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

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      Harare: city under siege

      3/17/2003 7:47:08 AM (GMT +2)

      FOR the past few weeks, Harare residents heaved sighs of relief as a
truce seemed to have been declared in the raging political warfare between
the Executive Mayor, Elias Mudzuri, and the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and National Housing, Ignatius Chombo.

      At the height of this combat, the exchanges between the two men
threatened to degenerate into name-calling or fisticuffs.

      Hopefully, this lull will become permanent, as both men must realise
the capital is virtually under siege and its problems may have little to do
with politics.

      The council has announced its intention to introduce water rationing
because of the drought and the non-availability of water purification
chemicals, a result of the shortage of foreign currency.

      Moreover, the council is anxious about the delay in the construction
of Kunzvi Dam, mooted in 1997 at a cost of $77 million, but now likely to
cost $21 billion.

      The construction of this dam could solve Harare's water problems. Even
after Zanu PF lost control of Harare City Council in the June 2002
elections, the government in October 2003 said it was still keen to build
the dam. What has inhibited implementation of the project in the past could
not have been political.

      But today, when the city is controlled by the opposition, most people
would be forgiven for harbouring the sneaking suspicion that a political
equation has crept in. Chombo's scuffles with Mudzuri have had such a huge
political element many people expected it to end only when one of them laid
down his arms in surrender.

      But the recent lull would seem to portend a resolution of sorts of the
crisis. Perhaps a modus vivendi has been worked out? Any further delays
could only raise the cost of building the dam higher than $21 billion.

      Harare is virtually under siege and both the government and the
council have to concentrate their energies on Kunzvi Dam. It may be
politically painful for Zanu PF.
      But what is stake is bigger than any political party.
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      Politics need clean-up

      3/17/2003 7:47:34 AM (GMT +2)

      ELLIOT Manyika, who took over from Border Gezi as the Minister of
Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, could be said to be
trying to "out-Gezi Border".

      His penchant for not wanting to distinguish between Zanu PF and the
government must be upsetting many people who found the late politician's
style of treating the two as one just as frustrating.

      The government and the ruling party are two distinct entities and, in
reality, "never shall the twain meet".

      Of course, the reality for the government and Zanu PF is that they are
one and the same thing.

      Speaking to a group of people in an area which probably did not vote
for Zanu PF in last year's rural district council elections, Manyika urged
his audience to work with Zanu PF organs if they wanted development.

      Not for the first time, he urged his audience to shout in response to
the party slogan.
      These people voted for the opposition party in the firm belief that
this was their democratic right as free citizens of Zimbabwe.

      But if a Cabinet minister tells them that the only way development
will come to their area is if they co-operate with Zanu PF, he should be
officially censured, if not by the President, then certainly by Parliament
in which there are three political parties.

      It is time for Zimbabwe to clean up its politics, difficult as this
may seem to a party like Zanu PF. The country has adapted firmly to the
multi-party system and there can be no going back.

      It is highly unlikely that any citizen would today honestly speak of
missing the "good old days" when only Zanu PF was the party that mattered in
the politics of the country.

      Zanu PF diehards like Manyika ought to accept that the political
changes wrought by the people's will for change are irreversible.
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98% of commercial farms taken
17/03/2003 08:30  - (SA)

Harare - The Zimbabwean government has now acquired 98% of the former
commercial white farms under its controversial land reform programme.

Out of the 11,02 million hectares under commercial farming prior to the
advent of the fast-track land reform exercise in 2000, a mere 220 400
hectares remain unlisted for compulsory acquisition.

The figure constitutes only 2% of what used to be Zimbabwe's commercial

Though the land acquisition programme was declared officially over in August
last year, government has continued to designate more farms with the latest
being the serving of Section 8 notices to over 40 farmers in the
Karoi/Tengwe area two weeks ago.

According to Justice for Agriculture (JAG) and the Commercial Farmers Union
(CFU) the remaining area would produce not more than 5% of national

"Production from the unlisted hectarage would be insignificant," CFU
vice-president Doug Taylor-Freeme, said.

Before the start of farm invasions in February 2000 the large-scale
commercial farming sector throughout the country had 11,02 million hectares.

In its February 2003 survey to establish current status of commercial
agriculture in Zimbabwe, the CFU described the service of Section 8 notices
to commercial farmers in the Karoi/Tengwe area last week as part of a record
of deception.

"Government has reneged on agreements and rebuffed sincere attempts to
resolve issues of contention," the CFU said.

Last month government, through Lands and Agriculture minister Joseph Made
and Information minister Jonathan Moyo, tried to lure the CFU into accepting
a government-doctored memorandum of understanding.

The CFU turned down the "olive branch" citing government's lack of
seriousness in resolving the land problem.

"The CFU is concerned with the implementation of government land policy,
especially pertaining to one-man, one-farm policy," the CFU said.

The CFU said despite government claims that the acquisition exercise was
over, this was certainly not the case. As of February 2003, listing of
properties for acquisition by government was still going on.

Moreover, the acquisition procedures are still being implemented in a
lawless and disorderly manner, with illegal occupations, interruptions to
productive operations and human rights violations continuing.

"On the ground, commercial farmers are still experiencing great difficulty
trying to work with the police to resolve problems.

"In many cases reports by farmers of illegal acts are ignored and
perpetrators of crimes still not brought to justice," the CFU said. The CFU
added: "Overall production is discouraged by the absence of credit, erratic
input supplies, soaring costs and price controls resulting from a continued
lack of foreign exchange."
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'I was a cricketer. Now it's time for music'

In an exclusive interview Henry Olonga tells John Stern his retirement

Monday March 17, 2003
The Guardian

For a man who is effectively on the run from the clutches of Robert Mugabe,
Henry Olonga was remarkably calm, eloquent and charming at the Zimbabwe team
hotel yesterday. The morning after announcing he was retiring from
international cricket he was not, as reported, in hiding but happy to
discuss his plans to launch a musical career.
"At this stage I would say music is the more likely option for me," he said.
"I sing R&B and music for the stage. I even have some songs recorded but I
don't know whether they are up to industry standard. But if I can find
someone who likes what I do then maybe I can release a CD." Did he have an
agent? He looked surprised at the question. "No. Yesterday I was a

Unlike his team-mate Andy Flower, who has also announced his retirement from
the international game, Olonga has no guaranteed future in county cricket.
But he is hoping his talent as a singer may be the key to a successful
future. Two years ago he recorded a single called Our Zimbabwe which reached
the top of the charts in his country. The CD had five versions of the song -
English, dance, instrumental and Shona and Ndebele, ethnic groups within
Zimbabwe - and British television viewers were treated to him singing a
capella on the BBC show On Side three years ago.

The 26-year-old believes he cannot return to Zimbabwe because his life is
under threat. At the very least his anti-Mugabe protest with Flower at the
start of the tournament means any life in his homeland would be fraught with
danger and constant worry.

So for the time being he will stay in South Africa while he decides where to
go and what to do. His ultimate destination will be determined by his choice
of career, which could also include television punditry. "I have to decide
whether I want to continue with cricket," he said.

A Suffolk businessman last week offered £30,000 to bring him to county
cricket. But his prospects of finding a county appear limited. Most sides
have already filled their allocation of two overseas players and those who
have not have made a financial decision to have only one. There is the
possibility, though, that Lashings, the Maidstone pub side who lured Brian
Lara and a host of stars to play for them, could offer Olonga a contract.

As for places to live, he believes it is a toss-up between Britain and the
United States. He has family spread over the world. "My father is in
Zimbabwe, my stepmum is in England, my real mum is in Australia, I have a
stepbrother in England and a stepsister in Kenya; you won't remember all
that, will you?" he laughs.

Heath Streak, the Zimbabwe captain, said he was shocked to hear of Olonga's
retirement but seemed confident he would fall on his feet. "Henry is a
multi-talented guy," he said.

But it will not be easy. Over this past weekend Olonga has received
threatening emails and it was reported that he had undercover policemen from
Zimbabwe on his tail. All of this as a result of the statement made by
himself and Andy Flower on the morning of Zimbabwe's first match of the
World Cup against Namibia in Harare on February 10.

They talked of the "death of democracy" in Zimbabwe and wore black armbands
during the match. The repercussions were considerable. The International
Cricket Council persuaded the players to give up their protest and
Zimbabwe's selectors tried to drop Flower from their fourth game against
Australia. Only the threat of a players' revolt ensured the country's one
world-class player kept his place.

Olonga was not picked at all after the Namibia game, making appearances only
as 12th man until playing what turned out to be his last match in the Super
Six defeat by Kenya. Flower had already decided to retire and released an
eight-line statement on the morning of the match in which he talked of his
"difficult and sad decision" and said: "It is now time for my family and me
to move on."

But Olonga's statement was a different story. He explained why his continued
involvement with the Zimbabwean team had become imposible. "I believe that
if I were to continue to play for Zimbabwe I would do so only by neglecting
the voice of my conscience. I would be condoning the grotesque human rights
violations that have been perpetrated - and continue to be perpetrated -
against my fellow countrymen."

Zimbabwe officials rebuked him for his "continued insubordination" and
criticised him for using the World Cup as a political platform.

When Olonga was told his and Flower's stand had been widely respected and
applauded in Britain he said: "That's good to hear. Hopefully that
friendship and respect will be extended if I decide to come to England."

Diary of despair

February 10
Henry Olonga and Andy Flower wear black armbands in their opening World Cup
match against Namibia. "In doing so we are mourning the death of democracy
in our beloved Zimbabwe," they say in a statement. Olonga is later told by
cricket and government officials that he will never play for Zimbabwe again.

February 12
England's captain Nasser Hussain says Flower and Olonga "have proved to be
great men by what they have done". England forfeit their pool match against
Zimbabwe in Harare the next day for security reasons.

February 14
The ICC, notified of the protest by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, rules that
Olonga and Flower have not brought the game into disrepute but ask the
players to stop wearing the black armbands.

February 19
Olonga is omitted for the match against India but when he comes on as a
substitute fielder he, like Flower, is wearing a black sweatband.

February 20
Olonga is sacked by his local cricket club Takashinga. "It is disgraceful
what Henry Olonga and Andy Flower have done," says the club's chairman
Givemore Makoni.

February 22
ZCU officials warn Olonga and Flower to stop their protest. The Zanu-PF
information secretary Nathan Shamuyarira says the players were "pressured by
the British and external forces" to protest. "No true Zimbabwean would have
joined in," he adds. "Olonga is not a Zimbabwean, he is a Zambian, but he
has been allowed to play here."

March 7
The Suffolk businessman Lawrence Mallison offers £30,000 to help Olonga play
for any English county.

March 11
Olonga's father, Dr John Olonga, a Bulawayo paediatrician, says he does not
want his son to return to Zimbabwe. "It is a brave stand and I am proud. But
sometimes you pay the price. The price he will pay is leaving Zimbabwe."

March 12
An injury crisis forces Olonga to be recalled and he takes one for 21 in
four overs in the defeat to Kenya. He makes no protest as Zimbabwe are
knocked out of the competition.

March 15
Olonga is dropped against Sri Lanka and announces his retirement from
international cricket.
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Suspend Zimbabwe 'permanently'
March 17, 2003

ZIMBABWE should be permanently suspended from the Commonwealth until the
regime of President Robert Mugabe had been ousted from power, Labor foreign
affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd has said.

The 54-member Commonwealth decided today to extend a one-year suspension of
Zimbabwe at least until December amid bickering among member nations.

The sanction against Mr Mugabe's government was imposed in March last year
in protest at alleged election-rigging and the seizure of white-owned farms
for redistribution to landless blacks.

But with the member countries split on whether the measure should be
continued beyond Wednesday's one-year expiry, Commonwealth Secretary-General
Don McKinnon said it would be maintained until a heads of government meeting
in Nigeria at the end of the year.

Mr Rudd today said the suspension should not have been given a timeframe.

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            Divided Commonwealth extends Zimbabwe sanction
            March 17, 2003, 05:00

            The Commonwealth has decided to extend its one-year suspension
of Zimbabwe, until at least December.

            The sanction against President Robert Mugabe's government was
imposed last March, after allegations of election-rigging and in response to
the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
            However, with the group's 54 nations split on whether the
measure should be continued beyond Wednesday's one-year expiry, Don
McKinnon, the Commonwealth secretary-general, said it would be maintained
until a heads of government meeting in Nigeria. "The most appropriate
approach in the circumstances is for Zimbabwe's suspension from the councils
of the Commonwealth to remain in place until Commonwealth Heads of
Government (CHOGM) address the issue and decide upon a way forward at the
CHOGM meeting in December 2003," he said in a statement.

            The Commonwealth split over Zimbabwe has appeared to pit white
nations against African and Asian ones, in the seven-decade-old group which
joins almost one third of the world's countries with 1,7 billion people. On
one side, African heavyweights South Africa and Nigeria, say Mugabe's
government has recorded enough progress over the past year - in land reform,
human rights and democracy - to warrant re-admission to the Commonwealth.

            However, Mugabe's opponents such as Australia say that stance is
a betrayal of Commonwealth principles, pointing to the treason trial of
opposition figures and harsh media and security laws. Australia, South
Africa and Nigeria form a Commonwealth troika mandated to look at what
course of action to take on Harare.

            Land reform at heart of controversy
            "Some member governments take the view it is time to lift
Zimbabwe's suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth when the
one-year period expires on 19 March, 2003. Some others feel there is no
justification for such a step and that there is in fact reason to impose
stronger measures," McKinnon added.

            "The issue of land reform is at the core of the situation in
Zimbabwe and cannot be separated from other issues of concern to the
Commonwealth, such as the rule of law, respect for human rights, democracy
and the economy," he said. There was no immediate reaction from Harare.

            Mugabe accuses former colonial ruler Britain and others of
perpetuating "neo-colonial" attitudes towards Zimbabwe and argues land
reforms are a bid to correct a colonial injustice that left 70% of the best
agricultural land in hands of whites making up less than 1% of the
population. - Reuters

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Commonwealth Statement on Zimbabwe

Commonwealth Secretariat (London)

March 17, 2003
Posted to the web March 17, 2003


The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, issued the following
statement in London today.

"The Commonwealth Troika, mandated by Heads of Government to deal with the
Zimbabwe issue, suspended Zimbabwe from the councils of the Commonwealth on
19 March 2002 for a period of one year. Under the Marlborough House
Statement, the issue was to be revisited in twelve months time, 'having
regard to progress in Zimbabwe based on the Commonwealth Harare principles
and reports from the Commonwealth Secretary-General.' At their subsequent
meeting in Abuja on 23 September 2002 the Commonwealth Troika decided to
'see how Zimbabwe responds to the Marlborough House Statement over the next
six months as foreshadowed in that Statement, at which point stronger
measures might need to be considered.'

"Members of the Troika, in reviewing the Zimbabwe issue, agreed that I
should undertake wider consultations among Commonwealth governments.
Accordingly, over the past few weeks, I have been listening to the views of
and discussing the issue with virtually all leaders across the Commonwealth.
They have all stated that they wish to see the Commonwealth continue to work
together on the issue of Zimbabwe.

"Some member governments take the view that it is time to lift Zimbabwe's
suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth when the one-year period
expires on 19 March 2003. Some others feel that there is no justification
for such a step and that there is in fact reason to impose stronger
measures. However, the broadly held view is that Heads of Government wish to
review matters at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in
Nigeria in December 2003 and that the suspension of Zimbabwe from the
councils of the Commonwealth should remain in place pending discussions on
the matter at CHOGM.

"I have advised members of the Troika of these views. I have also submitted
to them my report as foreshadowed in the Marlborough House Statement.

"The members of the Troika have now concluded that the most appropriate
approach in the circumstances is for Zimbabwe's suspension from the councils
of the Commonwealth to remain in place until Commonwealth Heads of
Government address the issue and decide upon a way forward at the CHOGM in
December 2003.

"I wish to reiterate that Zimbabwe and its people matter to the
Commonwealth. All the Heads of Government I have spoken to have urged me to
persist with my efforts at engagement with President Mugabe and his
government in the context of my good offices role. I intend to do so.

"The issue of land reform is at the core of the situation in Zimbabwe and
cannot be separated from other issues of concern to the Commonwealth, such
as the rule of law, respect for human rights, democracy and the economy. The
Commonwealth and the wider international community remain ready to assist
the Government of Zimbabwe in addressing this key issue. I once again call
on the Zimbabwe Government to re-engage with the Commonwealth and the United
Nations Development Programme on the issue of transparent, equitable and
sustainable measures for land reform, as agreed at Abuja in September 2001.
Commonwealth governments also look to the Government of Zimbabwe to honour
its undertakings given to other regional leaders on issues of concern.

"The Commonwealth looks forward to Zimbabwe being able to regain its full
and rightful place in the Commonwealth family."

Note to Editors: The Commonwealth Chairpersons' Committee on Zimbabwe,
consisting of the Prime Minister of Australia, Rt Hon John Howard, the
President of Nigeria, H E Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and the President of
South Africa, H E Mr Thabo Mbeki, was mandated by the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting in Coolum, Australia in 2002 to determine appropriate
Commonwealth action on Zimbabwe, in close consultation with the
Secretary-General. The Committee is also known as the Commonwealth Troika.
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Daily News

      Violence hits Harare

      3/17/2003 7:50:04 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga and Sam Munyavi

      FOR the second time in two days, the police yesterday attacked
opposition MDC supporters trying to attend a rally in Harare two weeks
before key by-elections in Kuwadzana and Highfield.

      Meanwhile, the State-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation last night
claimed that one person was killed yesterday when a car in which the MDC's
Kuwadzana candidate, Nelson Chamisa, was in rammed into a crowd. MDC sources
said the driver was not Chamisa.

      Yesterday, the police fired shots into the air and tear-gassed
thousands of MDC supporters on their way to a rally in Kuwadzana Extension.
The supporters scattered in all directions as four plainclothes officers
armed with pistols and scores of baton-wielding riot policemen charged at

      Later, a vehicle carrying two MDC Members of Parliament was ambushed
by Zanu PF supporters who fired shots at it, forcing the MPs to flee into a
maize field for refuge.
      The MPs, Job Sikhala (St Mary's) and Paurina Mpariwa (Mufakose) said
they survived the attack "by the grace of God".

      A bloodied MDC supporter said he was assaulted by State security
      On Saturday, several people were injured and business brought to a
halt in Highfield as police fought running battles with ruling Zanu PF
supporters determined to prevent the MDC from holding a rally at Zororo

      Tendai Marima, 18, was rushed to Harare Central Hospital after an
attack by Zanu PF youths in the ensuing melee. The youths, wielding stones
and catapults, assaulted anyone they suspected to be an opposition
supporter. Motorists abandoned fuel queues and drove away as the youths went
on the rampage.

      Marima was severely assaulted and left for dead.
      The problem started in the morning when Zanu PF supporters clashed
with MDC youths who were putting up posters for the 2 pm rally. Armed riot
police reacted swiftly to control the explosive situation and the Zanu PF
supporters, numbering about 100, then retreated.

      Later, when an estimated 10 000 MDC supporters gathered for the rally
at Zororo grounds, about 500 Zanu PF supporters clad in their party regalia
descended on the venue. The MDC supporters abandoned their rally and some of
them charged towards their adversaries.

      The police again forced the Zanu PF supporters to retreat as the two
groups pelted each other with stones. The police dispersed them with
teargas. The rally proceeded about an hour later.

      Addressing the rally, Welshman Ncube, the party's secretary-general,
told the people of Highfield not to succumb to Zanu PF's vote-buying

      Ncube said: "If there is maize meal, please go and get it. But you
have to be clever on the day of voting. Harare belongs to the MDC."

      Pearson Mungofa of the MDC will contest the seat against Zanu PF's
Joseph Chinotimba in the 29 and 30 March by-election to fill the seat
vacated by Munyaradzi Gwisai, when he was expelled from the MDC last year.

      Gwisai is standing as an independent.
      Yesterday in Kuwadzana Extension, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters
invaded the football grounds where the MDC was due to hold its rally for the
29-30 March by-election. They were later repulsed by the police who in turn,
barred the MDC supporters from proceeding to the grounds, more than 300
metres away.

      Nelson Chamisa, the MDC's candidate, who is standing against David
Mutasa of Zanu PF, deplored the police action.

      He told his supporters: "We don't want violence in this constituency.
The problem is the police don't want us to go ahead with our rally. The
people who are inciting violence are the police. They are letting the Zanu
PF supporters do as they please."

      As soon as he finished speaking, shots and teargas were fired,
resulting in panic-stricken supporters fleeing in all directions.

      When they sped off from the scene, Chamisa, his campaign manager
Charlton Hwende, and the MPs Mpariwa and Sikhala, escaped death by a whisker
after their Nissan double-cab truck was ambushed by Zanu PF supporters on
the Harare-Bulawayo road.

      They fled into a maize field from where they hid.

      Mpariwa said: "They fired shots into the field and we only survived by
the grace of God."
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ABC News

Rival Party Members Clash in Zimbabwe, Injuring Several People

The Associated Press

      HARARE, Zimbabwe March 16 -
      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

      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.

      On Sunday, the Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies
extended Zimbabwe's suspension from the group for nine months. A yearlong
suspension imposed after Zimbabwe's general election was marred by violence
and vote rigging was scheduled to expired Tuesday.

      The suspension was extended until December, when heads of Commonwealth
governments plan to meet in Nigeria, said Commonwealth Secretary-General Don

      Formerly known as the British Commonwealth, the Commonwealth's member
states include Britain, India, Pakistan, Canada, Australia, many Pacific and
Caribbean Island nations and several African states.
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Daily News


      Mugabe's broken marriage to Zimbabwe

      3/17/2003 7:20:27 AM (GMT +2)

      To refresh your memories, I shall take you to the musical hit charts
of our once beautiful country. I hope you all remember the hit song
Handiende by Steve Makoni.

      In Handiende, Makoni portrays a maritally dedicated - or rather a
maritally deranged - woman who will not quit the marriage that has been
rendered null and void by those wicked forces that work against blissful

      This piece is about one such woman.
      For expedience, we shall refer to this woman who refuses to go as
Doomy. Doomy is a name ingeniously coined by my friend Caesar as a special
dedication to this woman of extraordinary perseverance and killing
dedication to a marriage on the rocks.

      The woman dutifully sings and sobs that she will not leave the
marriage even if technically there is no marriage to talk about.

      The woman uses the existence of children in the marriage as the only
factor mitigating against her leaving the small prison she finds herself in.
The reasons are flimsy because the marriage is actually causing her
offspring untold psychological pain as they see that mother and father are
practically dying from killing each other, so to say.

      Anyhow, Doomy refuses to go. She says the children need both the
deranged father and herself. She refuses to realise that her continued
association with the man who used to be her husband is softly killing the
poor kids. All she is concerned with is staying on and, perhaps, having more
fights with the poor man. The wife-bashing goes on and the woman's resolve
to stay grows stupidly stronger. Aha, Doomy is a dummy.

      Mrs Doomy "Handiende" the dummy is a lame excuse of the weaker sex.
She is almost wicked in her resolved to stay on for the sake of the
children. The husband comes in stone-drunk, throws up smelly fermenting
stuff on her and throws some complimentary blows onto her torso. She cries
out loud, but still vows to stay on.

      In a further attempt to make the woman see sense, the cunning man
calls his mistress and they have a flirtatious chat, whilst the battered
woman bleeds away in her resolve to persevere.

      Once a while, Doomy the dummy is exposed to the worst case of open
infidelity by the rough husband. The man brings along another woman of
iniquities to comfort him in the presence of our dedicated woman. She looks
at everything and silently concludes that it is a passing stage. She does
not consider her welfare and health. She accepts that her man will one day
come back to her. She does not care what her man would bring back to her.
Disease and pestilence is looming. Doomy vows that she would stay for the
sake of the children.

      My countrymen, welcome to Zimbabwe and her marriage of convenience to
Mugabe! Mugabe is the wife who feels that it is not necessary for her to
leave the marriage, even though there is nothing on the marriage to talk

      Mugabe is the woman we, as the people of Zimbabwe, are trying to
divorce. He is kicking his legs and screaming that he shall not leave his
marriage to Zimbabwe. He claims that he has to stay in the marriage for the
sake of his people.

      Mugabe is Doomy. He is a gift to the people of Zimbabwe from some
doomsday cult we do not care to know its origin. He has seen our lives and
our livelihoods being eaten away by his ineptitude, yet he refuses to go. He
has seen our happiness being negatively eroded by his obsession to stay in
power, yet he will not let go.

      Mugabe "Handiende Doomy" is just like the wife who vows to stay on
even if the marriage she got into is devouring her children. Mugabe loves
his marriage to power to a deadly extent where he does not give a damn about
the negative consequences. He is willing to ruin all of us before he ruins
himself in some suicide.

      Analogies aside, Mugabe is one hell of a person obsessed with power.
He will not give up power for anything. He will be satisfied that by the
grace of the Lord, he ends his days on earth on the throne. To him, the
people of Zimbabwe do not matter any more. He is living for himself alone.

      When he went to France, Mugabe got so overwhelmed by the trappings of
the sly capitalists to a degree that he could not hide the fact that he
misses the European capitals. In his valedictory message to the French, he
expressed wishes that the rest of the European countries should allow him
free access to their small paradises like France had done. He did not plead
on behalf of his suffering people. He only wanted the personal ban slapped
on him and his small inner circle to be removed.

      The President, who has done so much destruction to Zimbabwe, bluntly
refuses to accept blame for taking the marvellous country down with him. He
blames everyone else except himself.

      In typical "Handiende" fashion, he claims that he will soldier on for
the people. He refuses to listen to the calls for him to divorce himself
from the political scene. He obviously thinks that it will be a sin for him
to quit, hence his motto that "Mugabe does not quit".

      In his time, Mugabe has seen the country slide from a beautiful
country to a desolate one with nothing to be proud of. He has presided over
a people whom he has poisoned with his tongue-lashing and arrogance. He has
personally supervised the downfall of the agricultural sector.

      In terms of growth, Mugabe has only seen negative economic growth
during his turbulent years. Every aspect of the economy has shrunk so much
that countries like Mozambique are becoming havens for Zimbabwean

      Whilst his monetary policies have seen an amazing growth in terms of
the amount of cash carried by the weary citizens, it is true that he has
slashed the spending power of the citizens several thousand-fold. The rate
of inflation is truly amazing.

      Talking of growth, Mugabe has managed to oversee the rapid growth of
poverty and lawlessness.

      In an uncharacteristic fashion for a President, he has glorified his
reputation as a man of violence and has used violence effectively for his
own ends. He has put in place hit squads that hide behind the call of
national service for the youths.

      In all fairness, Mugabe would do his country and the world a favour by
gracefully leaving politics and governance to more capable people.

      He should not hide behind a lame excuse like Doomy the woman who
refuses to be
      divorced because of the children. He should just go!

      He will not surprise anyone if he retired from politics; after all,
that is what we all expect him to do!
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Leader Page

      True pastors suffer with the rest of the people

      3/17/2003 7:48:09 AM (GMT +2)

      By Magari Mandebvu

      WE HAVE been been relying too long on others to liberate us. Zanu PF
gave us independence, but not liberation. They were always too keen to keep
real power in their own hands.

      Now they have created a system where they try, usually very
effectively, to co-opt anyone who values anything more highly than
liberating the people.
      Those who wanted to get rich quick and those who would be satisfied
with comfortable positions were easy to bribe with these things.

      The professional non-governmental organisations (NGO) people and all
those who like to call themselves "civil society" are very vulnerable. They
live well off the salaries, travel expenses, meals in expensive hotels and
perks that come from foreign funding. Many of them don't really want to rock
the boat.

      We have seen politicians and trade unionists tried and tested by every
kind of threat or bribe, and we should know by now who we can trust.

      Even Church leaders have proved themselves human, which means they can
be bribed or bullied. Like the NGOs, they often have comfortable well-paid
positions, so they have a lot to lose. I get suspicious when I hear
comfortable people talking about reconciliation rather than confrontation in
our present situation. Reconciliation and forgiveness are important values,
and not only Christian ones, but there can be no reconciliation between
Christ and Belial, between justice and unrepentant criminals.

      We saw this in the hearings of the South African Truth and
Reconciliation Commission. Archbishop Desmond Tutu knew that the truth had
to come first, so that we all knew what needed to be reconciled. He tried
very hard - and succeeded - in getting some evildoers to admit they had done
wrong, then they could be forgiven.

      Christians must confront evil and call it by its name before they try
to reconcile with the evildoer. Jesus was gentle with a woman who had been
caught in adultery and other sinners who admitted their sin, but he wasn't
always meek and mild. He could be very confrontational. Old Testament
prophets said some hard things, as when Amos told a self-serving priest:
"Your wife shall be a harlot in the city, and your sons and your daughters
shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be parcelled out by line; you
yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile
away from its land."

      Strong stuff, that: but we find stronger stuff in the New Testament.
When Pharisees and scribes came to John the Baptist, he called them: "You
brood of vipers." When someone delivered a message from Herod to Jesus, He
said: "Go and tell that fox . . .' and He is recorded as calling pharisees
"whited sepulchres" to their faces. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't
recall any of the Old Testament prophets making that kind of personal

      That language may have been a challenge to examine themselves, but don
't we need to make people in high places examine themselves here also?
Crimes are being committed daily by people in positions of power - murder,
torture, arson and rape. Those who order these things are worse criminals
than those who obey their orders. Corrupting the judiciary and police so as
to get away with all these and other evils is even worse. Corrupting the
youth by training them to do these things is worst of all.

      But is anyone challenging the criminals? Are any Church leaders
challenging them?
      Yes, a few: Archbishop Pius Ncube and Bishop Sebastian Bakare, to name
two, but can you name another? More stay silent, and an increasing number
are talking about reconciliation and peace "but not confrontation".

      I agree that confrontation is not the only way to go forward, but it
must be one of the methods we use. You can't just sit two parties at a
table, forget their crimes and get them to shake hands, sign an agreement
and live together in peace. Leaders like Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa and Jacques Chirac of France may think so: there always have been
politicians who thought they could sweep problems out of sight like this, at
least until the end of their term in office. Few politicians think any
further ahead than the next election, but ordinary people have to think what
sort of world their grandchildren will live in and churchmen preach about
eternity, which is a lot longer than that.

      Ideally, we should get the parties to sit down together, and confront
them there. Some Church leaders do sit down to tea with the politicians, but
they don't confront them there - maybe because they are afraid they won't be
invited to tea again. What sort of leadership is that?

      And let us not forget that one party has committed more crimes. Their
opponents might become as bad as they are if they had the same power, but
they haven't done that yet and standing up to evil leaders now will make us
all more able to prevent future leaders from committing similar crimes.

      If Church leaders did confront the criminals in private and were
thrown out, then they would be left with the only course of action that the
rest of us have: to confront, by telling it like is, anywhere that we will
be heard. That may be in the newspapers, it may be on the streets, it should
certainly involve telling it like it is to anyone in the countries around
us, like the Bishop of Cape Town, who could influence their governments to
put pressure until our leaders agree to sit down and really listen to us.

      And if Church leaders tell the hard truth and suffer for it as many
ordinary people are suffering already, they will only be where a true pastor
should be - with his people.

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      Water rationing still on the cards in Harare

      3/17/2003 7:33:25 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The recent heavy rains may have resulted in a welcome rise in the
water levels of Harare's major sources of water supply, but water rationing
is still on the cards for the city.

      Manyame, Chivero, Seke and Harava dams last week held almost 16 months
' supply at the average daily consumption rate of 750 million litres. Before
the rains, the dams held about 14 month's supply.

      Cuthbert Rwazemba, the council spokesman said: "Ideally, the dams
should hold at least 24 months' supply."

      But water rationing remained on the schedule, he said, despite the
significant inflows over the past fortnight.

      Last month the council resolved to introduce water rationing as the
dam levels were critically low. The council is still to consider the maximum
consumption levels for the different consumers, as well as the surcharges.

      Water rationing will affect Chitungwiza, Norton, Epworth and Ruwa,
which are supplied by the City of Harare.

      Rwazemba said the council's capacity to supply treated water was being
exceeded by demand.

      Unrestricted average daily consumption of water is 750 million litres
a day. This includes 150 million litres lost in the distribution system
through leakages, pipe bursts and during the treatment process.

      The proposed water rationing would see the average total daily
consumption and losses reduced to 600 million litres a day.

      Rwazemba said: "The city has reached its maximum capacity in terms of
catchment area and there is need for a relatively pollution-free source of
supply like the proposed Kunzwi Dam in Murehwa."

      The dam has been on the cards since 1997 and would have been completed
last year.
      He said Harare's water problems were likely to remain until Kunzwi Dam
was built, which would take about four years.

      Rwazemba said: "Water rationing is not intended to punish consumers or
get more money for the council. What we are doing is managing a critical
situation so we can all be assured of supplies for the foreseeable future."

      He said many of Harare's water pipes were old and needed to be
replaced but the council did not have the money.

      "This is a situation we cannot rectify overnight. The rehabilitation
of our water network is a long process and it is unfortunate that we have
not been granted borrowing powers to embark on some of the capital
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      Get rid of incompetent Zimsec, say Harare folk

      3/17/2003 7:34:21 AM (GMT +2)

      By Obert Matahwa

      Harare residents last week demanded the dissolution of the Zimbabwe
School Examinations Council (Zimsec) over allegations of rampant corruption
in the management of national examinations, to restore credibility in the
education system.

      In a snap survey, the residents said the scandals which recently
rocked Zimsec had confirmed the fears expressed ahead of the localisation of

      Zimsec effectively took charge of the examinations in 1998. Zimsec has
of late been dogged by reports of forgery of results by its senior
officials, examination leaks and doubts about the acceptability of the
Zimsec certificates outside the country.

      Eighty students at Guinea Fowl High School in Gweru, for instance,
failed to collect their "A" Level results in February after a mix-up at

      The results were recalled after the students were awarded points for
subjects for which they had not sat.

      Member Kadyaridzire of Glen View said it was sad that Zimsec had
betrayed the trust vested in it.

      Kadyaridzire said: "The way they are running the show at Zimsec
indicates that corruption has reached endemic levels in the country. The
government must stop the rot."
      Kadyaridzire said the students who continued their education on the
basis of forged results were bound to fail when they progressed to higher

      Phineas Chikadaya of Glen Norah said national examinations should
revert to Cambridge, the examining board which used to set and mark the
country's national examinations.

      "It will be difficult to look for employment elsewhere with a
certificate awarded by the discredited Zimsec," she said. "University of
Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate was professional and must be

      Togarepi Gandiwa of Mabvuku said: "Corruptly awarded certificates won'
t be of any value and it will be difficult to look for jobs overseas with a
Zimsec document. Zimsec must be disbanded."

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      Public ready for mass action

      3/17/2003 7:28:21 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      MOST Zimbabweans interviewed yesterday said they were more than ready
for the mass action called for by the MDC for tomorrow and Wednesday.

      But others professed ignorance of the impending mass protests against
the government of President Mugabe.

      The MDC yesterday implored the masses to conduct themselves peacefully
amid reports of massive deployment of Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) agents and the police in Bulawayo ahead of tomorrow's planned mass
action. Riot police patrolled the streets.

      Sources within the CIO said hundreds of State security agents had been
deployed throughout the city.

      "We have been instructed to deal ruthlessly with anyone seen
participating in the mass action or uttering provocative statements likely
to incite public violence," said a source.
      Meanwhile, anonymous flyers, apparently aimed at thwarting the mass
action, were distributed in Harare blaming the MDC for the shortages of
fuel, food, sugar, cooking oil and transport blues.

      The fake flyers, bearing the banner: The Daily News: MDC Sanctions
Killing the Nation, are said to have been written by "concerned students,
workers' unions, civic organisations and church leaders".

      In Mutare, there were mixed feelings on the mass action. Most of those
interviewed said the mass action would succeed. Others called for further
dialogue between the government and the MDC.

      The mass action is the first ever to be called for by a political
party to protest against the worsening socio-political and economic
      The MDC said it had consulted widely with ordinary people and
organisations, including labour and employers.

      The mass action is intended to shut down the country's major urban
      It follows hard on recent calls by the MDC for a boycott of businesses
owned by Zanu PF supporters.

      Yesterday, while stressing that the mass action must be peaceful, the
MDC said:
      "As a majority, we can't continue to be subjected to this type of
life. We must stand up and declare that we have had enough of this
brutality. Our rights and freedoms must be restored to us."

      In Harare, Ryan Mparadzi, 30, said:
      "I think the mass action will be effective if organised properly and
its intentions understood."

      A security guard who declined to be named said:
      "If there is a stayaway we will participate because we are the ones
who are starving. We used to think these stayaways were not important, but
now we want them like yesterday."
      Other people said for the mass action to succeed, public transport
operators should withdraw their vehicles from respective commuter routes.

      The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), which is agitating for a
new constitution and whose calls for similar actions have largely been
ignored in the past, came out fully in support of the MDC's call for mass

      Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, said yesterday: "We support all
initiatives that can bring about open democracy in Zimbabwe."

      Lovemore Matombo, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
president, said: "This is a political matter and normally, to make an
official position, we have to sit as a general council. The ZCTU is composed
of members of different political parties. Zimbabweans are intelligent
enough to make up their own minds."

      Other residents said instead of just announcing the date of the
proposed mass action through the Press, the MDC should thoroughly mobilise
the people.

      In Bulawayo, Martin Ndlovu of Tshabalala said: "We don't know what
they mean by mass action. Are they saying people should riot?"

      Kim Phiri said previous experience had shown that mass action did not
      He said: "The MDC should try another strategy."
      Cecilia Ncube, a resident of Killarney , said people were scared of
reprisals under the draconian Public Order and Security Act.

      She said: "People are not interested in mass actions because they are
      Jacob Sibanda said the MDC should have given the masses at least two
months notice.
      Farai Maguhu, a former student leader at the Africa University in
Mutare, said: "Now is the right time, for people have suffered enough.

      "There is no way the mass action can fail if those behind it made
proper consultations and lobbied all the stakeholders, who in this case are
civic organisations and the ordinary people."

      Leonard Chikoti, 24, of Dangamvura said the mass action could not have
come at a better time.

      He said: "This is the time to tell the Zanu PF government that their
time is up."
      He said if the police did not "react irrationally" the mass action
would be the turning point for Zimbabwean politics.
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      Driving in Harare needs special skill - pothole dodging

      3/17/2003 7:32:58 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      A good number of Harare's drivers are fast-acquiring a new skill -
pothole dodging.

      Some of the city's roads have become a nightmare for drivers as the
recent rains have worsened a continuing problem of potholes in the city.

      Unless they are familiar with a particular road or section of the
road, drivers risk damage to their vehicles when they suddenly come across
some of these potholes.

      Worse still, the drivers and their passengers risk being injured if
they drive into these potholes, which are virtually invisible when they are
waterlogged or it is raining.

      Early in 2001, there were two fatal accidents at such a pothole in
Willowvale. Several other non-fatal accidents were reported at the spot.

      Some residents around Harare have taken to filling in potholes in
their areas with rubble and other material, bringing temporary relief.

      The council is failing to cope with the numerous potholes that have
developed around the city.

      Elias Mudzuri, Harare's Executive Mayor, said in a council meeting
last week: "I have seen so many potholes on the major roads. Nothing is
being done. We have not been getting reports from the Department of Works. I
think you (the acting director of works) are encouraging laziness if you don
't reprimand your subordinates. We want to know the reason why the roads are
not being repaired."

      The mayor ordered the acting director of works to produce the report
in the next monthly meeting of the council.

      In January this year, the council extended for three months the
contracts for road repairs and maintenance awarded to two private companies.

      The council's procurement board, made up of six councillors, last
month told the Department of Works to submit a report to the board
justifying the payments made for road repairs. The board said the report,
which is yet to be presented to the council, should indicate the amount paid
for work on each road, and the work to be carried out up to 31 March. The
city has more than 3 000km of roads.

      Meanwhile, the shortage of fuel continues to affect the collection of
refuse in many of the city's areas, with some places going for weeks without
the service.

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      Zimbabweans leading as UK asylum seekers

      3/17/2003 7:25:41 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      ZIMBABWEANS lead the pack of asylum seekers in the United Kingdom,
says a report released by the British government.

      More than 7 500 Zimbabweans fled political persecution in their own
country 2002 to settle in the UK, according to a report released by the UK
Home Office Secretary, David Blunkett.

      Zimbabweans finding political refuge in the UK surpass other Africans
from such war-ravaged countries as Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC), Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Uganda and Algeria.

      Zimbabwe leads the pack with 7 695 followed by Somalia (6 680), the
DRC (2 315), Angola (1 440), Eritrea (1 190), Sierra Leone (1 160), Nigeria
(1 125), Algeria (1 080) and Uganda (730).

      A spokesperson for the British High Commission in Harare, Sophie
Honey, said out of the 7 695 who fled to the UK, 2 245 had already been
granted asylum.

      Tafadzwa Musekiwa, the former MP for Zengeza, is among those who fled
to Britain because of political persecution.

      Honey said 3 870 had been denied asylum while a decision was pending
on the remaining 580.

      She would not explain why the 3 870 had been turned down, saying:
"Information pertaining to individual asylum applications is confidential."

      But according to the Home Office report, when asylum is denied an
appeal can be lodged. Applicants may be relocated to a third country or
flown back home.
      "Figures for 2003 are not yet available," Honey said.

      The influx of Zimbabweans relocating to the UK and elsewhere has been
blamed on the deteriorating socio-political and economic situation in the

      Zanu PF youth militias and State security agents have been largely
accused of harassing and beating up supporters and sympathisers of the
opposition, according to officials from non-governmental organisations and
human rights pressure groups.

      The Blunkett report did not specify the number of economic refugees in
that country, believed to run into several thousands.

      The 28-page report says asylum seekers from Africa increased from 17
920 in 2000 to 20 710 in 2001.

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      Soldiers arrest asylum seekers

      3/17/2003 7:31:57 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      SOLDIERS deployed along the border with Mozambique last Wednesday
arrested 29 nationals from Rwanda who had entered Zimbabwe through an
illegal entry point.

      The Rwandans were handed to the Department of Immigration after they
indicated they were seeking asylum.

      The Rwandans, who included men, women and children, are believed to be
coming from Tanzania where they were expelled.

      The Rwandans were taken to Grand Reef, an army barrack, 20 kilometres
north of Mutare where they were reportedly interrogated before being handed
over to the Department of Immigration. They are all of Hutu origin.

      "There are 29 of them," said one source, "we took them to Grand Reef
but we now want to hand them over to the Department of Immigration."
      Zimbabwe has experienced an influx of Rwandan refugees into the
country since January this year.

      The Rwandan refugees, who were expelled by the Tanzanian government,
are trekking down to Zimbabwe, a country seen as a safe haven for refugees
from the Great Lakes Region.

      They were expelled on the grounds they should return to their country
because there is now "peace and stability".

      However, the Rwandans are reluctant to go back home, fearing
retribution from the Tutsi-led government of President Paul Kagame.

      Tapiwa Huye, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees,
assistant programme officer in Harare, on Thursday said: "They (Rwandans)
are coming in numbers."

      He said Zimbabwe was receiving an average of 300 new arrivals a month
since January from a monthly average of 50 before the latest developments in

      Huye said: "The problem we have now is that our accommodation is
saturated." Zimbabwe is home to about 10 000 refugees.

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      Refugees accuse Angolan envoy of harassment

      3/17/2003 7:26:46 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THREE Angolan refugees at Tongogara Refugee Camp, Chipinge, have
accused the Angolan Ambassador to Zimbabwe Joaquim De Lemos of harassing
them for their alleged links with the former rebel movement, Unita.

      The refugees said their lives were at risk following last November's
unannounced visit to the camp by the ambassador who was accompanied by
security agents and journalists from Angola.

      Their spokesman, Adito Camia Tati, 38, said since the ambassador's
visit, they were being constantly interrogated by unidentified men who
accused them of undermining Angola's interests.

      The others are Antonio Barata, 35, and Joau Amedeu De Sousa, 36.
      But Carreira Hilda, the first secretary of information at the Angolan
Embassy denied the allegations, saying De Lemos' visit to the camp was part
of the commemoration of Angola's independence on 11 November.

      Hilda said: "The Angolan Embassy denies any involvement in any action
to put pressure on the refugees to return to Angola. It's not the policy of
the Angolan government, which has often appealed for the voluntary return of
Angolan refugees in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia, to force the refugees to
return home.

      "The ambassador's visit was official. We met the three refugees and
they said they did not want to return to Angola."

      She said it was normal for the ambassador to be accompanied by
journalists on such visits.

      While in Angola, Barata and De Sousa worked for a humanitarian
organisation that distributed food in areas controlled by Unita. Tati was a
police mechanic.

      Tati's wife was allegedly killed by government agents for allegedly
supporting the former rebel movement which has now transformed itself into a
political party.

      Tati's application for refugee status was rejected by the Zimbabwe
government but he has lived at Tongogara for the past four years awaiting
relocation to another refugee camp in southern Africa.

      Their grievances were submitted in writing to David Mlambo, the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) camp administrator at

      Tati said: "We are now worried about our security in Zimbabwe.
      "We believe the UNHCR should relocate us to other countries in
southern Africa."

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      Bulawayo women bare all in protest against police brutality

      3/17/2003 7:26:11 AM (GMT +2)

      From Florence Ndhlovu in Bulawayo

      LAST Sunday, curious by-standers in Bulawayo's city centre watched as
two women bared their bodies by lifting their dresses up to their shoulders,
exposing their undergarments.

      The women were protesting against police brutality on marchers marking
International Women's Day in the city.

      Thirteen women, including two opposition MDC MPs, were arrested at the
Bulawayo City Hall car park during a Women's Day commemoration addressed by
Zodwa Sibanda, the wife of MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda.

      They were released on the same day without being charged.
      About 300 women, many carrying Bibles, had gathered at the venue to
sing religious songs including Asilwi lokuthula, silwa loSatan (We are not
fighting peace, but fighting Satan) as they walked around the city hall
waving red and white ribbons.

      Six women, Thokozane Khupe (Makokoba MP), Nomalanga Khumalo (Mzingwane
MP), Zodwa Sibanda, Ann Chitsa (deputy chairperson for the MDC's national
women's wing), Lydia Phiri (provincial chairperson of the MDC women's wing)
and Gertrude Mthombeni were ordered into the police vehicle, prompting the
rest of the women to block the entrance into the parking area.

      The women knelt, prayed and sang while blocking the path of the police
vehicle carrying their six colleagues.

      A lorry-load of riot police arrived and drove straight at the kneeling
women who then got up and dispersed as the police indiscriminately attacked
them with batons.

      Meanwhile, the police vehicle carrying those arrested drove out of the
parking area to the
      Bulawayo Central Police Station nearby.

      Some of the riot police then moved around the pavement and picked up
three women, including Jennie Williams, spokesperson for Women of Zimbabwe
Arise, who was arrested while speaking on her cellphone and appeared to be
part of the crowd of curious spectators.

      Action then moved from the city hall area to the pavement at the
intersection of Leopold Takawira Avenue and Fife Street where the women
regrouped to sing, while waving their red and white ribbons.

      Contacted for a comment, Khupe said: "I am very upset because 8 March
is our day, but the police - who are products of women - tried to run us
over, denying us an opportunity to air our views as women."

      She said there was a shortage of cotton wool, and they wanted to
address such issues, but had their protest march disrupted. "What are we
going to use? Leaves? Clothes need to be washed, but soap is expensive."

      She said that on their release, some of their colleagues were at the
police station to welcome them, but the police attacked them with batons.
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      Drunken cops kick at coffin, assault driver

      3/17/2003 7:33:55 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      IN a bizarre incident, two Gokwe-based policemen allegedly kicked a
coffin and assaulted the driver of a vehicle which was taking a body for
burial at a rural home.

      The incident is alleged to have taken place at around 11pm. The
policemen, who are based at Venice Mine Police Post, were said to have been

      Brilliance Mjike, the driver, said the incident occurred when they
stopped at Venice Mine business centre for refreshments.

      He reported the case at Samambwa Police Post in Gokwe on 2 March. The
case reference number is 814989.

      Mjike was given a report requesting medical attention at Samambwa
Police Station. Part of the request for medical attention reads:
"Complainant was assaulted with the butt of a pistol on the right jaw with
great force and was kicked all over the body."

      Mjike said policemen at the post told him that the matter would be
transferred to Battlefields Police Station for investigations.
      Efforts to get comment from Midlands police spokesman, Inspector
Oliver Mandipaka, were fruitless.

      Mjike said the policemen in question crossed the road in front of one
of the cars. He said the officers, who were holding beer bottles, approached
him and accused him of trying to run them down.

      Mjike said an argument ensued.
      "When I told them that we were taking the body of our relative for
burial, one of them went around the car and kicked the coffin several times.
He said there was nothing special about the deceased as they had many bodies
of battered people at the police station."

      One of the policemen struck Mjike several times on the right jaw with
the butt of a pistol while the other one punched and kicked the driver of
the second car.
      He said a third policemen tried in vain to restrain his colleagues.

      Said Mjike: "The officer with the gun ordered me to drive on and never
to report the matter if I wanted to stay alive, so I drove on. He was so
drunk that he could easily have shot me if I had defied his orders."
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