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

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The urgent application for an injunction against Harare City Council's
budget will be heard in chambers before Justice Kamucha (sp) at 2.30 pm
Wednesday 17 March 2004.
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Subject: A Warning for Americans: A message from South Africa

A Warning for Americans: A message from South Africa

By Gemma Meyer

People used to say that South Africa was 20 years behind the rest of the
Western world.   Television, for example, came late to South Africa (but so
did pornography and the gay rights movement).

Today, however, South Africa may be the grim model of the future Western
world, for events in America reveal trends chillingly similar to those that
destroyed our country.

America's structures are Western.   Your Congress, your lobbying groups,
your free speech, and the way ordinary Americans either get involved or
ignore politics are peculiarly Western, not the way most of the world
operates.   But the fact that only about a third of Americans deem it
important to vote is horrifying in light of how close you are to losing your
western character.

Writing letters to the press, manning stands at country fairs, hosting
fund-raising dinners, attending rallies, setting up conferences, writing to
your Congressman - that is what you know, and that is what you are
comfortable with.   Those are the political methods you've created for
yourselves to keep your country on track and to ensure political

But woe to you if - or more likely, when - the rules change.   White
Americans may soon find themselves unable or unwilling to stand up to
challenge the new political methods that will be the inevitable result of
the ethnic metamorphosis now taking place in America.   Unable to cope with
the new rules of the game - violence, mob riots, intimidation through
accusation of racism, demands for proportionality cased on racial numbers,
and all the other social and political weapons used by the have-nots to
bludgeon treasure and power from the haves - Americans, like others before
them, will no doubt cave in.   They will compromise away their independence
and ultimately their way of life.

That is exactly what happened to South Africa.   I know because I was there
and saw it happen.

Faced with revolution in the streets, strikes, civil unrest and the sheer
terror and murder practiced by Nelson Mandela's African National Congress
(ANC), the white government simply capitulated in order to achieve "peace."

Westerners need peace.   They need order and stability.   They are builders
and planners.   But what we got was the peace of the grave for our society.

The third world is different - different peoples with different pasts and
different cultures.   Yet Westerners continue to mistake the psychology of
the Third World and its peoples.   Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe are perfect
examples of those mistakes.   Sierra Leone is in perpetual civil war, and
Zimbabwe - once thriving stable Rhodesia - is looting the very people (the
white men) who feed the country.   Yet Westerners do not admit the same kind
of savagery could come to America when enough immigrants of the right type
assert themselves.   The fact is, Americans are sitting ducks for Third
World exploitation of the Western conscience of compassion.

Those in the West who forced South Africa to surrender to the ANC and its
leaders did not consider Africa to be the dangerous, corrupt, and savage
place it is now in Zimbabwe and South Africa.   Those Western politicians
now have a similar problem looming on their own doorsteps:  the demand for
power and treasure from the non-western peoples inside the realm.

It is already too late for South Africa, but not for America if enough
people strengthen their spine and take on the race terrorists, the armies of
the "politically correct" and, most dangerous of all, the craven politicians
who believe "compassionate conservatism" will buy them more votes, a few
more days of peace.

White South Africans, you should remember, have been in that part of Africa
for the same amount of time whites have inhabited North America; yet
ultimately South Africans voted for their own suicide.   We are not so very
different from you.

We lost our country though skilful propaganda, pressure from abroad (nor
least from the USA), unrelenting charges of "oppression" and "racism" and
the shrewd assessment by African tyrants that the white man has many
Achilles heels, the most significant of which are his compassion, his belief
in the "equality of man" and his "love thy neighbor" philosophy - none of
which are part of the Third World's history.

The mainline churches played a big role in the demise of Western influence
throughout Africa, too; especially in South Africa.   Today's tyrants were
yesterday's mission school protégés.   Many dictators in Africa were men of
the cloth.   They knew their clerical collars would deflect criticism and
obfuscate their real aims, which had nothing whatever to do with
"brotherhood of man."

Other tyrants, like the infamous Idi Amin, were trained and schooled by the
whites themselves at Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard.   After receiving the
best from the West, they unleashed a resentful bloodlust against their

From what I have seen and read this far, I fear Americans will capitulate
just as we did.   Americans are, generally, a soft lot.   They don't want to
quarrel or obstruct the claims of those who believe they were wronged. They
like peace and quiet and they want to compromise and be nice.

A television program that aired in South Africa showed a town meeting
somewhere in Southern California where people met to complain about falling
standards in the schools.   Whites who politely spoke at the meeting clearly
resented the influx of Mexican immigrants into their community.   When a
handful of Chicanos at the back of the hall shouted and waved their hands at
them, the whites simply shrunk back into their seats rather than tell the
noisemakers to shut up.  They didn't want to quarrel.

In America, the courts are still the final arbiters of society's laws. But
what will happen when your future majority refuses to abide by court
rulings - as in Zimbabwe.   What will happen when the new majority says the
judges are racists, and that they refuse to acknowledge "white man's
justice"?   What will happen when the courts are filled with their people,
or their sympathizers?   In California, Proposition 187 has already been

What will you do when the future non-white majority decides to change the
names of streets and cities?  What will you do when they no longer want to
use money that carries the portraits of old, dead white "racists" and slave
owners?   Will you cave in, like you did on flying the Confederate flag?
What about the national anthem?   Your official language?

Don't laugh.   When the "majority" took over in South Africa, the first
targets were our national symbols.

In another generation, America may well face what Africa is now
experiencing - invasions of private land by the "have-nots;" the decline in
health care quality; roads and buildings in disrepair: the banishment of
your history from the education of the young; the revolutionization of your
justice system.

What would you think of the ritual slaughter of animals in your neighbor's
backyard?   How do you clean the blood and entrails that litter your
suburban streets?  How do you feel about the practice of witchcraft, in
which the parts of young girls and boys are needed for "medicinal" purposes?
How do you react to the burning of witches?   Don't laugh.  All that is
quite common in South Africa today.

Don't imagine that government officials caught with their fingers in the
till will be punished.  Excuses - like the need to overcome generations of
white racism - will be found to exonerate the guilty.

In fact, known criminals will be voted into office because of a racial
solidarity among the majority that doesn't exist among the whites.   When
Ian Smith of the old Rhodesia tried to stand up to the world, white South
African politicians were among the westerners pressuring him to surrender.

When Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe murders his political opponents, ignores
unfavorable court decisions, terrorizes the population, siphons off millions
from the state treasury for himself and his friends, South Africa's new
President Thabo Mbeki holds his hands and declares his support.   That just
happened a few weeks ago.

Your tax dollars will go to those who don't earn and don't pay.   In South
Africa organizations that used to have access to state funds such as old age
homes, the arts, and veterans' services, are simply abandoned.

What will happen is that Western structures in America will be either
destroyed from without, or transformed from within used to suit the goals of
the new rulers.   And they will reign either through terror as in Zimbabwe
today or exert other corrupt pressures to obtain or buy votes.   Once power
is in the hands of aliens, don't expect loyalty or devotion to principle
from those whose jobs are at stake.   One of the most surprising and tragic
components of the disaster in South Africa is how many previously anti-ANC
whites simply moved to the other side.

Once you lose social, cultural and political dominance, there is no getting
it back again.

Unfortunately, your habits and values work against you.   You cannot fight
terror and street mobs with letters to your Congressmen.   You cannot fight
accusations of racism with prayer meetings.   You cannot appeal to the
goodness of your fellow man when the fellow man despises you for your
weaknesses and hacks off the arms ad legs of his political opponents.

To survive, Americans must never lose the power they now enjoy to people
from alien cultures.   Above all, don't put yourselves to the test of
fighting only when your backs are against the wall.   You will probably

Millions around the world wait your good life.   But make no mistake: They
care not for the high-minded ideals of Jeffferson and Washington and your
Constitution.   What they want are your possessions, your power, your

And they already know that their allies among you, the "human rights
activists" the skillful lawyers and the left wind politicians will fight for
then and not for you.   They will exploit your compassion and your Christian
charity, and your good will.

They have studied you, Mr. and Mrs. America, and they know your weaknesses

They know what to do.

Do you??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
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Subject: "Memories"

"Memories" by Ken Wilson

I still hear the sirens sound,
The chopper blades, going round and round,
The chatter as we'd all inbus,
Rifles loaded without a fuss.

I still hear their laughter,
Though sometimes call out's brought disaster,
I lived,I cried,many friends died,
I still have tears but those I hide.

How I loved those crazy days,
Of daily contacts,cross border raids,
Beers drunk in the camp,
At two in the morning,cold and damp.

Oh,the pain I feel,for friends I've lost,
No one will ever know the cost,
Blown to bits,shot to pieces,
In my mind the war never ceases.

The end of the war won't make it easier,
I will never forget my beloved Rhodesia,
Home is where your heart is,
But mine will never be,in a place they call Zimbabwe .

             Ken Wilson
              10th March 2004

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 Suspected mercenaries charged
JOHANNESBURG, 15 Mar 2004 (IRIN) - The suspected mercenaries held by the
Zimbabwean authorities since last week have all been charged and are likely
to appear in court by Wednesday.

Acting Attorney-General Bharat Patel told IRIN on Monday that 67 of the 70
suspects had been charged with violating the Firearms Act. All of them,
including three crew members of the Boeing 727-100 that landed in Zimbabwe
on 7 March, had been charged with violating the Immigration Act.

The men were reportedly en route to either Equatorial Guinea or the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The pilot was alleged to have made a
"false declaration" that the plane was carrying no cargo and only seven
passengers, but had on board 20 South Africans, 18 Namibians, 23 Angolans,
two DRC citizens and one Zimbabwean, all in possession of South African

Patel said the suspects were likely to appear in court on Tuesday, but their
lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, told IRIN that all of them had yet to be
finger-printed or photographed.

Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper quoted various lawyers on Monday as
saying that the suspected mercenaries could be charged under several laws
for their alleged connection to a coup plot in Equatorial Guinea. According
to the paper, a prominent Harare lawyer, Johannes Tomana, said: "It's
certainly chargeable under a number of laws in our statutes," and added that
"the Foreign Subversive Organisation Act is one among many laws that cover
this in very clear terms".

However, Patel told IRIN that this act, promulgated in 1964, only covered
crimes committed in Portugal, while suggesting that extradition was a
possibility. South Africa and Namibia have laws prohibiting its citizens
from taking part in mercenary activities outside the country. Patel said he
had not received a request for the extradition of any of the suspects.

Samkange also told IRIN that his clients were allegedly in possession of a
written agreement with the state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries for a
consignment of AK-47s, grenades, rocket launchers and ammunition, for which
they had paid US $180,000. He alleged that the weapons were to be used to
guard mines in the DRC, for which services his clients had been contracted.

Police could not confirm or deny Samkange's allegations.
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Subject: Zimbabwe mulls more charges for coup suspects


Zimbabwe mulls more charges for coup suspects

      March 15 2004 at 02:15PM

By Stella Mapenzauswa

Harare - Zimbabwe could add more charges to firearms and immigration
indictments against 70 suspected mercenaries arrested on suspicion of
plotting a coup in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, Harare's chief prosecutor
said on Monday.

A lawyer for the men said 60 were charged on Sunday under Zimbabwe's
immigration and firearms laws after authorities seized their plane in Harare
on March 7. If convicted of the current charges, the men face a maximum of
10 years in jail.

But Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge has said the group comprising
South Africans, Namibians, Angolans and Congolese, could face the death
penalty for the mysterious plot which highlights bloody mercenary activity
across Africa.

"There may be other charges. We're still thinking about them. We haven't
finalised everything yet," Acting Attorney General Bharat Patel told
Reuters. "We are hoping they will appear in court tomorrow."

Zimbabwe officials have said the group could face charges of trying to
destabilise a sovereign state.

But on Sunday the suspects' lawyer Jonathan Samkange said there was no
provision in Zimbabwe law to charge the men for plotting to stage a coup
outside the country.

He said the group could be extradited to neighbouring South Africa, which
had the necessary laws, though South African officials say the trial will
take place in Zimbabwe.

Under Zimbabwe's immigration laws, the men can be held for another week
before a court hearing.

The official Herald newspaper on Monday quoted lawyers as saying Zimbabwe
could indict the men under legislation which criminalises "those who support
or join activities that seek to overthrow government of any states that
Zimbabwe recognises".

The plane's operator says the group was due to provide legitimate mine
security in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Equatorial Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil producer, says it
has arrested 15 men it described as an advance party in a plot funded by
foreign powers and multinational firms to put an exiled opposition
politician living in Spain in power.

Britain, the United States and Spain have denied involvement in any such
plot in the former Spanish colony.
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Dear Conservancy Owners and Game Ranchers

Appeal for response to a proposed 'Action Forum'

The wildlife producing industry of Zimbabwe has received indirect notice
that the Government is proposing the nationalisation of all privately held
conservancies and game producing establishments. It is understood that
legislation of this malevolent decision, will probably be without timeous
official notice.

The net results of the current and on-going acquisition of commercial
farm-land, has had an unprecedented injurious impact on Zimbabwe's
all-inclusive sociological structures as a consequence of devastated
agricultural economic capabilities. This cataclysmic phenomenon shocked the
rational world.

Yet once again, a further politically driven nationalisation process is
about to be launched, with no lesson having been learned by the
perpetrators from the first wave of reckless futility. This time, the
attack is to be on the last bastion of sanity that exists in Zimbabwe's
private conservancy and wildlife producing concerns.

There should be no need to explicate the extreme consequences should this
second wave of psychosis be allowed to unfold, given that it is a forgone
conclusion that the miserable effects will supplement the already
contaminated quality of life of every single Zimbabwean; accelerate an
unacceptable poverty datum line; intensify record unemployment levels;
augment already embarrassing health, education and crime anxieties;
radically devalue, if not obliterate the existing poor ecotourism industry,
and wipe-out valuable investor interests in Zimbabwe's wildlife related

There is one perilous predicament facing the private wildlife industry of
Zimbabwe at this crucial time, and that is the non-existence of a
representative group mandated to vigorously protect and fight for the
direct interests of wildlife stakeholders.

In light of this, it is proposed that an independent national `Action
Forum' be assembled without further delay, and one that must be both
comprehensive and representative of all private wildlife areas and
stakeholder interests. The Action Forum must be devoid of the current
process that includes a select few negotiating with government and one that
excludes the indispensable majority.

An `Action Forum' route would clearly obviate splintered wildlife
stakeholder operations; bring together a massive resource of experience and
qualification; contest interference by incompetent and scheming
instruments; uppermost, protect the integrity of wildlife and its
ownership, whilst mobilising determined and collective efforts towards
enshrining the best interests of the industry in the face of looming

Areas of response for the Action Forum could, amongst other ideas, include:

- Form immediate alliance with Justice for Agriculture and the Zimbabwe
Conservation and Development Foundation

- Form immediate alliance with Safari Club International, Africa Indaba,
Hunting Report and other key role players

- Submit an immediate objection to nationalising to government

- Construct and distribute a national, regional and international press
release condemning the proposed nationalisation

- Aggressively lobby international government intervention

- Fastidiously lobby international NGO, Foundation, Trust and Society
intervention and support

- Vigorously lobby the protection of foreign investment as is proclamated
in the Zimbabwe Investment Centre Act

- Secure legal channels to challenge and prevent nationalisation through
international court procedures

- Apply to the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe to prevent the nationalising
process, or reverse it should it be promulgated

- Demand respect for land tenure and title deed ownership

Time is of the essence. The Action Forum must be expediently and
methodically put in place. To this end, stakeholders and key role players
are invited to submit their interest in actively participating in the
Action Forum, by responding to with :

1. Name (First and Surname)

2. Name of conservancy, game farm or ranch and location

3. Email address

4. Contactable telephone number

5. Preferred first meeting point : Harare, Bulawayo (with ZRP clearance) or
Kwe Kwe

A brief survey has indicated that an Action Forum is urgently needed and
should be well received. Responses should reach the writer no later than
Friday 1th March 2004. Sufficient support will ensure a time, date and
venue being announced by Monday 22nd March 2004.

The destiny of wildlife in Zimbabwe cannot be left to unopposed
nationalising chance, for it is clearly a choice to secure its protection
before it is too late. Your positive response therefore, will indeed be

Please do assist with networking this message by forwarding it to any other
conservancy or wildlife-producing stakeholder who might have been
erroneously omitted from this communiqué.

Thank you

Dr John Fulton
Zimbabwe Conservation & Development Foundation

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Prelude text JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM 15TH MARCH 2004 - OLF 245

Letter 1:

Subject: Open Letter Forum
Dear Sir,
Your quote of today (We are not made wise by our recollection of the past,
but by the responsibility for our future), together with Mr Freeth's letter
moves me to write to your forum.

I am a farmer, a member of CFU, a member of JAG and an assistant to a
pretty and competent blonde facilitator of JAG loss claim documents. From
my perspective I note the following:
1. Farmers do not understand enough about the process and steps of
2. Farmers cannot appreciate the various steps involved in the process and
more importantly cannot see where it is going or likely to go, and how to
get there.
3. There is a sense of futility about the whole thing which is compounded,
in many cases, by the quite natural, lack of confidence and low self esteem
most of us are experiencing.
4. There is a lack of confidence in our farming leadership, not because of
any individual's shortcoming or failing, but because it is inherently
believed that the leadership is powerless, being unable to act but only not
react. From this flows a feeling of frustration which manifests itself in
suspicion and sometimes, paranoia.
5. All are agreed on one issue - the divisions between the groups are
extremely embarrassing to the community and counterproductive in all
aspects. All farmers seek real leadership for now and the future. What is
not commonly appreciated is that the manner in which we handle the matter
of compensation now will have vital impact on our own future and more
importantly the future of the whole of the Southern African sub-continent.
6. We seem to have lost our intuitive initiative to plan and execute
matters according to our own considerable abilities.

In relation to this last point I believe we owe it to ourselves to regain
our initiative, by not abandoning ourselves to the flow of the past, but by
taking responsibility for our future. (Hence the relevance of the

Mr Freeth requests a debate on compensation and this requires a few
parameters so let us accept the following:
a. A loss has been suffered which, under both National and International
law, should be redressed.
b. No-one wants to pay for the loss but everyone knows some redress in some
form ought to be made.
c. True compensation is a process that hopes or attempts to achieve
justice, not only for the individual but also for society as a whole, and
therefore, resolving the compensation issue related to agriculture is but
one step in restoring individual's lives, agriculture, the economy and the
Nation as a whole. There are no short cuts if it is to be done properly.
d. There are three types of loss which have been identified - 1) Land and
Fixed Improvements (Fixed Assets), 2) Consequential Losses and Costs, and
3) Trauma.
e. We, each one of us, have the power to have a bearing on the outcome of
the final process. We must therefore drive this process both in terms of
direction and pace.
f. The resolution of the compensation issue affects everybody - from the
most severely affected, to the untouched and even the unborn. It has to be
done properly.

There are at least four groups that are, in varying ways, attempting to do
something about compensation for individual farmers. None of these groups
can assume ownership of our claim for redress unless we give it to them.
Before we do so we need to know a bit about each group - specifically this:
i).  Goal - What is the goal of each group? Is it to achieve compensation
for everybody as soon as possible, and thereby achieve justice and benefit
the Nation in the future? Is it exclusionary or prejudicial to the claims
of others?
ii) Policy - Is the role and policy of each group clearly enunciated within
the context of the individual, national and international points of view?
Will the group accept and respect the role other groups are playing in the
process as being mutually beneficial to the claimants. Will claimants be
able to instruct and mandate groups as to tasks and time frames within
agreed policy? (Or will the tail wag the dog?)
iii) Strategy - How will each group go about achieving its goal, and will
its strategy be co-ordinated between the various other parties involved in
the process. Will its goal and strategy enable it to represent its
constituents views in a more conducive or benevolent climate, or is its
goal and strategy merely short term? To what degree can its strategy and
goal cope with unfolding of future events?

Compensation is a process, within which each group has a particular role to
play in terms of it's constituents wishes. By examining the process
together the groups will identify commonalities, avoid duplication (or even
quadruplication) and expedite the process. Each group has a unique role to
play - this must be understood, respected and actually represent or
coincide with the farmers interests.

This is all pretty academic stuff whilst the groups continue to work at
odds with or be suspicious of each other, so how can we, the farmers, do
anything about it. The only obvious way that occurs to me is, as a body is
to withdraw our mandate from all groups (by not subscribing etc) until they
come together, resolve their differences and chart a unified way forward.
Does anyone out there have a better or more realistic way of expressing our

Yours Sincerely, I McKersie
Ian, Your letter hits a number of nails right on the head.  Fortunately the
sting in the tail does not apply to JAG.  We have never asked for a farmer'
s mandate on compensation/restitution.  Yes we have with regard to
litigating on their behalf in the major cases, especially the
constitutional ones.  We believe when the time comes for that, and
understand there are no shortcuts, farmers will be in a position to judge
for themselves which organisation has acted in good faith and delivered on
a comprehensive and holistic front covering all bases and eventualities in
the final game, whether that be at the negotiating table or in the various
legal arenas.  We believe JAG has done this and will continue to do so
right up to the end game - EDITOR


Letter 2
The President
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association

Dear Sir


If the article in the BUSINESS DAY (SA) on 8 March 2004 is correct and TSF
have in fact brokered a deal with the Military to grow tobacco to purchase
military equipment for our Defence Force, I believe that we, as a nation,
should have serious concern.

For tobacco farmers to grow a crop to enable the present regime to use the
military equipment to suppress the opposition and prevent our nation from
exercising their human rights is a trojan horse. We are allowing our own
people to come within our defences to enable the regime to destroy us from

If this agreement has been reached with the support of ZTA who still own
30% of TSL, then I believe that ZTA should be re-assessing their position
on this matter. How far is a farmer prepared to go in order to continue
farming? When does the interest of our nation have to come before the right
to farm?

Our government have formed a war cabinet when we have no outside enemies.
Is the re-arming of our military in the interests of our nation when we
have a government who will not negotiate with the opposition before a
national parliamentary election due to be held before March 2005?

Why should our farmers "lease" their own land from the military when they
own the title deeds to the land?

I have always believed that we should survive this period of our lives as
best we can until sanity returns to our nation, but to allow our tobacco
association in conjunction with farmers, both old and new, to grow a crop
of tobacco to re arm the military during these times, is an issue which
each and every member of our nation will be watching with deep concern,
wondering what the long term costs will be.

Yours sincerely

Simply Simon

Well said, Simply Simon.  However it goes beyond simply leasing ones own
land back from the military.  Subscribing to this scheme will constitute
acquiescing to the destruction of ones title in that leasing it back will
be effectively recognising that one is no longer the legal rightful owner,
to say nothing about complicity in ones own demise!  Remember well that
many farmers have been forcibly, illegally, evicted from their legally
owned properties, without, in the vast majority of cases, any competent
court even having confirmed the acquisition of the property (eviction
without conviction) and in many cases by this same military or state
security groups. - EDITOR


Letter 3

Subject: Re: Fw: JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM 4TH MARCH 2005 - OLF NO. 241
Dear Chris and Dawn,

Yes there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We too were farming in Zim and now in the UK, but not farming.  Too old to
be going back to really doing what we love. and starting all over again,
but we are surviving.

Life is what you make of it.  No one listens to complaints - but there are
plenty of challenges to accomplish under different circumstances. and
friends and family keep you going during those low times. With them life is
bearable even here in the UK, despite the weather and some of the people. I
have been asked whether I spoke English.  After a stunned silence I had to
laugh as I had difficulty in understanding him, and I was not talking to a
Scotsman!  So now I am learning to speak English, again, even if I have a
twang as described by another!

We do reminisce about what we had, but there is no gain in saying "but if
only".  It's life, and we are alive, having had good times, which locals
could only dream of, so we are one up on them.

Hope this helps a little, and should you wish to correspond, please do
so - it would be great to hear from you.

Regards and best wishes

Mike and Eve Champ


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Subject: Zimbabwe arrests shine light on export of mercenaries

Globe and Mail Canada

      Zimbabwe arrests shine light on export of mercenaries

      From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

      Johannesburg - In South Africa, they are calling it the "rent-a-coup."
The arrest 10 days ago of a planeload of men allegedly on their way to
overthrow an African government has lifted the veil from one of South
Africa's darker exports: mercenaries.

      The 64 men detained in Harare have been charged with weapons and
immigration offences; their lawyer said there is no provision in Zimbabwean
law to charge them with plotting a coup against another government.

      Harare officials say the men were hired to help Equatorial Guinea's
rebel leader, Severo Moto Nsa, overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema,
who is unpopular in the tiny but oil-rich island state. The alleged
mercenaries were detained after South Africa alerted Mr. Nguema and Zimbabwe
about the plane, which was carrying paramilitary equipment. Fifteen men were
also arrested in Equatorial Guinea, for involvement in the alleged plot.

      The plane's operator, British-based Logo Logistics Ltd., insists that
the men were headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo to work as security
guards for international mining concerns.

      But as details trickle out of Chikurubi prison near Harare, most South
Africans seem convinced the men were indeed mercenaries, and the media are
feasting on the unravelling web of relationships between this group and
other private military companies, such as the infamous Executive Outcomes.

      The suspects are reported to include 20 South Africans, plus Namibian,
Angolan and Congolese nationals and one Zimbabwean. All were reportedly
carrying South African passports, and are said to be ex-South African
military or police personnel. Many are black veterans of the South African
proxy armies that fought in Angola and Namibia during apartheid.

      One of the men held in Zimbabwe is Simon Mann, a well-known character
in South African intelligence and security circles. He was awaiting the
plane in Harare, allegedly to load arms he bought in Zimbabwe. Mr. Mann is a
British citizen, an ex-Royal Scots Guard and troop commander with the
British Special Air Services. He also has a lead role in Sandline
International, a murky company with oil and mining interests, and ties to
U.K. intelligence services. Sandline absorbed Executive Outcomes in 1998.

      Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi says Mr. Mann was
offered $2.3-million and oil rights in Equatorial Guinea for the plot.

      Nic du Toit, a South African, is being held in Equatorial Guinea,
where he appeared on television last week, surrounded by armed guards, and
confessed to plotting the coup.

      Shocked friends in South Africa insist he is a legitimate businessman
with fishing interests on the island. But several ex-military sources say he
is a former South African Defence Force operative who worked with Executive

      South Africa became a player in the mercenary business during the
transition to democracy: the apartheid government trained thousands of
"special operatives" to target the black resistance, and to lead proxy
armies in the wars South Africa fought in Angola, Namibia and Mozambique.

      When the African National Congress came to power 10 years ago, there
was a whole force of men with elite fighting skills, suddenly out of work.

      They found it elsewhere in Africa. In 1995, for example, Executive
Outcomes was contracted by deposed dictator Valentine Strasser to return him
to power in Sierra Leone, in exchange for a lucrative diamond-rights
contract. In 1993, the firm helped eradicate the UNITA rebels in Angola, and
then got a $40-million contract to retrain their former enemies in the
Angolan army.

      Under South Africa's Foreign Military Assistance Act, it is illegal
for citizens to offer their services as mercenaries.
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Subject: Mercenaries to be photographed and fingerprinted today


Mercenaries to be photographed and fingerprinted today

March 16, 2004, 06:31

The 67 suspected mercenaries, arrested in Harare last Sunday, will be
photographed and fingerprinted today, before their first court appearance
tomorrow on immigration and firearms charges.

The suspects, accused of planning a coup in the tiny, oil-rich African
nation of Equatorial Guinea, have given sworn statements to police. In the
statements they confirm they understand the accusations against them, a
requirement before they can be formally charged.

The 67 were arrested a week ago after their pilot made a false declaration.
They have since insisted that they were on their way to work as security
guards for a mining company in Equatorial Guinea.
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Subject: A murderous dictator, his rapper son and a $700m-a-year oil boom

Independent (UK)

A murderous dictator, his rapper son and a $700m-a-year oil boom
The grounding of a mystery plane, allegedly carrying mercenaries, has
focused attention on the West African state of Equatorial Guinea and its
despotic leader. Declan Walsh reports on a would-be coup that sounds like a
plot from 'Dallas'
16 March 2004

On the steamy shores of West Africa, oil seldom brings good tidings.
Equatorial Guinea, the nugget-sized nation at the heart of last week's
bungled apparent coup attempt, is no exception. A despotic leader, his
playboy-rapper son, scheming relatives and thousands of American oil men are
the characters of a twisted plot that reads like Dallas set in equatorial
Africa. And although attention has focused on 67 alleged mercenaries
arrested in Zimbabwe, a far greater intrigue swirls around the dictatorial
regime of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Mr Obiang, who came to power by overthrowing his uncle and shooting him, has
survived 25 years in power by stuffing the government with relatives,
torturing opponents and rigging elections. His would be a perfect banana
republic, if it had bananas. Instead it has oil - lots of it.

Mr Obiang's iron fist turned to gold in the mid 1990s when US oil firms made
massive offshore discoveries. Overnight, the former Spanish colony shot from
poverty-stricken obscurity to fabulous wealth, becoming known as the "Kuwait
of Africa". Large oil companies, led by ExxonMobil, invested $6bn (£3.3bn)
in operations that now pump 350,000 barrels of oil a day.

More than 3,000 US oil workers are manning the pumps, and business is so
brisk there are direct flights from Houston to the island's capital, Malabo.

Equatorial Guinea has become Africa's third-largest oil producer, after
Nigeria and Angola, and its fastest growing economy.

"The oil has been for us like the manna that the Jews ate in the desert," Mr
Obiang told CBS last year.

The vast majority of Guineans, however, have yet to taste that sweet bread.

The majority of the vast state oil revenues - up to $700m this year - has
been salted into foreign bank accounts. Many are controlled by Mr Obiang.
Most of the country's 500,000 people scrape by on $2 a day, and human
development indicators have barely budged since oil was struck. "There is no
evidence that any of the oil wealth has gone to the people," said Sarah
Wykes of the lobby group Global Witness, which later this month will release
a report linking the Obiang regime to large-scale corruption and drug

The US oil companies appear unconcerned by the allegations. Last year
ExxonMobil threw a party in Washington in Mr Obiang's honour - one year
after he held presidential elections that gave him 97 per cent of the vote.
The result suggested a slight fall in popularity over the previous poll, in
which he won 99.2 per cent.

Western business has followed on the heels of the Texan oil men with gusto.

Only 15 years ago Malabo had just one hotel with no electricity, food or
running water. Two cars in the street was a traffic jam, and the phone
directory had just two pages, listing subscribers by their first name.

The airport terminal was a tin-roofed shack that received just one
international flight.

Today, however, the French have built a mobile phone network, sports utility
vehicles whizz through the streets, and several international carriers
service the smart new airport terminal. Prostitutes clamour around the gates
of several new hotels. The US re-opened its embassy in October last year,
following an eight-year closure in protest at torture and other human rights

At around the same time the Dutch carrier KLM renamed one of its planes
after Mr Obiang, to mark the opening of the new airport terminal. "It was
like calling a plane Pol Pot," said one analyst.

A campaign against US involvement in Equatorial Guinea is building. The
influential US news programme 60 Minutes criticised the pact between Mr
Obiang and the oil companies last autumn. The latest State Department human
rights report, released last month, cataolgued an array of police torture,
arbitrary arrest and detention and the failure of the courts to administer

In Washington, the FBI has started investigating a $700m bank account at the
Riggs Bank, of which Mr Obiang is apparently the main signatory. One bank
employee has already lost his job over the scandal.

But the greatest threat to Mr Obiang's dictatorial dominance comes from his
own family. The president has been sick, reportedly from prostate cancer,
and tensions have arisen among the ruling clan over his succession plans.
Some are worried over apparent plans to hand power to his son Teodorin - a
government minister, rap music entrepreneur and international playboy.

The 30-something Teodorin parties in Rio de Janeiro, does business in
Hollywood and lives at five-star hotels in Paris, where he drives in Bentley
and Lamborghini cars. Some years ago he invested several hundred thousand
dollars to start his own rap label, TNO Entertainment, standing for Teodorin
Nguema Obiang. It apparently failed to release any records, but according to
Hollywood gossip he has had a relationship with the American rap star Eve.

Teodorin is also fond of female company from other countries - according to
one associate, he once turned up for a meeting in Paris accompanied by
several Russian women. He is a keen property investor, owning a $6m mansion
in Bel Air.

But when he tried to buy a multi-million dollar apartment in New York - in a
building where the arms superdealer Adnan Khashoggi once lived - the board
of management rejected his application.

His frequent absences have called into question his ability to run the
Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works, although he did head up his
father's extraordinarily successful 2002 election campaign.

The president is reportedly worried about his son's partying and has
appealed to confidantes to help temper his wilder excesses - presumably to
help pave the way for a leadership succession. This worries Mr Obiang's
relatives, who hold the top positions in the government and military. In
particular it has bothered the president's brother, Armengol Ondo Nguema,
the national security chief.

According to documents obtained by The Independent, Armengol has close links
with Nick du Toit - the 48-year-old South African mercenary who last week
admitted to helping plan the putative coup.

Both men are shareholders in Triple Options, a joint venture company
established last October to provide "security services" to Mr Obiang, but
which the government now says is implicated in the plot to topple him.

Africa sleuths remain mystified about who is behind the coup plot - if there
ever was one at all. Suspicions have been raised by Mr du Toit's appearance
on national television to admit his complicity in the apparent coup, only
hours after the plane of 70 mercenaries was arrested in Harare.

Appearing relaxed and composed, he enjoyed a more peaceful fate than most
failed putchists in Equatorial Guinea, who might expect to have their
toenails removed over several days before being allowed to speak in public.

Mr du Toit said he planned to force Mr Obiang into exile, allowing the
opposition leader Severo Moto Nsa to seize power. Mr Moto, who lives in
exile in Spain, has denied any involvement in the plot.

The task of finding the culprit is complicated by the almost universal
unpopularity of the Obiang regime. It is involved in high-profile border
disputes with neighbouring Gabon and Cameroon over remote and possibly
oil-rich areas; and most of the opposition is jailed or in exile.

Last month an American human rights lobby group put Mr Obiang at sixth place
in its gallery of the world's 10 worst dictators. In 2002, for instance, he
had more than 70 political opponents jailed. Some were hung in positions
designed to break their bones, and at least two died. Those who have not
fled into exile in Spain have been detained at the notorious Black Beach
prison, where opponents say they have been tortured by Obiang family
members. "If you've ever seen a person limp on both legs, you know you're in
Equatorial Guinea," said the former US ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, John

The government is also tainted by allegations of drug trafficking. In 1997 a
former Information Minister, Santos Pasqual Bikomo, was arrested in Madrid
with 14 kilos of heroin, allegedly from Pakistan. Currently serving a
nine-year sentence, he alleges that other government figures were involved
in the drugs trade.

According to research by Global Witness, which specialises in investigating
oil corruption, at least 10 Equatorial Guineans travelling on diplomatic
passports have been arrested on drugs trafficking charges since the late

The independent press has been beaten into silence and even the foreign
press is not safe. A local correspondent for the French news service AFP was
jailed for eight days in November last year after writing "scurrilous"

Instead, the state media bring greasy sycophancy to new depths. Mr Obiang
has "all power over men and things", state radio said last year, adding: "He
can decide to kill ... because it is God himself, with whom he is in
permanent contact, who gives him this strength."

US interest in censoring Mr Obiang's abuses has waned in tandem with the
flood of investment. For example, after the sham 2002 elections the European
Union issued a stern condemnation. In contrast the US State Department
reaction was notably muted.

The US increasingly sees West Africa as a "safe" source of oil, far from the
Muslim world and OPEC price controlling countries. Sub-Saharan African
already supplies 15 per cent of US imports, which the Bush administration
hopes will rise to 25 per cent in the coming decade.

Other countries have more mixed relations. The South African president Thabo
Mbeki recently strengthened relations, and the Spanish foreign minister Ana
Palacio visited in November last year.

However yesterday Equatorial Guinea threatened to recall its ambassador to
Spain over allegations the Spanish government was behind the coup plot.

The 67 alleged mercenaries detained in Zimbabwe are due to make their first
court appearance today. Led by the former SAS commando and Old Etonian,
Simon Mann, they are accused of acting like characters from the Frederick
Forsyth novel, The Dogs of War - a thriller about a mining executive who
hires a group of mercenaries to overthrow an African government and install
a puppet dictator so he can mine platinum. But the alleged mercenaries give
a different explanation - that they en route to Eastern Congo to protect an
unnamed mine as part of a legitimate contract. "It is all a dreadful
misunderstanding," said Charles Burrow, an executive with the Channel
Islands-registered company that owns their impounded Boeing 727 plane.

However Africa Confidential, a respected newsletter, says that they had in
fact stopped to pick up weapons for a planned coup. According to a quoted
contract, the team had already paid $180,000 to Zimbabwean army officers for
a consignment of AK-47 guns, mortars and 30,000 rounds of ammunition.

Whatever the truth, when their plane landed in Harare their plans went
disastrously wrong. The coming trial may shed further light on their bizarre
adventure and -- just perhaps -- on the intrigues of a tiny oil-rich yet
fragile nation 2,000 miles away.
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Subject: Sanctions Against Zimbabwe - a complex matter

Daily News

      Sanctions Against Zimbabwe - a complex matter

      Date:15-Mar, 2004

      Pius Ncube, Archbishop of Bulawayo and an outspoken critic of the Zimbabwean Government, recently called on the South African leaders to cut off electricity supplies to its northern neighbour in order to force President Mugabe to the negotiating table. He said sanctions, similar to those imposed on apartheid South Africa should be instituted against Zimbabwe. In a radio interview Ncube said: 'Zimbabwe is owing billions in electricity (bills). They just would need to be told: 'Hey you people, settle your affairs or else we cut off'. Then Mugabe would be forced to dialogue with the opposition because Mugabe is refusing to talk to them.'

      This is not the first time the call for more stringent sanctions against the Zimbabwean government has gone out. Over the past two years the idea that South Africa, which supplies Zimbabwe with electricity, should turn off the switch has been levelled on numerous occasions. In the face of an authoritarian regime, sanctions seem to be the most obvious and effective means to force a government to reconsider its actions. However, there are some complex issues to consider - sometimes they create human rights abuses of their own. In order to help bring the terrible current human rights abuses in Zimbabwe to an end, to what extent do we take risks in extending sanctions.

      According to a June 2000 report of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights of the United Nations entitled 'The Adverse Consequences of Economic Sanctions on the Enjoyment of Human Rights' (otherwise known as the Bossuyt Report), the guiding theory behind economic sanctions is that these will put economic pressure on civilians who will thus put pressure on a government for change.

      Cutting off the supply of electricity and other necessary goods (petrol, to name one) to Zimbabwe would create the 'economic pressure' proponents of comprehensive economic sanctions speak of, but at what cost to ordinary Zimbabweans? The Bossuyt report argues that 'under sanctions, the middle class is eliminated, the poor get poorer, and the rich get richer as they take control of smuggling and the black market. The Government and elite can actually benefit economically from sanctions, owing to this monopoly on illegal trade.' The report cites a number of commentators who have demonstrated that, 'in the long run, as democratic participation, independent institutions and the middle class are weakened, and as social disruption leaves the population less able to resist the Government, the possibility of democracy shrinks. In sum, the civilian suffering that is believed to be the effective factor in comprehensive economic sanctions renders those sanctions ineffectual, even reinforcing the Government and its policies'.

      The United Nations Secretary-General, Koffi Annan, wrote in his Millennium Report: 'When robust and comprehensive economic sanctions are directed against authoritarian regimes, a different problem is encountered. Then it is usually the people who suffer, not the political elites whose behaviour triggered the sanctions in the first place.'

      According to research conducted by the Bossuyt report, only about a third of all sanctions can boast even 'partial' success, while others have cited a 'dismal' 2 per cent success rate for sanctions against authoritarian regimes.

      Sanctions are, in essence, a 'middle ground' option - more severe than verbal condemnations but falling short of the use of force, the report states. There are a wide range of sanction options, from economic to diplomatic to cultural. Economic sanctions include trade sanctions, such as selective or comprehensive economic sanctions; financial (blocking government assets abroad and its access to financial markets); and travel, targeting individuals or groups. Military sanctions are essentially arms embargoes. Diplomatic sanctions target state rulers or may include sanctions such as, for example, the refusal to allow the apartheid South Africa government to participate in the United Nations to further its diplomatic isolation. According to the report, financial sanctions alone have a greater success than trade sanctions or combined trade and financial sanctions.

      As a fallout of the highly criticised comprehensive economic sanctions imposed against Iraq under Saddam Hussein, 'smart' or 'targeted' sanctions have become the preferred way of imposing sanctions on authoritarian regimes in order to bring them in line with human rights and humanitarian law. Targeted economic sanctions, particularly targeted financial sanctions, are regarded as a more effective tool than comprehensive economic sanctions. These may target the personal foreign assets and access to foreign financial markets of members of a government, the ruling elite, or members of the military. It usually includes the freezing of assets of government-owned businesses; investment in those businesses may be prohibited. Further, imports of luxury goods and other goods primarily consumed by the ruling elite can be banned.

      The European Union recently extended its travel ban on ruling members of the Zimbabwean regime from 79 individuals to 95. The EU sanctions also include the freezing of these individuals' assets in countries that are members of the Union. The United States government has imposed a blanket ban on more than 200 Zimbabwean officials linked to the ruling Zanu-PF, freezing the assets of such high-ranking government officials as Information Minister Jonathan Moyo. According to a report in the state-owned Herald newspaper, Moyo dismissed the new US sanctions, telling the 'imperialists' to 'go to hell'.

      His attitude echoes the general response of Zimbabwe's ruling elite who, at least in public, greet the news of sanctions with calculated nonchalance. Many argue that turning off the electricity supply would be far more effective than banning Mugabe and his allies from travelling to Europe or freezing their assets (if they can be found) in the United States, particularly since reports of the elite's shopping trips to the Far East appear in news reports with disconcerting regularity. The Bossuyt report argues that the right to impose sanctions is not unlimited in human rights and humanitarian law and recommends a 'six-pronged test' for sanctions, which must undergo periodic review.

      1. Are the sanctions imposed for valid reasons?

      2. Do the sanctions target the proper parties?

      3. Do the sanctions target the proper goods or objects?

      4. Are the sanctions reasonably time-limited?

      5. Are the sanctions effective?

      6. Are the sanctions free from protest arising from violations of the 'principles of humanity and the dictates of the public conscience'?

      Sanctions must abide by human rights and humanitarian law and internationally and regionally recognised charters (including the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). If they fail the above test or violate international human rights, then sanctions may be having an adverse effect. As much as it may be tempting to use more comprehensive economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and as frustrating as it is to see the ruling elite snub its collective nose at the sanctions imposed against them, the international community must bear the rights of every innocent Zimbabwean man, woman and child in mind, when assessing which sanctions to impose on Zimbabwe.
        a.. This column is provided by the International Bar Association. An organisation that represents the Law Societies and Bar Associations around the world, and works to uphold the rule of law. For further information, visit the website
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Subject: Elephant cull 'is only way to stop catastrophe'

The Herald (UK)

Elephant cull 'is only way to stop catastrophe'

ROB CRILLY, Environment CorrespondentMarch 16 2004

A CULL of elephants is the only way to stop an ecological catastrophe in
southern and eastern Africa, according to an international panel of
In a report published yesterday, scientists, vets and game- park managers
said the success of anti-poaching measures meant elephant populations were
stripping reserves of natural vegetation and threatening other species.
The experts, who wrote the report after a conference at the University of
Utrecht in the Netherlands, said the solution was to kill tens of thousands
of elephants in the next three years. However, other recent studies have
suggested that surveys may tend to overestimate the true number as elephants
congregate in protected areas, making them appear more numerous.
Yesterday's report warns that an "animal holocaust" is inevitable unless
20,000 elephants are slaughtered in and around Hwange National Park, in
Zimbabwe, during the next three years.
Dr Robert Paling, of the University of Utrecht, insisted culling was the
only way to avoid an ecological meltdown.
"It's a controversial conclusion but there is no other option. Either they
will die of hunger, and in the process destroy the vegetation and other
species threatening biodiversity, or we have to act," he said.
The report singles out Kruger Park, in South Africa, Hwange Park in Zimbabwe
and parts of Botswana for urgent action.
In Zimbabwe, for example, latest estimates suggest populations have reached
88,000 from a low of about 5000 at the start of the 1900s. However, the
report suggests the country can support about 40,000.
Gamekeepers in Hwange National Park have also reported the large numbers of
elephants are preventing rhinoceroses getting to water holes during the dry
Moving elephants from densely populated parks to empty regions would not
relieve enough pressure to be effective, he said.
Habitat loss and illegal trade in animal parts, meanwhile, threatens the
Sumatran tiger - the last of Indonesia's tiger species, said a report
It reveals that at least 50 Sumatran tigers have been poached per year
between 1998 and 2002. The latest population estimates made in 1999 show
that there were only between 400 and 500 tigers left in the wild in Sumatra.
The report by Traffic, the wildlife monitoring network and WWF, the global
conservation organisation, exposes the systematic killing of this critically
endangered species by professional and semi-professional hunters.
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Subject: '70pc of patients admitted at hospitals are HIV positive'

The Herald

'70pc of patients admitted at hospitals are HIV positive'

Health Reporter
AT LEAST 70 percent of the patients admitted to hospitals around the country
are as a result of the HIV virus, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare,
Dr David Parirenyatwa, said yesterday.

He said recent surveys show that more than 25 percent of the pregnant women
who visited ante-natal clinics were HIV positive.

In 1997, the HIV prevalence rate of women attending antenatal clinics was 27
percent but the figure rose to 33,4 percent in 2000 and 31 percent in 2001.

The minister said this when he briefed researchers from the University of
Zimbabwe who are attending a two-day women's health research programme on
HIV and Aids in Harare.

He said this had, therefore, resulted in an increase in infant deaths which
had doubled according to a survey recently carried out by the his ministry.

Dr Parirenyatwa said according to HIV estimates announced last year, 132 000
deaths as a result of HIV were recorded each year while 1,8 million people
are living with the virus.

"At least 97 percent of these people acquire HIV through heterosexual
relationships while 7 percent of the transmission is through the
parent-to-child and 1 percent is by use of such instruments as needles,"
said Dr Parirenyatwa.

He said although there had been a decline in HIV cases from 33 percent in
2000 to 24,6 percent last year, there were factors that still contributed to
HIV transmission such as the lower economic status of most women, poverty,
rural-urban migration, stigma attached to condom use and lack of open
dialogue on sexually transmitted infections, HIV and Aids among families.

"This has resulted in an increase in people acquiring opportunistic
infections and having other complications.

"The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare would like to urge people to treat
opportunistic infections early at such referral centres as Harare Central
and Parirenyatwa hospitals (in Harare), and Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo which
offer the service," he said.

Dr Parirenyatwa said the health sector would continue to provide effective
and sustainable ways of HIV prevention, care surveillance and monitoring the
epidemic and research.

He said there was also need to look at the provision of home-based care for
people infected by the HIV virus and not at offering anti-retroviral drugs

"The difficult economic environment we are operating under requires our
local university academics to foster external collaboration that allow the
design of innovative research whose results would be used by the Ministry of
Health to format national policies," said Dr Parirenyatwa.
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Subject: City suburbs plunge into darkness

The Herald

City suburbs plunge into darkness

Herald Reporter
Some parts of Harare were yesterday evening plunged into darkness following
a power cut, leaving thousands of domestic and some commercial consumers

Residents and companies in suburbs and industrial areas in the southern part
of the city reported that there was no electricity in the areas. The suburbs
affected included Waterfalls, Glen Norah, Glen View, Budiriro, Mufakose and
Highfield and the Willowvale Industrial area.

"I am driving from my farm and I have been dropping people in some of these
areas and there is no electricity. In the Willowvale industrial area I
noticed that only a few companies, which obviously have generators, had
power," said a man who called The Herald inquiring about the power cut.

Another caller from Glen Norah also said there was no electricity in the

Residents in Greencroft, Mabelreign and Marlborough also reported power cuts
in their areas although they said supplies had been restored by 8.30pm.

In Marlborough residents said they were experiencing intermittent power

Repeated efforts to get a comment from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority were futile last night.

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Subject: Charging Road Tolls Noble

Charging Road Tolls Noble

The Herald (Harare)

March 15, 2004
Posted to the web March 15, 2004


MOTORISTS entering Harare through the Harare-Bulawayo highway will this year
be required to pay a fee before being allowed in as the Government plans to
build toll gates at Snake World.

The fees to be collected will help in financing and maintaining the dual
carriageway on the Harare-Norton highway.

The idea sounds noble and feasible. Sections of the carriageway on the
Harare-Norton highway have already consumed more than $1 billion.

This year the Government has allocated $4 billion to continue with the
project all the way to Gweru.

It is not only the Harare-Bulawayo highway which needs a dual carriageway
but all the country's major roads. Plans to build dual carriageways have
come in the wake of high accident figures on our roads, which have cost
hundreds of lives. Only last week seven people perished along the
Harare-Masvingo highway.

Some of the roads, which were built in the colonial days, are now too narrow
to accommodate the heavy flow of traffic.

Last year, President Mugabe said it was "a must" that all major roads in the
country be upgraded into dual carriageways to reduce accidents.

The dualisation which is going to cover the Harare-Gweru, Harare-Masvingo,
Harare-Mutare, Harare-Nyamapanda, Harare-Bindura, Harare-Chirundu and
Harare-Airport roads is expected to cost billions of dollars. This is a huge

There is need for motorists to also play their part in the financing of
these projects. They can do this by paying fees when they enter the
country's cities and towns.

Some will argue that the idea is ill-conceived. It is true that toll roads
should be new multi-lane highways and that there should be an alternative
route available for those who cannot afford the toll.

However, people should realise that the money to be raised is for the
maintenance of the highways. Zimbabwe cannot lag behind in modernising its
roads. Charging tolls is not a new concept. It is done in most developed and
developing countries.

It has been implemented successfully at the new Limpopo Bridge. While the
Government has been using its own resources, the private sector should
partner the Government to dualise the trunk roads on a
build-operate-transfer method of financing.

This would enable the private sector to raise money for the projects and
later recoup costs plus some profits by way of road tolls. The Government
should be commended for its commitment on the projects which are now under
construction - the Harare-Masvingo and Harare-Norton dual carriageways.

Meanwhile, the Harare City Council needs to do something about its roads.
The city's roads, especially in the high-density areas, are in a sorry
state. They are littered with potholes.

With the current rains, the condition of the roads will, obviously,
deteriorate further.

The town clerk should live to his word to repair the roads.
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Subject: UZ Lecturers Need to Co-Operate With State

UZ Lecturers Need to Co-Operate With State

The Herald (Harare)

March 15, 2004
Posted to the web March 15, 2004

Dr Obediah Mazombwe

The University of Zimbabwe is, once more, under threat of closure by

This follows the Government's failure to pay the salaries demanded by the
lecturers and awarded them by the appropriate court, and the insistence by
the lecturers, now joined by the administrative staff, that they will not go
back to work until the Government has made them an acceptable offer.

Sadly, the students body has also threatened some form of action to protest
against the delayed payment of their increased allowances and the
non-performance of their lecturers.

Any fool can see where we are heading. We are headed for student
demonstrations. We all know what's likely to happen - clashes with the
security forces; injuries; closure of the university; and stress among
parents as students head back home frustrated and bitter.

To all this we must add the great tragedy of denying this nation the
benefits of a vibrant seat of learning and research at this critical stage
of its social and economic development.

Is there no better way for all the stakeholders to proceed and avoid the
imminent calamity?

The Government clearly carries the major portion of the blame for letting
the situation, in terms of both the human relations as well as the physical
structures at the university, deteriorate to current levels.

They are responsible for failing to pay lecturers decent salaries, and to
put in place adequate basic life-sustaining allowances/loans for students.

The Association of University Teachers did us proud by their steadfastness
in negotiations with Government last year, when they managed to wrench out
of the authorities the 250 percent consideration we received. This, as has
been convincingly argued, is totally inadequate. We must "fight" for more.

However in so "fighting" and formulating our strategies for the way forward,
we are now compelled, given the magnitude of what is at stake, to place the
whole issue in its appropriate context and perspective.

We must be satisfied that our stance is conscientious. We must weigh its
long-term implications, and its costs and benefits, for ourselves, and
equally importantly, for the greater national public interest.

The fact is that the University of Zimbabwe is nothing less than an
invaluable national asset.

It is part of the national heritage that we shall bequeath to posterity. At
this stage, when we stand on the brink of rubbishing it, the time is long
past the who-is-to-blame stage, it can no longer be a question of who has
"won" or who has "lost".

It is now a question of what is the best way forward for our collective
interest in the prevailing circumstances.

The continued existence and thriving of the university, in spite of whatever
problems we face, and whatever past bungling the Govenment might be guilty
of, must be our ultimate uncompromisable goal.

We must avoid unduly delaying or sacrificing the recovery of the university.

When the issue of the university is placed in the wider national context,
where we face massive economic and political challenges and a measure of
uncertainty exists, a word of caution seems appropriate here.

We, Zimbabweans, can only afford to erode or allow the erosion of our
national institutions and assets to a given level.

There seems to exist, on both sides of the political divide, the notion that
we can afford to kill off anything of value we have now, because, for
varying reasons, the future assures us of even greater things.

On the other hand, there seems to exist the illusion that on the basis of
some anticipated "change", even "regime change", we will enter a period when
resources from the rich West will pour into the country and enable us to
restore institutions like the national university. Nothing could be more
horribly misguided, fatally misleading, and totally unpractical in today's
world than that kind of thinking. Just look at what is happening around the
world and in the process check on Haiti.

It is time all the UZ stakeholders sat down the African way to "reason
together" and find an innovative and imaginative way forward.

We, the lecturers, in particular, need to restrain ourselves, not for the
sake of Government, but for our own sake and that of future generations.

The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr Herbert Murerwa, has not
challenged the legitimacy of the lecturers' demands.

He has merely said that the Government currently has no resources to meet
them. However, he has also said Government was reviewing the matter and
would report back ten days after the last meeting he had with the lecturers'

Co-operating with Government at this stage, and clearly demonstrating our
maturity and constructive intent, can only strengthen the lectures' position
and garner us greater public support.

It definitely would not constitute weakness or recapitulation, even if the
minister turned out to be insincere.

A cardinal and worthy point made by our indigenous philosophy of
hunhu/ubuntu is that "nyaya haiori" (Issues, unlike tomatoes, for instance,
do not rot after a while).

In addition, the minister is reported to be looking at other ways of
enhancing the lecturers' packages. Indeed, there exists great scope for
Government to add value to lecturers' remuneration without requiring huge
cash outlays.

Arrangements like the provision of urban residential stands for lecturers,
untaxed allowances for transport and accommodation (as is the case with
civil servants), guarantees for car and mortgage loans, and other measures
would go a long way in addressing current grievances.

If the minister is indeed adopting such an approach, he should be given up
to a month to consult other Government ministries and relevant bodies and
put together and table such a package.

For now Government should withdraw its threat to close the university, and
whatever we, as lectures, do, we should go back to work in time to salvage
the semester.

We should continue to vigilantly engage Government and insist that they
reorder national priorities and allocate requisite resources to ensure that
a key national asset like the university not only survives, but actually
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From ZWNEWS, 16 March

Opposition official arrested

A leading opposition official has been arrested, the MDC reported yesterday. Isaac Muzimba the chairperson for the party in Midlands North Province, was arrested by the Redcliff police on allegations that he had made a statement that was likely to incite public violence. Muzimba had been addressing a party rally launching the campaign for a by-election in award of the local council. Muzimba warned those at the rally that Zanu PF would unleash violence in the forthcoming 2005 parliamentary elections and that they had to be ready for campaigning under those conditions. His statement, according to the police member-in-charge of Redcliff, constituted public incitement to violence. Muzimba was detained at Redcliff police station.

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Comment from ZWNEWS, 16 March

Sauce for the goose...

At the end of the 2002 Presidential Election, the ANC described this election as "a credible expression of the will of the people", a view not shared by the other South African Parliamentary parties, nor by many other observer groups, Zimbabwean and international. This view of the ANC has undoubtedly led to the attenuation of the Zimbabwe crisis by creating an international division over the legitimacy of the President, and, of course, we should not here forget the doubts over the legitimacy of the Government elected in 2000. Although none of the elections petitions mounted after the 2000 General Election have been finalized, the Zimbabwe High Court and the reports of many observer missions cast enormous doubt over the legitimacy of those elections too. The disputed legal status of the Executive and the Government in Zimbabwe undoubtedly remains the central feature of the Zimbabwe crisis. With the announcement by President Mugabe that the next Parliamentary elections will be held in March 2005, it seems reasonable to examine the playing field for these elections, and more especially because the MDC has indicated the 15 conditions that need to be addressed before it can consider participating in these elections. These conditions constitute what might be termed the "high bar" for the holding of elections in Zimbabwe, and it is worth repeating them:

1. The establishment of a genuinely independent electoral commission that will be responsible for running the entire election and the entire electoral process.

2. The exclusion of partisan officials such as the present Registrar General of Elections and members of the military from being involved in the running of the elections.

3. A completely fresh voter registration exercise done by the Independent Electoral Commission with the assistance of the United Nations.

4. The supply of an electronic (computer data base) copy of the voters' roll to all political parties and interested persons.

5. The repeal of those aspects of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) that curtail media freedoms.

6. The repeal of those aspects of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) that curtail the freedom of political parties to campaign.

7. The amendment of the Electoral Act to bring it into conformity with those aspects of the SADC Parliamentary Forum's Electoral Standard and Norms not referred to specifically elsewhere in this document.

8. The reversal of administrative decisions that have resulted in the closure of the Daily News and the removal of all obstacles preventing the Daily News and other newspapers from operating freely.

9. The liberalization of the broadcasting media and the opening up of state media to carry equal amounts of coverage of all parties' electoral messages pro rata to the percentage of votes they secured in the last general Parliamentary election.

10. The complete disbanding of the Youth Militia.

11. The use of translucent plastic ballot boxes of secure, single-piece construction.

12. That all voting should be done and completed in one day to ensure this sufficient numbers of polling stations be established.

13. Unhindered access to the entire electoral process by international, regional and domestic election observer missions.

14. That all counting of ballots take place at polling stations in the mandatory presence of polling agents and observers.

15. The use of visible indelible ink to identify those who have voted.

The "high bar" predicated by these conditions relate both to the actual conducting of elections as well as to the climate in which elections should take place. The 15 conditions are empirically grounded in the problems that have been observed in the previous elections, and are the conditions required by the Commonwealth, the EU and virtually all Zimbabwean groups. These are the kinds of conditions that all countries aspiring to be democratic try to enforce, and here it is gratifying to see that they are esteemed by Zimbabwe’s southern neighbour, South Africa. In his recent letter to the ANC, President Thabo Mbeki makes it very plain how he and the ANC view attempts to subvert the process of free and democratic elections. Dealing with the matter of election violence, President Mbeki comments:

"Recent events in KwaZulu-Natal, including the murder of political activists, have drawn attention to the need for us to continue to focus on the absolute imperative to ensure that we have peaceful elections. As before, everything must be done so that we have free and fair elections. This means that the people must have the right and possibility freely to decide which political formation they choose to support and vote for. The Electoral Act specifically prohibits resort to violence and intimidation to influence the outcome of the elections. It therefore makes it illegal for anybody to compel or unlawfully persuade any person to attend and participate in or not attend and participate in a political meeting, march, demonstration or any other political event. It prohibits everybody from denying representatives of registered party or candidates reasonable access to voters, both in public and private places. It makes it illegal for anybody unlawfully to prevent the holding of a political meeting, march, demonstration or any other political event."

It is abundantly clear that Thabo Mbeki and the ANC will not tolerate in South Africa the kinds of conditions that have been routinely observed in Zimbabwean elections. It is clear that South Africa sets itself high standards, and that the President expects that these standards shall be maintained:

"Nobody should therefore make the mistake of thinking that democracy gives him or her the right to threaten or use force, in reality to take away the very rights that define our democratic system. All of us must know that to defend itself, our democratic system has passed the necessary legislation to make it illegal for anybody unlawfully to take away or diminish the very rights that are inherent to the practice of democracy."

Now South African knows very well that elections can be violent contests and has worked extremely hard to change the election terrain. As President Mbeki put it himself:

"By the time of the 1999 elections, we had succeeded radically to reduce and virtually eliminate this violence. This did not mean that intimidation and the enforcement of no go areas had completely been eliminated in all parts of our country. Those who continued to engage in these illegal and anti-democratic activities did so because they knew that otherwise they would not get the support of the people. Unfortunately, we still have people and parties of this kind in our country. Some of these are more desperate now than they were in 1999, because they know that they do not enjoy the support of the people. They are therefore ready and willing to engage in all manner of illegal and immoral activities to retain whatever little support they can muster. To these, democracy, the free expression of the will of the people, has become a dangerous threat to their survival. They are therefore determined to use everything they can to limit the ability of these masses freely to decide who shall constitute our next national and provincial legislatures and governments."

It is not only in South Africa that undemocratic forces seek to subvert the will of the people in elections, and this is the point behind the MDC laying out the 15 pre-conditions for participating in the forthcoming elections. Now would be a good time for South Africa, SADC and the whole international community to insist that these conditions are met, not for the good of the MDC or any other political party, but so that the Zimbabwean people might elect the government of their choice and thereby ensure that the elected government has the mandate of the people

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Sunday Times SA
SA ambassador dispatched to E Guinea

Tuesday March 16, 2004 14:47 - (SA)

South Africa's ambassador to Gabon will travel to neighbouring Equatorial Guinea on Thursday to gather more information on at least 15 South Africans being held in the wake of recent coup plot allegations.

The South Africans' detention follows a reported crackdown on foreigners in Equatorial Guinea following the impounding of an aircraft and the arrest of 67 people in Zimbabwe. They were allegedly on their way to overthrow the West African country's president.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs a number of families have contacted the South African High Commission in Gabon for information on relatives in the country.

It had since been established that 19 South Africans had been held but four had been released after it had been established that they were bona fide contractors.

South Africa's Ambassador to Gabon Mokgethi Samuel Monaisa, who is also credited to Equatorial Guinea, will travel there on Thursday to establish whether the 15 are still being detained, and under which circumstances.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe's state-controlled Herald newspaper reported that the attorney general's office said that Zimbabwe had no laws to prosecute criminals engaged in mercenary and subversive activities directed against foreign states, contrary to earlier reports that the men arrested in Harare could face the death penalty.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that they will be being charged under firearms control laws with allegedly illegally attempting to buy 10 Browning pistols, 61 AK47 assault rifles, 20 PKM light machine guns, RPG rocket launchers, mortars, hand grenades and ammunition from Zimbabwe Defence Industries, the state arms manufacturer.

They were also charged with violating immigration laws by allegedly failing to declare themselves to authorities when they entered the country.

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IOL Africa
Moz organ trafficking scandal peters out

March 16 2004 at 08:42AM

By Jordane Bertrand

Nampula, Mozambique - A Danish woman and her white Zimbabwean husband accused of trafficking human organs in Mozambique say they have been persecuted for eight months most probably in a bid to grab land.

Tania Skytte, 34, said that the charges - brought on by two nuns who live in the northern town of Nampula - were baseless.

"Some people played on the ignorance of locals and this unbelievable story was created out of nothing," she said.

'He is also a victim of this network'
Skytte and her husband 36-year-old Gary O'Connor have been living in Nampula for three years raising chickens at a farm near the airport, aided by Mozambican authorities who assured them that they would have no problems with the locals.

There was a pre-existing agreement chalked out by community leaders that some locals could lease parts of the land. But the governor of the province Abdul Razak ruled that such arrangements were illegal and despite several meetings between local authorities and the population, the problem still persisted.

The cause of the locals' rights to lease parts of the farm was quickly taken up by nuns belonging to the order of the Servants of Mary congregation, who had set up a convent nearby.

The couple says the origin of the charges could be land-related, fuelled by local or church politics.

The first accusations surfaced in July last year, shortly after the arrival of Maria Elilda dos Santos, a 45-year-old Brazilian nun.

'It only took one person to be the origin of such a rumour'
Sister Juliana, who is in charge of the convent, has said that she and Sister Maria Elilda led the police "to a young man who came from the property (of the O'Connors who were then away) to sell a child.

The nuns then quickly made allegations of child trafficking and alleged that several children had disappeared. They then contacted the attorney-general in Maputo and also obtained the backing of the archbishop of Nampula.

This sparked a campaign of accusations which sparked nationwide frenzy and also made international headlines.

Meanwhile, the allegations took a more sinister turn with the Brazilian nun now speaking to the international press about the horrible situation and "mutilated bodies found on public roads".

In six months, meantime, there were three probes which failed to come up with any evidence regarding the allegations.

The last enquiry conducted by the deputy attorney general and a forensic expert examined the cases of 14 children who had disappeared and conducted tests on three exhumed corpses but failed to come up with anything.

"We studied the case of little Sarima, who was found dead in September 2002. The first findings indicated that she was the victim of sexual abuse," Carlos Manuens, the police officer in charge of the probe, said.

This lack of evidence led the nuns to hint at a cover-up.

"I have confidence in the attorney-general but he is only a part of the system. He is also a victim of this network. Everybody is scared," Sister Juliana had said sweepingly.

The local governor, who was also fingered by the nuns, defended himself saying he had "never interfered" in the probe.

Referring to Sister Juliana, he said: "I am intrigued that it only took one person to be the origin of such a rumour," adding that he was also "surprised by the capacity of the Brazilian nun Maria Elilda dos Santos in putting the local and international media on this case".

The nuns drew up a list of about 50 children who had disappeared between September and November last year.

Police official Manuens was dismissive, saying: "More than 50 children disappeared and nobody came to us?"

A foreigner who lives in Nampula said: "I regularly give food to street urchins in my locality and not one of them has disappeared."

The couple at the heart of the scandal meanwhile say they have had enough.

"We do not understand the motives which spurred the nuns to do all this," Skytte said, adding that they now intended to leave Mozambique.

"What is certain is that we intend to start a libel suit against the nuns." - Sapa-AFP 
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Southampton News
Date Published: Tuesday 16 March 2004

Growing concern for ex-SAS officer

by Echo reporter

FEARS are growing for a former SAS officer from Hampshire who faces execution after he was charged with plotting a coup against an African state.

Old Etonian Simon Mann, 46, was among 64 men arrested in Zimbabwe accused of being mercenaries, hired to help overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Capt Mann owns a house at Lepe in the New Forest but is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Zimbabwe is threatening to impose the death sentence amid claims that he and the other men were recruited with the help of British, American and Spanish intelligence agencies.

Consular staff at the British Embassy in Harare have yet to make contact with Capt Mann, who appeared in court at the weekend.

The Foreign Office says it will intervene only if he, his family or the Zimbabweans declare he is British and in need of assistance. However, there are fears that Zimbabwe would not necessarily inform the Foreign Office if it were detaining a British citizen.

Stephen Jakobi, of Fair Trials Aboard, said: "It's the duty of the Zimbabweans to tell the British if they've got anyone British. It is then Britain's duty to secure consular access as quickly as it can. But the first leg is quite difficult. Zimbabwe is an outlaw country.

"I would be extremely concerned about any British citizen appearing in court in Zimbabwe. It's one of those countries where one has to presume that they wouldn't get a fair trial."

Capt Mann was arrested in Harare as he waited for a plane carrying the other alleged mercenaries, including 20 South Africans, 18 Namibians, 23 Angolans and two Congolese.

He is being held at the notorious Chikurubi prison on the outskirts of the Zimbabwe capital.

MDC Brief

Key Developments:


1.       Report launched documenting human rights abuses perpetrated against MDC MPs by Mugabe regime

2.       State sponsored violence intensifies ahead of Zengeza by-election

3.       MDC National Executive sets out 15 conditions vis-à-vis the party’s participation in parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2005. 







16 March 2004


For Further Information Please Contact:


Nkanyiso Maqeda, MDC Director of Information: 00263 91 248 570

James Littleton: 00 27 727 310 554







Today thousands of our children are trapped in government and Zanu PF camps, receiving training in terror…The idea is to turn them into a totally wicked generation, a generation without hope, a generation without morals, and a generation devoid of conscience”, said MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai (9 March)









The newly formed Zimbabwe Institute last week launched a report entitled ‘Playing with Fire’ which documents acts of state sponsored violence perpetrated against 78 individuals over the past four years. 50 of the accounts provided are from current MDC MPs whilst the other 28 accounts are from among the 63 individuals who stood as candidates for the MDC in the June 2000 parliamentary election.


The report, which was researched and compiled on the ZI’s behalf by independent human rights consultants, provides a shocking reminder of the Mugabe regime’s addiction to violence and its unwavering commitment to cow and subdue the MDC through a sustained campaign of violence and intimidation against its leadership, its legislators and broad support base. Some of the salient statistics and research findings contained in the report are listed below:


1. The 78 individuals interviewed reported a total of 616 instances of human rights violations against themselves or those close to them

2. More than 90% of MPs reported human rights violations against themselves

3. 24% of MPs reported surviving assassination attempts

4. 16% of MPs interviewed have been the victims of torture.

5. 3 MPs who were the victims of vicious assaults have subsequently died

6. 50% have had their property vandelised or destroyed

7. 60% of MPs reported arrest and detention.

8. 22% reported physical assaults on members of their families

9. 3 MPs have had members of their staff brutally murdered

10. 32% of candidates reported assaults

11. 22% of candidates reported surviving murder attempts

12. 50% of violations are attributed by MPs to the police, CIO and army combined





Morris Salani, a teacher at a school in Mutare, was last week beaten up in front of his pupils by members of the Zanu PF youth militia who accused him of supporting the MDC.


Isaac Muzimba, MDC Chairperson for Midlands North, was arrested on 15 March for warning MDC youths that Zanu PF would unleash a systematic campaign of violence in the build up to parliamentary elections next year. At the time of writing, Muzimba was still being detained.


Police in Bulawayo have recently been harassing MDC officials and members by demanding personal information relating to their political history and details of the party’s grassroots membership


Teachers in rural areas are under renewed assault from Zanu PF structures, who regard teachers as generally being sympathetic towards the MDC. Over the past four years scores of teachers have been subjected to brutal beatings on the grounds of their perceived opposition to Zanu PF.


According to a recent article in the Zimbabwe Standard, Zanu PF youths are currently targeting teachers in the rural areas of Masvingo province. The youths are allegedly forcing teachers to form political branches at their schools in order to demonstrate loyalty to Zanu PF. This is clearly part of Zanu PF’s plan to silence and eradicate suspected voices of support for the MDC in rural areas ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections. Much of rural Zimbabwe, in particular in Mashonaland, has now been sealed off by Zanu PF youth militia, preventing the MDC from conducting any form of campaigning or carrying out basic party activities. 



New Dimension to Zanu PF Campaign Tactics

According to recent press reports, the Zimbabwe Liberators’ Peace Initiative (an organisation comprised of former freedom fighters) has produced a detailed document exposing attempts by Zanu PF to distort the electoral process in rural areas by increasing the number of headmen in charge of villages and using youth militia as neighbourhood watch-men. Through this additional structure to its framework of repression, the ZPLI claims that Zanu PF will be able to ensure that nearly every house in a village will be monitored and accounted for, rendering it virtually impossible for the opposition to campaign.





The build up to the Zengeza by-election, scheduled to be held on 27 & 28 March, has been characterised by the traditional Zanu PF campaign tactics of violence and coercion. As the poll draws nearer the acts of violence being perpetrated by Zanu PF supporters, in particular the notorious youth militia, appears to be intensifying. Camps have been set up within the constituency from where Zanu PF supporters plan and co-ordinate their violent assaults on the innocent electorate. Listed below are examples of violence by Zanu PF in Zengeza, acts of violence that have gone unpunished by the police:



6 March: An MDC supporter, identified as Chikemu, was admitted to hospital after being brutally assaulted by Zanu PF militia


7 March: A campaign rally which was supposed to be addressed by the MDC President and the MDC Secretary General, had to cancelled after the venue was invaded by 300 members of the Zanu PF youth militia.


9 March: Zanu PF militia attacked and injured 3 MDC activists who were disseminating election material in Unit K.


10 March: Scores of MDC activists were attacked by over 100 Zanu PF youths armed with sticks and chains. The house of MDC candidate James Makore was attacked and anyone seen nearby was viciously assaulted by the marauding Zanu PF gang. An MDC youth, Enock Mukudu, was abducted by Zanu PF youth and forced to pay $30,000 to secure his release. Having paid his abductors the ransom he was then stabbed in the left arm and severely beaten.


The Zengeza by-election is demonstrating once again the extent to which Mugabe and Zanu PF are flagrantly violating the SADC Protocol vis-à-vis the conduct of elections, a protocol to which the Zimbabwe government is a signatory. The MDC continues to be denied access to the voters’ roll, state media remains the exclusive domain of the ruling party, MDC campaign efforts are frustrated by a politicised police force whilst the Zanu PF youth militia are permitted to intimidate and attack voters without fear of prosecution. This sort of political environment precludes a free and fair election. Cognisant of this factor, the MDC through its National Executive, recently resolved to reserve the party’s right to take part in the 2005 parliamentary election unless there is a commitment by Mugabe and Zanu PF to administer and manage the poll in accordance with SADC norms and standards. The 15 conditions articulated by the MDC National Executive are set out in the table below.   



1. The establishment of a genuinely independent electoral commission that will be responsible for the running of the entire election and entire electoral process


2. The exclusion of partisan officials, such as the present Registrar General of elections and members of the military, from being involved in the running of elections


3. A completely fresh voter registration exercise, conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission with the assistance of the United Nations


4. The supply of an electronic (computer data base) copy of the voters’ roll to all political parties and interested persons


5. The repeal of those aspects of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIIPA) that curtail media freedoms


6. The repeal of those aspects of the Public order and Security Act (POSA) that curtail the freedom of political parties to campaign


7. The amendment of the Electoral Act so that it conforms with those aspects of the SADC Parliamentary Forums’ ‘Electoral Norms and Standards’ not specifically referred to elsewhere in our 15 conditions


8. The reversal of administrative decisions that have resulted in the closure of the Daily News  and the removal of all obstacles preventing the Daily News and other newspapers from operating freely


9. The liberalisation of the broadcasting media and the opening up of state media to carry equal amounts of coverage of all parties electoral messages pro-rata to the percentage of votes they secured in the last parliamentary election (June 2000)


10. The complete disbanding of the youth militia


11. The use of translucent plastic ballot boxes of secure, single-piece, construction


12. The establishment of a sufficient number of polling stations in order to ensure that voting can be completed within one day


13. Unhindered access to the entire electoral process by international, regional and domestic observer missions


14. That all counting of ballots takes place at polling stations in the mandatory presence of polling agents and observers


15. The use of visible, indelible ink, to identify those who have voted.








Food Crisis

In its latest report, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) said that it expected Zimbabwe to experience a cereal deficit of between 500,000 and 800,000 metric tonnes during the next 12 months.


A report published by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee has warned that 2.5 million urban Zimbabweans are now experiencing chronic food shortages and that an estimated 72% of the urban population were now living below the poverty datum line, a figure that had doubled since 1995. 


Alleged Confessions Rejected

Judge Sandra Mungwira has rejected the alleged confessions of six MDC activists accused of killing war veteran Cain Nkala in 2001. Mungwira ruled that the police had assaulted the six and their relatives, deprived them of sleep and food, threatened them with guns and denied them medical attention and access to lawyers. Lawyers acting for the accused will now ask the state to withdraw the charges. 


Banking Crisis

Chronic liquidity problems, which are posing a real threat to the stability of the Zimbabwe banking sector, recently accounted for the closure of the Intermarket Building Society, a development which, according to media reports, could delay thousands of civil servants from accessing their March salaries.