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

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Mercenaries assaulted
By our own Staff

ZIMBABWEAN soldiers are being accused of having seriously assaulted some of
the suspected 70 mercenaries who were captured at Harare International
Airport a fortnight ago amid unsubstantiated reports that some of them might
even have been tortured, The Standard has learnt.

Investigations by this newspaper revealed that the 69, plus Simon Mann who
was "arrested" after attempting to meet them at the airport, were taken to
police stations all over Mashonaland as part of State efforts to make them

Sources said they were assaulted after capture at the airport and when they
were taken from the airport but there is no evidence that they were tortured
at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

Their lawyers have complained that they were not allowed to see any of the
70 in private "to take full instructions".

According to an urgent chamber application filed by Harare lawyer Jonathan
Samkange, who is representing all the suspected 70 mercenaries, in the High
Court yesterday, it has not been possible - because of the presence of
Zimbabwean security and prison officers - to ascertain whether they were ill

"Throughout this period, either I or my colleagues have not been able to
consult with any of the applicants in private and without the presence of
the authorities," says the affidavit from Samkange.

It continues: "The result is that not one of the applicants has been in a
position to confide in us with regards to possible ill treatment."

Samkange, who is being instructed by two South African lawyers Advocate
Joubert and Arwin Griebenow, was late yesterday frantically trying to stop
moves by the State to have the suspected mercenaries appear for initial
remand at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, arguing that justice would be better
served if they were tried in an open court.

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that Zimbabwe now wants to charge the 70 of
conspiring to murder Equatorial Guinea strongman Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo, among a host of other possible charges that are being cobbled up by
the Attorney General's Office.

The State wants the 70 to be charged, among many other charges, with
breaching two United Nations' Resolutions against terrorism in what their
lawyers say is a clear sign of the desperation to find a charge that will

The suspected mercenaries are now facing six charges under the Public Order
and Security Act (Posa), Immigration Act, Illegal Acquisition of Fire Arms,
Foreign Subversive Organisation Act and possession of dangerous weapons.

They are now being charged of conspiring to murder the President of
Equatorial Guinea as well as contravening the United Nations' Resolution
1373 (2001) and 1456 of 2003.

The two resolutions bind parties to take urgent action to prevent and
suppress all active and passive support to terrorism and any acts of

Samkange of Byron Venturas and Partners, who is representing the alleged
coup plotters who have so far spent 13 days in custody, said the new charges
were a clear sign of desperation by the State.

"It is not a criminal offence to breach a UN resolution unless it is
ratified by our Parliament," said Samkange.

"I don't even want to know what the resolutions say . I don't need to read
them. The State is desperate. It is being mislead by some 'law experts' who
want to get the post of Attorney General," he said.

Samkange said the charges against his clients were a form of harassment but
warned that the State was going to be embarrassed in court.

As from tomorrow, the continued detention of the suspected mercenaries would
become illegal as Zimbabwe's Immigration Act allows suspects to be held for
a maximum of 14 days.

"Its no longer possible for them to be brought to court today (Saturday)
which means by Monday their detention would be illegal," said Samkange,.

Yesterday the acting Attorney General Barat Patel said he did not know when
the suspected mercenaries would be brought to court.

"The defence do not want their clients to be tried at Chikurubi, so I don't
know when they will appear in court," said Patel.
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Zim Standard

Bankers now call for an amnesty
By Rangarirai Mberi

ZIMBABWEAN bankers, stunned cold by the closure of two banks within four
days, are calling for an "amnesty" period from central bank Governor Gideon
Gono. Senior bank executives last week began raising white flags to the
Governor, proposing that he temporarily let up on his campaign to shut down
illiquid banks.

"I think lessons have been learnt. It's now time for us - all of us - to
step back and say let us have a period in which to clean things up," a
leading bank executive said last week, requesting anonymity.

Kingdom Financial Holdings founder and deputy chairman Nigel Chanakira
confirmed to StandardBusiness on Wednesday that bankers were indeed seeking

"In the end, it's all up to Governor Gideon Gono to decide how to react to
these calls," Chanakira said.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced last Friday it had shut down three
subsidiaries of Intermarket Holdings, and on Monday, central bank officials
moved in on Barbican, closing the new commercial banking subsidiary and the
asset management arm of the bank.

The double hit pummeled the sector to perhaps its lowest point since the
crackdown began January, and banking officials now say they are seeking a
cool off period to help restore respectability and rebuild heavily depleted
public confidence in black banks.

"What we propose is that banks be given a time period in which they will be
required to make strict disclosures to the RBZ - assets, investments,
liquidity positions, everything," another bank executive said.

Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe president Washington Matsaira could not be
reached for comment.

Executives said they had been particularly shocked by Monday's action
against Barbican, saying it had been largely unexpected. StandardBusiness
however understands that the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange had as early as January
warned regulatory officials about the unsatisfactory business practices at
the bank.

Central bank says Barbican, led by Mthuli Ncube, was placed under
curatorship upon discovery of "critical under-capitalisation, poor corporate
governance practices and violations of Exchange Control Regulations".

Intermarket's closure put at risk the life savings of thousands of mostly
low-income depositors, adding a new chapter to a shake-up that had
previously seemed to exclusively affect big money.

Within a frantic three months, Gono's policies have seen management changes
at Trust - the country's largest bank by assets - Century and Intermarket,
the closure of the Intermarket divisions and Barbican. The RBZ has also shut
down ENG Capital's Century Discount House.

Wounded bankers now seek a ceasefire to begin the task of rebuilding
shattered public confidence in banks.

However, bankers' pleas for a moratorium are unlikely to get a favourable
ear from central bank, where Gono recently pruned his team to give it even
more speed against delinquent banks.

Gono, who recently assumed the role of licensing banks, has said Zimbabwe
was already over-banked, pledging to block all of the 25 fresh applications
for banking licenses currently with the registrar of banks.

Gono is said to be looking to cut the ranks of existing banks to around 12,
or even lower, which he believes would be easier to manage.
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Zim Standard

ZNA seals off local airports
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has deployed heavily armed
soldiers to seal off all domestic airports in the country for fear of a
possible attack from so-called mercenaries and terrorists.

Aviation sources revealed that soldiers are closely guarding airports at
Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Buffalo Range in Chiredzi, Kariba and
Bulawayo's Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.

"It is true that soldiers have been deployed here but they have nothing to
do with the travel of tourists. They are basically there to do their job of
securing the terminals.

"We, as the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) are also doing our
work without interfering with the soldiers," said an official at Hwange

In Kariba, another CAAZ employee, who asked for anonymity for fear of
victimisation, said there were soldiers at the terminal but pointed out that
they were just manning the area.

A soldier from Chiredzi's Buffalo Range Airport, who also requested
anonymity, said they were now more of them guarding the airport in the

"Remember this is the area in which the MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai used
when he escaped the road blocks while coming from South Africa, so we are
heavily armed and making routine checks."

He added: "After all we have a base at the Buffalo Range Airport, so there
is nothing sinister about soldiers being deployed in all domestic airports
when the country is under threat from terrorists."

ZNA spokesperson, Mbonisi Gatsheni, declined to comment on the matter saying
he was off duty before referring The Standard to a Lieutenant Colonel Ben
Ncube, who could not be reached on his mobile.
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Zim Standard

      Chombo spells out governors' role
      By our own Staff

      BULAWAYO - The Minister of Local Government, National Housing and
Public Works, Ignatius Chombo, last week visited Bulawayo MDC Executive
Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube in the company of the newly appointed Zanu PF
Bulawayo Province Governor Cain Mathema to outline the two's duties.

      Complicating the rare visit to the Bulawayo Large City Hall and
raising suspicion among residents, Chombo is reported to have brought with
him a group of war veterans and Zanu PF youths, whose presence did not go
down well with the MDC city fathers.

      "Basically, I did not understand why the minister chose to come with
war veterans and some Zanu PF youths at the gallery. I don't really
understand as to whether the war veterans wanted to instil fear in me or not
but overall minister Chombo's speech was not all bad," said Ndabeni-Ncube in
an interview with The Standard.

      According to Ndabeni-Ncube, Chombo was at pains to explain the
functions of the governor and the role of the mayor in one city with the
same boundaries.

      "Chombo said I should be responsible for administering civic affairs
while the Governor (Mathema) will be responsible for local government issues
as well as articulating Zanu PF government policies," said Ndabeni-Ncube.

      The mayor made his intentions clear when he said he would work with
Mathema if he does not encroach in his responsibilities.

      Meanwhile, the political appointment of Mathema as the new governor
for the Bulawayo province did not go down well with the opposition MDC who
condemned the move as aimed at silencing their mayor who was voted into
office by the majority.

      "Surely, how can Bulawayo and Harare have governors when we have the
mayors already. This is a very clear indication that Zanu PF is not
comfortable with the overwhelming support MDC is enjoying in the two big
cities and the whole of Matabeleland region.

      'Firstly, the appointment of governors in Bulawayo and Harare was
unconstitutional, as there is no provision whatsoever in the current
constitution that speaks about governors for the two cities,' said MDC
national executive official Eddie Cross.

      He added that the MDC would do away with the positions if it comes to

      "These two posts are just there to waste the taxpayers' [item ends
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Zim Standard

Zengeza candidates urge supporters to shun violence
By Valentine Maponga

DESPITE pledges by candidates in the Zengeza by election to rein in their
supporters, incidents of violence are still being recorded daily in the
volatile constituency amid accusations that police are being partisan.

This emerged yesterday at a multi-party liaison meeting convened by the
Electoral Supervisory Commission at Chitungwiza Community Hall yesterday.

The peaceful meeting at which the politicians gave each other chances to
speak as they tried to map the way forward, was in total contrast to what
has been reported on the ground where Zanu PF and MDC supporters have
allegedly been engaged in running battles.

All the candidates from different parties contesting, except for MDC's James
Makore, were present at the meeting where questions were raised pertaining
to the commitment of the leaders to a free and non-violent campaign for the
vacant constituency.

Bennie Tumbare Mutasa, the Member of Parliament for Seke, who represented
the MDC delegation, said people should not take such a meeting for granted.

"People should always know that there is life after politics. Only last
week, I actually read a flier written 'Beware of Commando' but we come here
and discuss that we should campaign peacefully. What commando is being
talked about? Are we in a war? We, as the leaders need to stand by what we
promise and say that in front of the people," said Mutasa.

He added that some careless statements from the leadership were fueling the

However, Zanu PF's Christopher Chigumba said there were some incidents where
he felt the MDC was provoking the violence.

"We are committed to peaceful elections but there are some statements from
the MDC that are very provocative and I feel that should be stopped if we
are to have no violence in this area. The blowing of whistles might also be
very provocative and something needs to be done about it" said Chigumba.

He added that there were some unruly elements in society such as thieves who
were taking advantage of the political environment to carry out their
nefarious activities.

"Thieves are taking advantage of the political environment to do their
criminal activities," he said calling for a heavy police presence next week
until after the elections.

The leaders are going to meet again on Tuesday for evaluations.
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Zim Standard

CIO gate crash ZUJ meeting
By Our own staff

MASVINGO - Overzealous State security agents on Friday attempted to disrupt
the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) meeting at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel
citing the union's lack of police clearance as required under the notorious
Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Four security officers, suspected to be from the dreaded CIO, threatened to
close down the three-day ZUJ workshop unless they were allowed access to
gather intelligence.The three - only identified as Makombe, Kunyoka and
Shambira - however abandoned their mission after establishing that the union
's meeting had no political connotations as they had presumed.

The meeting had been called to elect new office bearers into ZUJ. Foster
Dongozi was elected new ZUJ secretary general, defeating former acting
secretary general, Brian Mangwende of The Financial Gazette by a wide
margin. Standard arts editor Henry Makiwa was elected committee member.
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Zim Standard

Shocking bills as ZESA hikes tariffs by 400%
By Kumbirai Mafunda

MANY companies and households last month received shocking electricity bills
after the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), the country's sole
electricity supplier, hiked electricity tariffs by up to 400 percent.

ZESA did not communicate the electricity increases to consumers leaving many
households and firms in trouble because electricity was cut off from their
homes and premises for non-payment.

"We received scandalous bills from ZESA which amounted to about $1 million.
Moreover they came to disconnect our supplies despite the fact that they had
not warned us," said an outraged James Chikura, a resident of Chitungwiza.

Last month the cash-strapped ZESA said it had increased tariffs with
immediate effect. ZESA has in the past failed to pay its foreign creditors
owing to a crippling foreign currency shortage that has dogged the country
since 1999.

Some customers told The Standard that they were forced to pay the
electricity supplier huge reconnection fees after their premises were
disconnected for non-payment.

Tenants at One Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, where The Standard offices are located,
were some of those affected.

One Kwame Nkrumah Avenue Owners' Association Chairman Alen McCormick said
his association was stunned when it received February electricity bills that
amounted to a staggering $30 million.

The association's account for December stood at $800 000 before shooting up
to $5,2 million in January.

The January bill was $6 970 000 including an extra deposit charged by the
electricity supplier.

Then came the shock of it all: last month's account which shot up to $30
million included $15 million as extra deposit.

ZESA demanded that the $30 million payment be made immediately to have
electricity supplies restored to the office block and that the whole amount
should be paid the same day.

A snap survey by The Standard revealed that many residents received
shockingly high electricity bills from ZESA last month with some households
being asked to pay as much as $300 000 for a month's consumption of

"The bills are really outrageous and are definitely unjustified. It is
really taking the customers for granted because they did not even notify us
of the increases," one irate Kambuzuma resident said.
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Zim Standard

MDC names candidate for Lupane by election
By our own Staff

BULAWAYO - Njabuliso Mguni, a veteran Matabeleland North education officer
yesterday won the ticket to represent the opposition MDC in the forthcoming
Lupane by-election.

Mguni was declared the official candidate of the party after he beat six
contestants in a primary election held at Lupane Business Centre yesterday.

MDC district spokesperson for Lupane, David Nyathi said the party was
satisfied with the way the election was conducted and would lend its support
to Mguni who was Matabeleland North regional officer responsible for the
abused and disadvantaged children in the Ministry of Education, Sport and

Mguni, however, resigned from the ministry on Friday alleging victimisation
by Zanu PF and government agents.

"Now that we have an educated and a well accepted candidate in the Lupane
constituency, we will be launching our campaign full throttle soon so that
we retain the seat.

"MDC has a huge following in Lupane and we don't expect a tough challenge
from Zanu PF. We have already discovered the Zanu PF strategy of buying
votes using taxpayers' money but we don't feel threatened at all," said

Mguni told The Standard yesterday that he was determined to maintain MDC's
dominance in Lupane by winning the by-election intended to fill a position
left vacant following the death of David Mpala.
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Zim Standard

Mutare mayor accuses GMB, governor of blocking food aid
By Kumbirai Mafunda

MUTARE executive mayor Misheck Kagurabadza has accused the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) and the Manicaland Provincial Governor, Mike Nyambuya, of
blocking his bid to buy maize from the GMB to feed starving residents.

In an interview with The Standard last week, Kagurabadza - who was elected
on an opposition MDC ticket last year - said the GMB had instead opted to
give the maize to ruling party officials who use it as a campaign tool in
rural areas ahead of next year's general elections.

The mayor had tried to buy five tonnes of maize from the parastatal to feed
more than 1 000 starving families in the eastern border town.

"It is disturbing that the GMB finds it fit to deny innocent starving
residents maize but can take the grain to rural areas where it is being used
as a political campaign tool and is being distributed on party lines,"
charged Kagurabadza.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from GMB Mutare Depot Manager Dousy
Kajaridzire were fruitless. An official at the depot, who refused to be
named could only say: "Your questions are difficult to answer."

Nyambuya, a retired major general in the Zimbabwe National Army, denied the
allegations levelled against his office.

"I don't control the GMB. The normal government system is there where the
Department of Social Welfare is involved. We treat hupenyu hwevanhu with
sanctity," said Nyambuya.

But Kagurabadza maintained that the GMB and Nyambuya had frustrated council
efforts to help the needy in the city.

He said since December last year, the council had made four appeals to the
GMB to release the maize and had followed up these requests in writing last

Similar appeals have been made to Nyambuya to facilitate the sale of the
maize to the council but no response has been forthcoming, said Kagurabadza.

The Standard is in possession of the letters written by Kagurabadza to both
GMB and Nyambuya.

In one of the letters to the GMD dated February 5 2004, he wrote: "I write
to request for the purchase 955 - 5kg packets of mealie meal to be donated
to the elderly and orphans in Mutare by the Mutate Mayor's Christmas Cheer

Kagurabadza said it was sad that although the money was available, it could
not be used because GMB has chosen to be biased in distributing grain while
people starved.

"I have moved around the high-density areas and I am saddened by the level
of poverty among the residents," said Kagurabadza.

"Ironically, the governor is also supposed to look after the welfare of the
very same residents we are trying to feed. Nyambuya has said that he doesn't
want anyone in the town to die of hunger but his actions are contradicting
his own pledge. It is a sad scenario," he said.

GMB is the country's sole authorised grain dealer and the government has in
the past been accused of hijacking the parastatal's food reserves for the
benefit of Zanu PF cadres.

Attempts by the MDC and another civic group, Feed Zimbabwe Trust, to bring
in maize sourced from international donors were last year thwarted by the
government, which refused to grant the two organisations with grain import

The World Food Programme (WFP), an arm of the United Nations, has said at
least seven million Zimbabweans need urgent food assistance. In its recent
findings, the WFP - Zimbabwe's major food donor - said more people in urban
areas were now in need of food assistance as starvation begins to take its
toll in the towns.


Cross-border cattle rustling increases in Manicaland

By our own Staff

MUTARE - Cattle rustling is on the increase in Manicaland and villagers
living along the border with Mozambique say they are losing livestock to
thieves who sell them across the border where there is a ready market.

In Mozambique, cattle are sold in foreign currency, with a beast fetching as
much as US$500 (Z$2,1 million)

Police in Mutare last week confirmed that cattle rustling was on the
increase in Manicaland but could not give figures. The police said they had
intensified patrols along the border to arrest cattle rustlers.

Most of the cattle are being stolen from Chigodora area, southeast of
Mutare, and driven into Mozambique through illegal entry points. They are
then sold in Mozambique live or as cheap beef.

Annanias Jindwi of Chigodora Village said he lost four cattle last week to
cattle rustlers and has not recovered them.

"I woke up to find that my kraal was empty as the four beasts were my only
cattle that I use as drought power. I reported the matter to the police," he

Alfred Sithole of Vumba said he also lost two herd of cattle to thieves last
weekend and police had not yet recovered them.
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Zim Standard

Binga Campfire beneficiaries in trouble
By Wilson Dakwa

THE reduction in hunting operations in the drought-prone Binga district of
Matabeleland North has severely affected the livelihood of more than 200 000
villagers who rely mainly on proceeds from the local council's Campfire

Binga is one of the districts that were seriously affected by drought and
its entire population is receiving food handouts from non-governmental

No crops were harvested last year and there have been reports of people
dying of starvation while some have resorted to eating tree barks and roots
for survival.

The Member of Parliament for Binga, Joel Gabuza, told The Standard that the
tense political environment and the bad publicity, which Zimbabwe was
receiving regarding political violence, had seen the reduction in the number
of hunting and safari operations.

"Government must work towards improving the current political climate. No
safari operators would want to come to a country where there is political
violence and the absence of the rule of law," said Gabuza.

Most of the villagers in Binga relied heavily on the Campfire programme to
feed their families and send children to school. But since the reduction in
hunting operations, they were finding it difficult to survive.

Gabuza said funds - which the villagers were receiving from the Campfire
programme -were so low as to render them insignificant.

"In some cases, a ward of between 5 000 to 8 000 people receives a total of
$30 000. What can they buy with such an amount?"

He said there was need for the Binga Rural District Council to increase
dividends allocated to villagers.

"They also need to charge these hunters reasonable rates. It seems there is
a lot of chicanery going on where the council is charging very low rates
resulting in less revenue being generated," he said.

On the drought situation, Gabuza said although the district had received a
lot of rains this season, they had come too late for most areas to alleviate
the hunger situation.

"In some cases, there has been too much rains resulting in the damage to the
crops. A few areas would however manage to have a bumper harvest," said

He said more than 100 000 villagers would still need to be fed by NGOs
despite the rains.

One of the NGOs that was distributing food in the area - Save the Children
UK - was stopped by government from doing so last year after being accused
of campaigning for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change MDC in the
rural council elections. It has however resumed its food distribution


Nkayi Aids toll reaches 2000 in 9 months

By By our own Staff

NKAYI - The HIV/Aids pandemic has claimed over 2 000 people including
children under the age of five in the tiny Nkayi district of Matabeleland
North province in a period of less than nine months, a health worker said
this week.

In an interview with The Standard, Ginyihlupho HIV/AIDS Home-Based Care
Co-ordinator, Sithabile Ndlovu said at least 2 345 Aids-related deaths were
recorded between June last year and February 2004 in the district, which is
170 kms north of Bulawayo.

Ndlovu said presently the district has more than 7 500 children orphaned by
the disease, which is claiming at least 3 500 people a week in Zimbabwe, one
of the countries worst affected in the southern African region.

She said out of the 7 500 Aids orphans in the district about 3 500 of them
are at Nkayi Business Centre.

"Aids is threatening to wipe all the productive age groups in Nkayi
district. At least 526 other people are bed-ridden while 3 325 villagers are
battling for their lives with the disease. This is a very sad situation in a
small community like Nkayi," she said.

At the Nkayi Business Centre is Matebeleland North's biggest referral
hospital - Nkayi District Hospital - two secondary and primary schools as
well as several government offices.
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Zim Standard

'Shelter of Hope' helps reform Byo street kids
From Wilson Dakwa in Bulawayo

BULAWAYO - When 12-year-old James Savanhu fled from home, his father
Misheck, who resides in Bulawayo's high-density suburb of Mpopoma, was a
relieved man. The boy had been a problem child since he started crawling. He
had been expelled from primary school at an early age and had then teamed up
with other teenage ruffians to cause trouble in the townships.

When his father heard that James had fled to Harare, he made no effort to
look for him and said to himself: "Good riddance."

James however found life in the streets of Harare very tough and was three
years ago repatriated back to Bulawayo by the government's Department of
Social Welfare. His father refused to accept him back and James found
himself at a home for street kids in Bulawayo.

Here, over a period of three years, James was taught skills on how to become
a successful motor mechanic. On graduation, he was given his own tool kit
and left for his father's home where he once again expected to be chased

He says to his surprise, his father welcomed him with open arms and
immediately offered him employment as a mechanic at his garage in Mpopoma
while the father concentrated in managing the business.

Today, James and his father are operating a thriving garage and motor
maintenance business in Bulawayo's Western suburbs.

This is but one of the successful "reconciliation" stories achieved by
Bulawayo's home for street kids that is known here as Emthunzini weThemba
Home, which means "shelter of hope".

The home, run by veteran clergyman the Reverend David Ndoda, has been
offering skills' training and shelter to dozens of street kids during the
past 10 years.

Children are admitted at the home at an early age and are helped to attend
primary and secondary schools at local schools where their fees are paid for
by the home.

"When I arrived at Dadaya Mission way back, I was penniless but I had the
brains," says Ndoda.

"Through hard work and assistance from the Garfield Todd family, I managed
to educate myself while working at the same time. It is my wish to teach
these children to help themselves," the veteran clergyman told The Standard
at the home recently.

Among some of Ndoda's success stories is a former inmate who is now working
for a pottery firm and pays school fees for two other children at the home.

One of the former street kids is now a lecturer in motor mechanics in South
Africa, while another is working as an artist with the Bulawayo City
Council. There is also an inmate who has become a successful salesman in

Ndoda's achievements might appear small compared to that of other bigger
welfare organisations, but he has almost single-handedly succeeded in
keeping street kids out of Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo,
unlike in the capital Harare where thousands roam the streets everyday.

While Harare has a problem of street kids whom authorities try to remove and
send to rehabilitation centres daily, the city of Bulawayo has less than a
dozen destitute children roaming its streets, say authorities.

Ndoda said Emthunzini has - through the assistance of donors - now bought a
farm from the Bulawayo City Council where it will start an agricultural
project. "I tell the young boys and girls here that thieves steal your
furniture and all your belongings but they can never steal what has been
implanted in your head," says Ndoda.
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Zim Standard

Justice delayed is justice denied

JUSTICE delayed is justice denied, so goes this time-honoured wisdom.
Nothing currently illustrates this more eloquently than James Makamba's 40
days incarceration at the Harare's Remand Prison.

Numerous attempts to regain his freedom have all come to nothing. Last
Wednesday, he was released by a Harare magistrate only to be rearrested
after police obtained a warrant of arrest from another magistrate.

We must indeed ask whether there is any remedy when the police becomes
guilty of abusing its power like this. Whatever crime Makamba is facing, the
key point that needs to be made here is that he is not a convict and should
not be deprived of his fundamental right to liberty and dignity.

Why detain someone for such a long period for a crime for which he has not
been convicted. Have the powers-that-be lost sight of the presumption of
innocence before one is proven guilty?

Yes, Makamba might be facing 'serious' economic crimes involving fraud,
externalisation and dealing in foreign currency involving large sums of
money but, for heaven's sake, why deliberately deny him bail and in the
process give the impression that he is being persecuted for other reasons
best known to the authorities.

Invariably, people must begin to ask: Is there more to this whole Makamba
saga than meets the eye? Why has there been so much and concerted haranguing
of Makamba alone? Was he the only one dealing in foreign currency all these
years? Why him? Why now? Is there some kind of hidden agenda in all this?

People will always speculate - particularly when there is selective
application of the law and interference with the administration of justice.
Flames of speculation are further fuelled when the captive State media are
seen giving directions to the judiciary as to how it should deal with the

The only antidote to the perceived abuse of power by government is for the
authorities to respect the separation of powers, to respect the checks and
balances as enshrined in our constitution and for the police to implement
the decisions of the courts and not to break them. Only then can public
confidence in the judicial system be guaranteed.

The point must be made that we fought for the independence of Zimbabwe to
have laws that are consistent with an enlightened, open and democratic
system of government. We have clearly moved backwards. Denial of bail and
detention without trial were terrible features of the Rhodesian political
system. Many of the present leaders had the bitter experience of being
detained without trial.

Happily, due to the efforts of liberation movements they led, such obnoxious
laws were taken off the statutes. It is sad and deeply disturbing to see
them reappear in recent years rechristened Presidential Powers (Temporary
Measures) (Amendment of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act) Regulations
of 2004, Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa). How history repeats itself!

Monsters that we thought were dead and buried have been recreated - all for
political expedience. It is important to put on record what these latter-day
dictators are doing in their quest to survive politically - at any cost.

The question must be asked: Why did you struggle for national independence
in the first place? Just because you are the party that is currently in
power, it does not mean that you have the licence to abuse the courts to
keep people in prison.

It does not take a genius to know that the Presidential Powers (Temporary
Measures) (Amendment of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act) Regulations
of 2004 has no place in a civilised society. This law seriously dilutes our
freedoms and interferes with the liberty and rights of citizens which we
must jealously guard.

Experience has shown through history that power corrupts and absolute power
corrupts absolutely. That is why there are checks and balances. The courts
always balance conflicting claims. Judicial independence is of paramount
importance in this regard.

The key word is independence. No element or section in any civilised society
can have unrestrained licence. Just as the media must have journalistic
independence, so must the magistrates and judges have judicial independence.
This is the basic rule of thumb which we can only dilute at our own peril.

This effectively means that persons publicly accused must have the earliest
opportunity to defend themselves. It is not in the interest of the
government or the police to interfere with the courts like this.

Indeed, such bad laws are invariably double-edged. Today it is James Makamba
and Morgan Tsvangirai. Tomorrow it will be the architect himself - Patrick
Chinamasa and that destroyer of press freedom Jonathan Moyo.

We do not want to see that kind of situation because a Zimbabwean is a
Zimbabwean regardless of political affiliation. Political differences pale
into insignificance when it comes to the primacy and importance of being a
Zimbabwean. It is therefore very crucial to restore public confidence in our
judiciary for the benefit of each and every Zimbabwean.

As long as Zimbabweans of whatever colour or creed are persecuted with
malice, we take no solace from the so called rule of law that is daily
trumpeted by the Johnos and Chinamasas of this world.
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Zim Standard

Ducking, diving and diversionary pursuits
Overthetop By Brian Latham

THE government of a troubled central African nation has inexplicably decided
to tackle corruption. The move has caused widespread panic in government
circles. This is because corruption in the troubled central African basket
case is confined almost exclusively to. the government.

While some bankers and businessmen have also been caught in the net, Over
The Top can say confidently that most of them are ranking members of the
only just ruling Zany Party.

Still, the Zany most equal of all comrades has said that no one will escape
the hunt for corrupt troubled central Africans. No mention was made, though,
of where the money came to build a certain pagoda roofed mansion in the
troubled capital's northern suburbs.

This may be because some forms of corruption are more acceptable than
others - at least in the troubled central African banana republic.

Critics of the regime told OTT that Zany members with cabinet positions were
held to be "incorruptible."

"If you hold certain ranks in the Zany Party, your corruption is called
business acumen," said a sarcastic critic.

OTT's attention was drawn to the fact that while arrests had been made, only
junior Zany members and those on the periphery of the party seemed to have
enjoyed the hospitality of police cells.

Meanwhile, one arrestee complained, telling OTT that he was in fact a senior
member of the Zany Party. OTT compromised and agreed that he could be
described as one of the more senior junior members on account of owning more
shoes than Imelda Marcos and more suits than Harrods.

It was further agreed that his status might sink further in the rankings if
he doesn't get some of his luxury motor vehicles back from the police.

For their part, ordinary troubled central Africans have been wondering why
the most equal of all comrades has taken to arresting his friends.

The most obvious reason is that everyone else has already been arrested and
only his friends remain.

The other, more worrying reason, is that the most equal of all comrades is
trying to persuade his enemies in the IMF and World Bank that he runs a
tight and spotlessly clean ship.

This is because the most equal of all comrades hates the IMF but needs them
to help him out of the economic chaos he has created by giving all the farms
to members of the Zany Party.

By arresting his friends, the most equal of all comrades hopes to also
persuade his neighbours and other enemies that no one is immune from his
version of good governance.

No one, that is, except cabinet ministers and relatives with mansions in the
troubled capital's leafy northern suburbs.

A senior member of the IMF laughed when OTT asked him whether the
international banks were taking the most equal of all comrades seriously.

"No," he said, before hanging up the telephone.

Still, members of the amused opposition More Drink Coming Party said they
welcomed the move.

"At least members of the Zany Party now know what the inside of a police
cell looks like," said one man who cannot be named because he does not want
to ever see the inside of another troubled central African cell.

"They also know what the food, or lack of food, is like in there," said
another. "The only difference is that they don't seem to get beaten or
tortured like we do."

The latter point is said to concern the most equal of all comrades deeply
and steps are being taken to rectify the problem.
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Zim Standard

Gono's ideas doomed to fail while Mugabe is in office

One has to applaud Gideon Gono, the RBZ Governor for his attempts to bring
this country's finances back on an even keel and reduce inflation to 200%.
However, some of his ideas seem more than a little suspect to me. For
instance, let us look at a few examples:

·Having introduced killer rules in December for the proper regulation of the
banking industry, he relaxes them and sets up a Troubled Banks Fund to
ensure that poorly managed banks are not brought low by his initial action.
Didn't he know what to expect when he introduced the killer rules? Or has he
been pushed by his fellow Zanu PF colleagues with their fingers in the till
who have been hard hit by his actions?

·The foreign auction system, a very positive scheme as put forward by the
CFI but requires unlimited forex, which is not available here in order to
work satisfactorily. Similarly, it is patently obvious, despite all Gono's
protestations and those of Eric Bloch, that the upper and lower bid limits
and the weighted average auction rates are being shaped to move smoothly in
what appear to be predetermined directions. Free and fair? No more, I
believe, than the average election proceedings in Zimbabwe. And there will
never be adequate forex here until Robert Mugabe goes and the Western world
starts to pour in funds for Zimbabwe's reincarnation.

·More recently, Gono has appealed to Zimbabweans working in the diaspora to
remit their forex funds to boost his auction scheme. Doesn't he appreciate
that these people were forced out of the country by economic hardships here
(over 3 million, I read), that they hate Zanu PF and would not do anything
supportive of the ruling regime?

Yes, they'll return themselves, but only when this regime is no longer in

Again, I'm sorry to say, I am surprised to see Eric Bloch so utterly
supportive of an absolute non-starter of a scheme.

I congratulate Gono on his efforts to turn the economy round, but until
Mugabe's stranglehold on democracy here is removed, I see no chance of his
sometimes excellent efforts being successful.

NPR Silversides

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Zim Standard

Anti-corruption crusade a kingsize hoax
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakataama

LET us all now shout hip, hip, hurray! Our sovereign country has finally
embarked on a jihad against corruption. And this, after years of vehemently
denying that such a thing existed in our independent and sovereign State.

When Transparency International said we ranked high up in corruption in the
world, our erstwhile Zanu PF leaders were indignant and livid with anger.
They righteously said these were all lies fabricated by British Prime
Minister, Tony Blair, and decadent Western imperialist countries which were
set on demonising, destabilising and eventually recolonising our sovereign
and independent State.

When one dared to point out that our police force is now politicised and
corrupt, official spokespersons jumped to the defence. They insisted
Zimbabwe had the most professional and disciplined police force in Africa
which was indeed the envy of the whole world. Even the United Nations could
not do any international peace-keeping and policing without having to call
upon the ZRP, they claimed.

To our great surprise none other than the President himself turns around and
declares that corruption has reached unacceptable levels in Zimbabwe and
that he has personally embarked on a war path against this endemic evil.

Hear, hear!

One would have expected any professional police force to be constantly at
war with crimes of corruption thus making it unnecessary for a President to
personally declare war against corruption.

Of late much has been written and said about corruption by both the
independent and the not-so-independent media. In fact, my solicitous wife
specifically told me to write about something else because she felt enough
had been said about this rather unpleasant subject. She wanted me to write
something about hope, love, faith or some such inspiring and uplifting
subject. But then, I am me. I never feel a debate has been done enough
justice until yours truly has thrown in his half-cent worth. In fact, I feel
that every patriotic Zimbabwean should be making noise and demonstrating in
the streets against corruption until it is wiped off the face of our
beautiful country.

The sad truth is that all this presidential hullabaloo about fighting
corruption is nothing but a kingsize hoax believed only by the most naive
and gullible. My dictionary says that a hoax is "an act intended to deceive
or trick, either as a practical joke or as a serious fraud". Ours is
definitely not a practical joke but a serious fraud with damaging
consequences since it has seen some prominent citizens behind bars and
others fleeing the country in droves under rather unclear circumstances.

Our government is characterised by scape-goating and waging wars against
selected scape-goats to hide its dismal failures especially when elections
are in the offing. This is now part and parcel of their electioneering

When the government faced imminent defeat at the hands of the fledgling
Movement for Democratic Change, they quickly found a scape-goat. White
commercial farmers became convenient scape-goats, especially as they were
actively supporting the opposition MDC.

When the economy nose-dived because of huge unplanned and unbudgeted for
payments to war veterans and the ill-advised military adventure in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank were blamed. These institutions withdrew their financial support to the
country thus making our economic situation worse.

Some of the government's scape-goating antics were really hilarious. In
2001, the country found itself in the grip of fuel shortages triggered by
shortages of foreign currency and rampant corruption and thievery at the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM). Instead of facing and dealing
with the problem squarely, our Zanu PF government claimed that the crisis
was caused by the British who were hijacking Zimbabwe-bound oil tankers on
the high seas.

As the economic decline worsened we found another scape-goat; this time it
was the independent Daily News which was undermining the government. Its
printing presses were bombed. Its journalists were harassed by the police
and it was eventually banned through spurious laws.

In order to arrest the economic decline and runaway inflation all kinds of
unworkable solutions, including stringent price controls, were introduced.
This only made the situation worse for it created shortages of essential
commodities. Naturally, this also created a vibrant black market.

This time the scape-goat was the business sector. "The business sector is
sabotaging the country. They are forming cartels to hike prices," the
refrain went.

Many businesses were therefore harassed and had millions of dollars extorted
from them by semi-literate so called war-veterans as punishment. Others were
forced to sell to indigenous businessmen with important political
connections. Others just closed shop and gapped it to South Africa, Botswana
and other more sane countries.

When shortages persisted we became hysterical in our apportionment of blame.
We went as far as saying: "Its the Mozambicans and Zambians. They are
creating shortages by buying our goods and taking them to their countries."
Really, how daft can people get?

In the meantime foreign currency reserves in the country dried up largely
because of unrealistic exchange rates set by government and the destruction
of the exporting agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Naturally, a black
market emerged. It set the real value of our dollar. The banks were totally
sidelined and forced to participate in this real market with the full
knowledge of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

In late 2002 some concerned Zimbabweans started to castigate the government
and the Reserve Bank for their inaction against the illegal foreign currency
black market. Of course the only realistic way of destroying the black
market would have been by devaluing the dollar to realistic levels. This the
government was unwilling to do because it would have caused its external
debt to balloon to alarming levels.

On August 29 2002, The Financial Gazette reported on why the central bank
had not punished those banks for illegally trading in foreign currency on
the black market which had now been dignified by being referred to as the
"parallel market" even in official circles.

The report said: "Several banks in Zimbabwe are known to be buying and
selling foreign currency on the black market, but finance industry players
say the RBZ and the government dare not touch the affected banks because
some powerful politicians and government institutions have also benefited
from the illegal trade."

In other words, government itself was involved in corruption!

Up to now nothing substantive has been done about businessmen and banks
dealing in foreign currency on the black market. The economy has gotten
worse and elections are around the corner. After searching their rather
shallow minds, a ready scape-goat was found. Why not blame it all on
unscrupulous businessmen and banks which are illegally dealing in foreign

What is most unfortunate for some hapless chickens and goats in our society
is that if they are chosen as scapes (huku ne mbudzi dzekurasirirwa) they
are punished by banishment. They are taken into the bush and left to live
and die alone.

When white farmers became scape-goats they were beaten, tortured, raped and
chased away from their farms. The less fortunate were killed. The Daily News
is also still suffering as a convenient scape-goat. Some targeted bank
officials and businessmen were lucky to have been fore-warned. They are now
on the run.

Such luck was not with businesswoman Jane Mutasa and her son who were
prosecuted for dealing in foreign currency. Such luck was not with
businessman-cum-politician, James Makamba. He is now languishing behind bars
and being "feasted upon by mosquitoes". He is indeed a scape-goat carrying
the sins of millions of Zimbabweans who were forced to illegally deal in
foreign currency by stupid laws.

Those targeted as scape-goats are the weak and vulnerable. Some are targeted
to settle old personal, business and political scores. In Shona we say.
"Vari kufikiswa."

The whole fight against corruption is a big hoax to impress next year's
voters and the international donor community which we are now desperately
trying to woo back despite having told them to go to hell, not so long ago.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Zim church leader takes gospel to the West
By Charles Rukuni

HIS followers still pray under shed of trees, even in the metropolitan
cities of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital and Bulawayo, the second largest city.
The leaders sit on chairs or benches, if the tree is near the house of one
of the better-off followers.

But in most cases, men sit on stones while women sit on mats or rags. Some
men bring their own portable stools. Doctors, lawyers and managing
directors, with their latest four-by-fours (SUVs) parked close by, have to
kneel on the hard earth together with their poorer colleagues, all clad in
cheap, blue uniforms similar to those won by security guards, who rank among
the most poorly paid workers in Zimbabwe.

Yet Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi, leader of the largely black, independent, Zion
Christian Church (ZCC), has decided to take the gospel to the West. His
mission is to show the world how God has manifested himself in Africa. This
is a mission he says he has to fulfil.

It was his father, Samuel Mutendi's, death wish. "He told me on his deathbed
that I should go and spread the word of God to those countries which he had
not been able to visit."

This was a tall order because Nehemiah, then only 37, was not the eldest
son. He was the sixth in line. Though his brothers had known way back in the
1960s that Nehemiah was the anointed successor, there was a battle for
succession when Samuel Mutendi died in 1976. But Nehemiah won the vote.

The former schoolteacher has not rested since he took over the mantle. The
church has been expanding. It now has close to 300 000 followers in South
Africa, over 400 000 in Mozambique, close to 100 000 in Zambia and
Democratic Republic of Congo and about 50 000 in Botswana.

He is now taking the gospel to Britain and the United States. The number of
followers in Britain is still small. There are now five tabernacles with
about 100 followers. The core following is in London. In the United States,
there are only 10 to 20 followers in Boston. But last year, Bishop Mutendi
visited his followers in the United States twice and those in Britain three

With about one million followers in Zimbabwe, Bishop Mutendi thinks it is
time to spread the gospel outside the country. He has managed to transform
the church from one that was mainly associated with poor, uneducated blacks
to one that has managing directors of multi-national companies, medical
doctors and nurses, senior civil servants, bankers, business tycoons and
university graduates.

While one could count the number of cars belonging to church members during
his father's era, today it is almost impossible to do that. Some are driving
the latest Mercedes and Toyota 4-by-4s. The church even has a fleet of buses
of its own. But like his biblical counterpart, Bishop Mutendi is a builder.
He wants to build his church and expand its activities, especially to the

He says he has a clear vision. Besides spreading the gospel to the West, he
intends to use their strong currencies to develop the church in Zimbabwe. At
the moment, the church has fewer than five church buildings in the country,
but it already has nine full-fledged schools, four primary and five
secondary, two of them high schools.

"We have the gospel and the West has the money. So why not give them the
gospel and get their money to develop our church and our country?" he says.

His approach is simple. He is targeting Zimbabweans that have settled in
Britain and the US first. "Once we have converted them, they know what to
do," he says. "The gospel travels through the culture of the individual.
This is the reason why missionaries did not make such an impact in Zimbabwe.
They didn't want to go through our culture. They wanted to impose their
culture on the people here through the gospel. That is why independent black
churches sprang up"

Professor Inus Daneel who has written four books on black independent
churches in Zimbabwe supports this view. "At the heart of this whole
movement, directly or indirectly, will be found the sin of the white man
against the black. It is because of the failure of the white man to make the
church a home for a black man that the latter has been fain to have a Church
of his own."

Bishop Mutendi says after Zimbabweans, the next target are other Africans
because "our culture is more or less the same". He says black Zimbabweans
and other Africans who have stayed abroad for years, know the culture of the
societies in which they live. Once they have been converted, it will be
easier for them penetrate their own communities and convert locals.

But there is more to it. One of the major attractions of the Zion Christian
Church is the healing. The church specialises in exorcising evil spirits and
treating incurable diseases such as feats and mental illnesses.

"I know there are already some people in the United States who are
conducting healing sessions. But our sessions are different. We want to show
the West that the battle Samuel fought in this country (Zimbabwe) against
things like feats, evil spirits, mental illness, barrenness and other
inexplicable ailments can be fought in Europe and America, not on the pill,
not from the medical front but from the spiritual front, simply by praying
and using holy water and papers."

Under the ZCC, any ailments diagnosed by church prophets can be cured either
by using holy water, salt, coffee, tea or an injection- not the hospital
injection, but the church one that looks like an ordinary needle.

The few church followers in Britain and the US are already praying for the
sick including whites. Bishop Mutendi says this is not a new phenomenon. In
the 1960s, his father prayed for one Frenchwoman, Jacqueline, who was barren
and she gave birth to a baby girl who she named Chipo (Gift). He says
Jacqueline is still alive. He last saw her three years ago.

His biggest handicap, he says, is that at the moment he has not been able to
travel with his senior prophets, Abmereki Chikumbo and Nelson Manyanye
because the British and United States governments will not grant them visas.

Visa requirements for Zimbabweans travelling to the United Kingdom and
United States are very strict because of the exodus of skilled and
semi-skilled Zimbabweans to look for jobs.

Those applying for a visa to the UK, for example, are required to pay a
non-refundable visa fee of Z$280 800 (about US$80 at the current auction
rate, but US$350 at the official rate). They should have evidence that they
have the funds to pay for the trip and living expenses. The cheapest airfare
to London is Z$2.7 million (about US$776).

They should also produce tenants agreement or gas or water bills of where
they will be staying during their visit, as well as proof of employment in
Zimbabwe. They are also required to produce proof of assets owned in
Zimbabwe such as title deeds, car registration book, marriage certificate,
children's birth certificates and the immigration status of their sponsor in
the UK.

The requirements for the United States are more or less the same. But in the
case of the US, applicants are required to pay Z$420 000 (about US$120) just
to get an application form. If they have a business, they are required to
produce a profit and loss account for that business.

Bishop Mutendi says the church has the money to sponsor the two senior
church people, but officials insist that they present their own personal
bank accounts to show they have money.

"This is a simple, peasant prophet. Where is he going to get the money? "
Bishop Mutendi asks. "We are engaged in God's work. We are not generating
money to get rich. We are being discriminated against zvinototyisa (the kind
of discrimination we face is frightening) just because they do not know our

But Bishop Mutendi considers this a minor setback. It is nothing compared to
what his father went through. Samuel Mutendi was converted in 1913. Though
his church, the Zion Christian Church, was registered in South Africa in
1924 and he was given a written letter to preach in Southern Rhodesia
(Zimbabwe as it was known then), he was jailed on several occasions for
preaching the word of God simply because he was black.

But he never gave up. Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi believes the time for Zion to
show itself has come. "What the British and Americans are doing is simply
denying their people the gospel. We have something new to offer. People are
tired of the monotonous type of worship from the so-called established
churches. But more importantly, we want to show the West how God has
manifested himself in Africa and is talking to us in our own language,

Harare lawyer, Simplisius Chihambakwe, who is not a member of the church,
but is on its board of trustees, says the ZCC is currently at its strongest

Church songs are in the top 20 on commercial radio stations. The church
brass band won the top award for mass choral group at the National Arts
Music Awards for 2003. It had a cash prize of Z$2 million.

The biggest break, however, was the invitation of Bishop Mutendi to
officiate at the funeral of vice-President Simon Muzenda at the national
Heroes' Acre in Harare in September. This baffled everyone because Muzenda
was Catholic. David Nyama, a strong follower of the ZCC says: "The
man-of-God, (as Bishop Mutendi is popularly referred to) does not just pop
up anywhere. His presence at the funeral of Muzenda at the Heroe's acre is
loaded with meaning. People will live to tell that in the future."

But for now, Bishop Mutendi is focused on one thing. How to get his key
lieutenants into the UK and US. "If I can only get them there for a month or
so, I know this will be a major turning point."
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Zim Standard

Mugabe's sinister scheme for MDC

SIMON Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwe's envoy in South Africa recently said in
Jonannesburg that the Zimbabwe government is talking with MDC moderates.
What does that mean when the MDC says there are no talks at all taking

My simple logic tells me that talks will be kickstarted soon after the court
sends Morgan Tsvangirai to prison for the purported assassination plot
against President Mugabe. Mind you, anyone who has dared challenge Mugabe to
the Presidency in the past has ended up facing the same cooked-up
assassination allegations - remember that Joshua Nkomo and Ndabaningi
Sithole went through the same drill.

When Tsvangirai is in jail, the hawks will pounce on Gibson Sibanda and
Welshman Ncube as moderates and try to convince them into accepting his
leadership, also using the tribal weapon, eventually ending up agreeing to
join Zanu PF like Zapu - and that will be the end of MDC.

The settlement by June 4 as advised by South African President Thabo Mbeki
is actually based on these arrangements. The President's recent hardline
statements were a warning to Tsvangirai that there will be no talks with him
but other moderates, and Zanu PF are good at that.

Just watch out and see as right now, the presiding Judge is being directed
to ascertain Morgan's conviction despite the overwhelming evidence of
Israeli spy, Ari Ben Menashe, being out to make money from Zanu PF by
entrapping Tsvangirai and double dealing.

'Uzahamba Khupela'

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