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Protests to target England

Andrew Meldrum in Harare and Paul Kelso
Thursday January 30, 2003

England's cricketers and their fans will be targeted by an underground
Zimbabwean opposition group if they fulfil their controversial World Cup
fixture against Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13.
The group Organised Resistance threatened, in an exclusive interview
yesterday, to focus its protests against Robert Mugabe's regime on the
England squad.

The group warned of a widespread campaign of civil disobedience, with Nasser
Hussain's squad among the targets. "We will engage in a variety of campaigns
. . . targeted at players, officials, fans, the grounds, sponsors and
supporting business."

The group claimed responsibility for the letters distributed to Hussain's
squad last week in Australia. The letters said opponents of the Mugabe
regime would be victimised by police and security forces if they protested
against the matches, and were crucial in persuading the players to ask that
the game be moved to South Africa.

Now, for the first time, the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman David
Morgan will voice doubts as to whether England's game in Harare should go
ahead. Today, during a tele-conference of the International Cricket Council
executive board,he will ask his fellow chairmen to consider whether playing
the match is a risk world cricket can afford.

An ECB spokesman said: "The England v Zimbabwe match is not just an issue
for the two countries involved but one for the whole World Cup. If the match
goes ahead and was to be marred by violence against protesters, it could
indelibly stain the entire tournament. We will be seeking to remind all
board members of their collective responsibility for what might happen."

New Zealand's game in Kenya is also coming under pressure. with the New
Zealand Cricket Players' Association calling for their country's games to be
moved from Nairobi. The players' union said that, based on security reports,
"the risk of an incident occurring is significant".

The organisation's executive manager Heath Mills said last night: "We also
believe that, given the increased global focus this issue is attracting,
that risk is increasing by the day. There are contingency plans in place to
play the game in South Africa and these should now be implemented."

The ICC has now received an independent security analysis of Zimbabwe
conducted by the American consultants Kroll. The report's findings, taken
with those of the South African-led security directorate for the World Cup,
will form the basis of the ICC board's deliberations when it meets today.

The ICC has consistently said it will consider moving the match from
Zimbabwe only on safety and security grounds. Last Thursday it ruled that
the matches would go ahead after hearing a report from its chief executive
Malcolm Speed, who spent 24 hours in Harare last week.

Yesterday Speed said any country wishing to raise concerns about security
would have the opportunity to do so. Should the Kroll report say that safety
can be guaranteed, however, the board is highly unlikely to declare that
matches should be moved.
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If cricket's a dead duck, why is it still creating a flap?

David Hopps
Thursday January 30, 2003
The Guardian

For years now, it has been a relationship of cheap jibes and dismissive
gestures. Even at the best times, you acted as if you preferred to look in
the other direction. There were other interests to pursue; other new toys
had come along and had blinded you with their promises of instant
You had no time for anything so outdated, struggling so obviously to stay
attuned with modern times. Yet now, judging by the intensity of your anger,
it seems that you cared all along.

This must be a terribly difficult time for you. Cricket is dead, huh?
Cricket no longer has a place in the nation's affections. The importance of
cricket in English society is the stuff of history, and has no relevance to
the dynamism of Britain in the 21st century.

Can we now strike all those conclusions from the ledger? It must have pained
you to hear yourself exclaim, in the pub, at the dinner table, or while
searching for the asparagus in an over-lit supermarket, that England's
cricketers must take a moral stance on behalf of the nation.

You were right to say it, and you have been proved more right as the weeks
have progressed. The signs are that a battle worth fighting for may yet be
won. But you have to admit that your concession that a game of cricket can
still hold such sway is a little, shall we say, surprising.

For years, you have scoffed at all this stuff about cricket, the game of
gentlefolk. You have scowled at the tired references to cricket as the
intellectuals' game. You have resented the fact that even the one-day
matches seem to last a lifetime. You have been too busy, too self-fulfilled,
to give it any regard.

Clearly, cricket's administrators have taken you at your word. You told them
years ago that cricket's claim to possess a strong moral fabric was bogus.
You told them that if you had need of some token training in morality, you'd
send your kids to Sunday school or cub scouts - or just make them switch
over from Cartoon Network to Animal Planet.

You told cricket to get real. So, with your encouragement, because cricket
was so desperate to keep your affections, cricket did. It restyled itself as
a business, the more hard-nosed the better. It had a new bottom line - drawn
by accountants. It did it because you told it to.

In a funny sort of way, you are responsible for this whole damn mess. The
government presumably understood, because it sacked a minister of sport who
understands the essence of sport, and replaced her with a minister of sport
who supposedly knows the price of bricks.

But things were going too far. You discovered that for England to play
cricket in Harare, while Robert Mugabe's reprehensible regime survives,
really matters to you.

You heard the defence that 300 British companies still traded in Zimbabwe,
but you have long lost all respect for business. But cricket was different.
Cricket could communicate something worthwhile. And when you recognised your
lurking faith in cricket's capacity for good, I wonder if you blushed?

You were probably in too much of a rush to register, a few months ago, that
the government had received an independent report that concluded that sport
played a minimal part in the welfare of the nation. It made people a little
bit fitter, but as for its positive effect upon social welfare - forget it.

You always did suspect team sports. If you heard of the report, you probably
secretly approved.

The panic within cricket was immediate. The memories of your rejection were
bad enough. But now your rejection was about to gain official government

You will not have registered - because the media never told you - that it
took some extensive behind-the-scenes lobbying by English cricket, supported
by other major team sports - yes, I think you must allow the use of the word
"major" again - to force a redrafting of the report.

You were right, of course, about cricket to some extent. Society has
changed. Time is at a premium; there are other priorities. It will be no
surprise if 10% of small cricket clubs collapse in the next 10 years.

But cricket, it seems, still has a place in your affections. If your call is
heard, and the match in Harare is scrapped, you might even vaguely care how
England go in the World Cup. And, if it isn't, and the whole appalling
spectacle proceeds, you could at least shout on behalf of the England
players, who dared to stand up to be counted.

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World Cup braced for battles

Zimbabwe police vow to crush protests at matches

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Thursday January 30, 2003
The Guardian

The prospect that protests at World Cup matches in Zimbabwe will be
violently suppressed by police became a near certainty yesterday after two
groups opposed

to Robert Mugabe's regime vowed to demonstrate during England's fixture in
Harare and every game involving the hosts.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and a new undergound group,
Organised Resistance, yesterday vowed to stage public protests at all
Zimbabwe's matches. But police insisted they would deal with any
demonstrations "firmly" and keep all protesters away from grounds.

Under Zimbabwe's draconian Public Order and Security Act, police can ban any
public demonstration of more than two people. The police have been
increasingly brutal, arresting numerous civic leaders without charge, and in
the past two weeks there has been documented evidence of police torturing at
least 10 people, including two members of parliament and a lawyer.

Organised Resistance yesterday promised to disrupt the tournament seriously
and said it "will engage in a variety of civil disobedience campaigns. These
will be targeted at players, officials, fans, the grounds, sponsors and
supporting businesses."

The group claimed responsibility for the letters distributed last week to
England's players in Australia telling them that they would be responsible
for any violence inflicted on peaceful demonstrators during matches. The
letters are credited with influencing the England team's statement on Monday
that they did not want to play in Zimbabwe.

Organised Resistance also criticised the International Cricket Council for
relying on police for security. "The ICC have been naive in enlisting . . .
armed and brutal members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police force to provide
'security' at . . . venues in Zimbabwe," it said. "This is a recipe for
disaster and we believe it will have tragic consequences. The ZRP are hated
in Zimbabwe and are known as perpetrators of violence and injustice rather
than as protectors of our people."

The group also praised England's players for asking for their match here to
be moved to South Africa. "We commend the England team for articulating
their concern for ordinary Zimbabweans who are likely to get caught in the
crossfire during protests at the World Cup," it said.

The hitherto unknown organisation said it was operating in secrecy because
of rising police repression and torture of activists in recent weeks.

The NCA is a more open group which has campaigned against the regime in
recent months. Its chairman Lovemore Madhuku said yesterday: "It is our
belief that the Mugabe regime is not fit to play host to any international
tournament . . . It is not our concern whether the cricket is played without
any disturbances or not. Our concern is the people of Zimbabwe and the
realisation of their dream to see people drive constitutional reform."

Madhuku's organisation has staged several anti-government protests in recent
months which have resulted in numerous arrests and beatings.

Yesterday police used tear gas to disrupt a public meeting held by Harare's
mayor in the city centre. Meanwhile, two more opposition supporters accused
police of using electric-shock torture. The pair, both from Harare's
Kuwadzana township, have been admitted to hospital for treatment.

The explosive situation is at odds with the Mugabe government's assurances
that everything has returned to normal.

Organised Resistance said it had formed "to restore democracy and peace to
our country". It added that it opposed any World Cup matches in the country
because "the event will legitimise an illegitimate and brutal dictatorship.
This has already occurred with the ICC engaging organs of the Mugabe regime,
being the ministry of education and sport, the army and the police force.

"The ICC's behaviour clearly indicates they believe Mugabe's regime is
legitimate and worth dialoguing with . . . The Mugabe regime will use the
World Cup as a smokescreen to detract from the humanitarian crisis that
Zimbabwe is engulfed in.

"The Mugabe regime must be attacked from all fronts in an effort to remind
Mugabe that his behaviour will not be tolerated."

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From ZWNEWS, 30 January

Is Zimbabwe on the brink of genocide?

Genocide is a scary word. It is something that the mind shies away from,
something that people are afraid to contemplate even in the abstract,
because it is so horrific that we will not believe it. And it is perhaps for
this reason that the genocide of Jews in WWII was carried out for so long
before it was fully comprehended, and why the Interahamwe managed to kill
800 000 Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 before the international community reacted.
The truth is that at least the latter could have been prevented, and that
all the indicators were there for the international community to see what
was happening. But they did not react, partly because they just could not
believe that it was happening, or could happen.

When reports of killings and mass human rights violations reach the
international community, the first response is always cautious. The first
demand is for verification, whilst the second is usually conservative
under-reaction. The machinery for dealing with mass human rights violations
is inherently conservative, and this inevitably produces a significant time
lag in responding to such situations. There seems to be a reluctance to
accept that people can really be slaughtering one another without
provocation and that civilians are being subjected to a steady and
relentless elimination process.

But the sad truth is that people are indeed capable of mass slaughter, and
hence it is all the more necessary to be ready to respond quickly where the
indicators are present in order to prevent excessive deaths. And Zimbabwe,
recently assessed as one of the most oppressive states in the world, seems
primed for just such a situation. This may seem a ridiculous claim when
there have been comparatively few deaths so far from the conflict of the
past three years, but it is less the deaths to date than the insidious
pattern of organised violence and torture that leads to the concern about a
potential genocide.
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Letter from a South African Opposition MP


In a radio interview this morning (Monday 27 January 2003) Dr Ali Bacher,
the executive director of the ICC Cricket World Cup, declared his
satisfaction with the assurances given to him in Zimbabwe by the police,
that peacefull demonstrations will be allowed during the cricket world Cup
matches in Harare.

On being asked whether he had sought the opinion of the Zimabwe opposition
in this matter, he replied that the opposition had not attempted to
communicate with his delegation during their visit to Zimbabwe.

His reply reminds one of an accusation levelled at the Zimbabwean Civil
Society by mr Job Sithole, ANC member of Parliament and a member of the
Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs of the South African National

Mr Sithole accused Zimbabwean Civil Society of dereliction in that they
did not inform South Africa sufficiently on the state of affairs in

From the above it would appear important for all the relevant Civil
Society organizations in Zimbabwe to avail themselves of the oppportunity
to inform Dr Bacher of their views regarding the proposed world cup
matches to be played in Zimbabwe, with particular reference to the
likelihood of peacfull demonstrations being allowed at these matches,
given the track record in this regard.

As a member of Parliament for the official opposition in South Africa, I
regard it as my duty to inform you of Dr Bacher's response in a radio
interview which you may very well not be aware off.  I believe that this
side-lining of the official opposition in a very controvertial issue in
Zimbabwe does not promote democracy or good governance.

Dr Bacher's e-mail address is:

I would very much appreciate any communication to Dr Bacher in this regard
to be cc'd to or

Friendly greetings,
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Daily News

      War veterans reject Mugabe

      1/30/2003 3:07:16 PM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

      Ex-Freedom fighters yesterday rejected moves to appoint President
Mugabe as chairman of the war veterans' association, describing them as a
ploy by their colleagues to cover their alleged corruption.

      The alleged corruption involves looting of the Zimbabwe Ex-combatants'
Company (Zexcom)'s funds.

      They said they would not accept Mugabe, already the patron of the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA), as their
chairman at a time when the Zanu PF leader should be attending to pressing
socio-economic issues.

      The leadership of the ZNLWVA on Monday suggested scrapping the
election of a national chairman in favour of appointing Mugabe to the post,
a move roundly criticised by other members.

      Their reservations came after a statement by Patrick Nyaruwata, ZNLWVA
's acting chairman, that Mugabe would be appointed national chairman at the
war veterans' congress set for next month.

      A war veteran who asked not to be named said: "All this is a ploy to
try and cover up for the crimes they have committed in the past, including
the looting of the Zexcom funds.

      "Bringing in Mugabe is merely a calculated act of intimidation which
we will not accept. There is no need to bring him."

      Edgar Tekere, secretary-general of Zanu PF at the height of the
liberation war, who later fell out with Mugabe, could only say: "That's

      Another war veteran said: "Mugabe already has a position as our
patron. We consult him when we have problems, but not for him to be actively
involved in the day-to-day running of our association.

      "That is simply unacceptable."

      Stanlous Chikukwa, a member of the national executive, on Monday
appeared before a Mutare magistrate charged with theft by conversion of
Zexcom funds involving $2 million. He was remanded out of custody to 4 March
on $10 000 bail.

      Chenjerai Hunzvi, the late chairman of the ZNLWVA, was the first to be
dragged into court in connection with the looting Zexcom funds. He was later

      Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional law expert and lecturer in the Law
Department at the University of Zimbabwe, argued that Mugabe could not be
chairman of a welfare organisation.

      He said that would be in contravention of provisions of the Private
Voluntary Organisation Act.

      "That is unconstitutional," Madhuku said. "Mugabe should decline that
offer immediately. He can do other things for his political party, but not
for a welfare organisation.

      "The move can be viewed as bribery on the part of the war veterans.
They want to benefit from the office of the President."

      "Besides, they want to give Mugabe and any other future President with
war credentials, additional duties in which case the Constitution will have
to be amended."

      Through the State-controlled Herald, Nyaruwata said the war veterans'
constitution would be amended to allow the President of Zimbabwe to become
their chairman automatically as long as he was associated with the struggle
for independence.

      Nyaruwata was quoted as saying: "We want to fight together as united
war veterans."

      Asked whether he was aware of the constitutional implications of their
decision, Nyaruwata said yesterday: "We have legal advisers. But the
question that it may be unconstitutional is something else. If that is the
case, we will be advised by our lawyers at a later stage. But that does not
stop us from honouring the President. We will be told about the developments
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Daily News

      Police fire shots at council meeting

      1/30/2003 3:10:48 PM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa Municipal Reporter

      THE police yesterday fired at least three warning shots, hurled
teargas canisters and randomly beat up people outside Harare's Town House,
effectively disrupting a consultative meeting called by Elias Mudzuri, the
Executive Mayor.

      The police stormed into Town House bringing to an abrupt end a meeting
which had been called by Mudzuri to discuss the city's water crisis.

      Thousands of stunned residents, some of whom were walking on the foot
bridge overlooking Town House, fled in all directions from the swinging
batons and choking gas.

      Onlookers, passers-by, vendors at a nearby flea market, commuters at
the Rezende Street bus terminus and those who were being barred from
entering Town House by the menacing riot police, all became victims.

      The police had earlier given the green light for the meeting.
      Mudzuri said Harare - which has only 14 months of water supplies - is
expected to introduce water rationing in March to avert running dry next

      Trouble started when about eight policemen manhandled Councillor
Graham Laban outside Town House. They handcuffed him to a ramp at the main
gate for about 10 minutes before taking him to Harare Central Police Station
where he was still detained by late yesterday afternoon. Two other people
were arrested. Charges against them could not be established yesterday.

      A jeering crowd hurled missiles and insults at the police, some of
whom were in a Defender vehicle.

      Mudzuri defiantly addressed the meeting for about 10 minutes before
armed police officers, led by one Chief Inspector Mukariri, entered the Flag
Room and ordered about 100 people who had found their way into Town House,
to leave.

      An angry Mudzuri berated the police for refusing to evict suspected
ruling Zanu PF supporters occupying a council library and hall in Kuwadzana

      "Why are you coming here to harass me? Go to Kuwadzana and remove
those youths illegally occupying council property," the mayor, elected on an
opposition MDC ticket, fumed.

      After Mudzuri complied and left the Flag Room, some police officers
followed him, but could not get into his office.

      The police clampdown on Town House comes barely three weeks after they
arrested Mudzuri and 21 others at a similar meeting in Mabvuku.

      Mukariri gave the Acting Town Clerk, Josephine Ncube, a letter at noon
informing her that the meeting had been barred, and proceeded to have Town
House cordoned off.

      The Officer Commanding Harare Central District, a Chief Superintendent
Kupara, had in a letter dated 27 January, allowed the meeting to go on as
long as it was not political.

      Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC's spokesman, said: "In this action
President Mugabe, through his partisan police force, today further
demonstrated to all Zimbabweans and the world that all democratic space is
closed in Zimbabwe."

      In yesterday's letter, Kupara said permission to hold the meeting had
been withdrawn because there were people planning to kill the mayor.

      Addressing the residents before the police disrupted the meeting,
Mudzuri said: "They know the people who want to kill me, they should arrest
them," he said.

      The council deferred indefinitely its monthly meeting scheduled for
yesterday in protest at the police action.
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Daily News

      NCA to hold demos on World Cup eve

      1/30/2003 3:16:07 PM (GMT +2)

      Political Editor

      THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) says it will hold
nationwide demonstrations next week on Saturday, a day before the World Cup
cricket matches in Zimbabwe.

      The NCA spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, told journalists in Harare
yesterday the demonstrations would be peaceful and are designed to press the
civic organisation's demand for a new and democratic constitution.

      He said the desire for a democratic constitution and good governance
had no timetable and could be staged anytime.

      "It is an ongoing struggle and, therefore, does not need the emergence
of an international event to become a reality. The NCA has emphasised before
that it will continue with its mass pressure programmes before, during and
after the cricket games," he said.

      "We do not think that we would be embarrassing the government because
we believe it has embarrassed itself enough and we do not want to add any
further embarrassment."

      Mwonzora said the demonstrations were meant to press the government to
accept the demands for a new constitution.

      "The NCA is not engaged in an attempt to garner international sympathy
during the World Cup cricket games, but it is our belief that the Mugabe
regime is not fit to play host to any international tournament of whatever
sort," he said.

      "It is not our concern whether the cricket games are played without
any disturbances or not. It is the choice of the respective countries to
choose between the safety of their players or Zimbabwe's march towards

      The calls for mass protests come barely a week after the NCA called
for a stayaway, which was largely a flop as most employees reported for

      The NCA chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, said last week's stayaway was a
success in that it stretched the security arms of the State and retabled the
constitutional debate.

      "It was successful in the sense that the government reacted by
arresting people and sending helicopters to survey several high-density
suburbs, which means they were seriously taking our threats and pressure.

      "The stayaway brought to the centre of debate the NCA's demands for a
new constitution," he said.

      "Even if the people report for work, it does not necessarily mean they
do not agree with the NCA."

      Madhuku said the NCA knew that the police would try to foil the
      "If they want to expose their brutality to the international community
at a time they are arguing that they subscribe to the norms of democracy,
then let them disturb the protests."
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Daily News

      30 abducted, tortured by police - MDC

      1/30/2003 3:19:23 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      About 30 MDC members have been abducted and taken to several police
stations outside Harare where they are being subjected to inhuman treatment
by the police and the Central Intelligence Organisation since the imposition
of an unofficial curfew in Kuwadzana, says Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC's

      The MDC and the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (Zimcet), a
non-governmental organisation, yesterday castigated the police for imposing
the unofficial curfew in Kuwadzana.

      As a result of transport problems, many people were failing to beat
the curfew deadline, resulting in many being assaulted by Zanu PF youths and
armed policemen, they said.

      The unofficial curfew followed the death of a Zanu PF supporter,
Tonderayi Mangwiro, two weeks ago in a bomb attack in Kuwadzana.

      "Despite denials by Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, to the
effect that police are working with Zanu PF surrogate forces such as the war
veterans in subjecting opposition members to routine and systematic torture,
there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary," Nyathi said.

      Fanuel Tsvangirayi, the MDC chairperson for Ward 38 in the
constituency, was released from Goromonzi Police Station on Monday where he
was being held since his abduction on 20 January together with Gift
Marongedze, another party member.

      "My assailants tied bricks to my testicles and connected live electric
wires to my toes to force me to disclose MDC plans for the by-election,"
Tsvangirayi said. Nyathi said the police did not press any charges against

      "An independent commission must be set up to investigate torture
cases," he said.

      Sarayi Mapfumo said her husband, Jeremiah Mapfumo, was abducted on
Wednesday last week on allegations his company vehicle was used in the
bombing incident. Mapfumo was released from Harare Central Police Station on
Monday. The police at Kuwadzana Police Station said they were not handling
violence cases but were referring them to the law and order section at
Harare Central Police Station.

      "We arrest everyone who has committed an offence, especially at the
moment when political violence has erupted in Kuwadzana," said a police
officer who answered the telephone.

      Jestina Mukoko, the Zimcet public relations officer, said the freedoms
of movement, expression and association were being denied the Kuwadzana
residents in broad daylight.

      She said she feared the violence would spread to Highfield where
another by-election is to be held soon.
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Daily News

      Hungry elderly villagers appeal to Unicef for food

      1/30/2003 3:12:32 PM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      AS starvation scales new heights in Mount Darwin, adults in Matope and
Chisodza village have made an impassioned plea with the United Nations
Children's Fund (Unicef) to include them in the organisation's child
supplementary feeding scheme.

      The villagers made their appeal during a UN tour of the district this
week to establish how the US$4 million (Z$220 million) scheme, which started
in five districts last September, was progressing.

      Luke Chara an elderly villager said: "I am weak, I cannot work in the
fields or join those panning for gold."

      The Daily News confirmed that the elderly were visiting feeding scheme
centres to ask if they could be fed together with the children.

      "We find it very difficult to deal with these people when they come
asking for food," said one woman who prepares the children's food in
Chisodza village.

      "It now appears as if we are denying them food, but we need to get
permission from Unicef."

      But Mumtaz Osman, the Unicef Harare humanitarian assistance monitor,
said only pregnant and breast-feeding mothers could be included in the
supplementary feeding scheme.

      Despite Osman's statement, Todd Katsande, the councillor for Ward 4,
made an appeal for the programme to include adults and primary school
      Mount Darwin is one of the five districts in the country where Unicef
is undertaking a supplementary feeding scheme for 200 000 children under
five years of age who are facing starvation.

      About 40 000 children in Mount Darwin benefit daily from Unicef's
Unimix, a special nutritious formula made up of soya bean, maize and
micro-vitamins. The food, which is pre-cooked is served after being mixed
with hot water, as porridge.

      Most children in the district seen during the tour of Mount Darwin
looked healthy, in sharp contrast to their elders who looked undernourished.

      Stewart Sattun-Jones, the Unicef Harare communications officer, said:
"It must be borne in mind that due to limited funds and other factors, this
programme is just for this category."

      "The programme was implemented after a vulnerability assessment study
was done in Mount Darwin, Gokwe North, Buhera, Chirumhanzu and Mudzi - the
areas least developed."

      Sattun-Jones said this year the programme would extend to 11 other
      He said the UN's World Food Programme was responsible for feeding the
      Godfrey Tsenengu, assistant nutritionist at Mount Darwin, said lack of
co-operation among members of the community was hampering smooth
implementation of the feeding scheme.

      "For example, the community demands money to off-load the food packs
from the truck," he said. "We have explained to them that, that is
impossible because the programme is meant for their benefit and not Unicef
or Mvura-Manzi Trust, the implementing partner.

      "The other problem we have is that of clean water with which to
prepare the food for the children. Of late we have been having transport
problems to distribute the food in the district which Unicef has now
provided." Whatever the extent of starvation in the district, the
beneficiaries of the scheme, applauded Unicef.

      "The food is very delicious. It makes me enjoy life," said
four-year-old Sam Kadomera. Chretius Dambaza, 4, said: "I no longer fall
asleep during the day because of hunger."
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Daily News

      MDC disappointed by EU delay over sanctions renewal

      1/30/2003 3:18:44 PM (GMT +2)

      Political Editor

      THE opposition MDC says it is frustrated that the European Union (EU)
Foreign Ministers have deferred a decision on whether to renew targeted
sanctions against President Mugabe and 80 of his close associates.

      The EU last year slapped Mugabe and his top officials with travel bans
following the widely-flawed presidential election last March and the
deteriorating political and economic situation in the country.

      "The MDC is frustrated and disappointed that EU Foreign Ministers have
deferred a decision on renewing targeted sanctions against senior members of
the illegitimate regime. The lack of consensus amongst member states on this
crucial issue to Zimbabwe plays right into the hands of the Mugabe regime,
which will no doubt be encouraged by evidence of divisions within the EU
ranks," said Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, the shadow minister for foreign affairs.

      His comment comes as fissures surfaced in the EU following France's
invitation to Mugabe to attend the Franco-Africa summit in Paris next month.
The decision has created divisions within the EU and the group's foreign
ministers on Monday deferred a decision on whether to prolong the targeted

      Ndlovu said the EU should ensure Mugabe's confidence is short-lived by
unequivocally renewing the sanctions when its permanent representatives meet

      "By renewing the targeted sanctions, the EU will be sending a strong
message to Robert Mugabe that his violent actions will not be tolerated and
that he remains firmly within the sight of the international community," he

      "Robust action by the EU will also underline the fact that the Mugabe
regime has continued to blatantly violate essential elements of the Cotonou
Agreement, namely respect for human rights, democratic principles and the
rule of law."

      He said despite his party's disappointment that France was
blackmailing Europe into allowing Mugabe to visit Paris, the MDC was
confident that the EU would not let down the people of Zimbabwe. The French
move left it open to accusations that it was indifferent to the suffering of
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans.
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Zvinavashe's remarks belated considering the crisis

      1/30/2003 3:22:58 PM (GMT +2)

      By Bekezela Dube

      Few patriots, if any, would have been surprised by the contents of the
rare interview attributed to the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,
General Vitalis Zvinavashe, in the Business Tribune and subsequently quoted
in The Daily News of 20 January, 2003.

      What will probably irk most citizens is the tone of that interview and
the general's attitude. He seems to think there is no solution that excludes
President Mugabe.

      What is obvious regarding the interview is that if the defence forces
commander had not realised the magnitude of the problems besetting our
country, some junior officer would have made it his duty to commit treason
for the love of his country and the fate of the commander, together with his
lieutenants and the Head of State, would be anyone's guess.

      The long time it took Zvinavashe to accept that the politicians had
messed up everything will, of course, raise a lot of questions, even
speculation, that the pronouncements were due to pressure from the commander
's subordinates who, in the end, will have to deal with hungry and destitute
soldiers whose only requirement is that they must be loyal, while their
morale must be high even though there is nothing to show for it.

      What must be obvious to all, is that these developments are not new.
The same or worse has happened elsewhere, even in neighbouring Zambia where
the army tried, only for 24 hours, to put in a sober government.

      We have got more examples here in Africa, where other national armies
have staged dramatic coups to spring democracy from despotic rule and with a
measure of success. Gambia comes to mind, or Ghana for that matter, even
though in this case the army took too long to allow civilian rule.

      Internationally this happened in Pakistan, where the ex-army commander
now interim president of that country, General Pervez Musharraf, personally
drafted a charge of subverting the constitution against the former strongmen
of that country, and the whole world begged the him to ensure the deposed
head of state did not face the death penalty even though there was no doubt
in the minds of the international community that the man was guilty.

      The commander explained to the whole world the road Pakistanis were
taking to achieve their own democracy. Even though they are not there yet,
where there is a will there is a way.

      And in those countries where this has not happened, but evidence that
the rule of law had collapsed is in abundance, those armies have had to
massacre their civilian populations for refusing to accept government
explanations of what the real problems are in their countries.

      Yugoslavia is a case in point. The Milosevic army failed to recognise
that their role was to defend the country not Slobodan Milosevic and his
cronies and had to take a lot of battering from volunteer armies from the
international community, who wanted to extricate the Serbs from the painful
dictatorship of Milosevic and now the stupid dictator is battling for his
freedom in the Hague.

      In our own country the case of a second lieutenant who shot a sentry
dead at the entrance to State House and was arrested before accomplishing
his mission whatever it was, is a chilling reminder of the worst that can
happen to us.

      But the nation waits with bated breath to see how the army can help
restore political normalcy without a coup, or bloodshed as happened in
January of 1997. And to say the army can help solve the country's political
problems without removing the government sounds unbelievable and will
probably rank as a first for the country or the army in the whole world.

      And should the army commander decide to take a leaf from the
Pakistanis, we should expect most people in the present Cabinet to be
detained for lying continuously about the state of affairs in the country,
especially some ministers who are clearly driven by selfish ambitions and
whose lies have resulted in the stigmatisation of our country by the
international community.

      So myopic are these leaders that they fail to see that Zanu PF is not
Zimbabwe, but a mere political party that will obviously go the same way
that other parties have gone, but the country remains.

      What exactly is the role of the army in a constitutional democracy? Is
it to defend the country's borders or to protect a political party from
those who oppose its policies?

      There is no doubt the move by MDC leadership to call for sanctions
against the country is unpatriotic, but Zanu PF is even more guilty for
failing to ensure a level political field for all parties to campaign. It
won't surprise anyone if the courts find the party guilty of rigging the
March 2002 presidential election.

      A lot will agree the move by the army is belated and that the army
should have arrested both Zanu PF and MDC officials for failing to campaign
peacefully in the 2000 parliamentary election. The violence was enough
reason for patriots, not boot-lickers, to save the country from thugs.
      Long live, Zimbabwe!
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      US mulls economic sanctions

      By Sydney Masamvu Assistant Editor
      1/30/03 10:14:31 AM (GMT +2)

      THE United States of America is considering slapping President Robert
Mugabe and his Cabinet with economic sanctions that diplomatic sources
yesterday said could further undermine the Zimbabwean economy.

      Sources said Washington, which like the European Union (EU) and
several other countries has imposed a travel ban against Mugabe and his top
hierarchy, was considering tightening smart sanctions.

      They said proposed measures included the freezing of Cabinet ministers
' bank accounts and the seizure of their assets in the United States. The
EU, Australia and New Zealand have already introduced similar financial
sanctions against government and ruling ZANU PF party officials.

      Other measures being considered by the United States would make it
impossible for Zimbabwean government officials to enter into trade or treaty
agreements with Washington, which does not recognise Mugabe's re-election
last year.

      The US and several other Western countries say the March 2002
presidential election was fraught with irregularities and was not free and

      "Various ways have of late been considered to put pressure on
President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle to return Zimbabwe to normalcy,
but to no avail," a Western diplomat based in Harare told the Financial

      "They have reached a point where punitive action in the form of
economic sanctions on the leadership is now being considered," he added.

      The US embassy spokesman in Harare, Bruce Wharton, yesterday declined
to shed light on the economic sanctions being considered against Zimbabwe's

      "I would not want to speculate about possible future policy decisions
regarding Zimbabwe," he told the Financial Gazette.

      But diplomatic sources said the US State Department committee on
Africa was expected to meet in the coming week to hammer out the final
details of the economic sanctions and how they would be structured.

      They said committee members Mark Bellamy and Walter Kansteiner had
already recently discussed the possibility of additional and punitive
measures that would ratchet up pressure on Mugabe's government.

      The sources empha-sised that if the US imposed economic sanctions
against ZANU PF, several social and humanitarian initiatives that the United
States is still involved in in Zimbabwe would be affected.

      Despite the smart sanctions introduced last year, the United States
has continued to assist the country with HIV/AIDS and other drugs, water
sanitation projects, voter education and food aid, among other initiatives.

      The US is one of the major contributors to the World Food Programme's
appeal for food aid for Zimbabwe, where close to eight million people are in
need of humanitarian assistance because of food shortages.

      The diplomats however said the economic sanctions, if introduced,
would be crafted in such a manner that they would not hurt ordinary

      But analysts said such a move would amount to full-blown sanctions
against Zimbabwe and could precipitate the collapse of the country's already
unstable economy.

      Zimbabwe is facing massive company closures because of the economic
crisis, which analysts say could make at least 300 000 workers jobless this
year, at a time unemployment is already estimated at over 70 percent.

      They said the problems faced by retrenched workers would be compounded
by food shortages blamed on drought and government agrarian reforms that
have cut food production by over 60 percent.

      Zimbabweans have also been hard hit by escalating basic commodity
prices, partly the result of shortages and price controls imposed by the
government in October 2001.

      Political commentators have already warned that ZANU PF could face
widespread social unrest if the economic crisis worsens and if Zimbabwe is
hit by another drought this year, which would increase food insecurity.

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      Civic bodies fail to make impact

      By Farai Mutsaka Senior Reporter
      1/30/03 10:15:02 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S once vibrant civic movement is facing its greatest
challenge as the country sinks deeper into economic and political chaos, but
analysts and ordinary Zimbabweans say civil society is failing the test amid
worsening government repression and public apathy.

      Reeling under an unprecedented economic crisis, food shortages and
grinding poverty, Zimbabweans are looking to the opposition and once
powerful civic and labour bodies for a solution to their suffering.

      But the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and other civic groups have
come under intense criticism for what some members of the public regard as
failure to provide credible leadership and confront the ruling ZANU PF.

      "Where is this man called (Morgan) Tsvangirai these days?" Prosper
Jima, a medical doctor, initiates a topic that has become a favourite with
Zimbabweans in many social circles.

      "Can anyone of you tell me the last time he was arrested? The only
real fighters and heroes left are people like Mudzuri, Madhuku and Job
Sikhala," the doctor says to his drinking mates at a sports club in Harare's
middle-density Queensdale suburb.

      Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri, National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
chairman Lovemore Madhuku and MDC legislator Sikhala have all recently been
hauled before the courts by the government.

      Jima's drinking mate quips: "The man (Tsvangirai) is an abject coward.
We all know he will never be given permission to address a rally, but why
can't he just wake up one day and address an impromptu rally while motorists
queue for fuel, or in First Street like those preachers do?"

      But political analysts and civic leaders who spoke to the Financial
Gazette this week said efforts to effectively rally support against the
government were being hampered by both increased repression and public
apathy resulting from economic hardships.

      The Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which was enacted by
Parliament last year and prohibits freedom of the press, expression,
movement and assembly, has been particularly harmful to the civic movement,
analysts say.

      Under the law, political parties and civic groups have to secure
police permission before addressing the public, while security forces can
disperse and arrest people participating in gatherings of a certain size.

      The legislation has also seen the introduction of fines and jail terms
as penalties for publishing or uttering statements against President Robert
Mugabe as well as the police and other security forces.

      "It has to be understood that the regime is very repressive, hence
there is not much that these organisations can do in the form of protest,"
said a senior lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

      "The state has managed to incapacitate them through tough laws. With
the laws that are there, they can be arrested even for a family gathering."

      As a result, once powerful organisations such as the ZCTU, which could
once rally support for mass stayaways or demonstrations to press for better
conditions for workers, have become "mere spectators" of Zimbabwe's
political and economic crisis, the analysts charged.

      Mass stayaways organised by the NCA to press the government for a new
constitution and protest unsustainable policies have also flopped in the
past few months.

      But the leaders of the NCA and ZCTU deny that repressive legislation
has rendered them ineffective.

      "It's only people who don't understand the situation we are subjected
to who can accuse us of inaction," ZCTU secretary-general Wellington
Chibhebhe told the Financial Gazette.

      "The current laws inhibit workers from gathering, but we have scored
successes. In 2001, we called for a successful stayaway against fuel prices.
We have succeeded in raising minimum wages by 200 percent. We are doing the
best under the circumstances."

      Madhuku added: "The fact that the NCA could call for a stayaway in the
face of such legislation shows we have not succumbed. How many times have we
been called to the police station? But have we ever given up or cancelled
our stayaways? No. That suggestion is coming from armchair activists."

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi also said accusations that his party
was inactive were not a true reflection of the reality on the ground.

      He said: "We are not sitting idle nor are we ignoring the challenges
that are facing us. Everyday of the week there is an MDC activity going on
and since the stolen (March 2002 presidential election) victory, we have
been working strengthening our structures, sometimes underground.

      "All this pressure on ZANU PF about food, cricket and in the EU
(European Union) is primarily because of our work. We also have not
succumbed to any repressive laws. The fact that our members are arrested
daily under POSA means there is activism going on. The president and the
secretary-general are facing treason charges that could get them hanged and
you still think we are being idle?"

      But analysts said the examples of their work being cited by the MDC
and civic groups were far beyond the understanding of most Zimbabweans,
close to eight million of who face starvation because of severe food

      Poverty levels have risen for most Zimbabweans in the past three years
as companies shut down and retrench workers who are unable to find
alternative employment in an environment where joblessness is estimated at
more than 70 percent.

      The cost of living has also leapt up for low-income as well as middle
and upper-middle class professionals, most of whose incomes have not kept
pace with rampant inflation, which is expected to top 500 percent before the
end of 2003.

      Because of falling living standards and the increasingly desperate
struggle to survive, most Zimbabweans are only interested in tangible
solutions that they believe will end their suffering, analysts pointed out.

      They said civic groups had failed to devise a strategy that would make
their concerns relevant to members of the public, who are battling with
"bread and butter issues".

      University of Zimbabwe lecturer Heneri Dzinotyiwei said: "There is a
genuine interest in people for alternative forces of democracy, but the
opposition doesn't seem to have a proper strategy on how to take advantage
of it.

      "The NCA contributed significantly in raising awareness for a new
constitution in the past, but the situation has changed. People are hungry
and the NCA needs to refocus on how to carry the people with it, taking into
consideration the current problems.

      "When you have a situation of hunger and hardship, as an opposition
you don't just sit and blame the government. You should behave in a manner
that makes you a clear representative of the people facing hunger. That is
the challenge."

      But Madhuku countered: "It is totally misconceived to believe that
issues of governance and economic development are not linked. Good
governance is a precondition of economic development.

      "In fact, the constitution is the most relevant issue. The fact that
people did not participate in our call does not mean we are irrelevant. We
are not a political party that prides in numbers, we are there to make a
point and we have done that. That is why there is now all this debate."
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      UN seeks nod to monitor food aid

      Staff Reporter
      1/30/03 10:15:17 AM (GMT +2)

      THE United Nations (UN) has asked the Zimbabwean government to allow a
UN team to monitor food distribution to ensure impartiality and allay fears
by international donors that the ruling ZANU PF is using food aid as a
political weapon and is starving its opponents, diplomatic sources told the
Financial Gazette yesterday.

      They said World Food Programme (WFP) director James Morris formally
made the request for a monitoring team to President Robert Mugabe during
talks in Harare last week.

      The sources said a meeting was scheduled for tomorrow between the
government and UN officials in Harare to further discuss the request by
Morris, who is also the UN's special envoy for the humanitarian crisis in
southern Africa.

      Labour and Social Welfare Minister July Moyo, who is in charge of food
and humanitarian relief, could not be reached for comment yesterday. He was
said to be out of his office on business until tomorrow.

      A spokesman for the local UN humanitarian office refused to speak on
the matter.

      He told the Financial Gazette: "This is a matter that is still being
discussed and therefore we cannot comment."

      But the diplomatic sources said Morris, alarmed by growing donor
indifference to appeals for food donations for Zimbabwe, had told Mugabe
that only a UN monitoring team would dispel the international community's

      They said donations to Zimbabwe, one of the countries hardest hit by
the humanitarian crisis in southern Africa, had been hampered by reports
that the government was starving opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) supporters.

      The ruling ZANU PF party has in the past refuted charges that it is
using government-sourced food aid to punish MDC supporters by refusing them
the food.

      "He (Morris) told Mugabe that the international community did not see
any credibility in the government's denials that it had politicised food
aid," said a senior official with an international non-governmental

      "Basically Morris said to Mugabe that if he had nothing to hide, then
he should let in the international community verify on their own whether the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) was being partisan in its handling of food aid."

      The state-run GMB is the only agency allowed to buy and sell grain in

      The diplomatic sources said Mugabe did not immediately spurn or accept
Morris's offer, preferring further discussions within the government and
also between the state and local UN officials.

      There have been several well-documented reports by local and
international newspapers of hungry villagers, mostly in outlying rural
arrears, being refused food as punishment for backing the MDC.

      ZANU PF has also been accused of vote-buying, with its candidates in
parliamentary or local government elections in the last 12 months allegedly
handing out GMB-sourced maize to voters as a way of influencing their

      Several people in rural areas and even in the capital Harare have
alleged they were asked to produce ZANU PF membership cards first before
they could buy maize from the GMB.

      The WFP last October had to briefly stop food deliveries to Insiza
district in southern Zimbabwe after alleged ZANU PF militants campaigning
for the party in a parliamentary by-election there seized more than three
tonnes of food from WFP workers and gave it to their supporters.

      The government denied responsibility, saying it was not state policy
to seize food aid from donors.

      Donors have indicated they cannot commit aid to Zimbabwe while the
government is prepared to help only the sector of the population that agrees
with it politically, the sources said.

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      Govt woos white farmers with land promises

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business News Editor
      1/30/03 10:15:51 AM (GMT +2)

      RELATIONS seem to be thawing between the government and white
commercial farmers evicted under Zimbabwe's controversial land reform
programme, but analysts this week said the reconciliation was too late to
save the 2002/2003 agricultural season or ensure the country's food

      Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, who at the height of the government'
s appropriation of white-owned farms refused to meet leaders of the
Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) saying they were "racist and fascist", held
discussions with the CFU last week and this Monday.

      The two parties are said to have discussed the possibility of CFU
members making available agricultural equipment to farmers resettled under
the agrarian reforms, with the CFU leaders being assured that white farmers
who wished to continue farming would be allocated land.

      "Minister Made personally called (CFU) president (Colin) Cloete on his
cellphone and suggested that it was time a meeting was held between him and
the CFU," the organisation's vice president, Doug Taylor Freeme, told the
Financial Gazette. "The meeting was an icebreaker."

      "(But) at no time did the CFU pledge equipment to the government," he
added, refuting claims by Made last week that the white farmers' union had
promised tractors, disc ploughs, combine harvesters, harrows, irrigation
pipes and tobacco-curing equipment, among other machinery.

      Both subsistence and aspiring black commercial farmers allocated land
have been hard hit by the lack of farming equipment and inputs, making it
impossible for many of them to prepare their land for planting.

      About two months after the start of the 2002/2003 rainy season, a
significant proportion of resettled farmers are said to be struggling to
secure machinery, seeds, fertilisers and chemicals, which most of them do
not have the financial resources to buy or hire.

      A government bond issue floated last year to fund farmers resettled
under the A2 or commercial farming phase of the land reform programme also
failed to raise sufficient funds.

      Although Made declined to speak to the Financial Gazette this week, it
is also estimated that more than 60 percent of the 50 000 successful
applicants for the A2 farming scheme have not taken up their plots, leaving
large tracts of land lying idle.

      Opposition Movement for Democratic Change shadow minister for
agriculture Renson Gasela said it was possible that the government had
belatedly realised that the new farmers could not drive commercial
agriculture without adequate infrastructure.

      Although some beneficiaries of the land reform programme have seized
equipment left by white farmers forced to abandon their properties, most
machinery is stored in warehouses or is being sold.

      The rest of the equipment has been taken out of Zimbabwe by farmers
who have relocated to neighbouring countries.

      Gasela said: "There is the realisation that the new commercial farmers
will not be able to drive commercial farming on their own. They need

      "You will realise that even the people allocated land who took up the
farms have failed to get enough inputs, which has only served to worsen the

      But analysts said even if experienced white farmers were roped into
the land reform programme or provided infrastructure for the reforms, it was
too late to save this year's farming season, which is already underway.

      They pointed out that under normal circumstances, most planting would
be complete by this time and farmers would only be concerned about whether
the country would receive adequate rainfall.

      Farmers said even if CFU members applied for and were allocated land
and resettled farmers secured adequate resources, it would take years to
repair the damage done to Zimbabwe's agricultural sector, the backbone of
the country's economy.

      The seizure of white-owned farms has slashed output from the sector by
more than 50 percent in the past year, affecting local companies that rely
on farmers for raw materials and markets as well as the country's exports.

      Production of tobacco, Zimbabwe's main foreign currency earner for
instance, is expected to drop to a mere 75 million kilogrammes, from 167
million kgs last year and 216 million kgs in 2001.

      The wildlife industry, another foreign currency earner, says it has
lost more than $6 billion worth of animals in the past two years because of
rampant poaching during the land seizures.

      The carnage in the wildlife industry also led to Zimbabwe being denied
permission last November by the United Nations' Convention on the
International Trade in Endangered Species to sell ivory stocks accumulated
over the last five years.

      Commentators said government efforts would also not improve food
security for close to eight million Zimbabweans who need emergency food aid
because of drought and the land reform programme, which have combined to
slash food production by more than 60 percent.

      They pointed out that Zimbabwe, which could be affected by another
drought this year, could remain a food importer for at least another two
years because of inadequate rains and instability in the agricultural

      Consultant economist John Robertson said: "We have already lost a lot
and the challenge now is for the government to give farmers assurances in
cast iron form, instead of friendly notes, so that they can continue

      "Cosmetic assurances and friendly chats will not work if the farmers
are to come back to the farms because they have a lot to do in rebuilding
their infrastructure and accessing finance from banks."

      Analysts said farmers also had to be careful not to be hoodwinked by
the government, which might be using them to portray a positive image to the
international community, most of which has turned its back on the ruling
ZANU PF party because of its treatment of white farmers, opposition party
members, journalists and civic society.

      Several countries have imposed smart sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe and his top hierarchy because of what they say was a flawed
presidential election last year as well as human rights abuses, among other

      The Australia-Nigeria-South Africa Commonwealth troika is also
expected to decide in March whether Zimbabwe should be ejected from the club
of former British colonies, a move analysts say will severely impact on
Mugabe's government.

      ZANU PF has been able to defy its critics because of support from its
neighbours, all of whom are members of the Commonwealth.

      Former CFU regional executive Ben Freeth, now an official of
commercial farmers' pressure group Justice for Agriculture, said: "Everyone
can see that the government is basically trying to look for an internal
settlement before the meeting of the troika in March."

      But he said not many farmers were likely to be taken in by the
government's reconciliatory stance.

      He told the Financial Gazette. "There is nothing to discuss because
farmers are still being told to leave their farms even when they have
received assurances to continue with farming operations."
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EU debates Zim sanctions today

By Abel Mutsakani Deputy Editor-in-Chief
1/30/03 10:16:33 AM (GMT +2)

INDECISION or even the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe's rulers by
European Union (EU) ambassadors today would give Harare a prized political
victory but would not bail the troubled nation out of a precipitous crisis
threatening to erupt in social unrest and chaos, analysts said this week.

The EU ambassadors are expected to debate Zimbabwe in Brussels today after
the EU council of ministers failed to agree to roll over a 12-month
financial and visa embargo on President Robert Mugabe and his top
lieutenants earlier this week.

Their indecision was triggered by France's invitation to Mugabe to attend
the Franco-African summit in Paris next month, which begins the day after
the expiry of the visa ban.

EU smart sanctions against Zimbabwe's rulers expire on February 18 but could
be extended for another year.

France wants Mugabe granted a temporary exemption so that he can attend the
Franco-African summit in Paris from February 19-21, while Portugal wants the
sanctions rules modified so that the Zimbabwean leader can attend an
EU-Africa summit in Lisbon in April.

Another stalemate in Brussels today, or possibly the scrapping of sanctions
if France blocks a renewal, would give Mugabe more diplomatic space to
legitimise himself internationally, according to University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
Institute of Development Studies analyst Brian Raftopoulos.

"Indecision or a move to lift the sanctions by the EU will obviously be seen
by the Zimbabwe government as a symbolic victory," he told the Financial

"Mugabe will try to show it up as a sign that relations have thawed between
him and the rest of the international community. He will use it to gain all
the legitimacy he is seeking," he said.

And besides, added Raftopoulos, inaction by the EU would strengthen South
African and Nigerian presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo's argument
against tougher Commonwealth measures against Harare.

Mbeki and Obasanjo, together with Australian Prime Minister John Howard,
form a special Commonwealth committee charged with recommending a solution
to Zimbabwe's crisis on behalf of the club of former British colonies.

The troika, which suspended Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth councils last
March, meets in a few weeks' time to decide whether to readmit the country
into the councils of the organisation or to impose tougher measures,
including sanctions.

Analysts say sanctions against Zimbabwe by the Commonwealth could
immediately bring down Mugabe and his government, who have managed to hang
on to power only because of the support of neighbours, all of whom are
members of the Commonwealth.

South Africa Institute of International Affairs researcher Ross Herbert
said: "If the EU were to drop sanctions, it would provide diplomatic
latitude to Mbeki and Obasanjo to argue why they should, as Africans, punish
Zimbabwe more if the EU could not do it."

But he was quick to point out: "It would be a huge political victory for
Mugabe but one that will only serve to enable him to go shopping in European

"Because if the EU lifts sanctions against Harare on Thursday or merely
fails to agree on what to do, that development would not be followed by a
flood of people coming to bail out Zimbabwe with cash or food."

UZ business studies professor Tony Hawkins noted that the EU visa and
financial embargo were never trade sanctions.

He said even if the sanctions were lifted, this would not change Zimbabwe's
image as a no go area for foreign investors and capital. Without that change
in image, any attempt to revive the country's collapsing economy would be
futile, Hawkins pointed out.

He told the Financial Gazette: "It will not make a difference because there
are far deep-seated issues involved here. There is no foreign currency in
the country and not even a credible exchange rate. Why then would anybody
want to invest in Zimbabwe?"

Zimbabwe's worsening economic and humanitarian crisis will continue
regardless of what happens in Brussels today, Hawkins said.

"We are nearing economic collapse quite quickly," the UZ lecturer warned.

Ross said with or without EU sanctions against its rulers, Zimbabwe would
still find itself unwelcome in many fora because of the perceived lack of
rule of law in the country as well as the government's bloated human rights
and democracy record.

Besides the EU, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand
and Switzerland have also imposed sanctions against Mugabe because of his
land policies and his re-election as Zimbabwe's president last March, which
they say he won through fraud and violence.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has also refused to
recognise Mugabe's victory.

Raftopoulos said if the EU did not act or softened its position on Mugabe
and his government today, that would only play into their strategy of using
several international events to gain credibility and acceptance

The Harare authorities will, according to Raftopoulos, tout the cricket
World Cup tournament, which will bring several cricket playing nations to
Zimbabwe, the Franco-African summit and the EU-Africa meeting in Lisbon in
April as signs that its relations with the international community had

Raftopoulos said: "They will try to be part of all these events for
propaganda purposes to show proof that they are now in good books with the
rest of the international community."

He pointed out: "That strategy will however not resolve the underlying
economic and political problems and the grim economic situation is likely to
only get worse with possibly dire results for the country."

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      ZANU PF militia evict MDC tenants from Kamativi mine

      Staff Reporter
      1/30/03 10:17:57 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Ruling ZANU PF militia are forcibly evicting tenants of
properties at the disused Kamativi tin mine complex, where the government
plans to open a national service training centre, it was learnt this week.

      Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials told the
Financial Gazette that the youth militia, who are trained under the national
service programme, were targeting tenants suspected to be MDC supporters.

      They said tenants were being forcibly evicted from about 500 houses
rented out when Kamative mine closed in 1994 and were being replaced by
ruling party supporters working in the civil service.

      Among those targeted are the MDC legislators for Hwange West and East,
as well as Binga, Jealous Sansole, Peter Nyoni and Joel Gabuza,

      "We are being chased away and I believe with us it is because we are
MDC," said Sansole.

      "Property is being thrown out by the youth brigades. The situation is

      It was not possible to contact the caretaker representing the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Company (ZMDC), which owned Kamativi mine and rents out
houses in the complex. The caretaker was said to have suddenly left the mine

      Matabeleland North police spokesman Mthokozisi Manzini-Moyo however
said the forced evictions had not been reported to the police.

      He said: "It hasn't been brought to our attention."

      But opposition party officials said Theresa Kabondo, the MDC vice
secretary for Matabeleland North, has already been forced out of the house
she was renting from the ZMDC.

      Kabondo was said to have fled to Bulawayo, about 300 kilometres from
the mine complex, without some of her property.

      Sansole told the Financial Gazette: "The vice secretary (Kabondo) has
been evicted. She is somewhere in Bulawayo. Other people are being removed
everyday. In my case, the youth brigade came and told me that they had been
asked by their superior to remove me.

      "I refused and have since asked my lawyer to oppose my illegal
eviction, which is being done haphazardly and at short notice."

      The MP said the house from which Kabondo was evicted had been
allocated to a known ZANU PF supporter.

      Sansole added: "My house has been earmarked for a teacher at St
Theresa Primary School. He came here and said he had already paid rent. I
refused to let him occupy the house as I had instructed my lawyers over the

      "I am also not in the area where the government wants to open the
training centre for the youths."

      The government has said it plans to open one of the country's largest
national youth service training centres at the disused mine complex, which
has the capacity to house nearly 2 000 people.

      But tenants who are being evicted by youth militia say their houses
are not in the vicinity of the proposed training centre.

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      Journalists detained in Byo

      Staff Reporter
      1/30/03 10:18:11 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Two American journalists and a local news photographer
covering Zimbabwe's food shortages were detained by police here on Tuesday,
after they were found taking pictures of empty Grain Marketing Board (GMB)

      The journalists - Dina Kraft of Associated Press (AP), Jason Beaubien,
the Africa correspondent for Nation Public Radio in the United States, and
Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, a local freelance photographer on assignment for AP,
were detained for almost seven hours.

      Also detained with the journalists were Bulawayo city councilor
Charles Mpofu and his driver, who had accompanied the three to the GMB depot
on Tuesday afternoon.

      US Embassy spokesman Bruce Wharton yesterday told the Financial
Gazette that the American journalists were released with no charges being
laid against them.

      He said: "We have been in contact with them. They were released about
8:30pm on Tuesday. Their papers were in order."

      The two American journalists arrived in Zimbabwe last Thursday and
were part of the Press contingent accompanying World Food Programme (WFP)
head James Morris on a fact-finding mission.

      The WFP is providing emergency food aid to Zimbabwe, where close to
eight million people are threatened with starvation because of drought and
controversial government agrarian reforms.

      Though Morris left the country last Saturday, Kraft and Beaubien were
granted a week by the government to remain in Zimbabwe.

      They were taken into custody along with Mukhwazhi and Mpofu when they
visited the state-controlled GMB depot near Bulawayo's Tshabalala
high-density suburb.

      The American journalists are said to have been accused by the police
of unauthorised entry and taking photographs at the depot, which the police
allegedly said was a restricted area.

      Mpofu yesterday however said neither he nor the reporters were aware
that it was an offense to enter and take pictures in the GMB depot, the
scene of food riots early this month.

      "We were allowed in by depot security officials," he told the
Financial Gazette. "The journalists sought to interview GMB officials. If
the place is a no-go area for city fathers and journalists, the security
should have known better and not allowed us in in the first place.

      "The police detained us from 1pm up to 8:30pm. During all this time,
we were not allowed to use our mobile phones. I think the whole thing was a
fuss over nothing because it transpired the journalists were accredited to
cover the food crisis in the country."

      The detention of the three journalists follows a similar incident at
the weekend involving five Lutheran World Federation officials and a local
reporter in Zvhishavane. The LWF officials, who were said to be on a
humanitarian mission, were arrested on suspicion of "being undercover

      One of the officials, Kathleen Kastilahn, told the South African Press
Association that they had been instructed to leave Zimbabwe yesterday.

      "We are checking out of the hotel and we are going to Harare and being
deported. We are being escorted by immigration (officials)," she said.

      Tough regulations requiring that foreign journalists seek clearance
from the government before entering Zimbabwe have made it almost impossible
for correspondents from countries perceived to be anti-the ruling ZANU PF to
report on the country.

      This has forced a number of journalists to enter the country
clandestinely without declaring their intention to gather information on
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis

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      And now to the notebook . . . .Talk of falsehoods

      1/30/03 9:31:54 AM (GMT +2)

      After carefully explaining that there was need to provide water and
farming inputs to ensure enough food was produced by Zimbabwe, United
Nations special envoy for the humanitarian crisis in southern Africa James
Morris was shocked to read the state-controlled Herald's interpretation of
his remarks.

      The Herald is always eager to recruit more backers for the murderous
orgy known as the Third Chimurenga, also referred to as the fast-track land
reform programme. So, in its strange wisdom, it chose to interpret Morris'
innocent comments as an unqualified endorsement of the agrarian reforms.

      The land reform programme, you will be aware, is widely associated
with looting, murder, rape and extortion on commercial farms by common thugs
calling themselves war veterans.

      Morris, obviously mistakenly thinking Zimbabweans still take that
government mouthpiece seriously, had to issue a statement denying ever
telling the Herald that he had accepted the irreversibility of the
government's chaotic land reforms.

      He said: "The comments in the Herald were 100 percent lies. I did not
comment as the Herald purportedly reports in its front page story. It was
gross misrepresentation of the worst form."

      Well, Mr Morris, you could have kept your mouth literally shut for
your entire stay in Zimbabwe and the Herald would still have been able to
quote you saying you supported land reform.

      It practises a new type of revolutionary journalism called "Third
Chimurenga journalism."

      The Herald also interestingly continually referred to the UN envoy,
whose second name is Thomas, as Tim Morris. But as Morris himself pointed
out, he does have a 36-year-old son named Tim.

      Maybe that's who the paper was quoting in its story?

      We can't help but notice Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Media
Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso's silence on the indefensible
falsehoods published by the Herald. Where is the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act when we need it most?

      A Hutu extremist's logic

      The rather pompous Secretary for Information, George Charamba, was at
it again last Sunday, trying to lecture us on what should and should not
constitute torture.

      Commenting on local and international condemnation of the police's
alleged torture of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator Job
Sikhala, Charamba said:

      "We dismiss with utter contempt attempts to treat an isolated
allegation as systematic torture. Torture is only torture when it is
systematic and carried out with impunity."

      Obviously Charamba is not yet aware of the reports that say hundreds
of people were tortured in the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary and 2002
presidential elections, many of them by so-called war veterans and ZANU PF

      Even worse things were done Charamba, including the murder of MDC
members Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya, allegedly by that notorious CIO
operative Joseph Mwale.

      And since Charamba seems to believe the police have the desire and
will to investigate and arrest all suspected perpetrators of crime, Mukanya
suggests that he advise the police that Mwale is working for the government
somewhere in Manicaland province, where we understand he is involved in yet
more violence against MDC followers.

      Also, what have the police done about the alleged torture of
journalists Ray Choto and the late Mark Chavunduka by the army four years

      Mukanya is however thankful to Charamba for his comments, which I must
admit are quite revealing on the government's thinking on issues like
torture and human rights.

      Unless there are mass graves of torture victims and millions of
Zimbabweans parading around without limbs that have been hacked off during
torture sessions, then there is no torture in Zimbabwe.

      Readers may remember a similar situation in Rwanda, where the
butchering by Hutu extremists of Tutsis was not genocide until nearly half
of the entire Tutsi population and moderate Hutus were wiped off the face of
the earth.

      Made scores own goal again

      So comrade Doctor Joseph Made wants to give back land to commercial
farmers "who had their single farms taken" so they can resume farming?

      What, one wonders, is the point of giving back land to farmers when
the season is already midway through?

      Could it be that the comrade doctor, well read in agriculture as we
are made to believe he is, may still not be aware that Zimbabwe's staple
food maize grows well in summer and not in winter?

      Besides, what happened to the celebrated new farmers who we were told
were ready to take up the A2 commercial farms and shame all those detractors
of the government's reckless land reform programme?

      And comrade doctor, just out of interest, can you tell us who in the
first place took away land from the farmers when government policy was
clearly that people owning only one farm would be allowed to keep it?

      Dr Made, we must admit you continue to baffle us!

      Where was Grace?

      Did First Lady Grace Mugabe attend the church service held on Monday
this week in the memory of that great woman, Sally Mugabe?

      We checked for Grace on ZBC, but there was no sign of her lending a
supporting arm to Uncle Bob. There was also no mention of her in the Herald
story on the memorial service, which of course had us worried about what
could have possibly happened to her.

      Contrary to what many may think, we care deeply for our
fashion-conscious First Lady and can only hope and pray that her absence at
Sally's memorial service was not due to illness or some other misfortune.

      Maybe the Ministry of Information would care to put our fears to rest.
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