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

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From The Sunday Telegraph (UK), 3 July

Dealing with terror

British companies have been chastised by Kate Hoey, the Labour MP, for not
doing enough to ensure that they are not giving financial succour to
Zimbabwe's repressive regime. James Hall investigates.

Tony Blair will on Tuesday morning - via a satellite link from Singapore -
urge businessmen at a conference in London to invest in Africa. The G8
Business Action for Africa conference is a curtain-raiser to the G8 summit
in Gleneagles, which begins on Wednesday. Along with assorted corporate
leaders, including Jeroen van der Veer, the chief executive of Royal Dutch
Shell, the oil giant, and Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, the chairman of Anglo
American, the mining company, the conference will be addressed by the
presidents of Mozambique, Nigeria and Zambia, among others. However, one
nation that will not be represented at the conference is Zimbabwe, the
southern African country that is in turmoil under President Robert Mugabe.
Brutal repossession of white-owned farms, widespread demolition of property
and abuses of human rights characterise Mugabe's regime. Savage food and oil
shortages, 500 per cent inflation and 80 per cent unemployment are crippling
the ravaged country, which has been teetering on the brink of collapse for
months. And yet many UK companies do business in Zimbabwe in a way that -
according to their critics - helps to prop up Mugabe and his reign of
terror. Even if they are not deliberately trading with the beneficiaries of
illegally expropriated property, they may not be doing enough to establish
whether or not the companies and people they deal with there are bona fide.

This matter of corporate conscience was highlighted last week by Kate Hoey,
the MP and former minister, who returned from a trip to Zimbabwe a fortnight
ago. She said that she was "concerned about companies in this country that
continue to do business with counterparts in Zimbabwe that are working hand
in hand" with Mugabe's regime. "Supermarkets - I simply mention Tesco, but
there are many - have not yet taken seriously their obligations to ensure
that their vegetables and flowers are not being sourced from illegally
seized farms or operations run by proxies for the regime," she said. Hoey
added that certain UK and European banks are arranging lines of credit for
the repressive regime and its associates. Hoey has placed those companies in
a dilemma. UK retailers have rigorous rules governing which suppliers they
use. As well as having their own codes of conduct, the retailers regularly
employ external agencies to carry out audits of their supply base. Further,
large retailers - including Asda, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, J Sainsbury and
Boots - are all signatories to the Ethical Trading Initiative, meaning that
they must assume responsibility for the labour and human rights practices
within their supply chains. But when a country is as corrupt as Zimbabwe,
and when information is kept from the outside world, how can these companies
be so sure of what and whom they are dealing with?

John Worswick, a founder of Justice for Agriculture (JAG) - a Zimbabwean
organisation that represents commercial farm owners and workers - says that
although supermarkets may source goods from legally owned farms, these farms
often outsource production to other farms, whose ownership may not be legal.
Therefore, tacit collusion with supporters of Mugabe's regime may be
occurring. "What is happening is that the big suppliers have outgrowers who
are on illegally acquired farms," he says. "The farms have been illegally
acquired in that the government hasn't followed the due process, and
confirmation of the acquisitions hasn't gone through the courts. Worse, in
many situations the original owners haven't been compensated," he says. JAG
has been building a database of farms in Zimbabwe that have been seized.
Through this, it can assess the legality of their ownership. "We would like
to see organisations like Tesco and Sainsbury being transparent in terms of
who they are acquiring products from. Organisations like JAG can do due
diligence and identify if the product is legitimate or not," he says.
Worswick says that he has examples of suppliers in Zimbabwe who are
sympathetic to Zanu PF, Mugabe's ruling party.

David Banks, a policy advisor for the Zimbabwe All-Party Parliamentary
Group, has been on three clandestine missions to Zimbabwe over the past
two-and-a-half years. He says that companies must not be allowed to "turn a
blind eye to human rights abuses just in the name of getting a few pence off
their mangetout peas. It wouldn't happen if it was Burma or somewhere like
that," he says. What is needed, Banks says, is an up-to-date official list
of approved farmers that should be readily available to those who source
goods from the country. "It would be quite straightforward if the will was
there to do anything about it," he says. However, retailers deny Hoey's
suggestion that they are not taking their obligations seriously. An official
at Tesco, which was singled out by Hoey, says that it buys "very little"
from Zimbabwe and that it tends not to use suppliers who outsource
production to third parties. She says that suppliers are regularly audited
and that any change in ownership of a farm results in an automatic
re-auditing. Two years ago, Tesco stopped sourcing from two farms in
Zimbabwe that changed owners. "If a farm changes ownership it is unlikely,
frankly, that they'll be able to guarantee those standards, particularly
ethical ones. Our track record speaks for itself," she claims.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury says that the retailer has "strict regulations
in place to ensure that our suppliers only buy from farms that are legally
owned", even though it does not employ those farms directly. Chris McCann,
the ethical trading manager at Asda, the UK supermarket owned by Wal-Mart,
the world's largest retailer, says that Asda sources no goods at all from
Zimbabwe. And he sheds some light on the lengths that supermarkets go to in
their audit processes. As well as implementing its own code, Asda - like its
rivals - uses third-party auditors, such as Bureau Veritas. These auditors
visit farms and interview workers, both individually and collectively. They
carry out inspections of the sites, including the dormitories (if the farm
is residential). An auditor will also demand to see documents, such as pay
slips from the employer and passports from the employees, to verify that
staff are not being held in bonded labour. "We do find issues, but I don't
know a retailer in the world that doesn't," McCann says. Companies that fail
the audit have 120 days to implement a corrective action plan or be shut
down. Last year, Wal-Mart carried out 13,000 audits of its suppliers

However, Hoey says that more must be done. She has seen flowers of uncertain
Zimbabwean origin sold at the New Covent Garden Market in her London
constituency of Stockwell. Her message to retailers is clear: 100 per cent
certainty that products come from an ethical source is required. "I - and
the public - would want to be absolutely certain that anything that has
Zimbabwe on it has not been sourced, or any part of it sourced, from land
that has been illegally seized. We know if that has happened then we will
not be helping the poorest people in Zimbabwe by buying it," she says. "In
fact, at the moment, I would ask people to be very careful about buying
anything from Zimbabwe," she adds. Dan Rees, a director at the Ethical Trade
Initiative, says that Hoey has raised "very important questions about what
are extremely serious issues". "The decisions taken by the Mugabe regime
have plunged the country into crisis and the effects on workers and others
have been severe," he says. "ETI membership obligations require retailers to
ensure that their suppliers are observing national and international labour
law. We urge retailers and brands to identify their suppliers, assess the
conditions for their workers and where necessary, seek improvements to
workers' conditions." However, he admits that this can be hard, given the
blanket of secrecy over much that takes place in Zimbabwe. "Given the
current context in Zimbabwe, where the rule of law does not apply and where
there are real concerns about personal safety issues, it is extremely
difficult for companies to implement ETI membership obligations in full," he
says. Sourcing from such countries is an ethical minefield. So Dr Mohan
Kaul, the director general of the Commonwealth Business Council, which is
co-organising this week's G8 conference on Africa in London, has a simple
solution. He says that countries such as Zimbabwe should simply be
off-limits: "We are saying: 'Don't touch these countries.' "

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AU envoy on 'un-procedural' Zimbabwe mission-paper
Sun Jul 3, 2005 7:49 AM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - The African Union last week sent an senior official to
probe Zimbabwe's controversial demolition of illegal shanty towns without
notifying President Robert Mugabe's government, the Sunday Mail reported.
In a move it said authorities had slammed as "un-procedural" the paper said
Alpha Konare, chairman of the African Union Commission which runs the
day-to-day affairs of the continental body sent Bahare Tom Nyanduga to
Zimbabwe on Thursday.

The state-owned paper said Harare only became aware of the visit when
Nyanduga was already on his way.

"He was, however, informed that he could not proceed with his mission before
he had fully appraised the Government of the purpose of his visit," the
Sunday Mail said.

The paper quoted Nyanduga as saying he would meet government ministers,
rights groups and visit areas affected by the crackdown which Mugabe says is
meant to rid Zimbabwe of settlements that had become hives of illegal trade
in scarce hard currency and food.

"Being a member of the AU Commission on Human Rights and special rapporteur
on refugees, asylum seekers and internal displaced persons in Africa, I was
requested to assess the displacement and humanitarian aspect of the clean-up
exercise," he said.

"Based on the information I would have gathered from the assessment, I will
then come up with a report to be presented to the AU chairperson."

Officials were not available for comment on Sunday.

Rights groups, who say the operation has left at least 300,000 people
homeless, have urged Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, as chairman of
the AU, to put the crisis in Zimbabwe on the agenda of it summit starting on

The AU had previously indicated it would not interfere in what it said was a
member country's internal affairs.

A special envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Anna Tibaijuka has
been in Zimbabwe for a week on a similar assessment mission which has seen
her tour townships and squatter camps affected by the crackdown in the
capital Harare and the eastern city of Mutare.

On Friday, Tibaijuka visited a camp on the outskirts of Harare where 4,000
people have been moved after their homes were destroyed in a campaign
Amnesty International and Action Aid say killed at least three more people
last week -- in addition to two children reported crushed to death during

Police have not yet confirmed reports of three more deaths.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says well over 1.5 million
people have been displaced and that the crackdown its meant to punish its
supporters in the urban strongholds where it kept most of its parliamentary
seats in March 31 parliamentary elections.

The United States and European nations raised Zimbabwe's housing demolitions
in the U.N. Security Council for the first time on Thursday, using a debate
on extreme hunger in southern Africa to get the issue on the agenda.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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Inside the heart of Mugabe's hell hole
          July 03 2005 at 09:48AM

      By Roy Bennett

      The Zimbabwean people have watched their beautiful country slowly
decay into corruption and chaos. Even so, the core of the despair remains
behind closed doors with no hope of the human rights abuses and suffering
being exposed.

      On May 15 last year, during a parliamentary debate, I pushed Patrick
Chinamasa, the minister of justice, to the floor. By that time, I had
suffered four years of political abuse and victimisation resulting in the
murder of two of my employees, the rape of three, the loss of an unborn
child and the theft of my farm.

      This included the contents and clothing, 820 head of cattle, 122
sheep, 14 horses, 12 chickens, eight bantams, four rabbits, eight guinea
pigs, two cats, eight tractors, three lorries, five pick-ups and a full
range of faming equipment, including irrigation pipes, pumps and motors.

       I pushed him to the floor after he had told me these items had been
taken from me because my father and grandfather were thieves and murderers
and that I would never set foot on my beloved Charleswood Estate again.

      I was unconstitutionally sentenced by the Zimbabwe parliament to an
illegal and excessive prison term of 12 months, and imprisoned on the
October 28 as hard labour prisoner No 3395/04.

      I have just been released after serving eight months, having had four
months removed by the Prison Act for good behaviour. I lost 23kg. On my
first day I arrived at Harare Central Prison to find all the top brass
waiting for me.

      I was told to step naked in front of them and given a new set of white
canvas shorts and a shirt to put on. I was taken to cell upper 12, which was
the juvenile cell. On reaching the cell door I was ordered to undress and I
was thrown filthy, lice-infested clothes that exposed my private parts.

      I walked around for two days in these clothes until the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights arrived. The authorities tried to give me the clean
clothes back, but I refused, and after the lawyers intervened and made
representations, the clothing abuses ceased.

            I am also very disturbed and sad for those remaining behind
      The conditions were appalling. There was no hygiene, and only filthy
lice-infested blankets. The ablution blocks were in a terrible state and the
food was inadequate with very little nutritional value. There was total
repression and inhumane treatment by the guards.

      I witnessed several beatings and heard the pitiful screams when the
prisoners were taken by guards into empty cells and forced to lie on the
floor face down, with their legs bent to expose their bare feet. They were
beaten on the soles of their feet with a rubber truncheon.

      Every time a prisoner talked to a guard they had to either sit or
squat on their haunches and if they were not down by the time the guard was
next to them, they were slapped and kicked to the ground. They were spoken
to in a very derogatory manner and had all their dignity stripped from them.

      Ninety percent of the prisoners never received visitors, who would be
their only source of toothpaste, soap or fruit and food. As a result, they
ended up exchanging sexual favours in order to get food or basic needs.

      I am happy to be back with my family and friends, but I am also very
disturbed and sad for those remaining behind. The prison experience has made
me more determined to fight for the basic rights of the Zimbabwean people
and a better life for all.

         .. This article was originally published on page 4 of Sunday
Independent on July 03, 2005

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Zim Online

Mugabe shielded security minister from arrest
Mon 04 July 2005

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe earlier this year ordered the police
not to charge State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa for allegedly stealing
billions of dollars worth of equipment from former white-owned farms, police
sources told ZimOnline yesterday.

      They said the police team investigating massive looting of equipment
from former white farms in Manicaland province had unearthed a racket
allegedly led by Mutasa whereby $2.5 billion (about US$250 000) worth of
equipment was forcibly and illegally taken from farms and kept at a
warehouse belonging to a company owned by the government official.

      Mutasa, who comes from Manicaland and is touted as a possible future
deputy to Mugabe's successor, is one of the ageing President's closest
confidantes. He was appointed by Mugabe to the key post of secretary of
administration of the ruling ZANU PF party.

      Mutasa was recently tasked to oversee completion of Mugabe's
controversial land reform programme and is also in charge of distribution of
food aid, a critical operation in a country facing starvation.

      A senior officer at police national headquarters in Harare said a
special investigating team led by one Superintendent Maguramene began
probing Mutasa last December and had in January this year recommended that
he be arrested and prosecuted for stealing equipment from farms. But the
matter came to a dead-end on Mugabe's intervention.

      The police officer, speaking anonymously for fear of victimisation,
said: "The investigations were conclusive. Mutasa was using his influential
position in the ruling party to steal equipment and enough evidence for a
successful prosecution was uncovered, but the President (Mugabe) instructed
that the case be dropped.

      "We had already recommended that Mutasa be arrested and were it not
for the intervention of higher offices, he should have been arrested in
February or March."

      It was not possible to get comment on the matter last night either
from Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba or from police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena. But Mutasa, who was Anti-Corruption Minister before taking over
the security portfolio, vehemently denied that he had stolen from white
farms and that Mugabe saved him from prosecution.

      He told ZimOnline: "The President is on record as saying that he will
not defend anyone caught in illegal activities and there is no way he could
have protected me. The bottom line is that I am clean but my detractors
wanted me down. Do you think the President would have appointed me to two
senior Cabinet posts if there was evidence of stealing? Never!"

      But the sources said according to evidence uncovered before the police
were told to lay their hands off Mutasa, the government official and other
senior ZANU PF officials from Manicaland would move around the province
grabbing equipment from farms that had been gazetted for seizure by the

      In some cases, they seized equipment from farms even if the white
owners had still not vacated the farms. The equipment was transported to a
warehouse owned by a company called Nyati Holdings in the town of Rusape,
about 170 km east of Harare. Nyati Holdings is owned by Mutasa.

      Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri had accepted the recommendation
by the investigating team that Mutasa be arrested and prosecuted. But the
commissioner told his officers to back off the case after he was told by
Mugabe, during his regular briefings with the President, not to arrest
Mutasa. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Methodist bishops warn of genocide in Zimbabwe
Mon 4 July 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - Southern African Methodist bishops have warned of a
potential "genocide" in Zimbabwe where the government has evicted close to a
million people from their homes in the last four weeks.

      In a statement released at the weekend, the bishops urged President
Thabo Mbeki to put in place fresh measures to deal with the expected influx
of refugees from Zimbabwe following the crackdown in urban areas.

      "We have on our hands a complete recipe for genocide," the bishops
said in the statement. They also said that there was "little doubt that we
are witnessing a tragedy of unprecedented enormity in Zimbabwe."

      The United States, Britain, United Nations, human rights groups and
local churches have all criticised the "clean-up" drive which has rendered
close to a million people homeless as an assault on the rights of the poor.

      But Mugabe has vigorously defended the exercise saying it is necessary
to smash a thriving but illegal black-market for foreign currency and basic
foodstuffs in critical short supply in Zimbabwe.

      A quarter of Zimbabwe's population of 12 million people are already
outside the country, the majority of them in South Africa, after fleeing the
five-year old economic and political crisis which critics blame on Mugabe's

      Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand want Mugabe dragged to the
International Criminal Court (ICC) over human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
The two countries also agreed at the weekend to push for a sports ban on
Zimbabwe to prod Harare towards the democratic path.

      In a statement signed by Australia's foreign affairs minister
Alexander Downer and New Zealand counterpart Phil Goff, the two countries
said: "The continued failure of the Zimbabwean government to respect
democracy and human rights needs to be addressed firmly by the international

      The two countries, which have consistently criticised Mugabe's
government, want the International Cricket Council to change the rules to
allow states to cancel tours to countries accused of serious human rights
violations. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Rock legend brands Mugabe a thug
Mon 4 July 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - Irish rocker Bob Geldof fired a broadside at President
Robert Mugabe at the weekend branding the Zimbabwean leader "a thug" who has
destroyed his country.

      Geldof, who organised the Live 8 aid concert for Africa at the
weekend, was speaking during an interview with South Africa's 702 Talk Radio
on Saturday.

      "What about the absolute, absolute thuggery, brutality and mayhem of
that mad creep Mugabe (President Robert)? Why does Africa refuse to
acknowledge what is happening in that country? This man is mad. He's
destroying his country, he's killing his people," he said.

      Geldof also criticised South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki for
failing to intervene and help address the crisis in Zimbabwe and said Mbeki's
stance was a "serious negation of responsibility."

      South Africa has consistently refused to openly chide Mugabe over
human rights violations in Zimbabwe and prefers "silent diplomacy" in
dealing with the veteran Zimbabwean leader.

      The policy has been criticised in the past by Western governments and
the main opposition in Zimbabwe who want Mbeki to adopt a much more robust
approach in dealing with Mugabe who is accused of stealing elections and
human rights abuses.

      The Zimbabwean government is under fire from the international
community for demolishing houses in urban areas in a campaign that that has
left close to a million people without shelter.

      The United States, Britain, human rights groups and churches have all
condemned Mugabe for the "clean-up" exercise which Mugabe says is necessary
to crush the illegal foreign currency market and spruce up the image of
cities and towns.

      A United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka is already in Zimbabwe
to assess the "clean up" exercise while the African Union which had refused
to intervene in the crisis finally bowed to pressure from the international
community and dispatched an envoy last week to assess the controversial
exercise. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

UN says envoy never endorsed clean-up exercise
Mon 4 July 2005

      HARARE - The United Nations (UN) at the weekend denied that its envoy,
Anna Tibaijuka, had endorsed President Robert Mugabe's controversial urban
clean-up drive and said reports by Zimbabwe state media suggesting Tibaijuka
had praised the evictions were incorrect.

      The state-controlled Herald newspaper last Friday quoted Tibaijuka
praising the government's "vision" in allocating residential stands to
evicted people. Tibaijuka, who is head of UN Habitat, is in Zimbabwe to
assess the impact of the clean-up exercise.

      UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told the Press the envoy's comments
were taken out of context and did not amount to an endorsement of an
exercise that has cast thousands of families onto the streets without food
or clean water after their informal businesses and homes in and around urban
areas were demolished.

      "Her listening to the statements made by the ministers should in no
way be seen as her endorsing the government's policy," Dujarric said. "UN
Habitat, the agency that she heads ... has clearly stated that forced
eviction is one of the main barriers to the significant improvement of slum

      Besides being criticised by the UN, Mugabe's clean-up campaign has
also been roundly condemned by the United States, European Union, Zimbabwean
and international church and human rights groups as a gross violation of
poor people's rights.

      In what observers said was an attempt to pre-empt the UN probe into
the mass evictions, the government announced the same week Tibaijuka arrived
in Harare that it was beginning a mass housing construction project to build
houses for evicted families by next month before the onset of the rainy

      The cash-strapped government said it would also build millions more
houses to wipe out the national housing backlog list that has more than two
million names. But the government, pressed for cash for food and fuel
imports, did not say how it will raise the US$300 million it says it needs
to finance the unbudgeted housing project.

      Meanwhile, an African Union envoy, who arrived in Harare at the
weekend also to probe the mass evictions, is stuck and unable to start his
mission because the government will not allow him to do so.

      The government-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper said African
Commission on Human and People's Rights Commission rapporteur on refugees,
Bahame Tom Nyanduga's visit was unprocedural and in breach of protocol
because Harare was not forewarned of his mission.

      The paper alleges that AU Commission chairman Alpha Konare's office
only alerted Harare that it was sending an envoy to assess the evictions
when Nyanduga was already on the plane on his way to Zimbabwe. Nyanduga
cannot proceed with his mission until he is cleared by Harare, the paper

      Konare's surprise decision to probe the Zimbabwe evictions was a
policy U-turn after mounting criticism against the continental body which
had earlier rejected calls to act saying the clean-up operation was an
internal matter. - ZimOnline

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      AU Leaders to Meet on Poverty, War
      By VOA News
      03 July 2005

Leaders from the African Union are gathering in Sirte, Libya, for a two-day
summit to focus on fighting poverty, disease and war on the continent.

The leaders are expected to use the summit, which opens Monday, to pressure
rich countries for more engagement in Africa. This includes calls for debt
cancellation as well as increased funding for AU peacekeeping missions.

U.S. and European leaders say they hope the African summit will also include
a strongly worded statement about Zimbabwe's recent clampdown on
shantytowns - a move that has left millions homeless.

On Saturday, AU foreign ministers proposed a reform plan that would give the
continent two permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, along
with three non-permanent seats.

The 15-member Security Council now has five permanent members -- a status
that includes veto power (for the United States, Britain, France, Russia and

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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The Toronto Sun

Sun, July 3, 2005

Good money wasted?

IN 1979, I had just returned from a working trip to Africa, which included
covering the Commonwealth Conference in Lusaka, Zambia.

When I returned, a local TV show asked me what I thought was Africa's
greatest problem. I said it was covered by one word -- "maintenance."

I explained that such aid organizations as the Canadian government's CIDA
spent huge amounts of Canadian taxpayers' money on messed-up African


For instance, in Zambia, Canada had spent millions supplying diesel
locomotives for a new railroad. Unfortunately, neither the locomotives nor
the railroad tracks and bridges were maintained. Result: The railway ground
to a halt with little or nothing done to get things working again. The
locomotives became inoperable.

Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda, lionized by western liberals, imposed a
one-party socialist regime after Zambia received its independence from
Britain in 1964. He ruled for 27 years, and turned a once-prosperous nation
into an international basket case, increasingly dependent on foreign aid
just to maintain a subsistence economy.

He was finally driven from office in 1991, but only after he, his family and
close aides made themselves millionaires who lived in luxurious mansions and
drove the best German-made cars. Most fled to comfortable exile in
Switzerland and other countries.

However, when I was there in 1979, Kaunda was busily supporting an armed
rebellion against the Rhodesian government. One of the rebel leaders was
Robert Mugabe, a Marxist who later became the President of Zimbabwe.

And one of the ironies of the Commonwealth Conference was that the
once-prosperous Zambian agricultural industry couldn't even supply cattle
and prize produce to show to delegates. Kaunda's folks had to sneak in
livestock and produce from guess where? Yep, the still-prosperous Rhodesia.


Of course, we all know what Mugabe has done to Zimbabwe's economy.
Basically, he has stolen land from efficient white farmers and turned it
over to many black owners who proved to be poor farm managers. And he's
consistently rigged elections to cling to power.

However, despite his woeful, anti-democratic record and destruction of his
country's economy, Mugabe is still supported by many other African leaders.

And we have such horrible African atrocities as the 1994 genocidal slaughter
of more than 500,000 Tutsi men, women and children by supporters of the Hutu
government in Rwanda. I remember writing a column about it at the time,
noting that the horrific killings via guns, machetes, knives and clubs
included mass rapes of Tutsi women.

But I also noted the story was receiving little notice in the outside world
at the time because it was looked on as "just blacks killing blacks."

Which gets me to today's concerns by the more prosperous outside world -- 
especially the G8 nations -- with African regimes that have piled up a
foreign debt of over $300 billion. This week-end, it has received major
attention because a group of pop musician stars put on a televised worldwide
concert yesterday urging the G8 to forgive the debt.

Fine and dandy. But there has been little attention given to the fact that
many of these African nations are plagued with corrupt and often-murderous

For instance, the African Union has estimated corruption costs African
countries $148 billion a year -- equal to half of that $300 billion debt.

Why forgive the debt when such massive amounts are being stolen? Hell, do
they think this is Canada where the Liberal regime has ripped off $250
million of Canadian taxpayers' money in the AdScam scandal and still leads
in the public opinion polls?


In other words, there has to be some way for the G8 and other nations owed
money to have a say in how the African debtor governments handle their
finances. Otherwise, they'll just continue to pour good money after bad -- 
and see it disappear into numbered Swiss bank accounts.

Meanwhile, it would be interesting to know how much some of these
billionaire and millionaire pop music stars have pledged of their own money
for African aid.

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Blair: Why we must act on Africa

Sunday, July 3, 2005 Posted: 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)

LONDON, England (CNN) -- CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane
Amanpour spoke to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair about his vision for Africa.
The following is a full text of the interview:
Amanpour: What motivates you to take up the cause of Africa?

Blair: There's a strong moral reason because there are thousands of children
dying every day from preventable diseases, there are millions of people who
have died from circumstances that are preventable over the past few years,
through conflict, through famine and through disease. And I think there is a
very strong reason of self-interest as well. Africa's a, a continent of
mixed religion and mixed races and if we end up with the continent
continuing to get poorer and it's people devoid of any hope, I think that
could cause us huge problems in the future. So I think there are reasons of
self-interest but frankly, there's the moral causes are upper most in my

Amanpour: Do you mean a war on poverty could also be a war on terrorism?

Blair: I think you've only got to look at the conditions that give rise to
terrorism. Now sometimes people who become terrorists are people who are
well-off, and for various reasons get drawn into terrorism and, and you
can't really say it's their social conditions or poverty that's given rise
to that. On the other hand, I think it's very clear as we saw with
Afghanistan, if you have an immensely poor country without any economic
infrastructure, without any hope that people have for the future then it's
in those conditions that terrorists can recruit, and can train and if you
look at Africa, you've got Christians and Muslims living side by side. It's
important I think that for those reasons too, that we try and make progress
in Africa. But, again, as I say, in a sense, I think they're always long
term reasons of enlightenment, self-interest for doing these things. The
most immediate reason is how many people die in circumstances of tragedy and
preventing it.

Amanpour: Urgent issue -- how quickly will you and other regions move to the
0.7 in terms of budget and foreign aid?

Blair: Well, we're going to move over the next few years and by 2013 we will
reach 0.7 but already we've been increasing our aid and trebled aid to
Africa over the past few years. But other countries are doing the same now.
And I'm reasonably hopeful at the summit that we will get a substantial
increase in aid to Africa. Although, very much with emphasis on measures to
root out corruption, for better governance, for conflict resolution as well
as simply more money. Although for things like the killer diseases, HIV,
AIDS and malaria, polio, TB and so on, the money plus the help in using the
money is precisely what the countries need.

Amanpour: How will you do it if the U.S. doesn't move up to 0.7?

Blair: Well, I haven't actually asked the U.S. to get to 0.7, they're a long
way from that now and frankly it would be a lot to expect the President
suddenly to say right we're going to, I don't know what it would be, but you
would multiply it by many, many times to get there. What I would ask him to
do and hope that he would be able to do, is increase significantly the
amount of aid that's going to Africa. I mean, he's trebled it already, I
would like to see a, effectively a doubling of the amount of money that
America is paying because I think that, tied to the proper ways of using
that money, to things like education and dealing with the killer diseases,
to water sanitation and infrastructure, it, the proof is there, it can make
a real difference.

Amanpour: Columnists being derisive, is this about Africa lifting the poor
into the middle-class?

Blair: I think the first thing it is about is stopping Africa from declining
as a continent and things like HIV, AIDS are affecting the population to
such an extent that some countries can't teach children properly because the
teachers are dying of AIDS. Now, there's an urgent need to act in these
areas that I think, that I hope is obvious to everybody. But we are not
saying that AIDS is the only thing. Opening up markets and tide is
important, too conflict resolution is important but we've got sitting on our
desks for the past two years, a report from the United Nations that
describes how we should build an African peace-keeping force and peace
enforcing force that will allow the African union to go into various
conflicts for example the Sudan and manage to keep people apart so the
political process can work. There's also measures to do with building
capacity in those countries, capacity for governors, proper judicial
systems, proper commercial and legal systems. There is a lot more than
simply aid but without aid it is difficult to make progress. And, you know,
it's important to look at some of the countries like Mozambique or Botswana
and you can actually see tremendous progress has been made. It's not true in
Africa things have gone backwards. Even in Ethiopia and even with the
problems you will have seen that there is significant progress.

Amanpour: An effort to get people off the bottom of the ladder, what is your
reaction when people say we've been there, done that, it doesn't work?

Blair: I mean, my reaction is to say first of all, look at the areas in
which it has worked and often countries have been helped to do better. The
second thing is to say we've made certain commitments internationally. All
of us signed up to the United Nations millennium development goals on
poverty and on education, on the killer diseases. We're not going to meet
these goals unless we change course. And it's not a great deal to ask. I
mean, even when we get to 0.7 per cent of our GDP, it's not, it's not a
massive undertaking that's going to mean our people here in Britain are
poor. If you look at the way the world came together and helped over the
tsunami. It's a magnificent collective international effort. And yet the
consequences in terms of the death toll of the tsunami, such things are
happening , I can't work out the statistics, virtually every month in
Africa, so you, know, I think that it simply isn't right to say that nothing
can be done which is a council of despair and far too easy to fall into in
politics, or that when you act, it doesn't have an effect. Because you can
see them in the debt relief that we've given to some of these countries ,
look at, you know, primary education in Uganda, look at the changes that
have been happening recently in Ghana. It's possible, I mean, it's not
impossible for countries to change.

Amanpour: I've just come back from Ethiopia, spoke to the PM, he said what
is really necessary -- the unfair trade policies -- what are you going / can
you do about it?

Blair: We can make sure the EU changes. We've tried to make sure the EU does
that but America and Japan have got obligations to change that as well.
There's the World trade round that's coming up later this year, we've got to
make progress there. You're absolutely right, I mean, this is one of them
main things that the aid, the aid can help relieve the worst poverty, the
aid can help build capacity but in the end these poor countries have got to
be able to sell their goods into our markets and particularly their
agricultural products. And the trade distorting subsidies that the wealthy
countries have in respect of agriculture, it's not in the interests in any
of our own consumers and it's certainly not in the interests of those poor

Amanpour: An EU cow gets more than a an average African gets ...

Blair: Correct. That's right. And that's why it's got to change. It's all
part of, if you accept as I do, that the world is more inter-dependent today
and that it isn't an intelligent international policy to allow one part of
the world to lapse into, you, know, deprivation and decline, then there are
very strong reasons for us, particularly with an emerging African leadership
that is prepared to take it's responsibilities seriously of saying, how in
partnership can we make a difference. And you'll always get people who'll
say, well it doesn't matter what you do, nothing ever works and so on. But I
mean that's, people who say those things don't end up achieving anything.

Amanpour: Is it fair to hold the people accountable to their governments?

Blair: Well, there are two things here. I mean, first of all, of course it
is outrageous when you have situations as is happening in Zimbabwe at the
moment and it's a terrible situation, the government there is causing it's
people untold misery and deprivation, wholly unnecessary. So of course we
say that and part of the whole deal here is, you are not going to get the
extra help for governments to improve unless they are prepared to come up to
the mark in terms of government, action against corruption and son.

But the second thing is for the, the children that are dying needlessly of
disease. It's not their fault if their governments aren't making the proper
measures and putting the proper measures in place in order to tackle them,
we've got to help them anyway. And we can help them and sometimes, the help
would be to governments to help them build their capacity because for
example with HIV, AIDS its not just a question of getting the drugs and the
right treatments into the country, they've got to have the capacity in their
health care system to deal with it and you know, there are ways that we can
with the international institutions, make sure that the money's tied to
proper outcomes and the fact is there are around about a million people in
Africa now getting help with HIV/AIDS. Those million people weren't getting
help before. If you go and talk to those people and say is this aid all
wasted, they will sure enough tell you it isn't.

Amanpour: Do you think if people knew how little their governments paid in
aid, do you think they would back their governments if they paid more?

Blair: I think they would. But I think what is important this time is that
we do show real deliverables out of this so for example we are able to turn
around at the summit in two years time and say here are the number of extra
children in primary education. You've got a hundred and thirty million kids
in Africa without access to education. If you were able to turn around in a
few years time and say here are six million more children that are in
education as a result of the help that was actually given. This is what's
actually happened to death rates from malaria as a result of the expenditure
on treatments and bed nets.

If we were able to say look this is what the African union conflict
resolution force has been able to achieve, whether it's in the Sudan or
Burundi or elsewhere. If you were able to do this and show tangible outcome,
then I think that would make a big, big difference to public support I think
you're right in saying there is a worry, we've heard all this before, we've
been hearing it for decades over Africa, is there anything that can be done?
And I think one of the things that we've got to show is that there is also
an African leadership that is ready to take responsibility and that it is
recognized, it isn't just about charity or a donor -- recipient
relationship, it's also about a partnership between African countries
prepared to assume their responsibilities of leadership and the developed
world that is the wealthy world, prepared to help them do so.

Amanpour: Bush is not prepared to increase, what are you going to ask him to
do when he stands beside you at the G8 summit?

Blair: Well, the first thing is, in fairness to the administration they have
increased aid to Africa, significantly ...

Amanpour: But that's like aid ...

Blair: No, that's right but it's just worth pointing out that I think,
they've trebled it over all. And that's a substantial step forward and
people have welcomed that. What I would like to see however, is a
substantial extra increase tied to the specific projects that I know the
administration care about whether it's education or it's things to do with
infrastructure or whether its to do with the killer diseases. Now these are
all things that can be done with the policies the administration have set
out and I hope they are able to do that and then it's up to the European
Union and Japan and Canada to commit themselves too.

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Just a Little Discomfort

After talking to the UN special representative about his "urban renewal"
project at State House, Mugabe was caught on camera saying "people have to
expect a little discomfort in an exercise like this." That remark ranks with
the one "if there is no bread, let them eat cake!" The person who said that
soon lost her head in the French revolution. Perhaps that will happen this
time as well!

What Mugabe has done in a well planned and ruthless exercise is to deny
millions of their sole means of making a living, I estimate a conservative 3
million people are destitute and that this single act will further constrict
national economic output this year. In his so-called "urban renewal"
exercise, he has destroyed an estimated 300 000 homes. In his eyes they
might have been unsightly shacks, but to the people who lived in them they
were home. At least 1,5 million people are homeless as a result of this
exercise. Often carried out at night, frequently without warning, these
representatives of the absolute poor are now hungry, cold and homeless today
because their government says they are "rubbish" to be swept away.

Last night it was very cold here in Bulawayo - well below freezing in
low-lying areas. Even now at midday it is cold and we have a fire in the
house to try and warm things up a bit. I feel absolutely devastated for
those who have been affected by  this Murambatsvina. Many of those affected
are HIV positive or even sick with Aids. They are short of food and
especially protein, their children are out of school and they have no means
of making a living except through prostitution or crime.

Half a million children under 16 are affected, three quarters of a million
women, hundreds of thousands of the elderly. Just a little discomfort!
Sitting in his State House with air conditioning and luxury. With no
shortages of any kind. A helicopter to take him wherever he wants to go -
day or night, a luxury car with outriders - his new home at a cost of at
least US$20 million. His homes in Harare, Zwimba and farms in many parts of
the country. Several homes outside the country - just in case. Mugabe does
not know the meaning of the word discomfort! Others call it genocide.

The urban renewal bit comes from a government task force hurriedly put
together to try and put a brave face on what they have done. This collection
of sycophants has stated that they are allocating 250 000 stands for new
houses, spending Z$3 trillion on housing and will get the whole thing done
in a few months. This from a regime that promised housing and health for all
by 2000. In the past decade they have built less than 1000 new homes per
annum. Now suddenly, with a collapsed economy and no foreign exchange they
are able to build 50 000 houses a month! It's a joke.

These guys could not organise a party in a beer hall, they cannot organise
fuel for the country, food supplies, even a supply of matches, how on earth
are they going to replace the 300 000 homes they have just knocked down?
Even if they do - who can afford the price tag of Z$100 million for a
four-roomed house on 600 square feet of land? The answer is very few -
especially now that the State has stolen their assets and closed down their

This exercise in ruthless futility has at least done one positive thing - it
has given the huge G8 campaign, led by Blair and others, a real focus. You
want to know what is wrong in Africa - look at Mugabe. You want to know why
we are poorer than we were in 1960. Look at Mugabe. You want to know why
aid, debt relief and trade opportunities are not going to be the panacea
they hope for - look no further than Mugabe. The other thing that it has
achieved though is that it has rattled Pretoria.

In a few days Thabo Mbeki is off to Scotland to meet the great and powerful
and to plead the case of Africa for a new start. He is going to have to
begin with a recount of what he has done since he stood on the lawns in
Pretoria with G W Bush and accepted that as far as Zimbabwe was concerned -
he was the point man. He was the man with the responsibility of bringing to
an end the crisis here that has cause so much damage to the region and to
Africa in the past 5 years.

As he goes, there is a guided missile waiting for his aircraft and it will
come from an unexpected quarter. It will be fired by diminutive Tanzanian
woman who is the head of the UN agency Habitat from the roof of the UN
Headquarters in New York. This missile will confirm the situation here as I
have set out in this letter. It will confirm the human suffering and the
crisis that it has created. It will follow hard on the heels of another heat
seeking missile fired by James Morris last week in which he said the
situation in Zimbabwe is evolving rapidly into the gravest humanitarian
crisis in the world today. Furthermore, both missiles will target Mugabe and
his cohorts as being at the core of the problem.

As if this was not enough, the Mugabe regime this week mounted yet another
attack on what remains of the economy. They slated the Impala Platinum Mines
and Smelter at Chegutu for a forced transfer of assets to the Chinese. Not
only is this the largest single investment in the country since 1980, it
forms the foundation of a new industry for the country that could transform
the economy. It also constitutes a strategic outreach for the massive South
African mining houses in their efforts to retain control of the global
market for platinum, the metal of the future in an oil dependent world. No
other threat could have been more designed to concentrate the minds in
Pretoria and Johannesburg.

And so the MDC gets a call - please come and see us urgently, we have a few
things we would like to talk about with you. Perhaps this time they will
take the interests of the region and the people of Zimbabwe seriously and
embark on a long awaited exercise to bring sanity back to this small patch
of planet earth. Certainly living here is a bit like being confined to a
psychiatric facility where the inmates are actually in charge and the sane
and the saints, the inmates. Maybe, just maybe, that is about to change and
in the meanwhile we go back to doing the hardest part - offering these
unspeakable people, the other cheek.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 4th July 2005

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From The Independent on Sunday (UK), 3 July

Tortured and dumped

The fate of those sent home to Mugabe by UK

By Severin Carrell and Sophie Goodchild

Refugees sent back to Zimbabwe by the British government have been tortured
and beaten by Robert Mugabe's secret police, The Independent on Sunday can
reveal today. The disclosures, which last night plunged the Government into
a new row about its controversial policy, highlight the grave danger that
deportees face when refused asylum and forcibly deported back to the country
ruled by President Mugabe's regime. The cases uncovered by the IoS include
at least six incidents of refugees being assaulted; one beaten so severely
he was hospitalised; one being nearly drowned during interrogation; and
others dumped without food and water deep in the bush. These new revelations
will fuel the bitter row now enveloping the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke,
after he refused to halt the forcible returns of failed Zimbabwean asylum
seekers despite the violent repression now gripping the country. Kate Hoey,
the Labour MP and former minister, said these cases meant it was "shockingly
wrong for the Home Office to continue to deport people". Ms Hoey added:
"Charles Clarke keeps saying that we have no proof but I met people when I
was there who had been tortured. Anyone who is deported back from the UK,
even if they are not a political activist, is at risk because the
anti-British feeling is so strong."

Ministers are planning a fresh round of deportations this week as they face
a series of legal challenges over the continued detention of these refugees,
and allegations of ill-treatment by guards at detention centres. The
Government dramatically lost one case last night after the High Court
blocked attempts to deport a 26-year-old woman on the grounds that her
deportation was "inappropriate". Menzies Campbell, deputy leader of the
Liberal Democrats, said last night the evidence uncovered meant the Home
Office now had a moral duty to suspend all deportations to Zimbabwe. David
Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, asked that the Government suspend
deportations until a rigorous method of monitoring the safety of those
returned to Zimbabwe could be put in place. The controversy erupted last
month after scores of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers in immigration detention
centres around the country began hunger strikes in protest at Home Office
plans to deport them. Up to 125 detainees are now refusing food. The
allegations uncovered by the IoS - based on investigations by Zimbabwean
human rights groups and church leaders - include: A refugee in his 40s sent
back last December alleges he was handcuffed at Harare airport by Zimbabwean
secret police and driven into the bush. He was then beaten repeatedly, had
his head forced into a bucket of water and was accused of being a British
spy; Also in December, a refugee was seized a day after being interrogated
for three hours at Harare airport and beaten so badly he had to be rushed to
hospital. It is believed his assailants were militia linked to the ruling
Zanu PF regime; In May, British officials escorting another man back to
Zimbabwe allegedly handed him straight to the secret police at Harare
airport. He was assaulted by his interrogators, and is now in hiding; Last
month, another returnee was interrogated at the airport, made to divulge
addresses of other dissidents, then arrested at his home and interrogated

Dr Brighton Chireka, director of the Zimbabwe Association, said the regime's
secret police, the Central Intelligence Organisation, who are increasingly
paranoid, only focused on people they believed were dissidents or spies.
"The Central Intelligence Organisation is the most feared in Africa," he
said. In other cases, suspected dissidents are seized by militias, linked to
Zanu PF, whose favourite techniques include forcing metal rods through the
victim's armpits and using paddles studded with roofing nails to beat people
with. The fate of the Zimbabweans who have been expelled by the Home Office
is now being investigated by human rights activists, lawyers and religious
groups. Evidence compiled by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Group, the Zimbabwe
Association and a Methodist preacher from the Midlands, Dr Martine
Stemerick, suggests there could be at least 10 cases of refugees being
persecuted. Dr Stemerick has recently returned from a three-week-long trip
to Zimbabwe, covertly recording evidence about the ill-treatment of returned
asylum seekers. However, tracking deported refugees in Zimbabwe is fraught
with difficulty. Expatriate leaders say many asylum-seekers go into hiding
immediately after they return, or are too fearful of retaliation to
co-operate with lawyers and opposition groups. Susan Harland of the Zimbabwe
Association, said: "It is incredibly frustrating. These people don't have
the confidence to make statements because they fear their names will be
plastered everywhere. If they did, we'd be able to stop these deportations
happening." The ban on deportations to Zimbabwe was lifted in November as
officials said there had been a substantial rise in the number of people
making asylum claims falsely saying they were Zimbabwean. Since January at
least 95 people have returned to Zimbabwe, a figure that includes people who
left voluntarily. Next week, lawyers are preparing a High Court challenge
over Mr Clarke's refusal to release Crispen Kulinji, the most prominent
hunger striker and opposition activist. Human rights groups are
investigating reports that at least two male hunger strikers in
Harmondsworth were placed in solitary confinement by guards as punishment
for leading the protest. A third man is also understood to have been placed
under "room arrest".

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      Bail bid in Zimbabwean asylum row
      A total of 50 Zimbabweans are making a mass application for bail while
the dispute over their deportation back to the southern African state
      Forty-two Zimbabweans being held in UK asylum centres are refusing
food after a ban stopping their forcible return to Robert Mugabe's regime
was lifted.

      On Saturday, a High Court judge issued an injunction preventing one
woman's return hours before she was to leave.

      Her lawyers are to apply for a judicial review of her planned

      Recent moves in Zimbabwe to demolish informal settlements - which the
UN says has left 275,000 people homeless - have drawn objections from the
Foreign Office and prompted fears over the safety of failed asylum seekers
who are returned there.

      In the UK, the hunger strikers' protest against the lifting of the ban
is entering its 12th day.

      'Bail applied for'

      Sarah Cutler, policy and research officer for Bail for Immigration
Detainees, confirmed the protesters had applied for bail.

      "We listed the applications on Friday and they will be happening on
Wednesday," she said.

      "Between 40 and 50 detainees are due to apply for bail. They are all
representing themselves and we are helping them with the forms."

      Detainees held in Yarl's Wood and Campsfield House will have their
bail hearings at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in Birmingham while
those in Colnbrook, Harmondsworth, Dover, Haslar and Tinsley House will have
theirs in London.

      Speaking earlier, Labour MP Kate Hoey described the attempted
deportation of the 26-year-old Zimbabwean woman as a "shameful act" and
added: "To do it on the same day they support something like the Live 8
concert shows outrageous hypocrisy".

      Review plea

      The woman, who does not wish to be named, claims her father, a manager
on a white-owned farm, was killed in 2000 by Zanu PF supporters of Robert
Mugabe and that her two brothers have since been beaten to death.

      Solicitor Jovanka Savic said they would be applying in the High Court
on Tuesday for a judicial review of her case.

      The Home Office would then have 21 days - or seven days if the judge
chose to expedite the case - to reply.

      Her client said she was taken on Saturday night from Yarl's Wood
Immigration Removal Centre, near Bedford, to Colnbrook Immigration Removal
Centre, near Heathrow, where she was being held alone in the temporary unit.

      A insider said sympathisers staged a peaceful protest in her room at
Yarl's Wood when the removal was due to take place.

      Her MP, John Austin, and the MP for Yarl's Wood, Alistair Burt,
lobbied the Home Office on her behalf.

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Mbeki to meet MDC leadership

July 03, 2005, 18:15

President Thabo Mbeki is to meet with Zimbabwean opposition party the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Pretoria this afternoon, Bheki
Khumalo, the presidential spokesperson, said.

"The President will meet with the leadership of the MDC in Pretoria this
afternoon, at the MDC's request. It will be an open agenda. The MDC is
welcome to raise anything. We are in their hands," Khumalo said.

The meeting, at an undisclosed venue, was due to begin at 6pm. It would be
attended by Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, and Aziz Pahad, the deputy
minister of foreign affairs. There would not be a media briefing after the
meeting, Khumalo said. - Sapa

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Mugabe breaks beauty's heart
03/07/2005 20:45  - (SA)

Japhet Ncube and Peter Moyo

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe's barbaric clean-up
campaign, which has left hundreds of thousands homeless, has also brought
misery in the entertainment industry.

Greatmore Chatya, Zimbabwe's representative in the Face of Africa 2005
pageant, this week had her heart broken when she received news that her
family were living out in the open after their house in the populous
township of Dzivarasekwa, outside Harare, was destroyed during the widely
condemned Operation Murambatsvina (drive out trash).

Chatya, one of 10 finalists, is in Randburg for the event.

The finalists are receiving five-star treatment from hosts M-Net and the
sponsors, but Chatya's heart bleeds as the reality comes home that her
family probably has nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep in the icy
Zimbabwean winter.


She said this week: "Right now I am eating good food and sleeping on a good
bed. I am warm while my family is grappling with the cold back home.

"They are sleeping outside and are trying to find a place to stay, but it is
difficult because everybody else is also looking for a place."

What has surprised many is that Chatya's father is a member of the Zimbabwe
National Army, stationed in Inyanga in the east of the country, but it seems
that Mugabe knows no friends.

The army and police in Zimbabwe have remained loyal to Mugabe after over a
decade of mass suffering and growing anger at his rule.

Chatya said: "I have been crying ever since I heard the news. What makes it
worse is that I am enjoying myself here ... but my family is sleeping out in
the cold while I represent the country here.

"These demolitions are getting on my nerves. Whenever reports about them
appear on the news here, the stark reality that I no longer have a home to
return to dawns on me and this disturbs me a lot."


Despite all these setbacks Chatya remains optimistic that she will land the
big prize.

"I am confident I will win and buy my family a house. I hope God will not
abandon me in this time of need. He has been on my side throughout this
competition," she said.

The Face of Africa finals are due to take place at the Sun City Superbowl on
July 10. The event will be broadcast live at 17.30 on M-Net.

Three of the contestants are from Nigeria, two from Ethiopia, and one each
from Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and Zambia.

One lucky girl stands to win $125 000 (about R858 000) in prize money, and
she could break into the highly lucrative international modelling scene,
like Nigeria's Oluchi a few years ago.

Oluchi has become one of the most sought-after models in the US.

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