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

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Mugabe evolves from champion of reconciliation to master of violent rhetoric
Tuesday March 29, 2005
Associated Press Writer
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) For a time Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
was one of the great hopes for the future of Africa. He was seen as
intellectual, astute, pragmatic and open to reconciliation after years of
bitter revolutionary struggle.

Decades after coming to power, at the helm of a country sinking in despair,
he has become a tyrant instead of a liberator, critics say. Instead of
reconciliation, he threatens any who dare challenge him.

``We must be on our guard. Our survival is an ongoing war,'' Mugabe told
supporters after his narrow 2002 re-election, a vote observers say was

On Thursday Zimbabweans go to the polls to elect a new parliament, but it is
their 81-year-old president who is the issue.

Opposition candidates paint the election as a referendum on years of
repression and misrule. Mugabe, campaigning for his ZANU-PF party, casts
himself as the defender of Africans against neocolonialist plotting.

When he came to power with the country's independence from Britain in 1980,
Mugabe was hailed abroad as a model freedom fighter turned statesman.

A quarter of a century later, Zimbabwe is teetering on the edge of economic
collapse. Freedom of the press, of expression and association have been
outlawed. The government is accused of massive human rights abuses. Even
food aid has become a political weapon.

Critics say Mugabe is a proud man embittered by his loss of stature in
Africa. Mugabe has been overshadowed as an African statesman by South
African President Nelson Mandela.

Mugabe rose from poverty to become a school teacher, a Marxist freedom
fighter and finally the enormously wealthy president of an impoverished

He was a shy, bookish boy who began his education at a Jesuit mission school
and finished with a string of degrees. But after years in the struggle and a
decade in prison without trial, Mugabe learned to be tough.

After his last re-election, Mugabe warned opponents not to be misled by his
reputation as an ascetic intellectual and academic.

``I have many degrees in violence,'' Mugabe said.

Those close to Mugabe say that after independence he never forgave the
country's whites, even as he spoke of reconciliation.

Today whites control a share of Zimbabwe's collapsing economy far greater
than their numbers less than half of one percent of the population. In
return, Mugabe gives them a disproportionate share of the blame for
Zimbabwe's woes.

``Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our
real enemy,'' Mugabe once told a party congress.

``Zimbabwe,'' he said later, ``is for black people, not white people.''

Mugabe says any thought of reconciliation has passed.

``We offered them (whites) the hand of reconciliation but they spurned it,''
he said after retaining power in 2002. Then he warned that now ``we might
not be so magnanimous to those who fight against us.''

Mugabe launched an often-violent campaign to redistribute white-owned farms
to black Zimbabweans in an apparent bid to rally support after the
opposition made a strong showing in the last parliamentary elections, in

Mugabe is at his most combative when responding to criticism from Britain
and the United States. It gives him the chance to bolster his popularity on
a continent still suspicious of the West.

``No one should teach us about democracy and human rights. There were none
until we fought for them,'' Mugabe said when Britain criticized his
government after an earlier election.

No one in Britain, he said, could teach Zimbabwe about democracy. ``We
taught them through the barrel of the gun how to be democratic,'' he said.

``Colonizers for decades trampled on us,'' he said recently. ``What have
they to teach us about human rights?''

African leaders aren't spared. Responding to criticism from The Rev. Pius
Ncube, the outspoken archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city,
Mugabe called him an ``unholy man'' who tells ``lies all the day, every

In an interview last year with Sky News TV, Mugabe attacked Archbishop
Desmond Tutu when the retired South African cleric and Nobel Peace Laureate
called on African leaders to stand up to Mugabe, who he said had become a
``cartoon character of an arch-typical African dictator.''

``He is an angry, evil and embittered little bishop, you see, who thinks
that his own view should hold,'' said Mugabe.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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Sunday Times (SA)

AU cautious ahead of Zimbabwe polls

Tuesday March 29, 2005 07:31 - (SA)

ADDIS ABABA - This week's election in Zimbabwe may be a test of the
country's democracy but it could also pose difficulties here at African
Union (AU) headquarters where controversial President Robert Mugabe has
always been treated with kid gloves.

Having thrown its weight into crises in Togo, Sudan, Somalia and the
Democratic Republic of Congo and eager to prove its credentials as a
guardian of the continent's democratic credibility, the 53-member bloc is
wary of criticising the increasingly authoritarian Mugabe.

Last year, an AU report critical of Zimbabwe's human rights record was
suppressed and languished on the shelf for months before African Union
leaders quietly adopted it at their summit this January in Abuja.

Most AU officials regard Mugabe as a titan in the pantheon of African
liberation heroes, along with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, and say little
can blemish that stature or his legacy as a virulent opponent of the
apartheid regime in South Africa.

"Mandela, Mbeki, Mugabe: I have to speak of these people with a great deal
of respect whatever mistakes they may make," said a senior official in the
AU's political department.

"Zimbabwe fought colonialism for a long time and it emerged victorious with
a flourish," the official said, referring to its 1981 independence from
white-minority rule. "It will always be remembered for its role."

For many, Thursday's legislative polls will test Mugabe's commitment to
democracy and organising a free and fair vote after heavily criticised
elections in 2000 and 2002 that were marked by violence and charges of

Human rights watchdogs have already said threats and intimidation directed
at the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) by Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party make the chances of a credible election extremely difficult, if not

Yet the African Union, faced with myriad other problems, has remained
largely silent, its adoption of the critical human rights report without any
public announcement a case in point.

"It's a question of tactics," one AU diplomat said on condition of

"Zimbabwe can divide the AU." "Just making statements doesn't necessarily
produce results and there are many other conflicts to deal with on the

While the bloc has sent 10 monitors to Zimbabwe to observe the polls there
is little to suggest that a tarnished election will result in either a
strong rebuke or more dramatic action from AU diplomats or leaders.

Mbeki, seen in the West as the key to applying pressure on Mugabe, is intent
on pursuing his policy of "quiet diplomacy" with his neighbour despite
criticism that it has been a failure.

Earlier this month, Mbeki dismissed pessimistic reports about the prospects
for a credible vote, saying he had "no reason to think that anybody in
Zimbabwe will militate in a way so that the elections will not be free and

Though seen as a pariah abroad, Mugabe was Tanzanian President Benjamin
Mkapa's guest of honour in January at ceremonies marking the 41st
anniversary of independence of Tanzania's semi-autonomous island of

One rare critical African voice has been that of Senegalese President
Abdoulaye Wade, who earlier this year said he believed Mugabe's government
"poses a problem for democracy."

Mugabe is a "bad lawyer with a good cause," Wade said, referring to
Zimbabwe's highly controversial land reform program under which millions of
hectares of white-owned farmland have been allocated to blacks.

The scheme, launched in 2000, had prompted massive protests from Britain,
once the colonial master of what was formerly Rhodesia as it has seen the
violent occupation of white farms without compensation by veterans of
Zimbabwe's independence struggle.

"Zimbabwe is a particular case in the African Union," said one Addis
Ababa-based diplomat.

"It was first a colonial-era conflict, typically black against white, where
many states saw what was going on as Britain defending its economic
interests," the diplomat said.

"In the end, though, it's just a fight between Mugabe and some whites."

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Kuwait Times

      Zimbabwe's MDC weakened but still threat to Mugabe

      By Cris Chinaka: Five years ago, a powerful election campaign by
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change produced the first real
threat to the two-decade rule of President Robert Mugabe's party. But today,
political analysts are divided over whether the MDC still has the clout to
embarrass Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in Thursday's parliamentary polls or
whether the election will "bury" a weakened opposition as Mugabe has vowed.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has led an energetic campaign for the March 31
vote from which Mugabe is hoping to emerge with a two-thirds majority in
Zimbabwe's 150-member parliament. Mugabe goes into the elections with 30
seats in his pocket, courtesy of a constitution that allows him presidential
appointees and reserves some seats for traditional chiefs. Analysts dismiss
as far-fetched the MDC's prediction that it will surprise the world with a
massive poll win despite an electoral landscape tilted in favour of the
ruling party. Formed in 1999 and buoyed by public anger over the collapsing
economy, the MDC braved violence and intimidation by ZANU-PF supporters in
contesting the 2000 parliamentary elections a presidential poll in 2002. It
maintains it would have won if not for rigging. Political analysts say
although the MDC remains the most serious threat to Mugabe's rule today, the
party has been weakened by years of in-fighting over strategy and voter
apathy among supporters who believe Mugabe will always rig elections.
Infiltration by ZANU-PF agents, harassment and a raft of strict laws have
combined to undermine the MDC. Leading Zimbabwean newspaper publisher Trevor
Ncube believes ZANU-PF has abandoned violence in this year's campaign
possibly because it believes it has already won. "Mugabe is convinced that
the intimidation and violence over the past six years have sufficiently
softened Zimbabweans beyond recovery - unless he is also confident that the
disaster that is the voters' roll will hand him the two-thirds majority he
wants," Ncube said in a recent article calling for a third party to solve
the Zimbabwe crisis. The MDC and many other critics say the government has
kept the voter roll in a shambolic state with hundreds of thousands of
non-existent "ghost" voters on the register to allow it to rig elections.
The government denies the accusations. But Brian Kagoro of Crisis Coalition
of non-governmental organisations in Zimbabwe said the election was not yet
sewn up. "To some people, the MDC might appear weak at the moment, but the
truth is that they pose a serious threat to ZANU-PF and that is why Mugabe
has been throwing so much at it," he said. "Mugabe realises this, and is not
taking any chances." But Ncube argued that while Mugabe's government has
been a disaster for Zimbabwe, the MDC, created by trade union officials led
by Tsvangirai, is not a convincing alternative because of a divided and
inexperienced leadership. "The facts on the ground show an ineffective
opposition party that lacks vision and strategy," he said, adding that the
MDC "owes what it is today to a combination of political chance and the
public's anger against ZANU-PF". The MDC says the electoral landscape still
favours the ruling party despite reforms adopted by Mugabe under Southern
African Development Community (SADC) democratic guidelines. Violence may
have abated, but critics say ZANU-PF has used strict security and media laws
against the opposition and has campaigned with state resources. Mugabe has
addressed dozens of campaign rallies across the country over the last two
weeks, hopping from one venue to another in a state-owned executive
helicopter while Tsvangirai has criss-crossed the country by road in
counter-attack. The two leaders' campaign themes also differ starkly.
Mugabe, an 81-year-old former guerrilla leader who spearheaded Zimbabwe's
independence war in the 1970s, has spent most of his time denouncing British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, accusing him of seeking to re-colonise Zimbabwe
through the MDC. Tsvangirai, 52, has tried to capitalise on the economic
crisis, telling voters Zimbabwe stands no chance of recovery with an ageing
Mugabe and a ZANU-PF party caught in a time-warp. - Reuter

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Hotel Zimbabwe
By Laura Hambleton  |  March 29, 2005

VICTORIA FALLS emits a mist that drenches the nearby cliffs. The crescendo
of water flowing into the Zambezi River increases as winter approaches in
the southern hemisphere, sending up an ever-growing volume of fine rain.


The falls creates a rainforest, an oasis in this parched country, suffering,
as does much of southern Africa, from a long drought.

In fact, Zimbabwe is in the midst of many kinds of droughts -- a loss of
tourists, a loss of basic freedoms, and a loss of political credibility ever
since President Robert Mugabe sent gangs into white-owned farms to seize the
land. Life has become so stark that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
described Zimbabwe as one of the world's ''outposts of tyranny," along with
North Korea, Burma, Iran, Belarus, and Cuba.

I came to Zimbabwe as a sightseer, along with my mother and daughter.
Perhaps, though, I was a political observer as well, for this is what
happens to anyone who visits Zimbabwe these days, especially now, on the eve
of the March 31 parliamentary elections.

My first impression as I stepped into the country in early March was
poignant and stays with me still. At the Victoria Falls airport, an
immigration official asked me for $30 to pay for an entry visa. I asked him
if I could use Zimbabwean dollars instead.

''You could," he said, ''if you show me a receipt of where you bought the
Zim dollars." Stuffed deep in my bag, I had a few Zim dollars but no
receipt. I handed him American cash and we stared at each other for a

In a way, this government official openly admitted a devastating truth: His
own currency is virtually worthless, even in his own country. And it held no
value for me, for US dollars paid my way: in the taxi from the airport, at
the falls, and at the Victoria Falls Hotel.

Zimbabwe dollars simply were tokens of a once functioning country to present
to my sons back home. The 189-room hotel was nearly empty, and we felt like
children on holiday. We sat in overstuffed chairs in the sitting room,
played gin rummy in the library, and wandered the endless halls, stopping in
front of photographs and posters from the bygone days of the British Empire.

The English looked so happy then, picnicking by the falls, with black
porters toting their food. Posters boasted of the raw material supplied to
England from her colonies, gold, hides, and ivory.

That era is rightly discredited, but we couldn't help think the same had
happened to Zimbabwe today.

Twenty-five years ago the future was bright; Mugabe came to power in a
liberation movement celebrated throughout Africa. He promised a place for
everyone and turned his attention to rebuilding schools and the healthcare
system. Yet, he held onto authority far too long. And the world shunned him.

Which means few people like us, tourists, come to Zimbabwe now.

As we strolled past clipped lawns, onto a dirt path to the Victoria Falls
National Park, a guard joined us. He walked with my mother and told her of
life in Zimbabwe. He said change is needed but wouldn't happen any time
soon. Later we dined alone in the restaurant by the pool. Similar to the
guard, our waiter, John, spoke about his country without being asked. As he
talked, he watched others picking up towels and putting away cushions,
making sure they were not within earshot.

''It 's very tense here," he said. ''People expect a change, but who knows
what will happen. The last election everyone came out to vote for the
opposition. Then all of a sudden, Mugabe won. He rigged the election.

''People are going hungry because there aren't any jobs. It's too late for
the farmers to come back. There are no more green pastures."

We saw John the next day waiting on the dirt path. ''Are you coming to the
pool today," he called. ''Yes," we answered.

After returning to our rooms for no more than an hour, he phoned. ''Are you
coming?" he asked again.

I told him we would be down. ''I'll wait for you then," he said.

No waiter had ever called me in my hotel room before. Was he after money or
a return to another time? We changed into swimsuits, went downstairs, and
listened some more to what Zimbabwe had become.

Laura Hambleton is a writer based in Pretoria, South Africa.
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Mugabe seeks legitimacy
29/03/2005 09:39  - (SA)

Harare - For the first time in years, members of Zimbabwe's embattled
opposition are shouting their allegiance on the streets and wearing their
party regalia openly.

As Thursday's parliamentary polls draw near, President Robert Mugabe has
ratcheted down the violence and intimidation that have cowed dissent, hoping
he can win a stamp of legitimacy for his nearly 25-year regime and pave the
way for a successor of his choice. The question, analysts say, is whether
the gamble will pay off for his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic

At stake are the 120 elected seats in Zimbabwe's 150-seat parliament. But
since the president appoints the remaining 30 seats, the MDC would need to
win 76 seats for a majority.

Polishing Mugabe's image

The opposition won 57 seats in the last parliamentary election in 2000,
despite what Western observers called widespread violence, intimidation and
vote rigging. But it has lost six seats in subsequent by-elections.

Opposition leaders and human rights groups say Mugabe has not abandoned
political violence and may be working behind the scenes to rig the vote. If
his party does lose, the ever-defiant Mugabe could well void the elections.

But the apparent reduction of overt abuses is read by many as an attempt to
polish his image. In addition, he has carefully picked election observers,
barring those who have criticised the state of Zimbabwean democracy and
allowing only those seen as friendly.

If Zanu-PF wins an election deemed free and fair, analysts say Mugabe can
safely hand over power to a successor - once he chooses one - when his
current term expires in 2008.

The opposition believes Zimbabweans have had enough of three-digit
inflation, endless food shortages and joblessness in what was once a
regional breadbasket.

Since the birth of the MDC six years ago, Mugabe's government has sought to
shore up support with a radical land reform programme to right colonial-era

But the often violent seizure of thousands of white-owned farms for
redistribution to black Zimbabweans, coupled with years of drought and a
worsening Aids epidemic, have destroyed the country's agriculture-based

Opposition leaders concede, however, the challenge will be getting their
supporters to the polls in a country that has never experienced a free and
fair election - and ensuring their ballots are counted.

The ruling party has also shut down most independent media in Zimbabwe and
is using state resources for campaigning.

Rights groups are also concerned about the state of the voters' roll, to
which they have been given only limited access, and reports that rural
voters are being led to believe their vote is not secret.

While the MDC leadership is upbeat about Thursday's poll, many Zimbabweans
remain fearful of expressing their political allegiances openly.
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Business Day

Posted to the web on: 29 March 2005
AIDS crisis deepens as Harare reins in underfunded NGOs


ZIMBABWEANS battling the world's fourth highest AIDS rate are getting little
help from international donors - and a government clampdown on
nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) is threatening to take away the little
assistance they do have.

Relations between President Robert Mugabe's regime and non-governmental
organisations hit rock-bottom after a controversial bill was adopted late
last year compelling NGOs to submit to government scrutiny.

"We have millions of vulnerable people out there ... both infected and
affected crying out for help," says Prisca Munonyara, director of the
Zimbabwean NGO AIDS Counselling Trust (ACT), set up 17 years ago to provide
free counselling to the poor living with HIV and AIDS.

"They have come to depend on the NGOs for help and they are the people who
suffer most as a result of the current state of affairs," says Munonyara,
referring to the bill that has yet to be signed into law.

As Zimbabwe heads into key parliamentary elections on Thursday, the AIDS
crisis is getting little attention here as the parties slug it out with
attacks on each other and - in Mugabe's case - on British Prime Minister
Tony Blair.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai promised at a weekend rally to ensure
that hospitals were able to treat people living with HIV and AIDS saying:
"The youth especially must be careful and use condoms - three if necessary -
to stop the spread of AIDS."

Zimbabwe has the world's fourth highest AIDS rate, affecting one in four
adults, trailing just behind Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho, according to

But contrary to neighbouring southern African countries, Zimbabwe is not
attracting foreign aid on the same scale, mostly due to concerns from big
Western donors over the government's record on corruption and human rights.

According to the United Nations children's agency Unicef, the average annual
per capita donor spending on a person suffering from AIDS in southern Africa
by the US, the World Bank and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis
and malaria is $74. But in Zimbabwe only $4 is spent on average on a person
living with HIV, the agency says.

Zimbabwe's Labour Minister Paul Mangwana said the bill was necessary to rein
in NGOs that the government claims were being used by foreign governments
and organisations as conduits to channel funds to the opposition.

Jonah Mudehwe, director of the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations (Nango), the umbrella body representing all NGOs, said the
poor were suffering as international aid agencies had adopted a "wait and
see" stance.

"The poor communities that were benefiting from the services of NGOs do not
get as much as they did," said Mudehwe.

The government said two weeks ago that it was investigating several NGOs it
accused of abusing funds received from international donors.

Mangwana said organisations found to have abused funds would be prosecuted
and banned.

About 2,3-million Zimbabweans are living with HIV and AIDS, with about 2500
dying every week from AIDS-related illnesses, according to government
statistics. Sapa-AFP
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Daily News online edition

      Irrigation plans announced - again

      Date: 29-Mar, 2005

      AFTER the failure of this rainy season, it was inevitable that the
government would announce a new, bold and multibillion irrigation scheme -
for the umpteenth time. After almost every disastrous rainy reason, there
have been similar announcements: a grand plan to prepare a vast irrigation
programme which would ensure food self-sufficiency even after the rains

      Joseph Made, announcing the irrigation plan last week, made little
reference to the fate of the earlier schemes. He, like the rest of the
government, must know that this is a question which will be asked by many
ordinary taxpayers. Political logic would dictate that the looming food
shortage would lose the ruling party millions of votes. This would be
compounded by the earlier, loud reassurances that there would be no food
crisis this year.

      The World Food Programme and other agencies warned of the food
shortage, even offering to help Zimbabwe campaign for food supplies all over
the world. Made could not make reference to that food shortage because, to
some people, he was at the centre of the controversy during one season,
assuring the nation that there would be a bountiful harvest when, in the
end, there was not.

      What drives the government to put up this false front is the fear of
admitting that its land reform programme has been a disaster. It is true the
seasons have not helped matters at all, but the root of the crisis is the
disruption of productivity on the land which resulted from the farm
invasions in 2000.

      The government will view this criticism as amounting to the
endorsement of the condemnation of their policies by the West because their
kith and kin lost out. But it goes beyond that: if the land reform programme
had been planned meticulously and not been hurried because of the political
bonanza Zanu PF hoped to reap from it, we would not be short of food today,
even if the rains had failed, as they did.

      Zanu PF will be hoping that the people will not dwell on their massive
failure to feed the nation come 31 March. They want the voters to blame Tony
Blair, not the war veterans, not Joseph Made, not Mugabe.

      They may be in a for a surprise.

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March 28 , 2005

~~~ Newsletter 058 ~~~
Sing Hallelujah

Remember that you must be connected to the internet to view the images in this newsletter.

Z People – Moving On UP

You've done us wrong
Your time is up
You took a sip
From the devil's cup
Move right outta here bobby
Go on pack your bags
Just who do you think you are?
Stop acting like some kinda political star
Just who do you think you are
Take it like a man bobby if that's what you are
'Cause we’re moving on up
And you're moving on out
It’s time for us to break free!

what do you mean I've got no support anymore?

Exclusive picture of mugabe’s face pressed up on his Mercedes window as he desperately tries to find the few people gathered for one of his rallies.

In this newsletter:
- no prizes for second best
- opinions on the elections from civil society commentators
- defend and protect your vote
- voting information
- Born Free newsletters hit the streets
- subscriber feedback

Go Go Go Go! to the polls on 31st March 2005. Join the hundredz and thousandz of other Zimbabweans dedicated to democratic change.

I hope that people get so disillusioned that they really organize against the government and kick him out by a nonviolent, popular, mass uprising. ~ Pius Ncube, speaking about the March 31st election

No prizes for second best
There is no doubt that the MDC is the most popular political party in Zimbabwe and zvinoratidza kuti vakashanda zvakasimba under extremely repressive conditions. Many other parties would have fallen over like a sick dog, but the MDC has stood firm, has weathered trials, imprisonment, intimidation and the like. So there isn’t much debate whether the MDC are “the good guys” (at the moment). The question is more like “are they the smart guys”? There are no prizes for second best in this election. Now people might ask what is it we really want? What we want is an end to the same old same old of the past 5 years of parliamentary debate wherein our lives have gotten worse, legislation has gotten more repressive and our economy is thin and frail (unlike vp mujuru). What second best looks like to Zvakwana is the MDC taking up either 5 or 95 seats in parliament and spending another 3 years waiting for the next presidential election. Because, in case the politicians haven’t noticed, tirikufa nenzara, we are getting sicker, our children are turning to crime or they are leaving for mbeki land. Now is the time for the MDC, civil society (recently described as shrivelled society) and all of us Zimbabweans to unite under the rallying call of Zvakwana! Sokwanele! Enough! We want a change of government – that is first prize. NO to an occupation of parliament, YES to zanu pf washed out on the tsunami of people power led by politicians who are in the game for national, not self interest.

Remember! Email us at with your cell phone number if you would like to receive a recharge card to keep you in touch with nyayas from Zvakwana. Also, in your email include your postal address so that we can post the recharge card to you.

If football, why not elections?
Eh madoda! Did you hear the shouts and cheering when our Warriors beat Angola 2 – 0 on Easter Sunday! Did you watch the game? It was on the lips of people across the country Sunday evening, and well into Monday. The game was relived, heroes lauded, players debated. People ran screaming and singing and waving their flags to celebrate the victory. Everyone was hooting and tooting their car horns up and down the streets! If we can get this excited about a football game then surely we can show this much get UP next weekend during the elections! This is exactly the kind of spirit we need when it comes protecting our vote and making sure that this victory is not stolen from us.

Free and fair?
The MDC is considered as an enemy and a traitor. Let me give you one example: when the Minister of Justice (chinamasa) was asked why the MDC adverts on the national television were rejected, his answer was that CNN would not air an advert from bin Laden. When you have people in high places so bereft of logic or common sense, how can you expect them to orchestrate a free and fair election? ~ George Bizos, lawyer

Specifically: NO to the status quo!
zanu pf will be laughing their lungs out if they get another five years of an MDC minority. The regime wants this to happen so that Zimbabwe can look like a democratic country with two active political parties. Meanwhile all we have is stalemate after stalemate in parliament, or zanu pf victories in the passing of outrageous legislation. It is very worrying indeed that the MDC, some of civil society and many Zimbabweans see any MDC presence in Parliament as bringing much change. As the NCA Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said recently – the MDC, as an opposition party cannot actually deliver on promises of jobs, clean water and the like until they are the government in power. To see why winning 70 seats is not such a big pom pom please read this opinion by lawyer Sternford Moyo who tells it like it is. Moyo echoes Madhuku’s sentiments on the election. When push comes to shove, the current constitution is our biggest obstacle to achieving democracy in Zimbabwe.

Read Sternford Moyo's "Election will not change grip on power "
Read Lovemore Madhuku's "After another flawed election?"

Chop the old wood OUT!

On the streets, everyone is saying it out . . .
Let’s give them the chop! One time.

In Kenya the voters stayed near polling stations and refused to go away and said they wanted to see how their votes were counted and refused to believe that they could lose. So we are going to win it's obvious but will uncle bob let us? Lets take shifts to be around the polling station, you cannot vote and go home we need more than the usual supporters who hang around when counting takes place and we do not need POSA to be gathering. Lets do it! I have 10 friends already who have agreed to be monitors and observers at our local primary school and we can be more. This is our version of the velvet revolution. - P, Harare

From the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan
“If unchallenged, last month's elections would have cemented Kyrgyzstan President Akayev's hold on power. With the voting rigged, his son and daughter both won seats in the new Parliament, along with a phalanx of corrupt cronies.”
- Recent quote from the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (with mugabe having fielded his own relatives in this election all you need to do is replace Akayev with mugabe and we have the same situation in Zimbabwe)

Actions speak louder than words
Kwese kwese vanhu vari kutaura zvemaelections. You hear the hwindi preaching to the driver, security guards sharing their thoughts, vendors debating issues. Clearly everyone is focussed on 31 March as the Day to Make It Happen. But even more than that day, we need to be ready for another rigged election. We cannot let 2000 and 2002 repeat themselves again and we must be ready to stand UP and protect our vote. Quite clearly we want this bankrupt regime chucked out through MDC, civil society, NGOs and Zimbabweans uniting, getting UP and protesting, rather than only voting. If people power can succeed in other very repressive environments we must look into our own hearts, and connect with inspired and charismatic leadership to make this post-election outcome different from what happened in 2000 and 2002. And this is why Zvakwana raised the issue of spoiling ballots to illustrate the illegitimacy of this election. We can’t keep on playing the same election games. If we don’t make it different this time it’s likely that we’re gonna see the same rigging in 2008.

Keep your kids and their future away from zanupf

Its fine to be offering to send people zanu pf cards and all if they really do think they will help them move safely in this election time. But surely what we need instead is for all of us to stop letting those thieves intimidate us into carrying their card. I wont carry their card. I don’t believe in what it stands for. And it is my right to move freely in my own country with or without that card. So instead of sending cards to people you should be telling them to stand UP for themselves, and demand that Zimbabwe be a place where none of us have to pretend to believe in things just to protect us. -PM, Bindura (hundredz of people wrote to Zvakwana for zanu pf party cards, this was just one response)

How do you “defend” or “protect” your vote?
This election doesn’t stop when you cast your vote. So please don’t just walk away and spend the rest of the day having a few cold ones. Make sure that you are around your polling station throughout the day and especially, be there when the result is announced. If you see the candidate of your choice make a point of speaking with him/her (away from the polling station, so that it does not look like s/he is campaigning within the polling area). Be helpful and friendly to other voters – we are in this together. If you hear of or notice electoral irregularities, contact election-observing organisations such as the following and let them know:
- Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) - or telephone 250735/6 or cell 091 254 489
- Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition’s election information centre open from Mar 28 – April 04
04-793 263, 091-288 605, 091-907 235, 011-612 860, 011-603 439, 011-755 600, 091-956 570,
091-266 430, 011-862 269, 011-862 804

Keep in touch with your friends and colleagues in order to relay information around the country and to keep up with things as they move.

Spoil you ballot here

Voting information
Voting will be between 7am – 7pm on 31st March 2005. Zvakwana urges Zimbabweans to demand that they be processed during this day and to refuse to leave any polling station until they have exercised their democratic right to participate in this election. Do not be turned away like last time! To exercise your right to vote, you must take with you any one of the following forms of identification:
- Metal National ID Card
- A green form waiting for an ID with the individual’s passport size photo
- A new plastic National ID Card
- A valid Zimbabwean passport
- A driver’s licence with the individual’s ID number
Remember you need one of the above, not all!
And make sure to take your own pen just in case the regime has used some imported Zhing Zhong Chinese pens with ink in them that fades after a few hours!

Let “my songs be used as a rallying point for those who believe in
a true and tolerant democracy.”
~ Oliver Mutukudzi

The need to take risks
We are told to believe that we live in a free Zimbabwe and that our elections are “free and fair.” The reality is that there is no freedom - either in elections or the press or in the media. And many of our people have become accustomed to the lie. Some are actually convinced that the situation is normal. I have found that I am not only repeatedly put in prison by the state but that the whole nation is in prison - and some think this is normal. Zimbabweans have to overcome the mindset that says, “I cannot take the risk of getting involved.” We will not have success in one day. There will be setbacks. But we want to build a broad foundation of convinced people who take a conscious decision to take risks and overcome their fear.
- Lovemore Madhuku, from Conscience Be My Guide, An Anthology of Prison Writings

He finds no value in the truth. Therefore he cannot represent the people. We’re choking on lies, not food
We’re choking on lies, not food The small dictator has accused international aid agencies of trying to “choke” Zimbabwe with food saying that we have enough food for all Zimbabweans. Sonke siyakwazi this is a plain and simple lie. Many of us cannot find enough food for our families. Yes, there are two rallying cries ringing in Zimbabwe at this time: one is Zvakwana! Sokwanele! Enough is enough! The other is hungry, ndine nzara, sengi lambile, for food and intelligent and respectful governance.

One Love
I refuse to give up
I refuse to give in
I don't wanna give up
I don't wanna give in
So everybody sing
One love for the city streets
One love for the hip hop beats
Oh I do believe
One love is all we need

Pom pom to new voice on the street
Zvakwana activists were stimulated to get some copies of the Born Free Youth Newsletter currently being distributed. Shocking to read was the part wherein a youth survey indicated that 25% of youth aren’t voting for one reason or another. These reasons cited fear, having no interest and some said that they were simply not going to vote. Vakomona! Our youth is our future and it is vital for our restoration of democracy that the youth get UP and stand UP and become a part of the political process. Born Free said that one of the biggest problems was in the registration process with the Malaysian sponsored regime frustrating the youth’s efforts to register. But it is encouraging to read that many youth are not going to take the shit stem from the regime lying down. Zvakwana is appealing to the Born Free cadres to give Zimbabweans some way of contacting them next time they place a paper on the street. Many people are feeling disconnected and want to join the movement. Help them do so. Here are some suggestions from Born Free to build the resistance:
- - Organise small community meetings
- - Spray paint walls
- - Write messages on bank notes
- - Demonstrate
- - Perform gandanga theatre
- - Take away your cooperation from zanu pf
Let it build towards 1 April and the days afterward when we need co-ordinated resistance to make sure it is not business as usual for zanu pf.

Slogans slogans everywhere
Zvakwana was interested to see a poster that Women in Politics Support Unit printed for Election Day. They are encouraging Zimbabweans to “Make a difference - Vote for a woman!” Zvakwana is very much supportive of gender equality but talk about an empty slogan! It is like saying, “Make a difference - Vote for a man!” It’s not the candidate’s gender that matters; it’s her, or his, qualifications and track record. The real way you “Make a difference” is to get involved in the process, find out everything you can about all of the candidates, and then vote for the person you think is best for the job.

Hie guys. I am living in Tafara. Over here in the eastern parts of the city we are having no water from day in and day out. Even as the world commemorated International Day of Water recently thousands of Zimbabweans do not have access to clean and safe water and even in so-called developed urban areas, on that very day so many couldn’t get any water coming from their taps. I want to say that: no water – no Zanu PF. They are making us sick.
- TM, Tafara

Remember zanu pf’s many promises?
zanupf have stolen so much there is no money left for housing for the people Housing for all by the year 2000. And wasn’t that also health for all, and education for all? Ha, but we are still living in shacks sometimes not even fit for anyone. Instead under zanu pf mis-rule Zimbabwe has seen a group of politicians feather their nests at the expense of the people. While the small dictator has reached age 81, the life expectancy for ordinary Zimbabweans is a mere 33 years of age. Go figure friends its time to boot the geriatricks out so we can live longer. Zvakwana! Sokwanele! Enough is enough.

Zvakwana, Sokwanele, Enough!!

Make sure you SPEAK OUT - keep discussion alive, keep information flowing.

Please remember Zvakwana welcomes feedback, ideas and support for actions.

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Enough is enough, Zvakwana, Sokwanele.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Polling officers chased away

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-29

ABOUT 1 000 teachers deployed in Kotwa, Mudzi, by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) as polling officers were on Sunday allegedly sent packing
by Mudzi District Administrator (DA) and Zanu PF parliamentary candidate,
Ray Kaukonde after being labelled MDC sympathisers.
ZEC, which deployed the teachers, yesterday said it was probing the
banishment of the polling officers.
Utloile Silagwana, ZEC spokesperson, yesterday said: "I am with the chief
election officer right now. They are investigating the matter."
He would not divulge more information on the incident.
Highly placed sources told The Daily Mirror that the polling officers were
told to vacate the area after being aligned to Zimbabwe's main opposition
party, which will fight it out with Zanu PF this Thursday in parliamentary
polls both parties are predicting victory.
The MDC yesterday said at least 800 polling officers had been turned away in
"Eight hundred polling officers arrived at the Mudzi East Parliamentary
offices at Kotwa business centre at around 1.00am on Sunday 27 March 2005,
only to be told by the security guard at the Mudzi East parliamentary
information centre that the District Administrator had left a message that
the polling officers should go back to Harare upon arrival," alleged MDC
secretary general Welshman Ncube yesterday.
"The polling officers could not take the guard's word and decided to seek
audience with the District Administrator. A delegation representing the
polling officers met with the District Administrator at about 10.00am, who
told them that he had enough human resources to run the elections and did
not need polling officers from Harare.
Ncube further alleged that while the delegation representing the polling
officers was meeting with the DA, the Zanu PF candidate for Mudzi East and
provincial chairperson, Ray Kaukonde came to the centre. He was in the
company of other local Zanu PF leaders, who told the polling officers they
were not wanted in Mudzi because they were MDC supporters and sympathisers
The MDC alleged that all the polling officers returned to Harare and would
be redeployed at Queen Elizabeth High School.
Ncube challenged ZEC to prove its authority in the running of the election
by sending back the polling officers to Mudzi.
"We challenge ZEC to prove that it is in charge by ensuring that all the
polling officers are sent back to Mudzi East to run the elections.  We
believe that the usual Zanu PF machinery, which will conduct the elections,
is geared to rig the poll and steal the people's vote.  How does one explain
a situation in which the District Administrator's office - an institution
which has nothing to do with the running of elections - can make such a
decision as sending back polling officers who have been deployed by the
commission," charged Ncube.
Kaukonde yesterday declined to speak to The Daily Mirror.
When initially contacted for comment, Kaukonde said he was busy with the
President who was expected to hold a rally in Mutoko yesterday. "I am busy
with the President, urikudei (What do you want)?"
After being questioned on the allegations, Kaukonde said he was unaware of
the development, before his mobile phone went off.
Contacted again, he asked: "Murikudei kwandiri (what do you want from me? I
am busy. Handizvizive zvaurikutaura (I don't know anything about that),"
before his phone went off again.
Mashonaland East provincial governor David Karimanzira professed ignorance
about the matter.
"I am in Chivhu. I do not have enough information, as you know that
governors are not involved in the electoral process. I cannot say things
without authority," he said.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Maya in court for assault

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-29

POLICE in Harare have said MDC candidate for Mhondoro, Shakespeare Maya, was
remanded out of custody to April 7 for an alleged assault in Norton that
took place about two weeks ago.
Maya is the former president of the insignificant National Alliance for Good
Governance (NAGG), which has failed to make an impact on Zimbabwe's
treacherous political scene.
Maya allegedly assaulted a man he saw wearing a Zanu PF  T-shirt in Norton
on March 8.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said the police had banned road show
campaigns to clamp down on public disorder and disruption of traffic.
He said police felt disorder could come from the participants and criminals
at such road intersections.
"This position has been adopted for all political parties and independents,"
he said.
At least 13 more cases of political violence had been reported throughout
the country since the last media briefing on political violence on March 22.
Nine supporters of the two major political were arrested, said Bvudzijena.
Zanu PF supporters committed seven of the alleged cases, while MDC
supporters committed six, resulting in the arrest of five and four
supporters respectively, he said.
This brings to 124 the number of cases recorded since January this year.
Meanwhile, Bvudzijena said Zanu PF has held 1 537 rallies countrywide, while
the MDC has held 763 since January.
"As we enter the home stretch, we are determined to ensure that peace,
safety and security continue to prevail in the coming week," he said.
Bvudzijena said police made adequate preparations to ensure that there would
be sufficient manpower at all polling stations and the safety of voters.
He reminded members of the public that it was an offence to vote twice and
that the wearing of party regalia within 200 metres of any polling station
on the voting day was prohibited, so was any form of campaigning.
Members of the Southern African Development Community and the African
National Congress of South Africa election observer teams attended the
briefing. -
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Gvt to appeal for food assistance

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-29

ZIMBABWE will appeal to the United Nations (UN) and "friendly countries" for
food assistance if current stocks run out, the Minister of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mangwana said yesterday as politics of the
stomach takes centre stage ahead of Thursday's polls.
Speaking at a press conference responding to accusations by Roman Catholic
Archbishop Pius Ncube that government was deliberately starving people in
Matabeleland for political reasons, Mangwana said government would approach
friendly countries and the UN for assistance.
In an interview with the British television channel, Sky News Ncube accused
government of bias against Matabeleland regions in food distribution and
urged the people of Zimbabwe to rise against the government
"At the moment we are still looking at our capabilities and we will ask our
friends if we think we cannot handle the situation on our own. We are part
of the international community and the UN and they have helped us in  times
we had food shortages. We will approach them at the appropriate moment,
taking into consideration our capabilities and incapabilities," said
Meanwhile, MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai has urged the government to allow
NGOs to resume drought relief supplies if mass starvation was to be averted.
President Robert Mugabe and other government ministers have also
acknowledged the drought and promised that no one would starve as they were
taking measures to ensure sufficient food supplies to every citizen.
Mangwana said the government had also established food distribution
committees countrywide, headed by district administrators, councillors and
officials from the his ministry.
Statistics released by Mangwana indicated that 400 000 households had
insufficient food supplies last year.
"The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) report for 2004
assessed that a cumulatively over 400 000 households were not going to have
sufficient food between September 2004 to March 2005," he said.
Mangwana also said contrary to Ncube's accusations, Matabeleland regions had
overally received more grain than they usually consume.
"We have been supplying Matabeleland region with maize, which is three times
more than what they usually get every month. They have received over 74 000
tonnes since November last year," he added.
Some civic groups have already said at 5.5 million people will need food aid
this year.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Police to curb corruption

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-29

POLICE Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has said the force will maintain a
zero tolerance stance on corruption in the country.
In his message to police on the country's Silver Jubilee of independence,
Chihuri said it had been a difficult task transforming the force from the
erstwhile British South African Police that was a vehicle of selfish white
colonial supremacy in the last 25 years of independence.
He said that he was proud that the police had remained steadfast in the face
of numerous challenges that threatened not just their operations, but their
policing entity.
"Challenges of tomorrow may not necessarily call for today's solution, so
the government is working towards ameliorating the hard working conditions
currently being experienced by the police force," he said
"As we reflect on the birth and success of a people-oriented police force, I
would like to urge members of the police not to relent, as challenges
alluded to are merely transient."
He urged the police to remain vigilant despite the prevailing hard economic
challenges being faced by the police force.
Zimbabwean police have always been a darling for the African region as they
have been called on peacekeeping missions on numerous occasions.
Only three weeks ago Zimbabwe sent the latest peacekeeping force to
Kosovo. - New Ziana
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Dams heavily polluted, says scientist

Farming Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-29

A SCIENTIST with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has said
water in Zimbabwe's major dams may not be safe for human consumption because
of high levels of pollution.
Nyaradzai Matenga was speaking at the World Day for Water function held in
Harare last week when she made reference to the quality of water carried by
major rivers that include Manyame, Mazowe, Save, Runde, Gwayi and Sanyathi.
"Of concern most is the quality of the water in the tributaries feeding into
the major rivers, especially those that meander through towns and cities,"
said Matenga.
"Backyard industry and the poorly managed urban agricultural activities have
aggravated the situation.
 "We now know that apart from providing a reliable source of water, the
rivers now provide cheap dumping sewers for waste.
"People are now questioning the quality of water coming out of their taps.
It is important to reveal that the quality of raw water is important in
drinking water treatment just as much as the quality of ingredients is
important in any production process."
Matenga said polluted water from urban centres had highly affected
communities downstream.
 "Of mention are people of Dora community in the Save catchment. Mothers,
fathers, sons and daughters have been treated and still being treated for
varying degrees of infections emanating from polluted water from Sakubva
"This is a clear case of how far our activities can negatively impact on
other people."
Matenga said people in some communities had abandoned fishing, due to
Matenga said to bring the situation under control measures should  be taken
against industrialists who randomly disposed waste.
Measures should also be taken against farmers who rampantly cut down trees
without adhering to required agricultural practices. She said measures
should  also be taken against gold panners as a way to keep water in rivers
"Regulations on disposing waste were put in place some three years ago. Yet
we notice that several companies are randomly disposing waste that is
polluting water in rivers."
 "The water quality section in Zinwa, in a bid to achieve the ultimate goal
of ensuring that the water resources are protected, implements the polluter
pays principle. The principle is that if one is polluting the water, then he
or she must pay," she said.
Matenga said Zinwa had been lenient for a long time and would soon be taking
tough measures against offenders.
Meanwhile, the Harare works department deputy director Vumisani Sithole
disagreed with the notion that the water used in the city was polluted.
Addressing the same function, Sithole said the council took necessary
measures in ensuring that the water complied with the World Health
Organisation standards.
"We determine ,on a daily basis, the state of our water and ensure that it
complies with WHO requirements," said Sithole.
"Let me assure the people of Harare that drinking water in the city is safe.
There is nothing to fear as we maintain WHO requirement standards."
Sithole said the council would soon take measures against companies that
randomly disposed waste particularly used lubricants that pollute water in
the city's water reservoirs.
A senior government official has revealed that sewage treatment works
countrywide are overloaded, dilapidated or non-functional and were polluting
rivers downstream.
As a result, some rural families living downstream in certain areas were no
longer using polluted water from the rivers, as the water posed a health
hazard, even to livestock.
Government, through  Zinwa had as a result launched a clean up of rivers
countrywide to ensure that rural people living downstream along the rivers
use clean water.
Clean up operations have so far been launched in the Manyame and Mazowe
river catchment areas.
Similar operations shall soon be launched in Save catchment to ensure that
water in rivers and streams in those areas is also clean.
The acting Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development
Olivia Muchena last week stressed that the state of sewage works needed
urgent attention.
In a speech read on her behalf during the commemoration of the World Day for
Water held in Harare, Muchena assured the nation that necessary steps were
being taken to address and arrest the situation.
 "Visits to sewerage treatment works countrywide by officers from my
ministry and also a report that was done by the Zinwa on the state of
sewerage treatment countrywide shows that they are either overloaded,
dilapidated or non-functional and are polluting our rivers on a large scale.
Action therefore needs to be taken to urgently arrest and rectify the
"I want to assure you that my ministry and its parastatal Zinwa as well as
the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing will be
liaising with the offenders."
Muchena cited the Sakubva River that flows through Mutare as one of the most
polluted rivers that required urgent attention. Rural people downstream in
Dora area in Zimunya communal area in Mutare district were now shunning the
water from the river.
Recently some of the families in the area complained that they had already
lost livestock as they claimed that the polluted water was poisonous.
Muchena added that government was currently constructing large dams whose
water shall be used for irrigation.
"The government is currently carrying out dam construction projects
countrywide with the aim of providing water for irrigation to cushion the
country from droughts. The dams include the Tokwe-Murkosi, Gwayi-Shangani,
Bubi-Lupane, Marovanyathi, Mutenge and Wenimbi."
Zimbabwe has joined several countries in the world in launching the United
Nations' International Decade for Action - Water for Life 2005-2015
proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as stated in its
resolution on water.
Initially March 22 was proclaimed the World Day of Water in 1992 and has
since been observed since 1993.
The launching was in conformity with recommendations of the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) of Agenda 21.
Nations were invited to devote the day, as appropriate in individual state's
context, to concrete activities such as the promotion of public awareness on
provision of clean water.
The theme is "Water for Life 2005-2015".
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