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

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"Famine on our doorstep"

"News out of Zimbabwe is rare these days because the government does not
allow journalists to work there. Amid strict media control a Carte Blanche
producer slipped into Zimbabwe to bring back exclusive interviews with
members of the feared youth militia, who say they were dumped like garbage
after the election. Now they are as hungry as everyone else. "

CLICK HERE to view the full story : "Famine on our doorstep"
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Zimbabwe on verge of starvation
Dry, barren field (Pic: Red Cross)
The drought in southern Africa is only one of the factors
As southern Africa grapples with a looming famine, British Red Cross worker Catherine Mahoney, who has just visited Zimbabwe, describes a harrowing situation resulting from the combination of drought and Aids.

In the clinical sense, starvation has not set in yet in Zimbabwe. But the signs are there: look into people's eyes, feel their arms, or look towards their swollen bellies and you know it is on its way.

Last week, I travelled two hours outside of Harare in Zvimba, to meet the Zimbabwe Red Cross homecare team.

Their task is mammoth. They provide care, counselling, food, and health education to over 100,000 people affected by the Aids epidemic.

Existing, not living

A whole generation of parents is being wiped out by Aids.

All over the land, grandmothers are trying to raise thousands of small children with no food, no income, no medicines and no answers. Over a third of these children have HIV or Aids themselves.

Lawrence and his grandmother, Agnes (Pic: Red Cross)
Grandparents play a vital role in raising Aids orphans

We arrive unannounced at a beautifully clean dwelling way off the main road. The stunning setting seems ironic compared with the tragic scenario we find inside the house.

A very thin, lifeless family of seven greet us.

They have been borrowing tit-bits of food from neighbours for the past few weeks, but the neighbours are finding it hard to feed themselves now: this family had eaten nothing all day when we meet them, and had only eaten a handful of porridge the day before.

A little girl is sitting on the floor of the hut, lost to everything around her. She looks about a year old, but she is three-and-a-half.

Helger has Aids, so does her four-year-old brother Lawrence, who sits very still next to her.

Both of them are covered in sores. They are mute, deaf, and do not seem to see, in the true sense of the word.

This is no life they are living: they are just existing. Their mother died of Aids at the end of last year.

Bleak picture

Their father is also dying of the disease, along with his own younger brother, his brother's wife, and their tiny 18-month-old baby daughter Bridget.

Six members of one family, all condemned by the virus that is sweeping across Southern Africa, with only the 54-year-old grandmother, Agnes, left to feed and care for the whole family.

This is no tragic "one off"; this is a snapshot of the whole country.

Zimbabwe is facing a major famine that will affect half of the country's population.

A grandmother and her grandchildren receive a Red Cross food basket (Pic: Red Cross )
Aid can make a difference

The situation will not, in media terms, be another Ethiopia.

The world will not even have the chance to balk and turn away from harrowing images of people lining up at feeding centres: people in Zimbabwe will die quietly in their beds.

I have travelled a lot with the Red Cross over the years, but seldom have I seen such a bleak picture as that which I encountered last week.

Now in its third year of drought, the country has very few food stocks left, and very little money with which to buy any.

Just over six million of the country's 13 million population will need food before September, by which time, say experts, the famine will hold the country in its deathly grasp.

Sticking plaster

It seems there is no way to stop the inevitable: 42% of people who are able to earn, or work the land, are crippled with HIV or Aids.

Add to that the fact that food prices have risen by between 400 and 1,000% in the past few months.

This means buying food is not an option for most people.

Farms still in production can only feed their workers, and have no more to sell outside.

Musiiwa, a 13-year-old boy who has Aids, with his Red Cross care worker, Catherine (Pic: Red Cross)
The Zimbabwe Red Cross is doing its best

Only 5% of the food needed to keep the country afloat has so far arrived. The worst-case scenario is already taking place.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross are trying to put a sticking plaster over the situation.

At the moment they estimate they need about 15m Zimbabwean dollars (about US$270,000) every month to distribute enough food and medicine: at the moment they only have one million Zimbabwean dollars (about US$18,000) every three months.

Forget politics

We left a large food basket with every family we visited.

It only contained the basics, but is a matter of life and death for many families. It contained oil, local staple mealy meal, sugar, salt, peanut butter and beans. It costs £2.50 (about US$4).

Back pocket change, I bet, to the vast majority of us.

We can make a difference. We can give to Zimbabwe Red Cross, one of the only impartial, indigenous agencies working right across the country safe in the knowledge that it gets to the most needy.

People received the food with disbelief and extreme gratitude.

It makes you feel uncomfortable, shamed. These people cannot help themselves now.

They are relying on the rest of the world's humanity. We must put aside any political judgements about the country in which they happen to live, see the disaster for what it is, and do something before it is too late.

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Statement by the President of
The Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe
Mr C B Cloete - 15th July 2002
The very necessity of this Statement, issued by the Commercial Farmers' Union, registers its deep concern for the current implementation of the Land Reform Programme and on going crop production.
As farmers we have always stated that an internal solution is the way forward.  We are resolute and determined to find a solution.  It is still not too late and we appeal to our State President for an audience.
The reality is that the lack of trust has prevented a platform for dialogue.
This lack of trust has allowed divisive forces to have their negative impact on utilising to best effect our most precious resource - the land and its optimisation for the good of our Nation.
Our State President has clearly supported the 1998 Land Donors' Conference, Abuja Agreement and the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative (ZJRI).
Unquestionably the ideals of all these initiatives have been to show the way forward.  Implementation however, through the establishment of an appropriate and dynamic task force to ensure smooth delivery of these ideals, to date has not been forthcoming.  Instead, the result has been transitional confusion due to varying interpretations of the original criteria.  This confusion is in total contradiction of our State President's policy on Land Reform.
Farmers today are faced with the dilemma of not knowing what their true rights are because of;
1)  The non-response to numerous offers made by farmers on a collective or individual basis for a pragmatic solution to coexist.  These offers have been based on a non-emotional, workable, good sense approach in any given situation - viability for the old and new farmers being the main criterion
2)  The amendments to the Land Acquisition Act on 10 May 2002, it's variable interpretational and the 90 - days count down to 9 August 2002, complicated by the issue of more than one and subsequent withdrawal of some Section 8 notices.
3)  The denial of individuals' rights of ownership over moveable assets.
Surely, the urgent and immediate need for re-grouping of all parties has arrived?  The solution can only come about by a joint, cohesive action and demonstrate to our detractors that differences can be overcome in the best interests of our Nation.
It is imperative that the solution demonstrates clarity and transparency based on internationally accepted tenets.  Only in this way can we collectively re-approach our donors and put into place the financial resources to give the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme a real chance of achieving its ideals.
I as President of the Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe, with the full mandate of my Council, who represent the entire membership, make this plea for dialogue.  I pray that it is heard by those sufficiently highly placed in government, with the ability to fast track a jointly inspired solution.
15 July 2002 This Statement was released to the press by CFU President Colin Cloete today.
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'They are determined to get us one by one'

Foreign correspondents face almost impossible task

Owen Bowcott
Tuesday July 16, 2002
The Guardian

Few foreign correspondents remain in Zimbabwe. Some, such as Andrew Meldrum,
have been arrested then expelled by Robert Mugabe's regime; others have not
had permits renewed. Journalists hoping to visit are normally denied visas.
Increasingly press, radio and television coverage of events inside the
country comes from Zimbabwean reporters. Regulations due to come into force
soon, however, will require local and foreign journalists to operate under
expensive government licences. Freedom of expression, according to civil
rights groups, is being extinguished in Harare.

The Guardian is not the first British newspaper to have its correspondent
forced out by the Zanu-PF government.

In the case of the Independent, Basildon Peta, a Zimbabwean, continues to
write about the country from neighbouring South Africa, after fleeing in
fear of his life.

The Daily Telegraph replaced David Blair, whose work permit was not renewed,
with Peta Thornycroft. She had to renounce her British citizenship to remain
in the country.

"It's almost impossible to operate in here now," she said yesterday. "One
has no access to the government at all, other than through the state media.
They are determined to get us one by one - both foreign and local
journalists - until the only ones left are working for the state media."

Thornycroft was the first journalist to be charged under Zimbabwe's
repressive new media laws earlier this year. She was held in prison for five
days but the case against her was eventually dropped when the charge was
deemed unconstitutional.

Associated Press and Reuters news agencies employ local journalists. The
only western wire service with foreign staff operating in Harare is Agence
France Presse. The Chinese state news service has two staff stationed in the
capital. The resident European press corps, according to one journalist,
otherwise consists of a Serb and a Belgian writing for weekly magazines in
their home countries.

Most reporters applying for visas to cover events find requests ignored or
turned down. A select few, however, whose coverage the regime believes might
show the country in an advantageous light, have been allowed in.

BBC radio and television news, whose correspondent was ordered to leave last
year, have sent reporters such as Fergal Keane into Zimbabwe under cover.

The BBC's world editor, John Simpson, condemned the decision to expel Andrew

"I've read Andrew's copy for years and it's hard to think of a more
objective correspondent," he said.

"I don't think a country can live with throwing someone like that out and
not suffer for it. It's not at all in Zimbabwe's own interests. The idea
that somehow or other you make everything right by cutting out the tongue of
those who point out that things are wrong is a foolish concept. It doesn't
achieve anything."
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Mugabe says U.S. journalist's case up to court

HAVANA, July 15 - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said on Monday that the
expulsion of an American journalist acquitted of publishing a false story
would depend on the courts.
       Speaking as he arrived in Cuba on a four-day visit, Mugabe said: ''A
person who committed a crime, he must be tried, and the matter is with the
       Andrew Meldrum, the Zimbabwe correspondent of Britain's Guardian
newspaper, was ordered to leave the country a few minutes after being found
not guilty.
       The journalist -- a 50-year-old native of Ohio who has lived in
Zimbabwe for 22 years -- plans to challenge the expulsion order on Tuesday
before the High Court.
       Meldrum was the first of a dozen journalists accused of publishing
falsehoods to go on trial under Mugabe's harsh new media laws.
       ''If he has been acquitted, then you can have gridlock,'' Mugabe told
       In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the
United States was glad Meldrum had been acquitted.
       ''However the decision to deport him is not compatible with the
internationally recognized human rights of freedom of expression and freedom
of the press,'' he added.
       Meldrum was accused of reproducing a story first published in
Zimbabwe's privately owned Daily News that Mugabe's militant supporters had
beheaded a woman this year. The paper later said the story was false and
apologized to the ruling ZANU-PF party.
       The trial was set against a worsening political and economic crisis
in Zimbabwe that has left the southern African country increasingly isolated
on the world stage.
       Mugabe is accused by the opposition and many Western powers of
cheating and using violence and food as campaign weapons to win presidential
polls in March. The government has insisted the elections were fair.
       Zimbabwe was once the region's bread basket, but now more than six
million people need food aid after drought and the invasion of white-owned
farms since February 2000 by militants loyal to Mugabe slashed staple maize
       Mugabe arrived in communist-run Cuba on Monday night. On Tuesday he
will meet with President Fidel Castro, who has been in power since a 1959
       Cuba is also facing economic hardship and international isolation,
which Havana blames on a U.S. trade embargo.
       Mugabe said Cuba had a long history of support and cooperation with
African countries.
       He said the peoples of Cuba and Zimbabwe shared a common struggle.
       ''I and Fidel are good friends and very solid revolutionaries in
defense of our own sovereignty,'' he said.
       Mugabe arrived on the same flight from Madrid as Ghana's Foreign
Minister, Hack Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, who will visit Cuba until Thursday.
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Daily News

      Mugabe in bid to get fuel from Venezuela

      7/16/02 7:25:45 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      PRESIDENT Mugabe, who left the country on Sunday, is expected to meet
Venezuelan officials to avert a possible fuel shortage amid reports that
      pressure is mounting on Libya to cut fuel supplies to Zimbabwe. John
Corrie, the honorary president of the 92-nation Africa-Caribbean-Pacific -
European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly, yesterday said the EU
parliament would approach Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan president,
through developed countries which buy fuel from Libya.

      "We know that Gaddafi is the only person who is in support of Mugabe's
land reform programme which is completely destroying your country," said
Corrie from Scotland. "And he is the only person who has agreed to accept
your currency for fuel. But that will create a huge deficit for your future
generations - that is mortgaging the country." The State media said Mugabe
left for a week-long state visit to Cuba but sources within the government
said he might make a surprise visit to Venezuela, a member of the
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).

      Venezuelan Energy and Mines Minister, Alvaro Silva Calderon, was
appointed the Opec secretary-general last month. "The fuel situation is
      worse and with the Libyans reportedly turning a cold shoulder after
amassing land in Zimbabwe, there is a pressing need to take the begging bowl
to other oil-producing countries like Venezuela to avert the crisis," said
the source. "Why would the President honestly spend a week in Cuba when he
has been there before?" he said. Last week, parts of the country were hit by
fuel shortages triggered by hoarding amid reports that the commodity was in
short supply.

      Zimbabwe has been facing perennial fuel shortages since senior
executives at the State-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe were alleged
to have misappropriated millions of dollars a few years ago. The situation
was further compounded by the shortage of foreign currency as many countries
have stopped doing business with Zimbabwe, now regarded as a rogue state.
George Charamba and Jonathan Moyo, the government spokesmen, could not be
reached for comment on Mugabe's itinerary. Charamba was said to be
travelling with Mugabe while Moyo was said to be out of town. Sources within
the government said pressure was mounting on Libya - which provides 70
percent of the country's fuel requirements - to cut the supplies.

      Last week, the EU parliament passed a resolution to urge "Libya and
other states to end material support that reinforces President Mugabe's
      "Because of the Lockerbie issue and our approach Gaddafi will give in.
We are asking all developed countries which buy fuel from Libya to
pressurise it to stop trading with your country otherwise it will risk their
orders," said Corrie. With the maverick Libyan leader set to become a member
of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, relations with Zimbabwe are
expected to turn icy as he could sign up for a peer review arrangement.

      This would see African leaders being subjected to scrutiny on issues
of democracy, good governance and accountability.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Zanu PF is hoarding all the rights to itself to stay in power forever

      7/16/02 7:37:45 AM (GMT +2)

      ALL the ranting we hear about the shortage of salt set my mind
working. The first question that occurred to me was: Is selling salt part of
National Foods' business?

      As a lazy non-shopping male, I don't often study the packet to see
where it comes from. If it is their business, then before we criticise them
for having the alleged "massive hidden" stocks, the next question is whether
any of those people in top positions with degrees in economics, law,
politics etc have any idea how a business is run. Do they know the
difference between hoarding and having a stock that would be on the
supermarket shelves in a few days if the police didn't interfere?

      National Foods might have been hoarding, but I wonder whether the
people who were shouting about hoarding are the best ones to judge.

      Think of all those people caught "hoarding" massive amounts of maize,
sometimes as much as six tonnes. Now, if you have 100 people or even 100
cattle to feed, six tonnes is not my idea of hoarding. What about that
church in Bulawayo that had 20 tonnes of maize for famine relief? Or the
company (again in Bulawayo - is that significant?) that provided storage for
maize their workers pooled their money to buy? Salt is imported.

      Foreign currency is difficult to get, so there are bound to be
interruptions in supply. Was that salt bought the day before and ready to go
out to the shops? If the answer to that is "Yes", then National Foods are in
the clear. If it really was "hidden" for weeks, then they have a case to

      But the emotional barrage we heard isn't going to help anyone get
clear answers. In fact, it raises more questions. Our political rocket
scientists seem to have just discovered that National Foods is an Anglo
American company. And they have just discovered that Anglo is a nasty,
profiteering, exploitative outfit plotting to keep Africa a source of raw
materials and super profits for them. Back in the 1970s the rest of us all
knew that.

      Some young men who are now political leaders could have told them, but
in those days these leaders didn't listen to them. Now, after 20 years of
wining and dining with Anglo American in the most expensive hotels,
attending Anglo American-sponsored conferences in all the most expensive
places and accepting a string of gifts from Anglo American, they at last
realise that Anglo American means us no good. I really wonder where they got
their degrees in economics and politics and whether they even read

      They must be slow learners. How else can you explain why a party that
fought a war to restore land to the people took 20 years to realise that,
once they were in power, people expected them to get serious about restoring
the land to its rightful owners? The way they set about that task shows that
they didn't spend those 20 years figuring out how to do it. That only raises
a question about all the "ideology" we have heard from them. Their
predecessors did have an ideology: a racist ideology that said one small
ethnic group should control everything and the share of national wealth and
decision-making that anyone got depended on the colour of that person's

      The political leaders' ideology only tells them that an even smaller
number of people should have complete control of the national wealth,
decision-making and power. One of their leaders, now out of favour, said
quite early that their aim was only to get power and to keep it. And keep it
they did, using "ideology" or at least slogans, when that suited their aim.
When socialism was in fashion, that was their ideology. They even found some
of the ideas of Lenin and Stalin about the leading role of the party useful
for their aim. When the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme and
liberalisation were the fashion, they went along with those and found them
useful for their purposes.

      Now they have had recourse to national socialism: using the violence
of frustrated fighters, who didn't ask during those 20 years who was
frustrating them, to cause havoc and use that havoc to keep power in their
own hands. Like the original German National Socialists - murderous Nazis -
they clouded the issue by blaming everyone else: whites, "Malawians" (it
doesn't matter that those people's great-grandfathers were the immigrants
and their descendants now belong here because they don't belong anywhere
else). They are "foreign" and so they must go, or, if they stay, they must
be deprived of the rights that all "true Zimbabweans" enjoy.
      But the true Zimbabweans among my readers must be asking: "What
rights?" None of us seems to have any rights now, not even the right to
organise a football match in Mabvuku. Those leaders who aimed to get power
and to keep it, keep all the rights for themselves as well: the right to
make statements that would land the rest of us in jail under their media
laws, the right to beat up anyone who disagrees with them, the right to the
best farms and to the profits and equipment of any company they fancy . . .
the list could be a lot longer.

      But I'm only asking questions. Do you have to be a rocket scientist to
give a few answers?
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Daily News

      MDC donates $60 000 to child victims of violence

      7/16/02 8:07:23 AM (GMT +2)

      Chief Reporter

      THE MDC has released $62 000 and some basic commodities to help four
children who are victims of political violence in Guruve North after their
parents and eldest brother disappeared last October. The Gurudhu children
are now being looked after by their eldest sister, Vimbai, 16. Henry
Chimbiri, the MDC Mashonaland Central provincial spokesperson, yesterday
said the party's welfare department released the money after representations
were made about the children's plight.

      Chimbiri said: "We shall present the goods and the money on Wednesday.
We also want to ensure they go back to school while efforts to establish
their parents' whereabouts continue." A bank account to deposit more money
for the children would be opened, he said. The Gurudhus of Mapfumo village
in Chief Chisunga's area, had been threatened with death by suspected Zanu
PF supporters for being MDC activists. Biggie Chigonero, the MDC
vice-chairman for the province, yesterday said he was last week approached
by the CID in Mvurwi for directions to Mapfumo village. "They called me to
the police station, but I refused to go there. They later came to my house
where I gave them directions to the village. They went there and I
understand they saw the children, but I don't have details."
      Chigonero said he was happy that it was now a police case.

      The CID at Mvurwi Police Station could not be reached for comment on
their investigations. A CID officer identified only as Masunda, who is said
to be in charge of the investigations, was said to be out of his office on
business. Vimbai is now the sole provider for her four brothers, Mudzingwa,
11, Silent, 13, Chaka, 13, and Danhiko, 15. Last week Vimbai said her
father, Daniel, elder brother Morgan and Gurudhu's two wives, Judith
Mandizha and Tonderai Mutebvu, disappeared after persistent death threats by
suspected Zanu PF supporters led by a so-called war veteran identified only
as Mudzvova. She said they left at different intervals. Gurudhu was the MDC
chairman for ward 2.

      All the five children dropped out of school after their parents
disappeared. Mapfumo village is about 300km from Harare along the
Guruve-Kanyemba road.

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Daily News

      Zanu PF bungling, cronyism alienated Binga people

      7/16/02 7:46:52 AM (GMT +2)

      Binga has recently received a lot of publicity, possibly because of
the way it voted in the presidential and parliamentary elections. Some
people were surprised to find that the most disadvantaged district where the
levels of poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy are comparatively higher than
most parts of the country, voted for the opposition.

      In addition, the current Zanu PF government tried its best to bring
about development in this remote district since the attainment of
independence. But the question is: why did the people who are lowly esteemed
so diametrically opposed to the ruling party's policies? What has gone
wrong? What should Zanu PF do or not do? From the way I see things as a
Binga Tonga man, born, bred, educated and married in Binga, Zanu PF worked
itself out of Binga and it has now continued to worsen the situation.

      It should be pointed out from the onset that Binga has a people with a
homogeneous culture and live in an environment of ecological diversity. In
1990, a local community-based organisation, Binga Development Association
(Bida) was born to complement council efforts in spearheading the much
needed socio-economic development. Bida blossomed in its early years by
establishing a scholarship fund, put up some teachers' houses and initiated
civic education training. However, in 1994 some people who were members of
Zanu PF at provincial level saw Bida as the platform to lift themselves up
the political ladder using its grassroots structures. There were two Zanu PF
factions that fought to take control of Bida.

      One faction, which was favoured and supported by old Zanu PF but very
unpopular with the people, was led by Jacob Mudenda with Joshua Muzamba,
Andrew Muntanga and Cephas Mudenda being his sidekicks. The other faction -
which had a lot of grassroots support but little support from Zanu PF,
although it was fairly well supported by the John Nkomo faction - was led by
the then MP, Paul Siachimbo. In 1996, a petition was sent to the then
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Florence Chitauro, to complain about
the misuse of the Bida assets. This was ignored because Jacob Mudenda was
then the "darling of the President". As a result, Bida was stifled by its
self-imposed director, Muzamba. He used Bida assets to prop his campaign for
the parliamentary seat which he dismally lost. Bida became the centre of
political meetings and became a Zanu PF base. The Binga people have
witnessed all this destruction and Bida is now dead. It has been destroyed
by Zanu PF. The Binga people have protested.

      As if that was not enough, in 2000 parliamentary election, the people
of Binga wanted Joseph Machina to stand for Zanu PF, but again the Zanu PF
provincial executive, who included John Khumalo, manipulated the primary
elections in favour of the unpopular Muzamba. Here in Binga Zanu PF is
Muzamba and Jacob Mudenda. Zanu PF is mirrored through these people who are
seen as not having the interests of the people at heart but only bent on
advancing themselves politically.

      Muzamba is hiding the real problems by deliberately diverting the
attention of the likes of Ministers Ignatius Chombo and Nkomo from himself
to organisations like Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and Save the
Children, which are doing an excellent job in the alleviation of poverty in
the district. They are using war veterans, the governor and all top
officials, including the President, for their own selfish ends. These
officials are fed with lies. Unfortunately, the war veterans cannot see
this. People like Nxumalo Mabhena, the acting district administrator (DA)
Philanzima Ndlovu and the officer in charge are foolishly punishing the
people by denying them access to maize grain because they are misled by
Muzamba and his cohorts.

      Hungry people were tear-gassed on 28 June 2002 for asking the DA to
allow them to buy maize grain which is rotting in District Development Fund
stores. For one to access the maize one has to undergo vigorous vetting by
Muzamba's puppets. But now, you should all know that Muzamba is fighting a
personal war because he has been rejected by his own people like Waiyaki in
Ngugi's River Between.

      Leave Us Alone
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Airline strands 200 to pick up Mugabe

July 16 2002 at 06:14AM

London - More than 200 passengers on a flight from Harare to London touched down almost six hours late after their plane was diverted to allow Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his wife to catch a connecting flight to Havana, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday.

The Air Zimbabwe flight, due to have touched down at London's Gatwick airport at 9.15am (08h15 GMT) on Monday did not arrive until 2.52pm because of a diversion to Madrid, said the paper.

Mugabe and his wife, Grace were heading to Havana on a five-day official visit.

One passenger, Robert Massey, said he was not informed of the diversion until he had checked in.

Did not have the correct currency to pay for refuelling
"They said 'we're going to Madrid'... Then, as the captain was preparing for take off, he said 'we would like to welcome Mr Mugabe and his wife', he told the broadsheet.

Massey added that following the Mugabes' exit at Madrid, more than 200 passengers were forced to wait for hours in "scorching hot" conditions because plane staff did not have the correct currency to pay for refuelling.

Christopher Kwenda, UK manager for Air Zimbabwe, told the paper: "We were dropping off a VIP delegation including the president. We encountered problems with the handlers, and I believe they couldn't accept US dollars for the fuel. They wanted euros." - Sapa-AFP


Two ways to leave Zimbabwe
(Filed: 16/07/2002)

President Robert Mugabe yesterday ordered the diversion of a Harare-London
flight to Madrid so that he and his wife Grace could catch a connection to
Cuba, where they are guests of Fidel Castro.

The unscheduled touchdown meant that the other passengers arrived more than
five hours late at Gatwick.

Andrew Meldrum, Harare correspondent of the Guardian, was yesterday ordered
to leave the country within 24 hours, immediately after a magistrates' court
had found him not guilty of breaching the recently introduced Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Judge Godfrey Macheyo ruled that Mr Meldrum, an American who has lived in
Zimbabwe for 22 years, had acted like a responsible journalist. An appeal
against the deportation order, which was signed before his trial, is due to
be heard in the High Court today.

In the first case, one man who has ruined his country's economy flies off to
be feted by another who has ruined his. In the second, the freedom to
criticise the ruler's follies is ever more restricted. Mr Meldrum was the
first of 13 journalists facing charges of publishing falsehoods to go on

Brutal treatment of the opposition, disastrously stubborn economic policies,
a cynical disregard for the national good: the two old dictators should find
much common ground over their cigars in Havana.
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Daily News

      Charamba fails to appear in court again

      7/16/02 8:07:55 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      GEORGE Charamba, the permanent secretary in the Department of
Information and Publicity in the President's Office, yesterday failed - for
the second time - to appear in the High Court to answer contempt of court
charges. The court heard that Charamba has accompanied President Mugabe to
Cuba and Venezuela on State business.

      Justice Ben Hlatshwayo immediately requested that Charamba should
personally appear before him on 24 July to defend himself. Hlatshwayo said
Charamba was aware that the court postponed his case from 27 May to
yesterday because the complainant, the High Court, had not appointed a
representative on its behalf.
      "On the date it was indicated that Charamba's presence was necessary
for the hearing to allow for the filing of necessary documents," Hlatshwayo
said. The judge said Charamba should tell the court why he failed to appear
before him as was ordered by the court on 27 May.

      "The explanation for his failure will be incomplete without Charamba's
explanation. We would want to impress upon Charamba the need to understand
the processes under which his charges arise," Hlatshwayo said.
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Daily News

      Construction workers in nationwide strike

      7/16/02 8:01:47 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE construction industry in Zimbabwe ground to a halt yesterday after
workers countrywide downed their tools to press for a 150 percent cost of
living adjustment. The Zimbabwe Construction Workers' Union (ZCWU) and the
Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (CIFOZ) reached a deadlock last
week after the employers had only offered 40 percent.

      Workers yesterday vowed they would not return to work until they
received an increment that would sustain them. Nicholas Mazarura, the ZCWU
deputy secretary-general, said: "We started by demanding a 180 percent
increment across the board, while the employers made an initial offer of 35
percent. "We rejected it because the cost of living is rising nearly every
day." A circular posted at all work premises advised workers they would
receive a 40 percent increase from 1 July.

      The circular, written by CIFOZ, said: "Employers have agreed to pay 40
percent on current minimum wages effective from 1 July 2002 while
negotiations are still in progress. For any progress we will keep on
informing you."

      The circular was signed by CIFOZ's acting chief executive officer,
Martin Chingaira. CIFOZ graded skilled workers into four categories at the
following rates: skilled worker Grade One - $145,01 per hour; skilled worker
Grade Two - $124,94; skilled worker Grade Three - $112,11; and skilled
worker Grade Four - $87,22. Mazarura said: "I want to warn employers in the
construction industry that they do not have the power to tell workers what
to do without informing the trade union. "CIFOZ should not tell the workers
what to do and they should withdraw that circular in writing so that we can
start to negotiate as soon as possible."
      Mazarura said the workers would not return to work until further
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Daily News

      Private sector not keen to release funds for land reform programme:

      7/16/02 7:30:16 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote Farming Editor

      THE Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which yesterday appealed for a
platform of dialogue with President Mugabe, says financial institutions have
not been forthcoming with funds they promised to provide to the Zimbabwe
Joint Resettlement Programme (ZJRI) because there is no clarity in the land
reform programme.

      The ZJRI, a joint programme whose members are the CFU, the Zimbabwe
Tobacco Association (ZTA) and the financial sector (private sector), is
aimed at offering an initial tranche of about one million for the
resettlement of more than 20 000 families and providing a $1,3 billion
revolving fund for the resettled farmers.

      No commercial bank has made contributions towards the revolving fund.

      At the handing over of 562 farms measuring 1 038 000 hectares last
year, ZJRI promised that financial institutions would make available $60
million to resettled farmers to purchase inputs. ZTA vice-president, David
Sandeman told journalists during a Press conference in Harare yesterday that
out of the $60 million promised by the the financial institution only about
$7 million had been used for the initial launch of ZJRI and nothing else had
been made available. Sandeman said: "The private sector has been hoping
there would be progress in the land reform programme so that they can
release money but there is no clarity." William Hughes, ZJRI president, said
the private sector had distanced itself from the ZJRI and the $1,3 billion
had not been released because there was no progress in the land reform

      There was no representative from the financial sector. He said about
one million hectares of land were handed over to the government from the
ZJRI initiative last year and some people had been resettled on the farms.
CFU president Colin Cloete pleaded : "I as president of the CFU of Zimbabwe,
with full mandate of my Council, who represent the entire membership, make
this plea for dialogue. I pray that it is heard by those sufficiently highly
placed in government, with the ability to fast-track a jointly inspired
solution. "It is still not too late and we appeal to our State President for
an audience." Cloete said there were varying reports in provinces where
farmers were told to plant wheat for the starving nation and at the same
time they had been issued with eviction orders to stop farming by 24 June.

      About 2 900 commercial farmers have been issued with Section 8 orders
and are supposed to have stopped farming. He said while President Mugabe had
categorically stated that the government would not acquire single-owned
farms, about 1 000 commercial farms in this category had been earmarked for
compulsory acquisition. Cloete said while the law allowed a farmer to take
property when evicted, there were contradictory statements from government
officials who were ordering farmers not to take movable assets. "Our State
President has clearly supported the 1998 Land Donors' Conference, Abuja
Agreement, and the ZJRI. Unquestionably the ideals of all these initiatives
have been to show the way forward. Implementation however, through the
establishment of an appropriate and dynamic task force to ensure smooth
delivery of these ideals, to date has not been forthcoming. "Instead, the
result has been transitional confusion due to varying interpretations of the
original criteria. This confusion is in total contradiction of our State
President's policy of land reform."

      He said the government had not said what would happen to unsold
tobacco and livestock belonging to farmers who have been told to stop
farming by 24 June.
      He said: "The critical issue at the moment is Section 8 orders where
farmers have to vacate farms by 9 August. In agriculture, a 90-day period is
not enough to just stop farming. It is not clear whether or not they would
be compensated. We do not have clarity and that is why we are asking to
dialogue with the government."
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From ZWNEWS, 16 July

Comment on Meldrum judgement

From our own correspondent

The magistrate in his judgement covered a wide range of issues raised during the course of the trial: jurisdiction, whether the case was one of "strict liability" (i.e. where "mens rea" – criminal intention, or a guilty mind - did not have to be proved), where publication took place, and whether a journalist was a publisher. His key findings were:

a) The section of the legislation (81b of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) under which Meldrum was charged did involve an intermediate category of strict liability, namely that all the state had to prove was that the article was published and was false, while the onus was on the accused to prove that mens rea did not apply. This meant that Meldrum had to prove that he was not negligent and had taken reasonable steps to verify the truth of the matter before publication.

b) That a journalist is a publisher by virtue of being employed by a mass media organisation and supplying stories for publication, and carries out the act of publishing by sending a story to the publisher.

c) That the issue of publication on the Internet was not relevant to the prosecutor's case as it was already found that publication had taken place in the Guardian newspaper.

d) That the court had jurisdiction in relation to the publication of the article in the newspaper even though it was published overseas because of the potential harm that could arise to Zimbabwe by such bad publicity in an overseas publication.

e) That the published story was false, in that it appeared from the evidence that the woman reported to have been beheaded had in fact died of AIDS.

On the basis of the above findings, all that was left to the Court was to determine the accused's intentions in publishing the article, including whether he believed it to be true and had taken reasonable steps to verify it before publication. He took into account the following facts, based on statements made to the Court by the accused:

a) Meldrum had phoned the police, who denied that they had any information about the case. This seemed to fall into a pattern of denial by the police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, who had previously indicated that he was not prepared to talk to the independent media. It was noted that the state had refused to call Bvudzijena to Court to give evidence.

b) The accused was not the source of the story, which had appeared in the Daily News, which was a reputable source.

c) The story seemed to be balanced, as the accused had quoted both the Daily News and the fact that the police spokesman would not comment on the story. This was not countered by the state as they had not called Bvudzijena to respond.

On the basis of the above, the magistrate found Andrew Meldrum not guilty, by virtue of lacking the required mens rea.

There were numerous unsatisfactory aspects of the case, not least of which is the fact that no consideration was given to the fact that the article could be said to be true in that it accurately reported, with attribution, a story that had been published in the Daily News. The finding that a journalist is a publisher by virtue of writing an article that ends up being published is also a novelty in media law (which applies quite a different meaning to the word "publish" than does defamation law). However the key achievement is that the case did establish a precedent for other journalists being charged under the same legislation - it gives them a defence to argue that they wrote articles in good faith, taking reasonable steps to verify them before publication.

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Australia says may impose sanctions on Zimbabwe

CANBERRA, July 15 - Australia said on Tuesday it may impose sanctions on
Zimbabwe if the southern African country, where white farmers face a
government deadline to leave their land, does not improve its democratic
       Prime Minister John Howard said he would discuss the issue in the
next week with the leaders of South Africa and Nigeria -- fellow members of
a three-nation committee that has suspended Zimbabwe from the group of
Commonwealth nations.
       Zimbabwe, ruled by 78-year-old President Robert Mugabe since
independence from Britain in 1980, plunged into turmoil over two years ago
when self-styled war veterans invaded white-owned farms to back government
redistribution of land to landless blacks.
       Mugabe is also accused by Zimbabwe's opposition and many Western
countries of cheating and using violence and food as campaign weapons to win
presidential polls in March.
       The three-nation committee suspended Zimbabwe after the election and
a range of countries have imposed so-called ''smart sanctions'' on
Zimbabwe's leaders.
       ''If we don't get some response from what the Commonwealth troika
decided earlier this year from Zimbabwe, then countries like Australia have
no alternative other than to look at some action on the sanctions front,''
Howard told Sydney radio 2GB.
       Smart sanctions, such as travel and sports bans, freezing officials'
financial assets or withdrawing government funding, have been imposed on
Zimbabwe by the European Union, United States, Canada, New Zealand, and
       But international pressure on Mugabe has eased as other issues, such
as the Middle East and India-Pakistan tension, dominated the international
       However with nearly 3,000 white farmers ordered to vacate their
Zimbabwean farms by August 10, the issue was coming back into the spotlight.
       Howard said he personally opposed sanctions because they harmed those
at the bottom of the economic ladder.
       ''But unless there's some response then the rest of the world has no
alternative but to look at this kind of action,'' he said.
       The country now faces a severe economic and political crisis, with
about six million Zimbabweans -- nearly half of the population -- needing
food aid after a drought and the farm invasions.
       Mugabe shrugged aside the largely symbolic suspension from the
Commonwealth group of 54 mainly former British colonies. He has accused the
West of bias and said he won the election fairly.
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Mugabe meets Castro on visit to Cuba

HAVANA, July 16 - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe met for talks with
Cuban President Fidel Castro on Tuesday during a four-day visit to the
communist-run Caribbean island.
       The two long-ruling leaders are facing economic crises at home and
increasing international isolation on the world stage.
       Castro, 75, received Mugabe, 78, with an honor guard in a
marble-floored hall of Havana's Palace of the Revolution, decorated with
giant ferns and a huge Rene Portocarrero mural.
       Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in
1980, thanked Cuba for decades of support for African nations fighting
against colonialism.
       Despite economic hardship, Cuba continues to provide African
countries medical aid, with 117 Cuban doctors currently serving in Zimbabwe,
officials said.
       ''I and Fidel are good friends and very solid revolutionaries in
defense of our own sovereignty,'' Mugabe said on Monday night as he arrived
on his fifth visit to Cuba as head of state.
       Australia said on Tuesday it may impose sanctions on Zimbabwe if the
southern African country, where white farmers face a government deadline to
leave their land, does not improve its democratic practices.
       Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he would discuss the issue
in the next week with the leaders of South Africa and Nigeria -- fellow
members of a three-nation committee that has suspended Zimbabwe from the
group of Commonwealth nations.
       Mugabe's opponents and many Western countries accuse the African
leader of cheating and using violence and food as campaign weapons to win
bitterly contested presidential polls in March. The government has insisted
the elections were fair.
       Zimbabwe plunged into turmoil over two years ago when self-styled war
veterans invaded white-owned farms to back government redistribution of land
to landless blacks.
       Castro greeted Mugabe wearing his trademark olive green military
fatigues, and black sneakers instead of boots.
       Cuba, which has never fully recovered economically from the collapse
of the Soviet Union a decade ago, has been hurt by a drop in tourism, low
sugar prices and shortages of fuel since Venezuela stopped shipments in
April during the brief ousting of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
       Havana blames a 4-decade-old U.S. trade embargo for its economic woes
and difficult foreign investment climate.
       Mugabe said he had planned to travel to Cuba via Caracas to attend a
Group of 15 developing nations summit hosted by Venezuela, ''but our brother
Chavez canceled.''
       The G-15 summit scheduled for July 13-14 was postponed by the
Venezuelan government without explanation.
       Mugabe was due to tour Havana's Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Center, which the Bush administration suspects has developed a germ warfare
       Cuba denies the charges made by Washington in May and maintains that
the facility is dedicated purely to medical research, such as advanced drugs
to combat AIDS that it provides to developing nations.
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ZIMBABWE: NGO calls for focus on growing number of IDPs

JOHANNESBURG, 16 July (IRIN) - A western human rights group on Tuesday called on the Zimbabwean government and NGOs to step up assistance to the growing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, saying that although information was lacking on exactly how many people were on the move, aid to IDPs should not be delayed.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) suggested that IDPs should immediately be targeted with food aid with particular attention paid to displaced orphans and female-headed homes.

The UN's World Food Programme and Food and Agricultural Organisation estimate that about six million Zimbabweans require food aid as a consequence of drought and the government's land reform programme.

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Officer, George Olesh told IRIN: "There is currently an ongoing independent assessment of the number and situation of food security-related IDPs in the country. The current lack of accurate figures on the number of IDPs in need of aid has definitely complicated a coordinated humanitarian response."

An assessment in May by the IDP Unit of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called attention to the urgent need to fill "important information gaps". The report is the most recent attempt to locate and quantify the number of people who have been from their homes because of political violence or economic hardship.

While the May assessment identified only two categories of displaced persons; farm workers and victims of violence, UNDP now says that it needs to include miners and skilled labourers who have had to move around the country in search of employment.

A third category, the survey suggested, were those who were encouraged to invade farms in the early stages of the land reform programme but who are now being evicted from these farms as the newly designated owners take possession.

Olesh said: "We still need to define what exactly constitutes an IDP in the Zimbabwean context given the complex nature of the current situation."

The Commercial Farmer's Union (CFU) and the Ministry of Public Service said there were about 322,000 farm workers on large-scale commercial farms in 1999, before the fast-track land reform began.

The CFU estimated that at the end of 2001 as many as 70,000 farmworkers had been affected by land occupations.

However, there is no comprehensive or corroborated data on exact numbers of those forcibly displaced, nor any precise information on where the displaced have gone.

But the IDP situation in Zimbabwe differs in that most farm workers have been able to remain on the farms, however, an increasing proportion have lost their ability to sustain themselves, the report noted.

"In addition, the looming food crisis will impact enormously on farm workers as some 85 percent of their food consumption came from cash purchases. Hence, even if able to remain on farms, their inability to feed themselves because farm operations are severely curtailed will induce many to move in search of other employment or support," the report said.
The most reliable data on displacement has been provided by a sample survey undertaken by the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ). FCTZ undertook a sample survey of 235 large-scale commercial farms, representing 10 percent of all farms in the provinces of Mashonaland West, Central and East as well as Manicaland Province. It was established that 26,693 permanent and seasonal farm workers still reside on the farms as of 16 May. On the other hand, the report said, some 52,000 people had left.

Victims of violence were even more difficult to define and enumerate than the displaced farmers.

Amani Trust, a human rights NGO in Zimbabwe, is quoted in the report as saying: "Because such displacees fear repression and further violence, they seek to remain 'underground', which makes their enumeration and location very tenuous."

Consequently, their numbers are variously estimated among the NGO and human rights community at anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000.

The report also highlighted the plight of the substantial orphan population that has been generated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The Farm Orphan Support Trust has estimated that there were on average 12 orphans per commercial farm in the three Mashonaland provinces and Manicaland. A consequence of this is that there is a significant increase in child-headed households living in acute poverty. Also many of the elderly are now required to support their grandchildren.

One of the factors hampering assistance to those in need is that a large number of IDPs are in areas of the country where the UN has never had any need for a presence, namely in the large-scale commercial farming areas. 

The report suggested that the UN broaden its geographical boundaries of food aid to ensure that all needy people have improved access to basic services.
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Government to Set Aside US $250 000 for Salt Imports

Stewart Muchapera

THE Government will sell foreign currency to salt importers at the official rate to ease the shortage of the commodity in the country.

Close to US$250 000 will be set aside every month for salt importers.

The allocation should bring some relief to the salt importers who were struggling to meet the national requirements, resulting in a shortage of the commodity.

The shortage caused ripple effects on the delicate economy, with bread fast disappearing on the shelves as bakers cited the shortage of salt - one of the main ingredients used in the baking of bread.

The country requires about 350 000 tonnes of salt each month for its daily requirements but the scarcity of foreign currency resulted in importers failing to meet the demand.

Salt is not only used in households but also on farms and in industries.

At the height of the crisis, some importers are reported to have held back their orders to press an increase in the price of the commodity.

The importers were demanding a hike in the controlled price of salt or the total decontrol of salt from the list of controlled commodities or that the Government would come with a facility that would allow them to access foreign currency at the official rate.

Salt importers procure the bulk of their salt from Botswana and were acquiring their foreign currency on the black market to import salt.

The greenback is trading at close to Z$650 on the parallel market and this made it difficult for the salt importers to break even.

A cabinet committee comprising officials from the ministries of Finance and Economic Development, Industry and International Trade, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and an association of salt importers looked into the grievances brought up by importers.

National Foods and Blue Ribbon Foods form the country's bulk of salt importers.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and International Trade Mr Stuart Comberbach said following deliberations at Cabinet level it was agreed that importers would get an allocation under the 40 percent retained by the central bank on all exports done by the local industry.

"The situation is set to improve following the allocation and this would allow importers to bring salt from Botswana," said Mr Comberbach.

Already some importers have started using the facility to import salt.

Blue Ribbon is understood to have got close to US$75 000 to import about 1 054 tonnes of salt.

Efforts to get comment from Blue Ribbon were unsuccessful as the managing director was unavailable.

At the height of the salt crisis, consumers across the country were surprised to find salt missing from supermarket shelves.

Speculators worsened the short supply through hoarding.

A lot of accusations started flying, with importers being accused of deliberately hoarding the commodity.

However, importers denied the allegations, saying they never canvassed among themselves to hoard salt but were caught in the foreign currency crisis and were unable to raise enough amounts to import the required quantities.

The importers also cited the controlled price of salt as making it difficult for the companies to continue to import the commodity.

Efforts to get comment from one of the leading salt importers, National Foods, were fruitless as the managing director, Mr Ian Kind, was said to be out of the office and would only be back today.

National Foods was accused of hoarding salt following a series of discoveries of stock at its depots scattered across the country but denied the charges.

A snap survey carried by the Business Herald showed that salt was now available in most retail outlets and some shops.

To curb the rampant hoarding of basic commodities like sugar, salt and cooking oil the police have carried out several raids on illegal traders confiscating goods running into millions of dollars.

In June alone, the police recovered sugar worth $967 147, salt valued at $31,9 million, cooking oil worth $1,6 million and maize meal valued at $2,5 million in nine of the country's 10 pro- vinces.

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Harare City Library Seeks $70m for Face-Lift

Henry Makiwa

Harare City Library management plans to raise $70 million to renovate the 40-year-old study centre, now in a near derelict state. Trymore Simango, the acting librarian, said on Thursday this would be the first major refurbishment since the library was established in 1962. He said:

"The library has over the years been funded by membership subscriptions and grants from the government and the city council. "While this funding has just been adequate to keep the library running in a very basic fashion, accumulating problems over the years have made it increasingly difficult to maintain or improve the services offered."

Simango said since the withdrawal of funding by the government it had become increasingly difficult to maintain the ageing institution. The main library building is in need of refurbishment as the roofs are leaking, the floors cracked and the windows broken. "The funding provided by the council alone and membership subscriptions is inadequate," Simango said. "We are therefore calling on individual well-wishers and the corporate world to help us raise the $70 million necessary for the renovations, as well as modernising the library by furnishing it with new technological paraphernalia such as Internet services, facsimile and photocopying machines," he said.

Simango said the renovations would include the creation of a free study facility for students from a poor background and a pre-school children play centre. The library has been constantly rocked by scandals in recent years including the mysterious disappearance of over 1 000 reference books and frequent worker-strikes over salary disputes.

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Journalist granted reprieve from deportation from Zimbabwe 
HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 16 — Officials gave a temporary reprieve Tuesday to an American journalist ordered deported after he was found innocent of violating Zimbabwe's harsh new media laws.
       Andrew Meldrum, a permanent resident of Zimbabwe who had lived here since 1981, appealed Monday's order demanding he leave the country within 24 hours. 
 Immigration officials granted him an additional 30 hours Tuesday so they could respond to his appeal.
       Meldrum, a 50-year-old correspondent for Britain's Guardian newspaper, was found innocent Monday of publishing a false story, a crime that carries a two-year sentence under the media laws enacted in March.
       Immediately after the acquittal, immigration officials pulled Meldrum into a room at the courthouse and handed him an expulsion order signed two weeks ago by Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo.
       Media freedom organizations called the expulsion order as undemocratic. Reporters Without Borders, an international media watchdog, called it ''an act of vengeance.'' The U.S. government said it was ''not compatible with the internationally recognized human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.''
       The increasingly authoritarian government of President Robert Mugabe has cracked down on the independent press, the judiciary, opposition officials and human rights workers during two years of political and economic chaos in the southern African country. Human rights groups say hundreds have died in political violence.
       His government has used new laws passed before March presidential elections to further suppress dissent. Mugabe was declared the victor in those elections, though many international and domestic observers criticized the poll as deeply flawed.
       A total of 13 independent journalists have been arrested under the new laws. Meldrum was the first to be tried. If he loses his appeal, he would be the fourth foreign correspondent expelled by the government in 18 months.
       Meldrum's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said his client's constitutional rights to justice and freedom of movement were being infringed, despite being found innocent. ''No reasonable minister could take such a position, without any basis, when Andy has done no wrong,'' Mtetwa said.
       She also said Nkomo did not have authority to deport Meldrum because he was not legally reappointed as minister after the March election.
 © 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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