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

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The Zimbabwean
Marondera: Sekeramayi vs Ian Kay
Ian Kay after his beating in April 2000.
I knew Marondera as a flourishing little town, once serving the needs of a large farming community to the East of Harare. People living there did not need to travel the 50 kilometres into Harare when everything they needed was on their doorstep. It is not like that now. It is depressed, becoming derelict as one by one the little businesses close down. Right now it is the scene of a political battle between Zanu (PF)’s Sydney Sekeremayi and MDC’s Ian Kay.
Sydney Sekeremayi returned to Zimbabwe in 1980, passing up the chance of an easy life practising medicine in Sweden. He wanted to help build the new Zimbabwe. He had served his people bravely in the last days of the liberation struggle. He had witnessed terrible things. Twenty five years on, he has become fat. Party loyalties, high positions and power have banished the serene look of a man who once told me “…beautiful as Sweden was, the thought of staying was revolting to me – a betrayal of all I stood for – the help I had received in my education … the material benefits …I would always despise myself for running away.”

Now to the hustings in Marondera East he has brought his reputation for ruthlessness. He came within an inch of losing his seat in the last election. With his party’s unremitting violence in the run up to the polls, his narrow lead was not altogether convincing. It was clear that he was no longer the people’s hero. This is not the same man who was once so eager to bring peace to his newly liberated country.

Fear now rules in the constituency and the peace is kept only because of that fear. Former guerrilla fighters were turned, after years of official neglect, into storm troopers laying waste in the countryside. They mistakenly believed they would inherit the rich living of the region’s farming community. The pattern was repeated throughout the country’s profitable farming regions.

Sekeramayi’s party, now descended from brave liberation fighters to acts that can only be described as official thuggery has been responsible for the slow death of the town. The people are not fools. That need for a re-count in the close-run elections of 2000 indicated that the voters still had a little courage then, but it availed them nothing. Now they must again face the man who has held powerful positions in Robert Mugabe’s cabinet. These have included National Security and also Defence, giving him access to extraordinary, often unfair campaigning advantages and he has developed the ruthlessness to use them.

Ian Kay, four years older than Sekeremayi, was brought up on a farm in the area. He was a good citizen and a successful farmer, growing the tobacco crop that earned a hard-won comfortable living for himself and many Zimbabweans, not least Dr Sekeramayi. Tobacco has always been a vital part of Zimbabwe’s agro-based economy.

Ian Kay has also witnessed terrible things. He has seen his farm trashed, taken from him by force by so-called war veterans. He has been beaten to a pulp. Nobody was held accountable, neither for the murderous attack, nor for the death of the young black policeman who went to the farm to investigate. No wonder the people are full of fear.

But Ian Kay is not afraid. The people have asked him to fight. Ian himself is not bitter. He is defiant. I call that brave. It was clear to all who saw him paying his last respects to the late Professor Masipula Sithole at the funeral service in the University chapel that he had recovered well from his terrible experiences. The scars about his face and head were almost invisible. A man who has come through such fire, so bloodied and unbowed cannot fail to be an inspiration to us
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The Zimbabwean

Mock vote in London, Joburg, Pretoria
LONDON - The Zimbabwe Vigil will hold an all night vigil outside the
Zimbabwean Embassy on The Strand, London on Wednesday March 30, starting at
"The purpose of this is to show symbolic support for the Cosatu march, mass
protest and night vigil at the Beitbridge border post in South Africa on
that same night - the eve of the Zimbabwean parliamentary elections," said a
spokesman this week.

"We have a team of Zimbabweans who will be outside the Embassy in London all
night. We are calling on all Zimbabweans and those concerned about Zimbabwe
to come and join us for as long as they are able to at any time throughout
the night. The nearest tube station is Charing Cross, and the mainline rail
station by the same name is also nearby."

On Thursday March 31 from 5am to 5pm the Vigil will be holding a "Mock
Ballot" outside the Zimbabwean Embassy. These times have been selected as
they coincide with period of polling in Zimbabwe.

"We will have mock transparent ballot boxes, ballot papers and polling
officers. We will be asking Zimbabweans to come and symbolically cast their
votes throughout the day," said the spokesman. "On Friday April 1 we will
attempt to give the results to officials at the Zimbabwean Embassy as a way
of expressing our voice, as we have no other avenue to do so."

The Mock Ballot has been planned to demonstrate the disenfranchisement of
hundreds of thousands of exiled Zimbabweans in the UK. When some members of
the Vigil tried to inspect their names on the voters roll at the Embassy in
London, not only was there no roll, but embassy staff locked them out and
called the police. They were told to return home to their constituencies to

"But even if we were able to do so we could not be sure our names appear on
the roll. Many constituencies have been changed by the Delimitation
Committee and many
other people have simply been removed from the roll," said the spokesman.

"Our mock ballot will also stand to support and mirror a similar event by
activists in South Africa who will also be carrying out a similar exercise
in Johannesburg and Pretoria. All these actions underline the significance
and importance of the Supreme Court Action launched by the Diaspora Vote
Action Group. We support their legal challenge demanding the voting rights
of the millions of Zimbabweans in exile."

The Zimbabwe Vigil has been holding weekly Vigils outside the Embassy in
London for two and a half years. They have called on all Zimbabweans in the
UK and other concerned citizens to come and support them in calling for the
restoration of democracy in their homeland.
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The Zimbabwean

Chigovera slams criminal defamation laws
LONDON - FORMER Attorney-General (AG), Andrew Chigovera, once a defender of
harsh media legislation, has turned into a vocal critic of such laws,
describing them as a deliberate ploy by public officials to avoid scrutiny.
Chigovera is now the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights'
newly-appointed Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression. His new role as
an advocate for free expression contrasts sharply with his former duties as

His comments are sure to embarrass the Mugabe regime, for whom he helped
craft draconian legislation such as the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)

When AIPPA - then a Bill - was initially conceived, Chigovera supported it
while the likes of the late Zanu (PF) law guru Eddison Zvobgo, deemed it an
unacceptable affront on free expression. "This bill, in its original form,
is the most calculated and determined assault on our liberties guaranteed by
the constitution in the 20 years I served as cabinet minister," Zvobgo said
then in his report to parliament. "What is worse, the bill was badly drafted
in that several provisions were obscure, vague, overbroad in scope,
ill-conceived and dangerous."

On the other hand, Chigovera, as the government's chief law officer, argued
that discriminating between foreign journalists and Zimbabweans as provided
for by the Bill was legal. "It is constitutional. ... I see nothing wrong in
discriminating between foreigners and citizens in the sphere of employment,"
he said.

During his tenure as AG, several journalists were arrested, charged with
criminal defamation among other provisions of the law while foreign
correspondents engineered by former information minister Jonathan Moyo.

But Chigovera is now singing from a different hymn book. In a joint
statement with his counterpart in the Americas, Eduardo Bertoni of the
Organization of American States (OAS), in Washington DC recently, Chigovera
called on governments in Africa to repeal criminal defamation laws, calling
them incompatible with international standards on freedom of expression.

The rapporteurs said criminal defamation laws were frequently used in Africa
and in the Americas to silence public criticism of officials. Such laws
"intimidate individuals from exposing wrongdoing by public officials" and
did not belong in democracies, Chigovera and Bertoni said.

The rapporteurs said all members of society must be free to discuss issues
of public interest and to participate freely in public debates without fear
of reprisal.

The joint declaration affirmed previous statements on criminal defamation
laws made by free expression experts from intergovernmental bodies. In 1999,
2000 and 2002, joint declarations by the rapporteurs of the OAS, the United
Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
condemned such laws as unjustifiable restrictions on free expression and
urged governments to abolish them.

In summary, Chigovera and Bertoni noted the following:

All members of society must be free to discuss issues of public interest and
to participate freely in public debates without fear of reprisal, either in
the form of physical attacks and aggression or through judicial measures.

Journalists and other media workers, as well as human rights defenders, are
frequently the targets of threats, assaults, and assassination in many
countries in both Africa and the Americas. These crimes have a chilling
effect on freedom expression that is exacerbated when governments fail to
investigate such crimes thoroughly and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Criminal defamation laws are frequently used in both the countries of the
Americas and of Africa to stifle criticism of public officials. In
democratic societies, the activities of public officials must be open to
public scrutiny. Criminal defamation laws intimidate individuals from
exposing wrongdoing by public officials and such laws are therefore
incompatible with freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression requires that many different points of view can be
heard. State control of media, as well as laws and practices that permit
monopolies in ownership of media companies, limit plurality and prevent the
public from hearing certain points of view.

Chigovera, who is among 11 members of the commission, was replaced by war
veteran and lawyer Sobuza Gula-Ndebele as Zimbabwe's AG last year.

Established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights which came
into force on 21 October 1986 after its adoption in Nairobi, Kenya in 1981
by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the then Organization of
African Unity (OAU), the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is
charged with ensuring the promotion and protection of Human and Peoples'
Rights throughout the African Continent. The commission has its headquarters
in Banjul, the Gambia.
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The Zimbabwean
State agents behind half violations
Continuing the Zimbabwe Institute report on human rights abuses experienced by opposition MPs and election candidates.
In reviewing the accounts that make up the substance of this report, it is striking to note that 100% of MPs from whom information was obtained - a figure that accounts for 85% of all opposition MPs - report having experienced human rights abuses in the past four years. It is clear that the primary motive for the attacks was political in nature (Chart 1).

More than 90% of MPs report violations against themselves. 50% have had their property vandalised or destroyed, including homes, businesses and motor vehicles. What is of further grave concern is the very high number, in excess of 60%, who report attacks on their immediate family or staff, resulting death in 4 instances. Family members mentioned as immediately targeted or caught up in household attacks, include elderly women, young children and even babies of a few months old.

60% of MPs report arrest and detention, while 48% report being formally charged. Whether finally charged or not, MPs were kept in custody in appalling conditions often for periods of time that are in excess of the 48 hours allowed by law. In 4 out of 5 cases, such detentions result in charges being laid, yet in the vast majority of cases, courts do not uphold State attempts to prosecute, but dismiss them before plea.

Dismissal usually happens after MPs are remanded month after month while the State fails to produce a case against them. In other instances, court cases result in vindication of the accused MPs. At the ¬time of finalisation of this report on 8 March 2004, only once has an MP been found guilty of a crime and fined US$ 5.

This particular MP, Job Sikhala, reports being arrested 17 times. He also reports being severely tortured in police custody, including receiving electro shocks to his genitals. No prosecutions have been made in connection with his torture – just as no prosecutions have been made in any instance of any violation involving an MDC MP.

A further finding of interest is that over the past four years, MPs are more likely to have been subjected to serious attacks or crimes involving themselves personally than candidates. Only 45% of candidates were interviewed, compared with information on 86% of MPs. These patterns might shift with more information on candidates.

Candidates were more likely to report campaign violations and property loss than MPs, and less likely to report assaults or torture. One might suspect violence before an election affecting those wanting to stand, and this violence easing off after an election outcome.

However, that is clearly not the case in Zimbabwe: attacks intensified on individuals once they were in office, with no concern for their status or role in government. Perhaps the attacks intensified because they held high office and to attack an MP is to send a strong warning signal to ordinary MDC supporters.

MPs are nearly twice as likely as candidates to report assaults or torture (58% compared with 32%). Eight MPs reported torture, whereas no candidate did so. However, some assaults against candidates were very severe, and one candidate from 2000 was beaten to death in 2002.


50% of violations are attributed by MPs to the police, CIO and army combined (Chart 2). This is an alarming statistic: what is apparent is that it is not simply the case that the authorities turn a blind eye to violations involving MPs, they are themselves the ones responsible in half the instances. In the other half of instances, war veterans, ZANU (PF) supporters and youth militia are the perpetrators – while the police look the other way and refuse to arrest or prosecute.

MPs are also more than three times more likely to report a state agency (ZRP/CIO/ZNA) as perpetrator than candidates are (50% compared with 14%). Candidates are more likely to report war veterans or ZANU (PF) supporters as the perpetrators. No candidate reported the army as perpetrator, whereas 6% of MPs did so. MPs (60%) are 9 times more likely to have been arrested and detained than candidates (7%). Only 2 candidates reported being charged with a crime, whereas 24 MPs (48%) reported being charged.

More or less equal percentages of MPs (24%) and candidates (22%) report surviving murder attempts. Candidates (14%) were twice as likely as MPs (6%) to have had their houses entirely burnt to the ground.

Next week – the report investigates the trends in these human rights violations over time.
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The Zimbabwean

Umfurudzi Safari Area under threat

The Umfurudzi Safari Area is a 75 000hactare wilderness area lying 160km
northeast of Harare. It was declared a Safari Area, in 1974, due to its once
pristine wilderness qualities and population of endangered important
wildlife species such as Black Rhinoceros and Roan Antelope. It is also
prime habitat for many other animals such as Sable Antelope, Bushbuck,
Leopard and Klipspringer to name a few.
Sadly since 1980, six species no longer exist there. These are Elephant,
Black Rhino, Waterbuck, Roan Antelope, Eland and Lion. Although the habitat
is still intact it is under serious threat but if properly protected this
area could once again become home to all these species and many more such as
White Rhinoceros and Nyala Antelope.

Large tracts of miomba forest, mopane, baobabs and 200 other species of tree
carpet the area together with large mountain ranges well watered with river
courses and covered in natural bamboo forests.

Unfortunately this area is under serious threat from miners who are allowed
access into it. The greatest threat is from the Natural Stone Export Company
(NSEC), which has extensive quarrying rights in the area. It operates on the
east side overlooking the Mazowe River and in it's quest for "Black Granite"
has devastated a very large area turning it into a "moonscape".

As if that was not enough, they have ordered a 40-kilometre power line to
service their mine. This power line will, very unnecessarily in our opinion,
cut, through 34 kilometres of the park, going through the Hippo Pools
Wilderness Camp area without Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) or
consultation with stakeholders.

A 15-metre wide swathe has already been cut by the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA), destroying about a million trees including several
numbered specimens featured in the Hippo Pools identification booklet.

These trees were singled out for identification because of their size,
beauty, age, species and rarity. Some of the Mopani trees are so big that
ZESA were not able to chop them down so they are attempting to burn them

The negative effects of the mining in the area could be partly offset by
conservation measures being supported by the NSEC such as restocking with
suitable wildlife species, wildlife protection (by employment of game
scouts) and providing support for community eco-tourism projects. To date
NSEC has neglected to offer this support although they continue to prosper
from it's natural resources.

Our other concern is that the powerline cutting through the heart of the
park will encourage major mining development along it's route and basically
destroy this popular area as a park. Since when is a distribution power
network, permitted to transverse a national tourist asset such as this,
destroying the very qualities it is preserved for?

Love, neglect and rape

You can do three things to a woman. You can love her and receive love in
return or you can neglect her even to the extent you watch her being abused
or raped, or you could rape her. If that woman was "Zimbabwe" where would
you fit in? Today in Zimbabwe there are many instances of "rape" taking

This is done by a small minority. The vast majority stand by and either do
nothing or make excuses. Another small minority, the lovers, do what they
can, at great risk to themselves, to limit the rape and abuse.

As an example, the Umfurudzi Safari Area right now is being "raped". Some of
the authorities are not stopping, they are allowing the "rape" to proceed
and making excuses. Some, the lovers, are saying "Wait lets see how this can
be done less painfully".

A 34-kilometre line has been cut through the woodland of the most important
part of the Umfurudzi. If stopped now the tree stumps on this line will
re-grow and in a few years the attempted "rape" will no longer be evident.
The "woman" will reward us with her love and adornments (jewels in the form
of herds of beautiful wild animals).

If the rape continues the woman could turn ugly and give little. The choice
is ours in Zimbabwe to make.

If enough people voice their concerns to the perpetrators and supporters of
this destruction, we may be able to save this beautiful wilderness. They may
be reluctant to proceed if they know the world is watching them so we would
be very grateful if as many people as possible could email protests to the
following addresses:

National Parks:
For more information contact Wilderness Africa Trust:
Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force:
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The Zimbabwean

International prayer appeal launched
Archbishop Pius Ncube (Zimbabwe) and Bishop Rubin Phillip (South Africa) -
co-chairs of the Solidarity Peace Trust - have issued an international
appeal to Christians to pray for Zimbabweans during the run-up to the
"Zimbabweans have endured two major elections in recent years and both
proved to be traumatic events characterized by intimidation, violence and
major fraud.

"They might be forgiven therefore for a sense of despair, as they brace
them-selves for yet another major political contest, especially as their
"democratic space" has shrunk yet further and the prospect of achieving
anything resembl-ing a fair and free election this time is virtually nil.

"Yet it is essential that Zimbabweans who value freedom and cherish
democracy do not give up hope at this critical point in time. And that is
where the wider church has a vital role to play in encouraging those within
Zimbabwe who are commit-ted to the non-violent struggle to transform their
nation in accordance with the kingdom values of justice, truth and lasting

"We must stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ in this deeply
troubled land, supporting them with our prayers and whatever actions are
helpful and appropriate. We know from whence our help comes, and that when
'we lift up our eyes' to almighty God, amazing things happen! Once before,
in our recent history in Southern Africa, the power of people at prayer
changed the atmos-phere surrounding an Elective Process.

"Hope is what gives us the power to pray to God. The action of prayer
specifically focussed will transform the atmosphere, and give rise to hope
in Zimbabwe. Please join us as we pray for God's intervention with the
miracle of hope.

"Good Friday of course commemorates the suffering and death of our Lord - a
time of doubt and distress for the disciples. Yet three days later the
awesome truth began to dawn upon them that the Cross was not the end of all
their dreams and hopes - but rather the beginning of a new quality of life

"Let us therefore march in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe whose pain
and suffering reflect the agony of Christ on the Cross. We pray God that
their Good Friday experience may soon be trans-formed through the glorious
Easter hope."

Solidarity prayer for Zimbabwe

All mighty, all loving and all merciful God
Your people in Zimbabwe are in despair
As we they face another General Election.
Lord the situation has become disheartening
and your people are fearful and cynical about the future.

As the people of the world gather together in prayer
To place the people and the land of Zimbabwe
Before God -
Do not ignore us and our desperate need
Do not ignore our shackles of fear and intimidation
Do not leave us helpless
Do not abandon us, Never to rise again as a proud nation.
Lord, for the healing of all brokenness in Zimbabwe:
Hear our prayer.
Lord, for the reconciliation of all people in Zimbabwe
Hear our prayer.
For justice and fairness and the power of life
Hear our prayer
Lord, for the restoration of Hope and dignity to Zimbabwe:
Hear our prayer.
Lord, for an awakening of Zimbabweans to new beginnings in the Resurrection
life, free from the shackles of fear and intimidation.
Hear our prayer
Lord, light and peace to the world, let your light shine and your peace
reign in your land and in the lives of all in Zimbabwe
Hear our prayer.
Lord, bring hope and dignity, bring your light and your peace
And above all restore a just and a positive future
to the people and the land of Zimbabwe.
Our hope is in the power of these prayers
We ask this in the name of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ. AMEN
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The Zimbabwean

Niza to raise profile of flawed elections

LONDON - The Netherlands Institute of Southern Africa (Niza) has conceived a
campaign on the elections in Zimbabwe in an effort to contrast Dutch
multi-party democracy to despotic rule in the Southern African nation.
Niza has mobilised a number of people to act as leaders of political leaders
and conduct campaigns for their parties on radio. The 'leaders' will
represent a varied spectrum of interests. A number of Zimbabwean
personalities offered to participate in the mock-up and had photographs
taken for the campaign posters.

The idea, according to Niza, is to raise the profile of the flawed elections
among the Dutch public and draw attention to the erosion of democratic space
in Zimbabwe.

Sanna Jensen of Niza explained: "We will produce 'radiomercials' and
election posters of fake political Zimbabwean parties, drawing from the
Dutch multiparty democracy system. In Holland we have so many parties: A
party for the elderly people, a party which is fighting for animal rights,
the social party, right wing parties, labour party and so on. We are using
the same concept to create fake Zimbabwean parties. So for instance you will
hear on the radio a commercial of the fake Zimbabwean party with animals at
heart, saying:

"Dear Zimbabwean supporters of Nature - Support our Zimbabwean wildlife!
Vote APAR at the next elections. Vote the African Party for Animal Rights.
Vote Payne Ncube!"

The campaign is expected to start a few days before the March 31 elections.
Perhaps Zimbabweans, Zanu (PF) in particular, will have a few lessons to
learn from the mock political campaign in Holland - as all parties would be
allowed to campaign freely.
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The Zimbabwean

Parks director under investigation
HARARE - THE disciplinary hearing for suspended Parks and Wildlife
Management Authority operations director Vitalis Chadenga took place this
week amid allegations that there are attempts to scuttle the findings of a
committee which investigated him.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Francis Nhema, has reportedly
dropped four members of the authority's board, two of whom were key to
investigations against Chadenga. The axed board members are: chairman of the
committee which investigated the allegations against Chadenga, Mick
Townsend, Stanley Sakupwanya, Mairosi Mudukuti and board chairman Ambassador
Buzwani Mothobi.

Chadenga was suspended on January 31 amid charges of corruption and other
malpractices said to have cost the authority at least Z$500 million.

Allegations against him include:
- the illegal capturing and translocation of game from Nyamaneche sanctuary
to Bishopstone Ranch in Beitbridge;

- issuing a translocation permit to a J Kockott in respect of animals that
were supposed to be removed from Tengwe Farm in Hurungwe, then owned by
Kockott. The farm had been allocated to Hurungwe Rural District Council
under the land reform programme;

- blocking the issuance of the licence to the rural authority, which had
been grant-ed permission to utilise the game, and allowing N Coetzee to hunt
in the Zambezi Valley without the requisite hunting licence.

Nhema yesterday dismissed allegations that he was trying to interfere with
investigations, adding that the four board members' term of office had
expired, anyway. The minister argued that the saga had since turned
political to tarnish his image ahead of this month's general elections.

"They were not removed from the board, their terms of office had expired and
if they want an extension they should come out clear. I am the one who
appoints and I know when one's term has expired," stressed the minister.

George Pangeti, who is also a member of the board, chairs the disciplinary
committee. Therefore, the removal of the other members would not prejudice
investigations, Nhema said. Sources said, however, the members' term was due
to expire on May 31 2005 since they were appointed on June 1 2002.
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The Zimbabwean

NGOs under surveillance
It has come to the attention of NANGO that there have been reports of
increased surveillance of NGOs by people believed to be state agents, at the
back of an announcement by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
Minister, Paul Mangwana, that a Committee has been set up to probe NGOs.
This includes people being followed, unidentified vehicles being parked
around the vicinity of offices of NGOs, and NGOs being approached by
strangers and asked intrusive questions about their personal lives and
institutional issues.

NGOs should therefore improve their security awareness and take measures to
minimise their exposure to being isolated and subjected to danger. This
involves avoiding cooperation with strangers- whose personal and work
details have not been disclosed to your satisfaction - without legal

May you please report any suspicious developments to NANGO through their
hotline on Tel 04- 732612. You are also free to contact NANGO Lawyers on the
following numbers 091257247, 011209468, 011619747.
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The Zimbabwean

Keep guard against the shadow of tyranny
JOHANNESBURG - As the Easter weekend approaches the Ministry of Education in
Zimbabwe has finally moved the holidays back two weeks to coincide with
Easter (which SHOULD have been done from the beginning!.better late than
never one can only surmise!).
The upcoming election is in many ways the 'make or break' election for
Zimbabwe (how long have we been saying THAT for!?) The result will have a
direct bearing on the economy, through either a fresh injection of
investment and skilled labour, OR the last educated, skilled and
semi-skilled workers and their families will pack their bags and turn off
the lights on their way out. The hopes, dreams and prayers of millions will
either be realised come April 1st, or another African country with so much
potential will go the way of much of the rest of this tragic continent.

It pains me to admit that people like Ian Smith were right in their
predictions in the 70s and 80s about the future of Zimbabwe - and it is even
more painful that the agents of our beautiful country's downfall are in fact
the so called liberators. I recall a 'conversation' I had with a group of
Zanu (PF) supporters in 2002, where they admitted that their leaders had
made a hash of things, but believed that Zimbabwe was Zanu (PF)'s to ruin or
develop. With that sort of a mindset, I guess I was fortunate to get away
physically unharmed (which may have had something to do with the two rather
large dogs I was walking at the time!)

I had the honour of addressing a highly respected South African institution
last week. I closed my address by imploring the audience to guard against
complacency and the shadow of tyranny, which starts so subtly (as peace
loving, free thinking Zimbabweans have found out to our detriment) and
ultimately envelops all of society.

South Africa is Africa's last hope of REAL success and multicultural
harmony, but it remains to be seen whether its leaders are capable of
committing to the path of democracy after Madiba goes to his rest in the
halls of his forefathers. Certainly, the deafening silence of the so called
"quiet diplomacy' (or perhaps acquiescence is a better term?) and comments
made (BEFORE the election or any impartial observation!) by the President
and various senior Government officials suggest that the same intolerance of
multiparty politics exists here.

Similarly to the case of Zimbabwe and the Lancaster House constitution, the
current SA Government is tied to a constitution that does not suit it (hence
the drive for a majority in parliament) and if the flagrant disrespect for
rules by senior ANC/ Govt officials and the lack of appropriate censure is
anything to go by.

On a lighter note, I was invited to join some friends hiding Easter eggs for
a play group they have at their home. This brought back memories from school
days in Zimbabwe, where we used to make things in 'art and craft' classes
for Valentines, Easter and Christmas to take home to mom! In happier days,
Easter weekend was enjoyed by all as some folk raced down to the SA coast,
while others went to Zimbabwean resorts or their rural homes...sadly, the
majority of travellers these days are people leaving Zimbabwe for good as
our government's greed, incompetence and hate-filled policies suffocate a
once thriving economy and destroy a beautiful land.
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The Zimbabwean

Mbeki's loud diplomacy is worrisome
His Excellency President Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa,
arguably the most important country in Africa in terms of the potential for
building democracy is quoted to have stated that "it is clear that some
within Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the world, including our country, are
following the example set by "Reagan and his advisers" to "treat human
rights as a tool" for overthrowing the government of Zimbabwe and rebuilding
Zimbabwe as they wish. In modern parlance, this is called regime change."
This was reported in The ANC Today, Volume3, No 49, 12-18 December 2003
titled We will resist the upside-down view of Africa.
Indeed these had far-reaching and grave consequences on the operating
environment of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe with the Parliament of
Zimbabwe sitting marathon and record hours in November 2004 to pass the NGO
Bill which presently awaits Presidential signature which will effectively
stifle promotion and protection of human rights if implemented. The Bill has
been correctly dubbed 'The Bill that kills life'.

In January 2005 Condolezza Rice the Secretary of State in the USA expressed
her opinion that Zimbabwe was an outpost of tyranny and a fear society based
on the fact that it is not always possible for anyone to walk the streets in
Harare and say whatever they want against whoever they want without the real
possibility of persecution one way or the other.

Mbeki was quick to offer a timely, unsolicited, strenuous but
self-contradictory defence in support of dictatorship in Zimbabwe when he
said that Condolezza's statement was "an exaggeration".

This offered a sigh of relief to the black minority in charge of
dictatorship but severely demoralised the suffering majority. Condolezza was
right and that her country is involved in a controversial foreign policy in
the Middle East does not make her judgment on Zimbabwe's system of
government any less accurate. Even the African Commission found as much in
the report on the fact-finding mission that was adopted by the AU Assembly
of heads in Abuja, Nigeria on 30-31 January 2005.

As if that was not enough, at the beginning of March 2005, Mbeki,
desperately trying to influence opinion about the freeness or fairness of
the impending elections in Zimbabwe of 31 March 2005, stated: "I have no
reason to think that anybody in Zimbabwe will act in a way that will
militate against the elections being free and fair".

This again came as a huge blow to the people of Zimbabwe who have quite
justifiably lost faith in the electoral process. Mbeki gains nothing by
supporting oppression and the people of Zimbabwe deserve no less freedom
than the people of South Africa.

Mbeki's pronouncements are in stark contrast to the SADC policy position on
elections as inferred from the SADC principles and guidelines governing
elections which were adopted in order to "enhance the transparency and
credibility of elections and democratic governance [so that there is]
acceptance of the results by all contesting parties."

It is important to have all contesting parties accept election results
because that guarantees peace and stability, prerequisites for sustainable
development. We all know what happened in Zimbabwe in 2000 and 2002 where
lack of credibility in the electoral processes resulted in serious internal
conflict manifesting itself in organized violence and torture, impunity,
collapse in the rule of law, and an economic meltdown of unprecedented
levels in the history of the country.

Absence of credible electoral processes and democratic governance has severe
consequences on humanity. Conflict in any country in the SADC has
consequences for the rest of SADC because of the contagion effect as
evidenced by the involuntary migration of millions of Zimbabweans to South
Africa, Botswana and the UK.

The SADC Principles and Guidelines state that any election shall allow full
participation of the citizens in the political process, freedom of
association, political tolerance, regular intervals for elections as
provided for by the respective national constitutions, equal opportunity for
all political parties to access the state media, equal opportunity to
exercise the right to vote and voted for, independence of the judiciary and
impartiality of the electoral institutions and voter education.

The principles oblige the SADC States to "take necessary measures to ensure
the scrupulous implementation of the above principles, in accordance with
the constitutional processes of the country"

The fact of non-repeal and promulgation of extremely repressive pieces of
legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Miscellaneous
Offences Act (MOA), The Criminal procedure and Evidence Act (CODE), the
Labour Relations Act (LRA), the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), the Non
Governmental Organisations Bill (NGO Law) all which collectively and
individually undermine and seriously erode the enjoyment of all the rights
provided for in Principle 2 of the SADC Principles and Guidelines shows that
the likelihood of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe is remote. Mbeki must
be aware of this and seems desperate to bestow some legitimacy to a fatally
flawed process for political expediency.
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The Zimbabwean

Letter from Home:
May I give you one of my bottles?
Dear Family and Friends,

This week two little things happened which paint the most vivid picture of
life in Zimbabwe at the moment. Two weeks before elections and after having
tolerated foul and filthy water in the town for at least two years, the
local authorities switched off the supply altogether to clean the

Some people in the business areas knew that we were about to go dry for at
least a day but most in the residential areas didn't and were totally
unprepared. When we still didn't have water after 24 hours, people were
getting desperate and there was quite a crowd
filling up buckets from a seasonal stream that runs in the vlei near my

A group of women who had just walked a kilometre to get drinking water from
a friend's borehole and had then carried the heavy bottles all the way back,
stopped to chat on the road. They asked me if I had any water and I said no
but that I thought it would be back soon as the higher parts of town had
water and it would take time for all the pipes to fill.

"May I give you one of my bottles?" one of the women graciously offered.
THIS is the real Zimbabwe I thought, these few words gave me hope.

Also this week I had the chance to spend half an hour with a friend who has
no access to email or anything other than state propaganda. She is a single
mum of three, can't afford newspapers, doesn't have her own phone or
transport and survives on a government stipulated minimum wage of less than
three thousand dollars a day which isn't even enough to buy a single loaf of

My friend asked me if I thought we would have any chance at all of being
able to vote and it didn't take me long to realise that she had no idea of
how the coming election was going to work because there has been almost no
voter education.

Everyone knows that voting has been cut down to one day but thinks that
instead of queuing for half a day, like we did last time, this time we'll
queue all day and not get to the front in time. She didn't know that there
are going to be an increased number of polling stations or that there will
apparently be three lines to queue in according to our surnames.

My friend knew that we would be having see through ballot boxes this time
but didn't know why. She didn't understand that ballot boxes would not be
moved to counting centres but that votes would be tallied where they were
cast. My friend was not at all convinced that this was a good idea. She
thought it might stop box stuffing but it would increase retribution
afterwards. People are scared, rumours and rife and threats and innuendos
are widespread.

For the past three weeks there wasn't any sugar or maize meal on the shelves
and now suddenly there is and that is what ordinary people are worried
about - food. It's as simple as that. Everyone is borrowing money to buy
food because the rumours are that as soon as the elections are over the
prices will soar.

As Zimbabwe staggers towards elections I would like to thank all the people
outside the country who are doing so much to help raise awareness of our
situation at this crucial time. I would also like to thank everyone who has
helped me to help other people who are in desperate need.

Until next week, with love. Ndini shamwari yenyu
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The Zimbabwean

Signs of desperation
We have received reports that people attending a Zanu (PF) election meeting
in Highfields have been told to spread the word that the party has an
infallible method of finding out who voted for whom. This is a disturbing
All party members have been instructed to record the serial number of the
counterfoil of their ballot. This must then be shown to party officials for
on-passing to the Registrar General's office to confirm that members have
actually voted for Zanu (PF). Evidently an element of serious mistrust - and
desperation - is creeping in.

And for those who can't be trusted even to do this, the comrades are being
reliably informed that a special new chemical has been added to the liquid
in which every voter has to dip their hands to ensure they only vote once.
This dye will turn your hand red if you vote for MDC. If you vote for Zanu
(PF) your hand will remain black.

We trust the election monitors will be on the look out for this type of
intimidation and manipulation, however ridiculous it might seem.
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The Zimbabwean

Colonial habits die hard
It would appear colonial habits die hard. Ian Smith always used to say that
'his' Africans in Rhodesia were happy. They were just being misled by the
communists into thinking they were unhappy.
Interesting that Robert Mugabe is taking the same line. 'His' people are
happy - they love Zanu (PF), they want him to rule forever. Anybody who
doesn't agree has been put up to it by Tony Blair and his 'gay gangsters'.
Blacks are not capable of having their own opinions, thinking for themselves
or making sound judgments on their own.

The authorities in Harare keep referring to The Zimbabwean as a 'stooge' and
a 'front'. They can't seem to understand that a Zimbabwean can have an idea,
start a company, run it properly, and see it succeed in fulfilling a need.

Just because they are bankrupt of ideas they cannot comprehend that we are
not all similarly disadvantaged. We challenge them to name the sources
behind our 'front'. The Zimbabwean is a registered company, both in the UK
and South Africa. Let them search the records.

Since the 'slush fund' accusations, two more non-governmental donor agencies
have come forward to offer assistance. This means we can continue to achieve
our goal of producing the paper in South Africa and getting it to
Zimbabweans - starved of information as well as food - at an affordable
price, which is well below cost. We are grateful!
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The Zimbabwean

Election deception
EDITOR - I was at a meeting in Glen Norah B last weekend, where some Zanu PF
campaigners are telling people that there will be two inks mixed in one
bowl - if you vote for the opposition your hand will come out red, and if
you vote for Zanu PF your hand will come out black.

The same people were telling gullible people that newly acquired cameras
record where voters go, so on voting day they are able to detect who you
have voted for.

Though we have been promised there won't be violence - now perpetrated
clandestinely by soldiers, especially at night when there are no pressmen -
is the above not the quintessence of intimidation?

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The Zimbabwean

South Africa's support aids Mugabe
EDITOR - I am a 27-year-old Zimbabwean, born in Bulawayo and schooled there.
I am among the millions of Zimbabweans living in South Africa today.
I came to South Africa eight years ago and have since lived and worked here.
Although (like many other Zimbabweans living here) I am grateful for the
opportunities afforded me here, in my heart I remain a Zimbabwean and would
like to go back home and help in rebuilding the country that is part of my

Right now the people of Zimbabwe are suffering. Mugabe and his henchmen have
reduced our country, once a net food exporter, to a net food importer. We
used to have electricity but now we use candles.

I read "Memories of a stranger in a foreign land" by Tiger Moon (The
Zimbabwean, 3 March) with tears in my eyes. He is right in saying that we
have been robbed of our heritage, home and families.

We are being ridiculed by the mob of xenophobic locals who perceive us as
the cause of their joblessness and high crime rate. What these locals don't
know is that many Zimbabweans (if not most) don't want to be here, as much
as they don't want us here.

More mind-boggling is the fact that the South African government, under the
leadership of President Thabo Mbeki, continues with its support of the
dictatorial regime of Mugabe.

Mr Mbeki, don't you know that by doing that you are endorsing the suffering
of millions of Zimbabweans?

Don't you understand that the instability of Zimbabwe means problems for
South Africa? Thousands of Zimbabwean economic refugees are deported every
year at the expense of the South African taxpayer! Shouldn't that money be
spent on building houses and schools for the poor here in South Africa?

Don't you understand that the influx of Zimbabweans to South Africa is
mainly a result of economic mismanagement of our country by your friend Bob

What is quiet diplomacy? What good has it done? We thank Cosatu and Bishop
Desmond Tutu for standing by Zimbabweans in these times of hardships! To
Zimbabweans, I urge you all to be patient and have courage.

F TSHUMA, email
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The Zimbabwean

It's not about us, it's for the country
EDITOR - Picture this. It is 1940, the eve of apartheid South Africa. You
are a young black person whose father has been dead for the past 13 years.
Your father's friend has been paying for your education. All you want is a
good civil service career so that you can be a pillar of the community and
support your family.
Now, in your second year of university, you have been elected to the
Students' Representative Council by a quarter of the students. Three
quarters have refused to vote because they have just come back from a sports
event at a neighboring university and have discovered that the white
students are better fed.

What do you do about the election result? It looks good on any student's CV
to have been elected to lead fellow students. What would you do about the
low voter turnout?

Our young man chooses to step down, arguing that the vote is not
representative of the students' wishes.

The principal, Dr Kerr, organises a second round of voting, with the same
results. Our aspiring civil servant responds to this second election in the
same way.

The principal then threatens expulsion if the student does not change his
mind, and asks him to sleep on it. The student has a troubled night, torn
between duty to his sponsor and to his fellow students. The next morning he
confirms he cannot serve.

He is given a final chance to reflect on his decision. He does not change
his mind and is expelled. What would you have done?

Today that man, Nelson Mandela, is the most respected person on the planet.
You see, it is not always about us. Mandela made a stand, choosing not to
flee into a comfort zone.

Later on, facing more or less the same threats at different levels and
presented with opportunities to get himself out of life-threatening
situations, Mandela remained true to his core values. He could have landed a
good civil servant's job or been a very successful lawyer and, later, he
could have chosen the safety of exile. But he argued "a leader's place is
with his people".

What about you? I am not asking you to leave your job. All I am asking is
that you stand in a queue and vote, because it is your duty to your country.
Who you vote for is up to you, but it is important that you cast that vote.

You see, it is not always about you; it is about accountability, it is about
posterity and it is about "lighting a candle, instead of cursing the
darkness". It is about say-ing, "I care for my country, and I owe it to the
thousands who died for our freedom to try and sustain democracy".

On the back of my car is a sticker. It reads, Zimbabwe: My Country, My
Commitment, My Future. It's not about me, it's about my country, and I hope
you feel the same way and strongly enough to "endure with pleasure" several
hours in a queue to elect your next representative in Parliament.

Take your friends and family with you on 31 March. When you do that, you
will be "lighting a candle, instead of cursing the darkness". The time for
self-pity is long past. Our destiny is in your hands.

AG, Harare
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The Zimbabwean

War on the media

BULAWAYO - The other night I listened to SW Radio at 18.30 hrs. For those
who are not familiar with SW Radio this is a small radio station
broadcasting out of London on short and medium wave to Zimbabwe. For many of
us the slot from18.30 to 19.30 hrs has been a lifeline of news about what is
happening in Zimbabwe. This is the time when they flight their nightly
"Newsreel" programme.
At first I thought there was no signal, but then I was able to pick it up -
a faint signal right next to what sounded like a muffled roar. We were able
to hear the first 20 minutes or so and then it became impossible to make out
the voices over what was a continuous stream of noise.

SW is being jammed - very professionally - by transmitters located at the
Gweru transmitters of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. I understand
the equipment comes from Iran and has just been installed. This just another
example of the war on the media being waged by the Zanu (PF)-led regime in

SW went on to establish itself outside the country - the Daily News did not
have that option. They were soon closed down and have been fighting the new
legal restrictions ever since. This fight has cost its sponsors many
hundreds of millions of dollars in legal and other costs.

So when we heard that the SADC States were going to see to it that the
elections on the 31st were going to be free and fair - we assumed this meant
that the regime here would allow the Daily back on the streets. When it was
leaked that the Supreme Court was going to rule in favor of the Daily this
reinforced our feelings. But it was not to be - the Courts ruled that the
original banning order was not right and that the Daily News should have
been licensed. Then they sent the decision back to the same body that
originally banned the Daily News and has just banned another weekly.

The war on the media does not end there - any employee of the
State-controlled media - 7 newspapers and 4 radio stations and the sole
national TV station, who shows any signs of independence or professionalism
is immediately fired or worse. These people live in constant fear for their
jobs and careers. The weekly Financial Gazette - long a critic of the State
was quietly taken over by financial interests close to the ruling Party.

The only other independent weeklies that remained operating are the Standard
on Sunday and the Independent on Fridays. These are expensive and have a
limited circulation and have been very careful not to step outside the
invisible boundaries that mark regime media restrictions.

The propaganda machine is massive and constant. All media references to the
activities of the MDC are negative and hostile. The position of the ruling
party is constantly portrayed and all news and current affairs programming
is treated as a political campaign tool. Any positive coverage of the MDC -
such as the MDC campaign launch, which was covered at the start of this
campaign - has an electrifying effect on the country!

Even in the commercial printing industry there has been a campaign to limit
MDC activity. The company Daily Print, in Bulawayo was firebombed when it
was discovered that they were printing for the MDC. Since then all
commercial printers report visits by the CIO and threats that there will be
retaliation if they accept work from the MDC.

I do not know how you would interpret this situation? Thabo Mbeki says that
this is not an impediment to a free and fair election. I find that an
astonishing claim. How does he expect the MDC to address the issues and
campaign if they are virtually totally excluded from the media, except in a
negative way?
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The Zimbabwean
Is torture the Zimbabwean way?

A torture victim sobs while making her support
According to evidence collected by the Redress Trust (REDRESS) - an
international human rights organization with a mandate to assist torture
survivors seek justice and reparation - torture has not been unique to the
current historical period, and has been a feature in several other periods
in Zimbabwe's history.
Torture has been argued to be the mainstay of the current campaign of
terror, both around elections and other events. It is also said to be the
rationale for deployment of the youth militia around the country. Several
reports have made this point, but it is worth commenting that torture has
not been unique to the current historical period, and has been a feature in
several other periods in Zimbabwe's history.

The Convention Against Torture definition provides that torture is "any act
by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is
intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him
or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he
or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or
intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on
discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or
at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public
official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include
pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful

This definition is widely used by health professionals in the diagnosis of
torture, and is the basis for the examination of torture victims outlined in
the Istanbul Protocol, which is now the standard protocol for examination of
torture victims accepted by the United Nations High Commission for Human

The methods described in the Protocol have already been in use for several
decades, and have been basis of much work in the Zimbabwe context. This
definition has been employed by Zimbabwean human rights groups over the
period under survey, and the applicability of this definition has been
independently verified by a number of international observer missions to
Zimbabwe over the same period.

Torture itself was the largest category of human rights violations reported
to the members of the Forum in the reporting period. Cases of torture that
occurred during the Parliamentary Election are specifically excused by the
Presidential Clemency Order of October 2000. This order did not excuse
murder, rape, or crimes involving corruption, but did specifically exclude
from prosecution, assault, assault with intent to commit grievous bodily
harm, and crimes against property.

Given the number of reports indicating State complicity in torture during
the period covered by the amnesty, it can only be concluded that the State
has sought to avoid exposure through the amnesty. Of course the Clemency
Order cannot avoid civil liability for the acts committed, but it is clear
that very few of the victims will have the resources to follow such a course
of action. Furthermore, given the numbers involved - one estimate put the
probable number of torture victims in 2000 alone at 200,000 - the sheer
scale of the problem precludes civil litigation as a sensible course of

Secondly, in a small number of cases there has been an attempt to
demonstrate legally that torture has occurred and that the State has been
involved, or, more properly, that State officials have been involved. The
most notorious of these cases involves Chief Inspector Henry Dowa, whose
involvement in torture has been documented in considerable detail in an
attempt to obtain international justice. Dowa was seconded to the Civilian
Police Unit of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK),
and an attempt was made by REDRESS, representing several of Dowa's alleged
victims, to persuade UNMIK to try Dowa for the alleged acts of torture.

In the final event, the United Nations declined to accept any responsibility
for trying Dowa, and eventually returned Dowa to Zimbabwe, with a request
that the Zimbabwe authorities undertake "a prompt and full investigation
into the allegations against him, with a view to his possible prosecution".
It is noteworthy that no such investigation has taken place, and indeed that
Chief Inspector Dowa has been reported several times since his return as
having been party to further human rights violations.

Overall, it is also evident that much the same pattern is seen for torture
as was observed in respect of summary and extra-judicial executions. There
is a steady rise up to the Presidential Election in March 2002, and the
number of cases observed during the election period rockets upwards.

Subsequently, it can be observed from Figure 5 that small peaks are seen
during the MDC stay away in March 2003, the ZCTU mass action in April 2003,
the MDC "final push" in June 2003, and the various events in October 2003.

So it seems evident that there is a relationship between the prevalence of
torture and summary executions/extra-judicial killings. Furthermore, the
extent of reports of torture gives further support to the view that there is
a systematic campaign of violence against particular groups in Zimbabwe.
This view is further bolstered by all the evidence showing the involvement
of State agents in the perpetration of gross human rights violations, and
especially torture.
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The Zimbabwean

How did the dissidents operate?
This section of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe
reports on violence in the 1980s looks at the activity and organization of
The dissidents took some time to get organised, but in late 1983 they
divided Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands into three operational zones.
Several bands of 15 to 30 dissidents worked within each area, under a
commander. They had serious problems getting ammunition and supplies,
particularly because they had little popular support.

The ex-ZIPRA dissidents were suspicious of 'Super ZAPU', the South
African-backed dissidents. They said they did not want 'to be like UNITA',
who were backed by South Africa in Angola.

Partly because the ex-ZIPRA dissidents would not support them, Super ZAPU
did not last long: by mid-1984 it had basically collapsed. There were others
who became dissidents who were not ex-ZIPRA, mainly youth from Matabeleland
who felt persecuted by 5 Brigade, or who desired revenge against 5 Brigade
after their widespread killings in 1983.

There were also some 'pseudo-dissidents' who were really the 'hit squad' of
Zanu (PF) politicians in the region. It has been said that the gang that
killed sixteen missionaries in Matobo in 1987 was this group of
'pseudo-dissidents' - they killed the missionaries over a land dispute.
About 75% of the dissidents either had been killed, captured or had left for
Botswana by the amnesty in 1988. Only 122 dissidents handed themselves over
at this time.

Did the dissidents have popular support?

Ordinary people living in rural areas did not willingly support the
dissidents, especially after early 1983. People could see no point in this
conflict of the 1980s. What was its purpose? People had understood the need
to suffer in the 1970s in order to bring about independence for Zimbabwe,
but what could be hoped for from more violence in the 1980s?

Again it was people living in rural areas who suffered the worst, mostly
from the activities of 5 Brigade, but also at the hands of dissidents. These
were drought years so it was difficult to be forced to cook food for
dissidents, especially knowing the punishment that could follow. The
dissidents often raped women, which made them unpopular. They also killed
people who they thought were sellouts.

What did the dissidents do?

The dissidents murdered at least 33 white commercial farmers or members of
their families. This forced farmers to move into town, leaving their farms
unproductive. The commercial farmers in Matabeleland suffered more in the
1980s than during the civil war of the 1970s.

The dissidents also murdered civilians in rural areas, especially sellouts.
The evidence suggests that the numbers of rural civilians killed by
dissidents is not that high, particularly when compared with the murders at
the hands of Government troops in the same areas. Nonetheless, their methods
of killing people were extremely cruel.

The dissidents also destroyed property, especially Government property:
'where the government put money, we destroyed that thing.' There were also
many armed robberies committed by dissidents, who robbed stores and buses.


The dissidents were a small, organised group of men on the run, who tried to
stay loyal to ZIPRA ideals, even though they were ultimately leaderless.
There were many types of dissidents, including ex-ZIPRA cadres, youth,
criminals, 'Super ZAPU' and 'pseudo-dissidents'. They did not have any clear
policy, apart from staying alive and causing damage where they could. They
also did not have much support from people in rural areas. There is no
evidence linking them to ZAPU leaders. Their swift surrender at the end of
the disturbances was a result of their loyalty to ZIPRA ideals of
discipline. They never numbered more than 400, and numbered only 122 by
March 1988.

Next week - the government response to dissident activity.
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The Zimbabwean

Silence is Gono - but shortages are back
The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been a very vocal defender
of the current regime since he was appointed. No other person linked to the
Zanu (PF) led government has received such attention or publicity except,
maybe, Jonathan Moyo.
On the strength of his very public interventions, many Zanu apologists have
been saying that his reforms will lead to a turn around in the economy.
After six years of decline in GDP that would be a welcome development.

Initially he was able to report a steady decline in the rate of inflation -
assisted by the underlying strengths of the economy itself, a seriously
overvalued Zimbabwe dollar and massive subsidies on food and services. He
was also able to point to a reduction in the budget deficit as ministries
restricted expenditure and inflation drove up revenues.

But, like all of Zanu (PF) stratagems in recent years the policies were
neither soundly based nor sustainable. When the point is reached where Gono
can no longer hold the line, the bubble will burst with disastrous

There are signs of this already. Inflation leapt in January to an annual
rate of 385 per cent. The budget deficit is soaring out of sight as
ministries are instructed to pay higher salaries and to do things they have
neglected for years - at whatever cost, so that the Party can point to some
positives in their otherwise dismal record.

But there are other developments that will make things even harder for
ordinary Zimbabwean. Shortages are re-emerging and just this week there have
been serious shortages of coal, fuel, oils, cooking oil, fats and margarine,
soft drinks, sugar, soap powders and bath soap.

Just about everything that has an import content is in short supply. Last
week bids at the weekly auction for foreign currency were 15 times the
amount on offer. The parallel market for foreign currency has risen 25 per
cent in a week. Shortages create hidden costs for consumers - middlemen take
higher margins, prices rise in the market and people have to spend time
waiting in line for allocations.

Some of these shortages are not due to the foreign exchange crisis but
rather to the more general collapse of State controlled services and
institutions. The railways are now barely able to move more than 15 per cent
of the traffic they once moved. The Hwange coalmine is unable to produce
sufficient coal to meet demand and hundreds of road trucks stand idle at the
mine waiting for coal. This impacts on almost all industrial activity as
well as key mining companies.

With exports shrinking and all other sources of foreign exchange and aid
blocked by the political impasse, there are no short cuts out of this
crisis. The medicine required to fix the economy does not come out of the
Reserve Bank - it comes out of State House and the sooner the Governor of
the Reserve Bank adds his voice to the demand for action on critical
political and diplomatic initiatives, the better.
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