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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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      Skulduggery In Zimbabwe Campaign
      By Makusha Mugabe and Paul Themba Nyath


     3-10-05, 8:46 am

                  In one of the most blatant examples of political
skulduggery by the Zimbabwe government a truck carrying opposition campaign
materials worth millions of dollars was commandeered by police at a

                  The truck was headed to the Eastern part of the country
from the capital carrying t-shirts, bandanas and posters, fuel and cash for
use in the final leg of the campaign for the 31 March general election,
reports Zimonline - an online newspaper run by exiled Zimbabwean

                  The materials belonged to the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) candidate for Chimanimani, Heather Bennett, whose husband, a
farmer, was barred from contesting.

                  The MDC initially boycotted the elections hoping that the
international community would put pressure on Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe to stop intimidating the opposition whose members and candidates have
been beaten, arrested and locked up for no apparent reasons.

                  In most cases the perpetrators, though known, have never
been prosecuted.

                  The truck was stopped by police less than halfway into its
journey at Mariner, about 50 from Harare on a main road, and it was

                  Reports indicate the truck was driven to a rural police
outpost about 30 miles from Harare, well away from its original route.

                  Police impounded the truck and confiscated all the
election paraphernalia as well as 1000 litres of fuel and Z$10 million
(about £850) in cash which was to have been used in the Chimanimani

                  Zimbabwe has been accused of not playing by the rules in
the election which is being monitored by a select group of monitors approved
and invited by Mugabe.

                  The MDC claims that it was pressured into participating in
the election, because failing to do so would give Zanu (PF) a free-reign for
another five years, without any opposition voice in Parliament. It has
fielded candidates in all 100-odd constituencies.
                  MDC candidate tortured, detained
                  Sat 5 March 2005

                  HARARE - An opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party candidate in the upcoming election and another party official
were on Thursday tortured by ruling ZANU PF party militants and later
detained by the police when they attempted to press charges against their

                  Prince Chibanda, who is standing for the MDC in Zvimba
North constituency and the opposition partyís information officer for the
area, Paidamoyo Muzulu, were by late yesterday afternoon still detained at
Chinhoyi police station, 120 km north-west of Harare.

                  In a statement yesterday, the MDC said Chibanda was
campaigning at Basset farm in Rafingora district in the constituency when a
group of ZANU PF militants led by a self-styled liberation war veteran
identified only as, Kangachepi, abducted him and his team.

                  No free and fair election in Zimbabwe

                  "Chibanda and his team were assaulted and taken to some
torture camp on the farm. Eight of his team members managed to escape and
reported the matter to the police while Chibanda and Paidamoyo remained
under siege," the opposition party said.

                  Following the report, the police went to Basset farm and
picked up the ZANU PF militants and their MDC victims. But when Chibanda and
Muzula attempted to press charges against their torturers at the police
station, they were told that they instead were going to be detained while
their assailants were to go free.

                  "The two MDC officials were taken to Chinhoyi police
station together with the ZANU PF activists but were surprised when they
(MDC officials) were told that they would have to spend the night in the
cells because the officers who were supposed to attend to their case had
gone home for the day," the MDC said.

                  Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for
comment on the matter yesterday.

                  Violence against and victimisation of MDC candidates and
supporters by ZANU PF militants and state security forces have steadily
increased in the past two weeks as the crucial election on March 31 draws

                  Two MDC candidates were arrested last week and several of
the opposition partyís activists harassed for putting up campaign posters.

                  The opposition party began campaigning in earnest two
weeks ago after rescinding a decision last year to boycott the parliamentary
poll unless political violence was ended and the political playing field was

                  President Robert Mugabe and police commissioner, Augustine
Chihuri, have vowed not to tolerate political violence in order to ensure a
peaceful, free and fair election.

                  MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi yesterday said: "One
wonders whether anyone can call this a free and fair election when
complainants are arrested for reporting to the police." - ZimOnline

                  2nd March 2005


                  In recent articles carried by the state controlled Herald
newspaper, police chief spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena, accused the MDC of making false allegations with regards to an
attack by soldiers on three MDC candidates and of the abduction of an MDC
candidate by Zanu PF supporters in front of police officers.

                  For the record, the MDC stands by both allegations and is
                  disturbed by the refusal of the police to properly
investigate the incidents in question.

                  The comments attributed to Assistant Commissioner
Bvudzijena cast further doubt on the willingness of the police to act in a
professional and impartial manner.

                  The actions of the police thus far in the election
campaign have served to further erode public confidence in the electoral
process and further undermine its legitimacy.

                  Although there have been one or two incidents whereby
police officers have acted without bias and arrested Zanu PF supporters for
committing acts of violence, on the whole the police continue to behave in
an overtly partisan manner.

                  Most incidents of violence perpetrated against MDC
supporters go
                  unpunished and the police continue to deliberately
misinterpret existing statutes to proscribe MDC campaign activities. To date
there is no record of Zanu PF activists being arrested for putting up
posters or of Zanu PF meetings been disrupted or banned from taking place.

                  MDC candidates and activists appear to be the target of
                  police harassment as polling day approaches. This may be
denied by police chiefs through the medium of the state controlled press,
however, their denials appear somewhat spurious when compared to the facts
on the ground.

                  8 February: Members of the army brutally attacked 15 MDC
supporters as they departed a rally in Nyanga.

                  8 February: 13 MDC supporters in Gwanda were arrested and
fined Z$25,000 each by police for waving their open palms at Deputy Foreign
Affairs Minister, Abednico Ncube.

                  8 February: Godrich Chimbaira, the MDC candidate for
Zengeza, was arrested for holding a meeting at his house with members of the
local structures.

                  11 February: the MDC candidate for Hurungwe West, Godfrey
Gumbo, was abducted by a group of Zanu PF supporters and taken to their HQ
in Harare where he was severely assaulted. Mr Gumbo was abducted along with
Stanley Razaro (the District Chairperson for Hurungwe) and Masavhaya Dipuka

                  12 February: police arrested 40 women in Bulawayo
following a march organised by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) 'to spread the
message of love'.

                  15 February: 7 MDC supporters were arrested by police in
Bulawayo for distributing MDC campaign material. All campaign material was

                  16 February: Police in Harare raided a training session of
the MDC's 120 candidates. Police claimed the meeting was illegal under POSA.
Ian Makone, the MDC's Director of Elections, was arrested.

                  21 February: MDC activist Tendai Matsine and his wife were
severely beaten up by Zanu PF youth in Huruingwe East. They were attacked
after being caught putting up MDC posters. The incident was reported to the
police but police informed the MDC officials that they had been given
instructions by their superiors NOT TO ARREST Zanu PF activists engaged in
acts of violence.

                  22 February: MDC candidate for Shamva, Godfrey Chimombe,
was arrested along with five MDC activists while putting up posters.

                  23 February: MDC candidate for Bindura, Joel Mugariri and
Mashonaland Central Provincial Chairperson, Tapera Macheka, were arrested by
police for putting up posters.

                  23 February: Hilda Mafudze, MDC candidate for Manyame,
reported that 11 MDC youths were assaulted by Zanu PF supporters while
distributing campaign literature. The incident was reported to Norton police
station but the police refused to arrest the Zanu PF youth.

                  It is incumbent upon the new Electoral Commission to
engage the police and instruct them to act without fear or favour. A failure
to take tangible steps in this direction will raise further questions marks
about the 'independence' of the new Commission. It has a fundamental duty to
ensure that citizens are able to freely participate in the electoral

                  At present this basic democratic right, enshrined in the
SADC Protocol on elections, is being undermined by a police force seemingly
determined to frustrate the people's desire for a new beginning and a new
Zimbabwe by further distorting the electoral playing field to the political
advantage of the ruling party.

                  What the police must realise is that their partisan
actions are
                  self-defeating. People want jobs and food security and
know that these basic aspirations will remain unobtainable as long as the
present status quo remains in place.

                  --Makusha Mugabe works with Diaspora Vote Action Group,
Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe. Paul Themba Nyathi is MDC
Secretary for Information and Publicity.

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      Harare election blog I: Invisible poll
      In the run-up to Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections on 31 March,
22-year-old receptionist Lucy Gomo (not her real name) is keeping a diary
about life in Harare.

      Wednesday 9 March
      Election campaigning here in Harare is surprisingly quiet at the

      There are just a few posters up around town, but people just don't
seem interested.

      Politics is not discussed among my colleagues at work, on the commuter
buses or among my friends.

      The only real sign of campaigning I've seen was last weekend when I
travelled to Kwekwe (180km south-west of Harare).

      There I saw some people singing and wearing T-shirts supporting the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      Cost of living

      My family live in Kwekwe and I try to visit them once a month, which
can sometimes be difficult with rising prices - a return bus ticket to
Kwekwe costs $80,000 Zimbabwean dollars (about US$15).

      If I've overspent, I don't go.

      With the minimum wage currently set at Z$800,000 ($145), most people
complain about not earning enough.

      Grocery prices went up again this month, but my salary hasn't gone up.

      Supermarket shortages come and go, which can make shopping not only
expensive but frustrating.

      A few weeks ago sugar and maize meal were only available in smaller
quantity packs. For example, there were no 10kg or 20kg packs of maize meal,
only 5kg bags.

      When I went shopping last week, the larger bags were back on the
shelves, but I couldn't find the bleach I normally buy.

      I looked in different supermarket chains, but I couldn't find it

      It's been very hot here in Harare and it hasn't rained for a while,
which is depressing people.

      Those with smallholdings in the rural areas are worried about their
maize crops.

      One of the guys at work told me he had nothing to bring back from his
plot because the rains had been bad.

      Will you be voting in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections? Please send
us your comments on this blog and your own experiences using the form below.


      The following comment reflect the balance of views received:

      There's no need to vote when you know the winner is. We are worried
more about food on the table than politics.
      Petso, Harare, Zimbabwe

      We have never had it so good in our country, especially with elections
coming. This weekend the two main political parties - MDC and ZANU PF -
actually held rallies on Saturday, MDC at Chipadze Township and ZANU PF at
Bindura Primary school. I am happy that no incidents of violence took place,
even afterwards when people were returning to their homes wearing different
party regalia. It is really a big change in that everybody talks about zero
tolerance on political violence. Zimbabwe surely is a mature democracy. My
wish is that, if only all those people from abroad could acknowledge this
truth and stop writing fiction about my small country. My main worry is not
so much about who wins in this election, but the pending drought.
      Joachim Nguvo, Bindura, Zimbabwe

      I feel that voting is not only a right but an obligation. What matters
is that you actually vote
      Zimbo, Harare, Zimbabwe

      I would like to vote in the upcoming election but, unfortunately, the
current government does not allow Zimbabweans living outside the country to
vote. This is possibly because the majority of Zimbabweans living outside
the country are opposition supporters and are no longer living in Zimbabwe
for that very reason, or they have access to impartial media exposure and
can form unbiased opinions of the ruling party. The opposition does not
stand a chance and unfortunately Mugabe will get away with it again. Let's
just hope there is not more murder and violence against the opposition like
there was after independence and the last elections.
      Zane Brown, London
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Zimbabwe Opposition Campaign Moves Out of Cities

10 March 2005
Thornycroft report - Download 421K
Listen to Thornycroft report

Zimbabwe's political opposition is intensively campaigning in rural areas for the first time and claims it is making headway in ruling ZANU-PF strongholds. The Movement for Democratic Change is concentrating its efforts in rural districts rather than urban areas where it is already the majority party.

Hwedza, an enormous rural voting district that begins about 150 kilometers southeast of Harare has long been a safe parliament seat for the ZANU-PF.

When the Movement for Democratic Change was formed five years ago, it found it impossible to campaign in most rural areas, but Tuesday the party held a rally in the sparsely populated Hwedza district. The festive rally, held under a huge tree, attracted more than 1,200 people.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai
People said they had walked up to 20 kilometers to attend. Most of them are thin and said they were tired and hungry, but had walked for half a day to see MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for the first time.

The district had been a successful commercial farming area, but all but two of the region's 150 white commercial farmers were forced off their land in the past five years.

The district was strangely empty of people, buses, and farm vehicles Tuesday. Local people said tens of thousands of farm workers have left the district and there are few crops and almost no cattle left on the land.

People at the rally say there is less violence than in the general election of 2000 or the presidential poll two years later.

Zimbabwe police attended the rally, but were unobtrusive. No one was threatened and people sang songs, many of them lamenting Zimbabwe's economic crisis and isolation. None of the posters near the rally site appeared to have been defaced or torn down as in previous election campaigns.

ZANU-PF and MDC rallies are taking place with almost no media attention and without any local or foreign observers.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai addresses party supporters in Mbare
Hwedza was Morgan Tsvangirai's 19th rally in rural areas since February 26, his aides said. He travels in a small convoy of pick-up trucks, addressing two to four rallies a day.

In Hwedza, 24-year-old MDC. supporter Batsirai Muzondo, said many people are still fearful of being seen at opposition rallies.

He said ZANU-PF supporters in his area still threaten people and do not want to see anyone participating in the MDC. He said nowadays he and his friends are educating their parents not to be threatened or frightened.

In the one Hwedza village street, lined by small trading stores, ZANU-PF officials were obvious by their party T-shirts. They were relaxed and friendly. ZANU-PF chairman for the district Columbus Zvinyoro said the party had not yet had any rallies in Hwedza, but would do so shortly. He said he would welcome any journalist who wanted to attend a ZANU-PF rally in Hwedza.

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Zimbabwe: Commission allocates €15 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable

The European Commission has approved €15 million in humanitarian aid for
population groups at particular risk in Zimbabwe, including displaced
people, people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans and other vulnerable children.

This will be achieved by supporting emergency food and agricultural
interventions and providing integrated assistance, with a particular focus
on water and sanitation. The funds are managed by the Commission's
Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner
Louis Michel.

Zimbabwe continues to experience a deep political and socio-economic crisis,
with unprecedented numbers of people facing food insecurity and rising rates
of HIV/AIDS infection. The majority of the population can barely cover their
most basic needs. The health, water and sanitation sectors have collapsed,
putting basic services beyond access for most people, particularly in rural
areas. The country counts over one million orphans, mainly as a result of
AIDS pandemic. Diseases that were once eradicated from the country such as
cholera and dysentery are again being reported due to the absence of basic
water, sanitation and health services.

Humanitarian assistance from the European Commission will be implemented
through United Nations agencies, such as the UN children's fund (UNICEF) and
Food and Agricultural Organisation, international organisations like the
International Organisation for Migration and international Non-Governmental

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Extract from:
Amnesty International Calls for Absolute Prohibition on Torture, Inhumane

The Amnesty Representative says the U.N. Human Rights Commission turns a
blind eye to bad human rights situations in some countries, while condemning
others for similar abuse. He says some governments skillfully use this
double standard for their own benefit.

"A very good example of that is Zimbabwe, which is a very very bad
situation, but it manages to avoid a resolution in the Commission every year
because it does such a good job of saying look at the double standards, look
at the hypocrisy to defeat the resolution that is brought on Zimbabwe," he

Amnesty International urges the Commission members to end, what it calls,
their shameful failure to act on human rights violations in countries such
as Zimbabwe, Iraq, Chechnya in the Russian Federation and the United States
in Guantanamo.

It also calls for strong action against Sudan for the ongoing atrocities in
Darfur, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Turkmenistan
and the barrier Israel is building in the West Bank.
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Cosatu not allowed to hold demo at Border Post

March 10, 2005, 18:30

The Congress of SA Trade Unions has been refused permission to hold a
demonstration tomorrow at the Beit Bridge post on the border with Zimbabwe.
Cosatu said in a statement today it was "deeply disturbed" by the decision.
"The Congress of SA Trade Unions is deeply disturbed at a new attempt to
deny workers the right to free assembly, following a police decision today
(Thursday) to refuse permission to allow the Cosatu picket," the federation

Permission had been refused on the grounds that it could lead to a blockade
of the Beit Bridge border post. The SA Revenue Service, which runs the
border post, would only allow the demonstration if it was held at least 100m
away from the border. This, Cosatu said, was not acceptable either. "Cosatu
has instructed its lawyers to be on standby, pending the outcome of
negotiations between Cosatu, SAPS, SARS and the Musina municipality to
resolve this matter."

The organisation threatened to obtain a court order to "establish our right
to demonstrate", if the police insisted on "unreasonable conditions". - Sapa
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9th March 2005


We have just discovered that for the duration of 2004, "Operation Nyama"
took place in Hwange National Park. For those who don't know, the English
translation of "Nyama" is "Meat". The purpose of this operation was to
provide meat for the people and it is alleged that a quota was issued,
authorizing a large number of animals to be shot for "Operation Nyama". If
the aim was genuinely only to feed the people, it is strange that most of
the elephant bulls that were, and still are being shot, have 60 to 70 pound
tusks and are in their prime. Older bulls with broken tusks are not being

We have had several complaints from tourists. "Operation Nyama" was supposed
to end on the 31st December 2004 but we received a report just 3 weeks ago
from a group of horrified and disgusted American tourists. They said they
saw a National Parks truck which had broken down inside Hwange National Park
and it was fully loaded with dead impala and buffalo. An attempt had been
made to conceal the dead animals with branches and leaves but the Americans
could easily see what was in the truck. They were extremely upset and said
they were going to report it to their government upon their return to

We have had other reports of tourists cutting their visits to Hwange
National Park short because they have witnessed animals being slaughtered by
National Parks staff in the prime game viewing areas. These tourists said
they intend to go to the press and their local Congressman when they get

One of the camp managers in Hwange has threatened to remove his diesel
engines from the park because there is little point in spending millions of
dollars on fuel to pump water to attract the game just so it can be shot for

Most of the game viewing in Hwange takes place around the Main Camp area but
tourists are saying there is practically no game left there. Some of the
animals have been slaughtered and the others do not go there any more for
fear of being shot. The tourists made scathing remarks about the shocking
state of the roads and asked what their National Parks entry fees were being
used for. There is also very little water being pumped into the pans.

The Zimbabwean government spends millions of dollars promoting tourism on
the one hand and on the other, National Parks staff seem to be making a good
job of  destroying what is left of our tourism industry. One of the wardens
of Main Camp has apparently been arrested for stealing eighteen of the
National Parks diesel pumps, most of which were donated by conservation
organizations, and selling them to the "new farmers" who are all now hunting
in the areas adjoining the park.

It has been reported from Amsterdam that the Dutch customs police have
seized a shipment of African elephant body parts including 22 feet, eight
tusks, eight ears, three tails, a skull and an entire hide. The cargo,
originating in Zimbabwe and bound for Germany was halted at Schipol Airport
without proper licences. The body parts were intended for buyers in Spain,
Portugal and the Czech Republic and as yet, no arrests have been made. At
least the dealers have lost their money because the cargo has been
confiscated and will most likely be destroyed.

Everybody hoped that when National Parks became an "authority" as opposed to
a government department, the wildlife would once again enjoy the protection
it had before the onset of the land reform programme but the
irresponsibility of the new National Parks Authority is beyond belief. It
has now reached the point where the wildlife is probably safer outside the
National Park areas because the people who have been entrusted with
safeguarding this precious commodity are the very people who are destroying
it. The Zimbabwean Government should be held accountable for this
destruction of our national heritage.

Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Phone       263 4 336710
Fax            263 4 339065
Mobile       263 11 603 213

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From: Zimbabwe Vigil
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 4:12 AM

News Release


9th March 2005





A petition urging international action to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe is to be presented to the High Commissioner of Mauritius in London, Mr Jaynarain Meetoo, at noon on Friday, 11th March.


The petition was signed by more than 10,000 people at the Zimbabwe Vigil, which is held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy every Saturday in support of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.


Exiled Zimbabwean and human rights activists are to hand over the petition to be passed on to the Prime Minister of Mauritius, the current chair of the Southern African Development Community and therefore overseer of the election protocol agreed by SADC last year to which Zimbabwe was a signatory.


The Zimbabwe Vigil says it is already clear that Zimbabwe has flouted the election guidelines.  It is urging SADC, which is to send an observer mission to Zimbabwe, to do everything it can, even at this late stage, to try to make the elections on 31st March as free and fair as possible. 


Western powers, including the United Kingdom, have not been invited to observe the elections.


On Wednesday, a copy of the petition was handed to Baroness Park, who led a debate on Zimbabwe in the House of Lords.  Lady Park and all the other 10 speakers condemned the repression of the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, which was described as a “failed state”.


Photo opportunity:  at the High Commission from 11.45 am. 



Contact details


Dennis Benton, 07932 193 467

Wiz Bishop, 07963 521 160






Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
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Daily News online edition

      Prices soar as basic commodities disappear

      Date: 10-Mar, 2005

      HARARE - The prices of basic food commodities have risen in recent
weeks while in some shops these basics have disappeared from the shelves, a
survey by the Daily News Online has revealed.

      In visits to several major supermarkets in the city centre this week,
it was established that the price of most basic foodstuffs like cooking oil,
sugar, salt, bread have risen by as much as 60 percent while milk products
have disappeared from the shelves.

      Zimbabwe has experienced serious food shortages since 2000 when the
government urged war veterans and Zanu PF supporters to invade and occupy
over 3 500 productive white-owned commercial farms.

      Before the controversial land invasions Zimbabwe was self-sufficient
and exported agricultural products to regional member states.

      At OK Supermarket in First Street, a look around on Tuesday showed
that there was no milk at all. Asked about the absence, a shop floor
assistant said they were not receiving milk products from Dairiboard
Zimbabwe Limited because it had none in stock.

      At various Food Chain Group (FCG) shops in the capital, cooking oil
and major brands of washing soap were not available, recreating a situation
that prevailed sometime in 2003 when most shops ran out of almost every
essential basic commodity.

      In Warren Park, most residents are going without bread and milk after
these essentials were not delivered in the residential area on Monday and

      The government has been pressing companies to reduce the price of
their products, charging that the increases would hurt its chances in this
year's parliamentary election, pitting the ruling party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      Transport costs have also increased from $1 500 for a single trip into
town to $2 000 in residential suburbs near town while others have to pay
about $4 000 for a single trip, up from $2 500.

      The increases are coming into effect in the wake of concerted efforts
by the government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to portray Zimbabwe
as a country that has managed to fight inflation. Inflation now stands at
about 133 percent, still among the highest in the world.

      Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe dollar continues to tumble on the black
market, where most individuals and companies source their foreign currency
for trade outside the country.

      The United States dollar was on Monday reported to be trading at Z$13
500 on the black market, instead of the official Z$6 0 53. The British pound
was fetching a princely Z$23 000 on the parallel market as opposed to the
official Z$11 000.

      Regionally, one South African rand can fetch you Z$2 500 (officially
Z$1 044) while the Botswana pula is pegged at Z$3 000, far ahead of the
authorised rate of Z$1 338.

      Last week the Reserve Bank governor, Dr Gideon Gono, lashed out at
banking institutions which he accused of returning to their old crime of
fuelling the currency black market.

      But this appears to be a battle that Gono, touted by the ruling party
as the saviour of the economy, is far from winning . This is because the
foreign currency auction system he introduced last year is proving to be
totally inadequate to meet demand, which fuels the black market and, in
turn, the rate of inflation.

      The allocation of currency remains stuck at US$11 million per
twice-weekly session and yet demand has peaked at over US$100 million on
February 14. The number of bids rejected has soared to over 3 000 per
session, leaving all these currency-hungry traders and manufacturers with no
option but to turn to the black market

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Daily News online edition

      Voters say parties don*t reflect their concerns

      Date: 10-Mar, 2005

      LONDON -- The shape and outcome of Zimbabwe's election, set for late
this month, is already becoming clear. In the view of a number of local
analysts canvassed by SouthScan there will be large-scale voter abstention
and apathy, already prefigured in the ruling party's primary elections.

      In this view an election with regional and international implications
is seen by Zimbabwean voters as having little significance for their lives.
As in Mozambique's recent election with its low turnout, the polls may start
to appear irrelevant to the lives of the voters.

      In addition, the absence of international monitors, together with an
uncritical approach by regional observers may ensure a stamp of approval on
the conduct of the poll. The ruling party will then be given the accolade of
legitimacy it has lacked since the 2002 elections.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has in the view of
a number of local analysts been trapped into engaging in the election, and
will suffer a demise.

      All the parties have campaigned on the platform that they will improve
the living standards of the ordinary people. The ruling party launched its
election programmes and campaign on February 5 attacking neo-liberalism and

      The MDC launched its campaign and programmes two weeks after Zanu-PF
and featured economic grievances, unemployment, governance and social
investment on its agenda.

      The government is under pressure from the opposition to implement a
set of electoral guidelines from the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC), including access to the public media by the opposition MDC, but
these have been implemented in a lukewarm manner. The government has agreed
to one day of voting, use of translucent ballot boxes and an "independent
electoral commission".

      Human rights groups have been calling for the postponement of the
election because the government has still to meet SADC's minimum standards,
but Zanu-PF has ruled this out and has set the date for March 31.

      These are the views of some potential voters in Harare:

      * Schoolteacher Mary Mvurumi says she has not seen life change for the
better after an election. She says by-elections have been held and still
life goes on as if nothing significant has happened.

      "My incomes have remained stagnant and I am still living in this shack
house. To me, the elections next month are not significant," says Mvurumi
pointing at one of the many wood shacks in Dzivaresekwa, one of Harare's
sprawling suburbs, 21 km west of the capital.

      * Stanley Kwangari, a carpenter at a backyard workshop outside
Harare's central business district, says he is more concerned with his daily
survival saying he was not bothered which party is in government as long as
his incomes pull him through.

      "See, I have to make money every day. I am not bothered whether or not
people are going to vote next week. You are right, some have no choice but I
want cash," says Kwangari.

      * Dylan Mutimba, a petrol attendant at a Harare service station says
he cannot afford to take time off to participate in the election. "I have
seen political violence in Zimbabwe's electoral process and I cannot risk my
life to take part in activities that cause me harm," says Mutimba.

      He does not understand why fuel products were abundant during
elections, only for the country to dry up a few weeks after the election.
Mutimba survives on selling fuel above market prices, which he does outside
his normal working hours. He and other attendants hoard fuel to be sold off
the service station.

      * A change in the electoral framework would arouse some interest and
persuade the MDC not to withdraw at the last minute, says Fanuel Munengami,
an ex-councillor in the Harare City Council.

      For Munengami, a bursar at a Harare school, poor remuneration that has
resulted in professionals like himself and other teachers being placed in
the non-taxable bracket of those earning less than ZD1 million, is an
admission by the government that "there isn't much care put on people
investing in the country's future by handling primary school education".

      But he adds that he will still vote and hopes that other people will
take part.

      Political analyst and head of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) Lovemore Madhuku says the political environment in Zimbabwe does not
give room or space for real concerns and issues to be raised and discussed.

      "The election itself is an issue and I see it as a Zanu-PF election to
be held in an environment that does not provide issues or a case for the
election," Madhuku says.

      "At 81 Mugabe has achieved lots on the basis of his iron fist rule and
people have been playing into his traps. That is why the MDC is
participating in the election, another trap," Madhuku adds. The decline in
the economy has sapped ordinary people's interest in Zimbabwe's political
life and dissipated the appeal the MDC's former appeal. Madhuku says the MDC
will not win the election despite its evident optimism because Mugabe is
setting the rules and virtually running the electoral system. Political
analyst Takura Zhangazha agrees the election is a trap for the MDC.
"Succession politics in Zanu-PF have had a bearing on the election. The
ruling party is aiming for a two-thirds parliamentary majority that would
enable it to amend the constitution. "The reorganisation in Zanu-PF after
its national congress was done to win the election and now the MDC is in."
Zhangazha agrees that the election will be marked by voter apathy because
the electorate has lost faith in the electoral system. Analysts across the
board have condemned the new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, saying it is
beholden to Mugabe and his government. But civil society organisations view
electoral and constitutional reforms as important and key issues in the
conduct of the election. Their main concern is the new NGO law barring
foreign funding for human rights work and requiring that the NGOs register
and agree to be monitored in their work. Despite the grandstanding by both
the ruling party and the opposition on the coming election, one analyst says
the question of legitimacy looms large and it is an issue the ruling party
would want addressed now. Eldred Masunungure, chairperson of the political
science department at the University of Zimbabwe, says Zanu-PF is battling
for recognition and legitimacy and will use the March election to correct
its reputation. "They are eyeing a two-thirds majority in parliament but I
don't think they would not take the elections as an opportunity to correct
their battered image. They need not fight tooth and nail with the
opposition," Masunungure says. Mugabe has dealt with his former information
minister Jonathan Moyo in a manner that shows that he is not interested in
Moyo's combative approach in dealing with the opposition. "The ruling party
cannot continue trashing the opposition as Moyo used to do in the past and
focus on the election as a window of opportunity to attract international
engagement in addressing the Zimbabwe crisis. Some rural areas will be
turned into no-go areas for the opposition and with the absence of
international observers during the election some areas will not come under
spotlight," he says. Masunungure also fears political violence stemming from
Zanu-PF's iner-party struggles after the party's national congress in
December and is less than convinced by assurances by police commissioner
Augustine Chihuri and army chief Phillip Sibanda that political violence
will not be tolerated during the election. Human rights lawyer Brian Kagoro,
who is the chairperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, says people's
expectations will emerge as the main issue in the March poll. "People are a
bit confused with the March election. They are trying to relate their votes
with bread and butter issues. Will people see their votes make a difference
and whether or not the leadership on offer is worth voting for," Kagoro
says. Some people have come to the point where they see the election as
having no bearing on their lives. Meanwhile the key defendant in the "spy
case" involving a group of top Zanu-PF officials has been freed. Phillip
Chiyangwa, until recently a provincial chairman of Zanu-PF, is alleged to
have led a spy ring with five others including Zanu-PF party security
officials, diplomats and a banker. He was arrested on December 15 and
detained pending trial, a date for which has not yet been set. But High
Court judge Charles Hungwe said there was not sufficient basis to keep
Chiyangwa in custody. The information the state relied on to incarcerate him
was "vague and imprecise". The decision has cast fresh doubt on the
rationale for the case, though three others accused with Chiyangwa were
convicted earlier this month by magistrate Peter Kumbawa and given sentences
of between five and six years in jail. Zimbabwe is still holding a South
African agent described in media reports as a white male and veteran
operative.- SouthScan
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Daily News online edition

      ZESN call for zero tolerance of poll violence

      Date: 10-Mar, 2005

      HARARE - The country's major poll watchdog, the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network (ZESN), is calling for zero tolerance to intimidation and
political violence in the build up to the March 31 poll.

      In a press release, ZESN national director, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava said
the crucial election was coming at a time when Zimbabwe was still in the
spotlight in relation to other member countries in the region.

      She said a lot of incidents witnessed in the last two major Zimbabwean
elections, the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections, still
haunted and traumatised the electorate while on the other hand some
petitions against results were still in the courts.

      "So far we have received a few isolated incidents of violence in the
campaign period, with members from both the main political parties, MDC and
ZANU PF, being arrested.

      "As a civic organisation with a mandate to promote democratic, free
and fair elections in Zimbabwe we re-emphasise our call for zero-tolerance
of political violence and commend messages from different authorities like
President Mugabe and police commissioner Augustine Chihuri, of denouncing
violence," said Chipfunde-Vava.

      The ZESN director also said a culture of tolerance and respect of
individual political affiliation had to prevail in a society so that
democracy flourishes

      She also called on the media to play a key role in denouncing acts of
violence, with reports not being biased, and perpetrators being brought to
book, whether one was prominent or not.

      The police should fulfill their role of public protector
professionally and ensure that all perpetrators of violence were brought to

      ZESN has, in the meantime, fielded 240 long-term observers in all the
120 constituencies around the country who will keep the organisation
informed about events and incidents happening within their localities.
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Daily News online edition

      Case against Daily News columnist withdrawn

      Date: 10-Mar, 2005

      HARARE - The State withdrew its case today against Pius Wakatama, a
former Daily News columnist who was being charged in the Harare Magistrate's
Court with publishing falsehoods.

      The case, before magistrate Omega Mugumbate, was the first on the roll
call and lasted less than a minute. Wakatama, a veteran journalist and
author, commented in 2003 in his weekly column in The Daily News on the case
that had been carried earlier by the paper in which a Magunje woman had
allegedly been beheaded while her children watched.

      The story was based on an interview that Lloyd Mudiwa, a reporter on
the paper, had conducted with George Nyadzayo, alias Tadyanemhandu, but it
turned out later that the story was false. Both Mudiwa and the then editor
of the paper, Geoff Nyarota, have since been acquitted of any wrong doing
regarding the story.

      Beatrice Mtetwa, who represented Wakatama, said the case was one of
the weakest ones involving the publication of falsehoods.

      A visibly pleased Wakatama could not hide his joy as he shook hands
outside the court with Sam Sipepa Nkomo, the chief executive officer of
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (pvt) Ltd, publishers of The Daily News
and Daily News on Sunday, and the editors of the two papers, John Gambanga
and Bill Saidi.

      Commenting on the case, Nkomo said:" I believe this was another way of
harassing The Daily News and an attempt at bankrupting it financially. We
knew from the beginning that there was no case for Wakatama to answer. We
hope that this harassment will stop one day and that the paper will soon be
on the streets again. We are expecting the paper back soon."

      Wakatama said he had been gravely concerned when the State had issued
a warrant for his arrest for the same offence last month, but this was
stopped at the intervention of his lawyer.
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Daily News online edition

      A day for women to remember rape, torture

      Date: 10-Mar, 2005

      IN Zimbabwe, there could have been satisfaction of sorts as we joined
the rest of the world in celebrating the United Nations International Women's
Day, 8 March. But for the UN itself, this could not have been a day for much

      Some of its soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
have been charged with raping local women. In the Darfur region of Sudan
many women have been raped as well.

      In most conflicts around the world, the rape of women has been used to
humiliate the perceived enemy, physically and psychologically. In Zimbabwe,
there were reports of the so-called Green Bombers youth militia, at the peak
of their notoriety, using rape for similar purposes.

      There are no records of any of these savages being charged, tried and
convicted for their crimes. Yet there may be many women, young and old,
traumatised for life by the brutality of these young bullies.

      But as women commemorated a day set aside for the enhancement of their
status in society, unforgettable is the ugly picture of men in the familiar
blue berets of the UN soldiers, forcing their stinking bodies on helpless,
screaming African women. Some of the men have used food as inducement for
the women's sexual favours.

      The UN has promised to charge the soldiers or have them prosecuted by
their own governments. But this may not be enough to salvage the reputation
of the UN soldiers in general.

      The women's lives, in most cases, have been ruined and there can be no
suitable compensation for their violation. Yet the UN must examine ways in
which the victims must have some of their dignity restored.

      The governments of the soldiers' countries must be called to account.
If it is proved that a country's soldiers were involved in this conduct more
than any other, then that state must be black-listed - never again to be
asked to provide troops for any UN mission, even to guard animals.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC lorry hijacked

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-11

A TRUCK ferrying MDC campaign material for Chimanimani Constituency was
allegedly hijacked just outside Marondera on Wednesday night.
Police in Marondera confirmed yesterday that the truck, a Mazda T35
(registration number 690-110T), which was carrying campaign material worth
over $50 million for the party's candidate, Heather Bennett, was hijacked 10
km before the town from Harare.
Bennett did not rule out political motive for the theft, while Zanu PF
viewed the incident as mere theft.
The officer in charge of Marondera Central Police, an Inspector Rukunda,
yesterday confirmed the incident, but could not provide The Daily Mirror
with more details.
"The incident happened at night and Dema ( Chitungwiza) police are dealing
with the matter. Call the CID officers handling it, they will be in a better
position to tell you if there is anyone arrested so far. The vehicle was a
Mazda T35," Rukunda said.
Efforts to contact the CID at Dema Police Station were fruitless at the time
of going to print last night.
In an interview, Heather said the stolen truck was carrying her entire
election campaign material, which included over 300 T-shirts, java cloths
and doeks as well as mealie-meal destined for Chimanimani.
"The incident was reported to Marondera Police and I think Chitungwiza
police are the ones carrying out the investigations," said Heather.
Narrating the incident, Roy Bennett's wife  said her driver - Davis Mabika -
was forced off the road by unidentified four men who were in an unmarked
She added that the men abducted Mabika and drove him away from the main road
before dumping him and making off with the truck.
"We are concerned that there may be a political motive behind this attack
and we call upon the police to do their utmost to ensure the vehicle and
election material are recovered as soon as possible," she said.
She added that despite the blow, the incident would not diminish her chances
of winning in Chimanimani against Zanu PF candidate Samuel Undenge.
Zanu PF political commissar Elliot Manyika said of the incident: " We must
not link every theft to the elections. Did the thieves know that the truck
had campaign materials? Zanu PF was not involved, we are not that
Meanwhile, High Court judge, Justice Bharat Patel yesterday threw out an
application for early release from prison by Heather's husband Roy.
The legislator was seeking to be released from prison when Parliament is
dissolved on March 30.
Bennett was jailed for a year on October 28 by Parliament for assaulting
justice minister Patrick Chinamasa in the house while debating the Stock
Theft Amendment Bill.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Courts get tough on political violence

From our correspondent in mutare
issue date :2005-Mar-11

HIGH Court Judge, Justice Tadius Karwi says the country's courts will not
hesitate to deal firmly with perpetrators of political violence regardless
of their affiliation. Officially opening this year's High Court circuit in
Mutare on Monday, Justice Karwi implored Zimbabweans to take heed of calls
by government and other relevant authorities to hold the March 31 general
elections in a peaceful environment.
"The success of an election is judged by the number of election petitions
brought before the Electoral Court. This mean that the less the petitions,
the more successful and free and fair the election was held," Karwi said.
He added: "Gone are the days when election time was considered by most
people as a time to run away from their homes for fear of violence, also
gone are the days when a call for elections would send (shivers) down people's
"As such, I would like to challenge politicians to woo people to vote in a
peaceful manner and desist from violence."
Karwi said the current pre-election environment, which he described as
peaceful, had impressed the judiciary. The 2000 parliamentary election was
characterised by bloody violence, with the MDC claiming that some of its
supporters were killed, maimed and raped before, during and after the polls
by Zanu PF sympathisers.
President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai have already called
on their supporters to desist from political violence.
Last week, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zanu PF and MDC said incidents of
political violence during the countdown to this month's parliamentary polls
have gone down compared to the period in 2000.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC MP application dismissed

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-11

BULAWAYO High Court Judge, Justice Nicholas Ndou on Tuesday dismissed an
application by outgoing MDC Makokoba legislator, Thokozani Khupe seeking a
declaration that holding private meetings does not constitute an offence
under provisions of Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
The legislator's application was made after her arrest with 40 other MDC
activists in January while holding a constituency meeting at Khupe's
The 41 appeared in court a day after they were arrested and were remanded
out of custody on $100 000 bail each.
In the High Court application, Khupe cited the officer-in-charge of law and
order in Bulawayo and police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri as the first and
second respondents respectively.
The Attorney-General, Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, was cited as the third.
In an interview on Wednesday, Khupe's lawyer Job Sibanda of Bulawayo law
firm Sibanda and Associates said the MP had lost her case.
"We lost the case in the High Court. Court officials have communicated part
of the judgment to me.
But I must say while the judge was right in his interpretation of the law,
he misapplied the law," Khupe's lawyer said. He hinted that Khupe might
appeal against the judgment.
Part of the affidavit Khupe lodged with the court read: "Whilst I admit
having convened a meeting at my business place, this meeting was by all
accounts a private meeting. The meeting started off uneventfully at the
appointed time.
"It was whilst the meeting was deliberating on item "C" that members of the
police force barged into the building, forcing the door open. Pandemonium
ensued as some of the people thought they were under attack."
She added that when they held the meeting, no business operations were in
The judgment comes at a time when Chihuri has defended the law that has seen
scores of people, including MDC and Zanu PF legislators, have been arrested.
At a press conference in Harare on Tuesday, Chihuri said: "We must not
forget the background that necessitated this piece of legislation, a
background that was characterised by disruption of other political parties
meetings, double bookings of rally venues and the violent campaign process
of the 2000 elections."

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Mugabe to launch Millennium Development Goals report

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-11

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is this month expected to launch the first national
Millennium Development Goals (MDG) report, which will outline the progress
the country has made in achieving the MDGs adopted by member states of the
United Nations in 2000.
Zimbabwe set the eradication of poverty, HIV and Aids and gender inequality
when it launched an MDG Task Force consisting of government, civil society
and the private sector in 2002.
"The President of Zimbabwe will launch the first national Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) Report this month," the executive director of the
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango), Jonah
Mudehwe said on Wednesday.
Mudehwe was speaking at a one-day workshop organised by Nango to discuss
Zimbabwe's National Plan of Action (NPA) for Orphaned and Vulnerable
Children (OVC) and the MDG.
Mudehwe said the MDG were mainly concerned with the welfare of children and
had resulted in Nango creating a platform for debate and dialogue on the
need for a national budget that took into cognisance the needs of children.
"The National Association of Non Governmental Organisation has created a
platform for debate and dialogue on the need for child responsive budgeting
in the context of the NPA for Orphans and Vulnerable Children and the
national MDGs targets through monthly public meetings under the auspices of
the Child Friendly National Budget Initiative," he said.
Nango advocacy officer, Bob Muchabaiwa said: "Although Zimbabwe has a
well-defined policy frame work to support children, lack of resources has
prevented full implementation of key national policies. There is an urgent
need to mobilise and co-ordinate resources for full implementation of
national policies benefiting children."
An official from the ministry of Labour Public Service and Social Welfare,
who could not be named said the government, under the NPA launched last
August, had planned to reach out to at least 25 percent of OVCs by December
this year.
He said government plans to increase child participation in issues that
concern them, increase the percentage of children with birth certificates
and school enrolment among disadvantaged children.
The number of orphaned and vulnerable children in the country has increased
due to the HIV and Aids pandemic and the economic hardships that have caused
the disintegration of many families and forced many children into the
streets.The MDGs adopted by the UN resolved to halve poverty on the planet
by 2015.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Election Watch

Zanu PF Harare
issue date :2005-Mar-11

ON March 6, Zanu PF held three campaign rallies at Kambuzuma Section 5
Shopping Centre, Rugare Hall and at Mufakose community swimming pool. Samuel
Mvurume, the party's candidate for Kambuzuma told the people that he
intended to construct a modern shopping centre in the constituency he
addressed the meeting.
He distributed some party campaign T-shirts and urged the people to vote for
Zanu PF. At Rugare Hall Mvurume donated 10kg bags of mealie-meal to 80
elderly people and provided free medical treatment to almost 200 people.
The party's candidate for Mufakose, Sabina Thembani, addressed the rally in
her constituency.
She called for unity among the party members and called upon them to
intensify door-to-door campaigns.
Hilda Ruzani, who lost to Thembani in the party's primary elections, pledged
her support in order to ensure victory for the party.
Mashonaland East.
 Zanu PF held four campaign rallies in the Province at Sadza and Red Hill
Business Centres in Chikomba, at Nyamukoho Business Centre in Mudzi East and
at Chifamba Primary School in Mudzi West constituency.
In Chikomba, the Zanu PF district coordinating committee chairman Sam
Chibvongodze educated attendants on how to vote and explained the ruling
party's manifesto. In Mudzi East and West, Ray Kaukonde and Arcurine
Katsande the respective Zanu PF candidates jointly addressed the rallies.
They donated 100 bags of cement to Musau Primary School. They also donated
$14,5 million to schools and churches in both constituencies.
They further promised financial assistance and bicycles to campaign teams.
Matabeleland North
Abednico Ncube, the Zanu PF candidate for Gwanda Constituency held two
campaign meetings at Lote River and Bengo School.
Ncube chronicled the achievements of the Zanu PF government since
independence and outlined its future plans. He urged the people to vote for
a tried and tested party, Zanu PF.
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai, together with Gilbert Shoko and Paul
Madzore, the party's respective candidates for Budiriro and Glen View
addressed a campaign rally at an open ground near Glen View Police Station.
Tsvangirai, in his address, claimed that the rural communities were waking
up to the reality of the MDC 's existence. He promised to repossess farms
being underutilised and redistribute those owned by people who have more
that one. Tsvangirai said the MDC would reintroduce free primary school
education, adding that an MDC government would create employment by inviting
foreign investors.
In his address Madzore expressed confidence that his party would win the
elections. Shoko said that the MDC would retain the Budiriro constituency in
the coming election.
The MDC had a campaign meeting at Burombo Hostels, Makokoba Constituency, on
March 6.
Lydia Phiri, the party's provincial women boss and Abraham Mdlongwa the
chairman addressed the meeting. They predicted a huge voter turn out in
Makokoba. They urged people to vote and promised refurbishment of Burombo
David Coltart, the MDC Bulawayo South candidate addressed a rally at
Emganwini Ground on March 6.
Coltart pledged that once in power, MDC would prioritise the realisation of
its manifesto's five major concerns.
He said the economy would be revived by inviting foreign donors and
Coltart criticised the 2005 budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Defence
as too large considering that Zimbabwe was at peace.
MDC national executive member Getrude Mthombeni, who also addressed the
meeting, said the government's land resettlement programme was chaotic as
evidenced by lack of schools and clinics in the  resettled areas.
MDC Midlands North provincial chairman Isaac Muzimba addressed a campaign
meeting at Runyararo Business Centre in Zhombe constituency. He urged the
people to vote for Edson John Nyathi, the MDC candidate for the
constituency. He alleged that the standard of living and the country's road
networks had deteriorated under the Zanu PF government.
 He predicted an outright victory for the MDC in the election, which he
said, would be preceded by a vote of no Confidence against President Mugabe
in Parliament.

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Bad news made mercenary suspects tearful
          March 10 2005 at 05:03PM

      By Mariette le Roux

      Some of the 62 South African suspected mercenaries due to have been
freed from a Zimbabwean jail this week became tearful upon learning on
Thursday morning that their release had been put on hold.

      "They are not doing well," lawyer Alwyn Griebenow said from Harare
after visiting the men at the Chikurubi prison.

      "I broke the news to them this morning. It is a bad feeling when grown
men stand before you with tears in their eyes."

      The men, who received a four-month reprieve on their sentences last
Wednesday after a successful appeal, were due to have been returned home by
bus on Tuesday morning.

      By the afternoon, however, there was no sign of the men at the Beit
Bridge border post where Griebenow and a contingent of journalists were

      It was later learnt that their return was put on hold when Zimbabwe's
attorney-general, Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, lodged an application for leave to
appeal against the Supreme Court's reduction of their sentences.

      The men were not told anything of the latest events and have been
expecting to return home, Griebenow said.

      The Zimbabwe Supreme Court was expected to give a ruling on Friday
afternoon on the attorney-general's application.

      If leave to appeal is refused, the men would probably return home
early next week. If not, it was not known how much longer they would have to
stay - but at least for the duration of the appeal hearing.

      Sixty-five of the original 70 men arrested in March last year in
connection with an alleged coup d'etat in Equatorial Guinea remain in prison
in Zimbabwe. Two were acquitted, two more freed for medical reasons, and one
died in jail.

      Of the 65, two pilots and alleged coup leader Simon Mann would have to
remain in Zimbabwe to serve the remainder of their longer sentences,
according to Griebenow.

      The Zimbabwean Supreme Court last Wednesday reduced the men's
sentences by four months.

      Gula-Ndebele now seeks to appeal that ruling.

      He also disputes that the men qualify for a one-third remission of
sentence for good behaviour.

      Gula-Ndebele said this only applied to Zimbabweans.

      Should the Supreme Court's decision stand, and a reduction of sentence
for good behaviour apply, 62 of the men who were sentenced to 12 months in
jail each, qualify for immediate release.

      The two pilots, who got 16-month sentences, become due for release on
May 10.

      Mann was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, later reduced to four
years. He would become eligible for release next May.

      The group was arrested at Harare International Airport when they
apparently landed to refuel and pick up military equipment. They were all
travelling on South African passports.

      Zimbabwean authorities claimed they were on their way to join 15 other
suspected mercenaries - including eight South Africans - arrested in
Equatorial Guinea around the same time.

      They were accused of planning to overthrow Equatorial Guinea's leader
Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

      The men denied the charges, claiming they were on their way to the
Democratic Republic of Congo to guard mines. They were convicted of
breaching Zimbabwe's aviation, immigration, firearms and security laws.

      British businessman Mark Thatcher, accused of partly financing the
alleged coup plot, was fined R3 million in January after pleading guilty to
contravening South African anti-mercenary laws. - Sapa

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SA mission to Zim must have open minds
          March 10 2005 at 06:49PM

      South Africa's parliamentary observer mission to Zimbabwe's March 31
elections will go without any preconceived ideas, mission leader African
National Congress Chief Whip Mbulelo Goniwe said on Thursday.

      Briefing the media at parliament about the mission, he said the
delegation could not go to Zimbabwe "in a prejudgemental mode".

      "We need to go there to observe... so if you leave (South Africa) with
an approach that says those elections, because of the events that have taken
place, can never be free and fair there is no reason why you should go.

      "You should actually write a report right now and say the elections
are not free and fair.

      "Or, if you go with a view that already the elections are free and
fair, well why go?" Goniwe said.

      "The fundamental is the fact that we are going as a parliamentary

      "It's natural that people will have certain perceptions and certain
biases. But I think we have equally to appreciate that the principle of
democracy and the essence of a free and fair election... must not be
subjugated to personal biases and prejudices."

      Goniwe emphasised it was not an ANC mission, as the party was sending
its own mission.

      "And it is that delegation which can then pronounce as to how the ANC
itself views the elections."

      The multi-party delegation represented parliament, and had to look at
the hard facts.

      The 20-member delegation would leave South Africa on March 14 and
return on April 3, and consisted of MPs from the ANC, Democratic Alliance,
Inkatha Freedom Party, the United Democratic Movement, the Independent
Democrats, the African Christian Democratic Party, the United Christian
Democratic Party, and the Freedom Front Plus.

      Its mandate was to observe the election campaign in the run-up,
voting, and counting, and to present a full report to Parliament after the

      In executing this mandate, the mission would have to consider:

      a.. freeness and fairness of the political environment;

      a.. whether political parties had unrestrained access to voters;

      a.. the role of the media in the campaign;

      a.. whether the rules regulating campaigning were adhered to by
parties and enforced by Zimbabwe's electoral body; and

      a.. whether there had been any incidents of electoral conflict and how
these were dealt with.

      The mission would also asses whether there were enough polling
stations, whether they were easily accessible and identifiable, and whether
they were free from campaigning material inside and within the prescribed
distance outside.

      The mission would be divided into teams and deployed around the

      Goniwe said in drawing up its report, the mission would strive for
real consensus on what members had observed, and he hoped party political
stances would be avoided in this. - Sapa

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Zim widens crackdown on NGOs
          March 10 2005 at 01:05PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe has widened a probe into the operations of
non-governmental organisations, many of which face closure under a new law,
saying they will have to submit regular audits to the state, a state-run
daily said on Thursday.

      "All non-governmental organisations will now be required to account
for the money that they received from donors," The Herald quoted Labour and
Social Welfare Minister Paul Mangwana as saying.

      "This is simply what we are asking them to do. We are not fighting
them. We simply want to promote a culture of transparency and

      The Herald said all ministries had been ordered with "immediate
effect" to "submit lists of NGOs that they were working with".

       The government had earlier said it would probe only 30 NGOs that
allegedly failed to account how $88,7-million they received in international
aid in the wake of a crippling food shortage in 2003 had been used.

      The Zimbabwean parliament last year passed the NGO bill that will
require NGOs to submit to government scrutiny and ban foreign funding for
organisations involved in governance programmes.

      The law has yet to be signed by President Robert Mugabe.

      The Zimbabwe government said the controversial bill was a response to
the proliferation of NGOs it alleged were being used by foreign powers as
conduits for channelling funds to the country's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party.

      Mangwana said any NGO which failed to account how it had used funds in
humanitarian aid would be prosecuted.

      He said his ministry had set up a committee to randomly pick NGOs and
ask them to account for the money they received between 2003 and 2004.

      Jonah Mudehwe, director of the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations, an umbrella body of NGOs, told AFP "the
government is trying to build a case against NGOs".

      "This has to be linked to the NGO bill. We are still trying to find
out what the justification is and what the government's motive is." -

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A Drop-In Centre for Kids Who Drop Out
Sekai Ngara

HARARE, Mar 10 (IPS) - Thomas is hunched over a car engine, busily
dismantling it, his hands covered in grime. He seems so adept that a casual
observer might mistake him for a veteran mechanic. But, nothing could be
further from the truth.

Now 21, Thomas has been serving as an apprentice mechanic for a mere six
months. For two-and-a-half years before that, he was part of the legion of
children living and working on the streets of Zimbabwe's urban centres.

Thomas' fortunes took a turn for the worse when his father died and his
grandfather forced both him and his mother to leave the deceased man's
house. "My mother was not employed and could not look after me," he says. As
a result, Thomas dropped out of high school and ended up on the streets.

He describes life there as "tough", not least because of the rough treatment
allegedly meted out by police to street children: "Sometimes they would set
their dogs on us or beat us up, and if a crime was committed on the streets
we were always the prime suspects."

A police officer who spoke to IPS on condition of anonymity said it was
difficult to comment on these charges without more specific information.
"But," he added, "those children are not supposed to be on the streets, and
we round them up every once in a while. Also, some of them do indulge in

Some members of the public were also very hostile, says Thomas. While he
admits that certain street children worsened things for themselves by
behaving badly, he insists that not all are delinquents. "Now that I am
employed," Thomas chuckles, "even the girls who would not talk to me are now

Thomas credits Streets Ahead, a drop-in centre for children living and
working on the streets, for putting his life back on track. Based in the
capital - Harare - this organisation is one of several non-governmental
groups that are trying to provide assistance to the country's growing number
of street children.

An assessment carried out by the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare
of Children in December 2003 and January 2004 estimated that some 5,000
children were living and working on the streets of Harare and nearby
Chitungwiza, alone.

The report cited Zimbabwe's declining economy as the main reason why
children ended up eking out a living on the streets. Five years of political
turmoil, economic mismanagement and a controversial land redistribution
scheme are amongst the factors that have led to high unemployment and
spiraling inflation in Zimbabwe.

The AIDS pandemic is also adding to the numbers of street children, as it is
creating a generation of orphans who often find themselves with no place to
go, (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS puts HIV prevalence in
Zimbabwe at almost 25 percent). A report by the United Nations Children's
Fund, 'The State of the World's Children 2005', estimates that by 2003, the
number of orphaned children in Zimbabwe had already reached 980,000.

Streets Ahead invites runaways and orphans to drop in during the day, take a
shower, have a meal and engage in activities such as art, drama or basket
making. At the end of the day the children go back onto the streets.

The organisation's director, Patience Musanhu, says an outreach task force
from Streets Ahead also goes onto the streets during the day and at night to
invite children to the centre - and to check on their welfare.

One of the organisation's priorities is to re-unite children with their
families. But, desirable as this end may often be, the path there is fraught
with difficulties.

Musanhu says a lack of funds prevents her group from visiting and counseling
the families of runaways before returning the children to these homes - and
from ascertaining whether the families are where children left them. This
has led to situations where the outreach team has taken a child to an
address, only to find that their relatives no longer live there - and that
nobody knows where they have moved to.

In other instances relatives are, for one reason or another, unwilling to
take street children back in. The situation of Lovemore is a case in point.

Streets Ahead tried to return the boy to his uncle in Chinhoyi, about 120
kilometres north of Harare, but the man refused to take charge of him,
describing the boy as a thief. Instead of Lovemore having a bed and a roof
over his head that night, it was back to the shop entrances and bus shelters
that serve as bedrooms for most street children.

Although his father is alive, Lovemore says he does not get along with the
man - or with his stepmother: another reason to live rough.

Musanhu says some families also reject children because they simply cannot
cope with having an extra mouth to feed. She cites the instance of a
grandmother who could not take in her grandchild because she already had ten
other orphaned children to look after: "She said she had nothing to give
him, and asked us to take him back to Harare."

Then there are the cases of children who - after being re-united with their
families - revert back to life on the streets. Some find the routine and
discipline of life at home oppressive after the relative freedom of life on
the streets - even though this freedom may come at great cost to their
health and safety.

Others leave home a second time in search of money: on the streets, they can
earn a few Zimbabwe dollars by begging, or washing and guarding cars.

These obstacles notwithstanding, Streets Ahead has helped re-unite more than
fifty children with their families since August - both within the capital
and further afield.

"The issues of children living on the street is a national issue, so our
re-unification programme is at a national level. We also network with
organisations in other towns dealing with children on the streets," says

Streets Ahead is lauded by many, including Tranos Masengwe - a senior
projects officer with the Harare Task Force on Children Living and/or
Working on the Streets - who describes their efforts as "positive and

Nonetheless, he feels the idea of a drop-in centre is problematic.

"I think the rehabilitation of the children should begin once they have a
home, otherwise they end up not keen to go anywhere knowing they have
somewhere to go in the day where they are looked after," Masengwe noted.

For Musanhu, having the children frequent the centre provides Streets Ahead
with opportunities to counsel them, and prepare them for a return to family
life. She says visits to the centre also give counselors a way of assessing
how much a child wants to be re-united with his or her family: "If a child
comes in on a regular basis, it's a sign that he or she is ready to be in a
family situation."

Those children who do not receive assistance from Streets Ahead - or similar
organisations - may end up in government institutions.

Musanhu says the Ministry of Social Welfare, though pressed for resources,
is playing its part by placing some children in state care. "They also help
when the children fall sick on the streets," she adds. (END/2005)
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New Zimbabwe

Zim asylum seeker survives UK suicide bid

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/11/2005 03:26:06
A ZIMBABWEAN woman survived with spinal injuries after hurling herself out
of a fourth-floor-flat-window in a desperate bid to take her own life when
her asylum application was rejected by UK authorities.

The woman who lives in Aldershot, England, came to the UK in 2002. Just
before she made her suicide attempt, she had told relatives: "I am not going
to be here tomorrow."

She broke her back in the 50-foot plunge, the Aldershot News and Mail
newspaper repored Thursday.

The woman's family, who do not wish to be identified for fear of reprisals
in Zimbabwe, said she tried to kill herself because she was terrified of
being sent back. She claims her husband and relatives have died in
mysterious circumstances.

Like other refugees, the woman and her family are accused of opposing
President Robert Mugabe's regime and fear for their lives if they are forced

The UK resumed the forced removal of Zimbabwean asylum seekers in November
last year sparking widespread condemnation from human rights groups who
point to the deteriorating human rights situation in the Southern African

"People who are being deported are picked up at the airport and taken to
prison," a relative was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "As an asylum
seeker you are already guilty for speaking out against Mugabe."

The relative added: "What happened in the past is what made her jump. She
could not face going back because of her ordeal.

"Her husband was taken away by Zanu PF supporters for interrogation for a
few days and developed a strange illness and died.

"After that she was constantly monitored and was tortured and repeatedly

The relative said the woman had suffered immense physical and mental abuse
from her ordeal. The day she attempted to take her life she was very
distressed by the Home Office's decision.

The relative added: "We could not believe what she looked like. She was not
herself and she said she wanted to kill herself. She said 'I am not going to
be here tomorrow'."

The relative, who is also appealing for asylum, said she too fears what will
happen to her if she is deported.

She first came to Britain in 2002 and went back a year later to be with her
husband but was forced to escape when the political situation got worse.

She said she was constantly monitored and abducted by security forces for

She added: "I was whipped, beaten and kicked. They humiliated me in front of
my husband by getting me to dance naked.

Peter Kessler, of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, said that
despite pressure from the international community human rights abuses
against the opposition in Zimbawe continued.

He said: "Under the current circumstances UNHCR's recommendation for states
to suspend all removals to Zimbabwe (initially made in March 2002) is
maintained and remains current and valid, despite recent indications by the
UK government to the effect that they no longer plan to suspend the enforced
removal of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers."

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      S.Africa traditional leaders urge action on land

      Thu March 10, 2005 4:51 PM GMT+02:00
      JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African traditional leaders on Thursday
urged the government to speed up land reform, saying it could learn from
neighbouring Zimbabwe's more aggressive approach to the process.

      Adding to criticism of current South African land policies, leaders
from the country's main ethnic groups said current policies were hindering
land reform.

      Most of South Africa's best agricultural land remains in white hands
more than 10 years after the end of apartheid, but the government has
stressed it would follow the willing-buyer, willing-seller route in
addressing land ownership.

      The government has said it wants to transfer 30 percent of land to
blacks by 2015.

      The sluggish pace of distribution has nevertheless raised fears of
Zimbabwe-style seizures in Africa's economic powerhouse amid increasing
impatience among some rural communities.

      "(We believe) the policy of willing-buyer, willing-seller ... is
hindering progress on land distribution," the National House of Traditional
Leaders (NHTL) said in a statement after sending a delegation to visit

      "Our observation of the agrarian reform programme instituted by the
Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe in 2000 is that it has decidedly
benefited the majority of the previously marginalized black population who
had largely endured peasant life over the last century.

      "Perhaps, these are some of the lessons that we think our government
should consider when dealing with land redistribution in our country."

      Critics of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe say his policy of
seizing white-owned farms to give to landless blacks seriously cut the
country's food production and contributed to an economic crisis which still
grips the country.

      The NHTL represents rural black South Africans -- the main targets of
land reform -- and advises the government on traditional African issues.
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10 ZRP Officers Set to Leave for Kosovo Today

The Herald (Harare)

March 10, 2005
Posted to the web March 10, 2005


TEN police officers are expected to leave for Kosovo today on a one-year
United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Addressing the officers in Harare yesterday, Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri urged them to exude true ambassadorial qualities while at the same
time maintaining the professionalism that was synonymous with the Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP).

"The continued invitation of officers from within our rank and file by the
United Nations Civilian Police Department is a clear demonstration of the
high esteem with which the ZRP is regarded," he said.

"It is, therefore, my fervent hope that you will be no exception in leaving
an indelible mark of professional acumen on the policing landscape of a
country fissured along ethnical and tribal lines."

Cde Chihuri implored the officers, who include three women, to uphold the
good name of the force during their one-year stint in Kosovo.

"Your professional conduct and behaviour during your mission should be
beyond reproach, thus reflecting the organisation's good repute. There is
undoubtedly no room for indiscipline and misdemeanour."

He said the force's reputation, which has been nurtured since 1980, could
not be sacrificed by mischievous and irresponsible few officers.

The police commissioner said they were aware that the officers would be
working under the supervision of the UN officials and police officers from
other countries, some of which harbour a negative attitude towards Zimbabwe.

"This has been a result of avalanches of skewed criticism and gutter
journalism heaped on the country by some foreign papers working in cahoots
with some local journalists and media houses," he said.

He said it was incumbent upon the officers to be able to tell the true story
of Zimbabwe and expose all the misconceptions the detractors may be

Cde Chihuri said it was indisputable that peace in the world could be
guaranteed only in the context of internal and regional situations.

"In this breath, the ZRP believes that contributing to sustainable peace
elsewhere in the world also secures our own backyard," he said.

He said the determination in extending the frontiers of peace and stability
throughout the world was inspired by the deep-seated moral and inviolable
obligation to international peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace enforcement
as law-abiding citizens of the global community.

"This thrust is vindicated by the veritable dictates of international law
and order practices in conjunction with the logical demands of the United
Nations Charter to which our country is a signatory," he said.

Cde Chihuri said interaction with the people of Kosovo, other police
officers and agencies calls for the respect of other people's cultures.

"It is your ability to cope with this element that will determine your
suitability to deliver professional service under the auspices of the United
Nations," he said.

"I hope that the advice and experience of your colleagues who are already in
Kosovo will prove invaluable to you."
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Average Zimbabwean lives to 33
10/03/2005 15:11  - (SA)

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's political and economic turmoil has dealt a
crippling blow to the health sector, with life expectancy plummeting by 30
years and an HIV/Aids timebomb threatening to explode, a health advocacy
group said on Friday.

"Zimbabweans can now only expect to live to 33 years, 30 years less than in
1998," Africa Fighting Malaria, a Johannesburg-based non-governmental
organisation, said in a new report.

The report said Zimbabwe's once-model economy was in tatters due to several
initiatives taken by President Robert Mugabe's government, including the
seizure of white farmland for redistribution to the black majority which
began in 2000.

The economic meltdown has had a disastrous impact on healthcare, it said,
adding that more than 20% of the population was now infected with HIV/Aids.

It underlined that the high incidence of HIV and Aids, coupled with an
exodus of Zimbabwean refugees and economic migrants to nearby countries,
threatened to "destabilise" the whole of Southern Africa and wreak havoc on
their health sectors.

No malaria funds

"With the disintegration of the country's healthcare system it is estimated
that the death rate attributed to HIV/Aids will reach 23 per 1 000 deaths in
2005, up from 10 per 1 000 deaths in 1993-1994," the report said.

Quoting figures from UNAids, the report said more than 160 000 Zimbabweans
"are in desperate need of antiretroviral treatment" but underlined that
according to a Harare-based Aids treatment and counselling project, The
Centre, the figure was closer to three million.

The organisation said Mugabe, who led his Southern African nation to freedom
from British colonial rule in 1980, had done a good job in improving the
health sector in the early years.

The report said that the latest World Bank data showed that between 2000 and
2001, public health expenditure as a percentage of GDP fell from 3.8% to

Public hospitals were in a shambles and an exodus of doctors and nurses had
crippled the system, it said.

The report said food stocks were now dangerously low with the UN World Food
Programme estimating that around 55% of the population needed food aid.

"Reports abound that people are denied food at aid distribution points if
they cannot produce proof" that they are members of the ruling party, the
report said.

The number of beef cattle stood at 1.4 million in 2000, the year the
controversial land grab project began, but had now fallen to less than 125
000 - a 91% decline, according to the Cattle Producers' Association quoted
in the report.

Malaria was "a minor health concern" since 1950 but now was a major problem
due to a skeletal anti-malaria programme following an acute lack of funds.
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      Can Zim journalism recover from the Moyo era?

      Media repression in Zimbabwe has had very profound consequences for
the shape of journalism.  It's polarized journalists, making it difficult
for them to access "the other side". And it's reduced the voices of ordinary
people heard in the media, writes Karen Williams in this column for

      Karen Williams writes:
      Zimbabwean journalists are gearing up for the March 31 election under
the shadow of the recent banning of The Weekly Times. The Bulawayo-based
paper had its licence revoked for a year by the government-created Media and
Information Commission, which effectively amounts to a banning. The
newspaper's publishers say they will appeal the order. The precedent was set
by closing the Daily News - the biggest independent daily - two years ago,
after it refused to register with the MIC. And over the past two years again
and again newspapers have been closed with aching frequency.

      A lot of column space has been devoted to the increased media
repression in the country which has changed the shape of journalism.  Among
other things, it's changed who makes news.

      The political landscape is well-known. But what is under-reported is
how the media is being affected by the political upheavals. There's been a
symbiotic - as well as reciprocal - process between the closing of political
space and increased politicisation of the media.

      Journalists, for one, are making news. The editor of the
government-owned Chronicle newspaper has recently been fired, after being
seen as being too loyal to former Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo. The
paper also had a spate of senior editorial staff go on forced leave soon
after Moyo was found to be challenging President Robert Mugabe's choice of
vice-president. There were fears that journalists deemed too loyal to Moyo
would also be removed from The Herald, and possibly the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). The cycle started with the ascent of Moyo,
who saw to purges of editorial staff at a number of these media outlets, and
was seen to replace them with (usually more junior staff) believed to be
closer to him.

      When the former Mugabe critic joined Zanu (PF) before the 2000
elections, he used a convert's zeal to transform the media - and was the
driving force behind a spate of repressive media laws. There is talk that
not everybody in Zanu(PF) supported his clampdown on the media. But
observers point out that while Moyo might not have had unanimous support
within Zanu-PF, his campaign against the media overwhelmingly turned the
management and access to information in the party's favour, and also point
out that he was effective because his policies were compatible with the
wider operational ethos of Zanu-PF's post-liberation politics.

      Even though Moyo is gone, independent journalists are waiting to see
what his departure will bring, wondering if loud assertions that now things
will change can really be trusted. Ultimately it's a balancing act between
wondering whether things have hit rock-bottom, or have much further to fall.
The regional precedents offer little comfort. Malawi's media laboured for
decades under the repressive rule of Hastings Kamuzu Banda; in apartheid
South Africa, the campaign against the media became increasingly tied up in
the escalating repression against democratic forces.

      Reporting is hamstrung by political no-go areas. Even when trying to
tell different, independent stories, journalists still find themselves put
into a camp, and having to defend their positions. State journalists say
they can't source people seen as aligned to the opposition; and they're
discouraged from reporting on the increasing rural poverty. Turn on the main
television news, and ordinary people seem to have an almost uncanny uniform
response to critical issues.

      In the past years, as the media has been increasingly stifled within
Zimbabwe, journalists have carved out a space for themselves in the exiled
media. The Daily News has now metamorphasised into The Daily News Online,
based in Johannesburg, as is ZimOnline; in London, ShortWave Radio Africa
beams broadcasts back into the country, while community stations like Voice
of the People are based in Harare, but broadcast via the Netherlands. It's
not hard to see why the government feels under siege by this exiled

      Independent journalists are often accused of having a political
agenda - and of being an arm of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. (Recently, the publisher of South Africa's Mail and Guardian,
Zimbabwean Trevor Ncube, and exiled Zimbabwean journalist, Basildon Peta,
were labeled "traitors" to the country by the government.) Journalists who
used to work for papers closed down often operate without accreditation are
still quietly filing for outside publications. But working clandestinely
narrows your space of operation. At the same time, the political violence in
the rural areas and towns, as well as the social disruption caused by people
fleeing, have made these areas difficult for journalists to access freely.

      The result for reporting, practically, is that in the past five years
in Zimbabwe, it's become increasingly difficult to access ordinary people as
sources of news - as it has become increasingly difficult to access the
areas which are most representative of the upheavals.

      Journalists from both sides can't talk to people in opposing political

      The result of this is that just about every area of reporting is
politicized. Even reporting on buying a loaf of bread has now become
politicised because of the rising prices and increasing impoverishment of
the population. And, by law, you can't write anything that might cause

      With the farm invasions and political violence in the towns and rural
areas over the past years, it's also become difficult for journalists to
operate in them freely. A sizable number of people have also fled these
areas - and memories of violence and repression immediately puts a stop to
anybody being forthcoming with their opinions. The political polarisation in
the media - where different media relate to each other in an almost
call-and-response relationship regarding politics - continues to grow.
Indeed, the staple of most media outlets is the political speech of
personalities. Ordinary people - and the effect of the country's politics on
everyday lives - have all but disappeared from the news agenda. Big people
make news - and often it is political figures and rich people that are the
subject of news. Even in the midst of a political standoff the media has not
been able to break the two-camp impasse in political debates - and seldom
consistently access civil society and people who offer deeper perspectives
on and solutions to the current crisis.

      As the country gears up to elections, the real costs the media have
paid for the continuing repression has become more apparent. Indeed the
enduring legacy of Moyo might not only be the shake-up and juniorisation in
Zimbabwe's media industry, but the shrinking intellectual and conceptual
space for reporting. As the country works for a more open political space,
it is important to remember that a free, independent and critical press is
crucial for a changing society - and is indispensable for change.

      Karen Williams is a journalist and media trainer who works across

Thursday, 10 March, 2005
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The Guardian

Extract from:

Yesterday in parliament

Press Association
Thursday March 10, 2005

Politically-correct politicians must not be "too lily-livered" to act over
the crisis in Zimbabwe, Tory Baroness Park of Monmouth warned. She spoke of
the worsening situation under President Mugabe's regime, where opponents
face murder, beatings and rape. Baroness Crawley, for ministers, called for
"a return to democratically accountable government ... that represents and
respects human rights and the rule of law".
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