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

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      Zimbabwe protest strike gets off to slow start
      09 Jun 2005 08:23:27 GMT

      Source: Reuters

HARARE, June 9 (Reuters) - A two-day strike called to protest a government
crackdown on informal traders and shantytowns got off to a slow start on
Thursday with most businesses open as usual in the capital Harare.

A coalition of civic groups, backed by the main opposition Movement for
Democratic change, urged Zimbabweans to stay away from work on Thursday and
Friday to protest the destruction by police of illegal homes around the

While the early morning traffic appeared lighter than usual in the capital
Harare on Thursday morning, a Reuters survey of the capital's major
industrial sites and the central business districts showed most firms were
open and employees at work.

Police have warned they would act to quash any protests against the
crackdown and set up roadblocks along most highways leading into town on
Thursday, searching cars at random.

There were no early reports of trouble.

The precise extent of the police crackdown on illegal homes and businesses
has been difficult to gauge. The police said a week ago they had arrested
nearly 23,000 people.

The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing said
last week an estimated 200,000 people had been evicted from their homes,
mainly in Harare and the tourist resort of Victoria Falls, and he feared
that 2 million to 3 million people could be targeted in the campaign.

Thousands of self-employed people have seen their informal business premises
razed to the ground and their goods confiscated in the clean-up campaign,
which authorities say aims to root out crime, including illegal trade in
scant foreign currency and basic commodities like sugar.

Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy is in the doldrums.

Critics blame President Robert Mugabe's government for mismanagement and
triggering the economic crisis by seizing white owned commercial farms -- 
once the backbone of the economy -- for redistribution to landless blacks.

Mugabe accuses opponents at home and abroad of economic sabotage.

Thursday's planned stay-away coincides with Mugabe's official opening of
parliament after his ruling ZANU-PF's disputed victory in March 31
parliamentary elections.
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      War vets dumped

      Hama Saburi
      6/9/2005 8:34:47 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ruling ZANU PF - anxious to spruce up its image - is tactfully
pushing war veterans out of political action in the name of reorganising the
boisterous former liberation fighters whose violent land seizures hastened
the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy.

      Analysts say ZANU PF has changed its game plan in a desperate bid to
appeal to the international community, which has long accused Harare of a
serious human rights and democracy deficit - charges denied by President
Robert Mugabe, who believes his government has instead been vilified for
redistributing land from minority whites to landless blacks.
      Unknown to the vociferous war veterans, who many thought had become
indispensable after they turned themselves into useful cogs in ZANU PF's
scheme of things following the rejection of a government draft constitution
in February 2000, the ruling party has of late curtailed the free rein it
once gave the ex-combatants.
      The governing party, grappling with an unprecedented economic crisis
underscored by shortages of fuel and basic commodities, has also
demonstrated unusual heavy-handedness in dealing with the estimated 40 000
Uhuru fighters, who all along enjoyed acres of space in Zimbabwe's political
      Analysts said ZANU PF, which severed ties with the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions after the umbrella labour body backed the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, was slowly pushing for an arms-length
relationship with forces that might have contributed to Zimbabwe's rogue
state status earned in 2000 because of the often chaotic land grab exercise.
      They said the widely condemned demolition of illegal settlements built
by the war veterans in the government's current "clean-up" exercise was
indicative of the ruling party's displeasure with a group that has
repeatedly broken the laws of the land with impunity.
      State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa has just announced that the
countrywide clean-up campaign that has rendered over 200 000 people homeless
will be widened to cover farms where the vociferous war veterans had
illegally resettled themselves.
      "Patience with the war veterans was bound to come to an end. This is
why they (war veterans) were not so prominently involved in the last
elections," said a ZANU PF insider.
      The insider said while many of the former liberation war fighters
might be in the twilight of their lives, they may still put up a spirited
fight against the government.
      Only late last year, President Mugabe, who is the patron of the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), flexed his
muscles by appointing a three-member taskforce comprising former ZANLA and
ZIPRA commanders to overhaul the association, after suspending its leader.
      Since then, the ZNLWVA has been in disarray due to the leadership
vacuum created by the move.
      Analysts said until such time as the committee, comprising former PF
ZAPU intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa, retired army general Solomon
Mujuru and former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Vitalis Zvinavashe, had
completed the restructuring of the association of over 40 000 members, it
would be difficult for the ZNLWVA to reorganise and stand up to the ruling
      "Our mandate is to restructure the association at all levels. We will
also restructure the leadership and ensure that the objectives that led to
the formation of the association, which are mainly to improve the welfare of
those who participated in the liberation struggle, are adhered to," Dabengwa
was quoted as saying, adding that "chaos" within the association had
necessitated the overhaul.
      Jabulani Sibanda, the ZNLWVA chairman, was suspended last year for
four years after being linked to an unsanctioned meeting in Tsholotsho whose
agenda was allegedly to scuttle Vice-President Joice Mujuru's ascendancy to
the presidium.
      The future of his vice-president, Joseph Chinotimba, is also uncertain
after he was also linked to the same meeting that has since claimed the
scalps of six powerful provincial chairmen. The Tsholotsho indaba was called
by dismissed government spin-doctor Jonathan Moyo.
      Sibanda is on record as castigating the ZANU PF leadership for having
lost direction. Upon being suspended, he said: "There is nothing wrong with
the party policies, but something is wrong with some leaders in the party.
We have party leaders who think they should die in power and should never be
challenged . . . but that is causing discontent in the party."
      A war veteran who preferred to be called by his Chimurenga name
Maxwell Mabhonzo said the ruling party was basically trying to neutralise
the ex-combatants by dividing and rendering them useless.
      "They (ZANU PF) think they can go it alone now. It has always been a
trend for the ruling party to use people and dump them after elections. The
party is aware that the war veterans are the only constituency who can
challenge the government, hence the attempt to silence us," said Mabhonzo.
      Under the late controversial ZNLWVA chairman Chenjerai Hunzvi, the war
veterans had become an indispensable and powerful constituency that first
demonstrated its prowess in 1996 when the Polish-educated medical
practitioner led the ex-combatants in demanding $50 000 lump sum gratuities
and $2 000 monthly pensions from the government.
      The demands, which saw the government forking out at least $4 billion
in unbudgeted expenditure, marked the starting point of the current economic
      From there on the war veterans made all sorts of demands, including
Cabinet posts, free education and free health for themselves and their
dependants. They also demanded free land and interest-free loans.
      With the blessing of the government, which seemed to regard them as an
ace in the pack at a time a popular wave of opposition was rising, they
proceeded to launch an aggressive land re-distribution programme that was
characterised by forced expulsions of white farmers and violent
confrontations with both the farmers and their employees.
      The land grab came shortly after the rejection of a draft constitution
that had been proposed by the government. Among its provisions, the new
constitution would have permitted President Mugabe to seek two additional
terms in office, granted government officials immunity from prosecution and
sanctioned state seizure of white-owned land.
      Analysts said the war veterans had themselves to blame because they
had almost become a law unto themselves.
      Some of the former freedom fighters were embroiled in controversial
activities such as dismissing schoolteachers for supporting the opposition,
pioneering illegal housing schemes, looting the War Victims' Compensation
Fund and invading companies, among others.

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      Tension ahead of stayaway

      Rangarirai Mberi
      6/9/2005 8:35:53 AM (GMT +2)

      AN opposition Member of Parliament was detained overnight on Tuesday
and armed police patrolled the streets yesterday as tensions rose ahead of a
two-day protest called by a broad coalition of rights and opposition groups
against mass evictions.

      Government yesterday said it was unmoved by the strike, which begins
today as parliament opens a new session, but police deployed more armed
personnel in the city centre and restive residential areas.
      Job Sikhala, MDC MP for St Mary's, was detained on Tuesday night but
was released at 6am yesterday without being charged. However, his driver
Lectas Nyakudya was charged under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)
for inciting public violence.
      "I was arrested last (Tuesday) night after members of the Broad
Alliance distributed fliers in Chitungwiza. I was arrested together with my
election agent and my driver," Sikhala said yesterday. "However, my agent
and I were released after they failed to find any charge to stick on us."
      The charges brought against Nyakudya relate to police allegations that
he had used Sikhala's vehicle to distribute Broad Alliance fliers urging
residents to stay at home today and tomorrow.
      The Broad Alliance is a loose coalition of the opposition, labour
unions, student groups and a string of other pressure groups.
      The clean-up drive, condemned as a "new form of apartheid" by the
United Nations last week, has targeted informal markets and shacks, leaving
hundreds of thousands jobless and homeless.
      National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku, who is
coordinating the Broad Alliance, was confident yesterday that workers would
back the protest, which he said comes as anger rises at the clean-up
campaign and at government's failure to reverse years of economic decline.
      "We have focused on the core issues that are affecting the people at
the moment. These are issues relating to transport shortages, the demolition
of homes and businesses and the general failure by the government to address
economic issues. We are protesting against the outright arrogance of this
government, as shown by its insistence on a senate while people starve,"
Madhuku said.
      However, government spokesman George Charamba yesterday ridiculed the
alliance, suggesting the coalition would fail to rally popular support for
the protests.
      "I am not aware of any calls for mass action. As far as we are
concerned, it (the Broad Alliance) does not exist and will never exist. This
will just be a few idle political activists running up and down, as opposed
to a stayaway which genuinely involves the masses," Charamba told The
Financial Gazette yesterday.
      Earlier this week, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri told state
media police would put down any street protests.
      However, Madhuku insisted yesterday there were no planned street
marches, saying workers were encouraged to stay indoors.
      MDC chairman Isaac Matongo yesterday said his party backed the strike.
"We must continue to protest in all spheres of our lives until the regime
begins to listen to the people of Zimbabwe."
      The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO)
said at the weekend the controversial operation would exacerbate poverty in
      This is the first time a protest has been called since the weeklong
"Final Push" of 2003, which saw the arrest of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
on treason charges.

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      Investors ditch stock market

      Staff Reporter
      6/9/2005 8:38:06 AM (GMT +2)

      STOCKS sank deeper this week as more investors ditched shares for the
money market, where real interest rates have turned positive for the first
time in three years, while the Zimbabwe dollar touched fresh lows at the
formal currency market.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) surprised the market by letting the
Zimbabwe dollar slip nearly 7 percent against the benchmark US dollar to
below the new diaspora rate.
      The Zimdollar sank to $9 499.51 at Monday's auction, below the $9000
diaspora rate set only last month. Speculation swirled around the market
that the central bank could let the Zimdollar slide to $12 000 by the end of
this month, but there has been no official word on the issue.
      On the stock market, the main industrial index opened the week down
1.7 percent and the losses spilt into Tuesday, shares falling 1.89 percent
Tuesday to 2 689 211.21 points in light volumes.
      There was firm support for two $200 billion Treasury Bills issued by
central bank as the week opened, allotted at an average 150 percent, setting
an upward course for investment rates.
      A raft of largely flat earnings reports for companies with March
year-ends has failed to lift shares from the damage brought by last month's
rate hike, with companies having to report into an already bearish market.
      "There is very little out there that could help the shares go up in
any big way, at least not in the short term. As long as the money market can
guarantee positive returns, there will not be too many people willing to
take the risk on the ZSE," a fund manager said.
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      Knives out over Mash West

      Felix Njini
      6/9/2005 8:39:47 AM (GMT +2)

      BATTLELINES are drawn in ZANU PF's Mashonaland West province as senior
ruling party officials move to bar troubled businessman Phillip Chiyangwa
from contesting the chairmanship of the province on Saturday.

      Insiders in the faction-ridden ruling party said fireworks were
expected at the elections for a new chairman in the province on Saturday as
Chiyangwa, who has been in and out of remand over the past year, hopes to
stage a comeback.
      Chiyangwa was first arrested for perjury, contempt of court and
obstruction of justice in a countrywide crackdown on corruption in the
banking sector and later on allegations of spying on behalf of foreign
      He is desperate to regain the chairmanship of Mashonaland West
province, amid fierce resistance from the incumbent provincial leadership.
      ZANU PF sources said there were moves to bar the flashy businessman
and a coterie of his followers from attending the meeting slotted for June
11, during which the province is going to elect a new chairman from a list
of proposed candidates comprising of Webster Shamu, Rueben Marumahoko and
acting chairman John Mafa.
      Chiyangwa, whose political fortunes have been on a downward spiral
since the beginning of 2004, was deposed from the ZANU PF Mashonaland West
chairmanship while he was in remand prison late last year.
      "Chiyangwa is fighting but he has no chance. The youths from the
province have actually threatened to bar him from attending the Saturday
meeting," said the source.
      ZANU PF political commissar Elliot Manyika, who is on a tour to
re-organise the party's provincial leadership, could not be drawn into
revealing how he is going to deal with the situation in Mashonaland West.
      "I have called Mafa to discuss with him the way forward," is all
Manyika could say. "We are going to take a holistic approach to the whole
issue of Mashonaland West, including Chiyangwa and his claim that he is
still chairman. We may decide on elections or just go for gap-filling,"
Manyika said.

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      Destructions: war vet fires warning shot

      Felix Njini
      6/9/2005 8:41:15 AM (GMT +2)

      DEPOSED war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda this week lambasted the
government over its violent clean-up campaign, warning that it faced the
wrath of "people power" as tension mounted ahead of today's planned mass

      Sibanda, who has previously clashed with senior ZANU PF officials over
his suspension from the party and the emotive issue of multiple farm
ownership, said the war veterans - who, until recently, were at the
forefront of the ZANU PF government's political actions - "stand ready to
defend the rights of the people".
      His outburst comes as Zimbabweans, mainly urbanites who have borne the
brunt of the so-called clean-up campaign which has destroyed homes and
informal businesses and rendered millions destitute, brace for a bruising
encounter with security forces in countrywide mass action expected to start
      Zimbabwean security forces have said they are prepared to quash any
form of protest by the people against the widely condemned and high-handed
"Operation Restore Order".
      Despite threats to mercilessly thwart any attempts to stage a mass
uprising, the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), and civic organisations have stood firm, saying the countrywide
demonstrations will go ahead as planned.
      War veterans have, since 2000, been a key element in ZANU PF's
oft-violent political strategy. They masterminded the violent seizure of
white-owned farms at the advent of the chaotic land redistribution
      They have, however, been miffed by the brutality which has been
visited on their numerous illegal housing cooperatives by the government.
      Some war veterans who had occupied plots at farms surrounding Harare
such as Tongogara resettlement and White Cliff have now been booted out.
      Sibanda attacked what he described as "government ineptitude in
crafting policies. They come up with policies today and tomorrow they are
reversed," he fumed.
      He said the government had this time "ignited a bonfire, which is
going to backfire".
      "Once government starts valuating itself against the strength of its
army, its police and its airpower, then there is something wrong. We cannot
have a situation where government strength is measured by the strength of
its forces as opposed to support from the masses," Sibanda said.
      "People are like a coiled spring: if you suppress it, it comes
together and becomes dangerous. They might not rise today, but rise they
shall," the firebrand war veteran said. "War veterans are prepared to defend
the revolution, whether within ZANU PF or outside, and the revolution is the
will of the people, not a few government officials," he added.

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      Political backlash or genuine clean-up?

      Charles Rukuni
      6/9/2005 8:42:43 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The people should have seen it coming.

      It was common talk before the March 31 elections that there would be a
political backlash once ZANU PF had been assured of another five-year term
because it would no longer care a hoot about the plight of the average
      This is exactly what is happening. The viciousness with which the
government is cracking down on vendors and illegal settlers in the country's
urban centres, which has so far left more than 200 000 people homeless and
deprived over a million of their sole means of survival, has just proved the
      Church leaders cried out that President Robert Mugabe should fight
poverty and not the poor. One observer asked: "Why does (President) Mugabe
hate blacks so much?"
      No one has any answers because no one has so far explained why the
government suddenly descended on its poor citizens with such brutality. The
only explanation the government has given is that this is a clean-up
operation aimed at restoring order.
      Throughout, the government insisted that this was not political
retribution on the urban voters who had overwhelmingly voted for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
      It was a clean-up exercise aimed at ridding the country of criminal
elements, including foreigners. Though a few foreigners were caught in the
net, the bulk of the victims were ordinary Zimbabweans.
      Contrary to its most vehement protestations, the increasingly paranoid
ZANU PF is reported to believe that the teeming vending sites dotted across
the country's cities and towns were a simmering bed of public discontent
with a government that has failed to provide basic foodstuffs - including
the staple maize.
      The March 31 parliamentary poll was yet another disputed election and
although the opposition did not make good its earlier threats of street
protests, government could not sit comfortably. The combination of a
worsening economic situation and political disenchantment made for a potent
time bomb.
      That possibility drove the government into precipitous pre-emptive
action which saw them raid the flea markets and suburbs that were fast
degenerating into slums due to the monumental failure of public housing
policies adopted soon after independence.
      Luxon Zembe, president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce,
said while the business sector wanted law and order, things had gone out of
      "Even though the intentions (of the crackdown) might be good, we have
a very cruel, evil way of treating each other," he said.
      "With unemployment at 75 percent, how can one destroy a fellow
Zimbabwean's only source of income and after that follow the same person and
destroy his home?"
      The Bulawayo archdiocese of the Catholic Church said in a statement
that the whole operation smacked of a callous indifference to the plight of
the poor.
      "Whatever criminal element may lurk in their midst or feed off their
vulnerability, they are still and will ever remain, children of God - not so
much 'trash' to be swept away," the statement said.
      The same sentiments were echoed by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. "The
flimsy explanation that the current terror is war against dirt is as silly
as it is far from the truth," the organisation said in a statement.
      "It smacks of hypocrisy that the government spends millions of dollars
destroying market and industrial stalls, the livelihood of its people
looking for foreign currency, while the people within the government
continue to send their children to schools and colleges abroad paying in
foreign currency."
      What was disturbing was that some of the vendors whose businesses were
destroyed had been allocated stands by the local authorities and were paying
rent, which meant that they were operating legally.
      Veteran politician Welshman Mabhena, who was unceremoniously kicked
out of government because of his controversial views that were often in
conflict with those of the ruling party when he was in the politburo, said
he was not surprised by the government's actions.
      "ZANU PF is still using guerrilla tactics to rule this country 25
years after independence. They are still at war, but this time with their
own people. There is no room for dissent. Everyone who does not agree with
the party is an enemy and must be dealt with ruthlessly," Mabhena said.
      While there has been token resistance to the crackdown so far, most
people believe that the government has gone too far. It is on record for
encouraging people to start flea markets because of increasing unemployment,
but it is now clamping down on them because the informal sector has grown
out of proportion, dwarfing the formal sector.
      "Our leaders are taking the people for granted," Zembe said. "This
crackdown has left serious scars that will take years to heal. This is a
recipe for civil unrest. It might take years to erupt but it will come just
like it took decades for black Zimbabweans to take up arms against white
      Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said in an economy where the informal
sector employs 80 percent of the labour force, "torching people's markets
and arresting street kids will not help the economy let alone bring fuel,
foreign currency or fill the granaries of Zimbabwe."
      But the government had every reason to be worried. According to
Austrian economist, Friedrich Schneider, the shadow economy in Zimbabwe
(defined broadly as all market-based, legal production of goods and services
deliberately concealed from the authorities) is estimated at a whopping 63.2
percent of GDP.
      The government has no access to this vast wealth. But what must have
upset the government most is that all the shortages resurfaced immediately
after ZANU PF's March poll victory. It was therefore a blatant show of no
confidence in the government despite its increased majority. it had,
therefore, had to show who was in control.
      But because of the brutal way it has dealt with the situation, it has
created more enemies than friends.
      "The manner in which the government has handled this whole issue makes
people hate the current leadership," Zembe said. "Even when someone has done
something wrong, they need to be treated fairly and justly. When there is no
fairness or justice, people tend to side with the victim even when the
victim is wrong."
      This seems to be exactly what the people are doing. Though the
government says it has set aside $300 billion for the construction of proper
markets for the displaced vendors and is to provide 250 000 stands for the
poor to build houses, most people are taking this with a pinch of salt.
      Small and Medium Enteprises Minister Sithembiso Nyoni seems to have
made things worse when she announced that those who wanted licences must
come up with a positive identify card, proof of residence and police
clearance that they are not criminals.
      One business executive commented: "Why does the government have this
notion that everyone who runs a flea or vegetable market is a crook or of no
fixed abode?"
      Zembe was more sceptical. "The present crackdown seems to be following
a pattern," he said. "First it was the commercial farmers. Now it is the
informal sector. Who is next?"

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      Evictees' meekness stuns world

      Rangarirai Mberi
      6/9/2005 8:47:08 AM (GMT +2)

      A VINTAGE portable vinyl player and a few old records provided some
light amusement on Mbare's Fourth Avenue last Tuesday, its defiant shrieking
subdued by the crackle of fires, wailing infants and the roar of a loaded
police truck making yet another patrol round.

      Residents of this street are the latest show of the great Zimbabwe
mystery; police have laid waste to their homes and families have spent four
nights out on the street, but yet here they are, joking and laughing amid
the destruction.
      A truck approaches, loaded with policemen menacingly drumming their
batons against the side of the truck, obviously spoiling for a fight. But
these displaced residents take no notice, showing no hostility towards the
      The police truck passes with its young occupants pointing their batons
at a group of youths and ordering them to disperse. There is no resistance.
      Picking through the rubble of their destroyed homes and facing yet
more nights in the cold, the Mbare residents on this street confined their
conversations to idle banter, even joking about their grave plight.
      There is no political talk. Instead, there are tall tales about one
man writing to his rural kin to send a scotchcart to take him "home", jokes
about confiscated marijuana and one sadistic yarn about a bed-ridden man who
was too ill to get up when his wooden hovel collapsed around him.
      One group is exchanging hearty tales about what it was they thought of
salvaging first from their homes when the police came.
      "It was my gramophone," one elderly man, evidently sceptical of the
questioning and identifying himself only as Josamu, told The Financial
Gazette. "I thought they were going to burn it (the shack) down."
      "It's just like the old days," Josamu said, referring to Rhodesian
tyranny, as the police triumphantly turned into the next street.
      Like typical Zimbabweans, repression has not pushed these Mbare
residents to revolt - not here against the armed policemen stalking the
streets and certainly not against the government. It's a phenomenon many
outside Zimbabwe fail to understand.
      One Botswana national, writing recently to a local weekly, chided
Zimbabweans for their "cowardice". A South African writer called Zimbabweans
"whiners" who were getting what they deserved. South Africans had stormed
the streets to demand their freedom, he said, but Zimbabweans were instead
just plain lazy.
      According to Miloon Kothari of the United Nations Human Rights
Commission, the evictions are "a new form of apartheid".
      The Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition says the operation showed up the
government for its continuing failure to concentrate on the core needs of
Zimbabwe's poor.
      The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations said
"Operation Restore Order" would cause a "significant entrenchment of an
already dire urban poverty, unemployment and human rights violations".
      A coalition of Zimbabwean rights and opposition groups has called two
days of protests, beginning today, against the aggressive drive by the
government and city councils to destroy thousands of illegal ghetto homes
across the country. The Broad Alliance has asked workers to "stay away" from
      Middle-class political activists see an inevitable wave of massive
street protests sweeping the government from office.
      However, there was little on that Mbare street to suggest that some
political, ideological fervour has suddenly gripped ordinary Zimbabweans and
they are ready to place themselves and their homeless families in harm's
      While the activists and foreign observers are "talking about a
revolution", politics and all its gory hazards are not on the list of
priorities for these homeless families. Just one decent meal is at the top
of that list for many now without an income because informal enterprise has
been virtually banned.
      For the now jobless and homeless, work boycotts mean very little. And
even though life has become unbearable, none of them is talking about giving
their lives on the streets.
      A series of mass action attempts over the years has not prodded the
government to improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans, and political
analysts say many are now resigned to an impoverished future.
      "Zimbabweans are a unique lot. Very few other nations would stand for
what we are tolerating. It's not in our nature to run down the street (in
      "But does that make us cowards? I think, if people are fair, they
would say it makes us pragmatic and sensible, given the kind of disaster
that any resistance will bring," one analyst said this week.
      Many of the newly homeless have run out of household properties to
sell, so they can no longer feed themselves. Their former landlords charge a
fat fee for a bath and they have pulled their children out of school.
      A family were leaving Fourth Avenue, trudging along with their
wardrobe on a rickety pushcart towards the Mbare bus terminus about a 100
metres away.
      These are the lucky few - at least they have somewhere to go. Those
left behind are left to cringe at the malice of those driving the eviction
      "No one in Zimbabwe comes from nowhere. Everybody belongs somewhere,"
Edmore Veterai, police officer commanding Harare province, told reporters
last week.

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      Fresh hitch to Kuruneri's quest for freedom

      Staff Reporter
      6/9/2005 8:44:57 AM (GMT +2)

      FORMER Finance Minister Christopher Kuruneri's quest for freedom
yesterday faced another hitch after High Court judge Justice Susan Mavangira
further postponed his bail application ruling to today.

      Mavangira postponed the ruling to study submissions from both the
state and defence counsel.
      Kuruneri's lawyer, Jonathan Samkange of Byron and Venturas, applied
for bail on Monday after 18 witnesses had testified in the on-going trial,
which entered its twelfth week this week.
      On Tuesday, Mavangira postponed the ruling on the bail application
after the state asked for time to consider Samkange's submissions before it
could address the court on its views.
      Samkange is arguing that Kuruneri, who has been in remand custody for
the past year is entitled to apply for bail during the adjournment of the
      Kuruneri was arrested in April 2004 on allegations of externalising
more than US$500 000, 37 000 British pounds, 30 000 euros and R1.2 million
to South Africa, which he allegedly used to purchase various properties.
      He is denying the charges.
      The former minister is awaiting sentence after the court convicted him
of possessing a Canadian passport in addition to his Zimbabwean diplomatic

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      Tribune renews comeback fight

      Felix Njini
      6/9/2005 8:45:40 AM (GMT +2)

      THE TRIBUNE, a newspaper shut down by the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) last year, has renewed attempts to return to circulation
with a fresh application for registration, ahead of the expiry, tomorrow, of
the one-year suspension handed down by the regulatory commission.

      Hopes that The Tribune could bounce back have been rekindled following
government's apparent wish to abandon its war of attrition with the private
media, relentlessly pursued by former government spin-doctor, Jonathan Moyo.
      Sources said MIC chairman, Tafataona Mahoso, was under pressure from
government officials to restore the paper's licence and get it back onto the
      Pressure has also been mounting on Mahoso and his MIC to come clean on
when the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) group, publishers of the
Daily News and Daily News on Sunday, could also return to circulation.
      "The MIC requested for information from the Tribune owners, which was
      "They have to give them back their licence, after all the suspension
was only for a year and it has expired," said the source.
      Tribune owner Kindness Paradza refused to comment, saying he was
waiting for the MIC to make its announcement considering the expiry of the
      Mahoso could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.
      The newspaper's licence was suspended for a year by the MIC on
allegations that the publishers of the weekly failed to comply with
provisions of the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA).
      The paper was being accused of violating Section 67 of AIPPA, which
stipulates that a mass media service is required to notify the MIC of any
changes in ownership, name, location, language, form and frequency of
dissemination of its product.
      Following a management buyout of The Tribune for an undisclosed
amount, the name of the media house changed from Media Africa Group to ATN.
      Although Paradza, a former ZANU PF legislator, submitted to the MIC
details of the transfer of the company from UKI Nominees (Private) Limited
and the original share certificate for Maysone as the owner of ATN, the
commission went ahead and pulled the paper off the streets.
      Trouble for the newspaper started when Paradza, who was a Member of
Parliament for Makonde, openly attacked AIPPA in his maiden speech saying
the law scared away media investors.

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      Fire the lot

      6/9/2005 9:07:21 AM (GMT +2)

      FOR many years, Zimbabweans have had high hopes that government would
deal with the shocking and confounding corruption, mismanagement and
inefficiency in the scandal-tainted parastatals with a view to returning
them to the black.

      Such a move would also wean the parastatals, now widely seen as
bottomless black holes, from the flaccid breasts of the fiscus. The
parastatals would, it was hoped, contribute to the fiscus instead of sucking
it dry. But the longer the people waited, the more the situation at the
parastatals deteriorated and the less they hoped! Suffice to say therefore
that for the better part of the first 25 years of independence they were
hoping against hope because up until now, the state of affairs at the
parastatals leaves a painful impression. The entities are, for want of a
better expression, a national embarrassment.
      Many no longer have any high hopes for a positive change in the
business culture of state enterprises. And worse still, even though
government has at the longest last voiced concern over the way the companies
are being run, its parastatal turnaround strategy is still thin on detail
and hazy as to the timetable. Be that as it may, it is however encouraging
to note that the government, known for its expensive strategy of acting when
it is too little too late, has declared its eleventh-hour intent to
decisively deal with the decay in parastatals or has at least spoken out
against it. Government's discontent brings into focus the extent of the
problem. All we can hope for is that these will not remain yet another set
of paper reforms.
      And just as well government has seen it fit to speak out against the
mess in parastatals and the need to shed the financial handcuffs clamped
around their limbs. We say so because while silence cannot be misquoted, it
can, as sure as hell, be misinterpreted. Over the years, government's
deafening silence over the rot in most of the parastatals tended to send the
wrong signals. It did very little, if any, to assuage the general perception
that the government literally planted the decay, nursed, fostered, watered
it and watched it grow to sequoia size.
      Indeed it is difficult to pass off the failures of the crisis-hit
parastatals as solely a function of the gross incompetence and malfeasance
on the part of those running the state companies. The shambolic state of
affairs at these companies should also be blamed on the deeply rooted
political patronage system which we have decried time without number.
      In our own view, this largely explains the dismaying mediocrity and
monumental failures witnessed in parastatals. Influence-peddling politicians
are known to have thrust their cronies to top management positions on the
basis of political connections and not merit. The consequences have been
tragic and disastrous, dealing a body blow to local economic pride and
promise as some of these companies are key pieces in the country's economic
jigsaw puzzle.
      Inevitably, we have had some under-performing, arrogant and conceited
chief executives behaving like untouchables answerable not to the boards of
directors but to politicians who put them in their positions. The situation
at ZESA in 2003 springs to mind. Furthermore, Zimbabwe does not need any
reminding of the headline-grabbing underhand deals, inefficiency, swingeing
delinquent loans, falling revenues, cronyism and politically motivated
boardroom squabbles seen in most of these state companies.
      This untenable situation has seen even companies like the Zimbabwe
Iron and Steel Company, which do not have any plausible reason for operating
below the red-ink line and should instead be a by-word for industrial
productivity and corporate solidity, joining the ranks of the perennial
loss-makers. We find the situation at ZISCO neither understandable nor
excusable. It is the same gloomy picture at Air Zimbabwe, the National
Railways of Zimbabwe and the Cold Storage Company, to name but a few.
      And therein lies the problem, which could be a stumbling block to
efforts to staunch the never-ending haemorrhaging at the monoliths that have
become a national symbol of business corruption and greed. As the government
prepares to dole out large tranches of public funds to finance the
turnaround of these state enterprises, it should be borne in mind that those
under whose stewardship the parastatals have been pushed to the brink of
collapse cannot be trusted to turn around the companies because turnarounds
challenge the status quo.
      The powers-that-be should get rid of these incompetent boards and
managements as part of the incipient process to put a fresh heart into these
parastatals. The situation in these parastatals is such that there is need
for a radical approach, including the dismissal of top management and staff
to give the organisations a chance to recover and turn around. This will
ensure the most decisive rupture with the past and guard against the
companies relapsing into mismanagement and inefficiency. It is clear that
these people are bereft of the strategic vision and clarity of thinking to
drive these companies to their full potential. They are only good at
pandering to the whims of their political godfathers to whom they kowtow
with sycophantic genuflections, which is why good corporate governance was
sacrificed on the altar of political ambition in the first place.
      After the necessary clean-up the government should insist on hiring
resolute, competent and hands-on managers whose packages should be heavily
leveraged towards performance. The new brooms should come in on the
understanding that they are on notice to perform and that political party
affiliation does not count.

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      Dollar overvalued but . . .

      Charles Rukuni
      6/9/2005 8:51:21 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe dollar should have been trading at $18 300 to
the United States dollar by the end of April if the auction rate had been
following inflation trends, according to a leading exporter from Bulawayo
who has been keeping track of the exchange rate since the introduction of
the auction system last year.

      The dollar, however, traded at $9 204.42 on Monday, slightly above the
$9 000 diaspora rate announced by central bank governor Gideon Gono when he
unveiled his monetary policy review on May 19.
      The greenback is trading at around $23 000 on the parallel market.
      Sources said rates on the parallel market had been static since Gono's
monetary policy review. The subsequent clean-up campaign saw most of the
foreign exchange dealers, popularly known as osipatheleni, disappear from
Bulawayo's so-called "World Bank" square, though some pop up now and again.
      Gono, who has been under pressure from exporters to devalue the local
currency, has said devaluation is not the only answer to the country's
economic problems.
      He said in his monetary policy review statement that as long as there
was widespread indiscipline and corruption in the country, with market
players only interested in a making quick buck, any unguided exchange rate
depreciation would have short-term gains.
      He also said devaluation could have serious repercussions on the
economy as Zimbabwe was highly import-dependent.
      "Whereas it takes a matter of a day for a devaluation to increase
input costs, such as fuel prices, imported electricity costs, chemicals,
debt service costs, among other essential outlays, it would take a full
season for farmers and months for miners and manufacturers to significantly
respond to the price incentive," Gono said.
      He, however, devalued the local currency by 45 percent, with the
diaspora rate declining from $6 200 to $9 000 against the greenback. Market
watchers, however, said this was not enough.
      "While the devaluation is welcome," Standard Bank of South Africa said
in its review of African currencies, "it is certainly insufficient and is
thus unlikely to significantly address the dire situation that exporters
      "The inflation rate is currently around 130 percent, implying that
further devaluations are necessary in the foreseeable future. Also, the new
rate is still well below the parallel rate, which is currently estimated at
$19 000. The divergence of the two rates contributes to significant
destabilising macroeconomic pressures," the bank said.
      It said gold producers, for example, had been calling for an exchange
rate of around $12 000 to the greenback so that the gold price could rise to
$210 000 per gramme. The central bank raised the price from $130 000 to $175
000 per gramme.
      But it appears that the central bank is allowing the currency to find
its range on the auction floor as it has already surpassed the diaspora rate
announced by Gono. The diaspora rate has operated more like the ceiling in
the past.
      Oscar Chiwira, a lecturer at the National University of Science and
Technology, said Zimbabwe was in a catch-22 situation.
      "If it devalues, prices of most goods will go up because the cost of
imported raw materials will have increased. If it doesn't, people with
foreign currency will channel it through the parallel market where they can
realise maximum gains," Chiwira said.
      Foreign exchange inflows into the country in the first four months of
this year amounted to US$385.7 million, down from US$448.6 million during
the same period last year.
      Some observers believe that some Zimbabweans abroad are now sending
their money to relatives through neighbouring countries where they cash it
in foreign currency, which they then change on the parallel market at home.
      The rand was fetching $3 000, the pula $4 500 and the United States
dollar $23 000 on the parallel market this week.
      Chiwira said while exporters were clamouring for devaluation of the
local currency, this would only be a short-term benefit as long as the
country did not improve productive capacity and promote a strong
import-substitution policy.
      "Because of the de-industrialisation that has taken place so far, the
country does not have the production capacity to sustain a weak currency
because, while exports will earn more in local currency, they will not be
earning more in hard currency unless the country exports more," he said.
      A country has to export more than it imports to have a positive
balance of payments.
      The central bank doled out nearly $3 trillion to boost production in
industry, but some of the money was reportedly diverted and invested in
speculative activities. Firms that were allocated the money are expected to
repay the loans by the end of this month.
      Chiwira said there was need for an audit to check how the money
provided by the central bank had been used, with names of companies that had
abused the facility being published.

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      6/9/2005 9:03:41 AM (GMT +2)

      Know what? There is nothing as painful as being abused by one's own
blood brother . . . being made to feel like a stranger in your father's own

      Anyway Zimbos are now a mature people. They are indeed a really
civilised lot. Otherwise if they were any other people, they would not have
taken this ongoing act of official aggression lying down. Someone would have
gone home himself. Anyway, their consolation is that this won't be long as
someone will soon be gone for good!
      *A police spokesman from Marondera recently appeared on our one and
only TV station raving and ranting about how the "clean-up" operation is
going to leave the whole of Mashonaland East province really clean. Fine and
dandy. But what was interesting about the whole story is that the backdrop
of the picture showed that he had granted the fulsome interview in a wooden
cabin which our police force has since grown used to as offices! When is
Operation Restore Order - now commonly known as Tsunami or Cyclone
Gushungo - going to get to Morris and Tomlison police depots in Harare? The
situation there is really criminal. The situation in Mbare was by far more
decent. Police officers and their entire families are staying in squalid
conditions. A good number stay in buildings that were initially meant to
accommodate horses!
      *As Operation Murambatsvina continues, reports of heartlessness
reaching CZ are heart-rending. There are reports of people who are
terminally ill - you know those people who are permanently bed-ridden - who
are now living in the open, thanks to the flint that is now where our
government's heart once was. Hundreds of school children are having to
abandon school and go to Dande where their parents came from . . . including
those who had registered to write their exams in Harare and other urban
      *Someone is asking the war veterans what they are going to do about
the destruction of their illegal houses on their illegal cooperatives and
the threatened clean-up on the same farms they liberated? The same person
would also want to know if the clean-up is going to extend to those many
"dealers" mainly in Harare who even have the gall to advertise cell-phone
lines at black-market prices . . . those illegal estate agents that are
advertising non-existent houses to let . . . etc, etc?

      Amid this pandemic sense of hopelessness prevailing in Zimbabwe, one
Zimbo passionately implored CZ to reproduce the following statement
verbatim. And CZ is doing exactly that.

      Satan's meeting (read even if you are busy).
      Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address
he said:
      "We can't keep Christians from going to church. We can't keep them
from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can't even keep them
from forming an intimate relationship with their Saviour. Once they gain
that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken, so let them go to
their churches, let them have their covered dish dinners, but you should
steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with
Jesus. This is what I want you to do . . . distract them from gaining hold
of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day.
      "Keep them busy with the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable
schemes to occupy their minds . . . tempt them to spend, spend, spend and
borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade their wives to go to work for long hours
and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can
afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their
children, as their families fragment, soon their homes will offer no escape
from the pressures of work. Over-stimulate their minds so they cannot hear
that still small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player
whenever they drive . . . to keep their TVs, VCRs, DVD, CDs and their PCs
going constantly in their home to see to it that every store and restaurant
in the world plays secular biblical, not gospel, music constantly, and this
will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.
      "Fill the coffee tables with secular magazines, newspapers and other
publications. Pound their minds with useless 'news" 24 hours a day. Invade
their blank minds when they drive with catchy billboards. Flood their
mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogues, sweepstakes, and every kind
of promotion offering free products, services and false hopes.
      "Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV screens so
their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important and
they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. Keep their wives too tired to
love their husbands at night. Give them headaches too. If they don't give
their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere. That
will fragment their families quickly.
      "Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children
the real meaning of Christmas. Give them an Easter egg so they don't talk
about the resurrection and power over sin and death. Even in recreation, let
them be excessive . . . have them return from their recreation exhausted.
Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect God's creation. Send them
to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts and movies instead.
Keep them busy, busy, and busy. And when they meet for spiritual fellowship,
leave them troubled consciences.
      "Crowd their lives with so many "good" causes they have no time to
seek power from Jesus. Soon they will be working in their own strength,
sacrificing their health and family for the "good" of the cause. It will
work. It will work."
      It was quite a plan. The demons went eagerly to their assignments
causing Christians everywhere to have little time for their God or families,
have no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change their lives.
I guess the question is: has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be
the judge. Does "busy" mean B-eing, U-nder, S-atan's, Y-oke?

      This is CZ. With God, this country will survive all this madness!

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      Legal perspective to ongoing clean-up

      6/9/2005 9:04:21 AM (GMT +2)

      LAST week, one of the alleged illegal housing co-operatives
unsuccessfully petitioned the High Court seeking urgent relief to have the
state-orchestrated demolition of illegal residential structures stopped.

      In its judgment, the High Court ruled that the blitz was perfectly
legal but only questioned the failure by the state to give the affected
individuals reasonable notice of its intentions.
      Immediately after this judicial pronouncement, which appeared to have
been celebrated by our main daily paper, the police intensified its
operation and many urbanites continue to be rendered homeless and destitute.
      While the court made a finding that the state had a right to destroy
illegal structures, the question to be asked is whether this judgment was
just? Statutes may exist and outlaw certain acts but does that invariably
lead to justice?
      If the court acknowledged that the common law requirement of notice to
evict was not complied with does that not point to the fact that the state
acted illegally? In justifying its stance, the court made a finding that
public interests far outweighed the needs of the illegal occupiers and as
such even if the state acted illegally in not giving notice, such an
omission was pardonable. This position is however questionable because one
illegality can never be more legal than the other. If the state flouted the
common law rule of notice then it ought to have been ordered to give notice
before the evictions could be carried out.
      The writer attempted frantically to lay his hands on this High Court
ruling, but failed.
      However, an attempt shall be made to discuss the South African
approach to the controversial issue of squatters or illegal land occupiers
so that if need be we can learn from our neighbours.
      The duty to provide housing amenities and other social infrustructure
is an inherent one on the part of national governments as well as local
      If the state cannot, due to financial constraints, provide housing for
the common men, then it must allocate land to the homeless where they can
construct shelter for themselves and their facilities. The South Africa
constitution confers rights to both landowners and squatters and as relates
the matter of squatters it acknowledges that landless people have a right to
decent and human shelter. As a result of this significant constitutional
provision, in 1998, the South African Parliament passed a very progressive
and moralistic statute known as the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from
Unlawful Occupation of Land Act.
      The intention of this was clearly to afford procedural protection in
the case of eviction against unlawful occupiers who had established
themselves in such a way that their structures could be said to have become
their homes. The position is such that before illegal occupiers are evicted,
two notices must be served on them. The first is an ordinary written notice
and the second is a court petition in which the landowner will have to state
the grounds upon which the eviction is sought. This legislative intervention
seeks to consolidate the common law position that outlaws eviction without
first giving the affected individual sufficient notice.
      In terms of this law, where a landowner institutes legal action
seeking an eviction, there are various set requirements that he has to prove
to be successful. One such ground is that there must be real and imminent
danger or substantial injury if the squatters are not evicted forthwith. In
the case of City of Cape Town vs Rudolph & others, 2004 (5) SA 39, the city
sought to justify its action by claim "health risks", "potential jeopardy
and massive invasions" of numerous other areas. The city claimed further the
expected invasions could have "devastating" consequences for proper town
planning, health and the maintenance of law and order. The court, in ruling
in favour of the squatters, found out the alleged danger was mere
unsubstantiated speculation that was just a short to medium term risk.
      The second requirement is that the landowner must prove that the
balance of hardship favours the eviction. The term "hardship" was
interpreted in the case cited above to mean a higher degree of suffering
more serious than mere "convenience".
      Coming back to our own situation, it is obvious that the evicted
settlers qualify to be labelled as squatters. If the South African legal
position is to be applied to the facts of the housing cooperatives then an
important question would be whether there was imminent danger or substantial
injury that the state or any of the land owners was about to suffer?
      Further, did the balance of hardship favour the state or that of the
occupiers? In the High Court case discussed above, the court appears to have
justified its decision on the ground of "public interest".
      However, one wonders whether the interests of the public in the
prevailing harsh economic circumstances outweighed the need to temporarily
stall the evictions until alternative accommodation or developed land had
been found for the squatters.
      These were people who had been encouraged and aided by leading
politicians to occupy and construct structures. The cost of demolishing and
forcing large numbers of the population in peaceful occupation of their land
obviously occasioned a social catastrophe to many that will take time to
      The High Court's decision is arguably unjust. A need to take a
moralistic interpretation of the law was necessary. If the court had been
bold enough enough to rule against the state, perhaps the same state could
have re-discovered the urgent need to address the crippling housing shortage
in urban areas.
      Whereas in the past, the struggle has predominately been a racial one,
if our government continues with its arrogance and insensitivity to the
concerns of the poor, this struggle shall soon transform into one between
the black bourgeoisie and the poor workers and peasants in the rural areas.

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      Someone's playing games with people's lives

      6/9/2005 9:05:12 AM (GMT +2)

      AT last a government official with a human face. That was my reaction
when Small to Medium Enterprise Minister, Sithembiso Nyoni, appeared on the
ZTV programme Face the Nation last Thursday.

      Nyoni was a guest on the programme to talk about how her ministry
planned to help thousands of informal traders and vendors who have been
deprived of basic shelter and their means of earning a living courtesy of
the government's controversial Operation Restore Order or Murambatsvina,
      When Nyoni made her television appearance, the clean-up operation had
been underway for about two weeks and bulldozers were still razing houses
and market stalls to the ground countrywide. I found it noteworthy that she
was the first official to express regret at the manner in which the exercise
was being carried out.
      In response to questions by programme host Masimba Musarira, Nyoni
said repeatedly that what had happened was regrettable but that her attitude
was that it was pointless to cry over spilt milk. The way forward, as far as
she was concerned, was to pick up the pieces and start afresh. Nyoni uttered
the magic words "we are sorry" about what happened and acknowledged that it
had caused untold suffering and inestimable material losses. I was impressed
but not for long.
      It soon became clear that regardless of her own personal regret and
sensibilities, Nyoni still had to toe the official line and tout the
operation as a necessary evil. She claimed that despite the
counterproductive manner in which the government went about things, the
displacement of thousands of urban dwellers was a noble exercise. Not
resorting to this drastic action would have meant that the government looked
down on informal traders as inferior people not worthy of working from
appropriate facilities!
      So, according to government's absurd logic, the best way to show it
cares for the welfare of its people is to render them homeless and prohibit
them from undertaking any activity that can enable them to keep body and
soul together.
      I found it quite infuriating to listen to Nyoni waxing lyrical about
how her ministry was consulting and liaising with other arms of government
to ensure that SMEs were properly registered and housed. She did not explain
why the need to consult has only occurred to her now when she has headed her
ministry for almost three years? One assumes that she is the person who
should have advised government in good time about the need to attend to
these issues in a more humane manner. Needless to say, if she had played her
part, alternative facilities would have been in place for the traders and
vendors to transfer to when the clean-up exercise began.
      It is a measure of the government's penchant for riding roughshod over
the people that consultations are only undertaken after drastic actions such
as the ongoing nationwide demolition of structures deemed to be illegal have
rendered hundreds of thousands homeless and destitute. Common sense suggests
that the sequence of events should be that consultations take place before a
policy is implemented and not the other way round. All the explanations and
justifications now being offered cannot erase the fact that the "people's
government" has once again demonstrated reckless disregard for the rights
and interests of a large segment of the population.
      It is only in Zimbabwe that a government that has failed to deliver on
its promise of providing "Housing for all by 2000" and has presided over the
most rapid and systematic ruination of a once thriving economy, can turn the
tables and punish the people for the consequences. People were living and
working from makeshift structures because of the government's failure to
provide appropriate infrastructure.
      Although Nyoni repeated claims first made by Chombo that the
government is to provide facilities for registered traders and vendors to
operate from, the criteria used for one to be regarded as a bona fide trader
raises questions about the exercise. The SMEs minister said traders and
vendors in Harare would have to be cleared by the police. She could not
explain why these people are being treated like criminal suspects when all
they are guilty of is trying make an honest Zimdollar amid the economic
shambles ?
      The requirement that in order to be registered by the city council
applicants should, among other things, provide a permanent address, really
takes the cake. If one's abode has been demolished and one sleeps in the
open, how likely is it for one to have a verifiable and acceptable physical
address to submit to the authorities?
      The bottom line is that government is virtually trying to criminalise
unemployment and homelessness. If this were not the case there is no reason
why the officials should adopt the attitude that they simply do not care to
know about people who do not have permanent addresses in the cities.
      One would have thought that if the government's motives were humane as
it claims, it would use the ongoing registration of traders and vendors to
identify problems and needs of the people that need to be attended to
urgently. It was a pity that during Nyoni's appearance on Face the Nation,
the presenter failed to take her to task for announcing criteria that
automatically disqualifies the neediest category of people in the cities.
      How, for example do the thousands of displaced people qualify for the
stands the government says it has set aside for them when, according to
these confounding prerequisites, they must have an address (in other words a
fixed abode), before they can be considered. It is obvious someone is
playing games with the lives of the people. It's just not funny.

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Prelude text


Letter 1:

Instead of destructive accusations being shot back and forth between
Zimbabweans, as to whether a good Zimbabwean should or should not leave the
country, let's all realise that every person's circumstances and loyalties
are different, shaped by different influences - and they are all valid.

When people leave a place they have lived all their lives, they will
experience the "grieving cycle" because they have lost a huge part of their
lives.  It is the same process as losing a close loved one to death.

The "grieving cycle" will include shock, anger, regrets, blaming,
self-recrimination, depression and other emotions.  These will recurr for a
period of around two years, but will ease off as time goes by and as they
begin to adjust to a new life and form a new circle of support and friends,
and begin to enjoy what their new life is able to offer.

It is important to understand this so that Zimbabweans, of all people, can
support one another and not tear each other down because they are unaware
of the emotional processes active within themselves.

Zimbabwe to leave you now would be an amputation. I will survive but there
will be less of me.

Sally Brown

Letter No 2

Reply to Trevor Midlands letter

I do not usually comment to these letters because one I do not have the
time and two I feel it is fruitless but I wanted to say Sheliegh Barton's
letter was really well written.  Trevor's letter was in reference to Jerry
Whiteheads letter rejoicing over the plight of co-existors - a cavlier
attitude - no less.  One point the Sheliegh did not make is that famous
saying "Don't leave your farm hang in there".  Well I am "hanging in there"
and it is NOT easy with mountains of bills to pay - with three small
children and I might add - not a co-existor because we were left with no
land except our homestead and have been away from "home" for three years
(so lets make a plan) - I think both Trevor and Gerry who I might add was
only a farmer for a short period are extremely judgmental.  Witch-hunting
at this stage of the game is extremely sad, when it should be unity of
purpose - their attitude is disgusting and situation they are talking about
is a young family who have been through extreme tragedy and alot of
circumstances that are unknown to them.  To dictate what people should do
and how they should react at this time is extremely cruel - we are all in
survival mode and some are past it - like my parents who have had no income
and are "hanging in there". I do believe this is my second letter to this
letter in reply to Trevor because my first one was written in such anger it
could not be sent in.  A word of warning : You think you know it all and
have the answers to all, it is very different living it - be careful of the
ship you are building - it should be strength of unity and purpose - a
united country with one heart - division causes us to fall and also before
pride comes a fall.

Good day
L Tilbury


Letter No 3

As a South African living in the Western Cape with friends in Harare, I am
absolutely appalled by what I hear and read about the going-on in Zim.
Surely the 'free world" must know and have some input, or are we waiting
for Bob to simply disappear one day. Is Zanu-pf actually able to control
the country when old Bob pegs off, I don't know.

How the local population has not revolted and become serious
revolutionaries is beyond me. Is there no one person who can rally the
people. Are there no leaders [ even renegades] Castro who galvanized the
Cuban people to become opponents of the regime they lived under so many
years ago.

Has god forsaken the people of Zim, and allowed a devil to reign, or are
all us outsiders misinformed about the events in the country.

I pray for all my friends in Zim , I pray for the weak, the old, the poor
and the desperate. I pray that the evil, the cruel, the oppressor and the
corrupt politician all together have the 'heavy hand" of justice and
righteousness flung on them so that the perish and wither.

Bless all the brave and strong of faith that oppose the evil forces in the

Trevor Harris

Letter No 4
To Tracey Midlane

Every person from Zimbabwe, whether white or black, still living here or
not, has a sad story to tell.  However, your whitewash condemnation of all
'white' Zimbabweans (who are no more than "a pampered,spoilt bunch") still
living in this God-Forsaken country somewhat loses the sympathy you may
have gained from us here.  How dare you?

Tracey, it is time you got on with your new life in your new country,
forget about the past and leave the rest of us to sort ourselves out.  We
certainly dont need pompous, self-important wingers like you telling us how
to live our lives.

Incidentally, had you done some homework before you wrote, you would know
that when a person is accepted into another country as an Assylum Seeker,
there are usually very strict rules regarding work (you are not allowed to
work), schooling of children (your kids get sent to the school closest to
the hostel you will be housed in), medical care, etc.  Assylum seekers are
not even allowed to beg on street corners!  Then, once the authorites in
the benevolent country decide that the situation in their home country has
returned to 'normal', assylum seekers are sent back to where they came
from. Did you not see the heart-wrenching pictures of all those Bosnians,
Serbs and Croats being unceremoniously dumped in their bombed-out villages
after the war there?  Who, in their right mind, wants that for their

Bertie the Barman

Letter No 5


Like most of us, I have been trying to work out why the regime has embarked
on this Operation Murambatsvina - "Operation Arrest and Destroy Everything"
as I translate it freely!

It makes no sense, at first glance, for them to be turning people against
them at this moment, especially their own people!  And quite a lot of the
dispossessed are their own people.  The majority of Hatcliffe Extension
voted ZanuPF in March, not because they necessarily supported that party,
but they were too intimidated to do anything else.  White Cliff was set up
by war vets, ultra-ZanuPF supporters!  Harare South has a ZanuPF MP.

I believe there are several reasons for the apparent madness:

a) Retribution - the cities voted MDC, and they need to be taught a lesson.

b) Distraction - people don't notice the failure of the state and the
drastic economic decline if they are busy salvaging their wordly
possessions - and even their lives!  There is also a lot that can be done
under the cover of "Arrest and Destroy Everything" - like sorting out the
Tsholotsho element!

c) More sinister, however, is the Pol Pot agenda: drive everyone out of the
towns and cities back into the rural areas, so they cannot organise
themselves and challenge the regime.  I doubt that Mugabe really believes
they will grow food.  If those already in the rural areas are not growing
food, why would urbanites do any better?  And where are their inputs and
implements, and where are they going to be settled?  Indeed, where is food
available at present?  In the cities, not in the rural areas.  So - drive
people out into the rural areas, and they are likely to starve to death,
this year.  Extreme?  Wasn't it a minister who said a few years ago
Zimbabwe would be better off without the 6 million who can't be fed,
anyway?  He is now a very senior minister.

I do not think we should assist in moving people out of town.  That will
not help those people, in the long run, especially if my analysis is
correct.  They will be much worse off in the rural areas.  We need to find
ways to allow people to remain in their homes and on their stands,
especially if they have been paying rent there.  If "The People's Choice"
was really concerned about people and the cleanliness of the cities, they
would first have established the market places (many official market places
have been destroyed by the regime) and the alternative accommodation (many
people had lease agreeements or paid rent to government/city council), and
THEN moved the people.

That they did not do so indicates, in my view, that Operation Arrest and
Destroy Everything is intended literally to get rid of a lot of what they
consider rubbish - for good.  Let us not allow them to do that.  Let us
stand in solidarity with the suffering and the dispossessed, and help them
in every way we can to regain their human dignity and their livelihoods.

It is time to stand together, as Zimbabweans.

Trudy Stevenson MP Harare North Constituency

Letter No 6

Response to Kingston Dutiro

Your naive letter is nauseating as you obviously do not understand the
difference between political expediency and reality.The Zimbabwean "land
repossession" is one of the biggest scams the world has seen in recent
times.While most reasonable people understood the need for orderly land
reform the political thugs chose violent means to transfer ownership to the
political elite, to the detriment of the poor landless people! The result
is that all the real farmers are doing what they do best in other parts of
the continent and the rest of the world ,while Zimbabwe spirals into
hopelessness. You speak of people being brought up on "stolen riches"yet
you do not mind being brought down by "stolen riches" because that is the
reality of the situation whether you like it or not!!! Wake up and smell
the coffee Kingston! By the way I never inherited my farms nor stole them
but with perseverance,hard work and a deep passion for farming,I borrowed a
lot of money after Independence to buy a farm.Sadly there is no longer any
produce to steal on my old farm because it is unproductive and derelict
after 60 years of successful farming since it was first started from virgin
African bush.Get real.

Kevin Grant.

Letter No 7

Thank you for your forum. While reading some articles shows different
trends of thoughts, it is with regret that any article from David Coltart
and Eddie Cross is negative on the Zimbabwean side. The only thing they
fail to clarify is that they are anti-Blacks and anything done by Blacks
though unfortunately they put themselves under Tsvangirai for their own
ends. Add that dimension of Trudy Stevenson and you get the picture.

I am just hoping one day Zimbabweans will honestly talk as Zimbabweans with
a real need to address any adversities and not open wounds of the
Gukurahundi while conveniently shutting out that of Selous Scouts, Ian
Smith etc to whom these were active participants. I am not supporting these
indellible bad patches of our history but for these people to separate
themselves and speak authoritatively on matters they seriously contributed
to is wrong.

Is it not clear that the West just wants to cause mayhem, and civil wars in
Africa so as to loot its resources? Anyone who thinks otherwise is a good
dreamer. I support any country's indigenous people to control their own
resources so Eddie, Trudy and David dont drive it too hard for us to
seriously think about your origins. If you let things get that far, the
next thing to be taken away from you will be your assumed Zimbabwean
citizenships. I am one person who voluntarily and actively participated in
the land repossessions. Know why? Through your noble influence you caused
shortages of basic things that are grown in this country. Was it not your
hopes to demonstrate who called the shots or tune? Remember to every action
there is a reaction. All that is happening is a chain reaction. We shall
ask really how whites came to be part of Africa and do something about

Bury the hatchet guys and take things from where they are. It may not be
the ideal for you but respect us especially when you speak from our lands
rubbishing everything our elders are doing. Would you not be grateful if
you had a leader like Robert Mugabe? Taking all the world's unwarranted
curse for protecting his people's heritage? Get real people. Kindest
Regards from:

Kingston Dutiro

 Thought for the Day

"The State is like a tree. The roots are agriculture, the trunk is the
population, the branches are industry, the leaves are commerce and the
arts; it is from the roots that the tree draws the nourishing sap.....and
it is to the roots that a remedy must be applied if the tree is not to

 -- Victor, Marquis de Mirabeau

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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            June 8 2005

            Press Release - Foreign Affairs Canada

            Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew today issued the
following statement condemning the destruction of residential dwellings and
business premises by the Government of Zimbabwe:

            "Canadians are dismayed by the Government of Zimbabwe's
disregard for the most basic rights and dignity of the Zimbabwean people.
Rather than undertaking measures to implement good governance and respect
for democracy that would return the country to economic stability and
growth, the government has turned on the poorest and most vulnerable of its
people, destroying their homes and their means of livelihood.

            "Canada urges the Government of Zimbabwe, as well as local and
international non-governmental organizations, to assist those already
adversely affected. Officials from the Canadian International Development
Agency are in contact with humanitarian aid agencies to assess the needs of
those who have been evicted. Forced eviction constitutes a gross violation
of human rights and contravenes recognized international norms to which the
Government of Zimbabwe has subscribed.

            "Thousands have been made homeless and many more have been
deprived of their family income as a result of police actions in recent
weeks. The Government of Zimbabwe must discontinue the 'cleanup' campaign
and put in place adequate measures to ensure alternative housing and

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New Zimbabwe


      Zimbabwe: beyond the job boycotts

      Last updated: 06/09/2005 13:26:27
      TODAY Zimbabweans are urged to join a nationwide job boycott in
protest at the dastardly destruction of property by security forces who are
on a "clean up" of our major cities.

      It is not the first time that such a call has been made, and it is
unlikely it will be the last.

      Those behind this call are well-meaning Zimbabweans driven by a desire
to put an end to a tyrannical administration.

      Lovemore Madhuku has, perhaps, been the only opposition figure who has
led from the front, usually at the expense of his freedom and at great risk
to himself and his family.

      The same can be said of Munyaradzi Gwisai, the great advocate for
socialism who has helped thousands of workers unfairly dismissed or
disciplined for various excuses by employers.

      These are just two of the many figures calling for a demonstration of
unity among all Zimbabweans in defence of civil liberties that are under
siege in Zimbabwe. They are all great people!

      However, the strategy adopted by the "broad alliance" is one that can
backfire spectacularly, with disastrous consequences for the opposition unit
as a whole.

      My problem with this "stay away" is that there is no clear measure of
its success or failure, besides the numbers of people staying at home or
companies that shut their doors.

      Unless there is a second layer of action planned, this "stay-away"
would appear to be a pointless exercise. For all their good intentions,
Madhuku and his comrades could be diving into an empty pool which will only
hurt them and their movement.

      It is doubtful that the "alliance" can achieve the level of
participation that Morgan Tsvangirai mustered during those heady days when
he was at the ZCTU. For this "stay away" to be meaningful, the "alliance"
should be looking beyond a job boycott which will not affect Robert Mugabe's
parade through Harare's streets as he opens Parliament on Thursday.

      Without that plan, this "stay-away", no matter what the response of
the people is, will only hurt and dumpen the spirits of the anxious majority
that wants to see change. "Stay aways" and street protests have been tried
before, and they have only turned out to be perfect opportunities for petty
thieves and cowards to venture out, loot and destroy property.

      When the "mass stay aways" and street protests have failed, it is
ordinary Zimbabweans who have been left to bear the brunt of Mugabe's
brutality. Indeed, the opposition MDC which has sponsored many of the past
"stay-aways" is split over this particular call. Are those bitterely opposed
to this "mass action" thinking what many people are thinking?

      The ordinary people's approach and attitude to this call to stay at
home is measured and cautious. If this mass action fails to trouble Mugabe,
as I am sure it will fail, the confidence of Zimbabweans will take a knock
when they wake up to the realisation that their actions have not achieved
any meaningful outcome.

      There is no straight answer to what the "alliance" should be doing,
but it risks turning into a laboratory for costly political experiments
which will wreak havoc on the public's confidence in alternative leadership.

      The "alliance" could start by exploring how this "stay away" could be
used as a precursor to a more DIRECT collision with Mugabe and his

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Honorary degree debated
ASMSU lobbies to invalidate African leader's doctorate


The State News

An MSU student-led organization is lobbying for the administration to revoke
an honorary doctorate granted by the university to Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe more than a decade ago.
But pulling the honor would apparently be a new move for the university, and
administration officials said they're not ready to make a decision.

MSU gave the honorary Doctorate of Laws degree to Mugabe when he spoke at
commencement ceremonies in fall 1990. But members of ASMSU, MSU's
undergraduate student government, are calling for the university to pull
Mugabe's degree, saying that in the subsequent years, he has become a
dictator and shown a "callous disregard" for human, civil and political
rights in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe first came to power after a guerrilla war in the country in 1979-80.
United Nations sanctions on the country were lifted, and open elections were
able to be held in order to generate Zimbabwe's independence from the United
Kingdom. Since then, Mugabe has been the only ruler of the country.

Bill Fletcher Jr., president of the TransAfrica Forum, a black global
justice organization, said Zimbabwe's ruler has made headlines for his tough

He said Mugabe stands accused of human and labor rights infractions, as well
as the use of food as a mechanism of political oppression and rape used
against political opponents.

MSU Trustee Melanie Foster said the issue of revoking Mugabe's degree has
been discussed, but the university has never set the precedent of pulling an
honorary degree.

"Clearly, Mugabe's actions conflict with the values of our university,"
Foster said. "At this point in time, he's certainly not worthy of such an

Some members of the MSU community say Mugabe does not deserve the
university's respect or honorary doctorate.

"When I found out, I was completely taken aback that Mugabe had a degree
like that," ASMSU Academic Assembly Chairperson Robert Murphy said. "It's a
powerful thing that says you've earned our respect as an institution, and
obviously, Mugabe does not deserve that."

At each commencement, the university grants honorary degrees to nominated

Murphy said MSU isn't to blame for granting Mugabe his degree because, at
the time, Mugabe was a leader who had a new hope for a postcolonial nation.

Fletcher said it took years for what was happening in Zimbabwe to reach the
rest of the world.

"Many of us didn't want to see what was going on," Fletcher said, adding
that in the '70s, many regarded Mugabe as a hero and a great revolutionary

David Porteous, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said ASMSU's request to
pull Mugabe's doctorate would have to be reviewed and approved by the
administration, and it would be premature for the board to take any action
on it.

Ian Gray, who oversees the committee for honorary doctorates, had no

Amy Davis can be reached ay
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Not enough, say aid agencies
CNN, by Staff

Original Article

Posted By:verity, 6/8/2005 4:18:27 AM

LONDON, England -- Aid agencies and media in Britain criticized the $674 million aid pledged to Africa by President George W. Bush as inadequate. Jonathan Glennie, a senior policy analyst from Christian Aid, said: ''The sum of $674 million is a drop in the ocean compared to what Africa really needs.''


Reply 1 - Posted by: thelmalou, 6/8/2005 4:43:52 AM

Then why doesn't AFrica get off its butt and start working to provide what it really needs? And spare me the use of the word "Christian" in your org's name. Please. According to this article, we should bankrupt America to help out everybody else in the world. How much money are YOU giving to Africa, Mr. G.?

Reply 2 - Posted by: Cisco, 6/8/2005 4:53:05 AM

It's not a drop in the ocean to those of us who must work to pay the taxes that are used for these worthless give-aways.

Yes, we know its not enough to feed hundreds of millions whose only skills are firing AK47s, the burning tire necklace, and spreading AIDS faster than any other area of the world.

Providing aid to feed these people for another week, month or year does nothing to address the real issues.
It is more human to let the population numbers adjust to the ability of the people to support themselves.

Destroying productive farming areas like those in Zimbabwe shows that these people are not advanced enough to function outside a tribal environment.

Reply 3 - Posted by: DEBubba, 6/8/2005 4:55:10 AM

''The sum of $674 million is a drop in the ocean compared to what Africa really needs.'' should read:

$674 million is $674 million too much.

Reply 4 - Posted by: Triangulum, 6/8/2005 5:50:46 AM

Reply 5 - Posted by: InGodWeTrust, 6/8/2005 5:56:17 AM

Those "do gooders" would serve a better purpose if they spoke out against the corrupt leaders of those stink-holes... who are filling their Swiss bank accounts while they watch their OWN people starve.

Bush also just granted 100% forgiveness of debt to "the poorest of African countries."

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know WE can't continue to survive if we keep supporting...not just other nations...but entire Continent's.

Reply 6 - Posted by: NuGoddess, 6/8/2005 6:10:22 AM

To those who beg, it's never enough.

Reply 7 - Posted by: saryden, 6/8/2005 6:18:52 AM

Our legislators are spending the Social Security surplus every year so that working people who have paid into it will get nothing or certainly less than promised.

To taxpayer-me, 674 Million dollars plus forgive their debt is more than I can comprehend.

Why do we pay any attention to con artists who imply that we must feel guilt if we do not provide for the entire world? Let them throw off their socialist/or totalitarian governments. There's harm in supporting them, just as there is in supporting the criminal UN.

Africa has vast natural resources; and this has been known virtually forever.
I agree with #2. Teach them to "fish."

Reply 8 - Posted by: ILoveLucy, 6/8/2005 6:54:08 AM

Get Tony Blair and the British people to make up the difference. Meanwhile, we'll get back to you on what an ungrateful Europe owes America. We don't want to make the Africans our new worst enemies, i.e., ungrateful friends.

Reply 9 - Posted by: Betty Jean, 6/8/2005 7:03:17 AM

Like I said, everyone who comes to visit our White House has their hand out and leaves with buckets full. And usually complaining because it isn't enough. And they use the 'B' word a lot, i.e. BILLION.

And yes, they are using our social security money. Looks like the lock box was found and broken into a long long time ago.

One more thought: Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in the boat, sucking beer, for a week. But I know that has nothing to do with Africa. Just my .02.

Reply 10 - Posted by: OMyMy, 6/8/2005 8:21:48 AM

U.S. is already spending billions to keep Islamic terrorists from blowing the free world to hell. Taxpayers also provides foreign aid to dozens of countries, many of those who hate our guts. Africa should rid itself of its communist leaders, learn the difference between myths and reality and catch up with civilization.

Reply 11 - Posted by: tuckysee, 6/8/2005 8:31:59 AM

What the poor of Africa need most is good
government. Sending more money to the likes of Mugabe makes no sense.

Reply 12 - Posted by: LAW428, 6/8/2005 8:56:59 AM

#1 and #11 say it all for me!

Reply 13 - Posted by: reality, 6/8/2005 8:58:01 AM

What article in the constitution says that the government can tax me to send money to the corrupt African governments?

Reply 14 - Posted by: dotonbut, 6/8/2005 9:02:47 AM

This is simply rewarding corruption and will ensure its continuation. Bush really disappoints me sometimes.

Reply 15 - Posted by: chatham, 6/8/2005 9:15:11 AM

Let the aid groups start by getting Europe to come to the aid of Africa.

They need to send some of their Crack Troops to get rid of Monsters like Mugabe who destroyed Zimbawbe by killing off white farmers.

Send in a few trainloads of the Euro and the bigmouths like this Jonathan Glennie to show a teach the African governments how to lead their People.

I for one, think America has done more than its share to the world over, no thanks to Jerks like Glennie.

Reply 16 - Posted by: knub, 6/8/2005 10:16:05 AM

The US did not have any "colonies" in Africa. The Europeans had many. They should foot the majority of the bill. Why are we looked at to provide all the funds for anything international.

Reply 17 - Posted by: treecat, 6/8/2005 10:18:25 AM

Just to much American money.

Reply 18 - Posted by: Halfgenius, 6/8/2005 10:18:46 AM

Our Government has money? Where'd they get it?

Reply 19 - Posted by: Sludge, 6/8/2005 10:22:44 AM

The only aid Africa needs is help in overthrowing their autocratic governments. They are poor because their gov't keep them that way. They are hungry because tyrannies are averse to the type of ownership and respect for property that are essential for productivity. They are ignorant and unskilled because despots do not care enough to spend money on an education system, and educated people are more prone to rebel.

And any aid we give is mostly confiscated by the tyrants, never reaching those who it was meant for.

Until those conditions change, no amount of aid or 'feelings' will help the African people. Only regime change throughout the continent will help them.

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