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Zimbabwe this Week.

We are a week away from a further bi election – this time we are defending a seat we took with a narrow margin in the June election. A friend of mine was the candidate back then and I campaigned for him on one weekend. The candidate before him had been murdered and Amos was very courageous. During his campaign, armed men ambushed him at night and he spent the whole night in a ditch – his wrecked car nearby and his guard seriously wounded lying next to him. The Police station was a few hundred meters away but no response or help was forthcoming and in the morning they took the guard to hospital. The night he won, Amos called me at three a.m. to tell me the news. The margin was a few hundred votes. Amos died from cancer two months ago and now we are back in the fray again.

This time round we again have a local businessperson running as our candidate. The Zanu PF candidate is an ex soldier. The tactics of Zanu PF as revealed in Marondera West have been the same. They moved a considerable task force into the constituency – up to 200 CIO officers with about 1800 support personnel plus tents and vehicles. Then a number of well known thugs – Border Gezi, Hunzvi, Chinotimba et al. They proceeded to visit homes throughout the constituency at night with threats and beatings and intimidated all known MDC activists. They disrupted MDC meetings and prevented people from attending MDC meetings. These tactics included police roadblocks that were withdrawn whenever Zanu PF held rallies. Many of the Zanu people carried arms and were clearly not worried about the police.

When finally the MDC people in the area (outnumbered by about 10 to 1) decided that enough was enough and attacked the Zanu PF people disrupting their activities, the police opened fire and last week they started arresting all MDC activists on sight. So much so that by the weekend we had to start sending in more people as locals felt they were simply too exposed to campaign. We also took the decision to tell the candidate that he should lie low until the election as we feared for his life. Under mysterious circumstances (and in front of two cabinet Ministers) a local political activist that both camps claim as a member, was killed. Our own people do not know the details at all. MDC was blamed and now a dozen MDC people are in detention awaiting a hearing where they will be "charged" with the murder. We understand the actual charge will be political violence. No Zanu PF people are in detention and no charges are pending. Morgan has toured the constituency, held rallies and meetings with local leaders and no mention has been given on national television or radio. Radio is particularly important and over 4 million people listen to Radio 2 every day. Because of the limited resources on the independent press (all located in Harare) even they carry only limited coverage.

Bikita is important because of the following factors: -

  1. It is a rural constituency, which has a long history of loyalty to Zanu PF.
  2. It is in the Masvingo Province where the Zanu PF leadership has been split and two prominent Karanga leaders (Zvobgo and Mavaire) have been displaced by Mugabe in favour of people who are loyal to him personally.
  3. It is yet another test of the real trend in local politics and whether or not the Mugabe strategy for retaining power by violence and intimidation, still works.

This past week we also learned that elections have been called in all 52 Rural District Councils. This will involve about 500 elections in rural areas all over the country. Nomination date is the 9th of January and the elections will be at the end of January. It is likely that Mugabe and his spin-doctors will watch the outcome of Bikita and the RDC elections and then decide if they should go for a snap presidential election. They might do so and try to catch the MDC napping and take advantage of the present conditions – we have no money with which to fight the campaign and the situation in business and in the cities with unemployment is terrible. If they wait until 2002 they might face an election in an environment where they cannot protect the rural voter from the ravages of their economic policies. Food shortages will be rife and the economic melt down in an advanced stage. We are now struggling to get ready for the RDC elections and have little or no resources for this additional campaign.

Talking about murder and mayhem, we got details this week of two incidents – one from the June election involved the background to the murder of three MDC activists whose killers were released from jail this week for "insufficient evidence" and the other the killing of Henry Elsworth just before Christmas. In the case of the former incident we are now informed that during the June election three MDC officials – the chairman of the constituency (a man working for the power utility (ZESA) as a linesman; his vice chairman (the lady manger of Power Sales in Kariba village) and the secretary of the constituency (a guard on a local banana plantation) were all rounded up and taken to the plantation. There they were paraded before locals gathered for the purpose (the Zanu PF candidate was present we understand) and then they were stoned to death. One of their bodies was displayed on a storefront for two days before being taken down and buried. No arrests were made despite the overwhelming evidence and witnesses to the killing, for 4 months. Now the killers that were eventually arrested are free for lack of evidence!

In the case of the killers of Henry Elsworth (you will recall that he was a farmer killed outside his gate in the evening by several shots from automatic weapons) no arrests have been made. We are now holding information on the actual weapons used, their numbers and the armory from which they were drawn. We also know the identities of the killers. As always this information comes to us from sources that cannot be disclosed for their own safety but the issue is what do we do with this information. Its of little comfort to the family and it simply confirms what we already know, that these killings are politically motivated, directed from the highest level in government and executed by professionals. The police will do nothing as usual.

The local media picked up my report of maize meal shortages in the south of the country last week. They went to the millers and were told there are no problems – they are meeting demand. I am afraid that is still not true, in Matebeleland on Saturday there were no stocks at the major millers – one small miller told us he had stocks. There were no stocks at Gwanda and Beitbridge and wholesalers and retailers told me there had been near panic the previous week when supplies ran out. What is going on? After 30 years in agricultural marketing in this country, I fear the worse. There is no transparency on the government side of the equation. We do not know what stocks the GMB holds or their condition and we do not know what exports have taken place or have been committed. We simply know that free market supplies are drying up and it is now that the GMB should step in with supplies from stocks. If they do not or cannot, we are in trouble and it will be worse than the fuel crisis. Only 10 per cent of the population drive motor vehicles, 98 per cent depend on maize meal for their daily sustenance.

As for the current season, we are hot and dry in the south. The north has had good rains and the tobacco crop looks good – if we can get the coal industry off their butts to deliver farm needs. However the food crop situation does not look at all good. Travel around the country and you see very little maize in the ground and often the crop looks poor. Cotton so far looks OK as well but the eastern districts are also dry and unless we get another cyclone, they may not get enough rainfall to support timber, tea and coffee crops.

On the legal front the government has tried two tactics to hold up or nullify the MDC challenges to the June election results. They are trying to delay the hearings and are also trying to prevent them altogether. The Supreme Court allowed a limited delay until the 19th of January for these preliminary hearings to allow the government time to hire South African based lawyers to represent them. These lawyers better not be white with Afrikaans sounding names!! In addition to these cases we are also pressing ahead with the case on funding and also a legal challenge on the issue of urban council elections. If we do not get satisfaction on the former perhaps we should attach Zanu PF property to get our money back from them. In the case of the latter, if we do not get change shortly, lets put a rates boycott in place and see how long the local authorities can last without our financial support.

Eddie Cross

7th January 2000.

Please note that this note is personal and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Movement for Democratic Change.

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’Southern African strategy against Mugabe has failed’ - Business day: 8 January 2000
Government Deploys More Troops To Congo War Front - Zimbabwe Independent (Harare) January 5, 2001
’Southern African strategy against Mugabe has failed’

Business day: 8 January 2000
SOUTHERN African leaders’ policies of “constructive engagement” toward Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has failed, Britain’s foreign minister for Africa said.

The Zimbabwean crisis threatens the entire region of southern Africa, Peter Hain told The Sunday Independent from his Cape Town holiday home.

“I sometimes wonder whether the leadership of southern Africa understands the gravity of the situation,” he was quoted as saying.

“Constructive engagement seems to have failed. Mugabe has created a police state climate comparable to the one that imprisoned him.”

Violence, chaos and a severe economic crisis dominated last year in Zimbabwe. Political violence surrounding June parliamentary elections killed 32 people and left thousands homeless. Human rights groups said the violence was part of an orchestrated campaign of intimidation staged by Mugabe’s party.

The opposition won 57 of 120 elected seats in the elections. The ruling party had controlled all but three seats in the previous parliament.

Ruling party militants are illegally occupying 1 700 white-owned farms, and Mugabe has launched a programme to nationalise 3 000 white-owned farms to redistribute the land to poor blacks. Courts have ruled the programme illegal.

Throughout the crisis, SA President Thabo Mbeki has been reluctant to publicly criticise Mugabe, instead choosing a strategy of quiet diplomacy.

Hain said the Zimbabwean crisis was the most damaging of all the African crises he had dealt with since taking office 18 months ago.

“The one that hammered confidence the most is Zimbabwe, because it is a potential powerhouse, with good infrastructure, a good skills base and a potentially dynamic economy. It should be boosting growth and energy in its neighbourhood, not dragging them down,” he said. — Sapa-AP

Government Deploys More Troops To Congo War Front

Dumisani Muleya/Brian Hungwe

Zimbabwe is deploying more troops to the southern front of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to strengthen the allied forces' shaky defence lines and stem rebel advances as renewed fighting in the war intensifies, it was learnt this week.

Information at hand shows that government has dispatched 1.1 Infantry Battalion based at Induna Barracks in Bulawayo to the Congo war front. This follows the fall of Pweto and Pepa last month.

A Zimbabwean battalion has up to 1 000 soldiers.

It is understood that government has also deployed specialised paratroopers from the Parachute Group based at Inkomo Barracks, about 40km outside Harare, to reinforce the allied ranks.

"About 130 members belonging to Company B from Inkomo Barracks went to the DRC in early December following the defeat and crossing into Zambia of Zimbabwean and Congolese government forces," a military source told the Zimbabwe Independent.

"Companies A and C will follow anytime now as reinforcements. They are currently on stand-by," the source said.

About 300 Zimbabwean soldiers and thousands of Congolese FAC forces of President Laurent Kabila fled into Zambia after rebels seized the strategic towns in the south-eastern extreme of the country. The Zimbabwean soldiers who fled the fighting have since been returned to the front.

Reports say Joseph Kabila, the Congolese leader's son who was involved in the Pweto and Pepa battles, also escaped the rebel onslaught with senior Zimbabwean commanders and Burundian Hutu militia leaders aboard a ferry named Alliance along the Luvua River.

They abandoned on a soccer field a Mi-17 jet fighter that had earlier brought them to Pweto, it was reported.

Military sources said the latest developments in the conflict which has degenerated into a war of attrition have also prompted government to put on standby more specialised combat soldiers from 1 Commando based at Cranborne Barracks. Hundreds of soldiers have also been waiting at Cranborne Barracks to return to the DRC since last year.

They were being delayed by fuel shortages and lack of transport, sources say.

Government usually hires planes from other countries including Russia and Ukraine to ferry troops to and from the Congo because it does not have its own air transports capable of ferrying a full company. But sources say it was now difficult for government to continue hiring planes from abroad due to foreign currency shortages.

While troops have been moving up and down from the Congo on routine rotational schedules, sources pointed out the current movements included new deployments. In September government sent eight pilots to Libya for training who were set to come back next month. Sources said they would be immediately sent to the Congo.

Zimbabwe has between 11 000 and 12 000 troops in the Congo.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the fall of Pweto and Pepa - which came after the allied forces' massive attack on rebel lines turned into a bloody retreat - could change the course of the 30- month old civil war. Rwandan commanders have described the fighting on the southern front as the most intense in the war yet.

"At the southern extreme of a ragged front line that winds 1 400 miles across Congo lies a ferry, dirty pink and half-submerged in the muddy Luvua River," wrote Karl Vick of the Washington Post Foreign Service this week after touring Congo.

"Facing it on a gravel ramp stand the burned-out husks of 33 military vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, trucks, an ambulance waiting in a line that never moved forward. Unopened syringes lie underfoot, amid charred tyres and a trampled note that a fleeing Congolese junior officer left behind," the Post said.

Two howitzers, two T-62 tanks and at least a half-dozen armoured personnel carriers were left intact for the Rwandans, as well as three ammunition dumps and an arms cache with about 1 000 rifles.

The American newspaper explains how the renewed fighting started on the southern front:

"On October 15, Kabila's troops launched a massive assault on Rwandan-held positions in the southeast, striking 100 miles north of Pweto at the town of Pepa. Six weeks later, as happened in the northwest, Kabila's forces once again lost far more than they gained."

It was said that the Congolese forces attacked and shelled Pweto reinforced by armoured personnel carriers and British-made Hawk combat aircraft from Zimbabwe. The Interahamwe militias - who Rwandans were in pursuit of - were said to form part of the allied offensive and their subsequent retreat.

Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe are fighting alongside Kabila while Rwanda and Uganda are backing a consortium of Congolese rebel movements.

Rwandan officials accuse Presidents Mugabe and Kabila of acting in bad faith during recent peace negotiations which led to the signing of the disengagement plan in Harare and the 15-km withdrawal agreement.

"We were really talking about withdrawing 120 miles to an operational zone closer to Rwanda," said Colonel Charles Kayonga, defence adviser to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. "Kabila must have misread our position. He apparently thought we were weak," he said.

The Post explained what transpired later on.

"What ensued, according to Rwandan and Congolese soldiers alike, was a three-week running battle across the 100 miles between Pepa and Pweto. Weeks later, the road south towards Pweto remained speckled not only with green and white butterflies, but with corpses - here the body of a young man cut down clutching an AK-47, here a splayed green poncho topped by a skull."

"By December 1, the Rwandan forces had Pweto nearly in sight, approaching the lakeside plain around the town on an abandoned road...," the Post said. "By the evening of December 3, when Rwandans entered the town, the civilian population had pushed en masse down a muddy road into Zambia, and Kabila's forces were betraying something like panic."

"The Rwandans are very strong; they do flanking actions," said a Congo- lese government soldier, Selester Mbanza, from a hospital bed in Nchelenge, Zambia. "They get around people. That's how they fight. They use the right tactics. They came when we were resting and we have been distracted," he told the Post.

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MDC      At work for you
Rural District Council By-Election 26-27th January 2001 - Southern Region

Date: Friday, January 05, 2001 12:10 PM

Rural District Council Vacant Seat By-Elections - 26th and 27th January

The above by-elections are due to take place throughout the country on the
above dates. Southern Region has 24 vacant seats.

It is important that MDC gains a foothold in all District Councils whenever
they are contested

Unconfirmed reports have been received that possible candidates for the MDC
have already been intimidated. In one case a supporter has been chased from
his area to seek refuge. We need to provide support to all candidates who
are nominated and selected to stand as councillors in their individual
Council Wards.

Nominations will take place on the 9th January 2001. The vacant seats are

Matabeleland North

  a.. Bubi Ward 16
  b.. Lupane Ward 14
  c.. Nkayi Wards 7, 15, 20
Prvincial Chairman: Mogen Komichi tel: 011430921, Hwange 3564.

Matabeleland South

  a.. Bulilimamangwe Wards 10, 11
Provincial Chairman: Rabson Tlou tel: 011215756


  a.. Gokwe South Wards 7, 21, 30.
  b.. Gokwe North Ward 2
  c.. Tongogara Ward 8
  d.. Mberengwa Ward 27
  e.. Zibagwe Ward 4
Provincial Chairman: North Isaac Mzimba tel 055 46049, South J Gondo tel:


  a.. Chibi Wards 30, 5
  b.. Chiredzi Wards 7, 16,17,24
  c.. Masvingo Wards 12, 18
  d.. Zaka Ward 1
  e.. Mwenezi Ward 15
Provincial Chairman: Shaky Matake tel; 023894538, 023819220, 039 63592

Please pass this message on to as many people as possible as volunteers are
required to assist in each individual constituency campaign. Volunteers
should contact the Provincial Chairman as indicated above.

MDC Support (Southern Region), Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
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  • MDC youths tortured - ZStd
  • Zimbabwe grapples with economic crisis - PANA
  • Part One of The New Scramble for Africa

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 7 January

Arrested MDC youths tortured in Bikita West

CIO officers and police detectives have been torturing the MDC youths arrested for political violence in Bikita, the party has alleged. Speaking from Masvingo yesterday, MDC national chairman for youth, Nelson Chamisa, accused CIO operatives and detectives of torturing the MDC youths. Chamisa said the operatives had been entering the cells where the youths were being held and harassing them. "Our youths have complained that they are being tortured by CIO and CID officers. We don't know why the police are allowing this to happen. They have been professional all along but I do not know why they have changed their attitude. We are worried about the torture of our youths and we think this is a very unfair practice but again it is just one of those things to expect from the Zanu PF bag of dirty tricks," said Chamisa.

Chamisa said they had taken up the issue with the police. The officer commanding Masvingo province, senior assistant commissioner, Emmanuel Chimwanda said he had received the reports but was still investigating them. "I received the complaint yesterday (Friday). The guys are being screened at Zaka and I have not yet been there but I will be visiting Zaka soon. That is when I will be able to tell you whether the allegations are true or not," said Chimwanda yesterday morning.

On Thursday, police arrested 97 MDC supporters at a place they claimed was an MDC hideout. The police said the majority of the youths were from outside Masvingo province but this claim has been refuted by MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai. He told a news conference on Friday that only 32 of the arrested youths were from outside Masvingo. Tsvangirai said they would be deploying more youths to the area to campaign for the party. Chamisa said the arrest of the youths was a ploy by the ruling party to cripple the MDC campaign. He said the youths had not engaged in any violence save to defend themselves from Zanu PF attacks.

The youths, said Chamisa, had been deployed to give confidence to the MDC supporters in the area who were afraid to come out in the open fearing Zanu PF instigated violence. "Zanu PF has been instilling fear and intimidation into the people and we came to Bikita to reassure our supporters and encourage them to go out and vote. Now they want to stop us from carrying out this function so that there is apathy. Zanu PF wants to cut us from the people hence they arrested our youths. It should be known that we are not fighting a political party but a culture of violence," said Chamisa who also accused the police of acting as if they were an arm of the ruling party. Chimwanda yesterday morning described the situation in the area as calm but said he would not tolerate "nonsense" from any political party.

From Pan African News Agency, 7 January

Zimbabweans Grapple With Economic Crisis

Harare - In March last year, Zimbabwean furniture maker, Fungai Mandiwanza, drew up plans to expand his enterprise to regional markets by the start of 2001, with the greater part of the investment coming from a hard-won bank loan. But 12 months later, he has shelved export plans and cut staff by more than half to 13 to survive. "I didn't know 12 months could make such a big difference in business. I'm almost bankrupt and yet at the beginning of last year I was so financially stable," he said, starring at bank correspondence demanding immediate repayment of the loan he had secured for the shelved furniture export project.

Mandiwanza, a carpenter-turned entrepreneur, is in a typical situation most Zimbabwean businessmen find themselves in as the southern African country grapples with its worst economic crisis in two decades. Zimbabwe, with inflation and interest rates of more than 60 percent, and unemployment of over 50 percent, has the weakest economic fundamentals in the region, if not the whole of Africa. The country is under undeclared international sanctions for pursuing a land reform programme disapproved by powerful Western countries, led by former colonial master Britain. Both the IMF and the World Bank, under pressure from the big Western nations, pulled the plug on Zimbabwe last year, under the guise the government was not seriously committed to economic reform.

The IMF alone withdrew a balance of payments support package worth US$193 million, influencing several other multilateral and bilateral donors to similarly cut off aid to the country last year. Unable to access crucial international funding, the economy has been in free fall since, experiencing acute shortages of most imported products such as power and fuel which were rationed throughout 2000. It declined by 4.2% last year, while the budget deficit ballooned to 23 percent from a planned 3.8 percent. The sectoral slump was even much worse. The manufacturing sector declined by 10.5 percent, tourism by 16 percent and mining by 14 percent. The agriculture industry, the mainstay of the economy, however, grew by three percent last year; not enough to stabilise the whole economy.

It is against this background that Mandiwanza and other Zimbabwean entrepreneurs are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their businesses afloat, let alone pursue expansion plans, however viable. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), the country's main business representative body, says more than 800 companies in the manufacturing sector alone closed shop last year because of the prevailing unstable macro-economic situation in the country, particularly shortage of foreign currency. "Several companies have informed us that they are closing down for good or will re-open when the situation gets back to normal, but if things do not improve, even more companies will be forced to close their businesses," said CZI business development manager, Bernard Mubvute. "The issue of foreign currency needs to be addressed urgently. Companies do not have the money to import raw materials, so they are having to close their businesses," he said.

A survey carried out by the CZI last year indicated most of its members were operating at a maximum of 50 percent of capacity due to the myriad of difficulties businesses faced in the country. Its counterpart, the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), says more than 60,000 jobs in the formal sector were lost in the first ten months of last year, and expects the figure to be much higher this year. But the government, which is widely blamed for the economy's troubles, says Zimbabwe's difficulties are largely caused by external factors beyond its control, citing inflation and low mineral prices, among others. "A lot of inflation is not because of the goods we produce here. A lot of inflation is imported," President Robert Mugabe told the nation in a New Year message. He also blamed the economic crisis on low prices for Zimbabwe's chief agricultural and mineral exports, and denied his government had mismanaged the economy. "I know that there are areas where the government is being blamed for following wrong policies and that we are responsible for prices going up," he said.

But critics of the government say top-level corruption in the public service, excessive state borrowing, among other factors, were chiefly responsible for the country's economic ills. Senior government officials allegedly siphoned off billions of dollars from a state-owned oil company, while the cash-strapped administration is borrowing more than Z$2 billion a week on the local capital markets to finance its operations. The government partly admits its rising domestic debt, estimated at more than Z$200 billion, was crowding out the private sector from the capital markets and hardening interest rates. "Government is increasingly spending beyond its means, for consumption, at the expense of capital investment," Finance Minister Simba Makoni said in a budget speech in November. Economists say they were pessimistic 2001 would be any better for the economy, unless the government restored links to international capital. "Our long-term salvation lies in the government re-establishing contacts with the IMF, World Bank and other international financial players. We need their assistance desperately," said a bank economist.

The New Scramble for Africa
Part One - Introductory Comments, Summary of Information, and Introduction
Introductory comments

Corruption in Zimbabwe is on the rise. Over the past few years, the local and international press has reported a number of cases supposedly involving the President, his wife, his relatives, ministers in his government, civil servants, public figures, and officials in Zanu PF - who are in many cases the same people. When trying to assess the nature of this corruption, it is helpful to bear in mind that Zanu PF is not just a political party. It is also - and some would argue has primarily become - a financial empire. It is an organisation that is not restricted to Zimbabwe, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that it has ambitions which stretch beyond the borders of Zimbabwe well into the southern and central African region, and further afield.

A fully coherent set of information on the extent and degree of this corruption is lacking - not least because much of the legal and corporate data which should be publicly available is missing, lost or simply outdated. For instance, of 98 companies recently researched in the records maintained by the Registrar of Companies in Harare, more than half had either outdated or missing records or were not registered at all. For those companies where records exist - only 40% of those investigated - many had no owners of record and only listed company directors.

The information on this and associated pages is therefore drawn from an incomplete and in many respects inaccessible database. The information has been drawn from a multiplicity of sources - published newspaper and magazine articles, limited company documentation, and personal interviews with business people and civil society representatives. Some of this information cannot be verified or tied up with other corroborative evidence, in part due to the physical dangers of "digging too deeply". As a result there may be errors of detail in this information - we encourage readers to flesh out and correct the information where they feel they can contribute.

It should also be stressed that there is nothing inherently wrong with public figures having private business interests - so long as they are conducted transparently and in an publicly accountable manner. What is of concern is the secretive manner in which many of the commercial transactions involving public figures are conducted - whether in the simple matter of who owns and controls what, the awarding of government contracts, or the reprehensible and predatory business practices employed to extend the influence of individuals, the government, and Zanu PF.

A brief summary of the information in The New Scramble for Africa

1.  Nowhere is there hard evidence that President Mugabe is personally implicated. There are only two mentions of his name. The first is from the 1992 US Senate Hearing into the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, where a witness alleged that Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo had been given a bag full of cash, and a subsequent payment of US$500 000 from the BCCI branch in Park Lane in London, in return for preferential banking rights in Zimbabwe. The second is in the revelations in December 2000 of the bribery involved in the awarding of the contract to build the Harare International Airport, in which it was alleged that the President's Borrowdale home had been financed, in part at least, by AHT, the company which was awarded the contract to build the airport.

2.  It is difficult to establish what precisely is owned by individuals, and what is owned by Zanu PF. For example, Emmerson Mnangagwa sits on the boards of 14 companies that are wholly or partially owned by Zanu PF. However, the information does not show that he has any private holdings in any of these companies, except Oporto Investments. Likewise, it is difficult to tell if there are individual interests in the holding companies that have been established by Zanu PF to warehouse shares in private sector companies that Zanu PF claims it will eventually redistribute to Zimbabwean citizens.

3.  Over the past few years a core power group has emerged with respect to the Party's financial interests. The group includes three Zanu PF insiders - Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sidney Sekeramayi, and Vitalis Zvinavashe - and two prominent business associates - Mutumwa Mawere and Philip Chiyangwa. There is some evidence that the latter individuals are being used by Zanu PF to disrupt legitimate businesses via corruption investigations while Zanu PF attempts to purchase a share of the business. Current cases in point include Kingdom Holdings and Econet Wireless.

A major focus of this group has been to identify and tap sources of financing to be used to expand the Party's - and their own - business empires. Efforts have included : Mnangagwa's attempts to tap into Zimbabwe's pension funds; Mawere's efforts to establish the African Resources Investment Trust to mobilise South African investors; and the Party's involvement with Oryx Natural Resources and Petra Diamonds. Each of these attempts has been stymied in one way or another. If they had been successful, it would not have been a surprise if the Zimbabwe government's privatisation programme had been speeded up to allow the group to buy into prime state-owned assets. Their major target continues to be the state-owned mineral and mining assets.

4.  There is clear evidence that the Development Trust of Zimbabwe, founded by Joshua Nkomo, and its members, has been marginalised by Zanu PF. Many of the companies started by the Trust have either gone bankrupt or are moribund.


Building on the explorations of men like Speke, Livingstone, and Burton, the European powers in the last half of the 19th century sought to stake out their claims to the vast hinterland of Africa. Dubbed The Scramble for Africa by author and historian Thomas Pakenham, this frantic and often bloody colonial expansion saw the British, French and Portuguese fighting over territory in southern Africa, the French, Spanish and British jockeying for possession in west Africa, the British, Germans and French fighting over east Africa, and the Belgians and French vying for chunks of central Africa.

These expansions were undertaken not only for God and country, but to control the rich natural resources the continent was believed to contain. Lieutenant Cameron, a British officer and the first European to walk across Africa, is quoted in Pakenham's book as describing the continent as "a magnificent and healthy country of unspeakable richness. I have a small amount of good coal; other minerals such as gold, copper, iron and silver are abundant, and I am confident that with a wise and liberal (not lavish) expenditure of capital, one of the greatest systems of inland navigation in the world might be utilised, and from 30 to 36 months begin to repay any enterprising capitalist that might take the matter in hand..." Lieutenant Cameron was referring to the Congo River.

The colonial pattern was virtually the same in all areas : to seize as much land as possible, consolidate power over local inhabitants, fend off foreign competitors and begin developing the infrastructure required to move valuable minerals, agricultural products, and timber to processors, manufacturers and consumer markets back home. Two world wars and the growth of African nationalism in the mid-1900's has left Africa with 52 independent states. With independence, one would have thought that the scramble for Africa and its resources was over.

But it's not. Evidence from Zimbabwe leads one to believe that a new scramble is emerging. It isn't driven by the old colonial powers but is emanating from the national leadership within Africa itself. It focuses on the control of the infrastructure needed to move Africa's resource wealth to the hungry markets in the developed world.

This serialisation will lay out the structure of the new scramble for central African resources and the role that Robert Mugabe, the current president of Zimbabwe, and his local and international business partners are playing in the process. The stakes are high and involve the control of cobalt, copper, diamond and timber resources in the Congo, Zambia's immense copper deposits, and Zimbabwe's gold, copper, platinum, nickel and asbestos reserves. It lays out Zimbabwe's growing involvement in the southern African rail network, its efforts to control the supply of petroleum products in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and the DRC, and the plans to take over lucrative mining operations in Zimbabwe and the DRC. It involves Persian Gulf, European, Israeli and South African finance, Zimbabwean political and military muscle, and the control Zimbabwe exerts over African markets and an international web of interlocking companies.

Tomorrow - Part Two - 'The Rise of Zanu Inc.' and ' A Grand Strategy - or muddling through?'

BBC: Sunday, 7 January, 2001, 16:32 GMT

African leaders: Who should quit?

This weekend Ghana's JJ Rawlings will be stepping down after 19 years in power.

What has been his contribution to Ghana and to Africa? Has he brought peace and prosperity to what was a chaotic and corrupt country? Or was he simply a ruthless military dictator in civilian disguise keeping dissent at bay through fear and intimidation?

And as we start a new year, which other leaders in Africa would you like to see follow his example by leaving office? Whose time, do you think, is up?

A selection of your e-mails will be broadcast on Focus on Africa during the 1705 edition on Saturday.

To have your say click on the line below:

It was quite pleasing to see Jerry Rawlings stepping down to pave the way for new leadership in Ghana. I think next on the list has to be Presidents Moi of Kenya and of course, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. These two ruthless dictators have presided over the wanton destruction of their countries.
Barnabas Otish, Ugandan, Ontario, Canada

Personally I think all African presidents should stay in office for not more than four years because that's the only time a president needs to prove to his people what he can do for the country instead of what the country can do for him.
D. Kabia, Sierra Leone

All presidents and so-called leaders who do not have the best interests of Africa and her people in mind and heart should go. They know who they are!
Sikelela Afrika, USA

Europe has formed a union that seems to do very well. Why can't Africa do the same?
Bayamin Ahmed, Canada

The process of democratisation is definitely taking root in Africa and must continue. It is to be hoped that those elected will deliver and not bring change for the sake of it. Africans must also be careful not to bring political change out of desperation. Otherwise you end up with the likes of Chiluba who wants to perpetuate his stay even though he cannot deliver. It will take another revolution and sacrifice to remove such leaders.
M. Mabengano, Italy

Thabo Mbeki must go. As head of government of the "economic powerhouse of Africa", he is a leader who doesn't want to lead. He simply gets dragged along by Southern Africa's de facto leader, Robert Mugabe.
Anonymous, South Africa

I can't think of anyone other than our own Yaya Jammeh. I believe it's time for him to leave after failing to fulfil the promises he made to the Gambian people. The unemployment rate is high, people are hungry and above all, many have been innocently tortured and murdered.
Lamin A. Tunkara, Gambia

I really believe it is time for Mugabe of Zimbabwe to go. The people of that country should take a lesson from the Serbians and kick that devil out.
Alhassan Yakubu-Tali, Germany

How about all of them???
Ssubi Kiwanuka, Uganda

Perhaps the most corrupt dictatorial regimes of all are the IMF and the World Bank. They have systemically impoverished the poorest nations of the world by devaluing their currencies and by making their economies serve the interests of the rich, not ordinary citizens. When these men in grey suits in New York stop making decisions against the interests of more than half the world's population, Africans will see true democratic and fair government.
N. Friend, Ghana

If only these so-called Heads of State could hear our voices. But they never learn, do they? They just age in their presidential seats and wait for nothing short of a coup d'etat in order to be uprooted.
Adjoa Niava, Côte d'Ivoire

It is interesting how we Africans blame the western society for having this mess while African leaders by far has yet to achieved something tangible for his/ her people. Some one needs to step down willingly or show a true democracy work its way in to Africa.
Yosief B, USA

As I read through the views of my respected fellow BBC readers, one thing is for sure. Most African countries are led through dictatorship. You all know whom I'm talking about. These leaders know who they are and they must go. All of them.
Peter Mungai, Charlotte, USA/ Kenyan

I think you are all talking nonsense. The question in my opinion is not who should or shouldn't go. The real question is whether any elected African president will be accepted by the so-called Western powers. Whoever serves their interests is likely to be supported and assisted financially.
Petty Achard Nzau, Congolese in the UK

I believe the question of which leader should go next is not all that easy because who knows what the next leader will be like? We, as Africans in general, should consider what we can do individually to help our respective countries. We always blame our leaders but we do nothing to help. I congratulate J.J Rawlings for his good intentions and hard work to help Ghana.
Isaac Addo-Bekoe, Canada

Definitely the ruling party of Ethiopia. These people came to power by the gun, they are so corrupt. I don't even think they have a clue as to what they are supposed to do besides enriching their families, friends and people of their ethnic group, the Tigri.

Because he is bereft of any plausible ideas, morally bankrupt, corrupt to the core, suffering from chronic megalomania and has turned a stable and decent country into the scourge of the earth, President Paul Biya of Cameroon has outlived his usefulness and should do mankind a favour and go immediately.
Liki Malafa, USA

Kagame should most definitely go. All he has done is endanger the very existence of his Tutsi people. In a very short time, he has managed to turn practically all Africans against them - even his former allies, the Ugandans and Congolese. He needs to leave the office to someone who will withdraw from Congo and try to reconcile the peoples of the region. This will be the only way to avoid future genocide.
Kabasubabo Wa Ntumba, USA

Mugabe has to be given a first class ticket to the great beyond. I say first class as this is what he has grown used to in the last twenty years. The fact that Zimbabweans are starving and suffering doesn't bother him. He is the joke of African leadership.
IW, Zimbabwe

Unfortunately, almost all African leaders are there by the bullet and not by the ballot. If they were to appear in a US court, they would be found guilty of murder of one degree or another. There must be a "term limit" for all African leaders.
Seyoum Berhe, USA

The time is up for General Omar al-Bashir. It's New Year in a New Millennium and all Africa's dictator leaders must go. We need democratic, peaceful administration in the region for the new century.
Gatwech Lok, Sydney, Australia/ South Sudan

There are so many that ought to quit that it is better summarised this way: All African leaders, quit and make way for the UK Tories led by Hague. That will result in great improvements both in Africa and the UK.
Miklos Nomad, Hungary

Museveni should be the next one to go followed by Kagame next year. For the sake of peace in Africa and the Great Lakes region they should be removed by all means. We are just fed-up with the war they are waging in the Congo
Manu Manun'Ebo, UK

All African presidents, including my own, who have only produced regimes of "democratic disappointments" and have not helped improved the lot of their citizens must be shown the exit. They belong to the political museum. African people long for political renewal.
Anthony Musonda, Zambian student in Germany

Robert Mugabe of the Republic of Zimbabwe definitely should get the gold medal in the departure olympics. Charles Taylor Liberia should get the silver. Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya should get the bronze. Dishonourable mention also goes to Enyadema of Togo, Jammeh of Gambia and Kabila of Congo (D.R.).
Kofi Brobbey, USA/Ghana

I agree that the question is not who should go, but who should stay? Across Africa there is a litany of maladministration and corruption by leaders of almost every country on the continent. The problem with getting rid of any of them is that you just get another lot who proceed to behave in exactly the same way - I am reminded of the French saying, which translates to "the more things change, the more they remain the same" - alas, it remains consistently true in Africa. But I'd like to see the back of Mugabe sooner than any other.
James, UK

Mr. Charles Taylor should definitely get out. It is clear that he is playing president. His lack of social, economical or infrastructure agenda is a clear indication of his inability to govern the struggling masses of Liberia. Mr. Taylor is more of a hindrance to Liberia's development. Mr. Taylor destabilisation of the West African region and his greed for the region's natural resources speaks for itself.
Charles S. Mombo, Liberia

Robert Mugabe should be the next one to go. He has over twenty years turned a once promising country based on non-racism and equality to one based on the ethnic hatred and corruption of the worst order. The ideals fought for during the Smith regime days have been abandoned for greed and power. Mugabe came with the overwhelming goodwill of the whole world and has totally abused it. He should go now.
RC, Zimbabwe

Eyadema should definitely go. He is a ruthless leader who killed the father of independence Mr Gilchrist Olympio and has maintained a strong hold on Togo. Today he has turned the country into a serious economic disaster to the point that most public and civil servants are without salaries.
Prospa, Canada/ Togo

José Eduardo Dos Santos is one of the most corrupt leaders of Africa. It is a shame the international community seems willing to support his petty dictatorship for the sake of oil supplies. Were Angola a poor country José Eduardo should have been ousted a long time ago.
Adriano Santos, Angola, studying in Portugal

Robert Gabriel Mugabe has outstayed his welcome. He's a huge threat and liability to the integrity of the Zimbabwean people and Southern Africa He must go even before the 2002 presidential elections
Felix, Aussie of Zimbabwean decent

One leader that has escaped the magnifying glass is the Guinean President, Lansana Conteh. The recent rebel activities on the borders of that country demonstrates that Guineans are yearning for a new leader.
Abdul, USA

Muluzi will be remembered in history books as the first president in democratic Malawi. If rumours are true that he wants to change the constitution and seek a third term, he will end up becoming another Mugabe. It is time for him to go too. Malawi has about 9 million people and surely we can find somebody to rule us after him. I am counting the years......
Clement Terence Chiwaya, Malawian in USA

I nominate Isayas Afeworki of Eritrea for a graceful exit. His track record as leader of the new nation of Eritrea has so far been shameful. He has, so far, managed to alienate this poor small nation from all its neighbours and has been responsible for a disastrous war with Ethiopia causing thousands of youths to perish for a senseless cause. Unfortunately, there is no opposition party to challenge this mad man of the Horn.
Fesseha, USA

Hats off to J. Rawlings as he calls it a day. From the little I know about him, he has done his best to develop Ghana. When I visited the country in the 90's, I learnt that he had delivered clean water and electricity to every village. He deserves applause from all of us. Rawlings is following the example set by Nyerere of Tanzania, Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Masire of Botswana. When it is time to go, it is time to go. It is a shame that leaders like Robert Mugabe still want remain in power after the red card has been raised both locally and internationally.
E. Kuwanda, USA

President Rawlings has proved to be Ghana's most outstanding ruler, second only to Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Africa needs more leaders of this calibre.
Kofi Osei, Germany

I think about 90% of all African leaders should resign. Rawlings has set a good example for others to follow. Until dictators are wiped out from Africa, the continent will still remain very poor.
Yaw Acquaah, Ghana

Two Presidents come to mind immediately - Moi and Mugabe. Moi has been in power for over 22 years, Mugabe for just over 13 years. Both have presided over a gradual but devastating ruin of their respective countries - Kenya and Zimbabwe. The two countries were once among the most promising in Africa. They are now in social and economic turmoil, struggling to even feed themselves. The sad part is that even if Moi and Mugabe were to leave today, their countries would need at least a decade to recover to where they were at independence.
Khan, USA

As a West African from Ghana, I think President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone should be the next to go. West African leaders have spent too much money and have lost too many soldiers trying to prop up the man's presidency. He should go and allow someone with backbone and vision to deal with that country's problems.
Charles Owusu, Ghana

I think president Obasanjo of Nigeria should go. He has done absolutely nothing to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians or meet 10 percent of his campaign promises. I don't even think he has a clue as to what he is supposed to do besides corruptly enriching his family, friends and people of his ethnic group, the Yorubas.
Uche Esealuka, Nigeria

I think Robert Mugabe should go! He has long overstayed his welcome. In my opinion he stands in the company of Mobuto and Amin... the worst leaders the continent has seen.
Mndeni, South Africa

Charles Taylor's time has definitely expired. He is a ruthless leader who is a menace to the entire region. He MUST go!
Charles, USA

Arap Moi, Mugabe, Eyadema - these old hands have overstayed their welcome. They have brought down their countries with them. Not only economically but with their citizens tolerating their leadership they have also depreciated the esteem and honour with which their citizens are held.
Daniel, Ghana

I wish President Rawlings well after January 7. We should give the devil his due. The leaders of Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, Togo, Libya, Zambia and Burkina Faso should emulate President Rawlings' example and give way to new faces on the political scene in Africa.
Alexander Owusu-Kwakye, UK

I think Charles Taylor should be next to exit the political scene. This man is a menace to the entire sub-region of West Africa. There will never be any peace, as long as this man is president of that country; The unrest will keep on circulating around the sub-region.
Henry Smythe, Sierra Leone

I personally think the question should be who shouldn't go because I'm sure most Africans are going to say their presidents should go. It is a shame to see a president who is so old that he can't allow his current photo to appear on the ballot paper but still believes he is the right man for the job!!
Ephraim Noble Banadda, Ugandan studying in Belgium

My humble suggestion is for the President of Sierra Leone to step down next month when his democratic mandate ends. Any attempt by him or his rubber stamping parliament to extend their mandate will lead to bloodshed in the city next month. These people must go and allow a transitional government to run the country.
Frank During, Sierra Leone

Definitely, the next person who needs to leave office is Yaya Jammeh, the current president of The Gambia. Not only did he come to power by the gun, he has also greatly diminished the freedoms of Gambians who, until his advent to power, have never known intimidation from their government.
Fatima, USA

  • Hain slams SADC leaders - SInd
  • Mugabe warned of isolation - STel
  • MDC accused appear in court - Star
  • What a waste - NWitness
  • Nigerian peacekeepers for DRC? - PANA
  • Ebola scare spreads to DRC - Star
  • DRC stowaways rescued off Cape Town - SArgus

From The Sunday Independent (SA), 7 January

Hain slams SADC leaders for 'ignoring Mugabe'

Southern African leaders' policies of "constructive engagement" towards President Robert Mugabe had failed and Zimbabwe threatened to drag South Africa and the rest of the region down with it. The blunt assessment was given this week by Peter Hain, the British foreign office minister for Africa, in an interview with The Sunday Independent at his Cape holiday home. He said: "I sometimes wonder whether the leadership of southern Africa understands the gravity of the situation. Constructive engagement seems to have failed. Mugabe has created a police state climate comparable to the one that imprisoned him. How a freedom struggle can be so badly prostituted is a question for Zanu and Mugabe's conscience."

A consistently outspoken opponent of Mugabe's land grabs, Hain went even further in his criticism this week. He suggested that an "African solution", which was put forward by President Thabo Mbeki last year instead of outright Western condemnation of Mugabe, had not materialised. "I see absolutely no sign of it. It's not an easy task for SADC leaders. I'm not sure Mugabe listens to Mbeki or [Mozambique President Joaquim] Chissano or anyone, any more than to [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair or [British foreign secretary Robyn] Cook or Hain. "What you have is a crisis for a subcontinent, not just one country." He said he was concerned that the situation was not being treated by southern African leaders with as much urgency as it warranted.

Hain said he wondered if the sub-continent's leaders fathomed what their responsibilities were "because the truth is, no matter how frustrated I am that no differentiation is being made between South Africa and Zimbabwe, in boardrooms where they make the decisions they don't distinguish". While he told investors that South Africa had taken the tough decisions to prepare itself to be an investor-friendly environment as a global economic partner, investors said: "Yes, yes, but if they grab other people's land in Zimbabwe, will they grab my company across the border? Why should I invest in Africa instead of Asia, when there are such problems?"

Hain said at the start of his 18 months in office "the African renaissance was very exciting to support. "We also had to contend with Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, the drought in Ethiopia, then the war with Eritrea, and the conflict dragging on in Congo. "Of all those, the one that hammered confidence the most is Zimbabwe, because it is a potential powerhouse, with good infrastructure, a good skills base and a potentially dynamic economy. It should be boosting growth and energy in its neighbours, not dragging them down."

Hain expressed not only frustration but serious concern about his inability to persuade the British press or European investors to back South Africa. "I spend frustrating hours with investors, not just because it's my job but because I genuinely think South Africa is great place to invest in. I would if I were an investor." Hain was effusive in his praise for South Africa's progress in 10 years, and critical of whites who have "amnesia" about the past. "Most of the whites don't know how lucky they are. They were rescued just in time." But he made it clear that a new urgency had to be injected into the present situation. "South Africa has presented sceptics with gift horses in one year which are quite damaging - Aids and Zimbabwe - and the government knows it. When Mbeki came to London he was very impressive, but he's up against it in terms of South Africa's credibility."

Hain is disappointed by the decline of Zimbabwe, the first cause he took up in Britain when he campaigned against Ian Smith, the Rhodesian prime minister. Hain said he viewed white skills as important. Referring to a campaign to put pressure on whites to leave their farms, he said the irony was that two presidents of neighbouring countries had told Mugabe that if he heard of any farmers wanting to leave Zimbabwe, he should tell them the African presidents would like to have them. He said Zimbabwe remained a country Britain would like to support in numerous ways, including land reform and anti-poverty programmes. "What Mugabe has done is turn his back on probably £100-million of donor assistance. It's still there." Hain conceded land grabs had been part of a strategy to keep Mugabe in power in the short term, but "long term it's doomed to failure". "I'd like to see Mugabe join others in being remembered for his role in the freedom struggle, rather than for the devastation of his country. But that's his choice."

From The Sunday Telegraph (UK), 7 January

Mugabe told to halt land grab or face isolation

Harare - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has been told by a senior UN official to halt the illegal seizure of white-owned farms or lose all prospects of international donor support for land reform. The bluntest warning that Mr Mugabe faced prolonged international isolation was made in a private letter from Mark Malloch Brown, the administrator of the UN Development Programme. Acting on behalf of Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, Mr Malloch Brown met the president in Harare last month but failed to reach an agreement that would have released international funding for the land grab.

In his letter, obtained by the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, Mr Malloch Brown makes clear that the breakdown of law and order caused by the squatter occupation of more than 1,600 farms was the main cause of the talks' collapse. He wrote: "I indicated to you when we met that neither the Secretary General nor I will be able to secure any donor financial support until outstanding law and order issues are brought under control. Every donor I have consulted has been adamant." The letter criticised the seizures under Mr Mugabe's flagship "Fast Track" resettlement programme, in which land has been chaotically handed out to Zanu-PF supporters with no farming experience. He said: "It is our professional view in the UNDP that the approach of immediate resettlement with investment and services to follow is unlikely to succeed in achieving its goal, particularly in the economic environment."

Although the squatters are blamed for six murders and more than 2,400 cases of assault, Mr Mugabe has repeatedly supported them. He has refused to enforce two high court rulings that ordered their eviction; more than 1,000 farms are still illegally occupied. With his popularity plunging in tandem with the economy and his efforts focused on winning next year's presidential election, Mr Mugabe has vested all remaining hope of political recovery in the seizure of 12 million acres of land from 4,000 beleaguered white farmers. In a desperate effort to revive memories of colonial oppression, he has demanded British funding for the land grab and vowed "never to compromise or to yield". After months of inflammatory rhetoric, Mr Mugabe cannot afford to back down under international pressure and most expect him to ignore Mr Malloch Brown's warning. A leading farmer said: "Frankly, it doesn't fit in with the political master plan. It's very difficult to be optimistic."

From The Star (SA), 7 January

MDC supporters appear in court for murder

Harare - Seven Zimbabwean opposition supporters have appeared in court on murder and assault charges after the killing of a man said to be a member of the ruling party ahead of a by-election, the Herald reported on Saturday. A magistrate at Bikita on Friday denied bail to the seven, three of whom are accused of murder, saying that to do so would send the "wrong signals to those who may want to take part in political violence", the state-owned daily reported. They were remanded in custody until after the election, due to be held next weekend in the Bikita-West constituency, about 350km south of Harare. The vote follows the death from an illness of the former member of parliament from the opposition MDC.

Zimbabwean police had by Friday arrested 97 members of the MDC in the rural district in the wake of violence. MDC supporters allegedly stabbed to death a member of the ruling Zanu-PF. Despite the arrests the MDC said it was sending reinforcements to beef up the 50-strong team of campaigners it had earlier sent to the rural area of Bikita to help "defend" its members there. More than 43 cases of political violence have been reported in the constituency since mid-December, when campaigning for the seat gained momentum. Refusing to free any of the suspects who appeared before him on Friday, magistrate Sunsley Zisengwe said: "There are only eight days to go before the elections and this will spark a fresh wave of violence."

From The Natal Witness (SA), 7 January

After the war vets came

From the boat, I glance back over the water of the dam and can just make out the tips of the thatched roofs of the cottages nestled expertly into the magnificent wooded hillside. Each cottage has been specifically positioned to take maximum advantage of the view across the water towards the hills on the other side. It is nearing sundown and the water of the dam is glassy and calm, reflecting the colours and inverted shapes of this deserted piece of paradise. A Fish Eagle floats silently above and away from us, disturbed by the approach of our small vessel. We've given up on the fishing and have given up chasing the sound of bass which are making taunting plopping noises at the surface of the water around us.

Instead, distracted by the beauty of the water, the landscape and the array of bird life, we float idly along towards the point where the river enters the dam. Our foray up the river disturbs a small duiker drinking at the river bank. It quickly scurries away, and we continue to float quietly along the avenue of indigenous trees lining the waterway, until we can't get any further and have to turn back. We re-approach the lodge in the twilight gloom. It in an eerie state of abandon. I am told it has been completely closed since the "trouble with the war vets started". It's a common refrain here in Zimbabwe. The impact of this "trouble" was evident from the start of this trip in the unbelievably deserted border post at Beit Bridge.

Before its closure, I am told, this lodge was a popular resort for foreign tourists keen to do a bit of fishing and game watching in the pristine Zimbabwean bushveld. In fact, it was so popular that the owner was able to make the somewhat controversial, but financially beneficial, decision to close it to locals and market it to foreign tourists only. Now it stands empty, bereft of both local and foreign interest and on the market at an impossible sale price of 125 million Zimbabwean dollars. The swimming pool is half empty and the remaining water has begun to leak into the sunken bar area adjacent to the pool. The lounger cushions lie stacked up on the bar counter, covered by dust and cobwebs. The curtains are drawn in all the individual lodges but, followed by two curious pet warthogs, we peek through to see evidence of rustic luxury and charm. There are no curios in the shop and there is no-one to admire the spectacular view of the dam from the sundeck of the main dining and bar area, with its exquisitely carved wooden supports - except the handful of staff who have been kept on to prevent the place from slipping into total decline and whose continued employment seems pathetically precarious.

Returning from our boat trip in the gloamy twilight, I am relieved that it has become too dark for any further inspection. I find that I have bored myself and the others around me with my exclamations of "what a waste!" There is nothing more to say. I gather up my stuff and head towards the Land Rover waiting under the eaves of a thatched car park. The frogs have just started up a chorus to see us off, back home to the neighbouring farm where war veterans and landowner exist in a state of silent and ill-defined cohabitation.

From Pan African News Agency, 6 January

Obasanjo May Send Troops to DR Congo

Lagos - Nigeria is willing to contribute troops to an international peacekeeping force for the DRC if all parties to the crisis in the country accede to such deployment, President Olusegun Obasanjo said. A statement from the presidency quoted Obasanjo as saying, however, that such deployment must be backed by a concerted effort to achieve internal political settlement of the long-drawn conflict. The statement said Obasanjo was speaking at an audience with a special envoy of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who briefed him on the Congo's peace process in Abuja Friday.

From The Star (SA), 7 January

Ebola scare spreads to DRC

The World Health Organisation was investigating the outbreak of a haemorrhagic Ebola-like fever on the border between Uganda and the DRC, Medinfo reported on Saturday. BA Travel Clinic medical director Dr Andrew Jamieson said the area around Bunia, which is in the hands of the Ugandan army, had been identified as the focus of an infection that has killed five out of the six reported victims. He said this fatality rate far exceeded the rate for the Ebola outbreak in the Ugandan towns of Gulu, Masindi and Mbarara in October last year. The public relations official in the Kampala WHO office, Dr Walker Oladapo, said it was not certain whether the disease they were dealing with was Ebola or Marburg Fever.

Jamieson said the Ebola outbreak in Uganda appeared to be settling, with no new cases reported in the last 13 days. He said: "The DRC has been the focus of significant outbreaks of Ebola in the past decade. The Ugandan health authorities have managed to deal with the latest outbreak quite effectively, but in the light of the current political situation in the DRC it is less likely that control will be rapidly established." He said the area in question was not commonly visited by travellers, but that travellers visiting the DRC should be extra careful. Ebola is blood borne. "Travellers to remote areas in Africa should always carry a supply of sterile equipment, such as needles and syringes. The high incidence of HIV disease alone in the region makes this worthwhile," Jamieson said.

From Sunday Argus (SA), 7 January

Yacht rescues DRC stowaways off Cape Point

Four stowaways cast adrift on an inflatable liferaft were rescued on Saturday by a Cape Town yacht eight nautical miles off Cape Point. The four men from the DRC told their rescuers aboard the yacht Zuza that they had stowed away on a cargo ship in the Congo River port of Matadi 10 days ago. The crew discovered them on board eight days later and they were thrown off the ship. Sunday Argus contacted the Zuza, skippered by Dion Erasmus, as it sailed towards Hout Bay to land the stowaways.

A British tourist aboard the yacht, Sam Reed, told Sunday Argus they were sailing back to Cape Town from Simon's Town and were about three nautical miles off Cape Point when they spotted a small life-raft on the horizon. "The four men were cold and wet when we found them. We gave them water, food and dry clothes and they are quite comfortable now," she said. Caroline Gibbons, also aboard the Zuza, can speak French and the men told her their story. She in turn relayed it to Reed. Reed said: "The men said that eight days after they boarded the ship they were discovered and the crew became hostile. The men say they were put in a lifeboat two days ago and cast away without food or water." The stowaways said the captain of the ship had deliberately sailed further away from land before dumping them overboard.

The men said the ship had an Oriental crew, was named the Krissa and was heading for Durban. The Zuza had to bring the men into Hout Bay after an attempt to transfer them to an NSRI rescue boat was called off because of rough seas. Asked if she had bargained on her holiday to South Africa providing so much excitement, Reed said: "We thought we could land some yellowtail, we didn't expect four guys." The Zuza is a sailing research vessel built in Cape Town which is leaving in mid-February for England where it will be based.

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From The Star (SA), 6 January

97 arrested as MDC is blamed for Zim violence

Harare - Zimbabwean police have arrested 97 members of the opposition MDC in the south of the country following pre-election violence, which has left one person dead, the MDC said on Friday. Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, confirmed the arrests, which were reported earlier on Friday in the state-run media. Tsvangirai said the MDC had sent reinforcements to beef up the 50-strong team of campaigners it had earlier sent to the rural area of Bikita to help "defend" its members there. Political tension in the Bikita-West constituency, in south-eastern Zimbabwe, has shot up since the stabbing to death of an alleged Zanu-PF supporter in the run-up to parliamentary by-elections due on January 13 and 14.

"We will have more campaign teams to ensure the security of our people," Tsvangirai told a news conference. He said his party was a peaceful one and was not on the offensive, "but we recognise that people cannot be expected to sit back forever and watch themselves being brutalised." He described the unrest in the area as "state-sponsored violence". While commending the police in Bikita for their protection at two MDC campaign rallies held on Wednesday, Tsvangirai criticised them for their sudden turn-around when they arrested the 97 MDC youths on Thursday. He said police had also searched the home of the MDC election candidate, Boniface Pakai, for the weapon used to murder Bernard Gara, believed to have been a supporter of the ruling Zanu-PF, on Saturday. Gara was allegedly killed by MDC supporters.

More than 43 cases of political violence have been reported in Bikita-West, 350 kilometres south of the capital, Harare, since mid-December, when campaigning for the seat left vacant by an MDC lawmaker gained momentum. The district's former MDC parliamentarian, who narrowly beat a Zanu-PF candidate, died of illness. At least 34 people died and thousands more were beaten in political violence in the run-up to parliamentary elections held in June.

From The Daily News, 5 January

Shamuyarira's past exposed over claim against Machingura

Note : Dzinashe Machingura is the Chimurenga name, or nom de guerre, of Wilfred Mhanda.  The Focus interview with him was carried in ZimNews on 28 December.

Dzinashe Machingura, the Zimbabwe Liberators' Platform chairman, was never rejected by the Zanu PF leadership in Mozambique as claimed by Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity, the organisation said last night. Shamuyarira suggested in an interview with the ZBC on Tuesday that Machingura had no authority to talk about the history of the struggle. He was responding to Machingura's interview with Focus magazine of South Africa in which he revealed details of the internal struggles within Zanu PF at the height of the liberation war.

The ZLP said in a statement: "We owe it to the nation to give them a correct account of our struggle as opposed to the sanitised version of the liberation struggle that has become regular diet in the state-controlled media. It is most unfortunate and regrettable that a senior public figure like Dr Nathan Shamuyarira should make irresponsible, baseless and scandalous statements against our colleague Dzinashe Machingura." The ZLP said Machingura was never rejected by Zanu PF and suggested the party check with genuine Zanu PF members. "The nation does not need reminding that Dr Shamuyarira abandoned Zanu in 1971 after a failed attempt to unseat chairman Herbert Chitepo. "He proceeded to form Frolizi which was opposed to the genuine liberation movements represented by Zanu and Zapu," said the ZLP.

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 5 January

UNDP offers Mugabe a last chance on land

THE UN has given President Mugabe a last chance to accept its proposals on land reform and abandon his ill-considered fast-track resettlement programme if he is to avoid consigning Zimbabwe to international isolation, it was established this week. UNDP administrator Mark Malloch Brown told Mugabe in a letter dated December 15 that government should stop the haphazard land redistribution exercise, which was already spawning massive unemployment and reducing agricultural production, if it seriously wanted international financial support. The letter, a copy of which is in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent, has remained confidential although the media, including the Independent, have reported its general thrust.

Malloch Brown, who was in Zimbabwe last month for talks on the land dispute with Mugabe and other stakeholders, said his letter was not based on his personal views, as the President's Office has suggested, but on the contributions of various interested groups. The UNDP boss said he had consulted UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, South African President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo, and other regional leaders as well as key donors on the issue. He also said he had spoken to the World Bank and the UNDP technical team, which was in the country late last year to assess the situation on the ground.

Malloch Brown pointed out to Mugabe that the UNDP supported the principle of land reform but not government's current method of parcelling out land without planning. "I indicated to you when we met, neither the secretary-general (Annan) nor I will be able to secure any donor financial support until outstanding law and order issues are being brought under control," he said. "Every donor I have consulted with has been adamant on this point. In that regard, as I told you, I was also struck by the wide disagreements between Zimbabweans and between the government and donors on the real state of the law and order issue," he said. "People do not agree on the facts - the level of violence or the status of occupations - and there is no dialogue about solutions. This, as you pointed out, can leave room for exaggeration."

Malloch Brown said his letter - currently under Mugabe's consideration - also took into account resolutions of the 1998 European Union-sponsored Harare donors' land conference and the SADC/EU ministerial conference held in Gaborone on November 29/30 last year. The UNDP chief warned that any further engagement with Mugabe on the land issue would depend on the president's response to international proposals for a comprehensive donor-funded land reform programme. After Malloch Brown's visit, government officials vowed to proceed with their programme without international support if donors refused to lift conditionalities attached to their financial aid. Britain, the United States, and other leading donor countries including international financial institutions are withholding billions of dollars due to unresolved policy differences with Harare.

In his five-page letter, Malloch Brown said that the UNDP - which has been acting as a broker between government and the donor community - was not about to impose on government a solution to the land crisis. He said Mugabe had a choice to proceed unilaterally at his own risk or accept a stakeholder-driven process. "Before outlining details of such an approach, let me acknowledge you (Mugabe) face a clear choice: the current internal fast-track land reform programme which offers early speed and the possibility of nominal resettlement in 2001 versus a more systematic, investment-backed approach we are advocating," he said. Malloch Brown said UNDP consultants, who have vast experience on land reform, were in no doubt that an internationally-supported land reform process would deliver the "ultimate victory".

This, he explained, meant a well-established community of newly resettled communal farmers, minimum disruption to the agricultural sector as well as the broader economy, payment of fair compensation to commercial farmers and material support for displaced farm workers. "Indeed, it is our professional view in the UNDP," Malloch Brown said, "that the current approach of immediate resettlement with investment and services to follow is unlikely to succeed in achieving its goal of viable, long-term resettlement, particularly in the current economic environment." Malloch Brown stated that a well-conceived and systematic land redistribution programme would prevent disastrous failure with concomitant far-reaching social and economic consequences. He said: "We strongly believe that it can avoid the real risks of the first approach (fast-track programme) and result in a much more comprehensive and sustainable outcome."

What was critical at this stage, he said, was to ensure that the design of the programme incorporated the fast-track target of five million hectares and eliminated the possibility of delay in implementation for "non-land reform related reasons." "In that regard, your government will no doubt be moving forward to complete the legal and court processes aimed at allowing those acquisition targets to be met," he indicated. Malloch Brown noted that this would give velocity to the whole programme - even if farmers whose land cannot be absorbed at once are granted a time-bound reprieve to allow banking and other commercial relationships that would enable continued planting and harvesting.

He said UNDP consultants recommended that the programme should proceed at a pace consistent with the capacity to support resettled people with infrastructure and services. To achieve that, he suggested, government should begin by resettling one million hectares with technical considerations determining the rate and volume of resettlement. Malloch Brown suggested to Mugabe detailed proposals on the way forward. "Building on our consultants' recommendations we therefore propose: establishing a clear, transparent and accountable mechanism to help finance the land acquisition and resettlement programme in the form of a Trust Fund," Malloch Brown said.

The fund, he said, would have a board of trustees comprising government, donors, and other stakeholders including the World Bank. Its main functions would be to provide resources for the resettlement process including basic infrastructure, equipment and tools, extension services, training, and technical assistance as well as supervise payment of compensation to farmers. "We are willing as part of this set of confidence-building steps immediately to re-establish with UNDP-Harare a land reform technical unit to assist the government in capacity building and planning," he said. In addition, Malloch Brown recommended the establishment of a revolving fund for buying farms for resettlement.

To bridge internal differences on land reform, the UNDP said authorities should consider liaising with stakeholders outside government and its close allies. Interested groups from all walks of life should be involved, he said. Malloch Brown said government should start by resettling people on state-owned land which had been legally acquired, offered or abandoned. He stated that compulsory acquisition of land should obey rules and procedures established by law with farmers given the right to appeal and all court rulings respected.

From The Washington Post, 2 January

Desperate Battle Defines Congo's Warlike Peace

Massive Government Attack Turns Into Bloody Retreat

PWETO, Congo - At the southern extreme of a ragged front line that winds 1,400 miles across Congo lies a ferry, dirty pink and half-submerged in the muddy Luvua River. Facing it on a gravel ramp stand the burned-out husks of 33 military vehicles - armored personnel carriers, trucks, an ambulance - waiting in a line that never moved forward. Unopened syringes lie underfoot, amid charred tires and a trampled note that a fleeing Congolese junior officer left behind: "Attaque," reads the neat cursive French.

But by the time Rwandan forces approached Pweto on Dec. 3, the Congolese government army was in no position to attack. It was in panicked retreat, leaving a tableau of ruin on the riverbank and opening a rare window on a war usually fought out of sight. In two months of back-and-forth fighting here in the southeastern corner of Congo, all the elements that make this country's 21/2-year-old war such a dangerous puzzle came into play: foreign armies, ethnic militia groups, remote terrain and villages utterly emptied of civilians who, from the safety of refugee camps in a neighboring country, repeat matter-of-fact accounts of massacres. This is the "situation on the ground" that has kept the UN Security Council from dispatching 5,500 peacekeepers to monitor a cease-fire that appears to exist only on paper.

This lightly populated, mostly forested stretch between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru had been one of the few corners of Congo where both sides had essentially honored a peace agreement signed 18 months ago. The Lusaka Accord, named for the Zambian capital where it was signed, was meant to arrest the cycle of advance and retreat that has marked a sprawling conflict that pits the Congolese army and allied troops from Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia against an assortment of rebel forces bolstered by Rwandan and Ugandan troops.

But Congolese President Laurent Kabila, who signed the Lusaka pact in a moment of military disadvantage, has swept it aside whenever he spied what looked like a military opening. Last spring, his forces pushed back rebels sponsored by Uganda in Congo's far northwest, only to lose the same ground months later. And on Oct. 15, Kabila's armies launched a massive assault on Rwandan-held positions in the southeast, striking 100 miles north of Pweto at the town of Pepa. Six weeks later, just as happened in the northwest, Kabila's forces once again lost far more than they gained. Now the Rwandans have driven them out of Pweto, clambering onto captured armor as their commander pointed out the escape route by which the Congolese army chief of staff, Joseph Kabila, the president's son, fled the battlefield. "We have a cease-fire," Col. J.B. Mulisa said with a dry chuckle, "a forced cease-fire."

In a war that has been stalemated for so long - Congo was broken into factional spheres of influence mere weeks after the war began, and so it remains - such lightning gains might have finally given the Rwandans the upper hand. But senior Rwandan officials, when asked if they plan to push beyond Pweto farther into Congo, say they did not want to come even as far as they have. In fact, the forces occupying Pweto showed no sign of massing earlier this month. Officials of Rwanda's Tutsi-led government say, rather, that their focus is on eradicating the Interahamwe, the ethnic Hutu militia that orchestrated the 1994 massacre of Tutsis in Rwanda and fled into neighboring Congo. The farther into the vast Congo the Rwandan troops go, the harder that becomes. "We were really talking about withdrawing" 120 miles to an operational zone closer to Rwanda, said Col. Charles Kayonga, a defense adviser to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. "Kabila must have misread our position. He apparently thought we were weak."

The battle began at Pepa, a town of neat stone houses in the center of a vast cattle ranch near the southern end of Lake Tanganyika. Rwandans had held the town since March 1999, nine months after launching the current war by encouraging a rebellion in the Congolese army's ranks, then pouring its own forces into Congo to topple Kabila - the same leader Rwanda had installed barely a year earlier by backing a rebellion that drove dictator Mobutu Sese Seko from power. At issue, according to Rwandan officials, was Kabila's support for the very forces Rwanda had put him in place to eradicate: the Interahamwe - thousands of ethnic Hutu extremists who had fled into Congo in 1994 after leading an attempted genocide against Rwanda's minority Tutsi tribe that left more than a half-million dead.

The Interahamwe were now allied with Kabila, and more formidable as a result. What had been degenerating into a ragtag guerrilla force was receiving new weapons from the Congolese government and new training from the army of Zimbabwe, which also rushed to support Kabila against the Rwandan invasion. But when shells began exploding behind the Rwandans' Pepa foxholes in the predawn hours of Oct. 15, the charge was led by yet another force. Hutu extremists from Burundi - another tiny country divided by the Hutu-Tutsi chasm - made up the brunt of the eight brigades that pushed across the rolling rangeland, according to Rwandan commanders. The Congolese infantry also advanced, reinforced by armored personnel carriers and British-made Hawker combat aircraft, both from Zimbabwe.

"They were coming in big numbers, really very big numbers," said Lt. Col. John Tibesigwa, the Rwandan commander at Pepa. With a much smaller force on hand, the Rwandans slowly pulled out of Pepa, along with the Congolese rebels they sponsor, a force known as Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD). In fact, Rwandan commanders maintain that they were already pulling some units back when the attack came. "While we were disengaging, they were massing troops," said Tibesigwa. "To keep them from coming back, we had to take Pweto."

The Rwandan counterattack began on Nov. 5 and raged for four days. Tibesigwa described the fighting as the most intense he had seen in Congo. At the Pepa hospital, Congolese nurse Justine Kaimba Puta said fighting that started 15 miles away moved steadily closer, bringing with it a stream of wounded that eventually covered the hospital floor. When the Rwandans were two miles away, government soldiers brought a warning to flee. The town emptied promptly, but several Pepa residents interviewed in Zambia, where thousands have gathered in a UN refugee camp, said they feared more than the fighting. When Rwandan forces first took Pepa last year, local residents were punished for allegedly supporting the Congolese government troops, the residents said.

Two refugees described a massacre that year in Mazembe, a village near Pepa, in which dozens of residents were ordered into their huts, which soldiers then set afire. Both residents named people killed in the fire, including old men and small children. One described seeing the charred bodies. The residents were uncertain whether the soldiers were Rwandan regulars or the RCD rebels they sponsor. Both have been accused by international human rights groups of similar atrocities in territory they occupy, but the charges surface most often against the rebels. "With the RCD, there are some undisciplined elements," acknowledged Nicephore Kimpinde, the assistant district commissioner installed in Pepa by the rebels. "But you can't say the whole RCD is undisciplined." Kabila's forces, too, slaughtered civilians when they occupied the area in October, he said. "We collected 10 civilian bodies and buried them," said Patrick Murlambui, another Pepa official. "They were accused of belonging to the RCD intelligence. They were innocent. There was no proof. Everybody who stayed in this region is looked at as an RCD sympathizer." "It's a war on civilians," said Puta, the nurse.

The Rwandans and the rebels took the countryside as well, exploiting a degree of mobility that would prove decisive. The Rwandan army is essentially an all-infantry force that by a shrewd collusion of economy and design carries no weapon heavier than one man can handle. Kabila's retreating forces, by contrast, were tethered to the road. Their armored vehicles required the Congolese alliance to move predictably, confined to a tree-lined track that runs across the handsome cattle ranch like a country road through rural Belgium, its owners' ancestral home. When open range gave way to elephant grass, the Rwandans attacked. The village of Mutoto Moija, a decrepit Interahamwe base whose name translates as One Child, fell after six hours. "At midnight, we heard sounds like they were retreating," said Mulisa. "In the morning they were no longer there. We followed."

What ensued, according to Rwandan and Congolese soldiers alike, was a three-week running battle across the 100 miles between Pepa and Pweto. Weeks later, the road south toward Pweto remained speckled not only with green and white butterflies, but with corpses - here the body of a young man cut down clutching an AK-47, here a splayed green poncho topped by a skull. But veterans of the battle said most of the fighting took place in the surrounding woods. The Congolese and their allies sought the high ground above the road. The Rwandans and RCD rebels moved through the woods behind them and caught them in crossfires.

"The Rwandans are very strong; they do flanking actions," said a Congolese soldier, Selester Mbanza, 30, from a hospital bed in Nchelenge, Zambia, where he was being treated for a bullet wound in the buttocks. "They get around behind people. That's how they fight. They used the right tactics. They came when we were resting, and we'd be distracted." There was a major engagement at every village, half of which had been fortified by bunkers or other defenses that the Congolese in each case ended up abandoning. "We would pursue them very closely," said Mulisa, the Rwandan commander. "That's the secret. We don't give them any time."

By Dec. 1, the Rwandan forces had Pweto nearly in sight, approaching the lakeside plain around the town of perhaps 50,000 on an abandoned road along an encircling ridge. By the evening of Dec. 3, when the Rwandans entered the town, the civilian population had pushed en masse down a muddy road into Zambia, and Kabila's forces were betraying something like panic. The Mi-17 helicopter that had carried Joseph Kabila to Pweto was burned on the soccer field that doubled as a landing pad, apparently too unreliable to use but too valuable to leave to the Rwandans. The president's son escaped by water, taking a ferry named the Alliance with senior Zimbabwean commanders and Burundian Hutus to the far side of the Luvua River. When the boat returned, a 40-ton, Soviet-made T-62 tank was loaded onto the port side. Dozens of soldiers scrambled to starboard. "It was imbalanced," said Mulisa, "and the ferry got drowned."

With the Rwandans' gunfire audible across town, the stranded troops splashed diesel fuel onto the line of 33 waiting vehicles and set them afire. Then they split up, some setting off along the riverbank deeper into Congo, others joining the throng of refugees fording the small stream that marks the Zambian border. On the other side, Zambian soldiers collected arms and counted heads. At least 3,000 Congolese regulars were assembled in primary schools about 75 miles south of the border in Nchelenge, where last week they were still waiting for a lift back to Congo.

Zimbabwe sent a plane for several hundred of its troops, a return load lightened considerably by the sheer tonnage of armor left behind in Pweto. Two howitzers, two T-62 tanks and at least a half-dozen armored personnel carriers were left intact for the Rwandans, as well as three ammunition dumps and a weapons cache with 1,000 rifles. The total does not include a tank submerged about 200 yards upstream from the ferry, its turret just visible in the middle of the river, which its desperate driver thought was shallow enough to ford.

From The Post of Zambia, 5 January

Soldier Refugees Sent Back To DRC

Lusaka - More than 3,000 DRC soldiers who fled intensified fighting with rebels in that country have been repatriated. And President Frederick Chiluba yesterday flew to Ndola where he met with DRC President Laurent Kabila to review the implementation of the peace protocol among other things. Government sources in Nchelenge in Luapula Province where the soldiers were confined said President Kabila's son General Kabila was in Zambia this week to facilitate the repatriation exercise. Sources said General Kabila held some meetings with officers from the Zambia Intelligence Security Services at which they agreed that the exercise be effected immediately. Some workers in Luapula Province, however said more than 100 ex-combatants had refused to go back and had renounced their military status because they were tired of fighting in the more than two years civil war. "Some soldiers said they wanted to become refugees in Zambia," a source said. But the sources said the Kabila government desperately needed the soldiers back in the army as they were strategising on how to re-capture Pweto which is currently under the rebel control.

Close to 4,000 Congolese soldiers with thousands of civilians running away from rebel RCD offensive fled into Zambia about a month ago. And President Chiluba speaking at Mukuba hotel at the official opening of the security talks on the DRC expressed concern on the influx of refugees as they had contributed to the depletion of foodstuffs and drugs in health centres. He told journalists the war had also affected other neighbouring countries politically and economically. Kabila also told Zambians to guard the peace they were currently enjoying saying if war broke out in Lubumbashi it would spill over to neighbouring Zambia especially on the copperbelt. Only Zimbabwe, of all the belligerents in the Congolese war had expressed its willingness to withdraw its troops in accordance with the Lusaka peace protocol. Three hundred of the more than 10,000 Zimbabwean troops fighting alongside the DRC government had returned to Harare. The Zimbabwean repatriated soldiers were part of fleeing people from Pepa and Pweto over two months.

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Kariba Spillage Causes Floods in North Mozambique

MAPUTO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Zambia's opening of a gate on the Kariba dam has caused floods in the far north of neighbouring Mozambique, but there is no immediate risk of a repeat of lastyear's flood disaster, Radio Mozambique said on Wednesday. The state-owned radio said about 10,000 people had been affected by the inundation of farmlands in the Zumbo and Magoe districts of northern Tete Province. It said people living in low-lying areas were being moved to higher ground. 
Zambia opened one of five spillway gates on Kariba at the weekend to ease pressure on the reservoir, but Zambian authorities dismissed concerns it would cause floodingdownstream in Mozambique.  Last year's floods in Mozambique killed more than 700 people and devastated roads, bridges and towns, triggering a major international relief effort.
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