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

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Calling for Input to Show on Zimbabwean Struggle

We have received a request from Chloe Traicos, producer of "A Stranger in My Homeland" which was nominated for Best Original Drama in the Perth Festival last month. It was a piece that was part theatre part film. Chloe would narrate live and this would be intercut with filmed interviews of real Zimbabweans telling their stories.

Chloe is anxious to expand on the presentation by including filmed personal interviews with black Zimbabweans who have had adverse experiences as a result of what has been happening in Zimbabwe over the past 2+ years.

If anyone can help please contact Chloe directly

Also if any of you by any chance know of any organisations that would be prepared to fund a project like this please email Chloe.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Mary van Heerden

Dear All

What I know about farming is dangerous, but over the years I have acquired
a little knowledge and the thing that has struck me most about the
Zimbabwean farming community is their ability to work extremely hard, their
amazing hospitality, and their all round knowledge of so many things
connected with owning and running a veritable diverse community on their
farms. Their generosity, kindness, and sense of responsibility was indeed
awesome, and it is sickeningly tragic that it has almost all come to an end
and with such terror, horror and downright selfishness.

However, speaking as a total lay person and housewife, I would like to say
this.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if JAG, the CFU, the ZFU, the ZTA, the TTA
and all other farming organisations could unite and work as one, with the
ultimate goal being the advancement of farming in Zimbabwe. Imagine what
power that would put out, what a mighty voice that would be in the country
and what a message that would give to the world. The petty power politics
could be put aside, the personal slanging matches would be ended, and,
although farming in Zimbabwe will never be the same again, a new farming
industry could be born. It would, perhaps take too much, perhaps there has
been just too much horror, displacement, and bereavement, and perhaps there
is not the will anymore to achieve a new goal. Is it possible that those
who are left can find the will. I don't for one moment believe that it
would be easy, and I would never say, "Forget the past, let's move on" we
are only human after all, but someone has to make a move soon. Over to you.

Mary van Heerden


Letter 2: Hugo Spooner

Comment from Australia

Had Aust not played there, we would have had little coverage of the issue
once the decision was made. However, all our news bulletins are carrying
the story. Today's news opened with vision of the Christian protest, news
of arrests outside the ground and the second item was an interview with
David Coltart. During quiet periods of the game, Jim Maxwell and Mike
Coward, both well informed, highly regarded ABC cricket journalists, really
sank their teeth in to the extent I thought action may be taken. Very
critical of the regime and full of anecdotal evidence of atrocities and
deprivation. They grilled Pomme Mbawanga [an excellent commentator, I
thought] who seemed to me to be quite courageous. For example, when asked
about Olonga's dropping, rather than cop out and say that it was due to
form, said it had as much to do with his brave stand. I admired Gilchrist,
who at the presentations said he felt for the Zim people in their hour of
need and wished them the best.

Some nice touches. The Oz players showed genuine affection and admiration
as the Zim players walked off. Despite the Zim batsmen getting under
Gillespie's skin and the subsequent hostility, it was good to see him go
down and give Taibu a pat after one over. Incidentally, he's a top keeper
and stood up to all the pace bowlers. Also, the fact that he made runs was
a great reward for the enthusiastic black supporters. Good images of well
behaved, neatly uniformed black students watching the game. Lots of private
comments by the players are surfacing here regarding their admiration and
concern for the general population. Ponting, although not a good spokesman
[very young], told reporters in Bwayo that they were driven through the
city in a way to minimize the possibility of their seeing evidence of
deprivation. Maybe I got this all wrong and you know its origin, but it was
reported on ABC that an Oz player asked the driver, "What road are we
travelling on?"  "Oh, this is called Robert Mugabe Way." The player then
said, "Well, it would have to be one-way, wouldn't it." If you know of a
different origin it is still good. To sum up, in this country at least,
their was little comment on security but a very substantial coverage of the
regime and its brutal treatment of the general population, the systematic
suffocation of a marvellous country and the courage of the people including
the Olongas and Flowers, often to the exclusion of the cricket itself.

Hugo Spooner


Letter 3: Richard McGown

Hi All,

There is a word in the English language, derived from the ancient Greek,
Kleptocracy, which means government by thieves. There is an old Latin
phrase, Quis custodiet ipso custodies? which means who is going to mind the
minders? I was reminded of both of these by two things; yesterday's
Standard which had a front-page picture of policemen who had just strong-
armed a supermarket into selling them sugar at the government-controlled
price, and they were caught on camera on the street, unloading it at the
black market price. The other reminder was this morning in the Greek
superette down in Kensington, where a member of staff reached into a little
doored alcove at the foot of the cooler unit, and produced for 2 policemen
2 (500ml) packs of Chimombe, a processed and sterilised milk which allows
Dairiboard to sell milk at twice the government-mandated price, and which
is in extremely short supply. Oddly enough, there were one litre packs of
ordinary milk from Dorking Dairy available to all and sundry, but Chimombe
seems to have developed a black market value of its own, possibly because
it's cheaper, possibly because people have taken to diluting Chimombe, and
so it goes farther.

On Thursday morning, I joined the queue (well, crowd would be a more
accurate description) of people waiting for TM Avondale to open its doors
at 8am. When they did open, there was a helter-skelter rush for the far end
of the store to a queue where possibly 100 packs of Chimombe were
dispensed, one packet per customer, to the people in that queue. The sight
of the dash reminded me of my student days when I used to work Saturdays in
the menswear department of C&A on Princes Street; the dash for the bargains
was much the same, and needless to say, the elderly were bringing up the
rear. The other supermarket in Avondale shopping centre, Bon Marche, has a
policy of helping the elderly by allowing them to stand in their own queue
inside the store (scarcely shorter than the one outside the store for the
rest of the populace) for bread. The outside queue is there all day long;
no matter what time of day you go to Bon Marche, there is always a queue
outside for bread, and the same at TM, only they don't have a 'favour the
wrinklies' policy like Bon Marche.

Economics, described by its practitioners as "The Dismal Science" is also a
constantly changing one, because what was true for one era (and eras can be
very short in Economics) may be exactly contra-indicated in another.
Zimbabwe will become a case study in economics, since the government is
going exactly counter to economic theory. As one local said, as he watched
the Reserve Bank decree a bank rate which means negative interest rates and
thus encourages borrowing, since the money paid back, even in 6 months'
time, is going to be worth half of that borrowed, "If this works, he's
going to win the Nobel Prize for Economics!" Fort Hare University, never
looked upon as a prime example of South African tertiary education, will
not have enhanced that reputation by their granting of a degree in
Economics to The Mad Hout.

Last week, two of our friends returned to Zim. The first, a lady who had
gone to South Africa, but had to return after three months because her visa
expired, was shocked at the rise in prices in that short time. The other, a
doctor who had been in Bahrain for a year, went to a supermarket with
Z$10,000 to stock up their empty kitchen. He and his wife just went round
the supermarket, putting things that they needed into their trolley (who
can afford to fill a trolley in a supermarket these days?),and when they
got to the checkout, were forced to put back 80% of what they had chosen.

For those of us living here, the changes are gradual, and like those in a
person we live with, are scarcely noticeable; for people going away for
more than a month, the changes are very apparent. It remains a mystery how
the ordinary urban dweller gets by; a 200% rise in the cost of living means
that after a year, things are 3 times what they cost a year before; after 2
years, nearly 10 times. Since wages aren't going up at a commensurate rate,
there has to be a lot of privation out there, and yet they don't even go
out and bang pots and pans in protest.... perhaps this sheep like tribe
deserve the sort of government they have!

Yesterday, Kensington Service Station got petrol, so I quickly went down
there on my blue motorbike. Sunday is an especially good day for them to
get petrol, since there is no queue of delivery motor bikes, and so I got
served almost immediately, where I normally have to wait up to half an hour
(compared with the average motorist, who has to wait at least half a day!).
The City of Flowering Trees (I never liked 'Sunshine City', and the year
that they adopted it, we had the wettest rainy season on record!) goes on
flowering. The Spethodias shed their orange-red waxy blooms on cars parked
underneath, leaving a stain which needs hard work to remove; the purple
bougainvillea climbs right to the top of the jacarandas and other trees
that it's ensnared, and the frangipani continue in leaf and in
sweet-smelling bloom....we get a good 6 months' value from them.

Keep well,

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


      Runaway inflation pushes premiums to unrealistic levels

      2/28/2003 6:43:14 AM (GMT +2)

      By Ray Matikinye Features Editor

      ZIMBABWEAN motorists cursed hard and loud when they renewed their
vehicle licences at the end of last month.

      They had to pay a carbon tax, which has almost trebled since last year
and paid premiums way beyond the initial cost of their vehicles, due to
runaway inflation.

      A fresh wave of new taxes has been imposed by the government as the
cash-strapped State tries to extricate itself from a financial bind caused
by poor economic policies.

      Motorists stand to receive a tiny fraction as compensation in the
event of accident damage if they do not boost their insurance cover.
      The cost of straightening a mangled fender, could exceed twice the
cost of a second-hand vehicle bought a few years ago.

      And the chagrin is not limited to motorists alone the mounting
inflationary burden has sucked in retirement pension and life assurance
policyholders as well.

      Funeral policyholders have not been spared the anxiety either.
      Nothing comes nearer to illustrating the conditions of economic
decline under which Zimbabweans live better than the erosion in pension
benefits or the slide in maturity values of life assurance policies taken
out since independence in 1980.

      The insurance industry is one of the biggest sources of investment
capital and it controlled $55 billion in assets at the end of last year.

      The growth of the industry over the last two decades could be partly
attributed to a realisation among a predominantly black middle class which
emerged at independence that insurance cover for a variety of assets ranging
from cars, household items, funeral and farming equipment to personal items,
was important.

      Yet the triple-digit inflation, currently pegged at 208 percent, has
made short shrift of policyholder expectations ­a reflection of the economic
decline Zimbabwe has been sliding into over the years as a result of State
economic mismanagement.

      Even the boom on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) is a reflection of
the parlous overall economic environment. A real interest rate of minus 110
percent has attracted money to the ZSE as a hedge, with institutions
investing in large companies. And while many listed companies have shown
good results, high inflation continues to undermine real gains.

      The sorry situation has also created an "asset bubble".
      Consumers are pouring their rapidly devaluing money into imported
goods, property, vehicles and tangible assets, giving aspects of the economy
a superficial appearance of normality, according to Diana Games, director of
Africa Network, in part of a report compiled for the South African Institute
of International Affairs.

      The government is seemingly unable to backtrack on its disastrous
command economy policies characterised by price controls on a plethora of
products. The list of commodities in short supply is endless.

      When available the cost is beyond reach of the ordinary people due to
galloping inflation and a bludgeoning black market fuelled by perennial
shortage of basic goods and services.

      Zimbabwe is on top of the pile, leading all other Southern African
Development Community countries ­ Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Namibia
and Mozambique ­ in terms of its inflation rate.

      Ask any client who took out an insurance policy to buffer themselves
in the event of death or mishap during the 1980s and cringe at how they
lament the worthlessness of their policies.

      "If I were to ask for the surrender value of the policy I took in 1981
today I would not be able to buy a decent pair of shoes. Mind you, I have
contributed for the past 20 years. That saving is worthless because of
inflation," says Norbert Matopo.

      "I thought I would fall back on the benefits when I retire but that is
something else."
      Last year Old Mutual, one of the leading insurance companies, gave
some its clients an option to redeem the surrender value of life assurance
policies which attracted a monthly premium of less than $35 citing
      administration costs.

      Another, Intermarket Assurance Company, has just advised its clients
to make a one-off payment for their premiums for the same reasons.

      John Robertson, a leading economist, raises concern that the ruling
Zanu PF government's continued stagnation of interest rates while inflation
soared has had a negative impact on pensions.

      In a presentation to the Legal Resource Foundation, Robertson said
individual and corporate investors had directed their attention to
speculative commercial activities to help preserve the buying power of their
existing capital and savings.

      Robertson said: "For those able to set up their prices or demand
higher salaries, the rising inflation has been a less serious challenge than
for those on fixed incomes most of whom have suffered a very serious fall in
their standards of living. Many have had to resort to using their capital to
meet day-to-day expenses, further reducing their interest income and
guaranteeing a quicker slide into poverty.

      He says "If the negative interest rates remain in place, the same fate
will await future pensioners, whose pension fund contributions are being
rendered progressively less valuable as their pension funds continue to
invest their savings on these damaging terms," he says

      "Far from respecting and rewarding those who have contributed their
life's work to Zimbabwe, the country is generating an impoverished class of
senior citizens whose capital is being systematically confiscated.
      Large numbers of people are being added to this class every day, and
they have to watch helplessly as the value of their savings is rapidly
eroded as a direct result of a seriously flawed, but deliberately chosen
government policy," Robertson says.

      Hard times causes by a hyper-inflation compelled Achiem Bwamala, 79,
of Rugare high-density suburb, Harare, to move out of his house to a lean-to
when his pension cheque failed to meet a small mortgage, electricity and
water charges three years after he retired.

      "Times are hard. We used to live decently in the past and could afford
a few luxuries from the lump sum terminal benefits I received. Now we have
to let our house out in order to make ends meet," he says.

      Runaway inflation has degraded funeral insurance policies too.
      One of the television adverts on ZTV features a man with a stern face
declaring: "Let's talk about death." The man goes on to equate the monthly
premium for a funeral policy with an amount that would buy a trolley-load of

      Few people can afford a full trolley of groceries nowadays without
running the risk of defaulting on rent, rates and other financial
commitments such as bus fares.

      Progressive Insurance Brokers, one of the leading funeral assurance
providers, boasts of catering for all socio-economic strata in Zimbabwe.

      "Our product range caters for the company executive, senior
management, middle management down to the shopfloor," the company says in an
editorial for the Insurance Industry Survey for last year.
      Maxwell Katunga, Progressive Insurance Brokers' managing director,
says the cost of an executive funeral was about $1 million.

      He says a standard steel casket now costs $504 000 while a jumbo-sized
one costs $750 000, giving little cheer to policyholders.

      "The executive status is an image which is earned mostly through hard
work and initiative An executive deserves to live in and depart from this
world with image and dignity," he says.

      Not so now.

      Some policyholders who took assurance policies a decade ago now have
to top up the devalued benefits to be able to provide their departed a
decent burial.
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Daily News

      Tendengu accused of inflating tobacco production figures

      2/28/2003 6:54:39 AM (GMT +2)

      Farming Editor

      LOVEGOT Tendengu, the Farmers' Development Trust (FDT) executive
director, is being accused of grossly exaggerating tobacco production
figures to tally out of keeping with expected low yields of flue-cured
tobacco due to disturbances caused by the land reform programme.

      While most industry officials said this year they expected a
flue-cured tobacco crop size of between 80 million kg and 125 million kg,
Tendengu has put the figure at 200 million kg.

      Most officials said production would be low this year because
commercial farmers, the bulk of whom produced the flue-cured tobacco crop
over the years, had been evicted from their farms. Only about 350 commercial
tobacco farmers are said to have remained farming compared to 1 000 two
years ago.

      Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction Centre's general manager, Feisal Greenland,
said the country would produce about 125 million kg of tobacco this year,
down on last year's 168 million kg.

      "Tendengu is saying we will produce 200 million because his financing
comes from the government. If he says there will be a low production, the
financing will be reduced."

      Zimbabwe Association of Tobacco Growers (ZATG) vice-president,
Chrispen Vambe, also differed with Tendengu's predictions as his association
is expecting a total production of only about 90 million kg.
      The ZATG, which has admitted that black commercial farmers would not
be able to close the gap left by the white commercial farmers, is an
Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union grower association.

      Zimbabwe Tobacco Association president, Duncan Millar said a crop size
of about 80 million kg would be produced this year, 60 million of which
would be from the commercial sector while the existing small-scale farmers
would contribute about 20 million kg.

      Tendengu said in an interview last Wednesday: "We are expecting a
total of about 200 million kg of flue-cured tobacco. From the 300 000
smallholder farmers we have, each is expected to grow two hectares, yielding
about 1 500kg/ha. This gives us about 90 million kg from this sector."

      Tendengu said institutions such as the FDT, Agricultural Rural
Development Authority and Tobacco Research Board would produce 10 million kg
of flue-cured tobacco while large-scale commercial farmers would contribute
about 100 million kg.

      He said: "I am not cooking figures. I am the voice of tobacco and
nobody else. I am 100 percent full time tobacco and I know what I am talking
about. The fact that the number of commercial tobacco growers has gone down
does not mean that production goes down. My point of reference is national
production not just one sector."

      He said while most people in the industry used computers as
instruments of tobacco production prediction, he instead visited tobacco
producing regions countrywide.

      Tendengu said there would be increased production this year because
land had been made available to "all" those who wanted to grow tobacco.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Rest of the world has written off Africa

      2/28/2003 7:03:49 AM (GMT +2)

      For most of my life I have believed that my country could be to Africa
what ancient Greece was to Europe.

      I believed that with goodwill we could show the rest of Africa how a
country should be run, how the various nations, races and tribes could all
work together for the common good, and build a true prosperity unknown
elsewhere on the continent. I believed that we could attain that rare jewel
of a prize ­ a just society.

      Over the years I have visited or lived in more than 10 African
countries, and have judged these harshly in comparison to our own.

      We Zimbabweans were always rather arrogant in our judgment of other
countries ­ South Africa was violent and racist; Zambia was a mess;
Mozambique was destroyed; Namibia was merely a big desert run by an equally
big bobo; Tanzania was broke; Kenya was tribalistic and Nigeria was the
world's home of corruption. How the mighty are fallen!

      Now we are ranked along with Iraq and Myanmar (Burma) as one of the
most lawless and oppressive countries in the world, and our President is
compared unfavourably with Idi Amin, Emperor Bokassa, Stalin and Hitler.
      How the world has changed. Twenty, thirty years ago, the world was
falling over itself to aid the cause of African advancement. The Australians
and Scandinavians were very prominent, but if memory serves me correctly,
France was noticeably absent.

      Now we have France leasing airplanes to Air Zimbabwe and inviting our
President there in the face of loathing and condemnation by the rest of the
world, including Australia and the Scandinavian countries.

      Garfield Todd, an ex-prime minister who did so much for the indigenous
people was denied a vote by the regime, and his daughter denied a passport.

      The biggest change though is that the rest of the world have now
written off Africa as beyond redemption. Aid money is invariably misused or
stolen, and corruption and violence reign supreme. Yet a few still
misguidedly try to help us, and get slapped in the face for their efforts.
The New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) was a grand idea full
of high-sounding ideals, but it has been torpedoed by African leaders, most
notably Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo.

      What do the British government and Tony Blair get for their support of
Nepad? What do they get for the millions of dollars they give as aid?

      Nothing except schoolboy jibes by total failures such as Sam Nujoma
and Mugabe.
      Patience has run out. France may still play silly games by inviting
Mugabe to Paris in order to annoy the UK, but it was unable to prevent the
re-imposition of sanctions. And now the rules have been changed so that no
one country can put a spanner in the works. America is speaking out, and as
Colin Powell is an African American, he can afford to be very blunt, and he
has been.

      African solidarity is laughable when it calls for boycotts of
international forums if Mugabe is not invited; Africa has nothing to offer,
not even a market for Western goods. They are the supplicants begging for

      When will it dawn on these brave souls that support for Mugabe
destroys credibility for the whole of Africa, and equally destroys the
credibility of all who support him and his regime?

      Every black African is diminished and should be embarrassed by each
successive stupid statement made by the Brotherhood of Dictators.

      I note that Australian Prime Minister John Howard was very quick to
refute the fairy tales and hot air in Obasanjo's recent letter.

      Someone needs to tell these people that most of the world has woken
up, and can clearly see that the emperor has no clothes on, that he's as
naked as the day that he was born.

      I'm probably an incurable optimist, but I still believe that our
country can be a shining example to the rest of the continent, though in
spite of and not because of, the other African leaders.

      The current regime has done untold harm to harmonious race relations
and has destroyed industry and agriculture that was built up over more than
a hundred years. When it is removed, or collapses on itself there will be a
huge need for citizens of good will to rebuild the savaged country.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Mudede must release both voters' rolls

      2/28/2003 7:03:16 AM (GMT +2)

      IT IS a bad show for Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General who is also
a known Zanu PF sympathiser, to refuse to release copies of the main voters'
and supplementary rolls in the forthcoming Kuwadzana and Highfield
by-elections, both of which are scheduled for 29 and 30 March.

      Mudede, who has overseen the registration of voters in this country in
all the elections since 1980, also refused to meet the two MDC candidates
for Kuwadzana and Highfield, Nelson Chamisa and Pearson Mungofa,

      In the Highfield constituency, Zanu PF is fielding Joseph Chinotimba,
the notorious war veteran leader and self-styled commander of the 2000 farm
invasions which were largely responsible for the food shortages Zimbabwe has
been experiencing since 2001, while in Kuwadzana David Mutasa is standing
for the ruling party.

      In any democratic electoral process, the opposition party should be
allowed to inspect the voters' roll to ensure that all the registered voters
are bona fide residents of those particular constituencies.

      The MDC suspects that Zanu PF, which is in control of the voter
registration process through the Registrar-General's Office, could have been
registering non-residents in the two constituencies.

      There have been unconfirmed reports that during the compilation of the
supplementary voters' roll exercise, hundreds ­ some say thousands ­ of
people, some from the nearby Whitecliff residential area along the road to
Norton, were bussed in to boost the number of residents in Kuwadzana.

      If this is true, then this is a clear case of election rigging, a
fraudulent and dishonest act that we condemn in the strongest terms. And it
is for this reason that the voters' roll must be inspected, otherwise the
entire election will be flawed and the results a distortion of the real
picture. Not only that, but also and even more worrying, is that the results
will not be a true reflection of the will of the people in the two

      In Zimbabwe, the voters' roll has been used as a trump card since it
can easily be tampered with, judging by the amount of controversy
surrounding all the elections that have been held since 1980.

      Still fresh in the people's minds is the controversial 2002
presidential election in which the MDC, which lost to Zanu PF, claims that
there was massive rigging.

      The opposition has argued that some of the figures of voters
announced, especially in rural constituencies, notably in Mt Darwin, Mutoko
and Murewa, were much higher than the number of people who voted. That is
why it is challenging the results of that election in the courts of law.

      Early this month, the MDC claimed that it had discovered that 10 000
names of people from outside the Kuwadzana
      constituency had been added to the voters' roll, a claim Zanu PF has
not adequately addressed but one that the opposition must prove using the
voters' roll.

      Mudede's refusal, therefore, raises eyebrows and even suggests that
there is something unethical that is being swept
      under the carpet. What also becomes questionable is Mudede's
neutrality in the whole exercise, one which necessarily calls for a high
degree of transparency.

      If the Registrar-General will not release the voters' roll, why should
an election be held? Chamisa is right. The process should be stopped until
the playing field is levelled.

      Zanu PF candidates in both constituencies, ironically, are using the
voters registers to "discriminately distribute maize meal". It is clear that
this will prejudice the opposition as recipients of the maize-meal are
likely to be swayed by the donation and vote accordingly. Vote-buying is
illegal, but in Zimbabwe, the authorities have never raised a finger against

      Chamisa and his colleague should pursue the legal channel to force
Mudede to release the voters' roll to ensure that whatever the results in
the two constituencies will be, they will be a fairly true reflection of the
will of the people of Kuwadzana and Highfield.

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Daily News

      Judge blasts police actions

      2/28/2003 7:16:23 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sydney Saize and Patience Nyangove in Mutare

      A HIGH Court judge, Justice Yunus Omerjee, has accused the police of
abusing and treating suspects as convicts before they are brought before the
courts for trial.

      Opening the legal year of the High Court in Mutare on Wednesday,
Omerjee said: "The temptation to treat an accused person as a convicted
person can be irresistible to the police."

      Justice Omerjee is set to preside over 10 murder cases.
      He said the police should treat accused people fairly and in
accordance with the law, an accused person is presumed innocent until proven

      He urged the police to be fair and thorough in their investigations
before arresting suspects.
      Delivering a prayer during the opening ceremony, Sebastian Bakare, the
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland, lambasted the police for
allegedly torturing suspects.

      He said: "We are increasingly living in a society where some people
have become a law unto themselves.
      "We are living in a society where law enforcement agents no longer
provide civilians with a sense of security but have become zones of torture
and other forms of inhuman treatment."

      Omerjee added: "Investigations should accordingly be carried out first
before an arrest is effected, unless there is good cause for not so acting."

      He said arresting suspects should be a last resort and only when it is
necessary in the interests of justice.
      "I stress the need, on the part of the police, for fairness and
thoroughness during investigations."
      Justice Omerjee said for justice to be done prosecutors had to be
professional, ethical and effective in discharging their duties.

      He said prosecutors had a tendency of re-assigning each other serious
or sensitive cases.
      "One prosecutor should be assigned Overtically' to handle such cases
from the onset throughout the trial," he said.
      Justice Omerjee called on speedy trials saying: "Justice delayed is
justice denied."
      He said the judiciary and individual judges are human and prone to
error in some instances.

      He lamented the massive resignations of judiciary officials but said
justice was still being delivered despite the constraints.
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Daily News

      Teachers forced to join Zanu PF to obtain food

      2/28/2003 7:14:52 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      Student teachers in the rural areas have accused war veterans and
youths from the National Youth Service of allegedly forcing them to register
with Zanu PF wards in order to access food.

      Teachers who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation
said the situation was worsening because all the food coming as relief had
to go through councillors, who are mostly Zanu PF supporters.

      "You have to be either registered, closely connected to war veterans
or councillors or an active member of the party to get food, " said a
student teacher from Mtoko.

      He said the most affected were student teachers.
      He added that they were being forced to join Zanu PF structures in
wards and participate in all its activities as a pre-condition to access
maize-meal from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and relief agencies.

      He said: "It's even more difficult for us to buy maize from the GMB
because the same protocol obtains."
      Thompson Tsodzo, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education,
Sport and Culture, could not be reached for comment.

      Tsodzo had not responded to questions faxed to his office at his
request by yesterday.
      The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) on Wednesday said
it had received reports from teachers and confirmed that student teachers
were the worst victims.

      The union said the most affected areas were Hwedza, Mtoko, Buhera,
Rushinga, Mudzi, Murehwa and Mberengwa.
      Some so-called war veterans and the National Youth Service members,
derisively known as the "Green Bombers" accused teachers of being MDC

      In a statement, Takavafira Zhou, the president of the association said
: "PTUZ has noted with deep concern that teachers in the rural areas are
starving and non-governmental organisations that are distributing food in
the affected areas are excluding teachers on the pretext that they are

      He said there was an urgent need to find a solution to the teachers'
food crisis.
      Zimbabwe is facing serious food shortages blamed on poor harvests
during the 2001/2002 season and the government's chaotic land reform

      The government has been importing maize-meal to feed nearly seven
million Zimbabweans who are faced with starvation.

      Zhou said his association condemned the politicisation of food and the
discrimination of teachers as a group in food distribution.

      "The situation is so critical that if nothing is done to assist the
affected teachers, there will be no option for them but to abandon classes
and scavenge for food," he said.

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Daily News

      Court issues warrant of arrest against Nyarota

      2/28/2003 7:27:47 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      A warrant of arrest was yesterday issued against Geoffrey Nyarota,
right, the former Daily News editor-in-chief, after he failed to turn up in
court on charges of publishing a false story.

      Nyarota, 52, is being jointly charged with Lloyd Mudiwa, the newspaper
's municipal reporter.

      Nyarota, who was fired from The Daily News in December last year, is
believed to be in the United States.

      Betty Chidziva remanded Mudiwa to 7 March when he is expected to make
an application to have charges against him withdrawn before plea.

      Mudiwa and Nyarota are being prosecuted under Section 80 of the
internationally-condemned Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act for publishing a story about the alleged decapitation of a Magunje woman
by Zanu PF youths in April last year.

      It later emerged that Enos Tadyanemhandu who reported the story to The
Daily News, had deliberately misinformed the newspaper.

      In July last year, their lawyers challenged the constitutionality of
the section under which the State seeks to
      prosecute them. The Supreme Court is yet to deliver its ruling on the

      Another regional magistrate, Leonard Chitunhu, on 28 October last
year, remanded the two to yesterday when the State was expected to either
announce their trial date or withdraw the charges. Lawrence Chibwe, of
Stumbles and Rowe who represented the two, asked Chitunhu to note that the
State had undertaken to either provide a trial date or
      remove his clients from remand during the previous remand hearing in

      Yesterday, the matter suffered another hitch as regional magistrate
Sandra Nhau, who was supposed to hear the case, was away.

      Virginia Sithole, a fellow regional magistrate, would not handle the
case and referred it to "a senior magistrate".
      Eventually, Mudiwa appeared before Chidziva, who remanded him and
ordered Nyarota's arrest after he failed to appear in court.
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Daily News

      Beer shortage hits Bulawayo

      2/28/2003 7:21:40 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      Revellers in Bulawayo are now having to do without their favourite
brands of beer owing to the shortage of barley, an essential ingredient in
the production of clear beer.

      Several beer outlets in the City of Kings yesterday confirmed the
shortages which they said appeared to be worsening.

      Some outlets said they were only receiving the same brands of beer
from National Breweries (Natbrew).
      Beer joins the long list of commodities that are in short supply
throughout the country.

      Some bottle stores and hotels said Natbrew was failing to meet their
full orders.

      A bartender at a city hotel said they were receiving far less than
what they would have ordered.
      "We have been told by our supplier that they cannot meet our orders
because of the shortage of barley which is used in the production of beer,"
said the bartender.

      An outlet on Fife Street had a serious shortage of only one brand of
beer, Lion.
      "What I have concluded is that there is a shortage of one of the
products used in the brewing of beer. What it is exactly, I don't know,"
said the proprietor.

      Natbrew, the biggest producer of clear beer in the country, early this
year denied there could be a shortage of clear beer as a result of barley
producers selling more to the stockfeed industry, which was offering better

      As soon as the barley crop was harvested late last year, Natbrew
offered a price of $75 000 a tonne while the stockfeed industry's price was
about $100 000 a tonne. Natbrew had to review its price to $100 000 to match
the stockfeed industry.

      "The correct implication of the reduced deliveries is that while
Natbrew's export market would be affected, it has enough barley for domestic
consumption and there will be no beer shortages in the country," said
Natbrew in a
      statement in January this year.
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Daily News

      Zanu PF split over mayoral candidate

      2/28/2003 7:20:14 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      JOCKEYING for the post of executive mayor of Mutare has opened
acrimonious rifts within the ranks of Zanu PF in Manicaland.

      The ruling party members in Mutare are divided over the choice of
Kenneth Saruchera and Shadreck Beta, both Zanu PF activists.

      Saruchera and Beta have both expressed willingness to represent the
ruling party in the mayoral election scheduled for September this year.

      Another Zanu PF member, identified only as Dhliwayo, is reportedly
keen to run for the post, which has created tension within the party.

      Last Saturday, the ruling party provincial leadership held an
emergency meeting at the government complex in Mutare to try to diffuse the

      Charles Pemhenayi, the Zanu PF spokesman in Manicaland, said: "The
meeting was held to discuss parameters for the mayoral race because some
people ­ in the guise of campaigning ­ are destroying the party.

      "The chairman told the meeting that individuals who are interested in
the post should present themselves to the people in a non-destructive

      Pemhenayi said the meeting decided that all matters to do with the
mayoral elections be handled by his department.

      He did not say who among the three was disrupting Zanu PF activities
in Mutare.
      "We do not stop people from lobbying," Pemhenayi said. "But it should
be done in an orderly manner."
      The mayoral election is due in September after Lawrence Mudehwe's
tenure officially ends.
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Daily News

      CBZ bankrolls Menashe

      2/28/2003 6:39:02 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa

      THE Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), now trading as the Jewel Bank,
allegedly provided US$200 000 (about Z$11 million at the official exchange
rate, but Z$300 million on the parallel market) towards the US$615 000
      (about Z$33,825 million officially against Z$922,5 million at the
parallel rate) the government paid Ari Ben-Menashe, the principal State
witness in the adjourned high treason trial of three top MDC officials.

      Gideon Gono, the bank's managing director, yesterday, however, denied
that the money in question belonged to CBZ.

      He said the bank had merely facilitated the transfer of the funds on
behalf of an unnamed customer.

      According to exhibit number 10 in the trial against MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube, and the opposition
party's shadow minister of agriculture, Renson Gasela, CBZ is listed as the
ordering customer for the US$200 000 payment made on 18 December 2001.

      This inferably means the bank could have either paid the foreign
currency or provided the hard currency on behalf of a customer who paid in
Zimbabwean dollars.
      The money was paid in a situation of critical foreign currency
      Exhibit number 10 comprises the schedules of payments to Dickens &
Madson, a Canadian-based political consultant firm in which Ben-Menashe is
president. The schedules were produced by the State as an exhibit in court.
      The exhibit shows that Zimbank, in which the government holds a
controlling share, and CBZ, facilitated seven payments to Dickens & Madson
between 30 November 2001 and 5 August 2002.

      Zimbank and CBZ arranged all except one of the payments on behalf of
the Harare Trust and the Chiltern Trust, respectively. This means that the
banks merely debited these organisations' foreign currency accounts with
      In the outstanding transaction, CBZ was listed as the ordering
customer and also facilitated the transaction.

      The money was paid into account number 694500996865 held with JP
Morgan Chase Bank of New York in the United States of America.
      The account belongs to Ben-Menashe's attorney, William H Scharp, and
was kept there in trust for Dickens & Madson, according to the schedule of
payments for the political consultancy.

      Gono, however, said: "Just because Gono signs a cheque that doesn't
mean the money came from his account.
      "If you are a holder of a cheque book you can sign using the bank's
      He said it was possible for a client to request for a payment to be
made on their behalf in the form of a bank cheque so that it appears as if
it was the CBZ which had paid.

      Banks, Gono said, were simply intermediaries which kept other people's
money. They did not enquire as to who the client was paying and why, he

      Gono said: "We (CBZ) don't enquire. We don't go behind the corporate
face to see who you are paying and why."
      Tsvangirai, Ncube and Gasela are being charged with high treason, an
offencepunishable by death.

      Their lawyers believe Ben-Menashe was paid about US$615 000 to entrap
the three, so they could be charged with high treason ahead of the March
2002 presidential election disputedly won by Mugabe.

      The defence team says the agreement entered into by the consultancy
and the Zimbabwean government on 10 January 2002, ostensibly to spruce up
the country's battered international image, was actually a cover to reward
the Israeli for trapping their clients.

      Ben-Menashe has, under cross-examination, admitted that his political
consultancy, on behalf of the government, tricked Tsvangirai, so it could
film him purportedly plotting to kill Mugabe.
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UN's Envoy in Washington to Convey Enormity of Food/Aids Crisis

February 27, 2003
Posted to the web February 27, 2003

Akwe Amosu
Washington, DC

At the end of January, the UN Secretary General's special envoy for
Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa, James Morris, completed a tour of
four countries in the region and said the HIV/Aids pandemic was threatening
the very future of nations. One president told him: "My country is on the
verge of extinction."

There are 2.6 million orphans in Southern Africa, 780,000 of them in
Zimbabwe. In Malawi, ten per cent of families are headed by a child.

                  For an excerpt from the Africa 2003 guidebook, click here.
                  (Adobe Acrobat).

                  To buy the book, click here.

Zambia lost 2,000 teachers last year to Aids and half the country's students
have dropped out of school.

Seven million agricultural workers have been lost in southern Africa since
1985; another 16m will be lost by 2020.

Some 70-80% of hospital admissions are people with HIV/Aids; 8,000 people
die every 24 hours.

Morris, who is also executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP),
had travelled through Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe with Kofi Annan's
envoy for HIV/Aids in Africa, Stephen Lewis. The two men returned warning
that an entirely new and bold approach was needed to address the intertwined
crises of devastating illness and drought-afflicted agriculture.

Earlier, Morris had warned the Security Council that "the magnitude of the
disaster unfolding in Africa has not been fully grasped by the international
community... An exceptional effort is urgently needed if a major catastrophe
is to be averted. Business as usual will not do."

Ten years ago, Morris says, 80 per cent of the work done by WFP was in
development and only 20 per cent was in response to food emergencies. Now,
however, those numbers are reversed.

The world has a responsibility to feed the children who have lost their
parents, he says, to get them to school and teach them about agriculture.
Mechanisation of agriculture has to be on the agenda, lightweight tools are
needed, the burden on women needs to be eased.

James Morris is clearly a determined man but the enormity of the task ahead
appears overwhelming: "I'm a positive person but I must tell you, every time
I go through this recitation, I do become a bit bewildered," he told a
conference on HIV/Aids in Africa hosted by the Center for Strategic and
International Studies, Thursday.

And there is an edge of anger to his voice when he talks specifically of the
policies of the Zimbabwe government. "There is 34% prevalence there. The
government has no foreign exchange to buy food; it is refusing to allow the
market to work to deliver food. WFP will provide a quarter of what they
need; I have no idea where the rest of it is going to come from."

Morris this week briefed Senators and members of the House of
Representatives in Washington, DC and met with President Bush. He gave an
interview to Jerry Hagstrom, National Journal's Congress Daily and Akwe
Amosu of

What's your overall message to officials here in Washington?

The overall message is that the number of people at risk around the world
because of emergencies is huge, as large as we've ever known it, and our
needs to do our job - provide food especially for the hungriest and poorest
people, more often than not targeting women and children - is enormous.

Given the issues in Africa, our food requirements will be larger this year
than ever in history; and you look at southern Africa, now complicated by
the horn of Africa, now complicated by the west of Africa, the Sahel, and
other issues - together with ongoing needs in North Korea, Palestine - to do
our work we're going to we need more help than we've ever had before.

Is the Bush administration's current budget for food aid too low?

I'm encouraged - the supplemental appropriation, the president's commitment
to the famine fund and the emergency fund - I'm very grateful for what the
United States is able to do for us; the issue is that we simply have more
challenges than normal.

We've suddenly seen the issues in Africa grow substantially and this ongoing
problem of HIV/Aids and the impact it's had on the agricultural economy and
its impact on children, and the way it's produced all of these orphans, the
impact it's had on the women and the impact on the elderly - there are so
many people in involved, and the magnitude of the numbers of people who are
infected - this is a story that the world absolutely has to understand.

So what's your strategy for getting the money you need? Obviously it's good
if the US or any other government puts some money forward but you're talking
in terms that suggest you're going to need an extraordinary effort.

My strategy is to hope that our most important current donors will find ways
to help us in larger numbers; there are twenty countries in the world that
haven't been substantial supporters of ours in the past who are beginning to
have the ability to be so; and then we're going to reach out to the
worldwide private sector and ask it to help us.

Is that something that's happened before, that you've had private sector

No, this is new for us. There are other UN agencies that have had private
sector support and have used it very wisely and productively; over the next
five years we're hoping that we'll have such support. We've put in place our
first partnership with a very important Dutch company, TPG, which has
150,000 employees. And their commitment to school-feeding, to get their
employees involved is extraordinary. My hope is that we'd have ten partners
like that over the next five years.

How will that work? Will the individual employees be making donations to a

Yes, my sense is that individual employees will make contributions, the
company will make contributions, the company will match employee
contributions. TPG is a company in the logistics business, they understand
delivery and storage, and transportation - the things we do - and they'll
help us get better at what we do.

Do you believe your message that a really extraordinary effort is now
required is getting across in the rich world?

I think the world in general doesn't want women and children to be at risk,
doesn't want people to be hungry. The world knows we have the ability to
produce enough food. The issues of logistics and local production need to be
addressed, and the world is generous.

But I'm saying these are extraordinary times and we're going to have to be a
little more generous to have the resources to deal with this unusual
convergence of problems. The HIV/Aids issue - we have not had a health
predicament like this certainly in my life time and I don't know if we've
ever had it in the world.

The economic impact of it, the cultural impact, the family impact, the
impact on children, on all the coping mechanisms of a family or a country,
on the bureaucracy with its loss or depletion of human resources, is
enormous. There are leadership issues, there are resources issues. I don't
have the answers and the world needs to be as thoughtful about this set of
issues as about anything on the agenda today.

But nonetheless you came back from your recent visit to southern Africa with
a list of things that might help - like lightweight tools for farmers and
other practical proposals?

I think, number one, we do have to provide enough food for people to get
through this. For people who are HIV-infected, or vulnerable to HIV, we need
to make a change in the food basket we provide for them.

Given the fact that 80% of agricultural life in Africa is conducted by women
and women are now hugely infected and the burden is on them to take care of
children, to provide food, to take care of others who are ill, we've got to
find labour-saving devices, you've got to find diversification strategies
for agriculture that are more drought resistant; and, in the aggregate, we
simply need to make more investment in agricultural infrastructure - we've
been on a downward trend and we need to get that turned around.

We probably need more take home kits [a bag of items used to care for the
very sick] and more community outreach.

So if, for example, John Deere or some other manufacturer of agricultural
machinery hears this message, could they do something practical that could
help with this effort?


What could they do?

Be generous. They could provide technical expertise, either to national
ministries of agriculture, or working through the [UN's] Food and
Agriculture Organisation, or working through a variety of community-based

I think our success in the long run is going to be based on our ability to
identify small neighbourhood community groups, section by section, to
provide services and care. But companies can become advocates, they can get
their employees engaged, be thoughtful about these issues; there's lot's a
company can do.

Would you be calling on companies to do this?

My hope is that companies will be thoughtful about their social
responsibility and about the huge needs in the world that they can help to
address. I'm hopeful that there will be a number of companies that want to
partner with the WFP and help us do our work better and, in the process,
increase, enhance the service we provide to millions of people at risk.

If we're serious about the Millennium Development Goals - of cutting hunger
in half, reducing infant mortality, improving maternal and child health
care, getting water and sanitation to folks, getting more students enrolled
in primary education, achieving gender equity in education - it's going to
take all of the resources the world has to make progress and everyone has
something they can contribute.

So are you actively asking the companies for money, or expertise or - ?

Well I would hope that we could find ways that the business community
worldwide could be involved with us in terms of supporting our work, helping
to improve our work, to educate their employees about our work; they can
help to be thoughtful about how we get lightweight agricultural implements,
how we can improve the delivery of seeds and agriculture, how we can improve
access to water, improve healthcare and get medical help to people - this is
an unusual set of circumstances.
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The Times

            February 28, 2003

            Saluting the sporting courage that will not flag in the face of
            By Simon Barnes, Chief Sports Writer

            NOBODY in South Africa has ever been troubled by the illusion
that sport and politics cannot mix. That is as true as ever in this cricket
World Cup, most notably with the courageous black-armband protest of the
Zimbabwe players, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, and with the muddle and
confusions of the England players. And out in the United States, a small
gesture at inter-college basketball matches by a female student has become
the focus of America's confusions about whether or not to go to war.
            Toni Smith goes to Manhattanville College in New York and plays
guard for the basketball team. It plays its matches in a gym that takes up
to 300 spectators. Now it is essential to your understanding not only of
this story, but also of anything to do with the United States, to realise
that even matches as small as Manhattanville v US Merchant Marine Academy
are preceded by a full-blown flag ceremony, complete with the playing of the
national anthem. They do it at every public sporting event.

            We don't have God Save The Queen at Rotherham United v Port
Vale, or even at Oxford v Cambridge, but that's America for you. You can
hardly take a beer without singing the Star-Spangled Banner first; and
naturally, they run up a flag when it's time for cocktails. So don't ever
get confused and think that Americans are just like us, only with a funny

            In recent months, Smith has developed a certain pre-match
idiosyncrasy. Some players like to come out on to the pitch last, others put
their right boot on before their left. Smith turned her back on the flag.
Out boomed the recording: "Oh-oh, say can you see, etc, etc," and Smith
performed a discreet about-turn. And when the last strains died away, she
went and played ball with all that she could muster.

            And then somebody noticed. And all at once the 300 seats were
full every time the team played. They came not to watch the girls strut
their stuff, but to watch Smith do her little twizzle. Some shouted
"You-Ess-Ay! You-Ess-Ay!" Others shouted "We Love Toni". Someone ran on to
the floor after Smith had turned away and brandished the American flag in
her face.

            Polarisation. And at once it was a cause célèbre. The team beat
the aforementioned Merchant Marine Academy 67-51 at home. The away fixture
was dominated by academic merchant marine types who waved flags throughout
the match and booed every time Smith touched the ball.

            The media cottoned on, of course, and Smith's matches attracted
journos, snappers, television crews. It was a national event, the fact that
a 21-year-old student had certain reservations about her country. Or rather,
because she chose to express her reservations on a sporting occasion.

            All this brought Smith into the open. She is a sociology student
and has thought things through. "I never meant it to be a public statement,"
she said. "I did it for my own self-respect and conscience. My stance is not
a personal attack on Vietnam veterans or any war veterans. I know the flag
represents people who have died for this country and I support them. But the
flag means different things to everybody. There are a lot of inequities in
this country and these are issues that need to be acknowledged."

            A country preparing for war was appalled. Her team supports her,
but not her stance. So, interestingly, does her college principal, saying
that it is the sort of thing that young people do and it is part of the
education process. The stance is, in its small way, reminiscent not only of
the Zimbabwean black armbands, but also of the black-power salutes of the
1968 Olympic Games. The American runners, Tommie Smith and John Carlos,
raised black-gloved fists during the playing of the anthem and created an
international incident.

            It is not that Smith - either Smith - was bringing politics into
sport. The point of the issue and of the protest is that the sporting
occasion of Manhattanville versus anybody else and the sporting occasion of
the Olympic Games is already a political event. If you raise the national
flag and play a national anthem before any sort of event, you are making a
political statement about the nature of the event and the place in which it
takes place.

            It is a fact of American life that one bunch of college girls
can't play basketball against another bunch without it being a celebration
of America. And since America is the land of the free, a free person is
entitled to express her reservations, even if it is also necessary to belong
to the home of the brave before you can do so. This is because the right
wing defines freedom as the right to believe anything you like, so long as
it's the same as me. And if it happens to be different, you have to be

            Smith's protest was a quiet and personal affair by design, but
it caught America's imagination because it took place in sport. That is
because sport is one of the most vivid shared experiences in life. And it
reflects the fact that sport, for all its eagerness to divorce itself from
politics, is an inescapably political business.

            After all, in most team sports, you get to play for your school
and then your club and then for a better club and then, if you are good
enough, you get to play for your country. However, if you get even better,
you don't get to play for another and better country (unless you are Graeme

            Sport is not about the pure pursuit of excellence. No: you play
for your own country and what you play against is other countries. You know,
like war, only different. George Orwell defined sport as war minus the
shooting, and while shooting is a pretty large thing to leave out in
warfare, it leaves no doubt that international sport cannot escape politics
even if it wanted to - which it plainly doesn't.

            At the Olympic Games, which are supposed to be a celebration of
international brotherhood, teams march (note the military term) into the
opening ceremony as separate nations, celebrating not their similarities but
their differences. You go on to play in your country's uniform and if you
win a gold medal, they play your country's national anthem, rather than your
favourite hymn or the song that was playing on the radio when you met your
girl. And they run up a flag, as if it were time for cocktails.

            But sport, as always, reveals character. Athletes express
themselves deliberately with haircuts and jewellery and make-up. They do so
involuntarily with movement and expression and body language. Sport is
ultimately about individuals, even if you want them to be part of a faceless
arm of totalitarian excellence. Olga Korbut, one of the most charismatic
individuals in the history of the Olympics, represented the Soviet Union. So
if politics has always been a part of sport, and always will be, the same
must apply to individual protests against the prevailing political
orthodoxies that sport tends to represent.

            With the case of Olonga, the black armband is a matter of
heart-stopping bravery. It is a different matter with Smith. As a student
from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, she is probably safe from the
reprisals of a corrupt dictator.

            But it was still a small act of courage and it deserves a bit of
a cheer. And remember this: if you want people to hear what you say, say it
in sport. That, more than any other walk of life, is where people take
notice. Smith has gained more attention by her simple act than anyone who
marched for peace through Manhattan.


            Should sports events be used for political ends?

            Send your e-mails to

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UK criticised over Zimbabwe visas
by Angus Crawford
BBC correspondent

The United Nations refugee agency has condemned the British Government's decision to impose visa restrictions on Zimbabweans.

It says the new requirement is locking genuine asylum seekers into a country where repression and human rights abuses are widespread.

Figures published on Friday are expected to show a huge drop in asylum claims from Zimbabweans since November when the rules came into force.

The government says the new system was imposed because of widescale abuses of the system.

Tortured arm
Many Zimbabweans have been tortured
But the BBC has discovered large numbers are still trying to leave Zimbabwe - more than 32,000 visa application forms were requested in one month alone.

"Zanu-PF people wanted to kill me. They killed my sister. She was queuing for mealie meal, they killed her," said one of six asylum seekers sitting in a refugee office at Heathrow.

"There's no food. There's nothing in the shops," said another.

None of the six could get the vital stamp in their passports - so most became reluctant clients of criminal traffickers.

"For you to apply for the visa you have to have plus or minus three million Zim dollars (about £34,000) and then you have to apply for the visa, which is plus or minus 75,000 (about £860)," said one.

Not many people had that much money, he said.

The woman whose sister was killed said there was another difficulty in applying for visas - it let the ruling Zanu-PF party know who was fleeing the country.

"They know that if you are applying for a visa you are an MDC [opposition] member," she said.

For you to apply for the visa you have to have plus or minus three million Zim dollars (about £34,000)
Zimbabwean asylum seeker

The week before the new visa restrictions began, more than 140 Zimbabweans made the same journey to the refugee arrivals project.

Two weeks later that number was down to just 11.

According to the Home Office more than 2,000 Zimbabweans arrived in the UK in just three months last year, the second largest group of applicants.

Figures published on Friday are expected to show a significant drop-off in numbers.

The government believes this proves many in the past made bogus claims.

The UN's refugee agency disagrees.

'Look again'

Simon Taylor, spokesman for the UNHCR, said: "We have asked the Home Office to look again at this.

"We have certainly asked them to ensure that there are safeguards that those who might have a legitimate concern and fear about their safety and security have the opportunity to get a visa, and have the opportunity to seek asylum in the UK."

Without that option, he said, Zimbabweans were forced to turn to criminal traffickers, or to stay in the country where they may be under threat.

The UK does not accept that we are required to... facilitate the travel of people to the UK to claim asylum
Home Office
The urge to leave the country has remained undiminished.

More than 8,000 asylum applications have been received, with 70% approved.

The Home Office refused requests for an interview, but released a brief statement in which it said: "The UK does not accept that we are required to consider claims for asylum from people outside the UK, or facilitate the travel of people to the UK to claim asylum."

It went on to say that Zimbabwe was not considered wholly unsafe, but that for the time being, no failed asylum seekers would be removed there.

Scant consolation for those who claim they never wished to leave their country in the first place - and who say they would return as soon as President Mugabe's regime came to an end.

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Famine agency issues emergency alert
Thursday, February 27, 2003 Posted: 4:18 PM EST (2118 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe faces a potential famine and should
urgently speed up food imports to avert it, a U.S.-based agency said on

The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) issued its emergency alert
following a poor harvest blamed on drought and President Robert Mugabe's
controversial seizure of land from minority whites for redistribution to
landless blacks.

"FEWSNET recommends that...the government co-ordinate its use of all five
ports in the sub-region to allow timely imports to avert a potential
famine," the agency said.

"Indicators point to a dramatic rise in food insecurity... People in more
than two-thirds of the districts are likely to be moderately, highly or
extremely food insecure in the 2003/04 marketing year starting in April."

The agency said the country's grain harvest from the 2002/03 (Oct/March)
cropping season could be as low as 414,100 tones, down 20 percent on the
2001/02 harvest and 77 percent below the recent five-year average.

Once the bread basket of southern Africa, half of Zimbabwe's 14 million
people now face food shortages.

Agencies say those hardest-hit by the food shortages include about one
million former farm laborers rendered jobless and homeless by the land

FEWSNET said current maize imports from South Africa and the United States
were arriving at a rate of about 70,000 tones per month, less than half the
requirements for human consumption of about 150,000 tones per month (MT).

"Given the poor harvest prospects and anticipated low stock levels, Zimbabwe
will need to import between 930,000 MT and 1.3 million MT of maize to meet
the estimated pre-harvest deficit for 2003/04," it said.

On Thursday Britain donated 5.25 million pounds sterling to help the United
Nations World Food Programme's drive to feed some 4.5 million Zimbabweans
until the expected launch of a new aid appeal in the middle of the year.

Despite clashes with Mugabe's government mainly over its controversial land
reforms, the former colonial power has contributed over 21 million pounds
towards the U.N. appeal for Zimbabwe.

Aid agencies say the government's capacity to import food has been sharply
hampered by a foreign currency shortage which has also led to erratic fuel
supplies in the last four years as the country grapples with its worst
economic crisis since independence in 1980.

Mugabe's government denies mismanaging the economy, and argues that the
current food shortages are due solely to drought.

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UK firms confirm Zimbabwe links
by Hugh Pym
BBC business correspondent

BP petrol station in Zimbabwe
BP has a joint venture in Zimbabwe
At least one third of Britain's biggest firms have business links with Zimbabwe, a BBC survey has revealed.

Of the 50 biggest UK firms listed on the London stock market, 18 said they had a presence in the country, or trading relationships with Zimbabwean organisations.

A further 12 companies failed to respond.

The news comes two weeks after England's cricketers pulled out of their Cricket World Cup match in Zimbabwe, following pressure for them to take a stand against the regime of Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe.

Company links

Firms surveyed included companies with long trading histories in the country - BP and Shell have a joint venture there.

Barclays has 39 branches and 1,700 staff.

On a smaller scale, Cadbury Schweppes has a minority stake in a local confectionery business.

Supermarket giant Tesco imports some vegetables from Zimbabwe.

Drinks giant Diageo sees its Smirnoff, Gilbeys and Booths brands produced in-country.

And pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has a small presence in Zimbabwe.

'Perverse' gesture

There is an EU travel ban on Zimbabwean government officials, but no economic sanctions.

A Foreign Office spokesman said it was felt that any block on commercial links would harm Zimbabweans.

But English cricket's ruling body, the ECB, said it was perverse and inequitable that, while businesses were trading with Zimbabwe, cricketers had been asked to make an isolated and symbolic gesture.

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Daily News


      What justice can prevail in Murambinda?

      2/28/2003 6:49:34 AM (GMT +2)

      THE silver Mercedes Benz sedan pulls up to the main entrance to the
Mutare Magistrates' Court, a cluster of colonial-style buildings adjacent to
Mutare Central Police Station.

      There is little fanfare, except, perhaps, for a small gathering of
passers-by that suddenly halt in their tracks to observe a column of
officers from the police and prison service ­ all at attention.

      A relatively short, balding man ­ clad in a dark suit, white shirt and
light brown tie with red spots ­ climbs out of the silver Merc. The officers
salute. The Press cameras click away.

      Welcome, Justice Yunus Omerjee of the High Court in Harare, to the
eastern border capital. You are here to open the first session of 2003 of
the High Court sitting.

      And, as you briefly inspect the guard of honour, you exhibit the
dignity required of your position in a normal civic society.
      But, Mr Justice Omerjee, as you are soon to concede in your opening
remarks, these times we are living in are anything but normal.

      It is standing room only ­ the courtroom is packed with magistrates,
prosecutors, lawyers, court staffers, civic leaders, government
representatives and senior officers from the police and the prison service.

      The conspicuous absence is that of Madam Oppah Muchinguri, the
Governor and Resident Minister of Manicaland.
      I surmise pressing matters of State can only be the reason for her

      "The courts in this country exist to serve society and ensure
disputes, civil or criminal, are determined according to the laws of this
country ­ fairly and impartially," says Justice Omerjee, now dressed in the
judges' official garb.
      Obviously, this has not been happening lately. Otherwise, why raise
the point?

      Could it be the learned judge is acknowledging an avalanche of
complaints ­ from human rights activists, political opposition parties and
the independent media ­ about shoddy judicial procedures in the wake of
unlawful arrests and torture of suspects by members of law enforcement

      The administration of justice, Justice Omerjee tells his audience,
begins with a report to the police of a commission of crime.

      Members of the police, he says, are required to probe the report ­ "in
an impartial, timeous and competent" manner ­ to verify its authenticity.

      The assumption is the entire process is carried out in accordance to
the rules of evidence and laid down police procedures on criminal

      As part of his delivery, Justice Omerjee quotes extensively from a
speech his colleague on the bench, Judge President Paddington Garwe,
presented during the opening of the High Court session in Bulawayo last
      Says Justice Omerjee, quoting Justice Garwe: "Brutalising an accused
person at the investigation stage creates a negative attitude towards the
criminal justice system.

      "The police should always endeavour to treat accused persons fairly
and in accordance with the law . . . an accused
      person is presumed innocent until proven guilty . . . arresting
suspects should be a measure of last resort and only when in the interest of

      "In short, the police should avoid arresting first and, thereafter,
investigate to establish whether the person has a case to answer."

      Justice Omerjee adds:
      "I respectfully associate myself with those sentiments."
      I'm feeling a little sorry for Justice Omerjee, a former Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Parliamentary and Legal Affairs, whose
career includes a senior post in the Attorney-General's Office.

      I don't doubt his desire and commitment to uphold the virtues of a
fair system in the administration of justice.
      But the obstacles, especially in a politically charged atmosphere, are
proving too tough to surmount.

      I close my eyes and visualise the judge, perhaps accompanied by the
Judge President, jumping into the silver Merc and driving to Buhera North,
which remains politically charged one year after the presidential poll and
two-and-half years after parliamentary elections.

      Once at Murambinda growth point, I advise the two justices to park
their Merc and substitute it with a 4X4 vehicle for the next leg of the
journey ­ a rough-and-tumble ride southwards ­ towards the Chapwanya
      Discreet inquiries should reveal an angry community at Chapwanya.

      It is a community that says it is living in terror of political thugs,
suspected to be ruling Zanu PF youth activists, who will go on a torture and
harassment binge at the slightest suspicion someone supports the opposition

      You see, Chapwanya is in a parliamentary constituency controlled by
Zanu PF. It is the same constituency from which Morgan Tsvangirai, the
leader of the opposition MDC, comes.

      There is really bad blood between supporters of the two parties.
      Recently, I'm told, a gang of hoodlums, suspected to be Zanu PF youth
activists, descended on a village near Chapwanya Primary School and beat up
people indiscriminately ­ cutting some victims with broken beer bottles.

      The gang, under the leadership of a notorious gangster nicknamed "J P
Tinashe", looted business operations in the vicinity.

      There are reports the gang at one point intercepted a beer delivery
truck and looted it of its consignment.
      In any event, when nine victims of this terror attack reported the
matter to police the police manning the station suddenly transformed them
into "suspects".

      The nine, I hear, were then forced to fork out $5 000 apiece in fines
"for disturbing the peace". After beefing up the (hitherto depleted) police
coffers by a cool $45 000, the nine were free to limp off home.

      I suggest the two judges limit the time they spend during the visit.
"J P Tinashe" and his cohorts are notorious for chasing "strangers" ­
sometimes screaming and kicking ­ who visit the area and begin poking their
noses around and asking uncomfortable questions.

      A similar scenario is played out, under varying circumstances ­ in
Nyanga, Chimanimani, Makoni and Mutare West, among other places.

      True, Justice Omerjee is here for at least two weeks to preside over
serious crimes, including murder cases. But I'm hoping he will come across
cases in which the police acted as the arresting officer, prosecutor, judge
and jury or
      instances where suspects are treated as convicts.

      That way, the learned judge will probably guide his silver Merc up the
Christmas Pass ­ fully aware of the mammoth task that awaits him and his
colleagues on the Bench at the High Court in Harare. THE silver Mercedes
Benz sedan pulls up to the main entrance to the Mutare Magistrates' Court, a
cluster of colonial-style buildings adjacent to Mutare Central Police
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Harare police arrest protesting clerics

Chanting officers in riot gear round up church leaders

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Saturday March 1, 2003
The Guardian

Twenty-one church leaders were arrested in Zimbabwe yesterday when they tried to deliver a petition to the police urging an end to its abuse of power.

The ministers from the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Dutch Reform, Presbyterian and Pentecostal churches were still being held last night.

Carrying three big wooden crosses, they walked through the streets of Harare to the police headquarters to deliver a petition urging "immediate corrective measures to ensure that the police force in this country performs its duties with respect for the church and all citizens of Zimbabwe".

As they approached they were surrounded by police officers in riot gear who sang "It's been a long time since you were beaten" in Shona, and banged batons on their truck.

The officers arrested the ministers and took them to the central charge office.

The petition accused the police of "many cases of violence against people, pastors and clergy in this country", and added: "We find this misuse of police power completely objectionable and unacceptable."

Since the beginning of the year more than a dozen people, including three MPs and a lawyer, have claimed that they have been tortured by the police.

The police have also held a high court judge in jail overnight.

The ministers called for a public apology from the police and an assurance that "the present abuse by the police will stop forthwith".

Pastor Joseph Munemo, secretary of the National Pastors Conference, described their arrest as "very serious".

"The police are provoking church leaders and trying to frighten us from carrying out our duties," he said.

"We just wanted to hand over our petition."

Bishop Trevor Manhanga said the arrests would "strengthen the resolve of the church to stop police abuse of power.

"The police cannot cow the church into silence".

Bishop Manhanga, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, was arrested two weeks ago when he tried to speak at a church function.

"We have not broken any law, we are just carrying out our role to be the conscience of the nation," he said.

"We cannot be silent in the face of violence and torture. The church must be the ears for those who cannot hear, the eyes for those who cannot see and the voice of the voiceless.

"We are taking up our man date to call for a stop to this harassment and intimidation."

In Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, the Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, an outspoken critic of the Mugabe government, was warned by the police at his cathedral offices not to make political statements in his sermons.

The warning was made after seven victims of alleged state-sponsored torture made statements at a service he conducted on Thursday night.

"They [the police] pointed out that the service should purely be of a religious nature and not mention aspects critical of government," the archbishop said.

He said he had told the police that it was impossible to separate issues of hunger, economic hardship and violence from religion.

"If people are suffering the church cannot excuse itself."

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Zimbabwean activist refused a passport

February 28 2003 at 05:56AM
Mercury new

Harare: A human rights activist was ordered on Thursday to renounce New Zealand nationality she has never taken up or lose the right to citizenship of Zimbabwe, the country of her birth.

Supreme court judge Luke Malaba refused Judith Todd's application for a Zimbabwe passport and gave her two days to give up the citizenship of New Zealand which she says she does not have.

Todd, 57, had argued she never possessed New Zealand citizenship and so did not need to renounce it under Zimbabwe citizenship laws passed in 2001 that banned dual nationality.

She is the daughter of the late Sir Garfield Todd, a New Zealand-born missionary and human rights activist who was prime minister of southern Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe - from 1953 to 1958. Malaba found that Todd had broken Zimbabwe's new citizenship laws by not renouncing the foreign nationality she was entitled to.

Chief juustice Godfrey Chidyausiku, a self-avowed ruling party loyalist, and judge Verna Ziyambi agreed to the ruling.

Malaba said Todd had argued she had fought for human rights and free expression in Zimbabwe and it was demeaning and compromising to have to renounce citizenship of a country to which she did not belong.

The ruling was seen as a test case for tens of thousands of Zimbabweans who had not used their forebears' foreign nationality. - Sapa-AP

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