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Zimbabwe poll a regional test - African observers


Wed 12 Mar 2008, 14:10 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, March 12 (Reuters) - African vote monitors invited by President
Robert Mugabe to observe elections being questioned by his Western critics
said on Wednesday that a fair poll was important for Zimbabwe and the

The head of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community observer
mission dismissed European Union concerns that the vote was unlikely to be
free and fair, saying it was wrong to pre-judge the process.

Mugabe, facing his biggest electoral challenge since coming to power 28
years ago, barred observers from Western countries he accuses of seeking to
oust his ZANU-PF party.

The 120-member regional mission is the largest observer team to the March 29
presidential, parliamentary and local government elections, and its head,
Angolan Foreign Minister Joao de Miranda, said on Wednesday its duty was to
promote democracy.

"We hope these elections will be the most transparent and most fair
elections," he said at the launch of the mission, adding: "We hope the
result will reflect the political consensus of Zimbabweans."

Asked how SADC could ensure a democratic election in a country whose polls
have been hotly disputed in the past, Miranda said:

"We need to believe in our capacity...and it is important that SADC takes
(into account) the political integrity of its region, the peace, stability,
the solidarity."

"Our mission is the advance of the principle of democratic elections... That
is also what is expected of the Zimbabwe people," he said.

On the EU reservations that Zimbabwe's current political and economic
situation could endanger the holding of a free and fair election, Miranda
suggested the Western bloc was wrong.

"Those who are saying that, are not on the ground," he said.

Zimbabwe said last week Mugabe's government had selected 47 foreign observer
teams, mostly from Africa and Asia, "on the basis of reciprocity,
objectivity and impartiality in their relationship with Zimbabwe."

The most important election contest will be between Mugabe, in power since
independence from Britain in 1980, former ally Simba Makoni and old rival
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the biggest faction of the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

Critics say Mugabe has rigged elections since 2000 to cling to power but the
veteran Zimbabwean leader denies the charge.

Mugabe accuses Western countries, especially Britain and the United States,
of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy and working with the opposition to oust him
over his controversial policy of seizing white-owned farms for
redistribution to blacks.

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Is Mugabe wooing workers?


    March 12 2008 at 11:09AM

Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has awarded civil servants
with big pay rises ahead of a general election on March 29, state media
reported on Wednesday.

"Just on Monday, I was signing a new salary schedule of big salaries
for teachers and civil servants," Mugabe said at a campaign rally in the
southern district of Inyathi, The Herald newspaper reported.

"I hope they will be happy because we have worked out very good

He did not elaborate on the increases, saying respective ministers
would make their announcements.

Zimbabwe's public sector has been plagued by strikes in recent months
with workers pushing for pay increases that can keep up with a galloping
inflation rate which now stands at over 100 000 percent.

During his address to supporters in Inyathi, Mugabe urged
schoolteachers who began walkouts a fortnight ago to return to their

"Teachers, please, please, we don't want strikes. Why go on strike
when you have a good case?" he asked.

Mugabe, 84, who is seeking a sixth term in office in joint
presidential and legislative elections, last month awarded huge salary
increases to members of the security forces.

Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn over the past eight years
with inflation now the highest in the world.

Some companies have resorted to paying part of their workers' salaries
in grocery hampers as pay rises are often eroded within days by runaway

At least 80 percent of the population is living below the poverty
threshold, often skipping meals and doing without such commodities as milk
and butter in order to stretch their income. - Sapa-AFP

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Zimbabwe dollar in freefall

Earth Times

            Posted : Wed, 12 Mar 2008 15:34:03 GMT
            Author : DPA

Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's battered dollar has sunk to
staggering new lows on the parallel market on the back of growing election
jitters. The currency traded Wednesday at nearly 41 million to the US dollar
and more than 81 million to the British pound on the parallel market for
foreign currency, dealers said.

Just two days ago, the black market rate for the US dollar stood at
just over 31 million Zimbabwe dollars. Last Wednesday the rate was 29
million to the greenback.

President Robert Mugabe's government artificially pegs the value at 1
US dollar to 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars. At independence in 1980, the local
unit was roughly at parity with the pound.

With the currency in free-fall, supermarket prices are rising like
never before. Bread in one bakery was selling at 9.5 million a loaf by
Wednesday lunchtime, up from 7.5 million Tuesday afternoon.

A box of locally-produced corn flakes was selling for 75 million
Zimbabwe dollars and an egg for 4 million. Many workers on farms seized by
the government under its controversial land reform programme only earn 30
million Zimbabwe dollars a month, reports say.

Mugabe has called on the state-appointed National Incomes and Pricing
Commission (NIPC) to enforce price controls, state radio reported Wednesday.
With inflation running at more than 100,580 per cent at the last count in
January, analysts have warned the economic crisis could prove the
president's nemesis.

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Zimbabwe Police Ban "Intimidating" Dance Ahead Of Polls


HARARE (AFP)--Zimbabwean police on Wednesday banned a popular jogging dance
in the capital Harare among other measures aimed at preventing violence
ahead of elections set for March 29.

Police said the toyi-toyi, a dance popular with political activists in
southern Africa, often provoked clashes between political rivals.

"The regulating authorities in Harare have ... prohibited intimidating acts
like toyi-toying, which are likely to disturb the peace," police assistant
commissioner Faustino Mazango told a news conference in the capital.

Mazango commended election candidates for having shown maturity since the
start of their campaigns, saying instances of political violence have been
few and isolated.

"This tranquillity is attributed to the positive and mature approach and
behavior exhibited by most of the candidates," he said.

"Most of the campaign rallies are now characterized by pleas for
non-violence. I want to further urge all candidates to shun hate language
and support us under the watch-phrase 'zero-tolerance to violence'."

Last month, police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri warned that his
force was prepared to use firearms to stamp out violence during joint
presidential and legislative elections this month.

The police have also banned the carrying of weapons such as knives,
catapults, axes and clubs in the run-up to the polls, and for two weeks

Veteran President Robert Mugabe, seeking a sixth term in office, has urged
his supporters to desist from violence.

Among his presidential challengers, opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai has
appealed for non-violence while Simba Makoni, Mugabe's former finance
minister, has said none of the candidates was worth killing or dying for.

Zimbabwe's last presidential elections in 2002 were marred by claims of
vote- rigging and violence.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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ZANU PF youths dispatched to Zambia to load maize

Zim Online

by Farisai Gonye Thursday 13 March 2008

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government has dispatched youths from the
ruling ZANU PF party to Zambia to help load maize it badly needs to placate
a hungry electorate ahead of elections in two weeks time.

Mugabe, whose controversial land reforms are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe
into severe food shortages, last week told villagers at a campaign rally in
Mahusekwa district that Zambian officials were delaying delivery of more
than 300 000 tonnes of maize purchased by his government.

The Zimbabwean leader - who draws most of his support from rural areas that
are the hardest hit by hunger - said his government was considering sending
a team of officials to Zambia to assist authorities there to speed up
delivery of maize.

Authoritative sources said the government last week hurriedly recruited
about 70 youths from its Mashonaland Central province stronghold and issued
them with emergency travel documents from the Bindura passport office to
travel to Zambia.

"The youths traveled to Zambia at the weekend and they will provide extra
labour, helping truckers load the maize," said a government official, who
spoke on condition he was not named.

It was not clear whether the Zambian government had issued temporary work
permits to the Zimbabwean loaders.

Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo confirmed that the government had
dispatched manpower to Zambia to help quicken delivery of maize, adding that
the loading of maize would now be done round the clock.

He said: "We have paid for the maize and we have to quicken the loading. We
have an urgent case here and we can't just fold our arms. The government now
has a team in Zambia assisting with logistics and supervising the whole
thing as well.

"Loading will be round the clock and we should see vastly improved
deliveries by the end of this week."

Zimbabwe, also in the grip of its worst ever economic crisis, has battled
severe food shortages for the past eight years after Mugabe's controversial
land reforms displaced established white commercial farmers and replaced
them with either incompetent or inadequately funded black peasant farmers.

A joint crop assessment report by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food
and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) released last week said Zimbabwe could
face another grain shortfall this year because of a shortage of seed and
fertilizers that affected the cropping season.

International relief agencies have been helping feed at least three million
people or about a quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans because of
persistently poor harvests in the southern African country.

Mugabe, who says his government has paid for about 250 000 tonnes of maize
from Malawi and South Africa, has made provision of food one of the key
planks of his campaign message.

But the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party earlier
this week accused the government's Grain Marketing Board -- the only firm
permitted to trade in maize and wheat in the country - of distributing food
through traditional leaders known for supporting Mugabe and ZANU PF.

The opposition party said its supporters were being denied food as
punishment for not backing Mugabe and ZANU PF.

Mugabe, 84, who is seeking a fresh five-year term at the polls, is facing
his biggest electoral test at the month-end when he squares up against his
respected former finance minister Simba Makoni and the popular and
charismatic MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Political analysts say an unfair electoral playing field guarantees Mugabe
victory despite clear evidence that he has failed to tame a rampant economic
crisis that has manifested itself in the world's highest inflation rate of
over 100 000 percent, massive unemployment and poverty. - ZimOnline

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Swedish envoy regrets EU ban from Zim elections

Zim Online

by Prince Nyathi Thursday 13 March 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe would have done well to permit all who wanted to observe
elections including the European Union (EU) to do so as this would have
helped enhance the legitimacy of the polls, Swedish Ambassador Stan Rylander
said yesterday.

Rylander, whose government yesterday donated US$1 million through the World
Food Programme (WFP) to fight hunger in Zimbabwe, said it was sad that
Harare refused to let in EU observers but expressed hope that the regional
Southern African Development Community (SADC) would do a good job monitoring
the polls.

He said: "It is a sad situation that the EU have not been invited. It would
have been better for the government to allow those who do want to observe
the elections. They do get international legitimacy. We hope SADC will do a
good job and we hope it will be a good election which is free and fair."

Zimbabwe, which in 2002 expelled the Swedish leader of an EU election
observer team forcing the bloc to withdraw the entire mission and impose
sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his top officials, has invited
what it says are friendly countries and groups to the month-end polls.

Such friendly observers have in the past declared Zimbabwe's elections free
and fair despite politically motivated violence and gross human rights
abuses in the run-up to polls.

Rylander - whose government also gave US$7.2 million to the United Nations
Consolidated Appeal for 2008, which seeks to raise US$317 million - urged
the Zimbabwe government to step up co-operation with humanitarian agencies
working in the country.

"The humanitarian situation is still very serious and there are few signs of
an improvement in the near future. I again appeal to the government of
Zimbabwe - having the ultimate responsibility for the humanitarian situation
and long term development - to work closely with the international donor
community," he said.

Zimbabwe, also in the grip of its worst ever economic crisis, has battled
severe food shortages for the past eight years after Mugabe's controversial
land reforms displaced established white commercial farmers and replaced
them with either incompetent or inadequately funded black peasant farmers.

A joint crop assessment report by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food
and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) released last week said Zimbabwe could
face another grain shortfall this year because of a shortage of seed and
fertilizers that affected the cropping season.

However, analysts say an unfair electoral playing field guarantees Mugabe
victory despite clear evidence that he has failed to tame a rampant economic
crisis that has manifested itself in the world's highest inflation rate of
over 100 000 percent, massive unemployment and poverty. - ZimOnline

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Secret unity talks

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 12 March 2008 21:21


President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is trying to persuade MDC
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to form a government of national unity with Simba
Makoni, leader of a breakaway Zanu (PF) faction, who is contesting the
presidential election as an independent.
Sources in Harare told The Zimbabwean this week that Mbeki believes
that his plan, said to be backed by some western countries, would solve
Zimbabwe's political crisis.
Insiders in the MDC and Makoni's backers confirmed that Mbeki's
emissaries, together with western diplomats, have been lobbying the two
presidential candidates to consider forming a government of national unity
after the elections.
Sources say Mbeki recently sent a team to assess the situation in
Zimbabwe privately, with a specific mandate to gauge the electorate in order
to predict what is likely to emerge from the presidential election.
"The team reported to him that from indications so far, Makoni's entry
into the race is set to have a serious effect on Mugabe's power base in Zanu
(PF), meaning he will take a substantive number of votes from his former
boss. At the same time he is expected to take votes from Tsvangirai, but at
a lower level," a reliable source said this week.
"Given that scenario, it then becomes likely that there will be need
for a rerun involving Makoni and Tsvangirai with, of course, the likelihood
of Mugabe using crooked means to avoid such an embarrassing defeat."
The sources say the South Africans are eager to have a "clear and
harmonious political settlement in Zimbabwe" by June in order to safeguard
their interests in hosting the 2010 soccer World Cup.
"It is for the sake of the World Cup that Mbeki and his advisors
believe it is very necessary to avoid the mere re-branding of the Zimbabwean
political crisis, while the impasse continues. There are fears that Zanu
(PF), either under Makoni and without Mugabe in the picture or still in its
fragmented form, would not accept an exclusively MDC government - thereby
perpetuating the impasse. The same could be said about whether the
opposition would simply accept and obey Makoni as president, in the event
that he won the poll," said a source privy to the goings-on in Mbeki's team.
Efforts to obtain comment from Mbeki's office failed.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa declined to comment saying, "we are busy
preparing for elections and ready to govern as we inch closer to victory."
Makoni's spokesman Godfrey Chanetsa evaded the matter but said the
former minister was committed to working with all Zimbabweans "when he wins
the elections".

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Raw sewage flows in the street

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 12 March 2008 21:03
 - for seven long months

Without water, electricity or sewerage for seven months, residents of
Tafara and Mabvuku are living under appalling conditions. Here are some of
the images taken by a concerned amateur photographer, who put his safety at
risk to expose the scandal.
The lids on the manholes in the streets are lifting and raw human
excrement is flowing out of them. The stench is unbearable. The whole
sewerage system has collapsed and, even after seven months, nothing has been
done to repair it.
People have attempted to dig a makeshift canal so that the filth can
flow into a pit. Their only source of water is a well, just 10 feet away
from this stinking trench.
More than 40 people have died from diseases such as dysentery. Human
excrement is flowing out of the residents' toilets and into their backyards
where they grow their vegetables. Many can't use the toilets because they
can't even open the door to get in. They can't clean up because they don't
have enough water.
One young woman who uses a wheelchair was now a prisoner in her home.
She can't get the wheelchair outside because of the mess so, when she needs
the toilet, she wheels herself to the back door and does her business just
outside the doorway.
What looks a little like paving stones is actually dried human
excrement, six inches deep. Mealies are growing in the same area.
Children are exposed to the danger of disease every day. The filth is
lying stagnant around the shops, butcheries and schools and vendors are
selling fruit and vegetables in the midst of all this waste.
The people who live here cannot enter their premises through the front
gate because raw sewage is blocking the entrance. They have to go next door
and climb over the fence.

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Big pay rises for Zimbabwe civil servants ahead of polls

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has awarded civil servants
with big pay rises ahead of a general election on March 29, state media
reported Wednesday.

"Just yesterday (Monday), I was signing a new salary schedule of big
salaries for teachers and civil servants," Mugabe said at a campaign rally
in the southern district of Inyathi, The Herald newspaper reported.

"I hope they will be happy because we have worked out very good salaries."

He did not elaborate on the increases, saying respective ministers would
make their announcements.

Zimbabwe's public sector has been plagued by strikes in recent months with
workers pushing for pay increases that can keep up with a galloping
inflation rate which now stands at over 100,000 percent.

During his address to supporters in Inyathi, Mugabe urged schoolteachers who
began walkouts a fortnight ago to return to their classrooms.

"Teachers, please, please, we don't want strikes. Why go on strike when you
have a good case?" he asked.

Mugabe, 84, who is seeking a sixth term in office in joint presidential and
legislative elections, last month awarded huge salary increases to members
of the security forces.

Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn over the past eight years with
inflation now the highest in the world.

Some companies have resorted to paying part of their workers' salaries in
grocery hampers as pay rises are often eroded within days by runaway

At least 80 percent of the population is living below the poverty threshold,
often skipping meals and doing without such commodities as milk and butter
in order to stretch their income.

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Radio: Zimbabwe's overchargers will be 'prosecuted'

Earth Times

            Posted : Wed, 12 Mar 2008 08:07:11 GMT
            Author : DPA

Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's state pricing commission has warned
it will seek prosecution for businesses that hike prices as President Robert
Mugabe's party tries to shore up popularity ahead of this month's polls.
With two and a half weeks to go before make-or-break polls, Mugabe's
government is desperate to stop price hikes, saying they are the work of
"profiteers" who want to stir up discontent against the ruling party.

Godwills Masimirembwa, the head of the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission (NIPC), warned businesses that continue raising prices they would
soon be prosecuted, state radio reported Wednesday.

Shop floor workers Monday morning were seen marking up prices by
around three times in some cases.

A loaf of bread is now selling for as much as 7.5 million dollars: a
box of locally-produced cornflakes retailed in one grocery store for 75
million dollars.

Election officers for the state Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
were until recently being paid just 10 million dollars a day, reports say.

Zimbabwe's local dollar has taken a huge battering on the back of
election jitters: shopkeepers say they are just trying to keep pace.

Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate is now running at more than 100,580
per cent, the highest in the world.

Two company officials have been arrested in the past week for flouting
NIPC price controls.

Jeremy Brooke, the managing director of National Foods, was arrested
for setting the price of flour at more than the official 600 million per

He spent several nights in police custody.

Michael Manga, the chief executive of Blue Ribbon Foods, has also been
arrested for allowing huge mark-ups in the price of flour.

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Zimbabwe election will be fixed all right, but for whom?

Vancouver Sun

Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The proclamation Monday by Zimbabwe's military commander that he will not
tolerate a victory in March 29 elections by anyone other than President
Robert Mugabe should not come as a surprise.

The support of the military and security services has been the mainstay of
Mugabe's grip on power since he took control of Zimbabwe in 1980.

Similar threats were made in the run-up to the 2002 presidential election by
then army commander Gen. Vitalis Zvinavashe.

Mind you, his language was not as colourful nor his threats as explicit as
those employed by Gen. Constantine Chiwenga on Monday.

Chiwenga said the military will not support "sellouts" or "agents for the
West" -- campaign shorthand for the two men challenging Mugabe for the

"We will not support any other candidate than Robert Mugabe, who has
sacrificed a lot for the country," said the general.

When a reporter, quite reasonably, asked Chiwenga if it was acceptable for
the military to get involved in politics the general shot back: "Are you
mad? What is wrong with the army supporting the president against the
election of sellouts?"

But, as in the past, officers and platoons of soldiers, who are officially
"Boys on Leave," have already fanned out across Zimbabwe to marshall the

Ballot box stuffing is generally unnecessary on a large scale in Zimbabwean
elections because the result is usually pre-fixed as Zimbabweans vote under
the close supervision of the military, the police and the dreaded Central
Intelligence Organization.

Intimidation is especially effective in rural areas where the removal of
government patronage means poverty and even death.

However, there is an unusual air of uncertainty around these elections.

The military is no doubt fixing the elections as usual, but perhaps not for
the benefit of Mugabe, now 84 and for the first time the serious target of
dissenters within the ruling ZANU-PF party.

It may well be that Gen. Chiwenga's protestations of support for Mugabe were
simply an attempt to calm the suspicions of the old dictator, who by some
accounts now sees traitors behind every pillar and is whetting his sharp
appetite for vengeance.

After all, Gen. Zvinavashe, who in 2002 vowed to nullify any opposition win,
is now one of the renegades in the ZANU-PF politburo arguing it is time for
Mugabe to retire.

The word on the street in Zimbabwe is that Zvinavashe may very soon join a
growing number of ZANU-PF heavyweights who are publicly supporting the
candidacy for the president of former finance minister Simba Makoni, 57.

Makoni joins Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Harare-based faction of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in challenging Mugabe for the

This three-way fight makes it unlikely the presidency will be won by a
candidate getting over 50 per cent of the vote on the first ballot.

But a runoff vote between Makoni and Mugabe would probably see a Makoni
bandwagon beginning to roll.

Makoni has been expelled from ZANU-PF and is running as an independent, but
there is little doubt that in the still unlikely event that he won the
presidency he would attract enough dissident party members to be able to
form an administration.

Makoni's campaign is proving to be a far more serious affair than it
initially appeared.

That is a measure of the dissatisfaction with Mugabe within ZANU-PF both for
his assumption of dictatorial powers and his administrative incompetence.

Four million Zimbabweans, according to the United Nations, are receiving
emergency food aid. This is a third of the official population of 12
million, but half those remaining in the country as four million have fled
to neighbouring states or Europe.

Unemployment is about 70 per cent of working age Zimbabweans and inflation
is 150,000 per cent a year.
Mugabe has returned to previously failed attempts to excite racism among
voters to attract support.

He has signed a new law requiring all foreign- and white-owned businesses to
hand 51 per cent of their shares over to black Zimbabweans.

If the seizure of white-owned farms is anything to go by, this will mean the
further enrichment of Mugabe's cronies, and nothing for ordinary

Sun International Affairs Columnist

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Biti Blasts Government for Arresting Business Managers

SW Radio Africa (London)

12 March 2008
Posted to the web 12 March 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

In the past week two company officials were arrested for allegedly
overcharging for flour, while owners of a Harare supermarket face
prosecution for pricing fruit drinks above legal limits. Robert Mugabe has
accused businesses of increasing prices beyond reasonable levels, in order
to anger the people and cause regime change. But businesses need to raise
prices to keep up with inflation, which is officially over 100,000%,
although experts say it is much higher.

The managing director of National Foods, Joseph Jeremy Brooke, was arrested
last Thursday on allegations that his company inflated the price of flour
that it supplied to Lobels. Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena
said that on February 18th National Foods sold 22,5 tonnes of flour to
Lobels Bread at Z$900 million per tonne. The gazetted price of flour at that
time was Z$600 million per tonne.

Brooke spent several nights in police custody and is facing charges under
the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act. We were unable to reach
National Foods for comment.

Meanwhile, inspectors from the NIPC allegedly found that Food King
Supermarket in Harare was selling two litres of Mazoe Orange Crush for Z$33
million, while other syrups were being sold for Z$30 million. The price
approved by NIPC for Mazoe Orange is Z$22,5 million.

Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Tsvangirai MDC, said the arrested
businessmen are being targeted because the government suspects that they
support the MDC. He sees the arrests as a tactic to cause chaos in the
business community and intimidate them so they that they do not support the

Biti said it is quite clear that ZANU-PF has nothing to offer the people of
Zimbabwe. He added: "The ruling party does not even have a decent election
manifesto. This is why they are now taking the route of Mobutu Sese Seko who
thought that you can just buy the people."

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Students witness change in Zimbabwe

Longridge News

12 March 2008

THE stark deterioration in living conditions in strife-torn Zimbabwe have
been witnessed first-hand by a teacher and pupils from Stonyhurst College
when they visited a secondary school in the capital Harare.
Since the last visit two years ago to their 'twin' school, St Peter's
Kubatana, there has been a dramatic change for the worse, with many teachers
absent, either because they cannot afford the 3,500,000 zim dollars needed
to travel by bus to school, or because they have left Zimbabwe to look for
work elsewhere in South Africa or Botswana.
St Peter's is a co-educational school, run by the Society of Jesus, with
about 1200 pupils from years eight to 13.
A typical class in the lower school has 50 pupils, with three pupils to one
desk and there are very few textbooks. Computers lie unused in the computer
lab, in part due to the never-ending round of power cuts, or due to faulty
Paul Warrilow, Head of Religious Studies, who accompanied Sixth Form pupils
Lucy Williams, 17, from Grimsargh, and Matthias Beestermoller, 17, compared
the situation with that of his first visit in 2006, when he took a different
group of pupils.
He said: "We spent much of our time visiting classes, sitting in on lessons,
or teaching the pupils. I noticed that there were significant numbers of
classes without teachers this year.
"The roads in Zimbabwe are in serious need of repair; maize crops have
failed due to excessive rain and grain has virtually run out.
"Most pupils went the entire day without eating. Inflation is currently
measured at 100,000% - a meaningless figure in a society where the price of
a loaf of bread can double in a day. Fuel is scarce and most people walk the
roads to and from what little work is available.
"Elections are due to be held at the end of March, but we could find very
few people who held any serious optimism about a change in government.
"Most in the rural areas will vote as they are told and Mugabe will
undoubtedly continue to rule with an iron fist for some years to come.
"In spite of these difficulties, the staff and pupils are unfailingly
polite, friendly and hard-working.
"The pupils are keen to learn and are desperate to gain qualifications for
further education at university, preferably outside Zimbabwe.
"Over the last year we have managed to raise several thousands of pounds for
the pupils of St Peter's. The money is used to buy new textbooks and other
educational items, and more recently a new generator was purchased.''
Lucy and Matthias are members of Chirwirangwe (meaning we will struggle
together) a project which twins Stonyhurst College with St Peter's and aims
to improve the education of the whole person in both schools, in accordance
with the ethos of the Jesuit Missions.
There are about 15 pupils in the St Peter's Chirwirangwe group, who meet
every week and write letters and send projects to pupils at Stonyhurst,
describing typical Zimbabwean customs and traditions.
The pupils at Stonyhurst reciprocate, writing letters and projects, sending
photographs of life at college, along with DVDs and other Stonyhurst items.

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ZANU (PF) Threatens Vendors

The Zimbabwean

 Wednesday, 12 March 2008 09:53

VENDORS at Chinhoyi highway marketplace were busy selling their foodstuffs
under scorching sun when a bulky man appeared from across the road and
summoned them to a garage nearby.

The man, identified as Mahwani, is a ZANU (PF) official who lost the town
council primary elections.

The vendors, all of them women complied with the officials call amid
grumbles as their brisk business had been disrupted.

After all the vendors had gathered Mahwani asked why the women had waved
back to an MDC truck that had passed through the town the previous day.

He went on to threaten the vendors that he would use his influence to
unleash terror on the vendors if they supported the opposition.

"Tinokuunzirai mapurisa mukarohwa zvakaipa, munoaziva zvaanoita mapurisa,
uye muchazoita sei MDC yacho ikaruza, handiti munozviziva kuti hurumemnde
irikutonga haiwanzoruza," he told the shocked women.

One of the women was brave enough to shout out that it was because of
poverty that there was a lot of support for the opposition.

Mahwani then went on a rampage accusing the opposition of causing the
economic chaos in Zimbabwe.

The meeting lasted for about 15 minutes and the poor women were warned that
if they ever entertained the opposition they would live to regret it.

In an interview after the meeting many of the women said they no longer
feared the threats.

"He can force me to come to his meeting but he will not be there when I put
my X," said one of the women

Asked if they did not consider reporting the intimidation to the police, one
of them said that would see them being booted from the market place.

"They will chase us away and we will be left with no other means of
survival, we will just wait until the elections day," she said.

ZANU (PF) has been known for unleashing the police and the youth militia on
opposition supporters as a way of intimidation ahead of elections.

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Banned journo appeals to Supreme Court

Zim Online

by Patricia Mpofu Thursday 13 March 2008

HARARE - Banned Zimbabwean journalist Brian Hungwe on Wednesday appealed to
the Supreme Court against refusal by the High Court to hear his application
against his one-year ban, his lawyer said.

High Court Judge Alphas Chitakunye declined to hear Hungwe's case arguing
that the matter was not urgent.

Selby Hwacha, who is representing Hungwe in the matter, told ZimOnline
yesterday that the High Court judge dismissed the application without even
granting them the chance to explain their case.

"The court determined that the matter was not urgent and that the urgency
had been self-created," said Hwacha yesterday.

Zimbabwe's Media and Information Commission (MIC) last month banned Hungwe
from practicing as a journalist for one year for allegedly working without
accreditation from the media body.

The MIC also accuses Hungwe, who won the CNN Africa Reporter of the Year for
2000, for writing for unnamed foreign media organizations without

"We have taken the matter on appeal to the Supreme Court on an urgent basis
because obviously the matter is urgent and because the urgency was not
created by Mr Hungwe.

"The decision by the MIC was only made on 26 February 2008 and only
communicated to Mr Hungwe after that. The fact that an important reportable
election is due in two weeks time is not Hungwe's creation," said Hwacha.

Zimbabwe is widely regarded as one of the most difficult places for
journalists in the world.

In addition to requiring journalists to register with the MIC, newspapers
are also required to register with the state media body with those failing
to do facing closure from and seizure of their property by the police.

At least four private newspaper, including the country's biggest daily, The
Daily News, have fallen foul of the law and have been shut down by President
Robert Mugabe's government over the past five years. - ZimOnline

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SADC confident of peaceful polls in Zimbabwe

Zim Online

by Prince Nyathi Thursday 13 March 2008

HARARE - Southern African Development Community (SADC) executive secretary
Tomaz Salomao on Wednesday expressed confidence that Zimbabwe's elections
would be peaceful, despite widespread reports of harassment of opposition

Zimbabwe elects a new president, parliament and local councils on March 29.
Previous polls in the country have been marred by violence and allegations
of rigging.

"As we come and observe elections in Zimbabwe, we do so with confidence that
the tradition of peace encapsulated in the unquestionable political
mutuality and tolerance shall again guide Zimbabweans as they go to the
polls," said Salomao, as he officially launched the SADC Electoral Observer
Mission in Harare.

He said Zimbabweans should choose the best candidates that would best serve
their aspirations in the spirit entrenched in the SADC principles and
guidelines governing democratic elections.

Speaking at the same occasion, Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs Joao De
Miranda said the SADC observer mission would further strengthen the
principles of democracy.

"Clearly so, it is also important to note that our mission is a cornerstone
in the advancement and promotion of democratic norms and values that will
always aim at the conducting of transparent and credible elections," said

Miranda said SADC had 50 observers in Harare ready for deployment throughout
the country with the number of observers expected to increase to at least
120 by voting day.

Zimbabwe - which in 2002 expelled the leader of a European Union election
observer team forcing the bloc to withdraw the entire mission and impose
sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his top officials - has
invited what it says are friendly African and Asian governments to observe
the polls.

Such friendly observer missions have in the past declared Zimbabwe elections
free and fair despite politically motivated violence and gross human rights
abuses in the run-up to polls. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Meets Regional Observers, Promises 'Free' Elections


By Carole Gombakomba
12 March 2008

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on Wednesday officially received an
election observer mission sent by the Southern African Development
Community, reportedly promising that the country's March 29 elections would
be "transparent and free."

Heading the mission in the meeting with Mr. Mugabe was Angolan Foreign
Minister Joao Miranda, who passed on a verbal message from his president,
Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, now chairman of SADC's committee on politics,
defense and security.

Miranda later said he received from President Mugabe an assurance that the
March 29 elections would be "successful, coherent, transparent and free."

But the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has been inundated with complaints
from civil society as well as opposition parties about political violence,
an insufficient number of polling stations, the inadequacy of voter
education programs, and other issues.

Human rights lawyer Irene Petras, deputy chairwoman of the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that while ZEC has a limited legal capacity to deal with such
complaints, it is very premature for SADC to issue statements regarding
election conditions.

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SA govt to meet business on new Zimbabwean law


March 12, 2008, 21:15

The South African government would meet with business leaders to see how the
country's interests in Zimbabwe could be protected in light of a new law
giving locals a controlling share in businesses, Deputy Foreign Affairs
Minister Aziz Pahad said today.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe approved an Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Bill last week, which requires locals to own a 51% stake in all
the country's firms.

Pahad, speaking at a weekly media briefing at the Union Buildings, said the
South African government was studying the contents and implications of the
Zimbabwean law.

"We are studying this bill more carefully and then will initiate discussions
with the South African business community to get an understanding of how
they interpret the bill and how we work together to protect. South African
interests in Zimbabwe.

"In the end they are the best equipped to inform us specifically how this
and any other law would impact on them specifically," Pahad said.

The law has raised fears among foreign-owned companies in Zimbabwe,
including many South African businesses, that they will lose control of
their business. - Sapa

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MDC Youth Hospitalised After Zanu PF Mob Attack

SW Radio Africa (London)

12 March 2008
Posted to the web 12 March 2008

Lance Guma

On Wednesday Bradfield Shopping Centre in Bulawayo was home to ugly scenes
of political violence when a group of Zanu PF youths ganged up on a lone MDC
youth who remained at the centre, after his colleagues had moved to another
venue. Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme says the attack was so
savage the youth required stitches to his forehead after being admitted to
Bulawayo Central Hospital. As the March 29 election nears, rival campaign
teams are accusing each other of defacing posters but we are told that
Wednesday's attack was unprovoked. As the Zanu PF youths beat up the hapless
young man they shouted, 'Tony Blair's dog' a reference to the former British
Prime Minister, who Mugabe loved to use in his speeches.

Saungweme reports that the attitude of the police towards any reports
received suggest they have no interest in stopping the ongoing clashes. He
says police are actually taking sides and only responding to complaints
coming from Zanu PF. Tsvangirai MDC Bulawayo East parliamentary candidate
Thabitha Khumalo has made several reports to the police about intimidation
from Zanu PF and the defacing of her campaign posters, but these have been
ignored. She filed a complaint with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission but
was told she should not 'push the police.' Last week members of Khumalo's
campaign team were arrested on dubious charges that they had painted
graffiti in Queens Park East.

Meanwhile in Makokoba police, on the instructions of a Zanu PF member,
arrested MDC activist Nomusa Sibanda on as yet unexplained charges. Only
last week in Saucerstown, Zanu PF supporters again demanded the arrest of
MDC activist Duduzile Sibanda, accusing her of defacing Zanu PF posters.
Saungweme told us the Zanu PF supporters always get their demands met.
Sibanda was detained in the afternoon and only released Saturday evening,
following the intervention of human rights lawyer Kucaca Phulu.

Civil society groups meanwhile have expressed fears the elections will be
rigged and that this will trigger post-election violence. Speaking at a
press conference organised in Belgium by the International Network of
Catholic Development Organisations, representatives from ZINASU, MISA and
the PTUZ said under current conditions elections were not going to be free
and fair. Wilbert Mandinde from MISA said, 'With the regime realizing that
its grip on power is waning, we are very afraid of a violent retaliation, as
Mugabe will use any means to cling to power.' Maureen Kademaunga from ZINASU
said, 'What we need is a transition towards a new kind of government, with
principled leaders, who really are accountable to the people.'

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MISA-Zimbabwe Communique: fear of rigged election and post election violence

MISA-Zimbabwe Communique
12 March 2008

CSOs fear rigged election and post-election violence

You have the Right to Access Information. The Media is Your Voice Use It.

Representatives of Zimbabwean civic society organisations meeting in
Brussels, Belgium, have expressed concern on the likely outcome of the 29
March 2008 elections fearing that the government will rig the results in
favour of the ruling Zanu PF.

Speaking at a press conference organised by the International Network of
Catholic Development Organisations and ZimbabweWatch, the Zimbabwean
delegation feared reprisals and retributions in the post-election period in
the event of a Zanu PF election victory.

"The incumbent government is illegitimate (and) under the current conditions
these elections will be neither fair nor free. If the people had a say,
(President Robert) Mugabe would lose. But we fear that the government will
ruthlessly use fraud and intimidation to steal the elections again,"said
John Stewart, Director of Nonviolent Action and Strategies for Social Change

"With things getting worse every day, there is urgency for a breakthrough
towards political transition in Zimbabwe right now."

MISA-Zimbabwe's Legal Officer Wilbert Mandinde who is part of the delegation
said: "With the government realising that its grip on power is waning, we
are very afraid of a violent retaliation as President Mugabe will use any
means to cling to power."

The civil society leaders, called on the European Union and African states
to undertake joint and tougher actions based on common principles that will
guarantee a democratic Zimbabwe.

"The people (of Zimbabwe) are looking towards any possibility for change. If
the current Mugabe regime lives on, there is absolutely no hope for change",
said Maureen Kademaunga, Gender and Human Rights Officer with the National
Students Union (ZINASU). "What we need is transition towards a new kind of
government and principled leaders who are accountable to the people."

Takavafira Zhou, President of the Progressive Teachers Union, said: "Europe
must not fail Zimbabwe, but work together with African countries on a
solution. The international efforts in the Kenyan crisis have clearly shown
the potential of coherent international intervention."

At a recent meeting, the Council of the European Union reiterated its
concern about the humanitarian, political and economic situation in
Zimbabwe, which, according to the Council, "may endanger the holding of free
and fair elections".

For any questions, queries or comments, please contact:

Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer

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MDC Wants Observers Deployed to Rural Areas

SW Radio Africa (London)

12 March 2008
Posted to the web 12 March 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai wants most regional and foreign observers
coming for the elections to be deployed to all rural areas, usually the
flash points of political violence in the country.

In the past observers have visited rural areas associated with the
opposition parties, but have rarely set foot in the Zanu-PF strongholds of
the three Mashonaland provinces.

Luke Tamborinyika, the director of information for the MDC, said from past
experience observers from the SADC bloc have come to Zimbabwe to 'enjoy the
sunshine and to rubber stamp rigged elections.' The regime has invited SADC
and 46 other teams of monitors from regional groupings such as the African
Union, plus countries such as China, Russia and Iran, with whom Mugabe
enjoys relatively good relations.

'Already the SADC observer team has a predetermined opinion that elections
would be free and fair before even talking to parties taking part in the
polls. That is being naďve of the team because there is a lot of violence
and intimidation against our supporters during this campaign period,'
Tamborinyoka said.

On Wednesday, the head of the 14-nation SADC bloc expressed confidence that
this month's general elections would be free and fair.

SADC secretary-general Tomaz Salomao, told a press conference that as they
come to observe elections in Zimbabwe, they do so with 'confidence.' He said
'the tradition of peace encapsulated in the unquestionable political
maturity and tolerance shall, once again guide Zimbabweans as they go to the

But Tamborinyoka pointed out that already SADC protocols on elections in the
region had not been followed properly in terms of elections in the country.
He noted observer groups from the region should have arrived in the country
30 days before the elections.

'They jetted in on Monday, which is 19 days before the elections. This was
the advance team but still the full complement is still to arrive,' he said.

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Simba on Tour - Gweru
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 10 March 2008 19:46
simba on tour - gweru mkoba

Any lingering skepticism as to the reality of the so-called  Simba Makoni juggernaut were deflated when, out of curiosity and desire to have a first-hand account of the political landscape, I undertook the 70 kilometre trip  from Kwekwe to Gweru on Saturday 8 March 2007 to witness Simba Makoni's rally at Mkoba stadium.  Firstly, I was disappointed to miss the Kwekwe rally which had ominous signs of poor organization in that  a local weekly had reported doubts over the rally taking place because of the choice of  venue besides controversy over how independent candidate and maverick local businessman, Mr. Peter Gore, seemingly squeezed  himself onto the Mavambo / Kusile / Dawn platform. Having arrived at the Mbizo venue for the rally at about 12:40 p.m., I was informed that the rally had already finished whereupon I quickly decided to drive to Gweru. The contrast with the Kwekwe rally was immediately apparent as we drove into Gweru because they were rally posters everywhere.

When Simba Makoni's convoy headed for Mkoba  via the city centre, there was pandemonium at the weekend flea market  in the city centre as a huge crowd rushed to catch a glimpse of Simba Makoni in the vehicle that was carrying him. This signaled just the beginning of amazing things to come. At the stadium, a crowd of between 5,000 to 7,000 was already waiting and this swelled to about 8,000 by the time Simba Makoni was invited to address the crowd. How amazing -there were no buses, lorries or combis that had ferried people to the stadium

The air of expectation was palpable and chief in the people's minds was the question of who was behind the Simba Makoni project. Aware of the smear and rumours surrounding his candidacy,  Simba quickly addressed the matter. "I am the real Simba Makoni that you are seeing. I am not fronting anyone. I was not sent by anyone or any group. I was sent by the desire to serve you, the people, so that we, together, can get Zimbabwe working again" he said in Shona, much to the evident relieve of many in the crowd that I heard mumbling "That's what we have been waiting to hear from you and we hope you will stay like that".

 He reiterated that he is in alliance with the people of Zimbabwe. He appreciates the support that Arthur Mutambara has given for his candidacy. He has supporters in both formations of MDC, including a large number in Zanu PF, he added. He, however, does not believe in aligning with any one group to the exclusion of others because his vision is for national reconciliation, national healing and national re-engagement where the people of Zimbabwe regain the power to determine their destination through his leadership that believes in working with all the people across tribes, regions and political affiliation. Our identity should be first and foremost Zimbabwean, he said.

Simba Makoni had the crowd in stitches when he countered the President's smear campaign against him. He said if he was being used by the west during the 27 years that he had worked with him, including cabinet positions, and the president was fully aware that he was a stooge of the west, then it means the president himself is also a stooge of the west. He asked the President to produce the evidence where and when he said he was going to return the land to the whites. He has no intention to reverse land redistribution but hastened to add that he will certainly take away land from multiple farm owners and under-utilized land and ensure transparent, fair and equitable distribution. Many land audit reports were done but were never actioned. There was need to start from those reports.

simba on your - gweru mkobaHe said he does not believe in giving people promises of what he would do for them like others do, but would want to be a servant of the people because he believes the people should have the power to be a part of solutions for the challenges facing them. They have demonstrated their ability to do so before and his leadership will ensure a return to that. Zimbabweans are known to be hard-working, educated and capable throughout the world where they have contributed immensely in the diaspora. Our citizens should be allowed to contribute to the growth of their own country and conditions for that is what his leadership will strive for.

Fear should be eradicated from our society and he deplores the class divisions where the political leaders and those well-connected to them live differently.  He was touched by an elderly woman's report that hospitals have become a place to die instead of treatment. The ruling elite seek treatment outside Zimbabwe whereas we used to treat foreigners in our hospitals when they were working. They send their children for education outside Zimbabwe and in Zimbabwe their children sit for Cambridge examinations, which ridicules their assertion that external exams are foreign and Zimsec is the ideal, patriotic and indigenous route to go. He said he sought answers from the Reserve Bank governor why people were unable to withdraw their money from the banks.  Practically nothing is working in Zimbabwe and when he confronted the president and told him that the party was failing the people, he did not listen to him. He is now seeking a mandate from the people to lead the country in a new direction

As he closed his address, Simba Makoni asked the crowd how many were going to vote for him and practically every hand went up. How amazing indeed. Despite an attempt by a group of ZANU PF activists to disrupt the meeting by some loud singing just outside the stadium, the people in the stadium were unmoved. The intended disruption just fizzled after ten minutes when the perpetrators realized they were heading nowhere.

How amazing indeed for a man reported to be a lightweight with no grassroots support, to attract such a crowd that one Gweru resident said was the biggest rally he had seen at Mkoba stadium. Even more amazing is that such a large crowd turned out on their own volition without coercion, food handouts, party cards, transport to and from their home, no party activists mobilized for attendance. Simba can count on these genuine voters.

Who then are the so-called heavyweights that we are reminded ad nauseum that Simba needs to make an impact on the electorate? The multitudes that I saw at Mkoba stadium, are these not the real heavyweights that have been robbed their voice and power to bring about the Zimbabwe that they want to see? SIMBA KUVANHU/ AMANDLA EBANTWINI / POWER TO THE PEOPLE was the only slogan. Absent were PAMBERI and PASI neither were the clenched fist or the open palm (MBAMA) that remind people they are itching for a fight. Instead, I saw the clasped hands depicting the need for UNITY AND WORKING TOGETHER. HOW REFRESHING!

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Sweden donates $7.2 million for humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe

Xinhua News Agency

Date: 12 Mar 2008

HARARE, Mar 12, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Swedish government, through
the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) on Wednesday
extended 7.2 million U.S. dollars towards humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe,
according to New Ziana.

Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Sten Rylander said the donation, which was
the same as last year, was in response to the 2008 United Nations
Consolidated Appeal for Zimbabwe.

He said the money would be channeled through international organizations
such as the UN Children's Fund, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs, Food and Agricultural Organization, Save the Children-UK and the
International Organization for Migration.

In addition to the consolidated appeal for Zimbabwe, Rylander said a total
of 1 million dollars had also been set aside to the UN World Food Program in
the country.

The assistance comes as a new multilateral contribution to the WFP.

He said the humanitarian situation in the country was cause for concern,
adding if all stakeholders worked together the situation would improve in
the near future.

According to a WFP survey done in May last year, more than 4.1 million
Zimbabweans were noted to be in dire need of food assistance.

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Military rattle sabres in support of Mugabe

HARARE, 12 March 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's political opposition parties and civic society organisations are castigating senior members of the armed forces for declaring they will not respect any president other than Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, 84, is facing his toughest presidential challenge since assuming office in 1980 after Zimbabwe won its independence from Britain. The presidential election on March 29 will see the top job contested by Mugabe, leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party; Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of one of the two factions of the split opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and Mugabe's former finance minister, Simba Makoni.

General Constantine Chiwenga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, told a local newspaper they were opposed to those contesting the election against Mugabe. "Elections are coming and the army will not support or salute sell-outs and agents of the West before, during and after the presidential elections ... We will not support anyone other than President Mugabe, who has sacrificed a lot for this country."

Chiwenga has garnered support from Paradzayi Zimondi, commissioner of prison services and a retired army major-general, who has vowed not to salute Tsvangirai or Makoni if either emerged as the presidential victor. The prison services, police, air force and army are all part of the landlocked country's defence forces.

At a recent function, where 14 prison officers were given promotions, Zimondi ordered all correction services officers to vote for Mugabe and ZANU-PF. "I am giving you an order to vote for President Mugabe; I will only support the leadership of President Mugabe, I will not salute Makoni or Tsvangirai.

"We still remember the blood and the graves of our gallant sons and daughters who died for this country, and we shall not sell them out," he said in reference to the liberation war that preceded independence.

A military coup in advance

"What the two senior officers [Chiwenga and Zimondi] have done amounts to staging a coup in advance; they are trying to frighten people and prepare them for a coup," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told IRIN.

"We have complained to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and will brief all election observers on the threats by the military. The SADC [Southern African Development Community] Observer Team and their counterparts from the African Union will be the first to know," he said.

Makoni's chief strategist, Ibbo Mandaza, told IRIN that in spite of their utterances the two senior officers were aware of their constitutional positions. "If there is a new head of state, they will have no option but to salute the new president because that is a requirement," he said.

Sten Rylander, Sweden's ambassador to Zimbabwe, said the statements by the military were unhelpful and could have a bearing on the outcome of the election. "There are some bad indications about the elections coming from the military officers. The military should say nothing about the elections."

Election observers from the European Union have not been invited to the poll, although its accredited diplomats will observe the election process.

Thabani Moyo, the spokesman for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a non-governmental organisation umbrella body, said, "Members of the military are civil servants and if they want to take sides, then they should recuse themselves from such offices. They are there to serve the people, and not to be served by the people."

Other organisations, such as the National Constitutional Assembly, a civil society grouping, have also condemned the statements by the senior military officers.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Winds of Change

March 12, 2008 | From
As Zimbabwe takes another step toward oblivion, here's a look at how a
once-proud nation fell so far. By Richard Palmer

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has signed a new law that gives
"indigenous" Zimbabweans majority ownership of all businesses. This new law
will make matters even worse for an already impoverished country.

It is hard to see how conditions could get worse for this once prosperous
nation. While few official figures are available, estimates put unemployment
at 80 percent. Official figures also put the inflation rate at 24,000
percent, though in reality inflation in Zimbabwe is very hard to measure.
When there is no food on the shelves, it is hard to tell how much the price
has risen.

This new law is not going to fix that. It states that "indigenous
Zimbabweans shall own at least 51 percent of the shares of every public
company and other businesses." The term "indigenous" refers to "any person
who, before the 18th April, 1980, was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination
on the grounds of his or her race, and any descendant of such person."

This new legislation brings back memories of the tragic land reforms that
took place several years ago. According to Harare-based economist Godfrey
Kanyenze, "It will entail the destruction of the economy. We should have
learned from the blunders of the land reforms where people who were not
properly equipped rushed to grab farms. The result was a disaster in the
agricultural sector and we are now importing maize from the countries where
the former farmers have migrated to."

The land now known as Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Africa. Today it
is a den of tyranny, starvation and squalor. In 1960, British Prime Minister
Howard Macmillan forecast that "the wind of change" would soon blow over the
continent. This is where those winds of change brought Zimbabwe.

The British colony of Southern Rhodesia (the former name of Zimbabwe) was
wary of these winds of change. It was easy to see that British withdrawal
from Africa would lead to a "one man, one vote, one time" system, where the
newly independent colony would end up under the thumb of a dictator, or in
the grip of civil war.

The Rhodesian leader at the time, Ian Smith, with majority support from the
white segment of the electorate, decided that this would not happen to his
country. On Nov. 11, 1965, Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence from
Britain. It was the only way to keep the country from the tyrants that
Communist guerrillas would bring to power. Ian Smith had seen the sad
results of decolonization elsewhere and was only too aware of the rapid
penetration of Soviet and Chinese Communist influence into Africa in the
wake of the colonial powers' flight.

The date of the declaration was significant. In the British Commonwealth,
November 11 is a day of remembrance for all those who have given their lives
in battle for the cause of freedom. The timing reminded the world that
Rhodesians had voluntarily fought and died for the freedom of other nations.
Now they were asking the rest of the world to support theirs.

The rest of the world did not. At least, no governments did. Though there
was obvious sympathy from the Portuguese colonies and South Africa, the
rapid collapse of Portugal's colonial possessions and South Africa's own
national interests mitigated against any combined southern African
resistance to the march of Marxist terror sweeping Africa at the time.
Officers in the British armed forces, however, remembered and respected
their old ally. They made it clear to the government they would not comply
with any orders to attack Rhodesia. Both times when Ian Smith held talks
with the socialist British Prime Minister Harold Wilson aboard British wars
ships, it was the Rhodesian prime minister that the officers invited to
dinner, while Wilson was ignored.

The rest of the world chose to side with the Marxist terrorists. Armed with
Soviet- and Chinese-made weapons, the Communists committed horrible
atrocities against black and white alike. Meanwhile, Rhodesia was under UN
sanctions from the rest of the world, pushed by Britain. Britain could not
use its military to force the country to surrender, so it tried other means
such as trade sanctions instead.

The terrorists often attacked women and children, missionaries and Red Cross
workers-anyone unable to fight back. Here's one example from June 23, 1978,
as documented by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
(mipt): "Black nationalist guerrillas bayoneted, axed and clubbed to death
eight British missionaries and four of their children at an Elim Mission
School in the Vumba Mountains. Among the victims was a 3-week-old child.
Several other Britons were wounded in the attack; one was raped."

Two of these guerrillas were later killed. Notebooks that they carried
showed they were members of the Zimbabwe Africa Nationalist Union (zanu).
Their leader is now quite infamous. His name is Robert Mugabe.

Perhaps one of the cruelest attacks came on Sept. 3, 1978. The Hunyani, a
Vickers Viscount passenger plane carrying 52 passengers and 4 crew men, was
shot down. The plane crashed, but due to the pilot's skill, there were 18
survivors. Promising them help, the guerrillas rounded up 10 of them and
then shot them.

A group run by Joshua Nkomo organized the massacre. Nkomo chuckled about his
"triumph" in an interview with the bbc.

Joshua Nkomo served as Mugabe's vice president from 1987 to 1999.

Six months later, a second plane was shot down. There were no survivors.

Under this kind of pressure, betrayed and abandoned by the rest of the
world, Rhodesia caved in and compromised. At one point, Smith appealed to
Henry Kissinger for help. "What about loyalty and honor?" he asked. "I am
afraid those things have no place in the modern world," was Kissinger's
tragic reply.

In 1979, majority elections were held. Mugabe did not win. Bishop Abel
Muzorewa became president, despite threats and intimidation from Mugabe and

Muzorewa's free and fair election was not good enough for the Marxists
though. The terrorists didn't stop their "war," and the West didn't lift its

The West got its way. Mugabe became president on April 18, 1980, after an
election campaign marred by fraud, intimidation and violence.

President Jimmy Carter's ambassador to the UN Andrew Young was asked what he
thought of Mugabe. "Does Mr. Mugabe strike you as a violent man?" said a
reporter from the Times. "Not at all, he's a very gentle man," Young
replied. "In fact, one of the ironies of the whole struggle is that I can't
imagine Joshua Nkomo, or Robert Mugabe, ever pulling the trigger on a gun to
kill anyone. I doubt that they ever have." Later he said: "I find that I am
fascinated by his intelligence, by his dedication. The only thing that
frustrates me about Robert Mugabe is that he is so . incorruptible."

Young knew better than that. The Western world deliberately ignored the
facts so that the peaceniks wouldn't have to awake from their never-never
land of political correctness.

Zimbabwe is dominated by two main tribes, the Mashona (or Shona for short),
and the Matabele. Mugabe was Mashona. After becoming president, Mugabe
turned on the Matabele. It is impossible to tell how many he killed, but the
Times estimates about 20,000. Other estimates are much higher.

Opponents of Ian Smith and the white Rhodesians accused them of being
racist. The man they replaced him with went on to commit genocide.

Is it any wonder Zimbabwe is in the state it is today? The West put a
murdering Marxist Mugabe into power. It should not then be surprised when he
turns out to be a terrorist. There is a long list of such murderers being
endorsed by Western leaders as a matter of expedience in their drastically
flawed foreign policies.

Mugabe now seems set to lead his nation into even more misery. Elections are
scheduled for March 29. Will they be free and fair? Never.

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Zimbabwe Presidential Hopeful Makoni Says He Quietly Opposed Mugabe


By Patience Rusere
12 March 2008

Independent Zimbabwean presidential candidate Simba Makoni said in an
interview on South African television this week that he opposed certain
policies of the ruling party though he continued to hold senior posts in
ZANU-PF until this February.

Makoni told an interviewer that he had always spoken up for what was
right for Zimbabweans - though he acknowledged he had not done so publicly.

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ZCTF Report - 3rd rhino milk delivery

11th March 2008
Tatenda, Carla and Lisa Marie's milk supplies were replenished last week thanks to a donation of another 150kg of skimmed milk powder from the Clover Milk Company in South Africa and 100kg from member, Bugs van Heerden of South Africa. Linda Honegger very kindly came to our rescue once again with the Clover donation by arranging transport and paying for the documentation for the milk to be imported into Zimbabwe. The ZCTF paid the import duty of  726 million Zimbabwe dollars. In addition to his donation of milk powder, Bugs also paid for the transportation of the milk to Zimbabwe as well as the import duty.  We are very grateful to the Clover Milk Company, Bugs van Heerden and Linda Honegger for going to so much expense and trouble to help feed Zimbabwe's orphaned rhinos. Thanks also to Silvana Olivo of Italy who donated a box full of teats and Lorraine Graham of Australia who donated bottles and teats. We would like to also express our appreciation to Barbara Bowman, Brian Gaisford and Helen & John Buckle for their donations of money. There are a lot of hidden expenses involved in delivering the milk  such as fuel, duty, clearing costs etc. and it is thanks to these donors that we are able to do it. We were also able to buy 10 bottles of horse fly repellant which cost ZWD400 million.
Bugs van Heerden's donation of milk arrived in Harare on Saturday the 8th March and we went to Imire to deliver it the following day. When we arrived at the Travers' house, there was no sign of Tatenda as he was out in the bush browsing.
We went out onto the front verandah where we met the newest edition to the Travers family - a tiny little week old hyena. Nobody is sure why but male hyenas sometimes eat their babies. One of the Imire hyenas gave birth to 2 babies and the father ate one of them so the Travers decided to rescue the surviving one before the father went back for seconds. My grand daughter, Kylie was delighted to meet the baby. The Imire African game guide, Morris, asked John Travers what the little hyena's name was and John replied "Well, we haven't thought of a name yet but we can call him Morris if you like." Morris didn't seem to know whether to take this as a compliment or not but I have a feeling the name might stick.
We hadn't been there very long when Tatenda graced us with his presence. He suddenly appeared in the doorway leading from the lounge to the front verandah after having first walked through Judy's house to get there. We were amazed at how much he has grown since he's been drinking the Clover milk. 
Tatenda's best friend since birth, the little warthog Hogwash, is no longer such a "little" warthog. I never thought I would ever think of a warthog as a particularly attractive animal, but Hogwash is a magnificent specimen. He was lying on the couch on the verandah when we arrived and he still sleeps in Judy's bedroom at night but his nose is a little bit out of joint now that "Morris" has arrived on the scene. 
Judy had a very frightening experience with Tatenda recently. He was in the kitchen with her
 while she was preparing the dinner. She was peeling a pumpkin and unbeknown to her, Tatenda had eaten some of the pumpkin peels. He suddenly started coughing and at first, Judy thought nothing of it but she became concerned when the coughing grew more violent. Then without warning, he started charging around the kitchen and Judy realized he was choking. She finally suceeded in shoving her hand down his throat to dislodge the pumpkin peel. This was no mean feat because Tatenda is not small any more - he probably weighs in excess of 250 pounds and it is one thing to shove your hand down a black rhino's throat, but quite another to do it whilst he is charging you. I say "Judy for President".
Pumpkin peels notwithstanding, Tatenda has very expensive taste in food. Much to Judy's chagrin, he has acquired a taste for her lovely palm trees.
                                                                             OFFLOADING THE MILK
The Clover Milk arrived in Bulawayo on Thursday 6th March. Carla and Lisa Marie's supplies were running very low so I drove to Bulawayo to collect it the same day and then went straight through to Buffalo Range to deliver 125kg to Janey Style who is doing such a great job with the 2 rhino. Since the last time I was there, Janey has increased the size of the enclosure holding the rhino so when I arrived, Carla and Lisa Marie were nowhere to be seen as they now have a much bigger area of natural bush to wander around in. It is not easy to find them because they are very good at hiding in the thick bush. I had no intention of driving such a long way without seeing them so I walked through the bush calling them.
I walked for a few hundred metres before I heard a rustling sound and they came out to greet me. I was lucky enough this time to be able to watch them being fed.
As usual, they were very interested in their milk donation. We donated 10 bottles of horse fly repellant to them because the horse flies deliver a painful bite and draw spots of blood all over their bodies. Lisa Marie is still not able to put all her weight on her leg that she almost lost due to a wire snare. It was a terrible wound and will take a long time to heal properly.
Carla and Lisa Marie seem to be soul mates and do everything together. I don't believe they would survive if they were split up. Even though they are wild animals, they seem to know that they owe their lives to Janey Style.
Thank you so much to all the wonderful people who are helping us to feed these magnificent endangered animals. We would never be able to do it without you.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Tel:         263 4 336710
Fax/Tel:  263 4 339065
Mobile:    263 11 603 213

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Mark Thatcher 'was part of Guinea coup plot'

The Times
March 12, 2008

David Sharrock

Simon Mann, the former SAS officer who led an attempted coup against the
tiny oil-rich West African country of Equatorial Guinea, claimed last night
that Sir Mark Thatcher was "part of the team".

Mann, who was flown out of Zimbabwe to face a trial next week in Equatorial
Guinea, said that he was the coup plot manager but that its instigator was
Ely Calill, a British businessman of Lebanese-Nigerian origin.

Mr Calill has previously denied involvement in the 2004 coup plot and did so
again last night when asked to comment by Channel Four News, which conducted
the interview with Mann at Black Beach prison in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea's

Sir Mark Thatcher pleaded guilty in 2005 in a South African court to
"unwitting" involvement in the coup attempt by funding the purchase of an
aircraft. Last night he said that he had no further comment, other than to
express his sympathy with Mann for his prison ordeal.

Mann also claimed that the coup plot only went ahead because he was "getting
indications" from both the Spanish and South African governments that they
were in favour of it. Both governments said that the claim was "completely
baseless". But when the names of Peter Mandelson, the European Union
Commissioner, and Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare were put to Mann by the
TV news team, he categorically ruled them out of the affair.
Both Mr Mandelson and Lord Archer have been drawn into the story in press
reports suggesting that the names of "Establishment figures" would emerge
from Mann's version of events surrounding the failed coup plot.

Asked what connection they had with the attempt, the old Etonian said: "They've
got none at all. God knows where that came from."

Dressed in a grey prison uniform, with his hands and feet cuffed but looking
relaxed and fit, Mann, a friend of Baroness Thatcher's son, said: "If you
want to believe the whole thing was a swashbuckling f***-up, well it is
because it failed." He added: "I was, if you like, the manager. Below me
were a number of people. Above me in the machine were other people."

While money had been a factor, he claimed that his "primary motivation was
to help, as I saw it, the people of Equatorial Guinea".

Mann, who was flown from prison in Zimbabwe to the tiny West African country
a month ago, is due to stand trial in Malabo next week.

Of his time since his capture with a plane-load of mercenaries in Zimbabwe
and conviction there for buying illegal weapons, he said: "I regret all that
terribly, but when you go tiger shooting, you sort of don't expect the tiger
to win.

"I have been saying I'm sorry to everybody for four years now, actually. I'm
going to write it on my forehead. Sorry," he added and laughed.

Channel 4 had to overturn a court injunction banning broadcast of the
interview after Mann's lawyers said he had only taken part in it under
duress from the authorities. His sister went to the High Court in London to
say he wanted the interview shown.

He denied any coercion. "I have been treated well. It isn't a five-star
hotel but there is water, there is food."

He said that he had been interviewed rather than interrogated. "I've been
helping the authorities here as best as I can." But he added that he had
been "kidnapped" and smuggled out of Zimbabwe against the country's laws and
delivered to Equatorial Guinea and that "gratuitous violence" had been used.

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