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

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Zim Standard

      Farm workers gripped by hunger

      By Vanessa Haarhoff

      HUNDREDS of thousands of farm workers and their families face
starvation and unemployment this month, as the farmers who employ them abide
by the Section 8 Order to completely shut down their operations and vacate
their farms in 45 days time.

      Workers in the Doma, Mhangura and Umboe Valley areas will be the worst
affected since 90% of farms there have been listed for seizure. Some farm
workers have for long felt the effects of the crisis since self-styled war
veterans began occupying some farms two years ago.

      One farm in the Doma area, which was bought by a commercial farmer in
1950 and has been producing food for 52 years, was occupied by 32 war
veterans in August last year.

      The farmer said when he bought the land, it had been uninhabited and
he'd had to employ labour from Malawi. Today, the farm employs 62 workers
who derive their livelihood from the farm. More than 600 people on the farm
will now be made homeless and redundant after 8 August-for the sake of 32
so-called war veterans.

      Before last year, the farm was producing maize, tobacco, soya beans,
wheat and paprika. In the last season, the new farmers produced enough maize
to feed themselves for only a few months, before being hard-hit by famine.
The same hectarage of land that the new settlers have seized, used to
produce about 800 tonnes of maize.

      It seems inevitable that the maize silos at the Grain Marketing Board
will be empty this year because of the new settlers' lack of capacity and
the insufficient rainfall of the past season.

      At Doma farm, the settlers, who have been unable to grow enough maize
to meet demands for next year's inputs, have ordered the farmer to remove
his cattle from the farm. They demanded $300 dollars a day, per head of
cattle. The farmer owns 400 head of cattle, meaning he has to pay $130 000
dollars a day to the war veterans for each day the cattle are on the propert
y. This is part of a deal that the farmer agreed to with the war veterans
last year in August. Under the deal, the farmer was to feed his cattle on
the farm until 31 July 2002. In return for this 'favour', the farmer was
under obligation to plant a hectare of maize for each of the 32 settlers.

      Having failed to abide with the terms of the agreement the farmer
yesterday decided to transport his cattle to Chinhoyi for sale. But to add
to his problems, prices at the abbatoir were at an all time low because of
the glut on the market due to hundreds of commercial farmers closing down
their operations. A beast which sold for $64 000 before the farm invasions,
was going for as low as $7 000.

      This is the scenario for commercial farmers across the country. But it
also seems that all parties involved in the land redistribution programme
are 'losing' out. The farm labourers are losing their jobs and what had over
the years become their permanent homes; the commercial farmers are unable to
farm and have lost a lifetime's work and the settlers have been unable to
produce either the maize that the country needs to feed itself nor the
tobacco which w as Zimbabwe's biggest foreign currency earner. The result of
this will be a catastrophic 'domino effect' which could see 6 million
Zimbabweans starving before the end of this year.

      The effects are not confined to the borders of this country, but are
spread across the whole of the southern African region where Zimbabwe has in
the past been the bread basket.
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      Feigning amnesia will not end food shortages

      7/6/02 7:00:42 PM (GMT +2)

      IN the welter of accusations against companies for allegedly
sabotaging the economy, the government must have decided to feign amnesia.

      Why are the upheavals after the referendum result in February 2000 not
being cited as the major cause of the economic meltdown? It's as if there
had been no mayhem in Zimbabwe since the massacre of innocents in the early
1980s in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

      Zanu PF and its leaders would have us believe that the murder, rape,
torture and destruction of property during and after the referendum, the
June 2000 parliamentary and last March's presidential elections were no more
than domestic tiffs.
      They would have the country believe that the June 2000 parliamentary
and last March's presidential elections were applauded by the world as free
and fair.
      They want to ignore the stark reality that the economy is in a mess
because not many countries are willing to deal with this arrogant and
violent government anymore.
      Finance Minister Simba Makoni put it succinctly: the economy is in
crisis. Which part of the word "crisis" is Zanu PF having difficulty
understanding? An economy in crisis has a currency that is almost worthless,
a thriving black market now being used even by registered commercial banks,
there is very little foreign currency, let alone foreign investment,
unemployment is at ballistic levels, businesses are shutting down every day
and there is a food shortage which all experts predict will lead to mass

      Yet when he threatened companies with government take-overs last week,
President Mugabe made no reference whatsoever to the origins of this
crisis - his own surrender to the so-called war veterans in 2000. It was a
political manoeuvre because he realised his political fortunes were on the
slide. He was desperate to climb back on top and allowed the so-called war
veterans free rein.

      Since then, the government has earned the wrath of the United States
government and the European Union, apart from the censure of the
Commonwealth, whose secretary-general, Don McKinnon, said last week the
prospects for change in Zimbabwe were as bleak as ever.
      It would serve Mugabe and his lieutenants right if, at the end of
their one-year suspension from the Commonwealth, they were actually thrown
out. Perhaps that would wake them out of their arrogant stupor.
      Then the United Nations Security Council might then be persuaded to
study seriously the legitimacy of Zimbabwe's UN membership. Mugabe might be
unable to use UN conferences as an excuse to go globe-trotting, as he did
with the children's summit in New York in May and the Food and Agriculture
Organisation conference in Rome in June.

      Why the government seems to believe that its image around the world
will somehow improve without it lifting a finger is a measure of its
arrogance - or stupidity.
      The presidential election result is unlikely to be endorsed soon by
any of the countries or groups of countries which believe Zanu PF stole the
election from the MDC.
      The talks between Zanu PF and the MDC, brokered by Presidents Thabo
Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo, had raised hopes of a resolution of some sort,
but since they have been frozen indefinitely, what remains is tension and
violence all around the country.
      The temperature is unlikely to be reduced as the food shortages bite
deeper and deeper into the people's capacity to withstand privation.

      As long as the government refuses to address the origins of the
crisis - its refusal to accede to the will of the people - it would be fair
to say Mugabe and his friends are sitting on a gun powder keg.

      Hungry people will soon be very angry people. If the government
continues to goad them into action with its stubborn, contemptuous refusal
to address the key political issues of the moment, the mass action which
they feared may be a picnic compared with the spontaneous outpouring of fury
that may follow.
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Zim Standard

      Zanu PF's dance of death

      TIME is running out on Zimbabwe. This may seem a dismal cliche but the
severity of the problems testify to the need for responsible, sane and
committed political leadership.

      Everyday we bear witness to the appalling tragedy consuming the
nation-and the government sleeps while the country burns.

      The Zanu PF fellows-experts in double speak and matters of theory
which are good for nothing in practice-have gone crazy. How else can one
explain their behaviour? Even the most die-hard of diehards in Zanu PF must
know full well that many of the things happening give cause for serious

      A beautiful country with a sound infrastructure, marvellous climate, a
rich and diverse culture and above all, warm, friendly people, is being
destroyed for destruction's sake. It is really amazing to see the extent to
which the crisis-ridden Zanu PF regime has taken us back to the dark ages.

      In Zimbabwe today, no name moves people more quickly to anger than
that of the once great son of the soil-Robert Mugabe. You have lost your
grip on things, Mr President. With the acute shortage of food and the
unending list of economic hardship, you are preaching a gospel far removed
from the people's struggle.

      What Zanu PF has done and is doing to Zimbabwe is contrary to the laws
of nature, it is evil and ultimately destructive of the conditions of
objective human existence-the ultimate Uroyi, Ubuthakathi.

      With the current forex crisis, unemployment, the food crisis and
shortages of all kinds now affecting us show no sign of abating but are in
fact getting worse. In this situation, government has manifestly failed and
ought not to complain when it is booted out peacefully.

      Our people are fleeing Zimbabwe at an alarming rate, many of them
content to form the lowest strata of South African, European and American
societies. Our children are born into a catastrophe not of theirs or their
parents' making, but of Zanu PF's. In the midst of this grinding poverty, we
are bearing witness to extravagant prosperity on the part of the Zanu PF
leaders and their courtiers.

      On the human rights front, we are witnessing erosion of our liberties
and the country is acquiring the characteristics of a police state. Prior to
independence, police brutality was routine and torture commonplace-and
sadly, Robert Mugabe is now continuing where Ian Smith left off.

      Now the police are custodians of the ruling party's iron grip on this
unsettled country-applying unjust laws unjustly and overlooking blatant
crimes which suit Mugabe's interests.

      Recently, with much brutality, the police broke up what was a peaceful
demonstration. Scores of people were arrested, some spending hours in
squalid cells when they should have been in hospital being treated for
wounds caused by the police. In civilised democracies, protesters and
demonstrators are escorted through the streets by a police force tolerant of
diverse opinions. Only after acts of violence have occurred do they
respond-and then with carefully calculated but minimal force.

      Perhaps there is some hope to be gained from all this. Were Zanu PF or
the police confident of their positions, they wouldn't act so savagely. You
only oppress when you have to oppress-and you only have to oppress when your
position is threatened.

      And that is where the police have gone so very wrong, just as they did
in the dark days of UDI. The opposition MDC has not threatened the security
of Zimbabwe, nor has it threatened democracy. But in an effort to retain
total control over the people-not to mention what's left of the economy-Zanu
PF has threatened both the security of millions of Zimbabweans and all but
destroyed democracy. If nothing else, this means the police are working
against their charter.

      The police must know that when they savagely attack demonstrators,
newsmen, and passers-by, they are violating the civil rights of innocent
citizens and contravening every accepted code of professional police
discipline. Equally, Zanu PF leaders including junior minister, Jonathan
Moyo, must realise that the only real security they can ever have is more
freedom, more justice, more fair play and a vast improvement in the welfare
of the people.

      It is thus a fallacy for Zanu PF to believe they can secure themselves
politically and get a new lease on life by introducing compulsory national
service. This thing about instilling a spirit of nationalism and national
consciousness is total hogwash.

      We need to remind Samuel Mumbengegwi, the minister of higher education
that before conjuring up these crazy ideas of forcing our children into Zanu
PF militia camps, he must consult the people.

      The victims of all these unnatural catastrophes have been the people
of Zimbabwe. But there are decided limits to the power that any ruling party
yields. It would appear that Zimbabwe is passing a tragic point of no

      The capacity of ordinary people to inflict damage on the ruling elite
because of frustration and hopelessness should not be underestimated.

      Edmund Burke once warned that "there are critical moments in the
fortunes of all states, when they who are unable to contribute to your
prosperity may be strong enough to complete your ruin."

      If Zanu PF foolishly chooses to learn nothing from the painful events
of the last two years, then we might bear witness to the ruling party
reaching the final stages of the legendary dance of the Scorpion-it dances,
gyrates and dances-just before it stings itself to death.
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Zim Standard

      Shortage of common sense

      sundayopinion with Chido Makunike

      FOR several years now, many Zimbabweans have taken comfort in the
belief that things could not get any worse. Yet the slide has continued
inexorably and we can now talk about "the good old days of the year 2000."

      Things may have been bad then, but at least we were able to find
mealie meal, sugar, salt and matches on the store shelves.

      Only a few would refrain from attributing this decline to the antics
of Robert Mugabe. These few would cite a non-specific conspiracy by the
British and other western powers, this year's drought, and other
unconvincing factors for the parlous state of Zimbabwe today.

      This past weekend, Mugabe was in fine form, doing what he does
best-placing the blame for the latest manifestation of our crisis on those
he imagines are the enemies of Zimbabwe. The latest victim was National
Foods, the biggest importer of common salt, which was accused of creating
'artificial' shortages as part of the conspiracy to get more Zimbabweans to
become disaffected with Mugabe's government, as if Mugabe needs any help in

      To its credit, and unusually for a Zimbabwean business entity, the
National Foods management refused to be intimidated by Mugabe's threat to
take over the company and they gave their side for the sudden shortage of
salt. Zimbabwean business is notorious for its boot licking and cowardice in
the face of highly-placed politicians, particularly Mugabe.

      They explained that there was a basic discrepancy between the cost of
the hard currency which they were only able to purchase on the black market
at high, "take it or leave it" rates, and the artificially low, government
mandated prices they were expected to sell the salt at. They were simply not
willing to keep on importing salt and selling it at prices which guaranteed
a loss.

      This sounded extremely reasonable to me. Until I hear a little more
concrete data on the the apparently world-wide conspiracy against Mugabe,
National Foods' explanation as to why they have chosen to stop the
importation of salt until the price controls relating to salt are either
removed altogether or adjusted to reflect reality, their explanation for the
sudden shortage sounds a hell of a lot more plausible to me than Mugabe's
elaborate, unending conspiracy theories.

      Have we sunk so low that we must attribute even our inability to add
two and two together and get four to the machinations of the British and all
the other 'enemies' lurking under the bed? Even if we choose to buy Mugabe's
conspiracy theories, it is reasonable to ask him why he did not plan better
for all the shortages, the depreciation of our currency, the high Aids rate
and the drought, which must all be part of the anti-land reform conspiracy.

      If they are as powerful and evil as he never tires of telling us they
are, why did clever Mugabe not predict their reaction when he was cooking up
his 'revolutionary' method of land reform? Is the drama and excitement of
the method more important than the result? If he really planned to take over
white farms long before his government had laid plans for an economically
meaningful proportion of the black successors to have half a chance of
succeeding, why did he not predict that the world would be contemptuous and
unimpressed with his pleas for help in the midst of the subsequent famine?

      If he gambled that the Western world would look the other way as
organs of state and his supporters beat up, raped and killed black
Zimbabweans with impunity, why was he surprised that the West would flinch
at the same treatment being meted out to white farmers?' Once you make up
your mind to treat those Western kith and kin in the brutal way that you
treat your own kith and kin, you are not being very clever to then plead for
help from them.

      Why is it so difficult for Mugabe and his ministers to grasp the fact
that the combination of our worst ever foreign currency shortage, the high
cost of the foreign currency that inevitably results from that shortage, the
unreasonably low 'official' exchange rate ( at which nobody is able to buy
the foreign currency) and the unrealistically low, fixed prices at which it
expects 'political' commodities like bread, sugar and salt to be sold, is a
combination that just cannot be sustained. This is not at all an issue of
economics, it is one of mere common sense.

      Yes, I am aware of the adage that common sense is not common, but how
can it be so totally lacking in the Mugabe government? Yet this is a
government with a higher than average number of people who are presumed to
be unusually smart, if paper qualifications are any indication of smartness.
Why is it that when you look at the state of Zimbabwe today, there is so
little evidence of Mugabe's many degrees, nor of the the wisdom one would
expect of a cabinet with so many members who are addressed by titles such as
'doctor' or 'professor'?

      If it is a question of Mugabe being too hard-headed to heed their
collective wisdom, why do those whose advice is thrown out the window,
especially those young enough to worry about their reputations in the
post-Mugabe era, seem neither brave nor smart enough to separate themselves
from the disgraceful mess that we are in now?

      Whatever desperate, dramatic measures are taken against the foreign
currency bureaus to try to fool the gullible into thinking the government is
in control of a situation in which it has shown itself to be a pitiful,
helpless hand wringer, none of that will change the underlying problem one
bit: we are not generating enough foreign currency for our needs. We never
really have, but it has never been as obvious as it is now because we had
other, non-income sources of foreign currency we could count on to keep us
afloat in years gone by, such as aid and credit,which have now been shut
off. Just reflect on the fact that we are experiencing our worst foreign
currency crunch ever at the height of the tobacco season, when whatever
foreign currency we raise on our own is at its peak.

      If you buy the notion that all our shortages and other economic
problems are because the white Western world as opposed to land reform, why
did Mugabe who has such a cynical, distrustful view of everything the West
does not predict that this is how they would react and at least stockpile
the salt and matches, if the stockpiling of mealie meal, sugar and fuel was
too complicated and expensive to see us through 'the revolution'?

      So they can close down all the official money changing outlets if it
will make them feel better, but it will not change the basic fact that the
relative unavailability of foreign currency and its resulting high cost, is
because we do not generate enough of it and have also been busy insulting
all those who helped make up the shortfall. If land reform was being
cleverly done, one could give Mugabe the benefit of the doubt, and say
making 'Zimbabwe' a dirty word in much of the world was his way of making us
wake up to the need to get more serious about generating more foreign
currency and learning to be self-sufficient. But can one really do so when
he is busy working to set the conditions for the closure of existing
businesses, than for their expansion or the creation of new ones?

      The worst shortage in Zimbabwe today is not of sugar, mealie meal,
matches, cigarettes or salt, but of common sense in Mugabe's regime.
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Zim Standard

      Parly boycott plan slammed

      By Farai Mutsaka

      WHEN the opposition MDC broke the Zanu PF stranglehold on power by
winning 56 of the 120 seats in the 2000 parliamentary elections, many
Zimbabweans welcomed the result as symbolising the beginning of the end of
Zanu PF.

      But, as events have shown, the MDC's presence in parliament has
counted for little with the ruling party often using its majority in the
house to enact draconian laws which have been detrimental to democracy.

      Frustrated by its impotence, the two-and-a-half-year-old opposition
party is threatening to boycott parliament arguing that the August House is
good for nothing but rubber-stamping President Mugabe's destructive

      "By continuing to sit in there we become accomplices of the madness,
the misgovernance and the bad laws being passed in the House," MDC shadow
foreign minister and MP for Harare North, Tendai Biti, recently told the
Financial Gazette.

      Welshman Ncube, the opposition party's secretary-general, said the
idea of a boycott was popular in his party.

      "It is self-evident that a lot of MPs and executive members hold that
view. We will meet over these issues when parliament reconvenes," Ncube told
The Standard last week.

      But justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, warns that the MDC risks
being ejected from parliament if it boycotts the house. "If 21 consecutive
days pass without leave you automatically lose the seat and fresh elections
will have to be held," Chinamasa told The Standard last week.

      Among some of the draconian laws passed by the present parliament has
been the Public Order and Security Act, (POSA) which gave wide powers to the
police which they used to stifle opposition in the run up to the March
presidential election. The flagrant abuse of this law partly led to the
rejection of the March poll by both local and international observers.

      Another damaging piece of legislation pushed through the fifth
parliament was the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) which has in the past two months seen the arrest of over a dozen
journalists of the independent media.

      However, while the public at large might sympathise with the MDC's
impotence in parliament, they do not generally support calls for a boycott.

      "MDC iya yave kuda kupererwa manje (The MDC is now running out of
ideas). I honestly don't believe the boycott will yield anything. If they
want us to continue respecting them they should start thinking more
positively. Boycott taramba," said Tendai Buzuzi of Harare.

      Wilford Muchingami of Mutare said despite Zanu PF's continued
bulldozing of repressive laws through parliament, the MDC's presence was

      "Their presence is a constant reminder to Zanu PF that the game is
nearing its end. Four years ago, there was virtually no opposition and today
we have 56 opposition MPs. The MDC should see that as an achievement and
strive to build on it," he said.

      Said Tendai Machona: "We knew from day one that the MDC would not stop
Zanu PF from enacting laws against democracy. The MDC has to appear to be
progressive. They won't appear so if they boycott parliament. We will start
asking ourselves why we voted for them in the first place."

      Richard Gapara, of Harare, said the MDC had to seriously weigh its

      "I understand their dilemma. Should they stay in parliament and be
recorded in history as part of a House responsible for some of the most
severe assaults on the people's rights, or should they walk out in protest?
However, history might actually judge them harshly if they walk out at a
time when people need them most.

      They have to keep making noise when Zanu PF makes an assault on our
democracy. That way they will go down in history as people who fought and
eventually won. This is a war. That is how the liberation war was won. Smith
with all his heavy military and intelligence machinery was defeated through
sheer determination," he said.

      However, Godfrey Chikoti agreed with Tendai Biti's sentiments on the

      "What do you want them to do? They are being frustrated by Zanu PF and
the best thing is to stop going to parliament and instead concentrate on the
mass action. It is the only language that Zanu PF understands," he said.

      Said Garikai Muswere of Mbare: "The MDC should just be patient because
if you look at the state of things in Zimbabwe it won't be long before they
assume total control. The problem is that they want to be in power quickly,
but in politics that can't happen, it is process, not an event. For example,
it took Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade 27 years to be where he is today."
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Zim Standard

      Plea to save abandoned animals

      By Loughty Dube

      BULAWAYO-The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), a global
animal welfare organisation, has appealed to Zimbabweans and the
international community at large, to help protect the country's animals from
the "unspeakable atrocities" being perpetrated on them by newly resettled

      IFAW president Fred O'Regan, said as a result of Zimbabwe's
controversial land seizures many white farmers had been forced to vacate
their homes at only a moment's notice, leaving their animals behind and as a
result, there were many cases of atrocities against the animals.

      "Pets are being beaten, tortured and mutilated in acts of
recrimination," said O'Regan in a statement.

      The IFAW is currently involved in a fund-raising exercise for the
benefit of the thousands of animals set to be abandoned when the Section 8
notices issued to farmers by the government expire in 45 days time.

      The IFAW said cases of cruelty against animals include that of a pet
pony whose hoof was chopped off as a warning to its white farm owner never
to return to his farm.

      The statement said an additional farmer had to have his cattle
euthanised after resettled farmers had slashed them in the back to force him
off his farm.

      Chief Inspector Meryl Harrison of the Zimbabwe National Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA) said her organisation was
aware of the plight facing many animals after the expiry of the 45-day
notice period for vacation of properties.

      "A lot of animals and livestock are going to be abandoned, maimed or
even killed when the farmers are asked to cease farming operations, but we
are appealing to all parties concerned to do nothing to compromise the
welfare and safety of the animals," said Harrison.

      She said there were currently many worrying cases of animal cruelty on
a number of occupied farms.

      "Last week, 27 dogs were poisoned in Bromley alone and most of them
have died as a result and it is against this background that we urge all
parties involved in the land issue to ensure the provision of adequate food
and water for livestock animals at all times," said Harrison.
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Zim Standard

      Zanu PF accused of using Nkomo

      By Walter Marwizi

      A MASSIVE campaign to publicise the commemoration of the death of the
veteran nationalist and former vice president, Dr Joshua Nkomo, is a
desperate move by the ruling Zanu PF to get political mileage out of a man
who was above dirty party politics, former Zipra stalwarts have said.

      Commenting on an ongoing publicity blitz spearheaded by the department
of information and publicity in the President's office, people who worked
with Dr Nkomo told The Standard that they were not amused by the fact that
Zanu PF was not willing to let the late Dr Nkomo's soul rest in peace.

      Welshman Mabhena, who served as the secretary-general of Zapu and
later became a governor for Matabeleland North said the campaign was an
insult to the people of Zimbabwe.

      "All this is not meant to honour Dr Nkomo. If his life story is to be
genuinely serialised, why is it that the story that is being told to
Zimbabweans excludes the period when he suffered at the hands of Zanu PF?
This publicity is an insult, kutuka rudzi ikoko, kana Zanu PF yapera
ichamuka here," said a disappointed Mabhena.

      He added: "If an elderly person dies, and is respected honoured and
buried, he can no longer be used for people's gain. He must be given the
reverence he deserves, which has not been the case with Nkomo."

      According to Ndebele culture, only close relatives can hold cultural
rites for their departed colleague and not political parties.

      Max Mkandla, a former Zipra cadre who worked closely with Dr Nkomo
said it was insulting for Zanu PF to start glorifying him in death when it
had trivialised him in life.

      "As a former Zipra cadre, my heart bleeds when I see Zanu PF trying to
get political capital out of a man who was forced to go into exile, fleeing
from the very same party that wants us to believe that he was its stalwart,"
he said.

      Apart from a controversial gala that was broadcast live on Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) on June 29, state media organisations have
been awash with regurgitated stories about the late nationalist's ideals and
his association with Zanu PF.

      He has been portrayed as a Zanu PF stalwart who wanted to see land
returned to its rightful owners-black Zimbabweans-in what many people regard
as a vain attempt to legitimise Zanu PF's chaotic land reform programme.

      No mention has been made whatsoever that Dr Nkomo was enemy number one
of Zanu PF in the early 80s who had to flee to Botwana after a failed
attempt on his life by members of the notorious fifth brigade.

      Writing in 1985 in a book entitled Nkomo, The Story of My Life, which
was only freely distributed in Zimbabwe last year when Zanu PF wanted to
court support from the Ndebeles, Nkomo, who was narrating events that forced
him to flee into exile, said:

      "Prime Minister Mugabe had publicly called for violent action against
my person. He said, quite falsely, that I was trying to overthrow his
government. Speaking of my party, he said: 'Zapu and its leader Dr Joshua
Nkomo, are like a cobra in a house. The only way to deal with a snake is to
strike and destroy its head."
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Zim Standard

      Zanu PF Bulawayo councillors in trouble

      By Loughty Dube

      BULAWAYO-Zanu PF has intensified the witch-hunt to sniff out Bulawayo
councillors who defied a party directive instructing them to choose losing
mayoral candidate, George Mlilo as the city's director of engineering

      As a result of the councillor's action, Peter Sibanda was rated the
better candidate of the two, quashing any hopes of Mlilo getting his former
job back. Mlilo had resigned from council as stipulated by the Urban
Councils Act when he joined the political arena last year by contesting for
the city's mayorship on a Zanu PF ticket. He lost the contest to the MDC's
Japhet Ndabeni Ncube who polled 60 000 votes against Mlilo's 12 000.

      "More councillors are going to be victimised over allegations that
they backed Peter Sibanda instead of the party's candidate and as things are
right now, there is serious sniffing around for those councillors who might
have voted out of the party caucus," said one councillor who preferred
anonymity for fear of victimisation.

      The councillor's fears came a week after a Zanu PF councillor,
Margaret Sibanda, was suspended from attending the party caucus meetings
after she refused to sign a Zanu PF councillors' petition to local
government minister, Ignatius Chombo, protesting the ditching of Mlilo by

      However, the councillors are divided on the suspension of Sibanda by
Parira-Mpofu seen as victimisation over personal differences.

      "The two do not see eye to eye and the move to suspend Margaret
Sibanda is Parira-Mpofu's way of getting even with her, and all councillors
know that Parira will look for more scapegoats to make the whole issue
appear genuine and clear doubts that his decision to suspend Sibanda was
personal," said another councillor.

      Contacted for comment, Parira-Mpofu said he was dealing with the
matter the Zanu PF way.

      "In Zanu PF there is no professionalism, but there is cadreship and we
do not question the way things are done, but caucus decisions should be
respected at all times," he said.

      He dismissed claims that he was leading the witch hunt to sniff out
other councillors.
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Zim Standard

      MP in trouble over Mugabe suit

      By Farai Mutsaka

      MOVEMENT for Democratic Change MP, Evelyn Masaiti, who with three
other MDC activists successfully sued President Mugabe in the United States,
faces disciplinary action when Parliament resumes sitting next month.

      According to information reaching The Standard, Mugabe and some ruling
party MPs were bitter that Masaiti's lawsuit had humiliated the 78-year-old
president and wanted the Mutasa constituency legislator to be "fixed".

      A US judge ruled on Monday that Mugabe should pay Masaiti; losing MDC
candidate for Bindura, Elliot Pfebve and his sister, Enfridah; Maria
Stevens, wife of slain farmer, David; and Adella Chiminya, wife of murdered
MDC activist, Tichaona, a total of US$73 million in compensatory damages
arising from political violence which affected the plaintiffs before the
2000 legislative polls.

      Although Mugabe might not comply with the judgment, analysts say this
may further hurt his already battered international image. Mugabe, together
with a number of his henchmen, have been barred from entering the US and
European Union countries due to rampant human rights abuses.

      Justice, legal and parliamentary affairs minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
who is also the leader of the House, told The Standard he would consult the
Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on how to deal with Masaiti.

      Said Chinamasa: "In light of the developments we will look into the
matter in consultation with the Speaker. That is what I can say at the
moment regarding that issue."

      Contacted for comment, Masaiti said she was not afraid of reprisals
from the ruling party.

      "They have been threatening me all along saying that I was not
respecting the laws of this country by suing Mugabe in the US. I will
continue fighting them until they realise that what they are doing is wrong.
Only illegitimate governments are afraid of granting human rights to their
people. I will not give up. I will continue fighting for freedom. All I
wanted was to register that my human rights were violated. I wanted the
world to know that there are no human rights at all in Zimbabwe. The world
has a right to know that Mugabe is a dictator who can't stand any
opposition," Masaiti told The Standard.

      The Mutasa MP escaped death by a whisker prior to the 2000 general
election when she was severely assaulted by Zanu PF supporters and war
veterans who later burnt down her home after she had fled away.

      Adella Chiminya's husband, Tichaona, who was MDC president, Morgan
Tsvangirai's personal aid, was murdered when they were bombed in Buhera,
while Maria Stevens' husband, David, was slain by war veterans who had
invaded his farm.

      Despite being a victim of political violence himself, Elliot Pfebve's
brother, Matthew, was murdered by ruling party supporters.

      All the cases happened before the 2000 general election when more than
30 MDC supporters were allegedly killed by ruling party hooligans.

      Mugabe had pleaded immunity saying he was a head of state and could
not be brought before the US court.

      The US judge however said Mugabe could not be immune as he was being
charged in his capacity as leader of Zanu PF.
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Zim Standard

      No pay for war vets

      By Chengetai Zvauya

      WAR veterans are up in arms because of the failure of President
Mugabe's regime to pay them their pensions and war victims compensation
funds for the past month, The Standard has learnt.

      The non-payment of their 'dues' has put these freedom fighters on an
inevitable collision course with government.

      Cash-strapped war veterans in Harare, led by Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association chairman for Harare, Joseph Chinotimba,
were reportedly prevented at the last minute on Thursday from demonstrating
against the Zanu PF regime.

      The bankrupt government forks out $350 million in pensions for the 50
000 strong war veterans body, whose violent election campaign ensured
Mugabe's continued presidency for another six years.

      Government is also paying compensation to 125 000 people who suffered
injuries and losses during the 1970s liberation war. These did not receive
anything in June either.

      Investigations by The Standard revealed that by yesterday, government
had still not paid the war veterans. They were to have been paid by 26 June.

      War vets secretary-general, Andy Mhlanga, confirmed that members of
their association had not received their monthly allowances for June and
accused the government of not taking them seriously.

      ''We had war veterans coming to our offices from all over the country
seeking assistance over non-payment of their dues. We are seeking an
audience with the government authorities responsible for this mess. We have
decided that whoever is responsible shall meet the costs incurred by the war
veterans in relation to transport and food," said Mhlanga.

      Acting director of the pensions office, Edson Goronga, on Friday
afternoon confirmed that his office had not yet paid the war veterans.

      "An error occurred because of our new computerised system which
resulted in some people not being paid because their names were left out. We
are in the process of rectifying the problem and will reimburse the costs
incurred by those war veterans who travelled to Harare to check on their
money," he said on Friday.

      Two weeks ago, the war veterans demanded an increase of their monthly
allowances from $7 000 to $20 000.

      They are also demanding that education allowances for their children
be increased from $5 000 to $35 000 per term and funeral allowances to be
upped to $20 000.

      If the cash-strapped government accedes to the latest demands,
Zimbabwe's already overburdened tax payers will fork out an extra $650
million per month towards the war vets' bill which would amount to $1
billion per month.

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Zim Standard

      Zanu PF Bulawayo chairman implicated in $35m fraud

      By Loughty Dube

      BULAWAYO-Allegations of fraud involving over $35 million have been
levelled against the Zanu PF chairman for Bulawayo, Jabulani Sibanda, by
senior party officials ahead of a visit by an audit team from Harare due in
the city this week.

      Senior officials told The Standard that the money was sent to the
province as part of the presidential election campaign funds and Sibanda was
the only signatory and the sole person responsible for the funds in the
party's account with a local commercial bank.

      "The money came in two tranches, at first $27 million was sent through
the ministry of youth development, gender and employment creation and was
followed later by an allocation of $8 million but all this money is not
accounted for as the chairman ran a one man show," said a senior party

      Part of the money, the senior party officials said, was for running
youth camps that were littered across the city.

      The youth camps housed Mugabe's terror militia that unleashed a wave
of violence on the citizenry before the hotly disputed presidential

      "The money was abused because the youths were not paid moneys they
were promised despite the fact that the money was already budgeted for by
the party, but the chairman and his cronies converted the money to their own
use," said the senior official.

      Last month hordes of youths from the terror camps manhandled Sibanda
after he failed to explain to them on what happened to the money they were
promised for backing Mugabe's re-election.

      The senior party members said Sibanda was the only signatory to the
party's bank account and did as he pleased with the party funds since there
were no financial statements on how the money is put to use.

      "The man is arrogant and does not respect anyone in the province and
he behaves as the supreme being and disregards advice from politburo and
central committee member,s and no one questions him on the use of party
funds," another Zanu PF official.

      Efforts to contact Sibanda proved fruitless at the time of going to

      While party spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, confirmed that an audit
team will be visiting Bulawayo this week, he professed ignorance over the
fraud allegations.

      "I have not yet been made aware of any irregularities in Bulawayo.
There is an audit team that has been going around the provinces checking
books. We gave money to the provinces before the election and we want to
know whether the money has been put to the right use," said Shamuyarira

      But Zanu PF officials in Bulawayo said Sibanda and his henchmen were
scurrying around city garages and business outlets soliciting for receipts
to forge ahead of the audit.

      "We are aware of the chairman's dirty tricks and we will expose him
for what he is for the good of the province," an official.

      Zanu PF Bulawayo province is split into two groups with one group led
by Jabulani Sibanda backing John Nkomo, and the other group backing Emmerson
Mnangagwa for the sole party's vice presidency when President Mugabe is
expected to retire his two vice presidents and appoint only one vice

      The sources said the audit team should expose the financial scandals
in the province.

      "Some of these people are building mansions and we are aware that the
money they are using are stolen party funds," said one official.
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Zim Standard

      John Nkomo slaps driver

      By Loughty Dube

      BULAWAYO-Home affairs minister John Nkomo is alleged to have slapped a
Kukura Kurerwa bus driver for driving dangerously at the Cross Dete
intersection along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road on Thursday evening, The
Standard has gathered.

      The minister's car allegedly blocked the driver's path forcing him to
stop, then an irate Nkomo who is also the Zanu PF national chairman emerged
from his vehicle and slapped the bus driver once across the face while the
driver was on his knees begging forgiveness.

      Eye-witnesses to the incident say the minister became angry after
witnessing the bus overtake a fleet of cars, including Nkomo's ministerial
Benz on a blind bend of the road.

      The minister's driver is said to have blocked the bus driver's path
just in front of a petrol filling station owned by MDC MP for Hwange West,
Jealous Sansole. The filling station is located at the Kamativi-Dete
intersection along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway.

      Nkomo is alleged to have angrily accused the bus driver of trying to
kill him through negligent driving and then slapped him across the face.

      Sansole, who was at his filling station at the time, confirmed the
incident and said it had been an irresponsible thing for the minister to
have done in public.

      "If the public had reacted to the incident by beating Nkomo up,
everyone would have said I was responsible for the assault. John Nkomo knew
that he was in front of my filling station but he continued with what he was
doing. People who were watching were angered by the minister's behaviour,"
said Sansole.

      When contacted for comment, Nkomo denied having slapped the driver
saying he had only handed him over to the police in Dete.

      "The driver overtook 10 trucks on a bend and I took him to the police
at Dete-it was just that," Nkomo said.

      A police officer in Dete confirmed that the driver had been detained
overnight and referred The Standard to the officer-in-charge who in turn
referred the paper to the police chief spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena but no
comment could be obtained from him at the time of going to press.

      Another eyewitness confirmed that Nkomo had indeed slapped the Kukura
Kurerwa driver. "The behaviour was shocking coming as it was from a senior
government official," said the witness.

      A passenger in the bus destined for Bulawayo told The Standard that
people were refunded their bus fare following the driver's arrest over the

      Officials at Kukura Kurerwa garage in Bulawayo refused to comment on
the incident and referred The Standard to the police.

      "I have no comment to make on the matter and if you say it was
referred to the police, you can contact the police at Dete," said an
official who refused to be identified.

      This is not the first time that assault allegations have been levelled
against the minister. Three years ago, an employee for the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace, Sakhile Nkomo, was allegedly slapped by
Nkomo during a meeting in Nyamandlovu. The minister also denied the

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Daily News

      No to national service

      7/6/02 6:55:12 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      THE government should immediately abandon its decision to implement a
compulsory national youth service and channel the funds earmarked for the
exercise towards more more pressing needs, according to a snap survey
conducted by The Daily News yesterday.

      Residents interviewed in Masvingo described the proposed national
service as a Zanu PF manoeuvre aimed at strengthening the power base of the
ruling party, especially among the youths.

      Early Kufakunesu said: "This is not a national programme, but a Zanu
PF call-up scheme. The partisan programme should be abandoned with immediate
effect. We cannot continue to train people who beat up innocent civilians.
      "The money must be channelled towards serious and meaningful
programmes such as drought relief and poverty alleviation."

      William Nebara of Bikita said while the concept of national service
was noble, it should have been implemented way back and in a non-partisan
way. A nurse at Masvingo General Hospital said the programme should be
stopped since youths were being abused by Zanu PF.
      She said the training camps had become breeding grounds for sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/Aids.
      "We treat most of them for STDs every day and that is unhealthy for
our youths. The camps should be disbanded forthwith," she said.
      The nurse, who asked not to be named, was referring to the youths
drilled at the Border Gezi training centre in Mount Darwin. The youths were
deployed in camps throughout the country from where they unleashed a reign
of terror against supporters of the opposition MDC in the run-up to the
March presidential election.

      The government has already pointed out that only those who will have
undergone national youth service training will be employed in the civil
service and parastatals, or admitted to government institutions of higher

      Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Higher Education and Technology,
announced that students must undergo six months' national service training
after which they will be awarded a certificate without which they will not
be employed by the government or allowed into institutions of higher

      Nkululeko Sibanda, the president of the Zimbabwe National Students'
Union, described the move as "madness on the part of the government".
      "It is not a national service, but it is political orientation," said
      Latayea Armando, 18, a student at the Dominican Convent in Harare,
said: "I think it will be a good experience to some people, but personally I
would not want to go for it."
      Audrey Mutizwa, 19, of Kuwadzana said the government was being
dictatorial by decreeing national service without consulting the people.

      "A lot of girls from the Border Gezi training centre became pregnant
while undergoing the so-called national service. I don't think there is
anything to be gained from it."
      Ali Mati, 60, of Glen Norah said: "The purported national service will
waste time for our kids who are supposed to enrol at colleges after
secondary school and plan their lives wisely." Tichaona Mhetu, 22, said:
"The service is a devious way of keeping the young loyal to the ruling
party." He said the service was "not national, but a way of promoting
lawlessness with the drilled youths unleashed to bash people who don't
support Zanu PF".

      Muzaya Wadawareva of Mufakose said the government was trying to
pre-empt unrest among the youths who have borne the brunt of the soaring
unemployment and joblessness in the country. He said: "This scheme is
sinister because it comes out of fear by the government that there could be
a revolt if the energy of the youths is not harnessed."
      In Bulawayo, residents roundly condemned the compulsory national youth
service programme.
      They said if the Zanu PF government was sincere in introducing a
national service, which would instill in the youths a sense of national
belonging, then it should leave politics out of the programme.
      Miriam Mathe, a Tshabalala resident, said the programme should be
abandoned because it was solely designed to prolong Zanu PF rule.
      "This is similar to the single uniform policy which government tried
to introduce. People will definitely reject this one as well," she said.
      George Mkhwananzi said although the programme was a noble idea at From
Page 1 face value, its political undertones made it unacceptable to people
of a different political persuasion to Zanu PF.
      "We are not happy that children should be made to support the ideology
of any political party when undergoing the programme," he said.
      He said if, for example, the youth who has gone through the exercise
later trains as a nurse it is easy to imagine what would happen if the
patient under his care happened to be a member of the opposition.

      Paul Siwela, an opposition leader who stood as an independent and lost
in the March presidential election, said the government had not even
mentioned the cost of the programme.

      He said the fact that it was not clear what the youths would be taught
made it suspicious.
      He said: "It may become another brain-washing exercise for the
children to accept Zanu PF as the only party fit to rule this country. In
any case, what is the value or gain?"
      Mika Parira Mpofu, a Bulawayo councillor and member of Zanu PF, said
the idea was not unique to Zanu PF.
      Kelly van Niekerk of Mutare said the idea was detrimental to
      "The government is unwisely turning the people against it," she said.
"You do not force intellectuals to go for national service. The six months
spent at the so-called training camp could be spent in other projects which
may benefit the nation. They are destroying the country."

      Mike Shiri, a Mutare resident, said the government was bound to meet
strong resistance if it forced people "to participate in its pipe dreams".
      He said: "There is going to be a lot of resistance from the youths, I
can assure you. Already I understand a lot of youths are leaving the country
either to seek employment or to study abroad as they run away from the
declared plan."

      But a Zanu PF official in Mutare said the programme would go ahead as
      "Those who do not agree with the programme should just stay out of it
instead of making lots of unnecessary noises.

      "The train is moving on and those left out should not cry foul when a
national service certificate becomes mandatory for job seekers."
      Juliet Makwenda of Gweru said: "This so-called national service is
nothing but a Zanu PF military call-up designed to deal brutally with any
dissenting voices across all sectors of society."

      A nurse in the same town said: "I suspect it is a ploy by Zanu PF to
entice unemployed youths to join its ranks through false promises that they
will get jobs. How will the party create jobs for the thousands of
unemployed school-leavers when it is spearheading the closure of productive
white-owned companies and factories?"

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Daily News


      Why should journalists register with an unelected impostor?

      7/6/02 7:27:35 PM (GMT +2)

      A relative who fanatically supports Zanu PF phoned me the other day.
She remonstrated with me for writing only negative things about the ruling
party and the government.

      She accused me of being one of those ungrateful and unpatriotic people
who were giving Zimbabwe a bad image. She said that as a journalist, I must
be fair, balanced and impartial in my writings.
      For a while I felt guilty for being so totally against Zanu PF and all
it stands for. I resolved to be more just and fair in my comments. I,
therefore, earnestly set about to try and find some redeeming features in
that party.
      I tried hard to find something positive about Zanu PF to write about
in today's column. But, as you might have guessed, I failed to find anything
good about that party.
      As I was trying to find anything good that Zanu PF is doing for
Zimbabwe, I thought about the conversation between God and Abraham regarding
Sodom and Gomorrah.
      God said: "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their
sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad
as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."
      When Abraham perceived that God intended to destroy these evil cities,
he said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there
are 50 righteous people in the city? Will you sweep it away and not spare
the place for the sake of the 50 righteous people in the city?"
      The Lord said: "If I find 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom, I
will spare the whole place for their sake."
      Then Abraham spoke again. He said: "What if the number of the
righteous is five less than 50? Will you destroy the whole city because of
five people?"
      "If I find 45 there," the Lord said.
      "What if only 40 are found there?" He said: "For the sake of 40, I
will not destroy it."
      Abraham persisted: "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What
if only 30 can be found there?" The Lord answered patiently: "I will not do
it if I find 30 there."
      Abraham said: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord,
what if only 20 can be found there?" He said: "For the sake of 20, I will
not destroy it."

      Then Abraham said: "May the Lord not be angry, but just let me speak
once more. What if only 10 can be found there?" He answered: "For the sake
of 10, I will not destroy it." The Bible says when the conversation ended
the Lord left and Abraham returned home. The next thing we hear is that the
Lord sends two angels to Sodom to rescue Abraham's nephew, Lot.
      That evening a gang of men, Sodomites, arrived and demanded to have
sex with the men visitors. The angels struck them with blindness so that
they could not find the door to the house.
      Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law.
      He said: "Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about
to destroy this city."

      But his sons-in-law refused to run. They thought that he was joking.
When Lot and his family were out of the city at dawn, the Lord destroyed
Sodom and Gomorrah.

      Burning sulphur rained on the twin cities and everybody perished. Lot'
s wife looked back longing for the pleasures that she had left and she
turned into a pillar of salt.

      This is all in the Bible in Genesis 19.
      People of Zimbabwe are now very much like the people of Sodom and
Gomorrah. They have become so depraved that rape, torture, homosexuality,
robbery and outright deceit means nothing to them.
      Some may protest that even though they support the ruling party they
are not part and parcel of the atrocities taking place in the country.
      My answer is that they are equally guilty. In Shona we say: Wadziya
moto wembavha (If you warm yourself by the thief's fire, you are just as
guilty as the thief.

      The Bible says if you see your people being threatened with
destruction and you keep quiet, God will require the blood of those who will
be destroyed at your hands.
      For evil to triumph it is enough that good men do nothing.
      Therefore, the fearful and timid are not going to be let off the hook
for they would have encouraged evil by their silence and inaction.
      The late economist, John Stuart Mill, made this pertinent observation:
      "A people may prefer a free government, but from indolence, or
carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to
the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it
when directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to
cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement or temporary panic, or
a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their
liberties at the feet of even a great man, or trust him with powers which
enable him to subvert their institutions - in those cases they are more or
less unfit for liberty."

      In other words, if Zimbabweans don't speak up and act now they will
not have their freedom or be able to pass that heritage to their children
and grandchildren.

      The other day I was discussing the newly-promulgated draconian Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Some said journalists should
obey the law and register with the authorities and only make an issue of it
      denied registration.

      I totally disagree with this compromising attitude. Register to do
      To write about what I see and think for the benefit of my fellow
Zimbabweans? God forbid! Next we will be asked to register for permission to
speak and even to breathe.

      For me writing and speaking are fundamental rights which I will not
allow anybody to tamper with.
      God registered me to listen, look and write, as I please, when He
created me with five senses. I had my licence to express myself from Him the
day I came out howling from my mother's womb. Even she could not keep me
quiet. She had to bribe me into silence with her rather delicious milk.

      Unfortunately the Minister of State for Information and Publicity has
nothing comparable to bribe me into silence with, therefore, I will continue
to write and speak.
      Anyone who thinks he has the right to play God in my life is deluding
himself. I will not worship a human being created in God's image just as I
am. That would be tantamount to worshipping Baal.
      If such people had the mandate of the people of Zimbabwe, at least, I
would accord them the respect of attempting to register as they require.
      If they denied me registration I would accord them the respect of an
argument. But Professor Jonathan Moyo represents nobody but President
Mugabe, a mortal and fallible being like all of us.

      He was not elected by the people of Zimbabwe who constitute the
sovereign state that we talk so much about.
      Therefore, for any journalist to seek to be registered by an impostor
who does not represent the State is the height of cowardice and folly.
      He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Zim Standard


      By Brian Latham

      A EUROPEAN ambassador to a troubled central African country was left
fuming last week after he hosted a dinner party for diplomats, foreign
politicians and members of the opposition.

      Sadly, for the deeply disturbed ambassador, news of the dinner party
was leaked to the troubled central African country's propaganda comic,
resulting in red faces and resentment all round. While it is not illegal to
hold dinner parties in the troubled central African country, it is illegal
for three or more people to gather to discuss politics-unless they are
members of the ruling Zany Party meeting to discuss important issues of
state like arson, murder, starvation and torture.

      Still, the fuming European ambassador's residence is officially his
territory and thus out of bounds to what passes for a police force in the
troubled central African nation. It is also officially out of bounds for the
men in dark glasses and cheap nylon suits, though it is understood that
there are ways and means of bypassing these inconvenient regulations.

      According to the state's main comic, guests included ambassadors from
various imperialist states, a diplomat from an increasingly disobedient and
confused southern African state, a known trouble maker and opposition
politician from the same southern African nation and, perfidy of perfidies,
the leader of the troubled central African country's opposition.

      According to an interview the comic held with the troubled central
African nation's propaganda minister, St Joanathan, they might have met to
discuss mass action.

      Just days before, the troublesome southern African politician had
helpfully pointed out to his northern neighbours that much-needed change had
come to his own country as a result of something called "rolling mass
action." The observation did not pass unnoticed by leaders of the troubled
central African nation who have a desperate fear of any form of mass action,
rolling or not, and have imported some pretty impressive equipment to
suppress just such an eventuality.

      Besides, said an official from the Zany Party, sporting a sinister
smile, much needed change was brought to the confused southern African
country in order to bring about the demise of an almost white regime that
spoke a curious language that involved lots of coughing.

      The situation in the troubled central African country was entirely
different as there would soon be no white people left anyway, no matter what
tribe they came from or dialect they spoke. Surely that meant that change
was unnecessary, he asked hopefully.

      At this point, a member of the opposition pointed out that even in the
confused southern African country change was brought about to allow for
something called democracy and freedom of expression, adding that languages
and colour of skin were the irrelevant issues. The Zany Party spokesman
shook an angry finger at the seditious comment and pointed out that such
deviant and intolerable views had no place in the troubled central African
country where it was a well-known fact that the running dogs of imperialism,
white fellows to a man, were responsible for the mess. "Furthermore we know
they're hiding all the maize, wheat, bread, salt, sugar, milk, cement and
everything else they can lay their hands on," he said.

      It was at this stage that the angry European ambassador shook his head
sadly and pointed out that it was none of anyone's business whom he invited
to dinner in the first place and it was about time everyone grew up-to which
the Zany Party spokesman said smugly that that was just the sort of comment
he expected from a neo-colonialist bent on undermining the rule of law in
the troubled central African country, which was why it was necessary to
devote men in dark glasses and cheap nylon suits to the important task of
observing just who did attend dinner parties at various embassies in the

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From The Saturday Star (SA), 6 July

3 nations flash cash as famine bites Africa

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says three countries have responded to its call for about R5-billion in aid to alleviate food shortages in six southern African countries. However, more contributions are needed to avert a catastrophe, according to the organisation. The donations by the United Kingdom (R281-million), Canada (R10-million) and the Netherlands (R5-million) were a direct response to a WFP appeal last week for urgent help in raising about R5-billion to reduce hunger among 13 million people facing starvation in southern Africa. "These are the first countries to formalise their donations to WFP's appeal for close to one million tons of food aid," the UN agency said on Friday night. "WFP's regional emergency operation is designed to help feed 10,2 million people until the next main harvest in March 2003. Major contributions from other donor countries are being finalised."

Britain's contribution to the WFP's regional appeal in Johannesburg was signed on Friday by Sam Sharpe, head of the UK's department for international development in southern Africa and Judith Lewis, WFP regional director for East and southern Africa. Lewis said the three donations were timely and crucial. "Seven million people in the region are very hungry and that number will only grow over the coming months." She said WFP would conduct rolling assessments to monitor the degree of deterioration in regional food security. The supply of affordable maize, volume of commercial food imports, effectiveness of government agricultural policies and the possibility of another El Nino phenomenon, among other factors, would all impact on the number of hungry people. She said the British, Canadian and Dutch contributions would be used to buy about 50 000 tons of food immediately. Cash donations were particularly valuable because they enabled the WFP to buy food in the region and begin distributing it within a month.

According to Lewis at least 12,8 million people would need food aid in the region over the next nine months. The WFP was appealing for 67 percent of the region's cereal food aid. She said the amount was the maximum WFP felt it could realistically mobilise and distribute. WFP would target the most vulnerable households, such as those affected by HIV/Aids and those headed by women, children and the elderly. The humanitarian crisis affecting Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland had been caused by a "perfect storm" of natural and man-made disasters and failed government policies. WFP is the UN's frontline agency in the fight against global hunger. In 2001 it fed more than 77 million people in 82 countries.

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Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2002 4:18 PM
Subject: Flowers in Winter

Aloes and Bougainvillea

Those of you who know this part of the world will appreciate that at this time of the year – the middle of our winter and just after frost, the winter veld consists of nearly white grassland with a covering of trees still in leaf, but in varying degrees of autumn colors. Before I traveled abroad for the first time, I was always struck by the opinion of visitors that Zimbabwe was so colorful all year round. I was in the low veld yesterday and I must say that the bush was looking magnificent, all the red and gold on the trees with the golden grassland and red earth.

It always strikes me at this time of the year that we have two plant species that come out in full color just when everything else is yellow, white and gold. Those are the aloes and our bougainvillea. The former is found in the most inhospitable places and how they flower when things are so dry and barren I never know. The bougainvillea is another matter – an import that is planted all over our towns and often grows into huge towers of spiky tendrils and leaves. At this time of the year it comes out in full bloom and to be frank, this year I think the stuff has out done itself. The city is ablaze with piles of luminescent reds, purples, whites and pink. It’s quite a sight.

In some ways this reflects the situation in Zimbabwe. We are in the middle of winter – its dry and cold and everything is dead (or should be). It’s a long way to go to an uncertain wet season and sometimes we think it will never come. All is dry and frosted. Nothing will grow. Then suddenly you find that the aloes in your back yard are in full flower. The sunbirds are having a field day and even the bees have started to become active again.

Talking to visitors who come to Zimbabwe for various reasons they often comment to me that this is such a resilient place. How do we keep going they ask? People from the World Bank and the IMF look at the numbers and say to us – you guys should be dead in the water, what keeps you running? Well its like the aloes and bougainvillea – we have no idea, but it happens and its wonderful to watch.

When the Rhodesian war was at its height and I feared that the stubbornness of our own politicians and the determination of the Nationalist leaders would lead to a scorched earth situation, I went to my Chairman (a wonderful man by the name of Willie Margolis) and said to him "surely there is something we can do to turn this situation around?" His advice dissapointed me at the time – he said, "Eddie, go back to your office and do your job to the best of your ability and in that way you will help more than you know". Dissapointed I did just that and years later I realised what valuable advice that was.

When I was General Manager of the Dairy Board in Zimbabwe, I urged my management team to make sure that we rattled the milk bottles outside every home every day, every morning. It was our contribution to saying life goes on, even in days of crisis. One incident I remember from those days was when a group of reservists protecting one of the Save River Bridges came under attack – the battle raged all night with the contact only broken off when daylight threatened. Tired and shell shocked, the men in the trenches at the bridge were astounded when a ice cream vendor from the Dairy Board came down the road at about 6.30 a.m. It was a "winter aloe" experience.

Here in Zimbabwe there are thousands who are helping us keep the country going in the middle of the present crisis, despite everything. I am thinking about Dave Lasker and his company, Archer Clothing, who are one of the premier manufacturers of clothing in Africa. Here they are in Bulawayo – exporting 90 per cent of their production to the most sophisticated markets in the world, despite all the odds. David and his family could be doing this anywhere, but they chose to do their thing here. Last night, the Bulawayo Philamonic Orchestra put on a concert – Mozart. The conductor was a history master from a boy’s school. The music was just wonderful. Aloe flowers for us in the middle of this long winter, no, rather a blaze of brilliant bougainvillea.

One third of our workers have lost their jobs in the past three years – one third! In other countries a 3 per cent fall in employment would be a disaster. Here it’s met with certain stoicism. Some would say our people are too patient, too accepting. They should be out there beating up their oppressors and those responsible for all this suffering. How do they survive is the question? A son in South Africa working a mini bus route, a daughter in a hospital in the UK. Each of them sending half they earn home to keep the family alive. Risking the crocodile infested Limpopo River to find work when there is none at home. Living in a tiny room with no friends just to be able to save a bit of money and send it home. These are millions of African aloe flowers in the dark of the African winter.

A woman sitting in a street market from five in the morning until late every evening. Buying her vegetables from the farmers at local markets and then selling them to customers hurrying home. A single mother, raising 4 children on her own. Determined to send them all to school and to see them succeed. A market woman selling her goods in South Africa, sleeping rough and then returning to her home in Zimbabwe with a few things for sale. Bribing the customs at the border, learning to defend what is hers against thieves and the police. Using her natural intelligence to work out exchange rates and prices that would baffle a college professor. Breaking the law every day to survive and looking after a sick brother and his children, all of whom will be her responsibility when he dies.

A road worker underpaid and poorly supervised who does his job on the roads to the best of his ability. The unsung Director of National Roads in Zimbabwe who seems to do miracles with his tiny budget and meager resources. Whose staff are never seen idle and who keeps the roads in a condition that would make the rest of Africa proud – and he never gets any recognition for his work. Aloe flowers in the African winter veld.

One day we are going to have to say thank you to all those unsung heroes in our country who helped us keep going when the summer rains seemed so far away. I well remember one such unsung hero, a simple market woman who ran a stall at the Mbare Msika (market). She raised 4 girls on her own – all went to University and all became successful professionals. Let me tell you – she is a real hero – especially to her girls who eventually clubbed together and bought her a house and allowed her to retire gracefully when she could no longer work.

We in the MDC are committed to standing along side these unsung heroes and ensuring that they can succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Not through theft of other peoples property or corruption but just by giving them an enabling environment that will allow them to do what they know best. Vendors will not be harassed and their goods stolen by corrupt police. Cross border traders will be recognised as major traders in their own right. Money changers will be respected for their market skills and they will help us find and establish real values for what we do and have. Africa is rich in these entrepreneurial skills, rich in enterprise just where you least expect it. This is the secret of survival in an African winter season.

Just like the aloes in the African veld.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 6th July 2002

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Pets tortured, mutilated

Harare - Settlers on formerly white-owned farms in Zimbabwe have been
accused of torturing pets left behind by fleeing owners, a privately-owned
paper said on Sunday.

"Pets are being beaten, tortured, and mutilated in acts of recrimination,"
the Standard quoted the president of the International Fund for Animal
Welfare (IFAW), Fred O'Regan, as saying.

O'Regan told the paper that a pet pony had recently had its hoof "chopped
off as a warning to the owner never to return to his farm."

The chief inspector of the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA), Meryl Harrison, said 27 dogs were poisoned last
week in the Bromley area, just outside the capital Harare.

She said that police blamed the poisonings on a gang of criminals operating
from the capital.

The dogs were all from farms that the government has said it will acquire
under its controversial land reform programme. - Sapa-AFP

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Zimbabwe not seen as issue at Africa summit
July 7, 2002 Posted: 4:53 PM EDT (2053 GMT)

DURBAN, South Africa (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe is not on the agenda at Africa's
summit because the political situation there is not seen as an issue,
President John Kufuor of Ghana said on Sunday.

Zimbabwe's relations with Western states hit bottom and it was suspended
from the Commonwealth in March after violent elections returned 78-year-old
President Robert Mugabe to power.

But no discussion about the crisis is planned when heads of state, including
Mugabe, meet in the South African port of Durban on Monday and Tuesday.

"As of now I don't think Zimbabwe is seen as an issue," Kufuor told a group
of reporters.

"Since (the elections) it is not quite clear-cut how Africa is looking at
Zimbabwe and so Ghana is going along with the rest of Africa," he said.

Kufuor himself ousted an entrenched incumbent when he beat ex-President
Jerry Rawlings in elections at the end of 2000. He wrote to Mugabe before
this year's polls in Zimbabwe, urging him to respect the constitution and
fight fairly against opposition challenger Morgan Tsvangirai.

The declared result was 60-40 to Mugabe, but the opposition said the entire
electoral process was rigged. Observers from the Commonwealth agreed and
Zimbabwe was suspended from the group of mostly former British colonies.

Zimbabwe's deepening economic and political crisis is cited as a test for
Africa's commitment to improve governance and promote human rights.

Kufuor denied that he and other African leaders were "tiptoeing" around
Zimbabwe at this summit, billed as a historic one of transition to a new
African Union modeled on the European Union.

But he said Africa had "different priorities" at the moment.

African diplomats said Mugabe's government had worked effectively to prevent
Zimbabwe being on the summit agenda, helped by the reluctance of host South
Africa to let the issue cloud the atmosphere in Durban.

They said Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was the leader most likely to
insist on some unscheduled and critical discussion about Zimbabwe between
heads of state.

Ghana a marginal force in Africa?
Kufuor defended his government from criticism that Ghana -- which in 1957
under the late Kwame Nkrumah was the first colonized African country to
attain independence -- had become a marginal force in African affairs.

The West African country has not played a prominent public role in the
genesis of NEPAD, a blueprint for continental recovery championed by Ghana's
regional neighbors Nigeria and Senegal as well as by South Africa, Algeria
and Egypt.

"No, I believe all of Africa owns NEPAD together," Kufuor said.

"Someone said this afternoon that the nobility of the idea should not be
tainted with pettiness."
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Unrepentant Mugabe moves to seize urban land

July 06 2002 at 07:29PM
Sunday Independent

By Basildon Peta and Reuters

Hard on the heels of the chaotic land seizures in rural areas and the banning of some whites from farming, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe now plans to take land in urban areas by force.

Mugabe's government plans to amend the country's controversial land acquisition laws to facilitate the seizure of land in urban areas without immediately compensating affected property owners.

The plans to seize urban land follow on Mugabe's threats to seize private firms he has accused of hoarding commodities. The plan would also complement last year's invasions of private companies by war veterans and their threat to seize white-owned suburban houses.

'I am at a loss as what to do with this lost old man'
The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said plans to grab urban land were meant to legitimise mushrooming illegal settlements controlled by ruling Zanu-PF officials and war veterans within city limits.

Urban land owned by the local municipalities was already being illegally partitioned into residential stands by top chiefs, the paper said.

It gave as an example Carrick Creagh Estate in Borrowdale, which was being illegally partitioned into residential plots.

Patrick Chinamasa, the minister of justice, told the paper that nothing could stop the responsible minister from coming up with amendments to take over urban land without immediate compensation.

Any legislation to legitimise urban land seizures without compensation was expected to further benefit Mugabe's cronies, some of whom have already expropriated hundreds of productive white farms seized for resettlement.

'Do we really need a government at all?'
The Zimbabwean government is pressing on with its seizures of white-owned farms despite criticism that the drive is worsening a severe food crisis in the country.

Nearly 3 000 white farmers have been ordered to vacate their farms by August 10 to make way for landless blacks. The farmers were ordered to stop all farming on June 24 and those found guilty of defying government orders face heavy fines or two years in prison.

Analysts said it was sad to note that while food shortages in Zimbabwe were worsening by the day, Mugabe's government was spending most of its energies on trivial issues.

"Mugabe and his ministers have demonstrated a knack for the extraordinary instead of addressing serious bread-and-butter issues," said Lovemore Madhuku, an analyst at the University of Zimbabwe.

As World Food Programme regional director Judy Lewis warned of increasing starvation in Zimbabwe this week, the government announced plans to spend millions on a national youth service training programme for all students in primary and secondary schools, universities and technical colleges.

Samuel Mumbengegwi, the minister of higher education, said no school leaver would be allowed to acquire a job without having undergone compulsory national service. Vacancies in schools, hospitals and industry would remain open while youths performed service.

But analysts were baffled by the fact that the programme was not meant to equip school leavers with skills to create employment but, as Mumbengegwi put it: "To instil a sense of patriotism and national consciousness in the youths."

The national youth chairperson of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Nelson Chamisa, said it was unfortunate that Mugabe wanted to spend precious resources on a national service programme aimed at feeding youths propaganda about his role in the struggle for Zimbabwe's independence at the expense of bread-and-butter issues. "Mugabe seems oblivious to the high unemployment among the youths and the serious brain drain to other countries. I am at a loss as what to do with this lost old man," Chamisa said.

Earlier Mumbengegwi's colleague, Aeneas Chigwedere, who is responsible for primary and secondary education, announced that he wanted to introduce one school uniform for all primary and secondary schools in Zimbabwe.

He had also threatened all headmasters who did not rename their schools after Zimbabwe's liberation war "heroes", such as the late war veterans' leader, Chenjerai Hunzvi.

Chigwedere also wanted to ban all dreadlocks among pupils and teachers in schools in addition to forcing teachers to remain at school for eight hours a day even if they did not have subjects to teach.

Chigwedere was forced to back down on his plans after a flurry of public protests.

"Given the calibre of Mugabe's ministers and their petty projects amid starvation, do we really need a government at all?" asked the privately owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper in a commentary.

"Instead of informing the nation about how his ministry intends to address the problem of food shortages, agriculture minister Joseph Made entirely blamed the current shortage of bread on hoarding and on the opposition MDC.

"At the same time justice minister Patrick Chinamasa was announcing plans to set up a tribunal to investigate a white judge, Fergus Blackie, for misconduct for ordering the arrest of a minister."

Masipula Sithole, an analyst at the University of Zimbabwe, said: "When you add up all this nonsense by Mugabe and his ministers, it means Zimbabwe as a nation can only remain on a downward spiral."

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