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

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Kuwait News Agency

      No hope of a free and fair Zimbabwe election, Amnesty

      No hope of a free and fair Zimbabwe election, Amnesty

      (EMBARGOED UNTIL 0001G, WED. MAR 16) LONDON, March 15 (KUNA) -- 
Zimbabwe's persistent and systematic violations of human rights have made
free participation in this month's general election impossible, Amnesty
International said Wednesday.

      The human rights group said in a press release here its mission to
Zimbabwe last month gathered evidence of continued government intimidation
and arbitrary arrest of opposition candidates and supporters, manipulation
of food distribution for political purposes and severe restrictions on
freedom of assembly and expression.

      "Persistent, long-term and systematic violations of human rights and
the government's repeated and deliberate failure to bring to justice those
suspected to be responsible means Zimbabweans are unable to take part in the
election process freely and without fear," Amnesty said.

      "The climate of intimidation and harassment in which the elections are
planned is a serious matter for international concern," said Kolawole
Olaniyan, director of Amnesty's African programme.

      Amnesty said it would present its latest findings in a briefing to
election monitors ahead of the election.

      However, Zimbabwe has limited the number of election monitoring teams
it will allow in the country and has specifically excluded teams that gave
the country's 2002 presidential election a negative report.

      Amnesty said the human rights violations it documented include the
arbitrary arrests to hinder opposition campaigning activities.

      It added that the arrests included at least eight candidates of the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, the party's director of
elections and several campaign workers.

      Amnesty said it has evidence that opposition supporters have been
beaten and that in some cases, their homes were burned.

      The election is on March 31. (end)

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Daily News online edition

      Bennett to stand for MP from prison

      Date: 15-Mar, 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's Electoral Court today ruled that incarcerated
Movement for Democratic Change MP Roy Bennett is eligible to contest the
parliamentary elections scheduled for March 31. He will now square up
against ruling Zanu PF's Samuel Undenge.

      Justice Tendai Uchena, in the first case to be heard before the court,
said Bennett was not a criminal as his offence, that of pushing Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa in parliament,
was not covered in the criminal statutes. The court ruling comes after
Bennett had appealed to the Election Court against the nullification of his

      Bennett's legal counsel, Beatrice Mtetwa, said Justice Uchena had
ordered that the decision of the nomination court, which sat on February 24,
be set aside.

      "The election day for the Chimanimani constituency has therefore been
moved to April 30 to allow all parties time to campaign," said Mtetwa. The
judge ordered the constituency election officer to hold the nomination court
for the constituency on April 4.

      Bennett had submitted his papers to stand on an MDC ticket in the
constituency, but the election officer ruled him ineligible saying he was
serving a prison sentence. Under Zimbabwe's constitution, if one is
sentenced to a prison term of six months and above, one cannot stand as a
parliamentary candidate.

      Bennett's wife, Heather, immediately filed her papers to stand as a
candidate in the March 31 poll. She would have been representing the
constituency on an MDC ticket.

      Bennett, the only white rural MP, is serving a 12-month prison
sentence imposed by Parliament for a scuffle he was involved in with Justice
minister Chinamasa. He is serving out the sentence at a rural prison in the
backwoods of Mutoko, some 220km north-east of the capital Harare.

      Ruling ZANU PF party members used their superiority in numbers to send
Bennett to jail under the Parliamentary Privileges and Immunities Act which
empowers the House to discipline or even jail its members.

      "Said Mtetwa: "Bennett, under the constitution of Zimbabwe, has the
right to contest the election. He will of course be fighting an unfair fight
as he will not be released to campaign for the poll. But it will be
interesting if he wins the seat from the confines of his prison cell."

      All efforts by Bennett to be released before the March 31 poll date
have to date been in vain. Bennett had argued in the High Court that because
his sentence could only be up to March 30 - the day Parliament steps down -
or a total of about 153 days from the date he was committed to jail last
October, he should therefore have been released earlier this month because
of good behavior.

      Bennett says his imprisonment should therefore end on March 30 and if
a third of his sentence was knocked off for good behaviour in terms of the
Prisons Act, he should have been out of jail on February 7.

      In his affidavit, Bennett argued that although Parliament had
committed him to an effective 12 months in jail, the sentence automatically
expires at the expiry of the life of the Fifth Parliament according to the
Parliamentary Immunities and Privileges Act.

      The High Court turned down his request for early release.

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Daily News online edition

      Top ruling party thug defects to MDC

      Date: 15-Mar, 2005

      CHIMANIMANI - One of Zanu PF's most notorious and violent thugs in the
Chimanimani constituency, Razaro Dhliwayo, has defected from the ruling
party to the country's biggest opposition party, Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) ahead of the country's March 31 poll.

      Dhliwayo, who told SW Africa Radio yesterday that he was responsible
for a series of violent acts that included the beatings of MDC supporters in
Chimanimani constituency, said he had decided to defect after seeing that
the ruling party was going to lose in the forthcoming elections.

      Speaking from an underground location in the eastern highlands, he
revealed that attacks on opposition members in the constituency were
sanctioned by the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
operatives based in Chimanimani, who operated without any interference from
the police.

      He also said officers from the president's office would summon him to
their offices and give him instructions to target MDC supporters.

      In one of his most daring attacks, Dhliwayo led a group of Zanu PF
youths that invaded the MDC offices in Chimanimani. In the office, they beat
up Shane Kidd and left him for dead. His wife was seriously injured in the

      He said he had also decided to defect from the ruling party after he
differed with others in the party on the choice of the candidate to be
fielded for the constituency in the March 31 poll.

      Chimanimani was represented in the outgoing parliament by Roy Bennett
of MDC, who is currently languishing in prison for pushing a cabinet
minister during a heated debate in the house. Roy's wife has successfully
filed papers to stand for parliament in the constituency, following the
failure to get her husband released before the poll.

      Dhliwayo becomes the first Zanu PF member to publicly defect to the
opposition MDC during this election campaign period. In the past, the ruling
party has exploited those who defect from the opposition as a campaign
propaganda weapon.

      In some cases, candidates from the opposition party have been forced
to publicly withdraw from the election and defect to Zanu PF in order for
them to live peacefully in their communities.

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi, asked about the possibility of MDC
candidates defecting to the ruling party before the elections, said all the
party's candidates had vowed to remain with MDC despite intimidation or
violence from Zanu PF.

      "The machinery which Zanu PF had during the previous elections is no
longer there. Our people have decided not to be intimidated as they will
equally match Zanu PF during the campaign period," he said.

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Daily News online edition

      MDC, Zanu PF try music to woo support

      Date: 15-Mar, 2005

      HARARE - Music has become a powerful tool for campaigning as Zimbabwe's
two major political parties, Zanu PF and MDC, are now pumping up the volume
with political songs blaring from sound trucks, radios and loudspeakers in
an attempt to lure opponents ahead of the March 31 crucial poll.

      Zanu PF, using music from a just released eight-track album called
Zimbabwe 2005 recorded by the party's political commissar Eliot Manyika, has
hired trucks which are patrolling the country's urban area, churning out
tunes from the album.

      Songs such as Sheyera Mabhuzu Mana, which means "fire rocket-propelled
grenades", which is a celebration of the country's 1970s independence war,
can be heard from the loud speakers as the cars drive through shopping
centres and other public places in the townships.

      Due to Zanu PF's grip on the public media, songs from the album have
now become popular on the national radio stations. Manyika's album includes
upbeat offerings accusing Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, of selling out
to former colonial power Britain.

      The album also contains music which has been criticized as promoting
political violence. One such songs is "Mbiri Yechigandanga" a song which
portrays the Zanu PF presidium of Robert Mugabe, Joseph Msika and Joyce
Mujuru as champions of Zimbabwe's bloody war of revolution.

      On the other hand, MDC has also written songs featuring lyrics
critical of Mugabe's rule. Although these songs are not getting air play in
the public media, they have become popular with the township youths, who
always sing along when the trucks on which loud speakers are mounted pass

      Most of the songs have been composed by MDC legislator, Paul Madzore.
They include a reggae-inspired number charging "they have ruined the
country" - a clear reference to Mugabe and his allies, whom MDC accuses of
ruining Zimbabwe's economic might.

      MDC's campaign convoy is also targeting the rural areas, where it has
managed to campaign relatively freely for the first time in the last three

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Daily News online edition

      If there*s a rigging plot please expose it now

      Date: 15-Mar, 2005

      MANY critics of President Robert Mugabe's government are
understandably sceptical of the freedom with which the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change is being allowed to operate as the 31 March election

      The party has not held so many rallies or with such ease during a
non-election period. The police, using the provisions in the repressive
Public Order and Security Act (Posa), have restricted such rallies to a very
few. But this time around, it seems to many people that Zanu PF must have a
few aces up its sleeve to allow the MDC so much leeway in this election

      Even the MDC itself is alarmed, it seems. At the weekend, the leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, told a rally they knew of the government's plot to rig
the elections. Most students of Zimbabwean politics are aware it would be
unwise to view Zanu PF as a party incapable of rigging an election.

      Margaret Dongo, a former Zanla cadre and Zanu PF Member of Parliament,
proved in the 1990s that Zanu PF's rigging can be exposed. She challenged
her defeat as Independent candidate in an election, then proceeded to prove
in court that Zanu PF had rigged the election. She won the subsequent

      More than 30 of the results of the 2000 parliamentary elections were
declared null and void by the courts, again because Zanu PF was proved to
have played dirty tricks to win. But the MDC failed to benefit from the
court decisions against Zanu PF because of a complicated legal system which
allowed the disgraced MPs to continue sitting in the House.

      If there is indeed a plot to rig the 2005 parliamentary elections,
then whoever has the information must reveal it to all who are involved in
the preparation of the poll. If Tsvangirai has evidence of the plot, we urge
him to expose it - to the Electoral Supervisory Commission, the Southern
Africa Development Community, the African Union, and every other regional
and international organisation even remotely connected with democracy.

      Tsvangirai told his rally at the weekend that Jonathan Moyo had
provided them with the information on the plot. To many, this information
could be taken with a pinch of salt. Moyo is consumed by revenge against
Zanu PF. It would be wise to double-check his information, because it is too
vital to be left to chance.

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Analysis of Zanu PF's Empty Boast On Polls

The Daily News (Harare)

March 15, 2005
Posted to the web March 15, 2005

Munodii Kunzwa

ZANU PF insists on making the empty boast that free and fair elections have
been held in this country since independence. But an analysis, even by a
so-called born-free Zimbabwean, would throw up much evidence that this boast
is, like other boasts by this party, patently empty.

One would love to quote a tome on the subject by that garrulous former head
of the government's information department, Jonathan Moyo. But there is a
good chance he would repudiate it, as he has repudiated most of what he
wrote before 2000, the year in which, according to his detractors, it was
revealed to him in an apparition of Biblical intensity, that Robert Gabriel
Mugabe was truly Zimbabwe's Messiah, and not the Zvimba-born charlatan that
Moyo had called him until then.

Moyo penned an analysis of the 1990 presidential and parliamentary
elections, in which his favourite candidate was Edgar Tekere, who lost to
Mugabe in the presidential stakes.

There is not much evidence that Moyo himself was a member of Tekere's
Zimbabwe Unity Movement (Zum) then. But it is hard, after reading his
analysis, not to conclude that he was convinced the elections were not free
or fair.

Yet it is now difficult, for any genuine, honest analyst to refer to any of
Moyo's pre-2000 analyses. He has virtually disowned them all. However, the
point of all elections since 1980 not being truly free and fair can be made
on fairly solid ground.

An incident involving a top Zanu PF leader haranguing chiefs in Masvingo
province provides poignacy to the argument. The party leader told the chiefs
if Zanu PF lost power there would be another bush war. This threat was
repeated a number of times in a number of elections in any provinces
evincing signs of a loss of faith in Zanu PF.

In the rural areas, the war left indelible scars. People died horrible
deaths, at the hands of the Selous and Grey Scouts and the vakomana, the
boys, the freedom fighters. In any guerilla war, victory over the hearts and
minds of the people can be achieved through brutal means. The pungwes -
all-night political education rallies held by the guerillas - featured in
graphic, horrific detail, the consequences of the betrayal of The Cause.

Many survivors today know that this was not mere rhetoric. Traitors were
given short shrift. So the terror was real. Most village voters were
terrorised out of their minds by a return to the days of the magandanga.

There is ample evidence of Zanu PF's methods of coercion. In the villages
and in the suburbs. People were warned about the consequences of not
attending party meetings. Before that they were warned of the consequences
of not belonging to the party.

If they did not belong to the party, they were told they had to be
sell-outs, Dzakutsaku, members of Bishop Abel Muzorewa's United African
National Council (UANC). People were warned of the dire consequences of not
voting for Zanu PF. These were not idle threats either.

Structures in the villages were not, as you would expect, based on the
government, but on the party. Village and ward committees were all under
party district committees. Zanu PF continued to embrace the one-party
system, even after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the virtual end of
Communism as it was practised during the heyday of the communist parties of
the two biggest nations to espouse that ideology - the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics and the People's Republic of China.

Until the Movement for Democratic Change was formed in 1999, not one
political party had ever counted for much as an opposition. Ndabaningi
Sithole's Zanu, was confined to his home area, Chipinge in Manicaland.

After the 1980 elections, during which they won three seats, Muzorewa's
party went virtual comatose. There were attempts to revive the UANC to bring
it to the same level of popularity as when it boasted of being Huru Yadzo
(the biggest one, presumably of the political parties), before independence.
But they all flopped until Muzorewa withdrew from the political fray.

In promoting the one-party system as the ideal method of bringing unity into
the country, Zanu PF went to great lengths to show how violence could be
eliminated if only one political party existed. The party used violence to
drive home its point. Its biggest campaign was the Matabeleland-Midlands

Only when everyone agreed with the principles and policies of this one party
would there be peace - so the argument went. All those who disagreed with
the party risked having violence committed against them. Zanu PF had adopted
the ideology during the struggle.

Whether they fought from Zambia, Mozambique or Angola, they had a close-up
view of the one-party system at work. All three countries were one-party
dictatorships after their independence. Before they transferred to the three
countries, they were based in Tanzania, where Julius Nyerere ran a one-party
state. His only challenger for power, Zuberi Mutemvu, had disappeared,
politically, after independence in 1961.

Even after Tekere's Zum won two seats in the 1990 elections, Mugabe and Zanu
PF still flirted with the idea of ruling the political roost for a thousand
years, as Ian Smith had once predicted about his own reign. But in 2000,
when ordinary people had tasted their first victory against Zanu PF in the
constitutional referendum, they were itching to "do their stuff" in the
parliamentary elections of the same year.

Those elections were absolutely not free or fair. There was violence on a
huge scale. Zanu PF was outraged by what they must have seen as the
impudence of the MDC, fielding candidates in all 120 contested
constituencies, after being in existence for just nine months.

Mugabe coined a new name for Morgan Tsvangirai - Tsvangison, a wannabe
white. Mugabe knew his party was on the wane. More importantly, he knew he
himself was on his way out. He had had a foretaste of this in the
referendum - what the people had rejected were not just Zanu PF's proposed
amendments to the Lancaster House constitution, but the provision which
seemed to guarantee his continued presidency under it.

Today, the indications are that both Mugabe and Zanu PF are in decline.
There are spirited attempts to make the 31 March elections truly free and
fair. Thabo Mbeki, by publicly criticising the state of the voters' roll was
demonstrating, for the first time in many years, that Mugabe is not the
squeaky clean democrat that he had always thought he was. How can a free and
fair election be held when the voters' roll is in a shambles? But that is
what every voter in Zimbabwe knows: the voters' roll has always been in a
Zanu PF-created shambles at every election, and that is why the elections
have never been free and fair. If Mugabe and Zanu PF have heeded Mbeki's
call to clean up the voters' roll, then they must know what the result of
the elections could be. Mbeki, in that case, may turn out to have
compensated for all his previous mistakes on Zimbabwe. He may not like the
winners, but he will have given Zimbabwe a Parliament truly of the people,
and not in the Marxist-Leninist sense, either.
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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Maintains Grip on Public Media

Mar 15, 2005 Harare
Zimbabwe's government is allowing opposition candidates access to state
broadcasters to campaign for the March 31st parliamentary elections. But
some analysts say access to state broadcasters is still weighted in favor of
the ruling party.

Zimbabwe's four radio stations and one television channel are all
state-owned and controlled and collectively known as Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings. They are known for their pro-ruling Zanu-PF party propaganda and
vilification of the opposition.

But a new law strives to balance the political advertising. For the first
time in Zimbabwe's history the broadcasters are forced to accept campaign
advertisements from opposition parties or candidates. It also requires that
the broadcasters allocate equal time for the broadcasting of election

All this has been welcomed by analysts.

The spokesperson for the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, Nhlanhla
Ngwenya, described the new law as a good development since in previous
elections it was up to the broadcaster to decide who would get access and
when. But he expressed concern that outside what the law defines as programs
relating to an election, the rabid denigration of the opposition continues.

Mr. Ngwenya says many programs including the news have not changed.

"The news is still biased in favor of the ruling party. Some of the items
are not even newsworthy. That is where they are slotting items about ruling
party campaign activities, giving them positive publicity in their news
bulletins, but then they claim they are not obliged to cover the
opposition," he said.

Mr. Ngwenya said President Robert Mugabe's 81st birthday celebration, which
was carried on television in its entirety, is an example of Zanu-PF's abuse
of the public broadcaster. When Mr. Mugabe launched his party campaign and
manifesto last month, the four-hour proceedings were carried live on
television. When the opposition Movement for Democratic Change launched its
campaign, it got nothing more than a two-minute news item.

The law also set advertising rates which many parties and candidates find
too high.

"There are very few opposition adverts and I think it is due to the
prohibitive costs. But Zanu-PF adverts are beginning to flood the airwaves,"
he said,

The high cost factor was confirmed by Movement for Democratic Change
spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi, as the reason his party cannot match the
ruling party's level of advertising.

Mr. Nyathi says while the idea is good, the way it is being executed is a
clear sign that it is yet another Zanu-PF ploy to dupe the international
community into thinking Zimbabwe is implementing the Southern African
Development Community guidelines on elections; to which the government is a

The regulations do not cover the state-owned print media. As a result,
newspapers continue their assault on the opposition and, like radio and
television, they carry Zanu-PF advertisements on what the party has dubbed
'the anti-Blair' elections. This is a reference to the ruling party's charge
that the Movement for Democratic Change is a front for the British
government's plan to re-colonize Zimbabwe.

But Rindai Chipfunda of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network says the
newspaper advertisements will not likely have a major impact on voters. She
says because newspapers target mostly more sophisticated voters in the urban
areas, they will not be as easily swayed by the advertisements' messages.

"In my view radio is far much better; 70-percent of rural-based voters rely
on radio for information. For those in the urban areas who read the
newspapers, they are already informed," she said.

Most analysts say that Zanu-PF has won the battle of the airwaves. The world
will know whether this will translate into more votes for the party on March
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Mail and Guardian

      Zim govt shuts out trade unions from poll

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      15 March 2005 05:33

            President Robert Mugabe's government said on Tuesday that it
will not let Zimbabwe's main trade union federation monitor crucial
elections this month, charging that it is an agent of former colonial ruler

            Justice Patrick Chinamasa said in a statement that the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has a track record of working with British
Prime Minister Tony Blair's government, a fierce critic of the regime in

            "[The] ZCTU over the years acted in league with external forces,
in particular the Blair government and the British Labour Party, to cause
the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe," he said.

            "ZCTU's secretary general, Wellington Chibebe, has been a
regular feature at the British Labour Party annual conferences and has used
the platform to call for ... international isolation of the country and the
illegal removal of the legitimate government."

            Chinamasa said the ZCTU has not been invited to observe the
March 31 parliamentary vote as it has "biased and preconceived ideas about
the outcome of the elections".

            Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence from
Britain in 1980, has repeatedly attacked Blair for "interfering" in his
country's affairs and claimed Blair wants to "re-colonise" the Southern
African country.

            However, Chinamasa said 29 local organisations have been invited
to supervise the elections, including Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Zimbabwe Election Support Network.

            The ZCTU, which monitored the 2002 elections won by Mugabe,
further earned Harare's ire for trying to get the main labour federation
from regional giant South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade
Unions, to stage a pre-poll fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe.

            In 1999, the ZCTU joined forces with student unions and civic
organisations to form the Movement for Democratic Change -- the main
opposition party that has posed the stiffest challenge to Mugabe's 25-year
rule. -- Sapa-AFP

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'Public Figures Should Disclose Sources of Income'

The Herald (Harare)

March 15, 2005
Posted to the web March 15, 2005

Bulawayo Bureau

PUBLIC officials should be asked to disclose their wealth, sources of income
and an audit of their lifestyles regularly as a way of fighting corruption
in the public sector, the Attorney General, Mr Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, has

Speaking to journalist at an investigative journalism workshop held in
Harare recently, Mr Gula-Ndebele described corruption as Zimbabwe's biggest
drawback and said public officials should be put on the spotlight since they
had access to public funds.

"Public officials should disclose their sources of income and there should
be an audit of their lifestyles. For example, if I am seen driving two
convertible Mercedes Benz cars but my salary is not enough to buy such cars,
questions should be raised as to how I acquired the money to buy the cars
and I should be able to give answers," he said.

Mr Gula-Ndebele said corrupt individuals should be punished heavily to send
a message that the malpractice is not tolerated as it has serious
implications on the economy and the populace at large.

"The victims of corruption are the ordinary people, especially the poor such
as those who can not afford to pay a bribe to quickly get a birth
certificate at the registry offices or the person who wants a place at Seke
Teachers College but cannot afford to bribe an official to get the place.

"In situations where people are awarded tenders corruptly, the suppliers
simply pass on the costs to the end user, who is an ordinary person, at the
same time fuelling inflation which has a negative effect on the economy."

He called on all Zimbabweans not to accept corruption as a part of their

The Attorney General challenged journalists to play a pivotal role in
exposing corruption saying the country's media has been admiring corrupt
individuals instead of exposing them.

"We all see it; we are quiet about it; we even envy it. We are in complicity
with the corrupt if we don't expose them," he said.

In an attempt to expose corruption, Mr Gula-Ndebele said journalists should
guard against accepting bribes as this could result in their reputation,
integrity and profession being tainted.

He said in an attempt to expose corrupt individuals, journalists should be
patient and make thorough investigations which should leave corrupt
individuals totally exposed.

"Corruption by its nature thrives on secrecy and one needs to be careful and
patient when investigating. If you scratch on the surface, you will be
saying, 'we can see you, please hide further' and the individual will become
more careful,"

Speaking on the same subject, University of Zimbabwe, media studies lecturer
and former editor of The Sunday Mail and editor in-chief of Ziana, Mr Henry
Muradzikwa, said even members of the public, who are living out of their
means, should be asked to divulge their sources of income.

"He, however, defined corruption as a product of unrestrained greed and
selfishness. Many of us do our best to work for our needs and wants. At the
end of the day we accept our stations in life. But not for the corrupt. To
them, the end justifies the means. They want wealth and to accumulate wealth
regardless of the law and society's binding moral code," he said.

"How else can we describe a man who builds a house with 20 luxury bedrooms,
when he has only two children and a wife? How else can we describe a man who
siphons off $90 billion from a company.

"Think about a civil servant owning six mansions in the leafy suburbs of
Harare. Why would I want 10 luxury cars and replace them each year?

"One thing is clear - this is not legitimately acquired," said Mr
Muradzikwa, calling for journalist to be bold when tackling corruption
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New Zimbabwe

Zim journalists have been sold dummies

By Farirai Farai
Last updated: 03/15/2005 20:35:04
WHAT'S gone wrong with Zimbabwe journalists?

Apart sister Grace Kwinjeh, Ken Mafuka, Dumisani Muleya and a few others,
our scribes are losing the grip of what has gone wrong with Zimbabwe.

The other day I was so sad when seasoned writers like Pius Wakatama wrote
congratulating Robert Mugabe for picking Joyce Mujuru for Vice President.

Our journalists appear to have been distracted from the real problem facing
Zimbabwe: Robert Gabrial Mugabe.

Mugabe is clever, and there is no doubt about that, but his abilty to fool
even the best of our scribes leaves me so discouraged. Believe me you
Jonathan Moyo, Tafataona Mahoso, Pikirai Deketeke, Joseph Chinotimba,
Augustine Chihuri, Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe etc are not bad people at all.
These are all tools that simply could not resist abuse from the demonic
master Robert Gabrial Mugabe.

Why do I say this? Mugabe has always been cruel, wicked, self serving and
ruthless to any face that does not resemble his. His egotistic nuerosis and
demented, selfish, inward-looking personality has not been always easy to
see as he would cover this with his power of oratory.

The signs were there when he mercilessly crushed the Nhari rebellion
(ruthless murder of fellow colleagues who dared challenge his authority in
cold blood) in Zambia and Mozambique before independence in 1980. Mugabe
then mastered the art of using his unwanted stooges to divert attention from
himself. Look seriously at all periods towards elections when the pressure
was on Mugabe. He would always find someone to blame and he would come out

Way back, towards elections in 1985 a well respected hard working Mr Paweni
was sacrificed for fraudulant activities, we were made to believe. The media
swallowed this hook line and sinker. Everybody talked about Paweni and even
the Zimbabwean dollar was called "mapaweni". Towards the 1990 elections came
the "Willowgate Scandal".

That whirl wind took with it Mutumbuka, Morris Nyagumbo and a few other guys
(all faithful and loyal Mugabe cronies). The media again went into a frenzy
with the stories of this scandal and the heat was off Mugabe and he won the
elections comfortably. Towards 1995 elections it was the war victims fund
which shook Harare and the media again were given something to chase. In
2000 Kumbirai Kangai was sacrificed because of the food shortages and the
land question became an issue.

Now see how attention has been diverted from real issues to locking up
simple stupid souls like James Makamba, Chris Kuruneri, Phillip Chiyangwa
and those dear brothers called spies.

Now, we have Jonathan Moyo. Mugabe knew a long time ago that he would use
Jonathan to his advantage. Now the papers are awash with stories on Jonathan
Moyo. I can assure you that there is nothing that Brother Jonathan did which
was not from Gushungo. The moment he wanted to exercise his own mind, he
became enemy number one. Jonathan unknowingly or knowingly was used to whip
John Nkomo and Msika into line.These guys had started to slaken in their
duties and loyalties but with Jonathan threatening to skip them into the
higher echelons of power, they woke up and started to work hard to please
the master. Now Cde Jonathan is still being used. All papers are awash with
his stories. The Independent of last week has four stories!

Scribes, please research and expose this monster for us so that people will
not be confused of who the true enermy of Zimbabwe is.
Farirai Farai is a school teacher

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New Zimbabwe

An open letter to President Mbeki

By Bekithemba Mhlanga
Last updated: 03/15/2005 20:35:56

Dear Mr President,

One of your speeches that has remained etched in my memory was about how you
felt about being an African. In that speech you pointed out that as you
traversed the continent of Africa from Mbare to Borrowdale in Zimbabwe it
reminded you that you were an African.

I write this letter in response to one of your speeches that again will
remain etched in my memory for a very long time once more - that Zimbabwe's
elections will be free and fair. I write this letter on behalf of all the
Africans from Mbare to Borrowdale who are at pains to understand the
context, thrust or object of your speech Mr President.

While it has become clear that your quiet diplomacy has not achieved what
you set out to achieve, the ordinary African in Zimbabwe has seen their
living standards decline on an accelerated basis for the last five years.
Life expectancy has been drastically cut, hundreds of people have lost their
jobs. I guess they deserve this because they are Africans.

How else can we explain the stance that you have taken over the situation in
Zimbabwe. Surely Mr President I would not want to doubt your position as
ingqwele (the big boy) of southern Africa by your stance on Zimbabwe. Could
this be some collective punishment that you are meting out to an entire
nation for the ill treatment you went through at the hands of Mugabe's
government during your fight for freedom?

It is difficult to explain to a 50 year old woman who has spent the whole
day at street corner selling vegetables and only managing to sell one bag of
potatoes for less than twenty cents, that what you are trying to do is not
to anger Robert Mugabe but hopefully cajole him into some sympathetic
position towards his people.

President Mbeki, the people of Zimbabwe do not need sympathy from Mugabe but
enlightened leadership that will bring them peace, economic prosperity and
social stability. Maybe they do not deserve all this because they are

I find it mind boggling to hear you say that you are probably the only
leader in the world who can go to Zimbabwe and tell the leadership there
what to do. But then you are probably the only leader that the government
there has neither time to listen to nor action any of your calls. That is
why they are prepared to let you roam around Mbare and Borrowdale as much as
you please, because you are an African.

Finally, Mr President I wish to point out to you that before the majority of
Zimbabweans were black, before Zimbabweans were Africans, before Zimbabweans
were oppressed -- they were human beings. Their minimum demand is to be
treated as such not with the standard African treatment what ever that is.

Yours truly,

Bekithemba Mhlanga
Mhlanga is a Zimbabwean broadcast journalist
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The Star

      Getting lost in a maze of poverty and starvation
      March 15, 2005

      It is extraordinarily difficult to find a fat person in Zimbabwe.
Excluded from this statement are, of course, the tourists, foreigners
working in the country on contract (so-called "expats"), foreign journalists
skulking around "under cover", and a number of clearly rich people who may
be spotted driving expensive 4x4s in Harare or at the city's still
plentiful, expensive and very good restaurants.

      Some people argue that this phenomenon is obviously due to the genetic
makeup of the Shona people as well as that of some of the minority groups,
such as the Tonga and Venda. But what of the Ndebele people, the second
largest group in the country after the Shona?

      Historically, they are not slim people. Yet it is they who line the
highway in Matabeleland, from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo, on the western
side of the country, and from Bulawayo to Masvingo, in the south.

      It is eerie. The highway from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo is largely
empty of traffic, and seems deserted, because Matabeleland - traditionally a
stronghold of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change - is
in particular starved of petrol deliveries.

      Yet every few kilometres or so, as you barrel south through the 36¡ C
heat under a cloudless sky, you are momentarily jolted by the sight of a
skeletal arm.

      Holding a single desiccated mielie or some honeycombs, the arms stick
out from between the trees or scrub.

      The arms generally belong to women or children from the villages of
Matabeleland. They are trying desperately to lay their hands on travellers'
money so that they can buy food.

      "It's bad, bad, bad," says a hitchhiker called Lovemore. "There is no
rain, we are hungry, and next year this time we are going to be really
starving and dying, not just hungry."

      No matter what the government's spokespeople say, Zimbabwe is ravaged
by drought, the agricultural sector has unravelled almost totally due to the
government's so-called land reform programme (taking farms away from
commercial farmers), and the rural people especially are hungry.

      There have been no proper rains since December - a subject that is on
the lips of most of the people to whom one speaks.

      And they are easy to talk to. One of the more foolish price increases
implemented by the government has been in the cost of postage stamps by
roughly 7 000%.

      Yet letters used to be the main channel of communication for
Zimbabweans too poor to own a mobile telephone.

      Still, there remains a way of tapping into the country's heartbeat: by
picking up one of the many hitchhikers, unable to afford buses, trying to
move from place to place.

      "This place is a mess," says a preacher called Harrison whom I pick up
near Lupane, the capital of Matabeleland North, "but maybe things will get
better after the election."

      Unlike many other Zimbabweans, he is happy to talk about the
forthcoming elections for more than 45 seconds, and indicates too that he is
definitely going to vote - for the MDC.

      "I just wish this election would be over," says Chris, a guide at the
Victoria Falls. Tonga by tribe, he lives at the edge of Victoria Falls, and
says he and his family are struggling to make ends meet.

      "All we can really afford is bread. The price is controlled at Z$3 500
(about R1,75) but where I live on the outskirts, the shopkeepers always play
games with the price. Maybe when the election is over, the tourists will
return, and we can make some money," Chris says.

      It is not only rural people who have empty pockets. The government's
largest problem, besides the forthcoming parliamentary election (if that is
a problem for the government, which is a separate subject), is an apparently
desperate shortage of foreign exchange.

      Hence the patchy petrol supplies. Hence the new law that hotel and
lodge bills must be settled in foreign currency.

      Hence the extremely wealthy (in Zim dollars) white Harare businessman
in his 70s, Steven Braun, who used to be a cattle farmer and successful
consultant and has lived in Zimbabwe since he was 10.

      Braun needed to pay for his daughter's wedding in South Africa, but
was unable to get foreign exchange at a half-decent rate on the local
"auction" held by the banks. He was pale with anxiety trying to get me to
exchange my US dollars for his Zimbabwean ones.

      Hence too the hysteria about foreigners changing their money on the
"parallel" market rather than at banks or official bureaux de change.

      "Hysteria" is not too strong a word. There is more furtiveness and
fear surrounding changing foreign currency than talking about politics. The
bank rate for the US dollar is roughly Z$6 000, while the parallel market
offers Z$10 000 and more.

      Everyone understands what is happening.

      One late afternoon, I am caught in a speed trap outside Kadoma, some
100km south of Harare, doing 68km/h in a 60 zone.

      The sergeant in charge is adamant: I will have to pay my Z$100 000 in
the local currency. But I do not have any local currency, I explain,
thinking that he and his constable might be fishing for a bribe South

      But he is not looking for a bribe. He wants payment and if I do not
have local currency, then I need to drive back to Kadoma, leaving my
driver's licence with them, and change money. But the banks are by that time
closed, I point out. Tough, he says politely.

      Just then a minibus-taxi is also caught in the trap. I ask the young
driver if he will take US$15 in exchange for Z$100 000 (thus offering him a
good rate). He says he will.

      The sergeant, who witnessed the transaction, says, smiling, "Good, I
see you have managed to change your money," and gives me a receipt for my

      One major source of foreign exchange for Zimbabwe is the tourist trade
and much of it used to revolve around Victoria Falls. But tourism has
slumped badly, especially around the Musi Oa Tunya ("The Smoke That

      People will tell you that compared to the Zambian town of Livingstone
across the border, Victoria Falls is, in tourist terms, a veritable ghost

      The luxurious hotels and lodges on the outskirts of town are running
at about 30% occupancy, if that. And when I go to look at The Smoke That
Thunders, the whole precinct is largely deserted.

      The people selling cold drinks and mineral water at the gates
literally fight one another for my custom.

      But prices - the luxurious bed and breakfast lodge in which I stayed
was US$140 a night - apparently have not come down (there was a rumour that
lowering prices was the response of some of the hotels), and the hotels, and
the curio shops inside them have to operate strictly at the government rate
of exchange.

      As I drive into Victoria Falls in search of cellphone cards, I am
approached by a young man called Slimkop ("I got that name when I worked in
Nambia") and a couple of his friends. They offer to take care of me.

      Slimkop is unemployed and has no prospect of a job. "If only the
tourists would return," he says, "maybe I could get some work. I am really

      But the saddest reaction of all - in response to my question about the
state of tourism - comes from Sheila, who hails originally from Harare, and
works doing facials and massages in the health spas at a number of the

      Sheila simply weeps. "The tourists are not coming. We don't know what
to do. I sit here for hours doing nothing and my husband is not working. My
children are not starving yet but they are hungry. All we can buy is some
bread and a little maize meal."
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Thursday 17th March at 6.00pm


Come and listen to

MORGAN TSVANGARAI - President of the MDC



You can also check that your name is on the voter's roll and the location of your nearest polling station at this meeting - a community service by the MDC.

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Issue 4, Sunday 13 March, 2005

We need your help! Standing together, as Africans, in unity, means
spreading this newsletter as widely as possible! Whether in South
Africa, Zimbabwe, or abroad, whether by e-mail or as a printed copy.
Don't hang on to it! Pass it on!

But please remember: anyone who wants to receive this newsletter
directly from must subscribe through
e-mail in person! This is to avoid problems with local and international
Spam laws and regulations. (More info at the end of this letter).

The Shona and Ndebele translations are available! You can request issue
1, 2 and 3 by sending an email with 'request Shona issue 1, 2 or 3' in
the subject to Also the Ndebele issue
1 and 2 can be requested (email 'request Ndebele issue 1 or 2' to

"International solidarity is still people's power."


1. Voices from South Africa: A message from Messina
2. Opinion and analysis: Zim far from compliant with SADC guidelines
3. Poem: Rest, my sister
4. Voices from Zimbabwe: Free and fair already?
5. Report back from the 3rd Solidarity Conference: The commission
6. News wrap: The MDC calls SA Government misinformed
7. About this newsletter
8. Calendar and Agenda
9. Distribution details and contact info
10. New contact details

On Sunday afternoon hundreds of tired looking South African and
Zimbabwean protesters arrived back from Messina in Pretoria. After a 24
hour Zimbabwe Solidarity Rally with hundreds of fellow protesters and a
line-up of great South African performers, it may come as no surprise
that everybody was exhausted.

On Saturday afternoon the rally started with a march from the Messina
train station to the local police station. There were some 300 people
present who listened intensely to a speech by Crisis in Zimbabwe
representative Daniel Molokele. He commented on the deepening
humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe as well as the human rights violations
committed by the Zimbabwe government as well as the ruling party
Zanu-PF. He made reference to the new surge in repressive legislation
that has seen civil liberties and freedom reduced to levels matched by
the former apartheid Smith regime. After his speech the crowd marched
back to the train station peacefully to return to the Skoonplaas stadium
where an impressive line-up of artists awaited them as well as hundreds
more demonstrators. About 2000 to 3000 people where present throughout
the evening and night to protest against the abuse of fundamental rights
and closure of civic space in Zimbabwe and stand in solidarity with
their fellow Africans, their brothers and sisters on the other side of
the Limpopo border. Artists such as Solly Moholo, Vonani Bila and
Timbila Poets, Youth Channel Choir, Mthakazi Choir, Chegubata, and many
others provided the necessary ambiance and tunes to dance to. They spoke
words of solidarity and protest against the repressive state Zimbabwe
has now become. They noted their disbelief and disgust on how the
Zanu-PF has raped and violated the liberation credentials and ideals.

At around five o'clock Saturday afternoon a delegation of the organising
organisations lead by Sangoco and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, marched
over the Beit Bridge border crossing to the Zimbabwean side to present
the border authorities with a petition. The petition called for the
repeal of repressive legislation in Zimbabwe such as POSA and AIPPA. It
also called for the reform of fraudulent election laws and for SADC to
condemn the human rights violations that are committed by the Zimbabwe
regime and Zanu-PF. Furthermore the petition called for the Zimbabwe
regime to stop using food as a political tool to force people to vote
Zanu-PF as well as for an inclusive constitutional reform process to
commence which would include all political parties as well as civil
society. The delegation was denied access to the Zimbabwe side of the
border post to hand over the petition and rudely ordered to immediately
return to South Africa. The petition was not accepted and the delegation
was asked why they came to 'provoke' the Zimbabwe authorities.

Back in the stadium the concerts kicked off at seven pm. Hassan Lorgat
of Sangoco and Daniel Molokele spoke more words of solidarity and shock
on how the Mugabe regime is creating havoc for the whole of Southern
Africa at large. "Black people in southern Africa are taking a stand
against people who are against liberation," Lorgat said.  The concert
ended with a symbolic lighting of candles and the singing of the South
African and old Zimbabwean anthems, after which a peaceful crowd huddled
together and settled for a well deserved night's sleep under the stars
of the Limpopo skies.

"An injury to one, is an injury to all!"

Zimbabwe is to hold parliamentary elections on 31 March 2005. In the
past four years elections in Zimbabwe have been marked by
government-sanctioned violence and gross violations of human and
constitutional rights. This has been complemented by repressive
legislation aimed at restricting democratic space. The question on
everyone's mind is whether the upcoming elections will be any different:
will it be conducted in a free and fair manner?

If one of the hallmarks of democratic governance requires that the
outcome of elections adequately represent the will and interests of the
people, then a number of fundamental and inter-related rights must be
guaranteed. These include the right to freedom of association, freedom
of movement, freedom of expression, the right to just administrative
action, and freedom from violence and intimidation.

The "SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections",
adopted by all SADC members, including Zimbabwe, at their August 2004
summit in Mauritius re-affirms the position that an open and
violence-free political climate is a necessary pre-requisite for a free
and fair election. The upcoming parliamentary election in Zimbabwe will
therefore provide an important litmus test on whether SADC is truly
committed in promoting and ensuring democratic governance among its own
member states. This piece seeks to briefly explain how the realities on
the ground reveal that Zimbabwe is in fact nowhere near compliance with
the standards set out in the SADC protocol.

Electoral Legislation
Those who claim satisfaction with Zimbabwe's compliance with SADC's
protocol on democratic elections, largely base their argument on the
recent introduction of new electoral legislation in Zimbabwe. However,
neither the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act (ZEC) nor the Electoral
Bill (EB) effects any substantive change that will facilitate free and
fair elections.

Though the ZEC was created ostensibly to bring Zimbabwe into compliance
with the SADC principle calling for an "impartial, all-inclusive,
competent and accountable national electoral body" responsible for the
conduct of elections, the reality is that the new ZEC centralizes
control over the conduct of elections into the hands of the ruling party
and its functionaries. This is evidenced by the fact that the commission
was created unilaterally, without consultation with other political
parties, and whose members consist of persons appointed by the
president. Unsurprisingly those who have been appointed are widely
viewed as ruling party-sympathizers.

Through these two new bills, the once active role of civil society in
areas such as voter education and election monitoring have been
effectively squeezed out. The ZEC now gives the Commission control over
voter education activities, including the power to ban, or amend voter
education syllabi, while the new Electoral Bill stipulates that election
monitors are to be now recruited from the public service. This is very
worrying because election monitors may now include members of the army,
police and youth militia. These are all groups who have been widely
accused of perpetrating violence and intimidation against the electorate
in the past, and until today.

Overall, even if the ZEC were to be comprised of impartial
commissioners, and even if the recruitment of election monitors and
responsibility over voter education activities were to be devolved back
to non-governmental bodies and institutions, neither pieces of
legislation can change the fundamental problem in Zimbabwe: the broad
lack of basic democratic rights.

Fundamental Human and Civil Liberties
The SADC Protocol stipulates that "human and civil liberties" should be
rigorously safeguarded and that constitutional and legal guarantees need
to be in place to ensure this. This is perhaps, the most important point
because in order for there to be "full participation of citizens in
political processes," such freedoms, such as the freedoms of
association, assembly and expression, need to be absolutely guaranteed.
With the existence of offensive legislation, like the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA), and the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) - laws that effectively prevent protest, dissent or
criticism - one would be hard pressed to say that the Zimbabwe
Government is eager to safeguard basic civil liberties.

The impact of these laws on the activities of the political opposition,
the independent press and civic groups have been well documented. These
laws have been used to monitor and control the political activities of
opposition groups while also curtailing the emergence of independent and
potentially critical voices from civil society and the media. Indeed,
the MDC has reported that in recent weeks, the police or army have used
POSA to disrupt and disperse MDC training sessions, meetings and
campaign rallies. Those MDC officials responsible for convening such
public gatherings have been arrested and detained. Civic groups, such as
WOZA and the NCA, and trade union groups, like the ZCTU, have also been
punished for holding peaceful demonstrations which were meant to
highlight a wide-array of issues and concerns, from women's rights to
high taxation.

Flow of information continues to be tightly controlled by the state in
its effort to prevent the emergence of critical voices in the media.
AIPPA was used just last week to close down yet another independent
newspaper, the Weekly Mail; while three foreign correspondents, critical
of the regime, were forced to leave Zimbabwe after being accused, among
other things, of failing to properly apply for accreditation as
stipulated in the Act.

Because the President and the Minister of Information control
appointments to the Broadcasting Authority - the authority which
dispenses broadcasting licenses - it should come as no surprise that no
such license has been given out to an independent radio or television
station. State-owned ZBC meanwhile, has refused to air political adverts
for the MDC, in blatant contravention of the SADC principle providing
equal access to public media. ZBC refuses to air adverts that criticize
the President, or make reference to ZANU (PF). In effect, by prohibiting
other political parties from challenging the record of the ruling party,
the decision by ZBC effectively eliminates the ability of opposition
parties to campaign and fairly compete in the political process.

Violence and Intolerance
All of this - the effect of repressive legislation, and the introduction
of new electoral legislation - has continued to occur in a climate of
political intolerance, violence and intimidation. Statements that have
suggested that lower levels of violence is an indicator of positive
change forget that violence and intimidation have been both on-going and
systematic over the last few years. A sudden dip in violence three weeks
before election day is meaningless to victims, their families and
communities whose psyche has already been etched with the all important
message from ZANU (PF): vote for the ruling party or incur future
victimization. To give credence to recent speeches from government
officials, including Robert Mugabe, in which they disavow the use of
violence, ignores this legacy of past elections.

Despite rhetorical flourishes asserting otherwise, violence has indeed
been rising. The MDC has recently reported that many of its members who
have been caught canvassing for support, or putting up posters have been
brutally assaulted or detained. Most perpetrators, whether ruling party
supporters, youth militia, or public servants, have largely gone

The NCA, in a survey aimed at establishing the prevailing political
climate in six of the ten provinces, has found in all six provinces,
that the political climate is neither peaceful nor tolerant enough to
ensure full and free participation by citizens in the upcoming
elections. The NCA found that citizens are often forced to attend ruling
party rallies and chant ZANU (PF) slogans. Movement is restricted
through unofficial curfews and through the need to show a ZANU (PF)
party card. Independent political activity and independent newspapers
have been banned and there are little or no voter education programs
active on the ground.

The entire electoral environment cannot be changed by rhetorical
assurances disavowing violence. Nor can it be changed by the
introduction of new electoral legislation, especially ones that on
closer inspection, narrow democratic space, by merely reproducing the
authoritarian tendencies of a predatory state. Implementing democratic
reforms and re-gaining confidence among the electorate are long and
contested processes that should be both inclusive and consultative.
While, the adoption of the SADC protocol was a good step forward for the
promotion of democracy in the region, the question remains whether the
commitments made in Mauritius were sincere, or merely cosmetic. To
assert that Zimbabwe's recent electoral reforms represent its full
compliance with the SADC protocol, lends unwarranted moral support to
the Government in Harare and dangerously suggests that SADC's adoption
of its 2004 protocol on democratic elections was an empty exercise.

"The struggle continues for peace, truth and justice in Southern

You have come a long way
You have fought battles
To free yourself -
To free your people -
To free your country -
To liberate mankind.
Your harvest lives:
Rest, my sister, rest.

I know your anger
But rest in peace,
Your anger I shall shoulder
Up mountains
Across rivers
All over Zimbabwe
I shall fight
For the reason I bury you today.
In the name of struggle
Rest, my sister, rest.

Courtesy of Freedom T.V. Nyamubuya, from on the road again, Freedom

"Peace and democracy in Zimbabwe! Now!"

Three weeks to go and the election is already being declared free and
fair. There is an alarming sense of déjà vu, with that little phrase, "a
legitimate expression of the people's will", already being dusted off
for the SADC report. To the concerned Zimbabwean and those in solidarity
with the plight of the Zimbabwean people, it seems incredible that we
can have come so far and moved so little.

Once again Zimbabwean elections are being sacrificed on the altar of
political interest, but the interests of Africa, and especially SADC,
are beginning to look more than a little shallow. Two factors now seem
to be relevant to an understanding of the public positions of SADC
leaders. The first seems to be the "Bush" factor. Quite simply, if the
Bush administration calls Zimbabwe a "tyranny" and a threat to American
foreign policy, then all African states must condemn this and rush
immediately to the support of Zimbabwe. Here the real argument is over
whether the Mugabe regime is guilty of gross human rights violations.

The US and the EU claim that serious human rights violations have taken
place, and assert that these have been strongly associated with
elections. The evidence for these claims comes from the avalanche of
reports on human rights violations produced by Zimbabwean human rights
groups, and corroborated by many international human rights groups. SADC
leaders consistently deny this, and prevent any serious consideration of
this evidence by blocking any discussion in international forums. Thus,
SADC can hold out that the US and EU positions are "bullying", quite
simply because there are only "allegations" to date.

This position is now seriously weakened by the report of the African
Commission on Human and People's rights, recently accepted by the AU.
However, this report will probably not be discussed before the election
in March, and so the hands of the SADC leaders look clean as we move
into the election.

The second factor is the consistent maneuvering by the South African
government to keep the Zimbabwe crisis under its own control. The
insistence that the Zimbabwe problem is an African problem has allowed
Thabo Mbeki's government to narrow the problem to a crisis within SADC.
The South African government has side-lined the AU and persuaded the
world that the validity of the coming Zimbabwe elections can be dealt
with under the SADC Principles and Guidelines.

The consequence of this maneuver has been that we have seen a
replacement of the views that the SADC Principles and Guidelines will be
some form of litmus test for acceptance of valid elections, with
statements now that the Principles and Guidelines are a "work in
progress". Well clearly there has been some progress, but it is not
evident in which direction: ZANU (PF) and its allies hail the
improvements, and virtually every other Zimbabwean constituency argues
that they are purely cosmetic. The reports of the NCA on the election
climate do not suggest any improvement in the reality: interference with
basic freedoms, the political use of food, widespread intimidation and
threats, and a near-total absence of voter education is the reality.

The "work in progress" description has now been replaced by frank
endorsement of the elections. With the careful vetting of observer
groups by the Zimbabwe government, which is apparently quite acceptable
to the SADC leaders, it appears that the "legitimate expression of the
people's will" is a foregone conclusion. What is not so evident is
whether this will be the same conclusion from the Zimbabwean people, and
the MDC have quite openly stated that they have entered these elections
"without prejudice".

The question that now needs to be discussed is how SADC will handle a
rejection of the election by Zimbabweans. As Thabo Mbeki has stated, the
real test of these elections is whether Zimbabweans accept them, but the
thornier problem is what to do when they are
rejected. SADC would no longer seem to be an honest broker for the
solution of the political impasse that will surely follow the rejection,
and neither will the West be acceptable. So the problem heads for the
place that Thabo Mbeki has so steadfastly avoided; either AU or the
United Nations, and whether the South African government will have a
role to play in this process or not will surely depend on the same
litmus test that he has set for Zimbabweans: will Zimbabweans any longer
see the South African government as an honest broker?

"Peace and justice in Zimbabwe! Now!"

The below commission reports don't necessarily express the views of the
Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation Forum, nor those of the
participating organisations, but those of the participants of the
Zimbabwe Solidarity Conference

Shared issues
Our strategies should be both short term and long term.
The solidarity actions of COSATU in relation to Zimbabwe need to be
given maximum support.
Our solidarity efforts should be aimed at raising awareness and
conscientising people about the crisis in Zimbabwe.
SADC should unambiguously and honestly pronounce its position on whether
the forthcoming elections can be declared free and fair within the
current context.
SADC should intervene in Zimbabwe and use the election context to open
up democratic space that can be kept open beyond the election itself.
The intervention of SADC should include efforts to delay or postpone the
election until a conducive democratic environment can be ensured.
We must strive to involve COSATU fully in the programme of action
proposed by the Conference and seek to further deepen our mutual
Ordinary people need to be brought into solidarity efforts.
We need to establish mechanisms for mobilising people on a regional
We need to be clear about our minimum demands.
We need to have a clear analysis of the diverse and complex politics of
the region.
It is imperative that civil society observe the election in one way or
another, this must include the time before the election (now), the
period of voting itself, and the post election period.
We need to build links with mass based organisations in our own
countries and in the region.
We should continue to disseminate the Zimbabwe Solidarity newsletter.
We should demand that SADC carry out its mandate.
Our short term efforts should be aimed at building a long term regional
We need to research and share information on how exactly SADC works.
We should support the regional and international days of prayer that
will be held on the 16th of May.
Members of the regional network should engage their respective
governments on the process of democratisation in Zimbabwe.
It is clear that the elections in Zimbabwe will not be free or fair,
however we need to be equally clear on what basis we are saying this.
Organisations should apply, in their individual capacity, for
accreditation to observe the elections.
We should present credible evidence that shows that the elections are
not free and fair.
The churches should organise prayers for and in Zimbabwe.
Prominent people should be approached to apply for accreditation.
In the post election period efforts should be aimed at a comprehensive
programme of transitional reforms and a negotiated political framework.
Travel bans against ZANU (PF) officials should be instituted.
We should engage SADC but maintain our focus on Harare.
We should engage our individual governments to take a clear position
against repression in Zimbabwe.
We should remain focused on the grave danger posed to Zimbabwe and the
region if the 31st March elections are declared legitimate in the vain
hope that this will unblock the political crisis.
The legislative framework in Zimbabwe severely restricts both print and
broadcast media. Print media is also affected due to the limited
dissemination of information. We need to use the space that is available
to expose the truth about what is going on in Zimbabwe and then monitor
the reaction from the state to test the boundaries.
The SABC is sending 30 journalists to Zimbabwe for the election.
We should monitor their coverage of the election and comment on its
We need to research who regulates the media coverage of elections in
Zimbabwe and use this mechanism to engage.
We resolved to share contacts of media institutions in the region and
engage with them around Zimbabwe.
We need to identify possible advocacy partners in the region.
We should use community-based sources for the dissemination of
Student press unions are another valuable mechanism for dissemination of
ZCTU and COSATU should cooperate on creating media opportunities for
each other on issues of advocacy.
A media resource center for collecting and disseminating information for
media practitioners is being established.
All journalists should approach the Media Information Centre for
Regional bodies such MISA should be approached to make pronouncements on
the right of a free press in Zimbabwe.
The youth of South Africa must link up with other youth in the region in
their solidarity actions around Zimbabwe.
Special attention needs to be made to understanding the land issue.
Cross campus exchanges and national speaking tours should be organised
using key speakers and videos on the situation in Zimbabwe.
ZimSoc organizations on campuses should be engaged with. SASCO has a key
role to play here and will need to be approached.
Youth should write articles about their analysis of the Zimbabwe crises.
A strong youth 'voice' must be present in finding solutions to the
A youth delegation should approach government and arrange discussions
particularly around violations against the rights of students,
militarisation of the youth, and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Youth should prepare a press release and a statement on Zimbabwe.
South African youth should engage both ZANU (PF) and MDC youth.
There is a proposal for a National day of Action, this could be tied in
with the COSATU programme.
A process of demilitarisation of young people needs to be started in
order to allow for a conducive democratic process.
The commission prepared the following statement:
Representatives of the faith communities of Southern Africa, mindful of
our respect for the churches, and other religious institutions, and the
people of faith of Zimbabwe, but with heartfelt concern for the
oppressed and suffering people of that country, declare as follows:
Churches and faith based organizations to step up their actions!
Positive actions!
The crisis in Zimbabwe is not only political and economical. There is
also a spiritual element to the crisis. The human rights abuses and
repressive agenda of the government of Zimbabwe is sinful.
To strive for the conversion and repentance of the government in
To organise interfaith prayer meetings.
Churches and should use parallel ecumenical organizations, esp. SACC,
We need faith based organizations to mobilise the churches in South
Africa around Zimbabwe.
Speak with one voice and let that voice be binding.
Call for the immediate disbandment and rehabilitation of children caught
up in the militarization of the youth.
Motivate for a conference that is the equivalent of the Kairos
conference on South Africa, to identify the theological calling around
Workshops should be held between Zimbabwean and South African
There is a need to engage the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and
ecumenical bodies on reflecting about the crisis.
The agenda of big business in South Africa and some governments in the
north is not to secure democracy and development in Zimbabwe but are
aimed at destabilizing the region. We must not allow ZANU (PF)'s
demagogic rhetoric to divert us from understanding this reality.
There is no way the Zimbabweans elections will be free and fair.
Whatever the outcome of the election there will be a need for
transitional arrangements.
The economic abuses of the ZANU (PF) government have created food
shortages and an economic collapse that has brought suffering to
millions of Zimbabweans.
Practical proposals for action include the establishment of a Solidarity
Fund to address food and medical needs in Zimbabwe.
Quiet diplomacy has failed as a strategy to effect change.
South African institutions such as the judiciary should lobby their
counterparts in Zimbabwe.
SADC, the African Union and the UN should intervene in Zimbabwe.
The trade union movement should continue to engage regionally. In
particular COSATU's engagement with SATUC.
It must be made clear that land redistribution should benefit all.
Sanctions should be aimed at the government and not the people.
We call for a much closer monitoring of the flow of arms into Zimbabwe
and the impact of this arms flow on repression in Zimbabwe and the human
rights abuses.
Diplomatic sanctions should be targeted against Zimbabwe.
The women's commission will present a separate report.

After a year of growing ties between the South African government and
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it now seems that the
democratic opposition of Zimbabwe has had enough of Thabo Mbeki's 'quiet
diplomacy'. In an unprecedented attack on South African foreign policy,
the MDC , though its Secretary General, Welshman Ncube, stated "The MDC
does not understand the South African Government's ignorance about the
situation in Zimbabwe and the basis for such optimism and believes that
the position adopted by the South African Government is not only
misinformed, but also dangerously premature." Ncube continues to state
that "to the people of Zimbabwe, the optimism expressed by the South
African Government is increasingly viewed as misplaced solidarity and a
deliberate attempt to frustrate the new beginning they so desperately
desire. This perception undermines public confidence in the objectivity
and impartiality of South African and SADC observer missions." The MDC
statement by professor Ncube can be seen as a reaction to remarks made
at a press conference by Thabo Mbeki and Sam Nujoma of Namibia. Mbeki,
talking to South African media, predicted that the elections in Zimbabwe
would be free and fair, despite rising evidence and calls from Zimbabwe
that indicate the contrary.

"A legitimate election? In Zimbabwe?"

Over the past decades numerous South African progressive civil society
organizations have emerged that work on issues that form an integral
part of the current crisis in Zimbabwe. These range from humanitarian
issues such as food relief, to issues such as human rights and civil
liberties, from democracy to trade union work. But ever since the
intensification of the Zimbabwe crisis in 2000, Zimbabweans have rightly
been complaining that their fellow Africans, and first and foremost
their South African neighbours, have hardly done enough to aid the
plight of the people of Zimbabwe. However, over the past year several
South African civil society organizations of all walks of life have
committed themselves to working together in order to maximize their
out-pout with regards to the crisis, as well as show solidarity in
practical sense as well as on a moral level. COSATU's courageous
attempted fact-finding missions to Zimbabwe are only one example of
practical solidarity for the people of that country.
The Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation forum is a network of
progressive South African civil society organizations, including youth,
women, labour, faith-based, human rights and student formations. Over
the past months our network has grown rapidly in size and influence, and
we say confidently that we have contributed to a much greater
understanding of the crisis and challenges in Zimbabwe within our
organizations and within the broader South African debate.

16th March COSATU led demonstration at the Zimbabwe High Commission
17th March Women's Solidarity Forum, Kimberley
18th March COSATU demonstration, Beit Bridge
19th March Social Movement report back from Zimbabwe, Gauteng
20th March Election officials training for Mock Election Officials,
22nd March Press Conference, Parktonian hotel. Special updates and
23rd March COSATU picket at the Zimbabwe High Commission
24th March Regional Solidarity Action
25th March International Day of Prayer, SACC
28th March Zimbabwe Seminar, University of Cape Town, SRC
29th March Zimbabwe Seminar, University of Venda, SRC/SASCO
30th March Marches in Cape Town and Durban YCL/SASCO/COSAS
31st March Picket at Zimbabwe High Commission  YCL
All night vigil Beit Bridge, COSATU
Mock Election for disenfranchised diaspora set up across the country
1st April Press Conference and report-back from election observers
18th April Zimbabwe Independence day programme

This Newsletter is the plain text version of the email Zimbabwe
Solidarity Newsletter. The main idea behind the Newsletter is that it
can be distributed in Zimbabwe so that people without internet access
may receive it as well. Therefore we also provide a print-easy format of
this Newsletter. The print-easy Newsletter can be printed-out onto three
pages A4, front to back. Please help us distribute the print-friendly
copy in Zimbabwe! The more access to information and solidarity the
better! The print-friendly copy can be requested by sending an e-mail
with subject 'request print-friendly' to The print-friendly Newsletter is
distributed via e-mail as an Adobe Reader (PDF) document.

The below applies for the email Newsletter:
To subscribe or unsubscribe one can contact with the word 'subscribe' or
'unsubscribe' as subject. Please note that you must subscribe in person
(that is; you must e-mail from the address you wish to receive the
newsletter on). The default format of this Newsletter is Rich Text
(HTML), a more graphic layout but also a larger file. A Plain Text
format can be requested by sending us an e-mail to with 'request plain text' as subject.

Letters, reactions or opinions can be sent to with the words 'Newsletter reaction'
in the subject.

In anybody would like to speak to a representative of the Zimbabwe
Solidarity & Consultation Forum or to a spokesperson of the Zimbabwe
Solidarity Newsletter please send an email to with 'request contact' in the subject
line, as well as the reason why you wish to speak to one of our
representatives. Journalists can contact us in this way as well.

The Shona version of issue 1, 2 and 3 and 4 is ready! This can be
requested from by typing 'request
shona plain-text' or 'request shona pdf' in the subject line of an email
to us, or by going to our new website. For Ndebele the same applies as
above, but with 'Ndebele' in the request. Ndebele issue 1, 2 and 3 are
now ready.
The previous week's issues can be requested by sending us an e-mail with
'request issue 1 and/or 2' in the subject.

The Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation Forum (ZS&CF) is not
responsible and cannot be held accountable for all the content or every
article provided in this Newsletter.
As the ZS&CF consists of many organisations, groups, movements and
unions, not everyone of these can be expected to agree with the views,
opinions and interpretations expressed in the Zimbabwe Solidarity
Newsletter. The editorial staff makes a serious effort to express the
views of all the organisations involved but cannot guarantee 100%
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MDC youth meets SA young communists

March 15, 2005, 21:15

The youth wing of Zimbabwe's main opposition party respects the decision by
the SA Young Communist League to demonstrate against the holding of
elections in Zimbabwe on March 31, it said today. "The YCL respects the
decision of the Movement for Democratic Change to contest the forthcoming
elections, and understands the reasons behind this decision," Buti Manamela,
the YCL national secretary, said in a joint statement following a meeting
between the two organisations in Johannesburg - where the MDC youth wing is

Manamela said the MDC's youth wing respected the position of the YCL not to
support any political party, and encouraged the YCL to constructively engage
with all youth organisations in that country irrespective of their political
standing. The demonstration will take place in Pretoria the day before the
election, where the YCL will demand the postponement of Zimbabwe's elections
and the creation of conditions for free and fair elections where all would
have the right of freedom of association.

"The demonstration will also call for an end to political violence
orchestrated by the government funded youth-militia, and the institution of
an Independent Electoral Commission to run elections," Manamela said.

The YCL would also call for the immediate auditing of the voters roll and
the removal of "ghost voters", and that the Southern African Development
Community protocols be followed. Manamela said today's meeting was part of a
series the YCL was having with youth organisations from Zimbabwe to work
towards a peaceful and non-violent country. The discussions focused on
Zimbabwe's economic situation and its impact on youth, the role of the youth
in the forthcoming elections and the militarisation of youth in Zimbabwe
through the Youth Militia.

Further discussions
He said the possibility of discussions between Zanu(PF) (Youth) and MDC
(Youth) in the near future was raised. "We also discussed what will happen
after the elections, and whether contesting for the forthcoming election
does not necessarily lead to legitimising the elections.

"Both organisations agreed that the situation in the country was
unacceptable and needs to change," Manamela said. These situations impacted
young peoples' education and health, while poverty, unemployment and
HIV/Aids was increasing.

Both organisations agreed to constructively engage with the situation and
continue to mobilise youth. "Both parties condemned the youth militias, who
continue to torture people and get rewarded only through food."

Manamela said both organisations agreed to put more pressure on the SADC
leaders to ensure that Zimbabwean elections took place within the SADC
protocol. "The MDC (youth) will continue to advance its course in a peaceful
and non-violent manner, and appreciates any efforts to have dialogue between
themselves and the Zanu(PF) Youth Brigade."

Both organisations committed themselves not to allow youth to be used
against development, anti-democracy and violence, said Manamela. "We will
also continue to foster these principles in the SADC through the South
African Youth Forum and the youth desk of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development." - Sapa
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Reporters without borders

Media commission urged to bow to court decision quashing ban on newspaper

Reporters Without Borders today called on Zimbabwe's government-controlled
Media and Information Commission (MIC) to "immediately" issue an operating
licence to the company that publishes The Daily News and The Daily News of
Sunday and to accredit all of its journalists, after the supreme court
yesterday quashed the commission's 2003 decision refusing to do this.

The press freedom organization hailed the court's ruling on this point as "a
victory" while deploring the judicial system's slowness and the fact that
the court refused to recognize the unconstitutionality of Zimbabwe's press

"Above all, we want to salute the courage and tenacity of those in charge at
the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the company that produces The
Daily News and The Daily News of Sunday," it said.

"The MIC no longer has any reason to refuse to let these newspapers reappear
after they have been gagged for two years," Reporters Without Borders
continued. "What's more, unless it wants to defy a ruling of Zimbabwe's
supreme court, the MIC must immediately issue accreditation to all of ANZ's
journalists, while the police must also immediately return all the
confiscated equipment to The Daily News and its legitimate owners."

The prolonged legal battle between the independent Daily News and the
Zimbabwean government appeared to reach a conclusion in Harare yesterday
when the supreme court "set aside" the MIC's September 2003 decision to
refuse the newspaper an operating licence. At the same time the time the
court upheld the draconian press law known as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the constitutionality of which had been
challenged by the ANZ and several international press freedom organizations.

ANZ chairman Samuel Sipepa Nkomo told Reporters Without Borders he was
"disappointed" by the supreme court's decision. "Justice delayed is justice
denied," he said. "While we are disappointed that the supreme court has been
unable to accept our challenge, our greater concern is that it took over two
years for this ruling to be handed down".

He added nonetheless that, since the supreme court had recognized the ANZ's
right to publish The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, the MIC had
"no reason" to refuse to restore its licence and issue its journalists with
press accreditation. He said the ANZ would decide "within two days" whether
to let the MIC consider the original accreditation requests of submit new
ones. The law allows the MIC 60 days to take a decision.

Under the AIPPA, which was adopted in 2002, news media and journalists are
forced to register with the MIC or risk being sentenced to prison. In its
arguments to the court, the ANZ said obligatory registration violated the
freedom of expression that is guaranteed by Zimbabwe's constitution and the
1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

The Daily News and its Sunday edition, Zimbabwe's two most widely read
newspapers, were banned in September 2003, beginning a legal battle between
ANZ and the MIC that went from court to court and reached the supreme court
in February 2004. Facing enormous financial difficulties and to avoid
exposing its journalists to arrest, The Daily News decided to stop
publishing pending the supreme court's decision.

Drained by the cost of fighting around 40 legal actions and prosecutions,
the newspaper's coffers are now empty. The ANZ stopped paying salaries in
July 2004. Of The Daily News' 167 employees, around 20 are still fighting
alongside the editor and his personal staff. No rent has been paid on the
newspaper's offices, which have been surrendered to their owners. The office
of what was once the country's biggest newspaper is now just a room inside
the ANZ's headquarters.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Poll observers told to keep quiet

Tuesday March 15, 2005 15:20 - (SA)

The parliamentary opposition serving on a parliamentary observer team to
monitor the upcoming Zimbabwe parliamentary elections has been told not to
speak to the media, according to the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) representative
Willie Spies.

In a statement from Harare, Spies said: "The status of the South African
parliamentary observer team in Zimbabwe is uncertain. The three observer
teams were informed in Harare by the former premier of the Limpopo Province
Ngoako Ramathlodi
(who is now an African National Congress MP) that the Zimbabwe government is
only catering for three teams, that is, of the African National Congress
(ANC), that of the South African Government and that of Sadc (the Southern
African Development Community). There now seems to be no mention of a
'parliamentary' observer team."

Spies said minority party members in the team are of the view that they can
under no circumstances be regarded as forming part of a "government"
delegation. He reported that the minority members held the view that they
were in Zimbabwe "with a mandate from and at the expense of parliament".
Spies said the minority members would remain faithful to that mandate.

"Minority party members are also unhappy about the fact that both the leader
of the delegation, (ANC chief whip) Mbulelo Goniwe and the South African
High Commissioner in Zimbabwe, AJD Ndou urged them not to communicate with
the media
about their observations in Zimbabwe and to keep their observations to
themselves pending the compilation of the report at the end of the process."

Ndou requested the delegation upon their arrival in Harare - on Monday - to
keep in mind that the delegation was being "carefully watched", said Spies.

He reported that members were requested "not to communicate with the media
and to refer media enquiries to the leaders of the delegation".

Spies said the uncertainty about the mandate and modus operandi of the
parliamentary mission became evident last week after Goniwe had indicated in
a media briefing that there would be no room for minority views in the final

Spies said: "The FF+ responded to reports in this regard by stating that it
was unaware of any decision made by the observer team on the said issues. It
also indicated that the party found it unacceptable to be bound by the views
of the majority even before the process started.

"The FF+ took part in this mission to observe the way the election is
conducted and to inform our constituents accordingly. We cannot accept it if
the ANC only wants to co-opt us for the purposes of window-dressing in order
to create the illusion of representivity, without being allowed the
opportunity to formally record our views and findings."

Goniwe heads a 20-person parliamentary team including 12 from the ruling
ANC. The Democratic Alliance's two members are Roy Jankielsohn and Daniel
Maluleke while the Inkatha Freedom Party will be represented by A Mchunu
(who is a member of the National Council of Provinces) while Jackson Bici
represents the United Democratic Movement.

Vincent Gore of the Independent Democrats, Louis Green of the African
Christian Democratic Party, Isaac Mfundisi of the United Christian
Democratic Party and Frikkie van Heerden, a National Council of Provinces
member for the Freedom Front, make up the rest of the opposition delegation.

The other ANC members are Nelson Diale, Fatima Hajaij, Nthabiseng Khunou,
Mpetjane Kgaogelo Lekgoro,  Neo Masithela, Maggie Maunye, Adries Nel (deputy
chief whip) Chief Patekile Holomisa, Mkhosazana Njobe, Connie September and
Pamela Tshwete.

Goniwe said last week the mission will be divided into various groups which
will be deployed to seven regions including Matabeleland, Moshonaland,
Bulawayo, Masvingo, Manicaland, Harare and the Midlands. "They will observe
the election campaign and this will include attending political rallies,
public meetings and also visits to polling stations."
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Environmental News Network

Embattled Zimbabwe Farmers Find New Africa Fields

March 15, 2005 - By Peter Apps, Reuters
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - White Zimbabwean farmers driven from their land
are setting up again elsewhere in Africa, saying they are revolutionizing
farming where they settle -- but some locals are already beginning to resent
the new arrivals.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 farmers have left Zimbabwe since violent farm
seizures by landless blacks began in 2000. Most have left farming to settle
in Australia and New Zealand, but others have gone to Zambia, Mozambique,
Malawi and Nigeria.

"We are regarded as some of the best farmers in the world," farmer Alan
Jack, who lost his farm in 2000 and is now moving to Nigeria, told Reuters
from Zimbabwe.

"We understand the environment and we understand the Africans in our
dealings with them."

Many of the farmers hoped to return one day to their homes in the former
British colony, but for the time being President Robert Mugabe's
government -- facing parliamentary elections at the end of March -- had made
that impossible for them, he said.

The largest group of resettled Zimbabwean farmers have settled in
neighboring Zambia, where many give them credit for a massive turnaround in
agriculture that has seen the country go from a serious famine case to
regional producer in two years.

"The farmers from Zimbabwe have contributed a lot to the growth of the
agriculture sector because they are growing high value crops such as
tobacco," Zambia's deputy agriculture minister James Katoka said. "They have
helped to increase the hectares under cultivation and this has resulted in
the creation of many more jobs."

Zimbabwean farmers say other African governments want them to boost their
fledgling commercial farming sectors, and say they should take much of the
credit for Zambia's turnaround in food production.

Zambia sold maize across the border to Zimbabwe as the country suffered
serious shortages in the aftermath of drought and the sometimes violent farm

But the head of Zambia's National Farmer's Union, Guy Robinson, said most of
the new arrivals had concentrated tobacco -- increasing Zambia's production
by 100 percent in the last couple of years.

"Very few of them have been growing maize," he said, attributing Zambia's
turnaround on food production -- now threatened by a late season drought -- 
to local reform and distribution of seed and fertilizer to small-scale

In October, Zambia said it was aiming to double maize production to 2.4
million tons in 2004/2005 from the previous year, although a lack of rain in
February is now seen as making this unlikely.

Small Riots

Farmers from Britain and Australia had also moved to Zambia, he said, taking
advantage of government incentives to rent land little used by locals. Many
Zambians say they welcome the new jobs and increased food production, but
some tensions remain.

"If the land is taken by ... foreigners then the same thing that happened in
Zimbabwe might happen here," local teacher Gilbert Chona told Reuters in
Livingstone, southern Zambia, where some Zimbabwean tobacco farmers have set
up on the border with their former home.

The white farmers would alienate locals if they set up electric fences and
denied subsistence farmers and villagers access to the nearby Zambezi river,
he said.

"They have started doing that already," he said. "There have been some small

Zimbabwean Jack said in Nigeria, where an advance guard of farmers are
opening five dairy farms and 10 producing maize, soya, rice and other foods,
efforts were being made to cement good relations with ordinary Nigerians,
setting up a training farm for local farmers.

But complaints in countries where Zimbabwean farmers had settled were mainly
motivated by resentment from locals who had failed to take advantage of
fertile land in the past, he said.

"It's pure jealousy," he said. "These people have been on the land for 30 or
40 years since independence and they haven't managed to achieve anything."

(Additional reporting by Shapi Shacinda in Lusaka)

Source: Reuters
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ANC 'Satisfied' With Zimbabwe Poll Preparations

Business Day (Johannesburg)

March 15, 2005
Posted to the web March 15, 2005

Jacob Dlamini And Dumisani Muleya

THE African National Congress (ANC) was satisfied with Zimbabwe's
preparations for that country's parliamentary elections on March 31, party
spokesman Smuts Ngonyama said yesterday as SA's parliamentary election
observer mission to Zimbabwe arrived in Harare yesterday.

"Things are moving on quite well in Zimbabwe. We would like to see a free
and fair election in Zimbabwe and we concur that the process thus far is
moving in the right direction," he said.

He said the ANC was taking its cue from the ruling Zanu (PF) and opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). "We've been listening to statements by
the MDC and Zanu (PF), and they've both been telling their supporters not to
engage in violence. Police have also been taking strong action against those
responsible for violence," he said.

But the MDC, over the past month, has repeatedly said it was surprised at
SA's "ignorance" on groundwork ahead of the election. This week it cited at
least 12 acts of intimidation of its officials and supporters, and says
access to media for campaign purposes has been restricted.

Yet Ngonyama said the ANC would condemn any party interfering with free and
fair elections. He said its national executive committee had not discussed
the perceived crisis at its weekend meeting.

The 20-member South African election observer mission that was in Harare
yesterday was led by ANC chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe and comprised MPs from
almost all parliamentary parties.

SA will send four observer missions to monitor the crucial poll. The arrival
of the multiparty team yesterday followed the ANC delegation's last week.

The ANC team initially failed to get accreditation, but was later registered
after the bureaucratic hitches were ironed out. The ANC delegation is
expected to meet main political parties this week before visiting Zimbabwe's
eight provinces.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) team, expected in Harare
today, was constituted and deployed by President Thabo Mbeki, who is
chairman of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security.

It was initially expected to be led by Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula, but a well-placed government source in Pretoria said
yesterday Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka would now lead

The SADC observer mission spokesperson would be South African foreign
affairs official Nomfanelo Kota. While the government, ANC and SADC observer
missions are expected to endorse the election result, likely to be in favour
of Zanu (PF), the parliamentary group could be divided on the issue.
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'Zim violence down'
15/03/2005 20:10  - (SA)

Harare - With a little more than two weeks to go before key elections in
Zimbabwe, some rights groups and the police say the campaign thus far has
been largely spared of the political violence that marred the 2000 and 2002

President Robert Mugabe has called for "zero tolerance" to violence as his
country comes under scrutiny by neighbouring countries in southern Africa
asked to render their verdict on whether the March 31 vote will be free and

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) however maintains
that a campaign of intimidation continues unabated, waged by the militias of
Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).

"There has been a considerable decrease in election-related violence if we
compare with the same period in the last election," Munyaradzi Bidi,
director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, told AFP.

Bidi said the call for a "zero tolerance to violence" was having an impact.

Zimbabwe's last elections in 2000 and 2002 were tainted by violence and
allegations of vote-rigging, triggering a political crisis in the southern
African country and prompting the European Union and the United States to
slap sanctions on Harare.

15 cases of assault

"There was a lot of hate speech that fuelled violence in the last election,"
Bidi said, "and total abandonment on the part of the government of their
responsibility to uphold the rule of law."

Bidi said thus far his group had recorded 15 cases of assault and that it
had also helped one family to safety after it received threats from Zanu-PF

"But it's nothing compared to 2002 when we recorded 85 deaths and 152
families were displaced," he said.

Hundreds of rural families fled their homes in the months leading up to
Zimbabwe's 2002 presidential election and were given safe haven by
opposition and human rights activists in towns and cities.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said 42 people died in political
violence in 2002 "and we have not recorded any deaths during the current

The MDC claimed at least 100 of its supporters were killed in the last
campaign including the driver of leader Morgan Tsvangirai and two other
members of his campaign team who were burnt to death when their car was set
on fire by suspected Zanu-PF militants.

The worst incidence of violence in the campaign thus far was in early
February when a gang of 30 ruling party youths went on a rampage in the town
of Norton west of Harare, beating up opposition supporters and stabbing a
police officer.

The 30 were arrested, part of the total of 67 Zanu-PF members who have been
arrested during the campaign and charged with various offences along with 42
MDC supporters, according to the police.

Lawyer Jessie Majome from the National Constitutional Assembly says "the
government wants to be seen to be doing free and fair elections. That is why
they are in a hurry to say there is no violence."
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Media watchdog calls for govt to allow banned paper to reopen

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

HARARE, 15 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - The New York-based Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ) has called on the Zimbabwean authorities to allow the
Daily News, once the country's largest selling newspaper, to reopen.

The call followed a Zimbabwe Supreme Court ruling on Monday that the
government-appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC) reconsider a
2003 decision to deny registration to the banned newspaper and its sister
publication, the Daily News on Sunday.

However, the court ruled against the privately owned newspaper's
constitutional challenge to certain sections of the controversial Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

"CPJ is appalled at the long-term, government-enforced closure of Zimbabwe's
only independent daily newspaper," said Ann Cooper, executive director of
the media rights organisation.

Sam Sipepa Nkomo, chief executive officer of the Daily News and the Daily
News on Sunday, said he was disappointed by the court's dismissal of the
constitutional challenge.

Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), which owns the two anti-government
papers, originally refused to register with the MIC, and instead mounted a
constitutional challenge to AIPPA - legislation which has been used
exclusively against the private media.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that ANZ was operating illegally because it
was not registered with the MIC, and the authorities shut down both
newspapers. ANZ subsequently applied for accreditation but was turned down.

"We are naturally delighted that the court ruled in our favour, but feel
judgment should have been handed down earlier - it is a fundamental
principle that justice delayed is justice denied," said Nkomo.

He was unsure whether the company would need to submit a fresh application,
or the MIC would use the one already submitted. Citing local sources, the
CPJ said the MIC would have 60 days to rule on the Associated Newspapers

But MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso is on record as saying an application did
not mean automatic registration. "If the Daily News took 90 days to reverse
its decision not to register, the MIC is not under obligation to register
them [as soon as] they come to the commission's offices," he said.

Nkomo said ANZ had been financially crippled by the delays in passing
judgment, and police were still holding part of the paper's equipment.

"We have to establish when we can get the computers, which are still in
police custody," Nkomo told a press briefing following the court judgment.

"Zimbabwe's draconian media legislation, together with its security forces'
constant harassment of local independent journalists, has made it one of
worst places in the world for journalists," Cooper alleged.

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