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

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The Scotsman

Ministers Challenged over Zimbabwe

By Nick Mead, Political Staff, PA News

Ministers were today challenged to "stop walking by on the other side" over

Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram called in the Commons for the
Government to freeze assets of wealthy businessmen who fund the country's
leader Robert Mugabe, extend European Union sanctions and ask the United
Nations to monitor food distribution.

Mr Ancram asked at question time: "When will you do more than just wring
your hands about Zimbabwe?

"When will the Government start freezing the assets of wealthy businessmen,
some of them in this country, who bankroll Mugabe?

"When will you extend and tighten the EU targeted sanctions to bring real
and effective pressure on Mugabe and his henchmen?

"When will the Government formally ask the UN to deploy UN staff to monitor
the distribution of food in Zimbabwe?"

"When will the Government show some moral courage and stop walking by on the
other side?"

Junior Foreign Office minister Chris Mullin accused Tories over their record
on Zimbabwe, saying some Conservative MPs had shaken hands with Mugabe.

Britain played "a leading part" in extending EU sanctions, he said.

He added that ministers took the Zimbabwe issue "very seriously indeed and
we have been extremely proactive".
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For Immediate Release


The following Press Guidance was issued by the United States Department of
State on March 29 at the end of the March 27 - 28 Zengeza parliamentary
by-election that was controversially won by the ruling ZANU PF party:

"We condemn the violence, intimidation, and irregularities that occurred
prior to and during the March 27 - 28 Zengeza parliamentary by-election.
The election's improprieties preclude it from being deemed free and fair.

The by-election should have been a routine and peaceful expression of a
local constituency's political will.  Instead, it became another symbol of
the ruling party's pursuit of electoral victories at the expense of the
peaceful expression of democratic rights in Zimbabwe.

According to credible reports, two youth supporters from the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were shot, one fatally, on March 28
during an armed attack by ruling party supporters on the home of the MDC's
candidate.  We call upon the Zimbabwean government to investigate the crime
and prosecute those responsible.

The violence and irregularities of the Zengeza election are also troubling
because of what they portend for another by-election in May and for
nationwide parliamentary elections in March 2005.

For future elections to be free and fair, the Zimbabwean government must act
now to regularize the political environment.  Specifically, it must ensure
freedom of the press and of association, suppress and prosecute political
violence, allow unfettered political campaigning, and establish an
independent electoral supervisory commission."

March 30, 2004
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From The Cape Times (SA), 30 March

Zanu PF edges closer to a two-thirds majority

Harare: Zimbabwe's ruling party edged closer yesterday to the two-thirds
majority it needs to push through constitutional changes after winning a
parliamentary by-election marred by the death of an opposition activist.
Mugabe's Zanu PF party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) fiercely contested the weekend poll in Zengeza, 35km south-east
of here. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said Zanu PF had secured the
parliamentary seat, previously held by the MDC which has lost three seats to
Zanu PF in by-elections in the past four years. Zanu PF Harare provincial
spokesman Winston Dzawo hailed the victory as a turning point of its
fortunes in major towns. The MDC denounced the result as "daylight robbery".
The vote was marred by the shooting of MDC youth activist Francis Chinozvima
on Sunday. Two other opposition activists were wounded when pro-government
supporters fired shots near the house of the MDC candidate for Zengeza. The
Zengeza seat was left vacant after the resignation of MDC deputy Tafadzwa
Musekiwa, who fled to Britain last year citing political persecution by Zanu
PF supporters. Zanu PF needs two more seats to get a parliamentary majority
which analysts say is only possible if there are more by-elections before
next year's poll.

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From Business Day (SA), 30 March

Zimbabwean minister reassures panicky miners

Harare Correspondent

Harare - Zimbabwe will consult extensively before it introduces proposed new
mining legislation to propel black entrepreneurs into the crisis-ridden
economy. Mines Minister Amos Midzi said he would consult widely before he
took to parliament the draft Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, which has
sparked panic in the mining sector. "It's going through consultations at the
moment, and we are discussing it with all stakeholders," Midzi is reported
to have said. "The proposed draft is an improvement to the existing
legislation, but we are still consulting," he said. There was panic
throughout the mining industry last week after the draft law was leaked,
almost in the same manner as the South African mining charter in 2002. The
bill in its current form says mining houses should sell 49% of their stakes
to black Zimbabweans. It stipulates that the 49% shareholding of private
firms must be sold to "historically disadvantaged persons" within three
years. Listed mining firms are required to make 25% available to qualifying
blacks. This proposal, which was both unexpected and dramatic, shocked
miners who feared that it could be a harbinger of worse things to come. They
consider it a precursor to President Robert Mugabe's previously threatened

Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines president Ian Saunders said the reaction to the
bill was so negative that one mining company abruptly stopped exploration
altogether. "We hope there will be very significant changes made," he said.
Les Paton, executive director of Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats), the
world's second-biggest platinum producer with an 82% equity in Zimbabwe
Platinum Mines (Zimplats), was quoted as saying the law was worrying. "This
draft was an internal paper prepared as a basis for discussion with the
mining industry," he said last week. "We agree with the principle of
indigenisation however, what is of concern to us is the quantum, the 49%,
and the timing." A senior executive at a big foreign mining house said
yesterday the bill was problematic for several reasons, including the fact
that government and most indigenous entrepreneurs "simply have no money to
fund this kind of an initiative". "Where will the money to fund this sort of
initiative come from? We don't want to believe that we are about to witness
another fiasco similar to the land reform disaster," he said. "That would be
the final nail in the coffin of Zimbabwe's economy. Let's hope sanity will
prevail." Another miner said: "That's a populist proposal. We want something
realistic and not initiatives designed for electioneering."

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Zimbabwe Tobacco Profits Dropping Sharply
Peta Thornycroft
30 Mar 2004, 16:07 UTC

Zimbabwe's annual tobacco auctions began Tuesday with the smallest crop on
offer in many years. Tobacco was Zimbabwe's main foreign currency earner,
but this year it will bring in less than 25 percent of what it earned five
years ago before most commercial farmers were evicted from their land.
Officials on the sales floors around Harare report that prices were firm on
the first day of the annual sales, and slightly higher than last year.

This year's estimates are that a maximum of 65 million kilograms will be
available for sale. Since 2000, when President Robert Mugabe said white
farmers' land should be handed over to black Zimbabweans, three quarters of
the growers have been forced, often violently, to leave their farms. The
land reform program gave the farms mainly to Mr. Mugabe's political
supporters, most of them without the skills or financing to make the farms

Even the state-controlled Herald newspaper on Tuesday lamented the fall in
production, and said new farmers, now in possession of most formerly white
owned land, have not been able to restore tobacco yields because of a
shortage of agricultural inputs.

Duncan Millar, the president of the once-powerful Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association, confirmed that white tobacco farmers continue to be evicted. He
says the crop size will continue to decline, in part because of the high
cost of production.

Mr. Millar says even good prices at this year's auction sales would be below
cost, and that he could not predict how many skilled tobacco farmers would
be growing a crop next season.

He added that these tobacco auctions were brought forward by a month to
assist farmers suffering from high interest rates on money borrowed to grow
the crop now going on sale.

The Tobacco Association has a quarter of the members it had before 2000,
including a growing number of established black growers.

Mr. Millar says at Zimbabwe's peak, growers could irrigate 30,000 hectares
of tobacco. Now, he says so much irrigation infrastructure has been
vandalized and stolen Zimbabwe is now only able to grow seven thousand
hectares of irrigated tobacco, which provides the best yields.

For decades, the start of the tobacco auctions was a day when the country
celebrated, because it heralded the start of annual inflows of a quarter of
the annual foreign currency.

This year, it was a low-key event at the auction floors, as the crop's
earnings will hardly be noticed in Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis.
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      Zimbabwe crisis spills over border

            By Barnaby Phillips
            BBC, Southern Africa

      Out in the flat, featureless bush, on the outskirts of Francis town,
near the Zimbabwean border there is a bleak Botswanan prison.
      It is a collection of brick houses surrounded by high fences topped
with barbed wire.

      But it is clean and, so far as I can tell, a humane place.

      It only opened in 2002, specifically to host illegal immigrants.

      There are people from all over Africa here - the Democratic Republic
of Congo, Somalia, Rwanda. But, above all, there are Zimbabweans.

      Very few of them are political activists appealing for asylum.

      They are simply ordinary people - men and women - ruined by their
country's economic collapse, who came to Botswana to try and find work, and
perhaps even send a bit of money back home.

      On the day I visited, there were 300 Zimbabweans in custody.

      "You should have been here in December", one official told me.

      "We had a big round-up of illegal foreigners in Francis town, and we
brought in more than 4,000 of them."

      Destroyed lives

      On an average day, the Botswanan immigration authorities load about
100 Zimbabweans onto trucks, and drive them back to the border.

      Its an expensive, and probably futile exercise. Because all of the
Zimbabweans I spoke to said that they would try and come straight back to

      "In Zimbabwe there is just corruption. And there are no jobs. So of
course I will come back; do you expect me to starve?" asked one.

      Many of the Zimbabweans are just teenagers - their young lives
destroyed by events back home.

      One 16-year-old said: "My father was the foreman on a farm - but he
lost his job - and then he could not afford to send me to school. So I came
to Botswana, because here the currency is strong".


      The Botswanan prison staff sympathise with the Zimbabweans.

      "We have to do our job and expel those without papers. But of course
we know why they come here. Life over there is too hard," said one official.

      And he pointed to a thin teenage boy getting on board the truck which
is bound for the border.

      "That one has been here three times already this month."

      Zimbabwe's crisis is affecting all of southern Africa, and
neighbouring Botswana is on the frontline.

      Botswana has a small population- less than 2 million - and it is a
tightly-knit, conservative society.

      Now it is feeling overwhelmed by the influx of Zimbabweans.

      "There are now more Zimbabweans in Botswana than there are
Botswanans", one government official told me.

      She is wrong, of course, but the sentiment that Botswana is being
swamped is a common one.


      Locals now refer to one part of the capital Gaborone as "little
Harare" because of the dozens of Zimbabwean men and women who line the
roads, begging passers-by for odd jobs, or "piece-work" as they call it.

      In a village outside Gaborone I met local chiefs who are not happy
with the arrival of so many outsiders.

      "They rape, they steal, they cut people with knives", one old chief
told me, pointing to a group of Zimbabweans sitting under a tree.

      "We never used to have these problems" he said.

      'Gaza Strip'

      Driving back to Francis town, we were given permission to visit the
fence which the Botswanan Government is building along its border with

      By the time it is completed, probably later this year, it will run for
300 miles. Eight-feet high, and with an electric current on top, its costing
the Botswanan Government about £2m.

      It is a delicate issue.

      Zimbabwe's High Commissioner in Gaborone has complained that the
Botswanans are trying to build an African "Gaza Strip".

      But the Botswanans insist the fence is designed to stop animals, not

      "It's all to do with foot-and-mouth disease. We've had two outbreaks
in recent years, and we can't afford another one," one agricultural official
told me.

      Botswana exports its beef to the European Union and lucrative
contracts have been disrupted by the outbreaks.

      The Botswanans suspect that on both occasions the disease came from
Zimbabwe, where commercial cattle ranching has collapsed, and the movement
of animals is no longer carefully controlled.

      So the fence ought to keep Zimbabwe's animals out of Botswana.

      But it will, no doubt, make it harder for many Zimbabweans to escape
their country's tragic decline.
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Police Raid Community Radio Station, Arrest And Question Employees

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

March 30, 2004
Posted to the web March 30, 2004

On 25 and 26 March 2004, police in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city,
raided the offices of Radio Dialogue, a community radio station, and
arrested several staff members.

Sharon Sithole, the station's human resources officer, told MISA-Zimbabwe
that five police officers came to the station on the morning of 25 March and
asked to see the station manager, Father Nigel Johnson, who was in South
Africa on business. The officers then produced a search warrant stating that
they had reason to believe that Johnson was in possession of "subversive
material". The officers proceeded to search the station's eight offices and
two studios and seized documents. They also recorded information about the
station's 17 employees.

Sithole confirmed that the officers questioned her about ties between Radio
Dialogue and Bulawayo Agenda, a local initiative that organises public
meetings where Bulawayo residents discuss issues of concern. In the
afternoon, the officers visited Bulawayo Agenda's offices, where they also
seized some documents and took the secretary-bookkeeper in for questioning.

That same evening, police contacted Sithole on her mobile phone and told her
to report to the central police station for questioning. They picked her up
at her home and took her to the police station, where she was questioned for
nearly two hours before being released.

On 26 March, officers returned to Radio Dialogue's offices, where they
arrested Marketing Officer Koliwe Nyoni. Nyoni spent the morning and part of
the afternoon at the central police station. Nyoni was asked about a Public
Order and Security Act public awareness advertisement that MISA-Zimbabwe had
placed in newspapers in 2003. A copy of the advertisement was among the
documents seized on 25 March. Nyoni was also questioned about the activities
of MISA-Zimbabwe and Bulawayo Agenda.

On 26 March, Bulawayo Agenda Coordinator Gordon Moyo also spent the day at
the police station. After questioning him, officers proceeded to search his


In January, police arrested Father Johnson while he was shooting footage for
a music video in Bulawayo's Nkulumane suburb.

Radio Dialogue is a community radio station that has not been licensed by
the government.

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MDC forecasts Zim chaos
30/03/2004 20:28  - (SA)

Harare - Next year's general elections in Zimbabwe are likely to be
characterised by chaos, the country's main opposition, which lost weekend
by-elections to President Robert Mugabe's party, said on Tuesday.

The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) won a
weekend parliamentary by-election that was marred by violence in Zengeza, on
the outskirts of the capital.

"Zengeza gave the people of Zimbabwe a foretaste of the chaos that awaits
the nation in 2005," said Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

One opposition supporter was killed and others were injured during violent
clashes between opposition members and the ruling party during polling.

"An analysis of the Zengeza by-election shows that political competition
here remains a bloody affair 24-years after independence," said Tsvangirai
in a statement.

Zimbabwe is due to hold its regular five-yearly legislative elections in
March next year.

"Zanu-PF is prepared to kill and satisfy its hunger for power and
oppression," alleged Tsvangirai.

The US government has also condemned the elections saying they were not free
and fair.

In a statement, the US State Department said what should have been a
"routine and peaceful expression of the local constituency's political will
... became another symbol of the ruling party's pursuit of electoral
victories at the expense of democratic rights".

"We condemn the violence, intimidation and irregularities that occurred
prior to and during the ... by-election," said the US government.

The MDC has threatened to boycott next year's polls unless certain
conditions are met to level the playing field.

Its demands include the repeal of parts of the media law and aspects of the
security law that "curtail the freedom of political parties to campaign".

It also wants the establishment of "a genuinely independent electoral
commission" responsible for the entire electoral process.

The government plans to tighten electoral laws to give the state-appointed
electoral supervisory commission the monopoly to conduct voter education.
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30 March 2004

The MDC entered the 2002 Presidential election fully aware that the rules of the game were stark against democracy.


Since 2000, we participated in all the by-elections because of our firm belief in taking over power through democratic means.


The image of opposition parties in Africa has been severely dented by the apparent readiness to use arms to deal with post-colonial dictatorships. The results have been often been chaotic and unpredictable. That route has never been an option for the MDC.


But an analysis of the Zengeza by-election shows that political competition here remains a bloody affair 24 years after independence. Zanu PF is prepared to kill and satisfy its hunger for power and oppression.


Francis Chinozvinya, an MDC activist was shot dead on Sunday in a Zanu PF raid at the home of the MDC candidate James Makore in Zengeza. Another MDC youth, Arthur Gunzvenzve, was shot in the leg and taken to hospital. Scores of other MDC supporters and activists were seriously injured since the start of the campaign in Zengeza.

We condemn the continuous descent into thuggery, lawlessness and mayhem in the general body politic in Zimbabwe. Elections, which should reflect the exercise of our sovereignty in the selection of our leaders should never become open seasons for murder, torture, beatings and violence.

Earlier, more than 200 voters in a voting queue were attacked and chased away by a riotous Zanu PF group. No arrests were made despite the fact that the perpetrators committed the crime right in front of members of the police.

One polling station was sealed off and the Zanu PF militia threw stones and other objects at voters wishing to cast their ballots. Zengeza gave the people of Zimbabwe a foretaste of the chaos that awaits the nation in 2005.  Conducting any election in this manner affects the secrecy of the ballot and must be condemned.


The perversion of our electoral system started in earnest during the Parliamentary election when it became clear to Robert Mugabe that Zanu PF was in trouble with the people


Apart from express violence, open intimidation and other clear physical infringements, the legal management and the secrecy of the ballot itself became a direct casualty of Mugabe’s desperate ploy to influence any election outcome.


Five years ago, the people expressed their utmost displeasure with the office of the Registrar General. In all the provinces, the people stated that the current manner in which elections are conducted was unacceptable in a democracy. The people want an Independent Electoral Commission.


I argued in my election petition in the High Court in November 2003 that the Electoral Supervisory Commission lacked the necessary independence to conduct a free and fair election. In March 2002, the ESC comprised of four members, instead of the five required by the Constitution. The anomaly made the ESC legally unsuitable to exercise its full functions and this resulted in fatally flawed Presidential election.


The Electoral Act clearly states that, if the ESC requests, a minister may second civil servants to the staff of the Commission for the purposes of assisting in the running of an election. This did not happen in 2002.


Instead, Robert Mugabe issued a decree four days before voting began directing Cabinet ministers to appoint staff, not necessarily civil servants, to the ESC at a time when the Commission had not requested for additional resources.


You will recall that in 2002 thousands of soldiers were deployed countrywide to campaign for Mugabe. After their campaigns, they were appointed to ESC to supervise that election. How does one expect a villager’s secret vote when the previous night an armed soldier visited villager at home, campaigning for Zanu PF, only to turn up the following morning, in civilian clothing, at a polling station as an election agent or an ESC official?


Mugabe violated the Electoral Act and compromised the independence of the ESC by ordering it to employ soldiers he selected to run the election.


Despite our advice and protests, Mugabe remained adamant that he was right. He is likely to continue behaving in that manner in 2005 knowing fully well that such an act affects an election outcome in his favour.  The practice compromises the secrecy of the ballot.


At night the soldiers moved from one household to another and the following morning the same individuals were seen in polling booths supervising the actual voting. This frightened thousands of voters. The practice makes a mockery of the secrecy of the ballot.


More recently in Gutu North, Zanu PF forced chiefs, headmen and village heads to commandeer ordinary villagers to polling stations and make sure they vote for that party. Out of fear, these community leaders complied and banned our rallies in their areas. The practice compromises the secrecy of the ballot.


Last week, the MDC stated that the latest proposals to amend the Electoral Act were another step in the wrong direction by the Zanu PF government. 


We argued that substantive amendments are indeed required to the existing Electoral Act in order to harmonise its provisions with SADC Norms and Standards for elections, adopted by the SADC Parliamentary Forum Plenary Assembly on 25 March 2001.


However, the amendments proposed in the Bill, are the very anti-thesis of harmonisation; in fact they demonstrate the gulf of difference between the Zimbabwe government and its SADC counterparts with respect to the management and conduct of elections.


Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia will conduct elections in strict accordance with agreed SADC standards. Why should Zimbabwe be allowed to swim against the tide of progress, electoral probity and decency, transparency and basic reason?


The proposed amendments strengthen the status quo in relation to the flawed administration and management of elections. This is illustrated by an amendment that gives the state sole control of the voter education process through a partisan ESC, whose staff includes members of military appointed by Mugabe. The plan seeks to compromise the secrecy of the ballot.

As you participate in your national elections, voters in South Africa, Malawi, Namibia and Mozambique please kindly spare a thought for your counterparts in Zimbabwe who 24 years after independence, are still being denied their basic democratic right of casting their ballots in a free and fair election.


You will recall that in 2002 all the results in the Presidential election are despatched to an exclusive place called a command centre where the opposition is barred. Here results were analysed by carefully selected Zanu PF team before they were announced to the nation. Such actions undermine people’s confidence in the secrecy of the ballot.


The Zimbabwe Constitution says the electoral law governing Presidential and Parliamentary elections must be passed by Parliament. But the current Electoral Act delegates Mugabe to change, make additions to, and even to delete the same act. The proposed amendments ignore this crucial part whose net effect is an attack on the secrecy of the ballot.


The Electoral Act as it is presently constituted violates the Constitution in that it allows Robert Mugabe, a very rough player, to define the rules of the game. Section 158 in particular violates the principle of the separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.


Mugabe loves Section 158 as it allows him to unilaterally shift the goal posts at will and without Parliamentary scrutiny. He will certainly apply it extensively in 2005. I say so because in 2002, Mugabe – among other infringements -- used Section 158 to close the voters roll on 10 January 2002.


He quietly re-opened the registration of voters. He announced later, through the publication of a similar decree, that the voters roll was closed on 29 January 2002.  After realising that the numbers he wanted were insufficient, he re-opened roll, again quietly. The nation was only told on 1 March 2002 that the voters roll was to be closed on 3 March 2002.


In so doing, Mugabe repeatedly and secretly extended the cut-off date for voter registration and allowed for the late registration of voters in areas perceived to be sympathetic to himself and his Zanu PF party.


Using Section 158, Mugabe made changes and additions to conduct of the election on 17 January 2002, on 6 February, on 22 February (twice), on 1 March (twice), on 3 March, on 5 March (four times) and on 8 March (three times).


We challenged this strange behaviour in the Supreme Court on 8 March. Surprisingly, the court reserved judgement when it knew that voting was due to start the following morning, thus turning our challenge into a mere academic exercise.


Still fresh in our minds is the manner in which Mugabe used Section 158 to limit the number of voting stations in urban areas, precisely because he realised the MDC was the strongest political party in these constituencies. This was a direct act of political discrimination against urban voters.


A smart attempt to clean up the Electoral Act must look at Section 158. I believe this section is unconstitutional as it effectively grants unlimited powers to Mugabe. He used Section 158 to deny large numbers of Zimbabweans their vote after he re-classified them as foreigners. He used the section to ban all postal votes from ordinary Zimbabweans.


While the Electoral Act specifies that the staff of the ESC must be members of the public service, Mugabe directed military officers to take over the running of the ESC. Section 113 of the Constitution excludes the Prison Service, the Police Force and the Defence Forces from its definition of the public service. Mugabe was aware of that. Using Section 158, he changed Section 11 of the Electoral Act with the following decree:


“Notwithstanding subsection (1) of Section 11 of the Act, the Minister or any other Minister may assign to the Commission such persons in the employment of the state as may be necessary to perform secretarial and administrative functions of the Commission.”


The Constitution forbids this form of interference in the work of the Commission as it states clearly in Section 61 that the ESC shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.


Come to 2005, what safeguards do we as Zimbabweans have to curb the kind of wayward behaviour we saw from Zanu PF in the past five years? Are we ready as a nation go through the same agony we endured in 2000 and in 2002? What kind of life did the Zimbabwean voter go through in the various by-elections conducted in this country since 2000? Are these ordeals necessary if the outcome is going to be pre-determined anyway?


Instead of the people focussing on whether we, as the MDC, plan to participate in 2005 or not, debate must be re-directed to the crucial issue at hand: the conditions on the ground.


We are not helping ourselves as Zimbabweans if we continue debating the merits and disadvantages of end result, while ignoring the process leading to elections. This is a life-and-death subject. On Sunday Francis Chinozvinya died for democracy. He joins hundreds of MDC supporters who lost their lives; thousands who were displaced, raped and maimed while fighting for change.


Our supporters, various opinion-formers and policy makers, the media and the international community must assist Zimbabwe in directing debate on the centre of the dispute.


The electoral conditions in this country are a ready recipe for confrontation and perpetual contest.  Zimbabweans, SADC and the international community are aware of the flaws in our electoral system.


If Zanu PF maintains its stubbornness and refuses to yield to pressure, how should Zimbabweans behave? Do we still participate in conditions similar to what we witnessed in Zengeza? I have a responsibility as the leader of the largest political party in Zimbabwe. I have a contract with the people. Do I still urge them to soldier on in the face of death, beatings, ballot theft and a direct denial to exercise their sovereign will? The people are arguing that they have tried to use the democratic route available to them. They say they have given the MDC their support. They have come out and tried to vote. But their voice has been repeated stolen.


If we go ahead and take part in the 2005 Parliamentary election under the same conditions and the outcome is tampered with, what recourse is at our disposal? Do we resort to the courts for relief and justice? We tried that route after 2000 and it took us nowhere. The media could play a direct role in shaping public debate on the conditions for elections in Zimbabwe.


As we have seen in Harare where democracy was completely shut out by Zanu PF, the struggle for change remains an unfinished business. The city council has been barred from fulfilling the MDC programme. The party’s development agenda was totally disabled by the regime. The people, through their elected representatives, are being denied the right to govern themselves.


We need to pressure Zanu PF to listen to the voice of reason and create an enabling climate for the registration of a genuine will of the people through free and fair elections. We are concerned about the secrecy of the ballot and the process leading to the day of voting. Some Zimbabweans are keen to blame the victim in times of crisis. Why? A change in conditions leads to a win-win situation. Zanu PF, if it wins such an election, will get the legitimacy Mugabe desperately needs today. If the MDC wins, the country will rollback to its former self: a fountain of intellect and a promising industrial hub of southern Africa.


Free elections are the cornerstone of any democracy and progress. International human rights instruments recognise this fact. Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights thus provides:


Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives…. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.


Our consultations with our supporters and party structures are continuing. We shall announce our intentions after we have exhausted debate on the strategies we seek to deploy to compel Zanu PF to change the conditions for the 2005 election.


In our conversations, at our homes, indeed at any gathering we must talk about the road to 2005, in particular the conditions under which we, as a nation, are expected to make a decision affecting the future of our country.


We have to shape the future. We have to think seriously about life after Zanu PF is gone. The crisis is deepening. We have a chance to change the course of politics next year. But the conditions must be right. With courage and hope, we shall overcome fear and effect fundamental changes to our ailing political culture in Zimbabwe.




Morgan Tsvangirai


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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!


Sokwanele reporter

30 March 2004

The Chiredzi district, once the centre of a thriving cane growing industry producing close on 600,000 tons of sugar cane annually, is today a mere shadow of its former glory.   Prior to 2000 when the devastating land invasions began, this district was home to approximately 56 cane growers who employed about 3,500 workers and generated an income in excess of US$ 10 million per annum.  The families of the workers enjoyed the benefit of several well-run clinics and schools, and the export earnings in sugar and tropical fruits brought in vast sums of valuable foreign currency. This year only 345,000 tons has been produced, or 58 per cent, of the normal harvest.  Huge quantities of sugar cane have been left to rot in the fields and scores of workers laid off, while the original farmers and resettled A2 farmers continue a protracted legal battle over entitlement to the proceeds of the crop that was harvested.  The dispute has already led to angry and sometimes violent confrontations between the illegal A2 occupants and the commercial farmers they have, in large measure, displaced.


That the commercial farmers have the law on their side is clear.  Last year the High Court overturned the section 8 orders served on them which had previously forced them to leave their properties.  On 13th March 2003 the commercial farmers’ ownership of the land and the crops was reconfirmed by the High Court.  Copies of these rulings were served on the Zimbabwe Republic Police in Chiredzi.  Furthermore the commercial farmers held the only valid cane purchase agreements and milling agreements with Hippo Valley Estates sugar mills.  And as if that was not enough, through the Utete Commission the authorities had promised to uphold SADCC protocol and safeguard Mauritian and South African nationals and their property in terms of their country-to-country accords – a significant number of the commercial farmers originating from these countries.


However, as is so often the case in Zimbabwe today, having the law on one’s side counts for little when it comes to contending with illegal settlers, negotiating with multinationals that are anxious to retain the regime’s favour, or even obtaining the assistance of the police to enforce one’s rights. 


Hippo Valley Estates sugar mills are only permitted to enter into purchase and milling agreements with persons having legal tenure of the land.   As early as April 2003 legal practitioners acting for the commercial farmers informed the Hippo Valley and Triangle Mills in writing of the High Court rulings confirming their clients’ legal tenure. This did not stop Hippo Valley Estates however from subsequently issuing cane purchase agreements to the A2 settlers illegally in occupation of the land – thus producing a bizarre situation in which two agreements were in existence for the same crop.  Hence the legal wrangle ensuing over title to the crop delivered to the mills.  Hippo Valley Estates had knowingly accepted the crop illegally harvested by the A2 settlers and even assisted them with their own haulage equipment in transporting the cane to their mill, thereby raising false expectations that the settlers would be paid for the crop.


The police failed to act on the orders of the High Court to reinstate the commercial farmers to their lands, to protect them from assault and intimidation and to evict the A2 settlers who had illegally taken possession of their properties.  In April 2003 a letter was sent to the police giving details of criminal and potentially life-threatening situations occurring on some of the farms, to which the police had not responded. The incidents included the assault of farm workers ordered off the land by Border Gezi youth, breaking and entering homesteads still illegally occupied by settlers, looting of properties and intimidation of the legal owners and their families.  This letter and several others which followed failed to bring about any satisfactory response on the part of the police.  No arrests were made even following an attempted abduction of one farmer and serious assault of another by known assailants whose names were supplied to the police. 


When on 28th October 2003 the police did finally act, convening a meeting of  A2 settlers and commercial farmers, dire threats of violence were made by the settlers against the farmers unless the latter withdrew their legal claim to the crop delivered to the mills, thus allowing the settlers to be paid for it.  Although these threats (criminal acts themselves) were made in the presence of the police, the police failed to take any action on them.  Immediately after this meeting one farmer wrote to Chief Superintendent P. Ncube of the Chiredzi Police, complaining of the ZRP’s failure to uphold the law and to protect citizens threatened with violence.  Fearing physical harm or even death he asked for 24 hour armed protection for himself and his family.       


So far as the SADCC protocol is concerned in early February the regime issued a statement to the effect that there is no binding agreement that protects South African or other nationals from land designation.


Hippo Valley Estates themselves were notified in February that their vast holdings must be divided into plots for settlement.  Their mill closed down on 25th January, leaving 500 hectares of cane in the fields that should have been cut and milled last year - their failure to do so being due largely to the diversion of their haulage equipment to assist the A2 settlers transporting their (stolen) cane to the mill.  Given that the average yield is 120 tons of sugar cane per hectare Hippo Valley Estates’ loss on this account alone amounts to 60,000 tons.


At the onset of the unlawful farm invasions and until mid 2001 the commercial cane growers perhaps naively believed this regime would protect the sugar cane industry because of its vital strategic importance to the economy.  They were proved wrong in this assumption.  Until a very short time ago the two multinationals, Hippo Valley Milling Company (owned by the Anglo American Corporation) and Triangle Mills (owned by Hewletts) may have believed that they enjoyed immunity from illegal settlement.  Perhaps their bubble is also about to burst as they make the painful discovery that nothing and no-one is sacrosanct to a regime that will sacrifice anyone else’s interest to their own quest to stay in power.





‘enough is enough’




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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Our enemy sees us clearly. They will not start a war. They're worried about
one thing: If
democracy develops here, if we succeed, we will win.
Mikhail S. Gorbachev

Letter 1.  Subject: Land

Dear Jag,

I recently travelled in South Africa and was told that the farmers in the
Eastern Cape who have struggled with droughts and viability for many years
are doing very well in game farming. The big draw of the Cape area for
foreign hunters is the lack of malaria.

It would appear that most of Zimbabwe is suited to a similar type of land
use. The toursit industry is the biggest in the world.  I am well aware
that most of the country has been devastated by the Third Chimurenga - a
purely political programme that has no respect for human or property
rights. Right now the Third Chimurenga is actaually destroying the
Conservancies. They too will have to be rebuilt - on land with security of
tenure. The African experience is unique - but the average tourist is not
particularly interested in the Third Chimurenga African Experience - the
natural beauty of flora and fauna are what are desirable. Not many people
took holidays to Germany in the 1940's unless they were 'compulsory
holidays' with the Allies of course. Germany was then rebuilt and now
people visit it again by choice.

My simple suggestion is for the holders of Title in Zimbabwe to wait and
let this time of madness run its course but hold their Title. It seems
likely that Title holders might well regret handing their Title to an
organisation such as Agri Africa in an attempt to get compensation. All
true civilisations are actually based on human rights and property rights,
and to hand over Title is to undermine both human and property rights in
the country.

Letter 2.  Subject Policy

Dear Jag,

John Kinnaird's letter on the last Forum is particularly appropriate and
thought provoking stuff for the Jag team about the Law.

It is now nearly two years since Jag made a stand for what they believed
was RIGHT. The basis of jag was and still is the Quinnel Case, the Loss
Document and Information distribution.

As a Jag supporter from outside the country I find Samantha Power's
assessment even more thought provoking and chilling:

"There is this crude legalism in Zimbabwe, a pretence of 'legality' to
everything the Government does. It is a peculiar autocracy.

Everybody is caught up in this whole fiction that the rule of law still

It would appear that Mrs. Stevenson MP, has made a simple public statement
regarding the maintenance of standards of democracy now being portrayed as
a "boycott."
Jag might do well to take a leaf from her book.

Failure to publicise the Quinnel Case from day one to the World Theatre, is
tantamount to being "caught up in this whole fiction that the rule of law
exists, and a pretence of legality." Jag, along with the Crisis Coalition
has a responsibility to the country to ensure that the proceedings are
recorded and published (verbatum) to the UN and the Commonwealth -
Australia, South Africa and Nigeria, and the UK in particular - and any
developed nation that might be called upon chip in for this round of chaos.
The issues raised over human and property rights, and the Constitution in
Quinnel Case have cost the entire country so much that the opportunity must
be used to the maximum. (The modern day Goebbels is bound to write a
different version for the local press.)

The time might even be close for the likes of the CFU to watch the stakes
closely and hedge their bets accordingly - particularly if the "Third
Chimurenga vs. The Rule of Law" has always been just a financial/ betting
decision rather than a moral issue/responsibility. It will be interesting
to see where the CFU Council puts its money in the near future - we have
all seen where they put it in the past. I for one, will continue to put my
money on Jag.

Outsider. (A million to one)

After a few set backs and dropped balls re: The First Set Down Date in the
Supreme Court (17th March 2004) when neither Senior Counsel Trengrove nor
Advocate Anderson were available, which necessitated an urgent application
in The High Court requesting postponment; The Quinnell Case is firmly set
down to be heard in the Supreme Court on the 27th May 2004.  Both SC
Trengrove and Advocate Anderson are available and briefed to appear for
displaced farmers and all others being deprived of their properties under
the auspices of "Fast Track Land Reform".  See Legal Communique.

Letter 3.  Subject: Reply to John Kinnaird, OLF 249 of 25th March 2004

Dear Mr Kinnaird,

Why don't you stop phantasizing about reality, do what is right, and
forget about buggering altogether.

Ever practical, yours

Alex Hangartner
Letter 4.  Subject: OPEN LETTER FORUM 17TH MARCH 2004 - OLF 247


Letter 5.  Subject: Open Letter Forum

With reference to my previous letter, regarding the "Secrets of the Camps"
of the 17th March 2004.

I am appalled!!  Has no one got anything to say?  Is everyone's head firmly
embedded in the terra firma, or have they all barricaded themselves in the
compost room with the mushrooms?

Letter 6.  Subject: THE FOOD TROUGH

Dear Jag,
> Agri Africa is portraying itself as the saviour of the commercial farmer -
> long after the Loss Document and Valuation Consortioum were set up. There
> is a difference - there is a chance to get a head or five into the feeding
> trough which Jag was never there for - and then came Agri Africa - a
> mutation of the Valuation Consortium which had been set up by Jag - but
> with an appetite!
> *A bit like some others who found that they just could not live without a
> big chunk of shares in TSL?
> *What is the difference?
> * Who else wants a lovely ride on the back of a few thousand farmers, and
> their 350 000 staff, that have just lost nearly eveything?
> I am not sure how the CFU is portraying itself after telling farmers for
> long that it was "working with government on the land reform programme"
> it could seem prudent for them to distance themselves from such a PR
> at some stage in the future. J. Tayler Esq. of Chiredzi appears to be well
> briefed on the CFU policy and defends it with great passion, bless him.
> Taking the CFU's holistic and historical complicity in the whole land
> debacle I am now fascinated by Mrs. Kerry Kay's thoughts: espousing that
> is wrong for Jag to be confrontational with any institution that has been
> complicit with what has happened to farms, farmers and staff, and their
> families. Jag is a member of Crisis, and the Freedom Charter is available
> for any person to see. * Should Jag now be expected to default on its
> committment to Crisis and go on bended knee to the CFU and Agri Africa
> they some God like beings? - I think not. * Does Mrs. Kay know something
> about the CFU that we do not - have they become born again members of
> Crisis, re employed Mr. Freeth or done something heroic? - I know not.
> I openly ask Mr. Tayler and Mrs. Kay, and indeed the CFU President
> to present these new credentials on the Jag OLF, of this 'born again CFU'
> that they refer to, and simply ask if the Freeth affair has been settled
> satisfactorily yet? What have we to hide?
> Fascinated Ex-Farmer.

Comments Inserted: David Morris

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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29 March 2004

Ms Juliet Mavura (19) was allegedly raped by an armed police officer at
Charleswood Estate on Saturday the 27th of March. Ms Mavura, who was
employed by an unnamed farm teacher as a maid, has since made a report and
at least one suspect called Tendai. T.I. has apparently been arrested by
Chimanimani Police.

Juliet Mavura alleges that at 19:30hrs there was a knock at her door. When
she went to investigate who it was, she met four uniformed and armed police
officers at the door. They accused her of being too proud and they started
to assault her whilst in handcuffs.

The police officers tore off her clothes during the beating and they
removed the handcuffs. Three police officers left the scene leaving Tendai.
T. I. behind. Tendai is alleged to have raped the girl twice before
disappearing in the dark.

When the security guards from the Estates came Tendai had already gone.
They made a police report and Officer in Charge Inspector Ruzvidzo made an
assurance that he would make sure the police officer had been arrested.

On the 6th of February, Violet Ngwenya was allegedly raped by a settler
named Chamunorwa Muusha and two young female farm workers were allegedly
sexually molested at Charleswood Estate by settlers lead by police sergent
Nasho. These attacks lead to a series of confrontations, finally resulting
in the murder of Sheni Chimbarara, by a member of the Zimbabwe National
Army on Saturday the 7th of February. For comments please contact the Mr
James Mukwaya on 091 924 190 or 011761 075 or 011 761



JAG Hotlines:
(011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need advice,
    (011) 205 374
       (011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
       (091) 317 264
    (011) 207 860 we're here to help!
(011) 431 068
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After a few set backs and dropped balls (not by us) Re: the first set down
date in the Supreme Court (17th March 2004) when neither Senior Counsel
Trengrove nor Advocate Anderson were available, which necessitated a urgent
application being filed requesting postponement.

The Quinnell case is firmly set down to be heard in the Supreme Court on
27th May 2004.  Both Senior Counsel Trengrove and Advocate Anderson are
available and briefed to appear for Farmers, Farm Workers, and all other
Property Owners being deprived of their properties, homes and livelihoods
under the auspices of "Fast-track Land Reform".
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Call to Review Exchange Rate

The Herald (Harare)

March 31, 2004
Posted to the web March 30, 2004


THE 2004 tobacco selling season started yesterday with farmers calling on
the Government to review the exchange rate.

In what appears to be a repeat of what happened last year, farmers said they
were not happy with the auction exchange rate, which stood at $4 381,68 for
each United States dollar yesterday.

While auction sales commenced yesterday, contract sales begin today with the
contracting firms buying the crop from designated areas.

"As farmers, we are supposed to buy all the inputs in time as we cannot
afford to delay, but this cannot be with the current exchange rate.

"We have already started preparing for the next season and all the problems
we are facing should be ironed out before the season progresses," said Mr
Thomas Nherera, a farmer and deputy chairman of the Tobacco Growers' Trust.

Farmers are arguing that while the current prices are quite remarkable in US
dollar terms, they would translate to very little when converted.

Three-quarters of the earnings for the crop are changed using the current
auction system with the remainder calculated at the fixed rate of $824.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chairman Mr Stanley Mutepfa said the
start of the 2004 selling season went on as expected with some impressive

"It got off to a slow start as is the case at the beginning of the season
and the ripe soft crop was fetching very good prices.

"There is also a need to listen to what the farmers are saying to ensure
grower viability," said Mr Mutepfa.

He said it was imperative that grower viability is ensured so that there
would be a rebound on production.

Zimbabwe's total tobacco production has been on the decline in the last
three seasons from 230 million kilogrammes in 2000 to an estimated 60
million kg this year.

Dissatisfaction with the exchange rate has threatened the viability of the
sector with some of the traditional growers divesting.

They have turned their efforts to other crops.

Last year, tobacco growers spent the entire season lobbying for an upward
review of the exchange rate, which was pegged at $800.

Activities at the auction floors showed that farmers were continuing to
deliver their crop at the three auction floors.

At the Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre, the general manager, Mr
Kennedy Chiramba, said all had gone well on the first day of the season.

"The prices were firm and the quality of the crop was quite good," said Mr

This season marks a break from the traditional auction system, as part of
the crop would also be sold on the field.

It also comes at a time when the exchange rate is dependent upon what is
prevailing on the auction system unlike in the last two years when it was
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90pc of Public Transport Defective: VID

The Herald (Harare)

March 30, 2004
Posted to the web March 29, 2004


AT LEAST 90 percent of the public transport in the country is defective and
the situation has been worsened by the shortage of spare parts, Vehicle
Inspection Depot director Mr Charles Sibanda has said.

Mr Sibanda last Friday said some public transporters were reluctant to
repair their fleets as per VID recommendations.

"We impound defective vehicles for a certain period while checking on their
road worthiness and then issue a fitness test certificate with instructions
on areas that need to be maintained," he said.

"But in most cases when we do our checks again we find that these vehicles
had not been maintained as per our suggestions."

The law, Mr Sibanda said, did not give permission to VID to impound
defective vehicles for longer periods but to check for defects before
issuing a certificate.

He said the belief was that the owner of the impounded vehicle would then
maintain it upon release from the VID, but in most instances this was not
the case.

Defective public transport vehicles are a risk since the probability of
being involved in accident is very high.

A defect on a vehicle may include non-functioning headlights and indicators,
worn out tyres, smoking, defective handbrake, shaking ball joints and a
cracked windscreen.

The public transport system has been hit hard by shortage of spare parts
because of the foreign currency crisis and this has resulted in some
operators grounding their fleets. The transport crisis that was experienced
in some parts of Harare and Chitungwiza a few months ago has resurfaced
again and operators have attributed this to the shortage of spare parts and

Last month, two major bus operators plying the Harare-Chitungwiza route,
Chawa-sarira and Kukura Kurerwa bus companies, withdrew their services
citing prohibitive cost of spare parts.

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Decline in Tobacco Production Worrisome

The Herald (Harare)

March 30, 2004
Posted to the web March 29, 2004


The tobacco auction floors open today on the back of a number of changes
that have taken place in the industry.

We have witnessed the introduction of dual marketing in an industry that had
so much become used to the auction system.

Under dual marketing, some farmers will sell their crop at the auction
floors while those who were financed by private companies will go the
contract system.

The contract system was designed largely to boost tobacco production by
ensuring contractors provide farmers with the inputs. Indeed, it is a noble
idea which, if done properly, will see the industry rebounding in the next
few years.

However, what continues to boggle the mind are the declining levels of
tobacco production, both flue-cured and burley, at a time when the land has
been opened up to more people.

Reports that only 60 million kg of flue-cured tobacco will be sold on the
floors and through contract are very disturbing. This calls for a closer
look into what should be done to boost production.

Last year, 125 million kg were sold at the auction floors and although this
production fell well below record levels of 236 million kg achieved in the
1999/2000 season, it went someway in retaining buyers' confidence in
Zimbabwe's capability to produce respectable volumes.

There is always the danger that if production falls below 100 million kg
annually, buyers lose confidence in the country's capability to maintain
high levels of production and so look to countries that have maintained a
consistency of supply.

For Zimbabwe not all hope has been lost though. We have seen that the main
contributing factor to the decline in production is simply inadequate
financial support for inputs.

This is what has resulted in a reduced area planted under the crop, with a
large hectarage being late-planted, which in turn contributed to low yields
and field losses.

We believe there is need to make sure that all farms that were producing
tobacco continue to do so, instead of the trend we have seen in some cases
where tobacco infrastructure just lies idle as farmers put tobacco land to
other crops.

There is need to ensure that the tobacco infrastructure - the curing
facilities - are fully used and farmers guard jealously against any form of

In Brazil, smallholder farmers produce the crop, with each farmer having
about 2,5 hectares on which to produce. Yet Brazil ranks among the world's
top producers of flue-cured tobacco.

What is, therefore, needed is financial support for the farmers to ensure
they are fully equipped to produce.

Certainly, Zimbabweans have shown they are inherently farmers and once
equipped with the necessary support cannot fail.

We had hoped that as more people get land, we would also see a corresponding
increase in production.

In fact, one would expect the country to produce more tobacco now, as is the
case with Brazil, as the majority of landless Zimbabweans are empowered
through land reform.

We remain optimistic, however, that the contract system would financially
empower tobacco farmers to be able to produce the crop and bring back
production to over 200 million kg every year.

Zimbabwe is renowned worldwide for its high quality filler style tobacco,
which is used in cigarette manufacturing.

We will not rejoice to see the country lose its position as one of the
world's top producers of flue-cured and high quality tobacco when the
infrastructure is there for all to see.

Most countries that have continued to record high volumes have done so
through the contract system and we hope to see our production improving as
more players get themselves involved in contract production.
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Mampara of the Week: Chris Kuruneri

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

March 28, 2004
Posted to the web March 29, 2004


Christopher Kuruneri has been finance minister of that wonderfully managed
government ledger in Zimbabwe for a month.

His qualification? His extensive experience with foreign exchange - how to
earn it abroad, how to hide it from your government and how to spend it in
another country on lavish luxuries you deny the people you rule over.

Last week the Sunday Times revealed how Kuruneri was blowing R30-million on
a seaside mansion in a swish Cape Town neighbourhood.

This week there are more revelations. Next week, well, who knows?

His explanation?

Kuruneri said he had raised the money for the mansion while living in Canada
and by working as a consultant.

He just forgot to take it home with him.
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Ten Die in Road Accident

The Herald (Harare)

March 30, 2004
Posted to the web March 29, 2004


TEN people were killed yesterday morning while 10 others were injured when a
commuter omnibus they were travelling in had a tyre burst resulting in a
head-on collision with a lorry along the Harare-Bulawayo road.

The commuter omnibus had 20 passengers on board and was travelling from
Gweru to Harare when the accident occurred at around 7 am.

The accident has been attributed to speeding.

Police said the commuter omnibus burst its rear left tyre, resulting in a
head-on collision with a lorry.

The injured were taken to Kwekwe Hospital for treatment where they are
reported to be in a stable condition while the bodies of the deceased were
taken to the hospital's mortuary.

Police identified four of the 10 victims as Davison Rusere, Kudakwashe
Nyoni, Tarisai Tavengwa and Leonard Kudiwa all from Gweru.

Police spokesperson Inspector Andrew Phiri said the names of the others were
still being withheld until their next of kin have been informed.

"We would like also to once again warn motorists not to speed but travel at
safe speeds," he said.

"It's the rainy season, the roads are slippery and drivers should drive with
caution," he said.

He urged motorists to also check the condition of their vehicles before

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New Zimbabwe

Exiled ex-MP Musekiwa blames violence for poll defeat

By Staff Reporter
TAFADZWA Musekiwa, the former MDC MP for Zengeza who fled to the United
Kingdom resulting in a by-election has defended his decision and rejected
accusations of being a 'traitor'.

Speaking to New soon after the ruling Zanu PF party won the
weekend by-election by a majority of nearly 2000, Musekiwa claimed his life
was in danger if he had remained in Zimbabwe.

"I don't think it would be a reasonable assertion to say I am to blame or I
betrayed my colleagues and the people of Zengeza," Musekiwa said.

"I represented the MDC and was voted by the people of Zengeza....they have
now decided to take that seat and give it to Zanu PF, that's the process
which has just occurred."

The parliamentary by-election was won by Zanu PF's Christopher Chigumbo with
8 447 votes to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's James Makore
who got 6 706 votes.

Independent observers said the two days of voting and the electioneering
period leading up to it was far from free and fair.

Onlookers alleged that a government minister fired the shots that killed one
opposition supporter and injured two others south of Harare, the independent
Zimbabwe Election Support Network said.

In a second incident, opposition party candidate James Makore fired three
warning shots into the air to disperse what he called a "rowdy mob
descending on him" near a polling station.

At least 50 people were injured in clashes between rival groups, hospital
officials said.

Musekiwa however, observed that violence had played a major part in the

"Zanu PF used maximum violence and the people of Zengeza did not get a
chance to choose their popular candidate through a free and fair manner."

He said it would be a "miracle" if the MDC won the forthcoming parliamentary
elections set for early next year. Boycotting the polls on the part of the
MDC should not be an option, he said.

"The way things have deteriorated...the violence, intimidation and
politicisation of civil servants makes it almost impossible to have a free
and fair elections. The judiciary which we used to run to is now loaded with
judges who are more Zanu (PF) than the politicians, the police are more Zanu
(PF) than the youth brigades. It can only be a miracle if the MDC wins next
year's elections."
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