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

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Govt pleads for donor funding to fix cleanup campaign fallout

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 28 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has scoffed at a government plea for international
assistance to build houses for thousands of people made homeless by its
controversial urban cleanup campaign.

Vice President Joyce Mujuru reportedly made the appeal on Wednesday, noting
that Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Filth) had officially ended.
According to the United Nations, the two-month eviction campaign has
affected some 700,000 urban dwellers.

"We welcome any help we can get from the international community, including
the United Nations Organisations with which we cooperate in so many other
humanitarian endeavours. I appeal to the international community to stop
stone-throwing, but to join us in this noble effort to promote the good of
our people," Mujuru told the official Herald newspaper.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyati labelled the call for aid "naive" and
claimed that the operation was still underway.

"The campaign was vindictive and certainly uncalled for - people lost their
lives and livelihoods in the process. Now the government is trying to
hoodwink the international community into believing that the exercise has
ended when, in fact, it hasn't. If donors want to help, we suggest that the
assistance be channelled into the hands of those who will make a difference
in the lives of those affected, instead of passing the funds to the
government," he told IRIN.

The United Nations has come out strongly against the government's cleanup
operation, but Harare has dug in its heels and dismissed the findings of UN
special envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who visited the country earlier this month on
a fact-finding mission.

Authorities insisted the demolitions were carried out in order to improve
urban areas, which they claimed had become a breeding ground for illicit

They have subsequently announced a corrective effort dubbed Operation
Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Stay Well), a Zim $3 trillion (US $300 million)
construction programme that is expected to create accommodation for those
affected by the cleanup, and build factory shells and market stalls.

But analysts said the government's aid appeal was a veiled admission that
the cleanup blitz had been chaotic, and the recovery programme was far
beyond its capacity.

Harare-based political commentator Anesu Sibindi commented: "The appeal is
long overdue, and we hope that whoever is going to lend Zimbabwe a helping
hand will make a thorough follow-up, to make sure that the assistance they
have given is channelled to the rightful beneficiaries."

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has "in principle" accepted an
invitation from President Robert Mugabe to visit the country, although the
mission is unlikely to take place in the near future, according to Annan's
spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

Speaking to journalists in New York on Tuesday, Dujarric said: "Obviously
the Secretary-General would not want to substitute himself for his Special
Envoy - for Anna Tibaijuka - who has, as you know, drafted a very
comprehensive and full report.

Regardless of the date of an eventual visit by the Secretary-General, it's
clear that a number of things need to happen: one of them is that the
evictions must cease, and that humanitarian access, humanitarian aid, must
be provided to the people in need."

Moreover, he noted, "there would need to be the start of a political
process - political dialogue - between the government and other stakeholders
in Zimbabwe. All these things would need to happen, or at least get under
way in a meaningful manner, before the Secretary-General would go".

Foreign Affairs Minister Samuel Mumbegegwi told IRIN on Thursday: "This is a
phased national programme. The demolitions are over and now we are
rebuilding orderly cities.

"As for party talks being a pre-condition to Mr Annan's visit, President
Mugabe has repeatedly stressed that talks will only take place if the MDC
transforms into a truly Zimbabwean opposition party with national interests,
not those of its imperialist handlers, coming first. That position has not
changed because the (MDC) opposition has not changed."
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HIV-positive people dispersed in 'cleanup' operation

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BULAWAYO, 28 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Near a dumpsite on the outskirts of Gwanda,
some 130 km south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, Mtshumayeli Ndebele,
45, helps his visibly ailing spouse, Sithandekile, draw closer to a
smouldering fire.

The couple are among a dozen people offloaded at the site by police when
they closed down the Hellensvale transit camp. The holding camp, set up by a
coalition of humanitarian and human rights NGOs about 40 km north of
Bulawayo, had provided shelter to hundreds of families left homeless after
the government's controversial crackdown on informal settlements and markets
in urban areas.

Mtshumayeli and his wife said the authorities instructed them to find their
own way to their rural home area.

But the Ndebeles do not have a rural homestead to return to and, to make
matters worse, they are both HIV positive: eviction from their home has
forced them to abandon their antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.

"We would get drugs every month from Mpilo hospital, and everything just
looked better for us, but we are no longer able to do that because we have
moved; we are now several kilometres away and have no money for transport to
go and get our consignment," Mtshumayeli told IRIN. "Now, it's like we are
just waiting to die."

Pointing to his wife he said, "She says she feels pains all over her body,
and she has not had decent sleep in the past four days that we have spent

Scores of HIV/AIDS patients whose treatment programmes have been disrupted
find themselves in a similar plight after being forcibly relocated to parts
of rural Zimbabwe.

Health experts warn that most of them will certainly die prematurely because
of the lack of AIDS drugs and inadequate food in the countryside.

According to official figures, Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of HIV
infection, with over 4,500 deaths recorded every week. Estimates indicate
that while almost 21 percent of Zimbabwe's 11 million people are
HIV-positive, only 6,000 receive ARVs.

Moreover, the country is grappling with widespread food shortages and
ongoing drought conditions have slashed agricultural output by 50 percent.
Humanitarian organisations have said up to 4 million people, mostly in the
rural areas, will be in need of food aid this year.

This week church groups and NGOs said they had managed to track down some of
the HIV/AIDS patients and plans were underway to ensure that they received
food, ARVs and support in their new communities.

"We are deeply concerned about the plight of these people, particularly
those with HIV/AIDS," said Pastor Albert Chatindo. "Simple drugs are not
available in rural clinics, let alone ARVs. We have, however, agreed to
assist them with food, and doctors within the church community have also
volunteered to visit them to assess their conditions. We will also be giving
them drugs if we manage to source some."

Chatindo said churches in Bulawayo were already feeding hundreds of people
who had been transferred from the Hellensvale transit camp and abandoned in
various districts in rural Matabeleland, a vast region in southwestern

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) spokesperson Vickey Hawkins said although the
medical NGO was prepared to provide HIV treatment to the displaced, tracking
them down was not an easy task.

"The problem is that we don't know where to find the people who need help,
since they are now scattered all over the country. But we have adopted those
who were resettled in Tsholotsho (northern Matabeleland) and they are
getting treatment," said Hawkins.

She noted that MSF had started a programme to tackle HIV opportunistic
infections at Hellensvale camp, but this had come to an abrupt halt when the
government announced the official closure of all transit camps in the

Officials at Mpilo hospital told IRIN that many of the 1,300 patients on
their treatment list had not reported for medical check-ups in the past few
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Zim land reform delayed for SA: Mbeki

July 28, 2005, 21:30

The Zimbabwe government delayed its land reform programme so that
negotiations for South Africa's liberation succeeded, President Thabo Mbeki
said today. "They slowed down to get the negotiations in this country to
succeed," said Mbeki while paying a surprise visit to the Land Summit in

He said that when South Africa was negotiating its transition to democracy,
around the time when Zimbabwe planned to speed up its land reform, a
Commonwealth official asked Harare not to drastically change its programme
as it would "frighten the apartheid government in South Africa".

Today was the second day of the summit, and concentrated on land and
agrarian reform in other countries, and the nine South African provinces
presented reports on their land conferences. A Zimbabwean professor told
delegates that if land reform did not happen fast enough, people would
organise themselves and force redistribution to occur.

Govt faces criticism
The government is facing criticism over the pace of land reform, with some
groups warning of Zimbabwean-style land grabs if reform is not speeded up.
Moyo said the government should adopt a structured, radical approach to land
reforms, instead of a structured, conservative one.

People often thought the Zimbabwean farm invasions were
government-orchestrated because it wanted to win the elections. In fact, the
invasions had social origins, he said. In 1979, Zimbabwe was selected as an
experiment to resolve the settler issue through reconciliation.

This model failed and eventually Zimbabwe was in a position where its people
wanted land but the government could not effectively deal with their wants,
said Moyo. Moyo said the legal and policy framework and the market concept
in Zimbabwe before the massive land grabs were very similar to South Africa

The willing-buyer, willing-seller concept was the "opposite of development",
because farmers decided what land to sell, when to sell it, and what it
should cost.

Frans Tseehama, permanent secretary for land in Namibia, told the summit the
willing-buyer, willing-seller principle had also failed in his country. The
Namibian constitution, as in South Africa, allows land to be expropriated if
necessary. Tseehama said his government had decided to do so and the land of
foreign absentee landlords would be the first to be expropriated.

Foreigners should own little land
Provincial MECs told the summit that most of their conferences had called
for foreigners to own very little land. Gauteng agriculture, conservation
and environment MEC Khabisi Mosunkutu said land ownership by foreigners
should be "very limited". Foreigners should be offered lease options, as
land was the country's most precious resource. He said South Africans should
get first right to land ownership.

The Free State provincial conference resolved to call on the national
government to urgently address foreign land ownership, said MEC Casca
Mokitlane. He said the province felt that foreigners should be allowed to
own no more than five percent of land in the country. Dikeledi Magadzi,
Limpopo MEC, who pointed out that she was not conveying her personal views,
said her provincial conference had called for a moratorium on the sale of
land to foreigners.

An official from the Eastern Cape said foreign ownership "is another form of
colonisation via the cheque book. "It must be given a halt."
After Mbeki left the summit, a delegate from the World Bank, Rogier
Vandenbrienk, was prevented from addressing the conference by protesters
from the Alliance of Land and Agrarian Reform Movements.

About 100 people carrying placards reading: "State must use expropriation to
get land redistribution", "Scrap willing-buyer, willing-seller", and "End
evictions" got into the stage and sang and danced for 10 minutes. Blade
Nzimande, the chairman of the panel discussions, was called to calm the
protesters and said they should engage the panellists through questions and

David Solomon, from Wits University, was then called to address the
delegates on land-tax issues. "I don't think what I have to say is
controversial. You won't need to toyi-toyi," he jokingly told them.

Vandenbrienk addressed the conference later amid much jeering. The
conference will be closed to the public tomorrow. - Sapa
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Zim Online

SA says can't afford a "rogue neighbour"
Fri 29 July 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's finance minister Trevor Manuel yesterday
said Pretoria was considering a loan request by Zimbabwe as it could not
afford a rogue or failed state as a neighbour.
      Addressing students at Wits University, Manuel said there was "need to
ensure that all of the African continent remains in the family of nations."

      "The worst thing we can have is a failed state or a rogue state on our
borders," he said.

      Zimbabwe, reeling under a severe economic and political crisis blamed
on President Robert Mugabe's policies, is seeking a US$1 billion (R6.6
billion) loan from South Africa to avert economic meltdown.

      South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki last weekend also hinted that
they could extend a lifeline to the Harare government as failing to do so
would have serious implications for South Africa's own economic well-being.

      But Manuel said the government had a responsibility to look after the
country's resources on behalf of South Africans

      The Zimbabwe government is grappling its worst economic crisis as
shown in shortages of fuel and basic commodities. Mugabe is this week in
China seeking assistance to stave off economic collapse.

      Meanwhile, South Africa's minor opposition African Christian
Democratic Party (ACDP) has criticised plans to give a loan to Mugabe saying
the money will be used to shore up a corrupt government in Harare.

      ACDP chief whip Louis Green said on Thursday the "loan will definitely
not reach the suffering people in the country."

      "We want the suffering and destruction of the homes and livelihoods of
the Zimbabwean people to end. We should continue to help the people of
Zimbabwe without furthering the agenda of a corrupt government," Green
said. - ZimOnline
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The Zimbabwean
The sugar story - land reform again
The effects of the land 'reform' programme as seen on the Triangle sugar estates.
Credit: Tich Mabhunu
TRIANGLE - The Lowveld – hot and dry it lies around Triangle, Zimbabwe’s home of sugar. That, too, is where the Mkwasine Estate is based, jointly owned by Triangle Ltd and Hippo Valley Estates. Between them the three estates have been producing 1.2 million tonnes annually, 40% of which goes abroad. As long as the dams last, there will be enough water to keep the sugarcane under constant irrigation, providing ample supply for domestic and foreign markets. Or so you would have thought.
Take the Mkwasine Estate as one story that paints a clear, and dismal, picture of the Zanu (PF) government’s chaotic land reform exercise and its catastrophic effects – though many would say this is an example of how land was shared out equally and fairly.

Mkwasine was developed as one unit, something that would prove problematic when it came round to redistributing land some 20 years later. Of Mkwasine’s 18,834 hectares, 7,840 were under irrigation, the rest being grazed by cattle. National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) used Mkwasine’s private rail line to ferry the 850,000 tonnes annually to the Hippo Valley and Triangle Estates, which owned the only two mills in the area.

It was much like a village of its own. There were 1,141 permanent workers, with another 700 contract workers for most of the year, all of them provided with concrete housing. In addition, there were two schools and four clinics, which provided the workers and their families with basic education and health services.

Mkwasine came up with its own initiative to settle small-scale indigenous farmers on to the Estate. From 1981-88 they resettled 191 black farmers on to 2,030 hectares, a largely successful venture called the Chipiwa Settlement Scheme.

This was a carefully thought out-programme, with the Land Settlement Board collaborating to select the resettled farmers. Each new farmer received about 10 hectares, with Mkwasine providing loans to facilitate the purchases.

Mkwasine also ensured that the farmers had the necessary infrastructure and services on their land. Over the 18 years of close association the resettled farmers increasingly developed their independence, but still relied on the Estate for irrigation, haulage, and management assistance.

Thus nearly 200 new farmers were able to build comfortable residential plots and run their own land.

This went on until the Land Reform programme brought in a stream of 188 A2 farmers. A2 farm reallocation refers to a large farm being divided up into several smaller plots. A1 farms are reallocated in their entirety. The Mkwasine Estate was reduced to 2,000 hectares, though this is still dwindling with new people bearing resettlement letters arriving every month.

The new resettlement occurred without consultation with the Estate and simple provisions such as residential plots were not thought of, as they were in the Chipiwa scheme.

The 20 hectare fields are left barely attended half the time, while the owners live far away due to the lack of accommodation. This is a significant problem as sugarcane fields demand attention around the year. Unlike the centralized Chipiwa scheme, the new farmers cannot afford to hold the heavy machinery necessary to work the land. Production has dropped here from 110 tonnes per hectare to 40 tonnes per hectare. This kind of yield is insufficient to cover transport and production costs, and to still make a profit, so the entire affair has stopped being profitable.

Standing back from Mkwasine Estate’s individual situation, Zimbabwe is experiencing a serious shortfall in sugar production. This may be attributed to three factors: 1) yields are much lower than before, 2) NRZ can no longer fulfill transportation requirements, and 3) there are rumours that sugar is being exported illegally.

Meanwhile, Mkwasine is left with 42% of its land and its economies of scale, which allowed it to subsidise the Chipiwa settlers, have fallen away. Farmers now have to meet their own transportation costs, which have become very significant.

Once producing 15% of the country’s sugar, Mkwasine Estate has little option but to lay off 50% of its work force and to stop supporting resettled Chipiwa farmers. Alternatively, it may have to close down entirely, leaving nearly 2,000 workers with over 20,000 dependents without a job.

Sugar, it seems, is to suffer a similar fate to Zimbabwe’s other agriculture assets, namely tobacco, maize, wheat, beef, dairy, and horticulture.

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The Zimbabwean

Hatcliffe - keep speaking out
HATCLIFFE - The "Herald" last week listed some 2, 578 people allocated
stands in "Hatcliffe Housing Project". Apart from about 100 stands to SIRDC,
it is the very same people who were the original stand-holders at Hatcliffe
Extension new stands! Now they are going to be given back their stands!! Or
so we are led to believe - we'll believe it when we see it.
After having all their homes and building materials destroyed - what will
they use to re-build their shelters? And how will they transport all their
furniture and belongings and families back to Hatcliffe Extension? And how
will they all find out about this, when some have gone to Mozambique,
Malawi, Beitbridge, etc - chased "back to their rural areas" by the police?

And what about the seven weeks of school that the children have already
missed? And the people on ARVs and other medication who have been without
for seven weeks already? How many of those have died, or deteriorated
drastically? Who is going to find the orphans and tell them?

Will all the aid agencies, organisations and individuals who had invested in
Hatcliffe Extension and its residents have the confidence and the wish to
return, now that most of their projects and buildings have been destroyed?

It appears that the argument that the people of Hatcliffe Extension held
valid lease agreements for their stands has held sway - and also that the
area is in fact suitable for high density housing, despite Ignatius Chombo's
amazing pronouncements in Parliament on 6 July that Hatcliffe Extension
would be re-designed for Police Boarding School teachers' houses and the
Open University!

As the people of Hatcliffe Extension absorb the full meaning of this latest
development in their lives and decide how to react, we have to thank all
those who spoke out and helped them in any way whatsoever - lawyers,
churches, national and international NGOs and aid agencies, activists,
individuals of whatever persuasion - THANK YOU!! Please keep on speaking

This is not the end of the saga of Hatcliffe Extension, or even the
beginning of the end - just the end of the beginning, we hope.

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Zim Online

Human rights groups to turn heat on Mugabe
Fri 29 July 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwean and international rights groups on Thursday said
they will lobby the international community, including Zimbabwe's ally
China, to pressure President Robert Mugabe and his government to end alleged
human rights abuses.
      The rights groups were meeting to reflect on Zimbabwe's controversial
urban clean-up "Operation Murambatsvina" exercise, harshly condemned in a
report by UN-HABITAT director Anna Tibaijuka made public last week.

      Tibaijuka said the clean-up exercise left at least 700 000 people
homeless after their homes were demolished by the police. A further 2.4
million people were also affected according to Tibaijuka, who called the
government exercise a "disastrous venture" that also violated international
law. The report was commissioned by UN chief Kofi Annan.

      On Wednesday, Tibaijuka briefed the UN Security Council on her report
after Britain, backed by United States and others forced the 15-member body
to pose questions on the report behind closed doors in an effort to get
Zimbabwe on the council's agenda.

      China, Russia and African nations Algeria, Benin and Tanzania were
opposed to hearing the report, calling it interference in Zimbabwe's
internal affairs. A vote was then called, a rare occurrence in the council,
which usually decides agendas by consensus.

      "We are shocked, awed by the extent of the callousness, the tyranny
that was exerted by this government against its own people (through the
clean-up campaign). What was done was grossly, grossly inhumane," Caroline
Sande director of Action Aid International in South Africa, the organisers
of the meeting in Harare.

      Zimbabwean groups at the meeting vowed to raise objections to Mugabe's
policies at international fora despite government efforts to cow them into

      They also said they planned to mobilise Zimbabweans to boycott
products from China which they said continued to prop up Mugabe. Mugabe has
been in China for the past week to sign economic deals after a fallout with
the West over his poor human rights record and differences over other
governance issues.

      Mugabe's government has rejected Tibaijuka's report saying it was
biased and that former colonial master Britain had pressured the UN envoy to
report negatively on its urban renewal exercise. Britain's UN ambassador has
dismissed the allegations saying there were "no British fingerprints" near
the report.

      "We should reclaim the debate on the operation and prevent the issue
from being externalised to 10 Downing Street (British Prime Minister Tony
Blair's residence) so that Zimbabweans are focused on knowing the source of
the problem," Depross Muchena from the USAID said.

      Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party routinely accused Britain of
working with government foes to destabilise the country's once prosperous

      Action Aid published a report also on Thursday calling on the
government "to liberate itself from its siege mentality" and the "go it
alone" attitude by working with various sectors to turn around Zimbabwe's
economy, in recession for the last six years. -ZimOnline
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The Zimbabwean

We are still here
ZIMBABWE - This is a open letter to the 900,000 Zimbabweans living out there
in the UK. These same Zimbabweans are either caught up in the asylum issue
or lucky enough to have "gapped it" a bit earlier than the rest. This is an
open letter from us, still here at home, trying to save our beautiful land.
This is an open letter to all those Zimbo's in Australia and New Zealand,
Canada and in every other corner of the world. This is an open letter to all
those that have fled because of economics, personal safety and their need to
find a better place for their children. This is an open letter to all those
millions of Zimbabweans working on the "off ramps" of Johannesburg, those
illegals hiding and crying at night. This is an open letter to the millions
of true patriots, still at home, battling everyday to feed and house their
children, those patriots are the true Zimbabweans that the whole world has
come to admire.

This is also a open letter to those few "oppressors" who have run their
souls right down to the gates of hell and are now staring into the flames,
fighting to preserve all that they have wrought, no matter what the damage,
no matter who dies, what's ruined, and how much they destroy in their fear
of righteousness.

I ask this question, "Did these people of Zimbabwe really feel any
compassion for the 4000 white Zimbabweans who were destroyed because they
cared? Did they cry when the so-called War Vets destroyed thousands of farms
and displaced hundreds of thousands of farm workers because the commercial
farmers had the gall to say "NO"? A popular "war vet " recently had a
housing co-op named after him. Did the people of this co-op honor this man,
this destroyer and wrecker, who shot an innocent woman across his garden
fence because she had the gall to say "NO"?

Did the recipients of those housing plots believe that this man of hate was
worthy of his name on their streets? Why then do the victims cry now that
the thugs come at night for them? They, the victims, who named their housing
scheme Joseph Chinotimba Housing Co-Op.

A popular minister stood up and scolded the white farmers in Raffingora in
2002, and informed them that he would "reduce Zimbabwe to rubble" in order
to rid himself of these annoying complainers that wanted to fix the pot
holes and build their own schools. Well it seems he has done exactly that.
When hundreds of young men were motored into the Doma area to burn, loot and
destroy, and the same thugs now turn their attention inwards, the people of
Zimbabwe cry out, yet no one cried for the farmers burn- out and destroyed.

No UN envoy was dispatched, and Pius Ncube was obviously too busy. We, the
white farmers, tried. We warned you in 1999, we warned you in 2002, and you
left for greener pastures at a rate of four plane-loads a week. We, who were
in need of a social revolution. We, who sat proudly in our air-conditioned
cabs and swung our golf clubs on Wednesday afternoons. Were we so closed off
from Africa, the real Africa, that true patriots love? Have we been scatted
to the wind because of our blind arrogance? Our leaders compromised or
retired to Plettenberg Bay. Yet some of us still endure, we are still here,
the true ones amongst us. We still wait, we still hope and we still believe.

We demand the right to build and accumulate and develop and help our people.
Does that mean we are "Settlers"? Damn right, we built and we said " No ",
we didn't leave to get a night job at Paddington station, and we would do
the same thing again. We surely have learnt our lesson, and those amongst us
who haven't will remain happily in Australia, or fixing gutters in New
Zealand, but we, the true Zimbabweans, who happen to be white and farmers
and are still here, want, and will get, our right to self determination much
sooner than the new Deputy Minster Of Comedy would wish to see.

My letter to all Zimbabweans is a letter of hope. "Why do they bother?" I
once asked a diplomat on our sad situation, "Why does George Bush and the
West even bother about Zimbabwe?" The truth is - because we are worth it.
Zimbabwe, a jewel, the heart of Africa, the people cultured, deep, honorable
and bold, they matter. While the despisers destroy and ruin, Zimbabweans
pray and try to keep their children safe.

No wonder the despisers are begging for help in Beijing, help that, if it
comes, will be too late for them anyway. This isn't 1969, it's 2005, and the
old man of Africa has proved himself to be the weakest Strong Man that
Africa has ever seen. If only you had listened in 1997 when Hitler Hunzvi
and his " Sons of the soil " set our beautiful country on the road to ruin.

To conclude, stand up and be proud Zimbabweans the world over. Give a moment
of your time to be proud that we as a nation that will endure. Be ready to
come home soon, be ready to build and be ready to celebrate the true
anniversary and rebirth of our home and nation...soon. Let the people of
Zimbabwe rise to their allotted place amongst the good and proud of this
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The Zimbabwean

Suffering with the vagabonds
BULAWAYO - Last night I visited a church worker who has been involved with
one of the Bulawayo churches offering aid to the victims of the man-made
tsunami - Operation Murambatsvina. The staff member, who has been involved
in feeding and caring for the people for the last four weeks, says there was
no question in his mind that he had to do something when he saw the
destruction taking place. He says the first week was "crisis mode" clearing
people up and transferring them to the churches, finding food and blankets
for the people and rescuing them from the ashes of their torched
homesteads - where they remained sleeping under the stars in the bitter cold
of the Zimbabwean winter. They were hurriedly rounded up and taken to the
churches as fears and threats mounted from police who would soon return to
punish anyone who had remained in the 'cleared areas'.
My friend remembers seeing an old man whom he had known for some time from
evenings at the church-run soup kitchen. He saw the 84-year-old, seated
beside the burnt ruins of his home, shaking from head to toe. No tears fell
from this gentleman. His body was ice-cold. He simply shook and gazed around
in shock and disbelief, his eyes sunken emptily into his wrinkled face.
Having heard about these atrocities while in the UK and getting my first
glimpse of the situation from Kate Hoey's video I, like many others, simply
shook my head and said "what a mess". I had no idea.

Then I spent some time with the victims. That experience has given me a deep
understanding of the pain and the hopelessness of the situation. The only
English word that comes frequently and clearly from their lips as they stare
hopelessly into the evening fire is 'suffering'.

"Ah, but we are suffering," they murmur brokenly. When asked about their
movement to the farm the men say there they will suffer more but they don't
want to be a burden on the church anymore and government says that they have
to go there. So they will go and see the winter out in tents. They will
drink what water they can find and they will live in the bush until, in
three months time, they are moved again.

I had difficulty in discovering where they will be moved to after the three
months is up. To their homes, I am told. I thought the government just
destroyed them? No their tribal homelands in the rural areas. - But why
haven't they gone there already? No answer. The truth is that many of these
people have no tribal homeland. An identifying number on their ID does not
mean that they have no family or relationships or even knowledge of the
areas that are supposedly their homelands."This is Africa", snarls a
policeman, "everyone has a traditional homeland." One gentleman explains
that his parents are from Malawi. He was born after they moved to Zimbabwe
and has been here ever since. Where must he go? How?

The stress of the situation is obviously unbearable for many of the victims.
I watched as an elderly gentleman staggered down the corridor and caught his
fall against a wall where he paused, head bowed for about three minutes,
composing himself before he returned to a play with a child in the
courtyard. Two people have already been removed from one church after being
diagnosed as mentally ill. The pressure is unthinkable.

A young pastoral student addressed a gathering of the people in a church
hall encouraging them to attend his discipleship classes held every
afternoon. A woman brushed past me as she came to speak to him. "You are
doing a good thing young man, but our minds cannot absorb anything, we are
in shock, we are dealing with unsettlement, insecurity and heartache. We do
not know where we are going or when, or why, or how we will survive there.
We are worried about these things only."

"Good," declared the young minister, "I am glad that you are concerned about
your future; I too am concerned about your future. I want to ensure that
whatever happens to you here on earth, your eternity will be secure in
heaven." I had to walk away to prevent her tears from becoming my own.

I consoled a small boy who tripped, skinning his knee on the concrete floor.
I assessed his wounds - they were minor. The wailing, shaking and sniffing
that followed the fall must have been building for about three weeks of
homelessness. The fall was finally a good excuse to let them out. I hugged
him. Drawing his arm determinedly under his nose he rose unsteadily from my
embrace and walked slowly into the sea of hungry inhabitants.

I sat around the fire looking at all the faces illuminated in its glow. I
noticed a young woman wearing a Zanu (PF) tee-shirt and smiled briefly at
the irony. I tried to formulate a clever jest to offer her but failed to
come up with one as I realised that the lettering on the tee-shirt was the
furthest thing from this young lady's mind. It took my TV-cultured mind and
western education several minutes of reflection to realize that she did not
wear the shirt as an actress wears a designer label on the red carpet. Her
slender frame stood elegantly, arms behind her back, defiantly beside the
fire wearing the shirt as an amputee wears a prosthetic. It was a shirt and
that was all it was. It kept her warm, she had a shirt.

I made the mistake of being caught filming. A small crowd gathered and I
panicked at the sudden attention that could have lead to my exposure and
arrest should a government agent spot me. I quickly dismissed this fear upon
seeing how excited the sight of their friend's faces on the mini DV screen
made the onlookers. I scattered the crowd as I swung the handy cam around at
them all playfully. They immediately requested to see themselves on the
playback. I obliged ad-nauseum before noticing a rather peculiar phenomenon.
As the people sat, jostled for position in front of the camera and joked,
they all asked to be filmed as they ate tauntingly or while holding full
plates of food.

After recovering from another fit of westernization I realized that these
people were posing with the food. Showing off that they had food. The way in
which this was done was distinctly reminiscent of the rappers I have seen in
music videos as they lie on the hoods of Ferraris or swing large
diamond-studded neck chains in front of the camera.

Amazingly, many instances of happiness, hope and strength of will remain -
in true Zimbabwean fashion. One gentleman, wearing a dirty old school blazer
promised to write a book about his experiences. "I don't know the people
that they will make me live with in my rural home. They may like me when I
arrive carrying World Vision packets and United Nations blankets but when my
USAid cooking oil runs out they might not be very nice people!" he joked.

Joyful singing and drums filled the evening as the women and children,
joined by a few young men, began to sing Ndebele church songs as they danced
among the piles of packed belongings and dirty blankets. I smiled broadly,
even chuckled gently to feel their joy and to see their spirits so
unfettered - free, for a time, and then muttered, "Live like there is no

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it still
make a sound? In the same way, the pain experienced by these people is real,
even though the world is not here to see it. Using whatever is available to
you and fighting for those too weak or paralyzed by fear is one's duty. It
is the essence of a man, to come through.
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The Zimbabwean

Loan will double Zim debt
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe government is desperately scouring the world for a
loan to help it meet current needs. To the South Africans the pitch was
"help us pay our IMF arrears or we will be expelled". To China "help us feed
our people". What the pitch was to Malaysia and India is not known.
Any country contemplating agreeing to the loan should bear in mind that the
money is needed to prevent the total collapse of the Zimbabwean economy.
This was accepted by President Mbeki - either that or Zimbabwe lands in our
lap, he stated on Sunday. Despite Mugabe's bravado, the country has to
import nearly 70% of its total food requirements this year and is unlikely
to do much better next year. This alone will absorb more than half the
requested funding.

Secondly, there is no possibility that government can ever hope to repay
this loan - or even any interest that might accrue on it. The loan
represents nearly 100% of the country's total export earnings this year. It
is also over 20% of our entire GDP. At current exchange rates (official) the
loan is over 17,5 billion Zimbabwe dollars - nearly double present domestic

Any lender should also consider how to control what this money is spent on.
If it is simply paid over to the Reserve Bank it would be filtered away into
overseas accounts by political figures in the Mugabe regime now concerned
about their own security. It would be squandered on buying non-essentials
and arms. Remember, these same people who are rushing all over the world
seeking financial help "to feed the hungry" have just spent US$600 million
on arms and aircraft.

The main problems in Harare are not economic but political. The regime led
by Mugabe has lost its legitimacy and the only acceptable way back is a
complete overhaul of the Zimbabwe constitution and administration. It is
still possible to rescue Zimbabwe but the way that happens is as important
as the actual changes needed. Leadership changes on the back of the violent
overthrow of the Mugabe regime would not be acceptable. It is difficult to
see a solution that avoids the need for some sort of transitional authority
to run the country until new elections under international supervision can
be held.

Once an acceptable political agenda is agreed and a timetable adopted, then
the economic and humanitarian crisis can be addressed.

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The Zimbabwean

Creativity - the govt's bane

Award-winning Zimbabwean author, CHENJERAI HOVE, currently living in
self-imposed exile in Europe, looks at the Zimbabwe government's suppression
of creativity.
In 1987 I wrote a novel in my mother tongue with the title 'Masimba Avanhu?'
meaning 'Is This People's Power?' Workers had been arrested for going on
strike over the continuation of colonial salary structures, which viewed
women as minor dependents of their husbands, and thus deserving to earn a
salary appended to that of their husbands. Even the tax system was such that
a woman's income was taxed as part of her husband's income. Women received
salaries 20 percent lower than the salaries of men doing the same job and
with the same qualifications.

The post-independence government was only too willing to continue to instill
the same fear, which the rebel government had used to suppress both
creativity and basic freedoms - association, movement, expression and
information. Ironically, the current Zimbabwe government, in power since
1980, has actually perfected the laws of fear of the colonial times. The
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) is harsher than the colonial Law and
Order Maintenance Act (LOMA).

The colonial law said five people wanting to meet and discuss politics and
governance issues should seek the permission of the police to do so. The new
law says three
people seeking to discuss politics should seek police permission to do so.
And publishers of newspapers and books have to get a special licence from
the government-appointed Media and Information Commission in order to do
their work. That is stipulated by the new law, the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which, contrary to its name, actually
bars free access to information.

Thus, before a writer sits down to write a poem or a book, he or she has to
think whether the material is likely to endanger public security and
threaten law and order. So, we have the burdened writer who sits at home
with a manuscript, afraid to take it to the publisher since publishers are
required by law to submit to the secret service, before publication, any
creative works which he deems likely to endanger public order and security.
It is now legal again for the police or secret services to raid the premises
of publishers if they suspect that they are publishing material which
endangers national security.

Not so long ago, mysterious figures broke into my house and stole my two
computers (the laptop and the pc) and diskettes. Prior to their success,
they had tried to steal the gadgets, but unfortunately for them, I was
working late into the early morning hours. They only managed to grab the
television, videocassette player and a few trinkets before I ran to stop
them. Then when I reported the theft by phone, the police had no car to
visit the scene of the crime. I drove to fetch them, but when one office saw
me, he asked if I was the writer and journalist.

'Are you sure this is not a political crime?' he asked before they left.
From then on I knew there would be no investigations on the matter.

Before the thefts, I had been offered a farm on condition that I stop
criticising government policies. When I turned down the offer because it was
stolen property, they then went on to offer me lots of money, which I was
not obliged to account for, in order to travel the whole world persuading
all PEN centres to agree to the government's invitation to host the PEN
Annual Congress in Zimbabwe.

'The government's image is bad internationally. If you bring writers here,
the government will pamper them so they can write good things about our
country,' the government emissary had said to me. Knowing the futility of
such an enterprise, I refused to take the money under the pretext that if
the writers agreed to come to Zimbabwe, I could not guarantee the content of
what they were going to write about the country.

From persuasion and the lure of money, they went for other alternatives:
incessant death threats to me and my family. The most bizarre was four armed
policemen coming to arrest me at my house on allegations that my car had
been found abandoned in Plumtree, over 700 kilometres, with a load of 23,5kg
of marijuana. The number plates were of a car which I had sold through a
garage five years before. And so I left under the pretext that I was
visiting the United Kingdom and returning after 10 days. I have never
returned. The CIO airport chief smiled and simply said: 'See you in 10 days.'

In such a repressive political situation, writing becomes burdensome. Fear
of the authorities begins to sink deep down into the recesses of the human
imagination. Fear becomes 'normal.' 'Are you still not in prison?' people
used to ask me in the streets after reading some of my newspaper columns.
Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison has become a strong symbol of the fear in
the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans, writers included.

But as a writer, a poet, a playwright, one wants to do a play which depicts
the whole country as a maximum security prison. Thus, creating new metaphors
and symbols of our collective and individual identities. The urge to write
is like the urge to live, to fight the silence that suffocates the human
soul, especially in Africa. I try to write in order to fight the decay
called silence, to communicate with myself so as to search for the 'other'
in me.

In response, some writers begin to learn how to survive by writing praise
songs to the political system. Others join the system and are rewarded with
comfortable jobs, especially those with the responsibility of suppressing
other writers. The current chief media censor is supposed to be a poet and
lecturer of journalism. Some writers are co-opted into all sorts of dubious
commissions with everything to do with controlling the imagination of the
creators of literary works, films, dramas and other media.

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The Zimbabwean

Maker of tombstones flourishes

MBARE - After World War II people felt very moved when they saw flowers
growing on heaps of rubble left in their bombed out cities and took it as a
sign that life was re-asserting itself after death had held sway for so
long. Indeed, people fight back and are trying to rebuild their lives amidst
the ruins. This morning I observed two young men painting colourful pictures
and displaying them for passers-by in their rubble-strewn yard.
Cyril Banda, a Malawian, looks an old man of over seventy. But he has a much
younger wife and a small child. Our aid workers discovered them on an open
place where people have put up makeshift shelters against the cold wind at
night. The wife's family in Musana are ready to have their daughter back and
bring her child, but not the old man, a foreigner. So what do we do with
him? Our last resort is the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Theresa's
Sisters) who welcome old and abandoned people. They agree to take him, at
least for the time being. How to reunite him with his wife and child, that
is a problem we have to try and solve later.

Little Tendai is only three weeks old. He has never known a roof over his
head. He was born in the open and lived in the open with his very young
mother ever since. The father has somehow disappeared. This morning an aid
worker takes mother and child to the bus terminus to put them on the bus
home. An uncle has sent a message the mother should come and stay with him.
We hope that life will treat little Tendai more kindly from now on after
this rocky start.

The only business in our area that seems to have survived the onslaught of
"Murambatsvina" and is still flourishing is a maker of tombstones. Sons and
daughters working in the UK as economic refugees still want to honour their
late parents. - I had phone calls from Zimbabweans abroad deeply concerned
about what is happening and enquiring in what way they can help, not just
their relatives, but anyone. We are deeply grateful for this spirit of
solidarity. Zimbabwe will need this spirit once this present nightmare is
over and reconstructions begin.

Looking at those heaps of rubble lining our streets, and even more so when
trying to sort out the problems of people hit by "Murambavanhu", I am often
asking myself: when a man causes his firm huge losses through incompetence
or recklessness, he is fired, and no questions asked.

Why aren't the people who cause all this misery fired?

Oskar Wermter, In Touch Jesuit Newsletter

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The Zimbabwean

Two die in SA camp of horror
JOHANNESBURG - Last week, two Zimbabwean refugees, 18-year-old Alice Chumba
and 22-year-old Mcheangeni Mlambo, died at the notorious Lindela Detention
Camp (situated on the outskirts of Johannesburg and run by a private company
contracted by the SA Department of Home Affairs) under very suspicious
Announcing an investigation into the deaths, Remember Moyo, chair of the
Zimbabwe Action Support Group (ZASG), said he was outraged.

"While Chumba and Mlambo paid the ultimate price, their stay behind the
walls of Lindela should remind us of the experience of hundreds of thousands
of other refugees and so-called 'illegal immigrants' from all over Africa
who have found themselves at the camp of death and despair over the last
several years - just another statistic, rounded-up, corralled and dispatched
like cattle," he said.
Moyo described conditions at Lindela as 'horrendous and inhumane'.

"It is always seriously over-crowded; pregnant women and small children are
at the mercy of brutal and corrupt officials/guards; living conditions are
unhygienic with high rates of illness amongst the detainees; food is
regularly rotten and there are no decent medical facilities," he said.

"For those refugees who are not in Lindela, the problems faced in trying to
'legalise' their presence in South Africa are immense. There is endemic
corruption at Home Affairs; the key processing office in Johannesburg
(Rosentenville) has been closed; people sleep for two weeks on the pavement
in Pretoria waiting to get papers and it remains extremely difficult to be
granted asylum."

Moyo said it was inconceivable that the South African government, whose own
liberation was supported with human solidarity and courage by Zimbabweans
and millions of other Africans, could continue to treat African political
and economic refugees with such contempt.

"They deport over a thousand Zimbabweans every week. How different this
hospitality is from the way Zimbabweans and other Africans supported them
during the struggle against apartheid," he said.

The ZASG has called on the SA government to stop the deportation of
Zimbabwean and other refugees, to close Lindela and re-open the
Rosettenville Home Affairs office, and to engage organisations representing
Zimbabweans on matters relating to asylum.

"We encourage all asylum seekers to register with ourselves and other
Zimbabwean organisations so that support can be provided. We will be
appealing to the United Nations to investigate the way in which South Africa
is dealing with African refugees," added Moyo.

Contact: Rodgers Mudarikwa (Coordinator) on SA 083 753 0399; Remember Moyo
(Chairperson) on SA 072 032 4223
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The Zimbabwean

Camps cleared for Annan's visit

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe government has ordered the police to ensure that all
the people who have no title deeds for properties demolished under its
internationally condemned urban clean-up exercise are moved to their rural
areas of origin ahead of the forthcoming visit by UN Secretary General Kofi
A senior police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the order
came soon after the release of a damning report compiled by Annan's special
envoy Anna Tibaijuka.

The officer, who has been running one transit camp outside Bulawayo, said
the order was timed to ensure that there would be no people left in the
camps by the time Mr Annan visits Zimbabwe to assess the impact of Operation

Mugabe immediately rejected Tibaijuka's report as biased and premised on
pre-conceptions by the humanitarian aid community and invited Annan to
assess the aftermath personally. Officials are now scrambling to ensure that
Annan is shown a sanitized version of what actually happened - thus shedding
doubt on the veracity of Tibaijuka's report.

"District administrators all over the country are under orders to ensure
that the people are passed down the line until they get to their rural
villages. From there they are expected to link up with relatives and carry
on with their lives," said the source.

The removals intensified last weekend when the government declared Caledonia
Farm, Harare's largest transit camp, officially closed and promised a speedy
removal of over 200 remaining displaced people.

In the south-west, dozens of victims who were forced from Bulawayo into
transit camps in farms around Nyamandlovu and Umguza ahead of the UN envoy's
visit two weeks ago, were bundled into police and DDF trucks and driven to
the offices of their local district administrators. "They are working round
the clock to beat the deadline," said the officer.

Home affairs minister Kembo Mohadi declined to comment on the extent of the
police involvement and referred all questions to Ignatious Chombo, the
minister of local government. He also refuted allegations that police were
under orders to empty transit camps ahead of Annan's visit.
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From The Catholic News Service (SA), 27 July

South Africa aid to Zimbabwe gets ‘no’ vote from Cardinal Napier

By Bronwen Dachs

Cape Town - South Africa would be "most reckless" to send aid to Zimbabwe, which is "in absolute chaos," said the president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference. "Giving money to (Zimbabwe President Robert) Mugabe can be compared to giving money to an alcoholic beggar who tells you he has given up drink and will spend the money on food," Cardinal Wilfrid F. Napier of Durban said in a mid-July telephone interview from Durban. The cardinal had returned from a two-day trip to Zimbabwe as part of a delegation with the ecumenical South African Council of Churches. Mugabe is reportedly seeking a loan from South Africa to pay for electricity, fuel and food to offset chronic shortages. South Africa is in talks with the Zimbabwean government and may end up aiding its neighbor financially, South African President Thabo Mbeki told reporters July 24. Cardinal Napier said Zimbabweans would be better served through donations to churches and humanitarian aid agencies because Mugabe probably would squander the funding. "Mugabe has never respected conditions attached to money lent to his government before, so there is no reason to think that he would do so this time," the cardinal said. An ongoing campaign of government-ordered shantytown demolitions has left hundreds of thousands homeless. The campaign, Operation Drive Out Trash, has been condemned by the United Nations, numerous countries and church leaders.

"Mugabe wants to destroy all semblance of opposition and aims to achieve this by bringing people to their knees with himself as the only person who can help them," the cardinal said. Zimbabwe's government said the demolitions were carried out to eliminate illegal settlements that had contributed to a rise in crime in Zimbabwe's deteriorating cities. The demolitions, which began in May, have left 700,000 Zimbabweans without homes or jobs, according to a mid-July UN report. The South African Council of Churches said in its report that the "deliberate destruction of the informal economy, which is meant to cater to economically vulnerable groups, is unparalleled in modern-day Africa." Near Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, the council delegation visited a refugee camp where some 5,000 people were living in "inhuman conditions." "These people are removed from opportunities to earn a living and driven to the periphery of society," it said. "A shocking sight greeted the delegation" when it entered Mbare township, 25 miles southeast of Harare, the report said. "Almost every yard was filled with rubble from the demolition of structures." At a Catholic church in the township, the delegation saw long lines of people waiting to collect monthly food rations, the report said. Cardinal Napier told Catholic News Service that Mbare "was so full of rubble it looked like it had been bombed."

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The Zimbabwean

CHRA explores legal action
HARARE - The Central Harare Resident's Association (CHRA) held a public
meeting in Mount Pleasant last week to discuss taking legal action against
Harare City Council for its role in Operation Murambatsvina. Residents who
are having difficulty accessing their building plans or other documents at
the Council are requested to report this to Mr. Masunda on 300469 or to
CHRA, attention legal officer, on 753454, or email giving
your name, stand number and the date and place where you tried to access
which documents - or whatever other difficulty you have had. Mr Masunda is
also interested in hearing from those who are being made to pay unreasonable
charges for "regularisation", borehole/well registration etc.
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Zim Online

MDC says raid on election fraud expert's house a bid to derail poll
Fri 29 July 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe police on Thursday raided the house of an opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) election fraud expert and seized
computers, in what the party said was an attempt to derail its efforts to
prove in court that President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party
stole elections.
      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached last night to
establish why the police had raided MDC election fraud expert Topper
Whitehead's house.

      MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said the police had seized
computer hard and software from Whitehead's house hoping the opposition
party would be unable to carry forward its petitions against Mugabe's 2002
re-election and against victory by several other ZANU PF candidates in
parliamentary elections.

      "They think that by confiscating our equipment they will be able to
stop us from proving that the elections were stolen," Ncube told ZimOnline.

      Whitehead is assisting MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in his court
petition seeking to prove Mugabe cheated him of victory three years ago. The
petition, which under Zimbabwe's laws, should have been dealt with as a
matter of urgency has been long delayed at the courts forcing Tsvangirai to
appeal last week to the country's highest court, the Supreme Court, to take
over and finalise the matter.

      The poll fraud expert is also helping the MDC challenge the results of
13 constituencies in last March's disputed parliamentary election in what
the opposition party says is meant to publicly illustrate how the general
election was stolen by ZANU PF.

      In a separate incident, police also arrested MDC deputy secretary
general and Member of Parliament for Harare's Mbare constituency, Gift
Chimanikire, after he was attacked by suspected ruling ZANU PF youths when
he attempted to attend a public ceremony in his constituency at which state
and ZANU PF Vice-President Joseph Msika was officiating.

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said Chimanikire had gone to witness
the official opening of a public vending and trading market in Mbare when a
well-known ZANU PF vigilante group led by the party's losing candidate in
the constituency in last March's election, Tendai Savanhu, attacked him and
his body guards.

      Nyathi said: "Chimanikire left (the ceremony) under a barrage of
missiles from the group. When he attempted to report the matter at Mbare
Police, he was told he was under arrest."

      The MDC official said it was not clear what charges the police would
lay against Chimanikire, who they were still holding in custody by last

      Churches and human rights groups have in the past accused Zimbabwe
police of selectively applying the law targeting only perceived government
opponents and in the worst cases, letting perpetrators of political violence
going scot-free. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Mugabe's new land Bill to ban appeals to the courts
Fri 29 July 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe will ban landowners from appealing against seizure
of their land by the state and prohibit courts from hearing such appeals,
under a draft Constitutional Amendment Bill that virtually nationalises all
land in the country.

      In the past the government's Land Acquisition Act empowered the state
to seize agricultural land, mainly from white farmers, to resettle landless
blacks. The Act also allowed farm owners somewhat limited recourse to the

      But the proposed new and tougher land law, submitted to Parliament
last Thursday, is wide-sweeping, empowering the government to forcibly seize
whatever land for whatever purposes without paying compensation for the land
while private owners cannot legally challenge the acquisition of their

      The government will however be bound under the draft new law - as is
the case at present - to pay compensation for improvements such as housing,
roads and dams constructed on the piece of land targeted for acquisition.

      Clause 16 B of the Bill reads in part: "No compensation shall be
payable for land ..except for any improvements effected on such land before
it was acquired ..a person having any right or interest in the land shall
not apply to a court to challenge the acquisition of the land by the State,
and no court shall entertain any such challenge."

      The proposed new law will empower the government to acquire land
unhindered by the courts for "whatever purposes, including, but not limited,
to, settlement for agricultural purposes."

      The draft amendment Bill will, if passed into law, become the 17th
amendment to Zimbabwe's British drafted constitution. The same Bill also
proposes the re-introduction of the House of Senate abolished more than 10
years ago.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which
has 41 seats in the 150-seat House, is expected to oppose the proposed
amendment. But the government which all in all controls 108 seats, more than
the two thirds majority required to pass constitutional amendments, is
expected to railroad the legislation through Parliament.

      ZANU PF won 78 of the 120 contested parliamentary seats in last March's
disputed election. But President Robert Mugabe appoints another 12 unelected
Members of Parliament under a clause in the constitution allowing him to do
so. The appointees have full voting powers.

      A further eight provincial governors, again handpicked by Mugabe, also
sit in Parliament and enjoy full voting powers. The 10 traditional chiefs
elected to the House by the council of chiefs have since independence voted
with ZANU PF, assuring the ruling party and government of absolute control
of Parliament.

      MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said although ZANU PF could
technically amass the two-thirds majority to amend the constitution, it
would be improper for the party to do so because it did not have an express
and popular mandate from Zimbabweans to unilaterally change the

      "We know they will use their force and numbers (to amend the
constitution) which is not procedural," said Ncube, himself a constitutional
law expert.

      Once passed the constitutional amendment will be the final seal to the
government's chaotic and often violent seizure of productive land from
minority whites for redistribution to the majority but landless blacks.

      The farm seizure programme in which at least seven white framers were
murdered and thousands of their black farm workers severely assaulted,
plunged Zimbabwe into perennial food shortages.

      The southern African nation, which exported food before the farm
seizures began in 2000 has for the last five years largely survived on
handouts from food aid agencies after farm production fell by 60 percent
because Mugabe did not give inputs support or skills training to the black
peasants resettled on former white farms.

      An estimated four million people or a quarter of Zimbabwe's population
require 1.2 million tonnes of urgent food aid or they will starve after yet
another poor harvest last season.

      Zimbabwe's economy has contracted in tandem with the troubles in the
mainstay agricultural sector, declining by about 30 percent since 2000.
Besides food, hard cash, fuel, essential medical drugs and other basic
commodities are in short supply as Zimbabwe's economy hurtles into the

      Mugabe denies ruining Zimbabwe's economy and says his land reforms
were necessary to correct a colonial land tenure system that he argues was
not only unfair but immoral for reserving 75 percent of the best arable land
to a few whites while blacks were cramped on poor sandy soils in
drought-prone areas. - ZimOnline
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The Zimbabwean

Editorial comment
Political solution must be found
President Mugabe and his officials have been very busy lately - running to
South Africa and China with an outstretched begging bowl looking for
billions of US dollars with which to rescue the world's fastest shrinking
economy - which a few short years ago was one of the most prosperous
countries in southern Africa.
Zimbabwe finds itself in a mess of its own making. Economic mismanagement on
the scale perpetrated by the Mugabe regime is unprecedented - as are its
inhuman policies, flagrant corruption and manipulation of the judiciary to
the point where the rule of law has been abandoned.

It looks as though both South Africa and China are going to respond
positively to this last-ditch desperate attempt to mortgage the future of
our children's children. We find it incomprehensible that Thabo Mbeki has
agreed to bail Mugabe out to the tune of R6 billion. Mbeki says he can't
stand by and watch Zimbabwe collapse. Is he not aware that Zimbabwe
collapsed five year's ago? And that its problems are primarily political,
combined with disastrous economic mismanagement?

What is needed is a political solution. Pumping more money into an
illegitimate, corrupt and bankrupt regime which is terrorizing its people
with a flagrant disregard for human rights is not the answer.

The Chinese have been protecting Mugabe at international for some time and
don't seem to be overly concerned about human rights niceties. What do they
want in return? It's not difficult to surmise. They are the world's largest
importer of fuel to drive their massive economic development programme. They
are desperate for minerals - especially platinum and coal, with which
Zimbabwe has been well endowed.

It would be too much to hope that the octogenarian thievocracy that is our
government today has thought through the long-term consequences of its
action. As far as they are concerned there is no tomorrow. Mbeki, however,
should not make the same mistake. Pigeons do come home to roost. And he
should not forget that they are just next door.
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--> New York Newsday

Zambia Holds July 7 London Bomb Suspect


July 28, 2005, 3:39 PM EDT

LUSAKA, Zambia -- A man being sought in connection with the July 7 attacks
in London that killed 56 people, including the four suicide bombers, is in
custody in Zambia, a Zambian official said Thursday.

Haroon Rashid Aswat, 31, has been arrested in the border town of
Livingstone, having crossed into Zambia from Zimbabwe, according to the
official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized
to speak to the media.

The Los Angeles Times and some media have reported that Aswat, who was
believed to have called some of the four men who police have said were
responsible for the London attacks, was detained by Zambian authorities last

The British Foreign Office in London said they were seeking access to a
Briton reportedly detained in Zambia but would not identify him or say if he
was being sought in connection with the bombings.

"We are seeking consular access to a British national who is reported to be
in custody in Zambia," a spokesman for the Foreign Office said on customary
condition of anonymity. "We can't say what it's in connection with until we
have gained access, and we can't confirm anything about the identity of the
person until we have seen them."

A British citizen of Indian descent, Aswat reportedly interested
investigators when they discovered that about 20 calls had been placed from
his cell phone to some of the four suspected bombers.

The Zambian Embassy in London had no immediate comment.

Last week, an American once accused of trying to set up a terror training
camp in Oregon was questioned about Aswat.

That man, James Ujaama, a Muslim convert from Seattle, was charged in 2002
with trying to set up a terrorist training camp for Muslim cleric Abu Hamza
al-Masri. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for cooperating
with terrorism investigations until 2013.

Three U.S. federal law enforcement officials said on July 22 that Ujaama was
being questioned about Aswat, who also was implicated in the 1999 plan to
establish a training camp in Bly, Ore. The officials spoke on condition of
anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

The officials did not say whether Ujaama has provided any useful information
on Aswat, and Ujaama's lawyer, Peter Offenbecher, declined to comment.

Federal officials have said Ujaama's help was crucial in last year's
indictment of al-Masri on charges that included trying to establish the
Oregon camp. Al-Masri, formerly the head preacher at London's Finsbury Park
mosque, also faces British charges of incitement to murder. He is being held
in England.

Aswat is one of two al-Masri associates who are referred to but not named or
charged in the 2002 indictment of Ujaama by a federal grand jury in Seattle,
officials said. The other is Oussama Kassir, a Lebanese-born Swede, who was
convicted of weapons violations in Sweden in 2003.

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