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

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The Star

      'Genuine' war veterans hope to influence Zim election

      Former freedom fighters feel that their ideals have been betrayed by
Robert Mugabe's government
      March 2, 2005

      By Jonathan Ancer

      The looting of farms by Zimbabwean war veterans took centre stage
during the last elections.

      But two ex-freedom fighters, who describe themselves as "genuine" war
veterans, hope to play a more constructive role in this month's election.

      Wilfred Mhanda (54) and Freedom Nyamubaya (45) want to remind
President Robert Mugabe of the ideals they fought for 25 years ago -
democracy, human dignity, social justice and peace.

      Mhanda and Nyamubaya have distanced themselves from members of the
Zimbabwean National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) - many of
whom they accuse of being too young to have actually been involved in the
chimurenga (struggle).

      ZNLWVA members were seen invading farms and accused of sjambokking
opposition members during the 2000 election.

      Mhanda and Nyamubaya are in South Africa to share their experiences
with former MK and Apla members, after having been to Mozambique to speak to
Frelimo and Renamo veterans. Their mission is to encourage them to make a
positive contribution to the governance of the region - a contribution
starkly different to the role the ZNLWVA played.

      The association has not been as visible as before the last election,
but some sources believe Zanu-PF could still persuade the veterans, who are
dependent on the party, to work behind the scenes to coerce citizens to
support the government.

      "We fought for freedom," says Mhanda, a member of the Zimbabwe African
National Liberation Army (Zanla) high command in the 1970s, "but the
government has betrayed our ideals. We think this time the war veterans -
the genuine ones - can help remind Mugabe what the struggle was about in the
first place."

      Mhanda says the country didn't transform when Zimbabwe achieved
independence; instead, one elite was substituted by another.

      After independence, some veterans tried to form an association. "The
government did not want our voices to be heard - until it suited its

      "The war veterans, many of whom are destitute, were used by Zanu-PF to
invade farms in the last election to deflect attention from the collapse of
the economy. It worked. People were caught up with the land issue and forget
everything else."

      The two found in Mozambique that former freedom fighters were
grappling with their relationship with the government.

      "The war veterans there are not partisan. Some are aligned to
particular parties, but as organisations they are independent. The War
Veterans Association in our country has been hijacked by Zanu-PF," Mhanda

      Nyamubaya was involved in setting up the ZNLWVA in the early 1990s,
but dropped out because she saw it as merely an appendage of the government.

      "It was useless. The association had no desire to make a meaningful
contribution to society."

      A poet and singer who owns a game farm, Nyamubaya points out that
she's not a former freedom fighter - she's still fighting for freedom.

      She used to fight with a gun, but now, she says, she fights with

      "I joined the war when I was 15. When I came back. nobody wanted to
know us, the women. We had been vandalised sexually. There were stories
about women from the war, that we would beat up men who refused to have sex
with us."

      "I met comrades in the street who pretended not to know me because
they didn't want their husbands to know we were comrades."

      Nyamubaya joined the struggle in 1975 after her family told her there
wasn't money for her to continue to go to school.

      "I knew there was something wrong with the society and I grew unhappy
with the injustice, so I decided to join a group of 10 men and go into
Mozambique to join the war."

      When she arrived in a training camp she was detained and accused of
being a spy because she refused to sleep with one of the commanders.

      "I was told that I had been sent by Ian Smith. I was raped by the
camp's security commander."

      When she was released she smuggled weapons, ammunition and explosives
into Zimbabwe. She spent 11 months fighting on the front, before becoming a
political commissar at various training camps.

      "I grew disillusioned with the leadership early on because of the
imprisonment and the abuse, but I still believe we freedom fighters can play
a meaningful role in our country by helping the government refocus on the
ideals of freedom."

      Mhanda took up arms in 1971, becoming a commander in Zanla's highest
military body. He also was involved in guerrilla warfare.

      "We weren't fighting against whites; we were fighting for ideals. Part
of my job was to inspire young people to sacrifice themselves for the cause
of freedom, that is why I am most hurt - because I motivated people to die
for their country and we have been betrayed."

      In 1981, disillusioned with what he saw as the government's lack of
accountability, Mhanda left for Germany, where he studied industrial
biotechnology. He returned eight years later to work for manufacturing
companies. In 2000 he was one of the founding members of the Zimbabwean
Liberators' Platform.

      "A few of us realised we had to form an organisation in response to
the anarchy and violence that gripped the country before the last elections.
We have 12 000 members."

      "The veterans form the nucleus of our group but it was not only the
people with guns who were liberators - workers, youths, teachers and
churches played a role and are part of us."

      The Zimbabwean government could not be reached for comment.

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Church leaders say rules hamper work of Zimbabwean election observers

By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- The Zimbabwean government's control over
accreditation of election observers severely hampers the country's chances
of holding fair elections, said church leaders in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Auxiliary Bishop Patrick Mumbure Mutume of Mutare, Zimbabwe, who hopes to
observe the March 31 general elections along with other representatives of
churches and nongovernmental organizations, said the state-controlled
last-minute accreditation process diminishes observers' chances of doing a
good job.

"If we get permission the afternoon before the election there is not enough
time for us to get to the far ends of the country," he said in a Feb. 25
telephone interview from Mutare.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said the rules are skewed in
favor of President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front, or ZANU-PF, and that there is continued violence and intimidation.

The opposition accused the courts of purposely delaying its legal challenges
to the government's victories in the 2000 general election and the
presidential poll in 2002 that gave Mugabe another six years in power.

Last year, the Southern African Development Community agreed on basic
conditions for free elections; the Movement for Democratic Change said those
conditions had not been met.

"One of our worries is that there are two commissions running this election,
which is very problematic," said Kabelo Selema, organizing secretary of the
Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference justice and peace department
in Pretoria.

Under guidelines from the Southern African Development Community, the new
commission has been set up as an independent body, but it cannot operate
without consulting the old government-controlled commission, which has all
the resources, including the database of voters, Selema said in a Feb. 28
telephone interview from Pretoria.

Selema has been an observer in previous Zimbabwean elections and said he
plans to be there again in March.

Noting that previous polls in Zimbabwe "were not free and fair," Selema said
the situation in South Africa's neighboring country is "not looking good"
this time.

Neither the opposition nor outside observers have been allowed to check
conditions, such as the registration of voters, before the election, Selema

"We don't know what has happened about the 'ghost voters' that were on the
voters' roll in the last election," he said, noting that there were between
800,000 and 1 million names of nonexistent people on the list.

Zimbabwean church leaders are concerned about "intimidation and violence, as
well as apprehension and apathy among voters" in the March elections, Bishop
Mutume said.

"We need to be prepared for whatever happens," he said.

There is "an environment of fear" in Zimbabwe, where "caution is always the
rule," Bishop Mutume said. Rumors are spreading in rural Zimbabwe that
officials will know who each person voted for because the new ballot boxes
are transparent, he said.

The transparent boxes were made in response to accusations that the boxes
used in past elections already contained votes for the ruling party before
polling started, he said.

At a mid-February national prayer meeting in the capital, Harare, Bishop
Mutume said Zimbabweans are living in fear because they are threatened and
intimidated into submission.

"If we had the chance to ask our fallen heroes whether this is the Zimbabwe
they fought for, they will say no, because they fought for peace, freedom
and justice" in the 1970s' war of liberation, he said, according to a report
by the news agency Zim Online.

Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

Bishop Mutume said he used the prayer meeting to call for tolerance and
urged law enforcement agents to take action against victimization.

"Everyone has the right to choose which party to vote for, and that choice
must be respected by all," he said.

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Fair Zim polls 'impossible'
01/03/2005 21:43  - (SA)

JOhannesburg - There is no chance of the upcoming Zimbabwean election being
free and fair, experts said at a meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

"An atmosphere of fear pervades the whole country," said Andrew Moyse,
co-ordinator of the media monitoring project of Zimbabwe.

"There is no chance that a free and fair election can be held in Zimbabwe."

Arnold Tsunga of Zimbabwe's lawyers for human rights added: "All the
legislation being pushed through now pertaining to the election is an
exercise in deception."

He said it seemed the Zimbabwean government was trying to follow Southern
African Development Community (SADC) guidelines on elections, but in reality
this was a deception.

"They are deceiving the Zimbabwean public, it is self-deception and they're
deceiving the SADC members."

Tsunga said the guidelines for free and fair elections adopted by SADC
members had no legal standing.

"They are only aspirational, there are no sanctions if a member state fails
to adhere to them."

Member countries were also under no obligation to invite SADC election
monitors to observe the election.

The pieces of legislation prohibiting a democratic election process were
"endless", Tsunga said.

"There are Acts that stifle freedom of expression and access to information.

"We are not allowed to hold a public meeting without permission. There are
endless prohibitions."

Journalists 'terrorised'

Moyse said media organisations and journalists were terrorised in Zimbabwe
in an attempt to stifle any criticism of the ruling party.

"In the past two weeks a newspaper was banned and three journalists, all of
them Zimbabweans, were chased out of the country."

But this, he added, was nothing to what had been happening to the media in
the past five years.

Five papers, all of them independent, were closed down.

Moyse said the government "hijacked" the public broadcaster to "run a
propaganda campaign" in favour of the government and vilify the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"When Zanu-PF launched its election campaign, it was broadcast for four
hours and it was the main news for two days afterwards.

"When the MDC launched its election campaign, they got exactly one minute,
25 seconds airtime."

He said the newly promulgated legislation on access to public media "looked
good", but all would depend on how it was applied.

Referring to the SADC guidelines for a free and fair election, Moyse said
there was no mention of fair and unbiased reporting.

"It seems that SADC accepted biased reporting in favour of ruling parties
and relied on privately owned media to create a balance.

"We all know what happened to the privately owned media in Zimbabwe."
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Catholic News

Zimbabwe Archbishop says priests bribed to keep silent human rights

Many clergy in Zimbabwe have been bribed into silence about human rights
violations in Zimbabwe by the government of President Robert Mugabe,
according to the Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube.

Ecumenical News International reports that the archbishop, who is visiting
South Africa, said the church is divided by Mugabe "who used a strategy to
buy certain churches and individual ministers and bishops".

Meanwhile, a separate report on the website says criticises South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki for his refusal to be seen to act against the
Mugabe regime.

Archbishop Ncube said President Mbeki "would be booed" in the streets of
Zimbabwe if he were to join the ordinary people and ask them what they feel
about his silent diplomacy towards that country.

He said: "Mandela was straightforward and principled. He (Mandela) would not
have backed this ... Mugabe's land grab because it did not empower the
people, but he used it just to keep in power. This has caused a lot of
untold suffering. Three to four million Zimbabweans have been displaced as a
result of this. The people don't know why Mbeki is supporting Mugabe. They
don't understand it."

2 Mar 2005
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The Herald

RBZ starts printing new notes

Business Reporters
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has started printing new currency notes as it
prepares to phase out the bearer cheques currently in circulation.

A Reserve Bank official yesterday said the production of the new currency
was already at an advanced stage.

"Production is currently at full throttle as we speak.

"Bearer cheques and the other denominations will be phased out at the end of
this year while the new currency will be introduced in January next year,"
said the official who could not be drawn into disclosing the denominations
of the new notes.

He said the inflation trend would have a large bearing on the new
denominations that will be introduced.

The latest development ties in with a section in the RBZ governor Dr Gideon
Gono's fourth quarter monetary policy review statement delivered in January.

In his monetary policy statement, the governor indicated that the
progressive reduction in inflation, which was targeted at seeing the annual
rate of inflation coming down to single-digit levels by mid-2006, would
necessitate the implementation of currency reforms.

The currency reforms would seek to strengthen and lock in low inflation
expectations as well as build general public confidence in the local

"I am pleased to report that considerable progress has been made towards
preparatory work for the design and production of new currency that would
replace the existing denominations, including bearer cheques in 2006.

"The public will be kept abreast of developments on this matter as
implementation of the plan progresses," he said.

To this end, the RBZ was expected to roll out a comprehensive media campaign
in June to publicise the new currency, after the RBZ governor's mid-year
monetary policy review.

The campaign, according to the official, would seek to reveal the salient
features of the new currency.

The central bank was expected to draw lessons from Turkey which introduced a
new currency last month.

Initially, the Zimbabwean currency was mostly in cents with the coins
ranging from a one-cent coin to a dollar coin while the notes were available
in the following denominations: $2, $5, $10 and $20, which was highest

However, due to changes in the economic situation brought about by the
Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap), the country subsequently
introduced new notes in four denominations namely the $50, $100, $500 and $1
000 notes between 2001 and 2003.

The introduction of the notes gradually saw the informal phasing out of the
coins as the value of the dollar continued to depreciate against the major

A crippling note shortage between May and September 2003 resulted in the
introduction of bearer's cheques in three denominations - $5 000, $10 000
and $20 000 in September of the same year.

The bearer cheques proved an effective remedy to the cash shortages,
prompting the central bank to extend their lifespan.

The bearer cheques were initially designed to be in circulation for six
months, but their lifespan was extended in December 2003 to December 2004
due to the persistent high demand for cash.

The RBZ further extended bearer cheques' lifespan of the by another year in
December last year.

The extension was expected to give the RBZ ample time to work on a roll-over
programme that would see the eventual phasing out of the bearer cheques.
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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

"Mauritius Watch" : Issue 18, 28 February 2005
The Zimbabwean Elections: (Monitoring Violations of SADC Standards)

On 17 August 2004, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders meeting in Mauritius adopted the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. Zimbabwe, as a member of SADC, also signed the Agreement and committed itself to implementing the standards. Furthermore the Mugabe regime claims that it is compliant with these standards and thereby invites a comparison between its own electoral and security legislation and performance on the one hand, and the SADC Principles and Guidelines on the other.

"Mauritius Watch" provides a regular, objective and non-partisan assessment of Zimbabwe's compliance with these Principles and Guidelines. In the run-up to the 2005 Parliamentary Elections we note any significant failures to adhere to the SADC standards. This special weekly feature assumes even greater significance as the date of the Parliamentary Elections (March 31) approaches. Less than 5 weeks remain before the crucial poll.

This week we note the comment of Zwelinzima Vavi, Secretary General of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) that under the current repressive environment in Zimbabwe it would take "a miracle" for Zimbabwe's election to be free and fair. Vavi said that Mugabe had reversed the gains of Zimbabwe's bitter 1970s liberation struggle with "massive human rights abuses" now routine in the country. Announcing the picketing/blockade of Beit Bridge and other Zimbabwean lifelines on March 16, and a series of other protest marches and pickets in the run-up to the elections, Vavi said: "Civic society in South Africa must unashamedly act in solidarity with their counterparts in Zimbabwe. If we close our eyes to the realities of repression, there is a danger we would ignore other future abuses."

ZANU-PF appointees and officials from the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) have themselves confirmed that it is this electoral body, rather than the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) established last year by an Act of Parliament, which is supreme and will have the last word on any contentious issue arising in the forthcoming general election.

The significance of the distinction is that while the chairman and members of the ESC are all appointed directly by Robert Mugabe, for the ZEC there is, at least on paper, some scope for the opposition to have a say in the appointment of the members. (The chairman however, is appointed under Mugabe's absolute discretion).

In practice it did not make any difference this time around since all that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was presented with was a shortlist of candidates for members of the ZEC, none of whom were acceptable to them. As one MDC leader put it, "all we could do was to choose the least bad." To cap it all Mugabe appointed as chairman of the ZEC a judge with known ZANU-PF sympathies.

Until this time ZANU-PF have made the most of the confusion between the roles of the ESC and ZEC. Their propaganda machine has promoted the latter as an "independent electoral commission" in control of the election - in line with SADC requirements. Now however the ZANU-PF appointees to the ESC have laid that lie to rest.

As quoted in The Daily Mirror, Joice Kazembe, ESC Commissioner, said: "The ESC is the overall authority of supervision of elections by virtue of constitutional provisions. We have the final say on whether they had been run properly. The ESC is the overall constitutional authority and takes precedence over the bodies that run elections."

The point was underlined by Dominic Chidakuza, the legal advisor and secretary to the ESC, who said: "The ESC was established by the constitution of Zimbabwe. It's made from the supreme law of the country. It therefore tells you who is to supervise who (between ESC and ZEC). The (one) commission is created by the supreme law and the other by an act of parliament."

So much for the pretence, actively promoted by ZANU-PF, that the ZEC was to run the election and that this body was independent. The ESC on the other hand, being totally the creation of Robert Mugabe, not even his most blindly-loyal supporters would surely dare to claim to be independent.

(Quotations taken from The Daily Mirror: 23.02.05)

SADC standards breached:


Voter registration for the March 31 election was still going on around the country three weeks after the official closure of the exercise, validating opposition MDC claims that ZANU-PF is systematically rigging the polls - with the active connivance of the blatantly partisan Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede.

A report in The Standard (February 20) confirmed that people continued to visit the stations registering for the general election as of February 18. This was most pronounced in areas such as Hatcliffe, Mount Pleasant in Harare, Dema Growth Point in Seke and Lupane in Matabeleland province.

It was reported that ZANU-PF was still instructing its supporters to register long after the expiry of the February 4 cut-off date for registration given in the presidential proclamation.

Trudy Stevenson MP for Harare North (MDC) said voter registration was still going on in her constituency. "They are registering people to vote in the general election, clearly showing that they are prepared to win these elections through whatever means. The whole process is not being made public."

MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube expressed concern about the continued registration of voters. He said the revelations weakened the accountability and transparency of the Registrar-General's Office. According to Ncube this is exactly how ZANU-PF rigged the 2002 (presidential) election.

(Reported in The Standard: 20.02.05)

SADC standards breached:

The official opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has complained in the strongest terms that a group of soldiers attacked their officials, who were travelling from Masvingo where the MDC had launched its election campaign for the 2005 general elections, a week ago.

Spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said: "The MDC officials were at Wengezi business centre in Manicaland when a group of about 50 soldiers disembarked from two army trucks and about 20 of the soldiers started assaulting the MDC members. Among the MDC officials were three candidates for the 2005 general election, namely Pishai Muchauraya the candidate for Makoni East, Edwin Maupa candidate for Mutasa South and Gabriel Chiwara the candidate for Makoni West."

"The soldiers assaulted Chiwara and his election agent Josephat Munhumumwe, accusing the two of selling the country to the British," added Nyathi. "Chiwara and Munhumumwe sustained injuries all over their bodies as they were kicked and beaten with booted feet and fists by the furious members of the army. Chiwara also sustained a deep cut above the eye," he said. The two were taken to Mutare General Hospital where they received treatment and were later released. The matter was reported to the Mutare rural police station and a docket was opened (number given) but to date no arrests have been made.

This attack comes barely a week after another group of MDC members was viciously attacked by members of the army
in Nyanga.

(See the report given by I-Net Bridge (SA):22.02.05, and published in ZWNEWS: 23.02.05)

SADC standards breached:

Suspected ruling ZANU-PF party militants waylaid and severely beat up an opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party campaign team in the small town of Norton, 40 km west of Harare on February 24 - evidence of increasing violence across the country ahead of the crucial parliamentary election on March 31.

The 11 MDC activists were putting up campaign posters in the town when the ZANU-PF militants pounced on them. The militants also confiscated the posters and party regalia the MDC activists were wearing and burnt the material.

Norton falls under the Manyame constituency in which Robert Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo, is standing against the MDC's Hilda Mafudze in the March poll.

The police spokesman could not be contacted to comment on the attack, but Mafudze said she had reported the incident to the local police in Norton. "This cannot be a free and fair election," she said. "How can the whole process be fair when one's campaign team is beaten up and their regalia burnt by these thugs who belong to a party which claims it supports a free and fair poll?"

(See the report in Zim Online (SA): 25.02.05, also published in ZWNEWS 25.02.05)

Note: Robert Mugabe's oldest sister, Sabina Mugabe, has a section of Gowrie farm in Norton. She visited the farm prior to the violent death of farmer Terry Ford in March 2001, demanding the house and furniture which belonged to his recently deceased aunt, who lived on his farm. Sabina Mugabe's constituency, Zvimba South, falls within Norton. Retired Zimbabwe Defence Force general Vitalis Zvinavashe, also took over a farm in the area.

SADC standards breached:

MDC candidate for Shamva in next month's parliamentary elections, Godfrey Chimombe, and five supporters were arrested on February 22 while putting up campaign posters at Madziva Market in Shamva, in Mashonaland Central province. Provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Michael Munyikwa, confirmed the arrests, saying the suspects would be charged for contravening provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). He said the six people putting up campaign posters at Madziva Market, a council-owned property, should have notified the police and would accordingly be charged under POSA.

Contacted for comment the MDC's Mashonaland Central chairman, Tapera Macheka, said: "The police have arrested our candidate for putting up his campaign posters. The candidate and five other youths are still being held in police custody where I understand they are being denied access to food. We are going to consult our lawyer to intervene because our followers are now afraid of intimidation."

This is not the first time the opposition has complained about the harassment and intimidation of their supporters who are being denied the right to campaign freely in the province.

(See the Report in The Daily Mirror: 24.02.05 and also published in ZWNEWS: 24.02.05)

SADC standards breached:

Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has accused the government's spying agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), of bribing some of its disgruntled members to destabilize and weaken the party ahead of the parliamentary election on March 31.

MDC secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, said: "The CIO has been fully operational in trying to infiltrate and weaken the MDC by buying and sponsoring losing candidates (from the party's primary elections) to discredit the party.

For example, we know of people who could not afford to print a single T-shirt and had to appeal for party resources when they were sitting MDC MPs. Now that they are standing as independents, they are awash with money and are using it to weaken our structures before the elections."

State security minister Nicholas Goche, who is in charge of the CIO, denied the allegation. However intelligence sources have confirmed to Zim Online that the CIO is running a "national project" to infiltrate the MDC and destabilize it ahead of the March 31 elections.

A senior CIO operative speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "Infiltration of the MDC is not a new thing but with the elections approaching a slush fund has been set up to buy and sponsor discontent within the MDC. This will split the vote and benefit ZANU-PF."

(Reported by Zim Online: 25.02.05)

SADC standards breached:

The most recently established independent paper in Zimbabwe, the Weekly Times, has been shut down for allegedly violating the country's tough media laws, its owner, Godfrey Ncube, said on February 26. This brings to four the number of independent papers closed down by the Mugabe regime under the draconian legislation crafted by the now disgraced former minister of information, Jonathan Moyo. The paper was shut down after publishing just eight editions and just a month ahead of the crucial national elections.

Chairperson of the ZANU-PF-controlled Media and Information Commission (MIC), Tafataona Mahoso, tried to justify the forced closure on the grounds that the Weekly Times had misrepresented its intentions when applying for a publishing licence. Ncube however, who intendes to challenge the closure in court, was in no doubt that the move was political. "There is no basis for closing us down," he said. "We feel it's a political move; it's got nothing to do with the law." Ncube cited his alleged close ties to the Movement for Democratic (MDC) party general secretary Welshman Ncube, and to the outspoken Roman Catholic Archbishop, Pius Ncube, as the real reason for the closure.

The Daily News which had the biggest daily circulation in the country and its sister paper, The Daily News on Sunday, were forcibly closed in September 2003, while the weekly Tribune was shut down in June last year. Scores of journalists have been arrested under the same draconian media laws.

(Reported in The Mail and Guardian (SA): 27.02.05)

SADC standards breached:

SOKWANELE has produced a detailed analysis of the Zimbabwean statutes that are in breach of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and the policy breaches by the ZANU-PF government.

Entitled "ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL LEGISLATION : SADC CHECK LIST", the document can be seen on our website at

Note: The fraudulent and violence-ridden elections of 2000 and 2002 were narrowly "won" by Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, who have maintained their iron grip on the country by using strategies designed to annihilate all forms of opposition.

As many independent commentators have already pointed out, there is no prospect that the parliamentary elections scheduled for March 31 will be fair and free. Equally, given the magnitude of the task and the few weeks remaining before the poll, there is no prospect of the regime's compliance with the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. Indeed, in recent months we have witnessed a steady movement by the regime away from compliance with any international norms for democratic elections. Behind the façade of democracy which the regime likes to put on all their activities, we have seen a deliberate and systematic attempt to subvert every institution of government in order to secure in the forthcoming poll a pre-determined result favouring ZANU-PF.

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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Youths Coerced into Regime Militia

The military press-gangs youths into Green Bomber militias geared to
enforcing ZANU PF rule.

By Elias Mugwade in Mutare (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 11,

The Zimbabwe army is carrying out widespread sweeps through the spectacular
mountain region of eastern Zimbabwe, a stronghold of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, MDC, press-ganging young men and women into the
National Youth Militia.

More than one hundred youngsters aged 18 to 22 in the Inyanga Highlands,
Vumba Highlands and Chimanimani Mountains have been caught in the dragnet
and taken to a camp in the north to begin military and ideological training.

The shanghaied youngsters were set a test to run ten kilometres inside 45
minutes. Those who passed were told they would be paid 600,000 Zimbabwean
dollars [less than one US dollar] a day and given the opportunity in due
course to join the national army.

Similar scenes are being enacted throughout Zimbabwe as President Robert
Mugabe boosts the ranks of the National Youth Militia, the president's
personal storm troopers deployed to enforce ZANU PF rule and to intimidate
anyone viewed as an enemy of the ruling party. The Green Bombers, as the
militiamen and women have been dubbed because of their bottle green
uniforms, are widely feared because of their violent tactics.

ZANU PF officials say the youths are trained in agriculture, carpentry and
bricklaying. But those who spoke to IWPR confirmed that military tactics and
political indoctrination into ZANU PF ideology are central to their training
at the Border Gezi Centre at Mount Darwin, 160 km northeast of Harare.

Border Gezi - named after a former hard-line Mugabe minister who created the
youth militia before he died in a 2001 car crash - is one of a number of
Green Bomber tented training camps throughout the country.

The youths told IWPR they were divided into groups of about 50 to create
psychological bonds once deployed in the field. Their days are spent in
fitness training and gun-handling. They attend courses in patriotism, each
lesson beginning by a raising of fists in the ZANU PF salute and the
chanting of slogans in praise of Mugabe, ending with denunciations of
British premier Tony Blair.

Mugabe has said his campaign for Zimbabwe's March 31 parliamentary elections
is an anti-Blair crusade.

The youth militia recruits are also instructed in how the military wing of
ZANU PF liberated the country from white rule. Another module includes
instruction on Britain's intention to recolonise Zimbabwe and how it is the
duty of every Zimbabwean to defend the nation's sovereignty.

Surviving white farmers in the mountains told IWPR that army units have been
arriving on their properties and ordering black foremen to identify youths
in surrounding villages who are fit enough to be taken to youth militia

"They've been rounding up forty or more young people at a time," said one
leading farmer. "Zimbabwe is becoming like the Congo and Somalia, where
bandits rule. It's terrifying."

Critics have compared the Green Bombers to Adolf Hitler's Brownshirts, who
spearheaded the early Nazi attacks on Germany's Jewish population.

Paul Themba Nyathi, national spokesman for the MDC, alleged that ZANU PF's
aim is to recruit some 2000 youths to the militias in each of Zimbabwe's 120
parliamentary constituencies - nearly a quarter million young people. The
current strength of the National Youth Militia is estimated at 50,000.

"ZANU PF has been recruiting core groups from every province, about ten per
district, to go for military training," Nyathi said. "When they are through,
they go home and start new training programmes. The multiplier effect will
be enormous, if it works."

Nyathi said he believed Green Bombers recently promoted into the army were
responsible for attacks on February 20 on three MDC parliamentary candidates
as they returned home to the eastern town of Mutare after the launch of
their party's national election campaign. The three were hospitalised after
being punched and kicked by twenty militia graduates newly attached to a
fifty-strong army unit. "Only brainwashed young people would carry out these
attacks with such passion," said Nyathi. "We urge all members of the
professional army to encourage unruly elements among them to desist, because
they tarnish the name of the professional force."

A white Zimbabwean woman recently described how she was stopped in her car
by a Green Bomber gang in Mutorashanga, 90 km north of Harare. "They had
crowbars and they demanded to see a ZANU PF card," said the woman, who
declined to be named for fear of reprisal. "When I said I hadn't got one,
they made me chant: 'Forward with Osama Bin Laden, forward with Robert
Gabriel Mugabe, down with whites.' It was terrifying. There was a police
Land Rover there, but the police just sat and watched."

The youth militias are expected to have little impact in urban areas, where
the opposition enjoys overwhelming support. But in rural parts the impact of
the Green Bombers is devastating. Not only are villagers cowed into support
for ZANU PF, but opposition candidates are prevented from campaigning.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai urged Mugabe to disband the Green Bombers who,
he said, had no legal basis for their creation. "They are going from home to
home, erecting illegal roadblocks, intimidating people and forcing them to
buy ZANU PF cards," he said. "Youths from Border Gezi and other training
camps have embarked on an orgy of violence."

Elias Mugwade is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.
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Rebels play waiting game

Cricinfo staff

March 1, 2005

The decision by Heath Streak to resume playing for Zimbabwe is likely to be
followed by similar announcements from most of the remaining rebels. But
some are believed to prefer waiting to see if the assurances they are
thought to have been given by Zimbabwe Cricket materialise before making
such a commitment.

Although the conditions which led to Streak's decision have not been
discussed publicly, it is generally accepted that ZC must have made
concessions, particularly in the matter of who is eligible to be a selector.
Neither side wants to lose face, and it is thought that the ending of the
strike would be followed by a subtle change of tack by the board in the
coming months.

The key person is Max Ebrahim, currently head of the selectors and one of
the individuals most disliked by the rebels. Their main objection was that
he has no cricketing credentials, either as a player or coach, and the
requirement that any future selectors have a decent degree of experience is
reported to be at the heart of the settlement.

While most will resume playing, those with contracts to play in England are
expected to honour their commitments and wait and see what happens in the
coming months - these include Richard Sims, Travis Friend and Ray Price. A
spokesman for Interactive, the sports agency representing Sims and Friend,
said that the players would be "keeping their options open".

New contracts were sent to the rebels by ZC today. A source said that there
were certain aspects about which they were unhappy, and these were being run
past their lawyers.

© Cricinfo

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The Herald

Harare introduces water cuts

Municipal Reporter
HARARE City Council will - with immediate effect - introduce water cuts in
the capital and surrounding towns owing to persistent mechanical and
electrical faults at the Morton Jaffray Water Works.

The municipality yesterday urged residents to use available water sparingly
as most of the city's reservoirs have gone critically low.

In the past three weeks, Harare had intermittent supplies due to the
problems besieging the water treatment plant.

Worst affected areas are the southern and eastern suburbs and outlying and
high-lying Ruwa.

Residents of ZimRe Park in Ruwa yesterday said they had gone for over two
weeks without water and were relying on open-dug wells for domestic needs.

Chitungwiza, Norton and Epworth will also be affected by the water cuts. The
municipality announced yesterday that "residents of Greater Harare and its
satellite towns will be experiencing water supply disruptions".

Director of Works Mr Psychology Chiwanga attributed the disruptions to
electric transformers that were failing to respond to an overload induced by
low voltage.

Pumping has, therefore, been restricted to lesser pumps instead of the usual
six big pumps, two medium ones and one small one.

"As a result, we cannot pump at maximum capacity to the city, leading to
reduced flow into our reservoirs.

"Efforts to rectify the problem at the shortest possible time are currently
underway," said Mr Chiwanga.

The arc of eastern suburbs is fed from Letombo.

These suburbs are both the highest in terms of altitude in Harare and also
the furthest from the waterworks.

As a result, the council has to pump water to these far-away areas in three
stages - first to Warren, then to Letombo and finally to the local

In instances of critical shortages of water like these, there is very
little, or no water to pump from Warren to Letombo since the available water
is drained directly to the southwestern and western suburbs first.

Ruwa, further east and even higher in altitude, normally suffers the worst.

In most of Harare's eastern suburbs there is water for some hours a day,
giving residents the chance to fill containers.
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The Herald

Gold worth over $300 million confiscated

Business Reporters
AT LEAST 2,337 kilogrammes of gold valued at more than $303 million has been
confiscated from illegal dealers and forfeited to the State.

Under the Gold Trade Act Chapter 21:03, gold may be confiscated from illegal
dealers, as the Act clearly spells out who is entitled to buy the metal.

A total of 2 337,954 grammes of gold worth $303 934 020 at $130 000 per
gramme (current producer price) has been confiscated from 237 dealers.

Apart from the refined gold, another 178,2 grammes of gold ore was also
confiscated from the dealers.

Last week Government gazetted the names of the illegal dealers and in the
statement said the confiscated gold was now in the custody of the Ministry
of Mines and Mining Development.

"The gold may, by prior arrangement, be inspected by a person claiming a
legal right to the gold at the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development
during the two months following the publication of this notice.

"Any person claiming a legal right to any of this gold may apply in writing
within two months from the date of publication of this notice, to the
Secretary for Mines and Mining Development for delivery to him of such gold.

"If no such person establishes a legal right to any of this gold within the
aforementioned period, it may be disposed of by the Secretary for Mines and
Mining Development," read a notice published in the Government Gazette.

In addition to the 2,3 kilogrammes confiscated, 80 buttons of gold were also
forfeited to the State. Also confiscated were 12 flakes, six particles,
three coils, two granules, two nuggets, three small buttons of gold.

Gold marketing and dealing in Zimbabwe is regulated by statutory
instruments, and Fidelity Printers and Refiners, a subsidiary company of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, is the sole buyer of the precious metal.

The amount of gold confiscated does not come as a surprise given the rampant
informal trade in the precious metal, particularly in the Midlands and
Eastern Highlands where illegal gold panning is rife.

According to conservative estimates, at least 10 percent of the gold
produced in the country finds its way onto the black market.

This means, for example, of the 21,3 tonnes produced last year as much as 2
tonnes could be have found its way onto the informal market.
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New Zimbabwe

Foreign drug gang busted in Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/02/2005 12:38:36
POLICE in Zimbabwean capital Harare on Tuesday busted a hard-drug
trafficking syndicate and recovered 123 sachets of heroin worth Zim$61.5
million (about US$10,250) from two foreigners.

Acting on a tip-off, the police drug and narcotics unit raided an apartment
in the Avenues area and recovered the drug stashed ina bag.

A Mozambican woman in the apartment, denied knowledge of the narcotics and
instead implicated her boyfriend, a South African, who was also arrested.

Police said they are now linking the Mozambican woman to a drugtrafficking
syndicate believed to be of Nigerian origin.

The officer commanding the drugs and narcotics unit, Superintendent Andrew
Kadungure confirmed the busting of the drug syndicate.

"I can confirm that teams are on the ground trying to detect how this
syndicate is operating because the discovery of one of the hardest drugs is
really a cause for concern," Kadungure said - Xinhuanet
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Zim Online

Mugabe using violence to retain power: US
Wed 2 March 2005
  HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party continue to
use violence to maintain power with state security forces and
government-sanctioned militias used to brutalise and suppress the
opposition, the United States has said.

      In a report that appears to cast an early and dark shadow of doubt on
whether Zimbabwe's upcoming election will be free and fair, the State
Department said that in addition to the use of violence to retain power the
electoral system remained heavily skewed in favour of Mugabe and ZANU PF.

      Zimbabwe holds a crucial parliamentary election on March 31.

      The US report, reviewing human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe in the
last 12 months, was released this week.

      The report reads in part: "President Mugabe and his ZANU PF party used
intimidation and violence to maintain political power. A systematic,
government sanctioned campaign of violence targeting supporters and
perceived supporters of the opposition continued during the year.

      "Security forces, government-sanctioned youth militias, and ruling
party supporters tortured, raped, and otherwise abused persons perceived to
be associated with the opposition."

      On paper, Zimbabwe was a multi-party democracy but in practice, Mugabe
and ZANU PF had manipulated electoral laws and processes, disenfranchising
voters to ensure only they can win elections, according to the State

      It wrote in its report: "The Constitution (of Zimbabwe) provides
citizens with the right to change their government peacefully; however this
right was restricted in practice because the political process continued to
be heavily tilted in favour of ZANU PF.

      "The government manipulated the electoral process to effectively
disenfranchise voters and skew elections in favour of ruling party

      Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge yesterday scoffed at
the US report as "biased illusion" about Zimbabwe.

      "Do you think one can seriously comment on what the US says about
Zimbabwe," retorted Mudenge when asked for comment on the report.

      He added: "The report is obviously biased. Washington has illusions of
what is happening in Zimbabwe. Even their (US) spies in the country are not
being honest to their bosses. The truth is that we are a democratic country
and those who are honest can testify."

      The State Department report, which lists a litany of abuses and human
rights violations allegedly by state security agents or government
supporters, says that Mugabe and his government have also continued to
restrict freedom of speech and of the press, academic freedom, freedom of
assembly, and the right of association for political organisations.

      The report cites three examples of political killings where three
supporters of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
were murdered, one by a government official, the second by a military
official, and the third by a ZANU PF supporter.

      As well as participate in killings of perceived government opponents,
"army and police units provided logistical support to perpetrators of
political violence and generally permitted their activities", according to
the State Department.

      US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last month listed Zimbabwe
among the last remaining "outposts of tyranny" together with Burma, North
Korea and Iran.

      But Mugabe and his government have repeatedly rejected criticism by
the US and other Western powers as unfair and racist saying it is motivated
by a desire to punish them for seizing white-owned farmland for
redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Civic leaders lay bare Mugabe's 'act of deception'
Wed 2 March 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - Two civic society leaders yesterday dismissed as an act of
deception claims by the Harare authorities that Zimbabwe is ready to hold a
free and fair election later this month in line with a regional bloc's

      Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights chairman Arnold Tsunga and Andrew
Moyse of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ), told journalists
in Johannesburg that Zimbabwe had failed to comply with the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) guidelines for running elections.

      "The whole claim (that Zimbabwe was in full compliance with the
guidelines) is a total deception. SADC electoral guidelines call for freedom
of speech, assembly, and the rights of voters to civic education and equal
access to the media in the case of political parties. None of these exist in
Zimbabwe," said Tsunga.

      Last August, SADC leaders agreed on a set of guidelines to foster free
and fair elections in the region. Among the requirements is respect for
freedom of the press and the setting up of independent electoral bodies to
run elections.

      None of the above exists in Zimbabwe at present, said Tsunga.

      President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party will square off against
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in the crunch
March 31 election.

      Tsunga said: "The continued existence and use of such draconian laws
like the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Broadcasting Services make a complete
mockery of the SADC guidelines."

      "New electoral laws have been promulgated, giving the army and
intelligence services strategic roles in the conduct of elections . . . that
is not how a fair election has to be run," said the human rights lawyer.

      MMPZ boss Andrew Moyse said media freedom has continued to shrink in
the last three weeks ahead of the poll with the shutting down by the
government's Media and Information Commission of the private Weekly Times
newspaper and the harassment by state security agents of foreign media

      "Three international journalists were forced to flee the country in
the face of relentless harassment. Add these to the hundreds who fled
persecution since 2000, and the picture is that of despair.

      "Despite assurances from the state, the coverage of the activities of
any political party other than ZANU PF remains thin, and it is mostly hate
messages and racist invective aimed at individuals and organisations
perceived to be anti-government," said Moyse. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Mugabe locks out ex-ZANU PF boss from rally
Wed 2 March 2005
  HARARE - State security agents, allegedly acting on President Robert
Mugabe's orders, last Sunday prevented former ruling ZANU PF party top
official, Philip Chiyangwa, from entering a stadium where Mugabe was
addressing a party gathering.

      Insiders told ZimOnline yesterday that Chiyangwa - a former chairman
of ZANU PF for Mashonaland West province and a relative of Mugabe - was
locked out of Chinhoyi stadium because Mugabe had instructed his security
men to ensure the businessman-cum politician and three other senior ZANU PF
officials accused of spying to never get near him again.

      "The President (Mugabe) has made it abundantly clear he does not wish
to see Chiyangwa near him again," said a ZANU PF legislator.

      He added: "When Chiyangwa tried to enter the stadium, the President's
security men refused him entry. The President does not want him anywhere
near. It is a matter of time before he is expelled from the party following
the President's declaration against
      sell-outs within the party."

      Chiyangwa, who has since been cleared of the spy charges by the
courts, refused to discuss the lock-out and switched off his mobile phone
when pressed for comment on the matter.

      Those close to him say the flamboyant Harare businessman blames
journalists for contributing towards his political downfall.

      At the stadium where ZANU PF supporters were celebrating the
appointment of Joyce Mujuru as party and state second vice-president, Mugabe
used the occasion to lambast and heap scorn on spies and sell-outs he
claimed had infiltrated the party.

      Mugabe told the party gathering: "It does not matter whether you are
my relative or close friend, a sell-out is just a sell-out. Even my own
mother's child if he or she sells out, I will condemn him."

      Chiyangwa, arrested last December together with three others was
released from prison unconditionally two weeks ago after the High Court
ruled that there was no basis for him to be kept on remand.

      Three other men, ZANU PF external affairs director Itai Marchi,
Zimbabwe's ambassador designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dvzairo and ZANU
PF-linked banking executive Tendai Matambanadzo are serving a total of 16
years in jail after being convicted of spying.

      According to sources, senior ZANU PF politicians from Mashonaland West
were following Mugabe's Sunday address now pushing for Chiyangwa to be
expelled from the party. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

4.8 million Zimbabweans need food aid immediately
Wed 2 March 2005
  HARARE - Up to 4.8 million Zimbabweans urgently require food aid or they
could starve, the United States-based Famine Early Warning System Network
(FEWSNET) has said.

      FEWSNET monitors food trends in Zimbabwe and has regularly published
reports on the food supply situation in the African country.

      In its latest report on the country, the group said Zimbabwe was
facing a possible major famine in coming months particularly in the drier
and traditionally food insecure provinces of Matabeleland, Masvingo,
Manicaland and some parts of lower Zambezi river valley.

      "Special attention should be given to the food insecure provinces of
Matabeleland South, Manicaland, Masvingo and the Zambezi Valley because of
the threat of famine in those areas," reads the FEWSNET report.

      The group said the food situation in urban areas was also worsening as
prices of food continued skyrocketing against falling incomes.

      Erratic rains so far this season were only helping compound Zimbabwe's
food problems with an even bigger food deficit expected this year, FEWSNET

      FEWSNET, which did not say how much food was required immediately to
avert famine, called on Harare and international food aid agencies to resume
negotiations on resumption of food relief operations in Zimbabwe.

      In an earlier report released last December, FEWSNET said donors
needed to help provide about 250 000 tonnes of maize to feed about 3.3
million hungry people up until the next harvest this month.

      A limited number of donor groups are distributing food to targeted
groups such as the elderly and orphans after the government last year told
the rest of the food aid organisations to take their help elsewhere saying
Zimbabwe had harvested enough.

      A subsequent inquiry by Parliament however revealed that government
forecasts of a bumper harvest were misplaced with the country either being
forced to buy food on its own or seek help from donors to avert hunger.

      The government has since the beginning of the year been importing
about 16 000 tonnes of food weekly from South Africa although food experts
say this is far below quantities required to feed the nation.

      Zimbabwe consumes 1.8 million tonnes of maize per year.- ZimOnline
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Zim Online

High Court judge to rule on Moyo's eviction challenge
Wed 2 March 2005
  HARARE - High Court Justice Tedious Karwi is today expected to rule in an
application by fallen former information minister Jonathan Moyo seeking the
court to block the government from evicting him from a state-owned mansion.

      Moyo filed an emergency application at the High Court last Saturday
after he had been given 48 hours to leave the house in Harare' leafy Gunhill
suburb or be kicked out.

      In papers lodged with the court, Moyo argued that his eviction was
illegal because he was not given due notice and there was no court order
sanctioning the move. The former government propaganda chief also pleaded
with the court to stop his eviction saying he had nowhere to relocate his

      Moyo had offered to vacate the state property at the end of this
month. But the government says he should leave immediately because he was no
longer employed by the government. - ZimOnline
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