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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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      Waiting, kumirira, ukumelela

      Masipula Sithole
      6/27/02 9:04:31 AM (GMT +2)

      AS it happened, many a reader of this column commented to me last week
in anticipation of this week's contribution. "What is next week's 'waiting'
topic all about?" asked a colleague, hoping for a hint.
      "What do you think it is all about?" I asked, hoping for an idea for
this article - whereupon he reminded me of the South African novel Waiting
for the Rain written during the apartheid era by Sheila Gordon depicting
emotional scenes from that country's conflict and in anticipation for

      One lady told me of another novel, Waiting for Godot, a classic tragic
comedy by Samuel Beckett which her niece had read in her high school
literature class and which she (the lady) was circulating to friends at her

      Unlike Waiting for the Rain, the latter novel (Waiting for Godot) is
about waiting in anticipation for a messiah who never comes or is delayed
indefinitely like the "second coming" of the biblical Jesus Christ.

      "We are 'waiting'," remarked a bank teller who recognised me on
Tuesday at the foreign exchange counter. But she wouldn't be drawn into
speculating on this week's "waiting" theme; neither did she cite a novel.

      Bankers are not novelists, I thought to myself.

      (By the way, I had gone to my bank following a rumour that foreign
currency accounts were going to be frozen. I had to check on the safety of
my deposit which I made some 14 years ago. I didn't want to "wait" until my
foreign currency assets at the bank were frozen. And, please, ndapota, don't
get excited - it's only US$250 chete).

      We are a nation in "waiting"; aren't we? We are waiting for foreign
currency; are we not? We are waiting for maize meal to come; are we not? We
are waiting for sugar, for cooking oil, for petrol, for this and that; are
we not?

      There are so many things we are waiting for, so many that it now is
more manageable to count things we are not waiting for. We are even waiting
for salt, aren't we? Ordinary salt, mufunge! (Just imagine!).

      But more fundamentally, is it not an open secret that everyone is
waiting for change in the way Zimbabwe is governed? Alas, the region and the
international community are also waiting, waiting to see whether President
Robert Mugabe will defy his own people, the region, the international
community itself and succeed - are they not?

      President Mugabe is also waiting, waiting to see whether the
international community, the region, and the people of Zimbabwe have the
will and resolve to resist his rule - is he not?

      The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) too is waiting, waiting for a
propitious moment to call a mass action for the removal of the ZANU PF
regime from power at minimum risk - is it not?

      So, we are all waiting. But for how long can this waiting game last?
To what extent are the parties to this waiting game prepared to "wait" each
other out? What are the risks involved?

      Mugabe has told Zimbabweans and the world that he is not prepared to
relinquish power (stolen or not) any time soon, or for at least six more
long years. The message he wants to communicate is that we might as well get
used to the idea (that he intends ruling for at least the next six years!).

      Mugabe is fully aware that the MDC is planning mass action (violent or
not) to remove him from power much earlier than six years. So he is making
this appear impossible by maximising the risks involved in such mass action.
The MDC seems to be falling into the strategy by being overcautious.

      So Mugabe is "waiting" for the international community to get tired
and the MDC to get used to the "theft".

      The question is: will the international community in the end get
tired? Will the MDC get used to the "theft"?

      For its part, the international community is not exactly deploying
troops anywhere near Zimbabwe's borders. (Although the government seems to
think the British are doing so clandestinely!). But from what one hears from
diplomatic circles in Harare and from international intelligence in general,
it would be naïve to think that the position on Zimbabwe will change any
time soon.

      So, in waiting, we might as well prepare for a protracted struggle we
might win without the support of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe,
and the People's Republic of China. This is not an impossible task, but its
success is highly unlikely, to say the least.

      Politics is about taking risks. The MDC seems to be shifting to the
"Foko theory" of revolution and social change which is based on mass
spontaneity. Some see the present hardships fast moving to such spontaneous
mass action. So why risk arrest, imprisonment and even death by calling for
what is coming anyway?

      But such a spontaneous situation has a logic of its own; it creates
its own leadership. This is a risk the MDC must consciously take.
Overcaution often leads to paralysis of action - an outcome that might be
intended by your adversary.

      For the region and the international community, the advice is: "A
stitch in time saves nine".

      Firm action now avoids chaos and panicky action later. To the extent
the latter is very possible, given the stubborn nature of the problem, the
United Nations peacekeeping force in the Congo must not be sent home
prematurely. They might be needed further south in the region, even on a
humanitarian mission.

      Everyone is WAITING for President Mugabe to leave office. Ndizvo
zvakamirirwa nomunhu wese. Yiko okumelelwe nguzulu wonke. I suspect many in
ZANU PF too are waiting. Please, Your Excellency, do Africa a favour.

      Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion
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      Africa's only hope

      6/27/02 9:06:37 AM (GMT +2)

      DISCORDANT voices from the Zimbabwe government have greeted the
arrival of NEPAD, Africa's new economic rescue plan, exposing the widening
rift on how to chart the country's future among moderates and hardliners in
the administration.

      Ordinarily the ongoing debate on whether Zimbabwe should sign up to
NEPAD would have been a healthy sign of democracy had it not been for the
fact that the hardliners, now in the ascendancy, see the end of their
political careers if the plan is adopted.

      Unfortunately for the hawks, who have carved out careers by
bad-mouthing anything backed by the West, there is really no choice to
embracing NEPAD in the brave new Africa which enlightened African leaders
are mapping out for the continent.

      NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, rightly makes
good political and economic governance the centrepiece of any meaningful
economic revival because, without the observance of the rule of law and
human rights, no development can take place.

      The authors of NEPAD are none other than a new breed of democratic and
elected leaders of Africa who want to break away once and for all from the
continent's endemic circle of abject poverty, civil strife and oppression
caused by Africa's governments.

      It is the boldest economic development initiative yet to be unveiled
by Africa.

      It is not seeking handouts from the West but to have a true and
workable partnership which opens up the West's vast trade markets to Africa,
increases inflows of foreign direct investment to the continent, tackles
Africa's crushing debt burden and increases development aid in order to
create a more peaceful and stable world.

      By placing human rights and democracy high on the agenda of the plan,
the African leaders are acknowledging that fundamental freedoms and rights
of Africans are no different from those of other people in the world.

      This is the way things should have been all along. Only unashamed
dictators bent on trampling on their people would opt out of a plan like
this one, but thankfully NEPAD has won resounding support from virtually all
African leaders who want to pull the continent out of its largely
self-inflicted economic misery and ruin.

      As things stand now, Zimbabwe would not at any rate qualify to join
NEPAD because of the government's bloated human rights record and suspension
of the rule of law.

      There would not even be a need to send the proposed peer review panel
to check on Harare's flagrant violations of the plan's fundamental

      Because the government cannot afford to be left out of NEPAD unless it
wants to commit political and economic suicide, it has to start putting its
governance in order now or face embarrassing censure and possible expulsion
from the plan by Africa.

      Judging by the steely resolve of African leaders to make NEPAD work
shown at a recent summit in Durban, no amount of vilifying the plan by
Zimbabwe under the guise that it is an imperialist plot will ever prevent
the rest of Africa from marching ahead.

      Nations such as Zimbabwe and Libya, the latter would also not qualify
because its ruler is an unelected military strongman who shot his way to
power, should realise that their options are increasingly diminishing as the
rest of Africa races towards a better economic and political dispensation
which addresses the true wishes of the continent's peoples.

      As South Africa's Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin bluntly told
Zimbabwe's government last week: it's time you come to your senses or face
chaos as the country disintegrates.

      He pointedly added: "We have pointed out to the Zimbabwe government
and to business leaders time and again: 'You are making fundamental errors
and the cost of your errors is going to be extreme'. "

      He could not have said it better. We have nothing to add.
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      Officials defy Chidyausiku

      From Njabulo Ncube Bureau Chief
      6/27/02 9:03:18 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Officials of Khami Maximum Prison here have defied a ruling
by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to immediately release from custody two
suspects linked to the murder of Bulawayo war veterans' leader Cain Nkala
and ruling ZANU PF supporter Limukani Luphahla, it was established
      Information obtained by this newspaper shows that Justice Chidyausiku,
sitting in the Supreme Court last Friday, ordered the release of Sazini
Mpofu and Khethani Sibanda after he threw out an urgent appeal by the
Attorney-General (AG) against the granting of bail to the two men.

      The AG's office had sought to overturn a Bulawayo High Court order
issued by Justice George Chiweshe on May 29 this year granting the two
suspects bail.

      The appeal was made on the grounds that the trial judge had allegedly
failed to give "due weight and consideration to the state's fears that the
respondents may abscond if granted bail".

      After dismissing the AG's appeal, citing the AG's failure to comply
with provisions of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act
(Chapter 9:07) as read with Section 44 (5) of the High Court, Justice
Chidyausiku immediately issued the warrants of liberation in favour of Mpofu
and Sibanda.

      The Financial Gazette has seen Justice Chidyausiku's judgment, as well
as the two warrants freeing the two men, both activists of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

      They have been in custody for the past six months.

      Lawyers representing Mpofu and Sibanda said yesterday the two men were
still locked away at Khami Maximum Prison despite Justice Chidyausiku's

      They said the prison officials had also defied two other High Court
orders issued by Judge Chiweshe ordering the release of the two.

      The lawyers said several attempts to have the MDC followers freed had
been met with resistance, with the officer-in-charge of Khami Prison, one
Inspector Nyamukonda, refusing to cooperate.

      "It's clearly a defiance of the Chief Justice," said Nicholas
Mathonsi, a lawyer with Webb, Low and Barrow, representing the two MDC

      "Since last Friday, we have been going to Khami Prison to try to get
the boys out as per court ruling but officials at Khami Prison have flatly
refused to abide by Chidyausiku's command.

      "We are now working on an urgent court application to have the boys
brought to court tomorrow (Thursday) or Friday so that the prison
authorities explain why they don't want to release them."

      Mathonsi said this was not the first time that prisons authorities at
Khami had refused to comply with court rulings.

      On May 29 this year, he said, Bulawayo High Court Judge Chiweshe
granted bail to the two men but their release was stalled by the AG's office
which said it wanted to appeal.

      "But they (the AG's office) failed to appeal, forcing us to urgently
appeal to the High Court here to enforce Chiweshe's earlier judgment
granting the two suspects bail. Now Chidyausiku has thrown out the AG's
appeal and further commanded that the boys be released immediately but the
Khami authorities are refusing.

      "We tried today to have them released but we met the same old story.
No one is willing to release them. We are now seeking another High Court
order to have them brought to court immediately. The prison authorities have
to explain their defiance in court."

      When this newspaper called Khami Prison yesterday, Inspector
Nyamukonda was said to away on urgent business.

      Mathonsi said: "We are getting no joy from the prison authorities. We
don't know what they are afraid of."

      Mpofu and Sibanda face two counts of murder. The state alleges that
they, in the company of other co-accused persons, kidnapped Luphahla on
October 29 last year at Lupane Business Centre and murdered him.

      It also alleges that the two men kidnapped and murdered Nkala on
November 5 2001 just outside Bulawayo. Both deny the charge and all their
co-accused have been granted bail.
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      Africans at G8 summit seek buy-in for recovery

      6/27/02 9:14:01 AM (GMT +2)

      JOHANNESBURG - African leaders want full backing for their ambitious
recovery plan when they sit at the top table today with the Group of Eight
industrialised nations.

      Led by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, a core group of presidents hope to
cap months of lobbying and sales pitches around the world with the G8's
formal endorsement.

      At the G8 summit in western Canada, Mbeki and his peers from Nigeria,
Senegal and Algeria will argue that most African countries are ready to
start a process of profound change.

      But in return for dramatic improvement in political and economic
governance in Africa, rich nations must commit to boost investment, debt
relief and aid and to lift trade restrictions.

      "The key issue is the much abused word 'partnership'," Africa analyst
Ross Herbert said.

      "Is it possible to treat each other with respect while taking each
other's objections seriously - better trade access for Africa; better
African governance for the West?" Herbert, of the South African Institute of
International Affairs, said.

      "Both sides are sceptical: the West doesn't always honour its promises
of help and Africa just seems to sign documents without implementation," he

      Today's Africa session at the resort of Kananaskis will be the first
time that the G8 - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia
and the United States - have received such a large group of African leaders
at their annual summit.

      The widening chasm between Africa and the rest of the world in terms
of poverty, health standards and economic growth, has concentrated minds
inside and outside the continent.

      IMF data shows that in 2001 Africa accounted for less than four
percent of global Gross Domestic Product, although economists say that the
actual ratio may be closer to five percent because of thriving informal

      "One whole continent has not benefited from the advantages of
globalisation. It was a reproach to the progress taking place everywhere
else in the world," Lucie Edwards, Canada's high commissioner (ambassador)
in South Africa, said. - Reuter

      Then up came NEPAD, the clumsy acronym for the New Partnership for
Africa's Development which Mbeki and allies say is the only way ahead.

      A major challenge for Mbeki, NEPAD and the body's small but growing
secretariat in Midrand, South Africa, is to prove that the continent is
ready for real business and not more aid.

      "If we simply sit there trying to look pretty and not do anything
ourselves we shall remain beggars. And no one respects beggars," Professor
Shadrack Gutto of Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand told
foreign diplomats last week.


      The Africans at the G8 will try to put flesh on their plan to improve
governance through a "peer review mechanism", a work in progress that would
see African governments commit to raise their game and be measured by
eminent judges.

      Countries scoring high marks would benefit from foreign aid but also
private investment as global capital markets gradually adopt the performance
benchmarks, supporters predict.

      "The way that the reward process will operate.. should be an incentive
to those countries that don't initially sign up for peer review. It will be
a clean bill of lading on the governance side," Mohamed Ibn Chambas,
executive secretary of the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS), told Reuters.

      G8 leaders are liable to brandish Zimbabwe as an example of how Africa
has failed to avert a self-made crisis caused by land seizures, flawed
elections and failed economic policies.

      The African guests will reply that failures in Zimbabwe and elsewhere
are precisely why NEPAD is needed. As part of the new order, Mbeki and his
allies aim to bury the 40-year-old Organisation of African Unity in Durban
next month and give birth to its more modern successor, the African Union


      Prime Ministers Tony Blair of Britain and Jean Chretien of Canada have
been the partnership's biggest supporters to date. A gesture of G8
endorsement for the recovery plan is inevitable.

      "It's our expectation that they will collectively throw their weight
behind the NEPAD initiative," Chambas said by telephone from ECOWAS
headquarters in Nigeria.

      "The challenge for our side is to put forward clear projects that are
bankable and will support recovery," the Ghanaian said, pushing the virtues
of two West African projects for a gas pipeline and to network national
electricity grids.-Reuter
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      Farmers in dilemma as game nears end

      6/27/02 9:12:20 AM (GMT +2)

      SELOUS - It is just before midday when we trudge along a dusty road
leading to Sandriver Farm, home to David Fowler who has exactly 43 days from
today to leave the property he has called his own for most of his life.

      Fowler, his brothers and sisters have survived on the proceeds from
the 1 160-hectare farm, 90 kms southwest of Harare, since 1974.

      He inherited the property from his parents four years ago but his
future and that of 70-plus families who work the farm is now uncertain as a
deadline imposed by the government for white farmers to vacate acquired land

      A cloud of uncertainty hung over the Selous farming district at the
weekend when a Financial Gazette news crew toured the area.

      A sombre mood gripped the neighbour-hood, usually a hive of activity
at this time of the year when farmers tend their tobacco seedlings and grade
last year's golden leaf.

      Selous is a key tobacco growing area.

      As the Financial Gazette team arrives at the Sandriver farmhouse, our
host is impatiently pacing up and down outside his house.

      "Did you meet anyone at the gate?" he asks with a voice of a man who
has seen enough terror.

      Fowler then says that the interview can no longer go ahead because war
veterans and officials from the local district administrator's office warned
him the previous night that they knew the Financial Gazette would be
visiting his farm.

      We plead with him and, after 15 or so minutes, he reluctantly agrees
to be interviewed.

      Fowler, like nearly 3 000 other white commercial farmers, has been
affected by the government's amended Land Acquisition Act which gives him
only 45 days to wind up his farming operations and another 45 days to leave
the farm.

      While the leadership of the Commercial Farmers' Union this week tried
to show bravado by saying farmers would defy the law, it was not the same
with Fowler here.

      "I am abiding by the law," Fowler says in a dejected tone. "I have to
stop or be arrested and the last thing I want to do is to end up in jail.

      "I will only start working again when I get a directive (from the

      Fowler says he has written to Agriculture and Lands Minister Joseph
Made to be allowed to finish grading his tobacco crop but there has been no

      The district administrator had told him to stop farming by Tuesday
this week.

      Made this week told state television that the government would deploy
its officers on all farms issued with eviction notices to make sure that the
farmers observed the law.

      Fowler's property is a single-owned farm, spanning 1160 hectares. He
grows about 130 000 kilogrammes of tobacco a year, 30 ha of maize and 10 ha
of paprika.

      Fowler, who also rears horses, says he is in the process of
de-stocking his large cattle herd and now remains with 300 cattle.

      He says it takes him 110 days to grade his tobacco crop and has only
done 45 days of grading. Although he has sold some tobacco, the remaining
crop is worth more than US$400 000 ($22 million) at current prices.

      But even then, Fowler still has to worry about his huge bank overdraft
which has kept him going all along.

      "Tell me what I can do. I still have 65 days left of grading and my
bank phoned me last week inquiring whether I will be able to continue
farming," Fowler says.

      For a while, he gazes into the distant and empty sky and, after
summoning courage, he says it is the workers and his young wife and two
children he is mostly worried about.

      There are 70 workers on the farm, each family having an average of six

      All the 420 or so people resident here have nowhere to go. They say
they have not known any other life other than farming.

      "We all don't know what to do because we have been told that when your
boss goes, you also go," says Peter Matiringa, a veteran of 27 years on the

      "When the (March presidential) elections came, we voted for the ruling
ZANU PF but now they are chasing us away. Is that fair?

      "Now we are being told that if you want land, you have to talk to the
war veterans but you have to give them something."

      Matiringa says only five out of the 70 workers have been promised land
on the farm by the veterans.

      The commercial farming sector is estimated to employ 300 000 workers,
most of whom could be out of employment this week and have not benefited
from the government's controversial agrarian reforms.

      This week all workers at Sandriver were sadly sent on early leave
because they will not be able to work following the expiry of the first
45-day period on Tuesday.

      Fowler says he will not be able to pay his workers their retrenchment
packages until the government pays compensation for his farm, which might
take years.

      The government is still to evaluate his farm.

      Miriam Chandisaita, a mother of six and a worker on the farm, is
shattered and almost at a loss for words.

      She does not know what the future holds for her and her family. "I don
't know what to do," she mutters with a resigned shrug.

      "It is a problem that is so close to our hearts and we are not sure
where we will go. We don't have anywhere to go."

      The farm workers described the close relationship they had forged with
their employer, saying all of them had become one large family.

      "We have been living here like one big family with the farmer without
any problems," Matiringa noted. "He has been helping us with everything
whether it is money or anything. It will be sad if we have to go our
separate ways."

      Fowler said he had not contemplated leaving Zimbabwe to farm in
neighbouring nations such as Mozambique, where some Zimbabwean white farmers
have fled.

      But he denied the government's claim that commercial farmers had had
it too good for too long, ignoring the plight of their black workers.

      The government also accuses the farmers of seeking to derail its land
reforms by backing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

      "If we have had it cushy for too long, then we would be having foreign
currency accounts and we would not worry about anything," Fowler said.

      "But we are Zimbabweans with Zimbabwean passports and where else in
the world do you go and farm?

      "We agree that there is need for land redistribution, but the
government should also let us get on with farming - this is what we know
best - to produce food and exportable commodities and earn foreign currency
that we need for our country."

      Fowler's dream has all but crumbled.

      And for most farmers such as him and workers like Chandisaita
countrywide, it will be game up shortly when, come August 10, they will have
to part with the only life they have ever known.
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      Iron fist will fail, analysts warn

      By Abel Mutsakani News Editor
      6/27/02 9:11:40 AM (GMT +2)

      A NERVOUS Zimbabwe government has put its opponents under siege in
what analysts this week said was a futile effort to thwart swelling public
anger and agitation over the administra-tion's failure to end a worsening
economic and food crisis.
      They said the government was panicking at the prospects of mass
protests threatened by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      "The strategy is to thoroughly terrorise the population into
submission as a way of neutralising the impending MDC-led mass action,"
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political analyst Masipula Sithole told the
Financial Gazette.

      The MDC has threatened to call mass protests soon to force President
Robert Mugabe, who it accuses of stealing a presidential election earlier
this year, to re-stage the ballot.

      In a show of force unprecedented since Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF
party wrested power from British colonialists 22 years ago, armed police
have in the past few weeks swooped on the opposition, arresting nearly 100
MDC activists.

      The law enforcement agency has also broken up social gatherings and
university student meetings, arguing that they could be used to mobilise
support for the proposed strike.

      The government has also intensified a crackdown on the country's
independent media by arresting and sending several journalists to the courts
for alleged contravention of sections of a tough media law passed earlier
this year.

      Sithole said by publicly wielding the iron fist, the government was
sending a clear message to ordinary Zimbabweans on the cost of joining any
protest against it.

      UZ Institute of Development Studies associate professor Brian
Raftopoulos said the government's high-handed approach was an admission it
did not have any solution to the deepening political, economic and food

      Nearly half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people face starvation because of
poor rains last season but largely because ZANU PF supporters disrupted
agricultural production when they seized land from large-scale producing
white farmers.

      International isolation of Zimbabwe's government, which intensified
following Mugabe's controversial election victory in March, has only helped
quicken the meltdown of a crumbling economy already sapped by lack of
foreign aid, hard cash, runaway inflation and unemployment and mass poverty.

      Said Raftopoulos: "They (the government) have no solution to the
crises facing the nation and they see suppression of all voices of dissent
as a way of consolidating their hold on power. What we are seeing are the
typical signs of dictatorship."

      The police force, accused by many Zimbabweans of partisanship, two
weeks ago shot and killed Harare taxi driver Lloyd Midzi at a road block
because he did not stop when ordered to.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena later regretted the killing but said
the road blocks had been put up in most of Harare to counter the MDC's
threatened mass action.

      A week later armed police forcibly broke up an MDC-organised meeting
in central Harare, which was being held to commemorate the Day of the
African Child.

      The police said they feared the gathering posed a threat to public

      Several MDC activists, including some of the party's legislators and
journalists covering the meeting, were severely assaulted by police.

      But even more revealing of how insecure the embattled government has
become was the police's reaction to UZ students innocently celebrating
Senegal's extra-time victory against Sweden at the ongoing World Cup soccer
in Japan and South Korea.

      In no time, armed riot police had descended on the college's campus
grounds, where the celebrations were taking place, mistakenly thinking that
the students were protesting against the government.

      The police also dispersed a meeting of UZ students seeking to elect a
new leadership.

      A few days later, police in Harare's Mabvuku township broke up a crowd
watching social soccer because they suspected it was an MDC meeting to
mobilise for mass action.

      "Every little thing is a cause for strong reaction from the
authorities. It just shows how insecure the government feels," Raftopoulos

      But Sithole said the government's use of strong-arm tactics amid
worsening social and economic hardships among citizens would not silence
opposition against it.

      "It can only achieve the opposite," he noted.

      "We have seen this in other countries where governments have attempted
to quell discontent by using force against the people," Sithole said.

      "In the long run, these governments have failed and there is no valid
reason to believe the government of Zimbabwe will succeed where others have
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      MDC plots parly boycott

      By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
      6/27/02 9:02:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) meets in Harare
tomorrow to decide whether to stay in or out of Parliament as the party
gears up for its nationwide mass action to force a re-run of the disputed
March presidential election.
      Insiders said yesterday there was a strong feeling within the MDC to
boycott the legislative assembly, with many of the party's legislators
arguing that Parliament had become a virtual rubber stamp for President
Robert Mugabe's controversial policies.

      They said the MDC felt that Parliament had become an instrument of
repression by allegedly approving what the party regards as oppressive
legislation and that the MDC should therefore resolve Zimbabwe's economic
and political crisis outside the House.

      The MDC's shadow foreign minister and legislator for Harare North,
Tendai Biti, shares these sentiments.

      "It is a waste of time to sit in a Parliament that is solely going to
rubber-stamp ZANU PF madness and misgovernance," he told the Financial

      He said his views were shared by most MDC colleagues in the House and
stated: "Our continuous sitting there will make us an accomplice to the
madness, misgovernance and the bad laws which are being passed by the House,
which has by and large beome irrelevant."

      He said the governing ZANU PF and Mugabe were taking advantage of the
MDC's attendance in Parliament to give an impression of normalcy in a
country also weighed down by unprecedented food and foreign currency
shortages caused by misrule.

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai will address tomorrow's meeting of the
party's parliamentary caucus consisting of its 55 elected MPs, where a
decision will be taken on their role in Parliament.

      The MDC's legislators may also be asked to consult their
constituencies on whether they should boycott Parliament. Some members of
the party's national executive are understood to be backing the proposed

      Other measures to be considered at the meeting include a proposal for
the MDC to attend Parliament once a week for ceremonial purposes only.

      Also being debated tomorrow will be a proposal which seeks to bar all
elected MDC officials from official and state functions hosted by Mugabe
except for what the party regards as "national events".

      Tsvangirai yesterday refused to discuss the latest stage of
preparations of the MDC's threatened mass action but said it would be staged

      He said he was aware that Zimbabweans were becoming increasingly
restless over delays to mount the strike, seen shutting down Zimbabwe

      The insiders said the MDC, which disputes Mugabe re-election in March
and is challenging it in court, will boycott the official opening of the new
session of Parliament scheduled for July 23.

      The ruling ZANU PF, using its simple majority in the House, has in the
past year fast-tracked and passed the tough Public Order and Security Act
and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act meant to stifle
political activism and freedom of expression.

      Several amendments have also been made to various laws aimed at giving
the ruling party what the MDC sees as an undue political advantage while
opposition attempts to debate grounds upon which Mugabe could be impeached
have been thwarted.

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Dollar slides to brink of free fall
Worldcom scandal: Currencies: Latest Wall Street disaster sends investors
all over the world running for cover
By Philip Thornton, Economics Correspondent
27 June 2002

Leading Article: This is not a crisis, but the cleansing of a loathsome
culture of corporate greed

The US dollar yesterday moved to the brink of free fall ­ a nightmare
scenario for the world economy ­ after reverberations from the WorldCom
scandal triggered panic among investors.

The currency came within a whisker of parity with the euro and crashed
through key psychological barriers against the yen and the pound as
investors rushed to dump dollar assets.

"This is threatening to become a disorderly market," David Bloom, global
economist at HSBC, said. "There's no better way to show a loss of confidence
in a country than through its currency."

Speculation mounted that the Federal Reserve would lead the world in a fresh
round of interest rates cuts amid fears of a deflationary slump, although it
kept rates on hold last night.

The dollar tumbled as much as 1.5 per cent to 99.42 cents to the euro, its
weakest level since February 2000, from 97.22 late Tuesday. It fell below
120 yen for the first time despite three interventions by the Bank of Japan
overnight to support the US currency. The misery was compounded by confusion
over the US's dollar policy and a roller-coaster day on Wall Street.

The Dow gyrated between a 200 point fall and 34 point gain before ending
down 6.7 at 9,120.1, while the Nasdaq recovered from 2 per cent fall to end
up 5.3 points at 1429.3, still within a whisker of a five-year closing low.
In Europe the FTSE 100 fell 100 points to 4,531, above an earlier nine-month
low of 4,442.

The US President, George Bush, appeared to imply the administration had
abandoned its strong dollar policy. The White House later was forced to
insist there had been no policy change after Mr Bush said the currency would
"seek its own level based on market forces".

The WorldCom scandal, coming hard on the heels of the Enron collapse and
crises at Tyco and Adelphia, is the latest piece of news to undermine the

Sharp falls on Wall Street and fears about the solidity of the US economy
have slowly undermined the dollar over the past few weeks. A dollar collapse
is seen as one of the greatest threats to the nascent global economic

Mark Cliffe, a global economist at ING Financial Markets, said: "If the
dollar's decline turns explosive, this could compound the problems of the US
asset markets as currency losses raise fears of a massive capital flight out
of the US."

Americans have collectively acted as the consumer of last resort through the
financial crises of 1997, 1998, 1999 and even during the latest slump,
sucking in imports from the rest of the world. More importantly, investors
were happy to pour money into US markets to cash in on booming hi-tech

Now, however, outsiders may be deterred from pumping any more money into the
US, for fear the cash will simply be squandered. "We thought it was a
bubble, but perhaps the whole thing was overstated," Mr Bloom said. "The
dollar bull market was just plain wrong."

A dollar crisis would be a major headache for the Fed in its struggle to
juggle tumbling markets with signs of a strong economic rebound. There was
serious speculation ahead of last night's monetary policy decision that the
Fed would cut rates despite figures showing new home sales soared to a
record and factory orders increased in May.

Gold rose as much as $6.33, or 2 per cent, to $325.75 an ounce in London.
The metal has risen 16 per cent so far this year, its best first-half
performance since 1980.

Financial Times

WorldCom woes push euro nearer to parity
By Jennifer Hughes
Published: June 26 2002 8:08 | Last Updated: June 26 2002 19:29

The dollar's rollercoaster ride continued on Wednesday as it hit new
28-month lows against the euro only to recover by more than a cent as
investors took profits.

Wall Street remained the key, and the dollar fell sharply overnight after US
telecoms group WorldCom said late on Tuesday it had fired its chief
financial officer over a suspected $3.8bn fraud.

"Enron, WorldCom - these accounting concerns are doing massive psychological
damage to foreigners considering holding US assets," said Lara Rhame,
vice-president of foreign exchange research at Brown Brothers Harriman in
New York.

The news helped push the euro to $0.9944 yesterday from $0.9787 at the close
of Wall Street trading the day before. But the single currency eased after a
sharply lower open for US equities failed to take it to parity with the
dollar and it stood at $0.987 by midsession in New York.

The Federal Reserve's decision to leave interest rates on hold caused little
immediate stir. The key Fed funds rate remained at 1.75 per cent, a 40-year

The decision was largely priced into the market and even the accompanying
statement received less attention than usual in the wake of WorldCom's

 The Bank of Japan intervened again on Wednesday - the sixth such move in
five weeks. According to analysts' estimates, the bank has bought an
estimated $31bn for yen over the period, yet seen the yen strengthen more
than 4 per cent to an eight-month high at Y118.94 despite its actions.

But analysts do not necessarily regard the Bank's lack of success in
weakening the yen as failure.

"What the BoJ has succeeded in doing is creating a slightly more orderly
market," said David Bloom, currencies strategist at HSBC. "They know they
can't fight the world on their own, but I'd hate to think of where the rate
would be without that $31bn." While Japan's hefty reserves can withstand the
intervention to date, there is a danger the BoJ's moves could become
self-defeating, warned Mr Bloom.

"If the BoJ keeps coming in, there's a danger people see the opportunity to
make free money by selling dollars to the BoJ then buying them back as the
rate falls further," he said.

Comments by George W Bush, US president, overnight were also an important
factor behind the dollar's slide.

President Bush told reporters in Canada "the dollar will seek its level
based upon market forces". He said that the currency's level would
ultimately depend upon "whether or not our country can rein in spending, can
recover, can revitalise our manufacturing base".

The news supported a growing belief that the US administration welcomed the
weaker dollar and was quietly trying to bury the oft-repeated strong dollar

"The president's comments gave a green light to dollar bears," said Neil
Mackinnon, chief economist at the currency debt management group ECU."They
confirmed suspicions that the dollar is not a priority for this

The problem with the president's comments is that they come as the dollar's
slide gathers pace and a "green light" to sell could help spark a rash of
further selling which could spiral out of control.

From its January 31 high against the euro at $0.8582 to yesterday's $0.9944
high, the dollar's slide has appeared relatively gradual - equivalent to
0.09 of a US cent per day. But in the last 10 days, that pace has picked up
and the dollar has fallen about half a cent a day.

The other problem is the market's attitude to the Bush administration.

If the market doesn't believe a government is concerned with, or would
firmly handle, a growing currency crisis, then selling could easily gather
further pace.

"This administration hasn't been very credible in the market's eyes - it has
put forth policies like steel import tariffs which the market doesn't like,"
said Ms Rhame at Brown Brothers Harriman. "There isn't a whole lot of trust
between this administration and the markets."

If the pace of the dollar's slide picks up, what trust exists could be
tested in the days ahead.

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From ZWNEWS, 27 June

Tutu calls for fresh elections

Desmond Tutu has called for fresh elections in Zimbabwe. In a foreword to a new report by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition on the current turmoil in Zimbabwe, the Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, and veteran South African anti-apartheid campaigner, made a frank and unequivocal appeal to the international community, and Zimbabwe’s neighbours, to press for fresh presidential elections. "It is now clear that the resolution to the Zimbabwe crisis can only be found in recapturing the legitimacy of government and returning the country to a fair and just rule of law," the Archbishop said. "Sadly, evidence shows that the presidential elections in March were not fair and thus the current government cannot regain this legitimacy. A new vote, with guarantees of fairness and free expression, will undoubtedly be necessary."

Tutu’s sentiments were echoed by Pius Ncube, Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo. "Over the last two years I have seen a steady deterioration of respect for human dignity and rights in Zimbabwe. In the past two months, I have known of a number of persons who have died of hunger right here in my city," Ncube said, recommending the report. "We have seen police and militia threaten, intimidate, and sometimes attack unarmed civilian protesters. We have spoken out, only to be threatened and attacked ourselves. Writing a report such as this one, by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, carries great risks. I pray that readers of this report will do their utmost to assist in stopping the unnecessary suffering that has been brought on this fine land. May God move you to act quickly and decisively," said Ncube. "The hard facts on the ground in Zimbabwe, so well compiled in this report, suggest an alarming array of policies and practices that may be leading the country to a catastrophic future," said Tutu.

FROM ZWNEWS: If you would like a copy of the Crisis in Zimbabwe report, please let us know. It will be sent as a Word attachment to an email message - total size 1 Mb.

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From ZWNEWS, 27 June

Torture now of epidemic proportions

The use of torture by the government in Zimbabwe has now assumed epidemic proportions, according to Zimbabwean human rights activists. The evidence, from epidemiological studies, show a systematic use of torture for political purposes, which goes well beyond mere physical assaults generated by heated political sentiments. Speaking yesterday at a London meeting hosted by the Law Society of England and Wales, an array of speakers presented the evidence to back up their claim. The event, held to commemorate the UN International Day for the Victims of Torture, focused specifically on Zimbabwean victims of torture. In a moving testimony, amid the grand tranquillity of the Law Society’s gilt, marble and wood-panelled reading room, Tapson Muzuwa spelled out his personal experience of the systematic persecution of the government’s political opponents. Muzuwa, an activist for the National Constitutional Assembly and subsequently for the MDC, described in graphic detail the harassment, threats and torture which finally lead him to be granted political asylum in the UK. His account was put in a broader context by Tony Reeler, who set out the evidence from studies by the Amani Trust – of which he is Clinical Director.

Contradicting frequent government claims that violence is a feature of Zimbabwean politics resulting from heated party-political passions, Reeler said that the evidence showed that the physical assaults, beatings and killings were orchestrated and systematic. Physical injuries were often of the same type wherever they occurred, with beatings on the soles of the feet and buttocks, and perforated eardrums indicating a policy disseminated through the Zanu PF network of "war veterans", militia, police, army and CIO. Reeler, who this week received the prestigious Eclipse Award from the US-based Centre for Victims of Torture, also warned that the decrease in political violence perpetrated by the government and its supporters in recent weeks has begun to be reversed. Albert Muzarurwa of the Legal Resources Foundation, described in detail the raft of repressive laws designed to stifle dissent in Zimbabwe. Lucy Winskell, chair of the Law Society’s International Human Rights Committee, spoke in support of the recently arrested members of the Law Society of Zimbabwe. Michael Ellman, board member of the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme, and Steven Powles, ICC section head of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, also set out the possibilities for international legal redress for victims of torture.

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From Business Day (SA), 27 June

Mugabe 'conceals bad human rights record’

Harare - As the African Human Rights Commission continue its probe into rights abuses in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe is reportedly trying to whitewash his appalling human rights record. State media reports say Mugabe told the investigating team in a closed meeting on Tuesday that his government brought respect for people's rights in Zimbabwe and had become the "custodian" of those rights. "We are the custodians of these rights we brought at a cost," Mugabe reportedly said. Despite overwhelming evidence of gross human rights violations by government spanning more than 20 years including accusations of genocide against Ndebele minorities during the 1980s Mugabe has continued to insist he was the guardian of Zimbabweans' rights. The investigating team raised concern to authorities over violence associated with land seizures, vicious attacks against judges and lawyers, lawlessness, electoral fraud, harassment of journalists, and repression.

However, Mugabe is said to have tried to air-brush these issues by dwelling on colonial iniquities and the liberation struggle, land expropriations, and other excuses to divert attention from his regime's abuses. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), however, told the commission that Mugabe's government has violated human rights on a massive scale. MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube told the team that his party's members have been victims of systematic repression in the form of killings, torture, rape, kidnappings, disappearances, and intimidation. Meanwhile, Britain has donated an additional £22m to the hunger-stricken Zimbabwe for humanitarian aid through the World Food Programme. The British high commission in Harare said the money was part of a £45m aid package for Southern Africa to avert the widespread and deteriorating famine.

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Zimbabwe's whites branded racists and fascists

Zimbabwe's white farmers have been branded racists and fascists by a government minister.

He has urged tough action against those who are defying an order to stop working their fields.

The leaders of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party said many white farmers are ignoring the government mandate, which took effect earlier this week.

"We dismiss the claim that the government is destroying the backbone of the country's agriculture based economy by resettling landless people," said Agriculture Minister Joseph Made.

But despite promises to redistribute the confiscated land to landless blacks, many of the farms have been given to loyal MPs and confidantes of Mr Mugabe and ruling party leaders.

Mr Made accused white farmers of trying to take over the country, saying they were taking "a racist and fascist approach of wanting to continue white dominance in this country.".

He added "The confrontational approach is another conspiracy to wipe out the indigenous people of this country as whites tried in India, Australia and New Zealand.

In a statement the ruling party said:"The government should take swift action against any farmer who breaks the law."

But most farmers stopped working months ago, paralysed by the threat of the government's "fast track" programme to seize white-owned farms and redistribute them to landless blacks, and intimidated by armed ruling party militants occupying their land.

The land seizures come amid a potentially devastating food crisis in Zimbabwe. Government officials said the crisis had nothing to do with the land seizures, which have decimated the nation's commercial farming industry.

Zimbabwe minister says white farmers are 'unrepentant racists'

The Zimbabwe Government has slammed white farmers who defied orders to cease operations by midnight on Monday saying they were "unrepentant racists and fascists" bent on attracting attention at the ongoing G8 summit in Canada, the state-run Herald newspaper reported.

"The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) action is a racist and fascist approach of wanting to continue white dominance in this country," Lands Minister Joseph Made said in an interview in the newspaper.

"They are playing to the gallery while we are trying to create a harmonious community of farmers," he said.

The CFU says many of the 2,900 white farmers, who were supposed to have stopped farming on Monday under a new land law which came into effect on May 10, defied the order.

President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party said in a statement published on Thursday in The Herald that the farmers' defiance of Government orders to stop farming, to pave the way for resettlement of blacks on their land, was British-sponsored propaganda, aimed at bringing Zimbabwe to the fore at the G8 summit in Canada where the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is to be debated.

"The CFU and its British sponsors should not believe their own propaganda that they can defy the Government," a ZANU-PF spokesperson said.

It also warned that CFU could face a ban if it continues with the defiance.

"If the CFU... continues to threaten lawlessness, that will make it necessary for the ruling party to use its parliamentary caucus to deregister the CFU," the ZANU-PF said.

Legal challenges

But Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said that contrary to reports many farmers had complied with the order.

Mr Moyo says a few, who had problems, had resorted to legal action also saying "we do not believe that going to court is defiance".

At least two farmers have launched legal challenges to seek more time to allow them to wind up operations at their farms.

Farmers face up to two years' imprisonment or a $20,000 Zimbabwe ($US364) fine for contravening the law.

White farms have been the scene of politically charged unrest since February 2000, when pro-government militants forcibly invaded the land.

Since then, 12 farmers have died while tens of thousands of their workers have lost their jobs, been displaced and attacked by the militants.

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ZESA Owes Emerging Black Businessmen $800 Million

Financial Gazette (Harare)

June 27, 2002
Posted to the web June 27, 2002

Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) owes emerging black business people about $800 million for equipment supplied to it for its ambitious rural electrification programme.

The business people told the Financial Gazette this week that ZESA had paid them consistently for the first three months of this year but the payments had suddenly stopped after the March presidential election.

ZESA spokesman Daniel Maviva could neither deny nor confirm the magnitude of ZESA's debt, but acknowledged the power utility owed money to suppliers.

"We also wish to confirm that there are some outstanding amounts at the end of the month which are in the process of being paid off in line with contractual agreements with suppliers," Maviva said in a written response to questions from this newspaper.

The rural electrification programme was commissioned in all of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces just as the campaign for the disputed March presidential poll heated up. It was widely seen as a vote-buying tactic by the government.

ZESA, with a huge short-term debt of $5 billion and a long-term debt of $17.6 billion, is headed by President Robert Mugabe's brother-in-law Sydney Gata.

The business people, noting that they had supplied most of the equipment for the electrification scheme after mobilising scarce foreign currency from the expensive parallel market, said they faced financial ruin if ZESA did not pay up soon.

Several other business people who supplied campaign literature and materials to the ruling ZANU PF party in the elections have also complained of not being paid for their goods and services.

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Restore Real Interest Rates, Adjust Exchange Rate, IMF Tells Harare

Financial Gazette (Harare)

June 27, 2002
Posted to the web June 27, 2002

Joseph Ngwawi, Business News Editor

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has told the Zimbabwean government to restore real interest rates and immediately adjust the exchange rate to a realistic level that would ensure the country's external competitiveness and reduce the speculation associated with the current foreign currency crisis.

According to a report released by the IMF last week, the Bretton Woods institution noted that the loose monetary policy pursued by the Zimbabwean authorities since January last year has aggravated economic imbalances, fuelled inflation and increased the vulnerability of the banking sector.

The multilateral financial institution, which earlier this month suspended technical assistance to Harare, urged the government to take immediate corrective measures to mop up excess liquidity in the money market, allow interest rates to become positive in real terms and dismantle the subsidised credit facilities for farmers and emergent businesses introduced in the past two years.

Finance Minister Simba Makoni has deliberately kept the money market awash with funds as part of a plan to depress interest rates and reduce the cost of borrowing on the government's domestic debt, presently estimated at about $300 billion.

"Directors also stressed the need to ensure the health of the banking system by dealing promptly with non-viable institutions and to fully enforce prudential regulations and capital adequacy requirements," the report says.

The Fund expressed concern at the overvaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, which has seriously affected the country's international competitiveness, fuelled the shortage of hard cash in the economy and hampered efforts to build the level of usable foreign reserves, presently estimated at three days of imports.

Analysts say the local dollar is overvalued by more than 200 percent against the currencies of Zimbabwe's major trading partners.

The local unit has been pegged at 55 against the trade-weighted US greenback since October 2000 despite calls by industry and economists to devalue the currency and boost the competitiveness of exports.

The shortage of hard cash has also been responsible for the large accumulation of external payment arrears and the widening spread between the official and the parallel market exchange rates.

Zimbabwe owes more than US$1 billion in arrears to major donors and multilateral financial institutions.

The IMF said an adjustment in the official exchange rate to a more realistic level, supported by tight monetary and fiscal policies, was urgently required to restore external viability and reduce the rent seeking associated with foreign exchange rationing.

Speculators have thrived on the back of the shortage of hard cash on the official market by quoting sharply depreciated rates on foreign currency.

Dealers on the parallel market are currently levying 700 Zimbabwe dollars against one US dollar.

The report noted that while the required adjustment would be achieved by a substantial upfront devaluation, followed by a return to the previous crawling peg arrangement, the Fund considered that a unified, floating exchange rate should be the ultimate objective for the Zimbabwean authorities.

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Zimbabwe white judge to retire after clash with gvt

HARARE, June 27 — One of Zimbabwe's two remaining white judges will take early retirement next month, the sixth judge to leave the bench since President Robert Mugabe clashed with some judges over judicial independence 15 months ago.

Zimbabwe's government-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Thursday that Justice Fergus Blackie would retire in mid-July at 65 after being a High Court Judge for 24 years, and was not taking up the option to continue in service until he reaches 70.

Blackie was not available for comment.

His retirement was announced just days after the government had denounced him for issuing a controversial warrant of arrest against Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa over his failure to appear in court to answer contempt of court charges for criticising one of the judge's ruling.

Chinamasa was travelling abroad when the case came up, and the government said the court had not even informed his lawyers.

Five other judges have left the bench -- some voluntarily and others in anger -- since Mugabe forced the country's top judge Anthony Gubbay to quit last year after the Supreme Court's continued rulings against his drive to seize white-owned farms for black resettlement.

Mugabe denies charges that he is packing the courts with his supporters, saying some of the judges were bent only on serving the interests of Zimbabwe's minority white community. The judges, including Gubbay, denied any racism in their approach.
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ZIMBABWE: MDC between a rock and a hard place

JOHANNESBURG, 27 June (IRIN) - A move by Zimbabwe's frustrated Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to boycott parliament could spell disaster for the opposition party, analysts warned on Thursday.

They said parliament was the last remaining platform for the MDC to safely challenge the government.

The Financial Gazette on Thursday quoted MDC's shadow foreign minister for Harare North, Tendai Biti, as saying it was futile for the MDC to continue in parliament if it was "solely going to rubber stamp ZANU-PF madness and misgovernance".

Biti added that his views were shared by most MDC colleagues. However, the party's legal affairs secretary, David Coltart, told IRIN: "Although I do respect Mr Biti, his comments were definitely made in his personal capacity. Certainly, whether we should remain as part of the legislative assembly or not is up for discussion.

"It is not official MDC policy to resign from the assembly. It must be noted though that there is a growing sense of frustration within the party with the deteriorating state of affairs."

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is expected on Friday to address a meeting of the party's parliamentary caucus consisting of its 55 elected MPs, where a decision will be taken on their role in parliament.

ZANU-PF chairman John Nkomo told IRIN: "If they choose to leave, it reflects the height of childishness and immaturity as a political party. Most democratic states around the world have minority parties who object to the ruling party's decisions. This is democracy. However, Zimbabwe will go on with or without them."

Chairman of Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, Tawanda Hondora said: "It would be politically naive should they decide to boycott, in fact it will give ZANU-PF the right to govern with impunity. At least by maintaining a presence in the assembly they are in a position to raise objections to government policy which otherwise would pass through unchallenged."

Hondora added: "The assembly at least gives the MDC the chance to counter the government's attempt to paint the entire organisation as a bunch of terrorists. By giving up their place in the parliament, they are also relinquishing the small amount of protection they enjoy as part of the government. Should they go ahead, there are no assurances that they will get their message across without government harassment."

Since the March presidential elections, the MDC have been stymied by several amendments to various laws that have stifled political activism and freedom of expression. The MDC sees the tough new laws as leaving them hard pressed to come up with alternative strategies in response.

"The MDC finds itself thrashing around trying to find some way to strike back at the government but is fully aware of its own political impotence," senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, Richard Cornwell, told IRIN.

President Robert Mugabe comfortably won the March election, but many poll observers said the process was flawed. The MDC is challenging the result in the courts, and has steered away from calling supporters onto the streets in protest.

The option of mass action, once considered a viable political tactic to confront the government, has become increasingly unpopular among pundits. They say that it is unlikely to succeed given the overwhelming sense of insecurity in the country.

A stay away campaign attempted by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions shortly after the March election was a flop.

Hondora noted: "Any kind of mass action now will only serve into the hands of the government who will use it as an opportunity to crush the opposition completely. It is unwise and dangerous."

Coltart said that the MDC has had to reconsider mass action in light of state-sanctioned political violence.

"Mass action is certainly still an option, but from what we have experienced we cannot afford to endanger the lives of our supporters. This is a government that must not be underestimated and if they have to, they will go beyond the law to crush opposition," he added.

The solution to the MDC's dilemma, some analysts suggest, could come from an unlikely source.

Observers say that the country's dwindling food supply could provide the impetus for people to take to the streets in protest in urban areas, where the MDC has the bulk of its support. A regional food assessment puts almost half of Zimbabwe's population at risk of having no food mainly because of a drought and the country's land reform programme.

Brian Kagoro, co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, an umbrella organisation of about 250 NGOs and church groups told IRIN: "In the populist sense it is nice to give land to the landless, but realistically they will have no resources, no agricultural input and no technical input. The nation will wake up with insufficient wheat and grain and the people will revolt."

But the current reality for the MDC is that parliament, dominated by the ruling party, provides the only platform for them to voice concern over the current political situation.
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ZIMBABWE: Interview with US ambassador Joseph Sullivan

HARARE, 27 June (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe government recently refused to accept a donation of genetically modified (GM) grain from the United States, despite half of its population being threatened with starvation. Harare cited long standing safety and health concerns over GM food as being behind its decision.

IRIN spoke to Joseph Sullivan, the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, on the row over the banned 10,000 mt grain consignment, and the wider concerns surrounding Zimbabwe's food crisis.

QUESTION: The Zimbabwean government has refused genetically modified grain from your country, did this come as a shock to you?

ANSWER: We Americans eat genetically modified corn with no problems. We see no reason why it should present a problem to any other country. So for us to be able to be as helpful as we wish to be, it would be important for the government of Zimbabwe to waive this restriction and to allow us to supply the food that we do have available.

Q: So you have not been able at all to give Zimbabwe GM grain?

A: Yes. We have provided maize meal which has been permitted to be imported, but whole corn has not been allowed, and this is a constraint upon our ability to help. We have probably the greatest supply of maize or corn in the world, but we are not able to provide what we have available to the people of Zimbabwe under current rules. So we hope those rules can be changed, waived, so that we can help.

Q: Other countries in the Southern Africa region are also facing food shortages, are you also giving them genetically modified food?

A: Yes. Other countries in the Southern African region notably Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi have all waived any restrictions they had on the importation of genetically modified grain and so have been able to benefit.

Q: Is Zimbabwe's fall out with the international community a factor in affecting what levels of assistance donors will be giving?

A: We do want to help Zimbabwe and I know other donors want to help the people of Zimbabwe but there are things, certainly, that the government of Zimbabwe can do to make it easier to provide more food for its population.

Q: What are these things?

A: The monopoly on distribution of food and the importation of food by the Grain Marketing Board inhibits the ability of the private sector to play a role in importing food. Similarly, unrealistic exchange rates in which the official exchange rate is less than 10 percent of the parallel exchange rate makes the entire process of importing food products on a private basis very, very difficult.

There is no question that the food supply situation is not going to improve. The harvest has just come in a month ago, it's been progressively depleted and may just last for three months. We can see the people of Zimbabwe suffering and likely to suffer more, and we would like to help them. The government, though, does have a role to play, but certain policies have contributed substantially to the shortage of food. So it's important that they change their policies that are contributing to these problems.

Q: What role is the US government playing to alleviate Zimbabwe's food shortage?

A: We are a contributor to the World Food Programme, and WFP in turn uses NGOs to distribute the food around the country. We have been the single largest contributor to WFP providing maize meal. We are also about to start bi-lateral food distrubution directly through the [NGO] World Vision.

Q: How critical is the need for food aid in Zimbabwe?

A: It's very serious at the moment. I do not see at the moment the sorts of critical indicators of severe malnutrition that I used to see when I served as ambassador to Angola. But given the fact that the harvest has just come in and it is expected to last only several months, all expectations are that the crisis will grow dramatically and within three months or so there might be as many as six million people facing severe food shortages.

Q: If the food security situation does not improve in the next few weeks what do you think will happen?

A: Well there is no question that the food security situation is not going to improve. The harvest has just come in a month ago and has been progressively depleted. It's probably only going to last for three months and then the country becomes totally dependent on imported maize in particular. So the situation is going to get worse. The international community is certainly increasing its assistance, but the needs are going to be dramatic.

Q: Are donors holding back to punish Zimbabwe for its political problems?

A: We try to seperate [the issues] and help the people of Zimbabwe. We see the people of Zimbabwe suffering and likely to suffer more and so we want to help them. The government, though, does have its role to play and certainly its policies have contributed substantially to the shortage of food. So it's important that they change their policies that are contributing to the shortage of food and we will do our part as well.
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The Economist

From breadbasket to basket case
Jun 27th 2002 | HARARE
From The Economist print edition


Faced with famine, Robert Mugabe orders farmers to stop growing food

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JUNE in Zimbabwe is midwinter, but because of the country's subtropical climate, its commercial farmers can grow food all year round. Right now, they should be tending the winter wheat, which is usually ready for harvest in September or October, and preparing their fields for warm-weather crops, such as maize, the national staple. But President Robert Mugabe has commanded them to park their tractors and stop farming. With half the people in Zimbabwe on the brink of starvation, this is, even by Mr Mugabe's standards, an exceptionally bad idea.

From June 25th, some 2,900 white farmers, whose farms have been earmarked to be seized and given to blacks, were legally obliged to cease work. Those who continue to plough, weed and scatter seeds face jail terms of up to two years. Generously, the government said it would allow them to continue living in their homes for another 45 days, but then they must leave. In theory, they are permitted to take their portable possessions away with them, but in practice, police and ruling-party militiamen at roadblocks often prevent them from escaping with anything too valuable. Mr Mugabe's cronies, relatives and assorted mobsters covet their pick-up trucks and threshing machines.

In all, 95% of commercial farmland has been slated for “redistribution”. Some 60% of commercial farmers must halt work immediately. Another 35% have only received preliminary notices of confiscation, and so may carry on farming for a while longer. The remaining handful have so far escaped, either through the incompetence of their persecutors or because they have friends in government.

By the government's own estimates, nearly 7m of the country's 13m people will be without adequate food in a few months

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is facing its worst food shortage in 60 years, caused by drought and several years of violent harassment of the nation's most productive farmers. By the government's own estimates, nearly 7m of the country's 13m people will be without adequate food in a few months. The World Food Programme (WFP) which, with other donors, is already feeding 600,000 Zimbabweans, says that the food shortage is “virtually universal throughout the country” and predicts that, without a huge increase in imports or food aid, “severe malnutrition and death caused by hunger will occur in the coming months”.

White commercial farmers normally produce a third of Zimbabwe's cereals but, if evicted, may find it a bit difficult to continue feeding the nation. Many vow to carry on farming regardless. “How can the government tell me not to tend my wheat crop when so many people are going hungry?” said one, who preferred not to be named for fear of retribution. “As long as I'm on this farm I am going to feed my pigs and till my fields.” Two farmers went further, filing a lawsuit to have the evictions ruled unconstitutional. But others are winding up their operations and thinking of moving to Zambia, Mozambique, New Zealand or just about anywhere else that will have them. Black farmworkers and their dependants—2m people in all—face destitution.

Mr Mugabe says that his “fast-track land reform” will redistribute wealth from rich whites to poor blacks, from whose families the land was stolen in colonial times. At a recent conference in Rome, he called the programme “a firm launching pad for our fight against poverty and food insecurity”. But since the land is usually handed out to ruling-party loyalists, rather than skilled farmers, the result so far has been the opposite. Cereal production in Zimbabwe has fallen by 67% since 1999-2000, according to the WFP, and looks set to tumble further.

Mr Mugabe does not seem to care. After stealing a presidential election in March, his chief concern has been to punish those who dared to support his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai. He suspects white farmers of having bankrolled Mr Tsvangirai's campaign, and is determined to ensure that they cannot do so again. He has also targeted critical journalists, ten of whom, including this correspondent, are facing criminal charges for articles they have written. Two prominent lawyers were briefly detained this month and charged with plotting to overthrow the government. As evidence, the police produced a semi-literate letter that the erudite accused allegedly wrote to British diplomats. The British high commissioner (ambassador) to Harare, Brian Donnelly, is accused of “masterminding” a plot to topple Mr Mugabe and is under 24-hour surveillance.

Mr Tsvangirai himself faces treason charges, which could carry the death penalty. And starving peasants who are suspected of having voted for him are denied food aid in areas where the ruling party controls its distribution.

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Zimbabwe warns white landowners

Ruling Party urges 'swift action' against farmers defying law


HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 27 - Zimbabwe's ruling party urged tough action
against white farmers who defy orders to stop working their fields, and
dismissed claims that the land seizures have exacerbated the country's
hunger crisis, state media reported Thursday.

       AT A MEETING Wednesday, the leaders of President Robert Mugabe's
ruling party said many white farmers were ignoring the order, which took
effect earlier this week.
       "(The government) should take swift action against any farmer who
breaks the law," the party politburo said in a statement, according to the
state-run Herald newspaper Thursday.
       But most farmers stopped working months ago, intimidated by armed
militants occupying their land and paralyzed by the threat of the government
's "fast track" program to seize white-owned farms and redistribute them to
landless blacks.
       The land seizures have decimated the nation's commercial farming
industry and come amid a potentially devastating food crisis in Zimbabwe.
The agriculture minister was quoted in the Herald as saying the crisis had
nothing to do with the land seizures.
       "We dismiss the claim that the government is destroying the backbone
of the country's agriculture-based economy by resettling landless people,"
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told The Herald.
       The World Food Program estimates that nearly half of the 12.5 million
Zimbabweans were at risk of starvation in the coming year. A team led by the
Kenzo Oshima, the U.N. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and
emergency relief, arrived Wednesday on an assessment tour.
       But despite promises to redistribute the confiscated land to
have-nots, many of the farms have been given to confidantes of Mugabe and
ruling party leaders.
       The party leaders also accused white farmers of trying to take over
the country, saying they were taking "a racist and fascist approach of
wanting to continue white dominance in this country," Made said.
       Less than 1 percent of Zimbabwe's population is white - mostly the
descendants of British and South African settlers. Zimbabwe won independence
from Britain in 1980 and Mugabe's critics have accused him of trying to stir
up racial tensions in an effort to deflect attention from the country's
crumbling economy.
       The 2,900 farmers ordered to stop working their farms face an Aug. 8
deadline to evacuate their homes.
       With hundreds of other farms already seized, about 95 percent of the
nation's 4,000 white farmers will be out of business if the government order
is enforced, farmer representatives have said.
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Weekly Media Update No. 21 of 2002
June 17th - June 23rd 2002

1.  Summary
2.  Farm evictions


Media coverage of the controversy surrounding government's attempt
to evict the White Cliff Farm settlers exposed government's failure to
invest its land reform programme with any coherent policy - and
highlighted the confusion and indecisiveness within government itself,
as viewers of ZTV's Newshour programme on Tuesday night (18/6)
would have heard for themselves.
Ironically though, some of this confusion seemed to rub off onto some
sections of the media, which only provided basic information about the
conflict, overlooking the need for a clear and coherent investigation into
its background.
As a result, media consumers remained no wiser, for example, about the
law under which the "war veterans" had settled at least 10 000 people at
White Cliff Farm (now Tongogara Park), the legal status of the farm, or
whether the Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from Eviction) Act also
shielded squatters from eviction, especially because they had settled
there for residential purposes and not to farm.
Only The Sunday Mirror (23/6), fulfilling its role of providing more in-
depth coverage of the week's news, gave its readers some insight into
the background of the farm's ownership.
The eviction of commercial farmers was also in the news during the week
as the legal deadline (June 24th) to stop farming for some approached.
While the private Press, particularly The Zimbabwe Independent (21/6),
focused on the practical effects of this Land Act amendment, the state
media largely confined itself to reporting official statements saying there
would be no reprieve for the farmers.
The extraordinary irony that government was preventing farmers from
growing food when Zimbabwe was suffering the effects of a famine was
ignored by the government controlled media in favour of portraying
evicted farmers as dishonest.

In other news, the ongoing police repression of opposition MDC activity
under the Public Order and Security Act continues to highlight the
polarity of the media with the privately owned Press viewing the law and
the repression as a paranoid, unconstitutional government clampdown
on Zimbabweans' democratic rights to their freedom of expression,
assembly and association.
The government controlled media continued to reflect the official line,
reporting and indeed, justifying the upsurge in violent police activity
against perceived opponents in the context that government was
protecting the public from a planned "violent" MDC uprising against a
legitimate government.
Coverage of the violent arrests of MDC supporters outside the party's
Harare offices starkly illustrated this extreme between the private Press
and the government controlled media.
While The Herald (17/6) remained silent on the violent nature of the
police assault on the gathering, it made unsubstantiated claims that the
MDC supporters were arrested after they "went on the rampage in
Harare city center stealing from passers-by and disrupting traffic". To
reinforce this allegation, the paper quoted Chief Supt. Dorothy Kupara,
the story's only source, justifying the police action because "we suspect
that the MDC was preparing for a mass action. We also suspect that
there is a hidden agenda behind the meeting which we had prohibited."
ZTV's follow-up report of the incident (17/06, 8pm) reflected similar
journalistic abuse when newsreader Obriel Mpofu stated: "Police say
intelligence suggesting that the MDC and its supporters were planning
a violent campaign was vindicated yesterday when the MDC decided
to defy a police ban to hold a public gathering in the Harare
Gardens". Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted in the same
report as having said the MDC and other organizations have been
planning "a violent ouster of the government."
But neither he nor ZTV provided any evidence to support this claim.
In contrast, The Daily News (17/6) accessed comment from more than
three sources, took stock of the injuries inflicted by the police and
provided some background to the clash, as well as reporting a similar
police crackdown in Bulawayo on the same day where about 2000 MDC
supporters had also gathered to commemorate Soweto Day.


The Herald's enigmatic story, 'State Never Advocated Illegal
Resettlement, Says Chombo' (17/6) reminded readers of government's
intention to evict squatters from White Cliff Farm and was followed by
an equally uninformative ZTV announcement confirming this in its
evening bulletin.
The next day The Herald reported that a showdown was looming
between government and the "illegal settlers" and this too, was
dutifully followed up by ZBC (all stations 18/6, 8pm) quoting settlers (as
did The Herald) saying they would resist eviction.
ZTV's bulletin also quoted other settlers occupying farms in
Mashonaland Central and outside Bulawayo vowing not to move.
In the same bulletin, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, Home Affairs
Minister John Nkomo, and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
were all quoted as saying the evictions were necessary for an orderly
land reform programme and that those affected would be relocated to
other farms.
Their statements unintentionally suggested that the reforms had been
plagued by disorder until now. And this impression was corroborated at
the end of the same news bulletin (18/6) when newscaster Obriel Mpofu
suddenly announced that "we are receiving news of a late item" and
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was on the phone to the newsdesk.
Mpofu appeared to have no idea what the minister wanted to say, but his
unscheduled "appearance" demonstrated the special access Moyo
enjoys at the national public broadcaster.
While Minister Chombo had been quoted in the bulletin (and The
Herald) as saying ".the law enforcement agencies will take
appropriate action" against those who remained at White Cliff, Moyo
announced that the government and the settlers had agreed to meet the
following day to find ".an amicable solution without any
It was not clear why Chombo or the other two Cabinet ministers were
apparently unaware of this sudden change in government's position and
the next morning's Herald (19/6) provided no explanation either, simply
reporting Moyo's statement and Chombo's comments too.
3FM and Radio Zimbabwe also reported Moyo's announcement that
morning (19/06, 6am).
After the meeting between government and the settlers, ZBC (ZTV,
19/06, 8pm and radio stations, 20/06, 6am and The Herald 20/6) quoted
Chombo announcing the government's policy U-turn stating that it had
postponed the evictions and formed a committee to investigate the
circumstances surrounding the allocation of stands at the farm, the
status of the property, and whether it had been acquired for resettlement,
a particularly bizarre admission of ignorance that was not investigated.
Chombo's announcement contrasted sharply with his earlier remarks
(ZTV, 18/06, 8pm) in which he said: "Their stay is causing a health
hazard to the residents of Harare. More so it is an illegal settlement, it
is unplanned and it has not been authorized."
The Herald (18/6) again led its electronic stable-mate with this story,
recording Chombo's comments and those of his permanent secretary
saying only government and the city of Harare were authorized to
allocate residential stands. The settlement was therefore illegal,
unplanned and should be disbanded, they argued.

Once again, these comments contrasted starkly with the comments
Chombo made two days later when announcing the suspension of the
evictions, and especially with the comments of Joseph Made who
labeled as "sadists" all those who viewed the eviction of settlers from
undesignated farms as retrogressive (The Herald 21/6). The paper
quoted him as saying the "sadists, through their false trumpets were
bellowing wrong signals to the people about the evictions."
Nevertheless, such was the unquestioning attitude of the paper that it
failed to analyze such government policy contradictions.  
Neither did The Daily News (19/6), which appeared content to record the
war veterans attacking Chombo rather than questioning their role in the
White Cliff Farm debacle.
As a result, the paper failed to follow up revelations by the war veterans
that Chombo was going "against what was agreed between us and
President Mugabe, who allowed the landless peasants to occupy the
The next day (20/6) The Daily News caught up with the story on how the
war veterans had forced the minister to reverse his directive, an article
also carried by The Herald that day.
The Daily News story however, also noted government's selective
application of the Public Order and Security Act, which, in this case, it
did not use against the demonstrating White Cliff settlers, but which it
religiously uses against the MDC and others it perceives as opponents.
This contrasted sharply with The Herald story, which sought to sanitize
government's temporary capitulation to the war veterans' demands.
However, glaring in both papers' coverage was their failure to question
the lack of policy in government's "orderly" land reform programme.
The Daily News (21/6) atoned for its earlier lapse in concentration by
questioning the unbridled power of war veterans in its editorial War Vets,
ZANU PF's Frankenstein monster.
The paper noted that the "set-to between government and the so-called
war veterans over White Cliff settlement" was inevitable and a reproach
to Mugabe for "ceding so much of his constitutional authority" to an
"invisible government" full of  "foul-mouthed and violent individuals"
whose "only claim to legitimacy could be that they can use violence to
achieve their selfish means".
As if to vindicate The Daily News comment, The Standard (23/6) ran a
story in which it reported the war veterans at White Cliff as declaring the
settlement a "no-go area" for "intruders". A militia force, said the paper,
was created to enforce this.
It quoted war vets secretary for security Mike Moyo telling hundreds of
settlers that the reason for the militia's formation was to fight the police
and those who wanted to destroy their homes. ". Anyone who resides
here and does not participate in this war will be chased away because
he is as good as the people we are fighting."
Besides its coverage of White Cliff Farm, the privately owned media also
reported on various other conflicts threatening Zimbabwe's agricultural
For example, The Zimbabwe Independent reported that at least 2 500
commercial farmers were likely to become redundant when government's
45-day deadline ordering them to stop farming expired.
Banket commercial farmer Duke de Cudroy aptly captured the implication
of the order: "Farmers are not sure about what to do next. If they
continue farming they risk being arrested and if they stop what will
happen to their crops?"
The Financial Gazette's 'Land reform to displace two million', also
reported on the likely effects of the farm seizures on farm workers and
their families, basing its story on a survey conducted by the Zimbabwe
Community Development Trust (ZCDT).
A related story by The Standard also recorded the General Agriculture
and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) as saying most of
the farm workers already displaced were "wallowing in poverty".
The government-controlled Press ignored these developments,
preferring instead to carry public relations stories on the successes of
land reform or spin yarns about "greedy farmers" doling out bribes in a
bid to prolong their stay at designated farms.
The Business Herald (20/6), for example, carried an editorialized story
that made unsubstantiated claims of bribery by commercial farmers to
explain the failure by some beneficiaries of land reform to take up their
pieces of land.
In the same vein The Herald (21/6) also subjectively implied that farmers
who had been served with Section 8 orders had designed fake forms
"not gazetted by government but crafted by the Commercial Farmers'
Union" in an effort to persuade government to allow them to stay on
their farms and continue growing crops.
"The form has raised eyebrows among officials in the Attorney-
General's office as to its legal status," an unnamed Lands and
Agricultural official is quoted as saying by the paper.
However, this allegation conflicts with a Zimbabwe Independent story in
which some commercial farmers confirmed receiving vague government
letters granting them relief from the Section 8 orders.
The paper quoted one such recipient of the letter saying: "You can read
it 101 ways. I don't really know what it means but I can only say that it
is proof that I have applied to the (Agriculture) Ministry for
permission to continue farming."

ZBC (ZTV, 3FM, 21/06, 8pm and Radio Zimbabwe 22/06, 6am) continued
to pick up stories from The Herald over government's refusal to waive
farmers' eviction orders. In the ZTV bulletin retired brigadier Felix
Muchemwa was quoted demanding tough action against commercial
farmers: "We should not give these people even two days notice, three
days notice. That's irrelevant. Once we have made up our minds we
study a particular farm.and we just move in with our security forces,
take the land and finish." the former Health Minister said.
ZTV did at least ask what the implications such a move might have on
the rule of law. But Muchemwa said: "What is the law? We want our
land full stop. The law is irrelevant in this issue."
ZTV allowed this incitement and disregard for the law to go
unchallenged. His comments were rebroadcast on ZBC radio stations the
next morning (22/06, 6am). Radio Zimbabwe even went on to carry
Muchemwa's comments in its 8pm bulletin, nearly 24 hours after they
were made.
There was also confusion over who exactly had to stop farming by June
24th. SW Radio Africa (18/06) quoted a CFU official saying that according
to the law, anyone who has been served with a Section 8 order should
stop farming by June 24th.
But ZTV quoted Made (21/6, 8pm) saying that the 45-day deadline was
calculated from the day the farmer received the eviction order and that
commercial farmers received their orders on different days.
Both radio stations failed to seek definitive independent clarification on
this issue.


The MEDIA UPDATE is produced and circulated by the Media
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park,
Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:
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