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Nabanyama trial resumes in camera
Blessing Zulu/Godfrey Marawanyika

THE trial of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activist Patrick Nabanyama's alleged abductors resumed yesterday albeit in camera following threats against members of his family.

Justice Lawrence Kamocha on Tuesday granted an order to the effect that the state witnesses in the case be given 24-hour police protection.

Yesterday Justice Kamocha ruled that the case be heard in camera following repeated threats to the Nabanyama family.

"Yesterday (Wednesday) Chief Inspector Gwenzi advised the state counsel that he was unable to comply with the order because of a telephone call he had received from Zanu PF headquarters in which he and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police were threatened," said a family spokesperson.

The threats to the family led them to relocate from their Nketa home in Bulawayo to a safe house. Nabanyama's daughter Nomathemba has also been harassed by members of the police over accusations that she had sent her father to a foreign country, the family spokesperson said.

Six members of the War Veterans Association are implicated in the abduction and murder of Nabanyama, an election agent for the MDC who was abducted in front of his wife, Patricia. Patricia positively identified one of the accused, Simon Rwodzi as one of the abductors in court. Others facing charges in the kidnapping include Ephraim Moyo, Aleck Moyo, Howard Ncube, Julius Sibanda and Stanley Ncube.

On Wednesday one of the witnesses who was jointly charged with the six accused who are currently on trial in this matter told the court how Nabanyama was removed from his home and taken for questioning by senior members of Zanu PF. The witness also testified that this was the last time he saw Nabanyama.

Nabanyama was abducted in Nketa a few days before the June 2000 parliamentary election.

The late Cain Nkala, who was declared a national hero after being abducted and murdered, was implicated in the disappearance of Nabanyama. Nkala was the chairman of the war veterans in Bulawayo, a position now being occupied by Stanley Ncube.

Fifteen state witnesses are set to testify in the trial that began this week.

l Meanwhile, the Supreme Court yesterday ruled in favour of MDC legislator Trudy Stevenson who had appealed to the court against an earlier court ruling which said she had no mandate to call for an early mayoral election in Harare.

In May last year High Court Judge Justice Ben Hlatshwayo dismissed Stevenson's application saying she had no mandate to file the application. The Supreme Court, led by Justice Wilson Sandura, yesterday reversed the High Court ruling.

Stevenson wanted the Chanakira Commission to be dissolved to pave way for the mayoral election that was later held simultaneously with the presidential poll.

The Supreme Court also postponed the trial date in a case brought by proprietors of Capitol Radio against the government to June 19, because the state's papers were not in order. Capitol Radio is challenging the ban slapped on them by the government in 2000 which forced the fledgling station to go off air.

Daily News

      24-hour guard for Nabanyama's widow

      5/31/02 4:30:16 PM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      THE Bulawayo police have been ordered to give Patricia Nabanyama
round-the-clock protection after anonymous callers threatened to kill her
after she had given evidence in the trial of six war veterans charged with
murdering her husband, Patrick, two years ago.

      Justice Lawrence Kamocha ordered the 24-hour police protection when
Mrs Nabanyama told the High Court she had been threatened with death for
implicating the accused. Justice Kamocha made the ruling after the State
prosecutor, Martha Cheda of the Attorney-General's Office, told him
Nabanyama had been visited by ruling Zanu PF party youths at her home in
Bulawayo's Nketa suburb on Sunday and Monday.

      Ephraim Moyo, Simon Rwodzi, Aleck Moyo, Howard Ncube, Julias Sibanda
and Stanley Ncube pleaded not guilty to murdering Patrick Nabanyama two
years ago, when the trial opened on Tuesday. Patrick Nabanyama, who was
David Coltart's polling agent in the June 2000 parliamentary election, has
not been seen since he went missing in June of the same year. Coltart
contested the poll as a candidate of the opposition MDC and won the Bulawayo
South seat.

      The six war veterans, together with the late Cain Nkala, the leader of
the war veterans in Bulawayo, were originally charged with kidnapping
Nabanyama. Nkala himself was last year kidnapped and killed in what some
believe was a Zanu PF inside job, as reports at the time indicated that
Nkala was ready to spill the beans as to what had actually happened to

      Nkala was declared a national hero and Zanu PF used his death to
launch its "war against terror", which saw violence against opposition
members erupt in Bulawayo. Several MDC MPs and supporters in Matabeleland
were arrested for the alleged murder of Nkala, in an exercise widely
publicised on State television. Yesterday, the court heard that some youths
and suspected war veterans had warned Mrs Nabanyama against implicating the
accused war veterans in her husband's alleged murder.

      The judge said: "I order that the police give all the necessary
protection to Mrs Nabanyama and her family for as long as is necessary. The
form of protection should be 24-hour guard." Yesterday, Justice Kamocha
allowed Nabanyama to give her evidence in camera as a result of the threats.
"Mrs Nabanyama was extremely concerned with her safety and that of her
family. It is, therefore, incumbent upon this court to hold this hearing in
camera." In a related disclosure, the court heard that Chief Inspector David
Gwenzi, the officer-in-charge at Nkulumane Police Station, had also received
threatening telephone calls, one of which was subsequently traced to the
Zanu PF provincial offices in Bulawayo.

      "Gwenzi received a call from Zanu PF headquarters in connection with
the matter while he was officially discharging his duties," said Justice
Kamocha. Gwenzi yesterday expressed concern with the security of the
policemen who would provide 24-hour protection for the Nabanyamas. In her
evidence on Wednesday, Mrs Nabanyama fingered Rwodzi as having been part of
the group of war veterans who came to their home on that fateful day and
abducted her husband, in the run-up to the parliamentary poll. She described
how her husband had struggled with the group of about 13 war veterans who
eventually bundled him into a truck.

      Under cross-examination, she said she could not positively identify
the other war veterans, except Rwodzi. Meanwhile, Gwenzi told the court that
he received a call on his cellphone from a caller who threatened him after
he had testified that he had attended to a report made by Patrick Nabanyama
two years ago that he was being threatened by war veterans. This was shortly
before his abduction and subsequent disappearance. Investigations had
positively identified the number of the telephone call as having been made
from the Zanu PF offices.

      Brighton Ndove, the defence lawyer, argued that because the case was
of a political nature, the telephone call in question could have been made
by MDC supporters to tarnish the names of his clients. The judge said it was
not possible for MDC to threaten their own and criticised Ndove for
suggesting, without evidence, that Nabanyama was still alive and hiding
outside the country. The trial continues today.
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Farmers urged to grow amore wheat

GOVERNMENT, in a belated attempt to ensure food self-sufficiency next year, is encouraging commercial farmers to plant winter wheat "in the national interest" - even if a farmer has been served a Section 8 eviction order.

The Zimbabwe Independent heard this week that the government was encouraging farmers to apply to the offices of the governor or the district administrator for permission to plant wheat even if they had been served with eviction notices.

Government had also tried to lure farmers back onto the land to plant by announcing that it was evicting illegal settlers. Despite claims a fortnight ago that 12 000 people were to be evicted, Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) representatives across the country said yesterday there had been negligible action.

Over the past four weeks government has promised farmers written assurances that they would be allowed to reap their crop without interference from settlers. That, coupled with the eviction of illegal settlers, observers said, was designed to salvage the winter wheat crop, which this season is set to decline to 40% of normal.

CFU regional executives yesterday confirmed that farmers had been promised written assurances that they could plant and harvest but to date no such assurances had been received. Farmers who have been served with Section 8 orders have 45 days to stop production and 45 days to leave the land, which makes it impossible to plant and reap a crop.

"We have been told to encourage farmers to plant in the national interest but in order to do so they have to apply to government through the governor or the DA," said Ben Kaschula, CFU Mashonaland central executive.

"Some people did apply but they never got any assurances."

Kaschula said there had not been any evictions of illegal settlers in the province.

"Not one I am aware of has been moved," he said

A CFU situation report dated May 28 said former Energy minister and Zanu PF politburo member Enos Chikowore was encouraging farmers to plant but without written assurances.

It also emerged that new settlers in Mashonaland West and East were encouraging farmers to plant on condition the two parties formed a joint venture company where they would share the profits.

CFU spokesperson Jenni Williams yesterday said it was difficult to measure the success of the eviction exercise as settlers removed from one farm simply moved over to another farm and the cycle continued.

War veterans secretary-general Endy Mhlanga said no war veterans had been moved off the land since the government announced that it would deal with illegal settlers.

"It is our policy to ensure that production is improved throughout the country," said Mhlanga. "Movement of people from one farm to another should be done smoothly, not in an abrupt way as was happening recently.

"So far I have not received any reports of war veterans and land occupiers who are being evicted, meaning to say that the programme has been normalised," he said.

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Pressure piles on Mugabe
Dumisani Muleya

SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo are stepping up pressure on President Robert Mugabe to resume the stalled talks between Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change.

Diplomatic sources yesterday said the two leaders had been piling up pressure on Mugabe since Zanu PF arbitrarily withdrew from the talks earlier this month in what the South Africans have called a clear breach of procedure.

The dialogue initially postponed on April 10 was supposed to resume on May 13. Zanu PF refused to go back to the negotiating table claiming MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's court action against Mugabe's disputed re-election was a stumbling block.

The MDC said it considered Zanu PF's action as a unilateral termination of the dialogue.

Sources said when Mbeki's envoy Kgalema Motlanthe returned to Zimbabwe for the talks on May 13, he delivered a letter from Mbeki to Mugabe.

Motlanthe is thought to have presented the letter to Mugabe when he, together with Obasanjo's intermediary Adebayo Adedeji, met the besieged Zimbabwean ruler at his Munhumutapa offices on May 14.

The letter, reports said, suggested a change in the composition of the Zanu PF delegation to the talks. The team, which has no senior party officials, is headed by non-constituency MP Patrick Chinamasa and includes another unelected MP Jonathan Moyo, Frederick Shava and Witness Mangwende.

The unconfirmed reports said Mbeki also expressed concern over land reforms. He urged reconciliation and cooperation between Zanu PF and the MDC and a restoration of the rule of law on the farms. Mbeki, who has been defending Harare on international platforms, warned Mugabe of intensified international sanctions if he allowed the talks to collapse, the reports said.

Mbeki's spokesman Bheki Khumalo yesterday confirmed the letter in an interview but refused to discuss its contents.

"Indeed, a letter was sent to President Mugabe by President Mbeki," he said. "But we are not in the habit of discussing official letters in newspapers."

South African PAC sources have been quoted in the local media as saying the letter "bordered on an affront to the sovereignty of Zimbabwe".

Since sending the letter, Mbeki has been anxious to meet his counterpart ahead of the G8 Summit in Kananaskis, Canada, on June 26/27.

The G8 leaders will discuss Mbeki's New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) plan. Zimbabwe remains an obstacle despite efforts to keep it off the agenda.

It is understood Harare wants to be seen restoring the rule of law through farm evictions and delisting of farms. Government is expected to delist a number of properties soon to demonstrate it is now acting to stabilise agricultural production.

Mbeki had been expected to meet Mugabe yesterday on the sidelines of the now-cancelled Congolese peace talks in Lusaka, Zambia.

Despite Zimbabwean authorities' rigid determination to frustrate the talks, Pretoria seems to be equally resolute in its endeavours to promote them.

Last week Khumalo said there was no alternative to dialogue. "There is no alternative to negotiations in Zimbabwe," he said. "We will not give up on Zimbabwe. We will keep on talking and talking until we succeed, even if this takes a very long time."

South African Foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Wednesday said Pretoria would not push Harare over the precipice but pull it back from the brink.

Yesterday, Motlanthe said in a telephone interview that as facilitators they would wait to hear from the parties.

"We will have to hear from them," he said. "We can't drag them back to the negotiating table. Even if they say they want to resume dialogue in 10 years, it's their choice."

Motlanthe refused to confirm he brought a letter to Mugabe earlier this month, saying: "I think it must have been sent through other channels."

Obasanjo, who is seen as Harare's international trouble-shooter, has also turned up the heat on Mugabe. This week he sent his Foreign Minister Sule Lamido to talk to Mugabe in a bid to resuscitate inter-party talks. The Nigerians are thought to be particularly concerned about the fate of the Abuja agreement.

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Ben-Menashe arrives in Zim

CONTROVERSIAL Canadian publicist Ari Ben-Menashe arrived in Zimbabwe this week ahead of a court appearance by Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai today on charges of high treason.

Tsvangirai is appearing with MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube and secretary for agriculture Renson Gasela.

The three are accused of plotting to assassinate President Mugabe during meetings with Ben-Menashe and officials from his political consultancy, Dickens & Madson.

It was not immediately clear what Ben-Menashe's visit will entail. The three MDC officials face only a remand hearing today. The state is unlikely to present its witnesses in court at such a hearing. But Ben-Menashe could be assisting with evidence. He is also under contract to the government to promote Zimbabwe abroad.

"He should have arrived yesterday (Wednesday) because our staff said they saw him at the airport," a Canadian diplomat said yesterday. "I think he is here in connection with the court case."

Ben-Menashe told the Zimbabwe Independent in a telephone interview from Montreal on April 18 that he no longer had anything to do with the case.

"We no longer have anything to with the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai's case," he said then. "We have nothing to do with that anymore. We are now involved in lobbying work for Zimbabwe abroad."

But a few days later Ben-Menashe, who has been described as "delusional" and a "chronic" liar, flip-flopped, claiming: "Because Mr Tsvangirai has been formally indicted for high treason, and because members of this firm might be required as witnesses with respect to certain charges against him, we believe it would be inappropriate to comment on the case."

A US online public relations company, O'Dwyer's PR Daily, recently said Ben-Menashe had so far been paid US$400 000 for his work by government.

The assassination claims came to light after Australian television channel SBS aired a documentary in February purporting to show Tsvangirai plotting to kill Mugabe with Dickens & Madson principals in Montreal on December 4 last year.

Canadian police have dropped investigations into the case due to lack of evidence. - Staff Writer.

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US offers more food aid to Zim
Loughty Dube

THE United States government has extended a further US$4,96 million ($273 million) grant in food aid to famine-ravaged Zimbabwe through the World Food Programme (WFP) amid alarming reports that over six million Zimbabweans face hunger in the coming year.

US embassy public affairs spokesman Bruce Wharton said the food aid would consist of 8 500 tonnes of consumables.

"The new assistance to Zimbabwe consists of 7 500 metric tonnes of corn meal and 1 000 tonnes of corn-soya milk all valued at US$4,96 million and the aid is chanelled through the US Department of Agriculture," Wharton said.

The latest food aid by the US government brings the total aid by that country to Zimbabwe to US$27,5 million ($1,5 billion) in the last few months.

The US last month came to Zimbabwe's rescue when it responded to the country's international appeal by donating 34 430 tonnes of fortified maize meal.

The US aid comes amid reports from the WFP and the Food and Agricultural Organisation that show that over six million Zimbabweans will need food aid in the coming months as a result of President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms and a severe drought.

The two organisations in their joint report, released on Wednesday this week, said the country's maize output is estimated to fall by 67% compared to last year as a result of mayhem on previously productive farms.

Wharton said the food to be distributed through the WFP would meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable Zimbabweans.

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Police summon Independent editor

ZIMBABWE Independent editor Iden Wetherell has been asked by CID law and order officers to report to Harare Central police station this morning in connection with a Reuters photograph that appeared in the edition of May 17.

It shows semi-naked Amazonian tribesmen playing soccer. The picture was published by newspapers around the world without any recorded complaints.

"They asked me to report to Harare Central on Friday morning," Wetherell said. "They understood that I would be rather tied up with the newspaper today (Thursday). They said they are investigating under the Censorship Act. This is my third summons under the Act, all involving pictures published by a reputable international news agency. I can't imagine anybody who would seriously take offence unless there is a wider agenda at work here." - Staff Writer.

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Mohadi seizes farm, kicks out owner

HIGHER Education Deputy minister Kembo Mohadi has moved 300 head of cattle onto a Beitbridge farm, Botharus, and ordered farm owner, Tokkie van der Merwe to move his cattle and game off. The farm is primarily a safari enterprise.

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) spokesperson Jennie Williams said Mohadi was listed as one of the beneficiaries of Bea farm in Mwenezi/Beitbridge but was unsuccessful at moving onto that farm as there are Model A1 settlers there who arrived under the fast-track programme.

The settlers are said to have refused to leave when ordered to a fortnight ago.

Botharus is 27 000 acres in extent and a 17 000-acre section is under a compulsory notice of acquisition. This is the section Mohadi has moved his cattle onto. The farm owner, a South African national, said Mohadi visited the property two weeks ago and told his wife that they must move.

"Mohadi, in the party of war veterans, said he was moving his cattle onto the farm and that we must move off," said Van der Merwe.

"I have over 500 head of cattle, 170 wildebeest, 90 zebra and other game. I have accepted bookings from hunting clients and cannot move off at such short notice."

He said he bought the farm in 1989 and got a certificate of no interest from government and permission to carry on with his safari business and farming. Van der Merwe said his farm is caught up in an environmental disaster as the cattle had arrived at a time when the climate has been very dry and many cattle and game will die if not moved.

"Certain game do not mix well with cattle and as we have experienced such a dry spell with less than 100 millimeters of rain last season, we are battling to run the game. Some will not compete well with the cattle and will try to escape to surrounding areas.

"I have invested over US$360 000 in my operation and cannot just stand by and watch it all wither away."

Mike Clark, CFU Masvingo regional chairman, said there was now an urgent need to evaluate the impact of the land reform programme on game and cattle.

"Along with the unchecked movement of people, we have the unchecked movement of cattle," said Clark.

"Settlers have brought with them large numbers of cattle which have caused overgrazing. This has inevitably resulted in starvation of the depleted commercial herd." - Staff Writer.

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The Age, Australia

Zimbabwe refuses US 10,000 tonne maize donation
HARARE, May 31 DPA|Published: Friday May 31, 5:25 PM

Despite the looming threat of starvation to 7.8 million people, President
Robert Mugabe's government has turned down a United States offer of 10,000
tonnes of maize because it is not certified entirely free from genetic

The US government announced today it was giving Zimbabwe an extra 8,500
tonnes of food to assist those most vulnerable to current shortages,
including the young, the old, expectant and nursing mothers.

A statement said the US government would insist the food was distributed
"without regard to political affiliation". Human rights groups led by Danish
Physicians for Human Rights accuse Mugabe's ruling Zanu(PF) party of
refusing suspected opposition supporters permission to buy maize or to
receive donated supplies.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, said
"forced starvation of thousands (was) an integral part of Mugabe's
retribution campaign" following presidential elections in March that were
marred by violence and alleged rigging.

The government, which claimed in February there would be no need to import
food if hoarded supplies were seized from white farmers and millers, still
says the crisis is manufactured by its enemies, although admitting it needs
to import up to 1.5 million tonnes to avert famine.

Social Welfare minister July Moyo said 5.9 million people in rural areas and
1.9 million in towns were in danger of starvation.

In the government's latest round of accusations, officials today claimed to
have seized 600kg of maize dispatched by MDC secretary general Welshman
Ncube to feed workers on his farm. Previous allegations whites are poisoning
maize have been proved false.

Mugabe blames unfavourable weather conditions throughout the region for the
crisis, but most experts say it was exacerbated by disruption of commercial
agriculture by state-sponsored farm seizures, and failure to need early

A statement from the US embassy said Washington had now provided 42,930
tonnes of food worth $US27.5 million ($A49 million).

"In May, the US offered an additional shipment of 10,000 metric tonnes of
whole kernel yellow maize to Zimbabwe. However, when the Government of
Zimbabwe did not waive its requirement it must be certified as entirely non
genetically modified origin, the maize was reallocated to Malawi, Mozambique
and Zambia."

The US embassy warned Zimbabwe will "need to implement economic reforms to
address the larger crisis".

"Attempts to use US food aid for partisan political purposes would
jeopardise the food relief effort," it said.

Maize has been scarce since February with long queues forming for limited
stocks on sale, and bread is likely to run out next month when wheat
supplies are exhausted. The MDC says those without Zanu(PF) party cards are
forbidden to queue in many rural areas, and children told relief is
"Zanu(PF) food".
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Guardian reporter sent for trial in Harare

David Pallister
Friday May 31, 2002
The Guardian

The Guardian's Zimbabwe correspondent, Andrew Meldrum, and a local reporter
were yesterday the first journalists to be sent for trial under President
Robert Mugabe's draconian new media law which carries penalties of up to two
years in jail.
Harare magistrate Joyce Negonde said Mr Meldrum, a US citizen, would stand
trial on June 12 and Lloyd Mudiwa, of the Daily News, on June 20. They are
charged under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act with
publishing "falsehoods".

They are among 12 journalists charged under the act since it came into force
10 weeks ago. Bornwell Chakaodza, the editor of the independent Standard,
has been charged on five separate occasions.

Critics of the law - which makes it an offence to get any facts in a story
wrong, however trivial - have protested that it is really about muzzling the
press and suppressing dissent.

The case against Mr Meldrum and Mr Mudiwa originated from a story run in the
Daily News and the Guardian about allegations that Mr Mugabe's vigilante
supporters had beheaded a woman. Although the Daily News apologised to the
ruling Zanu-PF after failing to find a grave, the woman's body has since
been found.

Neither journalist spoke after yesterday's hearing. Their lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa said: "We are happy the state has finally set a date and we hope we
can prove our case that the state is being vindictive with these
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Independent (UK)

Big rise in Mugabe refugees masks downward trend
By Ian Burrell
31 May 2002
A sudden jump in the number of refugees from Robert Mugabe's regime in
Zimbabwe has contributed to an 8 per cent rise in applications for asylum in
the first three months of the year.
The number of people claiming to be refugees from Zimbabwe rose by 92 per
cent to 1,495, the highest quarterly figure from the troubled African state.
Zimbabwe rose to third in the list of chief applicant nationalities, behind
Iraq (2,840) and Afghanistan (2,350). Total applications rose from 18,005 in
the last quarter of 2001 to 19,520.

Although the figures have been used to support claims that immigration
pressures have been growing rapidly, the increase from the first quarter of
2001 was only 730 (up 4 per cent). And the Home Office said yesterday that
the annual figure for the 12 months to the end of March showed a 10 per cent
fall in applications compared with the previous 12 months.

In the financial year 2001-02 there were 72,430 asylum claims, down from
80,205 in 2000-2001.

As applications fell in Britain over the 12 months, they rose in France (up
22 per cent), Germany (12 per cent), Austria (65 per cent) and Spain (27 per
cent) as pressure from migration continued to be a European-wide issue.

The British Government in particular remains deeply unsettled by claims that
Britain is being "swamped" by asylum claims. It seemed more than a
coincidence that the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, chose yesterday to
announce plans for fast-track deportations of asylum-seekers whose claims
were judged to be "manifestly unfounded".

The announcement drew attention from the rise in asylum claims but also
disguised encouraging signs that increased resources put into the
immigration department are helping to reduce the backlog. Initial decisions
on cases rose by 9 per cent and reduced a backlog of applications that once
stood above 100,000 to 35,500.

Critics have argued that the hastiness of initial decisions has led to an in
crease in appeals, pushing the backlog further down the application process.
But the Home Office said yesterday that the number of appeals dealt with at
the start of 2002 rose to a quarterly record of 14,010.

There was a rise in the number of asylum-seekers asking for support from the
Home Office's National Asylum Support Service. The 17,540 NASS-support
applications was an increase of 13 per cent on the previous quarter.

At the end of March this year, there were 45,640 asylum-seekers dispersed
around Britain in NASS-approved accommodation. The largest numbers were in
Yorkshire and Humberside (9,460); the North-west (8,870) and the West
Midlands (8,030), with only 1,870 living in London.

A further 30,740 asylum-seekers were living with friends or relatives and
only receiving subsistence support, of which the great majority (21,370)
were in London. Some 1,370 failed asylum-seekers are being held in

Migration patterns continue to fluctuate according to political,
environmental and social changes around the globe. The top five asylum
applicant countries for Britain in the financial year 2001-02 were
Afghanistan (9,640), Iraq (7,670), Somalia (6,405), Sri Lanka (5,325) and
Turkey (3,340). But during the first three months of this year applications
fell sharply from three of these countries: Turkey (down 22 per cent), Sri
Lanka (down 13 per cent) and Somalia (down 6 per cent).

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Zimbabwe proves a difficult test case for Nepad
Dumisani Muleya

AS African and G8 leaders prepare to meet over the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) in Canada next month, analysts say the Zimbabwe crisis provides a test case for the project's peer review mechanism.

The movers of the African renaissance plan - modelled along the lines of the Marshall Plan for Europe after World War II - in March set up the peer monitoring system under Nepad's "Democracy and Political Governance Initiative" (DPGI) to enforce compliance with agreed democratic and governance standards.

The DPGI lists a series of obligations and actions, which conform to Nepad principles. Some of these include the need to fix terms of office for elected leaders, upholding human rights, separation of powers, the rule of law, political and civil rights, freedom of expression and press freedom.

Analysts say Zimbabwe, which falls far short in most if not all of these requirements, provides an efficacy test for the peer review mechanism.

"It won't be easy," says associate editor of African Business magazine, Tom Nevin. "Zimbabwe hovers over Nepad's chances in Canada like Damocles' sword."

Nepad, seen as an African initiative for African problems, seeks to woo US$64 billion in annual investment and trade for the continent from industrialised countries on conditions of democracy and good governance.

Essentially, Nepad is an amalgamation of South Africa's Millennium Partnership for African Recovery Programme (MAP) and Senegal's Omega Plan. Out of the merger, the New African Initiative was formed. It was later approved by the OAU in July last year in Lusaka and endorsed by the G8 in Genoa, Italy. Its blueprint was finalised in October last year.

South Africa, Algeria, Senegal, Nigeria and Egypt initiated Nepad. The project's secretariat is currently based in Midrand, South Africa.

Countries join Nepad by signing up to the laid-down principles. They also have to agree to external peer review - which is key to the project's success - every three years. There are four categories of signatories to the deal: Nepad-compliant, aspiring to Nepad compliance but in need of assistance, wilfully non-compliant, and post-conflict societies requiring special reconciliation and reconstruction.

Many meetings have been held on the project so far. African leaders are expected to attend the African Development Bank's symposium on Nepad on Monday on the eve of the bank's annual meeting in Addis Ababa.

Although Zimbabwe is not yet a member of Nepad, its highly contagious crisis - which is destabilising the entire region - could sabotage the project.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, the principal Nepad architect, has repeatedly stressed the significance of establishing a credible and effective peer checking system to ensure African leaders break with past records of dictatorship and corruption to adopt democracy and good governance.

Mbeki, who has admitted failure on Zimbabwe, last week emerged from talks on Nepad with Nordic leaders in Oslo bubbling with satisfaction over their endorsement of his plan.

The following day, he also left Downing Street rubbing his hands with glee after British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Canadian premier Jean Chretien pledged support for Nepad at the forthcoming G8 summit in Kananaskis, Alberta, on June 27/29.

Observers say having failed to restrain President Robert Mugabe in the past two years, Mbeki's strategy now is to quarantine the Harare regime to prevent the Zimbabwe contagion spilling over.

UK under-secretary of State Baroness Amos last week provided an insight on this approach.

"Nepad officials have expressed concern that Zimbabwe is being used as a test case for the process," Amos said. "African leaders have argued that the continent should not be judged on the actions of just one country."

However, critics say although Zimbabwe is not a make-or-break try-out for Nepad, it is certainly a hurdle, which cannot be removed by quarantining or "quiet diplomacy".

While Mbeki and other Nepad promoters wax enthusiastic about the upcoming Canada meeting, analysts maintain Zimbabwe - undergoing a man-made crisis - remains a steeplechase for them.

Professor John Stremlau, head of international relations and co-director of the Centre of Africa's International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand, says Zimbabwe provides a litmus test for Nepad ideals.

"Nepad will face some early tests of the peer review," Stremlau said. "These will indicate whether the experiment in building international cooperation from below can succeed. How Zimbabwe's crisis is resolved is the most obvious test."

Although G8 leaders rejected Mugabe's recent disputed re-election and actually warned Nepad was at risk due to his purported victory, they now seem to have bought wholesale Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's claims the intransigent Zimbabwean leader has been reined-in.

Statements by Blair and Chretien in London last week as well as the remarks by Canadian High Commissioner to South Africa, Lucie Edwards, indicate a dramatic shift in Western leaders' views on the issue.

Blair was hopeful about Nepad's prospects after meeting Mbeki. He said: "It's very, very important that we focus on this as a key theme for the upcoming G8 summit. I am reasonably optimistic at this stage that we will manage to get a good deal out of the summit."

But after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum, Australia, in March Blair noted: "If there is any sense in which African countries appear ambivalent towards good governance, this is one thing that will undermine the confidence of the Western world in helping them."

Edwards - in line with Blair, Chretien and Mbeki's new bid to whitewash the Zimbabwe situation - last week tried to air-brush Zimbabwe from the G8 picture, saying African leaders could not act on Mugabe before the recent presidential election because the Nepad peer review system was not then in place. She said the mechanism was beginning to work as indicated by Mbeki and Obasanjo's support of the decision to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.

That move, prompted by the rigging of the recent poll, saw Nepad's supervision system "passing its first test", Edwards said.

However, in an editorial last week, the Mail & Guardian joined the Zimbabwe Independent in rejecting this.

The Johannesburg paper said claims that Mugabe has been contained were deceitful.

"Mbeki's message (to Nordic leaders) was that he and Obasanjo have brought Mugabe to heel, and that Nepad's pledge to African democracy for Western economic assistance remains on course," it said. "Presumably because they are anxious for an African success story, European leaders, including Blair, are colluding in this lie."

The paper went further: "The most grotesque case of wilful blindness was a statement by Edwards, that the 'dangerous corner' of Zimbabwe has been passed 'relatively smoothly', that 'the first test had been overcome' and that Mbeki and Obasanjo's acceptance of Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth had saved the day."

The M&G said despite this pretence, facts on the ground showed the situation has not changed from what it was before the election and, if anything, was getting worse. Human rights groups say violence is still continuing and the arrests of journalists have reached new levels.

"With corrupt and brutally repressive governments in place, passively endorsed by South Africa and the West, no amount of aid will make a difference. It is little short of ominous that Nepad is being laid on a foundation of lies and the international betrayal of the rights of ordinary Africans," the paper concluded.

Director of the Public Service Accountability Monitor at Rhodes University in South Africa, Colm Allan, said Nepad's peer review would fail as long as it was left in the hands of African leaders who regard each other as revolutionary comrades and not democratic peers.

"This mechanism will fail in its task if reviews happen only periodically and rigorous criteria - and the consequences for deviant governments - are not spelled out," Allan said. "It seems that African heads of state will be left to judge their own performance. The proposed peer review shows that Nepad leaders do not yet recognise accountable governance as a relationship between governments and citizens."

Instead of solidarity reviews, he said, independent monitors from civil society were needed to supervise the leaders.

Research director at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, Sweden, Henning Melber, recently pointed out what the problem was.

"They (African leaders) try to sell this commitment (to democracy and good governance) in return for massive material support from donors," Melber said. "But while they open their hands for aid, they are closing their eyes when the need for peer review arises."

Henning said double standards such as those shown by Mbeki and Obasanjo when they endorsed Mugabe's re-election as "legitimate" in their own countries and then upheld the Commonwealth observer team report - which said the poll was rigged - were terribly damaging. "They are disloyal to the political values they claim to cultivate and protect," he said. "By backing a despotic leader they betray the temporary hope they fuelled in this initiative (Nepad)."

Critics say whether Nepad backers like it or not, Zimbabwe remains a roadblock for them and far from passing any test, they have yet to prove their mettle.

"Investors will put money into viable nations but those nations must in turn make sure they deal with the conflicts on their doorstep," said Comfort Ero, of the International Crisis Group.

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Yes, There Are Alternatives

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
May 31, 2002
Posted to the web May 30, 2002
Greg Mills

Quiet diplomacy and armed force are not the only options for dealing with
the Zimbabwe crisis.
Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel has said with regard to Zimbabwe: "They
say quiet diplomacy has failed. Should we act like Ariel Sharon? Should we?
Should we just go in there; kick butt; blow them up; drive over their cars;
should we send in our tanks? If there are alternative solutions, let's hear
what they are." The minister's rhetorical flourish on what is the purview of
the Department of Foreign Affairs and the presidency is something of a
surprise. It is hard to imagine Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon
Brown, for example, lamenting British foreign policy thus.
His statement comes at a critical moment, on the back of news that ruling
Zanu-PF is ratcheting up the pressure on Zimbabwe's independent media, of
critical food shortages and continuing land appropriations and invasions,
and of the recent breakdown in the talks between Zanu-PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The South African government has, quite understandably, attempted to avoid
the portrayal of its actions over the Zimbabwe crisis as a test of the will
of African governments to self-sanction the behaviour of fellow leaders, the
core tenet of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). But in
reality, it is.
A key question remains unanswered in this regard: why did President Thabo
Mbeki not seek a different course to quiet diplomacy over Zimbabwe when he
was aware - as admitted publicly - that it did not work in the face of
President Robert Mugabe's obduracy, and he was aware of the high potential
costs to Nepad?
While some may ask a similar question over his HIV/Aids policy, this
comparison is not only a cheap shot, but does not offer any insight. Was it
because Pretoria had no option but to engage Zimbabwe? Was President Mbeki
outwitted by Mr Mugabe? Or did he go along with what the Zimbabwean leader
was doing? Was quiet diplomacy adhered to precisely because the West
expected a different course - a sensitivity exacerbated arguably by
Britain's Minister for Europe Peter Hain's less than helpful (if honest)
diplomatic interventions? Was it because the MDC was seen early on to be
cosying up to South Africa's Democratic Alliance? Or did President Mbeki
fear the regional contagion of the effect of sanctions, with large-scale
refugee flows and evictions into South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique
and Botswana? Or was the explanation for Mbeki's policy an awareness that
African support for Nepad was contingent on not taking a tougher line with
Harare - because other African states would not support the development
initiative if what could be done to Harare today might be done to them
Mr Manuel's comment is as encouraging as it is disingenuous. For more than
two years alternatives to South Africa's policy of quiet diplomacy have been
offered, but never in the stark, radical terms that he asserts. Intervention
and engagement are not a case of black or white, of invasion, as he
suggests, or of hand-wringing, as we have now. But leaving that aside, in
responding to the minister's more positive invitation, what are the
alternatives and the possible outcomes?
There are three core strategies to try to solve the Zimbabwe crisis. The
first of these is to keep talking: to try to create a transitional unity
government incorporating the MDC and Zanu-PF as a means to reduce the levels
of violence and normalise the political and economic environment. The
success of this attempt will, in the short term, hinge on the participation
and commitment of both parties; in the longer term it is dependent on the
conditions attached to such an arrangement. It is unlikely, in this regard,
that the MDC will agree to a pact that will see it swallowed by Mugabe's
party. And Zanu-PF is unlikely to enter into an arrangement that will lead
to a free election that, if the results of the last one were anything to go
by, could see it out of office.
The second option is simply to allow the situation in Zimbabwe to run its
course, allowing the political situation to evolve "naturally", free from
outside intervention. The costs of this are great, however, not only in
terms of the number of lives lost or destroyed in Zimbabwe itself, but also
to the image of South Africa and its Nepad partners as responsible states
concerned with good governance, human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
Were South Africa to engage the principle of enlightened self-interest, it
would surely conclude that quiet diplomacy is no longer in this country's,
or indeed the region's, best interest. No reason other than the spectre of a
regional famine of catastrophic proportions should be required to force
Pretoria into a more engaged role in the Zimbabwean crisis.
The third option is thus to become more involved, rather than simply to
delegate the task to special envoys or other institutions, such as the
Commonwealth, where South Africa's influence is diluted even though its
political vulnerability is lessened. What form could this take? There are a
range of choices between invasion and quiet diplomacy: strongly worded
démarches; tough presidential statements; a more open cultivation of ties
with the MDC and its leadership; working more closely with those
international partners tougher on Zimbabwe (such as the United States);
motivating for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Southern African Development
Community; tighter border controls; initiating public debate on sanctions;
military manoeuvres near the border; targeted sanctions on Zanu-PF's elite,
including a ban on airflights and a freeze of personal assets; and finally
oil and electricity sanctions. This does not, as the finance minister
dismissively suggested, have to involve immediately the use of tanks or
attacks on civilians. Rather, it entails the legitimate use of pressure on
an increasingly out-of-control government that is apparently immune to
carrots and sweet-talking.
But Mr Manuel is right to look for alternatives. Zimbabwe is sliding fast
down the slope towards ungovernability and economic collapse, with what from
the vantage of most election observers is likely an illegal government at
the helm. If South Africa does nothing now, it is more likely to have to
send the tanks in later. Moreover, South Africa's role in Zimbabwe has to do
with the "saleability" of Nepad as a concept of African self-governance and
regulation, whether Pretoria likes this or not. After all, if not Zimbabwe,
what other state, when and how?
Dr Greg Mills is the national director of the South African Institute of
International Affairs

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      Peoples Daily
      Zimbabwean President Calls for Unity in Meeting Challenges
      Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Thursday that there was a
need for stakeholder unity and consensus in addressing the economic and
other challenges facing the country, including the negative publicity
against it.
      Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Thursday that there was a
need for stakeholder unity and consensus in addressing the economic and
other challenges facing the country, including the negative publicity
against it.

      "It should be our collective responsibility to raise to these
challenges as Zimbabweans with a common vision regardless of our narrow
individual and corporate interests and preferences," he said.

      "Our challenge is to transform the negative perceptions of Zimbabwe
into positive outcomes. Together in a win-win spirit, we can indeed make
Zimbabwe great," said Mugabe.

      The president was officially launching the National Economic
Consultative Forum (NECF) CD-ROM Interactive Zimbabwe 2002 Directory. The
directive, launched live on the Internet, is an electronic guide project
aimed at correcting the misconceptions against the country.

      "This occasion marks a welcome phase in our concerted fight against
the negative international publicity against our country," Mugabe said.

      He said over the past four years the government and its leadership had
been subjected to a persistent and malicious media onslaught because of the
serious attempts at redressing the skewed land distribution and ownership

      The NECF CD-ROM project, Mugabe said, provided a factual and
authoritative exposition and articulation of Zimbabwe for the benefit of the
scholars, tourists and investors.

      The president said it was pleasing to note that the CD-ROM provided an
opportunity for individuals and private companies to advertise their
products globally.

      This, he said, would contribute towards the promotion of trade,
investment and overall economic development.

      Mugabe paid tribute to the NECF Media Task Force for coming up with
such a project.

      The CD-ROM project is a compilation of various video clips depicting
such issues as Zimbabwe's major tourist attraction areas, the history of
Zimbabwe, the land reform program and numerous banking and financial
institutions available in the country.

      The project, which was sponsored by the United Nations Development
Program, was aimed at assisting the tourism industry to recover from
negative publicity.

      Zimbabwe has been receiving negative publicity from mainly the private
and international media because of its efforts to redistribute land to
landless peasants.

      The occasion was attended by senior government officials, members of
the diplomatic corps, the business community and stakeholders in the tourism
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Paranoia helping fuel economic decline

THE concise Oxford Dictionary defines "paranoia" as an "abnormal tendency to suspect and mistrust others" and as a "mental derangement with delusions of grandeur". In devising such definitions, there must have been precognition of many that constitute Zimbabwe's government and, even more so, many of those that are the authors of screeds of paranoiac diatribes that appear with nauseating frequency in the government-controlled media. Any form of mental derangement is tragic, deserving of sympathy and understanding, but the tragedy is multiplied manifold when it repercusses severely upon others.

This is so of the government-controlled media to such a very great degree that it has become a major contributor to the accelerating decline of the economy, intensifying the hardships of the millions who should be beneficiated by government concern and caring, instead of afflicted by government derangement.

Government has a deep-seated conviction that anything that occurs within the Zimbabwean economy that is negative or adverse is a deliberate act of its opponents, motivated only out of hatred for government, racial hostility and determination to achieve economic collapse in order to bring down the government and the economy or to hurt the indigenous population. But almost always there is not only no foundation to those beliefs of government and its puppet media, but in fact other occurrences which occasion those unfounded contentions are usually wholly due to the acts of omission or commission of the state, and not of those whom government and its media see fit to accuse.

The examples are plentiful. Almost every time any business goes into liquidation or closes down operations, allegations abound that the enterprise's failure is but a political ploy of the proprietors to embarrass government, or a strategy to dismiss labour. That the owners of the business are invariably the greatest losers is disregarded. No person with even a modicum of intelligence would believe that any would deliberately inflict upon themselves massive losses of invested capital, compounded by ongoing commitments and losses on account of guarantees given to bankers, suppliers and landlords, and deprive themselves of their livelihood, in order to achieve some political advantage for opponents of government, or in order to rid the business of employees. The prejudice to the business proprietors vastly outweighs the alleged objectives.

In like manner, in the present era of shortages, there are recurrent allegations of hoarding by manufacturers, distributors and retailers, which would be a senseless act on their part, causing them as great, or greater, hardship than that which befalls the populace desperately seeking the products in short supply. Sales are the life-blood of any business and, if it cannot sell for a period of time, it must be on the route to collapse.

However, selling goods at below cost, other than on a rare and exceptional basis, sets the enterprise upon the same route. Thus, whilst the accusers of private enterprise, contend intentional hoarding with the sole intents of discomforting the populace and of demonstrating the fallibility of price controls, the real grounds of holding stocks and not releasing them for sale are, on the rare occasions that that occurs, that the enterprises cannot afford to trade at below cost, with consequential untenable losses.

Similar accusations of deliberate non-manufacture in order to cause hardships and pressurise government to rescind price controls are regularly directed against manufacturers. Admittedly, price controls have driven some to cease or to curtail manufacture, but not in order to gain political advantage for those opposed to government, not in order to occasion widespread hardship, and not with the primary intent of forcing reversal of price controls (although that is necessarily an indirect objective), but because the price controls of most products are so unrealistically set that continued manufacture would result in even greater losses than those which suspension of manufacture will cause.

The same misinterpretations exist in respect of the agricultural sector, because of the entrenched, malevolent hatred that has set in within the corridors of government against whites in general, and white farmers in particular. Whensover a farmer submits his livestock herd to slaughter, he is castigated and threatened with retributory actions. He is said to be pursuing a "scorched earth" policy out of resentment for government's foolhardy pursuit of a "fast-track", unjust nationally harmful, land acquisition, redistribution and resettlement programme, instead of one that is equitable, constructive and nationally beneficial.

In practice, he is consigning his livestock to the abattoir because he has no alternative. In many instances he has no grazing for his cattle, either due to drought or due to the ravages and vandalisation of those who have settled upon his farm, usually unilaterally. He cannot substitute manufactured cattle feed for the missing grazing, for the combination of governmental mismanagement of strategic stocks, the destruction of crops by war veterans and other settlers, and the counterproductive price controls have made the availability of cattle feed as scarce as Zimbabwe government intellect and integrity. In other instances, he is slaughtering his cattle in a desperate attempt to salvage a little capital, for he can place no trust in government paying fair, timeous compensation.

For identical reasons, and not for political, racial or like motives, farmers have been removing equipment from their lands. They do so because all of government's actions to date have been such as to ferment various great doubts that any fiscal compensation will be forthcoming upon the farmers being ousted from their farms which, in most instances, are the resultant of a lifetime of work and investment of capital, turning unutilised, unproductive lands into arable, yielding farms.

The farmers know that upon being deprived by government of almost all that they have striven for over decades and generations, they will be faced with near destitution, unless they can at the very least save some of their movables.

The latest specious attacks in the media have focussed upon banks for failure to make loans and other facilities available to newly-settled farmers. The press has sought to suggest that the refusals of funding are only founded upon racialism. (If that were so, and with the majority of Zimbabwe's banks now being owned and managed by indigenous Zimbabweans, why are such banks not making the advances sought by the new farmers!). The real reasons for the reluctance to lend are that most of the intending borrowers can offer no collateral to secure their borrowings and, as a general rule, banks must be given security, for they are lending the monies of third party depositors.

Government has steadfastly scorned and spurned well-intentioned advice that no land programme can possibly be successful if it does not include the according of land tenure security to the farmer. He must be given title, both so that he is assured of continuing occupancy for himself, his family and his heirs, and so that he has the borrowing powers assured by the collateral value of the land.

The further reason for bankers' reticence to make advances to many of the new farmers is that those farmers are unable to submit "bankable" propositions. They cannot demonstrate that they have the requisite expertise to assure viability of operations, or that they have access to that expertise, or that they have access to all necessary inputs for operating success.

The deliberately fostered racial divide is also an increasing contributor to the country's economic decline. In the main, it is a one-way divide, for almost all the racialistic attacks are emanating from government, its media, war veterans, and the promoters of affirmative action. Thus, for example, the president and many of his ministers have scathingly attacked whites, accusing them of spurning reconciliation and perpetuating discrimination against blacks, substantiating their allegations by stating that whites have almost entirely supported the principal opposition party, MDC, instead of supporting Zanu PF.

However, as almost all the hierarchy of MDC, inclusive of its president, and almost all of its members, are blacks, albeit that that party does espouse multiracialism and, therefore, also has white and Asian members, it is difficult to comprehend how support for that party is evidence of entrenched discrimination against blacks, and a rejection of the concepts of reconciliation. Instead, it is clearly the ruling party which seeks to continue division between the races, instead of encouraging national unity.

And by doing so, it fosters fears, both within Zimbabwe an beyond, of imminent racial confrontation and conflict, and that deters the critically needed investment, both foreign and domestic, which could create much needed employment opportunities, enhanced exports, and economic growth.

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How much to see rhino dung - in US dollars?

WHERE have all the animals in Matusadona gone? Last Saturday Patricia Mabviko's programme This is Zimbabwe, meant to promote tourism, took us to Matusadona National Park. In an area called Changachirere the guide told the small band of tourists that there were elephants, rhinos and other big game.

They must have been lurking in the long grass. On a one-hour game drive none of them showed up. The only evidence the touring party saw were warm rhino droppings and an occasional spoor but no big game. In the end the guide had to apologise about the non-appearance of the wildlife and the tourists trooped back to their boat. They could be forgiven for feeling they had not been given their money's worth. How much to see rhino dung - in US dollars?

Meanwhile, in the press jungle we were intrigued by Tarzen Mandizvidza's Media Watch on Monday when he spoke glowingly about restructuring at ZBC. As he was making his declaration about ZBC becoming a mean and more efficient machine a trailer at the bottom of the screen to announce the next programme read: "Next - Weeknend Scroreboard". Hopefully the restructuring programme will involve teaching the staffers how to run the spellcheck!

Keeping you up to date on Nigerian money scams, the latest application we have comes from a Janet Garba who says she is the wife of the late Pedro Garba "who died recently in the ongoing land dispute in Zimbabwe". Before his death Pedro Garba deposited US$20 million in South Africa in the form of gemstones, we are told.

"Since the law of South Africa prohibits an asylum seeker to operate a bank account or to be involved in any financial transaction, I am now saddled with the responsibility of seeking a genuine foreign account into which this money can be transferred without the knowledge of my home government who are bent on taking everything we have got."

Having given us the sob story, Janet says her son George will handle any negotiations.

"We are willing to negotiate on what percentage of total fund to pay you for your assistance and involvement in making the proposed transaction a success after the consignment is released from storage. If you are willing to assist us, please contact my son on: Tel/fax 27-82-39-27-999, email: for more details."

We did. The e-mail name sounded West African. And the phone number was definitely Johannesburg. So we called it. The person who answered claimed to be George Garba, a Zimbabwean refugee. So we tested his Shona, and sure enough he didn't speak a word of it. He was in fact Nigerian. He suggested we fax down our details. We said thanx but no thanx - in Yoruba!

Questions are repeatedly asked in the South African media about that country's commitment to fighting crime. With Nigerian money-scam syndicates operating out of Johannesburg with impunity, we also have our doubts.

The number of those admitted to the feeding trough of farm allocations shows the extent to which land has been used as a tool to purchase political support over the past couple of years. At the same time alternative power centres such as trade unions and opposition parties have been weakened by a policy of repression.

Revolutionary author Frantz Fanon, writing in the 1950s, forecast with remarkable prescience events in Zimbabwe.

"In Africa the countries that come to independence are as unstable as their new middle classes or renovated princes. After a few hesitant steps in the international arena the middle classes, no longer feeling the threat of the traditional colonial power, suddenly develop great appetites.

"As they do not yet have any political experience, they think they can conduct political affairs like their businesses: perquisites, threats, even despoiling of the victims. The discontented workers undergo a repression as pitiless as that of the colonial period. Trade unions and opposition political parties are confined to a quasi-clandestine state. The people, who had given everything in the difficult moments of the struggle for liberation, wonder with their empty hands and bellies as to the reality of their 'victory'."

Nothing better illustrates this emasculation of worker power than the announcement this week that Labour minister July Moyo will be taking two delegations to Geneva with him for an ILO meeting, one from the ZCTU and the other from the ZFTU. Both are ILO affiliates, we are told.

Is it true that the ILO has recognised what many Zimbabweans regard as a Zanu PF-sponsored gang of extortionists as bona fide representative of Zimbabwean workers? And that the ZCTU is content to travel with these people to Geneva where they will be given a platform by the ILO? Will the ZFTU's spokesman Joseph Chinotimba, who was prominent among those in the ruling party threatening judges last year, speak at this meeting? And will we as a nation be judged by his contribution to the deliberations? God help us!

Media diversity is an important ingredient of a robust democracy. Which is why we welcome newcomers such as the Sunday Mirror which proclaims its support for nationalism and Pan-Africanism. Our first inclination was to let the inaugural edition pass without comment as a gesture of goodwill. But the editorial leader column was so full of offensive and misleading remarks about the independent media that goodwill would be a pointless gesture in the face of such partisan posturing. For instance it accuses private papers of abusing press freedom by carrying stories that "denigrate local Zimbabwean initiatives, including indigenous business personalities and local politicians".

That is exactly the language of Zanu PF and the Department of Information which believe their miscreant mandarins should be beyond scrutiny or rebuke. The Mirror talks about "media imperialism" and claims that "some privately-owned papers have been used as proxy forces in the neo-colonial struggle". These "foreign interests" have an agenda to control the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans, the paper darkly claims.

This is nothing new. It has been the Mirror's line since the government lost the 2000 referendum and came very close to losing the subsequent election. But that setback is best explained by the emergence of a new generation of Zimbabweans unimpressed by the pretensions of the locust class that has fed on the nation since 1980. Politicians claiming to be nationalists and Pan-Africanists have had 22 years to improve standards of living and promote democratic reform. Instead they have left a trail of national corrosion.

The Mirror's publisher knows perfectly well that no Zimbabwean papers are foreign-owned. But by repeating paranoid Zanu PF claims about the private press, the paper exposes its umbilical cord to the ruling party which has never really been cut despite occasionally losing its head. If the hearts and minds of most Zimbabweans increasingly belong to the independent press and its democratic allies, that is because the sort of arguments advanced by the Mirror have been utterly discredited in recent years. Nationalism and sovereignty cannot feed people, except perhaps the Libyans.

If the paper is miffed that punters declined to buy its electoral forecast predicting President Mugabe's return to office in March, that could be because, apart from getting it wrong the last time, there is a perception that the wish was father to the thought. Has the Mirror ventured a single criticism of an electoral process that actually prevented tens of thousands of people from voting?

We will resist the temptation to comment on analysts who regard Stan Mudenge as a serious contender in the succession stakes, especially when we are improbably told he has "already made his mark as an able foreign minister and grown in stature over the last few years". Nor will we query columnists who happily swallow explanations in the Herald as to why Zanu PF pulled out of the inter-party talks.

But we will take issue with any newspaper that says the media should not be too critical of politicians or businessmen who have plundered the country's resources and now blame "neo-colonialism" or globalisation for our plight. That sort of indulgent cronyism and dishonest thinking got us into this mess.

We note Jonathan Moyo's widely publicised remarks that farmers who refused to obey Joseph Made's orders to plant a winter crop would be served with a Section 8 eviction order "sooner rather than later". In other words, even if they do plant winter wheat they will still be evicted once it has been harvested. And Made is now threatening to suspend compensation payments to farmers whose land has been acquired. This applies to fixed property such as dams and barns.

Now if you were a farmer and you knew that no matter how hard you worked to feed the nation, malevolent ministers pursuing a racist agenda would boot you off your farm without compensation what would you do?

Just when the government was basking in the glow of remarks by a party of gullible American tour operators that they couldn't find anything amiss at Zimbabwe's resorts, John Nkomo goes and declares that the international community should not cry foul if the government blocks the admission of Westerners. This would be in retaliation for smart sanctions he said.

The point about smart sanctions is that they are targeted at President Mugabe and his associates, not ordinary Zimbabweans who are welcome as tourists in Europe and the US. Nkomo knows that perfectly well but wants everybody else to suffer with him. He should stop talking nonsense or we will call him an Aeneas!

And his claim that "every eligible Zimbabwean" has participated in elections since 1980 must be the tallest story of the year. Will somebody please tell him how many people were turned away from polling stations in Harare alone on March 9/11.

There seems to be some confusion at the Herald about Nepad. The penny hasn't dropped yet that this project does not include Zimbabwe, therefore President Mugabe's posturing is irrelevant.

Last Saturday a columnist called Zodwa Magama was explaining how African leaders in Dakar committed themselves to breaking with a past of misrule as they courted Western support for their ambitious revival plan. Then the following paragraph was slipped in: "By rejecting Western-backed economic reforms, Zimbabwe is pointing the way towards a Pan-African declaration of economic independence".

Really! Is that what's happening?

And Lovemore Mataire, writing a pathetically slavish piece on President Mugabe's remarks about the need for mental decolonisation, said that the first step must come by "affirming our historical heritage, for it is from that process that truth is affirmed while falsehoods are diminished".

It evidently hadn't occurred to him that there might be more than one view of history - that historians might have different interpretations of the past - although it must be said the country seems to have had one view of historian Aeneas Chigwedere last week!

Is this Lovemore Mataire who is telling us about the need to diminish falsehoods the same Lovemore Mataire who the Commonwealth Secretariat accused of reporting falsehoods about General Abubakar a few weeks ago? Let's hope not because we don't want to have to kurutsiswa, to employ Claude Mararike's usage, articles of this sort!

And let's hope the "Henry Melber" referred to in the article is not related to Dr Henning Melber, the notable Namibian academic, because he would be mortified to find that his work on civic rights was being abused by second-rate Zanu PF publicists!

David Parirenyatwa is one of the more level-headed ministers in our cabinet of clowns. But his remarks on Africa being underrepresented at the World Health Organisation need to be challenged.

He complained that there are not enough Africans involved in decison-making at the WHO and Africa was therefore compromised in terms of the resources flowing to the continent.

Let's spell it out for him. Africa has a history of giving healthcare low priority. How for instance does it compare in Zimbabwe as a percentage of government spending with Defence or the allocation to the President's Office? Zimbabwe's priorities are in the Congo, not with the health of its own people.

In South Africa President Mbeki is in denial about HIV and Aids. His government has tried to block schemes that would save the babies of nursing mothers by reducing HIV transmission. South African ministers and officials, whatever their views on the scientific arguments, have been obliged to follow the eccentric line of their president because that is the African way.

If Dr Parirenyatwa wants more Africans in decision-making at the WHO, he will first have to ensure Africa is taken seriously in terms of its commitment to healthcare for its people. That is the right way.

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Publish Windhoek resolution on Zimbabwe

A RESOLUTION passed by ruling parties from eight Southern African countries at a meeting in Windhoek last week needs to be given the widest possible circulation. It points to exactly why the much-touted Nepad project will fail ù in this region if not elsewhere. Nepad ties investment and trade to improved governance in Africa.

In language that is now wearyingly familiar, the ruling parties of Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe congratulated President Mugabe on his "convincing" win "against all odds" in the recent presidential election. They condemned the "grossly fabricated and far-fetched propaga-nda deliberately perpetrated against the government" and "attempts to install puppet regimes that guarantee the exploitation of our resources".

Needless to say, they ignored the disqualification of tens of thousands of would-be voters, moves to prevent thousands of others voting in places like Harare, the creation of no-go zones for the opposition, the manipulation of the public media, the use of military and intelligence personnel as electoral officials, and last but certainly not least, the systematic violence directed at opposition candidates and supporters by the ruling party.

The resolution was couched in the redundant and hidebound language of an earlier era. The parties claimed the intense focus on Zimbabwe and the region in the West was a reflection of British and Western interests in the region.

Paranoia aside, this is partly true. There is disbelief in the West that a prosperous and self-sufficient economy has been in the course of a few years successfully sabotaged by its own government. That other countries in the region, in a gesture of misplaced solidarity, have endorsed electoral theft and blatant misrule is of obvious concern to governments overseas that seek a stable investment climate for their companies.

Which is why they should not allow President Thabo Mbeki to get away with a smoke-and-mirrors act at the G8 summit in Canada next month. He will claim his government is encouraging political dialogue in Harare and a restoration of the rule of law on the land.

He has reportedly written a letter to Mugabe to that effect. But that is just about all he has done. His government was among those endorsing the flawed electoral outcome and his party supported the Windhoek resolution. This included "unequivocal" support for Zimbabwe's violent and lawless land acquisition programme, even if the delegates did pay lipservice to legal due pro-cess.

Newspapers last week published the names of beneficiaries of the A2 resettlement scheme. Two things stand out. Firstly, the list reads like a rollcall of leading members of the regime and their associates in the armed forces and the public service. Even state propagandists masquerading as "journalists" have been included. But in addition to favouring Zanu PF supporters, the list also looks suspiciously like an awards system. Those who have loyally served the regime in the period between 2000 and the presidential poll have been recognised by the gift of land.

Despite the nationalist posturing of Information minister Jonathan Moyo, an impression of cosy nest-feathering is everywhere evident. Recipients include senior army officers, police commanders and their spokesmen, governors, MPs, war veterans, and even officials responsible for the land allocation system itself.

In other words, those responsible for upholding the law but who refused to do so either because they had been told not to intervene or because they claimed not to have the resources have been rewarded for turning a blind eye to lawlessness. Those who justified the land seizures by repeating the ruling party's claims to be instituting a programme of revolutionary justice have also benefited from their betrayal of their professional duty and the public interest.

What the new arrangements do is create a landed class which is bound to Zanu PF and its survival by a system of patronage that is distinctly medieval. The new landlords will be expected to defend the existing order by mobilising in support of their benefactor when called upon to do so. It cannot have been lost on the public that senior officials responsible for supervising the electoral system are among the beneficiaries. These include the Registrar-General who has been accused of arbitrary management of the Citizenship Act and voter registration.

This baronial class will now be more than ever convinced that their fortunes are tied up with those of President Mugabe's feudal state. The system of law and its enforcement will be further suborned and Zimbabwe will sink to the level of other failed African states whose institutions revolve around the political needs of an all-powerful despot. It will be understandably spurned by international bodies such as the EU and Commonwealth, not because deserving individuals or historically disadvantaged groups have been empowered as the regime would have us believe, but because people were killed, assaulted and dispossessed to win votes when lawful, consensual, and agriculturally productive means were possible.

Furthermore, the process of lawless and often violent land redistribution is directly tied to increased repression of civil society, curtailment of workers' rights, and declining living standards caused by slash-and-burn economic policies.

This is the scenario regional ruling parties endorsed in Windhoek last week. Their fear is that democratic formations, harnessing trade union and civic support, will cultivate the same electoral base as the opposition has successfully done in Zimbabwe. They feel threatened by the democratic forces mobilising across the continent. Where regimes such as Zimbabwe's have used force and repression to roll back the democratic tide others sigh with relief and welcome the reprieve.

These are the same parties whose leaders expect to qualify for the US$64 billion on offer at the G8 gathering in Alberta at the end of next month.

When their application is made by Mbeki, last week's Windhoek resolution on Zimbabwe needs to be prominently published by local newspapers so everybody is aware of the "values" Sadc ruling parties uphold.

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Patriotism has a dark side to it

WHAT is patriotism? Is it allegiance to our beloved Zimbabwe or is it a cross to carry?

Patriotism can best be described as a common sentiment that ties together races, religions and ethnic groups, but patriotism has a dark side too.

National pride may give way to dictators like Robert Mugabe and clones leading to a clash of dissenting views. Patriotism should inspire us to serve in the military like the first and second Chimurenga, not the DRC, not the "third chimurenga", or to serve in government, not Zanu PF. Patriotism should inspire us to serve our communities with the common goal of developing our nation.

Patriotism is not just allegiance to a particular piece of land, nor is it changing names of institutions or creating a network of vigilante "green bombers" to enforce national loyalty.

Patriotism is not dragging opposition politicians, journalists, and all those who resist oppression from their homes to attend pungwes and take loyalty oaths and kiss flags to prove their allegiance or buy party cards. Being patriotic means living up to the ideals of the constitution, not amending it to suit your every whim, Jonah.

Patriotism is respecting the laws of the country you love and not following the dictates of dictators who think patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.

Patriots are those who fought to keep our land free. Freedom and human rights are, for most of us, the real source of national pride not politics or a single plot of land. Despite its virtues, patriotism is now obsolete in a world increasingly becoming globalised.

The problem in Zimbabwe is patriotic fervour which has run amok, squelching dissent and discouraging people from standing up against oppression because they would be labelled unpatriotic by motor-mouth Jonahs who think they epitomise "patriotism".

Everyone should know that patriotism is a national responsibility that consists, not of short, frenzied outbursts of emotions in the run-up to elections, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.

Machele Zvichele,



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From ZWNEWS, 31 May

Cambridge climbdown

In a rare climb down after strong protests led by black middle-class parents, Robert Mugabe’s administration has reversed its decision to ban pupils from writing international school-leaving examinations. At a news conference this week, Education, Sports and Culture Minister Aeneas Chigwedere also dumped a plan to order all schoolchildren to wear the same uniform. That move, too, had provoked widespread public protests – and provided a chilling reminder of the green-shirted unemployed youths paid by the Mugabe regime to physically attack and harass opposition supporters before presidential elections in March.

Chigwedere said the ban on Cambridge University's International General Certificate of Secondary Examinations (IGCSE) would be shelved just for this year, with students permitted to write in December. However, government officials at private meetings with parents went further and said the Cambridge examinations would be allowed next year as well, and that Cambridge had offered to "help" for a further two years with the locally-set examinations. Heads of independent schools welcomed the decision privately, but refused to comment publicly for fear of further embarrassing – and thus risking another clampdown – by Mugabe’s officials. The ban on Cambridge examinations, announced early May, would have stopped several thousand pupils at 10 private schools writing O, AS and A level examinations in October and November, the traditional year-end for Zimbabwean schools. The pupils, most of whom were 18 months into the Cambridge syllabus, were told they had either to change to the locally set and internationally unrecognised Zimsec syllabus, or faced having to travel to examination centres in neighbouring countries.

The ban, likely to aggravate the exodus of professionals of all races from Zimbabwe, produced an unusual coalition of protesters: the dwindling band of white Zimbabweans with high school-age children; members of the ruling Zanu PF elite, including Cabinet ministers who mostly educate their children at private schools or outside the country; and black urban professionals, many of whom are Mugabe opponents anyway. With unconscious irony, one former Mugabe minister protested that the ban was "undemocratic." Chigwedere, in an awkward attempt to distance himself from the original ban, told reporters: "This is the decision not of my ministry but of the government." Chigwedere also reversed a decision to force teachers to remain at their posts from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., even in schools operating daily double sessions. "The nation has responded and we now know we do not have majority support and the matter rests there," he said.

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The solution is an immediate election rerun

THE significant news last week regarding Zimbabwe was that the Malawi 2002 maize harvest will be about 65-70% of its normal production (and their normal consumption), and that the Zimbabwe 2002 harvest will be about 25%.

The climate and rainfall in the two neighbouring countries is similar (and has in the 2001-2002 growing season been very unfavourable), so one must assume that the explanation of the 40% difference lies in politics, in farm occupations, and in the climate of disruption and uncertainty.

The shame is that the actual benefit for landless peasants and the landless poor is minimal - the percentage of formerly white land redistributed is much smaller than the government propaganda machine states, and the percentage of that going to ministers, senior military and police officers, media sycophants, cronies, lackeys, informers and collaborators is much higher than the government admits.

Additionally, a large cause of the low production is the climate of uncertainty which exists among white and black commercial farmers who do not happen to support the government and the ruling party with words, deeds, contributions, protection money and silence. Therefore, we have a non-productive multiplier effect - if, say, 10% of white commercial farming land is occupied, the effect is to lower production by between 30% and 50%.

I am personally in favour of redistributing white farming land to the black population without any compensation being paid, over a 10-year period, and without any drop in production. One does not have to be pro-Mugabe and pro-Zanu PF to be in favour of radical and just land reform - in fact, the contrary.

If the international community openly or covertly accepts the phony result of the presidential election in 2002 then they will one way or the other have to pay hard cash to fix at some time in the near or distant future the damage to agriculture, industry, commerce and the economy which the present government is doing day by day and month by month.

Tell that to the taxpayers (of all classes) in the developed countries. The donor and non-governmental organisation community cannot be relied on to speak out because more poverty in Zimbabwe means more jobs for them and their boys.

The black population of Zimbabwe voted sensibly in 2002 and voted against Mugabe and against Zanu-PF. They do not now deserve what is happening to them and to their economy. If this happened in the West, there would be an immense scandal and the situation would be rectified. Because it happens to people who are black and poor, no-one in the West gives a toss.

The solution is an immediate election re-run, with every element of the operation being run by outsiders, especially the voting, the guarding and transportation of ballot boxes, and the counting process. This must be, of course, 100% paid for, also by the outsiders. And, regardless of who wins, aid funds and foreign exchange support must begin to flow again immediately after the election and in sizeable quantities.

If Mugabe won fairly, then he should jump at this offer.

Alex Weir,

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Comment from The Financial Gazette, 30 May

Enter Bob's Brigade

Over the past week, the media has been awash with lists of prime land and farms being given or taken over by prominent individuals within the ruling Zanu PF party and the government under the discredited land resettlement exercise. Save for the usual cry in the wilderness from Jonathan Moyo, who tries to justify the exercise by his peers, those of us in the know have just taken it within our stride as something that was long expected. To those who follow history, they will know that this is the second effort by Zanu PF to take land since the party came to power in 1980. During the first attempt on resettlement in the mid 1980s, members of the ruling clique hijacked most of the farms meant for that exercise. Zimbabweans should not be at least surprised by this new development because this is the nature of the beast and nothing has changed. When one looks back, it is easy to see why the party's own leadership code failed, why there was the motor vehicle scandal known as "Willowgate", the well written scam involving the new Harare International Airport and the looting of the War Victims Compensation Fund.

In Zimbabwe - as indeed in any poor African country – where there is supposedly free loot and the absence of the rule of law, thieves, robbers and muggers in whatever form will thrive. It is in cases of this nature that the so-called "wa Benz" culture has developed and one only needs to drive around Zimbabwe to verify this. The land resettlement slogan around town these days is "chefs first, people later!" Outright robbers, muggers and chancers from the onset have hijacked Zimbabwe's land resettlement programme for all its noble intentions. Imagine the situation on the commercial farms during the height of the farm invasions when ZANU PF supporters and war veterans took over farms, erected a camp on the site and literally possessed everything after ordering the owner to vacate even before the land was designated in the first place. There were reports of the invaders fighting among themselves over who should occupy the homestead or take over the dam or the herd of cattle. Braais galore were the order of the day as the settlers slaughtered beasts willy-nilly and crops were illegally harvested as the new owners took charge. It was free for all. Land preparation and crop production in the commercial farming sector was derailed as the Third Chimurenga took centre stage and the pertinent issues of food security became relegated to the back burner.

We need therefore not wonder about the current starvation that has resulted in normally basic commodities such mealie-meal becoming a luxury for ordinary Zimbabweans. We were bombarded during the election with slogans such as "Land is the Economy and the Economy is Land" to allow anarchy to take root on the farms and the "chefs" to grab as much land as possible in the meantime. Commercial farmers were forced to flee from their homes while those brave enough got entangled in fisticuffs and other violent confrontations with the new settlers. Some lost their lives in the process. At the height of the anarchy on the farms, President Robert Mugabe vowed he would not forcibly remove any of the new settlers from the properties they had invaded. The new settlers, on the other hand, paid their dues to Zanu PF by pushing its political agenda through violence and intimidation in the critical rural areas of the commercial farms and the villages ahead of the highly contested March election. The well-documented trail of blood and destruction that they left in their wake bears testimony to the success of the new settlers' and the war veterans' mission.

As it has now been revealed, the landless people of Svosve who because of genuine land need were forced to invade the first commercial farms have been exposed as just pawns in Zanu PF's larger scheme of things. The real beneficiaries of the land resettlement programme are the party "chefs" and their hangers-on who are taking over the properties while the new settlers are evicted and once again become landless. It is cherry picking time and those who get the best commercial farms are those who belong to the so-called "Bob's Brigade". These new invaders come in different shapes and sizes and their sophistication differs from one person to the other as well. I happen to have met some of them as they visited the farms which they would have targeted for confiscation and I must hasten to add that some of them do it in such a smooth manner and are so civil that the farmer is left perplexed.

This type of systematic farm invasion and takeover is done normally during the weekend by well-fed men driving or being driven in the latest Mercedes-Benzs or 4 x 4 Pajeros and the like who would be dressed in fashionable floral shirts, casual trousers and the customary dark shades. Some would be puffing fat cigars and enjoying generous tots of whisky as they drive around usually in the company of expensively dressed wives or mistresses. Normally, they visit the targeted farm after placing a call to the embattled farmer to discuss takeover details and to introduce themselves. The visit usually entails inspecting the whole farm, the homestead and the farm equipment before discussing cosmetic monetary compensation. A commitment that is normally never honoured is made to supposedly compensate the farm owner when the new farmer wants not only the farm but its equipment and the livestock on it as well. The farms usually targeted by this group, normally made up of young Zanu PF business executives or senior officers in the armed forces and the police, are the very productive and highly equipped types. So when you see a luxury car parked outside the farmhouse over the weekend in Mashonaland Central, you must know that a member of "Bob's Brigade" is around. These are the rich, young black executives branded by locals as "weekend invaders".

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