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The Guardian

Zimbabwe Press Crusader Based in England

Thursday March 3, 2005 8:01 AM


Associated Press Writer

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) - From a cramped dining room in southern England,
Wilf Mbanga has become a crusader for Zimbabwe's free press - the latest
endeavor in a life that has tracked the shifts in Zimbabwe's history over
the last 40 years.

With the help of his wife and dozens of writers working for free, Mbanga is
publishing The Zimbabwean - an exiles' view of a country where journalists
can be jailed for reporting without permission and the news media is now
firmly controlled by the government.

For Mbanga, a black man who grew up when Zimbabwe was white-ruled Rhodesia
and who later became a confidant of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, it
has been a long journey from outsider to insider and back out again.

``All we want to do is put out a newspaper that tells the story of what's
going on in Zimbabwe,'' says Mbanga, who fled the country in 2003 after his
Daily News ran afoul of Zimbabwe's harsh media laws.

Mbanga edits his weekly in his dining room in leafy southern England - ``far
from (Zimbabwe's) prisons'' says the professorial 57-year-old.

The Zimbabwean's third issue came out Friday in Britain and South Africa,
where Mbanga says about a quarter of Zimbabwe's 12 million people now live
in exile or as refugees. Only the first edition, released Feb. 11, was
allowed into Zimbabwe.

In many ways, the 24-page tabloid is a classic African newspaper. It
earnestly approaches politics, writing about corruption and oppression with

``Mugabe launches smokes and mirrors campaign,'' was the headline over last
week's lead story. ``Free and fair election impossible,'' topped page two.

In a nod to its exile nature, there are stories of lonely lives lived
abroad, such as the Feb. 18 story ``Oh how I miss the good old bowling

There are arts and music features, though, like the news stories, nearly all
touch on Zimbabwe's politics.

The back page is reserved for sports, namely cricket and soccer.

Born in Harare, then known as Salisbury, Mbanga grew up under white rule and
like many blacks was educated by missionaries. ``The government,'' he says,
``had no interest in our education.''

After college, he found editors also had little interest in black reporters.
``Our stories were invariably about dog shows or flower shows.''

But in 1974, with the country's civil war dragging on, the Rhodesian
authorities released many independence leaders from prison for settlement
talks, and his editors ``realized that black reporters actually got good
stories from these nationalists,'' Mbanga says.

It was at those talks that he first met Mugabe.

``He stood out ... he has a very sharp intellect,'' Mbanga says. ``A lot of
(the nationalists) were bitter, they'd been in jail for years without trial,
they wanted revenge, but Robert Mugabe was talking of how he didn't hate the
white man.''

Mugabe's message of reconciliation impressed Mbanga, whose wife's
grandparents were white settlers.

They also shared a love of the same music - ``Elvis Presley, Pat Boone,''
Mbanga says, chuckling.

It would be seven more years before Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, and when it
did, Mugabe asked his friend to help start the country's news service,

``I traveled the world with'' Mugabe, Mbanga says, displaying a picture of
the two sharing a laugh with late Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere.

He left the news service in 1987 and in 1998 founded The Daily News.

The paper got its legs just as political violence and economic turmoil began
to grip Zimbabwe as the government seized thousands of white-owned farms for
redistribution to blacks.

Mugabe narrowly won a 2002 vote that observers said was swayed by violence
and rigging by Mugabe's party. Since then, the government's crackdown on the
independent press has continued, picking up pace ahead of March 31
parliamentary elections.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international press freedom
watchdog, calls Zimbabwe one of the 10 worst countries for a journalist to
work in.

By 2003, Mbanga's Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent daily, had become
far too critical for Mugabe's tastes.

After a brief run-in with the police, Mbanga fled to The Netherlands, and
The Daily News was later shut down - one of four independent newspapers
forced out of circulation in less than two years.

Mbanga spent a year in The Netherlands before settling in Southampton, near
his wife's parents.

Unsatisfied with the life of an idle exile, he launched The Zimbabwean.

It is funded by the Mbanga's savings and two Dutch non-governmental
organizations, which Mbanga said he can't name because both still work in

What is most important, he says, ``is press freedom - people have a right to
know what's going on.''

``I don't think we're going to change a country straight away,'' Mbanga
says. ``And Mugabe will not under any circumstance hand over power ... the
power has gone to his head.

``But I will go back to Zimbabwe as a journalist.''

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      Payout binge

      Njabulo Ncube
      3/3/2005 8:27:04 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government, often accused of populist policies at the expense of
pragmatism, will dole out a whopping $156 billion annually to former
political prisoners in what is widely seen as an expensive election gimmick.

      Last week, the government, accused of ignoring the country's financial
realities, authorised monthly pensions of $1.3 million to each former
political prisoner, detainee or restrictee with effect from last month,
through a statutory instrument gazetted on Friday.
      A surviving spouse is entitled to a pension equal to 55 percent of the
pension to which a deceased ex-political, detainee or restrictee was or
would have been entitled.
      If a deceased ex-political prisoner, detainee or restrictee is
survived by a spouse and dependent children, they will be entitled to
pensions but in different percentages.
      In this case the government will pay 25 percent of the monthly pension
payable to a surviving spouse, two children (40 percent), three children (50
percent), four children (60 percent) and five children or more (66 percent).
      "Where, at the time of his death, a registered ex-political prisoner,
detainee or restrictee was in receipt of a pension in terms of this section
or would, but for his death, have been entitled to a pension in terms of
this section, a pension shall be payable to a surviving spouse and any
dependent child of the deceased ex-political prisoner, detainee or
      "If a deceased ex-political prisoner, detainee or restrictee is
survived by a spouse there shall be paid to that surviving spouse for 12
months after the death of the ex-political prisoner, detainee or restrictee
an amount equal to the difference between monthly rate of the pension of the
deceased ex-political prisoner, detainee or restrictee immediately before
his death."
      The move, which comes just before a crucial Parliamentary election
slated for the end of this month will obviously pressure public finances.
      The fiscus, already making contingent measures for the importation of
food relief to avert famine in drought-prone areas in the wake of poor
rains, would need to cough out $13 billion every month to meet the
unbudgeted payments.
      A massive $156 billion would have been doled out from the government
purse at the end of 12 months, a figure almost equal to the vote allocated
for operations and salaries to the two Agriculture Ministries in the 2004
budget to the estimated 10 000 ex-political detainees and restrictees.
      Economic commentators said the payments would be an expensive strategy
that would slow down the modest economic turnaround realised so far. They
said the move indicated that it was difficult to instil fiscal discipline in
a government facing a tough election.
      The commentators said that what was disappointing was that this came
at a time when the government was expected to adopt austere anti-inflation
measures in line with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's efforts to rid the
country of hyper-inflation.
      Government profligacy, against a background of a chorus of angry
voices for fiscal rectitude, has for years been stoking inflationary fires.
      They said the timing of the decision to pay former political prisoners
would make it appear as if the ruling ZANU PF, which faces the Movement for
Democratic Change in yet another tricky election on March 31, is trying to
buy votes from the disgruntled former political prisoners.
      "When payments are done so many years after independence, suspicion
arises from certain quarters that the intention would not be to help, but
gain some political mileage, especially coming on the eve of an election,"
said political analyst Heneri Dzinotyiwei.
      This is not the first time the government has done something like
this. In 1997 the late Chenjerai Hunzvi-led vocal war veterans forced
President Mugabe to award hefty gratuities and pensions to the former
independence war fighters. The war veterans had staged a series of protests
against what they said was the government's neglect of their welfare. Each
of the 50 000-strong veterans was subsequently paid a one-off gratuity of
$50 000 in a move commentators claim triggered Zimbabwe's present economic
crisis, now in its fifth year.
      Said Bulawayo-based chartered accountant Eric Bloch: "Any unbudgeted
expenditure has an impact. It will increase the state's deficit and the
government will be forced to borrow and in the long run the payouts would
have some adverse inflationary impact. It is a negative development for the
economy trying to come out of the doldrums. However, it seems the government
is buying votes with these payouts."

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      Business warned over price hikes

      Felix Njini
      3/3/2005 8:35:12 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which has upped the stakes in
taming inflation, as a key ingredient to stabilising the economy, this week
warned producers and retailers against ad hoc price increases.

      Addressing labour union leaders yesterday, RBZ governor Gideon Gono,
who believes that price stability is key to economic prosperity, warned of
the "acidic era of yesteryear" when massive price hikes were effected on an
"hourly basis".
      Concern over sharp price hikes across the board come as the treasury
is considering establishing a price and income commission comprising the
public and private sectors as well as labour. The commission would consider
and approve price adjustments of basic commodities, based on agreed costing
      "Despite the marked decline in inflation registered over the past 12
months, we continue to have ad hoc boardroom decisions hiking prices, fees,
rents and service charges at levels way out of line with economic conditions
on the ground," Gono said.
      Inflation has dropped from a peak of 623 percent in January 2004 to
133.9 percent in January 2005. But despite this slowdown, fear of
inflationary pressures has not receded.
      "Such practices are threatening to unwind the anti-inflation progress
the country has made to date," said Gono, who cuts the image of an old
school anti-inflation hawk of the traditional economy.
      The concerns from the monetary authorities also come in the face of
the collapse of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, a loose coalition of
labour, the government and business whose mandate was to achieve a social
contract among the three institutions.
      Against a background where it is widely believed that business
planning would be much easier if companies and consumers did not have to
factor inflation into their models, Gono appealed to labour leaders and
industry executives to exercise restraint in wage and salary adjustments.
      "Today's increases in either rentals, interest rates, wages or profits
that are out of line with current productivity levels are a recipe for
stagflation and economic hardships and toil on tomorrow's distribution
table," Gono said.
      The central bank, which has previously cautioned against sharp salary
and wage hikes, said it had amicably agreed a 95 percent cost of living
adjustment with its staff this year.
      "We therefore call upon labour, as well as the business community, to
engage constructively so as to come up with positions that coincide with the
realities prevailing on the ground, as well as envisaged trends in the
future, as opposed to clinging to benchmarks long passed in history," Gono
      Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Wellington
Chibhebhe said the governor's statement was an "advisory statement and not a
hard and fast rule".
      Chibhebhe added that the ZCTU would continue to pressure industry
leaders to award their workers wages and salaries which were in line with
the poverty datum line.
      "The poverty datum line is now pegged at $2 million, so it is
pointless to talk of percentages. Gono did not say no one should go beyond
95 percent," Chibhebhe said, adding that the ZCTU had ironed out differences
with the RBZ over the issue of salary increases.
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      Dabengwa back in charge

      Charles Rukuni
      3/3/2005 8:36:03 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Former Zipra intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa, who was
almost kicked out of national politics by ZANU PF Young Turks in Bulawayo,
has bounced back as one of the most powerful persons in Bulawayo.

      Insiders say Dabengwa, who was rescued by the party presidency which
weeded out all the Young Turks because of their alleged involvement in the
so-called Tsholotsho Declaration that was allegedly against the nomination
of Joyce Mujuru as Vice-President, has been given a blank cheque to
reorganise the party from cell level.
      "He has been given a blank cheque just like Jonathan Moyo was given
during his heydays. The only difference with Moyo is that Dabengwa does not
have free access to the media," a source said.
      Former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was expelled from both the
ruling party and the government last month when he decided to stand as an
independent candidate in Tsholotsho.
      Moyo had become one of the most powerful men in the country, doling
out millions of dollars to lure people to the ruling party.
      Dabengwa, who indicated last October that he was calling it a day and
would not be participating in any elections, almost got kicked out of
politics when the young Bulawayo provincial executive excluded him from the
line-up for the party's central committee.
      But he was rescued at the party's congress when he was appointed both
to the central committee and the politburo, ZANU PF's powerful inner
      He was also tasked with restructuring the party's Bulawayo province
and the war veterans association.
      The Bulawayo provincial executive was dominated by war veterans, most
of whom were said to be loyal to Jabulani Sibanda, a former leader of the
ex-combatants who publicly stated that the old guard was a spent force.
      The executive was dissolved on January 17 because of "incompetence".
      In a move that seemed to be aimed at completely wiping out the
influence of the Young Turks, Vice-President Joseph Msika dissolved all ZANU
PF party structures two weeks later, right down to the grassroots, a move
which observers say has given Dabengwa a free rein.

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      Jonathan Moyo's terrible legacy

      Njabulo Ncube
      3/3/2005 8:36:51 AM (GMT +2)

      "JONATHAN Moyo is dead and buried ... and we should be drafting the
epitaph which should read something like, here lies ... please traveller
stop and spit or p*** (unprintable word)", said one senior journalist on
hearing the news that the mercurial government propagandist had been fired.

      This underlined the extent to which the former minister was reviled by
      True, Zimbabwe and indeed the world of politics is rid of Jonathan
Nathaniel Moyo but the trail of the deadly green slime of his touch still
      As the small but vibrant private media gleefully celebrated the demise
of Moyo, the hated former minister of information and publicity, the
government has used a draconian piece of legislation crafted by the former
propaganda chief to shut a Bulawayo-based weekly in what analysts view as
the continuance of his crude legacy in dealing with the Press.
      The latest move by Zimbabwe's increasingly ostracised government comes
at a time when questions of access to information and the right to free
expression have become cornerstones to building democracy the world over.
      Under the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), Moyo set up the Media and Information Commission (MIC) headed
by former journalism lecturer Tafataona Mahoso to licence media
organisations and journalists.
      Publicly Moyo, widely seen as a bundle of contradictions, claimed that
AIPPA was a collective government responsibility. But surprisingly, in his
CV Moyo says that he spearheaded the draconian law which he claims to be a
"landmark piece of legislation ... sought after by jurisdictions in Africa
      Hardly a week after Moyo's inglorious exit from President Robert
Mugabe's so-called "war cabinet" after the combative former government
spin-doctor decided to defy President Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF by
registering himself as an independent candidate for Tsholotsho, the MIC
plucked AIPPA out of the closet to shut The Weekly Times.
      Citing alleged misrepresentations or non-disclosure of material facts
by the owners; Mohoso cancelled the paper's licence, bringing to four the
number of papers closed since 2001. The MIC closed the Daily News and its
sister weekly newspaper The Daily News on Sunday on September 11 2003 for
refusing to register under AIPPA.
      The Moyo-appointed MIC also moved with speed in less than a year after
the closure of the two papers to shut The Tribune, a weekly owned by ZANU PF
legislator Kindness Paradza who had dared to criticise some aspects of AIPPA
during his maiden speech in Parliament.
      According to Mahoso, The Weekly Times contravened Section 71 (1) (a)
of AIPPA by dabbling in political reporting instead of developmental
journalism as indicated by Mthwakazi Publishing, the publishers of the
weekly, in their application.
      Mahoso said in his statement the publishers' promise to stick to
developmental journalism and other social issues was "a hoax". He added: "It
(MIC) therefore announces unfortunately, the cancellation for one year of
the publishing licence for Mthwakazi Publishing House, publishers of The
Weekly Times. Media services are required to stick to the types of
publication for which they registered because it is illegal for them to pick
up someone else's unregistered objects and projects for whatever reward."
      Analysts who spoke to The Financial Gazette this week, while roundly
condemning the closure of The Weekly Times five weeks before the March 2005
watershed elections, were unanimous Moyo's legacy was not likely to be
dismantled by a government with paranoid tendencies.
      They said although Moyo, loathed by the media as the perceived
architect of AIPPA and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) which maintains
the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings' monopoly of the airwaves, had been fired
from the government, the beleaguered ZANU PF needed the two pieces of
legislation to keep the main opposition at bay as President Mugabe eyes a
two-thirds majority in the Sixth Parliament.
      The ruling party wants a two-thirds majority, which analysts say is
very unlikely with the discord in ZANU PF, to tinker with the constitution
to establish a proposed bicameral house, among other changes.
      President Mugabe disclosed at the weekend his government's plans to
re-establish a senate "in the next four to six years". It was first revealed
in The Financial Gazette in the last quarter of last year that government
intended re-establishing the senate this year.
      "It is a fact that Moyo is gone but hardly two weeks after his
departure, the government uses the evil AIPPA which he played a major part
in drafting to close yet another newspaper," said Foster Dongozi, the
secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.
      "His departure is presently no reason to celebrate because he is not
gone with his evil laws. Our position remains the same - AIPPA must be
repealed to restore sanity to the media," said Dongozi.
      David Coltart, the legal spokesman for the MDC, said AIPPA and other
repressive media laws would remain intact even with the departure of Moyo
because ZANU PF was determined to defeat the opposition by whatever means.
      Coltart said Moyo, like other people working for the government and
ZANU PF, were being used as tools to perpetuate President Mugabe's rule.
      "All along Moyo has just been a tool. There is no way the regime can
repeal AIPPA. ZANU PF legislators overwhelmingly and enthusiastically voted
for AIPPA in parliament. So maybe Moyo is probably right by claiming that
you cannot blame AIPPA on him," said Coltart.
      "The Weekly Times has been closed because it was targeting the heart
of ZANU PF, the rural voters and the working class. It had to go, according
to ZANU PF, which felt threatened by the new paper.", he said.
      The MIC has also in recent weeks written a "warning" letter to
publishers of The Zimbabwe Independent about its journalists who freelance
for the Mail & Guardian, a sister paper of The Zimbabwe Independent.
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      Govt probes independents

      Staff Reporter
      3/3/2005 8:28:10 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ruling ZANU PF, suspicious of local political groups it sees as
Western fronts to effect regime change, has launched a probe into the
funding of a loose coalition of independent candidates participating in this
month's parliamentary elections.

      This comes amid revelations that the emergent third political force
has established a fully-fledged secretariat and acquired vehicles to be used
during the watershed polls.
      According to Zimbabwe's laws, it is illegal for any party or
individual to source foreign funding to aid political activities. Under the
Political Parties Finance Act, independent candidates are also not entitled
to state funds.
      The government, an object of bitter attacks for alleged human rights
violations from the West, suspects that the independents are being
bankrolled by its western critics who are hoping that the next parliamentary
election would complete the critical encirclement around President Robert
Mugabe's government.
      Impeccable government and ruling party sources told The Financial
Gazette that the authorities, jittery in the face of an increasingly
disillusioned electorate, had deployed resources to probe the source of the
funding of the Independent Candidates Solidarity Network.
      The political grouping, which government sources suspect might form a
political party after the parliamentary polls, is coordinating campaigns and
meetings for most of the candidates standing as independents in the March 31
elections. The group is scheduled to stage a solidarity rally of about 16
independent candidates in Bulawayo on Sunday.
      "The manner they have coordinated their things, starting with the
payments of nomination fees to setting up offices and a secretariat shows
there is money coming from somewhere," said a source.
      "The government wants to know where the money is coming from. If the
funding is local, there is no problem but if it is from outside there is a
problem," he said. "So they are looking to establish the source of the
      Didymus Mutasa, the ZANU PF secretary for administration, the
government and ruling party confirmed there was interests to know the
identity of the funders of independents as well as the objectives of such a
      "We are not aware who is funding them. We really want to know their
identities. You can assist us to find out because we real want to know,"
said Mutasa.
      Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni, a former ZANU PF Bulawayo Provincial Information
and Publicity Secretary, who is co-ordinating the project said the network
was not worried by a government probe as they had nothing to hide, adding
his organisations was assisting all the 16 independent candidates registered
for polls save for Ottilia Maluleke in Chiredzi North.
      Ndiweni claimed Maluleke, who lost ZANU PF primaries to Celine Pote,
pulled out due to immense pressure from ZANU PF colleagues. Maluleke was not
immediately available for comment to verify Ndiweni's claims.
      "We are now working with sixteen candidates as we believe they have a
role to play in the politics of Zimbabwe," said Ndiweni adding that they did
no have any foreign funding.
      The remaining sixteen independents whose activities are co-ordinated
by the network include former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
(Tsholotsho), Margaret Dongo (Harare Central), Dunmore Makuwaza (Mbare),
Tendekai Mswata (St Mary's), Fanuel Chiremba (Tafara-Mabvuku) Peter Nyoni
(Hwange East), Charles Mpofu (Bulawayo South), Leonard Nkala
(Phelandaba/Mpopoma) and Stars Mathe (Pumula/Luveve). Others include Lloyd
Siyoka (Beitbridge), and Godwin Shiri (Mberengwa East).
      "Initially we were working with seventeen candidates but one pulled
out after pressure and intimidation from ZANU PF. The MDC has also tried to
intimidate some of its former members but these have stood their grounds.
      "We strongly believe there's a huge political vacuum which needs to be
filled. The supposed two political giants ZANU PF and MDC are far apart
leaving this vacuum. The need for a third political force is to keep check
and balances on ZANU PF and the MDC."
      Margaret Dongo, who stood and won as an independent candidate against
Vivian Mwashita of ZANU PF in 1995 in Sunningdale and is now standing in
Harare Central, disclosed to The Financial Gazette yesterday she had been
approached to work with the grouping.
      "They have called me requesting me to attend a solidarity rally on
March 6 in Bulawayo. The concept is not wrong," said Dongo.
      "The independents are launching a joint campaign. What they need is
solidarity support. The invitations I have received is to come and share my
experiences as a long serving independent candidate," she added.
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      Jittery NGOs set to evacuate expatriate staff

      Felix Njini
      3/3/2005 8:29:05 AM (GMT +2)

      EXPATRIATES employed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have
been put on standby for immediate evacuation in case the government cracks
the whip on the foreign-funded institutions once the much-feared NGO Bill is
signed into law.

      Apart from mulling the immediate airlift of their expatriate workers,
most NGOs have advised their staff to adopt a low profile, particularly in
view of the March 31 elections to avoid being branded enemies of the state.
      An increasingly combative President Robert Mugabe (81) believes NGOs
are conduits of foreign funding used to prop up opposition parties and
exerting pressure on his government, which has been in power since the
country's independence from Britain in 1980.
      The veteran politician - whose claim to a popular mandate to rule
Zimbabwe was disputed by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in
2002 - has crafted the stringent NGO Bill to regulate the sector. The Bill
is yet to be signed into law.
      Documents in possession of The Financial Gazette indicate that NGOs
are jittery over the restrictive law, which among other things, prohibits
them from receiving outside funding and carrying out activities relating to
governance - a general term referring to human rights issues and civic
      Faced with the onslaught, some NGOs have started winding down their
operations, which were key in financing some of Zimbabwe's social programmes
including the war against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
      "Development workers are advised to adopt a low profile and low
visibility whether in urban or rural placements, but more so in the latter,
stay prepared to evacuate at short notice," read a document circulated by
one of the NGOs to its key staff.
      "The reality is that whether one likes the Bill or not, it will soon
be enacted into a law governing the operations of all NGOs and given its
viciousness, it is going to have a traumatic and cataclysmic impact on the
NGO community and their operations," the documens say.
      The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO)
confirmed to The Financial Gazette that most NGOs had put in place
contingent measures to deal with the impeding law that could see 10 000
workers being thrown onto the streets.
      "NGOs are responding differently to the Bill but the majority of those
likely to be affected most are those working on human rights and governance
issues," said the NANGO official.
      Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly,
which is pressing for a new constitution, accused the government of
utilising the uncertainties over the Bill to create problems for the sector.
      "We are aware that some NGOs are taking pre-emptive steps. But as soon
as Mugabe signs the Bill into law, we are going to challenge it legally,"
Madhuku said.

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      Why Matabeleland calls the shots

      Charles Rukuni
      3/3/2005 8:37:29 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - It only commands 21 seats, an insignificant number to
influence the 150-member House, but Matabeleland is presently calling the
shots in national politics.

      Though it seems to have been brought to the fore by the so-called
Tsholotsho Declaration, which saw six provincial chairmen - three of whom
were not from Matabeleland - being suspended from the party, Matabeleland
has always played a key role in Zimbabwean politics.
      Soon after independence, the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU),
which dominated politics in the region, played the crucial role of toning
down ZANU PF. Though ZAPU was part of the government of national unity, it
was still regarded officially as the main opposition.
      Though it controlled only 20 seats, Matabeleland was so critical that
President Robert Mugabe, then Prime Minister, was forced to the negotiating
table despite his military might.
      ZANU PF failed to stamp its authority in the region which regarded
ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo as the father of the nation, forcing President
Mugabe to negotiate with Nkomo culminating in the Unity Accord of 1987.
      While this appeared to be a major victory for the ruling party, with
some diehards in ZAPU claiming that their party had been swallowed,
Matabeleland continues to call the shots. But commentators disagree on the
reasons why the region is so critical.
      Reggie Moyo of the National Constitutional Assembly, a
non-governmental organisation fighting for a new people-driven constitution,
said Matabeleland played a crucial role because of the unity factor.
      He said any organisation involved in national politics had to
encompass unity and anyone who was viewed as being against the spirit of
unity was immediately isolated.
      "The present leaders are doing everything to guard against division
and because they cherish the foundations that were laid down during the
liberation struggle, they tend to favour those who participated in the
liberation struggle. If there are any dissidents or dissenting voices, they
get rid of them," Moyo said.
      A political observer argued, however, that Matabeleland's power base
lay in the fact that though it only had 21 seats, it represented three
      "As long as national politics is run the ZANU PF way where people vote
by province, Matabeleland will always be a key player because it has three
provinces out of 10. Because of the political differences in the other seven
provinces, Matabeleland will be a key player as anyone who wants to command
a majority has to win their support," the observer said.
      The plot by those who mooted the Tsholotsho Declaration allegedly to
vote against Joyce Mujuru was scuttled after one of the Matabeleland
provinces changed its mind.
      The observer said Matabeleland would only lose its influence if voting
by the provinces is weighted, taking the population into account and
awarding provinces with higher populations more votes.
      He brushed aside the argument that Matabeleland was critical to
national politics because of the unity factor, arguing that though the Unity
Accord was forged by ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo and ZANU PF leader Robert
Mugabe, it was essentially a unity of the people.
      "When Nkomo signed the Unity Accord, people were solidly behind him,"
the observer said. "Now we should look at who has replaced Nkomo. Does he
have the support of the people?"
      Though it was once ZAPU territory, Matabeleland is now controlled by
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The party won all but two
seats in the region in the 2000 elections but lost a further two in
subsequent by-elections.
      "If you want to be realistic about this unity, look at where the
people are. Follow the people and not the leaders," said the observer.
      Moyo agreed that people were critical for the Unity Accord but argued
that the people of Zimbabwe had always been united. It was the leadership
that was divided. He added, however, that divisions were now trickling down
to the individual level because of the hardships people were facing.
      "Because of the suffering, people are increasingly becoming
individualistic," Moyo said. "They now say I have to look after my family,
my tribe, and so on."
      A ZANU PF "Young Turk" who was kicked out of the party following the
Tsholotsho meeting said that Matabeleland was critical because it ensured
that Zimbabwe, which has been facing regional and international isolation
for over five years, enjoyed the support of South Africa, the region's
      South Africa has been accused of taking a soft stance on Zimbabwe but
President Thabo Mbeki has defended his policy of quiet diplomacy, saying it
is the best solution as Zimbabweans must find a lasting solution to their
own problems.
      Mbeki even castigated the United States for describing Zimbabwe as
"one of the six-outposts of tyranny", arguing that this was an exaggeration
of the situation in the country.
      The Young Turk argued that Mbeki was sympathetic to Zimbabwe not
because he liked President Mugabe, but because President Mugabe was taking
care of his former allies from ZAPU.
      "What the people and the West forget is that the African National
Congress (of South Africa) and SWAPO were ZAPU allies while the Pan African
Congress was an ally of ZANU. So Mbeki, and even (Namibian President Sam)
Nunjoma, will support Mugabe as long as he is assured that Mugabe is taking
care of his former allies from ZAPU," the Young Turk said.
      He argued that this was one of the reasons why President Mugabe had
ditched the Young Turks from the region who had worked hard since 2000 to
regain seats that had been lost to the MDC and brought back the ZAPU old
guard that had been sidelined.
      Moyo brushed aside this argument, saying President Mugabe had support
from Mbeki and other regional leaders because of his patronage of the
Southern African Development Community.

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      MDC drops 2000 election petitions

      Felix Njini
      3/3/2005 8:38:04 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S main opposition political party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), has dropped its 2000 electoral petitions where it
was challenging the ruling ZANU PF's victory in 37 of the 120 contested

      MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart told The Financial
Gazette that the petitions had become academic because Parliament will be
dissolved on March 30, ahead of the 2005 general election the next day.
      He said the opposition party would profit nothing from pursuing the
2000 parliamentary election petitions.
      Coltart, however, said the MDC would press ahead with the 2002
presidential election court challenge.
      "We have not dropped the electoral challenges as such but under the
law they have become academic because Parliament will be dissolved and fresh
elections are going to be conducted soon," Coltart said.
      The ruling ZANU PF, caught unawares by the MDC, which rode on a wave
of popular discontent over deteriorating economic conditions, scrapped 63
seats in the hotly contested 2000 poll. The MDC, formed on September 11
1999, won 57.
      The opposition party disputed results of 37 of the seats won by ZANU
PF, alleging vote rigging and buying, intimidation and violence against its
      The two parties are expected to be the major contestants in the March
31 2005 parliamentary poll.
      Coltart said the 2002 presidential election petition would continue.
      "We have not dropped the presidential challenge . . . that we will
continue to fight for reversal through the courts," Coltart said.
      President Robert Mugabe, 81 and Zimbabwe's sole ruler since
independence from Britain in 1980, denies he stole the 2002 ballot.
      The veteran politician says the MDC is being manipulated by Western
countries to try and effect regime change in Zimbabwe as punishment for his
government's expropriation of land from whites for redistribution to blacks.
      The MDC denies the charge.

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      MDC's dangerous manifesto

      3/3/2005 8:47:54 AM (GMT +2)

      Throw some dirt into a bit of water and what happens? The scum always
rises to the top. But does this make the scum better than the water? We all
know the answer to that question.

      This is how I feel about the MDC's completely dangerous manifesto
promise to give out title deeds to the beneficiaries of the land reform
      This is the height of irresponsibility by our major opposition party.
Zimbabwean society is not ready for this move. Our people are neither mature
enough nor disciplined enough to be trusted so.
      The moment title deeds are given out, land will become yet another
vehicle for speculative activities. Speculators will move in and hoard land,
buying out farm after farm. They will have no intention of farming at all.
Instead, we will see artificial shortages of farming land created. We may
even see famine. Not because, as some say, the black people of this country
have no farming skills. But because the new owners of these farms will
simply be sitting on them until the prices improve. And the government of
the day, having foolishly issued legally binding title to these people, will
have no leg to stand on.
      They will not be able to take the land back to give to others who are
more industrious. Should that government attempt to do so, it will cause yet
another crisis of governance and the rule of law.
      With this scenario playing out, this important national programme will
become nothing more than crony capitalism in a velvet glove. A cesspit of
corrupt deeds where the bottom feeders of society thrive.
      For all these reasons and more, this policy promoted by the MDC is
nothing short of rubbish. Such blatant appeal to mercenary instincts by a
major, supposedly responsible political force in this country is abominable.
      Yet this nonsensical promise has just risen to the top of the MDC's
election promise list. It sits among promises for less than a million houses
for the party's entire term of office, among the fretting about the rule of
law and other current imperatives. Transport barely gets a nod beyond
promises that are neither costed nor factored against the country's
earnings. The current government is quite correct. This idea is discredited
and should only be recycled when Zimbabwe is truly developed, both in terms
of its people's standards of living and their moral sensitivity.
      But its does not end there. The MDC's manifesto also trots out the
party's familiar promise of using guaranteed foreign aid to restore the
country's fortunes. Foreign donors, we are earnestly assured yet again, are
simply waiting for an MDC government to drown us in a sea of US dollars.
      Magically and without any effort from the local tourism industry
(which has so far proved useless), foreigners will abound, throwing
deustchmarks from the windows of tour buses. And Zimbabwe will be all right
again. Only an idiot will swallow this line. Kenya tells us one or two
things about believing that a change of personality is enough to rescue a
country, regardless of the quality of the replacement. That country has just
wasted another five years of its life. More importantly, there is no such
thing as a free lunch, somebody once said. Which raises the question: what
will the MDC's knights in shining armour want in return? Is this aid
      Not according to Tony Blair. The British premier recently told
delegates to Davos in Switzerland that the developed world should target aid
only at "poor countries ready to help themselves". In Zimbabwe's context,
the meaning is very clear. Government must be trimmed. At the moment, this
country seems to have more chiefs than Indians. Ministries of Political this
and Anti-that proliferate.
      The feeding trough must be taken away and jobs for the boys must be
abolished as a government policy. With real policies from both ZANU PF and
the MDC, the people laid off from the civil service will be able to find
employment in a vibrant and expanding private sector. A smaller government
means less tax. A government committed to interfering in citizens' lives as
little as possible also means less tax. Instead of promising to hand out
money for free to the destitute (as if!) the MDC should be focusing the
nation's attention on the immense, absolutely staggering potential of this
gem called Zimbabwe.
      In fact both ZANU PF and MDC's manifestos are big on abstract promises
but neither is convincing. ZANU PF's failure to push this country to at
least South Africa's level in the last 25 years makes their promises this
time around completely unbelievable.
      As regards ZANU PF, I urge the President to kill off the idea of
coming up with a Senate, as he recently promised. This country does not need
a Senate and it appears to me that the Senate idea is being bandied about
simply to clip the wings of the MDC, should it garner substantial
parliamentary seats.
      This idea, Mr President, is neither wise nor in the interests of the
nation. All it will do is add to the civil service salary bill. The country
is already living beyond its means and the last thing we need is yet another
layer of red tape, which will guarantee that nothing will be done for the
people of this country as the lower and upper houses flex their muscles,
playing power politics as the country burns

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      Take it back!

      3/3/2005 9:27:36 AM (GMT +2)

      THERE is a sharp decline in agricultural production against a
backcloth of an economy struggling to break out of the doldrums. It is not
difficult to see why. The Zimbabwean economy not only sneezes but lapses
into convulsions when agriculture catches a cold.

      And this means that the government has to move fast to fix on the
strategic mistakes made under the land reform programme to restore the
sector, which had the biggest sectoral contribution to the country's gross
domestic product (GDP), to its pre-crisis levels.
      This is why we could not agree more with President Robert Mugabe when
last week he said government should repossess all underutilised land
allocated under the land reform programme. Mindful of the fact
procrastination is the thief of time, we have to categorically state that
the window of opportunity to deal with this issue is now and time is of the
essence. There should be no sacred cows and the authorities should avoid the
temptation to spare certain individals. The exercise to repossess the land
should therefore be done without fear or favour and without regard to the
stature and status of the individuals involved.
      The question however is: when will government move beyond rhetoric and
contemplate action? Has it mustered the political will to deal with the
issue? We ask these questions because unless the government starts doing
something about it, there will always be ill feeling over its sincerity.
This is especially moreso given that multiple farm owners are reportedly
digging in their heels, with impunity at that if we might add, over a
government directive that they hand back the farms which they illegally
acquired. And what's more, Zimbabwe has not been told who these faceless
culprits are despite a chorus of complaints over this amid calls for
government to name and shame these uncouth looters of the finite national
      When government decided to break the logjam holding up arguably the
most radical change in land ownership, it probably hoped to round off the
scandal-tainted agrarian reforms with very little, if any, banana skins. If
anything, despite understandable differences over the approach, style and
form of the emotive process, there were high hopes for an agricultural
revolution. It was hoped that this would unlock the sector's immense growth
potential, which would move through the economy like an electric jolt - a
solid agricultural base would provide a tonic to the enfeebled economy.
      Alas, this was not to be. The euphoria touched off by the radical land
reforms masked more sobering realities. First, most of the erstwhile peasant
farmers did not have capacity. This explains why the gears did not
immediately engage soon after these people were allocated the land. As
observed earlier on in one of our editorials, giving these farmers the land
under the current circumstances was no different from giving them cheques
they could not cash.
      Not only that, but there is also the issue of those voracious land
grabbers in the form of influential politicians and their cronies who tapped
into Zimbabwe's deeply-rooted political patronage system. Their sickening
greed saw these selfish and self-centred individuals violate government's
one-man one-farm policy, hence the deplorable multiple ownership. Given the
cancer of corruption that has been eating at the very fabric of this great
nation, that the politicians and their cronies would stoop to such depths
was as mysterious to us as a blocked toilet would be to a plumber.
      But what has been the upshot of it all? Only 44 percent of the land
allocated under the agrarian reforms is under productive use. Government has
admitted as much, even the land under productive use could be well below the
official figures. If this is not luminous evidence of a sector in crisis
then we do not know what is. And Zimbabweans look with a mixture of disgust
and despair at vast tracts of land lying idle at a time when, in terms of
the food security situation Zimbabwe, the erstwhile regional bread basket is
now grouped together with Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi as deficit
      This is a sad reflection on the savage slump in production and the
resultant shrunken state of the once-vibrant sector upon which the economy
depended. And the situation could only get worse. What with the erratic
rains this year coupled with a shortage of inputs, which will inevitably
impair the quality of the crops and affect the harvest? This will spark off
nightmares of food shortages and a fresh wave of sensitive basic commodity
price increases. There are also lingering concerns over the strain the
resultant food import bill will add to the fiscus at a time when government
is finding it difficult to balance the books.
      From bread basket to basket case - what a shame! Indeed what a damning
indictment on those holding land they are not using, particularly the
unashamed politicians with bloated self-interest who have reduced a
nationally significant process meant to correct historical injustices into a
senseless land grab orgy? Little wonder therefore that there has been very
little in the way of good news to cling to for the dwindling band of those
optimistic about Zimbabwe's agricultural prospects under the current

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      Time for the voter to claim his power

      3/3/2005 9:03:14 AM (GMT +2)

      POLITICIANS are self-serving. They will do and say whatever is prudent
at whatever time to get themselves support and get elected. That is the
nature of the political animal. Anyone who doesn't know this, has no place
in the voting booth.

      I for one have never been a supporter of universal suffrage. Some
people are simply not qualified to vote. Allowing everyone to vote is to me
like allowing anybody to play for the national football team simply because
they have two feet. However, that is another matter altogether.
      Politicians will and do blame anything from the weather to
non-existent enemies for their failures. This is a fact. It is also a fact
that they do this because we allow them to do so. It has been said countless
times that a nation gets the government it deserves.
      Why I have decided to put pen to paper is to urge each and every one
of the voters in this country to claim his or her right, or power, in the
voting process.
      I am not likely to win any friends from the political parties taking
part in the coming elections, nor am I looking for friends from that sector.
I am appealing to you as fellow Zimbabweans to stop being partisan and think
about how to use your vote effectively.
      I feel that we have been used and abused for other people's needs
enough times for us to rise up and reclaim our power over politicians.
      This election has to be used for that purpose. Let politicians and
parties dub this election what they will. I suggest that this be the year
for the people to rise and claim what is theirs through the ballot. Let this
be Gore Remasimba Evanhu.
      Having the kind of system that we have means that the candidate that
you vote for is the most important thing, otherwise we would simply vote for
the party that will eventually choose its representative after the
elections. Therefore let us consider the candidates very carefully.
      What I am trying to say is that the existing political parties have
generally urged us to vote, as one senior politician once said, even for a
baboon as long as it stood for a particular political party. Honestly!
      As the people who reside in the constituencies, we are the ones who
know the people we live with. This means that we are the people who
associate with the candidates, if they do at all reside in our constituency.
      Bar the party he is representing at that particular time, does he have
any history of giving to charity, standing up for people's rights either in
the constituency or at his workplace? Does he or she shop where we shop,
attend the same church or have his children attend the same schools as ours?
      I believe such questions are important as to the character of the
candidate and the likelihood of his understanding the issues that affect his
constituency. We should be suspicious of anybody who suddenly becomes a
champion of people's rights or anybody who believes we should vote for them
simply because they belong to a certain party.
      Let us consider the candidate's history and qualities and not vote for
any barnyard or wild animals. It is time we showed politicians that we know
what we want and that we shall get it.
      I really don't believe elections are for half measures to say that in
this election we vote for this particular candidate to spite this party or
other and then next time we look for some other reason. While you are
spiting this or that party, an unsuitable candidate becomes your
representative in parliament.
      Whenever there are meetings held or wherever you get the opportunity
to see and talk to any of the candidates, take the opportunity to pick their
brains. I'm one of those people who believe that a candidate should make an
effort to be known to me, but we are the people who are most affected by the
outcome of an election so we should take time to know the candidates lest we
vote for the wrong one. Think about it.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chiefs disown sacked information minister

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-03

CHIEFS in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, have disowned sacked information
minister Jonathan Moyo and accused the government of having imposed him on
them in the first place, President Robert Mugabe said in Harare yesterday.

Speaking at the burial of Harare Metropolitan Governor and Resident Minister
Witness Mangwende at the National Heroes' Acre, President  Mugabe disclosed
that the traditional leaders had informed him that Moyo was a stranger to
the people of Tsholotsho before his cabinet appointment in 2000.
"Tsholotsho is not for this man. Chiefs there said they do not know him.
They said we didn't know him before you brought him here," the President
said. Moyo was fired two weeks ago after electing to stand as an independent
in the March 31 parliamentary elections. The Tsholotsho constituency is
among numerous seats the ruling party reserved for its women candidates in
line with its quota system.
The associate professor fell from grace after his alleged role in convening
a covert meeting interpreted as having been designed to scuttle Joyce Mujuru's
ascendancy to the presidium.
The President attacked the disgraced erstwhile government spin-doctor for
covertly seeking power. He said contrary to assertions in certain corners,
Moyo did not command the support of chiefs or people of Tsholotsho - the
former minister's supposed "stronghold".
President Mugabe then drew a parallel between the late Mangwende's
friendship to Mashonaland East Governor David Karimanzira and the great bond
that existed between the biblical David and Jonathan. The President
renounced Moyo and said the political scientist's megalomania had been his
"His friendship with Karimanzira was close. They were like David and
Jonathan," President Mugabe said drawing murmurs from mourners. "I mean
Jonathan from the Bible. He is the only one I know. The others I don't
Earlier on President Mugabe commended the late Mangwende for being satisfied
with positions he was given in government and the ruling Zanu PF and took a
swipe at mongers wanting power at all costs.
"Anga asingati ndionei, ndizivei kumeso kwangu kwakanyorwa PhD. (He did not
show off with his education.) I did not hear of a single day that he
(Mangwende) said he should be promoted or even heard from anyone that he had
said he should be promoted," the President said.
He added that only people had the power to elect leaders into various
positions of authority without behind-the-scenes canvassing.
"Leadership is bestowed upon you by the people, you don't buy it. Kwete
kuuitira zvekuteya nemariva sembeva kana zvekuteya nemadhibhura, anozobata
mwene wao. (You don't make underhand dealings to get influential positions,
because if you do so you will end up the loser," President Mugabe said in
apparent reference to the Tsholotsho debacle that claimed the scalps of five
Zanu PF provincial chairpersons through suspension for five years, while
former secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa was demoted to the
less influential post of secretary for legal affairs.
Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, who also allegedly participated at
the Tsholotsho meeting, was dropped from the politburo where he was legal
The President said when Mujuru was appointed vice president, she had never
campaigned for it but was nominated by the women's league.
Turning back to Mangwende's character, he said the late minister belonged to
an important group of nationalist student activists.
"But one category, which was so important to the overall struggle but often
reticently acknowledged, belongs to the nationalist student activist. Dr
Witness Mangwende hails from this critical stratum of our struggle," he
He explained that Mangwende always had contempt for the settler regime from
his days as a pupil up to the time he was a student at university, and was
expelled on numerous occasions because of that.
"Dr Manwende has a few, if any equals, by way of the numberless expulsions
that visited him on account of involvement in nationalist politics," he
said, adding that he became to be known as "Evil Witness" during his days at
the Dutch Reformed Church institutions he attended during his school days.
Mangwende was born on October 15 1946 in Chikomba, the second youngest child
in a family of 23 boys and 21girls, and attended Marume and Makumbe primary
schools before proceeding to Chibi and Zimuto secondary schools.
He then went to Goromonzi for his Advanced Levels in 1966 and then enrolled
at the then University College of Rhodesia in 1970 where he was later
expelled for leading students in demonstrations against the Smith regime in
Mangwende completed his studies in the United Kingdom at Southampton
University and then obtained his doctorate at the London School of Economics
while he was based in Mozambique.
After independence he held a number of cabinet posts and was the governor
for Harare at the time of his death.
Mangwende died on Saturday at the Avenues Clinic after a battle with
diabetes and is survived by his wife Eben and a son.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Court orders arrest of Miss Tourism World president

Joseph Katete
issue date :2005-Mar-03

THE High Court last night issued an order for the arrest of Miss Tourism
World Organisation president John Singh on charges of breaching a contract
between himself and Original Black Entertainment Television (OBE TV)-a
company shooting documentaries on Zimbabwean Tourism.
Justice Judge Antoinette Gwavava delivered the judgement after OBE TV,
through Harare lawyer, Aston Musunga, filed an urgent application for Singh's
arrest on allegations of refusing to pay US$ 200 000 and a further 6 890
British pounds to the complainant amid fears that he was on his way out of
the country.
However, Singh was still in Harare last night when The Daily Mirror
contacted him for comment.
Musunga said: "The High Court has issued for John Singh's arrest. This will
be done through the Deputy Sheriff to whom Singh cam pay the money to."
Speaking to this newspaper after the judgment, Michael Orji, OBE TV's
director of Strategic Business Group, said: "He (Singh) was refusing to pay
OBE TV and some of the contestants the money he owes them."

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Dongo clears the air

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-03

MARGARET Dongo, the independent candidate for Harare Central, has cleared
the air about her campaign strategy ahead of the March 31 parliamentary
Responding to articles published in the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Mirror
early this week, entitled Dongo rally flops and Dongo fumes over rally
respectively, she said as a matter of fact her campaign team had not
organised a rally at Montague shopping centre.
"To start with, I never held any rally at the stated venue.I intended to
meet a crowd of not more than 30 people at a time, as it was an exchange
forum" she said in a response which was sent to our offices. The response
was accompanied by an application for permission to carry out a "meet the
people tour" from the Officer Commanding Harare Central Police Station.
"I am an independent candidate vying for Harare Central constituency. I will
be talking to the people and the expected number I intend to meet is 30."
 Asked why she had adopted this strategy, and not the traditional rallies,
she said communicating with the electorate individually and in small groups
was more effective than holding rallies.
At such meetings, literature is issued and the contents discussed. This
strategy, according to Dongo, allows freer and more effective interaction
while minimising the chances of violence erupting.
Dongo, who won the mandate to represent Sunningdale as an independent in
1995, is confident that history will repeat itself. She believes people are
going to vote for the best candidates whose effectiveness transcends
partisan loyalty, which often compromises objectivity and focus on real
issues that affect the people.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

US accuses govt of violating human rights

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-03

THE USA's state department has released a damning report on Zimbabwe,
alleging that the Zanu PF government last year violated human rights through
use of violence and intimidation to maintain its grip on power.
However, the ruling party's national chairman, John Nkomo dismissed the
report saying his party never expect anything good from the Americans.
"As far as we are concerned, we never expect anything good from them. They
have an agenda and we know they will continue to say all sought of things.
Let them continue to say what they want to say, " Nkomo told The Daily
Mirror yesterday.
In the annual worldwide human rights review report for 2004 released on
Monday, the US department alleged that:
"President (Robert) Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party used intimidation and
violence to maintain political power."
It also added that the government promoted resentment against whites.
"A systematic, government sanctioned campaign of violence targeting
supporters and perceived supporters of the opposition continued during the
year.and ruling party supporters tortured, raped, and otherwise abused
persons perceived to be associated with the opposition; some persons died
from their injuries," the report claimed.
MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi said the report was stating "the
obvious" and contained nothing new.
"Some of us are exhausted. We are not interested in reading reports that
cast Zimbabwe in bad light. It is up to Zimbabwe to deal with issues that
are important to the people of Zimbabwe," said Nyathi.
He added that the issues the country must resolve include the creation of
jobs, the provision of basic necessities such as jobs and to be allowed to
move anywhere in the country without hindrance.
Apart from Zimbabwe, the report mentioned Sudan and Ivory Coast as other
African countries that violated human rights with impunity.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Election Watch

issue date :2005-Mar-03

Zanu PF Masvingo Province Zanu PF held six campaign meetings in Bikita East
constituency on 26 February at the following places:
Chagumisirwa (Ward 16), Boora (Ward 17), Chikuku (Ward 18), Musiza (Ward 8),
Gangare (Ward 21), and Mupaonde (Ward 22).
The meetings were attended by an average of two hundred (200) people and
were addressed by Masvingo Governor Josiah Hungwe, provincial political
commissar Edmore Hwarare, and candidate for Bikita East constituency,
Kenneth Matimba and Celine Pote, the ruling party's candidate for Chiredzi
North constituency.
Their address centred on the intention of government to provide food relief
for the people of Bikita and the alleged MDC stance against the Land Reform
Programme and its desire to protect and entrench white interests.
Gutu North
The Zanu PF candidate for Gutu North constituency, Josiah Tungamirai held a
campaign meeting on the 26 February at Whiru Primary School attended by
about 200 people. Tungamirai chronicled the achievements of the Zanu PF
government in areas such as health and education.
He applauded his party for its commitment to the advancement of women as
exemplified by the appointment of Vice President Joyce Mujuru to the
presidium of the party as well as the quota system in the allocation of
parliamentary election candidates. He labelled the MDC as a front of the
British and urged his party supporters to campaign peacefully and shun
Mashonaland Central
Sabina Zinyemba and Chen Chimutengwende, the Zanu PF candidates for Mazowe
West and East constituencies respectively, addressed six (6) meetings on the
26 of February at Ruwongore, Forester A, Gweshe, Maodzwa, Musarara and Nanji
Primary Schools with average attendances of up to 200 each.
In their addresses, the two advised Zanu PF members to guard against
infiltration by MDC activists, shun violence and desist from forcing people
to attend Zanu PF meetings.
They also promised to resettle those who needed land at Forester Estates in
Mazowe West constituency, after the expiry of the Bilateral Investment
Agreement with the Germans, who own the farms.
MDC Hatfield constituency candidate, Tapiwa Mashakada held a campaign
meeting at on 27 February at Zinyengere Open Ground in Epworth attended by
about 500 people.
In his address, Mashakada registered his pleasure at the attendance saying
it showed his popularity. He urged the people to take heed of President
Mugabe's call for a violent free election.
Mashakada accused the police of arresting MDC members willy-nilly and called
for the removal of a Zanu PF base at Solani Shopping Centre in Epworth.
He promised to assist in easing transport and health problems in Epworth.
Mashakada warned MDC youths that they should be prepared to be arrested
during his campaign period.
On 26 February 2005, MDC candidate for Mutare South constituency, Sydney
Mukwecheni, held two campaign meetings at Dumbo and Mabiya Business Centres
with about eighty-five (85) and ninety-five (95) people in attendance
Mukwecheni called upon people to arrive at the polling stations early saying
his victory will guarantee the return of investment to the area.
He said the MDC will provide free primary school education if voted into
MDC held a rally on 27 February at Beit Hall in Luveve attended by about 200
people. The meeting was addressed by the party's candidate for Pumula/Luveve
constituency, Esaph Mdlongwa who urged his party supporters to be
He said Zanu PF will be buried in his constituency because they are a
confused lot. Mdlongwa told the gathering that freedom awaits them on the 31
March if they vote for the MDC.  Campaign material in the form of pamphlets
and T-shirts were distributed at the rally.
The MDC candidate for Gutu South, Elphas Mukonoweshuro, addressed a campaign
rally at Uvumba Business Centre. On the 26 February attended by about 120
people. At the same rally an MDC official, a Mr Shonhe argued that there was
no point in Zanu PF soliciting for contributions for the Asian tsunami
disaster when Zimbabweans were starving.
Masvingo MDC councillor, Phemius Chakabuda said as a war veteran, he decided
to defect to the MDC after disagreeing with Zanu PF policies that allow
people to starve on political grounds.  Mukonoweshuro attributed the poor
state of roads, clinics and hospitals in the constituency to Zanu PF's MP,
Shuvai Mahofa's inefficiency. He said that senior government officials were
sending their children and relatives to foreign hospitals and schools hence
their uncaring attitude over the deteriorating health and education
Onias Mukuni, the Zanu candidate for Chiredzi North held a campaign rally at
Rufaro Hall in Triangle on the 26 February attended by about 200 people.
The meeting was chaired by the party's secretary for women's affairs and the
vice chairman for Chiredzi North Aleck Bote. Addressing the gathering, Zanu
president Wilson Kumbula said his party was the only revolutionary party in
the country and not Zanu PF, which, he said was formed in 1980.
He said that Zanu initiated the land reform programme, which was later
hijacked by the Zanu PF government. Kumbula said Zanu PF was misusing
taxpayers' money in its campaign,  rather than developing the country.
He also accused the ruling party of distributing maize grain to its
supporters only. The Zanu leader said President Mugabe's computerisation
programme for rural schools was a political gimmick since the donated
computers were of inferior quality. He also promised that a Zanu government
would improve the health delivery system.
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