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

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Jill Baker was a journalist and newsreader for the RBC TV News in the years up to 1980. Here is her chilling (and all too believable) take on Mugabe. It dates back to last September,but the salient facts haven't changed


Jill Baker

It is hard for anyone used to the checks and balances of democracy to understand what drives Robert Mugabe … how can he watch his people die ? How can he lie so believably ? Is he a fool - or in the last stages of a fatal disease ?

Each has been proffered as an excuse – yet Mugabe needs none of them. He’s a brilliant man, an avowed Marxist and capable of exterminating whatever stands in the way of achieving his objectives.

In the late 60’s - the communist world determined to spread its ideology through young people, particularly from Africa. who could be trained for leadership. Mugabe, with thousands of other black youngsters, received information from or were physically taken to the Prague ‘centre for disinformation’, to Russia, China or Korea ostensibly for leadership and weapons training. More important was political indoctrination.

Unimpressed with it or its outcomes they saw little relevance until they realised that through communism they could engineer absolute power - for life. For youngsters unlikely to taste power otherwise – this was heady stuff.

Leadership inherited or won for a limited term on merit, has its rights and privileges tempered by responsibility. Leadership gained ‘through the barrel of a gun’ believes implicitly and only, in its rights to that leadership … and thinks not of responsibility for people or country.

As a television newsreader and journalist, I saw clearly what drove Robert Mugabe in those early days. After reading the dreaded word comrade 17 times as I announced the 1980 election results, I watched as a body of comrades clutching little red books of ZANU doctrine marched, stone-faced into the ZBC newsrooms. They announced that never again would we speak of England, the United States, Australia, Canada – unless with pejorative handles of "colonialist", "expansionist" etc. In future we would praise the glorious deeds of Kim Il Sung, Marshall Tito and Ceaucescu.

For most of the population however, the apprehensions of white and many black Zimbabweans were short lived.

In his inaugural speech Mugabe declared: ‘Our new nation requires every one of us to be a new man. If yesterday I fought you as an enemy, today you will become a friend and ally.’

The country was beguiled - amazed at his oratory, his erudition. Mugabe took pains to talk to renegade Prime Minister, Ian Smith and Army Commander Peter Walls. Sanctions were removed … black and white relationships improved - and the Lancaster House agreement held safeguards for the next ten years.

The country was beguiled. It heard, but did not understand … the insistence on the word Comrade for all government officials. It heard, but did not understand … the formation of the inner circle to be named the Politburo. It heard – but did not understand … Mugabe was an avowed Marxist.

As millions found out elsewhere, people can and will be subdued as and when necessary.

Shortly after independence the first signs of revolt were seen in Matabeleland. A North Korean team was appointed to train a brigade answerable to Mugabe, to ‘keep the peace.’ The infamous 5th Brigade murdered tens of thousands of Matabele and threw their bodies down mine shafts. Journalists were removed from the area and few people elsewhere knew what was happening.

Their leader, and Rhodesia’s first true Nationalist, Joshua Nkomo was hounded out of the country until Mugabe neutered him by offering a meaningless Cabinet position.

The country settled and flourished, capitalism seemed acceptable … fears diminished – until the early ‘90’s. The economy dipped and election promises of a free house and schooling for all came to nothing. Educated blacks and the whites became an irritant, questioning decisions, passing judgement against government and continuing to hold the high economic ground.

Many black Zimbabweans openly stated rule under the whites had served them better.

In February 2000 - a referendum thought to be mere endorsement of a desired constitutional change was decisively overthrown. When Mugabe realised he no longer held the hearts and minds of his people, he turned straight back to Marxism.

Mugabe then ordered 21,000 AK47's from Russia and $72 million worth of other equipment, including tanks and anti-personnel weaponry, from China. He started repatriating soldiers from the war in the DRC (Congo).

His fury grew, when in parliamentary elections four months later, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, all but threw his government out. The ‘all but’ being the MDC’s inability to cover and expose every aspect of the vote rigging taking place.

Mugabe ordered the most sophisticated anti-riot equipment in the world from Israel … for the time had come to subdue the people for their insubordination.

For several years after Independence, the fist-pumping calls of ‘A’luta continua’ – the struggle continues – became the mantra for jogging demonstrations through the streets.

In February 1983, between television news bulletins, I asked my co-reader, a man who headed Mugabe’s propaganda arm during the independence war, what the phrase A’luta continua really meant. I too, needed to know what I was struggling for. Reluctantly, the phrase was explained as the struggle towards "absolute power." When asked to define the phrase, I was told "when the people are on their knees asking for a handful of mealie meal, and you are the only one who can give it" (sic).

I chilled, as I saw the fanaticism in his eyes. It became our cue to join family in Australia.

To achieve absolute power, opposition must be removed – whites and educated black Zimbabweans first – then anyone informed enough to know there was a better way of doing things.

Phones are tapped, e-mails read, threats issued and carried out – independent journalists removed or harassed and those externally who write ‘nasty ‘ articles or broadcast into Zimbabwe, are under surveillance.

Land, businesses, local government, any power held in hands other than the ruling party is seen as a threat which might undermine absolute power. So it must be taken or ‘handed’ over … if neither happens, it must be destroyed so it can never be used against them.

The white farmers employ 400,000 black workers and have the trust of many more. Intelligence services told Mugabe farm workers were not afraid to vote the way conscience dictated. They said those connections as well as any between black Zimbabweans friendly to whites must be severed. They were guilty of treason and must be re-educated. If killed in the process, it was the opportune removal of another problem.

This helped achieve the primary strategy by disabling food production. Government then took over grain distribution and a convenient drought, means Zimbabwe and countries dependent upon their maize and wheat, are now starving.

Starvation - the ultimate disciplining force in all of world history, is Robert Mugabe’s final tool to subdue a people. But, the world said food aid must be distributed by internationally recognised organisations and not, as Mugabe insisted, only through government. He is incandescent with rage.

If you plan to subdue, you must, simultaneously, shore up support. Mugabe raised government and military officials pay by up to 100% while telling his troops that whites were behind all the problems and promising to ‘reward’ them for services rendered.

There will be few farms left in private hands – there are simply too many calls on them – soldiers from the Congo, debts to Libya and the need to ensure loyalty at all levels of Mugabe’s political and military superstructure.

Mugabe has now reshuffled his cabinet, and refers to it as his WAR cabinet. He fired the only white as well as Simba Makoni, an outstanding man, but one never in full support of what Mugabe was doing.

A month ago, the government said it needed only 6 million people – one must add in parentheses (provided they all vote for the ruling party.) Those who know the population level is almost 13 million gasped at its implication.

Mugabe will ensure the resources of state keep his supporters alive, while starving the opposition to death. It is the ultimate means of shoring up support.

Mugabe has been preparing for civil uprising. He knows there are millions of disaffected blacks many outside Zimbabwe. The 35,000 whites internally, are hardly worth bothering about – they’ll be used, if useful … mainly as cannon fodder for the ranting vilification which draws headlines.

But they could become dangerous bedfellows. So efforts will be redoubled to make sure anyone holding conflicting views is ‘neutered’ before this happens.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, last week talked of a gathering storm - calling people together and asking them to prepare. The opposition party has played the democracy game like the kindly gentlemen they are. They feel Mugabe must inevitably bow to pressure and play the game.

He is playing the game. Unfortunately, it is his game … not theirs.

Externally, Mugabe is taking actions most other African leaders admire, as most came through the same Marxist political indoctrination, sharing experiences in the same training camps. They feel he is ‘sorting out’ the whites - belligerently daring those ‘colonialists’ and ‘imperialists’ to take him on.

Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu have spoken angrily against what Mugabe is doing. Yet a few weeks ago, Mugabe was applauded by such as Sam Nujoma of Namibia. Mugabe played the race card to perfection, spitting vitriol at anyone who dared think they might influence what he was doing. The tacit support of African rulers, means millions of black Zimbabweans are condemned to death in the coming months. The double tragedy is that any democratic nation deemed to be ‘white’ orientated - is shamed into thinking it has no right to intervene.

A South African government order to close the border would see land-locked Zimbabwe grind to a halt in days

It won’t happen.

Zimbabwe is powerful militarily - but, so are both South Africa and Botswana. There have been angry protests from Botswana, but African military intervention is also unlikely to happen.

On one hand he blandly assures a gullible west and the desperately hoping Zimbabweans that everything will be all right - on the other, he determinedly pursues his dream. Let nobody believe otherwise.

To restore the country will require entrepreneurial skills and investment – likely to benefit those he deems traitors. He will not attempt to restore it until the people are suitably repressed. He doesn’t need to … his personal wealth and that of those around him is secure.

The programme of subjugation is almost complete.

Most Zimbabweans agree they had the best chance in Africa to become a model, prosperous, multi-racial country. In 1980, it lived within its means despite a 15-year war - with sufficient food for its people, one of the highest levels of education and growing opportunities for all.

Ian Smith knew what havoc a ruthless Marxist ideologist like Mugabe could wreak on his country. But his pleas for evolution to black rule came as prevailing wisdom, battered by libertarian denunciation of ‘red under the bed’ thinking, saw him as out of context and out of time.

Britain also knew. But, urging support from the Commonwealth, and in unseemly haste to solve the problem of a troublesome colony, she threw Zimbabwe to the dogs and has a lot to answer for.


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Catholic News

Zimbabwe police caution outspoken archbishop

 Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube, was cautioned by police on Friday over a
service he held during which victims of torture gave testimonies.

The archbishop said two plain clothes officers visited him and warned him
that his services were expected to be of purely religious nature.

He said he told the police that it was impossible to separate issues of
hunger, economic hardships and violence from religion.

"If people are suffering... the church cannot excuse itself," he told AFP.
"I am not going to protect a government that has abused people's rights
flagrantly and for no reason.

"People have been killed and those who killed are running scot free on the
streets because they acted on behalf of the government," Archbishop Ncube

Earlier this week, a small group of Zimbabwean church leaders, led by
Archbishop Ncube, marched into the Bulawayo cricket ground just ahead of a
Cricket World Cup match with Australia.

Later on Friday, police apprehended 19 clergymen who attempted to stage a
protest in the capital Harare. According to Reuters news agency the
churchmen were all charged with public order offences under a tough security
law introduced by President Robert Mugabe shortly before his victory in a
controversial poll last March.

The group had attempted to march to police headquarters, bearing wooden
crosses, to present a petition complaining about police harassment.

The lawyer for the clergymen said they had been released, but he expected
that they would be summoned to court at a later date.

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From The Sunday Times (SA), 2 March

Moyo grabs land from peasants

Andrew Donaldson

State audit exposes new wave of farm seizures by Mugabe's cronies

Johannesburg - A second wave of Zimbabwean farm appropriations has begun.
High-ranking Zanu-PF officials are violently evicting peasants settled on
farms taken from white commercial farmers - so that they can have the farms
for themselves. This is according to a government audit of seized properties
commissioned by President Robert Mugabe after disgruntled would-be
beneficiaries complained of corruption and bribery by party officials in the
allocation of seized lands. The audit began in August last year. At Zanu
PF's December congress in Chinhoyi , Mugabe promised to act on its findings.
But, as a confidential addendum to the report reveals, some of the worst
violations were, in fact, committed by Mugabe's closest allies. Mugabe's
spokesman George Charamba said yesterday : "We're not in the business of
commenting on such matters." The Sunday Times is in possession of the
document , which was originally leaked to the London-based Africa
Confidential newsletter. Most of the offenders it lists have violated the
controversial "one man, one farm" ruling. They include:

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who has three farms, identified as
Little Connemara, in the Nyanga district; Patterson, in Mazowe; and Lot 3A
of Dete Valley, in Lupane;

Air Marshal Perence Shiri, commander of the air force, who has at least
three farms, one of which, Eirin, is more than three times the maximum size
allowed. Shiri had approached Agriculture and Land Resettlement Minister
Joseph Made for a certificate declaring that the state had "no interest" in
Eirin, thereby overriding the decision of the local land committee. Then,
when they resisted eviction, Shiri brought in government troops to kick 96
"resettled" families off the property;

The president's sister, Sabina Mugabe, who has at least three farms;

Former higher education minister Ignatius Chombo;

Provincial governors Elliot Manyika, Obert Mpofu, Peter Chanetsa and Josia

Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramyi. Some 21 families had to be evicted so he
could take possession of Ulva farm in Marondera;

Barclays Bank chief executive Alex Jongwe, who is alleged to have acquired
three farms - all of which had already been "resettled"; and

Newspaper publishers Ibbo Mandaza and Mtuma Mawere.

The audit adds that an agricultural and industrial supplier company owned by
Mawere, FSI Agricom, is "alleged to have acquired a number of farms, thereby
prejudicing the resettled families. Mandaza and Mawere denied violating land
policy, but agreed that they had investments in companies owning several
farms. Mandaza told the Sunday Times that the report did not make the
distinction between those who had bought farms and those who had been given
them. He added that his newspaper, The Sunday Mirror, would be publishing
"furious denials" by the government about the report's existence. The audit
notes that its list of dozens of alleged transgressors "is not exhaustive as
the people interviewed were scared to reveal any information lest they be
victimised by the multiple farm owners who seem to have loyalists within the
various land committees". Particular mention is made of Fountain Farm, in
Insiza, which, because of its highly developed infrastructure and its varied
citrus crops and livestock, was earmarked as a national service agricultural
skills training centre to be run by the Ministry of Youth Development,
Gender and Employment Creation - but instead went to Small and Medium
Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni. "It is disturbing to
note," the audit says, "that violence is the order of the day on this farm
with 'hired thugs' allegedly driven in from Bulawayo by the Hon Minister.
The violence has not spared the members of the district land committee, who
threatened to resign if the relevant authorities do not intervene." In
another case, former Hurungwe district administrator James Munetsi is
accused of holding back more than 500 letters of offer to beneficiaries of
the land programme and substituting letters of his own that he sold to
"illegal beneficiaries". Munetsi has since been suspended.
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From The Observer (UK), 2 March

Mugabe's police 'beat and jail' peaceful World Cup protesters

Andrew Meldrum in Harare

More than 40 people were jailed and some of them beaten by police after a
peaceful demonstration at the World Cup cricket match between Zimbabwe and
the Netherlands in Bulawayo on Friday, lawyers said yesterday. Protesters
held up banners reading:'Mugabe = Hitler' and 'Zimbabwe needs justice'. The
lawyers said the police refused to release the names of those jailed and
denied them legal representation. A protester who was not detained said:
'The world needs to know what is going on here. It was a completely peaceful
demonstration. The International Cricket Council and World Cup organiser Ali
Bacher said peaceful demonstrations would be permitted.'

From ZWNEWS: The total of at least 42 arrested is believed to include 29 men
and 13 women. Lawyers for the detained have had immense difficulty in
establishing precisely who is still in detention, as those picked up by the
police have been dispersed to a number of police station around Bulawayo. It
is thought that 23 men and 12 women are being held at Bulawayo Central, six
men at Queens Park, and one woman at Mzilikazi. Some were picked up at their
homes, others at the Queens Park cricket ground itself. It also appears that
the vice president of the Queens Park Club was also arrested, although it is
not clear whether he is still detained. One relative of one of the women
arrested said that police had told him that they planned to continue
detaining the protesters until after the end of the Zimbabwe-Pakistan match
due to be played in Bulawayo next week.
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I did a great job overseas, says Mugabe

      March 02 2003 at 04:13PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said on Sunday he had done "a
great job" during a controversial two-week trip to France and Asia, winning
outright condemnation of Britain, state Ziana news agency said.

Speaking on his return to Harare early on Sunday, Mugabe said: "The two
weeks we were out of the country, we were doing a great job."

He said that at a meeting of member states of the Non-Aligned Movement in
Malaysia that former colonial power Britain "was condemned and sanctions

In February, Mugabe attended the Franco-African summit in Paris at the
invitation of President Jacques Chirac, amid an outcry from his opponents at
home and abroad.

The trip saw Mugabe and dozens of his officials skirting around sanctions
that have been imposed by Britain and the EU against ruling party members
for alleged human rights abuses back home.

Mugabe then proceeded to the NAM meeting in Malaysia, arriving back in
Zimbabwe on Sunday morning to be greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic

He said at the NAM summit, "Zimbabwe received tremendous support, with the
recognition that it was a sovereign state which should be left alone by

Zimbabwe accuses its former coloniser of an international smear campaign
aimed at isolating and undermining Mugabe's government.

Mugabe also took a swipe at the country's main opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), accusing it and its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai of being British "puppets".

"The MDC is lost. They see themselves as ruling this country because of the
support they are getting from Britain," ZIANA quoted him as saying.

Mugabe's comments come at a politically tense time in the southern African
country, with by-elections due in two key Harare constituencies at the end
of the month.

On Saturday the MDC said more than 50 of its supporters, including one of
the party's candidates in the by-elections, were detained by police for
campaigning without police clearance. - Sapa-AFP
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Mugabe needs more time - Zuma

      March 02 2003 at 01:28PM

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's foreign minister, defended Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe strongly this week, even though he has not yet
implemented any of the promises he made to the South African government to
amend draconian laws.

Dlamini-Zuma said that Mugabe needed more time, and while she was defending
him in Pretoria on Friday, 21 priests were arrested in Zimbabwe under the
country's stringent security provisions.

"Zimbabwe is a democracy; the president (Mugabe) does not decree laws. They
have to go to the cabinet. They have to go to the parliament and it's only
after parliament has deliberated the laws that they come back to the
president to sign," she said after being quizzed on why her government
continued to back Mugabe.

"Here in South Africa, you don't say you are going to change the law today
and tomorrow it has been changed. It doesn't work like that. But somehow you
expect it to work like that in Zimbabwe."

      'Zimbabwe is a democracy'
Dlamini-Zuma said Mugabe was not coerced into promising to institute reforms
but had agreed to do so on his own. She therefore had no reason to believe
the Zimbabwe government would not do what it promised.

The Zimbabwe Independent, Zimbabwe's premier business and financial
newspaper, quoted officials from the ministry of justice saying that
contrary to South African claims, there were no plans to amend existing
provisions in security legislation which have virtually outlawed any form of
political dissent against the Zanu-PF government.

Mugabe has used his sweeping presidential powers to decree laws that have
subsequently been rubber-stamped by a parliament in which he enjoys an
appointed majority. He has passed several decrees on the seizure of white
farms and eviction of white farmers from their land.

Before the March 2002 presidential election, Mugabe passed decrees allowing
his officials to run the election as they wished. He recently passed a
decree criminalising any gestures at his passing motorcade.

President Thabo Mbeki said a fortnight ago that his government had discussed
with the Zimbabwe regime legislation that was "limiting democratic freedoms
E and indeed they are looking at that".

But The Sunday Independent's own sources in the ministry of justice
confirmed no legal changes were envisaged to the Public Order Security Act,
seen as the hallmark of the Zimbabwe government's political restrictions.

Mbeki also stated that Zimbabwe's repressive Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act would be reformed.

"One of the matters we've raised with them is that there have been
complaints raised about legislation passed that has an impact on the press.
That it was necessary to look at that legislation and see what was wrong
with it and change it. And indeed the Zimbabweans have agreed to that," said

But the amendments to the information act due to be tabled in parliament
soon were proposed only after journalists challenged the law in court four
months ago.

During the supreme court trial, even newly appointed judges seen as being
loyal to Mugabe queried the bill, saying it was too draconian.

The government immediately devised amendments which the journalistic
fraternity viewed as being too obscure to allow press freedom.

Sources say Mugabe is using these long-mooted amendments to the media law to
hoodwink Mbeki into believing that they were instituted in response to the
promises made to him to allow greater press freedom. - Independent Foreign
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From The Christian Science Monitor, 26 February

Churches engaged in soul searching over role in Zimbabwe's crisis

Some leaders fear the church will become irrelevant if it doesn't do more to
speak out against the government

By Nicole Itano

Bulawayo - On a recent weekday evening, a dozen young members of the
Bulawayo Baptist church met in their congregation's spacious hall for a jam
session and prayer group. Seated on wooden benches amid scattered bibles,
the young musicians animatedly discuss the topic of the day: praise and
worship and the difference between them. This is a church that would prefer
to stay focused on its parishioner's spiritual - not political - education.
But here in Zimbabwe, events on earth are not so easily ignored. President
Robert Mugabe has tightened his grip on the country since winning
re-election nearly a year ago. Zimbabwe is experiencing severe food
shortages, skyrocketing unemployment, and heavy-handed repression of anyone
who dares oppose the government. Now spiritual leaders here are doing some
soul searching about what their role in the crisis should be. "God has heard
the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe," says the Rev. Ray Motsi, the fiery
pastor of this 3,000-strong congregation. "He has heard the cries of the
people, not just in Israel, but also in Zimbabwe.... I don't believe the
church should be involved in politics, but if politics means bread and
butter issues, then I'll talk about it."

The role of African churches during crises has been an uneven one. The
continent is full of haunting memories of times the church has failed to
speak out for the poor and powerless - and even contributed to the turmoil.
Some religious leaders here hope Zimbabwe won't be added to that list. While
a few parishes have railed against Mr. Mugabe and his ruling party - even in
the face of threats and violence - others have remained silent or even sided
with the government. "By and large, the church in Zimbabwe is fearful,
docile, and selfish," says the small, stocky Mr. Motsi, whose manner bounces
between intensity and lighthearted teasing. "The majority don't want to get
involved because they are afraid they will be victimized by the government."
One of those who has been victimized is Archbishop Pius Ncube, head of the
Bulawayo Catholic diocese. He is a tireless campaigner against the violence
of Mugabe's regime. For his efforts, he has been vilified in the government
press. These days he often sleeps in safe houses, but worries more about the
safety of his elderly mother, against whom he says multiple threats have
been made. "It all depends on one man - Robert Mugabe," he says with
conviction. "He is the source of all our suffering." Fr. Ncube, Motsi, and
several other ministers here have united to form Christians for Peace and
Justice, a group of about 10 religious leaders and 100 members formed in
response to the current crisis. But too few, they say, have joined the

Indeed, not all churches here agree that the government is responsible for
Zimbabwe's current plight, or that it is the responsibility of men of God to
speak out against it. The majority have remained silent. Still others have
sided with the ruling party. The Anglican Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga,
uses his sermons to praise Mugabe and last year attempted to ban 19
parishioners from church property for their opposition to his pro-government
stances. While government foes here in Zimbabwe take inspiration from those
like Nobel-laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was instrumental in ending
South Africa's state-sponsored racism, and Martin Luther King Jr. - Motsi's
personal hero - they also take warning from the places where churches here
have failed. Many African churches openly supported the slave trade, or
opposed the fight for independence from European colonizers or for racial
justice. In South Africa, for example, the Catholic church was criticized
for its initial failure to challenge apartheid. In Nigeria, Christian and
Muslim leaders have been accused of inciting religious violence that has
left thousands dead in the past few years. Still others have been closely
tied to corrupt African regimes or have actively engaged in violence
themselves. Last week, a Rwandan minister was sentenced to 10 years in
prison by an international court for his involvement in that country's 1994

"The [Zimbabwe] church runs the risk of becoming irrelevant if we don't
speak out," says the Rev. Barnabus Nqindi, a handsome young Anglican priest
who is saddened by the silence in his own church. "People will say, 'Where
were you when I was hungry? When I was raped?' " Fearing that churches are
fomenting dissent, the government has tried to declare some meetings and
church services illegal, and has prevented churches from feeding the hungry,
saying that the food will be used to build support for the opposition party.
Motsi was arrested for distributing food, while Father Nqindi's colleague,
Father Noel Scott, spent four days in jail before last year's election for
leading a public prayer for Zimbabwe. Two weeks ago, a priest was strangled
to the point of unconsciousness by police for taking pictures of a women's
march against violence. Back in his office before a trip to South Africa to
garner support, Ncube - the man who may one day be remembered as Zimbabwe's
version of Bishop Tutu - laments Zimbabwe's lack of religious leadership. In
India, he says, there was Gandhi; in South Africa, they had Tutu. Here in
Zimbabwe, he says, there are more than 300 different churches, divided among
and within themselves. While Ncube condemns Mugabe in Bulawayo, in Harare,
priests serve him weekly communion. "Mugabe has managed to divide us," he
says. "Churches are no longer speaking with one voice." "But," he adds, "we
will not be bullied, whatever the cost."
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The Daily Nation

Jury still out for Chiluba and Mwanawasa
At five-feet tall, former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, known as
Titus Jacob , is on the way to becoming more noticeable than when he lorded
over Zambians with impunity.

That's because he has quite a tall order: sixty-six counts of corruption and
a pursuit of his jugular by President Levy Mwanawasa, who once served as Mr
Chiluba's number two.

Mr Chiluba can be expected to put up a pretty good fight. Wimps don't become
presidents in Africa. After all, using a vantage point of his height, he
listened without being seen and was close to the ground, so to speak, to
observe the Achilles' heels of those ahead.

Armed with that knowledge, Mr Chiluba weaved his way through the labyrinths
of Zambia's trade unionism to become chairman of the Zambia Congress of
Trade Unions.

All along he also plodded former wife Veronica into adding, in the end, nine
mouths at the national dinner table.

Mr Chiluba also noticed something else.

A looming rebellion

The then President Kenneth Kaunda, despite humanism and wells of public
tears that failed to irrigate Zambian farmlands or lubricate economic cogs,
had failed to sense a looming rebellion.

Mr Kaunda had survived coup plots. But this rebellion in Zambia and other
African nations would be different. Its leaders won't be generals wanting to
become instant 'Your Excellencies' or master sergeants reminding their
leaders an African's life is only worth a bullet. The rebellion would come
from the misruled.

Such rebellions are difficult to control because they occur when people say:
It can't get any worse. The rulers either cave in, which a few in Africa
have, or resort to force.

The problem with force under such circumstances is that there are far too
many people to kill and to no avail.

Ethiopia's Mengistu Haile Mariam can testify to that. He had his victims
bodies dropped outside the doors of their relatives' homes and conducted
affairs of state sitting on the grave of Emperor Haile Selassie. Mengistu
dare not leave his exile in Zimbabwe.

Mr Kaunda's conscience wasn't going to lead him the Mengistu way, but he
twiddled with his fingers.

In 1981, Mr Chiluba fired a salvo at Mr Kaunda's rule by calling wildcat
strikes, which paralysed the little economy surviving. Mr Kaunda jailed the
instigators, who were discharged in court.

It wasn't a surprise, therefore, that brandishing a badge of political
honour, Mr Chiluba nine years later formed the Movement for Multiparty

Having promised to turn Zambia into a Valley of Shangri-La, where life
verges on perfection, ending 27-year rule of Kaunda's United National
Independence Party was like swallowing one's favourite drink.

Come October 1991, Mr Chiluba's era of never-ever Valley of Shangri-La
began. In ten years, he performed some dramatic feats, including packing
Kaunda to jail. He however failed to fabricate a single charge that could
withstand an assault by a first year law student. Mr Chiluba also became, in
the halls of power, a kind of super fashion model. If Veronica is to be
believed, Mr Chiluba's wallet isn't thin. She reportedly said he could
afford $2.5 billion in a divorce settlement.

Like a mythical king who couldn't recall he wasn't in the shower, Mr Chiluba
told parliament he needed a little more time at the top.

Multiparty virus was alive and well in Zambia. Mwanawasa fought it but
limped to State House with 28.6 per cent of votes cast.

Mr Mwanawasa's agenda in January last year included the usual suspects: A
cleanup of government, accountability, law and order, zero tolerance to
corruption and so forth. He never mentioned Chiluba.

Then in July he fired a cannon. He asked parliament to lift Mr Chiluba's
immunity from prosecution. After legal skirmishes, a week ago, Mr Chiluba
was charged with a litany of alleged corrupt acts. It wasn't an accident the
whereabouts of $20.5 million was mentioned.

The 61-year-old Chiluba knows a great deal and in the dock can be expected,
like every accused, to opt not to hang alone. Such an eventuality is sending
tremors because a flood of revelations will drown some prominent and so far
seemingly respectable persons.

Mr Mwanawasa probably knows Mr Chiluba can't get at him and that's why he
has opened a Pandora's box. He's mistaken though if he expects stirring
manure to catapult him to national heroism. Large plates of ugali on
Zambians' tables will achieve that.
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ZIMBABWE: Socialists challenge government repression


HARARE — At 8am, people here wait in long queues for the shops and banks to open. Milk is scarce, and salt and oil can only be obtained at ridiculous prices on the black market. Cars form 1-kilometre-long queues for petrol. Shop owners do not bother to print new menus or price displays; they just add extra zeros in texta to keep up with hyperinflation.

The average Zimbabwean's wage is Z$15,000 per month, while farm workers earn just Z$6500 per month — the equivalent of US$4.30 at the real exchange rate. A can of soup is Z$500, a local bus trip is Z$100. Most people can't afford to eat. Workers' savings are disappearing. Many university students turn to prostitution or join the army to survive.

Munyaradzi Gwisai, an International Socialist Organisation (ISOZ) activist and a former member of parliament, told Green Left Weekly that in Zimbabwe, “for ordinary people capitalism has never been as much of a failure as it is today”.

Gwisai said that Zimbabwe's economic crisis is due to: the implementation of neoliberal “structural adjustment” policies, which have resulted in decreased economic self-reliance; deregulation of the currency exchange rate; and privatisation, which has resulted in massive price increases that hit poor people the hardest.

Repression against the workers' movement and the opposition is fierce in Zimbabwe. If more than three people gather together, they can be arrested and imprisoned for up to three years. On February 14, Valentine's Day, 70 women protesting against hunger and government violence were arrested in Harare just a few minutes after their protest began. The women were banging on pots and pans and giving roses to passersby. Police dressed in riot gear dispersed onlookers.

A meeting of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in Bulawayo on February 18 was raided before it started and trade union leaders were arrested. Workers who arrived for the meeting, as well as bystanders, were chased away by police wielding batons and “tear gas” (in reality, a substance originally intended for elephants). Police also regularly attend student meetings.

“The repression has not peaked. As the economic crisis worsens and people mobilise, the only way the regime of President Robert Mugabe can sustain itself is through massive violence”, Gwisai told GLW. “The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front government talks left to appease the working class, because it fears it more than local and international capital, but it's policies remain extremely right-wing.”

Gwisai was expelled from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change for speaking out against its increasingly neoliberal, anti-worker policies. At the time, he was the elected MDC MP for the Harare seat of Highfield. The government declared Gwisai's seat vacant after the MDC informed it of its expulsion of the fiery young socialist.

Gwisai will stand as an independent, openly backed by the ISO, in the Highfield by-elections on March 28-29. “The Highfield by-election will be a rallying point for radical forces and the anti-capitalist forces” in Zimbabwe, Gwisai told GLW. “Many people are looking for an alternative. There is a real possibility that a very strong anti-neoliberal political formation” could arise out the campaign.

Gwisai and the ISOZ will campaign for increased taxation on the rich and big business, trade union rights, opposition to the war on Iraq, a shorter working week with no loss in pay, the implementation of public programs to create employment, the nationalisation of industry under workers' control and an end to government repression.

From Green Left Weekly, March 5, 2003.

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Zim Standard

      Why the West won't win
      overthetop By Brian Latham

      ANALYSTS say that western troops will never mass on a troubled central
African country's borders.

      This is because the troubled central African country has only one of
two essential ingredients required for foreign intervention. While the
troubled central African nation certainly has a dictator, it has no oil.

      Foreign intervention can only happen when both these ingredients are
in place, analysts say.

      And while this puts Iraqi leader Mr Sadly Insane in a tricky spot, it
means the most equal of all comrades is sitting pretty.

      "Without oil-or any valuable commodity essential to the west-no real
action will be taken against the most equal of all comrades," said one
analyst who preferred to remain anonymous for health reasons.

      Still, that's not to say bombing Mr Sadly Insane into oblivion is
necessarily a bad thing. OTT believes that in the unlikely event of oil
being struck in the troubled central African nation, a small cloud of red
mist evaporating under an Iraqi sun might provide a salutary lesson for
dictators and torturers in the troubled central African regime.

      Quite aside from anything else, Mr Sadly Insane deserves a good
hiding. He is a thoroughly bad man and all this poncy talk about giving him
a chance is nonsense.

      He's killed hundreds of thousands of people and he deserves nothing
less than a large American missile aimed at his deranged head.

      Except, of course, for the downside. If Americans take aim, the odds
have to be better than even that they'll miss. They may have the money and
the equipment, but they've never shown much in the way of military
expertise. A quick glance at any history book shows that aside from their
own, largely unnecessary, war of liberation over 300 years ago, the only
nations they've been able to defeat single-handed were Panama and Grenada.

      Both of those countries are little larger than golf courses.

      Most humiliatingly, funny little men in black pyjamas roundly trounced
them in Third World Vietnam.

      Still, the Americans won't be alone. In an ironic twist of history,
their former colonial power, now a colony of theirs, will be at America's
side to make sure the missiles aren't aimed at hospitals, orphanages and

      None of which has anything to do with the troubled central African
country-aside from the fact that the troubled central African country quite
literally has no oil. Or petrol, or diesel, or paraffin.

      And that means the Americans won't be aiming any of their clever
missiles at the most equal of all comrades.

      Besides the only thing in great demand in the troubled central African
nation is now no more. And while you couldn't run a motorcar on tobacco, it
still made a lot of money. Now that there's no tobacco, the troubled central
African country is of such little economic importance that the only thing
anyone will aim at it is a magnifying glass to find it on the map.

      Anyway, back to Sadly Insane, because he's much more fun. Messrs Bush
and Blair, as unlikely pair of warmongers as you could find, should take
heart. If 500 000 hairy legged, New Age, Guardian reading loons minced
through the narrow, litter-filled streets of London to protest against war,
that means that 53,5 million sensible people didn't.

      It might be trendy and 'very clever' to make fun of George Bush, but
Mr Insane, like many sons of the sand, is clearly deranged and the world
will be a better place without him. If that takes hundreds of thousands of
troops and billions of dollars,so what? America can afford it.

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Zim Standard

      Zimsec: Chigwedere and Co must go

      FROM day one, when The Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec)
took full control of the 'O' and 'A' level examinations in 1998 and 2002
respectively, it has been a cocktail of disaster.

      Leaks of examination papers have become commonplace. We are also
witnessing a massive racket in which results are simply being created for
people who either never sat for the examinations or did not pass well in a
particular year. Not to mention the shoddy marking that has been going on
and the mix-up of results for different schools. Some schools have been
receiving results of subjects they never sat for while the results of others
went missing.

      The above happenings paint a terrible picture of Zimsec. Confidence
and trust in that institution is now zero. Out of 10, Zimsec gets one if not
zero marks. Cambridge University which collaborated with the ministry of
Education before full localisation, must be recoiling in shame at all of

      No wonder most schools now want a return to Cambridge and other
foreign examination bodies. Who can blame them given all this bungling at

      Zimbabwe is a country in distress. Zimsec is doing the wrong things at
the wrong time. It's destroying our educational system-which was once the
envy of the whole world-for destruction's sake.

      It is not prudent to rid the country's educational system of its
colonial legacy only to replace it with a corrupt localised one. Zimbabwean
parents are right to feel angry with Zimsec and the Ministry of Education
particularly at a time when they are not certain whether the current 'O' and
'A' level results obtained by their children will be recognised anywhere
else in the world, given the way news moves these days.

      It is deeply disturbing to witness the fact that gains that were made
in the field of education over the years are being reversed by these Zimsec
fellows-ciphers in theory and good for nothings in practice. There seems to
be a crippling inability on the part of Zimsec to do the right thing at the
right time.

      We bleed for the unfortunate children of our generation, today's
new-borns and the hopes and aspirations of generations yet unborn. Zimsec
has definitely crossed its rubicorn this time around.

      Ordinarily, in a democratic society-which unfortunately ours is
currently not-a board and a minister who preside over an organisation which
has blundered in this manner would resign. In short, Chigwedere and his
Zimsec board should resign. Only people with no conscience, with no morality
continue to cling to power in the face of the tragic soap operas being
enacted by the management at Zimsec

      Follies at Zimsec have been exposed. Instead of just waiting for the
obvious results of a probe, both the Zimsec Board and the Minister of
Education must simply resign. You-Chigwedere and Makhurane-you must resign
today not tomorrow, next week, next month or next year but today. Please!
This is the only honourable thing to do. Just seize the bull by the horns
and go.

      It would be fatal to overlook the urgency of stepping down on the part
of the minister and his board. We must all be held accountable. This is how
democracy works. What has happened and is happening at Zimsec is both an
issue of public concern and public interest.

      As our young people, our sons and daughters stand on the threshold of
adulthood, they expect nothing but a good and quality education system which
is internationally recognised. A decline in standards is totally

      The late Edmund Garwe, the urbane gentleman plucked from diplomacy by
President Mugabe to one time head the Education ministry, quit Cabinet after
his daughter was found in possession of examination papers. By so doing, he
had, for many Zimbabweans at the time, set the standards and the benchmark
by which every Zimbabwean leader would say: "I have messed up, I am

      It was such a breath of fresh air when Edmund Garwe accepted that he
was wrong to have left exam papers where his daughter could get hold of

      Over the years, Zimbabweans have watched in agony as one minister
after another either bungled and plunged the country into further national
chaos or their behaviour at home or abroad has brought untold shame on all
of us.

      Jonathan Moyo, Joseph Made, Patrick Chinamasa, Ignatius Chombo
immediately come to mind.

      And nothing gets done to them. In President Mugabe's book, once you
are on his side, you can't do wrong. What a tragedy!

      Aeneas Chigwedere is one of many ministers in Mugabe's Cabinet, who
clearly, must be put out to grass in the interest of Zimbabwe-starting of
course with the 'big man' himself. This is the only key not only to
rebuilding the country again but also to rekindling the trust between Zimsec
and the education system on one hand and the parents and the children on the

      Indeed, if one conclusion stands out about the massive examination
results scandal, it is that Zimsec is rotten to the core and nothing short
of resignations of the whole lot, from the so called 'historian', Aeneas
Chigwedere down to its director can get the Zimsec house in order.
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Zim Standard


      Obasanjo: The Judas Iscariot of Africa

      OBASANJO, the Judas Iscariot of Africa was not even ashamed to write
to Australian prime minister Howard to ask him to lift the suspension of

      To Obasanjo I say: with or without the Commonwealth, we the people of
Zimbabwe no longer want Mugabe.

      I would like to thank the following countries for standing with us in
these dire times: Senegal, Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, England, Australia, New
Zealand, USA, Netherlands and the EU in general with the exception of France
which will soon be wooed into the troika of Africa which includes Mbeki,
Obasanjo and Mugabe.

      The trial of Tsvangirai is actually the trial of Mugabe in disguise.
Let's wait and see if Obasanjo and Mbeki won't one day be standing in some
country or other as chief witnesses for Zimbabwe.

      God is on our side. In his name we will emerge victorious. These
wicked people will soon be exposed.

      Thank you English cricketers for not coming to Zimbabwe.

      Catherine Savanhu

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The Herald

'Prison population continues to grow'

Court Reporter
ZIMBABWE'S prison population continues to rise while resources dwindle
despite several amnesties by the Government to reduce the number of
prisoners, Judge President Justice Paddington Garwe has said.

"In fact, the population has gone back to its former level within a few
months of an amnesty," said Justice Garwe.

He was addressing regional magistrates and chief law officers at a community
service scheme workshop in Harare at the weekend.

About 5 500 prisoners were released from the country's 42 prisons under an
amnesty by President Mugabe since January as the Government battles to
reduce overcrowding in prisons.

So far about 70 ex-convicts, who benefited from the amnesty, have been

"The granting of amnesties has become a stop- gap measure that has not
always produced the desired effect," said Justice Garwe.

He urged judicial officers to make use of community service on non-serious

Community service was more humane and effective in rehabilitating offenders,
the Judge President said.

"The offender is kept out of custody but is made to perform service for the
benefit of the general public."

Justice Garwe said most of the offenders found in prisons were those who had
been convicted of non-serious offences and sentenced to one-year jail terms.

Most of them would have been fined but ended up serving alternative prison
sentences after failing to raise money to pay fines.

The workshop was attended by crucial players in criminal justice.

The objective of the workshop was to equip judicial officers with guidance
on community service.

Justice Garwe said imprisonment could be very traumatic and condemn
otherwise law-abiding citizens into full-time criminals if they mixed with
hardened criminals.

"It is when they are released after undergoing such a traumatic experience
that they may become a menace to society. We need not re-invent the wheel,"
he said.

Justice Garwe said there were high chances of persons who had previously
been sentenced to prison terms to re-offend.

He said even a sharp short period in jail was sufficient to convert
otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals.

Justice Garwe said prisons do not have the capacity to turn errant persons
into law-abiding citizens.

"All they do is create even more daring, brazen criminals," he said.

Justice Garwe told the workshop that it would be difficult to eradicate
criminality by passing prison terms of whatever length to non-serious

The community service scheme has been successful in reducing the prison
population in the country.

At the beginning of last year, it was estimated that the monthly cost of
keeping a prisoner in jail was $23 000.

The figure has since gone up to more than $30 000.

Other countries in the region such as Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and others in
Eastern Europe are now emulating Zimbabwe's community service scheme.

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Who the devil is he?
(Filed: 23/02/2003)

Will Cohu reviews Nicholas van Hoogstraten: Millionaire Killer by Mike Walsh
and Don Jordan

The cover of this biography of the bad-man Nicholas van Hoogstraten carries
a health warning: "He has a £100 million fortune, he owns 1 million acres of
land, but cross him and you're a dead man."

Does he really kill anyone who crosses him? Van Hoogstraten certainly
relishes being feared and has "created a myth of wickedness about himself",
often with the collaboration of journalists. They got good copy, he got a
fearsome reputation that kept away local regulatory authorities.

But as the book makes clear, not all his violence is fantasy. He is a scary
man. In the course of his 40-year career there have been numerous
allegations of intimidation, beatings, death-threats, kidnapping and arson.
Unsuccessful attempts were made to link him to a fire that killed five
people in Brighton in 1990. The accounts of his harshness as a landlord and
money-lender "of last resort" are incontrovertible. He has called tenants
"scumbags", "dog meat" and "filth". The more vulnerable the tenant, the
greater seems to have been his hatred. Even ramblers have been described as
"perverts". It's hard to square this with a man who greeted one visitor
"wearing purple underpants and a pair of purple slippers", his face "caked
in what looked like foundation".

In spite of the diabolic persona, the only body linked to van Hoogstraten
was that of Muhammed Raja, a business associate, murdered in 1999. Van
Hoogstraten is serving a 10-year manslaughter sentence for his part in the
affair. The case against him was far from conclusive and had he kept quiet
he might have walked free. But once in the dock, he couldn't resist telling
the court how he'd sent round some "hefty builders" with Alsatians to remove
hippies from a Hove property, and how the tenants had chosen to exit through
the second-floor windows. He was only enjoying himself, but he inadvertently
succeeded in convincing the jury that prison was the appropriate place for
people like him.

"Millionaire Killer"? He can certainly look the part, gimlet-eyed and
hatchet-faced, his mouth bitter with cynicism. You can imagine him as a
child, pulling the tails off puppies. In fact, his first love was for

He was born at Shoreham-on-Sea in the dying throes of the Second World War,
the eldest child of Charles Hoogstraten, who was a wine steward with Flemish
roots. Young Nick saw just enough of his father to nurture an active
dislike. His mother he later referred to as a "whining cow". Home life was
characterised by religion, snobbery and reverence for the Royal family.
Hoogstraten's affectations and love of the Windsors remained constant. (He
added the "van" to his surname and, according to Walsh and Jordan, said he
was pleased that Diana, Princess of Wales had been killed because of the
"damage" she caused the Royal family.)

He was given his first stamp collection when he was seven. By the time he
was 15 he claimed to have amassed stamps worth £30,000. He was still a
teenager when he went into property, buying houses with sitting tenants
cheaply and reselling them once the tenants had died or had been moved. At
22 he styled himself "Britain's youngest self-made millionaire"; a year
later, he was serving his first prison sentence, for a grenade attack and
for receiving stolen goods.

He has always been abstemious and in the late 1960s, while others took
drugs, van Hoogstraten seems to have got his kicks from violence and vicious
dandyism. He went to extremes to extract small debts; but this is a man who
admits enjoying a business lunch "because often someone else pays for it",
re-uses his teabags and sends his post second class. Even he admits he can't
understand the point of his meanness.

It is impossible to ascertain how rich van Hoogstraten is. At one time he
boasted that he was worth £500 million, but those days are long gone.
Occasionally, he has been discreetly generous. On his estate in Zimbabwe he
promoted education and health - at least before his friend Robert Mugabe
went mad. He may be anti-Semitic and anti-homosexual, but during his early
years in London he identified with the black immigrant population, who were
outsiders like him. He has had a succession of black girlfriends. One
complained that he beat her, but he is said to be a kind father to his
several children.

Though functionally written, Millionaire Killer proves to be a more rounded
portrait than the title promises, and thought-provoking in its subliminal
debate on the relationship between the monster and the media. It is
fascinating to see how public exposure feeds the mechanism of van
Hoogstraten's mix of vanity and self-loathing. When he describes people as
"trash, just trash", he's eating away at his humanity; he seems almost bent
on destroying himself. He's sought self-identity in a series of failed
grandiose projects, culminating in Hamilton Palace, the vast, unfinished
house he commissioned on the old High Cross estate in Sussex. Under this is
a mausoleum, where he intends to be buried along with his art collection, if
it still exists. "I suppose it's the nearest I can get to taking all my
wealth with me," he said. It's a wretched image of a loser. There is as much
Sleeping Beauty as Caligula in van Hoogstraten. Just who the devil is he?
And what has he really done? Perhaps not even old Nick knows.
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Zim Standard

      Sikhala torture probe a smokescreen
      By our own Staff

      THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has swept under the carpet a probe
into the torture allegations made by St Mary's member of parliament (MP),
Job Sikhala, and human rights lawyer, Gabriel Shumba, police sources told
The Standard this week.

      The probe was opened last month after Harare magistrate, Caroline-Anne
Chigumira, ordered the police to carry out a through investigation and bring
those implicated to book.

      However, official sources this week said the matter seems to have been
ignored altogether, confirming earlier fears that the exercise was a mere
smokescreen meant to hoodwink the international community and the
Commonwealth troika in particular, into believing that Zimbabwe did not
condone human rights abuses.

      Said a source: "Nothing has really taken place beyond the recording of
statements. Sikhala and the other torture victims simply gave statements to
Superintendent Dhlakama who is in charge of the supposed probe, and that was
the end of it.

      "The officers implicated are going through their business as usual and
are not bothered at all."

      Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, reportedly asked President
Robert Mugabe about allegations of state-sanctioned arrests of opposition
legislators and the torture of Sikhala when he visited Zimbabwe last month.

      Sikhala, together with Shumba, Taurayi Magaya and Bishop, Shumba's
younger brother, were allegedly tortured by the police after they were
arrested in Chitungwiza on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.
They implicated top police law and order section officers, Garnet Sikhova,
Crispen Makedenge and four others as having performed the alleged torture.

      In court, a weeping Sikhala told Chigumira of how the police zapped
him with electrical current on his genitals and was forced to write
documents incriminating himself and other senior MDC officials.

      However police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, said reports that the
investigations had been shelved were baseless.

      Bvudzijena said: "Since when has anyone outside of the police force
become privy to our business, especially if it is the MDC? As far as we are
concerned the investigations are still going on."

      But Sikhala said the torture had been sanctioned from "the highest
office in the land" and that there had been no evidence of any
investigations going on.

      "We knew from the onset that the whole thing was a farce and hogwash.
The perpetrators of our torture clearly acted from instructions from Mugabe

      "We have now resolved to engage an international lawyer to contest the
matter before international channels and the United Nations."

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Zim STd

      Zanu PF official escapes mob

      By our own Staff

      GWERU-Chaos reigned at a Zanu PF food distribution meeting in ward 16
of Mkoba, Gweru, where some party members refused to pay $500 towards
President Robert Mugabe's victory celebrations before getting their erratic
supply of maize meal.

      The Standard witnessed a former police officer, only identified as
Mudzungairi, who was presiding over the food distribution, run for his life
with hungry and angry residents in hot pursuit up to Mkoba 18 shopping

      Tempers boiled when residents, some of whom got their last mealie meal
supply in November last year, were told by Mudzungairi to pay $500 extra
towards Mugabe's victory bash before they could get the scarce commodity.

      More than 20 residents protested and tried to manhandle Mudzangairi,
who used his skills as a former police officer to escape with his life.

      "What's this party for ... we are already suffering and we can not
afford to pay $500 towards Mugabe's bashes. They should leave us alone,"
said a male Gweru resident who only identified himself as Banda.

      Two weeks ago at a Mugabe's victory party in ward 13, most of the
residents who had contributed $500 towards the party bitterly complained to
The Standard that they did not get food, while Zanu PF officials feasted and
drank expensive spirits.
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Zim Standard

      Zanu PF's graft binge continues
      By Henry Makiwa

      RENOWNED French author, Balzac, must have had the entire Zanu PF
leadership in mind when he wrote: "Behind every great fortune there is a

      Despite their constant and much-celebrated bonhomie of how they are
the 'chosen ones', the party's top officials have time and again been found
on the wrong side of the law, especially in cases where public funds are

      The recent implication of two top government officials in activities
that included the illegal sale of scarce basic commodities, has further
unveiled how far corruption has sunk into the party's deepest bowels and
intensified the belief within the party, that if you don't loot now, then
you lose out forever.

      Many party cadres, realising that President Robert Mugabe's days in
government are numbered, are on a binge.

      The arrest and implication of Shuvai Mahofa, the deputy minister of
Youth Development Gender and Employment Creation and Ignatius Chombo, a
senior government minister, in a sugar scam at the Chirundu border post, is
testimony of the greed and decay that have become embedded in the corridors
of power. It is common knowledge however, that greed and flouting of their
own laws pervades Zanu PF big time.

      It is confirmation of all that Zimbabweans have known all long:
Mugabe's cronies do not only possess an insatiable appetite for power, but
an obscene obsession for material possessions as well.

      In its 23-year reign, Zanu PF has distinguished itself as the most
corrupt institution in Zimbabwe S and that record stretches way back into
the early 1980s, when Mugabe's party won the country's first democratically
contested poll.

      The so-called Willowgate scandal in 1989, a scam that implicated
ministers and senior Zanu PF officials who used their clout to buy luxury
cars at cheap prices and resold them to companies and individuals at highly
inflated prices, remains one of the party's ugliest blots, to date.

      But there are many more examples of graft and these are as equally if
not much more repulsive. There have been many reports over the years of
widespread corruption scams conveniently swept under the carpet by that
renowned Zanu PF broom, well known as 'party patronage' - if you stick with
us, we stick with you.

      Nothing came out of the 1998 'war victims compensation saga' which
implicated the late war veterans' leader, Chenjerai Hunzvi, and many others
including Mugabe's own brother-in-law, Reward Marufu. Despite well-
documented evidence that the compensation fund had been systematically wiped
clean by war veterans, it was soon business as usual because once again,
Zanu PF had chosen to ignore the law and protect its own.

      Police chief Augustine Chihuri, was in 1997 also implicated in the VIP
housing scandal, but the probe was quickly concluded and never made public,
as usual.

      The recent Mahofa and Chombo cases however, have sparked uproar as
members of the public and representatives of civic society have roundly
called for their resignations.

      The Daily Mirror reported that Chombo was involved in an illegal
racket of exporting sugar to neighbouring Zambia despite the government's
ban on the export of scarce basic commodities.

      Chombo, however, gave the lame excuse that it was his brother Charles
who was responsible for the deals.

      As a senior government minister-and if we are to believe his flimsy
excuse-what did he do to stop his brother from engaging in what many in
government describe as "economic sabotage?"

      Mahofa on the other hand, reportedly paid a $5 000 admission of guilt
fine, after her arrest in Masvingo for allegedly overcharging maize meal in
her shops in the Gutu district. She was charging $4 000 for a 50kg bag
instead of the gazetted $1 200.

      Mahofa, was also accused of hoarding about 10 tonnes of maize meal at
one of her grinding meal premises.

      The consignment, according to police, had allegedly been obtained
through fraudulent means and in connivance with senior officials at Gutu's
Grain Marketing Board depot.

      She has however denied both charges insisting that the shop that
overcharged was not hers, but belonged to her son, Leopold Masendeke.

      However it is such behaviour that has hurtled the entire country into
a cesspool of corruption as the common person is now learning the tricks of
survival from the top.

      The ruling party's corrupt tendencies serve to illustrate the clear
arrogance and lack of accountability with which Zanu PF regards long
suffering Zimbabweans.

      And to the man in the street, it makes one thing clear: there is one
law for Zanu PF and another for the rest of the population.

      A leading political analyst said the mere interference of Mahofa and
Chombo in cases of illegal dealings, should send a message to President
Mugabe to critically examine his government.

      "I believe the likes of Mahofa are just the 'small fish' in the
practice of these illegal activities within Zanu PF. There are more senior
officials involved in more corrupt and shady deals," he said.

      Arnold Tsunga, The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
chairman, condemned the "corrupt government officials" and called on Mahofa,
especially, to do the honourable thing: resign.

      "The unprecedented levels of corruption in government circles are
worrying. The majority of the culprits are getting away with it S her
(Mahofa's) conduct amounts to a serious abuse of her leadership position,
political influence and public office. It is unconscionable to profiteer out
of mass starvation."

      Tinos Mudzingwa of Mufakose in Harare had this to say about Chombo and
Mahofa: "The two should shamefully bow out of office because they abuse the
people they claim to lead. The arrest of Mahofa and the mention of Chombo's
name in the illegal exportation of large quantities of sugar should prompt
Zanu PF to look itself in the mirror and see the rot within its own body.
Both Mahofa and Chombo should be arrested and brought behind bars where they
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Zim Standard

      Zimsec scandal: heads expected to roll
      By Chengetai Zvauya

      THE acting director of the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council
(Zimsec), Esau Nhandara is to appear before the board of the local
examinations council on Wednesday, to answer to allegations of
maladministration and corruption currently besetting the institution.

      Zimsec board chairman Professor Phineas Makhurane confirmed to The
Standard that Nhandara had been ordered to appear before the board.

      "We are very much concerned about what is happening at Zimsec. We want
him to explain to the board the problems that are being reported in the
media. Remember that some of the cases have become police cases and the
board has to be told what is happening. I can only shed more light on what
is happening when we have been fully briefed by Nhandara," said Makhurane.

      Zimsec sources told The Standard that heads were likely to roll at the
exams body.

      Makhurane is understood to have held a meeting with five Zimsec
directors last week and to have threatened them with the sack unless sanity
was brought back at the examination centre.

      The directors are Esau Nhandara, who took over in an acting capacity
following the departure of long-serving Zimsec director Isaiah Sibanda, John
Maramba (research and development), Victor Kadenge, (information), Jayman
Tabete (Human Resources), Budwell Chamunorwa Murira (examination and
administration) and Lazarus Nembaware (Test and Development).

      "Makhurane recommended that Zimsec cut off the overtime facility
because it was suspected that examination paper leakages and computer
tampering occurred when workers were putting in extra hours. He also wanted
the issue of security to be urgently addressed,'' said a source.

      The Standard has also been informed that the directors were in the
habit of taking expensive foreign trips paid for by Zimsec.

      The six directors are all said to have at one time visited South
Africa for the sole purpose of inspecting a printing machine-a task that
could have been undertaken by one or two of the directors.

      "Foreign trips are the order of the day at Zimsec with directors
falling over each other to travel overseas as they are paid in foreign
currency," said the source.

      Junior managers have been left to manage the centre while the
directors are on one foreign errand or another," said the source.

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Zim Standard

      Land report to be presented to Cabinet this week
      By Chengetai Zvauya

      FLORA Buka, the minister for land reform is under pressure from senior
colleagues to reveal to them the long-awaited land audit report before she
presents it to cabinet this week, it has been established.

      Government sources said Buka was expected to present the report which
officially exposed the land grabbers, to cabinet on Tuesday for deliberation
before it is possibly made public.

      The government has been under pressure to release the report amid
accusations that senior government officials, politburo members and Zanu PF
supporters have been looting the prime farmland, meant for land hungry

      Buka last week confirmed that the report had been compiled and that it
would go first through the cabinet before it could be made public.

      "I am not going to release the report to anyone because I know the
procedure. I need first to discuss the matter with cabinet which I'll do
soon," she told The Standard on the telephone.

      "I will not stoop so low as to release the report to any media despite
the rumours that I leaked it to the international media," she added.

      Buka has been sitting on the hot report for the past two months
raising speculation that the government was uncomfortable with its contents.

      The explosive report is a culmination of a land audit exercise carried
out by the ministry to assess the status and ownership of farms acquired
through the controversial land reform exercise.

      If released publicly, the land audit report is expected to clarify the
ownership of the properties which formerly constituted white commercial

      The government has so far claimed to have resettled more than 300 000
families under the A1 model scheme as well as about 51 000 others under the
A2 model scheme.

      There have been concerns that many of the young black middle class,
who had applied for model A2 farms, had failed to make proper use of the
land because of the hardships associated with commercial farming.

      Senior Zanu PF officials and supporters named in the report as having
grabbed more than one farm each include Air Marshal Perence Shiri, ministers
Jonathan Moyo, Ignatius Chombo, Elliot Manyika and Sydney Sekeramayi as well
as President Mugabe's sister, Sabina Mugabe, newspaper publisher Ibbo
Mandaza among many others.

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Beit Bridge Gridlock Cleared

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

March 2, 2003
Posted to the web March 2, 2003

Nicki Padayachee

THE holdup that has prevented trucks from crossing the Beit Bridge border
between South Africa and Zimbabwe was cleared this week.

Beit Bridge customs staff said trucks had been moving through the border
post without hitches since Tuesday, thanks to an extension in the post's
operating hours.

The turnaround follows a delay of over a week in the processing of trucks,
causing vehicles to be backed up for up to 7km on the South African side of
the border.

Construction work on the Zimbabwean side of the border was blamed for the
traffic jam.

On Friday, Beit Bridge customs controller Seolo Makwela said South Africa
had extended its processing of commercial vehicles by four hours a day to
deal with the gridlock.

He said Zimbabwe had also amended its border policy to allow the clearance
of trucks to be processed while still on South African soil .

This had resulted in clearances taking between five minutes and two hours .

Truck drivers expressed relief this week that the problem had been resolved.

Issa Wadi, a Zimbabwean driver who had to queue for three days on the South
African side of the border and another two days on the Zimbabwean side last
week, said: "Today it's 100%. I am so relieved there are no more queues. I
am so happy about this."
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