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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Witch-hunt as Mugabe strikes back with new terror

Terror and torture follow condemnation of election

Andrew Meldrum in Kadoma, Zimbabwe
Sunday March 24, 2002
The Observer

Waves of violent retribution and repression are shuddering through Zimbabwe
in the aftermath of the discredited presidential election as Robert Mugabe
defies international pressure by entrenching himself for another six years
in power.
More than 10,000 Zimbabweans are on the run, hiding from the beatings,
torture and killings of suspected opposition supporters by Mugabe's forces,
according to human rights monitors and opposition officials.

James Nevana, 32, was a polling agent for the opposition party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) in the remote Gokwe East constituency. After
Mugabe was declared the winner on 13 March, Nevana was abducted by Mugabe's
youth militia and tortured at one of their 'Taliban camps'. His genitals
were repeatedly pierced by a bicycle spoke, rupturing one of his testicles,
and he was forced to drink a poison which is causing him terrible stomach
pains. He was admitted to hospital on Friday.

'He did not commit any crime, he was working for democracy', said Wallace
Humana, 26, the MDC chairman for Gokwe East who helped Nevana escape. 'Seven
people were killed in my constituency during the election period. Some were
tortured and died later, some died instantly. Nine have been abducted. In
those torture camps they do inhuman things.'

Humana bravely returned to Gokwe yesterday to try to get police to search
for the missing people, who were taken to the militia camps.

Furiously reacting to his suspension from the Commonwealth, Mugabe dashed
hopes of national reconciliation with the post-election violence, in which
five MDC members have been killed, and by formally charging MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai with treason for allegedly plotting his assassination.

In addition, violence has stepped up on white-owned farms. One farmer and
one security guard were killed last week, 50 farmers were illegally evicted
and the government seized 388 properties, including a huge estate owned by
the South African mining magnates, the Oppenheimer family. In Harare police
closed down weekly public discussions at the popular Book Cafe, using the
new draconian Public Order and Security Act.

'We are not at liberty in our own country,' said Newton Muparaganda, who
fled his home in the central city of Kwekwe. 'I should be able to support
the party of my choice. But I have been stoned, I have been beaten. I had to
leave my job and my family is in hiding. The international community should
do something to help us or many people will suffer and more will be killed.'
He is one of more than 80 people staying at a three-bedroom house in Kadoma
to escape continuing state-sponsored violence against anyone suspected of
supporting Tsvangirai and the MDC.

The offices of Amani Trust are flooded daily with people suffering from
post-election violence. 'It is a witch-hunt. We have a human rights crisis
on our hands and it is growing daily,' said Frances Lovemore of Amani, which
assists victims of violence. 'We estimate that 10,000 to 30,000 people have
fled their homes because of violence. They are refugees in their own
country. We need to create a place of safety for them. A tented village
under the flag of some international organisation might protect the place
from being attacked.'

Soldiers and youth militia were going from hut to hut in remote areas with
lists of people who served as MDC polling agents and other MDC officials,
said Lovemore. 'They are being hunted down across the country. Anyone
suspected of supporting the MDC, it is terrible.'

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Red Cross have
been approached about the desperate situation, but so far have declined

'We need international organisations and observers to come back', said
Evelyn Masaitian, an MP for the MDC, who was beaten by three soldiers.
'Maybe their presence will help to stop this post-election violence.'

Liah Makoni's bright red lipstick and makeup cannot disguise her swollen,
bruised face . She was beaten after the elections by the youth militia and
her Gokwe shops destroyed because she was identified as an MDC supporter.
'They told me to go to Tony Blair because they would kill me here in
Zimbabwe. I was lucky to escape. The police would not help me,' she said.

She is one of 80 people staying at the Kadoma house. The women sleep inside,
while the men take turns on watch and sleep on newspapers and long grass
outside. Like hunted prey, their eyes brim with fear. They rush forward to
blurt out stories of terror.

'It is frightening,' said Makoni. 'Even here at this house, we don't know
when they will attack us again. Please do not forget us.'

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Headman's charred remains discovered in Nkayi
Scotland on Sunday

Thousands flee Mugabe witchhunt


A PALL of fear and retribution has fallen over Zimbabwe as Robert Mugabe
shrugs off massive international condemnation to entrench himself for a
further six years.

In the aftermath of the election, the president has intensified a witchhunt
of perceived opposition. As Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change, was charged with treason last week, soldiers and youth
militia carried out a door-to-door purge of his supporters in rural areas.

In the past week five people have been murdered . More than 10,000 people
have fled into hiding. And on Friday the government announced the seizure of
388 new commercial farms .

Security guard Richard Amon watched a cavalcade of Mugabe supporters stream
through Harare . They carried a coffin with Tsvangiraiís name on it. He
shook his head in despair. "Another six years of this," he said. "We canít
even bear to think about it."

Those who dared opposed Mugabe now feel like prey. In Kadoma, 87 miles west
of Harare, 70 people are huddled outside a modest, four-bedroomed house.
Some have been away from home since October, others left after the election.
There is an air of desperation and fear. The women and children sleep in the
cramped rooms. The men sleep on newspapers in the long grass by the maize

"Our lives are in danger. They want to attack us here," said Felix Zifunzi,
32, whose house was burned down.

Liah Nyathi Makoni hides the bruises with thick make-up. Ten days ago a gang
of youths from Mugabeís Zanu-PF party stoned her pick-up truck, looted her
shop and beat her senseless.

"They told me leave Zimbabwe and go to Tony Blair," she said, sitting
outside the house. "Please remember us when you go. We are in big trouble."

Human rights group the Amani Trust estimates that of the 10,000 people on
the run across the country, some 1,250 are MDC supporters being sought by
the feared Central Intelligence Office. The rest are non-partisan farm
workers and independent election monitors.

"The government is devastated that 1.2 million people voted for the MDC.
They want to regain control," said Dr Frances Lovemore, the trustís medical

Those who reach the safehouse are the lucky ones. Polling agent James Nevana
is in a Harare hospital after militia members abducted him on the second day
of polling and pierced his testicles with a bicycle spoke.

The Amani Trust is trying to persuade the UN and the International Red Cross
to set up a safe zone, such as a tented camp under international
supervision, for internal refugees. "The numbers are just so huge," said

Things are equally bleak in Harare. Any hopes of pulling the economy out of
a nosedive have faded . Last year, more than 400 firms closed down and
10,000 jobs were lost as the economy contracted by 7.5%. This year it is
expected to shrink by 12%.

Food shortages are predicted to become a full-scale famine. The government
says it is going to import 1.5 million tonnes of maize but has no foreign
currency to pay for it. "The country is going to implode," said leading
economist Tony Hawkins. Since Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth
last week, Mugabe has been running out of allies. But he can still count on
one friend - Colonel Muhammar Gaddafi.

Last July the Libyan leader signed a $360m contract to supply Zimbabwe with
fuel. And he pledged over $1m into Mugabeís re-election fund.

Many Zimbabweans are mystified about where their president will find the
hard currency to pay for the fuel deal.

In the past year Libya has bought government shares in several government
companies, sparking speculation that Mugabe is swapping state assets against
fuel he cannot afford - putting a new gloss on his railings against

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Angus Shaw


HARARE, Zimbabwe - Officials announced plans yesterday to
import huge amounts of food to stave off starvation caused
by drought and the chaos resulting from the occupation of
white-owned farms by ruling party militants.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the government was
seeking 200,000 tons of corn, the staple food, from Kenya,
Brazil and Argentina. Over the next 18 months, the country
will need to import 1.5 million tons of corn, state radio

The fertile, southern African nation was once considered the
breadbasket of the region.

Now Zimbabweans wait in food lines with the hope of getting
bags of increasingly scarce corn meal. In November, the
government ordered 200,000 tons of corn valued at $25
million from neighboring South Africa.

The farm occupations, along with floods and droughts, have
decimated the country's harvest as its agriculture-based
economy collapsed.

Last year, Zimbabwe produced 1.54 million tons of corn, down
from 2.1 million tons in 2000.

Harvests of tobacco, the main cash crop, also are expected
to be down this year by as much as 30 percent.

Foreign loans, aid and investment have dried up. Mining has
been plagued by shortages of equipment and fuel. Tourism,
the third-largest hard-currency earner, has fallen by 80

Emergency food distribution by the World Food Program to
500,000 people facing starvation resumed Thursday in south
and western Zimbabwe, U.N. officials said.

The distribution was halted a week before the March 9-11
presidential elections so as not to "coincide with
political concerns," the WFP said.

Official election results showed President Robert Mugabe
winning 56 percent of the vote to 42 percent for opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The opposition and international observers have charged Mr.
Mugabe with stealing the election through intimidation and
outright fraud.

The main labor federation, meanwhile, conceded the failure
of its national strike to protest the election results.

The few businesses that observed the strike reopened
yesterday, which was to have been the last day of the
three-day protest, said Lovemore Matombo, head of the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

He said new security laws hindered strike organizers and
"heavy-handed" threats by the authorities, and bias
in the dominant state media stopped workers joining the

At a meeting next month, leaders of the federation will
consider possible further action to protest political
violence that took the lives of at least 150 persons - most
of them opposition supporters - since 2000.

Also yesterday, hundreds of white farmers and black farm
workers attended the funeral of Terry Ford, 51, who was shot
in the head in an execution-style killing Monday at his farm
west of the capital, Harare.

Mr. Ford was the 10th white farmer killed since the
often-violent farm occupations began two years ago.

This article was mailed from The Washington Times
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The Observer

Can we escape the colonial past?

The Commonwealth's effort to salvage its credibility on Zimbabwe last week
puts hopes of a new relationship between Africa and the west back on track.
But it won't secure the organisation's future without further reform

Sunder Katwala
Sunday March 24, 2002

The Commonwealth's credibility could not have survived a further fudge last
week. To have failed to suspend Zimbabwe would have been to claim that the
values of the Commonwealth's flagship Harare Declaration of 1991 -
"democracy, the rule of law and good governance" - need not, in practice,
cover the rights of the citizens of Harare to vote. The Commonwealth faces
the charge that it has dissolved an Empire without finding a role often
enough. It could have had few complaints if it had been mocked out of
Suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for a year has few practical
consequences. It comes too late to help Zimbabweans realise their democratic
aspirations. But symbols matter too. There is value in this expression of
international solidarity, and an insistence that universal principles need
to have the same meaning in Africa as elsewhere. The Commonwealth election
observation team also played a critical role by the simple but vital
expedient of reporting honestly what was happening in Zimbabwe - backing the
even more critical verdict of Zimbabwe's own independent election network,
in stark contrast to the "see no evil" approach taken by the South Africa
and SADC observer teams. The observers forced Commonwealth leaders, finally,
to act.

President Mugabe's great diplomatic success had been to divide and paralyse
the Commonwealth, splitting it largely along racial lines. The charge of
neo-colonialism has worked magnificently for Mugabe, wrong-footing African
leaders and disarming many in the west too. After all, the powerful must not
criticise the powerless. But while Zimbabwe's government portrays itself as
the plucky fender-off of the once-mighty British Empire, Mr Blair and Mr Str
aw can have been in little doubt about their impotence. The international
community's "smart sanctions" may have altered President Mugabe's future
London shopping plans; they had no impact on his political progress. The
real David versus Goliath clash took place within Zimbabwe, with no Biblical
fairytale ending. Instead Zimbabwe's democratic opposition fears that the
real crackdown is just beginning.

For the Commonwealth to do more than survive the crisis - for it to seek to
contribute once again to the larger agendas of development and
democratisation and a new relationship between north and south - will
require its developed and developing world members to show that they can
escape the post-colonial trap which keeps both sides enslaved by the past.

For African governments, post-colonial posturing has long been a form of
denial which helps evade responsibility. There is no shortage of African
commentators who make this point regularly. While it is widely agreed that
the Zimbabwe election has "divided Africa and the west", this is true only
at governmental level.The acquiescence of African governments to Mugabe's
strategy has been challenged by critical voices from civil society and the
media throughout Southern Africa. Yet many westerners fall into the trap -
accepting a new burden of post-imperial guilt which paralyses the west while
infantilising Africa. To deny the universality of our shared values does not
just scupper organisations like the Commonwealth. It is to adopt an
alternative form of liberal racism, which provides an alibi for
international inaction.

This is the liberal racism which rejects universalism and essentialises
difference. It is the racism which speaks of politically-mobilised killings
as incomprehensible "ancient hatreds", which unthinkingly speaks of "black
on black violence" in Africa's wars (yet never "white on white" violence in
Northern Ireland) in a tone which betrays the belief that such native
savagery is only to be expected. This is the liberal racism, too, which
believes that black Africa is not yet capable of self-government and that
the one-party rule of the strong men of liberation provides a more
appropriate "path to democracy". It has made too many in the west suckers
for the trap set by those who speak - always, it seems, from the State
House - of how they have constructed very different "Asian values" and
"African values" of which they are so confident that they need not to
consult their own people for confirmation.

Nigeria and South Africa rejected this agenda of racial polarisation by
moving to suspend Zimbabwe. This is, in one way, a watershed: African
leaders criticising their peers. But it was no "hearts and minds" decision:
it was more like pulling teeth. It was essential to save not just the
Commonwealth but the "Marshall Plan for Africa" - the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (Nepad) plan which Mbeki, Obasanjo and Blair believe
can mark a new era for Africa and the west But that plan depends on a
Commonwealth-like formula: the willingness of Africa's democrats, even when
in power, to back and police democracy: not because the west fetishises
democratic processes but because nobody within Africa or beyond believes
that development is possible without legitimate governments genuinely
interested in poverty, health and education.

The Zimbabwe crisis has shown how uncertain Africa's regional powers are
about how they can use their power on the foreign policy stage. This
inexperience is inevitable when the democratic South African state is less
than a decade old. The Commonwealth's African members feared that Zimbabwe
could implode on their borders, and hoped that putting stability ahead even
of democracy could help to contain the crisis. It was the wrong call, giving
President Mugabe a free rein to escalate the crisis. The cost has been high,
and not just in Zimbabwe: the Rand has lost 40 per cent of its value.

To avoid making the same mistakes in future crises wil require stronger
mechanisms of international cooperation. The clue as to how this can be
achieved cam be found by understanding how the Commonwealth was able,
belatedly, to act. What the Zimbabwe crisis has shown yet again is how the
official Commonwealth must always tread on diplomatic eggshells, and so
always acts too timidly and too late. Countries are suspended only following
a military coup or stolen election, even when these events have been widely
predicted. Watching the Commonwealth prepare to act on an international
crisis is like watching a car crash in slow motion: it will never check a
stable door while a horse remains inside.

But the Commonwealth prides itself on being more than an association of
governments, and also being about people-to-people links across its 54
nations. You will be lucky to hear a Secretary-General's speech which does
not refer to this "People's Commonwealth" and the potential resources it
offers for civil society cooperation and exchange. It was the Commonwealth's
independent election observers, drawn from these political and civil society
networks, who ensured that governments finally had to act, however much they
may have preferred to prevaricate and delay.

The route to earlier and more effective preventative action in international
crisis - which all governments say they want - is therefore to increase the
non-governmental inputs in the system. That would mean insulating the Harare
principles from the diplomatic game by appointing a credible and independent
Human Rights Commissioner who would engage with governments and
non-governmental groups, and report to the Secretary-General on issues of
concern before crises break. Like the election observer's report - or the
actions of independently-minded High Commissioners like Mary Robinson within
the UN system - this would create pressure for action. It would take courage
for Commonwealth members to take such a step, and a number might fear such
independent scrutiny. But without it, the Commonwealth's credibility is
likely to be tested, and found wanting, again.

∑ Sunder Katwala is internet editor of The Observer and co-author of
Reinventing the Commonwealth (The Foreign Policy Centre).

You can email the author at
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Zim Standard

Mudenge knows he is talking nonsense

Dr Stan Mudenge, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, has an extremely difficult
job, considering all the cleaning up he has to do after Mugabe.

But that's no excuse for him to talk nonsense. His response this week to
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth is a case in point. In an angry
response to the the decision by the Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe to
suspend the country from the Commonwealth for a year, based on the
Commonwealth Observer Group report on this month's presidential election,
Mudenge flatly stated that the Zimbabwe government rejected the report.

First, Mudenge complained about what he said was the faulty nature of the
report produced by the COG, then about the composition of the observer group
which he said was heavily influenced by the secretary-general, Don McKinnon,
and which comprised nationals of member countries who harboured well known
negative dispositions and hidden agendas against Zimbabwe.

This is the first time he has raised any such objection. To say that Nigeria
and South Africa-for those are the countries he can only be referring
to-harboured well known negative dispositions and hidden agendas against
Zimbabwe, while at the same time having asked those same countries to broker
compromises on the government's behalf, firstly with Britain, and then with
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is standing logic on its head. The
truth of the matter, of course, and the real reason for Mudenge's outrage,
is that the countries he and his colleagues had counted on to cover up for
the Mugabe government at the Commonwealth, found themselves without an
alternative but to concede before the international community that Mugabe's
was a hopeless case and that action needed to be taken. Mugabe has been
playing tricks with many people for a long time. He has been giving
assurances and pledges even to his African colleagues that he would restore
law and order in the country, only to make them look stupid by reneging on
those commitments even before their planes had left Zimbabwean airspace. And
many of his African colleagues bent over backwards to accomodate his
childish idiosyncrasies, until it became plainly obvious to them that the
man was just wasting their time.

Mudenge says the decision to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for 12
months undermined the credibility of the Commonwealth. We are of the opinion
that the Commonwealth's reputation would have been more in jeopardy had it
not taken action against a truant administration which over a good 36 months
has perfected the art of ducking and diving.

There was nothing extaordinary about the Commonwealth report on the fraud
that Mudenge and his colleagues have been trying to sell to the
international community as a free and fair election. The observations made
in the Commonwealth report were noted by several other credible observers
teams, among them the Sadc Parliamentary Forum, the African, Caribbean and
Pacific and European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly, and by
Hackman Owusu Agyemang, the Ghanian foreign minister who on Friday said his
government fully supported the suspension out of principle. Mudenge instead
seeks to point the world to approving reports made by obscure delegations
from countries such as Namibia, Malawi, the DRC, China, Russia, and Iran-all
of them shining examples of the principles of democracy and good governance.

As pointed out by independent observers, and by representatives of the
Zimbabwe government itself, the suspension means little in practical terms.
But at least one form of protest against Mugabe's election theft has been
registered by the civilised world, and, more importantly, a protest
supported by countries Mugabe thought would continously write off his
excesses. No action should be spared in bringing to book a power hungry
despot who will use all legal and illegal means to remain in power, long
past his sell-by date.

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Zim Standard

Amnesty urges UN intervention

By our own Staff

THE UNITED Nations has been urged to probe human rights violations by
President Mugabe's government.

Amnesty International, the powerful human rights watchdog, has called for
the inclusion of Zimbabwe on the agenda of the 58th session of the United
Nation Commission on Human Rights, which runs until 26 April in Geneva,
because of the human rights violations perpetrated by Mugabe' regime.

Zimbabwe joins the ranks of countries already labelled problematic-Colombia,
Indonesia, Israel, the Russian Federation, Chechnya and Saudi Arabia.

The human rights watchdog said human rights abuses by the Mugabe regime had
reached alarming levels and could only be stopped by UN intervention.

The group said human rights violations in Zimbabwe had been heightened by
the land invasions, inspired by Zanu PF supporters and war veterans.

"The human rights situation in Zimbabwe has not been scrutinised by the
commission, despite the continuing systematic violation of fundamental human
rights in that country. During the past year, Amnesty International has
become deeply concerned that there is not only a clear pattern of
state-condoned or facilitated arbitrary arrest, torture and intimidation,"
reads Amnesty International's report to the UN.

"Amnesty International believes that the deteriorating human rights
situation in Zimbabwe must be addressed by the Commission on Human Rights.
The systematic and widespread violations of human rights in Zimbabwe fit the
mandate of several thematic mechanisms of the commission."
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Zim Standard

Zanu PF baits Tsvangirai

By Farai Mutsaka

ZANU PF has decided to press on with spurious treason charges against MDC
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as part of its strategy aimed at pushing the
opposition party into a settlement which will give the Mugabe regime
international recognition, The Standard has learnt.

Notable organisations and countries which have rejected Mugabe's victory
include the Commonwealth, European Union, the United States, the Sadc
Parliamentary Forum and Ghana. The Commonwealth, which comprises mostly
former British colonies, last week suspended Zimbabwe for a year because of
its failure to conduct a transparent election.

Zanu PF sources told The Standard this week that if Tsvangirai agreed to
cooperate, the government was prepared to work out a compromise.

"Mugabe is desperate for legitimacy. He wants to be recognised by the
international community, but the problem is that Tsvangirai is wielding too
much influence. Tsvangirai has refused to cooperate so now they want to
force him into dialogue. Zanu PF knows it can get some sort of recognition
by engaging Tsvangirai in dialogue. The plan now is to put pressure on
Tsvangirai and corner him into agreeing to dialogue. His arrest was part of
that plan. Government is prepared to drop the charges if he agrees to work
with them," said the source.

Tsvangirai was arrested and formally charged with high treason for allegedly
plotting to assassinate Mugabe. The charge carries the death sentence. The
MDC leader is jointly charged with MDC secretary-general, Welshman Ncube and
shadow minister for agriculture, Renson Gasela.

Ncube confirmed his party was aware of government's machinations, but said
they would not be swayed.

"Of course we do understand that there is an attempt by the ruling party to
raise the stakes through the police, not just by arresting the leadership of
the MDC at all levels, but also by killing and harassing our people and
burning our houses. All this is intended at destroying the party and
applying the same pressure as was applied on Zapu which eventually
disappeared into Zanu PF.

"We are aware of such machinations but we are also cognizant of the
expectations of our supporters and we will not betray them. Even if the MDC
leadership was willing, our membership has told us that talking to Zanu PF
is out of the question. They don't want us to be in the same position that
Zapu was in 1987," said Ncube.

Over the past days, government has increased surveillance over Tsvangirai's
activities. He is now being trailed by hordes of spies. About eleven
intelligence spies trailed Tsvangirai the whole day in Bulawayo on Friday.

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Why Mugabe is seen as Africa's Achilles heel
The Times, London
March 24 2002 at 08:30AM
London - Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth may have salvaged a fig
leaf of dignity for the club of former British colonies, but it will do
little to halt the implosion of the country's economy or boost confidence in
ambitious plans to promote Africa's revival.

As President Robert Mugabe promised in his inaugural speech to press ahead
with land reform, while at the same time increasing public spending and
reviving mining, industry and tourism, a UN report on the options facing the
new administration predicted a 10 percent contraction in gross domestic
product over the next year.

With capital flows into Zimbabwe close to zero, Mugabe's brand of voodoo
economics will condemn the country's 13 million people to wholesale cutbacks
in government spending, ever smaller incomes, increased prices for basic
commodities and accelerating poverty.

Mugabe appears to think that Zimbabwe can go it alone. But with inflation
approaching 120 percent, unemployment nearing 70 percent and a gathering
famine across the countryside, regional analysts insist that it can be only
a matter of months before reality comes crashing down around him.

Mugabe's delusions about what can be achieved by Zimbabwe are not shared by
his African neighbours, especially President Thabo Mbeki.

As the principal architect of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad), Mbeki is calling on the developed world to invest about $50 billion
in the continent in exchange for a commitment by African leaders to uphold
democracy, the rule of law and the promotion of good governance.

Although Mbeki refrained from endorsing the result of the Zimbabwe poll and
participated in the Commonwealth decision that led to Harare's suspension,
he is keenly aware that the unseemly haste with which Africa's leaders
recognised and supported Mugabe's tainted election victory could sound the
death knell for his hopes of an African economic revival.

The crunch is expected to come in June, when leaders of the Group of Eight
(G8) industrialised nations meeting in Canada are presented with the Nepad

The document essentially proposes a contract between Africa and the
developed world in which African leaders promise to break with the past
track record of economic decline, mismanagement, corruption and
authoritarianism, in favour of a collective commitment to multiparty
democracy, respect for the rule of law, good governance and economic growth.

Western leaders have already indicated that they would regard Africa's
reaction to Mugabe's election victory as the litmus test for the new African
partnership. During the Commonwealth summit meeting in Coolum earlier this
month, British Prime Minister Tony Blair bluntly warned African leaders that
their failure to act against election violations in Zimbabwe would
jeopardise western economic support for the continent.

"If there is any sense in which African countries appear to be ambivalent
towards good governance, this is the one thing that will undermine the
confidence of the western world in helping them," Blair said.

Blair's warning provoked a furious response from African leaders, who
pointed out that Africa was a continent of 54 countries with 800 million
people, and that Blair was effectively sanctioning the "collective
punishment" of all Africans over what was happening in Zimbabwe. Some even
accused him of perpetuating western stereotypes that Africans were
"inherently incompetent and prone to violence and ungovernability".

But the decision by the South African Observer Mission, Pretoria's official
election adjudicator, to accept Mugabe's election victory as "legitimate"
will be seen in western capitals as precisely the kind of ambivalence that
Blair warned would lead to investors turning their backs on Africa.

Speaking at a UN development conference in Mexico, George Soros, the
international financier who now devotes his energies to promoting Third Worl
d development, warned that Africa's acceptance of Mugabe's victory had dealt
a severe blow to plans to promote the continent's recovery.

Africa's failure to condemn the means by which it was achieved "has cast
doubt on the ability of African states to create suitable conditions for
private investment", he added.

Lamenting the damage done to Africa's hopes of a western-backed economic
revival by the rogue regime in Harare, Max du Preez, the prominent South
African commentator, said: "Mugabe has done a lot more damage than destroy
democracy in his country and cast his people into chaos and poverty.

"He has cheapened and soiled the African cause at a time when we have
started dreaming of a rebirth of our continent's freedom, dignity and

The damage to Africa's credibility is now so great that the Financial Mail
has called on Mbeki to withdraw the Nepad document from the the agenda of
the G8 meeting until African leaders were prepared to uphold "its stance on
human rights and democracy". - The Times

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Zim Standard

Dollar to be devalued by April

By Paul Nyakazeya

THE Zimbabwe dollar is expected to be devalued soon by about 220% to enable
it to trade at 120 against the US dollar, sources in the ministry of finance
have told Standard Business.

The sources said the devaluation of the unit which has been artificially
pegged at 55 to the greenback and 78 against the pound sterling, could be
effected as early as next month.

The current exchange rate has prejudiced local firms, especially those in
the export business, as they are paid according to the controlled exchange
rate yet they acquire foreign currency at a much higher rate when importing
raw materials.

"There should be a decision by the end of next month on the issue of the
local currency. It is not a matter to be decided by one individual. It will
be put under the consideration of the whole cabinet. By then the government
should have adopted new economic policies which will see the country getting
back on its feet again," said the government source.

"The discussions will not focus on the issue of the currency only, but also
on the current economic situation. It is most likely that the local currency
will be trading at about 120 to the US dollar."

Respected economic consultant, John Robertson, told Standard Business that
although market sentiment pointed to an impending devaluation, the measure
was already long overdue.

Said Robertson: "Although there is a need for devaluation, the truth is that
it will not solve anything since Mugabe does not have credible friends who
can help him. The information I received is that devaluation will take place
in the next five weeks, just before tobacco auction floors open, since it is
the major foreign currency earner in the country. If they delay the
devaluation, farmers are likely to hold on to their crop."

Last week, Sagit Stockbrokers said Zimbabwe's economic recovery hinged on
the devaluation of the dollar.

Said Sagit: "One does not need to be a rocket scientist to see that our
dollar is overvalued. The government itself realises that there is need to
devalue as evidenced by concessions given to certain sectors of the economy.
The gold mining industry is now operating at an effective exchange rate of
100:1 to the green back, through the Gold Floor Price Support Scheme.

"While we welcome government's efforts to help ailing sectors, we believe
that devaluation should be effected right across the economy. We need to
court the international community to help us with balance of payments
support. Our view is that devaluation to 250:1 on the official rate will
minimise the parallel market."
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From The Sunday Times (SA), 24 March

Hunger crisis hits Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe urgently needs at least 83-million (about R900-million) to prevent the starvation of 600 000 citizens, according to the UN Development Programme. The programme's resident coordinator in Harare, Victor Angelo, said it was dealing with a "most urgent humanitarian situation". "There are 600 000 people in dire need. These are the lowest segment and need immediate assistance. But the amount of aid we need to provide may be much bigger once we get a better understanding of the dimensions of the crisis." The major causes of the crisis are a maize shortfall of one million tons as a result of the economic downturn in Zimbabwe and the worsening drought in many parts of the country. A series of emergency meetings involving the UNDP, World Food Programme, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Zimbabwean government and donors were held this week to discuss relief measures.

During Deputy President Jacob Zuma's courtesy call on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe last week, the Zimbabwe government appealed to South Africa to speed up the transportation of food and other emergency cargo across the border. Angelo said the cost-estimate included food aid and other requirements, such as basic medicines and nutritional supplements for pregnant women and small children. "We need funding to provide aid at least until the end of April 2003," said Angelo. Sanctions imposed by the EU, the US and Switzerland did not affect humanitarian assistance, Angelo said, and aid agencies were hopeful that funding would be forthcoming from traditional donors. The targeted sanctions are mainly in the form of travel bans and freezing of assets. The head of the World Food Programme in Zimbabwe, Pierre Saillez, said out of the 60-million his agency required to provide food aid, it had received about 20-million, mainly from the US and Britain.

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From The Zimbabwe Standard, 24 March

Businessman pleads with US for exclusion

A dramatic exchange took place this week between a prominent and well-known Zimbabwe business magnate and a top United States government official over the businessman's pending inclusion on the list of individuals targetted for US sanctions, The Standard has established. According to impeccable sources, the businessman, who had gotten wind of his pending inclusion on an expanded list of targetted individuals, who already include President Robert Mugabe and 20 of his top lieutenants, telephoned US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Walter Kansteiner in Washington, demanding to know why he was being included on the list when he was "just an ordinary businessman who has nothing to do with politics."

The businessman is known to have very intricate links with Zanu PF and with top government officials, including with President Mugabe. He is said to have spoken at length about his businesses, severely playing down his association with the ruling party and with the government, and portraying himself as being associated with a political administration he had little to do with. The US is now targetting not only Zimbabwe state officials and their families, but also individuals who are known to have benefitted from a corrupt administration which has abandoned the rule of law, perpetrated human rights abuses, and one which stole the recent presidential election. However, the businessman is said to have been taken aback when Kansteiner is said to have stopped short of calling him an unashamed liar.

Kansteiner one-by-one went through a number of deals that the businessman was involved in with or on behalf of Zanu PF and the government, including arms sales. Said one top source: "He (named businessman) was really taken apart. He was shocked because he never expected Kansteiner to have that information about him. He was trying to lobby to get himself off the list, but he did not realise how serious and thorough the Americans have been about this whole thing. I have not myself seen the list of individuals to be targetted, but I understand it is quite frightening." Repeated efforts to speak to the businessman failed this week.

Last week, The Standard reported that the United States government was vigorously pursuing links between top Zanu PF officials involved in illegal diamond trading in the DRC, amid reports that some of the individuals concerned have been found to have links to the Al Queda and Hizbollah terrorist organisations. It was reported that a number of Zimbabwean businessmen, and at least one woman, were under intense investigation, as is one commercial bank suspected of having been used as a front to finance the diamond trading. Zimbabwe is under increasing international pressure due to the excesses of President Mugabe's brutal regime, together with the fraudulent manipulation of this month's presidential election. Switzerland has become the latest country to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe's leaders, including a freeze on all financial assets - a move first reported in The Standard two weeks ago, but which was denied then by the Swiss Embassy in Harare, only to be confirmed in an official statement by the Swiss government on Wednesday.

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Now that the excitement of the election is over, has the world forgotten us?
They seem to be falling over themselves to give aid to Zim. That is playing
right into Mr. Mu Gabe's hands, because then he does not have the
of getting the country out of the dwang into which he landed us.
As you know, the terrorism has escalated, and the international community
to be doing nothing. We are too small to help ourselves without assistance,
of course, the opposition is unarmed, so just has to bow down to the horrors
that are being perpetrated.
We need:
a] a new election, run and monitored by the international community, and
b] a new water-tight constitution once a legimate government is in power.
How do we get this across to the world.
Sorry to sound so defeatist, but that is what we are all feeling.
Write to a politician .......................

President George W. Bush:
President Dick Cheney:

First Lady Laura Bush:

Mrs. Lynne Cheney:

email addresses for UK politicians (as of May 2001 - the most recent
Labour MPs -
Conservatives -
Lib Dem -
others -

UK Members of the European Parliament

Don McKinnon :
Office Contact details: Commonwealth Secretariat Marlborough House Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5HY United Kingdom
Tel: 0171-839 3411; Fax: 0171:839 9081;
Address Directory - Politicians Of The World
Monarchs, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Provincial Governors - 196 Countries

Tony Blair - Britain : Fax number 44 207 925 0918 ;

Australian Foreign Minister

Australian Politicians

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Mugabe thugs drive opposition supporters from homes

Militants loyal to President Robert Mugabe have driven hundreds of opposition supporters from their homes in a rural area of Zimbabwe.

They said the move was part of a campaign of violence launched in retribution against those who did not support Mugabe in the elections.

Mugabe, 78, was declared the winner in the race, extending his 22-year-long autocratic rule, despite condemnations by some observer groups who said the election was engineered to guarantee his victory.

Hundreds of opposition Movement for Democratic Change supporters fled the Gokwe area in central Zimbabwe after ruling party militants torched their homes and stole their possessions, said Brighton Chipere, an opposition official.

Four opposition activists have been killed by ruling party militants since the election ended, according to Frances Lovemore, a doctor who works for the Amani Trust, a leading human rights group in the country.

Mr Lovemore said torture of opposition supporters has been widespread in the election's aftermath and that the human rights group has evidence that some 1,250 opposition supporters are being "actively hunted" by militants seeking revenge.

There were also reports, cited by opposition officials, that in an area near the Mozambican border, people accused of voting for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai were ordered to pay compensation to a local pro-Mugabe chief.

The state-controlled Sunday Mail said opposition supporters had attacked ruling party offices and vendors selling pro-government newspapers in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city.

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Mugabe to reshuffle cabinet

Fred Khumalo

Johannesburg - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is likely to fire his two
vice-presidents, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika, as well as finance minister
Simba Makoni when he reshuffles cabinet.

Rapport reports that Mugabe is rearing to get rid of moderate elements after
his victory in the recent presidential election.

Polical analyst Claude Kabemba, a senior researcher with the Electoral
Institute of Southern Africa, said it wouldn't be a bright move it Mugabe
did indeed get rid of bright young thing Makoni.

"With cabinet's support, Makoni has the potential to turn the Zimbabwe
economy around," he says. Mokoni is likely to be replaced by July Moyo, a
party stalwart since independence.

While western countries put economic pressure on Zimbabwe, Mugabe turns to
the Far East for support. "So Makoni's western free-market tendencies are
not in favour," says Dumisani Muleya, political correspondent with the
Zimbabwe Independent.

'The dinosaurs' rubber stamp'

"Moyo, however, is a party loyalist and will rubber stamp anything thought
up by party dinosaurs to solve the country's economic woes," says Muleya.

In charge of foreign affairs, Moyo would be a better ideological match to
countries like China, North Korea and Thailand. He was at Mugabe's side on a
recent visit to these countries when the International Monitary Fund cut aid
to Zimbabwe.

Other cabinet shuffles will probably include that information minister
Jonathan Moyo takes over foreign affairs, and foreign minister Stan Mudenge
becomes the vice-president. Home affairs minister John Nkomo will probably
become the other vice-president.

Herbert Murerwa, minister of trade and industry, will probably also get the
boot for being too moderate.

Kabemba regards the arrest of and treason charge against opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday as a sign that nothing remains of whatever
was wrought by President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo's diplomacy.
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The Age

Zimbabwe's govt announces "economic recovery" plan
HARARE, March 24 AFP|Published: Monday March 25, 4:41 AM

Zimbabwe's government has drawn up an ambitious "economic recovery" plan
focused on agricultural reform which it hopes will create around a million
jobs and ease food shortages, local press reported today.

The new plan, under which peasants will be compensated for allowing the
government to use their land to grow corn, is one of the first signs of an
effort by President Robert Mugabe to achieve more economic self-sufficiency
for the country.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe's longtime ruler, has had little choice but to go it alone
since estranging many Western donors and international financial
institutions two weeks ago when he returned to power in an election widely
condemned as fraudulent.

According to the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper, the government is planning
to irrigate some 100,000 hectares of land to grow some 400,000 tonnes of
corn by August, while at the same time creating around a million jobs.

An aid fund will also be implemented to provide farmers with greater access
to irrigation, farming tools, hospitals and schools, said the paper.

But for many farmers, the plan has come too late as they say it is almost
impossible to get corn to grow during Zimbabwe's winter months which run
from May through to August.

The government intends on continuing its policy of importing corn to counter
its present problems which are weighing heavily on the economy.

Since two years now, the former so-called bread-basket of southern Africa
has experienced 60 to 70 per cent unemployment, 80 per cent poverty, 120 per
cent inflation and a discredited currency.

Matters have since been aggravated by the president's aggressive land

The land reforms erupted in violence when some 10 million hectares of land
belonging to white farmers were divided up among the black population.
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Pro-mugabe Militants On Offensive

Sunday March 24, 2002 3:10 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Militants loyal to President Robert Mugabe have
driven hundreds of opposition supporters from their homes in a rural area of
Zimbabwe after the country's disputed presidential elections, opposition
officials said Sunday.

The officials said the move was part of a campaign of violence launched by
militants in retribution against those who did not support Mugabe in the
March 9-11 elections.

Mugabe, 78, was declared the winner in the race, extending his 22-year-long
autocratic rule, despite condemnations by some observer groups who said the
election was engineered to guarantee his victory.

Hundreds of opposition Movement for Democratic Change supporters fled the
Gokwe area in central Zimbabwe after ruling party militants torched their
homes and stole their possessions, said Brighton Chipere, an opposition

Four opposition activists have been killed by ruling party militants since
the election ended, according to Frances Lovemore, a doctor who works for
the Amani Trust, a leading human rights group in the country.

Lovemore said torture of opposition supporters has been widespread in the
election's aftermath and that the human rights group has evidence that some
1,250 opposition supporters are being ``actively hunted'' by militants
seeking revenge.

There were also reports, cited by opposition officials, that in an area near
the Mozambican border, people accused of voting for opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai were ordered to pay compensation to a local pro-Mugabe chief.

White farmers, who along with opposition activists have been targeted by
ruling party militants over the past two years, said huge stretches of land
had been destroyed in the last week.

Some $2.7 million worth of property in the Marondera-Wedza area, 72 miles
southeast of Harare had been looted or destroyed, said Jenni Williams,
spokeswoman for the Commercial Farmers Union.

``(The) incidents were perpetrated by suspected Zanu-PF (ruling party)
supporters and settlers who continue to harass and intimidate commercial
farmers and farm workers in a retribution campaign of terror countrywide,''
Williams said.

A white farmer was killed last week, the tenth since the often-violent farm
occupations began two years ago. Ruling party militants, with tacit
government backing, have demanded the farms be redistributed to landless

The country is planning to import huge amounts of food to stave off
starvation caused by drought and the agricultural chaos after the occupation
of white-owned farms.

Neither government officials nor the police were available to comment on the
most recent unrest.

But the state controlled Sunday Mail said that opposition supporters had
attacked ruling party offices and vendors selling pro-government newspapers
in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city.

The Sunday Mail also reported the government planned to respond to current
food shortages and economic turmoil by helping subsidize black farmers
growing corn, the region's staple crop.

Whites who make up less than one percent of the population, own the majority
of the country's farmland, but despite Mugabe's promises to redistribute the
land to the poor, many of the seized farms have been given to government

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Mugabe supporters want to send Cecil John Rhodes' remains back to Britain

Some Zimbabweans are threatening to dig up the remains of one the key
figures of British colonialism in Africa.

War veterans and locals in the Matopos national park, where Cecil John
Rhodes is buried, say he took the country from them.

They say they'll "take the law into their own hands" if his remains and
memorial aren't removed and sent back to Britain.

Andrew Ndlovu, secretary of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans,
said: "Cecil Rhodes is the hero of the British. He is the one who grabbed
land and left it in the hands of whites and is the reason why Zimbabwe has
been suspended from the commonwealth for trying to address a problem that he
left behind.

"We cannot find peace when we are keeping a white demon in our midst which
is at the very core of our problems. His grave should be returned to the
British or we will destroy it."

Nathan Shamuyarira, of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, said: "We
are trying to free ourselves from all forms of colonialism and it would be a
good idea to have Rhodes statue returned to Britain."

The Sunday Times says the grave is guarded by police and protected as a
national monument.

The British adventurer made his fortune in diamond mining and became prime
minister of the British Cape Colony. He also gave his name to Rhodesia, as
Zimbabwe was known until 22 years ago.

However he's also known been linked to bribery and brutality and has been
accused of displacing locals when he brought land.

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Sunday, 24 March, 2002, 18:58 GMT
Tutu condemns SA stance on Zimbabwe
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Tutu said Zimbabwe's elections were flawed
South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has criticised his country's decision to recognise the result of Zimbabwe's recent controversial presidential elections.

Archbishop Tutu said he was "deeply, deeply, deeply distressed and deeply disappointed" after South Africa declared the elections to have been free and fair.

When democracy is not being upheld, we ought, for our own sakes, to say it is not so

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was returned to power in the polls, which foreign and independent observer missions said were marred by violence and intimidation.

Despite sanctioning the outcome, South Africa backed a Commonwealth decision to suspend Zimbabwe from the organisation for a year.

Speaking on South African public television, the archbishop said: "I think we do ourselves a very bad turn to claim that we hold to the ideals of democracy, freedom... freedom of speech and then to endorse, as seems to have been done, something that was so clearly flawed."

"When democracy is not being upheld, we ought, for our own sakes, to say it is not so," said Archbishop Tutu.

He said he supported the decision to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe "with a very heavy heart, hoping that President Mugabe and his government elected in a flawed election will draw back from the edge of the precipice".

Mixed findings

The Commonwealth observer group, along with European and local missions in Zimbabwe, condemned the election

Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe has been suspended from the Commonwealth

However, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) observer team said that "in general the elections were transparent, credible, free and fair".

Meanwhile, opposition officials in Zimbabwe said on Sunday that hundreds of their supporters have been forced out of their homes in the Gokwe region by Mr Mugabe's followers.

More than 100 people have been killed in political violence blamed on Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in the past two years, including 10 white farmers murdered when their farms were taken over by militias.

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Tutu "deeply distressed" about S African stance on Zimbabwe
JOHANNESBURG, March 24 AFP|Published: Sunday March 24, 11:38 PM

Former archbishop Desmond Tutu today said he was deeply distressed about South Africa's reaction to the hotly disputed elections in Zimbabwe earlier this month.

"I am deeply, deeply, deeply distressed and deeply disappointed that our country could be among those who say the election was legitimate or free and fair when we are claiming to be adherents of democracy," he told public broadcaster SABC's Newsmaker program.

"Where democracy is not being upheld, we ought for our own sakes to say it is not so," the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town and chairman of the South Africa's now defunct Truth and Reconciliation Commission said.

The World Council of Churches, the All Africa Conference of Churches, the Commonwealth and most other observer groups had said the election was not free and fair, Tutu said.

South Africa's own Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) head, Brigalia Bam, was reported as saying she was unhappy with the poll, he added.

"We do ourselves a very bad turn to claim that we hold to the ideals of democracy, freedom, the freedom of movement and the freedom of speech, and to endorse, as seems to have been done,something that was deeply flawed," he added.

Tutu said he used to have very high regard for President Robert Mugabe.

"What he has been doing in recent times, is in my view totally unacceptable."

Asked whether he supported the Commonwealth's suspension of Zimbabwe, Tutu said: "I do that with a very heavy heart, hoping that President Mugabe and his government elected in a flawed election will draw back from the edge of the precipice."

On Tuesday Mbeki joined Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard in suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for a year, after Commonwealth observers said the election held on March 9-11 was rigged.

However South Africa's own observers described the vote as legitimate, and both the ruling African National Congress and the South African National Assembly said it represented the will of the people.

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For the election, collections of Chenjerai Hove's and Pius Wakatama's essays
were produced by Weaver Press in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The election is over, but the struggle continues ..........................
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