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

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New muzzle on Zimbabwe press

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Thursday January 2, 2003
The Guardian

The last vestiges of the independent media in Zimbabwe face new pressure as
the government prepares for next week's launch of a repressive new licensing
system which will give it the power to close any newspaper and to stop any
journalist working.
It comes days after the latest incident in an escalating campaign by
President Robert Mugabe's government to muzzle the critical independent
press - the sacking of the editor of Zimbabwe's Daily News, Geoffrey

Mr Nyarota, the founder and editor of the country's most widely read
newspaper, was sacked on Monday by the Daily News's board of directors. The
assistant editor, Davison Maruziva, resigned in protest at the action.

Although the Daily News board has suggested it fired Mr Nyarota on
managerial grounds, it appears the board chairman, Sam Nkomo, succumbed to
pressure from the government. According to media sources, the board feared
that the government would refuse to register the paper under the new
regulations if Mr Nyarota remained as editor.

Mr Nyarota said that he believes the Daily News board gave in to pressure
from the minister of information, Jonathan Moyo. "Moyo has collected my
scalp without lifting a a finger in public, but I am sure has has been busy
plotting this behind the scenes," he said. "It is no coincidence that the
Daily News has come under this pressure at this time."

Mr Nyarota launched the Daily News in 1999. Its crusades against corruption
and human rights abuses won it a large following and it overtook the
state-owned Herald as the country's largest selling newspaper.

Mr Nyarota and his staff have been arrested and jailed several times. The
paper's printing plant was destroyed by an explosion two years ago, shortly
after government officials vowed the paper would be silenced. No arrests
have been made for that bombing, nor for an earlier explosion at the paper's
editorial offices.

But where explosions failed to muzzle Mr Nyarota's voice at the Daily News,
the threats posed by the government's new licensing system appears to have

The Zimbabwe National Editors Forum hailed Mr Nyarota as "a courageous
editor" who provided readers "with unadorned news and robust views, for
which there is a clear public demand".

Iden Wetherell, deputy chairman of the editors' forum, spoke of a sustained
campaign by the government. "This is not the time for media managers and
workers to show timidity or division that can be exploited by enemies of a
free press," he said.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa also voiced its worry the the
dismissal of Mr Nyarota would be the start of increased restrictions against
independent newspapers.
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The Telegraph

            Don't play Mugabe's game
            (Filed: 02/01/2003)

            Into the tussle between English cricketers who want to play the
World Cup matches in Zimbabwe and members of the Government who are seeking
to dissuade - but not forbid - them from going there enters the voice of the
Zimbabwe cricket captain, Heath Streak.

            Politics should stay out of it, he says, and hopes the tour will
go ahead. Insofar as members of his family have been threatened by Robert
Mugabe and his land-grabbing policies, that might seem to add weight to the
cricketer's viewpoint. But does he feel free to say what he really thinks?
President Mugabe has so poisoned the wells of truth in Zimbabwe that we are
driven to discount what anyone says there, even if they speak from the

            Even assuming Mr Streak means what he says, his testimony does
not alter the view we have held from the outset about this tour. It ought
not to take place and if it does, cricket will emerge as the loser. The
game's governing bodies may argue that pulling out of the tour will be
financially expensive. It will be.

            The sum of £10 million strikes us as over the odds, but the
relatively modest income international cricket earns from the game will be
hit, and ministers are unlikely to offset any part of the loss with
taxpayers' money.

            So, the cricketers' argument goes: why should we be called on to
make this sacrifice? Business goes on in Zimbabwe. Why pick on us? There are
at least two reasonable answers to this. First, cricket is a national
symbol. It cannot segregate itself as a pastime of no importance to anyone
except those who play cricket.

            We established that point during the bodyline bowling
controversy with Australia in 1932-33, which was seen to damage relations
with that country. We re-established it later when South Africa was banished
from the international cricket fraternity because it practised apartheid.
The game draws certain advantages from its status, but that status also
imposes responsibilities.

            So politics does enter into it. But even if it did not, cricket
should have regard for its own good name. Thousands of people are utterly
sickened by what they see happening in Zimbabwe - the denial of human
rights, the rule of law cast aside in the ruthless, megalomaniac pursuit of
power. The Commonwealth itself, a stronghold of cricket, has felt compelled
to put Zimbabwe beyond the pale.

            Above all, it is a country that is enduring terrible, man-made
human suffering. There are people dying of hunger created by Mugabe's
inhuman policies. Is cricket really to ignore this, and pretend it isn't
happening? If it sullies itself by association with this terror, it will
take a long time for the reputation of English cricket to recover.
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World Cup Cricket debate
I have been following the debate on the World Cup Cricket through your site and many others around the world with interest. As a young man my sporting career was curtailed due to the sanctions imposed on Rhodesia and I can understand the points of view of all parties, however I feel many people are missing the points that  should be central to this discussion.
The sporting boycott against Rhodesia and South Africa was primarily due to the fact that the representative sides from these countries were picked on racial grounds, a fact and I fully understood the boycott. At present both Zimbabwe and South Africa have a 'quota' system where a certain amount of coloured players have to be included in all sides, both Senior and Junior representative teams. I have just returned from a trip to Zimbabwe where many of my cricketing colleagues told me how a junior cricket team had been chosen only for the authorities to advise the selectors that there were not enough ' players of colour' in the side, so the selectors had to inform five white players that, sorry you cannot play for your country because you are white and we have to pick other players who are either black, coloured or Indian. A real boost for an aspiring young sportsman.
Peter Chingoka, the President of The Zimbabwe Cricket Union, was himself prejudiced due to the racial policies of the Rhodesian Government but now condones such policies, a disgraceful attitude for a person who was educated at a Private School where we were taught that all people were equal and his educational and sporting abilities were allowed to prosper unhindered. Further he has presided over a Union where the Indian community, predominantly Muslim, have commandeered the Provincial Union to such an extent that although they decided to resign on mass in protest at alleged racialism, they have been allowed to rejoin and they have been given the Chairmanship. This attention seeking community have now got control of the largest income generating Association of The Zimbabwe Cricket Union and will continue to utilise this fact for their own greedy benefit to appease the Government of the day.The Chairman just happens to have the same schooling as both Peter Chingoka and I, his father also happens to be a High Court judge who has been involved with The ZCU for many a year and has escaped the majority of the criticism by Zanu PF, and both he and his son have been Chairman of the club where Peter played his club cricket. To boot the High Court Judge sits on a sub committee of the ICC and was recently in India with Dave Richardson negotiating a compromise with the Indian Cricket Authorities and their players over sponsorship irregularities. Nepotism at its best I would say.
Boycott the World Cup for the correct reasons, because the representative sides are racially selected as are the Governing authorities. Two senior Zimbabwe Cricketers have been dropped from the World Cup Squad because they had the guts to speak out against the racial selection policies, however the Convenor of Zimbabwe selectors who happens to come from the same club as Peter Chingoka, The Chairman Of Mashonoland Cricket and The Judge said they were not picked due to a lack of form. Read into what you want.
To those of you who expect the players to boycott the World Cup please ask your respective Governments then to force all foreign businesses to close down in Zimbabwe and not pay their staff in protest at the corrupt Zanu PF regime, the Zimbabwe Cricketers will be relinquishing their right to earn a living after all.
Kevin Murphy
Northampton, UK.   
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Thursday, 2 January, 2003, 13:09 GMT
Zimbabweans talk food not cricket
A woman in Makoni District collecting a sack of maize distributed by the World Food Programme (Picture: WFP)
120,000 Zimbabweans in Makoni rely on food aid
The row over whether England plays a World Cup cricket match in Harare is lost on the many Zimbabweans who are struggling to survive, as Luis Clemens from the World Food Programme reports.

The distribution of relief food takes place on a field the size of a cricket pitch.

Food, not sport, dominates the conversations here in Makoni District, Zimbabwe.

There is also talk of fertilizer, seed and rain.

These are routine topics in any rural community, but of particular relevance to the 879 households receiving relief food for the first time.

Zimbabwean women line up to receive food distributed by the World Food Programme (Picture: WFP)
Zimbabweans talk about food, not cricket
They are just a few of the 6.7 million Zimbabweans who require food aid.

The distribution takes place against a backdrop formed by mountains laden with meaning for the assembled villagers.

Maunga is where elderly women go to pray to their ancestors for rain.

Younger women go to the base of Chimauzvare to drink water when they wish to become pregnant.

Over 1500 people assemble to receive their first-ever monthly ration of maize and beans provided by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

Outside help

This batch of food was donated by the EU, Germany and the US to WFP and is distributed in this district by Goal, an Irish NGO.

It is Goal's first distribution in Zimbabwe.

Hunger in Zimbabwe
6.7 million Zimbabweans suffer from hunger
WFP distributed 113,000 tonnes of food aid
879 households received aid for the first time
They are one of WFP's 12 implementing partners in Zimbabwe charged with the village-level distribution of food aid.

They hope to distribute food provided by donors to some 120,000 people in Makoni District who have no other way of feeding themselves before the next harvest in March.

Goal has gone from a staff of one to 110 in a matter of months.

Their aim is to link emergency relief with long-term agricultural rehabilitation.

"The overall picture is bleak," says Poul Brandrup, Goal country director for Zimbabwe.

Much less of the staple maize crop has been planted this year than last and the prospect of rain is uncertain.

Alice Mashonjowa is one of those receiving food aid for the first time.

At 17, she cares for six brothers and sisters ranging in age from six to 16.

There is no food left from the last crop so they rely on wild vegetables and whatever maize they can afford.

'$1 a month'

Her 15-year-old brother works as an errand boy and earns the equivalent of $1 a month.

That is the family's only steady income.

They are able to purchase food sporadically, but they have had to use part of the money destined for school fees.

Four of the children are in school, but Alice has not attended since her parents died.

The overall picture is bleak

Poul Brandrup, aid worker in Zimbabwe
This year they planted maize and beans on a plot of land inherited from a father who died two years ago and a mother who died three years ago of "a swollen heart".

But they planted late in the rainy season because they had to borrow the village head's draught animals to plough their field.

It comes as little surprise that there were no Christmas gifts or a big holiday meal at the Mashonjowa household this year.

When asked her expectations for the New Year, Alice looks downwards and responds, "at least not to be hungry".

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No food: Inmates released

Harare - Prison authorities in Zimbabwe have released 3 600 prisoners under
a general amnesty to ease overcrowding, state-run ZBC radio said on

A prisons spokesperson told the radio the country's prisons had 24 500
inmates, far exceeding their capacity of 16 000 prisoners.

The amnesty, which takes effect immediately, comes amid reports of food
shortages in the country's prisons. - Sapa-AFP
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From ZWNEWS, 2 January

Cricket poll result

On 31 December, we asked readers to have their say on the planned World Cup
Cricket matches in Zimbabwe. We asked: Do you think World Cup Cricket
matches should be played in Zimbabwe? YES or NO. The voting has been brisk.
The NO vote was 94.8%. The YES vote was 4.4%. 0.8% were undecided. A total
of 4687 votes were cast. Voters were restricted to a single vote per email
address. The ZWNEWS poll result is in line with other recent polls on the
same subject. On 19 December, Channel 4 News, a UK TV News programme, asked
their viewers: Do you believe England should send cricketers to Zimbabwe? Of
a total of 7128 votes cast, 93% voted that the England team should stay
away. A recent online poll by, a South African internet service
provider, asked: Do you agree with the International Cricket Council's
decision to stage six of the World Cup matches in Zimbabwe? Of 2989 votes
cast, 9.6% agreed with the ICC's decision. 18.6% disagreed, on the grounds
that the safety of players and spectators could not be guaranteed, while
71.8% said that sporting sanctions should be imposed on Zimbabwe, regardless
of the safety of players and spectators. An ongoing online poll by the UK
Guardian newspaper asks: Should England's cricket team boycott their
upcoming World Cup fixtures in Zimbabwe? Of 1370 votes currently cast, 87%
said Yes.
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From The Mirror (UK), 31 December

Mugabe bid to lure Becks to Zimbabwe

By Oliver Holt and Bob Roberts

Robert Mugabe tried to lure David Beckham and other England soccer stars to
Zimbabwe - but was turned down immediately. Mugabe and Zimbabwe football
bosses approached the English FA two months ago. They wanted Beckham,
Michael Owen and the rest of the England squad to stop in Zimbabwe on their
way to their friendly fixture with South Africa in Durban on May 22. The
visit would have included a trip to the Victoria Falls and the provision of
training facilities. FA acting chief executive David Davies is believed to
have swiftly said No. The FA are now congratulating themselves on making the
right decision as pressure piles on English cricket to boycott their World
Cup match in Harare in February.

Ministers are to meet English cricket officials next week to discuss the
controversial Zimbabwe visit, it was announced last night. In an apparent
breakthrough in the row, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and Foreign Office
Minister Baroness Amos have agreed to a request from the England and Wales
Cricket Board for talks. The Government repeated its position that the
ultimate decision remained with the ECB. Earlier, Zimbabwe opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai said captain Nasser Hussain would be endorsing Mugabe's
ruthless regime if the visit went ahead. Labour MP Ann Clwyd, chairman of
the all-party human rights group, said: "More than half the population of
this country are facing starvation, people are scavenging for berries and
roots to stave off starvation. I just find it inconceivable that anybody can
pretend it is business as normal. Surely cricketers have morality." Tony
Blair's official spokesman said: "It is worth remembering that Mugabe is
president of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union. You can expect him to exploit the
situation for his own purpose, seeking to give the impression of normality
and stability when the situation is anything but that."

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith accused the Government of mishandling the
issue "in a dangerous and neglectful way". Shadow foreign secretary Michael
Ancram declared: "The idea of Robert Mugabe parading himself at an
international sporting occasion like this when he is at the same time
starving literally millions of his people to death I think is absolutely
abhorrent." The International Cricket Council said England could have to pay
compensation of up to £1million if it did not fulfil its February 13 fixture
in Zimbabwe. Nasser Hussain and Australian captain Steve Waugh called for
clearer guidance from government. Hussain said: "It's a political issue,
it's a moral issue. You can't expect some of these young lads who are
touring around the world to make a moral decision about Zimbabwe."
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From IOL (SA), 1 January

Botswana's envoy dies in Zim road smash

Harare - Botswana's High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Cecil Manyeula, has been
killed in a traffic accident in Zimbabwe, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Manyeula was killed when
his vehicle was involved in a head-on collision on Monday night on the main
road linking Harare to the country's second city of Bulawayo. Zimbabwe is
notorious for fatal traffic accidents, especially over national holidays.
This year's total figure of road deaths over the Christmas period was,
however, around half of that in the same period last year, with observers
putting the decline down to a critical fuel shortage that has stopped people
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            Zimbabwe independent daily to challenge media law
            January 02, 2003, 22:00

            The publisher of Zimbabwe's top independent daily newspaper said
it planned to challenge in court tough new media laws which critics say aim
to muzzle opposition to President Robert Mugabe.

            The laws forbid foreigners from working in Zimbabwe as
correspondents and required every media organisation and journalist to
register with a government commission by the end of 2002 in order to be
allowed to continue operating.

            However, Sam Nkomo, executive chairperson of the Daily News
publisher Associated Newspapers (ANZ), said the group had not registered and
was finalising an urgent court application against the legitimacy of the
registration requirement.

            "ANZ has not applied to register. We have sought to exercise our
legal rights to protect the company from what we believe is an
unconstitutional law, which will obstruct our ability to deliver news to our
readers in an independent manner," Nkomo told a news conference today.

            Daily News reporters are among a dozen local and foreign
journalists who have been arrested and charged under the new act, signed
into law days after Mugabe won re-election in March in polls dismissed as
fraudulent by the opposition and some Western governments.

            The government says the media act aims to introduce "ethical
behaviour" in the private media, which Mugabe accuses of driving a Western
propaganda campaign against him over his seizure of white-owned farms for
landless blacks.

            The Supreme Court is yet to deliver a ruling on a separate
challenge by independent journalists against the constitutionality of the
act. The Daily News has been gripped by a labour dispute which halted
publication for over a week and saw Geoffrey Nyarota, the award-winning
editor-in-chief, fired on December 30.

            Nkomo said Nyarota, feted around the world for his relentless
criticism of Mugabe, had been fired for siding with striking workers at the
paper, and not because of charges of publishing falsehoods brought against
the paper under the new laws over a story Nyarota later admitted was wrong.

            Nyarota, who was awarded the World Press Freedom prize by the
United Nations cultural arm UNESCO, insisted he quit voluntarily over the
management's failure to resolve the strike. - Reuters
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Daily Telegraph

ECB will bow to ministers on Zimbabwe
By Mihir Bose  (Filed: 03/01/2003)

The English and Wales Cricket Board would have no option but to abide by a
Government request not to compete in their World Cup match in Zimbabwe next

The Daily Telegraph have learned that Lord MacLaurin said as much three
months ago when, as chairman of the ECB, he attended an executive board
meeting of the International Cricket Council.

Up to now, the Government have contented themselves with simply suggesting
publicly that English cricketers should not go to Harare for the scheduled
match on Feb 13. However, this could be reinforced with direct advice when
the Government meet ECB officials.

That would be enough to persuade the ECB, according to MacLaurin's
statement. It came at an ICC meeting that took place after the ICC Trophy
had concluded in Colombo when discussions turned to the situation in
Zimbabwe. Earlier last year, Australia, who were due to go to Zimbabwe
following their tour of South Africa, refused to do so because of security
fears. The Zimbabwe Cricket Union, worried about whether the World Cup
matches, which are crucial to their finances, would take place, assured the
ICC that there were no security reasons which would prevent the matches.

Pakistan officials said the decision whether or not to play should be made
on cricketing grounds alone, and that the politics of Zimbabwe should not
come into it.

It was then that MacLaurin said that as English cricket received grants and
funding via the Lottery, it could not refuse a Government request not to
play in Zimbabwe.

The ICC executive board agreed that if Zimbabwe were to lose its World Cup
matches, it would only be on the grounds of security and sent a team to
assess the situation. The team was made up of chief executives of all the
competing countries, including Tim Lamb, of the ECB, a security expert, an
insurance expert and Tim May, joint chief executive of the Federation of
International Cricketers' Associations.

The ICC may have hoped the security inspectors would decide there was a
risk, but they reported back that Zimbabwe was safe for cricket and the ICC
had to give the go-ahead to the matches, igniting the political and public

ICC sources are keen to emphasise that this security go-ahead should not be
confused with the decision to grant the World Cup matches to Zimbabwe. That
was made many years ago and, in any case, that decision was not made by the
ICC but by South Africa.

It shows the curious way cricket decisions are made, reflecting the fact
that in the last decade the ICC have been slowly, painfully, acquiring some
of the powers that other international governing bodies take for granted.

The decision that South Africa would stage the 2003 World Cup was taken in
1993. This was the result of intense horse-trading between the Test-playing
countries which would take the tournament to the Indian subcontinent (1996),
England (1999) and West Indies (2007).

At that stage, the ICC did not own the World Cup, the country that staged it
both managed it and also retained the profits. Ali Bacher, who had been the
captain of the last all-white South Africa team, but later repented for his
"sleep" during the apartheid days and worked hard to promote the game to the
townships, felt that the new South Africa should be a cricket missionary to
the rest of Africa.

Zimbabwe was crucial because though cricket had been played there for
decades, it remained largely a white game, in terms of both players and
spectators. Heath Streak, the current captain, is the classic cricketer,
emerging from the white farming community which Mugabe has targeted. Bacher
persuaded his board to allow Zimbabwe to stage some World Cup matches.

That year, at the ICC meeting in London, Bacher was asked by Ehsan Mani, the
Pakistan representative - who will take over as chairman this summer - what
South Africa was doing to make the game more popular in southern Africa.
Mani has always believed that when a country gets the World Cup it has an
obligation to make sure some matches are spread round the region to broaden
cricket's appeal.

Bacher proudly announced the South African decision, which was welcomed by
the ICC, though it had no say in it.

South Africa later decided it would also stage some matches in Kenya and
later still make Zimbabwe an equal partner with its own provinces in the
share of profits.

It is only quite recently, as part of the evolution of the ICC, that they
have acquired ownership of the World Cup, but by then the decision on
Zimbabwe had long been made.

Mani said: "It was a decision we inherited from South Africa and it was the
right decision for cricket at that time."

Any change in the decision would require South African approval and both its
sports minister and cricket officials have made it clear that they would not
agree to that.

So, even if the ICC were to reallocate matches from Zimbabwe to South
Africa, South Africa would refuse to stage them.
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Nyarota Has Shares in Zimpapers

The Herald (Harare)

January 1, 2003
Posted to the web January 2, 2003


Sacked Daily News Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Nyarota is a shareholder in the
Zimbabwe Newspapers Group which publishes The Herald, a move which could
mean that he had no faith in Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd,
publishers of the Daily News.

Throughout his tenure at the Daily News, Nyarota who was allegedly fired for
back-biting the ANZ board he was part of and siding with the striking
employees, maintained his shares with Zimpapers and participated quite
actively in its annual general meetings. Sources at The Daily News yesterday
revealed that Nyarota, after an agreement with other members of the board to
withhold salaries of striking workers, went behind their back and sourced $9
million which he used to pay reporters.

It is understood that Nyarota was eager to maintain his grip on reporters
and urged them to press on with the industrial action to ensure he retained
other responsibilities he was stripped of when Mr Sam Sipepa Nkomo was
appointed chief executive of the opposition mouthpiece.

"It is the reason why he was fired, he was double-edged and it was felt that
his continued employ would eventually jeopardise the company," said the
source. Nyarota, swiftly replaced on the ANZ board by Innocent Kurwa
yesterday, blessed the strike which he thought would expose the weakness on
the part of Mr Nkomo with whom he had a long-standing grudge.

"He did not have any shares here when he was fired as editor-in-chief, a
post that has now been abolished. He automatically lost his seat in the
board," said a source.

Nyarota was reported to have tried to use the strike as a way to show the
ineptitude of the new management (under Nkomo) that failed to produce a
paper when workers went on strike- something Nyarota managed to do under
difficult circumstances when The Daily News Press was bombed.

Some reporters who worked with him said he felt his job was to
sensationalise everything and even went on to humiliate his friends if he
felt they were performing better than him in life.

He was a close friend of the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Mirror Dr Ibbo
Mandaza but he decided to write stories about him and accused him of misuse
of donor funds.

Nyarota dispatched photographers who photographed Dr Mandaza's properties
which he had visited in his capacity as Dr Mandaza's friend.

It is believed Nyarota did this to discredit Dr Mandaza who was just about
to launch a daily paper. This, sources said, did not go down well with
Nyarota who wanted a firm grip of the so-called independent media.

Dr Mandaza refused to comment about the developments at The Daily News.

"The firing of Geoff Nyarota as the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News
represents a collapse of a major pillar of the British machinery aimed at
upholding white supremacy in Zimbabwe," said National Alliance for Good
Governance (NAAG), national commissar Mr Lloyd Douglas Chihambakwe.

He said the machinery included Nyarota as a propaganda leg for the British
and the opposition MDC as an institution base and Zimbabwe's white

"The weakest link in the whole establishment was a white commercial farmer
in Zimbabwe who thought Zimbabwe would collapse much easier in terms of
their resolve to fight black empowerment.

"Nyarota was bound to be fired from the Daily News because the power of the
white supremacy agenda had a different purpose to his own basic long-term
control of the economic power and social fabric," said Mr Chihambakwe.

He said Nyarota had a much more myopic agenda of transforming his personal
hatred for President Mugabe into a national programme.

Meanwhile some readers said Nyarota's dismissal was long over due.

"The dismissal of Nyarota is a positive move, he was now running the paper
like his own personal item rather than a public paper," said Mr Douglas
Silika of Chitungwiza.

He said that instead of upholding the journalistic ethics he was aligning
the paper with his political allies at the expense of the readers.

Some readers had the opinion that the paper was now heading for its demise
and Nyarota's dismissal was a clear sign of serious problems within the
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The Times

            January 03, 2003

            Questions of Sport
            Players, Government, cricket authorities: where does the buck
stop on Zimbabwe?

            I AM totally baffled by the decision of the ICC and ECB to allow
the England cricket team to play a World Cup match in Zimbabwe (Debate,
December 27), especially at a time when Zimbabweans hoped that the
international community would put more pressure on Mugabe.
            Of all the teams scheduled to play there, surely England is the
most aware of Zimbabwe's problems and their causes. It is in England where
we find the most Zimbabwean asylum seekers; many of the commercial farmers
who have been murdered came from or had close connections with England; it
is no secret that Tony Blair and his Government are Mugabe's number one

            I could give a thousand reasons why England should not play in
Zimbabwe until Mugabe relinquishes his stolen power. I love my country and
wish things could change soon so that I can go back.

            Please, ICC, don't sabotage our struggle.

            Modern Mutomba, Wigan

            Bleating about money

            THE most depressing aspect of this controversy is the ECB's and
ICC's bleating that they could lose a lot of money if England refuses to

            Any business depends on the judgment of the decision-makers. The
ICC and the ECB have displayed a singular lack of judgment by allowing
Zimbabwe to be co-hosts of the World Cup in the first place. The political
situation in Zimbabwe has hardly developed overnight and the current
situation was completely foreseeable.

            Simon Edwards, Bath

            What's best for cricket?

            THE first criterion for the ECB is to determine what is best for
English cricket. To sacrifice two points in a tournament and several million
pounds on the belated whim of a Government would further alienate England in
world cricket. Zimbabwe has an obnoxious regime, but cricket should not be
used as a political weapon.

            The ECB can make it clear, however, that the English team will
turn their backs on Mugabe if he tries to make domestic and international
political capital by formally meeting the teams.

            Iain Macleod, Luxembourg

            Stand up and be counted

            "GOING to Zimbabwe is a moral issue and it is not up to
cricketers but to Government politicians to make the decision" (Nasser
Hussain, Sport, December 30).

            Do cricketers not have morals? I find the attitude of Hussain
and his colleagues - too busy playing cricket to know what is going on in
Zimbabwe and will do whatever their masters say - reprehensible.

            The buck is being passed to politicians, but it is the
cricketers who must stand up and be counted, regardless of the cost to the

            Michael W. Jeffels, Cambridge

            Politicians by proxy

            POOR Nasser Hussain has been put in an intolerable position
through the incompetence and indecision of politicians. It is not for him -
or the ECB - to decide which countries to boycott on political grounds, that
is what professional politicians are paid to do. But, instead of making such
decisions, the politicians try to bully Nasser and the ECB into acting as
their proxies.

            Jeremy Collis, London SW19

            Options available

            THE Blair Government seems to be making yet another hash of a
diplomatic problem.

            Two options are available: the Government should instruct the
ECB not to send the team to Zimbabwe and compensate them for any losses. Or,
if the Government prefers not to act decisively, it should be left to the
players as individuals. If Nasser Hussain says the situation is unclear and
he doesn't know much about the problems then someone should give him a

            If the players decide to go they may ultimately come to consider
this as the worst kind of career move. Hussain could be remembered not for
his abilities as a batsman or a fighting England captain but as the man who
helped confer credibility on this evil dictator. We only have to remember
"Bodyline" Jardine or, more recently, underarm bowling along the ground by
Chappell's team to ensure victory.

            George Rodger, Winchester, Hampshire

            It's down to the Government

            I HAVE sympathy with both sides, but it is wrong to put our
cricketers in an invidious position. The Government should give a proper
lead. Propaganda will be the result of a misguided desire to play up, play
up and play the game.

            Andy Graham, Godalming, Surrey

            Stop passing the buck

            THE buck is being passed back and forth. Has no one the courage
of their convictions? Is no one willing to stand up and speak out for the
people of Zimbabwe?

            Margaret M. Lloyd, Portishead, Somerset

            Do as I say, not as I do

            DID I HEAR Mike Gatting say on the radio that he felt the
Government should make a decision in respect of participation in the
forthcoming cricket World Cup in Zimbabwe, and that it was unfair to leave
decisions to cricketers or cricket associations?

            Could this be the same highly principled former Test captain who
joined (and led) a lucrative rebel tour to South Africa, contrary to
government advice, and who described a group of black protesters as just
some people jumping about? Surely not.

            Michael French, Birmingham

            Principles of sportsmanship

            CRICKET is supposed to embody the principles of sportsmanship
and fair play, the very antithesis of what the Mugabe regime represents. We
should have no truck with him.

            G. H. Spratt, Brentwood, Essex

            Aiming at the wrong target

            WHY is it always sportsmen and women who are told they cannot go
to countries that do not fit our definition of democracy and that violate
human rights? Is it because the Government gets lots of brownie points for
no effort?

            As Martin Samuel says (Sport, January 1), if the Government had
any backbone it would not pick on the soft target of sport, but order those
UK businesses that trade with Zimbabwe to cease doing so. But this would
mean job losses and, therefore, is politically dangerous.

            Does the Government's ethical foreign policy work only if it can
gain cheap political points without making the really hard moral choices?

            Martin F. Seely, Manchester

            Political correctness

            BECAUSE of press restrictions the ordinary Zimbabwean does not
know of the many international words of support for his plight. If the
British Government allows this match to go ahead it will be interpreted as
support for Mugabe's murdering regime and cause despair to an already
desperate country.

            I applaud the clear, unambiguous views of Clare Short. What a
pity many of her colleagues are such fence-sitters, seemingly passionate
only for justice and fairness for foxes rather than supporting the
repressed, starving people of Zimbabwe against their oppressor.

            Political correctness muddies the water. The Government can be
in no doubt that Mugabe is racist and a master of ethnic cleansing. I
suggest that if he were a white tyrant the Government would have instructed
that the match be cancelled long ago.

            Nick Thomas, Dorchester, Dorset

            A potent protest

            IT SEEMS to me that things have gone too far for England
unilaterally to withdraw from the competition or refuse to play in Harare,
but that does not prevent the players, supporters and officials from making
a powerful protest in a very public arena against the regime.

            They should stay only long enough to play the match, wear black
arm bands in memory of Heath Streak's father, a victim of Mugabe's policy
(Sport, January 1), and refuse to be presented to Mugabe or representatives
of his Government. As a silent protest, no ECB official or English supporter
should attend the game; and, finally, England must win and eliminate
Zimbabwe from the competition.

            If Mugabe does not like it, he can always refuse to let the team
into the country. What would the ICC do then?

            Neal Harvey, London SW18

            ICC's responsibility

            THERE is something macabre about an international celebration of
sport being staged in a society that is not free, and the notion that the
ICC cannot make a moral political stand in favour of democratic freedom is
depressing. World Cup fixtures in Zimbabwe will besmirch the tournament,
embarrass its administration and bring cricket into disrepute.

            The ICC must revisit its badly misdirected decision before it is
too late. It is absurd that pressure is being placed on individual players
to make policy decisions that are the responsibility of those in charge of
the sport.

            Ashley Binns-Ward, Cape Town

            No place for cricket

            IT IS hard to imagine playing cricket in a country where half
the citizens are being starved to death for political reasons.

            England cannot possibly play in Zimbabwe and the Government
should use its best endeavours to persuade other participants to withdraw
from matches there.

            Jim Waters, Market Drayton, Shropshire

            Give voice to dispossessed

            THE Government should show leadership by banning any English
sporting event involving Zimbabwe. The regime is as equally despicable as
the apartheid period in South Africa when we were bold enough to abolish
such links.

            We should take every opportunity to condemn the policies that
have brought Zimbabwe to its knees, and we should be proud to give a voice
to those that have been dispossessed of their human and democratic rights.

            David Knight, Goxhill, Lincolnshire

            Will anyone do right thing?

            THE English cricket team should stand up and be counted. If they
had the courage to say no, then perhaps the Aussies will follow suit. But I
doubt that anyone will have the guts to do the right thing.

            S. D. MacCallum, Mpumalanga, South Africa

            Lack of backbone

            THIS is a moral issue, it is not just an issue of player safety.
There are more important things than ball games - democracy, the rule of law
and basic human rights. The ICC had better develop a backbone - fast.

            Nigel Turner,Gaborone, Botswana

            Depressing conclusion

            AS EVER, I expect financial considerations will win the day.

            Rose-Marie Adams, Bexleyheath, Kent
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Daily Telegraph

3,600 out of jail in Zimbabwe

Peta Thornycroft, Harare

More than a tenth of all prisoners in Zimbabwe were freed yesterday in an
amnesty to ease overcrowding. Most of the 3,600 inmates released were women,
terminally ill, disabled or serving sentences of less than a year, said a
prisons spokesman, Frankie Meki.

He said he did not know whether three political prisoners, Kevin Woods, 50,
Michael Smith, 48, and Philip Conjwayo, 60 qualified for release. They were
jailed in 1989 for betraying Zimbabwe to the South African army and
assisting in sabotage and murder.
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3 January

Editorial: Passing buck on boycott -- NZ Herald
Batsman Howard picks when to play politics -- Sydney Morning Herald
Cricket: Boycott brush-off from India -- NZ Herald Newsflash
NZ continue regardless - Team named -- Dominion Post [NZ]

New Zealand Herald, 3 January 2003

Editorial: Passing buck on boycott


Foreign Minister Phil Goff, explaining his call to New Zealand Cricket
on the matter of Zimbabwe, says: "This is a form of sanction similar
to what we employed against South Africa under apartheid and against
Fiji." It is not. The call Mr Goff has made is that NZ Cricket should
consider asking its international board to transfer matches scheduled
to be played in Zimbabwe during next month's World Cup. It is, he
emphasises, a "message", not an instruction.

On the scale of political interference in sport it ranks as low as the
message Sir Robert Muldoon finally delivered, under considerable
duress, to the Rugby Union when it was about to invite the Springboks
here in 1981: "Think well on your decision," he declared.

Now, Mr Goff also makes it clear the decision is entirely one for the
sporting body and he does not even suggest that it should press for a
boycott of Zimbabwe, merely "consider" doing so. Perhaps that is why
he invokes comparisons with sanctions "we" employed against apartheid.
If so, he is being a little disingenuous. In 1981 he and his
colleagues were on the side of those who rightly condemned the
Government's failure to uphold an international sporting boycott in
the spirit of an agreement among Commonwealth countries at the time.

Just as it was then, the Government is under considerable pressure
from Australia to impose sporting sanctions in the name of the
Commonwealth. Australian Prime Minister John Howard is not
pussyfooting about with "messages" to his country's cricket
authorities to "consider" anything. He is trying to rally support from
the governments of all countries with teams going to the World Cup for
a collective appeal to the International Cricket Council. The ICC says
it has a contingency plan to transfer games from Zimbabwe but after an
inspection of the country it appears satisfied that the teams will be

Safety is not the issue, merely a pretext that Mr Howard, and indeed
Mr Goff, have invoked to support a primarily political cause. Zimbabwe
is a well-endowed country being tragically misgoverned by a man who
has flouted democratic principles and human rights, not to mention
sound economics, in his determination to retain power. It has become a
dangerous place for white farmers and even more so for black citizens
who are not of Robert Mugabe's tribe or among the hoodlums who do his
bidding and are rewarded with resources they cannot maintain. But it
is probably safe for visiting cricketers.

Whether they should go there is a political question that the captains
of two teams scheduled to play there, England and Australia, want
their politicians to make. As always, it is easy to see their point.
If sporting administrators start determining their international
excursions on the standards of government in the countries concerned,
they are inviting endless headaches. But it is equally undesirable
that governments should dictate national sporting associations.

Nevertheless, it is for governments, alone or by international
agreements, to declare sporting sanctions when they think them
necessary, and that is the difficulty where Zimbabwe is concerned. The
Commonwealth has singularly failed to penalise Zimbabwe in the way
that it did South Africa and Fiji. While that failure is a frustration
to the governments of Australia and New Zealand, which have led the
argument for sanctions, it does not permit either of them to pass the
buck to their country's cricket administrators. The Australian
Government has not done so, but ours has. Mr Goff should not be asking
NZ Cricket to consider this question. His Government can give its
support directly to the Australian approach to the ICC and that is
what it ought to do, unequivocally.

Sydney Morning Herald, 3 January 2003

Batsman Howard picks when to play politics

Parliament and pavilion are separate places in the mind of the Prime
Minister - except when there are points to be scored, says Mark Riley.

John Howard is normally firm on the only separation of powers that
really matters to Australians in summer. He generally believes that
the executive government should not interfere with the running of
cricket. It takes some considerable self-restraint. Howard is an
unashamed cricket tragic.

No one who knows Howard was surprised when he chose to work through
Christmas this year and to start his annual holiday a couple of days
before the Sydney Test match. He has made no secret of his intention
to be at the SCG for every session of the final Ashes Test. If
terrorists want to find him, they need only scan the crowd in the
Members' Stand.

Howard's cricketing bent is a part of the comfortable and relaxed,
average-guy persona that helps translate his political beliefs to
those sections of Australian suburbia who wouldn't ordinarily bat for
his side.

But there are usually strict limits to what he will say about the
game. He treats questions about Steve Waugh's future, for example,
much as he does those about his own: "I have nothing more to add to
what I have previously said on the matter." Which, in the case of
Waugh's retirement, is nothing at all.

He even managed to play a creditable forward defensive when this
correspondent suggested to him, late on the night of his annual press
gallery drinks at the Lodge last month, that in political terms he
would rather be Steve Waugh than Mark. The point, rather clumsily
made, was that Howard would prefer to choose his time of departure
from the political captaincy than get dropped from the team.

Of course, things have changed in the weeks since then. The selectors
have shown they might not be swayed by a leadership record alone. They
want to see some runs on the board. Howard knows electors can be a bit
that way, too.

So, there was some surprise this week when Howard took a slog at the
cricket World Cup organisers for scheduling six of the 54 matches in
Zimbabwe. He wants Australia to pull out of its match against Zimbabwe
at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on February 24. But he doesn't
want to take unilateral action. Unilateralism is not a popular concept
with the Australian electorate at the moment. He wants a multilateral
stand. Either it's one in all in, or one out all out.

Howard says his is a moral stand. He does not want Australia to be
party to any event that lends legitimacy to Robert Mugabe's regime.
But the International Cricket Council has refused to determine issues
of political morality. Its chief concern is protecting the safety and
security of the players. An ICC mission, including Australian Cricket
Board chief executive James Sutherland, has already inspected
Zimbabwe's venues and declared them safe for play.

Now Howard finds himself on a sticky wicket. He has adopted a robust
position on an issue that marries two of his greatest passions - his
love for cricket and his distaste for Mugabe - but in doing so has set
a precedent for government intervention in the running of sport that
is simply unsustainable.

Once you've overstepped the popping crease between parliament and
pavilion, it is hard to get back.

Howard heads the Commonwealth troika dealing with Zimbabwe, but is
effectively a minority of one. He flew to the group's latest meeting a
couple of months ago wanting Zimbabwe kicked out of the Commonwealth.
The other two troika members, South Africa and Nigeria, blocked him.

South Africa has a lot at stake in Zimbabwe. It is Mugabe's main
trading partner, supplying 42 per cent of Zimbabwe's imports and
taking 13 per cent of its export products. By way of comparison,
Australia exported $6 million of goods to Zimbabwe in 2001 and
accepted $22 million of its exports, with tobacco accounting for about
$20 million.

South Africa is also the host country for the World Cup and, as such,
holds an enormous commercial and political stake in how it proceeds.
Prize money alone for this year's event is $5 million, five times that
for the 1999 World Cup in England. The winning side will get $2
million. The ICC has warned that if Australia, or any other country,
pulls out of the scheduled matches in Zimbabwe, it will have to foot
the bill for lost revenues. The ICC has put the cost at close to $3
million for each match.

The strongest support for Howard's stand within Zimbabwe comes,
paradoxically, from unions and the man who represents their political
views, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

The MDC won 57 of the 120 seats in the Zimbabwe parliament in the 2000
elections, despite widespread vote-rigging and a murderous campaign of
orchestrated violence from pro-Mugabe forces. The MDC mounted
challenges in 37 constituencies on the basis that Mugabe's Zimbabwe
African National Union (ZANU) Patriotic Front, which won 62 seats (one
went to a ZANU independent), did not allow free and fair elections. It
got short shrift from the Mugabe-controlled judiciary.

The presidential elections last year were an even greater travesty of
the democratic process. Thirty opposition members were murdered in the
waves of violence, fear and intimidation that preceded the ballot.
Dozens more were beaten and raped. Mugabe won, and continued sweeping
white families from their farms, torturing political dissidents and
starving the general populace of fresh food and water.

"You have appalling human rights abuses occurring in that country,"
Howard said in a television interview this week. "You have a
completely illegitimate, undemocratic, stolen government in Zimbabwe."

Mugabe's government responded by accusing Howard of wanting to keep
cricket a "white man's game" and a "colonial sport".

"These things are difficult," Howard conceded. "We all wish that you
could separate politics and sport completely, but it never quite works
out that way because people like Mugabe use things like this to
bolster their own domestic position."

But it isn't just "people like Mugabe" who use major sporting events
to their political advantage. People like Howard and people like Bob
Carr and people like Frank Sartor did exactly that with the Sydney
Olympics. People like Steve Bracks will do it when the Melbourne
Commonwealth Games miraculously dovetails with the next Victorian
election. Jeff Kennett was a dab hand at stealing sporting events for
political capital, too. And Bob Hawke did a fair job of turning the
America's Cup victory to political advantage by warning all those
potential bums of bosses not to dock people for skipping work and
getting on the turps in celebration.

What the electorate looks for from its political leaders in issues
like this is exactly what the selectors look for from their
cricketers - consistency.

If Howard is going to advocate multilateral boycotts of cricket events
in Zimbabwe on human rights grounds, then he better prepare to debate
the merits of going to China for the Olympics in 2008.

Mark Riley is the Herald's federal political correspondent.

New Zealand Herald, 3 January 2002 [Newsflash]

Cricket: Boycott brush-off

03.01.2003 5.16 am

India will ignore calls for a boycott of next month's World Cup
cricket matches in Zimbabwe. "How are we concerned with the boycott?
It's a non-issue for us," Indian cricket board president Jagmohan
Dalmiya said yesterday.

Britain and Australia have asked the International Cricket Council to
reconsider its decision to hold six matches in Zimbabwe because its
leader, President Robert Mugabe, has been accused of human rights
abuses and rigging last year's general election.

The Dominion Post, 3 January 2002 [NZ]

Hitchcock vows to return

03 January 2003

Remarkably Wellington medium-pace bowler Paul Hitchcock was not
feeling the least bit sorry for himself yesterday after missing
selection in the New Zealand team of 15 for the cricket World Cup in
southern Africa.

Instead of moping about cursing his luck at failing to be chosen for
the tournament of a lifetime, Hitchcock took it as a sign he needed to
work harder if he wanted to play again at international level.

"It's a good kick up the arse. The selectors have more or less said
there's still room for improvement," Hitchcock said.

"I have to go away and be even better when I return. I have to be
positive and regard missing out as a minor glitch."

The bustling Hitchcock would be entitled to regard himself as the most
unlucky to be bypassed.

Chairman of selectors Richard Hadlee said Hitchcock had done nothing
wrong and uncertainty over the fitness of Chris Cairns and the need to
have an extra allrounder as cover - Kyle Mills - had counted against

However, Hitchcock said he was more than happy to concede a place in
the squad to players he saw as superior to him.

"I didn't bowl well enough in the two one-dayers I played against
India," he said.

"I was not as close to the other New Zealand bowlers as I'd have

In the second one-day international in Napier he had figures of 1-38
from eight overs and on Wednesday in Christchurch he was a little
expensive in the context of the innings with 3-30 from eight overs,
which included four wides and two no balls.

"It's unacceptable for someone like me to be bowling leg-side wides at
this level and no balls," Hitchcock said.

Having been dropped from the Black Caps lineup to play in Queenstown
on Saturday, Hitchcock was keen to join Wellington on Sunday in a
fourth round State Shield one-day game against Canterbury in
Christchurch and he would seek to devote more time to developing his

He was available for yesterday's game against Northern Districts but
in view of the late notice, Hitchcock said Wellington coach Vaughn
Johnson preferred to stick with his original selections.

Hitchcock learned of his omission when the national selectors joined
the players in the dressingroom after the Black Caps' five-wicket win
in Christchurch.

"It didn't really hit home though till the other players came over and
started saying `hard luck'," he said.

Hadlee said Hitchcock was a specialist bowler and the selectors had
"got more out of Kyle Mills".

"We are also not sure of the role Chris Cairns will play, whether as
an allrounder or specialist batsman," Hadlee said.

Cairns is one of six survivors from the last World Cup in Britain in
1999 along with Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle, the now-fit Chris
Harris, Daniel Vettori and Craig McMillan.

Harris, Scott Styris and Andre Adams return to the Black Caps for the
fourth one-dayer in Queenstown for Hitchcock, Shane Bond and Lou

Bond is to have a scan on his side strain, which is not considered
serious, and though in the cup 15 Vincent has been released to allow
him to find some form batting for Auckland.

Team for tomorrow's fourth one-dayer against India: Stephen Fleming
(captain), Nathan Astle, Mathew Sinclair, Craig McMillan, Scott
Styris, Brendon McCullum, Chris Harris, Jacob Oram, Andre Adams,
Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey.


Write to the editor:

NZ Herald: email
Sydney Morning Herald: email : Fax: +61 (0)2 9282
3492 : Snailmail: GPO Box 3771, Sydney 2001.

Note: All letters and email (no attachments) must carry the sender's
home address and day and evening phone numbers for verification.
Ideally, letters will be a maximum of 200 words.
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From The Herald, 31 December

Graffiti against Registrar General blasted

Harare - The Registrar General's Office yesterday expressed concern at the graffiti against the person of the Registrar General, Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, written on pre-cast walls along Leopold Takawira and Harare streets. A central registry spokesman said there were strong indications that the denigrating remarks were by unscrupulous tricksters and conmen who had been cheating applicants of passports, birth certificates and other documents of their hard earned money. "Those responsible for this misbehaving are warned that the matter is being fully investigated and stern measures will be taken against the perpetrators," he said. The graffiti was written after the central registry took decisive steps to deal with conmen and tricksters and reduce congestion in queues. The department was mounting daily security checks as to the genuineness of applicants. It was also maintaining all time presence of security details, carrying out effective investigations and prosecutions of suspected perpetrators of fraud and extortion. All extortion activities by tricksters and conmen to the unsuspecting public were being revealed through television and the print media programmes. "Let it be known that the said derogatory statements and graffiti against the person of the Registrar General and the department will not deter the management from taking sterner measures to effectively deal with any attempted obstruction or interference with persons wishing to apply or renew their personal documents," said the spokesman.

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Change in Africa

Thursday January 2, 2003
The Guardian

For a long time I have been hearing from the western press that Zimbabwe was
once the "bread basket" or similar of Africa (Letters, January 1). I come
from Malawi and I know Zimbabwe better than most western journalists. White
farmers in Zimbabwe do not grow food, they grow tobacco and other cash crops
which are exported to Europe. Even when they grow maize (the staple food for
black Zimbabweans), they use it to feed livestock. I remember many times in
the past two decades when Malawi shipped maize to Zimbabwe to help feed the
blacks there. This was at a time when no single white farmer's land had been
taken. The hunger that is prevalent now in Zimbabwe is also prevalent in
Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi.
The problem in Zimbabwe is simple - land is being taken from white farmers
without compensation. That is wrong. White westerners are afraid or ashamed
to point out this and back the white farmers. They are afraid of being
labelled as hyprocrites because they normally don't intervene when blacks
are on the receiving end. They are trying to portray this as the problem of
black people too.

Demonising Mugabe will not work either. Mugabe is not a savage, murderer, or
demon as the British keep suggesting. He is a patriot with a vision to
empower Africans - whether you agree with his land strategy or not (I
don't). After all, South africa and all the African countries have backed
Mugabe on this issue. I have read with dismay all these comments about
Zimbabwe and the cricket world cup.
*name removed at writer's request - 16/7/03*
Los Angeles

· The UK and US have endorsed Daniel arap Moi's regime in Kenya all these
years, ignoring his corruption and human rights abuses, since he remained
their crony, unlike Mugabe (Historic win for Kenyan opposition, December
30). Kenyans prayed, toiled and bled to get democracy and now that Moi's
Kanu party has been ousted by Kenyans, all that you can do is be
condescending. You cynically question Mwai Kibaki's ability to facilitate
economic change, suggesting that he is too frail (he just had a car
accident), and in a "profile" of him you make no mention of his education
(including LSE), his past as an economics lecturer, his decade as minister
of finance in the days before Kenya's economic collapse, and his decade as
an opposition activist/leader.

Given that Kenya gained independence from colonialism, which left it in an
economic abyss, only 40 years ago, and given the subsequent dictatorship,
what do you expect Kibaki to do - turn water into wine?
Caroline wa Kamau
Canterbury, Kent
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India 'will ignore' Zim boycott

Calcutta, India - India will ignore calls for a boycott of next year's World
Cup matches in Zimbabwe, a top cricket official said.

"How are we concerned with the boycott? It's a non-issue for us," Indian
cricket board chief Jagmohan Dalmiya said Wednesday.

Britain and Australia have asked the International Cricket Council to
reconsider its decision to hold six matches in Zimbabwe as its leader,
President Robert Mugabe, has been accused of human rights abuses and rigging
last year's general election.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was not for his government to
decide whether England's team should play a Febuary 13 match in Zimbabwe,
but if it was, the team would not be allowed to go. He asked the England and
Wales Cricket Board to rule on the matter.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said playing matches in
Zimbabwe meant the international cricket community was showing indirect
support for Mugabe. The game would be used by Mugabe for his propaganda,
Downer said.

Dalmiya, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said the
Indian board did not want to get dragged into the controversy.

Cricketeers of Britain and Australia have not yet taken any decision, but
the ICC has threatened any team boycotting the matches scheduled in Zimbabwe
will forfeit match points. - Sapa-AP
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Natal Witness

The homeless hero


Norton, contemplating his fate in modern Zimbabwe, said: "I never thought
that at the age of 87 I would become a bedouin without a home."

He is temporarily living in a retirement village in Harare.

The Victoria Cross, or VC, is the highest award bestowed by the British
Commonwealth for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy. It
was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 and reached its peak of fame at the
battle of Rorke's Drift, in KwaZulu-Natal, in 1879, when 11 VCs were awarded
on a single day.

South Africa won four VCs in World War 2: Flight Lieutenant John Nettleton
of the Royal Air Force (RAF), in a bomber raid on Occupied Europe in 1942;
Sergeant Quentin Smythe, of the Royal Natal Carbineers, in a skirmish in
Libya in 1942; Norton in 1944; and Captain Edwin Swales of Durban, in a
pathfinder raid over Europe, while seconded from the South African Air Force
to the RAF, in 1945.

Norton's adventurous war exploits dated from the North African campaign in
1942 when he, a sergeant in the East London regiment Kaffrarian Rifles (now
the Buffalo Volunteer Rifles), won the Military Medal (MM) for his
enterprising escape from Tobruk after its capture by German Field Marshal
Rommel's rampant Afrika Korps on June 21, 1942.

Only 405 Allied officers and men took a chance and escaped from the besieged
33 000-strong Tobruk garrison.

Norton and an officer friend, Lieutenant Lawrence "Bill" Baillie, who worked
for the same East London bank before the war, took over an abandoned Allied
truck and, after 38 days, reached the El Alamein line, to which the routed
British Eighth Army had withdrawn from Tobruk.

The South African pair bluffed their way past Rommel's Italian troops by
speaking Afrikaans, which the Italians mistook for German. For their courage
and initiative, Baillie was awarded the Military Cross and Norton the
Military Medal (MM).

Norton, who was clearly officer material, was commissioned after the desert
campaign and seconded by South African military headquarters to the British
Hampshire Regiment in Italy.

In September 1944, while leading his British infantrymen against a German
strongpoint on a mountain side near Rimini, Norton single-handedly knocked
out two German machine-gun posts, which were thwarting the Hampshires'
advance, killing or capturing all the 18 Germans manning them. Norton
himself was wounded.

For his gallantry, Norton was awarded the Victoria Cross. His feat also won
him the freedom of his home town, East London.

Douglas Orgill, author of The Gothic Line, which the Hampshires were trying
to pierce, said the German line seemed formidable but was broken into "by
the kind of bravery that no staff college exercise can reasonably envisage",
a reference to Norton's solo action. "Rarely can one junior officer have
done so much to sway the fortunes of a campaign," remarked Orgill.

Neil Orpen, in Victory in Italy, called it a deed of "matchless courage,
outstanding initiative and inspiring leadership".

Norton, an 1820 Settler descendant, has been known as Toys from childhood.
His mother said that he was so small, he was "like a toy".

But he grew in size and, before the World War, played first league rugby in
East London.

It was during a schools rugby tour in the thirties that he came under the
spell of Zimbabwe, while it was still Rhodesia, and vowed to settle there
one day.

Immediately after World War 2 he fulfilled his ambition, first as a tobacco
grower on a farm he carved out of the Rhodesian bush before later switching
to cotton, maize and hay farming when he found tobacco planting too
demanding. His twin sister, Olga, who nursed with the South African Nursing
Corps in World War 2, also settled in Rhodesia.
Publish Date: 2 January 2003
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Gadafy's power in central Africa slips away

Rory Carroll, Africa correspondent
Thursday January 2, 2003
The Guardian

Libya has withdrawn a small army unit which has been guarding the government
of the Central African Republic in its capital, Bangui, for the past 19
The estimated 300 soldiers slipped away without fanfare in recent days,
abandoning Colonel Muammar Gadafy's toehold in the former French colony and
further reducing his hope of carving out a sphere of influence in
sub-Saharan Africa.

A fuel barter deal with Zimbabwe which he hoped would boost his credentials
as a player in central and southern Africa collapsed last month.

The force in Bangui, which manned anti-aircraft weapons and rocked
launchers, has helped President Ange-Felix Patasse to repel three attempted
coups since it was deployed in May 2001.

Now the task will fall to a regional security force of troops from Gabon,
the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Mali.

Having fallen out with the Arab League, Col Gadafy hoped to become a power
in Africa by propping up governments in some countries and, allegedly,
supporting rebels in others.

The Central African Republic's elected but unpopular president was unable to
rely on his own troops to rebuff rebels and gratefully accepted a Libyan

His government has denied reports that it gave Libya a 99-year minerals
lease on the landlocked country, impoverished despite an abundance of
diamonds, gold and uranium.

Of greater value to Tripoli, apparently, was its sway over a strategically
located ally once described as France's "aircraft carrier" in the region,
because it was a jumping off point for Chad, Sudan and the Democratic
Republic of Congo.

A Libyan army spokesman, Major Abdel Baset al-Lafi, said 81 soldiers had
been in Bangui, and there had been no casualties, but sources in the city
said the force, which was backed by two MiG jets, was four times that number
and that at least two members had been killed in fighting.

In the most recent coup attempt, in October, they repelled rebels who were
closing in on the presidential palace.

The garrison, sent under the auspices of the 16-member Community of Sahel
and Saharan States, which Libya set up in 1998, was not popular with
residents, and Tripoli agreed to its withdrawal under pressure from
neighbouring countries, which regarded it with suspicion.

President Patasse will now owe favours to the countries contributing to the
regional security force and a band of rebel Congolese fighters.

Last year it seemed that President Robert Mugabe would be beholden to
Tripoli when it agreed to supply 70% of Zimbabwe's fuel needs in exchange
for beef, sugar and tobacco.

The deal collapsed last month when Zimbabwe was unable to supply the goods,
and Mr Mugabe's government has turned to Kuwait and South Africa to ease its
crippling fuel shortage.

John Stremlau, director of the Centre for Africa's International Relations
in Johannesburg, said: "[Col Gadafy has] decided Africa is going to be his
playground now that the Arab world has ignored him.

"But he's not so loony that he gives troops away for free. He's not a
charitable organisation."

The colonel has been marginalised by the New Partnership for Africa's
Development, which is supposed to reward good governance with western aid,
and is reported to have felt compelled to drop his former protege the
Liberian president Charles Taylor as a liability.

Nevertheless his apparent renunciation of terrorism has made him no longer
the outcast he once was.

Foreign investors are flocking to Tripoli and he has been wooed by African
and European governments. Recent visitors include the Italian prime minister
and the French foreign minister.

· According to documents released this week by the Public Record Office, the
British embassy in Tripoli described Colonel Gadafy in 1972 as an
intelligent but misguided zealot who sincerely believed he had been called
by God.

The confidential briefing note said "strict principles" underpinned his
leadership and there was a "crazy logic" in what he did and said.
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The Hindu, India

Zimbabwe situation puts ICC in a spot

Sydney JAN. 1. Even after the dawn of the New Year, cricket finds itself
once more in a fog of confusion. This time the problem is Zimbabwe, a
country in turmoil as an uncompromising leader redistributes land
arbitrarily, ruthlessly and without heeding the democratic process.

This weekend the Prime Ministers of Britain and Australia have pleaded with
their countries' cricketers not to travel to Zimbabwe for the World Cup.

The International Cricket Council has replied that it must fulfil its
contracts and that it is not its decision to judge which country is right
and wrong. "We are not a political organisation,'' said its president
Malcolm Gray, missing the point.

But he, and Tim Lamb, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket
Board, are right to point out that such a decision could cost the game
millions of dollars in lost revenue from sponsors and television.

In the years when apartheid policies ruled South Africa cricket played a
small part - often unwillingly since they had years of contact with the
rulers of the game there - in bringing about change.

MCC, which declined to bow to the wishes of the government in Pretoria by
leaving coloured player, Basil D'Oliveira, out of its touring party in 1969,
showed enormous strength, particularly since many of that club's members had
friends and relatives in South Africa and some sympathy with that country's
solution to its mixed race problems.

ICC faces a different concern. It has been told by its own investigators
that there is no danger to the players and that the matches will go off
without incident.

Its only reason for staying out of Zimbabwe is a moral reason; a form of
protest against the policies of the Mugabe government whose thugs have
evicted white settlers from farms and attempted to coerce voters at the

Millions of Zimbabweans will not care whether cricket is played in Harare
and Bulawayo; their own day-to-day circumstances are too harsh for them to
worry about a pastime however important that may seem to a privileged few.

President Mugabe is also an enthusiast for the game. I met him, shook his
hand, exchanged a few words with him at Harare Cricket Club during the
England tour in 1997; he seemed in those few seconds to be a nice enough

But a few yards down the road was his house, not to be approached since
armed guards might suspect that the curious passer-by had evil intentions
and shoot him dead. I suspect Mugabe is unlikely to allow any danger to come
close to the cricketers even if the opposition stages demonstrations at the
World Cup games.

Incidents on the cricket grounds would avail him nothing and might even harm
his cause. At the same time, it is foolish of ICC to think that it can turn
a blind eye to the happenings in Zimbabwe.

Politicians, an untrustworthy lot, will not allow it. They will exploit the
popularity of the game, use it for their own ends and then turn their
attention to whatever else grabs the headlines.

Mrs. Thatcher told the athletes she did not want them to go to Moscow for
the Olympics in 1980; they went without any consequences. The Labour
government of the mid-1970s advised MCC to ignore South Africa and it did
with long-term results that have brought about the present climate in that
beautiful, troubled land.

Perhaps all ICC can do is to learn a lesson from this weekend in which the
politicians have set the agenda and sat back to watch the resultant

David Graveney, chairman of the England selectors, has exposed himself to
ridicule by saying that if he was a cricketer still he would not go to
Zimbabwe. He managed a rebel team to South Africa in 1989 and was banned
along with the rest of the team. His masters at Lord's are furious that he
has made them look foolish.

The only sense in a weekend of bickering and shallow thought has come from
Nasser Hussain, a son of Madras, now Chennai, and always a city noted for
clear thinking. "This is too important a subject too be decided by
players,'' he says. Correct. It is one to be settled by ICC which has said
it will honour its contracts. And so it should. In a mad, mad world, it is
the only possible course of action.

Ted Corbett
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