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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Tsvangirai hits at SA, Nigeria
By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor

The MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, yesterday criticised the South African
and Nigerian governments for their bias towards President Mugabe's "brutal"

The opposition leader told foreign diplomats in a closed meeting in Harare
that his party did not believe in retribution for past crimes and understood
Mugabe's wish for a dignified exit.

In a speech made available to the Press after the closed meeting, Tsvangirai
said: "We shall never allow hatred of the past to affect the future. We are
ready to play a constructive and positive role in such an exercise."

But he said while the political and economic crisis continued to unfold,
Nigeria and South Africa had clearly taken sides with the Zimbabwean

"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," said Tsvangirai.

He said if being partisan towards repressive regimes was part of the
so-called African solutions to African problems, "then Africa is fated or
condemned to remain a beleaguered and crisis-ridden continent for a long
time to come". The MDC leader said while South Africa and Nigeria were
mediators in the Commonwealth troika, they were buying time for Mugabe to
consolidate his dictatorship. He said the international community must
ignore the "rantings" emanating from both South Africa and Nigeria through
the troika.

He said the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Sule Lamido, was recently in Zimbabwe
and never bothered to consult with the MDC, but went ahead to buttress
Mugabe's government. He said Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the South African
Foreign Minister, in the country this week, had refused to accept that
murder, torture and rape of opposition supporters constituted a crisis.

He said the crisis in Zimbabwe was not about 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 sub-human conditions
are not white; those in the rural areas who are daily subjected to brutal
treatment are not white," Tsvangirai said.

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

He said his party had won 57 seats in Parliament and controlled five major
cities, including Harare. He said the cities were inhabited by genuine and
patriotic Zimbabweans who are not puppets of anyone.

Tsvangirai said the people of South Africa and Nigeria had come out of the
repression of the most brutal dictatorial regimes in African history but
they were exposing their short memories by legitimising Mugabe's
illegitimate regime.

"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," he said.

"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
majority of Zimbabweans, do not regard Mr Mbeki as an honest broker." He
took a swipe at France and Portugal for allowing Mugabe to attend the
February 2003 Franco-African Summit and the April 2003 European
Union/African-Caribbean-Pacific Summit in Lisbon. Mugabe and his lieutenants
are banned from visiting European Union countries.

Tsvangirai said the MDC would not engage in talks with the Mugabe government
over the so-called exit plan, mainly because of the continuing torture and
violence against the party's MPs and members.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai told participants at Northside Community Hall on
Wednesday that the executive mayors of Harare and Chegutu, the MPs and
ordinary villagers and party supporters had braved increased brutality from
the Mugabe government.

"I want to salute the millions of workers and peasants who have to withstand
the daily humiliation of queuing for whatever little supplies that trickle
out of the Mugabe regime's corruption chain and finally lands in the
supermarkets," he said.

"There is no tomorrow as long as this corrupt regime maintains its
stranglehold on the country. In a few months' time, the entire country will
have been reduced to one big flea market."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Murder suspects earn reprieve

      1/24/2003 11:19:37 AM (GMT +2)

      By Fanuel Jongwe Court Reporter

      DETAINED suspects in the Cain Nkala murder case denied food from their
relatives earned a reprieve yesterday.

      An emergency meeting between their lawyers, the Attorney-General's
officials and prison service officers resolved the matter.

      The meeting was called after one suspect, Khethani Augustine Sibanda,
fainted during court proceedings on Wednesday after going for more than a
day without food. The court was adjourned after the incident.

      Sibanda, Remember Moyo and Sazini Mpofu, detained at Harare Remand
Prison, had been receiving food from relatives and well-wishers after
Sibanda fell ill after taking a drink suspected to have been laced with

      But prison officials made a surprise about-turn and ordered their
subordinates not to allow the suspects food from outside the prison.
Advocate Edith Mushore told Justice Sandra Mungwira when the trial of
Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, the MDC MP for Lobengula Magwegwe and five other
party members that the meeting resolved that the three suspects be allowed
to receive breakfast and supper from relatives.

      Yesterday, Nkala's daughter, Zenzele, related her father's abduction
at around 8pm on 5 November 2001 and the presence of "a man who had come
around 6pm and said he was waiting for my father".

      Zenzele said she rushed out when she heard her father screaming for
help after he went out to check a car that had pulled up outside the gate.
      "When I saw that my father was being taken away, I ran after the truck
for a distance," the girl said. "When I could not catch it I came back."

      The evidence contradicted her mother's version in which she said she
tugged at one of her husband's abductors and fell to the ground when one of
the men struck her with a metal object.

      Zenzele said during cross-examination by Advocate Edith Mushore, she
did not see Singatsho Moyo, the war veteran who was present at Nkala's home
on the fateful day, assisting in any way during the ordeal.

      A defence lawyer, Advocate Happius Zhou, said on Wednesday there were
"striking similarities" in the abductions of Nkala and the MDC activist
Patrick Nabanyama, suggesting that they may have been killed by the same

      The trial continues today.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Doctors urge probe into Sikhala torture

      1/24/2003 11:21:06 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE newly-launched Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
(ZADHR) has called on the government to investigate the torture of Job
Sikhala, the MP for St Mary's, at the hands of the police following his
arrest last week.

      Sikhala and four colleagues were allegedly tortured by the police as
they put pressure on them to confess to the torching of a Zimbabwe United
Passenger Company (Zupco) bus last Monday.

      Sikhala, who is still in a Harare hospital, human rights lawyer
Gabriel Shumba, Taurai Magaya, Bishop Shumba and Charles Mutema, were
arrested on Wednesday last week and taken to different police stations where
they were allegedly tortured during interrogation.

      "This torture was confirmed on 17 January 2003 by independent medical
practitioners at different medical institutions, including a government
hospital," the ZADHR said in a statement.

      The association seeks to assist victims of human rights violations.
      "We call on the relevant ministries, in particular the ministries of
Home Affairs and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, to investigate
these abuses of the most basic human rights and ensure that those
responsible are held accountable and dealt with appropriately so that such
practices cease forthwith."

      Sikhala and his co-accused were initially accused of setting a Zupco
bus alight in the Willowvale industrial area. The police later altered the
charge to a breaching of section 5 of the Public Order and Security Act.

      A medical report produced in court by the five men confirmed that they
had been tortured.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      CIO agent threatens to kill deputy sheriff

      1/24/2003 11:22:58 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      A CIO operative in Chimanimani last Saturday allegedly threatened to
kill a deputy sheriff serving a provisional High Court order against the
security agency's district boss.

      The order by Justice Susan Mavangira bars Joseph Mwale, the CIO chief
in Chimanimani, and six other respondents from interfering with activities
at Charleswood Estate, owned by Roy Bennet, the MP for that constituency.

      Mark Dzobo, the acting deputy sheriff in Mutare, was forced to make a
hasty retreat from the CIO offices in Chimanimani where he had gone to serve
Mwale and three other respondents with the provisional order.

      Dzobo declined to comment on the matter yesterday saying: "Talk to the
lawyers who sent me."

      But in a report to the High Court, Dzobo wrote: "When I told him (the
CIO operative) I was supposed to affix at the outer principal door offices
at the offices, he threatened to shoot me if I proceeded."

      Arnold Tsunga, Bennet's lawyer, said: "Dzobo said he was threatened
with death by a CIO officer if he proceeded to serve Mwale with the court

      The first respondent in the matter is Joseph Made, the Minister of
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.

      Others are Edgar Nyagwaya, the district administrator in Chimanimani,
Inspector Chogugudza, the head of police in the district and Chamunorwa
Muusha, Clayton Muusha and George Kananga all Zanu PF activists.

      Dzobo's attempts to serve court papers on Chamunorwa and Clayton
Muusha, both resettled at Charleswood Estate, failed as well.

      According to Tsunga, Zanu PF activists and suspected war veterans at
the estate threatened to burn the vehicle he was driving if he dared to
carry out the exercise.
      Dzobo made an abrupt U-turn and returned with the papers to Mutare.

      Tsunga said he eventually handed over Mwale's court papers to
Chogugudza at the Magistrates' Court in Chipinge.The government has in the
past two years been trying to take over Charleswood Estate under the
controversial land redistribution programme.

      But Bennet contested the take-over, arguing his estate falls under the
Export Processing Zone exempting it from compulsory acquisition.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

      Crisis of expectation hits MDC supporters

      1/24/2003 10:51:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THE criticism of Morgan Tsvangirai, voiced by MDC supporters at a
meeting in the upper-class Borrowdale suburb early this week, was

      People of all classes have become impatient with the party's strategy
to replace the Mugabe government. In the 2000 parliamentary election, a
groundswell of support for the new youthful party, with its urban slogan,
Chinja Maitiro, Maitiro Chinja, almost swept Zanu PF out of power. Many had
looked up to the MDC to rescue them from the political and economic
quicksand into which Zanu PF had plunged the country in 18 years of mostly
corrupt and arrogant rule.

      The party, with a leadership so much younger than the geriatrics who
lead Zanu PF, had galvanised the people to register their loud protest at
the way Mugabe's party had bled the economy.

      However, they were cheated of victory because of the massive violence
and the fear with which Zanu PF has terrorised the people since
      In the 2002 presidential election, there was again a near-thing for
the MDC: this time, much of the world community agreed that the party had
been cheated of victory. They decided to punish President Mugabe and Zanu PF
for what they were convinced was the theft of the election.

      Today, the impatience has reached fever-pitch, turning into a crisis
of expectation.

      Blaming Tsvangirai's leadership, though understandable, ignores a
number of basic political fundamentals. One of them is that the leader of a
party is only as good as the followers. He cannot operate as a one-man
crusader without the backing of all his supporters.

      In spite of the distinctly autocratic nature of his leadership, Mugabe
still leads Zanu PF today because a majority of his supporters back him
wholeheartedly, even if outsiders are mostly amazed at the basis of this
support. In his speech to the supporters in Borrowdale, Tsvangirai said in
part: "We stand here to make a fervent appeal to you, a dying middle class,
to re-examine what has hit your lifestyles. Our ultimate objective is to see
you at the forefront of this struggle, joining hands with fellow Zimbabweans
in confronting this ruinous dictatorship."

      He could have addressed this same appeal to the so-called lower class
and even the upper class. It is not just the middle class of Zimbabwe which
faces extinction as long as the government continues on its present "Lone
Ranger" path of driving the economy back to the Dark Ages. All classes will
be faced with extinction, unless the people themselves act to change the
      In most countries, where there has been peaceful change, the people's
stance has always been a crucial factor. The fearless, resolute
determination of the people of Zimbabwe to support the liberation movements
to the hilt made a great difference to the struggle which brought
independence in 1980.

      This was particularly so in the rural areas. The masses gave the
freedom fighters shelter, food, clothes, medicine, intelligence as well as
safety from the rebel soldiers. They would not have achieved this unity with
the liberation forces if they had been docile, timid or frightened.

      It is this fear which has inhibited massive resistance to the
repressive rule of Zanu PF. As long as there is no resolute, fearless
determination to confront the scourge of repression, no party leader is
likely to succeed where Tsvangirai may be said to have failed. Zanu PF has
the advantage of having been longer in the game than the MDC. Mugabe has the
advantage of having been in the political trenches longer than Tsvangirai.

      But both the leader and the party of the present government have
singularly failed to deliver on their promises to the people. If the people
feel strongly enough about this deprivation, they know what to do.
Certainly, it is not to let their leader go forth alone to slay the dragon,
St George-style. He needs them to walk with him, all the way, their own
swords at the ready.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

      Players keep cards to the chest in the succession game

      1/24/2003 10:53:04 AM (GMT +2)

      Special Correspondent

      Dismiss the denials, ignore the contradictions. As the furore over
President Mugabe's retirement enters its second, very public, week, just
remember that what we are watching is a game of bluff and double-bluff, a
game of poker.

      The players have just started another round of bidding, and their
hands are being held very close to their chests. We cannot see their cards,
and they cannot see each other's.

      Just as if we were spectators in a casino, we must judge the state of
play by looking at the faces, assessing the language and the betting.

      Who is understating the strength of his hand? Whose brow is lined with
sweat? Whose poker-face disguises a fistful of worthless cards?

      The lighting in this gambling den is dim and it is difficult to see
exactly all who are playing this game.

      There are newcomers at the table, but most of the players are
long-standing members of this particular poker school. They have played with
and against each other before, if not for quite such high stakes.

      Playing one of the hands is a gambler of repute, who some say has
underworld connections. The Speaker of Parliament sits, poker-faced,
surveying his cards, and his opponents. Emmerson Mnangagwa, and his
lieutenant, Vitalis Zvinavashe, have, since before Christmas, been making
bids in private, and then publicly denying that they are playing at all.

      It is an open secret among all the players and spectators that
Mnangagwa's stake has been guaranteed by President Thabo Mbeki and the South
African government. A win for Mnangagwa would be the best outcome for Mbeki.
The last thing he needs is a result that would encourage another poker
school to start south of the Limpopo, with his own future, and that of the
ANC, as the prize. Let's call this group the M&M consortium.

      Another hand is being played by Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC.

      They the newcomers were invited to the table by the M&Ms. But the
first round of bidding had not even begun when they asked for the lights to
be turned up, so that they and we could see precisely who the other players

      It seems that they had been approached by Mnangagwa, who asked for a
quick peek at the MDC's cards.

      "Show us what you have," he said. "Then we can pool our cards and beat
the others." There was, of course, no reciprocal offer; Mnangagwa's cards
are still flat against his Savile Row suit. Another group looks as if it
might have its collective feet under the table. Is it that of Solomon
Mujuru, aka Rex Nhongo, with Sydney Sekeramayi sitting next to him? Could
that be Dumiso Dabengwa? Is this the group that Mnangagwa said he wanted to

      This third group, if that is who they are, have yet to make a public
bid. Or a public denial, for that matter.

      It is inconceivable that they wouldn't be playing surely. They are,
after all, founder-members of this poker school, and haven't missed a game
yet. But the lights are dim.

      Are they playing together, or are they playing separate hands? They
are sitting quite close to the M&Ms. Are they playing at all?

      But there is a bigger mystery. Where is Mugabe? This game would not be
played so publicly without his knowledge. Indeed, it would not have started
without his consent. It is almost certain that he was part of the M&M
consortium at least until he returned from his Far Eastern shopping spree.

      Mugabe turns 79 next month. He always had a soft spot for Emmerson,
the only man he thought he could trust to protect him in his dotage.

      Mbeki has been touting Mnangagwa as the worthy leader of a "reformed"
Zanu PF for months. Would Mnangagwa have represented Zanu PF at the recent
ANC conference without Mugabe's say-so?

      Rumours before the last Zanu PF conference that the post of prime
minister was to be resurrected, to be filled by Mnangagwa, certainly fit in
with the plans of all of them. It was a win-win opportunity for them all.
But is Mugabe still in with the M&Ms, or is he now distancing himself from
them? Did he return from Malaysia to face the uncomfortable truth that the
plan for him to go is phenomenally popular among the citizenry, even among
his own party members?

      Has he decided that this whole project is generating its own momentum,
is slipping from his control, and that he must stop it in his tracks?

      And Zvinavashe's statement in The Business Tribune last Thursday? Is
his offer that "the military will assist" in addressing the crisis a veiled
threat to the other players? Is he saying to those, both inside and outside
Zanu PF, who oppose Mnangagwa's elevation: "There are two ways we can do
this. Either you let us win this game of poker, or I will upturn the table.
You choose."

      Or is he bluffing? And there, causing such a nuisance in the front row
seats, is Jonathan Moyo. He, and the other Young Turks who owe their
positions solely to Mugabe's patronage, have just discovered that they are
not included in the plans for a "reformed" Zanu PF.

      The eminent professor, pretender to the throne, even if only in his
own mind, is sweating profusely.

      No poker player, could this be the real explanation for his recent
public outbursts against those "filthy and recklessly uncouth" South
Back to the Top
Back to Index

England cricketers receive threats
By Phil Mercer
In Melbourne

The England cricket team say they have received anonymous letters threatening violence if they travel to Zimbabwe for next month's World Cup.

England captain Nasser Hussain
The decision to play in Zimbabwe has not pleased everyone

The chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, David Morgan, has told the BBC team members received the threats at their hotel earlier this week in Sydney as they prepared for the finals of the VB Series against Australia.

The ECB has said England could still boycott their opening World Cup match in Harare if the security situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate.

The threatening letters warned of violent consequences if England travelled to Zimbabwe.

'Real concerns'

They claimed there would be riots and disturbances before and during the game in Harare.

Morgan said the enthusiasm of the 15-man squad to fulfil the fixture was rapidly diminishing.

He said a number of players had once again expressed real concerns over the moral issues surrounding their tour to southern Africa.

The chairman was alerted to the threats made to the England team by the captain, Nasser Hussain, ahead of the meeting of the International Cricket Council.


It decided the six World Cup matches scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe would still be played.

England's cricket chiefs, however, are still not convinced it will be safe for their side to travel to Harare in three weeks' time.

Mr Morgan said he believed the security situation there was getting worse. It was being monitored, he said, on a daily basis.

The ICC board will reconvene next week to continue its discussions on the safety of players.

If it decides the situation has stabilised, the ECB has said England will travel to Zimbabwe.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

            January 25, 2003

            Mugabe may be unpleasant but he is not the problem
            Matthew Parris

            Remember, Lord Copper reminds his correspondent, dispatched by
the Daily Beast in Evelyn Waugh's Scoop to a conflict in an African country
of which we know little, "that the Patriots are in the right and are going
to win. A few sharp victories, some conspicuous acts of personal bravery on
the Patriot side and a colourful entry into the capital. That is the Beast
policy for the war."
            On these pages in October last year, I warned that Robert Mugabe
might be pursuing a calculated policy of killing, starving or expelling the
minority Ndebele tribe in Zimbabwe. The journalist Peter Oborne's powerful
recent Channel 4 documentary, Centre For Policy Studies pamphlet A Moral
Duty to Act There, and Spectator article seem to confirm it. I see no need
to repeat these warnings.

            My purpose now is different: it is to warn against the idea that
sub-Saharan African politics is usefully approached by the identification of
heroes and villains, the singling out of particular tyrants, and the
underlying assumption that better leaders are somewhere in the wings,
waiting to be carried in aloft on the shoulders of the grateful African
masses, if only we in the West would first help to topple the tyrant.

            I do not mean that we should be careless about what happens in
Africa or suppose ourselves without influence. Of course the England cricket
team should not go to Zimbabwe, but the case for steering clear does not
need to be made in terms of political science: it is simply a matter of good
taste. Of course the decision by the Government of France to entertain
Mugabe in Paris is a disgrace and for the French to ingratiate themselves
with this doomed leader cannot be right. But it is not even clever. We
British should kick the habit of assuming that France's foreign policy is so
devilishly and selfishly effective. We do much better out of our former
empire in Africa than do the French out of theirs. For reasons mostly of
control-freakery and pride, they keep entangling themselves in expensive and
futile commitments in worthless places, and at the moment are no doubt
hopping mad that four African countries, three of them francophone and one
formerly Portuguese - Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and
Mozambique - have been moving towards the Anglo-Saxon sphere of influence. I
detect more than a hint of yah-boo-sucks in President Chirac's two-fingered
salute over Mugabe. But it will not help Mugabe, who is not long for this
world, and it will not help the French, who will not be high on the calling
list of whoever in Harare succeeds him. Our best response is a Gallic shrug
and a word in BAE Systems' ear that the MoD contract is safe from French
competition after all. Britain has a reasonably good record of not taking
too much notice when the French play silly buggers in Africa. Let them pay
for as many cultural institutes in Ouagadougou as they like, subsidise arms
sales in Chad as heavily as the French taxpayer will bear, and sell a few
Peugeots at a loss in Burkina Faso, but as Paris does notice, we British
often win quietly in the end.

            And in winning, we can help Africa as well as ourselves. My
argument is not against the identification of better and worse individuals
and causes in Africa, nor against the reasonably subtle use of influence to
boost the better or discourage the worse. It is against the Lord Copper-ish
assumption that these men and causes can be simply or unambiguously
identified, or crudely promoted. There is not in Zimbabwe a good party and a
bad party, and the battle, if a battle comes, will not be decisive.

            We should acknowledge five unpalatable truths:

            Mugabe is not particularly unpopular with his people. Taking the
Zimbabwean electorate as a whole (up to a third of whom, for mostly tribal
reasons, are simply not available to Mugabe as potential supporters) Mugabe
probably enjoys broadly the level of support commanded in Britain by Tony
Blair - 35 to 40 per cent. Within the majority Mashona tribe he probably has
a majority. In the rural areas of Mashonaland (much of the country) he
undoubtedly has a majority. He would probably not have won the last election
without intimidation and cheating, but he might not have lost by much.

            His policy of grabbing land from white settlers is not
unpopular. The white farmers' plight is pitiful and their treatment
disgraceful, but do not forget the origins of this dispute. Within the
lifetimes of the parents or grandparents of many Times readers, nearly all
the best land of the Mashona people - thousands of square miles - was seized
from them without compensation. They really do consider it "their" land.
Would you not? I am not talking of the practical imperatives - plainly it is
better for all Zimbabwe's peoples that efficient white farmers stay in
place - but of popular feeling among the Mashona.

            Mugabe's atrocious human rights abuses are not, in the eyes of
most of his followers, their biggest worry about his leadership; famine and
economic failure are. Many African people do not have our British
sensitivities about brutal behaviour by a leader, so long as they think him
to be admirable, successful and on their side. What they will not forgive is
failure or incompetence. In domestic political terms Mugabe needs
desperately to excuse the failure of his governance, not the splitting of a
few thousand Ndebele heads.

            The land issue and persecution of unpopular minority tribes are
a useful political distraction from this failure. So is British
grandstanding against his regime. This is not surprising. If you target
people with sanctions you help a leader to make his case that their hardship
is your fault, not his.

            There is disappointingly thin evidence of any potential
mass-membership, cross-tribal political movement available to take over from
Mugabe, or of the leaders who might command it, or of any manifesto with
unpartisan appeal which they might hold out to the voters. A number of
people to whom I have spoken are venomous about Mugabe but lukewarm about
Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC.

            Cometh the hour, perhaps, cometh the man, and Tsvangarai might
grow into leadership, but the election results map of the last election
makes disturbing viewing. Mostly, Mashonaland supported Mugabe and
Matabeleland supported Tsvangirai. This would not be an auspicious start for
the government of national unity which would be needed to haul Zimbabwe out
of the ditch. I doubt an outright win for an opposition party would be in
Zimbabwe's best interest. Nor should we expect of a new Zanu (PF)-based
coalition, shorn of Mugabe, that it would return seized land to white

            In short, it is regrettably likely that many of the things for
which we in Britain despise Robert Mugabe are the last things on which he
can still count when he wants a rousing cheer at public rallies: kicking
white settlers; kicking minority tribes; and blaming the country's woes on
the big British-American world trying to push Zimbabwe around. The movement
to replace him, if or when such a thing ever gains momentum, will not be
pro-white settler, will not be pro-Ndebele, and will not be impressed to
hear the new leader praised by Tony Blair.

            It follows, and it is painful to have to put it this way, that
Zimbabwe's problem is not Mugabe. Zimbabwe's problem is Zimbabweans, and,
more specifically, the overwhelming majority Mashona tribe.

            Leadership might help in finding a way out, but democracy alone
will not: indeed, popular pressure is among the causes of the present
shambles, not the solution to it. Though I admire Mr Oborne's motives and
respect his research, his recommendations (which are not far from those of
the British Conservative Party and really amount to economic sanctions,
ministerial vilification of Mugabe, and a series of hefty kicks in the pants
 from the outside world) look to me problematical; and the wait-and-see way
in which President Mbeki of South Africa is handling his embarrassing
northern neighbour is, if unimpressive, more defensible than Oborne allows.

            Mugabe needs an escape hatch. How long ago Augusto Pinochet's
absurd detention in the Home Counties now seems. I remember arguing then
that in an imperfect world where international law was incomplete, the
forces of civilisation were well served by the provision of refuge for
toppled tyrants. I argue the same in the case of Slobodan Milosevic. I
thought I heard Tony Blair answer these arguments with a ringing declaration
that in the New World Order there should be no escape for the wicked.

            Funny, then, that earlier this week I seemed to hear the Prime
Minister, quizzed by senior MPs and asked if he agreed with the US
Administration that an escape route might be offered to Saddam, reply that
it would be "great" (his word) if this could happen.

            Ah, but that was now and this was then, and as Paul Flynn, MP,
reminds us: "Only the future is certain. The past is always changing."

            Contribute to Debate via
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Financial Times

      EU to assess Harare sanctions
      By Judy Dempsey
      Published: January 25 2003 4:00 | Last Updated: January 25 2003 4:00

      EU ministers are braced for a dispute when they meet on Monday to
decide whether to extend sanctions against Zimbabwe that entail a travel and
visa ban on the country's leadership.

      The debate will be overshadowed by France's decision to invite
President Robert Mugabe to a Franco-African summit next month, much to the
annoyance of Britain.

      Portugal yesterday said it wanted a review of policy as it was to host
a EU-Africa summit in April. Lisbon fears that if it declines to invite Mr
Mugabe, African states will boycott the summit. But if Mr Mugabe is invited,
EU countries could stay away. Judy Dempsey, Brussels
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

January 25, 2003

Just the ticket: Emmanuel Muvavariwa, a Zimbabwe cricket supporter, will now be able to watch his team play England in Harare after the ICC decided to go ahead with six World Cup matches in the country

Silent ECB takes eye off the ball

SO, AS expected, the six cricket World Cup matches scheduled for Zimbabwe are to go ahead. The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed its decision yesterday afternoon that there was no reason to move them to South Africa. Nothing surprising in that — the ICC has long made it clear that it was opposed to a relocation. The only surprise was that this conclusion was reached without the representative of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) so much as raising his voice to counter it.

Yesterday appeared to be the last chance for the ECB to attempt to engineer a conclusion to the Zimbabwe issue that would have placated everyone. The Government has requested that England do not play their match in Harare on February 13 and the players have made it clear that they would not ideally be batting on President Mugabe’s front lawn, yet the ECB defied all and went in to bat for no one.

The morning began with a global telephone conference call, chaired from Lord’s by Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, hooking in the 15 members of the executive board. David Morgan, the chairman of the ECB, was linked in from Australia, where he is with the England team on its Ashes tour.

Speed first presented his report from his two-day fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe, in which he told the board that the security situation had indeed deteriorated. The ICC has always maintained that it would only reconsider Zimbabwe’s right to host World Cup games if security became questionable. However, Speed told the board that, despite this deterioration, he was still assured that players would be able to progress from airport, to hotel, to the cricket pitch and back again without their safety being put at risk. There will be 433 police officers dedicated to each match, he said, by way of evidence.

There was then the opportunity for debate. “It was open to any of the directors to seek the support of other directors to seek to relocate those matches,” Speed said. “Any of the members could have raised it and said: ‘We don’t wish these matches to go ahead’.”

It is perhaps unlikely that Morgan would have found sufficient support for a relocation, but here, nevertheless, was his chance. The ECB had previously stuck with ICC policy, despite a plea by the Government, because the alternative would have meant incurring a huge fine and because, it argued, it would have been wrong for the unity of the world game. Yet here was a chance to swing the vote democratically and without any financial penalty. Speed said, though, that “no member took advantage of the opportunity to ask the board to reconsider”.

And so we are back at square one, with the World Cup just a fortnight away and with six matches due to be played in a dictatorship where political opposition is repressed and where famine is rife because of self-inflicted land redistribution policies. The build-up to the tournament will continue to be dominated by non-cricketing issues because tension in Zimbabwe is only likely to increase and because the ICC can still not confirm whether Kenya, where two matches are due to be staged, is still considered a safe venue.

A decision will made late next week. The ICC needs more information before it can draw any conclusions, but the fact that it is still undecided is a statement in itself.

Yesterday afternoon, in a press conference in London, Speed addressed this unsatisfactory situation in the unflappable demeanour that is becoming his trademark. “Developing cricket in Africa and throughout the world is a very difficult project,” he said. “Cricket is played in dangerous places, let’s not beat about the bush about that. We would prefer that we could play cricket without the extensive security presence.”

He also made a passing nod to the plight of the starving millions — “We are aware of and have considerable sympathy for the people of Zimbabwe” — but added his trademark rejoinder that “our concern is for the safety of the players”. And he slipped in a thinly disguised barb towards the British Government when he gave a brief history of how Zimbabwe came to become World Cup hosts: “So no government should have been taken by surprise by its team’s commitment to play there.”

With the ICC’s position thus clear once again, the heat is back on Nasser Hussain and his England team. If anyone is going to stop them going to Zimbabwe now, it has to be themselves. However, they have made it clear already that they would rather not have to play politics and, even though the ECB has said in the past that it would countenance individuals taking a personal decision, on grounds of conscience, not to play in Harare, its own line has toughened considerably and the players might find it exceedingly hard to wriggle out of their World Cup contracts.

John Read, the ECB director of corporate affairs, insisted that the Zimbabwe issue was still not settled. “Today wasn’t the last opportunity to shift these matches,” he said. “Malcolm Speed has clearly said that these games could be shifted with four days to go. The decision made today is not necessarily the one for tomorrow.”

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

            January 25, 2003

            ICC treading through moral minefield
            By Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Chief Cricket Correspondent

            THE decision by the 15 members of the ICC's executive board to
plough on with the World Cup fixtures in Zimbabwe, and probably but not yet
certainly in Kenya, means there will have to be greatly increased civil
unrest for there to be a change of mind before England's scheduled match in
Harare on February 13. If the judgment of cricket officials on grounds of
safety proves incorrect, it will become a resignation issue. Everyone must
hope it does not.
            The ICC has been clearly warned by the Organised Resistance
movement that the decision carries risks. In a statement issued before the
latest analysis of security arrangements, it gave warning of a non-violent
civil disobedience campaign: "Together with networks of human rights
activists we will ensure that security systems put in place by the ICC and
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union are breached. Our actions will be directed at
exposing the injustices of the Mugabe regime. Organised Resistance is
confident that the ECB will regret their decision to come to Zimbabwe."

            This has been from the start a difficult issue. The security
question is one thing, the ethical quite another. In all the circumstances,
the struggling infant of Zimbabwe cricket probably should have been
sacrificed in the interests of embarrassing an unscrupulous Government, but
this was a decision to be made at government level.

            Only if it were prepared to underwrite the serious losses to the
game here, whether they would amount to £1 million or ten times that amount,
could the Government have justified the attempt to make cricket the means of
striking a moral blow. But it came to the problem too late. It made no
attempt to stop England playing a series of one-day internationals in
Zimbabwe only 16 months ago. Naturally, the World Cup offers a far more
prominent stage on which to make a statement, but pressure needed to be
exerted on the ECB before it had signed a legally binding contract to play,
not when it had done so and when the ICC was left with no room for manoeuvre
other than to move games on grounds of danger to the players from civil

            In the circumstances of daily increasing famine and of security
that is guaranteed only by brutal means, England should not on moral grounds
be playing in Harare, but, as many have pointed out, nor should the IOC have
given succour to a ruthless Chinese Government that tramples daily on human

            The thrust of the political influence now should be aimed,
surely, at alleviating the suffering in Zimbabwe. If it had been
convincingly argued that moving the World Cup games to South Africa would in
some way have prevented obstruction by the Mugabe Government in the
humanitarian effort now so badly needed, the duty to relocate the matches
would have been clearcut.

            But that was not the case. The ECB exists to nurture cricket in
England and Wales. Those charged with that responsibility are bound to make
the health of the game here their priority. Unilaterally to have refused to
play in Harare would have been an expensive gesture without any guarantee
that it would alter the plight of a single Zimbabwean.

            Certainly it could have set the world a moral lead by
withdrawing from the fixture and in many ways that would have been
admirable. Some at least of the millions suffering the misery of too little
food and the dreadful fear of political oppression might have drawn some
brief comfort. But officials were right to ask themselves the fundamental
question of whether a cancellation of the game would help to alleviate any
of the ills.

            Rather than an empty gesture, I should much have preferred them
to make a positive one by offering a donation from World Cup profits to
charities involved, now or later, in dealing with the growing famine. I
wish, too, that David Morgan, who has made a sure-footed start as chairman,
and Tim Lamb, the chief executive, had laid more emphasis on the
responsibility that the ECB has towards the health of the game at all levels
in Britain and less on comparing the board's situation to that of any other
commercial organisation doing "business" in Zimbabwe.

            "This (refusal to play) could expose us to the risk of unlimited
damages, which could have devastating financial consequences for cricket and
have a ruinous effect on the fabric of the game in England and Wales," Lamb
said after the decision to withstand political pressure to withdraw. Those
who have criticised him for putting the commercial approach before the moral
one should really put themselves in the shoes of the man who would have to
bear the responsibility for undermining the game's already shaky finances.

            The priority of feeding the grass roots depends upon income from
the top. These days, that depends more than anything on television
contracts. When they are not upheld, for any reason, heavy financial
penalties follow with serious consequences for a game that, like it or not,
is run by an international body that now really does have some teeth, with
cash investments worth £60 million according to the last accounts and a
mission to develop the game throughout the world. A successful World Cup is
by a large margin the chief source of funding for all that Malcolm Speed has
set out to do since becoming the chief executive.

            Cricket officials have had to juggle an exceedingly hot potato
and they have not managed it without getting burnt. The safer decision would
have been to switch Zimbabwe's games to South Africa and to compensate the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union, but their feeling that this might have been the thin
end of a wedge was understandable.

            Pakistan is governed, however wisely, by an unelected military
ruler and the latest newsletter from Amnesty International mentions
political prisoners even in Britain being detained without trial under
anti-terrorist legislation. Where do they draw the line?

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Blair plans to strike defence deals to heal rift with France

Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent
Saturday January 25, 2003
The Guardian

Tony Blair is to make a concerted bid to avert a disastrous diplomatic split
with France, fuelled by divisions over Iraq, by reaching a wide ranging set
of deals covering terrorism and defence at an Anglo-French summit within 10
With the US administration hurling insults at the French and Germans, Mr
Blair believes a breakdown in relations between the US and Europe would be
disastrous. It would also place him in a quandary as he seeks to exploit his
special relationship with the US and convince European leaders that
Britain's destiny lies in Europe.

Mr Blair is planning to strike deals with the French on cooperation over
terrorism designed to rival the Anglo-French deal on defence struck at St
Malo in 1998. He is also looking at an agreement for EU forces to take over
the peacekeeping role in Macedonia once Nato quits at the end of the year.
Plans are also being discussed for greater cooperation on military hardware,
including making future aircraft carriers compatible for French and British

The British government is expected to decide next week whether to place a
multi-billion pound order for its next aircraft with BAE Systems or Thales,
a French company with extensive British interests.

The defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, expressed sympathy for Thales indirectly
last week by asserting that BAE was not a British company, and Thales is
seen as the likely winner.

The French might reciprocate by agreeing to make its future aircraft
carriers compatible for British and other European troops, a move that would
hugely extend the meaning of a European defence force.

Relations between France and Britain nose-dived in October when President
Jacques Chirac and Mr Blair clashed over the future of the common
agriculture policy. In a fit of anger at Mr Blair's intemperate attack at an
EU summit in Brussels, Mr Chirac cancelled the Anglo-French summit. The
revised summit at the start of February comes at an extraordinarily tense
moment in Anglo-French relations, and only days after France may clash with
the US over Iraq at the security council.

The British also remain furious that the French have invited Robert Mugabe,
the president of Zimbabwe, to a conference on Africa in Paris next month.

The EU general affairs council is to discuss on Monday whether to grant a
special visa for Mr Mugabe to travel France. The French want him to attend
the summit partly because they believe he will have influence over the
crisis in Congo and more indirectly Ivory Coast.

Britain is likely to agree to the visa in return for an agreement that
sanctions against Zimbabwe are hardened when the EU decides whether to
reconfirm the sanctions in March.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


UN envoy: Let free trade help alleviate hunger in Zimbabwe


HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jan. 25 - The Zimbabwean government will have to abandon
its grain monopoly and allow free trade in food if the starving nation hopes
to feed itself again, the head of the World Food Program said Saturday.

       The south African nation is experiencing a food crisis that threatens
some 6.7 million people - more than half the population - with starvation.
The situation in a nation once known as the breadbasket of southern Africa
is blamed on drought and a collapse of agriculture after the government's
confiscation of white-owned farms as part of its land-reform program.
       The government has instituted stiff price controls and made it
illegal for businesses to import or distribute grain.
       But those measures have only intensified the food crisis as
businesses have little incentive to sell goods as long as food prices are
fixed below world and regional market prices, WFP head James Morris said.
       ''The free market needs to work ... where dealers are allowed to
offer their supplies,'' Morris said during a tour of southern African
nations as a U.N. special envoy.
       He hunched over small children eating cornmeal and soy porridges at
feeding stations Saturday outside Harare and despaired at the growing
regional humanitarian crisis.
       ''It's even more difficult today because of the context of what is
happening (elsewhere) in Africa,'' he said, citing hunger to the north, in
Ethiopia and Eritrea, and unrest in the west African nation of Ivory Coast.
       ''The demographics, the challenges, and the needs for the donor
community to respond is unprecedented,'' he said. ''How do we keep people
       In Zimbabwe, where journalists have seen ruling party activists deny
government grain to opposition members, Morris said he was confident that at
least international aid was not being manipulated by political forces.
       Morris said he had offered the Zimbabwean government assistance in
monitoring food distribution in government and private businesses to make
sure all who wanted food were able to buy it.
       Stephen Lewis, the U.N.'s special envoy for AIDS in Africa, was
accompanying Morris on the tour that includes Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho and
       He urged the international community to pledge assistance to not only
fighting hunger, but also tothe AIDS pandemic, which was compounding the
food crisis.
       ''It's the deep sense of accelerated urgency as the conjunction of
hunger and AIDS plays itself out,'' said Lewis. ''When the body has no food
to consume, the virus consumes the body ... people are dying sooner.''
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Dear Family and Friends,
There was a strangely deserted and uninhabited feeling about almost all the streets of my little country town on Friday. There were very few cars on the roads and even fewer pedestrians. The usual gaggle of scruffy street children, beggars and banana sellers were not in their normal haunts. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw a sea of people outside the doors of one small grocery store. We are all used to seeing one or two hundred people lining up outside the doors of this shop for bread every morning but this was different and the people were 6 deep across the pavement in both directions. More people spilled out into the street and this flood of humanity completely blocked all the parking bays and doorways of at least 11 neighbouring shops. I and others estimated that there were  probably close to 4000 people waiting on the Marondera pavements for a chance to buy sugar or maize meal. The desperate shoppers were watched by a large number of the town's policemen and I was disgusted to see so many of them smiling, joking and even laughing with their colleagues.  A friend trying to report a burglary could not get an answer from any of the 4 police telephone lines for over half an hour and eventually gave up in despair. Also watching the shoppers were a large number of armed riot police and baton wielding youths who we call the Green Bombers. Across the road from the little grocery store and in full view of the police, the vultures waited. Black market dealers, 9 of them on one landrover which had no doors, windows or number plates. By mid day it was all over. A few people carried a bag of sugar or a small sack of maize meal but most left empty handed. 
While this chaotic crush of desperate humanity tried to get food I couldn't stop myself from wondering how the ICC had come to the decision that it was going to be safe for them to come here and play cricket in a fortnights' time. We're not really sure why they bothered to waste an air fare on sending Malcolm Speed out here to check for himself on the security arrangements. Mr Speed did not bother to even talk to the Mayor of the City of Harare - the same Mayor  who, along with 21 rate payers, spent last weekend in prison for holding a civic meeting about water problems. Neither did Mr Speed find it necessary to talk to anyone except the state police. He did not talk to anyone from the opposition, not even the  MDC MP Job Sikhala and his lawyer Gabriel Shumba who had just had first hand encounters with Zimbabwe's police. The well known MP and his 29 year old human rights lawyer were both tortured whilst in police custody in Harare. They were taken to unknown destinations, their heads covered in black hoods. They had electrodes attached to their toes, genitals and teeth and the MP was uninated on and forced to drink an unknown and bitter white substance.
The crisis in Zimbabwe has reached critical proportions but we do still have to find things to laugh about in order to keep sane. Last night I met a friend with a nasty wound on his hand. He had been working with caustic soda and spilled some in his glove. By the time the chemical had started to burn Dave was sitting in a petrol queue. He could feel the tingling and stinging but was not going to give up his place in the queue. He jumped out of his car, got some of the green powder off his battery terminals, sprinkled that and some radiator water on his hand to neutralize the burn and then waited another 2 hours for petrol. I've got no idea if this is true but its a good story and about as believable as our police commissioner saying ordinary Zimbabweans will be able to protest outside the Harare cricket grounds. Pigs might fly. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 25th January 2003.
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are now both available for order from , thanks Chris for these easy links: 
African Tears - Click here
Beyond Tears -  Click here
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Doris Lessing: A Bill Moyers Interview

BILL MOYERS: Do you never stop writing?

DORIS LESSING: No. I'm compulsive. And I deeply think that it has to be
something very neurotic. And I'm not joking. It has to be. Because if I've
finished a book, and this wonderful release, which I'm now feeling-- it's
off, it's in a parcel, it's gone to a publisher. Bliss and happiness.

I don't have to do anything. Nothing. I can just sit around. But, suddenly
it starts, you see. This terrible feeling that I am just wasting my life,
I'm useless, I'm no good. Now, it's a fact that if I spend a day busy as a
little kitten, racing around. I do this, I do that. But I haven't written,
so it's a wasted day, and I'm no good. How do you account for that nonsense?

BILL MOYERS: Was there-- what we call an ah-ha moment-- a eureka moment .
when you knew that you were going to spend your life writing, rather
successfully or not. Was there such a moment?

DORIS LESSING: Well, I was writing all my childhood. And I wrote two novels
when I was 17, which were terrible. And I'm not sorry I threw them out. So,
I wrote. I had to write. You know, the thing was, I had no education.

BILL MOYERS: You left school at age 14, right?

DORIS LESSING: Fourteen. Yeah. And I wasn't trained for anything.

BILL MOYERS: What was there in a young girl-- you know, 12, 13, 14 or 15,
that said "I want to write?"

DORIS LESSING: I was, at that time, being what we now called an au pair. I
was a nursemaid. And it was pretty boring. So I thought, "Well, let's try
and write a novel." I wrote two. I went back to the farm, and wrote two


DORIS LESSING: This was in Africa.

BILL MOYERS: Where did that idea come from? Had you read a lot? Had somebody

DORIS LESSING: I never stopped reading. You know. I read and read and read.
And it was what saved me. And educated me. So, writing a novel seemed to be
a way out. But you see, I was too young.

BILL MOYERS: So, a bored little girl.

DORIS LESSING: Very bored. And, you know, being a nursemaid is very-- very
tedious, you know. Small children are very tedious, over the long term. I
think probably I've never been so bored in my life, as pushing a pram round
the park, on those interminable afternoons. Composing poetry in my head.
And-- thinking, "Well, this will come to an end, at some point."

BILL MOYERS: How was it you started reading as a very young child? How did
that happen?

DORIS LESSING: Well, my mother, I have to thank for that. She ordered books
from England. You know, this is the middle of Africa. She ordered books by
the bushel for me. When I look back, and think of what she bought, I am very

BILL MOYERS: As you talk I think of the traumatic century you lived through
. all those events. You were born right at the end of the first great war.
You lived through the Great Depression. You lived through the Second World
War. You lived through the nuclear era, the Cold War, the genocide, the
collapse of the British Empire. I mean, does anything remain of the world
you knew when you were young?

DORIS LESSING: Nothing. Nothing at all. The World War I, I'm a child of
World War I. And I really know about the children of war. Because both my
parents were both badly damaged by the war. My father, physically, and both,
mentally and emotionally. So, I know exactly what it's like to be brought up
in an atmosphere of a continual harping on the war.

BILL MOYERS: Your father couldn't stop talking about it?

DORIS LESSING: No. He was obsessed with it. He talked and the other old
soldiers in you know the district I was brought up in-- there were half a
dozen of them. The obsessive talking about the trenches, and their generals
and so on. And I used to listen, it was terrible, you know? These men were--
had been so traumatized. Though, of course, outwardly, they were very
civilized and good and kind and everything. But in actual fact, they were
war victims.

BILL MOYERS: I was touched when we asked you to bring some pictures, and you
brought several photographs of your father. Would you tell me about these?

DORIS LESSING: I look at him, and I think that's a young man. I-- when I was
a child, there was a soldier. That's what I saw. A soldier. But in actual
fact, it's a very vulnerable face, isn't it?

BILL MOYERS: And this one?

DORIS LESSING: Well there, he was in the Royal Free Hospital in London--
where he-- when they'd cut off his leg. And the-- and-- the sister-- there
is my mother. She-- was a ward sister. And-- so, they got married.

BILL MOYERS: You said that the war destroyed your mother, too?

DORIS LESSING: Well, my mother was going to marry a young doctor who was
sunk in a ship. And I don't think she ever really got over that. I think she
was very marked by it.

BILL MOYERS: You seem to struggle in all of your work with idealism and
illusions versus human nature and reality.

DORIS LESSING: Yes, I suppose I do. I-- don't forget, I went through this
period in my 20's, when I was full of unreal optimism. I was a Red.

BILL MOYERS: A communist. That's a term we don't hear much in America



DORIS LESSING: The reason I became one was because the local Reds were the
only people that ever read anything. And-- you know, they-- read all the
books that I did. This is a time when the communists read everything. I
don't think they do now. And-- they also-- they were the only people I ever
met who knew, like me, that it wasn't going to last. I mean, the idea no one
could possibly say, you know, this is a ridiculous system, and it's not
going to last. A tiny little handful of whites holding down-- the-- the

BILL MOYERS: In Rhodesia.

DORIS LESSING: Yes. Rhodesia. The whole white-black thing.

BILL MOYERS: You didn't remain a Communist for long, did you?


BILL MOYERS: What happened?

DORIS LESSING: Well, what happened, happened to everybody. You know-- that--
there's an old joke over there. That everyone has been a Communist but no
one is one. We were mad. We genuinely believed that sort of like 15 years
after the war, Paradise would reign in the world, you know, Utopia.
Everything bad would be banished, you know, capitalism, and that cruelty,
and the unkindness to children, and unkindness to women, and you name it.
And we believed this rubbish. Now, we were not stupid. How was it that we
could do that?

BILL MOYERS: How-- how was it?

DORIS LESSING: I don't know.

BILL MOYERS: But dreams are not rubbish.

DORIS LESSING: They're rubbish if they lead you to very unrealistic actions.
That's what's bad about them. If you're dreaming about wonderful Utopias,
and great horizons, and great dawns and all that, you're not really seeing
what's there, and what could be done.

BILL MOYERS: Well, of course, you spent a lot of time trying to undo the
British Empire. And I would say that you were successful. You and history.

DORIS LESSING: You know, when I was a girl, the idea that the British Empire
could ever end was absolutely inconceivable. And it just disappeared, like
all the other empires. You know, when people talk about the British Empire,
they always forget that all the European countries had empires. You know,
the French, and the Portuguese, and the Dutch, and you name it, excepting
Germans, because they lost theirs. But they all had empires. And that's one
of the themes of the .

BILL MOYERS: The Sweetest Dream?

DORIS LESSING: Yeah. The Sweetest Dream.

BILL MOYERS: I'm intrigued by this character . Old Julia. She's the
matriarch of the household where the young people are gathering. And she
says, "You can't have two dreadful wars, and then say, "That's it." And now,
everything will get back to normal. They're screwed up, our children.
They're the children of war.

DORIS LESSING: I think terrible events, like war leave a kind of bruise on
the national psyche. You know, you can't have a war as terrible as World War
II and say, "Right, we're now finished." That's-"Now we're all going to be
sweet and kind now." It isn't like that. You have people who have been
formed by war, and are frightened and are damaged. And it takes some time
for that to work out. I think the 1960's young people, not all of them, of
course, obviously not. A lot of them were, had been damaged by war. And a
lot of them came right afterwards. You know we've forgotten the heavy toll
of the 60's. There were an awful lot of damaged young people around. The
people in my house were in trouble with the police, or they were-- trying to
get them off drugs and so on and so on, and they'd dropped out of school.

You can see the 1960's casualties around now. If you look, you meet them.
They're easily recognizable by a kind of-- oh, everything is wonderful,
it'll all come right in the end ethos, which is-- I find very irritating.
But they're very often-- vague and fussy-- fuzzy. And-- and I'm-- often
think, hang on a minute. Was that too much pot? But, that's just an old
woman speaking.

BILL MOYERS: Too much pot?


BILL MOYERS: An older woman speaking.

DORIS LESSING: An old woman speaks. Too much pot, because they-- some of
them are very wooly. But you know, I have been told by good friends that I
am very narrow minded and an old grouch. They say that they remember the
'60s with complete pleasure. They discovered sex. And you know-- because
every generation's gotta have sex for the first time. And-- there was always
music and they were liberated and they got away from their parents. And I
talk rubbish. This-- I've been told this. So maybe they're right.

BILL MOYERS: Conservatives I talk to despise the 60's as the time all
convention and order came crashing down. I mean, in one sense, American
politics, driven by the Reagan Era, and by the conservatives who now control
our government, were in response to the 60's, which they saw as an
anarchical time, a time of drugs, and free love, and a rebellion against all

Of course, they're people you write about to look at it as a time of
self-discovery and-- and liberation. So, looking back now, all these years
later, do you see it as the best of times, or the worst of time?

DORIS LESSING: I certainly don't see it as at best of times, because there
were so many damaged people around. But there were very positive things to
it. I mean, you can't just damn a whole period as unhistorical, surely, it's
not how life is. You can't say it's all bad. It was partly very good, and
partly bad.

Well, surely, a lot of these conservatives were flower children themselves.
If they're now middle-aged, and probably become excessively respectable and
have forgotten that they ever smoked pot.

BILL MOYERS: It's not the 60s I lived, I was in government.

DORIS LESSING: I was going to say, yes, you were not living that life at
all. You've never been a flower child. Well, you missed out, perhaps.

BILL MOYERS: What did I miss?

DORIS LESSING: They seemed to have quite a lot of fun.

BILL MOYERS: But you said they were damaged children.

DORIS LESSING: They were, but they had fun, too. They had all of the music.
They used to go off to these rock festivals and things like that. They did
have a good time.

BILL MOYERS: Did you set out to recreate that world in The Sweetest Dream?

DORIS LESSING: Yes. I wanted to create that feeling of the easygoingness of
it. And-- the kind of mad generosity of the whole time.

BILL MOYERS: Well, you remind me of something you said in volume one of your
autobiography. Quote, nothing in history suggest that we may expect anything
but wars, tyrants, sickness, bad times, calamities. While good times are
always temporary. Why are we so bitterly surprised, you write, when our
country, the world, lurches into yet another muddle or catastrophe. Why is
it that so many people in our time, you write, have felt all the emotions of
betrayed children?

DORIS LESSING: Well, now that fascinates me. Where did it come from?
Particularly the-- 1960s kids onwards. Everyone seemed to think that they
were promised paradise? Well, who promised it to them? And you meet people--
I meet people, who are genuinely aggrieved that things are not perfect. That
they haven't had-- paradise.

But-- but where along the-- is it-- do you think it could advertising?
Possibly. If you have-- kids who have been generations are now growing up
with everything promised to them on the box and newspapers. Maybe it's that.

BILL MOYERS: Maybe they haven't lived long enough, like you. I mean when
you've lived that long, you see the cycles.

DORIS LESSING: You certainly do. And-- it's-- rather frightening at the
moment. You know, I was thinking this morning, when there's a war, we have
war memorials to the dead, and once a year we-- we deal with that. And we
might even remember the wounded. But nobody ever thinks about the
psychologically wounded. And there are enormous numbers of them after every

Nobody thinks about them. Or that cast, when they start a war. When you
see-- the faces of some of your-- your warlords, full of elation, which is a
horrifying thing to a war, elation, excitement. And you think-- are you
actually thinking about-- the results of this? They're not, you know.
They're not thinking.

BILL MOYERS: . as I listen to you talk, I think of what to me is perhaps--
for me, the most moving and revealing . of your works. It's The Fifth Child.
I mean, this infant in Harriet's womb. Who turns out to be a savage thing. A
monster. I can't read that, without being reminded of what you're talking
about. The fragility of happiness. You create this attractive family. And
then you destroy it.

DORIS LESSING: I wanted to write a version of that very ancient fable. You
know, the fairies put a-- an alien into the human cradle. That was-- only,
instead of being a fairy, he's a throwback to some past race. And someone
would be perfectly viable on a hillside, in a cave somewhere. Put him into
a-- a-- civilized life. And of course, you would destroy it. So, I created
Ben. Which-- well, it's a pretty horrible book, isn't it?

BILL MOYERS: It is a horrible book. He's a-- he's a monster. He's-- he's
deformed. I couldn't help but think about, you know, Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein. Adolf Hitler and his mother. I mean, here's a story of an
upper middle class family, who's benign view of the world is shattered by
the violent death of this child, who is monstrous in appearance, insatiably
hungry, abnormally strong, demanding and brutal. And everything is upended
because of that.

DORIS LESSING: Well, you see you must have known families where-- a-- child
that doesn't fit in is born. And then the entire family is taken over by
him, her. Not that I was thinking about that when I wrote it. But it's true.

BILL MOYERS: I wondered, was Doris Lessing-- writing out of an act of pure
imagination? Pure speculation, and the joy of just making something up? Or,
is this the way she sees the world? The idealism that we expect, becomes the
cruel savage that destroys us?

DORIS LESSING: No, you see, people always read messages and things, which I
don't intend. When I wrote that book, the journalists came and said, "Oh,
well, of course it's about the Palestine situation." "Oh, of course it's
about genetic research."

And I kept saying, "No, no. It's a story. I'm a storyteller." One of the
things that sparked it off was, I was sitting in a dentist's waiting room.
And reading stuff, as-- as you do. And there was a letter from a woman to
some agony aunt. And the letter went like this.

It said, "I know you can't do anything to help me, but I must tell someone
or I will go mad. We have three children, and my fourth was born, this
little girl. She is a little Satan. Our lives have been completely destroyed
by her. She is a little devil. But sometimes at night I go into the room and
I look at that pretty little face on the pillow, and I long to cuddle her.
But I daren't, because I know what would come up into my arms would be a
spitting, hissing little devil." Now, that got to me. Notice the religious
language in that, which she probably wasn't conscious of. So, I-- I-- I just
had to write it.

You know, it is very enjoyable, writing a story. You get this idea. It takes
hold of you. And then you spend day and night thinking about how to do it.
And then you do it. And much later, you think, "Oh, yes. That's an
interesting question."

BILL MOYERS: See, I don't think I'm that far off, then, when I say that
there is meaning in this. Not only for me, the reader, but for you, the
author. I mean, we do what you did with Ben with all of our dreams and
hopes, very often. God, whatever you mean by that, does that. I took this to
be a metaphor for God.

DORIS LESSING: I wasn't going in for metaphors, you know. You know, if
you're going to start thinking like that, you'd never write a word.


DORIS LESSING: Because it-- you write out of a different part of the brain.
I think actually, you write from here somewhere. In your solar plexus. If
you're going to start examining everything you write-- I mean, "My God,
that's that message, and that"-- then you wouldn't be able to write

BILL MOYERS: You'd be a Communist writing a pamphlet, or a Christian writing
a Gospel.


BILL MOYERS: Isn't it the-- mission of writers to give us a vision?

DORIS LESSING: No. I don't think writers should have missions. what we
forget is that novels continually introducing areas of life which we haven't
thought of before, that haven't really been in public consciousness until
that novel. It's happened particularly in America. I remember-- some of your
great novelists. Who would have known about the Deep South, without your
great Southern novelists? I mean we know all about Russia because of the
novelists. And I think that is a function of the novel we forget.

BILL MOYERS: You said this is a frightening time . We're weeks or maybe days
away from a decision about the President to attack Iraq. What makes it so
frightening as you-- as you sense it?

DORIS LESSING: Well, The-- mental set of the world is-- affected by
Westerns. It's the scenario that good sheriff riding into the town and he
takes out the baddies in town and returns to its former good state and the
sheriff rides away into the sunset. Well, this is how people think, I think.
Politicians and-- war leaders. Bush is going to ride into Iraq with guns
blazing. And then everything will be cleared up and then he will ride out
again. But it's not going to be like that.

The casualness of it is what is so terrifying. You see, we've been watching
this build up in Europe, and it's absolutely obvious this man wants war. The
president wants war. For whatever reason, and he's going to get it.

BILL MOYERS: With Tony Blair's help.

DORIS LESSING: Well, you know I don't approve of Blair. Blair is a little
man in a little country. It's the same thing as Bush wanting war, and going
to war.

BILL MOYERS: We keep having wars despite the fact that great novelists tell
us the truth about wars.

DORIS LESSING: Well, we don't have much effect, do we? Do you know when I
first recognized that horrible truth, I was standing in Southern Rhodesia, I
was very young.

And-- watching the night's bag of prisoners, the Africans who were being
caught out without passes. Hand cuffed, walking down the street. With the--
jailers, white, in front and back. And I looked at that and I thought--
Right, well, this is described in Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky and all the
others. So what have they achieved is what I thought. Didn't stop me writing
novels though. I-- I think we might have-- a limited effect on a small
number of people. I hope a good one.

BILL MOYERS: But you keep writing.

DORIS LESSING: Yes I do. I have to.

© Public Affairs Television. All rights reserved.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Age

Shift all Zimbabwe matches, says PM
January 26 2003
By Brendan Nicholson

Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday that Australia's cricketers should
not be pressured to abandon their trip to Zimbabwe unless other countries
also pulled out. "My position has always been that the International Cricket
Council should shift all of the games," he said.

Howard said he had never wanted a situation where the Australian team alone
did not play and said his government was willing to share in any
compensation for a shift of venue, but apparently only England and New
Zealand shared that view. He also said he would never intervene to prevent
the Australian team going to Zimbabwe. "Apart from the fact that they have a
right as individual Australians of free travel and free movement, it would
be quite unfair for them alone to demonstrate at our request displeasure
with the Mugabe regime," he said. "In our view, it would be better if none
of the games took place."

After meeting late on Friday, the ICC's board confirmed yesterday that it
saw no reason on grounds of safety and security to move World Cup games from
Back to the Top
Back to Index


a movement to communicate simple issues of accountability to the nation.  
 Join us on Tuesday 28th January 2003 and tell us what this means to you 

9:00 - 10:30 hrs 

To be followed by a closed meeting at 5:30 pm Call 72546 for details

Please announce this prayer meeting in your churches on Sunday



WOZA says, ‘Enough is enough’.  Women must begin to talk about problems in our country , they must press for transparent discussion and accountability. It is in the homes of Zimbabwe that bear the brunt of the current crisis.  We seek not feminist ideals - we seek to defend the Social Fabric of Zimbabwe.


Are you aware that the latest shortage is BIRTH CONTROL tablets. What will our women do? An unfortunate statistic according to the  South African  government statistics, 57 304 babies lost their lives through abortions in 2001.  What is the Zimbabwean figure and how will the birth control table shortage impact? 

Please join us in the meeting and participate in formulating the way forward.

 For more info call 72546/880452 

 Sheba Mobile 011738296

Jenni  Mobile 091 300 456  

Back to the Top
Back to Index