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

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Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to:
JAG Job Opportunities <>

1.  Advert Received 11th March 2004

Dear Jag

Would you please advertise this position for us:

experience.  Please phone 490847, 091 252 728 or email

Many thanks

Claire Bolton

2.  Advert Received 12th March 2004

PHONE 011-409796

3.  Advert Received 12th March 2004

We are a procurement Company Supplying goods from South Africa to companies
throughout Zimbabwe . In order to improve efficiency and security we are
looking to employ two drivers for our Johannesburg Zimbabwe route ( 1
tonne pick ups ) . The successful applicants will be honest , have sound
ethics and morals and a checkable employment history. The following
attributes are important .:

- Relevant drivers license
- knowledge and experience of South African & Zimbabwean Customs
procedure at Beit Bridge.
- Basic mechanical knowledge

Please apply with C.V To or fax to Johannesburg

4.  Advert Received 12th March 2004

The Consul General of Madagascar would like Zimbabwean farmers to know that
he has a contact in Madagascar, who has approximately 1.000 acres of land,
(silted annually) on which the contact would like to grow tobacco.  This
would mean the setting up the infrastructure, the growing of the crop and
the marketing of it as well.  If anyone is interested, please contact -

Mr. J David Fox,
Concul General of Madagascar,
467, Innes Road,
Durban 4001.

Tel: 00.27.(031). 3129704
Fax: 00.27.(031). 3129704


5.  Advert Received 13th March 2004

My name is Symone Hoffman, I'm 24 years old and hoping to return to
Zimbabwe to live and work.  I would appreciate any helpyou could offer in
finding secure and affordable accommodation in Harare as well as any job
opportunities.  I am computer literate and have ten 'O' levels and three
'A; levels.  I have a full C.V. with plenty of work experience and
references available.  I can be contacted via e-mail at, or through family on (04) 442868 or 091653541.
I'll be back in Harare on the 16th March.

6 Advert Received 14th March 2004


telephone: 07780965879

Message: l want to venture into the piggery industry. where can l get
information. l'm in the UK but want to return to Zimbabwe.  Its my home

7.  Advert Received 15th March 2004

To Whom It May Concern

I would appreciate it very much if you would be so kind as to advertise the
following position for me.

Springvale House School , Preparatory School for the Peterhouse Group of
Schools is looking for a Teacher for Grade 5 as of the 2nd Term 2004.

Very Good remuneration package offered. Applicant must be able to coach a
variety of sport and be prepared to do Dormitory Duties.

Interested parties to email :-

Mr G.A. Peebles

8.  Advert Received 16th March 2004

Could you please advertise the following position for us in your

Many thanks,

PO BOX 1218
TEL/FAX: +263 54 52012, 50374
Food and Beverage manager wanted urgently for safari lodge near Gweru in
Zimbabwe.  Must be qualified, experienced and able to handle a large staff.
Please send CV to


9.  Advert Received 17th March 2004

Experienced Cook required.  A quiet home with two teenagers and working
parents.  Must be able to produce meals and bake without assistance.  Must
assume housekeeping duties when not busy cooking or baking.  Suit single
person as only one small room on the property.  Situated in Ballantyne Park
and very close to the shops.  Would prefer good recommendations from
ex-farmer or someone leaving the country.  Contact Barbara Taylor, 708811-7
(work), 850778 (home), 011-611461 (cell).
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        Attempted coup: they tried it before

            March 19 2004 at 04:57AM

            By Bruce Venter

      Some members of the group of alleged South African mercenaries now
being held in Zimbabwe tried to enter Zambia two weeks ago, it has been

      However, their aircraft was turned back to South Africa after they
reached the town Ndola. The men had been trying to enter the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC) from the nearby Ndola airport.

      This was confirmed on Thursday night by a source in the National
Intelligence Agency (NIA), who declined to detail the reasons for the
aircraft being turned back.

      But former 32 Battalion member Rui Pedro, who served with the men
being detained in Harare, said his colleagues were recruited for "mercenary
work" in the DRC. He confirmed that the plane had been turned back from

            'They were not employed to work on mines'
      "They were not employed to work on mines, oil installations or to
guard anything else. They were recruited to protect the interests of their
employer, violently if necessary," he said.

      Pedro said the men were recruited by an agent representing Logo
Logistics, which had connections with the now defunct Executive Outcomes
(EO), a private security company owned by former South African Defence Force
intelligence officer Eben Barlow.

      The recruiting agent is known to be a former 32 Battalion sergeant.

      EO is now operating under the name of Saracen and has close links with
Logo Logistics, based in London. "Baptista Adriano (in custody in Zimbabwe)
said he was going to the Congo to work as a security guard. He never knew he
was actually being recruited to act as a mercenary," Pedro said.

      Adriano's colleague, Ziami Route-Hendrik, was also led to believe he
was being employed as a security guard. "They were offered R16 000 a month
to work in the Congo as security guards, but they were lied to," Pedro said.

            'They were recruited to protect the interests of their employer'
      Both men knew Barlow and had served with him while he was a member of
32 Battalion, Pedro said.

      A former reconnaissance operator, who asked not to be named, said it
was true that former SADF members were being recruited by agents to carry
out mercenary activities.

      "Perhaps these men were misled, but private security companies
operating in Africa do not recruit black members of 32 Battalion to act as
guards. They are recruited to do what they do best; and that is to fight,"
he said.

      He said the men in custody in Zimbabwe had spent many years in 32
Battalion and were highly trained combat soldiers. "They have a wealth of
battlefield experience. Why take them to a conflict zone and employ them to
guard a house?" he asked.

      Alberto dos Santos, another former 32 Battalion member, who has worked
in the Congo and elsewhere in Africa, also confirmed that his former
colleagues were recruited to act as mercenaries. "Baptista and Route-Hendrik
both believed they were going to be security guards. The agent lied to them,
but they are foolish to have believed otherwise."

      According to the department of foreign affairs, negotiations were
under way on Thursday to have the men returned to South Africa. Spokesperson
Manusha Pillay said high level talks were ongoing to determine details of a
possible return. "I cannot answer as to any result," she said.

      However, the NIA source said no such meeting was held and government
had no intention of ensuring that the alleged mercenaries be returned to
South Africa. "The government has no intention of trying to get the men
returned. They will be tried under international law in the countries in
which they were arrested," the source said.

      Barends Boonzaaier, currently imprisoned with Nick du Toit in
Equatorial Guinea, is reported to be drastically ill and in desperate need
of medication. Foreign affairs refused to comment on whether Boonzaaier
would receive the necessary medical treatment.

      Said Colonel Jan Breytenbach, founder and former officer commanding of
32 Battalion: "It's incredibly sad that once proud soldiers now find
themselves in the current circumstances."

        .. This article was originally published on page 1 of The Pretoria
News on March 19, 2004
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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe lawyer tells US Congress of torture


IN HIS OWN WORDS: New reproduces for the first time Gabriel
Shumba's moving address to the US Congress on 10 March about his torture at
the hands of President Mugabe's shock troops


House Committee on International Relations

Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights

Washington, Wednesday March 10, 2004

Testimony of Mr Gabriel Shumba (Zimbabwe)
(Human Rights Lawyer, Doctor of Laws Candidate, Legal Regional Director
(Africa) for the Accountability Commission-Zimbabwe)

Mr Chair and Members of the Committee, I thank you for the singular honor
that you have accorded to me. To be given the opportunity to address the
opening of the One Hundred and Eighth Congress at a time when my country,
Zimbabwe is facing an unprecedented social, economic and political crisis is
a manifestation of the Free World's concern with democracy and human rights
the world over. Further testimony of this commitment is evident in the 2003
United States Department Report on Human Rights Practices, which devotes
significant space to the human rights issues affecting my country.

Mr Chair, I am a human rights lawyer from Zimbabwe who was last year
condemned to live in exile in South Africa because of unrelenting
persecution, death threats and torture at the hands of President Robert
Mugabe's regime. Allow me to narrate the ordeal that forced me into exile.

Pursuant to the call of my profession, on the 14th of January 2003 I
consented to represent an opposition Member of Parliament, Mr Job Sikhala.
He had engaged me to represent him in a matter in which he alleged political
harassment by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). At that moment
in time, the MP was hiding from the police.

My young brother, Bishop Shumba accompanied me to take instructions. I found
the MP in the company of one Taurai Magaya and Charles Mutama. I proceeded
to take instructions and confer with Mr Sikhala. However, at or about 23:00
hrs, riot police accompanied by plain-clothes policemen, the army and
personnel who I later discovered were from the Central Intelligence
Organization (CIO), the spy agency of the government, stormed the room. They
were armed with AK 47's, tear gas canisters, grenades and vicious-looking

I identified myself as a lawyer and enquired as to the nature and purpose of
the police actions. Thereupon, one of the officers confiscated my lawyer's
Practicing Certificate and informed me that there was 'no place for human
rights lawyers in Zimbabwe'. Others grabbed my diary as well as files and
documents. All of us were prodded with guns in the back and bundled into a
police defender vehicle. Several acts of assault and violence were
perpetrated upon my person. In particular, I was slapped several times and
kicked with booted-feet by amongst others, a certain detective inspector
Mbedzi, the officer in charge of Saint Mary's Police Station. They also
threatened to let the dogs maul me, and boasted that this had been done

Moments later, we were driven to Saint Mary's Police Station but no charges
were preferred. We were denied access to legal representation and were
abused and insulted for allegedly working in cahoots with 'western powers'
in an attempt 'to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle'. Our mobile
phones were also confiscated, and we were denied contact with our lawyers,
relatives and friends.

At or about 01:00 am, we were driven to Matapi Police Station, some 7
kilometers from the initial place of 'arrest'. Here Mr Sikhala and Bishop
were booked into the holding cells. I was taken to Mbare Police Holding
Cells, a further three kilometers away from Matapi, whilst, as I
subsequently discovered, Mr Magaya and Mr Mutama were taken to Harare
Central Police Station, which is about 5 kilometers away. The tactic of
separating arrestees and taking them to locations removed from where they
have been arrested is a favorite of the police in Zimbabwe. This is designed
to prevent their relatives or lawyers access to them when they are tortured
in torture chambers scatted all over the country.

I was only booked into the cells at around 03:00 am. I was denied blankets
and had to sleep on a concrete floor. The cell that was about 3m X 4m housed
over 20 inmates. I had to spend the whole night squatting in a pool of urine
and human waste. This revolting mixture had maggots and worms that irritated
or bit at me the whole night. As if this was not enough, I had to endure the
torment of other denizens of the cell, which included lice and bed bugs

Around 12:00 pm on the next day, personnel from the CID (Law and Order
Section) of the Harare Central Police Station booked me out of Mbare holding
cells. Even now, I had not been informed of the nature of the charges
preferred against me, nor had any official entry been made to indicate that
I was being held at Mbare, another notorious police tactic. The police were
under the charge-ship of one Detective Inspector Garnet Sikhova. In spite of
my bruises and the pain that I felt, I was dragged to a yellow mini-bus
whose registration numbers I was prevented from looking at. My constant
pleas for legal representation, food and water were in vain.

Mr Chair, the mini-bus that I was hauled into had no seats inside. Even more
sinister was the fact that it had black curtains and a black carpet lining
the windows and the floor. In the extreme end of the vehicle was a raised
platform whereupon some of the Police Officers sat. I was nonetheless
ordered to sit on the floor facing the back of the vehicle. A black hood was
then slipped over my head. It was made of nylon and did not have any
breathing-holes in it. In a short while I became claustrophobic, sweated
heavily and had difficulties breathing. My requests that part of the hood be
pulled slightly over my nose to allow me to breathe were rudely denied.
Instead, I was asked to use 'the mouth that you use to defend the MDC to

After what appeared like an hour's drive, the vehicle pulled over and my
hands were handcuffed behind my back. I was bundled out of the car to find
myself in a tunnel of some sort, judging by the echoes that our footsteps
made. I was advised that 'you are now a blind man and have to act like a
blind person'. After several twists and turns, in what appeared a labyrinth
of some sort, we descended to about 3 floors of stairs underground.

Off to the right, I could hear the sounds of horrible screaming. I was
thrown against the wall and the hood was then removed. I was stripped
utterly naked, then had my hands and feet handcuffed and bound so that I was
in a foetal position. The police then thrust a thick plank between my legs
and hands. Other planks lined the room and the light was dim. In a corner to
my right side, there was a pool of what my tormentors told me was acid, into
which I could be dissolved without a trace. I was also informed that I could
be crucified on the planks against the wall, or have needles thrust into my
urethra if 'you are not co-operative'. In the middle of the room were a
small table and a chair. About 15 or so interrogators stood over me and some
of them began assaulting me with booted-feet and fists all over the body. I
was then given the option of either 'telling the truth or dying a slow and
painful death'.

Several questions were asked about my background as a student activist, my
allegiance to the MDC, the political affiliation of judges, my scholarship
to pursue the Master's Degree in South Africa, my alleged involvement in the
burning of a government bus, my political ambitions, as well as the arms
caches that the MDC was alleged to have had. At some point I was hung upside
down on the planks and assaulted beneath the feet with wooden and rubber
truncheons, as well as some pieces of metal.

Running concurrently with the other assaults and ongoing interrogation,
various electrical shocks were introduced into my body. A black contraption
resembling a telephone was placed on the small table. It had several
electric cables emanating from it. One cable was tied to the middle toe of
my right foot, whilst another was tied to the second toe of the left foot.
Another copper wire was wrapped tightly around my genitals. Again, another
one was put into my mouth. Still in the foetal position, I was ordered to
hold a metallic receiver in my bound right hand and I was then forced to
place this next to my right ear. A blast of electric shocks was then
administered to my body for about 8 to 9 hours.

On several occasions, I lost consciousness only to be revived to face the
same ordeal. A chemical substance was applied to my body. I also lost
control of my bladder, vomited blood and was forced to drink my urine and
lick my vomit. I was also urinated upon by several of my interrogators.
Whilst the questioning was in process, several photographs were taken of me
cringing and writhing in pain and in nakedness.

At the end of this ordeal, and around 19:00 pm, I was unbound and then
forced to write several documents under my torturers' dictation. In the
documents, I incriminated myself as well as senior MDC personnel in several
subversive activities. Under pain of death, I was also forced to agree to
work for the Central Intelligence Organization, the government spy agency.
In addition, I was compelled to swear allegiance to President Robert Mugabe,
as well as to promise that I would not disclose my ordeal, either to the
independent press or the courts. I later did.

Around 19:30 pm, I was blindfolded and taken to Harare Central Police
Station, where I was booked into a holding cell even more horrendously
inhumane than that at Mbare Police Station. On the third day of my arrest,
my lawyers, who had at that point obtained a High Court injunction ordering
my release to court, were allowed access to me. I had not had food or water
throughout the period of my detention, which was three days. I had also not
been formally notified of the nature of the charge against me. Subsequently,
however, I was charged under Section 5 of the Public Order and Security Act,
which deals with organizing, planning or conspiring to overthrow the
government through unconstitutional means. These charges were dismissed in a
court of law after medical evidence established that we had been tortured.
Subsequently, I was threatened with death and had to flee for my life.

I worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania for
two months and was threatened by the High Commissioner of Zimbabwe to
Tanzania. I then had to flee to South Africa. In spite of psychiatric and
other medical treatment, I continue to experience nightmares, suffer
depression, sexual impotence as well as extreme fatigue.

I am convinced that my torture and ill treatment was authorized and condoned
at the highest level of the Zimbabwean state. It is inconceivable that
President Mugabe is unaware that his police, army and intelligence officials
are using torture. The President has been aware that torture is being used
against human rights activists and those suspected to be linked to the MDC,
as is exemplified by the case of journalists Mark Chavhunduka and Ray Choto.
The two were brutally tortured by the army and Chavunduka died later. Mugabe
was however on TV gloating that those who write stories about the army
should expect 'army justice'

I lodged a report of what transpired to me with the police, but up to now no
action has been taken. I have also instructed my lawyer to institute civil
proceedings, but am not hopeful, as the Executive has largely subverted the
judicial system. Furthermore, the police in Zimbabwe are notorious for
defying court orders.

Mr Chair, I should also point out that members of my family who are still in
Zimbabwe are in mortal danger as I speak. I cannot afford to lose them as we
are a very small family, having been orphaned early in life. I am the first
born in a family of four. Both my parents are deceased. My father died of
cancer of the liver when I was 10 years old. I became the sole breadwinner
of the family after my mother passed away some years later. My mother
succumbed to the AIDS virus in 1995, having spent many years trying to raise

Eventually, I struggled through education with the help of a kind white
couple, Mary Austin and John Ayton. I mention this couple to dispel the myth
that the crisis in Zimbabwe is a tug of war between black and white. I have
often been shocked at how Mugabe can use this propaganda to mislead some
black brothers like Coltaine Chimurenga of the December Movement in this
country. Several African leaders have also not seen behind this and the
misinformation that confuse the need for a land redistribution process and
human rights abuses.

At the University of Zimbabwe where I obtained a Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
degree, I was a student activist. In 1995, I led demonstrations against
police brutality. This culminated in my suspension from the University of
Zimbabwe (UZ) for a period of two years. Whilst on suspension, I wrote
articles on student rights and addressed seminars on academic freedom in
Zimbabwe. After readmission to the University in 1997, I mounted a
one-person demonstration to protest the heavy handedness of the police in
quelling student disturbances. For this, I was abducted and tortured at a
torture Chamber situated in the basement of Harare Central Prison.

Mr Chair, to date I have been arrested and assaulted or tortured 14 times
under the regime of President Robert Mugabe. At my graduation on the 18th of
August 2000, I was again arrested and taken into police custody for
attempting to hand over a petition protesting the breakdown of the rule of
law in Zimbabwe, especially on the farms, to President Robert Mugabe. As I
approached Mugabe, who is also Chancellor of the University, his bodyguards
whisked me away. As a result, I could not graduate with my fellow students
as I was in prison, complete in my academic regalia. This incident was
reported in the press. Mr Chair, I submit that all that which transpired to
me should be seen as a microcosm of the brutality visited upon human rights
and opposition activists in Zimbabwe

It should be noted that Mugabe's regime has since independence intimidated,
tortured and murdered political opponents and human rights defenders. As
early as the 1980's opposition Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU)
commander Lookout Masuku was tortured and subsequently died in police
custody. Ethnic Ndebele civilians were raped or at gunpoint forced to commit
incest, buried alive in mass graves, or murdered by the notorious North
Korean trained Five Brigade. More than 20 000 Ndebeles lost their lives in
this genocide. President Mugabe is on record calling the wanton massacre 'a
clean-up process'. He also boasted that '.when we get there we eradicate
them. We don't differentiate when we fight because we can't tell who is a
dissident and who is not'. Results of two Commissions tasked to probe this
genocide have been suppressed.

Mr Chair, with the emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
1999, President Mugabe has shown even more determination to encourage the
commitment of rape, murder and mayhem in the name of the ruling ZANU (PF)
party. The army has been the mainstay of Mugabe's illegitimate regime.
During the 2002, Presidential Election the army led the police in
threatening a coup in the event that the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai won the
election. In another incident, they stormed into a nightclub that was
patronized by MDC supporters and forced them to have group sex without
condoms. The army has also forced MDC supporters to eat human waste and has
not denied murdering Christopher Giwa and MDC activist Lameck Chemvura

The police and the CIO have been involved in the killing of Batanai
Hadzinzi, a student activist, Tonderai Machiridza, MDC MP David Mpala and
many others who died in 2003 and I cannot name for want of space.

50 000 of the equivalent of the Hitler Youth, the Youth Militia 'graduated'
last month from 'bases' scattered across the country. Some are as young as
13. A few of them have escaped to South Africa and confessed that at the
camps, they are indoctrinated to rape, torture and kill MDC supporters and
human rights defenders. Young women like Debbie Siyangapi, who had to flee
to South Africa are living examples of this callous corruption and
militarisation of Zimbabwe's future. Because of rape at the militia camps,
Debbie has now given birth, and is infected with HIV-AIDS. Her testimony is
on the Internet and has been recorded in some of the electronic evidence
presented to the Committee. Mr Chair, does the Free World have to wait until
we are another Rwanda?

The democratic space in Zimbabwe has been unremittingly eroded. Human rights
and MDC activists' wives, children and even men are abducted and raped by
President Mugabe's killing machines. The testimonies of rape victims, which
are also available on the video In Dark Time, are poignant indications of
this trend. To make matters worse, the only independent newspaper in the
country has been closed under draconian media laws like the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act. President Mugabe's Goebbels and a
fugitive from Justice, Minister Jonathan Moyo has defended this repressive
legislation on the grounds that countries like Sweden have these laws, when
in fact our media law has striking resemblance to that obtaining in Sri

The Public Order and Security Act under which I was detained, a successor to
the colonial Law and Order Maintanance Act, has assaulted freedom of
Assembly and Movement. The recently introduced Statutory 37, Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of Criminal Procedure and Evidence
Act) Regulations 2004 provide for detention on suspicion of economic or
political crimes for up to a month without the benefit of bail or trial.

The Zimbabwean people endure a daily dosage of unmitigated terror, famine
and disease. Records released by the World Health Organization (WHO)
indicate that 1 in every 4 adults is infected with HIV-AIDS. The World Food
Organization (WFO) has warned that about 7 million people face starvation.
Whilst this Dantean scene unfolds, Mugabe has the insulting temerity to tell
the world that he is 'Hitler tenfold' and that 'I have degrees in violence'.

Mr Chair, because of the closure of all democratic space, Zimbabwe is on the
brink of a civil war. It seems futile to appeal to the law for protection.
The courts have been packed with ZANU (PF) loyalists. Lawyers like Beatrice
Mtetwa and Gugulethu Moyo have been assaulted in the course of their duties.
Lawyers have been invariably prevented from accessing clients held for
'political crimes'.

The humanitarian catastrophe that the brutality and dictatorship in Zimbabwe
has occasioned is unparalleled in post-independence Southern Africa. Yet,
SADC, in particular South Africa, continue to half-step and head-scratch.
For example, it is now accepted that Botswana hosts about 80 000 illegal
immigrants from Zimbabwe, while of the 3 million or so Zimbabweans in South
Africa, 41 207 were repatriated back to Zimbabwe between January and
September last year.

In conclusion, I wish to thank the Chair and the Members of the Committee
for allowing me to present this testimony to the Free World. I would like to
show appreciation to you even more for sharing our suffering. Only last
week, the United States extended targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his
close lieutenants. This is an indication that the Free World cares.
Nevertheless, allow me to appeal further to the protection of the United
States. All of us who stand for human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe would
like to see Mugabe removed from power as a matter of urgency. We would like
him and his lieutenants to answer charges of crimes against humanity and in
this, we need your help. We would also be obliged if the United States and
other countries would consider expelling these dictators' kith and kin from
their countries.

Furthermore, we also appeal to the United States and other democracies to
have Mugabe and his henchmen arrested as soon as they enter another
political and legal jurisdiction. Towards this end, I implore you to support
the efforts of organizations like the Accountability Commission-Zimbabwe and
Redress Trust that have been compiling affidavits from victims as well as
attempting to secure Mugabe and his henchmen's arrest outside Zimbabwe.

I would also like to entreat the Free World not to support African
initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as
long as African leaders do not speak out and act against dictators and gross
human rights violators on the Continent.

Lastly, I beseech you to grant support for infrastructural and other needs
to civil society and human rights activists in Zimbabwe and abroad, in
particular those that name and shame as well as offer support to torture and
other victims and those who like myself have been forced into exile. Among
these are the Zimbabwe Exiles' Forum, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
and Amani Trust.

I thank you Honorable Members.
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New Zimbabwe

Zim accuses magistrate of 'attack on national security'

By Staff Reporter
THE Accountability Commission of Zimbabwe has condemned what it termed the
"deliberate bullying and manipulation of the judiciary" in the on-going
anti-corruption blitz initiated by government.

The Commission's Legal Director and prominent lawyer Gabriel Shumba said the
government was using the state-owned Herald newspaper to intimidate judges,
lawyers and legal officers in a bid to get favorable judgments.

The Herald on Thursday ran a story under the headline "Magistrate's ruling
sparks outrage" in which magistrate Judith Tsamba's decision to grant bail
to businessman James Makamba was described as an "attack on national

"We condemn in the strongest terms the rampant and pervasive intimidation of
the judiciary in Zimbabwe," the commission which has been cataloguing human
rights abuses for future action said.

"The deliberate bullying and manipulation of the judiciary has been on the
increase since the forced departure from the Supreme Court bench of Justice
Anthony Gubbay," it said.

The Herald report, quoting "highly placed sources" described the ruling as
"totally unacceptable and had shocked legal authorities".

"They said it was preposterous and would make the administration of justice
in the country a laughing stock. The legal sources said the ruling had no
precedent and that the justice system itself would not sustain it," the
paper said.

Makamba was immediately rearrested and is yet to be taken to court.

The Herald report betrayed a general government view when it said
"government sources" described the ruling as "an attack on the country's
national security and an attempt by misguided elements within the judiciary
to bring down law and order because there was no precedent for it anywhere
in the civilised constitutional democracies worldwide."

The 'government source' is further quoted as saying: "The courts do not have
the capacity and will never have that capacity to say each one of the police
officers in the country must first obtain an arrest warrant before they
arrest anyone. The requirement for an arrest is reasonable suspicion."

But Shumba who was tortured by President Mugabe's regime while representing
St Mary's MP Job Sikhala said it was all a cynical plot by the government to
intimidate judges to peddle the official line and interest.

"It is a further attempt by the Zimbabwe government to arm-twist the bench
into handing down judgments in its favour. The AC views the story in the
Herald as an attempt to defeat this democratic fundamental and in particular
notes that with the advent of Jonathan Moyo as Minister of Publicity and
Information, the government media has resorted to quoting unnamed sources to
air government displeasure with dissent.

"Further examples of governement meddling with the Third Estate are
evidenced by the forced resignation of Justice Majuru from the Adminstrative
court a few weeks ago, and the unnecessary, ongoing and totally
reprehensible harassment of Justice Benjamin Paradza. It is the AC's view
that in harassing the judiciary, the government of Zimbabwe is in breach of
the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and many other conventions
to which it is a party.

"The AC urges the government, in particular the police to accept the rule of
law. The police in Zimbabwe have not been known for their non-partisanship
in enforcing court orders and this is immensely regrettable," the commission

The Accountability Commission which has its headquarters in South Africa
describes itself as non-partisan. It gathers and collates reports and
affidavits from victims of human rights violations with a view to
prosecuting the perpetrators when a new government takes over. It also
pursues legal remedies on behalf of victims and against the perpetrators in
neutral or international jurisdictions.
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From The Star (SA), 19 March

Held SA men 'were hired as paid soldiers'

By Bruce Venter

Two weeks before being arrested in Zimbabwe, some members of the group of
former South African Defence Force soldiers being held over an alleged coup
plot in Equatorial-Guinea had their aircraft turned back to South Africa
from Ndola in Zambia. They had been attempting to enter the Democratic
Republic of Congo. This was confirmed last night by a source in the National
Intelligence Agency (NIA), who refused to disclose the reasons why the
aircraft was turned back. But former 32 Battalion member Rui Pedro, who
served with the men being detained in Harare, said his colleagues had been
recruited for "mercenary work" in the DRC. He confirmed what the NIA source
had said about the plane being turned back from Ndola. "They were not
employed to work on mines, oil installations or to guard anything else. They
were recruited to protect the interests of their employer, violently if
necessary," he said. According to Pedro, the men were recruited by an agent
representing Logo Logistics, which had connections with the now defunct
Executive Outcomes, a private security company owned by former SADF
intelligence officer Eben Barlow. The recruiting agent is known to be a
former 32 Battalion sergeant. Executive Outcomes is now operating under the
name of Saracen and has close links with Logo Logistics. It is based in

"Baptista Adriano (in custody in Zimbabwe) said he was going to the Congo to
work as a security guard. He never knew he was actually being recruited to
act as a mercenary," Pedro said. He added that Adriano's colleague, Ziami
Route-Hendrik, was also led to believe he was being employed as a security
guard. "They were offered R16 000 a month to work in the Congo as security
guards, but they were lied to," Pedro said. Both men knew Barlow and had
served with him while he was a member of 32 Battalion, according to Pedro. A
former reconnaissance operator, who asked not to be named, said it was true
that former SADF members were being recruited by agents to carry out
mercenary activities. "Perhaps these men were misled, but private security
companies operating in Africa do not recruit black members of 32 Battalion
to act as guards. They are recruited to do what they do best; and that is to
fight," he said. He said the men in custody in Zimbabwe had spent many years
in 32 Battalion and they were highly trained combat soldiers. "They have a
wealth of battlefield experience. Why take them to a conflict zone and
employ them to guard a house?" he asked. According to the Department of
Foreign Affairs, negotiations were under way yesterday to have the men
returned to South Africa. However, the NIA source denied that this was the
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Zim Independent

ZDI's murky arms dealing exposed
Dumisani Muleya
MORE details emerged this week of the murky arms deal in which Zimbabwe
Defence Industries sold a large consignment of weapons to the alleged
mercenaries currently held in Harare. This raises potentially embarrassing
questions about the state arms manufacturer's role in their capture.

It is also understood that the South African Secret Service had been
monitoring the men's movements ahead of their arrival in Harare.

While there has been no public admission that ZDI sold the weapons to trap
the alleged mercenaries, the firm's involvement in the Sri Lankan arms
disappearance case in 1997 has fuelled suspicions that this latest episode
could be another deal gone bad.

A ship carrying a ZDI consignment of 32 398/81mm mortar bombs disappeared in
1997 allegedly on its way to Sri Lanka with arms for that country's army
under a US$6 million government-to-government deal. However, investigations
into the fate of the vessel Stillius Limasol, which was supposed to be
carrying the consignment of mortars and other military hardware, revealed
that there was no ship registered by that name.

Claims that the Tamil Tigers, who are fighting for a separate homeland,
intercepted the weapons, failed to stick. In the end officials in Colombo
accused senior officers in the Sri Lankan army and ZDI of arranging the
disappearance in order to defraud the Sri Lankan government. ZDI denied the

Questions are being raised over the sale of arms to the 67 suspected
mercenaries arrested at Harare airport on Sunday, March 7, which official
sources say was part of the trap.

The Zimbabwe Independent has now established that ZDI - which supplies army
uniforms, field equipment and ammunition - sold the mercenaries a
consignment of 61 AK-47 assault rifles and 45 000 rounds of ammunition, 10
Browning pistols and 500 x 9mm rounds of ammunition, and 20 PKM light
machine guns plus 30 000 rounds of ammunition.

It also sold 100 RPG7 anti-tank weapons, 2 x 60mm mortar tubes, 80 x 60mm
mortar bombs, 1 500 hand grenades and 20 Icarus flairs.

Acting Attorney-General Bha-rat Patel said this week that the suspects would
be charged, among other things, with violating the Firearms Act for buying
arms without an end-user certificate. He also said they would be charged
under the Public Order and Security Act for illegal possession of weaponry
which is not covered under the Firearms Act.

It is understood government hatched the trap after Simon Mann, one of those
detained, came to Zimbabwe in February with colleagues trying to buy arms.

The trap was said to have been finalised when Mann and associates came back
on March 5 to wait for the now-impounded plane that was due to collect their
consignment two days later.

Their movements were monitored, the Independent has been told, by South
African intelligence officers who booked into a local hotel on March 5. They
trailed Simon Mann and two colleagues who arrived in Zimbabwe the same day
to await the plane.

The plane was impounded on March 7. It is understood to have arrived in
South Africa from Sao Tomé and Principe the day before. On March 7, the
plane departed Lanseria airport in Johannesburg at 6:55am with four crew
members and headed for Wonderboom in Pretoria.

It left Wonderboom at 4:07pm with 67 passengers heading for Polokwane where
it landed at 4:35pm. It then departed Polokwane at 6:24pm for Harare where
it landed at 7:30pm before it was seized.

Mann and his associates, who are among the detained suspects, were already
in the country to collect arms they had bought from Zimbabwe Defence

The South African intelligence officers were at the airport when the plane
was impounded. Sources say they did not stop the plane in South Africa
because they wanted the suspects to fall into the trap. The ZDI arms
consignment was the evidence they needed.

Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, who has said the mercenaries were going
to Equatorial Guinea to stage a coup against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo, yesterday said he could not clarify ZDI's role.

"It has been said in the press that they (the alleged mercenaries) had
arranged to buy arms from ZDI but for details on that you can contact ZDI,"
Mohadi said.

Persistent efforts to get comment from ZDI yesterday failed as all senior
officials were reportedly out of their offices.

On reports that some ZDI officials had been arrested over the arms deal with
the mercenaries, Mohadi said: "I can't confirm that. I haven't received any
such reports."

Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi also refused to comment on the issue.

"The Minister of Home Affairs is handling those matters," he said.

Analysts said the transaction between ZDI and the alleged mercenaries raised
potentially embarrassing questions.

"Certainly it does raise some questions and it might expose something about
the activities of ZDI that the government will regret later," Richard
Cornwell of South Africa's Africa Security and Analysis Programme told

Research Associates' Herman van der Linde said: "There is no way there were
going to be able to sell arms to anybody without an end-user certificate or
at least some government backing".

President Thabo Mbeki is said to have been instrumental in exposing the
alleged coup against Obiang. Mbeki met with Obiang in Pretoria on December 1
and the two discussed a range of bilateral issues, including security

Their gathering came at about the same time as Mann's reported meeting with
Equatorial Guinean exiled rebel leader Severo Moto and Western intelligence
agents over the coup plot.

It is understood Mbeki and Obiang discussed the coup plot and Mbeki agreed
to monitor the movement of possible mercenaries.
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Zim Independent

Zim needs only 7 banks says IMF team
Godfrey Marawanyika
ZIMBABWE'S small, inflation-plagued economy can take no more than seven
commercial banks, says an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation
currently on a routine visit to the country. This is less than half the 17
registered commercial banks serving Zimbabwe's population of about 13
million people, most of whom survive on less than US$1 a day.

Officials who attended a meeting with IMF officials this week told the
Zimbabwe Independent that the IMF delegation said a smaller number of banks
would restore normalcy and public confidence in the financial services
sector - currently dogged by allegations of poor corporate governance.

While government officials who attended the meeting are said to have
rejected IMF dictates, the Bretton Woods team is understood to have
expressed grave concerns at the country's runaway inflation, the
foreign-currency parallel market and a liquidity crunch that has placed at
least two financial institutions under curatorship.

The team this week met with Ministry of Finance officials and senior

The Washington team, led by Doris Rose, arrived in the country on Tuesday
for routine Article IV consultations. In the next fortnight the team will
meet central bank governor Gideon Gono and his senior officials, officials
from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The last Article IV meetings were held in July last year.

Since Friday last week, Intermarket Building Society and Barbican Bank and
its asset management arm have closed shop after the central bank found the
two were not in "sound financial positions".

The IMF team has also been having problems with fixing appointments with
business lea-ders. Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries chief executive
officer Farai Zizhou yesterday confirmed that their meeting with the IMF
delegation had been postponed.

The IMF is said to have spoken highly of Gono's monetary policy launched in
December last year. They however said there would be no decision on
Zimbabwe's membership status until the end of June when the executive board

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Zim Independent

Zim 'looks East' for military training/hardware
Augustine Mukaro/ Shakeman Mugari
ZIMBABWE'S military has decided to "look East" in line with official policy
as it acquaints its officers with new equipment acquired from China, the
Zimbabwe Independent has gathered.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander General Constantine Chiwenga was in
China this week to sign agreements for military exchange programmes between
the two countries.

China's Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday reported that Chinese Defence
minister Cao Gangchuan met Chiwenga in Beijing on Tuesday. "Cao promised
that the Chinese army will continue its efforts to enhance the friendly
cooperative relations with Zimbabwe's armed forces," the agency said

"Cao, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and a state
councillor, made the remark in a meeting with CG Chiwenga, commander of
Zimbabwe's defence forces."

The agency reported Cao as saying that China and Zimbabwe had carried out
fruitful cooperation in various fields since they forged diplomatic

Chiwenga is understood to have held talks with the Chief of General Staff of
the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Liang Guanglie, before meeting the

"Liang, also a member of the Chinese Central Military Commission, said the
Chinese army attached importance to its friendly cooperative relations with
the Zimbabwean army, and will actively promote the exchanges and cooperation
between the two sides in various fields," Xinhua said.

Highly placed sources this week said government had stopped military
exchange programmes and advancement courses with Western countries deemed
hostile to Zimbabwe's interests. The sources said the ZDF had stopped
sending military attachés to Britain and other European countries that have
cut ties with Zimbabwe over its sullied human rights record.

"The ZDF started sending its officers to China two years ago following the
imposition of sanctions," the sources said.

"As of now almost half of the forces have undergone equipment
familiarialistion courses either abroad or through Chinese officers visiting
the country."

Zimbabwean state security departments have been told to phase out all
European-manufactured ammunition, vehicles, helicopters and fighter planes
after government failed to secure spare parts from Britain and other EU
countries following the imposition of sanctions.

The sources said the recent visit to Zimbabwe by a Chinese delegation was
part of the mission to assess Zimbabwe's military needs ahead of an arms
deal that is on the cards. The delegation visited the country's key military
training centres such as the Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) in Gweru.

The Independent also established that a Chinese team was rebuilding the ZMA
complex. Initially the complex had makeshift structures of timber and metal
sheets. The team is putting up permanent structures at the complex.

Zimbabwe still has military attachés in a number of European countries but
there are no training programmes taking place.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs last year
toured defence installations and barracks around the country.

Committee chairman and Zanu PF MP for Mt Darwin Saviour Kasukuwere admitted
that sanctions had compromised the security situation in the country

He said Zimbabwe needed to engage dependable suppliers of equipment in the
face of crippling sanctions by the EU which has seen military machinery
grounded due to lack of spare parts.

Following up on the report, Kasukuwere together with Giles Mutsekwa of the
same committee, visited China to scout for replacements to the
sanctions-battered military equipment. Kasukuwere said the five-day tour
highlighted the kind of technology that Zimbabwe could import for the use of
its defence forces.
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Zim Independent

Govt moves to acquire private conservancies
Godfrey Marawanyika/Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT plans to acquire all privately-owned conservancies and game
ranches, a move that could mark the end of private land ownership in
Zimbabwe, it became clear this week.

The move however faces stiff resistance from the Zimbabwe Conservation &
Development Foundation (ZCDF) and other stakeholders involved in the
wildlife business.

A government document, Wildlife-Based Land Reform Policy, first released in
July 2002 and revised last month, seeks to declare all conservancies and
ranches state land that should be administered by the Parks and Wildlife

Government says this will enable resettled farmers and other indigenous
people to venture into the wildlife business.

"All farms, including those that constitute conservancies that are acquired
and designated as core wildlife production zones, may be declared state land
to be administered by the Parks and Wildlife Authority for the benefit of
the indigenous people," the document says.

In the report government outlines two proposals for dealing with game

The first is to convert all acquired land and assets into shareholding,
which would allow the current owners to retain 50% while the new entrants
get the remainder.

Alternatively, it is proposed, the current owners can relinquish 30% of
their 50% shareholding to new beneficiaries selected from current occupiers
and neighbouring conservancies.

The remaining 20% of current owners would be reduced over a period of five

Under the new arrangement all land and wildlife belong to the state and will
be regulated through the Ministry of Environment or its agencies.

"Ministry of Environment and Tourism will provide the leadership and be
recognised as such in profiling wildlife and natural resources management in
the land reform process. Further, the ministry will be part of the vetting
process for all applications pertaining to wildlife-based land reform," says
the document.

It says government will mobilise support groups, including the private
sector, non-governmental organisations and government departments, in
implementing the programme

The document concedes that land reform has been a failure in terms of
wildlife management policy.

"Whether planned or not, virtually all resettlement has been based on use

of land for agriculture," it says.

"This emphasis on crops and livestock effectively undermined wildlife

production as a legitimate land-use option on newly resettled farms.

Ultimately this fuelled poaching, habitat degradation and wood landloss on
newly resettled farms."

The wildlife industry is challenging government's proposals to nationalise
all privately held wildlife properties.

"There is one perilous predicament facing the private wildlife industry of
Zimbabwe at this crucial time," the ZCDF said in a statement.

"There is need for the formation of a representative group mandated to
vigorously protect and fight for the direct interests of wildlife

The ZCDF said the net result of the on-going acquisition of commercial
farmland was the unprecedented destruction of Zimbabwe's all-inclusive
socio-ecological structures.

The ZCDF called for an action forum to bring together experience to uphold
the interests of the industry in the face of looming threats.

The players proposed the formation of an alliance that includes Justice for
Agriculture, Safari Club International, Africa Indaba, Hunting Report and
the international community to stop the rot.
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Zim Independent

Zim yet to ratify rights conventions
Munyaradzi Wasosa
ZIMBABWE is among 25 countries that have not ratified conventions and
agreements of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

The country has been ranked among the "worst offenders", according to a
recent report by Reporters Without Borders.

Others named "worst offenders" along with Zimbabwe are Cuba and China, which
have been branded the "two biggest prisons in the world for journalists".
Ironically, Libya, which currently chairs the commission and is President
Mugabe's close ally, does not appear on the list. This comes at a time when
the 60th session of the commission, which began on Tuesday and ends on April
23, is being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

A government delegation led by Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa is
attending the session, where it is expected to canvass the support of
"friendly countries" to fight the adoption of a motion to discuss Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has not ratified the UN Convention Against Torture, the statute
establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the two Protocols to
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICC
additional Protocols focus on issues pertaining to crimes against humanity
and genocide mostly perpetrated by the state.

Zimrights executive director Munyaradzi Bidi in an interview this week
slammed government's reluctance to ratify the conventions.

"Zimbabwe's human rights record has grown worse," he said. "The government
is aware that if it ratifies (the conventions), it will be accountable to
the international community. With the general elections coming,
international scrutiny is the last thing the regime would want," he said.

Bidi cited the recently invoked Presidential Powers (Temporary
Measures)(Amendment of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act) Regulations as
an example of the country's worsening human rights conditions. The amendment
gives the government powers to detain suspects of serious commercial crimes
for up to a month without bail.

"This has become the 'Makamba Regulations'," Bidi said in reference to
businessman James Makamba who has been in remand prison on corruption
charges since February 9.

"It violates article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights which Zimbabwe ratified," he said.

Human rights analysts argue that since the government has ratified the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is technically bound to respect
clauses of other conventions which it has not ratified. Human Rights Trust
of Southern Africa (Sahrit)'s deputy director of programmes Farai Chiweshe,
expressed concern at Zimbabwe's position.

"Whatever reason the government has for not ratifying, it works negatively
for the country. We call on the government to ratify UN conventions,
especially the crucial one against torture," said Chiweshe.

Human rights groups, media institutions and other lobby groups are expected
to give evidence at the Geneva session, detailing gross human rights
violations in the country.

Government representatives will then be given the opportunity to defend
their position. If a motion is adopted to discuss Zimbabwe, the commission
will send rappoteurs to investigate and gather evidence in the country for
presentation at the next session.

Earlier this month, the International Federation for Human Rights, at its
35th session in Quito, Equador, adopted a resolution on Zimbabwe. The
document outlines the federation's demand for the commission to adopt a
motion on Zimbabwe "condemning human rights violations perpetrated by the
regime, in particular those targeting human rights defenders".
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Zim Independent

Anxiety grips tobacco industry
Augustine Mukaro
ANXIETY has gripped the tobacco industry after the Tobacco Industry and
Marketing Board (TIMB) decided to introduce dual production and marketing
when the selling season kicks off at the end of the month.

The government has changed the marketing of tobacco from an auction system
to a dual approach where contract tobacco production and marketing will
operate alongside auctions.

Under the new system, which will be put to the test on March 30 when the
tobacco marketing season starts, nine contractors and the three traditional
auction floors will be buying the crop.

Approved contractors include FSI Agricom, TSL, Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco,
Tobacco Growers Trust, Farmers' World, Arda/Gold Driven Investment,
Petroleum and two others whose names could not be established at the time of
going to press.

Speaking to the Zimbabwe Independent last week, TIMB general manager Stanley
Mutepfa said the contract buying of tobacco would start a day after opening
of the auction floors. This would allow contractors to determine their

"The prices should be equivalent to those offered at auction floors so that
farmers are not prejudiced," Mutepfa said.

"Contracted farmers will deliver their crop to an approved receiving point
which meets TIMB standards for tobacco storage but the buyer will decide
what to do with the crop," said Mutepfa.

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Zim Independent

Salaries in forex: RBZ to rein in firms
Shakeman Mugari
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe plans to launch a crackdown on companies that
have been paying portions of salaries of their top managers in foreign

The bank will soon investigate companies that pay their senior managers and
directors in hard currency. Many listed companies in Zimbabwe deposit part
of their executive officers' and top managers' salaries in offshore

In written responses to the Zimbabwe Independent, the central bank said
companies doing so were externalising foreign currency.

"Any foreign currency-denominated salaries deposited offshore by the said
'listed companies' is tantamount to externalisation of foreign currency and
is a contravention of the Exchange Control rules and regulations," the RBZ

Over the past few years, companies have been offering hard currency salaries
to senior managers in a bid retain key staff. The Independent is in
possession of a confidential salary survey indicating that one listed
company paid more than £170 000 to six of its managers last year alone.

According to the documents, the chief executive received £75 000 and the
managing director £50 000 deposited in offshore accounts as part of their
pay packages.

The documents show that the finance director was also entitled to £30 000
per annum. The investment manager and company secretary received £4 500 each
last year.

Most companies listed on the stock exchange have facilities to pay part of
their top managers' salaries in foreign currency. The Reserve Bank said no
Zimbabwean company was allowed to pay salaries to its Zimbabwean executives
in foreign currency through FCAs or offshore accounts.

"Significant amounts of foreign exchange may have been externalised through
these transactions and the Reserve Bank would appreciate it if information
on hand could be made available to the bank to facilitate further
investigation on the companies concerned," said the RBZ statement.

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Zim Independent

AirZim workers threaten strike over wage demand
Itai Dzamara
WORKERS at Air Zimbabwe have threatened to paralyse operations at the
national air carrier next week if management doesn't accede to their demand
for a 300% wage hike.

The Zimbabwe Independent was told yesterday that Air Zimbabwe managing
director Rambai Chingwena had issued suspension letters to 20 workers'
leaders this week following strike action on Tuesday. But the company's
legal and corporate affairs manager said the matter has been "amicably

The threat of industrial action follows clashes between management and
workers last week over unremitted medical and pension contributions which
management could not fully explain. Workers alleged that management had been
diverting their money to other uses.

Sources involved in the negotiations revealed yesterday that the workers had
opted for a fully-fledged strike next week if their wage demands were not

The national airline was rocked by a strike involving engineers in late 2002
that lasted five months and forced management to hire engineers from Zambia.

Workers and management were reportedly deadlocked this week, with Chingwena
said to have initially offered the workers a 10% increment, which was
rejected. The offer was raised to 20% but again there were no takers.

The airline's legal and corporate affairs manager Arthur Manase yesterday
denied that 20 workers were issued with letters of suspension. Sixteen
workers had "certain measures" taken against them, he said, for having been
absent from their posts. But, he added, the matter had been "amicably

"There is peace and harmony and all workers are at their posts and it is
business as usual," he said.

Workers on Wednesday sought the assistance of recently appointed permanent
secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Karikoga Kaseke,
who is said to have ordered the withdrawal of the suspension letters issued
by Chingwena.

Kaseke yesterday confirmed meeting with Air Zimbabwe workers and the
withdrawal of the suspension letters.

"The workers came to me with their issue," said Kaseke. "But I explained to
them that they should engage their management and negotiate in good faith
before resorting to industrial action. They assured me that they were going
to negotiate in good faith but also demanded that management reciprocate,"
he said.

"I also called management and urged them to negotiate in good faith. As a
starting point we agreed that the letters of suspension be withdrawn."

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Zim Independent

Murerwa accused of misleading the public
Loughty Dube
STRIKING National University of Science and Technology (NUST) lecturers and
non-academic staff claim Higher Education minister Herbert Murerwa misled
the nation when he announced that they had been awarded a salary increment
of 280%.

Chairman of Nust Educators Association (Nusteda), Elyween Madziwa, and Nust
non-academic staff chairman, Readyforward Dube, told the Zimbabwe
Independent in separate interviews this week that the salary increment
amounted to only 30%.

"The minister misled the nation when he claimed that we were given a salary
increment of 280% because we were awarded a mere 30% increment," said Dube.

The strike has been going on for the past five months.

Dube said non-academic staff went on strike to force their employer to
effect an arbitration salary that they were awarded last year.

Madziwa said it was unfortunate that Murerwa was playing with figures to
create the false impression that government was addressing lecturers'
concerns when it was not.

"The issue is straight forward," said Madziwa. "The government gave all
civil servants a salary increment of 250% last year. Murerwa added 30% in
March and turned around to announce that he had given lecturers a salary
increment of 280%, which is ridiculous to say the least," he said.

Nust, Midlands State University, and University of Zimbabwe lecturers went
on strike last year to force government to effect an arbitration salary
scale they were awarded earlier on. The government however challenged the
process saying it did not have the resources or the capacity to meet the new
salary scales.

"The reason why we went back to work is not that we are happy with the 30%
salary increment we were given but we have put the strike on hold while we
await the outcome of the employer's appeal to the arbitration judgement that
is due to be heard early next month," said Madziwa.

He said if the Labour Appeal Court accepted the employer's appeal the
lecturers would go back on strike.

"Whether we stay at work or continue with the strike is dependent on whether
the labour court allows or turns down the employer's appeal," Madziwa said.

If the labour court throws out the appeal then it means that the government
would be forced to pay the lecturers the arbitration salary.

On other allowances awarded, Dube said these were insignificant.

"Housing allowances for the lowest paid non-academic worker were increased
from $7 000 to $51 000. If you look at that in terms of percentage it is an
increase of 630% which sounds like a huge figure," said Dube.

The associations were also awarded an increment of 70% in transport
allowances that would see lowest paid staff at the university get $155 000,
up from $89 000.

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Zim Independent

New farmers use child labour
Ndamu Sandu
PUPILS at Kuwadzana High School in Banket, Mashonaland West, are being
forced to provide supplementary labour to newly resettled farmers in the
area, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

Sources said since the beginning of the current school term in January,
pupils are allegedly forced to work at North Banket Farm owned by Crispen
Saidi and another farm reportedly owned by Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction
Centre (Zitac) chairman Wilson Nyabonda.

Saidi is Zanu PF councillor for Ward 22 in Zvimba.

"The school claims it is raising money to develop sport. Those who do not go
to work in the fields are forced to pay $20 000 a term," a source said.

Pupils who attend lessons in the afternoon work on the farms in the morning
while those who attend morning lessons work in the afternoon.

Child labour is prohibited by law in Zimbabwe though it is rampant on farms.
Parents who spoke to the Independent this week said they did not know how
much money the school had raised through the illegal use of their children.

An official at the school confirmed that the pupils were working on the

"The pupils are working on the farms and we are targeting to raise $2
million this term. Right now they are working on two farms," the official

Newly resettled farmers have been complaining about shortages of labourers
on the farms.

They say they do not have resources to employ workers on a full-time basis.

Before the inception of the farm invasions and fast-track land reform
programme in 2000, white commercial farmers used to employ over 350 000

Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere said he was not in a position to
immediately respond to the questions raised by the Independent.

"We will get in touch with our director in the region who will investigate
and give us the necessary feedback," he said.
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Zim Independent

Lawyers slam use of media to attack judiciary
Itai Dzamara
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has condemned the use of state
media as instruments to attack members of the judiciary who make rulings
that are unfavourable to government.

The internationally recognised human rights watchdog yesterday reacted
sharply to the re-arrest of Zanu PF businessman James Makamba by police
after he was granted bail by Harare magistrate Judith Tsamba on Wednesday.

Police arrested Makamba soon after Tsamba had ordered him released on bail
since he was first detained on February 9. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena
was quoted in yesterday's issue of the state-controlled Herald as suggesting
that Makamba was re-arrested because he had committed a First Schedule

"Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights is concerned at growing incidences of
police re-arresting suspects after the courts have ordered their release,"
said the ZLHR statement.

"The latest in those cases is that involving Mr James Makamba whose release
was ordered by magistrate Ms Tsamba on 17 March following a precedent of the
High Court in a matter with similar facts. Despite the court ordering his
release, Mr Makamba has remained in detention," ZLHR said.

"The other prominent case where the police disregarded a court order is that
involving Mr Phillip Chiyangwa where the executive defied Justice Bhunu's
order for the immediate release of Mr Chiyangwa," it said.

"Such blatant defiance and disregard of court orders undermines the
administration of justice and goes to the root of the independence of the
judiciary. In particular such conduct seriously erodes the public's
confidence in the courts and has grave consequences on the rule of law."

The Herald yesterday claimed that the ruling by Tsamba had sparked outrage
among lawyers and quoted "highly placed sources" saying "the ruling was
totally unacceptable".

ZLHR described the use of the state media to criticise the judiciary as
contemptuous and unwarranted.

"ZLHR is also gravely concerned at the continued use of the Herald and other
state-controlled public media as instruments to attack members of the
judiciary who in the course of their duties as judicial officers make
rulings that may not be favourable to certain quarters within the state,"
said the statement.

The Herald quoted a government source as saying: "The courts do not have the
capacity and will never have that capacity to say each one of the police
officers in the country must first obtain a warrant before they arrest

"ZLHR maintains its position that such comments are contemptuous,
unwarranted and calculated to bring the administration of justice into
disrepute," the rights watchdog said. "It is also part of a wider,
deliberate, systematic and sustained general attack on the judiciary to
manipulate it, reduce its independence and weaken national institutions of
protection that are vital for the restoration of law and democracy."

ZLHR urged government to observe international instruments to which it is a
signatory that "clearly spell out its obligations and responsibilities
towards ensuring that the judiciary remains free from political and other

These include the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the
Judiciary and the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

The ZLHR also cited section 70B of the Zimbabwe Constitution which states:
"In the exercise of judicial authority a member of the judiciary shall not
be subject to the direction and control of any person or authority."

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Zim Independent

ESC fails to stop violence in Zengeza by-election
Augustine Mukaro
THE Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) has failed to end Zanu PF's
crackdown on opposition supporters in the run-up to the Zengeza by-election
despite the signing of a multiparty agreement to stop violence.

The by-election is due on March 27/28. The seat fell vacant in 2002 after
MDC MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa went into exile in the United Kingdom and later
resigned, claiming that the ruling party was threatening his life.

Four candidates are vying for the post. Zanu PF is represented by longtime
cadre Christopher Chigumba, James Makore MDC, Tendai Chakanyuka Nagg, and
Gideon Chinogureyi Zanu Ndonga.

Speaking to the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Makore said the ESC had
failed to dismantle Zanu PF bases dotted across the constituency resulting
in continued harassment of opposition supporters and disruption of campaign

This was despite the signing of an agreement by all parties contesting the
seat to conduct themselves peacefully.

"Zanu PF youths are disrupting our rallies and campaign activities in the
presence of the police and ESC officials," Makore said.

"On Thursday the police, the ESC's Mr Mashereni, together with MDC
supporters attending a campaign rally in Unit D, were forced to scurry for
cover when Zanu PF youths started throwing stones. The rally had to be
called-off to avoid a clash," he said.

Makore said Zanu PF was involved in door-to-door harassment of opposition

"With the harassment currently going on there is no way we can talk of a
free and fair election," Makore said.

In a multiparty agreement signed by all the parties contesting the Zengeza
by-election last week, police promised to bring to book all perpetrators of

ESC spokesman Thomas Bvuma could not be reached for comment at the time of
going to press yesterday.

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Zim Independent

Govt warned against land grab
Munyaradzi Wasosa
GOVERNMENT was warned of the consequences of a chaotic land reform exercise
12 years ago but chose to implement its fast track land programme anyway in
2000, it emerged this week.

A letter in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent, written to the
Office of the President in February 1992 by Reverend Gary Strong, a retired
Methodist clergyman and former head of World Vision Zimbabwe, warned the
government against the enactment of the Land Acquisition Bill (1992), which
became law in the same year.

Strong advised the government that land reform had to be done in an
organised way and that government should let an "independent judiciary
remain the final arbiters of what is just and fair regarding the rights of
land ownership".

A copy of government's reply to Strong, dated March 5 1992, and signed by
the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda, dismissed his suggestions.

Strong outlined 18 points in which he predicted disaster if government
embarked on an unplanned land reform.

This took the form of farm invasions spearheaded by so-called war veterans
starting in February 2000 after government lost a constitutional referendum
that would have allowed it to seize land without having to pay compensation
to the owner.

Strong's letter cited Mozambique and Angola whose wholesale expulsion of
whites led to decades of economic woes. Zimbabwe faced the same fate if it
chose the way of chaos, Strong predicted.

A disorganised land reform, the letter warned, would lead to greedy
politicians grabbing land for themselves and owning many farms at the
expense of the landless black majority.

Strong's letter said the government wanted to implement the land reform
programme for populist reasons.

"I believe the Bill is designed to win the popularity of Zanu PF rather than
for the good of the nation," he said.

Strong argued in his letter that government needed a proper budget to
undertake such a big exercise. He also said farm workers would be adversely
affected by the land reform process.

Strong also warned of an ecological disaster if land reform was not properly
implemented and closely monitored. Recent resettlement has led to reports of
rampant poaching and deforestation.

However, Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema dismissed such
reports saying: "Reports that land reform has destroyed the environment are
not true. Clearing of the land was done in areas that had been lying fallow
for cultivation purposes. Animals were relocated to avoid poaching in areas
where people were resettled close to game reserves."
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Zim Independent

The murky enterprise of 'private armies'

Dumisani Muleya

LAST week's arrest of 67 suspected mercenaries hogged the international
limelight and brought under the spotlight issues about soldiers of fortune -
widely considered as one of Africa's major security threats.

Zimbabwe arrested the suspects allegedly on their way to Equatorial Guinea
to topple President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who himself came to power
through a coup.

Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi said one of the suspects, Simon Mann, was
in Zimbabwe with associates last month to buy arms to overthrow Obiang and
install Spanish-based rebel leader Severo Moto. Mann is an ex-Royal Scots
Guards   officer and troop commander with the elite British Special Air
Services (SAS). He also worked for the South African mercenaries firm,
Executive Outcomes (EO).

EO mercenaries have worked with British-based Sandline International Inc in
Africa, Asia and South America.

They were part of a complex web of private military companies and global
conglomerates linked to Western governments that scrambled for mineral
resources in developing countries.

In 1996 EO fighters were paid US$35,2 million for restoring Sierra Leone
president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah who was deposed by rebels the year before.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government was in 1997 entangled in the
Sierra Leone issue.

Writing in the London Telegraph, journalist Christopher Lockwood cited
documentary evidence which linked Sandline, under the leadership of
Falklands Island veteran Colonel Tim Spicer, to the shipment of 35 tonnes of
illegal war materials to Kabbah.

Spicer claimed he was encouraged by the British Foreign Office to carry out
this task. Defending mercenaries in the Sunday Times, Spicer said: "Local
armies can't always deal with conflict. So how can countries create a safe,
stable environment for peaceful existence and economic growth? Often they
can't and are left on their own with catastrophic results. That's where
private military companies come in."

Blair's government tried to cover itself by the "ends justifies the means"
rule of thumb. Kabbah's reinstatement was deemed the greater good than
qualms over Sandline's involvement.

But shortly after the Sierra Leone affair, Sandline was hired to do a job in
Papua New Guinea. The mission resulted in the capture of Spicer, who
according to reports, was nearly executed.

In the process, a payment row erupted between the Papua New Guinea
authorities and Sandline. Consequently, Sandline brought suit against the
government of New Guinea to recover payment. However, premier Bill Skate
indicated it would only be paid "when hell freezes over".

Blair and former Foreign secretary Robin Cook were rebuked in one of the
most scathing verdicts ever issued by a select committee of parliament.
Mann, together with Tony Buckingham, another prominent player in the private
army business, awarded Beben Barlow, the founder of EO, his first contract
in Angola.

Barlow was an intelligence operative with apartheid South African Defence
Forces' "Buffalo Soldiers" - 32 Battalion. In January 1993, after EO was
registered in Britain, Mann and Buckingham contracted EO to seize the town
of Soyo, the hub of Angola's large oil industry, from the rebel leader Jonas
Savimbi's Unita forces, erstwhile allies of the apartheid army and 32
Battalion in particular.

Led by Lafras Luitingh, a former 5 Reconnaissance Regiment officer, and like
Barlow, also an ex-Civil Cooperation Bureau operative, less than 100 EO
fighters seized the town in three months and handed it back to the Angolan
government. They got huge rewards, including a US$30 million mining

Mohadi said the arrested suspects collaborated with the United States'
Central Intelligence Agency, Britain's MI6 and the Spanish Special Services
in their mission. The US, Britain, and Spain have, however, dismissed the
allegations as false.

The suspects say they were on their way to protect a mining company in the

Whatever the truth of this plot many analysts say mercenaries have become
Africa's new security threat. Countless studies have been done on
mercenaries and most of them agree that "dogs of war" fuel conflicts mostly
in developing countries where they largely operate.

Mercenaries are outlawed under Article 47 of the Geneva Convention. In
December 1994 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 49/1150
urging all nations "to take the necessary steps and to exercise the utmost
vigilance against the menace posed by the activities of mercenaries".

Privatising war is a money-spinning business. Since 1994, US Pentagon
contracts signed with just 12 companies totalled more than US$300 billion,
according to records examined by the Centre for Public Integrity's
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Analysts say the US has about 20 "legitimate" private military companies.
According to the military monitor, Milnet, the mercenary sector is worth
about US$60 billion.Studies show that up until the late 19th century, almost
all wars were fought with mercenary armies but WWI changed all that. Once
war became industrialised and seriously large-scale, relying on relatively
small armies hired from countries far and wide was no longer practical, nor
was it politically acceptable given "patriotism" pleas by wartime leaders.

So it wasn't until relatively recent times that mercenary forces re-emerged.
Researchers say mercenaries largely originate from Britain, apartheid South
Africa and the US. EO, considered the father of contemporary mercenary
companies, originated in South Africa.

It was set up in 1993 by Buckingham and Mann, among others, but was then
disbanded in 1998. It was reformed as Lifeguard and more than likely as part
of Sandline International.

But its history goes back to the 1960s, when Colonel Bob Denard staged
mercenary battles in Africa for the highest bidder. Analysts say the Cold
War created and promoted the new brand of mercenary in much the same manner
as the US did the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Along with Denard, mercenaries that became well-known were Jacques Schramme
and  Mike Hoare. One study says Denard and Hoare were instrumental in
earning the wild-dog reputation of the mercenary in the 1960s - they razed
what they could not take, plundered what they could, and left post-colonial
Africa in tatters.

Hoare's 5 Commando was contracted to Moise Tshombe in the copper-rich
Katanga province of the former Belgian Congo where they brutalised the
people, it is said. Tshombe led the French and Belgian-sponsored Katanga
rebellion in a bid to break away from Patrice Lumumba's Congo.

In his last, and defining, mission in 1981, Hoare botched the attempt to
overthrow the Seychelles government. Former US president Ronald Reagan has
often been accused of having sanctioned and financed the use of mercenaries
(the so-called freedom fighters) against the Sandinista government of
Nicaragua, with the formation of the Contras that in turn had its roots in
the covert war against Cuba.

It is said the Contra war was financed in part with sales of cocaine. This
guns-for-drugs scandal led to the Iran-Contra affair in early 1980s.

The experiences of the Contra war set the scene for the proxy war waged by
the US against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan where various tribal factions
became the benefactors of millions of dollars of military hardware and
finally, when private contractors were engaged as go-betweens.

Researchers say the privatisation mania of the 1990s really set the ball
rolling, opening up the way for mercenaries, camouflaged as private military
companies (PMCs), to take over. In Saudi Arabia where the open presence of
US military forces was politically unacceptable, the contemporary phenomenon
of PMCs became familiar.

In Mercenaries and the Privatisation of Security in Africa, South African
Institute for Security Studies researchers, Jakkie Cilliers and Richard
Cornwell address the nexus between the twin processes of the privatisation
of the state in Africa, central to the structural adjustment agenda, and the
response to privatisation by many of the post-colonial African élite.

They argue that it is this nexus between these trends that currently
provides space for the expansion of private military activity in Africa. In
conclusion they say "whereas the debate was obsessed with mercenaries and
all the motive and ideological baggage that accompanied this term until
recently, much of the contemporary writing and thinking are moving away from
the unhelpful and often sterile attempts to judge actions as being mercenary
or not".
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Zim Independent


World Bank/IMF need to spell out their position

WHILE the visit to Zimbabwe this week by teams from the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund is ostensibly a routine consultation in
fulfilment of IMF Article IV terms, the significance is considerable given
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono's efforts to restore ties with the Bretton
Woods twins.

Zimbabwe's relations with the two bodies have been fraught since this
country embarked in 1998 on its expensive intervention in the DRC. Then
there was the economic meltdown caused by the disruption of commercial
farming after 2000. Zimbabwe has been unable to meet policy terms or repay
loans leading to a collapse of its credit rating.

Since 1999 there has been a recurrent shortage of foreign exchange in the
country. This can only in part be ascribed to the IMF's refusal to renew
balance-of-payments support. The major reason for the forex shortage has
been the sustained assault by government on the nation's means of earning
foreign exchange. The destruction of commercial agriculture has seen tobacco
production plunge  from 200 million kg in 2000 to 80 million kg last year.
That is the official figure. Tobacco processing companies say it is more
likely 64 million.

Meanwhile, tourism has dried up with the decline of law and order and
anti-Western rhetoric. People in European and North American source markets
do not want to visit a country whose leaders are hostile to them however
friendly its people.

While the World Bank and IMF teams will be looking at the numbers, they are
unlikely to be indifferent to the governance scenario upon which all else
hinges. Under the rubric of fighting corruption, the government has given
itself sweeping powers to arrest and detain individuals depriving them of
their constitutional right to appeal to the courts for bail.

Individuals released by the courts have been immediately rearrested.

Furthermore, members of the judiciary fulfilling their duties have been
attacked in the government media if their rulings do not suit the state's
political agenda.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, a legal umbrella group, yesterday drew
attention to these and other assaults on the judicial system.

It charged these were "part of a wider, deliberate, systematic and sustained
general attack on the judiciary to manipulate it, reduce its independence
and weaken national institutions of protection that are vital for the
restoration of law and democracy".

ZLHR urged government to observe international instruments to which it is a
signatory that "clearly spell out its obligations and responsibilities
towards ensuring that the judiciary remains free from political and other

These include the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the
Judiciary and the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

If the government is to persuade Zimbabweans and the international community
that its anti-corruption drive is anything more than a belated attempt to
whip up electoral support ahead of next year's poll, it needs to provide
assurances that it will not proceed by way of presidential fiat or tamper
with the independence and discretion of the judiciary.

Gono needs to be asked if he endorses detention without trial as part of his
crackdown on white-collar crime. The government has said it is acting in
accordance with his initiative. He also needs to set out his views on
government policy to turn its back on trade and investment with the West.

There are glaring inconsistencies here that need to be addressed.

However helpful the World Bank and IMF are inclined to be to Gono, there is
no prospect of any money being put on the table so long as the rule of law
in Zimbabwe remains hostage to those in power.

Gono himself understands this but his silence on the abuses currently taking
place is worrying. The Bretton Woods institutions are also likely to ask how
monetary policy can be steadied while fiscal policy is subject to populist

There is in the upper echelons of power in Zimbabwe the view that
anti-democratic policies can be pursued while Gono is left with the task of
restoring confidence abroad. That is not going to happen. International
responses to Zimbabwe will be based squarely on the government's record.

The sooner the World Bank and IMF spell that out the better.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Facts and fiction surrounding forex

THERE are presently many factors that preclude the recovery of the
Zimbabwean economy.

They include the decimated state of agriculture, the pronounced lack of
fiscal discipline and the non-alignment of fiscal and monetary policies.
Factors also include the devastating repercussions of prolonged
hyperinflation, the consequential loss of export market competitiveness, the
destructive mismanagement and economic sabotage inflicted by monopolistic
parastatals, and an immense brain drain depriving Zimbabwe of critical
skills. And among many other negative economic factors is the near total
absence of law and order, repercussing adversely upon the tourism industry
and many other economic sectors, and of very great impact, the near total
alienation of the international community in general, donors and
international monetary bodies in particular.

However, all of these economically distressing factors are accompanied by
one that is a major hindrance to eliminating those factors and placing the
economy upon a path to recovery and growth. That obstacle to restoring
economic wellbeing is the absolute inability of government to recognise
realities. Instead, because it is completely beyond the ability of the
government to admit to error and to acknowledge that it is the primary cause
of Zimbabwe's economic morass, it blinds itself to the realities of the
situation. Government myopically fails to recognise facts, and deludes
itself as to the real causes of the distresses of the economy. It is so
unreservedly convinced of its infallibility that it engages in self-hypnosis
to such an extent that it convinces itself that the real catalysts of the
depressed economy, which is daily becoming weaker and weaker, are the
Machiavellian actions of those that it perceives to be its enemies.

By now, government is unable to differentiate between facts and fiction.
Because the facts are unpalatable to it, government convinces itself that
the facts are naught but deliberate misinformation by its opponents, and
that the fictions which it steadfastly conjures up are the real facts, the
actualities of the prevailing economic situation.

That this is so is recurrently demonstrated by far-fetched statements by
ministers, deputy ministers and the hierarchy of the ruling party. Last week
was a case in point, when a minister informed delegates to the second
International Textile Conference in Bulawayo that the reason for the ongoing
scarcity of foreign exchange in Zimbabwe is almost exclusively due to the
evil actions and avarice of some Zimbabwean businessmen. The minister
claimed that billions of dollars have been unlawfully externalised from
Zimbabwe and accumulated abroad and that were that not the case, Zimbabwe
would have all the foreign exchange it requires. He alleged that if those
billions of dollars had not been criminally kept away from Zimbabwe, there
would be no need for foreign currency auctions, there would be no parallel
or black markets for forex, exchange rates would be stable, Zimbabwe would
be able to import all that it needs, inflated rates of exchange would not be
the stimuli of inflation, and all would be well in the economy.

To a very limited extent, the minister was undoubtedly correct. Undeniably,
there are Zimbabweans who have resorted to transfer pricing in order to
establish foreign currency resources outside the country. Inevitably,
because it is a characteristic of any country with intense exchange
controls, of any country where there is rampant inflation, and any country
in which the private sector fears the breakdown in security, there are some
who have flouted the exchange control regulations. Some have under-priced
their exports, issuing supplementary invoices through foreign subsidiaries
or other facades, thereby not repatriating to Zimbabwe the true and full
value of their exports.

In like manner, there can be no doubt that some importers have colluded with
foreign suppliers and agents for their imports to be overpriced, and
thereafter for the excesses over actual prices to be paid to designated,
nominee entities or persons situate beyond Zimbabwe's borders. Similarly,
some have disposed of Zimbabwean assets, including immovable properties,
vehicles and the like, to others in Zimbabwe, against payment in United
States dollars, British pounds, or South African rand, and have retained
those foreign currencies externally.

But the minister and his colleagues deceive themselves (and the populace)
when they suggest that had such externalised funds been repatriated to
Zimbabwe, there would be sufficient foreign exchange, and that Zimbabwe had
an unqualified entitlement to receive all those funds. Government fails to
recognise that, to a very major extent, the unlawfully externalised funds
have been applied to the funding of imports, the payment of legitimate
foreign commitments such as the settlement of export agents' commissions,
the servicing of foreign loans, dividends, royalties and similar
obligations. This has been particularly marked insofar as the servicing of
foreign currency commitments of the parastatals is concerned. Indirectly,
government has been the biggest trafficker in the parallel market!

That has been so because although some have used externalised funds for
investment outside Zimbabwe, many have used those funds to trade in the
parallel market, so as to obtain an enhanced exchange rate and thereby
maintain export viability and competitiveness. Thus, had those funds not
been unlawfully accumulated outside Zimbabwe, they would have been available
in the official money market to pay for the very same imports and other
legitimate foreign currency commitments. But the minister was unwilling to
accept that this was so. However, he could not explain how it has been
possible for many years that the aggregate value of goods imported into
Zimbabwe very considerably exceeded the total foreign currency payments from
official sources for imports. Moreover, in addition to that aggregate value,
many dividend remittances, business travel expenses, foreign marketing
costs, interest payments and loan repayments, have been funded through the
parallel market. Clearly, therefore, and although it cannot be condoned that
law be circumvented, much of the unlawfully externalised funds have been
applied to meet Zimbabwean import and other foreign currency obligations.
Therefore, even if those funds had been available within the money market,
the end result would be the same, being that all those funds would have been
used for the very same needs as those which they did service, and Zimbabwe
would still have a foreign currency shortage.

Government also overlooks that much of the foreign exchange accessed within
the parallel market by commerce, industry and other economic sectors to fund
ongoing operations, and also accessed by government itself through its
parastatals, has been foreign exchange which did not emanate from Zimbabwe,
and which Zimbabwe could not demand be sent to it. Such funds included
millions of United States dollars and other hard currencies earned by
Zimbabweans working in the Diaspora, pensions accruing from foreign
governments and pension funds, inheritances, and gifts. Zimbabwe has no
right to require such monies to be internalised, but some were prepared to
do so indirectly, through the parallel and black markets, thereby to some
extent diminishing demand and pressure on the official money market.

Although endeavours to contain unlawful transfer pricing and other illegal
externalisation of funds will make some additional foreign currency
available in legitimate channels, as will facilitation of inward remittances
by Zimbabweans abroad to support their destitute families at home, they will
not resolve the continuing crisis of inadequate foreign currency
availability. That can only be achieved by:

-Restoring the agricultural sector to the productivity of the past, by
restructuring agrarian reform to establish justice, security, continuity and

-Ensuring that exporters rapidly regain viability of operations, with
realism in exchange rates, alignment of monetary policies with market needs,
and constructive incentivisation;

-Creation of an economic enabling environment encompassing law and order,
democracy, an independent judiciary, rescission of draconian custodial
legislation which abuses the fundamentals of human rights, real containment
of corruption, stringent fiscal disciplines, and facilitation of investment;

-Reconciliation and collaboration with the international community;

-Deregulation of the economy, with a strong focus upon market forces.
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Zim Independent


Tomana's many laws of convenience

ZIMBABWE has an "array" of laws which it can invoke to deal with
mercenaries, you will be relieved to hear. That is according to Harare
lawyer Johannes Tomana who cited the Foreign Subversive Organisations Act as
one such law.

Tomana was responding to a story in the Standard, based on an interview with
acting Attorney-General Bharat Patel, which suggested the state would have
difficulty charging the alleged mercenaries arrested last week at Harare
airport with crimes they might have intended to commit in Equatorial Guinea.

There was no specific legislation to deal with mercenaries, the Standard
quoted Patel as saying.

The public can be forgiven for any confusion that may have arisen. Foreign
Affairs minister Stan Mudenge was shown on TV telling diplomats that those
arrested may face a capital charge. But the next day Home Affairs minister
Kembo Mohadi said it would more likely be contravention of immigration laws
or firearms control legislation.

But  even that would be problematic as the men did not disembark from their
plane voluntarily and the only weapons in contention were those they had
reportedly bought from ZDI!

Tomana did not confine himself to advertising the state's array of legal
weapons. He went on to hurl abuse at the Standard saying it was quite clear
from the newspaper's "tone" that it supported subversive activities that aim
to destabilise the African continent.

"You can tell that they sympathise with the mercenaries by the tone of the
story," he was quoted in Monday's Herald as saying. "They are celebrating
the point that the Attorney-General said there were no laws that deal with
mercenaries. How can you sympathise with mercenaries if you claim to be a
bona fide proponent of good governance? The tone of the paper really shows
on which side they are."

Tomana was evidently quite prepared to show which side he is on by
childishly claiming the Standard was part of an "imperialist agenda". He
accused independent newspapers and NGOs which champion human rights of being
"quiet" on the issue.

"The sympathy and how NGOs have remained mum on this critical issue shows
that these people are part of this coup plot."

Does it? Or does it simply reflect the scepticism of civil society over an
issue which has been exploited by the official media for all it is worth?
This is after all a country in which militia mercenaries have been allowed
to run rampant for four years!

Zimbabwe was acting in accordance with African Union provisions, we have
been told ad nauseam. But when it comes to detention without trial, freedom
of expression or electoral norms those provisions are quickly forgotten. And
it would seem that in the manner of the plane's seizure at Harare airport we
have another Ben-Menashe at work. This episode has all the hallmarks of
entrapment. After all, why should the alleged masterminds of the coup plot
appear at the airport to welcome the plane if not convinced of their
innocence and comfortable in the knowledge of a good working relationship
with Zimbabwe Defence Industries?

Will any company or businessman purchasing equipment from the state arms
manufacturer trust them after this?

 We note President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea thanked South
Africa and Angola for their help in heading off this alleged coup attempt.
But he made no mention of Zimbabwe's role. That is because Zimbabwe's
security authorities, who have been the recipients of rave reviews in the
official press, reportedly only acted on the basis of a tip-off from

What we can say in the government's favour is that despite Mudenge's
maladroit performance, which understandably failed to impress the diplomatic
community, the case has been handled reasonably professionally by Zimbabwean
officials. They have clearly learnt a few lessons from the handling of the
three Americans, detained and tortured in 1999 after their arrest at Harare
airport but in the end only charged with possession of weapons of war. On
that occasion every fool in the country stood on a soapbox to proclaim their
guilt ahead of their trial! And a much-touted "map of State House", which
Munyaradzi Huni managed to resurrect on Sunday, was in fact nothing of the
sort and was not even submitted as evidence in court.

This time around things have been handled differently, and not just because
Thabo Mbeki said he expected something better than the "jungle justice"
being bandied about in the South African press. But is it really sensible
for a "prominent lawyer" like Tomana to make pronouncements on a case before
it goes to trial, especially when, judging by Patel's remarks in the Herald
on Tuesday, the Harare attorney doesn't appear to have a very good grasp of
the Foreign Subversive Organisations Act?

It might also be asked why such a litigious lawyer should make such abusive
remarks about a newspaper simply because it published an opinion by the
acting Attorney-General that seems to have lacked the fist-waving that
certain individuals were hoping for.

 There were reports on Wednesday that in addition to immigration and
firearms laws the men might also be charged under Posa.

Now that would be interesting: the government proceeding against South
Africans, among others, by way of a law which President Mbeki has told the
world on several occasions he has received firm assurances will be revoked
because it is incompatible with democratic norms!

Although the Foreign Subversive Organisations Act only carries a penalty of
a maximum five years imprisonment, this was not a problem, lawyers claimed
in the Herald on Monday. The penalty could be reviewed in terms of the
Presidential Powers "to cover an area which the state may deem necessary in
the execution of justice".

So whatever the law may say it can be easily over-ridden by yet another
presidential decree! But lawyers who endorse this sort of arbitrary arrest
and prosecution of people regardless of constitutional provisions should
reflect for a moment on their own fate in the event of another regime
finding such tools too handy to sacrifice!

 In the light of official claims that Zimbabwe has been defending the
sovereignty of states such as Equatorial Guinea, this is what the London
Independent had to say this week about that country's leader:

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

Zimbabwean ministers must be careful not to give sovereignty a bad name!

 No sooner had the plane drama unfolded than we had Jonathan Moyo claiming
in the wake of the Panorama documentary that mercenaries operating in
Zimbabwe were not confined to those arrested at the airport. He said a
number of journalists had found the promise of "dirty American money" too
tempting and irresistible.

"Mercenaries of any kind, whether carrying the sword or the pen, must and
will be exposed," he said

Is this the same Jonathan Moyo who headed the American Ford Foundation's
research programme in Kenya? Was the Yankee dollar any cleaner then?

But Moyo's malevolence towards the non-captive media pales when placed
alongside that of his alter ego, Nathaniel Manheru. Last Saturday he was
inciting the authorities to "get" certain foreign correspondents and
editors. The prospect of them being incarcerated led to much gleeful

As we have pointed out before, the Herald's editor, Pikirayi Deketeke, told
a judge last year that he was responsible for the poisonous Manheru column.
But only a few weeks ago the same fall-guy was telling colleagues at the
launch of the Zimbabwe Editors Association to "promote the highest level of
professionalism, ethical standards and excellence".

Those levels are on display in all their glory every Saturday. We invite
gullible donors who the state-controlled Zimbabwe Editors Association is
trying to court to please look carefully at the Herald's hate-speech before
parting with their money. It will tell you all you need to know about who
you are dealing with!

 Minutes of the meeting of state editors held on January 31 reveal certain
contradictions. Deketeke told his colleagues that the first editors' forum
(we assume he meant the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum) "formed by only
four editors, was boycotted because it had political overtones and was
donor-driven". Boycotted by the state media, he meant. The independent media
supports it.

But the government editors admitted to being partly "donor-driven"
themselves. The Chronicle's Stephen Ndlovu, who was elected founding
chairman of the new state-run outfit, advised delegates that the venue, teas
and lunch had been donated courtesy of the Rainbow Tourism Group. He further
advised "donor funding would be accessed locally, regionally and
internationally once the association had been born".

There is no prize for guessing who fathered the child and where it will

The meeting had its lighter moments though. The Association of Freelance
Journalists, fronted by Joe Kwaramba and Mathias Guchutu, who gatecrashed
the meeting, were asked what papers they edited. There was no answer.
Kwaramba and Guchutu, known in the media fraternity more as career delegates
than writers, were unceremoniously bundled out amid pleas to sit through the
meeting as observers - or at least to have tea and cake. But their "hosts"
proved unyielding!

 Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu reckons "constructive criticism" is always welcome.
But he doesn't say who defines what is constructive and what is not.

Writing in an article headlined "Patriotism vital in face of destructive
forces" in the Sunday Mail, Ndlovu said: "Constructive criticism is always
welcome. Patriotism means love for one's nation and pride for being a
citizen of the nation."

What Ndlovu does not explain is why government is coming up with so many
laws to gag the press if criticism is "always welcome?" Nobody would bother
criticising government if they didn't have the welfare of the nation at
heart. And why would a government that is ready to accept criticism ban all
public gatherings except those that it sponsors?

While we don't want to begrudge Ndlovu and his colleagues their contribution
to the liberation of this country, we find it presumptuous that only they
have a genuine cause in fighting the colonial system. Over the years it
appears government has strayed from its duty to enhance the freedoms that
came with Independence. The laws that have been enacted are meant to justify
the status quo and breed a dangerous "patriotism" that allows leaders to
turn the nation into a personal fiefdom.

"Have you ever seen any British in Zimbabwe . denouncing (Tony) Blair?" asks
Ndlovu. "Have you ever seen Americans denouncing their president in a
foreign country ."?

Actually we have Dr Ndlovu. But not often for the simple reason that we don'
t have British or American economic refugees driven by destitution out of
their country. We don't have British or American asylum-seekers driven out
of their country just because their opinions differ from those of the ruling
party. It's that simple comrade!

Ndlovu ends his contribution with a worthy exhortation: "We need to
strengthen our nationhood by maintaining unity, development, peace, human
rights and mutual respect regardless of colour, race, ethnicity or political

Well said. They say charity begins at home!

 Muckraker was interested to read Anti-Corruption minister Didymus Mutasa's
appeal in the Sunday Mail to those who have "committed corruption" to
"expose themselves" and confess.

"We are calling upon those who have been engaging in corrupt activities to
come and tell us what they did. If they fail to come and do that, then we
will come after them, but I can tell the cases will be more serious," warned
Mutasa grimly.

Leaving aside the distasteful prospect of politicians and businessmen
exposing themselves in public, where are the people supposed to go for these
confessions? If they were to be done clandestinely they could breed even
more corruption, we fear. In any case we would suggest that to start the
ball rolling Zanu PF should resurrect its leadership code and get all
ministers and party functionaries to declare their wealth and tell the
nation how they came by it.

 The verdict is out on what the true political identity of the Daily Mirror
should be. An interview with Zanu PF's secretary for information Nathan
Shamuyarira in a story titled "Tsvangirai spits venom" was revealing. When
the paper sought a comment on claims that the opposition planned to boycott
next year's parliamentary election, Shamuyarira retorted: "Chinyorai
zvamapihwa neopposition party.Handiti mava kuita zveopposition mazuva ano?
(Write what the opposition has given you. Isn't it you (who) are dealing
with the opposition these days?"

Could Ibbo Mandaza explain any change of allegiance that may have escaped

Meanwhile, following an edict from Manheru last week, the state media has
been dutifully referring to the alleged mercenaries arrested at Harare
airport as "terrorists". Hence Tuesday's Herald headline: "Suspected
terrorists set to appear in court".

At least they conceded for court purposes the "suspected" bit. But as we all
know, the real terrorists run free.

The law can sometimes be very unfair. But none feel this more acutely than
police officers Cliff Mpariwa and Allet Nduna of the Vehicle Theft Squad.
Initially state media reported that the two officers were allegedly bribed
and allowed a gang of seven notorious robbers to escape from Southerton
police station on February 12.

Six members of the gang have since been recaptured and sentenced to prison
terms. On Tuesday the Herald reported that the police officers who had
helped the gang escape "have since been arrested on corruption charges. They
are accused of facilitating the gang's arrest."

The Herald, it would appear, is preoccupied with people being arrested, even
when they mean "escape".

Finally, the Daily Mirror tells us that clinics will soon get "Aids free
drugs". So what have they been handing out up until now?

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Zim Independent

Zesa loses tariff case in Bulawayo
Staff Writer
THE Association for Business in Zimbabwe (Abuz) this week won an injunction
in the Bulawayo High Court against the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(Zesa) on the recent tariff increases imposed on customers.

Formed recently, Abuz on Monday successfully sued on behalf of several
businesses in Bulawayo against the hikes.

The association was granted an injunction stating that the recent massive
Zesa tariff increases were null and void and the power authority was ordered
to reconnect supplies to consumers whose electricity had been disconnected
for non-payment of the new rates.

The association was formed by a number of concerned business people in
Bulawayo, who felt that they needed the services of an organisation of
like-minded individuals to represent them in these harrowing times.

An Abuz spokesman Larry Farren said the association intended to work with
government in an effort to improve the country's business climate.

He said they felt that business needed to speak frankly and with one voice
and not split into different sectors of manufacturing, engineering,
commercial, agricultural, among others, so that their shared concerns could
be heard.

Farren said Abuz would attempt to present a consensus of the concerns of
Zimbabwe's business sector.

The association's mission statement reads: "Abuz shall encourage, promote
and protect the sustainable growth and development of business in Zimbabwe,
and further enable free and fair practice of business by all."

The association seeks to expand into other provinces in Zimbabwe, and will
promote the development of business in Zimbabwe under internationally
accepted standards of ethical conduct throughout the business community.

Farren said the association would support sound environmental practices
compatible with sustainable development.

"It intends to play an active role in making Zimbabwe a better place in
which to live, work and do business and an attractive haven for investment
so that the bountiful resources of our nation can effectively be harnessed,"
Farren said. "The economy can then develop rapidly and jobs and a decent
lifestyle can be provided to our masses of unemployed people. It will
promote the re-acceptance of Zimbabwe into the international business and
financial community. It will defend the collective interests of its

He said it would seek to advise and help government, and to work with it in
promoting and protecting the interests of its members and of the nation.

Farren said the association would also among other things:

-promote, support or provide constructive criticism of new business

-promote harmonious relationships between employers and employees;

-act when required as arbitrator in any matters concerning business.

"Abuz is not aligned to any political organisation, will not support one
either overtly or covertly, and sees its role as being purely that of a
business association," Farren said. "Business enterprises are invited to
join Abuz and help it work for a more prosperous future for the nation."

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Zim Independent

Shipping agents see red over auction system
Ndamu Sandu
SHIPPING and forwarding agents are crying foul over the use of the forex
auction system which has seen a high rise in duties.

Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) chief
executive officer Joseph Musariri told businessdigest that since the system
was adopted by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) duty had shot up.

"Since the auction rate was introduced by Zimra duty has gone up. Before the
auction rate there were two rates applying for luxury and non-luxury goods,"
he said. "Goods deemed to be luxury used an exchange rate of $847 to the
United States dollar while non-luxury goods used a rate of $56,6 to US$1."

He said with the introduction of the auction rate, Zimra was now charging
duty based on that rate.

As a result, Musariri said, importers who had placed their orders before the
introduction of the auction rate were affected.

Musariri said SFAAZ held a meeting with the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development last week where the issue was discussed.

"I was not at that meeting but those present discussed the auction rate,"
said the SFAAZ boss.

The auction rate issue also cropped up when Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
governor Gideon Gono met accountants in Bulawayo three weeks ago.

Musariri said SFAAZ was in discussion with Zimra on the auction rate issue,
which has resulted in the rise in removal in bond and in transit duties.

Removal in bond duty caters for the movement of goods from the border to the
bonded warehouse inland while removal in transit duty covers the goods that
are passing through one country to another.

A clearing agent has to get cover from insurance companies and banks.

"A clearing agent pays annual premium and has to provide collateral to cover
for the bond," said Musariri.

Meanwhile freight forwarding and custom clearing company, Anlink (Pvt) Ltd
says it is opening an office in the Midlands early next month and another at
Forbes Border Post at the end of April.

Managing director Patrick Gwasera said the opening of an office at Forbes
was necessitated by the anticipation of more volumes of cargo coming through
that post.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo


MY thanks to Vincent and Joram for coping so well with the burden of
producing the newspaper during my two-week break in Cape Town. While I tried
hard to relax and simply get away from the madness back home, there was no
escape from the Zimbabwe story that yelled out at me from the newspapers,
television, and Internet every day.

It was a story of a country in turmoil. Heading the reports were the
persistent human rights abuses by gangs such as the Green Bombers, the
detention without trial of businessmen and others accused of white-collar
crimes, and the arrest of over 67 "mercenaries" headed for Equatorial

"You must be crazy to go back to that," I was frequently told, not just by
friends but by just about anybody on hearing where I was from. They thought
it was the height of madness to return to a country which the vast majority
of South Africans of all backgrounds firmly believe is subject to tyranny.

President Mugabe's propaganda machine, for all its efforts and expense, has
failed dismally to make an impact on popular opinion down south. Ministers
such as Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma do at times try and help by adopting
sympathetic postures on issues such as the arrest of the passengers on the
727 at Harare airport.

But even then, both she and other officials are careful to preface their
remarks with "If it does prove to be the case." or "Going on what Zimbabwean
ministers tell us."

And President Thabo Mbeki was quick to emphasise the need for a fair trial.
Nobody, it seems, was impressed by Zimbabwe's claim that it was upholding
the African Union's principles on the protection of sovereign rights. Why
then doesn't it uphold the AU's Charter on Human and People's Rights, it was
logically asked in the South African media? And the role of Zimbabwe Defence
Industries was placed under the spotlight in many press reports.

Then there were the threats Jonathan Moyo made against foreign
correspondents, news agencies, and newspaper stringers which followed the
seizure of the 727 at Harare airport. While Zimbabwean officials were
claiming to have captured the moral high ground by preventing a coup attempt
in Equatorial Guinea, the impact was dissipated by the prospect of a new
press purge motivated by claims of US collaboration.

We have criticised South Africa's Deputy President Jacob Zuma in this
newspaper, especially after the hugging he did in Harare following the 2002
presidential poll outcome. But I have to thank him for telling the Cape Town
Press Club last month that South Africa's attitude to press freedom beyond
its borders was precisely that which guided its approach to press freedom
within South Africa itself - that it is one of the fundamental principles of

As for the Americans, their support for us has been almost entirely
rhetorical. The US ambassador was one of the few senior diplomats who didn't
call me when Vincent, Dumisani and I were released from jail in January.
(You may be surprised to hear that French ambassador Didier Ferrand, now
returned to Paris, was the first.)

Readers of the Mail & Guardian will know I occasionally contribute to that
paper. But sadly I am not paid for my efforts. It is what our joint owner
Trevor Ncube reminds me I am expected to do in support of an associated
paper. It seems the older you get the less you earn!

As a matter of interest and given the charges of mercenarism being bandied
about, how many wealthy journalists do you know? What sort of homes do they
own and what cars do they drive? Then ask the same question about ministers.
Will we ever be told how some, without a penny to their name in 1980, were
reputedly millionaires by the end of the decade? And that was when the
Zimbabwe dollar was almost at par with the greenback.

Moyo referred in his denunciation of "mercenaries of any kind, whether
carrying the sword or the pen", to former US Assistant Secretary of State
Walter Kansteiner who said last year that the Bush administration would work
with media houses and journalists in Zimbabwe to support democratic change.
This was proof, we are told, of the alliance between "dirty American money"
and the media.

This is of course entirely delusional. Kansteiner did indeed make the
statement. But I am unaware of any collaboration with Zimbabwean journalists
working in this country.

When I was in the United States last year as a guest of the State
Department, together with other editors from Africa, the most senior
official we met was the department's spokesman Richard Boucher. It was more
of a courtesy call than a working meeting because Boucher is not a
specialist on Africa. But that would have been an ideal opportunity for
Kansteiner to have advanced his agenda if that is what he intended to do.
Instead he attended to more pressing matters in West Africa.

It is undoubtedly true that some young Zimbabweans have moved to the US and
UK to work for radio stations and other media there. But those attacking
them so bitterly, even denying them the right to return home to see their
families, should not be surprised. What scope is there for their talents in
Zimbabwe's stifling media climate?

How many radio or TV stations have been licensed since the Supreme

Court ordered the liberation of the airwaves three years ago? How freely can
newspapers operate? And above all, how free are journalists to exercise
their right to freedom of expression without being arbitrarily detained on
the orders of a minister because he didn't like what they said about the

This is an indisputably oppressive situation and one cited as such by media
watchdogs around the world that compare Zimbabwe to Burma and Cuba.

The exodus of qualified journalists, a trend fuelled by the closure of the
Daily News, will undermine the watchdog role of the press ahead of next
year's general election. That is of course government's intention. Without a
plural media voters cannot make an informed choice - the basis for
democratic governance.

But in making life difficult - if not impossible - for journalists, it
cannot at the same time complain about its polecat reputation in the
international community and the refusal of lenders to respond to Gideon
Gono's pleas for assistance.

Repression has its price. In Zimbabwe's case that is further isolation.
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Zim Independent

Africans in US support land reform in Zim
By Dr JA Trimble
THERE are ordinary men and women of African descent born and living in
America that support the land reform policies of President Mugabe and the
Zanu PF government in Zimbabwe.

They have organised numerous demonstrations across the United States. One of
the earliest demonstrations was organised over two years ago.

Howard University students led a demonstration in central Washington DC to
show community support for the land reclamation policies of Zimbabwe.

The most recent mass action was organised in February at the headquarters of
the New York Times newspaper. That demonstration, organised by the December
12 Movement and the Coalition in Support of Zimbabwe took the New York Times
to task for the slanderous lies it published about Zimbabwe.

The ordinary black person in America, exposed to the facts, sees through the
racist attack on Zimbabwe's government and president launched by Britain and
its colonies - the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. This vicious
attack is played out in the capitalist controlled Western media and parroted
by southern African media such as the South Africa-based Sunday Times.
However, the conscious men and women of African descent in America are not
fooled by these lies. The same media - NY Times, Washington Post, Sunday
Times, etc have been lying about us and to us for years.

In the US, organisations that spent years supporting Zanu and Zapu during
the liberation struggle have revitalised their support for Zimbabwe. For the
past two years Ambassador Simbi Mubako has been the invited keynote speaker
at the African Liberation Day (Africa Day) celebration held in Washington DC
andorganised by the All-African People's Revolutionary Party (AAPRP).

This past year Zanu PF was the recipient of the prestigious Kwame Ture Black
Star of Labour Award and was recognised at African Liberation Day
celebrations organised by the AAPRP in Atlanta, Sacramento, Los Angeles,
Dallas, Washington DC, and Chicago in the US as well as African Liberation
Day celebrations in London, Accra and Bissau. Africans worldwide recognise
and salute the contributions of Zanu PF under the leadership of President

Other young organisations such as the Pan-African Liberation Organisation
(Palo) and the All-African People's Revolutionary Unification Party have
emerged to take on the task of organising support for the just cause of land
reclamation in Africa. Palo has been instrumental in organising speaking
engagements for representatives of Zimbabwe throughout the US and building a
coalition of organisations that support land reclamation in Africa. This
effort includes most major cities in the US - Washington DC, New York City,
Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

The largest independent organisation of blacks in the US, the Nation of
Islam, is clear and consistent in their support for Zimbabwe. The ordinary
African in America looks to the Nation of Islam newspaper, The Final Call,
for accurate information on Africa. We are not fooled by the racist lies of
the NY Times, Sunday Times and Washington Post.

So who are these so-called leaders of "Blacks in America" who signed on to
condemn Zimbabwe? Some are known to be lifelong employees/collaborators of
the US State Department. Others are armchair intellectuals with no
connection with the people. One or two may be naively swept up by the
anti-Zimbabwe media blitz. But it is clear these individuals do not
represent the interests or opinions of the ordinary man or woman of African
descent living in America.

We, Africans born and living in America, connect with the landless African
in Zimbabwe because we realise both of us were victimised by the same
tyrants. Years before Cecil Rhodes arrived in Zimbabwe in the name of the
British Empire, the British, along with other European empires, orchestrated
the theft of Africans to serve as slaves in the Americas. We are the
descendants of those stolen Africans. We may not remember our African
languages, our African names or the village of our ancestors, but we
certainly remember the criminal injustices of the slave trade and slavery
and realise Africa is still our home and we are still the children of

Today, in America we still experience the legacy of slavery - racism. A
brighter future for us lies in a strong Africa controlled by Africans! For
Africans to control Africa we must control the land and its resources.
Before Africa can become strong, first she must be able to feed her people.
Land reclamation and the promotion of indigenous African farmers is key to
developing a strong agricultural base in Africa.

We, Africans living in America, are willing and anxious to stand up and
support land reclamation in Zimbabwe. We see this as long overdue justice.
We see in this process hope for a better future in Africa and the world. It
is a bold move to correct the injustices, racism and economic imbalance
perpetuated by the European colonial process. We see beyond the surface of
today's struggle for land in Zimbabwe.

We see much deeper - the linkage among our struggles against injustice
worldwide. Today we reclaim farm land in Zimbabwe, tomorrow we reclaim our
gold mines throughout Africa and the following day we lay claim to the
reparations due to Africans worldwide.

-Dr JA Trimble is Associate Professor in the College of Engineering,
Architecture and Computer Sciences at Howard University in Washington DC. He
is currently on leave and is teaching in the Computer Science department at
the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo Zimbabwe. He
can be contacted at or jtrimble@

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      Talks for Zimbabwe foes 'closer'

      A delegation from Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party has held indirect
talks with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in South Africa.
      President Thabo Mbeki says there are real prospects of formal talks
soon between the political rivals after a nearly two-year stalemate.

      The leaders of South Africa and Nigeria have been pushing President
Mugabe to hold talks with the MDC.

      Last month the European Union renewed sanctions against Mr Mugabe.

      Both the Commonwealth and the EU see talks between Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party and the MDC as a way to end Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.

      The party representatives did not have a face-to-face meeting but key
officials of the African National Congress (ANC) acted as mediators.

      'Western plot'

      Mr Mugabe had earlier said he would not talk to the MDC while they
were being dictated to from abroad.

      But Mr Mbeki, while campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal, presented an upbeat
picture of the meeting saying the agenda was being formulated by both sides.

      He also defended his policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe.

      Analysts say representatives of the parties met in Pretoria three
weeks ago.

      More than half of Zimbabwe's population - six million people - needs
food aid and the economy is in a severe recession, with inflation running at
more than 600%.

      Mr Mugabe blames a western plot designed to remove him from power.

      The opposition and donors say the seizure of farms has caused major
disruption to the economy.

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President Calls for Closer Co-Operation With Indonesia

The Herald (Harare)

March 20, 2004
Posted to the web March 19, 2004


PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday called for the strengthening of relations between
Zimbabwe and Indonesia in the fields of trade, investment and agricultural

"We are ready to strengthen these relations for closer co-operation," he

The President said this while welcoming a 19member Indonesian business
delegation at Zimbabwe House. The delegation is in the country to pursue
possible partnerships with local business people.

"I want to welcome you against a background of the friendship that has
existed between us at government to government level," he said.

"We hope that we can also co-operate in agricultural production since we
have not reached a very high capacity in agriculture and we have the
manufacturing sector which relies on agriculture."

The President said Zimbabwe needed a lot of water during the dry season for
winter cropping and that was why there was an emphasis on building dams.

Zimbabwe and Indonesia could also strengthen cultural ties, President Mugabe

Indonesian Foreign minister Dr Hassan Wirajuda, who is leading the
delegation, later told journalists after the meeting that his government was
grateful following President Mugabe's visit to Indonesia in January this

"Now Zimbabwe is deliberately enhancing relations with the East drifting
away from the West," he said.

"Indonesia has to develop relations with Africa and we are now preparing for
the Asian-African meeting in Jarkata for the Bandung Conference," he said.

The minister said Zimbabwe and Indonesia had agreed to develop bi-literal
commissions and to strengthen closer cooperation in the field of trade.

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce Industry chairman, Mr Haryno Eddyarto,
also told journalists that the two countries had drafted an agreement in
which Indonesia would buy agricultural products from Zimbabwe directly while
Zimbabwe would in turn buy agricultural equipment from that country.

Indonesia, he said, had been buying Zimbabwean goods through third parties.

"We can also co-operate in the fields of pharmaceutical and construction and
we need to start something to get the ball rolling," Mr Eddyarto said.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cde Stan Mudenge, said Zimbabwe was working
tirelessly to open a mission in Jarkata and that he was excited with the
opportunities for co-operation that existed between the two countries.

He said the delegation would today tour some farms in the commercial farming
areas since it was interested in contracts for cotton farming.

During his visit to Indonesia early this year, President Mugabe invited
business people from that country to come and explore investment
opportunities in Zimbabwe.

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Mercenaries 'heavily tortured'
19/03/2004 22:49  - (SA)

Dakar - Amnesty International expressed concern on Friday for 14 accused
foreign mercenaries held for an alleged foiled coup plot in Equatorial
Guinea, saying at least one of the men may have been tortured to death.

The London-based rights group also expressed alarm for a leading opposition
activist held at the same prison as 14 accused of being mercenaries, and
believed to have been severely tortured.

Equatorial Guinea, a newly oil-rich nation accused of chronic rights abuses
under 25-year ruler Teodoro Obiang, has held the 14 men since their March 9
arrest in an alleged coup plot.

Zimbabwe, in southern Africa, had arrested 64 other alleged mercenaries two
days earlier, stopping what authorities claimed was their trip to Equatorial
Guinea to aid the overthrow of Obiang.

Most of those arrested were South African.

One of the men in custody in Equatorial Guinea, a German named Gerhard Eugen
Nershz, died in custody from what Equatorial Guinea said was malaria,
Amnesty International said.

Witnesses who saw Nershz in the hours before his death saw visible signs of
torture on his body, the rights group said.

Opposition activist Weja Chicampo has been held at the same prison since
March 4 and, like the other men, is reported to have been heavily tortured,
Amnesty International said.

'Should allow immediate access to them'

"The authorities should immediately end any acts of torture and
ill-treatment of the detainees and immediately allow unimpeded access to
them by lawyers, independent medical practitioners, family members and
consular officials," Amnesty International said in a statement.

Authorities allege that Spanish-based rebel leader Severo Moto offered the
suspects $1.8m and oil rights to overthrow the government in Equatorial
Guinea, a former Spanish colony.

The men say they were headed to eastern Congo to provide security at mining

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ANZ Staff Reject Retrenchment Package

Financial Gazette (Harare)

March 18, 2004
Posted to the web March 19, 2004


WORKERS at the closed Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) have turned
down a retrenchment package offered by the troubled publishing house, saying
the offer was "worse than peanuts".

The company, which last month announced it was retrenching more than
two-thirds of its over 250 workers after the employees demanded a pay rise
of more than 900 percent, told workers' representatives last week it was
only able to give them three months' notice pay and a severance package
equivalent to half-a-month's salary for every year served.

ANZ workers' committee chairman Columbus Mavhunga said the offer had been

"We rejected the offer because it is worse than peanuts," Mavhunga said.
"Our argument is that we are not accepting the retrenchment because there is
no basis for it. It is management that decided not to register and that is
not our problem."

ANZ, publisher of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, was shut down
by the government in September last year for operating illegally after the
company refused to register under the country's Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act.

"They did not even consider that. because of our Daily News background, it
will be difficult for most of us to be employed in any public media or
government departments because we are now considered enemies of the state,"
Mavhunga said.

ANZ human resources director Henry Mushunje confirmed that the company's
offer had been turn down, but insisted last Wednesday's meeting was only the
beginning of a long negotiating process.

"They (workers' representatives) expressed in no uncertain terms that they
were disappointed with what the company is offering," Mushunje said. "But
this is just the beginning of the negotiations . . . we will again be

ANZ started publishing in March 1999 and the longest serving employees have
worked for about five years. These would get a severance package of about
two-and-a-half's months' pay from what the company is offering.

Workers have been demanding minimum retrenchment packages of $50 million

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New Zimbabwe

Bank closures spark mass panic

By Agencies
THE collapse of two banks in Zimbabwe in the last week has spelled more bad
news for confidence in the troubled industry, economists have warned.

The country's second largest building society, Intermarket Building Society
(formerly Founders), was closed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on
Friday last week, with officials from the central bank saying they wanted to
protect depositors, preserve the assets of the group, and protect the
financial system.

This was followed by the closure of a commercial bank, Barbican Bank, four
days later, with RBZ officials saying they had moved in when it emerged that
the bank had liquidity problems after it allegedly externalised large
amounts of foreign currency.

"Depositors are fast losing confidence in the financial sector as a result
of the commotion taking place. With the closure of two banks, depositors are
bound to panic and withdraw all their savings, and this has the capacity to
cause cash shortages," said Witness Chinyama, group economist for Kingdom
Financial Holdings.

He added that the confusion in the banking sector was also being fuelled by
the fact that problems in the industry were being discussed openly in the

"The press seems to have contributed to the crisis in the banking sector
because the public is no longer sure what is happening in the sector, as
there are many reports which could confuse members of the public. As a
result of the confusion, depositors are likely to just come up with their
own interpretations and withdraw all their savings," Chinyama told IRIN.

John Robertson, an economic consultant, said he was concerned by the
possibility of a domino effect taking hold. "We could quite easily see many
more banks closing down because of the declining confidence in the banking
sector," he told IRIN.

According to Robertson, "The banks are now collapsing because they should
not have opened in the first place. A lot of people were given banking licen
ces to compete against international banks like Barclays Bank and Standard
Chartered, but they were very weak and could not survive in a climate where
the economy was shrinking."

Intermarket Building Society and Barbican Bank have been placed under
curatorship for six months, during which time all transactions will be

Tens of thousands of depositors receive their monthly salaries through the
building society, including teachers, soldiers and policemen. Protestors
besieged the institution this week demanding their salaries.

The curator for Intermarket Building Society, Ngoni Kudenga, said efforts
were underway to ensure that depositors would be able to access their pay.

"Salaries shall be processed as soon as we finish working out some details.
There might be delays but, ultimately, people will be able to get their
money," he was quoted as saying by the official newspaper, The Herald.

The executives of the two banks were reported to have skipped the country,
joining senior officials from the National Merchant Bank, who fled two weeks
ago after their bank was accused of externalising funds. Under Zimbabwe's
new anti-graft laws, suspects accused of externalising money can be detained
by police for 21 days without bail.

On 1 December, the new RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, began his official duties
with a mandate to end the crisis in the financial sector, which had been
suffering the effects of cash shortages, high inflation, a weak local
currency and under-capitalisation.

"The curtain is being drawn against the era for the proliferation of weak,
poorly managed financial institutions dependant on cheap and unlimited
central bank credit," Gono said when announcing his new monetary policy.

With the prospect of the collapse of several banks imminent, the RBZ stepped
in with an injection of funds, on condition that the rescued banks made
changes to their management, and the central bank was given better oversight
of their operations. IRIN

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