
Lib Dem foreign affairs
International Development Secretary Clare Short has already told MPs she believed it would be "disgraceful" if Mr Chirac invited Mr Mugabe to a Franco-African summit on 19 February.

Conservative foreign affairs spokesman Michael Ancram said it was "hypocrisy of the highest order" for Mr Chirac to invite Mugabe when EU sanctions were supposed to ban travel within the union by Zimbabwe's rulers.

"President Chirac is well aware not only of the dire situation in Zimbabwe but that there are travel restrictions in force," said Mr Ancram.


He stressed: "No Franco-African summit can be exempt from the EU sanctions.

"It is bad enough that Mugabe and his thugs can attend UN-sponsored meetings in Europe, but to be personally invited by the president of France is outrageous.

"While it may not be intentional, this can only be interpreted as condoning genocide by starvation, ethnic cleansing, murder, rape and the destruction of the rule of law."

Menzies Campbell MP, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said Mr Mugabe should not be welcomed anywhere in the EU.

"To allow Mr Mugabe to strut his stuff in Paris would be absolutely unacceptable," said Mr Campbell.

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 Zimbabwean leader to hand himself over after strike
            January 23, 2003, 07:30

            Lovemore Madhuku, Head of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) movement in Zimbabwe, says he is to hand himself over to the police
this morning following yesterday's strike over the current economic crisis
in the country.

            The NCA, a coalition of civic and political groups in Zimbabwe,
blamed the failure of their strike on police intimidation. They called a
national strike to protest against fuel, food and water shortages, as well
as the high cost of living, unemployment, poverty, and rights abuses.
However, the strike was largely ignored.

            Speaking in a radio interview this morning, Madhuku said the
police had been hunting for him for the past week in connection with the
strike. Madhuku was key in organising the strike, which he claims was
disrupted by the police. He says nineteen protesters were arrested with five
still being held.

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Washington Times

 Food for Zimbabwe
     The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe yesterday expressed his concerns about
a potential famine as he announced a $20 million food package for the
southern African nation.
     Ambassador Joseph Sullivan said at a news conference he is worried
about "the low amounts of plantings in food crops and the inevitable effect
that this will have on food availability."
     He said the new U.S. aid will benefit more than 660,000 people in seven
Zimbabwean districts. The United State has donated more than 217,000 tons of
food aid since March 2002.
     Mr. Sullivan dismissed complaints by the ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front that the food aid was being distributed to
supporters of opposition parties.
     Mr. Sullivan pointed that the food program is run through the
nongovernmental Consortium for the Southern African Famine Emergency.
     "The overwhelming bulk of food distributions from the United States and
other international partners has been distributed fairly," he said.
     President Robert Mugabe has been widely blamed for policies that
contributed to the famine, including encouraging mobs to evict white owners
from large farms. The United Nations estimates that only 30 percent of the
farmland in Zimbabwe is under cultivation
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Minister Made personally called President Cloete on his cell phone and suggested that it was time a meeting was held between him and the CFU.  The meeting was arranged for 9.00am Tuesday 21st January.  The Minister also commented that he had heard that Cloete had been trying to see the State President.

At the meeting the CFU was represented by President Colin Cloete, Vice President Doug Taylor-Freeme and Director Hendrik Olivier.  This meeting is significant in that the Union has not met formally with the Minister for more than 18 months.


The Ministers opening remarks were that we had been at each other’s throats for the last 30 months and this was understandable.  However, prevailing circumstances indicated that we need to move forward. 


He only commented that the one man one farm issue was an interesting one and that was all he would say on it.  He referred to the land tax proposals as not practical and the idea had been shelved, and that farm size regulations were under review.  He was happy the way the A1 resettlement scheme was progressing.  However, it was no secret that the A2 scheme needed to be relooked at and that it was under review.


The Minister referred to LA forms for delisting stating he was not happy with them and would not sign any.  The Minister spent a lot of time emphasing that he is the acquiring authority and did not recognize any deals done at a local level with officials in districts.  He insisted he has three instruments with which to acquire land; - Section 5, Section 8 and Section 7.  He said that farmers have two choices – on receiving a Section 5 notice either go through the courts and the Section 7 process, which could take up to 5 years  - or each farmer could come to see him and discuss their individual circumstances.


The Minister said that if farmers are in the position to farm they must – the country needs food security and cannot rely on other countries to feed Zimbabwe.  He gave assurances that if a farmer had planted a crop it would not be taken away.  He said that the livestock sector needed to be built up again and acknowledged that the dairy industry had been treated favourably but warned that this was not to be viewed as a white preserve.  He said every province had some lowveld land, which had to be developed for irrigation, especially for winter maize in the interest of food security.  He made reference to the Nuanetsi project and the Chirundu and Charara proposed irrigation schemes, and indicated Governments intention to motivate these projects into production.


However, he said that these new projects and the new farmers needed equipment for mechanization.  He stated that there are tractors, combines; irrigation equipment etc sitting in warehouses in town and that ARDA was in the market to buy this equipment, and could we pass on this message to the farmers who may be interested in selling. He also said that if farmers did not want to sell, would they consider hiring this equipment for a fee?


He passed a comment that he had noted that farmers were settling in other countries in the region and expressed concern that they were trying to move equipment out of Zimbabwe, and reminded us of the law banning the movement of equipment outside Zimbabwe.  He acknowledged that moveable assets belonged to the owner and he could not force them to sell.


A discussion took place on the availability of inputs, such as fuel, chemicals, fertilizer and coal.  The Minister said that an Arabian Bank had helped us out with some foreign currency for fuel and he would talk to the Minister of Energy and ask him to prioritize fuel for tillage.  He indicated that he was to meet with the South African Foreign Minister and he would be discussing with her for help on raw materials and finished goods from South Africa to address the fertilizer and chemical requirements.  He appreciated there was a coal crisis and understood that some new farmers were losing tobacco because of no coal, but never offered a solution.


President Cloete said some farmers were storing equipment for safe keeping in the hope they would be able to farm again and emphasized that CFU Members are Zimbabweans and are committed to the well being of our country.  We wished to be helpful where we could to overcome the crisis the country is experiencing. 



The meeting was an icebreaker.  The Minister did most of the talking.  At no time did the CFU pledge all the equipment to Government as is suggested in the media today.  Equipment is owned by individuals not the Union.

Having heard what the Ministers position is, this will be helpful in future meetings with him, where we hope to get into deeper discussions on bread and butter issues.

We are also aware that some of the points the Minister has indicated are not necessarily happening on the ground.

Doug Taylor Freeme

22 January 2003


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Harare, 23 January 2003


Your Excellencies, I have humbly requested you to come here today in order to express my grave concern at how the Zimbabwe crisis seems to be fast disappearing on the horizon of international attention.

 It is indeed a great tragedy that influential countries in Africa and the rest of the international community only accept the existence of crises of governance in Africa when it is too late and after thousands of innocent people will have been slaughtered. Zimbabwe today is one such country in which the symptoms and makings of an unfolding great tragedy have been on the wall for Africa and the rest of the international community to see but there has been no sense of urgency to forestall the catastrophe.

 Tragically, supposedly leading countries in Africa, such as South Africa and Nigeria are now on the forefront, chiding the international community for its condemnation of the brutal Mugabe regime; denying the existence of the tragic circumstances in which Zimbabweans find themselves; cheering Mugabe in the name of a dubious African brotherhood to go on perpetrating the outrage and waiting for the policies of the Mugabe regime to produce mass graves which they regard as an adequate and sufficient definition of the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe.

 If this is an expression of the so-called African solutions to African problems, or an early manifestation of the so-called NEPAD peer review mechanism, then Africa is fated or condemned to remain a beleaguered and crisis-ridden continent for a long time to come.

 Your Excellencies will recall that immediately after the rigged March 2002 presidential poll, and in what now appears to have been a sinister parallel process to the mission of the Commonwealth Troika, Nigeria and South Africa offered themselves as mediators in the search for a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. We in the MDC accepted the offer in good faith and in line with our firm commitment to pacific resolution of political disputes.

However, we now realize that the offer was nothing but a cynical and cruel act of deception. The real strategy and ill-intention of these two countries was simply to give Zimbabweans a false sense of hope and thereby buy time for Mugabe to make good his bloody electoral fraud and consolidate his dictatorship. They are now convinced that Mugabe has now achieved both objectives and have now embarked on the last steps to legitimise him. In pursuit of this desperate strategy, Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki have now come out openly in support of the Mugabe dictatorship against the people and forces of democracy in Zimbabwe. They have publicly expressed their determination to subvert their terms of reference and repudiate their expected impartial and objective role in the Commonwealth Troika. As a result, the forthcoming Commonwealth Troika meeting in South Africa is now a cruel gimmick and serious opinion in the international community must totally ignore the incoherent rants that will emanate from it.

 Only this week, the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Mr. Sule Lamido was in Harare conferring with Mugabe. We only got to know about it in the media. He never bothered to consult with the MDC leadership. His message to Zimbabweans was as clear as it was brutal. In essence, his message was that Nigeria would continue to buttress Mugabe in his quest to maintain tyrannical rule over Zimbabweans.

 It is unfortunate that even at this late hour, Nigeria as spelt out by Mr. Lamido, continues to dishonestly and deliberately misread the nature of the political crisis in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe crisis has never been and is not a racial issue between black and white.

The people being starved to death are not white; the majority of those killed by the regime’s killing machine are not white; those who languish in jail as I speak to you and are subjected to incessant torture and subhuman conditions are not white; those in the rural areas who are daily subjected to brutal treatment are not white. It is therefore despicable and cheap for anyone to reduce such a tragedy to an issue of race for the sake of a fake African brotherhood and political expediency.

Crying out when our people are being brutalized and murdered does not make us surrogates or puppets of anybody. Instead it makes us human, together with the international community.

 Only yesterday the South African Foreign Minister, Dr. Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma arrived in Harare, and we can only guess that she is on a similar a mission similar to that of Mr. Lamido. Past experience tells us that Dr. Dhlamini-Zuma will not even bother to hold consultations with the MDC. The last time Dr. Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma was here she even refused to accept that the murder, torture, political violence, rape and all the other brutalities associated with the Mugabe regime constituted a crisis that continuously beckon for international attention.

Your Excellencies, the credentials and bona fides of the MDC as a Zimbabwean national political party that articulates and expresses the national interests of Zimbabweans are a matter of public record. We do not beg and will never beg for recognition from any one, not even from the mighty South African and Nigerian presidents. The people of Zimbabwe have long granted us that recognition and no one can wish us away. We won the March 2002 presidential poll and that is why we are here today. How can any normal person ignore that?

We won 57 seats in the June 2000 parliamentary elections; we have challenged a total of 37 seats in the courts and seven of those have been declared invalid; we control 5 major cities including Harare, the capital city and the commercial and intellectual heart of the nation; we control Bulawayo and Chitungwiza, the second and third largest cities respectively. These are cities inhabited by genuine and patriotic Zimbabweans who are not puppets of anyone. They are just tired of corrupt and murderous regime that feeds on its own people.

There cannot and will never be any solution to the current crisis in Zimbabwe without the participation of the MDC as a party which carries the legitimate mandate of the people of Zimbabwe.

 For a people who have just come out of the shackles of some of the most brutal dictatorial regimes in African history and benefited from the active and positive intervention of the international community, Nigerian and South African memories are surely very short and defective.

It is this kind of behaviour and arrogance that points to the existence of a sinister and active plot or conspiracy on the part of Nigeria and South Africa to lead the way in legitimising a murderous and brutal illegitimate regime.

 Let me say this clearly to Nigeria and South Africa: They are simply deluding themselves and Mugabe, their ally against the people of Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe will never, never accept this little strategy of repackaging and sanitizing the Mugabe tyranny. Together with Mugabe, Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki will bear a very heavy responsibility for the results of the catastrophic path that they are deliberately charting for Zimbabwe.

 As Mr. Mbeki prepares for the London meeting with Mr. Blair, we want to make it quite clear to Her Majesty’s government that we in the MDC, representing the majority of Zimbabweans, do not regard Mr. Mbeki as an honest broker. He has amply demonstrated his total unwillingness to come to terms with, and incapacity to assess the deteriorating and dangerous Zimbabwe situation objectively.

 He is however free to carry a brief from and repeat and broadcast the political positions of ZANU PF, which is something he has been doing quite well for some time now.

 We thank the remainder of the Commonwealth, the European Union, the United States of America and the rest of international community who have firmly stood by us in confronting the Mugabe tyranny. We call upon them to remain steadfast as we embark on the final push against this primitive and predatory dictatorship.

 We are however dismayed by the emerging discordant voices coming from certain quarters within the EU, particularly from France and Portugal. Whilst we appreciate the significance attached to the February 2003 Francophone Summit and the April 2003 Lisbon EU/ACP Summit, we are convinced that efforts to rehabilitate an openly illegitimate and murderous regime can only be counterproductive in the long run.

 Any avenue granted to Mugabe to attend international meetings at which he is treated as a statesman and an equal is an affront to the feelings of the people of Zimbabwe. It amounts to a recognition and support of Mugabe’s gruesome record at home. The people of Zimbabwe remember only too well that France and Portugal maintained ties and actively supported the illegal Smith regime when all the international community isolated that racist regime. We remember the weapons provided to Ian Smith to enable him to suppress the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle for democracy and justice.

  It is a tragedy that France and Portugal are now repeating the same mistake. They are maintaining a tradition of siding and supporting dictatorships against the democratic aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe. The irony is that this betrays the gallant history of the French people who manufactured and exported to the whole world, through the French Revolution, the now universal values of liberty, democracy and justice.

 To Paris and Lisbon we have a clear message: Your place is not at the same table with Robert Mugabe, toasting goblets of the blood of innocent women and children. As part of the great democracies of the world, your place is among the brutalized and oppressed people of Zimbabwe as they struggle to rid themselves of this burdensome yoke of tyranny. Like you, Zimbabweans crave to live in a democratic country, characterized by the rule of law, respect for human rights, peace, stability, security and economic progress. These are not EU values. They are universal human values. Zimbabweans too yearn to live under such gentle bonds.

 Your Excellencies, the situation has deteriorated since the fraudulent March 2002 presidential poll. Political violence has become the permanent centrepiece of the Mugabe regime’s governance strategy; in fact political violence is the only policy that this regime is implementing; the rule of law continues to be violated; the judiciary is systematically subverted.

 Law enforcement continues to be partisan; the militarisation of politics is now complete and any pretence to democratic politics has been effectively subverted through systematic state-sponsored violence as the world witnessed in the recent local government elections.

 The operations of local government units that the MDC democratically won and therefore controls are being strangled with the Mayors being brutalized; the man-made famine that is stalking the nation is now actively complemented by the genocidal policy of denying food to perceived political opponents.

HIV/Aids is wreaking havoc on the most productive section of the population. Hunger and the total collapse of the health sector have worsened the problem.

The state of the economy completes this catastrophic picture. Half of the nearly 12 million population of Zimbabwe face starvation and the Mugabe regime has no money to buy food; fuel shortages have ground the country to a virtual stand still; industry has collapsed and unemployment is conservatively estimated to be in the region of 70%; the GDP dropped by –12.1% in 2002; and by the regime’s own figures, inflation now stands at over 200%, but independent experts place commodities inflation at the much higher figure of 500%.

Poverty has increased to unprecedented levels with over 80% of the population living below the poverty datum line of less than US$1 a day. Foreign currency inflows have virtually dried up, registering a miserly US$ 500 000 in the month of December 2002. The Mugabe regime is therefore both politically and economically bankrupt.

In the face of this economic collapse and sustained tyrannical and brutal rule, the tolerance of the population has been stretched to the limit. The Zimbabwe population is now more restive than at any time since the June 2000 parliamentary elections; and I want to say once again, that we have reached a stage whereby we can no longer counsel patience on such a dangerously restive population.

There is clearly a red light flushing for the Mugabe regime to stop. There is a gathering storm of the people’s anger, we have no power to stop it, and we refuse to take responsibility for whatever transpires.

Your Excellencies, you will have by now heard of attempts by the Mugabe regime to engage the MDC through some shadowy emissaries. The sum total of those efforts was to try to bring the MDC into some kind of political arrangement designed to legitimise the Mugabe regime. While we remain committed to the peaceful settlement of political disputes, we rejected those overtures as sinister and insincere for three reasons:

First, democracy and democratic politics means that a political party that carries the mandate of the electorate must be allowed, unimpeded, to form a government that expresses the general popular will of the people. Consequently any formula to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis must, necessarily, either chart a permanent path towards a recognition of this sacred fact or at the very least, develop a road map for a return to legitimacy through a free and fair presidential poll observed and monitored by the international community. We in the MDC have the mandate of the people of Zimbabwe and therefore democratically we are the senior partners in the Zimbabwe political equation. ZANU PF must not be allowed to abrogate that reality and, through force of arms dictate the terms of a political settlement.

Second, ZANU PF has never made it a secret that the test for the viability and sustainability of any political solution is its acceptance by those commanders of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces who are highly politicised along partisan lines. We totally reject this blackmail and the holding of democratic politics to ransom. The ZDF should be a national institution, which is totally outside organized political party politics and should not intervene in political contests among political parties.

It is the people of Zimbabwe and not a politicised officer corps who have the mandate and the legitimacy to play the role of kingmakers in Zimbabwean politics. We will never compromise on this sacred reality.

Third, the Mugabe regime continues to target and destroy MDC party structures and arrest MDC leaders on trumped up charges in order to torture them. A number of MDC party functionaries have been tortured and subsequently died as a result. Just recently Stephen Chasara and Davies Mtetwa both members of the Chitungwiza MDC executive died within three months of each other as a result of the torture inflicted upon them while in police custody. A number of our MPs are routinely arrested and tortured while in police custody. Latest examples are Job Sikhala, MP for the St Marys constituency in Chitungwiza; Paurina Mpariwa MP for Mufakose in Harare; Paul Madzore MP for Glen View, also in Harare. All three were arrested and tortured in just one week. Many more have been tortured and will continue to be tortured. Torture is a crime against humanity. We could not therefore agree to engage a government, which routinely tortures our MPs and party officials.

 However, we remain committed and available to engage in any serious process or engagement, which charts a path towards a peaceful resolution of the Zimbabwean political crisis. Our position for the way forward is quite clear. 

We believe that the crisis in Zimbabwe has degenerated to such dangerous levels that it is time to abandon regional or sectional efforts in favour of the intervention by the international community through the United Nations Security Council, in accordance with Article 39 (Chapter 7 powers) of the United Nations Charter.


The Mugabe regime now clearly constitutes a threat to regional security and stability. It is daily committing crimes against humanity recognized as such by the international community and the United Nations. 

 Any dialogue towards a political solution must be based on a firm commitment to return the country to legitimate government. In order to create a national atmosphere in which meaningful dialogue can take place, the Mugabe regime must be forced to role back its programme of misrule.

 Political violence, torture, human rights violations and political repression must come to a full stop;

The abuse of the criminal justice system and the police force must stop;

The rule of law must be upheld and selective law enforcement must stop;

 The politicisation and use of the uniformed and security forces as political organs of ZANU PF must come to an end; repressive laws such as POSA and AIPPA must be repealed;

Militias must be disbanded and war veterans must be disarmed;

The politicisation food relief distribution must be abandoned;

 And there must be an end to abuse of the regime-controlled electronic and print media.

 Without the implementation of these steps to return the country to some semblance of order, we will not accept and the international community must reject any pretence on the part of ZANU PF to engage on a serious dialogue to return the country to legitimacy.

We are opposed to a government of national unity or any form of political arrangement that seeks to legitimise the Mugabe regime. However we are prepared to take part in a transitional authority, without executive governmental functions.

The terms of reference of such an authority must be specifically to lay down the administrative framework for a return to legitimacy through fresh presidential and legislative polls with unfettered observation by the international community. We are convinced that there is no other way out of the political crisis except through the ballot box.

The Mugabe regime cannot be trusted to preside over the dismantling of its tyrannical rule and therefore the role of the international community through the United Nations Security Council is quite critical to the success of such a process.

We in the MDC remain ready to play our part in the peaceful resolution to the problems that face our country. We have stated in the past and we would like to state again that we in the MDC seek no revenge or vengeance for the injuries of the past.

We shall never allow the hatreds of the past to affect the future. We do not and will never subscribe to the politics of retribution. We understand Mugabe’s wish and yearnings for a dignified exit and we are ready to play a constructive and positive role in such an exercise.

 But time is running out. The people’s anger has reached alarming and explosive levels and we may no longer have any capacity to control them. The persistent suffering of the people may collectively result in a people's storm, which may turn out to be a tragic but simplifying catastrophe.

 Morgan Tsvangirai

MDC President.

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Daily News

      MDC supporters blast Tsvangirai

      1/23/2003 9:24:54 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      MORGAN Tsvangirai, the MDC president, on Tuesday came under fire from
disgruntled supporters in Harare who accused him of being a spectator as the
country went through its worst socio-economic and political decline.

      The supporters said they felt Tsvangirai, as leader of the opposition,
was not doing enough to bring about a change of government. They spoke at a
report-back meeting organised by Trudy Stevenson, the Member of Parliament
for Harare North, at Northside Community Hall in Borrowdale.

      One resident said thousands of Zimbabweans were disillusioned with the
MDC's lack of a comprehensive strategy to counter President Mugabe's "reign
of terror".

      "There is a crisis of conviction within the MDC leadership," the
resident said. "The party appears to have lost its steam. The party has lost
direction. Your information dissemination systems and structures are
defective and this is a serious cause for people's concern."

      Another resident said the MDC was failing to deal effectively with
Mugabe and Zanu PF by its silence with the country in turmoil.

      "MDC MPs are arrested on a daily basis," he said. "The National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has been calling for mass job stayaways and
other mass mobilisation campaigns.

      "The MDC and you, Mr President, have remained on the sidelines. You
have not given even a statement of support to those calls. Does it mean the
MDC does not have a strategy to confront this dictatorship?

      "The MDC leadership should be pro-active and take part in these mass

      "What is the party doing for the people in the outlying areas who can'
t access mainstream newspapers? The MDC's position on several issues is not
understood in the outlying areas. People only get to hear of the MDC when
there is a problem."

      One woman said Zimbabweans were ready for mass action to force the
government to observe basic human rights and to uphold the rule of law, but
they were now demoralised and had "very low expectations" in the MDC

      "Politicians raise people's expectations towards elections," she said.

      "Mugabe has talked about land at every turn at international, national
and regional fora, but the MDC has not countered that nauseating propaganda
with the truth of his illegitimacy.

      "Tell the world at every opportunity that Mugabe is illegitimate,
otherwise people are frustrated with your lack of aggression to inspire the
suffering majority to rise as a nation. The NCA has been courageous enough."

      In response, Tsvangirai, flanked by Nicholas Mudzengerere, the MDC
secretary for lands, agriculture and natural resources, and Engineer Elias
Mudzuri, the Harare Executive Mayor, said the NCA was not consulting all
stakeholders prior to the staging of their demonstrations.

      "We need collective action. Recklessness is not courage at all.

      "Zimbabwe does not need individual efforts where some people want to
attribute victory to themselves. We are organising something that we believe
is national. I think, as leaders, we take the blame for not organising and
leading the people."

      His comments came on the eve of the nationwide stayaway called by
Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, to press for a new democratic
constitution. The planned mass action was largely a flop as most workers
reported for duty as usual.

      Tsvangirai agreed the MDC's information dissemination systems were
defective, promising his audience the party would strengthen its outreach

      "Our focus is to overcome this dictatorship," he said. "As long as
there is this illegitimate regime, we can't do anything. Let's focus on the
causes of the problems we are facing."
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Daily News

      State agents gate-crash into Misa meeting

      1/23/2003 9:47:25 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      EIGHT State security agents last Saturday gate-crashed a workshop in
Mutare organised by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe,
to discuss the setting up of a community radio station in the city.

      Their presence created a tense atmosphere among the 30 participants,
mostly journalists, city councillors and representatives of civic and
political organisations.

      Observers said this led to guarded contributions on the topic.

      The participants agreed at the workshop there was an urgent need to
set up a community radio station in Mutare, but emphasised it should steer
vigilantly clear of politics in both its programming and administration.

      The workshop resolved to formally present proposals on the radio
station to the Mutare City Council.

      Takura Zhangazha, the advocacy officer for MISA-Zimbabwe, said he was
concerned about the unusually high turn-out of security agents at the
meeting including the CIO, the Police Internal Security Intelligence and CID

      Zhangazha said MISA had, among security departments, invited only
Brian Makomeke, the police spokesperson in Mutare district.

      "There is nothing secretive that can be of concern to State security
in the setting up of a community radio station to warrant your presence,"
Zhangazha said soon after everyone at the workshop had introduced

      He said: "Just one of you would have been enough as we are a peaceful
people with no hidden agenda."

      While there was nothing wrong in security agents attending MISA
workshops, Zhangazha said, their number should be "reasonable".

      In response, one security officer said they were representing various
sections of the police force.

      Participants included Sydney Mukwecheni, the MP for Mutare South
(MDC), Virginia Pinto, a city councillor elected on an independent ticket,
Rajab Maeresera, the deputy mayor of Mutare, councillors Henry Chinoda,
Peter Maviza and Edmore Karumbidza all Zanu PF members.

      Pishai Muchauraya, the Manicaland spokesperson for the MDC, was also
present, but Charles Pemhenayi, the Zanu PF provincial spokesperson, did not
show up although he had been invited.
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Daily News

      Fresh attempt to acquire Bennet's farm thrown out

      1/23/2003 9:48:34 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      JUSTICE Susan Mavangira on Monday threw out a fresh chamber
application by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement,
Joseph Made, to acquire Charleswood Estate, owned by Chimanimani MP Roy

      In High Court Case No 345/03, Made was cited as the first respondent,
along with Edgar Nyagwaya, the District Administrator for Chimanimani,
Joseph Mwale, a member of the CIO, Inspector Chogugudza, the
member-in-charge of Chimanimani police, Clayton Muusha and George Kanaga as
the other respondents.

      Mavangira granted Bennet a provisional order with an interim relief.

      It read in part: "The first respondent, because of the licences
granted to 2nd and 3rd applicants by the Export Processing Zone Authority
and the Zimbabwe Investment Centre respectively, be and is hereby
interdicted from compulsorily acquiring the property known as Vooruitzicht
in the district of Melsetter measuring 2784, 5859 hectares, also known as
Charleswood Estate."

      She said: "The respondents and all persons employed by them or acting
on their behalf or over whom they have control be and are hereby interdicted
from interfering in any way with farming operations on Charleswood Estate
and from any way with farming operations on Charleswood Estate and from any
and all business activities associated with the authorities and licences
granted by the EPZ and ZIC in respect of such projects on Charleswood

      The order followed a fresh application by the government to
compulsorily acquire the MP's farm for resettlement.

      Raymond Passaportis, Bennet's lawyer, said effectively none of the
respondents can go onto his client's farm as and when they wish.

      "The respondents can go on his farm only on legitimate business,"
Passaportis said.

      The Judge ordered that Mwale, Chogugudza and all persons associated
were barred from entering Bennet's farm for any reason without the
permission of the court or unless in a bona-fide execution of their duties
as police officers.

      Mavangira ordered the district administrator to stop harassing or
threatening the directors, workers and their families of the applicant.

      In relentless efforts by Chimanimani police to evict Bennet, his farm
workers have allegedly been beaten up and harassed. But Bennet and his
workers have hung on.
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      Green Bombers accused of stealing maize-meal

      1/23/2003 9:49:21 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      THE Zimbabwe Human Rights organisation (ZimRights) Matabeleland South
chapter has accused the national service youths in Gwanda of stealing
maize-meal from millers and selling it on the black market.

      Thandeko Mnkandla, the ZimRights provincial chairman said his
organisation was concerned at the continuing "violation of the public's
right of access to food" by the youths.

      The human rights organisation said the youths, popularly known as the
"Green Bombers", had allegedly imposed themselves on the distribution
process in Gwanda urban and surrounding communities.

      He said he had information that the maize-meal was being resold for as
much as $5 000 for a 10kg bag in the sprawling gold panning camps around the

      The youths are reportedly allocating themselves as many as 10 bags of
mealie-meal each.
      The Green Bombers allegedly accompany delivery trucks from millers to
the shops where they set aside a certain quota for themselves.

      "The youths are committing a gross violation of basic human rights by
curtailing the people's access to maize-meal. It is an act of deprivation on
the part of thousands of people who sleep outside the shops only to be told
that they cannot buy maize-meal because it has been taken away by the
youths," said Mnkandla.

      Mnkandla said the involvement of the youths in the distribution
process represents a violation of the constitution and a total disregard for
the rule of law.

      He said: "Party aligned people like these youths should not and cannot
be expected to distribute such commodities with impartiality.

      "Their inclusion and the very fact that the government, through the
district food task force, does not seem to be doing anything demonstrates
how far the disregard for the rule of law has gone in this country."

      The national service youths have five members stationed at the Gwanda
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot to monitor' the distribution of grain to
millers. It is these members who pass on the information on millers who
receive grain onto the rest of the youths who then join the distribution
trucks from the millers to retail shops.

      Some of the youths confirmed to The Daily News that they were indeed
taking mealie-meal but denied that they were reselling it on the black

      Said one youth who declined to be named: "We are not paid for the duty
we are doing. Like everyone else we are starving. Both the party and
government are not helping us. So as members of this country's security
forces, we are entitled to such privileges.

      "People do not know that the State has dumped us. Please write about
it so that Elliot Manyika will know about it and address our problems."

      Manyika is the Minister of Youth, Gender and Employment Creation, the
ministry responsible for the training and upkeep of the youths.

      No official comment could be obtained from the ministry yesterday.

      The youths who are graduates of the Guyu National Service Training
Centre, about 60km south-west of Gwanda, said they had no base and were
operating from their homes in the towngreen .

      Meanwhile, people from as far as Kezi, Maphisa, Manama and some parts
of western Beitbridge are converging in Gwanda in search of maize-meal and
other basic commodities in short supply.

      A majority of the people found in the queues said they had been
sleeping outside the shops for more than a week.

      Said Sikhululekile Moyo of Silozwi in Kezi: "The situation is very bad
in the rural areas. Shops have run out of all the basic commodities, so
everyone is forced to come to Gwanda where the shortages are not as bad."
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      Civilians injured as soldiers run amok in Hwange

      1/23/2003 9:51:01 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      SEVERAL people were last weekend seriously injured in Hwange when
soldiers allegedly ran amok, beating up residents at random.

      The residents said yesterday they were living in fear of the soldiers,
seen patrolling the streets of the coal mining town after the beatings.

      Eyewitnesses said trouble started when a soldier believed to have
served in the Democratic Republic of Congo broke the windscreen of a car
owned by Wankie Colliery Company.

      Colliery officials confirmed the incident, but referred all questions
to the police.
      Inspector Mthokozisi Manzini-Moyo, the Matabeleland North police
spokesman, confirmed the incident. But he referred further questions to army
officials at 41 Brigade in Hwange, who refused to talk to The Daily News.

      According to the residents, the soldier who broke the windscreen was
one of four soldiers drinking beer outside Jabulani Beerhall at Lwendulu

      "When a colliery worker confronted the soldiers they threatened to
beat him up, but other residents who had witnessed the incident came to his
rescue," said one resident.

      The four soldiers were reportedly overpowered by the residents and
fled from the scene.

      "Later in the afternoon when the people had forgotten about the
incident, the soldiers returned in an army truck and descended on the
residents," said the source.

      He said the soldiers, who attacked anyone in their path, stormed into
Jabulani Beerhall where they attacked revellers with sticks and other
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      State's silence on Sikhala's torture shocking: lawyers

      1/23/2003 9:50:02 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) yesterday said the
government's "deathly silence" on allegations that police officers brutally
tortured opposition MP Job Sikhala (MDC, St Mary's) and four others was

      The silence gave the perception the government sanctioned the
infliction of torture, the organisation said.

      ZLHR recommended that the ministries of Home Affairs, and Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs set up independent commissions of inquiry
into the allegations to ensure the perpetrators are prosecuted.

      "It is telling that in the face of all this abuse, the government, and
in particular the ministers of Home Affairs and Justice, have kept quiet,"
the lawyers said in a statement.

      "They have not even attempted to reprove, advise and guide those
employed within their ministries who have perpetrated such evil deeds.

      "The impression given is that these acts are sanctioned, and perhaps
ordered, by the State."

      The lawyers said it was sad that Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri
still sat as the deputy chairperson of International Police Organisation
(Interpol), while he presided over a politicised and repressive police

      The Zimbabwe Republic Police, the statement said, had long abandoned
its charter and mandate of protecting the people and was now feared as their
worst enemy.

      The lawyers urged the Attorney General, Andrew Chigovera, who sits on
the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, to instruct Chihuri to
investigate the allegations against his officers.

      It urged the African Commission and Interpol to ensure Chigovera and
Chihuri fulfiled the obligations of their office.

      The victims' lawyer, Jacob Mafume, yesterday said the alleged torture
was so brutal that Sikhala, 30, and Gabriel Shumba, 29, another victim, were
prepared to die rather than be remanded in custody.

      Mafume said: "Sikhala and Shumba, a lawyer working for the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Forum, said they were prepared to die by taking an overdose of
pills had they been denied bail rather than risk another round of torture.

      "It's true they were quite petrified of going back into remand.
      "The idea was not to kill themselves not to avoid trial, but to avoid
further affliction."

      Another lawyer, who refused to be named, said: "It's such a pity what
Sikhala and Shumba had to go through. Imagine the cruelty!

      "I now think that they could have driven Learnmore Jongwe to commit
suicide because the pressure they pile on you is just too much."

      Jongwe, the MP for Kuwadzana and the MDC's spokesman, was found dead
in his cell at Harare Remand Prison in October last year.

      An overdose of chloroquine tablets, used to cure malaria, was ruled as
the cause of death.
      The medical reports on Sikhala, Shumba, Bishop, Mutama, and Magaya,
compiled by a Dr P Mazani at Parirenyatwa Hospital on 17 January, tell of
terrible torture.

      Harare magistrate Caroline-Ann Chigumira ordered the medical
      Sikhala's report shows that he suffered burn marks on his genitals and

      He also sustained bruises and tenderness on both feet, lower legs, the
lower back and on his forearms, according to the medical report.

      Shumba, Bishop, Mutama and Magaya sustained various injuries.

      Sikhala, who wept in court last Thursday as he described how the
police tortured him, said: "At one time I passed out and when I regained
consciousness one of the officers urinated on me and I also urinated."
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      Solution lies in removing Zanu PF altogether

      1/23/2003 9:53:17 AM (GMT +2)

      On 12 January 2003, The Sunday Mirror, owned by the Zimbabwean
academic, Ibbo Mandaza, published a story about an alleged retirement plan
for President Mugabe.

      Alleged to have initiated the scheme were the Speaker of Parliament,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, and the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,
General Vitalis Zvinavashe, with Retired Colonel Lionel Dyke acting as an
emissary between them and the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

      Many people celebrated when the newspaper hit the streets as a number
of urban areas were filled by the euphoria created by the story.

      However, both Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe said they did not know anything
about such a plan. But Dyke and Tsvangirai insisted they had, in fact, been
involved in such a discussion. That meant that either Mnangagwa and
Zvinavashe, on the one hand, or Tsvangirai and Dyke, on the other, were
lying. I personally believe what Dyke and Tsvangirai said had a ring of
truth and that the other pair denied the story for very obvious reasons.

      As for Mugabe's party, Zanu PF, it was a foregone conclusion that it
would pour very cold water on the story, which is exactly what their
spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, did within a day or two.

      Mugabe's reaction was predictable. He poured scorn on the story,
describing it as a part of the subversive plans by the British government
and the United States administration to remove him from the Zimbabwean

      His reaction was not surprising to anyone who remembers that Mugabe
has on several occasions stated that he will remain at State House for the
current presidential term.
      In 1980, he declared that if his party, Zanu PF, lost the
pre-independence general elections, it would go back to the bush and
continue the war. That declaration was repeated by various Zanu PF leaders
during the 2000 general election campaign.

      Violence has become a vital part of the Zanu PF election strategy, so
have bribery, intimidation and general terror. It is not a secret that
Mugabe himself has publicly boasted of having many degrees in violence.

      That violence is meant to keep him in power for as long as he wishes.
We should note that his words either mean or imply that he will remain in
office on his own consent rather than with the consent of the people if it
came to an electoral push.

      The much-publicised retirement plan is about Mugabe stepping down.
Many people seem to think that Zimbabwe's socio-economic problems would be
solved if Mugabe were replaced as President.

      That view is ill-advised because Mugabe is part of a government team
that has collective responsibility in policy-making and implementation.
Mugabe is the head of that team, yes, but surely the country's policy is
discussed and adopted by his Cabinet, and laws are passed by Parliament, the
majority of whose members belong to his party.

      The failure of the government of Zimbabwe should be attributed to Zanu
PF as a whole and not to Robert Mugabe the individual, just as achievements
in the educational field should be credited to the whole Zanu PF government.

      I do not see how the removal of Mugabe from Zimbabwe's Presidency can
solve this country's socio-economic problems. Do we honestly believe that
Zanu PF functionaries like Shuvai Mahofa, Joseph Made, Aeneas Chigwedere,
Herbert Murerwa and a host of other inept government officers will perform
better just because Mugabe has stepped down from the Presidency? No.

      What this nation desperately needs is a change of government. Zimbabwe
requires a new government with fresh strategies that will breathe new life
into the nation's socio-economic development.

      The call should be for Zanu PF to admit that it has failed the nation,
and that it is morally, not constitutionally, bound to resign. Shortages of
basic consumer commodities such as maize-meal, sugar, fuel, cooking oil, and
the frighteningly high level of unemployment and that of inflation reflect
nothing but failure by the government, and that means Zanu PF.

      If Zanu PF were led by genuine patriots and not self-centred
partisans, it would not find it impossible to put national interests first
and their personal interests second, and call for a fresh general election
in really free and unfettered circumstances.

      The present socio-economic situation is so serious that only the most
unthinking and uncaring people see nothing wrong with government policies
and priorities. It is a tragic situation that cannot be justified.

      Every genuine patriot feels deeply disturbed by the mess into which
the country has been plunged by Zanu PF. There is surely no way by which
continued rule by Zanu PF without Mugabe can reverse the massive
socio-economic decline. No.

      If that party failed to administer the country in the last 23 years,
what would make it succeed in the next five or 10 years?

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