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

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The Sunday Times (SA) - 3 March 2002
Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil
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Anyone who is a registered voter.
To be registered as a voter a person must be:
-     Above the age of 18.
- A citizen of Zimbabwe or has been a permanent resident since 31st December 1985.  Under the constitution a permanent resident may vote in a Presidential election regardless of the fact that you may have chosen to retain your foreign citizenship over Zimbabwean citizenship.
- For the Presidential election you must vote in the constituency in which you are registered as a voter.
- To find out where polling stations or a mobile polling stations will be in your area look in the newspaper or contact the Provincial Registrar’s office or the local officials of the party you support before the start of the election on the 9th and 10th of March. If you live in the rural areas find out from your District Council Offices or nearest business center, school or police station. A polling station will usually be found at one of the following places a nearby; school, business center, hospital, clinic, community hall, farm or hotel.
- For residents of Harare and Chitungwiza voting in the Mayoral and Council Elections, as well as, the Presidential Elections, YOU MUST DO ALL YOUR VOTING IN YOUR WARD. The Electoral Supervisory Commission advises that, “ If you try to vote outside your ward, though in your constituency, you can only vote for the President. And once your hands are inked, you cannot go to your ward to vote for the mayor and councillor”. Remember to go and vote in your ward for all the candidates of your choice.
One of the following national documents:
- Either your national ID (the metal card or the temporary paper slip).
- Or your valid Zimbabwe passport. If you are a permanent resident your valid foreign passport with the relevant residence stamp.
- Or your Zimbabwe drivers licence. This must have recorded on it your photograph and ID number. Rhodesian or Zimbabwe/ Rhodesian drivers licences do not have a record of your ID number. 
- On entering the polling station your qualification to vote will be checked
- Your hands will be checked to ensure you have not already voted.
- Your name will be checked against the voter’s roll.
- Your hands will then be dipped in the ink so that you can not vote again.
- You will now be given your stamped Presidential ballot paper.
- Go to the polling booth and vote by making a cross in the empty square next to the Presidential candidate of your choice.
- Fold your ballot paper so no one can see the choice you have made and place your ballot paper in the ballot box.
-     Important Note:
Please remember not to shake hands with anyone prior to voting. You do not want to lose your opportunity to vote by having your hands stained by fraud ink inadvertently.
- You may be required to produce proof of residency. As a precautionary measure it is recommended that you take with you a ZESA or Rates and Water or PTC (TelOne) Bill.
- As a lodger or tenant who does not pay light, water, rates or telephone bills proof of residence in the form of a letter from the landlord must be supplied.
- Domestic workers living on the property of their employer may require a letter from their employer stating they reside on their property. Employers are encouraged to take their domestic employees with them when they go to vote to help them confirm their residency.
Voting procedures for the Mayoral and Council Elections in Harare and Chitungwiza;
The general procedures are the same as for the Presidential Election with the following important differences;
It is your right and duty to vote. Every vote is vital. Every vote counts and may be the one that makes the difference. It is important for you to know that your vote is your secret and confidential. When you enter the polling booth you are free to vote for the candidate you want to see become President. No one can know how you have voted. No matter
what those who seek to intimidate and threaten you say no one can see which candidate you vote for. It is important for you to know the following;
- There are no hidden cameras or spy satellites taking pictures of how you vote. No calculators or cell phones can be used to tell someone the way you vote.
- No matter who you have to line up behind to vote, even if it is the chief in your area or your headman or any other person, once you are in the ballot or voting booth no one can find out how you vote.
- There are those who may tell you they can change shape and as a fly or an insect inside the polling booth they will be able to see who you vote for. This is a rumour; it is not possible and must be squashed.
- No one can write your name or ID number on your ballot paper. Nor can anyone ask to touch or handle or tamper with your ballot paper in anyway before you put it into the ballot box. No person can ask you to show him or her how you have voted. This is illegal and must be reported immediately to the Presiding Officer and, if you are not happy with his or her response, then report the incident to your party polling agent, as well as, any observers or monitors present at the polling station and the police. Any person or election officials who try to find out how you have voted are guilty of an offence and can be fined or imprisoned.
- There are stories about how the purple light and ink can be used to tell how you have voted. These stories are all untrue. The light and ink is used to stop any person from voting more than once.
- Remember no matter what you may be threatened with, be brave enough to vote for the candidate you believe will be best for you and your future.
To begin with find out the exact reason why you are not being allowed to vote. For example, is your name on the roll, is it spelt correctly, is your ID number or address wrong, is it a citizenship issue? Seek first the assistance of the Presiding Officer. Do not just give up and leave the polling station. Challenge any decision, especially, if you can prove that any information on the roll is only a minor entry error. If needs be insist the Presiding Officer contact the Constituency Registrar to find out whether you can be allowed to vote. This is your right. Insist on it if needs be. If you are still not allowed to vote inform your party polling agent, as well as, any observers or monitors present. Your party should publish help line telephone numbers that can be contacted if you have a problem during the election. Make use of these to seek advice and assistance. Ask your party polling agent or your local party office to provide you with these contact numbers. Remember, as has happened in the past, it is possible that a person’s name is not on the roll at one polling station but is on the roll at another polling station. If you go to a polling station and find your name is not on the role, be willing to check at other polling stations. This can, also, happen where constituency borders meet. A voter may not be on the roll in the constituency he lives in but may be on the roll in the neighbouring constituency. This election is too important to deny yourself the opportunity to vote.
In the light of the recent Supreme Court and High Court rulings your name should be reinstated on the voters roll. Although this might not happen you should insist on your right to vote. Take the following with you to the polling station; all your permanent residence and citizenship documents along with any notice of objection form or judgement you have received or outcomes from any appeal made. Draw the Presiding Officer’s attention to the Supreme Court judgements overturning the Electoral Law Amendment Act and, also, the High Court Citizenship Act amendment giving you another 6 months to determine your citizenship status. Insist that the Presiding Officer check if your name is on any supplementary roll or any additional voters register issued after the closure of the voters roll, even if this means phoning the offices of the Constituency Registrar or the Registrar General to do so.  If you are still denied the right to vote inform the polling agent of your choice, as well as, any observers, monitors and journalists who may be present. Please, remember to request to talk to such people outside of the polling station. 

The answer to this is “NO”. The Presiding Officer has to allow every voter to record his vote,  who at the time the polling station is due to close, is inside the room or tent, vehicle or any other place in which the ballot box is located or is in a queue in the vicinity of the polling station.  You may find a Presiding Officer who on day one insists on closing the station before you can vote and tells you to come back the next day. Although this should not be allowed to happen and must be reported if it does, the Presiding Officer concerned can not be permitted to do this again at the end of day two if people are still waiting to vote.
If you are a shift worker, for example, who would normally be working during voting hours, your employer is obliged under the law to allow you time off to vote, without any reduction to your wages.
Presiding Officers are instructed to assist such people by allowing them to come to the head of the queue so they may vote at minimum inconvenience and discomfort to themselves. Draw your plight to the attention of one of the policeman, who is to be found at the entrance of the polling station, and ask if you can speak to the Presiding Officer or their deputy to explain your condition to him or her. If you are unable to do this yourself ask the person who is accompanying you to explain your situation on your behalf.
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Mugabe's 'Taliban' torture opponents in terror camps

Observer Worldview

Sunday March 3, 2002
The Observer

Torture camps where suspected opponents are being murdered and mutilated
have been set up in Zimbabwe as Robert Mugabe unleashes a reign of terror
ahead of elections this week.
Faced with defeat for the first time since his party came to power in 1980
after overthrowing white minority rule, the 78-year-old President is turning
on his own people in an orchestrated campaign of violence and intimidation.

As Commonwealth leaders meet in Australia today to decide whether to take
action over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, an Observer investigation has
uncovered evidence that Mugabe's state-security apparatus has created dozens
of camps where civilians are being tortured for suspected 'disloyalty' to
the ruling Zanu-PF government.

Mugabe, who last month reassured the international community that the
elections would be 'free and fair', has barred British newspapers from
reporting them. The Observer entered the country illegally last week and
found scores of incidents where ordinary Zimbabweans had been shipped to the
camps, beaten and in some cases killed after being branded opponents of the

During a 625-mile trip through Matabeleland, where Mugabe's notorious Fifth
Brigade massacred an estimated 20,000 people in the Eighties, we saw
villagers displaying horrific wounds after being held at camps by gangs of
youths dubbed 'the Taliban' by local people.

The youths, whose ages range from 10 to 30, are officially members of the
National Youth Training Programme, a supposedly voluntary organisation
formed last year by Mugabe's government to instil 'patriotism' in young
people and remind them of the sacrifices made in the war against Ian Smith's
Rhodesian army.

Instead, after training at military camps, the 20,000-strong militia has
been deployed to set up camps and round up suspected dissidents,
're-educating' them by means of psychological and physical torture.

In what one leading Zimbabwean academic described as an attempted coup
d'état by Mugabe, youth militias last week seized dozens of suspected
opposition sympathisers identified by agents of the Central Intelligence
Organisation, the Stasi-trained secret police force.

Fearing exposure by international election observers in Zimbabwe ahead of
the poll, the youths were operating after dark, blocking roads leading to
rural areas away from the main cities and terrorising the inhabitants of
small villages.

With blood still oozing from his ears, his arm broken and a gap where his
front teeth had been knocked out, Trust Sibanda, 31, slumped under a tree as
the sun rose and gave a chilling insight into the militia, whose members
receive wages and food from the government.

Sibanda had been seized two days earlier as he arrived home empty-handed at
dusk after going to a depot 200 miles north of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
second-largest city, where maize is usually sold. Chronic food shortages
meant there was no maize.

Twenty youths approached him, waving a piece of paper with his name at the
top. They accused him of being a supporter of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), the opposition party tipped in unofficial polls to win the
elections, and demanded to know why he was not carrying a Zanu-PF membership

One man kicked him in the crotch. As he collapsed, four others grabbed each
limb and threw him into the back of a waiting truck. He was taken to a camp
where a dozen other suspected sympathisers were being held.

'They hit me with clubs and sjamboks [thick leather whips used by South
Africa's apartheid-era police forces],' said Sibanda, displaying red weals
across his back. 'I was sure I was going to die.'

At one stage, a group of men forced his mouth open under a tap of running
water. He could not breath or swallow. Then the men started beating him
again. He was dumped unconscious outside his wife's hut.

Across hundreds of miles of seemingly idyllic Zimbabwean countryside,
similar stories were repeated again and again last week.

Mthoko Ncube, 25, was in hiding at a 'safe house' occupied by the opposition
in Matabeleland. He had been released from hospital 24 hours earlier after
being seized, with 12 other friends, as he walked through a rural area last
month. None of the group, which included three girls, was carrying a Zanu
membership card.

They were taken to a camp on a farm commandeered as a base for 300
militiamen. One of the girls was taken to an outbuilding. The rest of
captives were told to do physical exercises: press-ups, sit-ups and running
on the spot. They were then forced to strip and graze on grass. Attempts to
resist brought blows from clubs and sjamboks . Then they, too, were tortured
under running taps.

'I did not ask the girl they took about what happened to her,' said Ncube.
'I could see different men going over to the outbuilding while they were
beating me.'

After a political 're-education programme' and professing allegiance to
Zanu, Ncube was released at dawn. He was one of the lucky ones. Methuseli
Ndlovu, 33, was being held at the same camp for not having a Zanu card.
After being beaten, he refused to confirm his support for Zanu. 'He was too
stubborn,' said Ncube, shaking his head.

One of the youths stabbed Ndlovu in the eyes. Another stuck a knife into his
side and he was dumped by the road. He was taken to hospital, and pronounced
dead on arrival. Officially, more than 100 people have died since the
disturbances began in 2000, with dozens more unaccounted for. The majority
have been supporters of the MDC.

Not only youths lacking patriotic memories of the liberation struggle are
being terrorised. Eddie Nhlanga, 45, fought for Mugabe's guerrilla force
during the war of Independence, which ended in 1979 with victory against
white minority rule. Nhlanga trained in Ethiopia and Zambia before being
sent to fight with Mugabe's followers.

Last week, Nhlanga was again living in the bush. This time he was hiding
from his former comrades after being denounced as a traitor with suspected
MDC sympathies.

A proud, articulate man, the war veteran agreed to be interviewed after
complicated messages were relayed to him at his hideout by the one person
trusted with the location. His eyes darting around thick surrounding scrub,
Nhlanga said: 'They want to assassinate me. But I will not vote for a
government that is acting against its own people.'

He did not plan to return to his home, where his wife and four children
received visits from the militia each night, until after the elections.
Asked if Mugabe should face retribution if defeated, Nhlanga spat: 'Yes,
they should arrest him and take him to one of his camps.'

More than a dozen other victims gave accounts of similar violence and
intimidation. Their testimony was yesterday backed by human rights groups in
Zimbabwe. The militias have established 72 base camps across the country,
according to the Human Rights Forum. 'In many cases the militia are living
at the bases and in other cases using them as launch pads for raids on
villages in the rural areas or suburbs in the cities,' a spokesman said,

Independent human rights monitors have recorded similar beatings, tortures,
rapes and killings, in both rural and urban areas. In Harare, the capital,
two men were fighting for their lives last night after being tortured by
burning for suspected MDC sympathies.

In Marondera, about 60 miles east, a man was beaten and had the initials
'MDC' carved into his back with a knife. In the south, a woman was beaten to
death after being caught reading the Daily News, Zimbabwe's leading critic
of the ruling regime.

There was evidence that food supplies were being manipulated for Mugabe's
benefit. Crowds gathered outside a shop and take-away known as a meeting
place for MDC members. The windows had been smashed after an attack by more
than 100 militias. Maize, the local staple, had not been delivered for more
than 48 hours. Families were taking turns to queue day and night. Fights
broke out among women when the last 110 kilos were delivered.

Fifty miles away, beside a 600-strong camp of Zanu militia, lorries were
unloading sacks of maize. A steady procession of villagers walked back to
their huts - past bill posters of Mugabe stuck to trees every few yards -
with enough food to last weeks. Opposition politicians said locals were
allowed food only if they swore to vote for Mugabe; this could not be

The President is battling for his political life. Amid unconfirmed reports
that he has made contingency plans to leave the country aboard a helicopter
on 24-hour standby at his palace in Harare, political analysts, opposition
groups and local journalists believe Mugabe is using terror to create a low
turn-out at the elections, which begin on Saturday morning and end on Sunday

Yet there is widespread confidence among the opposition that Mugabe, who
narrowly avoided defeat in parliamentary elections two years ago, is facing
humiliation at the polls. 'There is no question about who will win,' said
Gibson Sibanda, the MDC's vice-president, at the party's Bulawayo
headquarters, being rebuilt after a fire-bomb attack by Zanu militias
earlier this year. 'The MDC will win. The people want change.'

Asked whether MDC supporters would be too scared to vote, he added: 'The
people have had enough. This election is about life and death. People have
had enough and they will turn out in their millions to rid Zimbabwe of Uncle
Bob. The people will vote for change. The people want change.'

It may not prove that simple. Morgan Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist
whose fiftieth birthday is on the day the polls close on Sunday, and
Mugabe's sole threat for the presidency, was arrested last week and charged
with plotting to assassinate his opponent. The charge, which carries the
death penalty or life imprisonment, was made after Tsvangirai was allegedly
vidoetaped talking of the 'elimination of the President'. The man behind the
tapes was later shown to have links with Mugabe. Tsvangirai was released on
bail amid confusion over whether he would face trial. He has threatened to
sue over the allegations, which were broadcast on local television.

The MDC, formed with the backing of white businessmen after farm seizures
began two years ago, has been criticised by Mugabe as the stooges of white
racists intent on overthrowing legitimate black rule. Although funded by
white money, the MDC has a strong streak of black support and a network of
local activists who no longer see race as an issue affecting the country's
future prosperity.

There have been concerns about whether Mugabe will attempt to fix the
results of the poll by tampering with ballot boxes. There is no evidence to
suggest he is planning this, but there were reported irregularities during
the 2000 elections. There is more at stake this time: they were for
Parliament, these elections are for President.

Addressing thousands of supporters in Mashonaland, his tribal homeland,
Mugabe dismissed international criticism last week, vowing to remain in
power for the next six years whether the international community accepted or
rejected the outcome of the poll.

The opposition, which believes in non-violence to achieve its aims, fears
that there will be a mass uprising if Mugabe rigs the election or introduces
martial law. Senior MDC officials claim they do not have enough weapons to
wage a war against Mugabe, who has reportedly ordered home more than 8,000
soldiers fighting over 'blood' diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

'We don't know what will happen,' said Sibanda as the sun burned below the
African horizon, heralding another night of violence in isolated rural
communities. 'If things are fair, we will win. If they are not, who knows?
The people blame Mugabe, not whites, for our troubles. We cannot hold the
people back forever.'

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Mugabe men's blood gems

Businessman says generals and Ministers make fat profits from smuggled

Paul Harris and Jason Burke
Sunday March 3, 2002
The Observer

Top Zimbabwean generals, government Ministers and close relatives of
President Robert Mugabe have made millions of dollars from the illegal
smuggling of 'blood diamonds', a US diamond executive has claimed.
In a series of extraordinary encounters with the diamond dealer last year,
senior Zimbabwean officials, including the President's nephew, Innocent
Mugabe, offered for sale gems looted by Zimbabwean forces fighting in the
Congolese civil war.

The allegations by John Marsischky, who runs the American-based diamond firm
Flashes of Color, cast a spotlight for the first time on the vast smuggling
network of blood diamonds at the highest levels of Mugabe's regime. It
portrays a government engaged in plundering a neighbouring country and a
shady world of contraband and backhanders involving some of the most
valuable gems in the world.

Marsischky's account also accuses controversial Canadian lobbying firm
Dickens and Madson, which recently released a video claiming Zimbabwe
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai plotted to kill Mugabe, of also being
involved in diamond smuggling. The firm is headed by former senior Israeli
secret service agent Ari Ben Menashe. Marsischky alleges that Dickens and
Madson ran security checks on him and were to arrange bank accounts to pay
for illegal stones.

Campaigners against blood diamonds have demanded an inquiry into
Marsischky's claims, saying gem smuggling has fuelled conflicts around the
world and gems are often swapped for arms. 'This warrants further
investigation. Once again the diamond industry is being used as a source of
conflict in both Congo and Zimbabwe,' said a spokesman for charity Global
Witness , which has investigated the blood diamond trade.

It is thought that blood diamonds are worth about $300 million (£211.5m) a
year, making up 4 per cent of the global diamond industry. Zimbabwe has
become a recent focus of the trade because of its involvement in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, where its army backed the government of late
President Laurent Kabila and were rewarded with lucrative mineral

Marsischky alleges he met numerous Zimbabwean officials, two representatives
of Dickens and Madson and a local businessman called Bob Codrington, who
tried to sell him smuggled diamonds on behalf of a network of top Zimbabwean
public figures. Codrington and Menashe have dismissed Marsischky's story.
'We have never dealt in diamonds,' Menashe said, adding that he did not know
Codrington and that his firm did not carry out security vetting. Codrington,
who owns a firm that supplies mining equipment to Congo said he met
Marsischky but they did not discuss selling him diamonds. 'I am not in the
diamond trade,' he said.

Marsischky says he is telling the truth. 'I stand completely by my story.
Not only were they trying to sell me blood diamonds, but they were fully
aware they were blood diamonds,' he said.

Opposition sources in Zimbabwe agreed with his account. Officials with the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is fighting elections in just
over a week, say that Mugabe's government has systematically looted large
areas of Congo and drained its wealth to line its own pockets. 'It is not
about civil war, it is all about profits,' an MDC source declared.

Marsischky arrived in Harare on 16 January last year with his wife and
business partner Alisa Ballestra and booked into the city's Monomotapa
hotel. They had been invited to the country by officials of the
state-controlled Minerals Business Company, which operates legitimate dia
mond concessions in Congo. At first they were offered a Zimbabwean military
flight to the Congolese capital, Kinshasa. However, the assassination of
Kabila on 17 January scuppered the trip and instead they were told officials
would meet them in Harare to discuss diamond deals. Over the next 10 days no
legitimate diamonds were ever offered. Instead, Marsischky says, blood
diamonds were put up for sale.

The first contact was with the head of the Zimbabwe Air Force, General
Perence Shiri, who spoke to Marsischky twice on the phone and told him he
had a parcel of more than 2,000 carats of rough diamonds available for sale.
Shiri was commander of the notorious Fifth Brigade, which massacred
thousands of Zimbabwean civilians in a crackdown in the early 1980s. He
wanted $400,000 for the gems, which came with no certificates of origin or
export documents. When Marsischky said he would not be able to take the
diamonds out of the country without proper papers, Shiri replied: 'Surely
there must be some other way. Other people do it.'

The next series of contacts was with Mugabe's nephew, Innocent, a
high-ranking officer in the feared Central Intelligence Organisation.
Innocent approached Marsischky and his wife in their hotel on 22 January and
told them their credentials were to be checked out for a diamond sale. After
the checks, Innocent arranged to meet Marsischky at the home of his mother,
Sabina - Mugabe's elder sister - where a parcel of diamonds was waiting to
be inspected. Marsischky claims that when he asked if the correct
documentation would be available he was told it would be forwarded to the US
after the diamonds had left the country. Marsischky refused to come to the

The Zimbabwean government has not responded to questions put by The Observer
to confirm these details. Innocent Mugabe died in a road accident last

After the deal fell through, a third series of contacts occurred involving
Bob Codrington, who told Marsischky he represented private diamond-selling
networks for Zimbabwe army chief General Vitalis Zvinavashe, and the Speaker
of parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Marsischky met Codrington on 24 January,
when he says Codrington offered to supply diamonds from Congo but with South
African documentation. Marsischky refused the deal and decided to leave the
country the next day. 'We were convinced none of this material had proper
export documents or certificates of origination,' Marsischky said.

Codrington phoned Marsischky when he was in a taxi on his way to the
airport, offering several hundred carats worth of gems that would be
available in a week. Marsischky did not accept the offer.

Codrington, however, insists he never discussed selling any diamonds to

Marsischky's account also implicates Dickens and Madson in diamond
smuggling. At the meeting with Innocent Mugabe, Marsischky was told
employees from the Canadian firm would visit the couple's hotel room to run
security checks on them. Later two men, who identified themselves as from
the company, arrived. 'They looked threatening,' Marsischky said. The men
spent about 45 minutes with the pair and quizzed them about their interests
in the diamond business. They passed the test.

Marsischky also alleged that Dickens and Madson's interests went further.
Codrington allegedly told Marsischky at their meeting that the money
transfers to seal the deal would be conducted with the aid of the firm.

Menashe has denied the allegations. 'We are active in Africa, but we don't
do diamonds,' he said. But it is not the first time he has been involved in
controversy. The firm has been at the centre of bitter political fighting
over its issuing of a video tape purporting to show Tsvangirai talking about
assassinating President Mugabe. The tape was dismissed by the MDC as a
forgery and Tsvangirai is suing the Australian television channel that
broadcast it.

Menashe also sold false stories to reporters about Israel's atomic bomb and
claimed in a book that he saw then US Vice-President George Bush meet
secretly with Iranian officials in Paris on 19 October, 1980. At the time
Bush was in Washington.

Marsischky's account depicts corruption at the heart of Zimbabwe's
government. It is a murky world of clandestine meetings, of millions of
dollars changing hands and of Congo being looted by its supposed ally. It is
also a world of danger. Marsischky believes that by going public with his
allegations his life may be at risk. 'Blood diamonds are a very dangerous
business,' he said.

Marsischky says he has come forward now because of a fear that Mugabe would
try to fix next week's elections. 'We have not come forward before now, as
we hoped the elections would be fair enough for a change of leadership. This
seems to be slipping away now,' he said.

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2 March 2002
By Martin Meredith
Perseus Press, £15.99, pp.243, ISBN:19039985285
The editor of the Standard, Mark Chavunduka, was held by military intelligence officers ... in an army barracks in Harare for ten days. His interrogators were initially restrained … On the third day, they started beating him. On the fifth day he was taken to a basement with blood on the walls. ‘Do you think your blood is more special than that which is on the walls?’ he was asked. He was beaten with a plank and given electric shock treatment on his genitals…
I could go on. And not only about the life-threatening torture and violence against the country’s opposition press, and the actual killing of supporters of the opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in recent years: the work of Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s Zimbabwe government, its army, its police and the ruling Zanu-PF political party. I could also quote Martin Meredith’s book about the horrific violence associated with the invasions of the country’s commercial farms initiated by President Mugabe in February 2000 and led, until a mysterious illness killed him in a Harare hospital, by the unspeakable Chinjerai Hunzvii. He was the Zanu-PF ‘comrade’ who mobilised a motley army of more or less bogus ‘veterans’ from Zimbabwe’s freedom struggle to mount the farm invasions — and was happy to style himself Hitler. As for the farm invasions, they are still alive and well after their leader’s death.
But there is not enough space to linger at length in the gallery of horrors and corruptions which have been the dominant features of Robert Mugabe’s regime at least since he unleashed his army’s North Korean-trained 5th brigade against the luckless Ndebele in the early 1980s. Spectator readers have, however, been supplied with excellent Zimbabwe coverage over the spell of nearly 22 years since Mugabe came to power in 1980. They will not have missed much. In any case my main purpose in citing evidence for these horrors is rather particular.
For me writing about Mugabe’s regime presents a problem similar to that identified by Professor Charles Harvey in discussing a recent study of HIV/Aids: ‘It is difficult to write [about it] in an objective way without sounding callous or unfeeling.’ So for me in the case of writing about the last dozen years of Mugabe’s power — to which incidentally Martin Meredith rightly devotes roughly three quarters of his book. In what follows I attempt what is mainly an objective and analytic approach to Mugabe and his policies. But I should not want anyone to think that I am insensitive to the horrors of torture or of farm invasions — or indeed to the near complete collapse of the Zimbabwe economy, with widespread resulting destitution and starvation, which have flowed from his policies of wickedness and folly, and ultimately from his personal power mania and greed. Reading and reflecting about all that has made me be both thoroughly depressed and really angry. By adopting an analytic approach, I don’t want to obscure those dismal feelings.
An election for Zimbabwe’s presidency is due to take place next week, with Robert Mugabe as his own party’s candidate and Morgan Tsvangirai, a former general secretary of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), running for the opposition MDC. Assuming that the event is not cancelled before it happens, whether with the declaration of a state emergency or in some other way, either candidate could clearly emerge as the official winner, because whatever the actual votes cast, Mugabe is in a position to steal a victory: by seeing to it that the votes counted do not tally with those cast. In an extreme and limiting case, Mugabe could just possibly follow an example set by Chief Leabau Johnson, the prime minister of the Southern African kingdom of Lesotho in the 1960s, and pronounce the election null and void while counting was still going on. What we know from his past history is a) that the intimidation of voters and violence by the regime can backfire, as it has done before in Matabeleland; but b) that Mugabe has never lost an election (as opposed to a referendum) which he wanted to win. For what it’s worth there were already reports as this was being written that the violence of Zanu-PF had started to backfire. The party has apparently trained youth groups of so-called green bombers. They are said to have been going round the country raping, maiming and killing MDC supporters; but not, by all accounts, winning that many friends.
Mugabe is fighting the election on the specific issue of the 5,000-odd so-called commercial — and nearly all in fact white-owned — farms, and seeking support for his proclaimed policy of their so-called ‘fast-track’ and frequently ‘farm-invasion led’ expropriation, and their more or less concurrent distribution to poor and landless blacks. More generally, he is fighting on an anti-white and ‘whites out’ platform.
But here I must at once acknowledge that there is a compelling case in justice for a major exercise of land redistribution: from the overwhelmingly white commercial farmers to completely landless and other poor blacks. What needs to be corrected is the totally unfair land distribution between the races, enacted by white governments in an original Land Apportionment Act in 1931 and in successive later amendments to it. Very roughly, and in quantity that legislation allotted roughly equal land areas to a few hundreds of thousands of whites — never more than a quarter million — on the one hand and high single-digit millions of blacks on the other. As for quality, virtually all the good land was assigned to whites. It is also true that the original whites paid nothing for the land they acquired. At least since independence in 1980, all the main interested parties — including the Commercial Farmers’ Union, successive Mugabe and British governments, and most recently the MDC — have acknowledged that these arrangements are both unjust and unsustainable. As against that, only small corrective steps were taken before the start of the ‘farm invasions’ and the championing of them by Mugabe early in the year 2000. Moreover, research has shown that during the first 20 years of his power: a) a substantial acreage of good but unused ‘white land’ was available for distribution to blacks and b) that a significant percentage of ‘white land’ actually so distributed ended up in the ownership of relatively rich blacks and especially of Mugabe’s cronies and not of their poor or landless counterparts. All of which suggests some scepticism about the origins of Mugabe’s recent political championing of the commercial farmland and redistribution issue. He has clearly taken it as a potential vote-winner and an excuse for violence.
Which brings us to the key question: what are Robert Mugabe’s fundamental beliefs and values? In our search for an answer we should perhaps start by moving fast forward through the opening quarter of Martin Meredith’s quite admirable and marvellously well-timed biography. What we find is, of course, that, like most other African leaders of the first post-colonial and/or settler power generation, he began by presenting himself as a Marxist, or anyway as a socialist. On the other hand and despite having accumulated an array of university degrees, both during his ‘prison graduate’ days under Ian Smith’s regime and earlier, he never seems to have attempted to develop any specifically ‘African socialist’ or ‘African Marxist’ ideas, unless indeed his championing of the ‘farm invasions’ should count as that. According to Martin Meredith, during his years at Fort Hare, the then great black university in South Africa, ‘the most important influence on him … was Mahatma Gandhi’. But whether that is understood to refer to the Mahatma’s doctrines of passive resistance or of homespun technologies, it was an influence which had long disappeared by the time Mugabe embarked on his own career as a political leader. As for any enduring influence upon him of earlier socialist values I may cite a telling passage from Martin Meredith. It is early 1998 and there have been food riots, following a series of food price rises:
In the same week as the food riots, the government spent more than US$2 million acquiring 50 new ministerial Mercedes-Benz cars. Ten days later it put forward legislation to provide sumptuous retirement benefits for Mugabe, his wife and their children … The Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits Amendment Bill proposed to give Mugabe and his family substantial increases in pensions, plus free vehicles, bodyguards and medical attention and staff for the rest of their lives.
Readers of Mugabe: Power and Plunder in Zimbabwe must themselves decide by what values — or other thrusts — he has been driven in his political career. Before reading this book I myself used lazily to think of him as simply and, despite the truly wonderful example of Mandela, not altogether unreasonably animated by a fierce racial hatred of Zimbabwe’s whites. What I now think is simpler: that what we are dealing with is a paranoid and Goliath-sized ego; or in more homely American language an all-overwhelming me-me obsession. I wouldn’t have missed for anything one most notable specific on the matter offered by Martin Meredith:
Soon after one ambitious MP, Tony Gara, had likened Mugabe to the ‘second son of God’, he was appointed a deputy minister.
But enough. By devoting all this precious space to Robert Gabriel Mugabe, I have none left for his presidential opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai. The latter has already shown a combination of outstanding courage and splendidly prudent restraint. Eventually it will, of course, be Africans who see off Mugabe. The cheering latest message reaching London from Zimbabwe is that Morgan Tsvangirai’s example of courage is spreading. Nevertheless, Martin Meredith’s most timely and admirable Mugabe: Power and Plunder in Zimbabwe should be required reading not only for those, if any, who are to monitor the forthcoming election but for all those who believe that only in genuine political democracies can the African renaissance, so much longed for outside as well as inside the continent, be achieved.
Oh, and I should also pass on that the Daily News, which splendidly bounced back onto the streets the very day after its presses were firebombed by ‘political thugs’ two years ago, is serialising Animal Farm in the run-up to the election.

Independent (UK) (Book Review)

Mugabe: power and plunder in Zimbabwe by Martin Meredith

Into the heart of Zimbabwe's darkness
Richard Synge
04 March 2002

Whatever happens in Zimbabwe's tension-ridden presidential election, Robert
Mugabe is unlikely to be held to account for whipping up terror or for his
wilful destruction of Zimbabwe's economy – thanks, not least, to a generous
offer of safe passage by the government of Nigeria.

Most African leaders apparently feel that the Zimbabwean leader is worthy of
great respect. We are left to guess whether this is for his leadership of
his country's liberation war or his bad-tempered acceptance of a manipulated
form of multi-party democracy. This African solidarity is simply bizarre
when the evidence so overwhelmingly reveals Mugabe to be a failed dictator
out of touch with the world and, most tellingly, with large numbers of his
own people.

His rule may have started with great hope, but over the past decade it has
descended into a tragedy that threatens the delicate political, social and
economic equilibrium of southern Africa. At 78, and having held power for 22
years, Mugabe is oblivious to the irony of his "total independence and
liberation" shirt and cap. His obsession with the injustices of old Rhodesia
certainly has historical justification, but the revolutionary rhetoric comes
across as entirely hypocritical.

Martin Meredith's insightful study shows the man to be a unique product of
his country's colonial history, an uncompromising and increasingly sinister
figure who uses the ills of Ian Smith's Rhodesia to justify his most extreme

Born and reared on a Jesuit mission station in Zvimba, Mugabe emerged in his
twenties both as a focused intellectual and an awkward loner. These
characteristics combined into a dedication to revolutionary struggle during
his 11 years of detention in Smith's jails between 1963 and 1974. His
articulate manner, says Meredith, "disguised a hardened and single-minded

In the late 1970s, he used an iron hand to take control of the fractious
Zanu-PF movement, which represented the majority, but always disunited,
Shona people. Fresh from these struggles, and probably feeling insecure, he
accepted the outcome of the 1979 independence negotiations with obvious ill
will, frustrated he could not finish off the war.

The honeymoon of the new part-capitalist and part-revolutionary Zimbabwe was
short-lived. Mugabe not only began to suspect the white community of siding
with apartheid South Africa but turned viciously on his rivals in Zapu, the
party of the conciliatory Joshua Nkomo. North Korean instructors were
brought in to train the notorious 5th Brigade, which undertook a reign of
terror in Matabeleland costing at least 10,000 civilian lives. These
shameful events of the mid-1980s set the precedent of a government that
simply refused to be held to account.

While the new elite shared the spoils, the war veterans who had been
promised money and land received nothing but contempt until Mugabe decided
to adopt their cause in the very recent past. In both the first and the more
recent land redistribution processes, the foremost beneficiaries were always
senior party figures and ministers.

The overriding pattern of the past 20 years has been the self-enrichment of
the elite, the widening of the gap between rich and poor, failure to manage
the public sector and the constant stepping-up of pressure on a battered and
diminishing white community. For at least the past 10 years, the poor have
harboured as many grievances against the ruling elite as they had against
the settlers. There is little doubt that the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change is a vehicle for a much more productive and conciliatory
approach, although, if it wins, it faces some tough tasks.

Mugabe was always alone and aloof, but the death 10 years ago of his warm
and charming first wife, Sally, may have isolated him further. Meredith
certainly thinks so. "Surrounded by sycophants, he knew few restraints...
His destiny, he believed, was to rule for as long as he wanted." Will he
listen to the will of the voters?

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Zimbabwe Opposition Outstrips Mugabe

Sunday March 3, 2002 7:40 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - In the final weekend of campaigning before
hard-fought elections, a defiant President Robert Mugabe denounced his
opponent Sunday as a stooge for whites and Western interests.

Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai called for national healing and

Mugabe attracted about 4,000 supporters at each of two rallies in the
impoverished townships of Mbare and Glen Norah in western Harare.

About 20,000 rapturous, cheering supporters gathered to hear Tsvangirai
speak in the nearby township of Highfield, Mugabe's former home and the
birthplace of the black nationalist struggle that led to independence in

Mugabe's followers, comparatively muted, whistled in support of his attacks
on Britain, the former colonial power he accuses of supporting the
opposition in hopes it will reverse the government's seizures of white-owned
land for redistribution to landless blacks.

British-backed white Zimbabweans are still trying to oppress the black
majority, he said.

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

He also admonished Britain for accusing his ruling ZANU-PF party of using
violence and repressive legislation to rig the election.

``We have a tradition of democratic elections with no cheating at all,'' he
said. ``No one should teach us about democracy and human rights. There were
none until we fought for them.''

Mugabe, 78, is fighting for his political survival in the March 9-10
presidential elections after nearly 22 years in power. He is facing
Tsvangirai, 49, whose Movement for Democratic Change narrowly lost
parliamentary elections in June 2000 also marred by violence and

British Prime Minister Tony Blair showed ``poor judgment and a poor
intellect'' by backing Tsvangirai's ``stooge party.''

``Tsvangirai has gone down, down, deep down, no matter what Britain says,''
Mugabe said, brandishing his fist.

Tsvangirai took a more restrained tone Sunday, urging his supporters to show
up in large numbers for polling next weekend.

``This election will be won on the basis of turnout. If we lose it, God
forbid, this country will be doomed,'' he said.

An MDC government would restore law and order and convene an independent
commission to investigate political crimes, political violence and

``We intend ... a process of national healing not retribution,'' he said.
``We will have zero tolerance for corruption. ZANU-PF has perfected
corruption. We want that money back.''

Tsvangirai said his party had ``a clear program for a turnaround and new
direction for this country.''

Tsvangirai also criticized government efforts to seize land from white
farmers without paying compensation and give it to Mugabe's followers as
political pandering.

About 4,000 white farmers own half Zimbabwe's farmland.

``Everyone in Zimbabwe wants land reform to proceed but it must proceed on
an equitable and transparent basis so we can ensure continued
productivity,'' Tsvangirai said.

Zimbabwe is suffering acute shortages of corn meal that the World Food
Program has blamed mainly on Zimbabwe's political and economic chaos and the
violent, two-year occupation of white-owned farms that has disrupted the
nation's agriculture.

Floods and erratic rainfall have also been blamed.

The farm occupations and Zimbabwe's plunge into chaos began more than two
years ago after the defeat of a government-sponsored constitutional
referendum, Mugabe's first electoral loss during his rule.
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MDC Complains to Election Observers

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

March 3, 2002
Posted to the web March 3, 2002

With nine days to go before presidential elections, Zimbabwe's main
opposition party on Wednesday reiterated its concerns that the current
climate of political violence prevented a free and fair poll.

In a submission to the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
parliamentary forum, a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) team said the
violence "made it impossible to campaign". They raised concerns over the
activities of pro-government militia in allegedly intimidating local
communities, and draconian legislation which prevented the opposition from
effectively canvassing.

Grace Kwinjeh, who was among the three-member MDC team briefing SADC, told
IRIN that a number of other key issues remained outstanding ahead of the
9-10 March election.

She said that the MDC still had not had a chance to inspect the voters'
roll, which was "one of the most contentious issues". Kwinjeh alleged there
was a 30-45 percent reduction in polling stations in urban areas, that are
expected to be MDC strongholds.

Although there are 5.4 million registered voters, Kwinjeh said the MDC "had
information" that seven million ballot papers had been printed. "We do not
have much confidence in the voting process. We feel as a party we need to
know who printed them [the ballot papers] and their serial numbers."

Secretary-General of the SADC parliamentary forum, Kasuka Mutukwa, told IRIN
that the MDC's concerns would be "crosschecked with the government side".
But he added that the issues raised in the opposition's submission were
rejected in a following briefing by a ruling ZANU-PF party team.

With 66 observers, the SADC mission is the largest international team in
Zimbabwe. Its members are to be deployed throughout the country on Thursday.

"Our interest is to have a credible election," Mutukwa said. "When we go to
the provinces we are going to assess the situation on the ground - how the
preparations are going, how the campaign is being conducted."

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Sunday, 3 March, 2002, 14:14 GMT
Zimbabwe burning
President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe banned foreign journalists in Zimbabwe as Correspondent's John Sweeney reports
Ten mass graves lie in the heart of an abandoned army camp - hard evidence of what happens to people who fall foul of Robert Mugabe. Despite a ban on the BBC reporting, John Sweeney uncovers Zimbabwe's culture of impunity for those who today torture and kill for Mugabe.

Outside, a car pulls up, a door slams. Silence. Everyone goes still. There are six of us in the room, three black, three white.

Michael, our eyewitness, a torture victim, who helped bury some of the 300 bodies he saw. His brother - also tortured. The translator whose father has been kidnapped and is almost certainly dead. The owner of the house whose lover has been framed by the police for something he did not do. And the two of us from the banned BBC.

All six would make a pretty catch for the Central Intelligence Organisation, the CIO. Robert Mugabe would be delighted.

It is a false alarm, the car belongs to a neighbour returning from shopping.

The terror camps

Michael continues his story in Ndebele. "I buried them in the toilet pits," he said. Go on.

When they realised that one man was nearly dying they would order us, the other detainees, to bury that one ... even when he was still alive


"Some people were beaten even if they did not have any reason to beat you up. When they realised that one man was nearly dying they would order us, the other detainees, to bury that one. We would throw him in a pit even when he was still alive."

Michael worked very hard at digging the holes in the ground for the toilet pits and dumping in the bodies, lest they kill him too.

All of that happened long ago, in 1984, at Bhalagwe Camp, the base for the Fifth Brigade, trained by the North Koreans, during the 'Gukurahundi' - a Shona expression meaning "the rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains."

But no-one talks about it, in the open. Michael has never spoken before to anyone outside his immediate family about what he witnessed.

No-one goes to Bhalagwe Camp. The fear of being caught near the abandoned site of Robert Mugabe's biggest concentration camp is too great.

The camp visit

Two men offered to take us to the camp, one white, one black. They both risked a very great deal to do so.

At the camp, there was not much left. A few brick guard houses, roofless. Shards of asbestos crackled underfoot.

Mass graves
The grave-tamperers did not even bother to fill in the exhumed graves

In the middle of the camp is an ornamental pond in the shape of Zimbabwe and around it a cluster of ten big holes in the ground. "The bones never lie," they say.

But Robert Mugabe's killers are not taking any chances. At some point between Michael dumping the dead and dying in the grave pits in 1984 and a few weeks ago, someone has gone back to Bhalagwe Camp and dug up the remnants of the murdered and dumped the bones elsewhere, leaving the holes in the ground.

The silence was prickly, the heat intense. A motorbike coughed in the near distance. Our two guides, producer/cameraman Will Daws and I stopped dead. Our cover - that we were English bird-watchers on holiday in Zimbabwe - might not last a cursory examination from the CIO.

But beneath our feet was more than evidence to start a war crimes investigation against Mugabe for his part in the killings of up to 20,000 people. The motorbike coughed again, further off, and we carried on filming.

Accusations of murder

In a safe house in Harare the phone rings and the voice down the end of the line says: "We've got an architect for your casino", gives an address, a time, and rings off. We didn't have a casino. And he wasn't an architect.

The architect turned out to be the national treasurer of the opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, Fletcher Delini.

Fletcher Delini
Fletcher Delini, the national treasurer of the opposition, is accused of murder

He is an elderly Christian, suffering from diabetes, a gentle man with a slight frame and - according to Mugabe's police - a double-murderer. Delini was charged with the double murder last November and spent a month in one of Zimbabwe's grim-beyond-belief prisons.

They didn't give him proper treatment for his diabetes, his blood sugar count went higher than 20 and he started losing the sight of his one remaining eye.

There is just one problem with the case against him. Delini was 500 kilometres away on the day he was allegedly plotting his double-murder in Bulawayo. Amongst his alibi witnesses are 20 MPs and the Speaker of the House of Parliament.

Stephen Chasara
Stephen Chasara immediately after being tortured

Stephen Chasara was also picked up and questioned for his part in the Bulawayo double murder plot. He has never been to Bulawayo, he told us. But he is active in the MDC and they tortured him.

Can we film your face, use your name? "Yes, show my face." When you hear people like Stephen - despite his broken body - stand up to Mugabe in this way, one begins to wonder how long the regime can last.

Meeting the opposition

To interview the Leader of the Opposition, Morgan Tsvangerai, was not easy. His home is watched by the CIO. Last June they had deported me for the crime of working for the BBC. They had marked my card on that trip so the return journey was a little bit dodgy.

Had the police stopped a car going into Tsvangerai's home a few days ago and opened the boot they might have been surprised to see me, huddled up, mumbling into a night vision camera.

John Sweeney
John Sweeney, climbing into boot of car, to sneak a meeting the leader of the opposition

The car stopped, the boot opened. It was Tsvangerai. I shot out my arm and said: "I'm from the BBC. Is the election going to be free and fair?"

He feared not. Tsvangerai analysed Mugabe's career, from "hero to zero". They have tried to assassinate Tsvangerai twice, shot at him and charged him with treason.

He said he felt threatened, not afraid, and it was support of the ordinary people that kept him going.

The election

Who is going to win the election? If you count the posters, Mugabe. We criss-crossed Zimbabwe from west to east and back again, thousands of kilometres, and we didn't see a single Tsvangerai poster.

But that is because you can go to gaol, even be killed if you put one up. But a straw poll of every petrol station attendant told a different story. They were all going to vote for Tsvangerai. I met no-one who was going to vote Mugabe.

He has lost Matabeland, because of the 20,000 murdered in the Gukurahundi. He has lost the cities because of the corruption. And now he is losing the countryside even in his own heartland, Mashonaland. He has even lost some of the police and some of the CIO.

But will the election be fair? Or, rather, how unfair is the election going to be?

Mugabe is making sure the votes are going to be counted correctly. He has asked the CIO to assist in the smooth running of the election. Just in case.

Zimbabwe Burning: Sunday 3 March 2002 on BBC Two at 1915GMT.

Producer/cameraman: Will Daws
Reporter: John Sweeney
Series Producer: Simon Finch
Editor: Fiona Murch

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Mugabe, economy and fear dominate Zimbabwean poll

HARARE, March 3 — Zimbabwe's March 9-10 presidential poll will be fought
around President Robert Mugabe's aggressive personality, a collapsing
economy, food shortages and the role of foreigners.

       Two recent opinion polls -- one by the independent Financial Gazette
newspaper and the other by a private institute headed by one of the
country's leading political analysts -- have suggested Mugabe is heading for
a crushing defeat.
       But analysts say the 78-year-old ruler does not seem prepared for
such an outcome, and that the threat of violence makes any prediction
unreliable at best.
       ''There are so many issues in this election, too many factors at
play, and it's difficult to see things clearly one way or the other,'' one
diplomat told Reuters.
       The run-up to the election has been marred by a campaign of violence,
blamed largely on militant supporters of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, that
could keep many supporters of the opposition from turning out to vote.
       Human rights groups and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
headed by Mugabe's challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, say a campaign of violence
by ZANU-PF militants has left over 100 people dead over the last two years.

       ''There is an element of fear hanging in the air, and in the past it
has had some negative effect,'' said Emmanuel Magade, a political analyst at
the University of Zimbabwe.
       There is also the fear that the army, whose top brass has openly
warned that it will not accept a victory by Tsvangirai, will back its word
with the gun.
       But the government says it is Western powers who are trying to
frighten the voters into electing Tsvangirai by imposing and threatening
more sanctions against Mugabe.
       For Mugabe, the contest pits a nationalist champion of black
interests against a puppet of Britain and the white farmers that colonial
rule left behind.
       Pushing his credentials as a hero of the liberation war, he calls
Tsvangirai a ''shameless traitor and sellout'' sponsored by Britain to
defend the interests of the former white rulers at the expense of Zimbabwe's
black majority.
       Tsvangirai, meanwhile, told his first rally: ''This election is not a
contest between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, but for Zimbabweans to choose between
hope and doom.''
       Mugabe refuses to accept any blame for plunging Zimbabwe into its
worst crisis since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in
       The former Marxist guerrilla fighter says the economy has been
roundly sabotaged by Western-backed opponents who want to punish and oust
him for seizing white-owned farms for blacks.
       But his critics say Mugabe has wrecked one of Africa's most promising
economies with a spate of failed policies including the land seizures, price
controls, fixed exchange rates and a military intervention in the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
ECONOMIC WOE Zimbabwe's economic indicators tell a sad story.

       Inflation is running at a record 117 percent, unemployment has more
than doubled to 60 percent in the last 10 years, and 75 percent of the
population lives below the poverty line, up from 40 percent in 1990. A
currency black market is booming.
       Thousands of desperate Zimbabweans queue outside shops daily waiting
for deliveries of the staple maize meal, which has been in short supply for
weeks due to drought and reduced output on farms occupied by supporters of
Mugabe's land policies.
       In what looks like an attempt to keep the army on Mugabe's side,
soldiers and policemen are allowed to jump the queues.
       While this may appear a small bonus, critics say it is in line with
Mugabe's policy of looking after his own. They say the Congo gave Mugabe got
a perfect opportunity to reward the military with lucrative business deals
in the diamond trade.
       Tsvangirai has responded to Mugabe's personal attacks on him by
challenging him to answer the question ''Why is a country that was a
breadbasket of southern Africa a basket case today?''
       Mugabe points to perennial droughts in the last 20 years.
       But many analysts disagree, among them the renowned Zimbabwean writer
Chenjerai Hove:
       ''When nature joins in conspiring against the chief,'' he said, ''the
gods have turned their backs and it's time to pass on the staff to someone
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Mugabe cash flow hints he might flee
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has sent millions of dollars through the Channel
Islands over the past three months, hinting he may flee Zimbabwe if he loses
next weekend's presidential elections. Most of the more than $27 million
that Mr Mugabe has moved through financial institutions without their
knowledge has ended up in Malaysia, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
Malaysia has strong links to the Mugabe regime, financial investigators

Their inquiries have led to the discovery of up to $165 million in cash that
has left the African country in recent months.

The investigators were helped by information from the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, which said none of the money was held in
the President's name.

A Financial Services Commission spokesman on the Channel Island of Jersey
confirmed it was investigating Mr Mugabe's movements of cash on the island.

A Zimbabwean-based financial investigator said: "Bank accounts with
perfectly respectable organisations in the Channel Islands have been used to
channel money out of the country (Zimbabwe).

"Movements over the past few months leave no doubt Mugabe is preparing to
flee," he added.

The Foreign Office has hired the US firm Kroll Associates to spearhead the
investigation into Mr Mugabe's assets.

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mbabwe President Robert Mugabe greets the crowd at an election rally
IMG: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
‘The Grievance of All Grievances’
Exclusive: Facing his toughest election, Mugabe hotly denounces Zimbabwe’s white landowners
By Tom Masland and Newton Kanhema
March 11 issue —  His Press Secretary tried to cut off the interview, but Robert Mugabe would not be silenced. Back home in Harare after a campaign swing last week, the 78-year-old President seemed tired and touchy—and fed up with Zimbabwe’s white inhabitants. “I am a proud African. I don’t want insults from anybody,” he told NEWSWEEK. He said he had “extended the hand of reconciliation” but claimed that “the whites have stood aloof. Maintaining their racist superiority, so called; not wanting to be integrated into our society, really,” he continued. “Wanting their little schools, wanting their little sporting activities.” Mugabe said the white man cares only about his own interests. “Deep down he remains a racist,” the president said. “I would rather the lot left this country. The lot of Britons.”

AS A FREEDOM FIGHTER a generation ago, Mugabe battled both the white rulers of colonial Rhodesia and African rivals for political power in what became independent Zimbabwe. He won the presidency in 1980 and has clung to power ever since, through economic decline, corruption and ugly violence against both white farmers and African political opponents. This weekend, Mugabe faces a presidential election he probably cannot win if he fights fairly. With his support in opinion polls at 30 percent or less, he has long since reverted to strong-arm tactics.
        The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), charges that at least 107 of its supporters have been killed by Mugabe’s thugs over the past year. The regime also has cracked down hard on independent journalists. And last week the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, said he was detained briefly by police, who questioned him on potential treason charges. “The actions of Robert Mugabe are completely undemocratic and wrong and dictatorial,” said Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, the country’s former colonial power. On his way to a Commonwealth conference in Australia, where action was expected against Zimbabwe, Blair told reporters Tsvangirai could still win the election. At a rally in northern Zimbabwe, Mugabe fired back at the British. “Go to hell,” he said, asking, “Why should they poke their pink noses in our business?”
        Another old tactic revived by Mugabe is a promise he made three decades ago: to give the country’s rich farmland—most of which was owned by about 6,000 white farmers—back to its native people. Over the past two years, groups of pro-Mugabe “war veterans” have invaded about 1,500 white-owned farms, forcing the owners out and sometimes killing them. The violent disruptions combined with severe drought have sent agricultural output into sharp decline; food has become scarce and living standards have fallen. Zimbabwe’s war of independence ended with a negotiated agreement that protected white property rights, but now Mugabe wishes he had not compromised. “We were fools,” he told NEWSWEEK. “I would have rather we finished it through the barrel of a gun.” Even today, he said, land is “the grievance of all grievances.” He thinks he can finish the redistribution “in two years’ time.”
   Decades ago, Mugabe was a pillar of the black liberation struggle; for 11 years, Rhodesia’s white rulers kept him in prison, where he earned advanced degrees in law and economics. South Africa’s black leaders remember him as an intellectual beacon, a man supremely confident in his own powers and unbending in his purpose. His policy of reconciliation inspired a continent that was still shocked by the bloody excesses of Uganda’s Idi Amin. From then on, most of black Africa refused to listen to any criticism of Mugabe—even as his forces were starving or executing some 8,000 civilians loyal to his former ally, Joshua Nkomo. “We have degrees in violence,” Mugabe once observed.
        The habit persisted. Now, outside the cities, pro-Mugabe youths at unofficial roadblocks terrorize people at night. “There’s no way I’m going to vote,” says a poor craftsman in Mutare. “We’re all afraid of getting hurt.” Last month a Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front mob smashed down the home of an opposition leader and cut off his head. “Many of us think there will be a civil war, whatever the election outcome,” says a house painter in Ruwa, near the capital, Harare. (Mugabe says his opponents started the campaign violence.) “Neither Mugabe nor the MDC will accept the other’s victory, and then what?” Chronic political violence could turn out to be a gifted leader’s legacy to a country that deserves better.

With Karen MacGregor and Jan Raath in Harare
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Zimbabwe election contenders take fight to capital

HARARE, March 3 — Zimbabwe's two main election contenders took their
ferocious battle to the capital on Sunday after a bitter statement by
President Robert Mugabe that racial reconciliation had failed in the
formerly white-ruled country.
       On the last lap before the March 9-10 presidential poll, the
78-year-old Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain 22 years ago,
told the first of three scheduled rallies in and near Harare that he wanted
to see a peaceful election.
       Mugabe said there would be no cheating and he followed up his
Saturday attack on Zimbabwe's white minority with a charge that whites
yearned for a return to slavery.
       ''All of you gathered here can see that whites want us to be their
slaves and they are now closing shops and factories to throw you blacks into
the streets so that you can turn against the government,'' he said.
       Mugabe said he resented former colonial power Britain's stance and
the suggestions he would rig the election.
       ''We want the elections to be peaceful. We must vote peacefully. We
have a tradition here of peaceful elections with no cheating at all, for 20
years,'' he told about 4,000 supporters at a grassy sports field in Harare's
Mbare township.
       The subdued atmosphere stood in contrast to the rally of Mugabe's
main challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), who addressed 15,000 singing, dancing and cheering supporters at an
open field.
       Tsvangirai was dismissive of Mugabe's demonising of Britain and its
prime minister Tony Blair.
       ''Does it bring bread on the table to keep attacking Blair?''
Tsvangirai asked. ''We want to clean up the mess of corruption that has
destroyed this country. We want our money back.''

       Criticising Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution
to landless blacks, Tsvangirai said redistribution of land was essential but
it would ''proceed on a transparent and lawful basis'' under an MDC
       Tsvangirai is campaigning on a platform that Mugabe has wrecked a
once vibrant economy, reducing many to poverty.
       The economy is in bad shape, with inflation at a record 117 percent,
unemployment at 60 percent -- double the figure of 10 years ago -- and most
of the population living below the poverty line.
       The disruption of commercial farming activities and drought have left
an estimated 500,000 Zimbabweans in need of food aid in a country with no
hard currency to import crucial foodstuffs.
       ''We all realise that the only future we've got here is with an MDC
government,'' said one of a few dozen white Zimbabweans at the MDC rally, a
businessman who didn't want to be identified because of fears of reprisals.
       The city was calm on Sunday. But the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation said more than 50 MDC supporters had been arrested in the city
on Saturday in alleged political violence.
       ''We made a mistake when we showed mercy to those who are
hard-hearted,'' Mugabe said in the city of Bulawayo on Saturday, referring
to the years after white-ruled Rhodesia was swept away in multi-racial
elections to become Zimbabwe in 1980.
       In Bulawayo, police searched the local MDC offices on Sunday but left
after foreign observers arrived on the scene, MDC Secretary-General Welshman
Ncube told reporters.
       The police said they wanted to search for the wife of a local
supporter of ZANU-PF whom they suspected was being held inside the building,
Ncube said.
       ''This is pure and plain harassment and it's been going on for quite
some time on a daily basis,'' he said.

       Ncube said police backed down after the arrival of foreign election
observers. Two policemen searched the premises, found nothing and left with
the rest of the contingent.
       Mugabe's attacks focus on his accusation that the MDC and Tsvangirai
are stooges of Britain and Zimbabwe's white minority -- an estimated 70,000
out of a population of 13 million.
       State-run media claimed a triumph at the Commonwealth summit in
Australia, where it appeared there was no consensus for sanctions against
Zimbabwe, at least until the election is over.
       Britain says Mugabe's ZANU-PF party has already resorted to tactics
that make a free and fair election virtually impossible.
       The MDC says at least 107 of its supporters and activists have died
in political violence over the past two years.
       Zimbabwe hit back on Sunday. ''Mr Blair should shut up and attend to
the deteriorating public services in his own country,'' Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo told reporters at the summit.
       The summit appeared split along racial lines, as African nations
closed ranks around Zimbabwe.
       The Commonwealth's election observers in Zimbabwe clashed publicly
with state broadcaster ZBC, accusing it of distorting remarks by their
leader, former Nigerian head of state General Abdulsalami Abubakar, after he
met Mugabe on Saturday.
       ''The Commonwealth Observer Group has received credible reports of
violence, met with victims of violence, witnessed several incidents of
violence and, indeed, has itself been a victim of election-related
violence,'' it said in a statement.
       ZBC ran bulletins quoting Abubakar as seeming to criticise media for
exaggerating the level of campaign violence.
       Mugabe conceded on Sunday his party had made some mistakes but said
the MDC was not a choice, alleging it was ''a party of murderers, abducting
and killing people in the rural areas.''
       ''We appreciate that we went wrong at one point or another but now we
are in the process of correcting. A mother would not divorce her husband
because there is nothing to eat.''

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Tsvangirai hints at no-trial offer for Mugabe

LONDON, March 3 AFP|Published: Sunday March 3, 10:10 PM

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai hinted in a British newspaper
interview today that if President Robert Mugabe takes defeat quietly in the
upcoming election, he will not be prosecuted for crimes against his people.
It presumes Mugabe will lose the March 9-10 presidential election, in which
Tsvangirai predicted his own Movement for Democratic Change could win as
much as 65 per cent of the vote.
Such a move would tally with Tsvangirai's promise yesterday to form a truth
and justice commission to "heal" the country's wounds.
He told the Observer that he did not want fear among Mugabe's allies about
the future to block progress.
"I am sure they (Mugabe's regime) are afraid of losing power because of the
consequences of losing power," he told journalist John Sweeney, who also
works for the BBC.
"Are we going to take them to The Hague?" he asked, referring to the UN war
crimes tribunal on the former Yugoslavia.
"Are we going to prosecute them for crimes committed against the people -
all these things are adding up to the inherent fear, so what we have to
decide is that if fear is a stumbling block to future progress then let's
talk about it because we don't want to focus on retribution.
"I'm not being charitable, I'm being realistic," he went on.
"What's the use of burning down the building - if you push certain people
(Mugabe's regime) to burn down the building, what would you inherit?"
Asked if such an amnesty might also apply to the reported mass killings by
Zimbabwean troops loyal to Mugabe in Matabeleland in 1984, Tsvangirai
appeared to agree.
"Yes, we know these crimes," he added, "but let me tell you one thing. He's
a 78-year-old man. Why pursue him?"
At a rally yesterday in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, he pledged to set
up a truth and justice commission if he wins the election.
He said the commission would be created "not to retaliate but to heal", and
provide reparations for crimes committed over the past two years.

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The Australian

Sign of the times: While Mugabe spoke of expulsions and Commonwealth heads met on the Gold Coast, Zimbabweans were this week queuing for food aid. Picture: AP
Mugabe unveils manifesto of hate

March 03, 2002

HARARE: Robert Mugabe has pledged to follow in the blood-stained footsteps of Idi Amin in an attempt to extend his 22-year reign.

The Zimbabwean president this week accused Asians in the southern African nation of "economic sabotage" and said their businesses should be seized.

The move, reminiscent of Amin's decision to expel tens of thousands of Asians from Uganda in the early 1970s, was seen as further evidence of Mugabe's determination to cling to power, regardless of the result of next weekend's presidential election.

In a speech to about 15,000 supporters, he set out his plans for another six-year term. They included:

THE seizure of all white-owned farms.

THE seizure of all white-owned companies, including mines.

ALL whites who "belittled" his administration to be expelled.

HARARE'S transport companies, many of them owned by Asians, to be seized.

THE ZCTU -- the Zimbabwean equivalent of the Australian Council of Trade Unions -- to be disbanded. The group, formed on Mugabe's orders in the 1980s, has grown critical of his rule, and its former general-secretary, Morgan Tsvangirai, is challenging him for the presidency.

COMPANIES that announce closure plans will be seized as this is also tantamount to "economic sabotage".

In a speech littered with expletives, Mugabe, 78, said he would expel whites whose "conduct reflected a reluctance to live under black rule".

National political commissar Elliot Manyika, of Mugabe's Zanu PF party, also denied the Government was to blame for food shortages that this week resulted in international food aid being distributed for only the second time in 20 years.

He said white farmers and Asian merchants were hoarding food to destabilise the government.

"There are companies which are creating artificial shortages, while some of them are divesting from this country for political reasons," he said. "We should take over these companies."

The announcement came as Mr Tsvangirai, 49, was arrested for the second time in a week.

He had earlier been charged with treason over an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe, and on Friday he was again detained briefly for holding an "illegal gathering".

Police said he had broken the law by meeting nine members of his Movement for Democratic Change without seeking permission.

His arrest followed that of 31 opposition supporters during a raid on a training session for polling agents.

MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said police who raided the training meeting in Harare also beat nine people after accusing them of holding an "illegal gathering".

MDC chances of success were further damaged with the news that at least 3000 Zimbabweans had been removed from the electoral roll.

Registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede blamed "human error", but it was uncertain whether the mistake would be rectified.

Mr Mudede also confirmed the Government would abide by a Supreme Court ruling ordering it to re-instate voting rights for Zimbabweans living abroad.

The Government has earlier said the hundreds of thousands of mostly opposition supporters who had fled to neighbouring countries would not receive postal votes.

However, MDC justice spokesman David Coltart said the Government had neither the will nor the ability to organise a postal ballot before voting begins on Saturday.

"It is unlikely that thousands of eligible voters who have gone missing from the roll will be re-instated. It is a cynical move by Zanu PF," he said.

He added that MDC supporters were being "systematically struck off", but many of them would not know that until they tried to vote.

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Journalist defends integrity of video

Footage shows discussion about Mugabe's elimination

Patrick Barkham in Sydney
Thursday February 28, 2002
The Guardian

The Australian journalist who broke the news of an alleged plot by Zimbabwe's
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to kill his rival, President Robert
Mugabe, last
night defended his story - and the videotape on which it rests.

Mark Davis, a television journalist who has won Australia's top media award,
confirmed that he received the six-hour surveillance tape of a meeting
between Mr
Tsvangirai and a Canadian political consultancy, from the firm's head, Ari

"We have not manipulated a single word or a single sentence," he said.
According to
Mr Davis, the Zimbabwean authorities also have copies of the tape. Heavily
footage from the video has met with widespread scepticism.

Mr Davis described the allegation as "an ugly story" but said he stood by
it. He
criticised governments and journalists in Britain and Australia for
dismissing it without
attempting to see the video in full.

In an Australian television interview last night with Sekai Holland, the
Movement for
Democratic Change's secretary for international affairs, Mr Davis invited
her to view
the entire tape.

"I don't have the time because I simply don't believe your story from the
footage that
you've offered," she said. She called it a "scam" and "a huge diversion"
that the
MDC believed had come from Mr Mugabe.

Mr Davis showed the unedited tape to the Guardian. It shows Mr Tsvangirai
and two
associates meeting Mr Ben-Menashe and two colleagues from the political
consultancy, Dickens and Madson, in Montreal on December 4 last year. There
is no
obvious sign that the sound or sequences have been tampered with, although Mr
Ben-Menashe admitted he deliberately set up the video and is now working for Mr

Mr Ben-Menashe is a former senior official of Israel's intelligence
service, Mossad.
He has been accused of lying under oath to the US Congress, and of selling
concocted stories to newspapers about Israel's nuclear weapons programme.

Most of the first one-and-a-half hour meeting is a discussion of what are
"transitional arrangements" by Mr Tsvangirai.

Mr Ben-Menashe is filmed making frequent references to "murdering",
"assassinating" and "eliminating" Mr Mugabe. Mr Tsvangirai gives no sign of
objecting to such terms in the footage, and says: "We can now definitely
say that
Mugabe is going to be eliminated".

Defending himself, Mr Tsvangirai has said he quit the meeting in disgust.
At one
stage he is seen briefly leaving the room to confer with an associate. He
is also the
first to get up to depart when the meeting concludes.

At one stage Mr Ben-Menashe says: "OK, Mr Mugabe is eliminated. Now what?" Mr
Tsvangirai then explains at length that he is supported by key members of the
Zimbabwean military and claims that the MDC now controlled the leadership
of the
country's war veterans.

"In my view, it will not raise any suspicion. It will be a normal
transition, where the army
guarantees stability for a certain duration," Mr Tsvangirai said.

"That transitory phase should be used to play down the basis for a clean
election in
three months, four months, five months, we are prepared to wait."

Mr Tsvangirai is then pictured in a relaxed mood in another meeting with a
and Madson partner. He later shares Mr Ben-Menashe's birthday cake and leaves
after another meeting over lunch.

'How could I suspect our own lobby group
was taping us?'

Chris McGreal in Harare speaks to Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's
rival for power

Thursday February 28, 2002
The Guardian

It has been a bad week for Morgan Tsvangirai. Even supporters of the
Movement for
Democratic Change candidate in next week's presidential election are
the opposition leader's judgment.

"People say I was naive," said Mr Tsvangirai in an interview with the
Guardian. "But
I've got another 30,000 votes in my cap as a result of this harassment."

Mr Tsvangirai is trying to explain why he sat in a room for four hours with
a man who
used words like murder, assassinate and eliminate in talking about
President Robert
Mugabe, without once objecting.

The grainy video, which is repeated interminably on Zimbabwe's state
shows Mr Tsvangirai meeting a Canadian lobbying firm headed by a former Israeli
spy, Ari Ben-Manashe. The MDC leader says he was there to discuss how to
influence American politicians. Mr Ben-Manashe claims Mr Tsvangirai was seeking
help to kill Mr Mugabe.

Throughout the tape, Mr Ben-Manashe makes leading statements. At one point he
says: "Morgan and the MDC agree that they will assassinate Mugabe and form a
government with the army." Later he refers to the "murder" of the
president. The
word "eliminate" is repeatedly used.

The damage to Mr Tsvangirai has come from his failure to protest at such
plans even
though he at no point endorses them. The MDC candidate now says he was
disturbed by the conversation.

"That's why I walked out of the meeting, because Ben-Manashe was behaving in a
very odd way," he said.

The video shows Mr Tsvangirai leaving the meeting after about 45 minutes but
returning a short while later, looking relaxed. The conversation continues
with talk of
the role of the army in forming a government if Mr Mugabe is gone.

Mr Tsvangirai insists that the whole meeting was a charade designed to
entrap him.
Certainly Mr Ben-Manashe's reputation fits such a plot. Yet the central
question is
why Mr Tsvangirai's suspicions were not raised by the nature of the
conversation. He
is at a loss to explain.

"How could I have even suspected that here was the lobby group we had hired to
represent our interests and they were videotaping their own client?" he asked.

And what was he doing dealing at all with a man he now says framed him? Mr
Tsvangirai blames other members of his party for not checking out the
lobbying firm
and discovering that Mr Ben-Manashe had a long-standing friendship with Mr

It is not the MDC's leaders first lapse of political judgment. Mr
Tsvangirai was accused
of treason once before for advocating the violent overthrow of Mr Mugabe if
he did
not go peacefully. Yet the latest controversy raises the most serious
questions to
date about Mr Tsvangirai's judgment on the eve of the election on March 9
and 10
that would probably see him end Mr Mugabe's 22-year rule since Zimbabwe became
independent, if the ballot is not rigged.


In their desperation to be rid of Mr Mugabe, few voters appear to take
notice of Mr
Tsvangirai's policies. Yet he will be called upon to reverse years of
economic decline
and the wholesale wrecking of some of the country's key institutions.

Mr Tsvangirai says he envisages a country where the rule of law, basic economic
common sense and a racial tolerance far better than in neighbouring South
are restored after 20 years of growing abuses that have culminated in the
misrule. He calls it national healing.

But even national healing cannot resolve many of the problems facing Zimbabwe's
12.5m people. One in four adults is HIV-positive and Aids has slashed life
expectancy to 37 years. Inflation has surged above 100%, and nearly
two-thirds of
the workforce cannot find a job.

The most pressing issue facing Mr Tsvangirai if he becomes president will
be the
one closest to Mr Mugabe's heart - land.

Much of Zimbabwe is going hungry because the country can no longer feed itself
thanks to the violence on the white-owned commercial farms, yet the food
shortages are fuelling the demand for land.

"There is a need for land resettlement in this country but we also have to
deal with a
very serious food deficit," said Mr Tsvangirai. "We believe we can find a
solution, a more equitable solution, by creating space for the landless and
at the
same time also recognising that commercial agriculture is important for the
economic stability of the country."

Mr Mugabe is right about one thing, at least in the short term. Mr
Tsvangirai does
plan to give white-owned farms back to their recent owners to get food
back on track. Poor blacks who have settled on the farms would be moved to
tracts of largely unused state-owned land.

Eventually, the MDC would create a land commission to oversee the
resettlement of
landless people on one-quarter of the country's arable soil, including about
one-third of the white-owned farms.

But Mr Tsvangirai says he would do a lot more for new settlers than the
which has dumped them on the farms and left them to fend for themselves.

For a start, he would give title deeds to resettled families, enabling them
to borrow
money using the soil as collateral to purchase tools and seeds. The present
government retains ownership of the redistributed land, enabling it to
throw off
anyone who fails to express the necessary support for the ruling party.

In the end though, Mr Tsvangirai may find it hard to persuade someone who has
staked out a precious plot on a white-owned farm to give it up.

"All I can promise that person is that you will be given land. Not
necessarily where
you have allocated yourself but we will not let you go back to your area
where you
are landless. That is a promise I can give," he said.

Morgan Tsvangirai has radically altered his views on the path to power,
his dedication to socialism as he rose to the top of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade
Unions and found himself overseeing popular protest against the abuses of Mr
Mugabe's rule.


"I've moved significantly from my youthful socialist ideals," he said. "Our
first 10 years
of independence was caught up with an emphasis on redistribution policies
than creating and enlarging the cake. The result is we ran out of the cake.
So I have
moved to a situation where you must create conditions for increased
production but
also for the state to be re sponsive to social conditions." The result is
an economic
strategy heavily in favour of privatisation and foreign investment that has
earned him
friends in the west and the support of Zimbabwe's tiny white population.

The government has made much of the whites in the upper echelons of the MDC.
They have a higher profile than they perhaps deserve given that just three
of the 16
members of the shadow cabinet are not black.

"Eighty-five per cent of Zimbabweans do not attribute our problems to the
said Mr Tsvangirai. "They attribute them to poor governance." But before he can
tackle all of this, Morgan Tsvangirai has to get Robert Mugabe out of
office. What will
Mr Tsvangirai do if the election is stolen from him?

"What I know is that if a government is illegitimate, what arises out of
this is that
people won't accept it. The government may get some way, but down the line they
cannot survive. Under those circumstances, anything can happen."

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The Age, Melbourne

Mugabe putting millions through Channel Island banks: press
LONDON, March 2 AFP|Published: Sunday March 3, 10:57 AM

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe sent millions of pounds (dollars) through
the Channel Islands over the last three months, hinting he may flee Zimbabwe
if he loses next weekend's presidential elections, a British Sunday paper

Most of the more than STG10 million ($A27.51 million) that the Sunday
Telegraph said Mugabe moved through financial institutions without their
knowledge, has ended up in Malaysia, according to the paper.

Malaysia has strong links to Mugabe's regime, according to financial
investigators quoted by the Sunday paper.

Their inquiries have led to the discovery of up to STG60 million ($A165.06
million) in cash that has left the African country in recent months, the
paper added.

The investigators were helped by information from the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, who said none of the money was held in
the president's name, the same source said.

A Financial Services Commission spokesman on Jersey confirmed to the paper
that it was investigating Mugabe's movements of cash on the island.

A Zimbabwean-based financial investigator told the paper: "Bank accounts
with perfectly respectable organisations in the Channel Islands have been
used to channel money out of the country (Zimbabwe)".

"Movements over the past few months leave me in no doubt that Mugabe is
actively preparing to flee," he added, according to the paper.

The Foreign Office has hired the US firm Kroll Associates to spearhead the
investigation into Mugabe's assets.

The same company found STG75 million ($A206.33 million) laundered by ousted
Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, the Sunday Telegraph said.


Mugabe uses Channel Islands to hide his millions
By David Bamber, Home Affairs Correspondent and Paul Hart in Bulawayo
(Filed: 03/03/2002)

ROBERT MUGABE has sent more than £10 million through banks in the Channel
Islands in the past three months, suggesting that he is planning to flee
Zimbabwe if he loses next weekend's presidential elections.

President Mugabe: at least £10 million has passed through the Channel
Most of the cash has been moved through financial institutions without their
knowing it belongs to Mr Mugabe. It has ended up in Malaysia, which has
strong links to his regime, financial investigators have discovered.

Their inquiries, on behalf of the British Government, have uncovered a
complex network of up to £60 million in cash that has left the African
country in recent months.

The investigators, helped by information from the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe, now believe that at least £10 million
has passed through the islands.

None of the money was held in accounts in Mr Mugabe's name but by "front"
firms. The Financial Services Commission, based in Jersey, has circulated a
list of 25 names, including those of Mr Mugabe and his wife Grace, to all
banks and financial institutions on the islands.

A spokesman confirmed that it was investigating Mr Mugabe's movements of
cash on the islands. The spokesman said all institutions must satisfy
themselves about the source of funds and report suspicious transactions.

A senior financial investigator in Harare said: "Bank accounts with
perfectly respectable organisations in the Channel Islands have been used to
channel money out of the country. Movements over the past few months leave
me in no doubt that Mugabe is actively preparing to flee."

The Foreign Office, in a separate initiative, has hired Kroll Associates to
lead the hunt for Mr Mugabe's assets.

The American organisation has a formidable reputation for recovering cash
from toppled dictators and found £75 million plundered by the ousted
Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha.

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Yahoo News

Sunday March 3, 04:27 AM

Commonwealth hold private talks over Zimbabwe
By Victoria Thieberger

COOLUM, Australia (Reuters) - Commonwealth leaders have headed for a private
retreat on the second day of a summit here to try and reach agreement on how
to deal with strife-torn Zimbabwe.

But for the Commonwealth's small island states the issue of global warming
and how best to rescue parts of the scuttled Kyoto agreement on climate
change will also dominate the talks.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, host of the biennial summit of 54
mostly ex-British colonies, will aim to broker a compromise on Zimbabwe
where President Robert Mugabe has been accused of trying to rig next week's
presidential election.

African nations want to wait until after the results of the March 9-10
elections, while Britain and Australia have called for sanctions and
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth.

"Australia's position is that we think Zimbabwe has been in clear breach of
the...principles of democracy and secondly we think Zimbabwe should have
been suspended from the Commonwealth some time ago," Australian Foreign
Minister Alexander Downer told Australian television on Sunday.

"But there is clearly a view amongst the majority of Commonwealth members
that Zimbabwe should be able to hold its elections and in the light of those
elections judgements can be made about whether then Zimbabwe should be

A strongly worded statement condemning violence in member countries could be
the end result of Sunday's retreat, where leaders will meet without
advisers. Any action is likely to be delayed until after the elections have
taken place.

Zimbabwe has been the key issue hanging over the March 2-5 meeting, with
talks on the subject deferred on Saturday when it became clear that the two
sides were far apart on the issue. African states make up around one-third
of Commonwealth members.

In the lead-up to the Zimbabwe election, the Commonwealth has been under
pressure to follow the United States and the European Union, which have
already imposed sanctions.

But for Pacific and Caribbean island nations, a more pressing concern was
global warming, which threatens to engulf some low-lying islands such as
Tuvalu and the Maldives.

"There have been a number of informal debates about how to rejuvenate the
principles of Kyoto that can be carried forward," Commonwealth
Secretary-General Don McKinnon told Australia's Channel Nine "Sunday"
television programme. "And (debates on) where there is general agreement
from some of the larger countries in the world that there are aspects of
Kyoto that we can now begin to agree upon," he added.

The 1997 Kyoto accords on climate change were scuttled by the United States,
which last month came up with a voluntary plan to combat global warming
rather than the mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions the Kyoto
treaty sought to impose.

The Commonwealth meeting, postponed after last year's attacks in the United
States, is being held under fortress-like security, with 6,000 police and
army guarding the luxury resort venue and air force jets patrolling the sky
with orders to shoot down threatening planes.

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From Sunday Post, Ireland

Clamp on journalists before Zimbabwe poll

By Stephen McMahon
Dublin, Ireland, 3 March, 2002

The Zimbabwean government's media crackdown in the run-up to next weekend's
presidential election has seen up to 100 foreign journalists refused
permission to enter the country and independent local journalists arrested,
beaten and intimidated.

Two Irish journalists have received accreditation to cover the election on
March 9-10. RTE is sending journalist Richard Downs to Zimbabwe tomorrow.
Irish Times contributor Declan Walsh, who is already in the country, will
cover the election also.

The international media is clamouring to be there to cover what many expect
to be the final moments of President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union Patriotic Front's (Zanu-PF) 22-year autocratic rule of the
former British colony.

Thousands of supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), led by Morgan Tsvangirai, have been murdered by government supporters
in election violence over the past two years.

Mugabe has targeted the independent media in Zimbabwe and foreign
correspondents as being responsible for "printing lies and stirring up
unrest in the country".

A senior foreign journalist in Harare -- who wished to remain anonymous
because of safety concerns -- said that conditions for international
journalists were nowhere near as dangerous as for local reporters.

"The major fear for international reporters will be getting caught and
attacked by a Zanu-PF mob," he said.

"For the local independent media, it is much worse. The Daily News [the
country's only privately-owned daily paper] offices in Harare and Bulawayo
have been fire bombed and local journalists are regularly arrested and
beaten by government supporters and even the police."

Mugabe has divided the foreign press into perceived friendly and unfriendly
camps in an effort to control the media coverage. The BBC and most
mainstream British media outlets have been banned in recent weeks as organs
of "the former colonial masters".

ITN has been allowed to remain in the country.

Rageh Omaar of the BBC was kicked out last month for alleged bias. David
Blair of the Daily Telegraph was also expelled and Basildon Peta of the
(London) Independent fled the country after continual harassment and
intimidation. He was even accused by the authorities of fabricating a report
of his own imprisonment.

The Guardian correspondent, Andrew Meldrum, a long time resident in Harare,
has been vilified by the government and his reports condemned as

A number of freelance journalists are understood to be planning to enter the
country on tourist visas.

"They will go without satellite phones, notebooks, briefing notes or
anything associated with journalism," said a Zimbabwe-based journalist who
did not want to be identified. "Many of these reporters will also be using
pseudonyms on their reports during the election."

The Zimbabwean government has become much more sophisticated in monitoring
reports in the international media since the parliamentary elections two
years ago. "We all have to be much more careful about what we say and
report, especially in the run-up to the election," said another foreign
journalist in the country.

Zimbabwe under the 78-year-old Mugabe has been labelled the worst country in
Africa with regard to press freedom by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF).

"Thirty local independent journalists have been arrested since January 2001
and countless hundreds more have been targeted for intimidation tactics by
the security forces," said Veronica Forwood of RSF.

A repressive media bill, drafted by Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo,
has since January paved the way for further media repression. It gives the
government the power to ban newspapers and makes it an offence for
journalists to work without official accreditation.

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Prenter Media
Zimbabwe's message to Blair; Shut up!

The Honourable Professor Jonathan Moyo
Coolum, Australia. March 3. The Zimbabwe Minister for information and Publicity, The Honourable, Professor Jonathan Moyo said today his country's message to UK Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair was to, "Shut up!" Amidst claims of racism and unfair intervention by other countries of the Commonwealth, in particular the UK, Professor Moyo said, "Zimbabwe is not a jungle it is a country. Mr Blair should grow up and act like a mature leader. He needs to be more attentive of his own country's problems and not intervene where he is not wanted."

The member nations of the Commonwealth are split over the decision of whether Zimbabwe should be suspended from the Commonwealth. The outcome will not be known for many weeks however there will be a statement made by leaders at the conclusion of CHOGM which will give an indication of the likely outcomes of discussions.

The accusations of murder plots and rigged elections were answered aggressively by Professor Moyo; "The international media has been atrocious in the way it has handled the issues about Zimbabwe. Racism and a completely biased view on Zimbabwe has prevailed especially from the British press.", he said.

The Commonwealth's charter philosophically includes supporting and developing smaller member nations like Zimbabwe however there is still much disinformation about the events that have actually occurred in recent times in Zimbabwe. The real issue seems to be getting to the truth of the matter and fully understand the true position in Zimbabwe. "There is violence throughout the world especially in places like Northern Ireland. We are a peaceful nation and a peaceful people.", said Professor Moyo.

Will President Mugabe be re-elected quickly drew a response of "Yes, of course"

The question of the suspension form the commonwealth is best summarised by Professor Moyo; "We want to remain within the Commonwealth, but if we do not then we will continue in our current fashion. Zimbabwe will always be Zimbabwe!"

By Peter Higgins, Editor, prenter News

Date: Sunday March 3 2002

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Commonwealth will survive, says McKinnon

THE Commonwealth would survive with the future of Queen Elizabeth assured,
the organisation's secretary-general said today.

Don McKinnon, in Australia for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
(CHOGM) in Queensland this weekend, said the organisation had been written
off before but always survived.

While there had been criticism of the Commonwealth for failing to suspend
Zimbabwe because of abuses of democracy, the issue would not be the
organisation's end, Mr McKinnon said.

"The Commonwealth's a remarkable survivor and I'm sure it will continue to
survive beyond this," he told Channel 9.

Earlier today, Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said the
Commonwealth would become irrelevant if it failed to impose sanctions
against Zimbabwe.

"The Commonwealth is often good at pomp and circumstance, now it's time for
substance, and we have an application of substance pending in terms of the
grave political situation in Zimbabwe today," Mr Rudd said.

Mr McKinnon defended the Commonwealth's handling of the Zimbabwe situation,
saying many members of the country's official opposition were happy with its
efforts to oversee next week's election in the African nation.

He said the Commonwealth had about 60 observers in Zimbabwe watching the
handling of the poll.

"Our people on the ground are going to report accurately and fairly on the
conduct of that election," he said.

Mr McKinnon said while there had been debate in the United Kingdom about the
future of the Commonwealth without the Queen, no such debate was occurring
in many of the organisation's member nations.

He said last night's reception for the Queen was further evidence of the
strong support and "affection" Commonwealth members had for her.

"The issue of the head of the Commonwealth is not something that is worrying
people," he said.

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Zimbabwe police briefly raid opposition office

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, March 3 — Police searched a regional headquarters of
Zimbabwe's main opposition party on Sunday, six days before presidential
elections, but left after foreign observers arrived on the scene, a party
leader said.

       Nearly 20 policemen, some armed with rifles, arrived at the offices
of the Movement for Democratic Change in Bulawayo, MDC Secretary-General
Welshman Ncube told reporters.
       They said they wanted to search for the wife of a local supporter of
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party whom they suspected was being
held inside the building, Ncube said.
       ''This is pure and plain harassment and it's been going on for quite
some time on a daily basis,'' he said.
       Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, is an opposition stronghold and
seen as likely to vote heavily for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the March
9-10 election.
       Ncube said police backed down after the arrival on the scene of
foreign election observers representing the Commonwealth, South Africa and
the SADC grouping of southern African states.
       Two policemen searched the premises, found nothing and left with the
rest of the contingent.
       Chief police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told Reuters he had received
a report about the incident but had no details.
       Tsvangirai was charged with treason last week but allowed to remain
at liberty. Police have not launched a formal prosecution.
       The MDC says it is the target of constant intimidation and violence
by Mugabe's supporters ahead of the polls, saying 107 of its supporters have
been killed in political violence in the past two years.
       The United States and Britain, the former colonial power, have both
warned that the elections may not be free and fair, but Mugabe denies that
ZANU-PF is involved in violence.

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