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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mass anti-Mugabe protest urged

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition group is calling for protests
this week against President Robert Mugabe's "oppressive" rule as the country
grapples with its worst post-independence political and economic crisis.
"This is a call for peaceful action carefully calculated to express
discontent and disgust with the state of affairs within our nation," the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said.

"We therefore ask all Zimbabweans to register their anger against the
oppressive system," it said in a statement.

The group called for protests on Tuesday and Wednesday, without specifying
what form they would take.

The private owned weekly Zimbabwe Standard newspaper quoted MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai as saying the mass action would set the stage for a
showdown with Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

Public meetings are forbidden without police clearance under legislation
Mugabe signed into law just before he was re-elected in March last year, in
polls critics said he rigged.

Western governments accuse Mugabe of quashing human rights and fomenting
violence against his political opponents, including the MDC.

They have also criticised his policy of seizing white-owned farms to
distribute among landless blacks, saying it contributed to a hunger crisis
now threatening almost seven million people.

The southern African country is grappling with soaring unemployment and an
acute shortage of hard currency, squeezing fuel and food imports.

Last week baton-wielding riot police beat dozens of women -- including three
MDC members of parliament and the wife of the party's vice-president -- at
an International Women's Day gathering and briefly detained at least 15
organisers for questioning, witnesses said.

"The security situation for all Zimbabweans has deteriorated to an
unacceptable level. There is rampant misuse of police power to violate and
criminalise with impunity, the freedom of expression and the right to
assemble," the MDC said on Sunday.

In February, police arrested more than 40 women as they handed out roses and
sang songs at a protest on Valentine's Day.

Two of the country's top cricketers have resigned after protesting against
Mugabe's rule while playing in the World Cup tournament co-hosted by the
country. One of the players said he had been threatened since making the

Mugabe denies mismanaging the economy during his 23-year rule, and accuses
enemies abroad of sabotage over his land redistribution programme.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Toronto Star

      Mar. 16, 2003. 01:00 AM

      Tsvangirai says the people will defeat Mugabe
      MDC leader on trial in Zimbabwe `Waiting game' for democratic change


      Harare, Zimbabwe-The heavy metal gate slides open noisily, breaking
the silent calm of one of Harare's more upscale residential neighbourhoods.

      A tense-looking man ominously silhouetted by the glaring car
headlights approaches tentatively. He quickly conducts a thorough check and
waves the vehicle into the walled compound, while four others on security
detail watch nervously from the shadows.

      After a 15-minute wait, another man arrives and leads the way to a
small cottage behind the main house where a relaxed Morgan Tsvangirai sits
behind a small wooden desk, flanked by an aide smoking incessantly.

      The extraordinary security is a necessary precaution for Tsvangirai,
leader of the Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change and the
man who is challenging the country's aging and increasingly tyrannical
leader Robert Mugabe for the presidency.

      "He has not managed to destroy the spirit of the people and, whatever
he tries, there is no way you can destroy an idea whose time has come,"
Tsvangirai says, smiling broadly despite the fact that he faces a possible
death sentence in a treason trial for allegedly plotting to assassinate

      The main witness in the state's prosecution is Canadian businessman
Ari Ben Menashe, who claims Tsvangirai and two senior members of the MDC
paid him $100,000 of a $500,000 (U.S.) fee to eliminate Mugabe.

      Outside the courthouse, Mugabe has unleashed a new wave of terror
against MDC members and democracy activists using both the police and army,
as well as rogue militias made up of disenchanted youth and supposed
veterans of the country's liberation struggle.

      Tales of arbitrary arrest and detention, intimidation, harassment,
rape and torture are becoming disturbingly commonplace.

      Still, Tsvangirai and a coalition of civil-society groups and churches
continue to fight, calling on Mugabe to end political repression, restore
democratic rights and revisit the results of last year's presidential
elections that were characterized by widespread use of violence and torture
to intimidate political opponents.

      Canada and the Commonwealth condemned those elections, exactly a year
ago this week.

      "The people are challenging the legitimacy of Mugabe," Tsvangirai
says, his voice rising and falling with preacher-like cadence. "Mugabe knows
he cheated and not only cheated, but used violence and even rigging to win
power and position. But it's one thing to win power and position, it's
another to have democratic legitimacy," he says, his voice rising and
falling with preacher-like cadence.

      But challenging the legitimacy of the Mugabe regime is no easy task,
especially without the help of the international community, currently
preoccupied with the impending war in Iraq.

      Even worse, Tsvangirai says, the democratic opposition in Zimbabwe has
been betrayed by other African nations, especially South Africa and Nigeria,
two members of the Commonwealth troika established to resolve the disputed
outcome of last year's election. Those two nations claim Mugabe has started
the process of restoring democratic rights and freedoms.

      Still, Tsvangirai says Commonwealth members and especially Canada -
with it's perceived neutrality in Africa and reputation as a mediating
nation - should exercise a "moral imperative" and pressure Mugabe to enact
true democratic reforms, including revisiting the results of last year's

      But in the absence of such support, Tsvangirai says the only way to
resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe might be for Zimbabweans to act alone: "The
people must realize that we have reached a stage where we can no longer
portray ourselves as victims. It does not help. For how long can we cry and
make this outcry of being victims? No one will listen. It's time we acted as
people who are dealing with their own crisis."

      So far, the MDC and a coalition of human-rights groups have disavowed
the use of violence. But Tsvangirai worries that elements of the opposition
could take up an armed struggle if Mugabe continues to escalate his violent
repression of activists and if endemic hunger here escalates into mass

      Tsvangirai's worries resonate all the more as both Zimbabwean and
international rights groups - including Amnesty International, the Southern
African Catholic Bishops' Conference and Danish Physicians for Human
Rights - warn that Mugabe might be preparing to commit a Rwanda-like
genocide against his opponents.

      "The Mugabe regime has already proved that it is capable of an ethnic
cleansing operation through the Matabeleland massacre in the 1980s, where
thousands were slaughtered," says Brian Kagoro of the 350-group Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition.

      For now, democratic change is a waiting game, says Tsvangirai: "It's
going to come because, as I've said from the beginning, no one can destroy
an idea whose time has come. The method and the process may be protracted,
but it will eventually come anyway."

      Wilson Lee is a Canadian journalist based in Africa. He entered
Zimbabwe as a tourist to file this report, evading the country's rigorous
restrictions on foreign journalists.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


            No dispute over Zimbabwe says Nigeria
            March 16, 2003, 10:30

            The Nigerian government has refuted suggestions that it differs
with South Africa over the situation in Zimbabwe and the future of President
Robert Mugabe. In a statement issued in Johannesburg today, Olusegun
Obasanjo's, the Nigerian President's, press secretary described as
"mischievous" reports that he and President Thabo Mbeki were at odds on the

            "President Obasanjo states categorically that his recent visits
to South Africa and Zimbabwe have not in any way created any division in the
views held by both Nigeria and South Africa on the situation in Zimbabwe,"
Tunji Oseni said. "To suggest that President Obasanjo 'may want to see
leadership change' in Zimbabwe is to indulge in an unhelpful and baseless
speculation," Oseni said.

            Asked in an interview with the London Sunday Times last week if
Mugabe should quit, Obasanjo appeared to suggest that Mugabe should consider
leaving office. "It's entirely up to him, but obviously he knows he has to
work for a succession," Obasanjo said. "I don't have to tell him, but if I
say I am thinking about my succession that's an indication that I think he
should think of his. In my part of the world, there are many ways you can
tell a man to go to hell."

            Media reports in South Africa interpreted Obasanjo's statement
as a sign of difference with Mbeki who has declined to publicly call for a
regime change in Zimbabwe, preferring instead the route of "quiet
diplomacy". Both Mbeki and Obasanjo, both members of a special Commonwealth
troika on Zimbabwe, have indicated they want Zimbabwe to be readmitted to
the councils of the multi-lateral body when its one-year suspension lapses
on Wednesday.

            The chairman of the troika, Australian Prime Minister John
Howard, wants the suspension extended. - Sapa
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From ZWNEWS, 16 March

MP in Bulawayo car chase

MDC MP David Coltart was involved in a car chase yesterday morning, with an unidentified vehicle chasing him through Bulawayo’s southern suburbs. The vehicle, a blue Mazda pickup truck, was driven by three young men, one of whom was armed with what seemed to be a service issue rifle. Coltart had left his home soon after 9:00 am, travelling with his 9 year old son and his 18 month old daughter. Stopping briefly to talk to the security guard at the gate of his home, he saw the truck, which had been parked further up the street, drive slowly past. It is thought that the truck had intended to follow Coltart as he left his home, but had not anticipated him stopping at the gate. Coltart took a different route to that which he had intended, and a chase ensued as the pursuers found and followed him again. The MP, who is also the opposition justice spokesman, contacted his security detail, who intercepted the two vehicles, and delayed the pursuers long enough for refuge to be found at a safe house in Bulawayo. The pursuers stayed parked outside the safe house for some time. Coltart and his children left the safe house without being seen, and are now elsewhere in the city. There have been four carjackings in the area over the last week or so, one taking place at the home of an immediate neighbour in which the car owners were beaten and the car stolen. Service issue rifles were used in the attacks. In each of these cases, however, cars had been followed back to the area from the city centre. Information received around the time of the incident contained a warning to opposition leaders that the government intended a further escalation of the repressive measures taken over the last month, in an effort to forestall any protests against the state’s human rights abuses and dire economic conditions.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Mirror

Leaked report details abuse of govt scheme
Innocent Chofamba-Sithole

A LEAKED government audit report of its multi-million dollar livestock
restocking scheme, which was originally intended to benefit newly resettled
farmers under the two land resettlement models, exposes widespread abuses
and manipulation of formal processes to benefit senior government officials
and politicians.

According to the secret audit report, of which the Sunday Mirror has a copy,
the government last year advanced Z$450 million to the Livestock Development
Trust (LDT) for the purposes of sourcing and distributing livestock to
communal, old and newly resettled farmers under both the fast-track and
commercial farming resettlement models. The LDT, which falls under the lands
and agriculture ministry, launched the scheme in the first week of March
last year and was supposed to allocate a maximum of five and 15 heifers to
successful applicants under the small-scale and commercial farming models,

But instead of solely catering for its intended beneficiaries, the scheme
fell victim to senior government and senior politicians, who were allocated
more cattle than was formally permissible.

"The whole programme lost focus on distribution as some individuals got more
than one hundred herd of cattle instead of a maximum of fifteen herd. Some
farmers got more heifers than what they signed for on the hire purchase
forms or contract forms," the report reads.

According to sources privy to the audit, some of the senior government
officials who have allegedly irregularly benefitted from the scheme include
Vice President Joseph Msika, who was allocated 70 herd of cattle and
Mashonaland East governor, David Karimanzira, who received a total of 40
heifers under the scheme. Other undeserving senior officials who
fraudulently received more than the permissible number of livestock include
Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Higher Education minister Swithun
Mombeshora, Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere, Health Minister David
Parirenyatwa, Mashonaland West governor Peter Chanetsa, and Zanu PF
legislator, Webster Shamu.

The LDT bought and distributed over 14 000 cattle across the country under
the scheme at a total cost of Z$471 million, Z$21 million above its
allocated budget.

Further, the audit report slams the Trust for its failure to abide by the
programme's enabling agreement by subcontracting the procurement of cattle
to a third party without the approval of the lands and agriculture ministry.

"This was a serious breach of the contract which resulted in the Trust fund
losing Z$24 385 000, in the interim, to bogus middlemen who took advantage
of loopholes in the system," reads the report.

The audit reveals that some time last year, LDT subcontracted a private
company, Leswick Investments, to source 3069 heifers worth Z$106 072 300 for
its livestock input scheme. The audit also shows how the company overpriced
its livestock, thus prejudicing LDT of the Z$24 385 000.

Ironically, Leswick Investments was registered with the Registrar of
Companies on March 12 2002, barely a week after the launch of the livestock
input scheme.

The company is alleged to have strong links with a high-ranking officer in
the Airforce of Zimbabwe.

The Trust is also accused of having entered into a contract with Jupiter
Insurance Company to insure livestock purchased under the scheme without the
authority of the Government Tender Board. As at July 8 2002, LDT had paid
over Z$15 million to the company as insurance premiums. Many farmers who
experienced livestock deaths have, however, complained that the company has
failed to compensate them.

In an undated and unsigned response to the audit, the LDT dismisses the
allegations levelled against it as baseless and lacking evidence. The Trust
dismisses the audit as having been "motivated by politics".

"Some sections of the community are saying that LDT provided cattle to
ruling party members, and therefore should be disbanded," reads the

"It is unrealistic to suggest that a 100 percent success should have been
achieved given the fact that this was a huge programme that was to be
implemented within a very short time and in a volatile political
environment," it adds.

Contacted for comment, LDT boss, Forbes Muvirimi defended the programme as
having been a success.

"It was a huge programme and, therefore, it is not unusual to find a few
rough ends in it, but generally the scheme was a success," he said, adding
that they had managed to distribute cattle to a significant number of
beneficiaries, notwithstanding the "politics" that prevailed at the time.

"We actually managed to keep the programme on track. There are instances
where I had to cancel the agreements for some influential people who would
claim more than the stipulated number," Muvirimi said.

There are fears that the livestock loan input scheme, which is supposed to
be a revolving fund, may actually grind to a halt owing to serious
difficulties in recovering loans from beneficiaries.

"The physical addresses of some beneficiaries could not be established
because of false addresses provided on agreement forms. This is likely to
have a negative impact on the loan recovery strategies," the audit notes.

The abuse of the livestock input loan scheme is the latest in a series of
breaches of government initiatives designed to buttress the land reform

There are widespread reports that senior politicians and influential people
have also hijacked the government's agricultural inputs scheme, which was
intended to provide new farmers with free seed and fertiliser. Large tracts
of acquired farmland lie fallow owing to failure by poor, newly resettled
farmers to buy seed in time for the cropping season.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Mirror

Chombo, Mawere lock horns over farm equipment
Felix Njini / Innocent Chofamba-Sithole

LOCAL Government, National Housing and Public Works minister, Ignatius
Chombo and local business mogul, Mutumwa Mawere have locked horns in a
tussle for farm property left by outgoing white commercial farmers.

The property, which runs into millions of dollars, is at Chombo's new Allan
Grange farm, located in Rafingora, Zvimba North.

Mawere, through his company, FSI Agricom says he bought farming equipment
worth close to $700 million, from the former owner of the farm (Allan
Grange), Clive Nicole for use in some of his company's agricultural support

Mawere's allegation is that Chombo, who subsequently moved onto the farm in
October last year following the departure of Nicole, was withholding the
property on the basis that it belonged to the farm.

But Chombo said he had insisted that the equipment remain on the farm to
allow government evaluators to assess its value, with a view to compensating
the owners for the equipment that he had selected for use on his farm. He
said he had already released the remainder to FSI, whom he says have since
taken it away.

Two conflicting theories regarding the actual value of the property at the
farm have emerged, with Chombo saying government evaluators have deduced
movable equipment as costing up to $94 million and immovable, $146 million.

Documents provided by FSI to the Sunday Mirror indicate movable equipment at
the farm is worth $771,9 million.

Chombo said he had already secured financial support from the Commercial
Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) and Metropolitan Bank to bankroll his farming
operations, including the purchase of the equipment.

Apparently, Chombo is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Zvimba North
constituency and apart from owning Allan Grange, also owns Oldham farm, in
Chegutu, according to Flora Buka's leaked land audit report.FSI Agricom is a
multi-faceted company which is involved in both extension and input support
to beneficiaries of the land reform progamme. The property at the centre of
the dispute includes Combine Harvesters, tractors, movable irrigation
equipment (which includes fixtures and fittings), 4 wheel trailers, grain
and pipe trailers, land leveller, storage and drying equipment, rippers, a
dam scoop, planters, seed drills, a Vortex Jacto Sprayer, grader, CAT
bulldozer (D6H) among other equipment.

"I selected what I needed at the farm and removed what was irrelevant, but
actually Mawere does not know that the most valuable equipment had already
been removed from the farm by Nicole even before he started negotiations to
buy it," argued Chombo.

He even suggested that the issue could be resolved amicably if they
discussed the matter more openly.

"I have no intention of defrauding him. He can come and discuss the issue
with relevant officials, but his refusal makes me suspect the issue has
nothing to do with FSI nor the equipment," Chombo said.

According to Chombo, the core of his dispute with Mawere stems from his
refusal to participate in FSI Agricom's farmer support scheme.

"FSI made an offer to run all of Nicole's farms, including Allan Grange. To
that end, they offered me $7 million a year to run my farm, but I turned
them down because under the arrangement, I would become a sleeping partner,
while they took over absolute control of the farm," Chombo said, adding that
he felt he had the capacity to manage his own operations.

But Mawere argued that efforts to get the equipment out of Allan Grange had
failed and Chombo had only agreed to release 'obsolete equipment, the rest
he said either FSI could sell him or it completely belongs to the farm'.

Mawere, however, said his company was not in the business of buying and
selling equipment. "We are not in the business of trading equipment, we buy
that equipment for developmental use, to assist the new farmers who lack
access to it".

He said Chombo was being an impediment to the company's developmental
overtures as the equipment was currently not benefiting its intended

"The value of the equipment at the moment is not going to FSI, yet if the
money had been used for something else, it would be bringing in better
returns," Mawere complained.

Mawere said he feared that Chombo was using his political power and his
influence arising from his prominent position in the land task force.

"It is surprising that a national effort is being undermined for selfish
gains. FSI has been doing extension work, equipping farmers and currently
there are no other blacks involved in such efforts to help new farmers,"
Mawere said.

"The company borrowed money to buy that equipment; FSI is already paying the
interest, yet the equipment is benefiting somebody else," he said.

This is not the first time the duo has clashed. Chombo said he suspects the
tension between him and Mawere emanates from differences they had over the
appointment of directors to the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO)
board, in which Mawere, through the Zimbabwe Reinsurance Company (ZimRe),
has a 49 percent stake. By virtue of majority shareholding, ZimRe is
entitled to bring three directors into the ZUPCO board. Chombo resisted
Mawere's unanimous appointment of the three representatives, arguing that
the matter had to be deliberated by all significant shareholders, since
government and the Local Authority Pension Fund held considerable stakes in

The two are also said to have openly clashed over where to purchase the new
ZUPCO buses.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Mirror

Govt land consultant leaked audit report
Mirror Reporter

PROFESSOR Sam Moyo, a land expert who was engaged by the government as a
consultant and took an active part in the compilation of the controversial
land audit report, was involved in leaking the document to the foreign
media, The Sunday Mirror was told.

Moyo, who is believed to have had access to the report, allegedly leaked the
report to a British based newsletter, Africa Confidential, whose editor,
Patrick Smith is a close associate of his.

A source privy to the alleged transaction between Smith and Moyo said the
latter worked in cahoots with one Osias Hove, an official under Flora Buka,
the Minister of State for the Land Reform Programme in the President's
Office. Buka headed the team that carried out the land audit and compiled
the report.

Buka and Vice President Joseph Msika, who chairs the national land
committee, have since denied that the land audit report is out, insisting
that it is still being worked on before it can be presented before Cabinet
in accordance with procedure.

However, The Sunday Mirror is in possession of the document, which is marked
"Confidential" and written in the first person, believed to be reflecting
Buka's account. Moyo is said to be Smith's long time friend and was
allegedly persuaded by the Africa Confidential editor to avail him with the
report when he indicated that it was out. Africa Confidential subsequently
wrote a story based on the leaked document, exposing several malpractices by
senior government officials who reportedly used their influential positions
to grab multiple farms for themselves, in violation of the one-man-one farm
principle that was supposed to guide the land reform programme.

The report makes thinly-veiled innuendoes at the incompetence of the
Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement.

Moyo reportedly does not get along well with lands and agriculture minister,
Joseph Made.

According to sources, Moyo had sharp disagreements with Buka over which
names to include in the report. Ultimately, the names that appeared in the
report were the result of a selective process, which was informed by
politics and personal feelings, the sources said.

In the land audit report, there are allegations by Buka that some people
were issued with Certificates of No Present Interest to acquire farms for
resettlement under suspicious circumstances, given the fact that the
"indigenous people" were given such certificates despite the fact that there
were people who were already settled on those farms.

"Moyo insisted on the exclusion of some names, while specifically ensuring
that certain individuals' names appeared in the report. On multiple farm
ownership, too, the number of people who were directly named for having
taken more than one farm falls far too short of the people who were supposed
to be named," the source said.

The audit report in the possession of the Sunday Mirror confirms this
allegation. Most of the districts in which certificates of no present
interest were issued, such as Mazowe, Bindura, Makonde, Hwange and Umguza
only reflected the names of the farms but not the beneficiaries. However, in
a few instances, the alleged beneficiaries were mentioned, adding weight to
our source's claim of selectivity.

The Sunday Times of South Africa, which also wrote a front page story based
on the leaked document, reported that it was believed that David
Nyekorach-Matsanga, who is based in London and is believed to have strong
ties with the Zimbabwean government, could have obtained the report and
leaked it to Africa Confidential.

Nyekorach-Matsanga however denied any involvement and said his lawyer,
Victor Evans of London, was suing the Sunday Times. The editor of the paper,
Mathatha Tsedu, professed ignorance of Nyekorach-Matsanga and said he was
not aware of the legal suit. He denied that his paper implied that Matsanga
leaked the report.

Moyo could not be reached for comment as according to his wife, he was
outside Harare and his cellphone was not reachable.

HEADLINE from Africa Confidential :

Vol 44 Number 4 - 21 February 2003

This land is our land

A secret government report shows how officials are grabbing farms and violently evicting landless farmers

A confidential government audit of Zimbabwe's land reform has found widespread evidence of corrupt allocations and the use of violence by senior politicians and military officers to evict landless small farmers ­ the very people President Robert Mugabe claimed the land reform policy would help. Reports of corruption and abuses uncovered by the auditors will embarrass Mugabe, who has staked his domestic reputation on the speedy transfer of land to Zimbabwe's more than two million landless poor farmers. Now, from the government's own investigations, it appears that not only has the policy precipitated a catastrophic fall in food crop production which, along with the regional drought, is causing as many as seven million Zimbabweans to go hungry but, above all, the policy has financially benefitted the nomenklatura of Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

The audit(1), of which Africa Confidential has obtained a copy, reveals that some of the worst violations of the land reform policy were committed by Mugabe's closest political allies, such as Air Marshal Perence Shiri and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, as well as Mugabe's sister, Sabina Mugabe. This is the President's dilemma: his credibility with the ZANU-PF grassroots supporters demands action against violators named in the audit but many of these are major figures in his own political network. The report of those violating the 'one man, one farm' rule reads like a list of the ZANU-PF elite and their allies: Information Minister Moyo, presidential sister Sabina Mugabe; former Higher Education Minister Ignatius Chombo; Defence Minister Sydney Sekeremayi; the Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Perence Shiri; Provincial Governors Eliot Manyika, Obert Mpofu, Peter Chanetsa, Josia Hungwe; newspaper publishers Ibbo Mandaza and Mtumwa Mawere; and Barclays Bank Chief Executive Alex Jongwe.

(1) Addendum to the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme National Audit Interim Report (February 2003).

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times of India

      ZCU condemns Olonga's conduct

      PTI[ SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2003 05:24:32 PM ]

      JOHANNESBURG: The Zimbabwe Cricket Union on Sunday condemned Henry
Olonga for using the World Cup platform to make a political statement.

      Olonga, who earned the wrath of the cricket establishment after he
wore black armbands to protest against the Robert Mugabe regime, announced
his retirement from international cricket after Zimbabwe's World Cup
campaign finished with a defeat to Sri Lanka in a Super Six match yesterday.

      Olonga's decision and his subsequent statement detailing the reasons
for taking the step was not taken kindly by ZCU.

      "The Union notes with regret that in announcing his official
retirement from international cricket, Olonga has, in a clear act of
continued insubordination, gone on to yet again use the platform of the
World Cup to make a political statement," the ZCU said in a statement.

      ZCU said Olonga's decision was in contravention of the advice from the
Event Technical Committee of the World Cup.

      "This is in contravention of the advice he got from the tournament's
Event Technical Committee and the instruction the Union wrote to him
following his statement before the Zimbabwe Group 'A' match against Namibia
in Harare last month.

      "The ZCU is also disappointed that while Olonga had seemingly followed
the provision of his contract regarding making public statements and handed
in his retirement news release to the team officials, he had simultaneously
released to the media at the Zimbabwe-Sri Lanka match at Buffalo Park the
same statement, albeit embargoed until after the match.

      "Even when he was advised by the team manager against including
political sentiments in his announcement, Olonga did not state that he had
already released the statement."
Back to the Top
Back to Index


            Zimbabwe launches plan to revive economy
            March 16, 2003, 15:30

            The government of Zimbabwe has launched an economic revival plan
that is underpinning its success on agriculture, mining and tourism.
Zimbabwe has been in a serious economic downturn for three years.

            The country's economy has fallen by 19,3% in the last three
years, unemployment is on the rise and inflation skyrocketed to 208% in
January. Inflation numbers are expected to be higher in February after a
rise in prices triggered by an increase in the price of fuel.

            As a result of this meltdown - there is hardly any foreign
currency in national coffers, supermarket shelves are empty and a severe
shortage of fuel continues to bite. However, Hebert Murerwa, the country's
Finance Minister, says he is confident that these grim statistics are soon
to be relegated to history. He bases his conviction on the new economic
revival plan.

            The centrepiece of the plan is generous incentives to exporters,
the mining industry and agriculture. By offering exporters an exchange rate
of $1 to 800 Zimbabwe dollars - the government hopes it will increase
foreign currency inflows.

            However, some economists, beg to differ. John Robertson argues
that these measures fail to address the real reason for the economic slow
down. The economists feel that inflows of foreign investment will be
required. On the streets of Harare, the country's capital, opinion on the
effectiveness of the new measures is just as divided. Some say it is too
little too late, while others say the measures demonstrate a real commitment
by government to reverse the economic losses.

            Murerwa says this new economic revival plan will ensure an
environment that allows businesses to make money. When challenged on the
exporter exchange rate, which still falls far short of the $1 to 1 500
Zimbabwe dollars on the parallel market, Murerwa says more measures are yet
to come. The plan, dubbed the National Economic Revival Programme, is not
the first economic reform programme by the Zimbabwe government. Many have
come before and failed.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Police break up clash of political parties in Zimbabwe
Copyright © 2003 Nando Media
Copyright © 2003 AP Online
<By ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press
HARARE, Zimbabwe (March 16, 1:02 p.m. AST) - Police fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse ruling and opposition party members clashing at an opposition rally Sunday, officials and witnesses said. Several people were injured.

The clashes started, opposition officials said, when ruling party militants armed with stones and clubs attacked opponents of President Robert Mugabe where they planned to rally.

One person was wounded seriously after being hit by a car speeding from the violence, said Welshman Ncube, a senior official with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. An unknown number of people were arrested, he said.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he had no immediate information on Sunday's unrest.

The rally, planned for the western Harare voting district of Kuwadzana ahead of a parliamentary by-election later this month, was canceled due to the unrest.

Opposition officials said their candidate, Nelson Chamisa, arrived for the rally with colleagues but found the venue taken over by ruling party militants loyal to Mugabe.

Police told them ruling party supporters were being cleared from the venue. Opposition officials said the unrest began when armed ruling party militants refused to leave and attacked opposition supporters arriving for the rally.

Ncube said the vehicle Chamisa and an opposition lawmaker were traveling in overturned while their driver tried to flee the stadium over rough ground. Neither was injured.

Chamisa and several high-ranking opposition officials were to have addressed the rally. When the tear gas and live ammunition was shot in the air, the speakers fled.

Zimbabwe is in the midst of its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1980, with massive shortages of food, fuel and essential imports.

Almost half of the country's 13 million people face possible starvation because of a food crisis blamed on erratic rainfall and the government's chaotic and often violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms.

The opposition accuses the government of stifling its activities through violence, police torture, intimidation and stringent security and media laws.

In the past month at least 300 people, including clerics on a peace march, have been arrested for staging political demonstrations declared illegal under the security laws.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe suspension extended

By Barnaby Phillips
BBC Southern Africa correspondent

Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe has been suspended since last March
The Commonwealth has announced that Zimbabwe's suspension from the organisation which was due to expire this week has been extended until the end of the year.

Leading African members of the Commonwealth had argued in favour of Zimbabwe's immediate readmission.

Zimbabwe was originally suspended in March last year after Commonwealth observers reported violence during the presidential elections.

The extension of Zimbabwe's suspension for at least another nine months is a significant setback to President Robert Mugabe and will encourage the opposition.

In recent weeks, it has appeared that the diplomatic tide has been turning in President Mugabe's favour, despite the desperate political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.


Two key African leaders, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, have argued that sanctions against Zimbabwe should be lifted and that it should be allowed back into the Commonwealth.

These presidents, along with Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, comprise a Commonwealth troika mandated to deal with Zimbabwe.

The Commonwealth Secretary, General Don McKinnon, said he had consulted leaders across the organisation and that the broadly held view was that Zimbabwe's suspension should remain in place until the heads of government meeting due to take place in December.

Mr McKinnon said the troika had now also concluded that this was the most appropriate action.

This decision will not endear Mr McKinnon to President Mugabe's Government, which has already said the secretary general is no longer welcome to visit Zimbabwe.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Gloves off as US tackles Harare over human rights
Washington to detail abuses and introduce UN motion condemning Mugabe government

Sunday Times Foreign Desk 

The lines have been drawn in what could be a diplomatic showdown between the US and Zimbabwe at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva tomorrow.
US State Department officials intend introducing a motion condemning rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Mark Bellamy, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the State Department, and Scott Carpenter, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, said Washington would relentlessly "ratchet up pressure" on President Robert Mugabe's government to abandon repression.
However, Zimbabwe has declared it is ready to confront the US. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said he would travel to Geneva to "oppose the machinations of imperialists and defend Zimbabwe's position".
"We are aware that they are brewing something. Last time they tried it and they lost," he said. "The American and British machinations will not succeed. Our position has now been understood internationally as a colonial question."
The US officials said they would try to mobilise South Africa and other countries on the 53-member commission to denounce "appalling human rights violations that have turned Zimbabwe into a bastion of tyranny".
SA will be represented by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who will present a paper on human rights.
But she is unlikely to censure Zimbabwe. Recently she said Pretoria would not condemn Harare over accusations of human rights abuses.
Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge said Harare was now in a much stronger position "to resist foreign aggression" than it was a few months ago.
He said African Union and Southern African Development Community foreign affairs ministers who met in Chad and Angola earlier this month expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe.
But the US State Department said it would distribute a comprehensive document titled " Zimbabwe's man-made crisis" as clear evidence of systematic repression by Mugabe's regime.
The 16-page document details a litany of human rights abuses, including the massacre of over 20 000 Ndebeles during the 1980s and ongoing acts of repression.
The document also contains claims of arbitrary arrest and detention. More than 300 people have been arrested in a crackdown on dissent over the past few weeks.
The US document was released hardly five days after President George W Bush proclaimed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and 76 associates. The sanctions, similar to the European Union measures against Harare, include travel restrictions and a freeze on assets.
"Zimbabwe is in crisis," the US document says. "Intimidation of political opponents is a practice out of the darkest corners of Zimbabwe's colonial and minority-rule history. A revolution dedicated to the freedom of all Zimbabweans to join and form organisations of their choice has been hijacked by a new form of authoritarianism."
According to the report, Mugabe has succeeded in reducing Zimbabwe "to a state of ruin, desolation and isolation".
It adds that "those resisting tyranny have borne the brunt of state terrorism. Many brave Zimbabweans have spoken out against the violence, corruption and mismanagement of their illegitimate government."
"Some have been murdered; others have been tortured and imprisoned. Many have been forced into exile."
Back to the Top
Back to Index