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

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Prelude text


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

Letter 1:

Letter to JAG,

Dear JAG,

It seems like ZANU likes the masses to believe history started in 1896.
Perhaps we should all start our history from further back.  For example the
Ndebele - classified as indigenous - only arrived in what is now a country
in 1840, only 56 years before and perhaps only 5 years before the first
whites. Indeed Lobengula installed a white man, by the name of Lee to be
his 'border' representative near Mangwe pass.  The Ndebele did not pay
compensation for the land they took by force. Besides which, estimates of
population at this time put the population well below 400 000, and this
population was sparsely dotted around.  Later Selous wrote that he could
travel for days on horseback and not see even a sign of human habitation.
My point there was that there was no land problem.

I think my biggest gripe about this ridiculous situation is this. Our
borders are a colonial legacy.  Mr Thabo Mbeki, Sir, could you please
explain why you have border controls which prevent the Ndebele people from
freely travelling to there original place of origin? Surely these are
vestiges of a by gone era, and nothing more than a legacy of the same
colonialisation you claim to have defeated. No, but these remains from
colonization give the means to empower the people at the top.  Surely the
Ndebele, who did not emigrate under current law, have the right to claim
the land that was theirs in South Africa, if that is where they came from.
What selective hypocrisy we have to endure.  My point here being - What is
the legal definition of "Indigenous" and how long does it take to become
indigenous, lets face it must have a finite time limit, for we all know
that when Dinosaurs roamed Africa there were no people here.

So we do not mean indigenous, do we, mean Black.

I cannot believe that any country could argue for this land program if it
were shown to be a direct issue based on reverse racism. Forget fair or not
fair that some people own more than others. Why is it a Black/White issue
at all, surely it is not politically correct to refer to us as Whites. We
should be Zimbabweans. What makes us different in the eyes of the world.
There are such stark facts showing that especially the Ndebele are
settlers, as are the Mashona, as are the Whites. Why is Colin Powell an
African American, because his ancestors, whether by choice or not, went to
America.  Why are we not Euro Africans then, would that not be politically
correct? Colin Powell should be a Euro African American, possibly even a
Euro Asian African American. If the "politically correct" world was to just
say we are the same, and not do the 'some more than others' there would be
no justification for this issue. Who owns most of the land in,
say,Argentina? Is it South Americans, Argentineans, why not call them White
Settlers, which I am sure is the case. After all, the land issue in
Zimbabwe is portrayed as an internal, sovereignty issue. Was Hitler's
extermination of the Jews, not also just an internal issue, whilst he was
protecting his country from past imbalances and trying to remove the
richer. Remember too that they are never referred to as Germans, only as
Jews, enemies of the state.  There is no difference.

Zambezi Blonde
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Let me say outright, we are alive & unharmed only by the protection & Grace of God,

----- Original Message -----
Sent: 28 January 2004 13:00

Dear All,

I ask that you pass this onto anyone who you think needs to know about this.
For the overseas people, please pass it onto any friends you may have in
Zimbabwe, because they like us may have a false sense of security. For
family & close friends this is just to let you know what happened. Whilst it
happened in Mutare, the gang operates country wide including Bulawayo,
Harare & Gweru, etc. & they are known rapists as well as robbers. We became,
the fourth victim in Mutare & I have seen a similar account for a family in
Harare, & probably the same gang. No one will dare try a defamation of
character law suit, because we have an admission from the security company
concerned, & an eye witness. I apologize for the length of the account but
it gives you an idea of the time span involved.

Firstly let me say outright, we are alive & unharmed only by the protection
& Grace of God, & still continuously thank him.

At about 10.00pm on Saturday 24th January 2004, we were tired & closed up
the house to go to bed. We had just settled in & armed the alarm system,
when at 10.15pm the alarm went off indicating the problem to be in the
kitchen/laundry area. As we have an armed response alarm with Safeguard
Security, so we received the usual phone call from them enquiring what was
going on, whilst I was checking the kitchen/laundry area I noticed the
broken window in the laundry which was now open. I proceeded to tell them
there had been an attempted break in so please could they come immediately
(they promise a 4 minute maximum reaction time). After about 2-minutes Anne
Mare & I returned to the Laundry I collected the pick/axe handle which is
well weighted & made out of the usual hard gum tree wood. I grabbed a torch
& opened the front door, to see a guy about 5-meters away standing outside
the big bay window. He charged at the front door, but I was quicker & shut
the door with the Yale lock on & then hit the button on the Yale look so
that it cannot even be opened with a key. At this time the guy tried to kick
the door in but failed. I warned Anne Mare, who was still in the laundry &
then another guy appeared at the broken window & fired shots in the air.
This alerted our next door neighbour who came outside to see what was going
on & who became an eye witness to what happened. Mean while Anne Mare ran
through the kitchen & down the passage collecting the children, locking
themselves firstly in the main bed room & secondly in the bathroom on suite.
While Anne Mare ran through the kitchen they smashed a very large bay window
in the kitchen which became their entry point. I hid at the door way between
the entrance hall & dining room (after hitting the panic alarm button)
knowing  he (I was still not aware that there were more than one) had to
pass me without knowing I was there before he could proceed beyond the
kitchen. When I heard him very close I hid behind the wall & took a very
large but blind swing with the pick handle. From his shout I must have been
very close, & the damage to the wooden door frame (I still don't remember
hitting the door frame) is so severe if I had hit him, I would have either
killed him or done a large amount of damage to him. At this time 2 of them
went the other side of the dining-room table & I saw that they were armed
with revolvers (I think that the one of the attending policeman still cannot
understand why the revolver did not expend the spent casing!) Thinking that
there were only 2, at this stage I hid behind an alcove wall between the
passage & the door I had just launched my attack from for protection but
unsure which side they we coming from (there are 2 doors into the
lounge/dinning room area, one either side of the door) I looked through the
other door way to the one I launched my attack from to see the one who
eventually turned out to be the ring leader coming that way. He took a shot
at me with the revolver. I felt the breeze of the bullet as it passed at
heart height next to my arm & felt the plaster & concrete bits spray me on
the back of the neck. Fortunately the bullet ricochet hit the piano & lodged
in the wood work otherwise it would have hit me in the back. The way he
snatched the shot I knew he did not know how to aim properly, so I thought I
still had a chance. I moved to the right side, & saw the third guy, but
armed with a pistol not a revolver coming from the first door way. At that
stage I realised that I had no chance of survival so I gave my self up.

The guy with the pistol proceeded to beat me around the head with the
pistol, & I thought he had broken my nose, but now on Tuesday there is no
swelling. They made me lie down & tore a curtain to tie my feet & used an
electric cable to tie my hands. The ring leader ran down the passage to the
main bed room & beat on the door telling Anne Mare to unlock & let him in.
When nothing happened he ran back up to me & asked me where she was &
because I had received a blow on the back of the skull I was fighting to
keep awake, determined that I had to stay awake to still protect the family.
He ran down to the main bedroom & banged on the door again, with no response
& at this stage I was once again thinking very clearly. He came back & asked
me where Anne Mare was, & fearing that they would rape her Tasmine &
Carianne, I thought very clearly & told him there was an outside door down
at the bottom (this was no lie) & that Anne Mare had probably already left
the house using this door & ran away. He now ignored Anne Mare & started to
take the computers (our old lap top & the computer we use for the school
work) & a few small items from the second lounge which we use as a school
room. During this time the second guy was searching for stuff in the lounge
& dining room, taking our CD player DSTV Satellite decoder VCR & mobile
phones. The third guy was guarding me making sure I was not going to move.
The ring leader then asked where we kept our money I told him we used credit
cards so there was very little money. They searched Anne Marees hand bag
decided it was worth taking to examine later removed the car keys, as well
as my office keys & my car keys. They succeeded in unlocking the garage &
proceeded to load Anne Maree's car with the goods. They then left me to jump
inside the car to get away. On their way out they fired more shots. By the
time they fired the shots I had succeeded in freeing myself (I still can't
remember how). Knowing the gang were still in the yard I went down to the
bedroom to make sure that Anne Mare & the Kids were okay. At that point they
forced the gate & left in the car. I knocked on the door said it was me &
they unlocked the door, relieved to see me because they thought I was dead,
when the shooting had stopped. I must say they all did well keeping quiet
encouraging each other, & even Donovan at 13 was extremely level headed. We
now phoned the Safeguard number about the armed response & was told that
they were already at the house. We said that they were no where to be seen.
We gave up on them & phoned people down the road (the Valentines) because we
could easily find their phone number, & asked Stu to get hold of Borders MD
& ask him to meet me at the hospital at the out patients. I took Tasmine
with because she had a provisional licence,) in case I had concussion) &
went to the hospital, & left Anne Mare to handle the rest. When we left the
gate, I saw the safeguard guys parking outside, & told them that they should
have been there long ago (it was now about 20 to 25 minutes after the first
alarm had gone off) & carried onto the hospital. The MD  arrived at the
hospital 2-minutes after I did & was very good. When I returned to the house
the police had been there for a while complete with tracker dogs (for once
they did not ask for transport) but because they had got away in a vehicle
the dogs were useless to use.

The next day, Sunday, Anne Maree's car was located in a near by rural
(communal area) area but a write off since the gang had tried to rob a store
there but the locals stoned the car to a point where it is a complete write
off. The robbers again had to fire shots to escape the angry mob. They left
Anne Maree's hand bag in the car & had removed the SIM cards from the phones
& left the cards in the car. All the rest of the lost goods were dropped off
before they hit the store. Sunday investigation with CID when interviewing
the next door neighbour revealed that the armed response had arrived
literally seconds after the first shots, driven past the gate & parked up
the road until they were sure that the coast was clear. The MD & George
Theart interviewed the Mutare Branch Manager for Safeguard, who plainly
stated that, a) his guys had instructions not to enter a premises when shots
were being fired until after the robbers has left the premises, b) and he
was proud of this, that only 2-weeks ago he had been able for the first time
to give the response teams fire arms practice. For the lack of response he
sited police regulations prevented them from shooting at any one, but I will
be checking up on this one with the officer commanding CID Mutare. I also
positively identified the leader of the gang from a CID photograph shown to
me on Sunday, which has linked this incident to a large amount of others
over the country.

Earlier this evening (Tuesday after the event) Donovan found another bullet
lodged in the kitchen cupboards, fired at Anne Mare when she ran through the
kitchen towards the passage. Again this indicates the gang's intentions.

The last few nights have been a mental nightmare, knowing that if the alarm
goes off & we need real help, that it will not be there. It will take a very
long time to get over this for us all & it is actually worse now than during
the event. The smallest noise can send one of us into a total panic
especially at night. The sad thing is that one of the reasons why we decided
to leave Zimbabwe was because of the security problems, & we did not want to
become a victim, but now we have become a victim, & for us it proves we have
made the right choice to leave Zimbabwe.

For those of you who know them, We thank all for the support given but
especially the following:-

Bucs Shingadia & his Mom for making sure we were fed on Sunday, & checking
up on us 3 times,
Stu & Helen Valentine for the support, organizing security guards for the
rest of Saturday night, letting other people know, & the chocolate cake.
John Gadzikwa Border Timbers MD for the support & using his authority to
ensure we feel as safe as possible, including taking up the armed response
George Theart for the support & provision of extra security guards since
Sunday night, & also taking up the armed response issue.
Peter Morrisby, a concerned neighbour living in Dave Robinson's old house (a
block away from us) who phoned the armed response company a number of times
on Saturday night when he heard the shooting, & then came to make sure we
okay on Sunday morning. We have never met this man before but he knew which
house had the problems, & behaved in a manner we thought had been forgotten
20 years ago.
George Bottger, Lonely Nyathi, Rex Walton, Alois Mabutho, Tonderai Kachale,
& anyone I have forgotten for helping in ways which were unexpected
including giving Anne Mare the support whilst I was busy with the police on
Sunday while going to find her car. This means a lot to me personally & I am
just as grateful to them as everyone else.

Please do learn the lesson we have learned but do it the easy way.


Please pass this on to as many people as possible so that they may learn
from our experiences.


Paul, Anne Mare, Tasmine, Carianne & Donovan Hoffman
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Business Day

Missed chance

Regarding the Communal Land Bill and restitution, and redistribution of land
generally, perhaps all the parties concerned should read the report on the
Commission of Inquiry into Appropriate Land Tenure Systems commissioned by
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in October 1993.
It is an excellent report and covers with detail and wisdom the same
problems facing SA.

However, implementation required resources of personnel and money that were
not available.

Assistance might well have been forthcoming from abroad at the time had
Mugabe accepted the report in good faith. He did not.

In my Brief History of Land Tenure in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, written in 2001, I
quoted Enoch Nkala, then a government minister, saying: "Of course it would
be quite possible to distribute everything we found, but then what?" He
continued: "The answer is too ghastly to contemplate."

DC Goschen


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Business Day

Voter apathy a warning sign

THE pundits are predicting that, in this year's election, voter apathy could
be a factor, with one poll suggesting a turnout of less than 50%.

I don't think it will be that low, but I do detect the first signs of panic
in both government and the opposition.

In mid-month, the African National Congress (ANC) dropped a bundle of
pamphlets outside my local supermarket urging people to make sure they had
registered to vote. And it explained how, in 10 years of democratic rule,
1,5-million new houses had been built and 9-million people given access to
clean water.

However, the flyer was not just a puff piece. "Many of our people still
struggle in the face of poverty and unemployment," it read. The ANC knew
this and was ready to do "much more to build a better life for all South

Opposition leader Tony Leon was just as concerned that no one should be left
out of the process.

"I know many of you feel despondent and disappointed," he said at a recent
Eastern Cape voter registration exercise. "But it is pointless to complain
if you are not prepared to do anything about your situation, even if that
simply means casting a vote in an election," he said.

In the cities, posters shout the same message, and when the Independent
Electoral Commission held its final registration weekend towards the end of
this month, leaders of all the parties went on walkabouts, shaking hands
with potential voters and smiling for the press.

But do the millions of unemployed and the cramped dwellers of informal
settlements believe that any politician is willing, or able, to ease their

In Africa, massive turnouts usually happen when nations feel a sense of
liberation, as we saw in SA in 1994 or with the return of multiparty rule in
Kenya, Zambia and Malawi. Apathy or abstention holds sway when people feel
powerless to change the misery of their lives.

Nearly 20-million people or 85% of the voting-age population took part in
SA's first democratic election but, by 1999, this had slipped to 64%. In
that second election, about 18-million had registered and just on 90% of
those cast a ballot, but, in the preceding five years, the population had
grown and we had 25-million people of voting age, more than a quarter of
whom had not put their names on the roll.

The figures are further confused by the presence of illegal immigrants who
are counted as adults but not as citizens.

However, the picture is clearer in two of our neighbouring states.

Namibia had its first free election in 1989 with virtually 100%
participation, but by 1999 this had fallen to just 62%. Some of the lowest
figures were in ruling Swapo party strongholds, and research suggested
apathy was highest among the unemployed and others dissatisfied with the
government's record. The problem was, they did not believe their vote would
change anything.

Zimbabwe shows a similar pattern. At independence in 1980 the nation turned
out in full, electing the Zanu (PF) party led by Robert Mugabe.

Fifteen years later, Zimbabwe was a one-party state in all but name, the
media had been nationalised, public debate was discouraged, and poverty and
unemployment were on the rise. In the 1995 election the last before the
birth of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) only 26% of people took

With the arrival of the MDC, a sense of hope swept the land and, if the 2000
election had been free and fair, there would almost certainly have been a
change of government.

In SA there is no debate on the outcome of this year's election: the ANC
will win and, in my view, have earned another term. The economy is in good
shape, the world has confidence in our currency, the media is free and
robust and, for the past decade, we have enjoyed more democracy than any
country in the history of Africa.

But there is also a lot of pain and the problem is getting worse. Young
people who have been educated in rural areas are flooding to the cities in
search of nonexistent jobs, adding to the millions who eke out a living with
little hope of change, regardless of who wins the election.

Perhaps Darryl Swanepoel of the New National Party got it right when he said
recently: "Political parties will have to provide a good reason for the
electorate to vote." But, if numbers are down in the coming election and I
mean by millions we should heed the warning.

In Africa, when people don't vote, it doesn't necessarily mean they are
content. More often, it is a cry for help from those who feel that no one is

The danger is that they will not suffer in silence forever and the longer
they are ignored, the more radical the call might be when they find their

Our leaders are right to panic.

Hill is southern Africa correspondent for a daily newspaper in Washington
DC. His book, The Battle for Zimbabwe, (Zebra-New Holland) was released in
October last year.

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Business Day

Will Mugabe invite spoil SA's big day?

International leaders could be put off by the presence of Zimbabwean leader
Parliamentary Editor

THE shadow of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe appears to be hanging over
SA's celebration of 10 years of democracy and President Thabo Mbeki's second
inauguration as president.

Good neighbourliness and regional solidarity demand that Mugabe be invited
to attend. But this may mean other world leaders who may want to come to SA
to celebrate a decade of democracy may have second thoughts about attending
because they will not wish to share a platform with Mugabe.

This is not the first time that an invitation extended to Mugabe has upset
an international gathering . Almost exactly a year ago, the European Union
(EU) decided to extend its targeted sanctions on Mugabe and the Zanu (PF)
elite to include a ban on travel to its countries.

This had the support of US Secretary of State Colin Powell. The French
government, however, extended an invitation to Mugabe to attend a
FrancoAfrican summit in France.

This happened as war clouds were gathering in Iraq, and Mugabe used the
space created by the world's attention being focused on the war skilfully to
portray himself as a senior African statesman.

Immediately after the FrancoAfrican summit, Mugabe attended the Non-Aligned
Movement summit in Malaysia. He proclaimed both meetings overwhelming
successes. This drew sharp criticism from Australian Prime Minister John
Howard, who described Mugabe's posturing as provocative.

Howard said that inviting Mugabe to Paris, despite EU travel restrictions
against him and his associates, discredited and portrayed Paris as an ally
of tyrants.

The re was a major international row over the invitation to Mugabe to the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.

Howard, who was a member of the Commonwealth troika appointed to deal with
Zimbabwe, said Mugabe would not be invited, while Mbeki insisted that he
should. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the third member of the
troika, was stuck in the middle of the row.

Obasanjo was under considerable pressure to invite Mugabe, but in the end
did not do so. This was the strongest diplomatic signal yet sent to Mugabe
by a fellow African leader.

The post-Commonwealth fallout was worse than the squabbling over whether
Mugabe should attend or not. Obasanjo and Mbeki seem estranged where once
they were close.

Southern African Development Community statements after the meeting claimed
there was unanimity in support of Mugabe's suspension from the Commonwealth
being lifted, while no such solidarity existed.

A number of African countries had sided with the likes of Australia and
Canada to maintain Zimbabwe's suspension.

Tom Lodge, head of politics at the University of the Witwaters rand, says
Commonwealth leaders who might be affected by Mugabe's invitation to the
inauguration should understand that SA and Zimbabwe are neighbours.

He also points out that many world leaders actively dislike one another but
still share platforms on occasion.

"It would be unreasonable for them to expect exclusion, as that is not SA's
style. Here everyone comes and no-one is excluded. Anyone can send
whomsoever they please. Both sides are likely to have to grin and bear it."

John Stremlau, head of the international relations department at Wits, says
the rules of engagement will be respected. But the possible effect Mugabe
might have on the democracy celebrations might not be that serious.

There is an understanding that the Zimbabwe situation is "heading for its
endgame", and also that a lot could happen between now and the end of April.

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Business Day

MDC wins court bid to launch economic plan


THE Zimbabwean High Court issued an eleventh-hour ruling late yesterday that
allowed opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to hold a
meeting in the evening to launch its proposed economic rescue plan.

Judge Charles Hungwe granted the MDC the order to go ahead with its meeting
after police barred the opposition party from gathering to launch its
reconstruction, stabilisation, recovery and transformation (Restart)
economic blueprint.

The MDC said it had applied twice, once last Friday and again on Monday, for
police approval as required under the controversial Public Order and
Security Act. "The police claimed the application was left in the wrong
office and was thus not processed," MDC spokesman Paul Temba Nyathi said

This latest attempt to constrain the MDC comes days after President Thabo
Mbeki said talks between the ruling Zanu (PF) and the MDC were to restart.
But the MDC denies there are any signs of willingness from Zanu (PF). The
thrust of the MDC's Restart is aimed at bringing economic stability to
Zimbabwe by reducing inflation.

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Financial Times

      Zimbabwe police try to delay opposition manifesto
      By Tony Hawkins in Harare
      Published: January 30 2004 4:00 | Last Updated: January 30 2004 4:00

      Zimbabwe police tried yesterday to delay the launch of an economic
policy manifesto by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, by
refusing permission for a public meeting.

      But the launch of the detailed economic programme, designed to
demonstrate that the MDC offers a serious alternative government to that of
President Robert Mugabe, went ahead after the opposition group obtained a
court order overturning the police ban.

      Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC leader, said Zimbabwe's crisis was too
deep-seated to allow a quick-fix solution. But he said Restart - an acronym
for Reconstruction, Stabilisation, Recovery and Transformation - was the
best chance for a return to normality "within a bearable time-frame".

      Mr Tsvangirai said that almost 25 years after independence,
Zimbabweans were as poor as they had been in 1970. Life expectancy was at
its lowest for more than 40 years.

      The 70-page Restart document details measures to reverse this by
creating millions of jobs in the formal and informal sectors, improving
incomes, restoring relations with the international community, investing
heavily in health, education and poverty reduction and encouraging local and
foreign investment.

      The policy has already been attacked by the state-owned media, which
have claimed the MDC has no policy on land beyond returning confiscated
areas to white owners.

      But economists say Restart will resonate well with the donor community
and agencies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, because
it sticks closely to orthodox stabilisation policies and focuses on good
governance, anti-corruption measures, institution building and poverty

      On the controversial land issue, Restart calls for comprehensive
agrarian reform extending well beyond the large-scale commercial farms,
formerly owned by some 6,000 white farmers, that have been the sole focus of
recent government policy.

      The opposition says the 42 per cent of the country classified as
communal land must also be the target of measures to raise productivity and
incomes. It argues that while land reform is an important element of
agrarian reform, it must be underpinned by support services in
infrastructure, credit, marketing, hospitals and schools, plus farmer
training and extension services.

      In contrast to the Mugabe government, which has no formal economic
plan, the MDC sets out detailed targets for gross domestic product growth of
more than 5 per cent annually after it takes office, supported by
projections for inflation, savings, investment, employment, the balance of
payments and foreign debt.

      One leading economist, who declined to be named, said the key
difference between the government's stance and that of the opposition MDC
was that the international community would support the MDC programme with
aid and debt relief, neither of which is available to Mr Mugabe's

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The Herald

Aids levy rakes in $15bn

Herald Reporter
THE National Aids Council has since inception so far collected $15 billion
through the Aids levy and out of this $8,9 billion has been disbursed to
beneficiaries, Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said

"Of the $8,9 billion, $136 million was disbursed in 2000, $544 million in
2001, $1,6 billion in 2003 and $6,5 billion last year," he said.

Dr Parirenyatwa said this in a ministerial statement in Parliament while
updating MPs on the progress made so far in the utilisaton of National Aids
Trust Fund.

He said there have been a lot of queries in the manner in which the funds
were being disbursed.

The minister said among the beneficiaries of the funds were aids service
organisations, tertiary institutions, and government ministries.

"At least 1,4 million children orphaned with HIV and Aids benefited from the
fund which was used to pay their school fees," Dr Parirenyatwa said.

The NAC, he said, had decentralised the distribution of Aids funds with the
view to improve on transparency and also to make sure that the resources
reached the intended beneficiaries.

He said some of the aids service organisations were in the habit of abusing
the money allocated to them.

"For instance, the Zimbabwe National Network for People Living with HIV and
Aids abused $96 million allocated to it and part of the money was used to
buy property of which 10 houses that were bought with the money were
recovered by the ministry in various towns of the country," Dr Parirenyatwa

The NAC, he said, had internal auditors that oversee the administration of
the fund and external auditors complimented their work.

The minister said the council had been selected to be the principal
recipient of the Global Aids Fund since it administered the Aids levy.

Zimbabwe was allocated more than $19 million from the Global Fund.

Responding to concerns from MPs, Cde Parirenyatwa said the system that was
used for one to qualify to benefit from the Aids fund was not perfect
although the main intention was for the money to reach the grassroots level.

"We believe the decentralisation of the distribution of the money to
District Action Aids Committees (DAAC) is the best way," he said.
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The Herald

Independent journalists further remanded

Court Reporter
Four journalists at the Zimbabwe Independent who are facing allegations of
criminal defamation for writing that President Robert Mugabe had
commandeered a plane from the national airline to travel to the Far East on
personal business were yesterday further remanded to April 5 this year.

The paper’s editor Iden Hugh Wetherell, news editor Vincent Kahiya,
reporters Dumisani Muleya and Itai Dzamara appeared before Harare magistrate
Mr Tavaziva Sibanda.

The four, who are represented by Advocate Edith Mushore, are out of custody
on $20 000 bail each.

Charges against the four arise from a defamatory story the paper published
on January 9 this year headlined "Mugabe grabs plane for Far East holiday".

In the story, the paper claimed that President Mugabe commandeered an Air
Zimbabwe plane to Geneva, Switzerland, to attend a summit last month.

The Zimbabwe Independent, the State alleges, also claimed that President
Mugabe had again took advantage of the national airline’s depleted fleet to
ferry him around the Far East.

The State alleges that the story, which is criminally defamatory to the
President, the Government and the whole community alleged that the President
took possession of the same Boeing 767-200 plane while in Malaysia to travel
to Indonesia and Singapore.

The State said the President did not in any way commander an aircraft to
Switzerland or call Air Zimbabwe so that it takes him to Jarkata.

It also said the President does not personally make his travel arrangements.
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Mmegi, Botswana

      Report about Zim investors coming, not true

      Staff Writer
      1/29/2004 11:32:48 PM (GMT +2)

      THE Botswana Export Development and Investment Agency (BEDIA) said
yesterday that media reports that Zimbabwean textile investors are planning
to invest in the country are not true.

      The companies, which were not named, were reported to be moving to
Botswana in an attempt to bolster trade relations between the two countries
and also because of the de-industrialisation in Zimbabwe due to political

      BEDIA’s Public Relations Manager Shandukane Mpoloka said that it is
not true that Zimbabwean investors are coming to Botswana.

      “We have had discussions with investors in Zimbabwe, but nothing has
been agreed upon yet,” Mpoloka said yesterday.

      However, he said should these investors come into the country, they
would not be a threat to Botswana firms, as their products are not meant for
the local market, but are destined for export.

      One textile firm owner said the investors should not be seen as a

      “There is no need to worry about the competition coming as this would
bring more customers,” he said.

      He said that the concentration of investors in the textile sector
would increase demand for their products in the US market.

      Most of the local textile factories export their products to the
greater US market under the duty free Africa Growth and Opportunity Act

      De-industrialisation in Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector was brought
about after the controversial land repossession exercise, which left most
white farmers without land and compelled them to leave the country and go to
neighbouring countries like Mozambique.

      Recently, it was reported that white farmers in Mozambique and Zambia
have created massive job opportunities.

      Meanwhile, BEDIA, which promotes joint venture opportunities, will be
hosting Indian businessmen next month as part of promoting industrialisation
in the country.

      The delegation from India will represent the Information Technology
(IT) sector like computer software development.

      One local businessman who is in the IT industry, Phuthego Chere of
Data Link Systems, a company dealing in software said that he expects to
learn more from the Indians.

      “I think the Indians would help me develop my software move from the
small scale to the larger scale,” Chere said yesterday.

      Chere said that the elevation to a large scale would help his company
tender for bigger projects unlike at the moment.

      “We encourage joint ventures with the Indian companies,” Mpoloka said.

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7 Million Zimbabweans will Need Emergency Feeding, says WFP
Peta Thornycroft
30 Jan 2004, 16:31 UTC

Regional crop forecasters say Zimbabwe's coming grain harvest will be the
lowest ever, and at the same time the United Nations says the number of
people in need of food aid has increased to its highest level ever.
Crop plantings in Zimbabwe are down between 20 and 30 percent compared to a
year ago, according to Fewsnet, the U.S. Agency for International
Development's Famine Early Warning System for east, west and southern

      Uncultivated farm near Harare
Last year, the maize harvest produced less than one million tons. Zimbabwe
needs at least 1.2 million tons for human consumption alone.

Fewsnet says the even lower level of planting this season was caused in part
by a lack of seeds and fertilizer.

There is a seed shortage because few of the new farmers who have taken
formerly white-owned land have had success growing the difficult and
expensive seed crops.

      Overgrown farm in Zimbabwe
Economists say fertilizer factories needed imported ingredients and there
has been little foreign currency available to buy them.

The World Food Program says seven million Zimbabweans, more than half the
population, will need emergency feeding before the harvest in April and May.

Officials say there has been a slow response to Zimbabwe's food shortage
this year. Some experts say part of the reason is that the main donors the
United States, Britain and the European Union, see the crisis as a result of
bad policy, rather than bad weather or some other natural disaster.

For generations Zimbabwe was the breadbasket for the region, both feeding
itself and exporting its surplus.

Agricultural economists say small-scale communal farmers traditionally
produced slightly more than half of Zimbabwe's summer grains, and white
commercial farmers produced most of the export crops.

Communal farmers have been weakened by the high cost of agricultural inputs,
when they are available, and by HIV and AIDS. The commercial farming sector
has been largely wiped out by the seizure of more than 90 percent of
formerly white-owned land. Most of the new farm owners do not have the
skills or the financing to cultivate the land.

Fewsnet has launched an alert on the deepening food crisis in Zimbabwe and
has noted that the urban population, which receives minimal assistance,
cannot afford to buy enough food. Zimbabwe's inflation rate is more than 600

The World Food Program recently asked the Zimbabwe government to release
240,000 tons of maize from last season to fix the shortfall over the next
three months. So far, the government has not responded.

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Washington Times

Mugabe moves against landowners' holdouts

    HARARE, Zimbabwe — President Robert Mugabe moved against Zimbabwe's last
handful of white landowners yesterday when a new law allowed the seizure of
large plantations and estates.
    Among those stripped of all protection from confiscation are the huge
Hippo Valley sugar estates, owned by Anglo American PLC, and the
British-owned Eastern Highlands Plantations.
    Mr. Mugabe's regime has already taken more than 90 percent of land
belonging to individual white farmers, a few hundred of whom remain.
    The way is now clear for the seizure of several large plantations
growing tea, citrus fruit and sugarcane simply by publishing a notice of
intent in the government's Gazette, a publication sold by government
    Earlier in the week, the Zimbabwean Parliament passed a law that will
allow the government to take land more easily from white farmers.
    Parliament, which is dominated by lawmakers from Mr. Mugabe's ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), passed an
amendment to the Land Acquisition Act after intense debate Wednesday, the
Zimbabwe Inter-Africa New Agency reported.
    The new law allows the government to acquire white-owned farms by simply
publishing a notice of intention to take over the land.
    It eliminates the old requirement that a preliminary notice of
acquisition by the government should be served personally on the farm owner.
    Some 4,500 whites used to own a third of the country's land — 70 percent
of prime farmland — before the government launched a "fast-track" land
reform program in 2000.
    Fewer than 400 white farmers now remain in Zimbabwe and own 3 percent of
the land.

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Zimbabwe's Grain Harvest Forecast As Lowest Ever
Peta Thornycroft
30 Jan 2004, 16:41 UTC

Regional crop forecasters say Zimbabwe's coming grain harvest will be the
lowest ever, and at the same time the United Nations says the number of
people in need of food aid has increased to its highest level ever.
Crop plantings in Zimbabwe are down between 20 and 30 percent compared to a
year ago, according to Fewsnet, the U-S Agency for International
Development's Famine Early Warning System for east, west and southern

Last year, the maize harvest produced less than one million tons. Zimbabwe
needs at least one-point-two million tons for human consumption alone.

Fewsnet says the even lower level of planting this season was caused in part
by a lack of seeds and fertilizer.

There is a seed shortage because few of the new farmers who have taken
formerly white-owned land have had success growing the difficult and
expensive seed crops.

Economists say fertilizer factories needed imported ingredients and there
has been little foreign currency available to buy them.

The World Food Program says seven million Zimbabweans, more than half the
population, will need emergency feeding before the harvest in April and May.

Officials say there has been a slow response to Zimbabwe's food shortage
this year. Some experts say part of the reason is that the main donors --
the United States, Britain and the European Union -- see the crisis as a
result of bad policy, rather than bad weather or some other natural

For generations Zimbabwe was the breadbasket for the region, both feeding
itself and exporting its surplus.

Agricultural economists say small-scale communal farmers traditionally
produced slightly more than half of Zimbabwe's summer grains, and white
commercial farmers produced most of the export crops.

Communal farmers have been weakened by the high cost of agricultural inputs,
when they are available, and by HIV and AIDS. The commercial farming sector
has been largely wiped out by the seizure of more than 90 percent of
formerly white-owned land. Most of the new farm owners do not have the
skills or the financing to cultivate the land.

Fewsnet has launched an alert on the deepening food crisis in Zimbabwe and
has noted that the urban population, which receives minimal assistance,
cannot afford to buy enough food. Zimbabwe's inflation rate is more than 600

The World Food Program recently asked the Zimbabwe government to release
240-thousand tons of maize from last season to fix the shortfall over the
next three months. So far, the government has not responded.

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EU Business

Zimbabwe more democratic than most of Africa: Mugabe

      30 January 2004

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Friday said the European Union should not
target his government, arguing that his embattled country was more
democratic than the majority of African nations, state media said.

"We are a more democratic country than most African countries and there is
really no case the European Union should hold against us," the ZIANA news
agency quoted Mugabe as saying.

Mugabe was speaking when he met outgoing French ambassador to Harare, Didier
Ferrand, just weeks ahead of the proposed renewal of sanctions by the
European Union.

The EU in 2002 imposed travel restrictions on 72 of Zimbabwe's top
government and ruling party officials, including Mugabe, accusing them of
human rights abuses and electoral fraud after controversial elections that
year which saw Mugabe return to power.

Opposition parties and rights groups have said those polls were marred by
violence, intimidation and fraud.

The 15-member EU is due to decide on February 18 on whether to maintain the
sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

Western diplomats here say the sanctions are likely to be renewed and even
widened to include more of President Mugabe's aides.

Zimbabwe's opposition leader in parliament and vice president of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Gibson Sibanda, on Wednesday urged the
EU to extend the sanctions.

Sibanda said during a visit to Paris that France and the EU needed to slap
sanctions on Mugabe "in order to put an end to this desperate situation" in

France last year came under fire from Britain, the EU and human rights
activists, for inviting Mugabe to a two-day Franco-African summit after
President Jacques Chirac obtained a waiver to the EU travel ban on the
Zimbabwean leader.

The French leader defended the invitation as a way to confront Mugabe
face-to-face over human rights abuses and lawlessness in his famine-ridden
southern African country.

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Financial Times

      Mbeki passes land expropriation bill
      By Nicol Degli Innocenti in Johannesburg
      Published: January 30 2004 18:56 | Last Updated: January 30 2004 18:56

      Thabo Mbeki, South African president, has signed into law a
controversial bill that gives the minister of agriculture the power to
expropriate land for restitution purposes without a court order or the
farmer's agreement. Some commercial farmers have slammed the new Restitution
of Land Rights Amendment Act as a violation of property rights and the
prelude to a Zimbabwe-style land grab. But the government insists the Act
will speed up the restitution process, thereby preventing the kind of land
invasions and lawlessness witnessed under Robert Mugabe's regime.

      "The Act does not give the minister the power to expropriate land in
an arbitrary manner," Pretoria's chief land claims commission said in a
statement on Friday. "No person, group or institution including an organ of
the state will be allowed to deprive landowners of land in an arbitrary

      The Act applies only to land from which blacks were forcibly removed
under the colonial and apartheid regimes, and the minister will only use her
power to expropriate land in cases when farmers are "unreasonably opposed"
to selling or when negotiations have dragged on for too long. The
expropriated farmer will always be given "just and equitable" compensation.

      South Africa has until now had a strict "willing seller, willing
buyer" policy which has slowed down the land restitution process, government
says. Over 45,000 out of 70,000 urban and rural land claims have been
settled, but the government is determined to settle the rest within two

      Nearly 10 years after the end of apartheid, less than 3 per cent of
farmland has been transferred to black owners. Government's initial deadline
of 2005 for the transfer of 30 per cent of white-owned land to black farmers
has been extended to 2015.

      In stark contrast to South Africa, Zimbabwe this week passed an
amendment to its expropriation law, which removes the need for a preliminary
notice of acquisition to be served on the land owner, effectively making it
easier for government to confiscate land, including farms, sugar
plantations, forests and wildlife sanctuaries.

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Gmb Starts Paying Farmers: Made

The Herald (Harare)

January 30, 2004
Posted to the web January 30, 2004


THE Grain Marketing Board is now paying farmers who were not paid after
delivering their maize to GMB depots last season, the Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Cde Joseph Made told Parliament on

"We initially had problems of securing the money to pay the farmers since
financial institutions were lending the bonds to us at very high rates but
now we have the money because of the low interests rates," he said.

The minister said this in response to a question by Chief Jonathan Mangwende
during a question and answer session in the House.

Chief Mangwende had asked the minister why it had taken long for the
Government to pay farmers for their proceeds in view of the fact that they
wanted to use the money to buy inputs for this season.

Cde Made said the erratic rains had affected farmers' produce during the
last three years hence the Government had not asked them to repay the loans
advanced to them.

He denied some Press reports that the Government was withholding 240 000
tonnes of maize while some people were starving in the country.

"It is not correct that we are withholding maize because the maize which we
have in stock was either purchased from the farmers or we imported it," he

"We will continue to buy maize and wheat from local farmers as well as
importing and we will continue to distribute maize to needy families."

Cde Made said this while responding to a question by Bulilimamangwe MP Mr
Moses Mzila Ndlovu (MDC) who had asked him to confirm Press reports alleging
that the Government was withholding 240 000 tonnes of maize while some
people were starving.

The Minister of Energy and Power Development Cde Amos Midzi said the
deregulation of the fuel industry has seen positive developments as the
price of fuel was going down.

"This has made it possible for indigenous players to take part in the fuel
procurement industry and more than 60 applications of companies that want to
procure fuel are being considered right now," he said.

Cde Midzi was responding to a question from Seke MP Mr Tumbare Mutasa (MDC)
who had asked whether the deregulation of the fuel industry had so far
yielded positive results.

The Minister of Rural Resources and Water Development Cde Joyce Mujuru said
the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project was estimated to cost about Z$500
billion and most of the money would be required in foreign currency.

She said this was the reason why the idea of a build, operate and transfer
(BOT) was mooted to encourage private investors to participate alongside the
Government to develop the project.

Cde Mujuru said this while responding to a question from Matobo MP Mr
Lovemore Moyo (MDC) who had asked about the progress made on the project.

She said the first step in the implementation of the project was the
construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam where water for the region would
initially be withdrawn from the Zambezi River.

"The contractor has already started some work on the site under the
supervision of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority," Cde Mujuru said.

"Progress has been hampered by the shortage of foreign currency for bringing
in the plant and as a result work on the actual dam wall has not started."

The minister said if the dam and the pipeline were constructed concurrently,
the project could be operational by the end of 2006.

Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Stan Mudenge said Zimbabwe was still studying
the New Partnership For Africa's Development peer review mechanism for good
governance and democratic practices before committing itself to it.

He said out of the 53 countries in Africa, only 16 had signed the Nepad peer
review mechanism as the rest were still studying the issue.

Cde Mudenge was responding to a question from Nyanga MP Mr Leonard
Chirowamhangu (MDC) who had asked why Zimbabwe had no yet signed the peer
review mechanism.

The minister said the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security had asked
foreign ministers to draft electoral standards both for the Sadc and the
African Union.

"The opposition parties in the Sadc region refuse to accept defeat. When you
take part in an election you should be prepared to accept defeat and if not
so you are an enemy of democracy," Cde Mudenge said.

Nepad is a programme in which the West promises financial assistance to
developing countries in exchange for good governance and democracy.

Health and Child Welfare Minister Cde David Parirenyatwa said the Premier
Medical Aid Society had reached an agreement with the Zimbabwe Medical
Association on the use of medical aid cards.

"I understand the two have reached an amicable agreement and the problem is
with the National Medical Society and I will be meeting with Namas today
(Wednesday) to see how we can resolve the issue," he said.

Dr Parirenyatwa said this while responding to a question from Makoni East MP
Cde Shadreck Chipanga (Zanu-PF) who had asked him to enlighten the House on
the wrangle between Zima and Namas on the use of medical aid cards.

Some private doctors are demanding cash up-front from patients following
allegations that the medical aid societies were taking long to pay them.

Cde Parirenyatwa said major hospitals such as Harare Central, Mpilo and
Parirenyatwa were now distributing anti-retroviral drugs to patients while
some local companies that were manufacturing the generic drugs were donating
them to the Government.

The Minister of Industry and International Trade Cde Samuel Mumbengegwi said
Zimbabwe had two trade attaches in South Africa and Geneva and would appoint
six other attaches this year.

He sad this while responding a question from Murehwa North MP Cde Victor
Chitongo (Zanu-PF) who had asked the position of the ministry in regard to
trade attaches.

Local Government and National Housing Minister Cde Ignatius Chombo said the
ministry was contemplating appointing a commission of inquiry to look into a
number of issues relating to traditional leaders. These included
resuscitating positions abolished by the former white regime.

Cde Chombo said this in response to a question from Makoni West MP Cde
Gibson Munyoro (Zanu-PF) who had asked why it had taken long for some
headmen in his constituency to be officially installed.

The minister said Government wanted to build 2,5 million housing units in
urban areas for the next five years.

He said the Government had identified several farms that had been earmarked
for development in urban areas with the view to ease the housing shortage n
urban areas.

Cde Chombo said this while responding to a question by Mbare East Tichaona
Munyanyi (MDC) who had asked what the Government was doing to alleviate
overcrowding in Mbare.

Cde Chombo said additional flats would be constructed in Mbare and the
Harare City Council had identified land behind George Stark School for this
purpose, while current flats would be renovated to accommodate more

The council, he said, was also developing the Hopley/Tariro housing project
that would provide stands to people living in the Joburg lines of Mbare who
were likely to be displaced by the construction of the new Mbare Musika Bus

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New Zimbabwe

Moyo sells R1,5m South African getaway

By Dumisani Muleya
INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo has sold his controversial R1,5 million
luxury home in Johannesburg to prevent an auction which was due Thursday
after he fell into arrears in his mortgage bond payments.

André Croucamp, director of the legal firm Findlay & Niemeyer, which was
handling the disposal said Moyo recently sold the house to prevent the sale.
The sheriff of Lenasia North had been expected to conduct the auction.

"The auction was cancelled because Moyo sold the house," Croucamp said. "It
now means that we will get paid in due course."

He had bought the house through a mortgage obtained from Nedcor bank,
according to reports published in South Africa. The bank, however, recently
placed an advert in the newspapers saying the house would go on the block on
January 29 as Moyo had failed to meet his mortgage repayments.

It was said Moyo had an outstanding balance of R1,2 million on his bond.

He also reportedly owed the Johannesburg council more than R115 000 in
unpaid rates and service charges for the house located at 15 Engelwold Drive
in the posh Saxonwold suburb.

City of Johannesburg invoices reportedly showed that Talunoza Trust, under
which the house was registered, owed R69 064,07 in unpaid rates, while R48
961,98 was owed for electricity and water. The total - R118 026,05 - was
said to have been due on January 15. Talunoza Trust was named after Moyo's

The house has seven bedrooms, a large modern kitchen, a double garage,
Oregon pine floors and underfloor heating. Most of the home is hidden behind
a high wall which has an electric fence at the top.

But reports said the house - in what was described as a metaphor for the
economic ruin in Zimbabwe - was allowed to become rundown. A blocked drain
was said to have been spilling sewage into the front yard and the lawn had
not been cut for months. Flowerbeds were said to be overgrown with weeds
while the swimming pool contained green slime.

Last year, Moyo’s wife Betsy, spoke fondly of the home - though her husband
earlier denied to the South African Sunday Times that he owned the property.

While on holiday in Johannesburg, she had insisted it won’t be sold: "It is
a wonderful place and my six-year-old misses the house.

"But we have no present plans to sell . . . we will be keeping it."

But Moyo had denied that he owned the Saxonwold property. "There is no
evidence whatsoever that I own a house there . . . the trust does not link
me as an owner. I used to live there two years ago . . . the house is owned
by a trust and I am not a trust."

He added: "The trust is a children's trust and they are not going to talk .
. . and even if I owned that house, I would not be interested in talking.

"I don't think it makes sense for people to be talking about their
properties," Moyo said.

Johannesburg's Witwatersrand University, where Mr Moyo once worked as a
researcher, claims he absconded with thousands in research money and a South
African television company says he owes £10,000.

A legal writ has been issued in the Kenyan High Court against Mr Moyo by the
Ford Foundation, an American educational trust that claims he stole £70,000
of its money in the late 1990s - Zim Independent

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Business Day

Mbeki assassination plot' weird even by Hefer's standards

THE Hefer commission was a great spectacle and now, alas, it is over. But
just one little thing before we finally bid it goodbye.
In the course of the commission, former intelligence officer Mo Shaik made
the claim that several people associated with the Scorpions would be
arrested in connection with a shadowy plot to kill President Thabo Mbeki.
Even by Hefer standards, this was a dramatic claim.

The allegation was linked to the arrest the weekend before of peripatetic
intelligence operative Bheki Jacobs, also known as Uranin Vladimir
Dzerzhinsky Joseph Solomon. Jacobs was arrested in connection with a
controversial document: Report to the Honourable Patricia de Lille.

Jacobs was arrested first on fraud charges and then on a list of conspiracy
charges in connection with a plot to kill the president. Actually, the
document was not so much a conspiracy to kill the president, but a warning
of a conspiracy to kill him. If Jacobs was the author of the document, and
if it contained any logic, it might have made more sense to question him
about it rather than arrest him as a co-plotter.

Jacobs was arrested at 6am on November 22, after police arrived at his
parent s' house at 3am. He was held for two hours until an arrest warrant
was obtained, taken to Ysterplaat air force base in Cape Town, and held
there before being transported by private jet to Pretoria. The South African
Police Service jet is the one used for official functions by police
commissioner Jackie Selebi.

Jacobs was charged on Monday November 24 with conspiracy to murder, among
other charges. Later that day, Shaik made his dramatic claims.

Jacobs stayed in custody the whole week while police went through his
computer hard-drives and questioned him. By Friday he was released, but
still faces a charge in connection with holding several passports.

What happened in those five days to convince police that the case was
suspect? And why the rush to get him to Pretoria? How did Shaik know about
all of this and get to make his dramatic statement? And, more intriguingly,
why was Jacobs arrested in the first place?

Jacobs himself provides some clues to these questions, in his final
statement to the court. Apparently, the reason he was released was simply
because the police discovered the document was not written on his computer.
Instead of being the originator of the document, he was merely one of the
dozens of people involved in its dissemination.

Jacobs claims the first he heard about it was on November 17 or 18. A
ThisDay reporter, Chiara Carter, phoned him to ask whether he was the
author. He subsequently got hold of the document from a journalist friend,
Ace Mxolisa, on November 18.

There was a frantic round of forwarding e-mail versions of the document for
a week, and it was in this round of e-mails that Shaik got hold of the
document, by a convoluted route.

Shaik confirms that he passed the document to someone in the police, who
passed it to senior police intelligence officer Raymond Lalla, an old
associate of Shaik's from Operation Vula days.

Jacobs seems philosophical about his arrest, but he and Economists Allied
for Arms Reduction chairman Terry Crawford-Browne have asked police for an
explanation, which has not been forthcoming.

Jacobs makes the telling point that far from being a conspiracy to murder
the president, it is a warning he could be the subject of a murder plot.
This is hardly the basis for a conspiracy charge, although making the claim
frivolously is obviously dangerous.

More dramatically, the duo claim they have now learned a list was compiled
and that just as Shaik claimed about 30 people were on the verge of being
arrested, including CrawfordBrowne himself.

The list constitutes a sort of who's who in the cast of characters involved
in the arms deal. Crawford-Browne is known as an ardent campaigner against
the R50bn procurement deal, and is launching a court case to challenge the
constitutionality of the purchase. Others on the list include the strident
arms deal contractor, Richard Young, CEO of arms company C²I², who is also
involved in a civil case claiming he was fraudulently excluded from certain
contracts. Interestingly, several journalists were also apparently on the
list, including occasional Business Day contributor Paul Kirk.

Shaik claimed several members of the Scorpions were on the list, but who
they were is not clear. However, it seems the list did include former Weekly
Mail journalist and now Scorpions member Ivor Powell. At the top of the
list, however, was parliamentarian Patricia de Lille, to whom the document
was addressed.

Jacobs says Shaik was involved in a "brilliant diversionary tactic"
involving smoke and mirrors. Young says those targeted were the
"counterrevolutionaries" who were considered troublemakers or

The remaining questions are: who on earth was the policeman who thought the
document was a sufficient basis on which construct a criminal charge against
30 people, and whether this person still has a job?

Cohen is editor at large.

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