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

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      Act before it's too late

      3/13/03 1:26:47 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government's declaration of a state of disaster in Matabeleland
South and other areas, to ensure that the state's efforts are "focused on
mitigating drought", would be a welcome move to thousands of food-insecure
Zimbabwean households.

      Were it not for the fact that it's likely to turn out to be no more
than a savvy public relations exercise for a regime that needs all the
goodwill it can get in a deepening national crisis.

      Even though it is backdated to January, President Robert Mugabe's
declaration of last Friday is clearly too little too late for thousands of
people who are threatened with starvation.

      It is too little because the countless Zimbabweans who have no crops
to harvest and are daily watching their livestock succumb to drought and
disease deserve a comprehensive, all-out onslaught to stem the unchecked
haemorrhaging of their meagre resources.

      It is disheartening to note that apart from last week's fine sounding
disaster declaration, the Agriculture Ministry has remained conspicuously
silent about its strategy for mitigating the impact of drought on livestock
and water supplies in affected areas.

      Does the ministry even have a strategy? Judging by its shameful
blundering in the past, it's doubtful.

      For many Zimbabweans, last week's declaration of a state of disaster
is too late, coming as it does several months after households that rely on
their livestock for sustenance, money and draught power began to experience
massive animal deaths.

      More than 20 000 cattle have died in Matabeleland South alone in the
past few months, more are likely to succumb in the near future and it is
questionable whether the situation is still reversible.

      Of course, the Zimbabwean government has got doing as little as
possible at the last possible minute down to a fine art.

      Last year the President declared a state of emergency over AIDS, close
to two decades after the disease was first detected in Zimbabwe and after it
had killed almost two million people, more than those who died during the
two Chimurenga wars that led to the country's independence.

      About nine months after the declaration, there is little evidence that
the government has made much contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

      Indeed, after its tardy realisation that its controversial seizure of
white-owned land, ostensibly to redress colonial injustices, would decimate
food security at a time Zimbabwe was threatened with drought, the government
's efforts to avert mass starvation are still not up to scratch.

      It has clearly not displayed the same enthusiasm and vigour in
ensuring food security as it did when it set about bludgeoning the country's
agricultural sector through its discredited land resettlement programme.

      But with international agencies predicting that food insecurity will
be significantly worse in the 2003/4 agricultural season than what has been
experienced so far, it is evident that the government will have to be more
jerked-up than it has been in the past.

      It is worrying that only a few weeks before the 2003/4 agricultural
marketing season begins in April, the Agriculture Ministry has yet to allay
fears by informing the nation of how it plans to protect Zimbabweans,
especially the very poor, from the impact of worsening food shortages.

      The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned that Zimbabwe will
need to import at least 1.3 million tonnes of maize from April because of
expected low harvests.

      Have the Grain Marketing Board and the ministry of agriculture begun
to look for money to finance these imports?

      Is the government appealing for an extension of food aid arrangements,
which run up to the end of March?

      No one knows because the government has not seen fit to address the
nation on any of these concerns. But it is to be hoped these concerns are
uppermost on its mind.

      As the new marketing season draws near, the government should also be
giving thought to relaxing its stranglehold on food imports, which it has
maintained even though it clearly does not have the capacity to import
enough to meet Zimbabwe's grain needs.

      It is imperative that the private sector is allowed to share the
burden under free market conditions, to ensure that the impact of the
worsening food shortages is less severe than has been forecast.

      We hope that all these issue are exercising the Agriculture Ministry's
mind even now and that the government will not wait until people start dying
from starvation before it is stirred from its inertia.

      That would clearly be unforgivable.

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      Amnesty for forex dealers

      By Godfrey Marawanyika Senior Reporter
      3/13/03 2:01:14 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Finance Ministry will soon offer an amnesty to all foreign
currency dealers and exporters suspected to have externalised at least US$30
million after the introduction of new exchange control measures last year,
in a desperate attempt to trigger forex inflows into Zimbabwe, Treasury
officials said this week.

      The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Financial
Gazette that the amnesty would be offered to exporters, foreign currency
dealers, corporate foreign account holders and former bureaux de change

      According to the Treasury sources, some of the proposed amnesty
recipients are suspected to have externalised hard cash after Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa announced tough new exchange control measures on
November 14.

      The new regulations included measures requiring exporters to remit
half of their proceeds to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and also submit
the remaining 50 percent to be held on their behalf by the RBZ.

      Murerwa also directed bureaux de change to close down by the end of
November in an attempt to stem forex leakages.

      The Finance Ministry officials said Treasury suspected that several
exporters had backdated their currency declaration (CD1) forms last year, so
that the bulk of their earnings was not subject to the new 50-50 regulation
that came into effect on November 14.

      They said the bulk of hard cash held in foreign currency accounts also
disappeared from the official forex market and was believed to have been
removed from the country.

      The officials said the proposed amnesty would make it possible for the
forex externalised from Zimbabwe to be returned on the understanding that
none of the perpetrators would be prosecuted.

      Murerwa would this week not comment on the issue, asking the Financial
Gazette to send questions in writing that he had not responded to at the
time of going to press.

      But sources said the Finance Minister was advised during a meeting of
the government-business-labour Tripartite Negotiating Forum last Thursday
that unless a formal amnesty was announced, forex dealers and exporters who
had externalised hard cash were unlikely to remit the money.

      The sources said Murerwa had agreed in principle to the amnesty,
although it was not yet clear when it would be formally announced.

      A Treasury official said: "Murerwa was told that unless the people who
had inflated their CD1 forms were given a waiver on the flouting of
regulations, there would not be any immediate solution to the foreign
currency problems.

      "He agreed to an amnesty for people who had adjusted their CD1 forms
and for dealers, which we expect to result in an improvement of foreign
currency inflows."

      Another source said: "Murerwa agreed that upon return of the money, no
questions would be asked to anybody."

      But analysts were this week sceptical about the likely impact of the
amnesty, saying the exchange rate applied to the remitted forex would have
to be attractive enough for exporters to want to admit that they had
externalised funds.

      Although the government has devalued the local currency from $55 to
the US$1 to $824, the analysts pointed out that the parallel market for
forex was still offering more lucrative rates and exporters and speculators
holding on to hard cash might not be willing to settle for the formal rate.

      The Zimbabwe-US dollar exchange rate is around $1 400 on the parallel
market, which commentators said offered a better return.

      The analysts said the amnesty would also not address the fundamental
causes of the foreign currency squeeze, adding that the government had to
restore market confidence in order to stem capital flight.

      Economic consultant John Robertson said: "This doesn't really offer
any prospect (for resolving the crisis), why should people give up their
more stable currency in favour of an unstable one?"

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      Meltdown in Buenos-Aires and Harare

      3/13/03 1:56:09 AM (GMT +2)

      What does the land of Diego Maradona have in common with the land of
Moses Chunga, apart from the fact that both men are icons and demi-gods of
the beautiful game, albeit flawed ones? Well, analyse this, if l may borrow
the title of a famous movie - A Tale of Two Cities.

      Argentina's problems, like Zimbabwe, can be ascribed to three things

      The first is bad economics. The second is irreverence of property
rights which always results in an insidious erosion of the rule of law. The
third is corruption in high places.

      In this article, l will show how Argentina, which up to the 1940's was
one of the wealthiest nations in the world, is now reaping the whirlwind and
how the story of that once-mighty nation has striking similarities with

      The stark lesson for us is that a combination of economic
mismanagement, corruption and a cynical attitude to private property will
destroy a nation, no matter its greatness or the colour of its people.

      There is little debate that the Zimbabwean political leadership has
totally lost the plot on economic governance. Perhaps the only debate is who
beats them at it. Over in Argentina, General Juan Domingo Peron, together
with his populist wife Evita, she whom Madonna immortalised on the big
screen recently, implemented nationalist economic policies which probably
began the country's descent into hell.

      In 1955, a military coup ousted him and a long and dark period without
democracy began, punctuated briefly by Peron's return from exile in 1973.
The military junta took over again in 1976 until democracy was fully
restored when Raul Alfonsin was elected as President by popular vote in

      The ghosts of the economy would however come back to haunt him. He
resigned in 1989, several months before the end of his term after his
austerity budget proved unsuccessful. The resignation prematurely brought
the Peronist president-elect, Carlos Menem into office.

      The economy was in shambles, plagued as it was by hyper-inflation
which recorded in 3-digit annual rates. To fight the hyper-inflation and to
give the economy a confidence shock, the government introduced a Currency
Board as part of wider ambitious Convertibility Policy which pegged the peso
to the American dollar.

      The currency board system was meant to eliminate the ability of the
central bank to create money beyond its foreign reserves. It was effectively
dollarisation of the economy by another name. The policy worked immediately
and reigned in hyper-inflation but it heavily depended on the maintenance of
a steady stream of exports.

      A liberalisation of the economy complemented the policy and culminated
in a massive privatisation programme that helped narrow the budget deficit
and made Menem the darling of the IMF and the West.

      In retrospect, economists are agreed that the grave mistake of the
government was in keeping the policy forever when it should ideally have
been a short-term measure. The conventional wisdom is that a policy decision
as to which exchange system to use is one that has to be taken in the wider
practical context at the time, not in the abstract.

      Economists say an exchange system must be understood to be a means to
achieve economic objectives and not an end in itself. Thus different times
may lead to different prescriptions. And so the introduction of the
peso/dollar peg and convertibility was probably the best way of achieving
stability in 1991.

      With time however, the strict dollar parity did not reflect a trade
weighted basket of the currencies of Argentina's main trading partners and
Argentina was not on a convergence path with the US market.

      In 1999, Brazil, Argentina's largest trading partner, devalued its
currency by some 30 percent. As luck would have it, this coincided with the
slide of the euro which made Argentinian's goods too expensive for the
important European market.

      The result was catastrophic; Argentina's exports fell dramatically.
Without capital inflows, the government had no choice but to borrow heavily
at high interest rates which were caused by heightened country risk because
of the perceived unsustainability of the public debt.

      Business and individuals also sank into the debt trap. Unemployment
rose to an all time high of 30 percent and inflation peaked at 159 percent
whilst 50 percent of the population began to live below the poverty line
almost overnight, unable to buy basic food and clothing.

      The figures look like Zimbabwe's but this is Argentina whose cattle
ranchers and owners of the vast and fertile pampas are said to have been so
fabulously wealthy in the 1930s that they would send their linen to Paris
for laundering.

      By 2001, a liquidity crisis had developed in the Argentinian banking
sector and depositors scrambled to access their savings in some of the most
violent and long running bank runs ever witnessed.

      President Fernando de la Rua came to power at such a time as this, the
economy literally creaking at the seams and saddled with a $114 billion
public debt. His measures to curb riotous bank runs which included
restrictions on withdrawals and the declaration of a state of emergency,

      Street riots erupted and 25 people died in the worst of these riots.
On 20 December 2001, he resigned, only three years after taking Argentina's
ultimate office. And the manner of his exit remains one of the most dramatic
of Presidential exits in history.

      He had to be airlifted by helicopter from the roof of the Casa Rosada,
the pink presidential palace, as he fled for his life. Cavallo, the Economy
Minister fled to Patagonia.

      In the next two weeks, no less than five presidents came and went from
power. Argentina was tottering on the verge of implosion. That year, it went
straight into the record books, this time not for any prowess on the
football pitch but for defaulting on its US$155 billion foreign debt, the
largest in living history.

      The Argentinian government response of immobilising bank accounts and
placing withdrawal limits on all deposits through the corralito law, as well
as the pesofication of dollar deposits and loans was effectively a
derogation of the property rights of millions of Argentinians and banks.

      The Argentinian Supreme Court has recently confirmed this in a
constitutional ruling. This brings us to the second aspect of this analysis
on property rights. The issue of the property rights of citizens is central
to governance itself.

      Historically, states were in fact formed to safeguard these interests.
Karl Marx's argument that when private property is abolished, the state
itself will shrivel away was based on this fact.

      To put the argument in local perspective, there is no gainsaying the
urgency of land reform in Zimbabwe. No power on earth, or a particular race
was ever going to stop it. For years, large numbers of white farmers deluded
themselves into thinking that land reform was an agenda that would never see
the light of day. For that reason, they are accomplices to the meltdown in

      But the urgency was artificially created by the government itself. It
shelved an important national agenda for too long. The spontaneous land
invasions by the Svosve people in 1999 are in point.

      Instead of seizing on the initiative of the Svosve people, its
reaction was to crush the revolt. According to Tendai Biti of the MDC, "In
June 2000 alone, when land had become the bible of the government, the same
government issued 70 Certificates of No Present Interest . . ." to white
farmers selling their farms on the open market.

      Clearly, not the response of a government committed to land reform.
The implication is that the land question is a fortuitous rallying cry for a
government bereft of new ideas and that the land invasions are engineered
behind closed doors as red herrings.

      The cynical attitude to private property that the government has
demonstrated has the effect of driving away foreign direct investment and
isolating Zimbabwe from the global economy. But even if the government were
genuine about land reform, it is the modus operandi used to achieve the goal
of an otherwise noble cause that lovers of country quarrel with.

      No one would bleat if the process were orderly and transparent. If
they bleated, we would simply proceed anyway, secure under the canopy of a
just cause. But an approach that countenances violence soon loses sympathy
even from the most ardent of nationalists.

      This compounded with rapacious land grabbing by senior government
officials and their cronies puts the credibility of the programme into
doubt. The rule of law has been a casualty in the mad rush for land by a
powerful few.

      When the highest office in the land seems to be heavily implicated in
the chaotic circus, its revolutionary creed begins to look suspect and worse
than even the Robin Hood school of thought which at least preached the
robbing of the rich to empower the poor.

      Sometimes bad economic management alone is excusable. Even some
tampering with private property can successfully be disguised as emergency
economic planning.

      What will never be excusable is corruption in high places. Corruption
is a cancer that feeds into itself. It permeates the whole fabric of
society, erodes macro-economic stability and disillusions the populace
because it destroys incentive for honest work. More seriously, it drills a
hole in the fiscus which the taxpayer will eventually have to plug through
higher taxes as revenues dwindle.

      A recent research by the African Development Bank shows that
corruption can cause up to 50 percent of taxes to be lost as well as add up
to 100 percent to the cost of government goods and services. The
reputational costs are huge. Now we forever associate the Nigerian with '419
' fraud.

      In Argentina and Zimbabwe which are ranked number 70 and 71
respectively in the Transparency International Corruption Index of 2002, the
problem is similarly huge. Serious allegations of connections to organised
crime have been made against almost every President who has occupied the
Rosa Bocada in Argentina.

      The incumbent Eduardo Dulhade, who came in as a caretaker President
after Fernando de la Rua's flight, has been linked to drug dealing, thuggery
and the corrupt ownership of a vast real estate portfolio through front men.
The liquidity crisis in the banking sector is also said to have been caused
by corrupt and politically connected lending whose re-payments never

      Similarly in Zimbabwe, allegations of rapacious plunder and looting
have been made and by no less credible organisations as the United Nations
which named Zimbabwe in Resolution 1457 on the Illegal Exploitation of
Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the DRC.

      Political and insider lending in the banking sector which destroys
shareholder value is also rampant. The problem will continue to grow,
compounded as it is by the secrecy which shrouds the conduct of public
business which is institutionalised by rules on official secrets and the
lack of statutory protection for whistle-blowers.

      If only we could learn from Argentina which is now reaping the
whirlwind. The prospects for our country are not encouraging as long as
there is no change of the guard. If Shakespeare were a contemporary writer,
he would have made Hamlet to say, 'There is something rotten in the state of

      Apart from the above similarities in notoriety, one is also mindful of
the fact that at about the same time that we were having our gukurahundi in
this country, they were having one over in Argentina too.

      During the 'Dirty War' which played out between 1978 and 1982, tens of
thousands of the so-called desaparecidos (the disappeared) were kidnapped
and murdered by brutal army death squads under the pretext of a 'war against
subversion'. And on the 27th of April 2003 when Argentina goes to the polls,
our fellow comrades in suffering may very well end up with Carlos Menem as
their President again. If that happens, Argentinians will have recycled a
now 72 year old man who is married to a 36 year old former Chilean beauty

      If his wife's age is irrelevant, and it very well may be, l draw your
attention to these facts which have an eerie similarity with local politics.
In his time as President, Menem was an extreme machiavellian who
concentrated executive power, ruled by decree and made severe assaults on
the independence of the judiciary which he packed with compliant judges who
would later clear him of corruption charges.

      It is not lost on students of history either that during his
Presidency, he unsuccessfully attempted to run for a third term by tinkering
with the constitution. The sad thing of history will always be how it is
that nations allow themselves to be governed by the same re-cycled
politicians who tell the same lies over and over again.

      At least in Argentina, the people have had some success in confronting
intransigent politicians who think they rule by irrevocable divine warrant.
Between 2000 and 2002 alone, Argentinians have forced the resignations of
seven Presidents and eleven Ministers of Economy.

      In Zimbabwe, a brutal state machinery has thus far managed to stave
off any meaningful show of people power. However, from Sharpeville to
Belgrade Republic Square, powerful monuments exist as proof of the
irresistible power of the commons. The lesson that resonates from history is
that the more a people are brutally oppressed, the more virulent the
backlash. Critical mass is soon reached when the people of the house of
hunger will no longer accept a diet of ashes. In Zimbabwe, it remains the
government's call to halt the descent to hell.

        a.. Tapfumanei Nyawanza is a Zimbabwean lawyer studying in the UK.
He can be reached at

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JAG Sitrep March 13, 2003


A sugar farmer in Southern Lowveld was assaulted this morning by about
thirty employees of illegal settlers on his farm. These settler employees,
some of whom originally worked for the farmer, were attempting to evict his
domestic and office stag employees from the homes on their farms. Police,
who had been alerted, did not respond timeously to defuse the situation,
which could have been worse. Subsequently similar pressure has mounted on a
neighbouring farm.


A farmer in the Karoi area with no current section 8 has been illegally
told to vacate his property in seven days.




JAG Hotlines:
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    (011) 205 374
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The recent secretive and non-transparent talks between government and the
CFU have generated very contentious views and emotions. Government and
their cronies have praised them as a positive development and have widely
flaunted the talks as part of a huge PR window-dressing exercise in an
attempt to sanitise and legitimise the ZANU-PF regime. CFU, who were
invited to attend the Paris summit, have colluded in this by remaining
silent as to their stance - until recently. This silence has generated
alarm and despondency in farming circles and in the general populace. Their
silence has thus been reprehensible in the eyes of Justice for Agriculture

To the relief of many, Cloete has finally, after over a month of
negotiations and reticence to go public, limply stated that no agreement
has been reached, as they have been unable to address issues on the ground
due to the disparity between what government says and what they actually
do. Although this is a limp step in the right direction, the long weeks of
silence have been hugely detrimental considering government were using them
as part of an international and regional PR exercise. Why Cloete did not
come out immediately and correct the state-sponsored Press for
misrepresenting him as, and we salute them, James Morris, the UN envoy, and
the Japanese ambassador have done recently, remains a mystery, leading to
anxiety and resultant sinister speculations. The extent of how detrimental
this has been to farmers, and how successful it has been to government, is
clearly reflected in Obasanjo citing the negotiations as one of the reasons
to readmit Zimbabwe into the Commonwealth. Even if this is excused,
Cloete's statements have been half-hearted and deferring, to say the least,
as is blatantly apparent when compared with Agri-SA's damning press
release. This is the sort of document JAG would have liked to see the CFU
produce, timeously, powerfully and to the benefit of all in agriculture.

Agri-SA, based on their recent visit to Zimbabwe, condemned the land reform
programme on the basis that it was used as a political tool to ensure
political survival and control and because the manner of its implementation
has caused irreparable damage to Zimbabwe's agriculture and triggered the
resultant manmade humanitarian disaster not only in Zimbabwe but also the
sub region.  We salute them.  CFU, to date, has neither openly nor strongly
condemned the manner in which its members and their workforce were targets
in a strategy to ensure political survival no matter what the humanitarian
or financial costs. Instead, they are attempting to dialogue and deal with
the very perpetrators which adds credibility to the so-called "land reform"
and legitimacy to the government rather than holding them accountable for
destroying the production base of agriculture and causing the humanitarian
disaster we are on the brink of now. At no time has the CFU put in place
any safety net for the two million people displaced and dispossessed on
large scale commercial farms.

Along with CFU, the new farmers are being used, mostly unwittingly and
unknowingly, as manipulated puppets, because, as Agri-SA and JAG have
pointed out, without title, they are totally dependent on government for
credit and inputs whilst having no security of tenure. Agri-SA concludes
that government is only partially subsidising the new farmers so as to keep
white commercial farmers away. CFU appears oblivious to this, as otherwise
they would realise that dialogue is fruitless in this context for white
commercial farmers and their workers, as it is designed to eradicate them.

Another pointer CFU could take from Agri-SA is that the land reform
programme is based on unsustainable points of departure, and that it will
have to be replaced with a programme built on totally different values for
agriculture to survive. Instead of realising this, CFU has taken the
opposite route of attempting to work with government in this existing,
unsustainable, framework rather than look to a way forward that is

Even if there is a way forward in this existing framework, there would have
to be a return to the rule of law, respect for property rights and
responsible governance before any progress to poverty alleviation can be
made. Without these fundamental pre-conditions, government can renege on
any agreement at any point in time as it has done so many times in the
past; witness the 1998 donor conference and the Abuja Accord.

Thus, the CFU, farmers, farm workers and all Zimbabwean citizens cannot
benefit at all through these talks and the secretive non-transparent manner
in which CFU has conducted them. On the other hand, the government has and
can continue to benefit considerably by using the CFU as puppets to
legitimise and sanitise their image in the eyes of the starving masses, and
the International community. By remaining silent, CFU has played right into
government hands, as it gives them the basis to appear as the all round
`do-gooders', firstly by taking the land from the `enemy' and giving it to
landless peasants, and now by offering a Judas kiss of reconciliation to
the `enemy'. CFU have, in proffering a cheek, legitimised the negative
portrayal of farmers and their workers by never coming out openly and
condemning the present state of madness and stating their viewpoint.

Furthermore, by dialoguing with government, instead of exposing them, CFU
are legitimising the so-called land reform as a success. JAG thus urges the
CFU to be open and transparent at all times, especially if they continue
with this tried and failed method of dialogue and deal, unless they are
happy to be used as puppets in legitimising and sanitising an illegitimate
government and its on-going destruction of our meagre residual agricultural
base and the environment.  To do so, can and will be construed as the CFU
being not only complicit but also having colluded in the debacle.

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Business Day

Obasanjo, Mbeki differ on Mugabe's future'

International Affairs Editor

SIGNS of divisions between SA and Nigeria have begun to appear in their
approach towards Zimbabwe and the future of President Robert Mugabe.

In an interview in the London Sunday Times, Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo called for Mugabe's resignation, a view President Thabo Mbeki does
not appear to share.

Asked if Mbeki also thought Mugabe should go, presidential spokesman Bheki
Khumalo said yesterday he had not seen the report, but this was for
Zimbabweans and not SA to decide.

Nonetheless, Obasanjo's forthright remarks are at odds with SA's quiet
diplomacy towards Zimbabwe.

Obasanjo may want to see leadership change to prevent the Commonwealth heads
of government meeting in Nigeria in December from becoming mired in

The Nigerian leader's blunt message comes against the backdrop of an
escalating succession battle within Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF) party.

"It's entirely up to him, but obviously he knows he has to work for a
succession," Obasanjo said. "I don't have to tell him, but if I say I am
thinking about my succession that's an indication that I think he should
think of his. In my part of the world there are many ways you can tell a man
to go to hell," he said.

Earlier this year, as chairman of a troika appointed by the Commonwealth to
deal with Zimbabwe, Obasanjo wrote a letter to Australian Prime Minister and
troika member John Howard defending Mugabe against accusations of torture
and portraying the situation in Zimbabwe as returning to normal.

Obasanjo and Mbeki, the third member of the troika, also declined to review
their decision of March last year to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.
This move infuriated Howard, who accused them of engineering Zimbabwe's
automatic reinstatement.

On the matter of Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, Obasanjo said,
"If you don't lift suspension, what do you do?"

Yesterday, human rights group Amnesty International called on the
Commonwealth to take "rigorous action" against Zimbabwe's "repressive"
regime because of the increased recent reports of torture.

In order to show progress and for a convincing case to be made for
Zimbabwe's readmission to the Commonwealth a resumption of inter-party talks
is key. ZanuPF broke these off after the MDC mounted a court challenge.

"My solution is to get out of court and start talks for reconciliation,"
Obasanjo said.

It was ZanuPf that broke off talks last April after the MDC mounted a court
challenge to the election results. A date for the case to be heard in court
has yet to be given.

Speculation about Mugabe's succession continues to centre around the speaker
of the Zimbabwe parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who the Zimbabwean President
is widely thought to favour. Other presidential contender are the minister
of defence Sydney Sekeramanyi and the former minister of fiance Simba

Accoriding to a recent report written by Institute for Security Studies the
battle for succession is overlain by rival ry between two of the most
powerful Shona groupings, the Zezuru of which Mugabe is a members and the
Karanga. Maroleng says that factionalism in the party could lead to its
disintegration, which he says could create space of the MDC.

Another post-Mugabe scenario is for ZanuPF to split, allowing space for a
reformist breakaway, as was the case with Kanu in Kenya. The other
possibility for a postMugabe future is a "tame" military coup.

Mar 13 2003 06:41:16:000AM Jonathan Katzenellenbogen Business Day 1st
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Business Day

'Political rows blew us off course'

Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak admitted his team's World Cup campaign had
been blown off course by political intrigue and internal bickering following
their crushing seven-wicket Super Six defeat by Kenya.
That loss, Zimbabwe's first one-day defeat against their fellow Africans,
ended their slim chances of reaching the semi-finals.

The Test team's World Cup hopes had been overshadowed by the black armband
protest aimed at Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, carried out by senior
players Andy Flower and Henry Olonga during their opening match of the
tournament against Namibia in Harare.

And, as that controversy continued to rumble on, selector Andy Pycroft
resigned in the build-up to yesterday's Super Six match.

He told AFP he had not been consulted about the team that lost to New
Zealand at Goodyear Park.

Former captain Pycroft added that the side he, Streak and other members of
the Zimbabwe management in Bloemfontein had chosen for this match, had been
rejected by the majority of the selection panel back home.

"You don't always get the teams you want," admitted a drained Streak.

"But I'm not permitted to discuss what went on in selection," he told
reporters after Zimbabwe had been skittled out for just 133, Kenya winning
with 24 overs to spare.

And he conceded Zimbabwe had struggled to cope with the political wrangles
which had enveloped the team.

"It's been tough. There have been a lot of political insinuations.

"It's been difficult for the players to keep focused on cricket," added
Streak whose side gained four points by forfeit after England boycotted
their group match in Harare.

"The guys have tried to handle it to the best of their ability but we can't
use it as an excuse."

Streak, who won the toss and decided to bat first on a slow wicket, insisted
his side had not been complacent.

"We expect to win every game we play. But we didn't underestimate Kenya. We
weren't proactive enough and there were too  many soft dismissals," the
paceman explained.

And he added that Kenya deserved their place following criticism that the
path of Steve Tikolo's men into the Super Six had been eased because of the
points they gained for victory by forfeit over New Zealand.

"They've got a very basic but disciplined game plan. But it's worked for
them," streak said.

"They put India under pressure when they played them too and they are not a
side to take lightly. Their tails are up now."

Streak refused to comment on whether or not he would carry on as skipper,
but he did admit the defeat was one of his worst days as an international

"It's hard to say if it's the lowest point. But it's got to go down as one
of them.

"However, we've got one game to go (against Sri Lanka at East London on
Saturday) and we've still pride to play for."

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UZ Lecturers' Strike: Confusion Reigns

The Herald (Harare)

March 13, 2003
Posted to the web March 13, 2003


Contradictory statements were issued yesterday by the Minister of Higher and
Tertiary Education, Dr Swithun Mombe-shora, and the University of Zimbabwe
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Levi Nyagura.

The minister told Parliament that the University of Zimbabwe was temporarily
closed following a deadlock between striking lecturers and authorities at
the institution.

But the Vice-Chancellor called on all staff and students to report normally
in terms of an order issued by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare.

The ministry has declared the industrial action illegal.

The University has not been operating normally since last month with
non-medical lecturers on strike and demanding the same 50 percent retention
allowance awarded to their colleagues at the medical school.

Dr Mombeshora told Parliament that the lecturers, who had been on strike
since last month, would not be paid for the period they were not at work.

"Obviously, there is no end in sight for the industrial action as all
efforts to come to a compromise have failed dismally," said Dr Mombeshora in
a ministerial statement.

"Government is, therefore, compelled to direct the university to close
temporarily while contentious issues are being addressed."

Dr Mombeshora said programmes at the College of Health Sciences, the medical
school, education and post-graduate studies would continue since they were
not adversely affected by the strike.

The strike by the lecturers, which began on February 24 when the current
semester opened, had paralysed academic operations at the institution. The
lecturers initially went on strike at the end of last year demanding a
salary increase of 135 percent and a 20 percent cost of living adjustment
that had been awarded to civil servants.

The lecturers returned to work after they were awarded the 20 percent cost
of living adjustment backed to July 2002, while negotiations were going on
with the Finance and Economic Development Ministry for the 135 percent
salary increment.

The Government in January approved an 80 percent salary increment for all
staff at state universities.

The staff was also awarded an increment of 100 percent on transport
allowances and 150 percent on housing allowances.

Early last month, the lecturers were awarded a further 15 percent increment
on their basic salary, with the retention allowance for medical staff being
increased by 50 percent.

Dr Mombeshora said the retention allowance was normally awarded to those
departments that would have reached crisis proportions in terms of staffing

He said the recent strike was triggered by a misunderstanding by the
lecturers of a memorandum indicating the university was going to propose a
50 percent retention allowance and an 80 percent basic salary increment to
all lecturers.

"The Association of University Teachers (AUT), working on the basis of this
promise concluded rather erroneously that a legally binding agreement had
been made," said Dr Mombeshora.

"Even more baffling is their determination to hold my ministry to ransom
over a proposal that was never formally presented to me."

Dr Mombeshora said it was surprising why the AUT was adamant on striking and
failing to appreciate efforts to solve problems faced by its members.

He said the situation where students have been milling around the university
for nine weeks, losing considerable amount of time in the academic year was

But Prof Nyagura, last night advised all teaching staff and students to
resume lectures this morning as ordered by the Ministry of Labour through a
Disposal Order.

He said the AUT and all lecturers on collective job action should cease
their action and report to work.

"The employer may take any disciplinary action against employees who do not
resume work as directed," he said in a statement.

Prof Nyagura said as agreed by both parties, the issue of the retention
allowance would be referred to compulsory arbitration.

Following the hearing at which the AUT submitted their presentations, the
labour ministry declared the collective job action by the lecturers as
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S.African archbishop seeks all-party Zimbabwe talks

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, March 13 - A senior South African church leader mediating in
crisis-stricken Zimbabwe at the behest of President Robert Mugabe said on
Thursday he was trying to organise all-party talks to end the political
       Njongonkulu Ndungane, archbishop of Cape Town and head of the
Anglican Church in southern Africa, said negotiation was the only way out of
Zimbabwe's political and economic woes, but conceded it would be a ''long
and difficult'' process.
       ''Everyone is supportive. There is no alternative to talks and our
plan is that everyone who has a stake must be involved in these talks,'' he
told reporters in the capital Harare.
       ''It's going to be like trying to turn the Titanic while avoiding the
       Ndungane, asked by Mugabe in January to mediate in a spat with former
colonial power Britain over his seizure of white-owned farms, held separate
meetings on Wednesday with Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
       He said he had also met church and civil society leaders to seek
their views on the crisis gripping the southern African state, where
Mugabe's land policy is blamed for exacerbating food shortages affecting
half the 14 million population.
       Ndungane said that although Mugabe had told him the primary source of
Zimbabwe's problems was the unresolved land reform issue, the church
believed the crisis also hinged on human rights, political governance and
humanitarian issues.
       Mugabe has been at the centre of a political storm since February
2000 when his militants from his ruling ZANU-PF party invaded white-owned
farms in support of his land seizure drive.
       The troubles deepened with ZANU-PF's disputed parliamentary election
victory in June 2000 after a violent campaign against Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's re-election last year, which
critics say was rigged.
       ''The restoration of political normality, a culture of human rights,
hunger relief and political legitimacy are important to bring peace and
stability to Zimbabwe,'' he said.
       Ndugane's said he had communicated Mugabe's sentiments about his
problems with Britain over the land issue to the Archbishop of Canterbury,
the Anglican Church's most senior cleric, and ''we must await that
       ''The important thing to understand is that there is no alternative
to dialogue... We recognise the urgency of the issue but we are realistic
enough to recognise that it's not going to be easy,'' he said. He had not
set up a timetable or a framework on how the mediation would be conducted,
he said.
       Mugabe, a 79-year-old former guerrilla leader who has ruled the
former Rhodesia since independence from Britain in 1980, says he is a victim
of sabotage by domestic and foreign critics opposed to his distribution of
white farms to blacks.
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            Mugabe ready to resolve Zimbabwe crisis: Ndungane
            March 13, 2003, 19:45

            Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, has agreed there is an
urgent need to resolve the economic and humanitarian crisis in that country,
Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Anglican Archbishop, said today.

            "Mugabe also endorsed my efforts to assist Zimbabwe in this
regard," Ndungane said after his return from a two-day visit to Zimbabwe.
Ndungane first met Mugabe in January after the Zimbabwean leader first
agreed to the Archbishop's efforts to mediate between the Zimbabwean and
British governments.

            The Archbishop said he met civil society organisations and
church leaders during the trip, and he also paid a courtesy call to Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.

            Zimbabwe has been in the grip of political and economic turmoil
since the government began a land reform programme in 2000. The government
has been accused of cracking down on the judiciary, human-rights groups,
opposition members and the media. - Sapa
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            Zimbabwe land reform not handled correctly: Mbeki
            March 13, 2003, 19:30

            Land reform in Zimbabwe has not been handled correctly, South
African President Thabo said today.

            Speaking at a news conference at the end of a three-day state
visit to Botswana, he said he had told the Zimbabwean government that the
redistribution of land should be pursued in a way that was equitable to all

            "We have seen for some time now that the matter is not being
handled correctly.

            "President Festus Mogae and myself have been in Harare and said
directly to the government of Zimbabwe, privately and publicly, that it
needs to be handled in a way that is not confrontational in a way that
addresses the land needs of both black and white Zimbabweans," Mbeki said.

            "It is now a matter of how to conclude the situation of land
distribution in Zimbabwe; and we continue to discuss it with them. We must
establish what remains to be done so we can come to a situation of normalcy
in that country as soon as possible."

            He said the land question in Zimbabwe had been recognised even
as part of the independence negotiations on the Constitution of Zimbabwe and
it was recognised at that time as a matter of central importance to the
people of Zimbabwe.

            "Even after that, everyone has continued to recognise the
importance of the issue. There is no dispute about it. We need land
distribution in Zimbabwe," Mbeki said.

            Botswana visit
            During the visit that started on Tuesday, Mbeki and a delegation
of seven South African cabinet ministers held wide-ranging talks with their
counterparts in the Botswana government on matters of mutual interest. -
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Comment from ZWNEWS, 13 March

Propaganda shift

By Michael Hartnack

Since the beginning of the month there has been a major shift in the ruling Zanu PF party’s misinformation onslaught. On the bright side, the jingle broadcast every 20 minutes on state radio for the past six months, that civil war has come against whites "who have barbed wire tails" has ended. One or more of the singers has reportedly joined the mass exodus to Britain and South Africa - despite proudly telling their remaining compatriots that "Our land is our prosperity" and "Now, we have the Land". The new thrust, ordered by information Minister Jonathan Moyo, shows the regime has given up trying to catch the public imagination with pictures of weed-choked fields and the ethnic cleansing of their former owners. Robert Mugabe’s propaganda chiefs now appear to recognise that it is daily hardships - not racist slogans - that preoccupy most families' every waking minute. The focus of the new propaganda is to get people to blame anyone but Mugabe, by creating the fiction that Zimbabwe has been under seven years of "sanctions". The following extract from a recent editorial in the state-controlled Herald newspaper encapsulates the new propaganda line - it’s all the fault of sanctions stirred up by the British. The Herald editorial closely followed the wording of the 49-page "National Economic Recovery Programme" released the following day:

"Before the advent of British hostilities against the ruling Zanu PF government towards the end of 1997, our international relations were fine and the major economic indicators were showing signs of good health. Inflation was running at a manageable 15 percent, the Zimbabwean dollar was trading at around 11,4 to the American Greenback while unemployment was hovering around 30 percent. Enter the Tony Blair Labour government with its bullyboy tactics and New Labour expansionist policies, and all hell broke loose. The economy was ruthlessly shaken, the country's politics thrown into turmoil and a new civic (sic) society created to cause mayhem, all in a bid to remove the Zanu PF government from power...A significant number of Zimbabweans were made to lose confidence in their own country. Mr Blair cannot simply walk away from the mess he has created in Zimbabwe."

A succession of whopping lies is contained in this summary. Trouble broke out for Zanu PF in 1997 because ex-guerillas learned the equivalent of US$13 million at contemporary exchanges rates had been given to the elite for non-existent "war disabilities". Mugabe then blew the equivalent of US $165 million at contemporary exchange rates giving all self-styled "ex-combatants" gratuities, thus causing a crash in the currency. Simultaneously, he embarked on his five-year Congo adventure in search of new sources of economic patronage, causing the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to freeze further loans. Mugabe only launched his Fast Track Land Reform or "third Chimurenga" after losing the February 2000 constitutional referendum. Blair, who, alleges Mugabe, intervened to defend whites, had no cause to do so in 1997. Yet friends tell me children, particularly, are swayed by the note of fanatical conviction in the voices of Mugabe and Moyo.

Economists do not take the 10-point National Economic Recovery Programme seriously since it is founded on the fundamental falsehood that the economy has been distorted by political pressure from abroad, when in reality it has been ruined by political vandalism at home. Lifting import duty on foodstuffs and musical equipment will do nothing while inflation runs at 208 percent, wiping out pensions and savings. No one has any confidence to invest in anything except short-term consumption and talented Zimbabweans emigrate. The regime, meanwhile, continues to posture as the fearless upholder of the rights of ordinary citizens against corruption and exploitation manipulated - horror of horrors - from abroad. It is amazing how resilient the bulk of Zimbabweans to have been in the face of years of saturation hate speech. However, it seems to be making some inroads, particularly among the young and among rural people who know the price of disbelief may be denial of a place in the queue for maize meal. What riles many in Zimbabwe is that not just callow teenagers and elderly rural folk, exposed exclusively to the state media, are taken in by each fresh Zanu PF invention. Supposedly informed members of the South African elite swallow Mugabe’s line. Just one example. South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the Zimbabwean authorities have admitted they "made mistakes" in implementing fast track land reform, and are correcting them. There has been no such confession or any corrective action. In this particular case, inventing lies is easiest when there are people eager to swallow them.

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From The Cape Argus (SA), 12 March

Tsvangirai witness stands to make a killing

Basildon Peta

Ari Ben-Menashe, witness in the Zimbabwean government's case against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, is smiling all the way to the bank. While Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is struggling to import food to feed his starving population, the Zimbabwean government will fork out hundreds of thousands of US dollars to pay Ben-Menashe for his month-long testimony against Tsvangirai. This is in addition to his huge hotel bill in presidential suites in Harare and the cost of flights to and from Canada for him and his assistants. One official said Ben-Menashe would be paid close to $500 000 (about R3,9-million) for his testimony and time spent in Zimbabwe during the trial. Ben-Menashe has already admitted to being paid more than $615 000 for work he has done for Mugabe's government. It has now emerged that Ben-Menashe had held the Zimbabwean government to ransom, threatening not to turn up for the trial unless he was paid a hefty amount for time spent during the trial. The Zimbabwean government then acceded to Ben-Menashe's request.

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From VOA News, 12 March

'Corruption infected all society,' says Zanu PF founding member

Harare - A veteran ruling party politician in Zimbabwe has unexpectedly criticized the country's senior officials and their friends, accusing them of corruption, which he says has infected all of society. A founding member of the ruling Zanu PF party, Edison Zvobgo, electrified parliament late Tuesday when he called for the urgent establishment of an anti-corruption commission. Mr. Zvobgo, who was close to President Robert Mugabe until about five years ago, accused the ruling elite of massive corruption. He said this class of people has built mansions which he described as obscene, and which he said cost more than the owners lawfully earned. He said he had personal knowledge that some corrupt individuals had taken the opportunity during the recent land reform program to seize up to five formerly white owned farms each. He said this should be investigated by a well-staffed anti-corruption commission.

Recently, several local and foreign publications have published photographs of massive houses owned by top military officers. Local media have identified many leading politicians in the ruling party who are reported to have illegally seized several white-owned farms each. Mr. Zvobgo said Zimbabwe's government institutions are inefficient and corrupt. He said their corruption has poisoned the whole society. Unlike many senior ministers who were appointed by President Mugabe, Mr. Zvobgo was popularly elected to parliament. He was one of the few ruling party members to keep his majority intact at the last general elections in 2000. He is known to oppose draconian security legislation which was pushed through parliament last year and is seen to be a major player in the emerging reformist wing of Zanu PF. Mr. Zvobgo is trusted by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and the business community. But he has shunned joining the opposition. Several political analysts say Mr. Zvobgo is destined to play an important role if there is any move from the present administration to a transitional authority leading to fresh elections.

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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 13 March

Buthelezi breaks his silence on Zimbabwe

Ben Maclennan

Cape Town - Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi has taken his Zimbabwean counterpart to task for what he called the "rapidly degenerating" political situation in that country, saying it could lead to a flood of refugees. He has also called for an explanation of what Zimbabwe plans to do to avert economic collapse and to guarantee the "freedom and safety" of its citizens. His pointed remarks - considerably more outspoken than anything his Cabinet colleagues have ever ventured - were part of a prepared statement he read out when the two men met at his office in Cape Town on Wednesday to discuss border issues. However the Zimbabwean minister, Kembo Mohadi, brushed aside Buthelezi's concerns, saying claims of a deterioration were a figment of the imagination. In the document, which he released to the media, Buthelezi said that as home affairs minister he was "concerned" about issues of asylum and refugee status. "The rapidly deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe's democratic and institutional life may force my department to deal with an ever increasing number of asylum applications of Zimbabwean citizens. We need to adjudicate these applications in terms of international law and on the basis of objective criteria of well-found fears of persecution in a country which, according to the applicants, no longer offers them human rights protection and the guarantees of the rule of law."

He said that as Zimbabwe's neighbour, South Africa was committed to help solve its problems. South Africa, he said, had been told that health services in Zimbabwe were in dire straits, increasing the link between the spread of communicable diseases, including HIV/Aids, and population movement. "Any major exodus which may occur will almost inevitably burden our medical health delivery system," he said. The state of the Zimbabwean economy was also a matter of "great concern" from a migration viewpoint. He had been advised by the International Organisation for Migration that the South African government should make contingency plans to deal with a possible emergency in Zimbabwe which would spill over into South Africa. "I have avoided making any such plans with a significant public profile, in order not to increase the real or perceived problems that Zimbabwe is experiencing," he said. "However, on this occasion I would appreciate receiving an indication of what Zimbabwe is planning to do to prevent an economic collapse, to ensure food security and to guarantee the freedom and safety of its citizens so as to avoid the possibility of a mass influx into South Africa."

But Mohadi, questioned by journalists at a joint media briefing with Buthelezi after the talks, said he did not share Buthelezi's concern about the deterioration of democracy. "There is nothing that is said to be deteriorating in terms of political situation, the human rights side of it. What is obtaining in Zimbabwe is that a situation has been created between the two countries Zimbabwe and Britain, and this is a bilateral issue." "There is no disorder in Zimbabwe, everything there is just a figment of anybody's imagination. "A case in point is the [World Cup] cricket matches that took place in Zimbabwe. Everybody was against... that there is no security in Zimbabwe and that people should not play in Zimbabwe. Those countries that went to play in Zimbabwe are witnesses today that there is security in Zimbabwe, there is peace in Zimbabwe. You don't see anybody walking around in Zimbabwe carrying a gun etcetera. So the situation in Zimbabwe is a normal situation."

Zimbabwe's problem was that it was under sanctions, which led to shortages "here and there" and an increasing burden of unemployment. Mohadi also said he did not believe any Zimbabweans came to South Africa on the pretext of seeking political asylum. Before the Zimbabwean presidential election last year, South Africa and other countries were asked to prepare for an influx of refugees seeking asylum, but that did not materialise. "Where will they come from?" he asked. "There is no war in Zimbabwe. You don't see anybody going around carrying a gun in Zimbabwe. It's even more peaceful maybe than in South Africa. You can sleep in the street and no one will ever harm you there...We're so much demonised that everyone thinks we are a certain animal with no brains." Buthelezi declined at the media conference to comment on the divergence of views with Mohadi, saying he did not want to enter into a "slanging match". Human rights groups have accused Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government of an organised campaign of political repression and terror, of subverting the independence of the judiciary and undermining media freedom. The country's economy is in tatters, with endemic fuel shortages and a rampant inflation rate, problems that critics lay at the door of government mismanagement rather than outside factors.

Meanwhile, the United States said on Wednesday it would lead a campaign to condemn Zimbabwe for what it called flagrant and ruinous human rights abuses at the upcoming meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHCR). In addition, Washington said it would work to convince the international community, especially Zimbabwe's neighbors, to ratchet up pressure on President Robert Mugabe and his aides to end their repressive behavior and press them to hold "early free and fair elections." To that end, the State Department released a glossy 16-page pamphlet entitled "Zimbabwe's Man-made Crisis" documenting a litany of abuses committed by the country's leadership since independence in 1980. "Mugabe has brought the country of Zimbabwe untold suffering," said Scott Carpenter, an official in the department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor which published the booklet.

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Farmers who are experiencing difficulties in obtaining fuel should contact their local AREX office.  Ministry of Lands and Agriculture and Noczim officials say that a scheme is being put into operation for farmers to receive priority in the allocation of fuel.  On receiving proof (ie. a current farmers’ licence) that applicants are bona fide farmers AREX offices will issue documents which will entitle applicants to approach their normal suppliers at the nearest fuel depots to them for fuel allocations.  The document will also entitle small-holders without fuel storage tanks on their farms to procure and transport fuel in drums.
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The Australian

US steps up pressure on Mugabe
From correspondents in Washington
March 13, 2003
THE United States has said it will lead a campaign to condemn Zimbabwe for
what it has called flagrant and ruinous human rights abuses at an upcoming
meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHCR).

In addition, Washington said it would work to convince the international
community, especially Zimbabwe's neighbours, to ratchet up pressure on
President Robert Mugabe and his aides to end their repressive behaviour and
press for "early free and fair elections".

To that end, the State Department released a glossy 16-page pamphlet
entitled "Zimbabwe's Man-made Crisis" documenting a litany of alleged abuses
committed by the country's leadership since independence in 1980.

"Mugabe has brought the country of Zimbabwe untold suffering," said Scott
Carpenter, an official in the department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights
and Labour which published the booklet.

"By riding roughshod over the political and human rights of his fellow
Zimbabweans, by demonstrating his total disregard for human rights and
democracy, Robert Mugabe has succeeded in reducing a once-promising nation
with a bright future to a state of ruin, desolation and isolation."

The booklet, distributed just days after US President George W. Bush ordered
the assets of Mugabe and 76 other Zimbabwean officials to be frozen, is to
be widely distributed at the annual meeting of the UNHCR which gets underway
next week, he said.

"We hope it will have a strong impact and stir a vigorous debate," Carpenter

Senior State Department officials said they hoped to lobby South Africa and
other African countries on the 53-nation commission to sponsor a resolution
condemning Zimbabwe at the meeting.

But, if unsuccessful in doing that, the officials said the United States,
backed by Britain and some Latin American countries might sponsor a
resolution themselves.

South Africa, which has pursued a policy of "quiet diplomacy" toward
Zimbabwe, and along with Nigeria has called for lifting Harare's suspension
from the Commonwealth, was unlikely to sponsor such a resolution, they said.

That wavering, coupled with France's invitation to Mugabe to visit Paris for
a French-African summit last month despite an EU travel ban, threatened to
undermine the effectiveness of the sanctions, the officials said.

"Now is not the time to lift the sanctions," said Mark Bellamy, a senior
official in the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs.

"This is the time that we need to apply maximum pressure on the government
of Zimbabwe to abandon these repressive policies and to begin a process of
liberalisation leading to early free and fair elections."
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      State fails to link witness' bicycle accident to MDC

      Staff Reporter
      3/13/03 2:07:01 AM (GMT +2)

      THE state yesterday failed to establish a link between the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a freak accident that befell Tara
Thomas, the second witness in the treason trial of three MDC leaders.

      Ari Ben-Menashe, the state's key witness in the trial against Morgan
Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela, had earlier alleged that
Thomas' July 2002 bicycle accident was linked to the MDC.

      Ben-Menashe is the head of Dickens and Madson, the Canadian political
consultancy firm the MDC allegedly tried to hire to assassinate President
Robert Mugabe before last year's presidential election.

      Thomas, an employee of Dickens and Madson, yesterday told the High
Court that she could not link her accident, which occurred in Montreal,
Canada, to the opposition party although the accident was an "unusual" one.

      When asked under cross-examination by the state counsel, led by Deputy
Attorney General Bharat Patel, if she thought there was a link between her
accident and the MDC treason trail, she said: "I don't think so.

      "It was an unusual accident . . . I will hope it was not connected to
this case."

      Thomas, who walks with the aid of a crutch because of the accident,
described to the court how she fell off her bicycle last July, for the first
time since she learnt to ride at the age of seven.

      "One second I was on my bike, and the next I was on the ground. It was
an unusual accident," Thomas said.

      She said shortly after the accident, two black men approached her and
started talking to her in English.

      However, the men walked away when a female motorist stopped at the
scene of the accident and offered her a lift to the doctor.

      Ben-Menashe, who was on the witness stand for a record 22 days before
being released this week, had told the court that Thomas was attacked by MDC
thugs in Montreal, shortly after announcing her plans to travel to Harare to
testify in the treason trial of the three MDC leaders.

      Thomas said she had been informed that after the accident, Dickens and
Madson had instituted a private investigation into the accident and a man
had come forward with pertinent information.

      But she said she was not told what the informant had revealed.

      For the greater part of yesterday, the state counsel asked Thomas
questions on Dickens and Madson's meetings with the three MDC leaders and
her affidavit on the case.

      The state counsel also double-checked the accuracy of the transcript
made from the videotape that forms the state's evidence-in-chief. The tape
allegedly depicts the MDC leaders attempting to engage Dickens and Madson to
assassinate Mugabe.

      The trial continues today.

      If convicted, Tsvangirai, Ncube and Gasela could face the death
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      Green Bombers' assault Binga council chief

      Staff Reporter
      3/13/03 2:10:03 AM (GMT +2)

      DETE - Youths believed to be trainees of Zimbabwe's controversial
national service programme have severely assaulted Herbert Sinampande, the
chairman of the council in the Matabeleland North district of Binga, an
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) stronghold, it was learnt
this week.

      Eyewitnesses told the Financial Gazette that the youths, derisively
referred to as "Green Bombers" because of their uniforms, physically
assaulted Sinampande last Wednesday at Siansundu Secondary School in Binga,
the only rural district that overwhelmingly voted for the MDC during the
2000 parliamentary election and last year's presidential poll.

      The witnesses said Sinampande was in the company of Binga Rural
District Council chief executive Shadreck Mudimba and Dube Mukombwe, a

      They said the secondary school where the assault took place was the
venue of a rally that was addressed by Elliot Manyika, the ZANU PF national
commissar who is also the Minister of Youth Development, Gender and
Employment Creation.

      Manyika's ministry is in charge of the national service programme,
which critics say is being used by the ruling party to train youth militias
that are accused of violence against opposition party members and the
general public.

      "The Green Bombers swooped on him (Sinampande) at the school without
any provocation," said an eyewitness who spoke to the Financial Gazette
after the burial ceremony of victims of last month's Dete train disaster.

      The witness added: "They were shouting at the old man, accusing him of
being a supporter of the Movement for Democratic Change. People just watched
as the boys used fists and sticks and booted the chairman. He missed death
by a whisker. He had to be rushed to hospital with a series of head and body

      "The councillor was gasping for air. Initially, the Green Bombers were
adamant he should not be taken to hospital, saying MDC supporters were not
supposed to be treated at ZANU PF hospitals."

      Mudimba, who witnesses said was saved by senior ZANU PF officials from
a serious beating by the youth militia, confirmed the incident but would not
comment further.

      "There is nothing I can tell you, go to the chairman (of the district
council)," said Mudimba. "You should get all the information you need from
your sources. I don't want any trouble."

      Mudimba was forced to flee from members of the youth militia several
times in the run-up to last March's presidential election.

      Efforts to secure comment from Sinampande this week were unsuccessful
as he was said to have travelled to Hwange for treatment at Wankie Colliery

      Jealous Sansole and Peter Nyoni, legislators for Hwange East and West
respectively, also confirmed the assault on Sinampande.

      "He passed through here (Dete) on his way to Hwange for further
examination. He was in serious pain," said Nyoni. "It is sad that no one has
been arrested yet it is an open secret that the people who assaulted him are
the Green Bombers."

      A Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesman in Hwange, the headquarters
for the police force in Matabeleland North, however told the Financial
Gazette that the incident had not been brought to the attention of the ZRP.

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      MDC mass action on

      Staff Reporter
      3/13/03 2:01:58 AM (GMT +2)

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s top leadership
has resolved to embark on an indefinite anti-government mass action that
party insiders this week said could kick off next Tuesday.

      MDC officials said the decision was reached at a meeting held by the
top leadership on Tuesday night.

      They said the senior officials would meet again this weekend to
finalise the modalities of the action.

      Party spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi confirmed that the MDC leadership
had endorsed the mass action, but could not be drawn into disclosing a
specific date when it would begin.

      He would only say the mass action would kick off "soon".

      He told the Financial Gazette: "Yes, I can confirm that the party
leadership met yesterday (Tuesday) and examined the call by the people of
Zimbabwe for the MDC leadership to take the people from their current

      "The leadership resolved to respond positively to the call and we will
be embarking on a serious mass action in due course. We cannot afford to let
the situation go unchecked and sooner rather than later, the MDC will guide
the people in reclaiming their power and pull them out of this monster
called ZANU PF."

      MDC officials said the mass action, which was unanimously agreed to at
the Tuesday meeting, would take the form of peaceful nationwide

      They said it would not be called off until President Robert Mugabe
agreed to new presidential elections.

      The MDC has accused the ruling party of rigging last March's
presidential poll to ensure a victory for Mugabe, in power since 1980.

      The government has denied the charge.

      Mugabe has also denied that he is considering stepping down before the
expiry of his five-year term, to pave the way for fresh elections.

      An MDC official said: "The people have been calling on us to do
something about the situation and we agreed in our meeting that the time was
ripe. Tuesday has been set as the provisional date to start the action.

      "We realise the people are now ready because they can not endure this
suffering any longer."

      Opposition party officials said MDC structures around the country were
ready for the mass action because the party had been involved in a
mobilisation programme since last year.

      One official said: "All MPs were tasked with strategising and
mobilising people for this action for the last four to five months.
Strategic meetings were also being undertaken on a daily basis to review the
progress of the programme.

      "Every constituency had a strategic team coordinating the programme
from the cell level."

      Zimbabweans, hard hit by an economic crisis and food shortages largely
blamed on the government, have been calling on the MDC to tackle ZANU PF
head on, despite repressive legislation that outlaws most political public
gatherings and demonstrations.

      Analysts yesterday said given the failure of dialogue between the MDC
and the ruling party, mass action could be the only option left to the

      Political scientist Masipula Sithole said: "The MDC has demonstrated
that it is the alternative centre of power and it has proved over the last
two years that it is a mammoth political party that has the ability to
mobilise people into a politically motivated mass action.

      "The people are left with no choice but to go into a peaceful mass
action and the MDC in that vein is acting responsibly. Mass action is the
only peaceful, responsible recourse out of this misery."

      Harare advocate Archibald Gijima said the failure by the regional and
international community to rein in Mugabe meant that Zimbabweans had to find
their own solutions to the problems affecting them.

      "You cannot expect (South African President Thabo) Mbeki's power or
softness to get us out of our problems. You cannot expect (Botswana's
Festus) Mogae, or (British Prime Minster) Tony Blair's statements to change
things," he said.

      "The only way left is for Zimbabweans to go out on the streets and be
clear that they are tired of this repressive regime."

      He said it was likely that the planned mass action was being used to
test the waters to determine if Zimbabweans were ready to embark on a more
sustained campaign.

      "It can be used as a means of dipping the foot in the water to test
the temperature as a precursor to further action," he told the Financial

      An analyst who declined to be named said the MDC's future would also
depend on the success of the mass action.

      "If they succeed, well that would be fine, but they would be doomed if
they fail to achieve their goals. The whole movement agitating for change
would be in disarray and it would take another 10 years to get it moving
again," he said.

      "So it's a big gamble," the analyst added.

      But Sithole said: "That is being alarmist. There is nothing like make
or break in a social process like this. There can only be a temporary
setback but there are always ways out of repression.

      "If there is massive repression, then there will be massive
regrouping. That is how repression was defeated during Ian Smith's time."
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