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

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      Saturday March 26, 07:15 PM

      Zimbabwe court bars jailed MP from election

      HARARE (Reuters) - A jailed white opposition MP will not be allowed to
run in parliamentary polls, Zimbabwe's new electoral court has said,
reversing an earlier ruling that had angered President Robert Mugabe.

      One of the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) best-known
candidates, Roy Bennett is serving a 12-month jail term for assaulting a
government minister during a debate last year.

      The court said on Saturday it had made the decision in consultation
with Bennett and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Bennett's lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa told Reuters. She said his wife Heather would now run in his

      The court had originally ruled that Bennett could stand for
re-election despite his imprisonment. It delayed the countrywide March 31
vote to April 30 in his constituency to give him time to campaign.

      But the ruling annoyed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Mugabe,
who said the country would not be "held ransom by a man who is in prison".
He told supporters of his ruling ZANU-PF to proceed with campaigning in the

      Mtetwa said Bennett had reached an agreement with the commission to
have the Chimanimani election held on March 31 after the government appealed
against the earlier ruling.

      "We took a practical decision after coming to the conclusion that our
chances of winning the case in the Supreme Court were very small," Mtetwa

      The Electoral Court was set up under reforms by Mugabe's government
ahead of next week's elections. Critics say the reforms are little more than
window-dressing to mask an electoral landscape still tilted in ZANU-PF's

      Bennett had his coffee farm confiscated under the government's
controversial land reform programme designed to give white-owned farms to
landless blacks.

      His wife Heather said she agreed with her husband's decision, adding
that holding the vote in Chimanimain after March 31 would increase the
chances of it being rigged by


      "It was in the interest of the people of Chimanimani to hold the
election now so that ZANU-PF will not be able to concentrate its resources
like its militia in one constituency," she said.
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It's a matter of life and death, says Heather    Beauregard Tromp
          March 26 2005 at 02:03PM

      With her MP husband languishing in a four by two-and-a-half metre
cell, Heather Bennett has, by herself, to run an occupied farm, bring up two
teenagers - and now manage an election campaign to try to retain her
husband's parliamentary seat of Chimanimani.

      But she is taking it in her stride. "I'm not a public speaker,"
Bennett said this week. "For a lot of Zimbabweans politics is life or death.
It's not a luxury like in other countries. All the people want is a person
who will do what's best for the community," she said.

      Heather Bennett was nominated as the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) candidate for Chimanimani last month when the nomination court
disqualified her husband Roy on the grounds that he was a criminal. Bennett
is serving a year's jail sentence for assaulting Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa in parliament.

      Then the Electoral Court overruled the nomination court and said
because parliament had sentenced him and not the courts, he was after all
qualified to run for parliament - from jail. The court postponed the
election in Chimanimani from March 31 - the date of the general elections -
until April 30.

      But after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission this week appealed that
decision to the Supreme Court, the MDC and the Bennetts decided not to
oppose it. So, Heather Bennett is once again the candidate for Thursday's

      "We would probably have lost that decision. The Supreme Court has
always ruled in favour of the government. Whatever the government wants, it
gets," Heather Bennett said this week.

      She felt that in any case a separate by-election in Chimanimani on
April 30 would probably have worked against the MDC as it would allow
Zanu-PF to focus all its resources fully on winning the constituency - as it
has successfully done to recapture several other MDC seats.

      "I think the actual electorate would prefer the election to go ahead
in March, for their own safety," she said. It was ten months ago when
Chinamasa stood up in parliament and called Bennett's forefathers "thieves"
who had stolen land from the locals.

      Saying: "You have gone too far," Bennett stormed towards Chinamasa and
shoved him to the floor of the chamber.

      Bennett's impulsive action provoked huge anger in the ruling Zanu-PF
and a debate which culminated in an unprecedented jail sentence handed down
by parliament.

      What happened that day in parliament was perhaps the result of a man
having come to the end of his tether.

      For years before the clash with Chinamasa, Bennett, his family and
workers had had to endure countless incidents of harassment, theft and
intimidation as local officials and militia occupied his farm near the
Mozambique border - and much more.

      Today Roy Bennett spends his nights in a cell with 15 other inmates in
Mutoko prison, 150km East of Harare. His mornings are spent carrying water
from the river to a vegetable garden he and his fellow prisoners tend.

      His diet consists of the standard cup of rice and a cup of cabbage,
twice a day. His wife estimates that he has lost about 20kg since he was

      "The groundswell this thing has created is picking up momentum.
Everybody says they will vote for the MDC. What they've done is create a
martyr," she said.

      She is allowed to visit him once every two weeks and hopes he might be
released early, perhaps in May. A few days after Bennett was imprisoned late
last year, his MDC campaign team approached Heather to run in his place.

      Thrown in at the deep end, with a farm to run and two teenagers to
look after, Heather coped because she believes in the upliftment of her
impoverished constituents.

      But she is also despondent about the possibilities of improving their
lives under a Zanu-PF government, fearing that the political obstacles are

      In her short stint as the MDC candidate for Chimanimani, Heather said
she had discovered first-hand that the system was corrupt and being run by
and for a ruling elite.

      "Unless there's a change of government you can't do anything. Anything
you do must go through the Rural District Council, so if they see you do
something that may make the MDC look good, they shut you down," she said.

      For her, the idea of Zanu-PF winning the elections is laughable as
they are not able to cater for the needs of the people. There are no jobs in
the area and no doctor. The closest medical care is more than 100km away.

      "I was speaking to one of my maids today and she was saying: 'What is
the use of Mugabe giving computers to schools when there is no
electricity?'," she said, referring to President Robert Mugabe's
much-publicised gifts of computers on the campaign trail.

      "Even the Zanu-PF supporters know that Roy is just trying to do what's
best for his community. He's not a politician at heart," she added.

          .. This article was originally published on page 15 of Saturday
Argus on March 26, 2005

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'I won't beg for food from Zanu-PF'
          March 26 2005 at 12:57PM

      By Peta Thornycraft

      Assa Sibanda, 82, would "rather die of hunger" than join President
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF so that she can buy food.

      "Zanu-PF control the maize and will not sell it to us unless we
denounce the MDC, (Movement for Democratic Change.) I will not do that, and
you can publish my name because I am not scared any more. I will die from
Zanu-PF anyway."

      Last Sunday she and several elderly opposition MDC supporters were
rescued from their villages and brought to the provincial capital Bulawayo
by people who identified themselves only as "well wishers".

      They are probably part of a South African group who sneaked into
Zimbabwe to assist those devastated by the food for votes scandal in the run
up to the general election on March 31.

      Sibanda's arid village, Dzhulube in the Insiza district in
Matabeleland province, is about 160km north-east of Bulawayo. She says she
was refused permission to buy food from Zimbabwe's only legal cereal
merchant, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) because she is an MDC supporter.

      She also looked perplexed when asked if she knew the name Tony Blair.
"No we do not know that man," she said. "Who is he?"

      The British prime minister features large in several daily full-page
Zanu-PF election advertisements in all government controlled newspapers. In
one, on Tuesday in The Chronicle in Bulawayo, a campaign slogan reads: "Bury

      Sibanda, who is looking after five orphaned grandchildren, earns a
little cash to buy grain from selling chickens scratching around her
thatched house. Her kitchen hut was burned down in February.

      "There was no fire coming from anywhere but it burned down with my
utensils and food. The headman said there was no way I could buy food, which
he said belongs to Zanu-PF, while I support MDC. This man denounced me at
Zanu-PF meetings. When the lorry comes to our village from the GMB depot in
Insiza, only Zanu-PF people can buy."

      Assa Sibanda and two elderly residents of nearby villages, all rescued
last Sunday, said they would never support Zanu-PF as their first political
allegiance, more than 40 years ago, was to Zapu, the Zimbabwe African
People's Union, which first went to war against minority white rule for "one
man one vote." After Mugabe sent North Korean-trained troops into
Matabeleland in 1982 and murdered thousands and crushed Zapu, some of its
leaders, including Zapu president Joshua Nkomo, reluctantly entered into an
uneasy truce and signed a "Unity Accord" with Mugabe in 1987.

      Most rural Zapu members remained in political limbo until the MDC
emerged in late 1999 and attracted the support of all classes, tribes and
races. "(Rhodesian prime minister) Ian Smith did not discriminate against
people when it came to food. We wonder now why the present Zanu-PF
government is giving food selectively," she said.

      "I am a registered voter. During the voters' roll inspection, I
checked my registration. Zanu-PF officials forced us to register with the
headman and the head of the kraal. The village heads have prepared their own
registers which they will use on polling day. On election day we villagers
will pass through the kraal heads and have our names ticked to show that we
are there before we cast our ballot."

      Jeslia Sibanda, (no relative) 69, says Zanu-PF's unofficial
food-for-votes scheme is also being implemented in her village Simwango, in
the same district, which comes under Chief Ndube Sibanda, who again is not
directly related to the two old ladies. She cannot walk unaided.

      "I don't give a damn if my name is known," she said through an
interpreter. "Many villagers who are known to support MDC were turned away
in the most humiliating manner at maize meal selling points, which are
always manned by Zanu-PF officials.

      "I supported Zapu in the old days and my immediate option was the MDC
when it was formed. I will never join Zanu-PF.

      "The problem is that I cannot force myself to beg for food from
Zanu-PF. I would rather die of hunger than do something I have never done

      "We got maize seed last August from the MP (Andrew) Langa (Zanu-PF),
through his officials but we were not give any fertiliser."

      The situation is now different from the time of the by-election which
Langa won. "We have not seen much of Langa here. He has not been campaigning
much," she said.

      "The MDC has been campaigning heavily and we believe this time we
would emerge the winners. If Zanu-PF wins it would be confirmation that the
government is vote stealing."

      The MDC won the Insiza constituency in June 2000, but lost it in a
by-election in October 2002 after widespread violence which local observers,
in particular the Human Rights Forum, blamed on Zanu-PF. Ahead of the
by-election the UN World Food Programme suspended distribution of emergency
food after massive amounts of grain were stolen from its Insiza depot and
distributed to voters.

      No one was ever arrested in connection with the theft at a time when
up to 4,5 million people countrywide were receiving emergency food aid
following the collapse of organised agriculture and drought.

      "Even before MDC I realised there was a need to change the government
because there no development," Sibanda said.

      "Nearly six gold mines in our area were closed and people lost their
jobs because Zanu-PF created this chaotic situation."

      She said although she had heard Zanu-PF talk about Tony Blair she did
not know who he is.

      Million Ndlovu, 62, from Masiyepambili village, in the Insiza
district, says many of his neighbours are hungry.

      "Three months ago Zanu-PF officials and village heads asked us to pay
Z$37 000 (about R30) for a 50kg bag of maize. We paid and when the maize
came on March 19, the Zanu-PF district chairman was sitting on top of it
with a paper with names of people who could receive it. Only Zanu-PF
supporters could get the GMB maize." - Independent Foreign Service

          .. This article was originally published on page 15 of Saturday
Argus on March 26, 2005

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New York Times

Grass-Roots Effort Aims to Upend Mugabe in Zimbabwe

Published: March 27, 2005

HARARE, Zimbabwe, March 26 - She is in her 40's and the mother of four,
though in the dappled sunlight of an outdoor restaurant here, clad in a
floppy hat and a thin cardigan, she looks too young to be either. Nobody
would see her as a provocateur, much less a revolutionary.

But when Rebecca took one child to the doctor on a recent morning, she left
behind a clinic restroom plastered with stickers urging resistance to the
25-year reign of Zimbabwe's president, Robert G. Mugabe. Later, she littered
her bus seat with condoms emblazoned with a large Z and a call to "Get up!
Stand up!" against the government.

"There are more than 10,000 of us," she said. "And every one is excited,
because you know you are playing a part in something you believe in."

The Z stands not for Zimbabwe, but for Zvakwana, an underground movement
that aims to resist - and eventually undermine - Mr. Mugabe's authoritarian
rule. With a second, closely related group called Sokwanele, Zvakwana's
members specialize in anonymous acts of civil disobedience - a meld of
guerrilla theater and the philosophies of Gandhi and King.

In ideology, and sometimes even in identity, Zvakwana mirrors grass-roots
efforts in any number of authoritarian nations. From Zubr in Belarus to
Ukraine's victorious Pora to nascent groups in Egypt and Lebanon (whose
names, in English, mean "enough"), such civic movements may be the hottest
phenomenon in global democratic politics. Many take their inspiration from
Otpor, the movement that played a major role in ousting Slobodan Milosevic
in Serbia.

The groups sprang to life here three years ago, shortly after Mr. Mugabe won
a re-election campaign that many international election observers said had
been stolen from his democratic opponents. Their rationale is embodied in
their names: in Shona and Ndebele, Zimbabwe's two main languages, both names
also mean "enough."

That the groups truly number 10,000 seems doubtful. Yet the government is
nettled enough to paint over much of their graffiti, and news media reports
say the police assembled a team of senior investigators 14 months ago to
find and destroy Zvakwana.

The police have failed. In fact, one Zvakwana member in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
second-largest city, said members of the movement stole into a police
station in January to slip antigovernment messages under supervisors' doors.

"We informed them that we are not their enemies, but their liberators," a
member, who would be identified only as Magamula, said in an interview.
"Even members of the police - the army, the C.I.O. and the C.I.D. are
working with us," the member said, referring to Zimbabwe's intelligence
apparatus and its criminal investigations division. "That's how we've
managed to survive this far."

Michael McFaul, a Stanford University political scientist and student of
grass-roots movements, has spent much of this year studying groups in
Georgia, Ukraine and Serbia. To a remarkable degree, he said, they and
similar groups are driven by the Internet and by the increasingly global
nature of television.

Although many speculate that movements like Zvakwana are Western inventions,
Mr. McFaul said the opposite appeared to be true, at least for the moment.

In Lebanon, "They're modeling what they're doing on the Ukrainians," he
said. "And they're watching the Ukrainians on Al Jazeera, of all places.
It's not an American-centric thing that's being channeled through the White
House. It's more global."

Some movements do receive foreign money, but no amount of money will sustain
a democratic movement, he added, if a nation's dissidents lack the passion
and numbers to carry the battle on their own.

In personal conversations and an extensive interview via e-mail, Zvakwana
members insisted theirs was a homegrown protest movement, free of foreign
control. But not of foreign influence. In a long conversation, Rebecca said
she and fellow members had begun their membership in Zvakwana by viewing
videotapes on resistance movements in Poland, Chile, India and Serbia, as
well as studying civil rights tactics used in Nashville.
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The Zimbabwean Parliamentary Elections are in less than a week.  Come and join the Zimbabwe Vigil’s events to help maximise awareness that:


1.         Zimbabwe Parliamentary Election Mock Ballot in the UK

Date:         Thursday, 31st March 2005

Time          6 am to 6 pm BST (mirrors Zimbabwe polling times of 7am – 7 pm)

Venue:       Outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2

Come and symbolically cast your vote at our mock polling station with mock transparent ballot boxes, mock ballot papers and mock polling officers.  Zimbabwean activists in South Africa are also be carrying out Mock Ballots for exiled Zimbabweans in Johannesburg and Pretoria.


2.         All night Vigil in support of COSATU

Date:         Wednesday, 30th March 2005

Time          8 pm till polling opens at 6 am

Venue:       As above

Come and show symbolic support for COSATU in their march, mass protest and night vigil at the Beitbridge border post in South Africa on the eve of the Zimbabwean parliamentary elections.


3.         Pre-election awareness rally organised by the MDC leadership in the UK

Date:         Saturday, 26th March 2005

Time          1 pm – 3pm

Venue:       As above

Come and help send a message to Mugabe and his regime that enough is enough and that the SADC electoral protocols must be respected.  Make your voice heard.  Invited speakers include MP, Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for International Development and Charles Nhova, Chairman of Partners for Zimbabwe


4.         Delivery of the results of the Mock Ballot

Date:         Friday, 1st April 2005

Time          To be advised

Venue:       Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2

Help us try to give in the results of the Mock Ballot to the Zimbabwe Embassy.  An earlier attempt by supporters of the Vigil to view the Voters’ roll at the Embassy was not successful but did result in the Embassy closing down for the afternoon. The group were told to go home to vote.



·         Join the rota to keep the polling station manned on election day, 31st March.  This is our most urgent need.

·         Circulate this email as widely as possible and encourage all Zimbabweans in the UK to come and vote and support all our events.

·         If you have any skills to offer that will make our efforts more successful, please let us know.



To offer help, contact:             Wiz Bishop – 07963 521 160

                                                Rose Benton – 07970 996 003




Nearest tube and rail station: Charing Cross

Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
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Baltimore Sun

Elections near, hope far away in Zimbabwe

Africa: Many think the nation's rapid decline, marked by poverty and hunger,
will persist until President Robert G. Mugabe leaves the scene.
By Scott Calvert
Sun Foreign Staff
Originally published March 26, 2005
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe - Joseph Saina, the manager of an art gallery in
this battered tourist town, has the modest ambitions of Zimbabwe's middle
class. He wants a television, covets a decent used car, dreams of being able
to support a wife properly.
Those goals are moving further out of reach by the day. His
impressive-sounding salary, 1.6 million Zimbabwean dollars a month, amounts
to $114 at the current unofficial exchange rate and doesn't keep pace with
triple-digit inflation. And a dearth of tourists means few customers in the

"You have to spend your money wisely," he said during another quiet day at
his shop filled with unsold stone sculptures, "because otherwise things will
be tight."

Saina, at least, eats three meals a day. Many Zimbabweans are struggling to
meet basic needs. The poor are feeding their families single daily helpings
of cornmeal while scrounging for cash to keep children in schools that no
longer have textbooks.

There is little evidence that the parliamentary elections to be held
Thursday will lead to significant improvement. European observers say
President Robert G. Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic
Front - better known as ZANU-PF - rigged similar elections in 2000 and 2002,
and this time the party could add to its comfortable majority in the
150-member legislature.

In the final days of the campaign, there is an eerie quiet. This week, from
Victoria Falls to Hwange, the only signs of an imminent election were the
few campaign posters tacked to trees and telephone poles. There were no
rallies, no hand-shaking candidates were in sight, and there was little
curiosity about them.

People in this western region, considered a stronghold of the opposition,
blame the 81-year-old Mugabe for the free-falling fortunes of the country.
"Everything rests with Mugabe. He can undo the damage if he wishes," said
Simon, the operator of a desolate guest lodge near Hwange National Park, who
asked to be identified only by his first name.

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since it became independent in 1980, attributes
his country's problems to a supposed plot by British Prime Minister Tony
Blair to re-colonize the country. In state-owned newspapers, Mugabe says the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change is a tool of the West and urges
voters to "bury Blair."

"That's just a diversion," said Princeton N. Lyman, a former U.S. ambassador
to South Africa who is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
"I think it's a steadily declining state, just steadily going downhill,
downhill until [Mugabe] is removed by his own people or dies."

Lyman and other experts say a series of political events and other events
beyond the government's control are the causes of the country's plight:

a.. In 2000, Mugabe encouraged disillusioned veterans of the liberation
struggle to seize white-owned farms. Many of the war veterans who went into
the countryside lacked experience and equipment for large-scale agriculture,
and the harvests of corn, wheat and other crops plummeted.

a.. A year ago Mugabe stopped accepting most food aid from the United
Nations' World Food Program, insisting Zimbabwe could feed itself. But the
country continues to import food from South Africa and other countries to
offset the devastating effects of land redistribution.

a.. Inflation has soared because the government has printed more money to
cover government spending. Since June, the Zimbabwean dollar has lost more
than half of its value, sliding from 6,000 per U.S. dollar to about 14,000.

a.. In part because of that inflation and because of the country's political
isolation, the economy has nearly collapsed. The International Monetary Fund
reported in September that the economy had declined 30 percent in the
previous five years and was still shrinking.

a.. A drought across much of the country has stunted the corn crop, leaving
the stalks withering in the sun.
"There will be a need for food assistance later this year," said World Food
Program spokesman Michael Huggins. The program was feeding a third of
Zimbabwe's 12 million people a year ago, but at Mugabe's insistence, it
scaled back its efforts.

Mugabe acknowledges that the country remains unable to feed itself, and he
has pledged to import as much as food as necessary. "Government will not let
anyone starve," he was quoted as saying in the state-owned Herald.

East of Victoria Falls, past the service stations without gasoline in their
storage tanks and the stores with no cornmeal on their shelves, a
24-year-old woman sat by the road selling peanuts and sugar cane for

Her mother was in the sandy fields, digging up more nuts. Her father was off
making drums for tourists, although there are fewer tourists to buy them.

Though never wealthy, the family used to do well enough to be able to afford
chicken for meals. In bad years, family members could buy grain from bins at
a nearby commercial farm. Now, breakfast is a cup of tea and boiled corncob,
dinner an improvised cornmeal made from flowers atop cornstalks. The corn is
carefully rationed for fear of having none in the coming dry season.

"We are suffering," the woman said. She would not give her name or allow her
face to be photographed because of fear. Ever since family members skipped a
ZANU-PF rally to guard their fields against baboons, she said, the party has
denied the family corn when it had corn to hand out.

The quiet of the campaign seemed a good omen to Simon, the lodge operator.
He reasoned that if Mugabe could curtail pre-election intimidation and
violence, he could prevent fraud on election day.

Critics say Mugabe is attempting to manipulate the vote by refusing to
permit supervision of the election by international observers, who concluded
that the previous two elections were flawed.

TheFreeZim Support Group, a pro-democracy group critical of the government,
concluded that 2 million of the 5.6 names on the voter rolls are suspect,
including 300,000 duplicates and 800,000 names of people thought to be dead.

Simon has managed the lodge since the early 1990s, but the good years are a
memory. In 2000, he said, war veterans swarmed the lodge. He feared that it
was the first step in a takeover similar to what occurred at about 4,000 of
the 4,500 white-owned farms. But the interlopers stayed only long enough to
drink the beer and steal cell phones.

Hoping to prevent a recurrence, Simon removed the sign from the gate so that
the lodge looked like an ordinary house. Behind the main building are two
stilt houses, a half-dozen ground chalets and a campsite area.

All were empty on a recent Saturday. The last guest had checked out two
weeks earlier. Housekeepers and other staff members have been laid off. For
Simon's family, supper is the only real meal, usually the starchy cornmeal
called sadza.

Simon's two grandchildren live with him and go to school nearby. He has a
hard time paying the school fees that are due for every three-month term.

The state of the schools reflects the country's decline. After independence,
more than 1,500 elementary schools were established, according to UNICEF. By
1990, nearly 90 percent of Zimbabweans were finishing primary school. That
figure has fallen to 67 percent.

The collapse of the tourism industry is felt all over the region. At Hwange
National Park, most of the 30 rangers are pursuing poachers, some of whom
have been driven to hunt protected animals to feed their families.

In the village of Mansuma, six women worked in the shade of makeshift huts,
sanding and polishing wooden giraffes. But there were almost no visitors, so
no customers for the giraffes. Every newly whittled giraffe joined a herd
gathering dust in the gravel. The women said their corn crops had failed, so
they pool what little money they earn to buy cornmeal for their families.

Not far away, members of Elizabeth Nyathi's family were selling watermelons
to passing motorists. She held her 2-year-old son, whose belly was enlarged,
often a sign of malnutrition.

Asked what he ate, she replied, "Nothing" except sadza. She cannot afford
enriched porridge or fruit juice.

"I feel sorry for him because I can't buy him anything else," she said.
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Fair go in Zimbabwe? Don't be silly

THE best that can be said about Thursday's general election in Zimbabwe is
that it is slightly freer than before.

That means there is some torture -- a few opposition candidates have been
beaten by the military -- and threats of starvation have replaced murder.
While accounts of state-sponsored terror are down compared with the 2000 and
2002 elections, Human Rights Watch has joined unions, churches and charities
in saying the poll will not be fair.

Speaking from Johannesburg, rights watch researcher Tiseke Kasambala said
violence sanctioned by the Mugabe regime had left her fellow countrymen
scared to talk politics.

"Ruling party supporters and officials were telling the chiefs to note the
names of the people who were likely to vote for the MDC (Movement for
Democratic Change) and told there will be repercussions," she said.

"People are being told if they don't vote for Zanu-PF (ruling party), they
won't get any food after the election."

Mr Mugabe, 81, has presided over the transformation of southern Africa's
breadbasket into the world's fastest shrinking economy.

The MDC, led by union chief Morgan Tsvangirai, emerged in 1999 as the first
serious threat to Mr Mugabe's power since independence in 1980.

For its trouble, it has been financially crippled and about 400 of its
supporters have been murdered by government militia. Thousands of supporters
have been tortured.

Unfurling banners of "We will never be a colony again", Mr Mugabe's
battle-cry campaigning is not to be undone by the reality that Western
countries are finding less and less reason to pay attention to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's society is going through a silent scream as the world's
fourth-worst AIDS nation. The UN Children's Fund this month decried the
evaporation of donor funds that has coincided with the latest set of
mind-numbing statistics on Zimbabwe: 100 babies become HIV-infected each
day, about 1.3 million children are orphaned, 20 Zimbabweans die of AIDS
each hour and life expectancy has fallen from 61 to 38.

UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy said Western donor countries were
sanctioning Zimbabwe's children, who receive $5 per HIV-infected person in
donor funds compared with $94 in other southern African countries.

But it is easy to realise why donors snub Zimbabwe.

Last year, Mr Mugabe quipped: "Why foist food on us -- do you want us to
choke?" He then introduced a non-government Bill that can interpret charity
as a crime, with a two-year jail term for aid workers and church volunteers.

With non-government organisations on notice, other potential impartial
observers to the Zimbabwe election have also been vetted and controlled.

The main opposition paper, the Daily News, remains forcibly closed, despite
a court ruling to the contrary. Most media is controlled by the ruling party
and signals from independent radio stations are being jammed.

Many foreign journalists, including the ABC and me, have so far been denied

The Southern African Parliamentary Observer Team, which declared the 2002
presidential election was rigged and marred by violence, has been refused

While most foreign observer missions have been locked out, the South African
Government has been welcomed and, to the fury of the MDC, has declared the
poll will be smooth.

The voters' roll, with 5.6 million names, includes 800,000 dead people and
300,000 listed more than once. All Zimbabweans outside the country, such as
the hundreds of thousands in Britain, cannot vote.

Brutalised and dispirited, the MDC only recently agreed to contest the
election -- hoping the Southern African Development Community would pressure
Zimbabwe to honour its detailed protocol for free and fair elections.

While MDC rallies are well attended, the biggest battlegrounds are beyond
Zimbabwe's borders where most of Africa's leaders cannot agree how to handle
their neighbour.

Mr Mugabe is already toying with projects for a two-thirds majority to
create an upper house. It helps that of the 150 seats, 30 are hand-picked by
the tyrant.

It is all a long way from the days when Mr Mugabe was the people's champion
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Mugabe using traditional leaders, says MDC
          March 26 2005 at 07:31PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition on Saturday accused President Robert
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF of enlisting traditional leaders in a campaign of
intimidation ahead of next week's elections in the southern African country.

      "Chiefs, kraal heads and other traditional leaders continue to be used
by Zanu-PF in its desire to steal the March 2005 election," said Paul Themba
Nyathi, spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is
battling Zanu-PF for parliament seats in the polls on Thursday.

      The MDC named chiefs in the northern town of Hurungwe who they said
had tried to block an opposition rally, threatened to evict residents who
vote for the opposition and also deny them agricultural aid.

      It also said that Vice President Joyce Mujuru had announced at public
rallies that chiefs and other traditional leaders "should shepherd their
subjects to polling stations on voting day" to ensure that they cast their

      Mugabe's government has in recent years sought to shore up traditional
leaders, providing them with amenities such as vehicles, water and
electricity in their rural communities.

      Zimbabweans are going to the polls on Thursday to elect 120
representatives to parliament with an additional 30 seats to be appointed by
Mugabe directly. Of those 30, ten are traditional leaders.

      The elections are closely watched to measure Mugabe's commitment to a
hold free and fair vote following the 2000 and 2002 polls that were tainted
by violence and allegations of vote-rigging.

      Mugabe is hoping to secure a two-thirds majority in parliament for his
Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), in power in
Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. - Sapa-AFP

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Globe and Mail, Canada

Zimbabwean rally count proves police bias: MDC
Saturday, March 26, 2005

Harare -- Zimbabwe's ruling party, ZANU-PF, has held more than 1,537
rallies, more than double its main rival's total of 753, since launching its
campaign for the parliamentary election next week, the national police said
The statement followed charges that police were blocking opposition campaign
rallies to give President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF an advantage.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said the figures confirmed
accusations of selective police treatment of the two main political parties.
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Los Angeles Times

Amid Famine, Zimbabwe Voters Fed Anti-Blair Vitriol
.. Britain is the issue in state media as legislative elections near, but
food shortage stirs anger.

By Robyn Dixon, Times Staff Writer

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe - Grain stores are empty in many parts of this country,
the maize crop has largely failed and there has been panic buying in
markets. Yet Zimbabwe's food crisis barely rates a mention in the state
media election coverage here.

Instead, a campaign tightly controlled by the ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front has focused on the issue of leadership. Not
that of longtime President Robert Mugabe, but of the prime minister of a
country thousands of miles away: Britain's Tony Blair.

"Bury Blair, vote ZANU-PF," run the ruling party's newspaper advertisements,
promising "an end to racist factory closures, an end to racist withholding
of commodities," along with a litany of other domestic problems blamed on
the British leader. Mugabe is furious with Britain, the country's former
colonial power, especially since Blair said he would like to see a change of
regime in Zimbabwe.

Opposition leaders and rights activists charge that the government has
nonetheless underpinned its anti-Blair parliamentary election campaign with
threats that play on fears sparked by the food crisis. They allege that the
government has threatened to bypass areas that fail to support ZANU-PF when
it distributes food after Thursday's voting.

"Every time you turn on the television, you hear about how bad Tony Blair
is. People are taking it as a joke. There's no strong anti-British
sentiment," said a supervisor at a factory in this southwestern city. He
agreed to a surreptitious interview conducted in a car outside his workplace
but, fearing repercussions, gave his name only as Jack.

But he said there was plenty of anxiety about food. His elderly mother in
rural central Zimbabwe and his three children at school in Bulawayo had all
been warned, he said, that supporters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change could miss out on rations.

It is difficult to predict whether the food shortages will translate into
popular anger against the government in the vote or fear of being denied
food will boost the ruling party's support. Either way, analysts expect
ZANU-PF to win the elections.

Although the killings and violence of past elections under Mugabe have
waned, a recent Human Rights Watch report warned that a continuing climate
of intimidation in Zimbabwe meant that a fair election was impossible, and
other reports have suggested that 40% of names on voter rolls are suspect.

In a country where opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces treason charges
for organizing anti-government rallies, the Human Rights Watch report cited
"serious irregularities" in the electoral process, repressive laws on public
security, biased electoral institutions supervising the poll and closures of
independent newspapers.

"As a result, the elections are highly unlikely to reflect the free
expression of the people," the report found. Human Rights Watch researcher
Tiseke Kasambala said the threats to deprive people of food aid after the
election were being made at ruling party rallies, particularly in rural

An audit of the voter roll by pro-democracy group FreeZim Support Group
found that more than 2 million of the 5.6 million names on the rolls were
suspect, with up to 800,000 dead people registered and 300,000 duplicate

Mugabe, the former liberation struggle leader who has ruled Zimbabwe through
25 years of independence, has in recent years overseen a catastrophic
decline in farm production and economic collapse.

Opposition newspaper advertisements focus on the crash and runaway
inflation, contrasting the power of 1,500 Zimbabwean dollars to purchase a
car 25 years ago with its ability to buy a bus ticket in 2002 and a single
nail today.

Mugabe eschewed humanitarian food aid last year as his government predicted
a bumper grain crop of 2.4 million tons. "We are not hungry. Why foist this
food on us? We don't want to be choked. We have enough," Mugabe said in an
interview with British Sky News television.

The South African-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network recently warned
that 5.8 million people were at risk in Zimbabwe's current food emergency.
It reported that most rural households had run out of food in mid-2004, and
soaring food prices and falling incomes had since worsened the crisis. Many
rural people rely on sons and daughters living in the cities or abroad to
send money or food.

In recent weeks, the government has dropped its predictions of an excellent
crop and conceded the need for emergency food for 1.5 million people.

"The situation right now for my family is very bad. There's no food," said a
28-year-old security guard in Bulawayo, who declined to be identified for
fear of reprisals. His 42-year-old sister recently called from rural
Masvingo province, normally a government stronghold, to tell him she had run
out of food.

He said his parents had always supported ZANU-PF, but now there was anger in
Masvingo, with people blaming Mugabe because of his rejection of
international aid.

"People are not happy, because CARE International used to give them
porridge, beans and [maize] almost every month," he said. "Some of the
people are saying this government is not good because almost everybody
managed to hear what the president said. I'm sure people will go and vote
for the other party. There's a big change in the rural community."

Despite the decline in violence, David Coltart, a member of parliament for
the MDC, argued that threats to deny food were more frightening than
physical threats. "The threat of food is insidious, but it's far more
powerful than murdering people. It affects everyone."

But he argued it was possible that anger about food could backfire on
ZANU-PF. "That's the big unanswered question of the election. They clearly
are not delivering sufficient food to people yet. We're getting information
countrywide that people are out of food and angry because they know Mugabe
is responsible. There's a problem for the government if they can't deliver
food before the election."

One employee at a small Bulawayo factory said that although he was no longer
afraid to wear a shirt supporting the MDC, he felt sure the vote would be

"Now people feel that even if they vote, it's not going to make any
difference because they're just rigging," he said. "People are saying,
'Let's just wait till the old man dies to see if things get any better.' "
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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe exiles to vote in mock election

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/26/2005 23:20:54
ZIMBABWEANS living in South Africa are set to take part in a mock election
after the government shot down their pleas for postal ballots for the
estimated 3,5 million nationals living abroad.

The mock election, which is not part of the official electoral process
currently happening in Zimbabwe, will be held at the Zimbabwe embassy in
Pretoria on Tuesday March 29, organisers said.

Zimbabweans vote in nationwide parliamentary elections on Thursday, two days
after the Pretoria mock ballot.

"The mock election will be conducted to send signals to the Zimbabwean
government that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora also need to contribute in the
political decision making process of their country by participating in the
election of representatives to the national government structures," Daniel
Molokele of the Crisis in Zimbabwe group said in a statement.

"It will also send signals to SADC and the rest of the world on the need and
possibility for Zimbabweans all over the world to participate in all
national elections from their present countries of residence. This will also
set a foundation for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to intensify the campaign
for a postal ballot vote," he said.

Organisers also plan to allow for SMS voting via mobile phones. They hope
the outcome will indicate people's willingness to participate in postal
voting as well as their support for the Diaspora vote lobby.

"Those willing to participate by SMS voting will be writing messages with
the name of their chosen party, i.e. write Zanu PF or MDC or other or
independents. Non Zimbabweans in solidarity with this cause are encouraged
to write solidarity. The texts should be sent to number 34383 for all South
African cellular networks.

"The election is crucial towards the success of advocacy and campaign for
good governance in Zimbabwe. We have a liability to contribute to the
restoration of democracy, dignity, human rights respect, political and
socio-economic reconstruction of that beloved country," said Molokele.

A group of seven Zimbabweans based in the UK launched a court challenge on
the decision by government to bar them from voting, but the petition was
rejected by the Supreme Court which dismissed it as "without basis".
For additional information call Daniel Molokele on (SA numbers) 011 838 9642
or 072 947 4815 or Email:
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Thousands attend election rallies at Chitungwiza

March 26, 2005, 20:30

With just four days to go ahead of Zimbabwe's March 31 parliamentary poll,
political parties are wrapping up their election rallies to canvas for
votes. attended two rallies held by the Zanu(PF) and Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) parties respectively, at St Mary's in
Chitungwiza south of Harare, today. According to recent census conducted by
the Central Statistics Office, St Mary's has a population of 500 000 people.

Thousands of Zanu(PF) and MDC supporters braved the scorching heat and short
heavy downpours to attended their respective rallies at St Mary's in
Chitungwiza south of Harare. Supporters chanted slogans praising their
leaders and denouncing the opposition.

Patrick Nyaruwata, the Zanu(PF) candidate for the St Mary's constituency,
urged residents not to vote for fools in the upcoming election. He was
referring to the opposition MDC. He promised among other things to set up a
scholarship fund to assist aspiring students, orphans and widows. Nyaruwata
also appealed to his supporters to show the world that they are a peaceful
nation. "Go in numbers and vote Zanu(PF) on election day," he said. He also
accused the MDC which controls the St Mary's municipality of not doing
enough for the development of the community.

Speaking to, Job Sikhala, an MDC MP, said that his party has
achieved a lot for the people. These include a market place so that locals
can survive through trading. He says he's also set up a scholarship fund
with this own personal money. There are also Aids awareness drives.

Address his supporters, Sikhala warned against violence in the region. He
said: "The MDC will not tolerate violence in the area". His caution came
shortly after a small scuffle between Zanu(PF) supporters and MDC
supporters. The Zanu(PF) supporters where passing by after attending the
earlier rally when the incident happened. The two sides solved the problem
amicably before proceedings continued.

Sikhala has also called on his supporters to be peaceful. He is confident
the MDC will win the St Mary's constituency again.
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Tsvangirai optimistic of winning Bulawayo in poll

March 26, 2005, 18:00

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
Zimbabwe, says he is confident that his party will win the parliamentary
election in Bulawayo.

Tsvangirai addressed thousands of supporters at a rally in Bulawayo an area
considered to be an MDC stronghold. Several thousands braved the burning sun
and they were there for one reason to show their support for the opposition.
Bulawayo has over 300 000 registered voters. The MDC is contesting the
elections on several key issues freedom, human rights, education and job

Tsvangirai took a swipe at President Robert Mugabe, saying there are more
pressing issues like hunger than worrying about Tony Blair the British prime
minister. Tsvangirai say if Mugabe wants to challenge Blair he should go to
Britain. This a passing reference to Zanu(PF)'s election campaign which is
dubbed the 2005 poll - the anti-Blair election. If numbers are anything to
go by then the MDC looks set to retain it control of Bulawayo and deliver on
it election payoff line - a new Zimbabwe, a new beginning.

Rural votes
Meanwhile, with almost four days before the parliamentary elections in
Zimbabwe and the battle for winning rural votes by all political parties has
been intensified. The situation in rural areas which had been a fertile
ground for violence has also changed. This time round tolerance has become
an order of the day.

But the peace is fragile. There are allegations that Zanu(PF) supporters are
receiving food parcels at the expense of MDC supporters and the rural chiefs
aren't opposing this. Tongai Matutu the MDC candidate in the Masvingo
Central area says the chiefs are supposed to preside over their subjects
fairly, equally, without favour and without fear and make sure that at the
end of the day justice prevails.

There's great international pressure on Robert Mugabe's government for the
March 31 poll to be free and fair. There are also SADC guidelines to be
observed. But for the voters in the rural areas seeing is believing. They
have heard it all and seen very little. All they want is an improvement in
their quality of life.

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The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Friday March 26th 2005
Daily Media Update No.4

* There were no newspapers published today following the Good Friday
holiday, so what follows in this update is MMPZ's analysis of the content of
the electronic media only for Good Friday (March 25th)

Electronic Daily Update: March 25th 2005

ZTV gave independent candidate for Mbare Dunmore Makuwaza another five
minutes to air his manifesto to the electorate after its main news bulletin.
Makuwaza was earlier accorded the same opportunity on March 1.

a. Campaigns

ZANU PF continued to have unparalleled publicity on ZBH news bulletins.
For example, of the 18 reports ZTV carried in its main 6pm and 8pm
bulletins, 13 (72%) were on ZANU PF campaigns. One (5,5%) was on the MDC,
two (11%) on Zanu (Ndonga) and two (11%) were on independent candidate
Margaret Dongo.
Other small parties and independent candidates were not covered.

The ruling party's campaign activities constituted most of the airtime ZTV
allocated to campaigns. Of the 36 minutes devoted to the contesting
parties', 28 minutes (78%) were allocated to ZANU PF, two minutes (6%) to
the MDC, another two minutes and 50 seconds (7%) to Zanu (Ndonga) and the
remaining three minutes and 10 seconds (9%) to Dongo.
All but two ZANU PF campaign stories were on rallies addressed by the
party's presidium, which vilified the MDC as a "sellout" party that was
being used by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to effect regime change in
Zimbabwe. The remaining story was a ruling party campaign rally in Glen View
addressed by a member of an obscure US based organisation and ZANU PF ally,
December 12 Movement. ZANU PF candidate for the constituency also addressed
the same rally.
Similarly, Radio Zimbabwe carried three campaign stories, all of which were
on ZANU PF. The MDC and other contesting parties were not covered.

Voice distribution
STATION ZANU PF MDC Zanu Independent
ZTV 8 2 2 2
Power FM 8 2 0 0
Radio Zimbabwe 8 0 0 0
Studio 7 2 1 0 1

Power FM's coverage also heavily favoured ZANU PF in nine stories it carried
on campaigns. Eight of its reports were on the ruling party while one story
was on the MDC.
In contrast, Studio 7 carried three campaign stories. Two were on President
Mugabe's rallies while one report featured profiles of MDC candidate Milton
Gwetu and an independent candidate Leonard Nkala who are all contesting the
Phelandaba/Mpopoma seat. ZANU-PF's candidate for the constituency Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu was also accorded the same opportunity but declined saying he could
not speak to a "station based in a country that has imposed sanctions on

While ZBH merely quoted members of ZANU PF's presidium castigating the MDC
without giving the opposition the right to reply, Studio 7 tried to balance
its reports.
For instance, it sought comment from the MDC's ousted Harare mayor Elias
Mudzuri on President Mugabe's claims that MDC councils had failed to run the
country's major cities. Citing Harare as an example, Mudzuri noted that,
contrary to Mugabe's claims, government's interference in the running of
local authorities had led to poor service delivery in the cities.
SW Radio Africa carried one campaign related report, an update on the
campaign activities of the MDC candidate for Chimanimani, Heather Bennett,
and the overall situation in the constituency.

b. Administrative issues

ZBH (ZTV, Radio Zimbabwe and Power FM) continued to gloss over the flaws in
the country's electoral process, presenting the electoral environment as
conducive for a free and fair election in the 14 stories it carried on
administrative issues.
The broadcaster quoted the police, local observers and political analysts
all saying the prevailing peace was conducive for a free and fair poll and
claimed that the prevailing electoral environment was an indication that
Zimbabwe was a "mature democracy", capable of holding democratic elections.
No comment was sought from the opposition or independent candidates on their
views on the electoral process.

In fact, the broadcaster's attempts to suffocate concerns over the country's
electoral process resulted in Power FM passively quoting Zimbabwe's
ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo dismissing the demonstration by
Zimbabweans in that country over the authorities' decision to deny them
their right to vote as an attempt "to make a mockery of the March election"
by "sponsored exiles".
The station failed to seek comment from the protestors or independent
commentators on the matter.

Studio 7 carried one report on administrative issues. The report was on a
meeting between MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the South African
Government Observer Mission. The station quoted MDC Foreign Affairs
secretary Priscilla Misihairabwi saying the meeting was "a normal diplomatic
courtesy call...and not really a meeting".
She was however, not challenged for clarity on what she meant.
SW Radio Africa did not carry any report on the topic.

c. Political violence and intimidation

THERE were no reports of incidents of political violence and intimidation on
ZBH. But the broadcaster carried nine reports, which quoted the police,
political scientists and local observers (one from Zimbabwe Election Support
Network and the other from Indigenous Business Development Corporation) all
hailing the prevailing peace.

In contrast, Studio 7 carried two incidents of arrests and intimidation of
MDC candidates and the electorate. One of the reports was on the arrests of
Trudy Stevenson and Murisi Zwizwai, the MDC candidates for Harare North and
Harare Central respectively. The two were arrested for distributing campaign
flyers. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed Stevenson's arrest
saying she had been charged for "disrupting the smooth flow of traffic" and
fined $20,000.
The other report was on the heavy deployment of police and soldiers in
Gwanda and Tsholotsho, a development the station viewed as an attempt to
intimidate the electorate.
However, MDC Secretary-General Welshman Ncube was quoted saying the
deployment could have been meant for President Mugabe's security during his
campaigns in the two areas. No comment was sought from the relevant

SW Radio Africa carried one report on the arrest of Zwizwai. The station
reported that Zwizai was arrested after an MDC meeting in Harare and was
released following the intervention of a South African observer team.

The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702,
E-mail: <>

Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we
will look at each message.  For previous MMPZ reports, and more information
about the Project, please visit our website at
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 * Originally dated Thu 24 Mar 2005   3:33P

 -*- Forwarded message follows: -*-

Others have taken the liberty of using Market + Social Conferences - with the postmaster not objecting - so let us do the same.
YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN 2000...............!!! and the words used in rallies, referring to ..... being visitors.....

"Remember - in Africa - you never tell the Chief you don't want him, nor, that he is wrong"

You Hobby Horse riders - don't spoil it for all us sensible people - we don't want our urban properties affected - and in any event - your vote will be will your precious time - if it is that to you.
My colleague in the media wrote an outstanding article a few days ago which I copy hereunder..
[ the author then quotes Trevor Ncubes' latest article "If not Bob, Who?" in full which criticizes the MDC as heavily as it does ZPF.]
Hopefully you'll see the light (not the one at the end of the tunnel)

Sergio's Campaign Director


Response from Eddie Cross

I do not know who you are but I have had your latest e mail sent on to me by
someone in your "loop". In this you urge white Zimbabweans not to
participate, not to vote and the reason given is that the "chief" does not
like to be rejected and that people should consider their "urban

There were many in Germany who said the same things when Hitler was just
getting started and look where that got them. Let me tell you that if we do
not stop this tyranny in its tracks there will be nothing left in a very
short while. These guys are pursuing a Khymer Rouge strategy and must be
stopped - almost at any price. If we want a peaceful, legal and democratic
transition then we all have to work at it - not just our fellow black

But there is another perspective to this - if we are citizens, if we are
Africans then we have the right to participate and in fact if we do not
participate we run the risk of losing what we already have. If you regard
yourself as "not Zimbabweans" then for heavens' sake go elsewhere and leave
us to get on with rescuing our country and then building it back up again.

Eddie Cross
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Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005 5:03 PM
Subject: A leopard doesn't change its spots

Dear Family and Friends,
As I write this letter on Easter Saturday morning, there are just five
days left before our elections. The atmosphere in Marondera in this pre
election week has been peculiar to say the least. I suppose the adjectives
that most accurately describe the feeling are tension, suspicion, distrust
and expectation. The town is absolutely full to bursting with people, many
of whom are strangers. The electioneering and rhetoric has moved into top
gear and everywhere you look in Marondera there are posters, T shirts,
wrap around skirts, head scarves and hats all advertising the ruling
party. There are still a couple of dozen MDC posters in the town but
mostly they are high up and out of reach. No one in the town can believe
that there still haven't been any reports of violence and we are all going
through the motions of our normal business but with eyes in the back of
our heads just waiting for something to happen. Reading through some of
the letters I wrote at the time of elections in 2000 and 2002, it is
almost impossible to believe what we as a town and Zimbabwe as a country
have lived through as the ruling Zanu PF party have fought to stay in

My descriptions of the last two elections told of war veterans breaking
down doors, burning huts and force marching villagers to rallies and all
night re-education sessions. They told of arson, of petrol bombs being
thrown through windows, of women being raped and men being beaten with
electric cables, sticks and batons. The things that were done to the
people of Zimbabwe in the last two elections were so widespread that there
was hardly a suburb or even a street where there was not a victim, a
relation or an eye witness. We saw the blood, broken bones, burns and
bruises with our own eyes; we heard the screams, groans and cries with our
own ears. From February 2000 to March 2005 we have waited for the
perpetrators of those deeds to be apprehended, tired and convicted for
their crimes but we have waited in vain. There has been no accountability
and so now we watch, we listen, we keep our mouths shut and we wait.  The
old saying that a leopard does not change its spots is very much in our
minds just a few days before elections.

It does not matter how polite Zane PF are in this election campaign, how
bright and white their T shirts are or how they crow incessantly on the
radio that Zimbabwe is now a mature democracy, the fact of the matter is
we are tired and abosultely fed up of living like this. When we vote on
Thursday it will be for food, clean water, affordable schools for our
children, hospitals which have drugs and leaders who will respect us and
our universal rights of speech, movement and association. I have a picture
in my head of a man on a horse trailing a yellow banner in the middle of
this weeks revolution in Kyrgyzstan. That image from the other side of the
world in a country whose name I cannot even pronounce, gives me hope. With
love, cathy Copyright cathy buckle 26th March 2005
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available outside Africa from: ; ;
in Australia and New Zealand: ;
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From: "Trudy Stevenson"
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005 5:13 AM
Subject: ZanuPF gets Tshirts from China!

Zimbabwe is a major cotton producer, and has numerous cotton manufacturing
enterprises, largest perhaps being David Whitehead.  However, for this 2005
election ZanuPF has imported its campaign t-shirts from China!  They are
sent on the Air Zimbabwe Beijing flights, as ordinary passenger baggage.  At
least, that was the case in early March, when some hundred cartons of
t-shirts poured out of the baggage shute at Harare International Airport,
one bursting open on impact, revealing stacks of ZanuPF t-shirts.  It has
since been reported that truckloads of t-shirts arrived at ZanuPF HQ, and
late this week that at least one lorry-load was seen at Emerald Hill Office

Sovereignty?  When we import rather than use our own products and labour?
What sovereignty is that?
How do the retrenched employees feel, when they learn they are replaced by
Chinese workers thousands of kilometres away?  And what about the cotton
producers, whose cotton is now replaced by Chinese cotton for ZanuPF
t-shirts?  What kind of patriotism is that?  How many jobs have been lost by
this "Look East" policy?

MDC's economic policy, outlined in our "Restart" document, will ensure that
we use all our own resources to the best possible advantage to our nation.
We will use our natural resources and agricultural products to create jobs
and wealth for Zimbabwe, not for China or any other country.

Vote MDC for a New Zimbabwe and a New Beginning!
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Globe and Mail, Canada

Independent radio a lifeline for Zimbabwe's opposition

With most media controlled by Mugabe's government and limited Internet
access, the old-fashioned radio takes on new importance, STEPHANIE NOLEN


Saturday, March 26, 2005

JOHANNESBURG -- Violet Gonda has minor celebrity status in some parts of
Zimbabwe, as an articulate, eloquent and honey-voiced presenter on a hugely
popular radio show. But she won't be signing autographs any time soon:
Because of her work for SW Radio Africa, Ms. Gonda has been banned from
returning to Zimbabwe (she broadcasts from London).

Now her parents back home in Butare can't even hear her voice. For the past
few weeks, the Zimbabwean government has been jamming the station's signal,
determined to stifle access to independent radio in the run-up to the
parliamentary election on Thursday.

The past few years have not been good ones for independent media in
Zimbabwe: The government shut down four newspapers and a radio station, then
outlawed private broadcasting, leaving only the state-owned broadcaster and
newspaper, plus a handful of pro-government publications.

In this environment, radio broadcasts from outside the country have taken on
a new importance: Zimbabweans seeking more than the rabidly pro-government
coverage have turned to SW Radio Africa, broadcast on short and medium wave,
and to the popular Studio 7 program of Voice of America.

With no broadband in Zimbabwe, with Internet access available only on a
pay-for-use basis in urban areas, and with most of the country still reliant
on transistors for their news, the old-fashioned radio is still a key tool
for opponents of President Robert Mugabe.

Recognizing that, a number of international organizations trying to support
democracy in Zimbabwe have been distributing radios around the country in
the lead-up to the election -- although none wanted to discuss their
projects, since the government could interpret supplying access to media as
a subversive act in today's Zimbabwe.

Studio 7, launched in 2003, is the Zimbabwe program of Voice of America,
which is funded by the United States. The program is broadcast in Shona,
Ndebele and English, and is beamed into Zimbabwe from a transmitter in
Botswana on the AM signal and by shortwave.

SW Radio Africa has its roots in a station Gerry Jackson tried to start in
Harare in 2000, as once-stable Zimbabwe began its descent into chaos with
Mr. Mugabe's highly politicized land-reform program, which devastated the

A former DJ on the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcast Corporation, Ms. Jackson was
fired after she put callers on air who were critical of the government. So
she took the government to court over their monopoly on broadcasting, and in
2000, the Supreme Court ruled that private radio was legal.

Ms. Jackson hastily imported a transmitter from South Africa and set up
shop: a station called Capital FM in Harare. "Six days after we started, the
government shut us down at gunpoint," she recalled in an interview from
London this week.

Ms. Jackson decided the only way to get independent radio into Zimbabwe was
to do it from outside the country; she left for London and took advantage of
improving technology to broadcast back on shortwave radio.

She got funding from international pro-democracy groups, hired six other
Zimbabwean journalists and they went to air in December, 2001.

The government lost no time labelling them enemies; they were declared
"banned" and the Justice Minister said in Parliament that if they return
they will be jailed.

"I can't even describe the feeling, when someone decides from nowhere that
you can't go home," Ms. Gonda, 30, said. She had just graduated with a
master's degree in journalism when Ms. Jackson, 50, offered her the job. "I
jumped at it, but I never imagined it would mean that I can't go home."

SW Radio's five hours of daily programming is recorded in London, beamed by
a satellite to a transmitter and broadcast into Zimbabwe. Ms. Jackson
declines to say where that transmitter is, but notes that it could be almost
anywhere in the world.

But short wave, as SW Radio Africa recently learned, can be easily jammed: A
few weeks ago, they found their broadcasts suddenly rendered into crackle
inside Zimbabwe.

"Clearly, the government sees us as a threat," Ms. Jackson said.

The Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Project, citing information from the
Washington-based federal International Broadcasting Bureau, says the jamming
signal is originating from an air base in central Zimbabwe. The government
denies jamming the station.

Within the past few days, a neighbouring country -- again Ms. Jackson won't
say which -- agreed to let SW Radio Africa put up a transmitter, so they
have added medium-wave programming in the morning, which is not being
jammed. Since the jamming started, Ms. Jackson said, they have a new
understanding of how important the broadcast was to people in Zimbabwe, who
flip madly between frequencies to try to stay with the show.

" People are desperate for information in a country collapsing, where
rumours make it worse," she said. "It's a lifeline."
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From SW Radio Africa, 26 March


Sunday onwards:

19m band: 15145 kHz for the first two hours

90m band: 3300 kHz for the full three hours

The morning broadcasts from 5 am to 7 am on Medium Wave are not being
jammed. Try MW 1197 kHz.
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