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

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Car breakdown lands visitor in jail - a bungled bribery conspiracy?

Car breakdown causes visitor to be jailed in Zimbabwe as he failed to cross the border before his visa expired.

Gordon Bruce Cormack was heading for Beitbridge on his way out of Zimbabwe into South Africa when his car broke down near Ngundu Halt. A farmer towed him to a garage past the Lion & Elephant, where Mr Cormack phoned his girlfriend. A friend of his girlfriend took her car & went to tow Mr Cormack to Harare where he could have his vehicle repaired. He had phoned Immigration at Beitbridge because he was on the last day of his visa. They advised him to go to Masvingo to apply to stay a bit longer. (It is understood the law has recently been amended from allowing 48hrs leeway for foreign visitors to no hours. Mr Cormack had not been issued with the normal letter stating he had 24 hours to leave the country as he was in fact on his way out that day)

However in Masvingo, immigration immediately remanded him in prison and impounded his vehicle after searching it. (At the time a BIG political Rally was being held in Masvingo.) His girlfriend was led to believe he would be held overnight then escorted to the border post at Messina the next day. The British Consulate was contacted and informed.

He was not deported the following day, as expected, because "transport" is a problem over weekends, but instead was moved from Masvingo to Gweru then Shurugwi, back to Gweru and then Khami Maximum Security Prison in Bulawayo ready for supposed deportation on Monday 4 March.

Human Rights and several lawyers and the British High Commission were notified, but his release could not be arranged. Authorities would not release his vehicle. He is being held in full prison uniform.

His sister, along with a lawyer, was allowed to visit him - he was not being maltreated as such but was only being fed once a day (at 3pm) with sadza and water and weak tea. He was terribly thirsty. They were told the Mr Cormack would possibly be transferred to Byo Central the next day.

This did not happen as there was no room for him - but they were led to believe he would be moved the day after that. At one stage it was understood that the family were expected to pay immigration a bribe to effect Mr Cormack release - but the next thing they knew they were being told that the 'case' is being handled from Harare. He has not been released or deported; he is very hungry and not even allowed a towel or toothbrush. The wardens and police in Bulawayo are just as mystified as the family, at the detention of Mr Cormack.

At the time of writng this report (6/3/2002 10pm West Australian time) Mr Cormack has still not been released.

Update received 7/3/02 - 7am West Australian time
"There was definitely a bad vibe at the prison today, they were not keen we see him at all" - after some pressure family were allowed to see Mr Cormack adn were able to give him some food & reading matter. "He's in good spirits and will hopefully be out soon. We denied the Immigration Dept. to allow him to be transferred to Beit Bridge for holding, pending being booted out of Zim." The family views this as another delaying tactic. Mr Cormack has not been charged with anything, which points towards an opportunistic but bungled fraudulent bribery conspiracy that seems to have turned into a political story. Mr Cormack's family have been infromed his vehicle is in Masvingo awaiting collection. Legal representatives have been informed that the paper work will be served on Immigration by the Sheriff tomorrow (Thursday) - the Judge can then only rule on Friday.
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March 6, 2002
Zimbabwe is a disgrace: time for African sanctions

by George B.N. Ayittey

In 1996, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe followed Nelson Mandela, the
then President of South Africa, who led the effort to expel Nigeria from the
Commonwealth at the Auckland Summit, and to condemn Nigeria's brutal
military regime of General Sani Abacha. President Mugabe then said "Nigeria
is a disgrace" and called for punitive
sanctions against the country. The call came after the brutal hanging of
Ogoni human rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and 8 others on Nov 10, 1995,
despite a chorus of international pleas for clemency. Barely six years
later, it is now Mr. Mugabe, who, impervious to reason and common sense, is
resorting to Abacha-like tactics in a desperate bid to cling to power as the
economy collapses around him.

In its 22 years of existence, Zimbabwe has had only one president, Robert
Mugabe. After a successful guerrilla campaign against British colonialists
and a white-minority regime in the 1970s, Mugabe was hailed as a hero and
swept into office as the country's first president in 1980. He vowed to make
Zimbabwe a one-party nation and his African
National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party "a truly Marxist-Leninist
party to ensure the charting of an irreversible social course and create a
socialist ideology." In the beginning, his expansion of education,
reconciliation toward the white minority and willingness to resolve
inequitable distribution of land between whites and blacks through
peaceful negotiation won him plaudits and Zimbabwe as "a role model for
Africa." But there was a darker sinister political side: His megalomaniac
lust for power. He successfully "re-elected" himself in 1985, 1990, and 1996
in what angry Africans deride as "coconut elections" in 1985, 1990, and

Essentially, they are farcical elections in which the incumbent writes the
rules, and then serves as a player, the referee, and the goalkeeper. The
deck is hideously stacked against the opposition candidates, who are starved
of funds, denied access to the state-controlled media, and brutalized by
government-hired thugs, as the police watch. By contrast, the incumbent
enjoys access to enormous state resources: state media,
vehicles, the police, the military and civil servants -- are all
commandeered to ensure his re-election. Further, the entire electoral
process itself is rigged: Voter rolls are padded with ruling party
supporters and phantom voters, while opposition supporters are purged.
The Electoral Commissioner is in the pocket of the ruling party, as are the
judges who might settle any election disputes.

In the July 1985 elections, for example, thugs from Mugabe's Youth Brigade
rampaged through the suburbs of Harare, brutalizing supporters of the
opposition. Homes were raided, and furniture and household possessions were
thrown out into the streets. Victims were beaten and pummeled to the point
of unconsciousness, their belongings were stolen and houses set on fire. A
defeated opposition candidate, Simon Chauruka,
was gruesomely hacked to death with axes when a mob of ZANU supporters
attacked his home in the Dzivarasekwa suburb. Another opposition candidate,
Kenneth Mano, who had just been released from detention, was stabbed three
times. And five officials of another opposition party were shot to death in
the western coal-mining town of Hwange by members of Mugabe's Youth Brigade.
The 1990 elections were also marred by
intimidation, violence and assassination. In Gweru, Patrick Kombayi and five
other opposition members were shot. After a similarly blood-drenched
elections in March 1996, Mugabe promised he would transfer land to landless
peasants, even if it meant confiscating white-owned farms. He also promised
to force through black economic
empowerment (indigenization).

On March 9, the 78-year-old Mugabe is running again for re-election. Morgan
Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition party, Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), is popular and can unseat Mugabe in a free and fair election.
An opinion poll by the independent research agency, Target Research in
November showed Tsvangirai winning at least 52.9 percent of the vote against
Mugabe's 47.1 percent. Another poll, conducted in January by the
Harare-based Mass Public Opinion Institute led by political scientist
Masipula Sithole, showed Tsvangirai running away with the vote in most
provinces and especially in urban areas.

Mugabe is running scared -- afraid of his own record of broken promises,
brutal repression, economic mismanagement and venal cronyism. Contracts for
public works went to cronies. The state bureaucracy swelled as the system of
patronage spiraled out of control. Ministers amassed great wealth and even
the military became tainted with corruption. After Captain Edwin Nleya
alleged in March 1989 that corruption was serious in the Army's Signals
Directorate in Harare and in the elite Sixth Brigade, he "was brutally
killed and his decomposed body later found on a mountain near the
coal-mining town of Hwange" (New African, July 1989; p. 16).

By the late 1990s, the economy was on a verge of collapse and the country
rocked by a wave of strikes by workers, nurses, teachers to protest rising
food and fuel price hikes. In 1998, even doctors went on strike to protest
shortages of such basic supplies as soap and painkillers. And while the
urban poor were rioting about food prices, the Mugabe government ordered a
fleet of new Mercedes cars for the 50-odd cabinet ministers while 77-year
old Mugabe himself and his wife and his 36-year-old wife, Grace, attended
lavish parties and conferences abroad. In 1999, President Mugabe further
angered voters by tripling and quadrupling the salaries of his ministers.

Rampant shortages of basic commodities - such as mealie meal, the national
staple diet, bread, rice, potatoes, cooking oil and even soap - now keep
inflation raging at more than 110 percent. With the flight of investors and
closure of businesses due to attacks by militants - more than 30 businesses
were attacked in May 2001 alone - jobs are
scarce, pushing Zimbabwe's unemployment to nearly 60 percent. At
independence in 1980, per capita income was US$950 and had fallen to $530--
a 44 percent drop -- and more than 70 percent of the population now live
below the poverty line. The Zimbabwean dollar, worth 2 U.S. dollars at
independence in 1980, crashed in 1999 and it now worth only 3 cents. A
quarter of the population is infected with the AIDS virus. The United
Nations says more than half a million of Zimbabwe's 11 million people need
emergency food aid.

The state treasury is empty, pillaged by kamikaze kleptocrats and drained at
the rate of $3 million a month by a mercenary involvement in Congo's war.
Cabinet ministers, army generals, relatives of President Robert Mugabe,
prominent figures in the ruling party and a score of the well-connected have
launched lucrative business ventures to plunder
Congo's rich resources: diamonds, cobalt and gold. Plunder of Congo's
mineral riches and lucrative deals keep Zimbabwe's army generals fat and
happy. Accordingly, the commander of the defense forces, Gen. Vitalis
Zvinavashe, warned last month that the country's military, police and
intelligence chiefs would not accept a "Morgan Tsvangirai" as a national
leader if he wins the March 9 election since he was not a veteran of
Zimbabwe's independence struggle.

Mugabe angrily rejects criticism of his government for the economic crisis.
He blames British colonialists, greedy Western powers, the racist white
minority and the IMF, which he denounced as that "monstrous creature." But
Zimbabwean voters know better. When Mugabe asked them in a February 15 2000
referendum for draconian emergency powers to seize white farms for
distribution to landless peasants, they resoundingly rejected the
constitutional revisions by 55 percent to 45 percent.

Paranoid and desperate, Mugabe played his trump card. He sent his "war
veterans" to seize white commercial farmland anway. To be sure, there is
basic inequity in the distribution of land in Zimbabwe. Whites account for
only about 1 percent of Zimbabwe's population of 12.5 million, yet 4,500
white farmers continue to own nearly a third of the
country's most fertile farmland. But the land issue has become a political
tool, ruthlessly exploited by Mugabe at election time to fan racial hatred,
solidify his vote among landless rural voters, to maintain his grip on power
and to divert attention from his disastrous Marxist-Leninist policies and
ill-fated misadventures in the Congo.

As part of the deal negotiated at Lancaster House in London in 1979, a
land-reform program was established, under which land was to be purchased
from white farmers for redistribution to landless peasants on a
"buyer-willing, selling-willing" basis. Australia, Britain, France, the
Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the U.S. and the World Bank signed on to
provide funds for this program. But the program was so grotesquely
mismanaged that Britain to withdrew financial support in 1992, after
contributing more than $64 million. The current crisis has prompted the
donors to suspend about $10 million in land reform aid.

In March 28, 2000, Mugabe's own parliament, in a written answer on the land
issue to Margaret Dondo, leader of the opposition Zimbabwe Union of
Democrats, acknowledged that the government has distributed more than 1
million acres bought from white farmers under legal compulsion to 400
wealthy Zimbabweans, most of whom were Mugabe cronies. In fact, back in
1994, 20 such farms seized from white farmers were immediately grabbed by
high-ranking government officials. According to New African (Sept 1994),
"The local press revealed that the Secretary to the President and Cabinet,
Dr. Charles Utete, the Deputy Secretary for Commerce and Industry, James
Chininga and Harare's first black mayor, Dr. Tizirai Gwata, are among those
involved" (p.32). Again in 1998, additional 24 farms of the Marula Estate in
Matabeleland were acquired, ostensibly for resettlement. But the land,
totaling 300 square miles, was divided among
47 government officials while 40,000 impoverished Zimbabweans remained
crammed in the neighboring Semukwe Communal Area. Army chief, General
Solomon Majuru, is now known as the country's largest landholder.

Government minister Elliott Manyika has vowed that if Mugabe is re-elected
in March, the government would expropriate businesses not owned by blacks --
reminiscent of Idi Amin's seizure of Asian businesses in Uganda in the late
1970s. Some 20,000 people of Indian subcontinent descent live in Zimbabwe
along with about 40,000 whites in the country. Together they make up less
than one percent of the population.

Mugabe's newly-formed militia rampage through the countryside, terrorizing
and murdering perceived opposition supporters. At least 26 Mugabe opponents
have been killed and more than 70,000 others have been displaced since
January 1, according to Zimbabwe's Human Rights Forum. The activities of
this militia is eerily reminiscent of the Hutu interahamwe of Rwanda that
slaughtered more than 800,000 Tutsis in 1994 to avoid sharing political
power with them. New draconian press and security laws ensure that criticism
of Mugabe, the police and the army is illegal. The office of The Daily News,
which has been critical of Mugabe's handling of the economy, has repeatedly
been firebombed and its black editor, William Saidi, has received numerous
death threats,
warning him to stop criticizing the government. Distribution of election
pamphlets is banned and even NGOs cannot teach voters that their ballots are
secret. The opposition MDC must give police four days advance notice of a
political rally -- sufficient time to Mugabe's thugs to be dispatched to
disrupt it. Over 65 of Tsvangirai's rallies have been
banned or disrupted. On February 22, a police surveillance team trailing the
convoy of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai on his way to a campaign rally in Masvingo a rural district in
the south of the country, opened fire. Mr. Tsvangirai escaped unhurt. On the
same day, two South African election observers
were injured, along with five opposition supporters during an attack on MDC
offices in the town of Kwekwe, 200 km west of Harare, by ZANU thugs armed
with stones and iron bars.

Mugabe has debarred foreign election observers in the country; only those
approved by the government would be allowed in. After Mugabe's government
expelled the Swedish head of the European election observer mission, Pierre
Schori, the European Union voted on Feb 18 to impose tough sanctions on
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, and more than a dozen of his top aides.
The sanctions will bar Mr. Mugabe and 19 others
from traveling to European Union nations. They will also freeze any European
assets held by Mr. Mugabe and about 20 advisers, including the commander of
the armed forces and the ministers of security, justice, land and
information. Washington followed suit on Feb 22 by debarring President
Robert Mugabe and his inner circle from travelling to the US to protest an
election campaign that the Bush administration has said is
"marred by political violence and intimidation." Zimbabwe lambasted the
sanctions as "economic terrorism." But Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House
International Relations Subcommittee on Africa, revealed on Jan 16 that
Zimbabwean officials were transferring the money, thought to be millions of
dollars, to safe havens in Europe and the United States ahead of the March
elections. While these measures might help put pressure on Mugabe and his
cronies, what Zimbabwe needs first and foremost are African sanctions. They
would be far more potent and they hit General Sani Abacha the hardest.

African and domestic sanctions would include boycott or withdrawal of
services by Zimbabwe's professionals, lawyers, civil servants, politicians,
judges. African sanctions would include expulsion of Zimbabwe from the OAU,
SADC, and all African councils as well as expulsion of Zimbabwean
Ambassadors, denial of landing rights to Zimbabwe Airways, prohibition of
Zimbabwe's participation in conferences, peacekeeping duties, sporting and
cultural events.

Neighboring countries would seal off their borders with Zimbabwe. These
measures do not require much logistics.

The political turmoil is seriously impacting the entire southern African
region. Foreign investors have fled the region and the South African rand
has lost 18 percent of its value since 2000. In April 2000 alone, the South
African bond market witnessed an outflow of R1.8 billion ($263 million)"
(The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2000; p.A16). And the Kenyan shilling had
taken a beating from traders, fearing a Zimbabwe contagion.

Already, more than 500,000 Zimbabwean refugees have fled to settle in South
Africa and the South African government is preparing a military base at
Messina to house as many as 70,000 refugees. But so far, African response
has been extremely disconcerting.

The 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which
Zimbabwe is a member, was expected to issue a strong condemnation of
Zimbabwe's political crisis not only because of its regional impact but also
because vitiates the various plans African leaders have drawn up to
revitalize Africa: "African Renaissance" by President Thabo Mbeki, "The
Omega Plan" by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal; MAP (Millennium
Partnership for the African Recovery Program) by Presidents Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and NEPAD
(New Partnership for Africa's Development). All these plans commit African
leaders to democratic ideals, establishment of peace, law and order, respect
for human rights and basic freedoms, and a better management of their
economies, among other things. They also entreat the international
community, especially Western nations, to work in
partnership with African leaders to help them to realise their goal.

Furthermore, SADC rules require members not only to respect press and
political freedoms but also allow all candidates and parties to campaign
freely and openly. But in sharp contrast to the Organization of American
States (OAS), which took a strong stance in Peru's 2000 election, its
African counterparts -- the Organization of African unity (OAU) and the
regional organization (SADC) -- shamefully failed to act against the
blatant election manipulation and political intimidation in Zimbabwe.

On Jan. 14, 2002, after dithering for months, leaders of SADC finally
gathered in Blantyre, Malawi to discuss the political crisis in Zimbabwe.
The muted response of SADC leaders reveal that some do not respect these
freedoms in their own countries, while others remain loyal to Mugabe, who
supported the region's campaign against white rule. Rather strangely, two
senior South African government officials -- Dr C Mathoma, the chief
director for Southern Africa in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr
Loyiso Jafta, chief director for international relations in President Thabo
Mbeki's office -- who were in the country in February to assess the
situation on the ground, expressed profound satisfaction with what Zimbabwe
had achieved. And the head of South Africa's observer mission to Zimbabwe
said its members believed a free and fair presidential election was possible
on March 9-10, despite having two of its own members seriously hurt in
political violence in Zimbabwe. On February 15, the OAU Secretary General
Amara Essy endorsed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's rejection of
foreign election observer teams, saying western countries do not invite
African states to
monitor elections in their countries.

How could the international community work in partnership with African
leaders, unwilling to live up to their own commitment?

More astonishing was the reaction of southern African leaders to the EU
sanctions. President Mbeki has lashed out at some western countries, saying
their interest in Zimbabwe was not about democracy, but the need to control
the country. On Feb 22, South Africa's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz
Pahad even admitted to South African media that Mugabe had told SADC leaders
that he would accept any election result "except the recolonisation of
Zimbabwe". President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania
blasted the EU's sanctions as a new attempt to "divide Africa at Brussels in
2002 just as they did in Berlin in 1884, and assured Zimbabweans that
Tanzania will continue to support them and the country as an independent
nation. He also defended Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, blasting
western countries for interfering in the freedom of
developing countries, and Zimbabwe in particular. And Mozambican President
Joaquim Chissano also criticized the sanctions.

Zimbabwe is finished, unless the election is postponed to allow a leveling
of the playing field and a fair vote. Two scenarios are likely: A military
coup or civil unrest following a disputed or stolen election. Civil unrest
could paralyze the country (Nigeria in 1993; Togo in 1999, and Madagascar
currently), lead to a violent ouster of the incumbent(Mali in 1992; and
Ivory Coast in 2000), or could morph into a rebel insurgency to remove
Mugabe by force (Liberia in 1990; Guinea in 1999). Regardless, if Zimbabwe
blows, African leaders must be held collectively responsible failing to take
care of their own.

Time and again when a crisis is brewing in some African country, African
leaders do nothing to avert it. When it explodes, they badger the
international community to take action, without making any concerted effort
on their own. And then lambaste the international community for tardiness in
responding. At the July 2000 OAU Summit in Lome, Togo, the first item of
business was a call for a "Marshall plan" style compensation package for
Rwanda. The demand for compensation was part of the OAU inquiry into the
1994 Rwandan genocide, which blamed Western powers for failing to intervene
to stop the mass slaughter. The OAU inquiry singled out France and the
United States for particular blame for failing to prevent the genocide in
addition to the United Nations Security Council as a whole. France was
culpable because, having high level contact within Rwanda's Hutu - led
government, the OAU report argued, could have exerted pressure to prevent
the death of 800,000 people. The OAU enquiry also blamed the US for failing
to use its influence in the Security Council to authorize a military
intervention to prevent the killing. The report argued that the West failed
Africa despite the availability of copious evidence that the mass killing
had been about to begin. In conclusion, the report noted, a simple apology
as already made by the United Nations was not enough and called for
compensation, alluding to the $13 billion Marshall Aid plan the US launched
for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. But did African leaders
intervene in Rwanda? In Zimbabwe?

In an interview with the Saturday Star newspaper in Johannesburg in Jan,
Nobel laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: "Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe
seems to have gone bonkers in a big way." He probably meant the leadership
in the southern African region. Last Tuesday, President Bush met a
delegation of southern African leaders from Angola, Botswana, and
Mozambique, seeking aid. He should have sent them back to Zimbabwe. If
Zimbabwe implodes after the elections, SADC, which depends on external
donors for 90 percent of its budget, should have this support suspended. And
the $500 million G8 down payment toward NEPAD, announced at the recent World
Economic Forum in New York by Jean Chretien, Canada's prime minister and
current chairman of the G8, should be rescinded. The international community
cannot take Africa seriously if its own leaders
aren't serious about solving its own problems. This was exactly what Mr.
Mugabe told African heads of state in 1996 when taking action against
Nigeria's brutal military regime.

from the Free Africa Foundation

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Business Day

Zimbabwe Aids more deadly than poll: UN
HARARE - While about four people have been killed each week in the
violence-wracked run-up to Zimbabwe's presidential election, another 2,000
quietly died of Aids.
President Robert Mugabe and his opposition challenger Morgan Tsvangirai have
found little time to address the HIV/Aids pandemic, referring to it in
passing during their campaign speeches while concentrating their energies on
trading verbal attacks.

The UNAIDS said at least 1.5 million people were infected by HIV/Aids in
1999 in Zimbabwe out of a total national population of 12 million. Of those,
160,000 died of the disease that year.

Rights groups say 31 people have died in election-related violence since the
start of this year.

In an attempt to convey the magnitude of the Aids crisis in this southern
African country, Health Minister Timothy Stamps has used the image of three
jumbo jets crashing each week.

About a million children were orphaned by the disease in the year 2000.

The rate of 8,000 deaths per month is expected to rise rapidly in coming
years, and experts say life expectancy in Zimbabwe is expected to plunge
sharply from 66 years in 1997 to 35 years or less by the year 2010.

Now with 25% of the adult population HIV-positive, Zimbabwe is one of the
countries hardest-hit by HIV/Aids, but
politicians have continued to pay scant attention to the crisis.

Both major parties have a policy on HIV/Aids, but it is slotted in towards
the end of their manifestos.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it "recognises the
disastrous impact the Aids pandemic is having on ordinary Zimbabweans and
will commit substantial investment to policy solutions aimed at tackling
this pandemic."

For its part, Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) says "HIV/Aids is a national disaster" and vows to "continue to
invest in preventive and promotive health services".

Mugabe's party promises to improve the already strained health delivery
system, while Tsvangirai says the MDC "will ensure that people living with
Aids and children orphaned by Aids are adequately cared for".

"We will make every effort to ensure that Aids drugs are made available and
affordable to all Zimbabweans," the MDC said in its manifesto.

Stamps predicted that Zimbabwe would by this year experience zero population
growth, mainly because of the Aids pandemic.

The onslaught of Aids has dented Zimbabwe's economic growth because of
increased medical costs and reduced household and national incomes due to
illnesses and deaths of workers.

State hospitals and major private clinics cannot cope and prematurely
discharge Aids patients.

Aids in the farming sector was two years ago predicted to threaten the
country's food security and had by then reduced the country's production of
staple food crops by as much as 60%, according to Kerry Kay, a specialist
Aids consultant for the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU).

Zimbabwe is this year suffering one of the worst staple food shortages in
living memory.

The winner of the weekend election will be expected to lead the country out
of its woes over the next six years.

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Business Report

One man is spoiling Zimbabwe

March 06 2002 at 05:57AM
Firstly, I would like the people of Zimbabwe and the world to know and
understand what is going on in that country.

The country has good people, and resources, but one man is spoiling the
nation and its beauty.

I have just come back from there. And what I saw is bad and disgusting to
the entire Zimbabwean nation.

I am asking the world and the so-called monitors or election observers to
please go to rural areas such as Tsholotsho, Plum Tree and Lupane to see for
themselves how the people are being intimidated and forced to pay $80 for
Zanu-PF membership cards.

Observers must go to rural areas not cities. People are told that, when they
vote, Mugabe's veterans, chiefs and the security forces will check each and
every paper, and who they voted for.

Tsvangirai has been chosen by the people of Zimbabwe.

No fair and free elections.

I wish Tsvangirai the best and victory. Long live MDC, unite the people of

S. Ncube

War veteran of Zimbabwe
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Business Report

'Restrain Mugabe or lose out on Nepad'
March 06 2002 at 06:13AM
Coolum, Australia - British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned African
countries yesterday that failure to act against election violations in
Zimbabwe would jeopardise economic support for the continent.

Blair, speaking after Commonwealth leaders deferred possible action against
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe until after the weekend presidential
elections, said investors must be sure that Africa was committed to

"If there is any sense in which African countries appear to be ambivalent
towards good governance - that is the one thing that will undermine the
confidence of the western world in helping them," Blair told BBC radio.

Blair, labelled a racist and neo-colonialist by Mugabe's government for his
attacks on the leader, said his concern with Zimbabwe was driven by fears
about its impact on the rest of the continent.

He has pledged to push Africa's economic plight to the top of the global
agenda and has championed the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad), which is a joint scheme to foster economic development.

But he faced stiff opposition from African leaders at the Commonwealth
summit on Australia's tropical eastern coast when he tried to isolate
Zimbabwe because of Mugabe's alleged campaign of violence and intimidation.

"The credibility of my country, investment in my country, doesn't depend on
Zimbabwe," he said.

"But for Africa it is a major issue, on which their credibility and the
possibility of investment flows depend."

Britain had doubled its aid to Africa, intervened in Sierra Leone two years
ago to support its elected government, and lobbied to get Nepad off the
ground "because I believe Africa should be given another chance to develop
itself", he said.

"There are no half measures about democracy," Blair told reporters in
separate remarks. "It is important for Africa that if countries are not
behaving democratically ... that we are seen to act." - Reuters
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Irish Independent

Whites lose votes as Mugabe loyalists added to closed rolls

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe struck thousands of white or mixed-race voters off
Zimbabwe's electoral roll yesterday, and added to it tens of thousands of
people from his rural strongholds.

In a presidential decree, Mr Mugabe reinstated election laws that had been
last week ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The restored laws gave State election officers sweeping powers and
restricted vote monitoring, identity requirements for voters, campaigning
and voter education, other than that by the government.

Mr Mugabe also added new regulations to allow a supplementary electoral
roll, which the opposition said has been stuffed with his supporters, and
reinstated a ban on absentee voting by Zimbabweans living abroad, most of
whom are believed to be against the government.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is due to launch an
urgent Supreme Court action today to seek to have Mr Mugabe's decree
overturned, and will claim that ballot boxes have already been filled with
thousands of votes for Mr Mugabe.

David Coltart, the MDC's justice spokesman said: "Mugabe's regulations are

Mr Coltart said MDC branches had been told by police and army members, who
will be on duty during the poll, that they had been forced to complete
postal votes in front of their superiors. (Daily Telegraph, London)

Peta Thornycroft in Harare

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Wednesday, 6 March, 2002, 04:21 GMT
Zimbabwe 'vote-rigging' fears grow
Zimbabwe police
Officers say they are being forced to vote for Mugabe
Fears are increasing that there will be widespread irregularities in Zimbabwe's 9-10 March presidential election.

President Robert Mugabe signed a decree on Tuesday reinstating a law thrown out by the Supreme Court last week which gives state election officers sweeping powers and restricts the activities of monitors.

One of the candidates has changed the rules, that is breaking the law and is clearly designed to help one candidate against the other

MDC lawyer Adrian de Bourbon
Election observers say they are extremely concerned by the failure of the government to finalise details such as the location or the number of voting stations, which is being seen as a possible attempt to disenfranchise opposition supporters.

And police and soldiers have said they are being forced to vote for President Robert Mugabe in secret votes ahead of the election.

Members of the security forces say they are being ordered by their superiors to vote by postal ballots and they have no choice who to select - a charge which Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party denies.

The revelations came as the Commonwealth wound up its biennial heads of government summit in Australia, having postponed action on Zimbabwe until after the 9-10 March election.

Some members had wanted Zimbabwe suspended from the Commonwealth, arguing that President Mugabe is using intimidation, violence and rigging to win the election.


The opposition Moverment for Democratic Change (MDC) reacted angrily to the decree, saying it was illegal and unconstitutional.

Opposition supporter with initials MDC carved into his back, allegedly by Mugabe supporters
The MDC has accused the government of using violence and intimidation
"It is a total disgrace," MDC lawyer Adrian de Bourbon said. "One of the candidates has changed the rules. That is breaking the law and is clearly designed to help one candidate against the other."

The MDC has also criticised confusion over polling stations, saying the government wants to increase their number in its rural heartland while reducing them in urban areas which traditionally vote for the opposition.

The Electoral Support Network - which brings together local non-governmental organisations - says there can be no excuse for the failure of the government to publish such details at so late a stage.

It is also concerned that none of its 12,000 local observers have yet been accredited.

Officer pressure

A spokesman for the network said he was urgently seeking information from the authorities about allegations of postal ballot rigging in the security forces.

Members of the forces told BBC News Online they had been ordered by their commanding officers to vote by post in support of President Mugabe.


People are being killed. My family lives in fear.

Tendai, a farm worker
arrow Read his full testimony

"We are busy casting our votes. The ballot papers were sent to individuals in envelopes and our bosses were presiding officers," said a policeman in Masvingo Province, who wished to remain anonymous.

Police officers were presented with envelopes with their names on and the serial number of the ballot paper inside to make it easier to find out how they had voted, said the Masvingo policeman.

Claims denied

On Monday, Zimbabwean Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi said it was not true that police and army members had already voted.

"That's just disinformation. They haven't voted," he told the Daily News.

Zimbabwe has 40,000-45,000 soldiers and 35,000-50,000 police officers in an electorate of about five million registered voters.

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The Age, Melbourne

NZ MPs buddy up with Zimbabwe colleagues
WELLINGTON, March 6 NZPA|Published: Wednesday March 6, 9:27 AM

Twelve New Zealand MPs have "buddied" up with opposition MPs in Zimbabwe to
give them support and solidarity, Labour MP Graham Kelly said today.

The MPs, from all parties except ACT and New Zealand First, were responding
to growing concerns about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe before
elections there this weekend.

"We know that innocent Zimbabwean MPs have been detained on false
allegations, arrested by the military on the way to pre-election rallies,
had their houses burnt down, been abducted and had death threats made
against them," Mr Kelly said in a statement.

"New Zealand Amnesty International MP members have advised their `buddy'
Zimbabwean MP of their e-mail address and mobile phone numbers so that they
can be contacted in an emergency."

The "buddy" project had given New Zealand MPs a concrete way of helping some
of those in danger in Zimbabwe, he said.

MPs from 12 other countries were also involved.
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RTE interactive - Ireland

Mugabe urged to publish voting booth plans  Wednesday, March 06 2002
Filed at: 07:40 AM

Election observers in Zimbabwe say they are concerned by the failure of the
government to finalise details of the presidential election, which will be
held at the weekend. President Robert Mugabe's government has yet to publish
the location or the number of voting booths.

The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, claims that
Robert Mugabe's regime intends to cut the number of polling stations in
urban areas, while increasing them in the countryside, where he draws most
of his support.

Mugabe used presidential powers yesterday to reinstate controversial
election rules which had been declared illegal by the Supreme Court last
week, and which critics say are meant to favour his re-election bid. The
controversial General Laws Amendments Act gives Zimbabwe's State-appointed
election officers powers to bar independent vote monitors, to introduce
strict identity requirements for voters, and ban private organisations from
voter education.

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Daily News

Zanu PF youths stone Motswana woman’s car

3/6/02 7:47:43 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

A Motswana woman driving along Bulawayo’s Khami Road narrowly escaped death
when her brand-new vehicle was stoned and severely damaged by a group of
suspected Zanu PF youths.

The youths had just been dropped off on the roadside by a maroon truck with
the inscription Zanu PF on its side at about 11am on 1 March.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, feared that the youths and the
police could recognise her vehicle and possibly victimise her.

“I was driving westwards along Khami Road when I saw a maroon van with the
letters Zanu PF painted on its side, dropping off some youths wearing Zanu
PF T-shirts near the Masiyephambili-Khami Roads intersection.

“I stopped with the intention of making a U-turn, but I noticed that about
three vehicles had just driven past the youths.

“I decided to proceed, and when I was between the two groups of youths, I
thought I should greet them. So, without stopping I waved my right hand at
them, and all hell broke loose as stones rained on my car, shattering its
windows except the front windscreen,” the visibly distressed woman said.

She drove past and met another group of youths nearby.

She explained that she was a foreigner on a private visit to Zimbabwe.
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Leader Page

Straying into the hell of Zanu PF territory

3/6/02 7:26:47 AM (GMT +2)

By Wellington Mbofana

ON 27 February 2002, Gresham Mangando, Ladislaus Nhapi and myself started a
journey to Nyabadza village, Makoni, about 220 kilometres from Harare and
100 kilometres from Mutare, to bury a colleague.

It turned out to be a journey to hell. We set out to attend the funeral of
Daniel Nyabadza, with whom we worked. At the time of his death, Nyabadza was
among other things the regional director of the Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace (CCJP) in Mutare diocese (Manicaland) and chairperson of
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network in the same area.

We left Harare just after 9am and arrived in Makoni around 11. We stopped
about 100 metres before Rugoyi Centre, which is less than five kilometres
from Nyabadza’s homestead, to ask for directions. Less than a minute from
Rugoyi a maroon Nissan Hardbody open truck came speeding after us.

We gave them way to overtake us. They did, but stopped abruptly in front of
us. I braked hard to avoid ramming into them. The vehicle was overloaded and
its number plate shielded by overhanging feet protruding from the crammed
back. The passengers were about eight dirty youths and five adults.

I later learnt the driver was a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
operative and some two adults to be war veterans.

The other adults were just party functionaries and the youths were a mixture
of recent Border Gezi Training Camp graduates and ordinary youths.

They surrounded our vehicle and menacingly ordered us out of the car. One of
the war veterans seized the car keys. My colleagues who are not used to
these experiences were shocked and started trembling in fear.

The war veterans took this as evidence of our guilt. I have, on several
occasions, encountered the war veterans and know that the best way of
dealing with them is to remain calm, calculated, polite and brave.

It does not help to be disrespectful of them. Neither does it pay to
demonstrate fear of them. It helps to tell the truth and to be confident of

They started, all at once, to accuse us of speeding away from them and
demanded to know why we had stopped just before Rugoyi and what we were
telling the women by the bridge. They could not accept that we were bona
fide mourners going to a funeral.

They demanded to know our relationship with the deceased and the details of
our employer.

After telling them that we were all employed by the Zimbabwe Catholic
Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC), we were accused of
lying, as they know that the deceased was operating from
Mutare and was distributing election materials.

They proceeded to conduct a search of our vehicle and ourselves. A
knobkerrie meant for self-defence in the event of car-jacking was seized as
a dangerous weapon.

Needless to say, the mob was wielding knobkerries and other dangerous
weapons of their own! They then ordered us to produce our identity

I explained how I left my driver’s licence and why I don’t carry my vehicle
registration book. They said it was a cunning strategy to avoid detection.
After about 10 minutes of interrogations and threats, we were ordered to
drive back to Harare. We were not supposed to stop anywhere in Makoni and
should consider ourselves undesirables.

We were stopped before driving off. They had changed their mind! We were
supposed to be handed over to their chefs (commanders) at their base. I
insisted on driving my own car, as my insurers would not compensate us in
the event of an accident.

The CIO operative agreed. He also insisted that we check that we had all our
personal effects.

I drove in the company of two violent-looking youths. I managed to solicit
vital information regarding the sudden resort to
violence in Makoni East.

I established that a directive came from some chef to ensure that elements
sympathetic to the opposition or observers were not welcome in the area as
they may give the people ideas about the opposition or get to know what has
been happening.

It was also apparent that the deceased was not popular with Zanu PF and so
they were not happy with many people attending his funeral. Mourners were
branded members of the opposition MDC.

They could not accept my word that I was neither Zanu PF nor MDC. Despite
this, they proceeded to ask me to chant a Zanu PF slogan. I refused, arguing
that I could not because I am not a member of that party.

At Gambe we noticed women, including those we had asked for directions,
carrying baskets of cooked food for the brigades. This is reminiscent of the
liberation war days when mothers and girls prepared food for the freedom

At no time during our ordeal did our abductors identify each other by name.
The group indicated that they were wary of observers in their area. One of
my colleagues deduced that nearly half of the group were originally from

They were in Makoni East where they were not known and their purpose was to
terrorise the local people. They betrayed themselves by asking many
questions about common people and places in Chitungwiza.

We were then handed over to the police who were more polite compared to what
we had gone through. We agreed to be escorted by the police to the funeral
for them to verify whether we were genuine mourners and if the vehicle we
were using was not stolen.

At the funeral Bishop Patrick Mutume, who is the bishop president of
CCJP-ZCBC, and five other priests accompanied by Tarcisius Zimbiti, the
acting director of CCJP, and J B Nkatazo, the regional director of CCJP in
Bulawayo, vouched for us and our vehicle.

The police then decided to take me and the vehicle to their satellite
station near Gambe to raise their superiors in Rusape for further

Instead of going to the police satellite station we proceeded to St Killian’
s Mission where we phoned the district police officers in Rusape, who
referred us to the CIO office, who subsequently referred us to the war
veterans in Rusape.

This confirmed my earlier suspicion that the CIO and the war veterans formed
part of the gang.

The war veterans referred us back to the CIO, who in turn passed the buck to
the police.

Finally I arrived back at Nyabadza village to find the funeral over and
everybody leaving. Two convoys to Mutare and Harare were formed. I joined
the convoy to Harare, only to arrive home to hear Dr Kaire Mbuende of
Namibia, saying: “Violence in Zimbabwe is exaggerated by the sensationalist

Having been in hell for close to five hours, I feel hurt by Mbuende’s

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Daily News

Leader Page

Zimbabwe’s failure could doom the Commonwealth

3/6/02 7:24:38 AM (GMT +2)

THE Muammar Gadaffi-sponsored African Union to replace the Organisation of
African Unity (OAU) got off to an inauspicious start over Madagascar last

It failed to end the crisis brought about by the declaration of victory by
one presidential candidate, the opposition’s Marc Ravalomanana.

His opponent, the incumbent Didier Ratsiraka, did not accept that
declaration and it seemed there would be bloodshed in the island state.

The OAU sent a mission but soon gave up.

Inevitably, there was bloodshed, with Ravalomanana’s
increasingly restive supporters clashing with supporters of the former
military dictator, Ratsiraka.

He had ruled the country for 17 years until 1993 when
Albert Zaly became president.

But in 1996 Ratsiraka bounced back as president, edging Zaly in an election.

The failure of the OAU to mediate in the crisis typifies the continent’s
chronic failure to solve its own internal conflicts.
The DRC under Mobutu Sese Seko, Uganda under Idi Amin, Nigeria under the
worst of the military dictators, Sani Abacha, Malawi under Kamuzu Banda,
Somalia under Siad Barre ­ to name only a few ­ flourished while the OAU
twiddled its thumbs impotently.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) is taking after the OAU
over the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Largely through its influence, the Commonwealth failed to come up with a
bold, decisive and unequivocal position on the terror unleashed by President
Mugabe’s regime on the opposition ahead of the presidential election.

The ideal would have been to ensure that the playing field was level before
the election.

To wait until the verdict of an election in which thousands of voters have
been disenfranchised by Mugabe’s cunning devices is the coward’s way.

The future of the Commonwealth could be in great danger if the 54-nation
group panders to the whims of an African bloc so ambivalent about democracy
they blame the media for what is clearly the work of Mugabe’s young thugs,
the so-called green bombers.

The people of Zimbabwe have, since the referendum in 2000, displayed a
resilience of spirit which shocked Mugabe and his party of violence.

There is little doubt that even with the violence against them and the
series of anti-democratic laws rushed through Parliament with the indecent
haste of a banana republic, the people will make their choice known
emphatically on 9-10 March.

Most critics of the Sadc collusion with the Mugabe government in the
repression of the people have wondered if the leaders realise the enormity
of their betrayal.

The blood of the people killed during the election campaign will be on their
heads, not on the heads of the editors who have tried spiritedly to warn
them against backing Mugabe.

They will all hope that there will be no more bloodshed
until Saturday, 9 March.

But anyone who knows the blood-spattered history of
Zanu PF with is electoral back against the wall would not bet any maize-meal
on that.

The Commonwealth has always functioned on the basis of consensus.

It’s truly an upper-class club where quiet diplomacy is
preferred to any robust show of disapproval.

For South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki there must be a sinking feeling of
deja vu.

His disastrous attempt to influence the autocratic Mugabe with quiet
diplomacy is partly responsible for the present celebrations in State House
in Harare.

What the African leaders would love to believe is that
it is the land issue that divides Mugabe from his detractors, including the

Such a belief is more comfortable for them than the truth: that Mugabe’s
struggle is based entirely on a lust for power.
He has failed his country, but will not admit this and let other people try
their hand.

If he is returned to power, it will not be Tony Blair he will have to deal

It is the same people who have been let down by Sadc and the Commonwealth ­
the long-suffering Zimbabweans.

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Daily News

Zanu PF resorts to bussing people to boost rallies

3/6/02 7:44:31 AM (GMT +2)

From Zerubabel Mudzingwa in Gweru

ZANU PF yesterday bussed in thousands of supporters from rural areas to
boost attendance at President Mugabe’s last-lap campaign rally in Gweru
ahead of the weekend presidential election.

About 20 000 Zanu PF supporters, drawn mainly from the outlying areas of
Chirumanzu, Shurugwi, Mvuma, Kwekwe and Lower Gweru, filled up Mkoba Stadium
hours before Mugabe’s arrival.

Trucks from the District Development Fund and hired private buses ferried
them to and from the venue.

Mugabe had addressed another rally at Gokwe growth point,
attended by a similar number of people.

In Gokwe, Zanu PF youths allegedly coerced shop owners to close and forced
travellers to defer their journeys until after the rally.

In Gweru, party youths ordered all shops at Mkoba 6 business centre to close
for the duration of the rally.
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Daily News

Organisations deplore arrest of journalists

3/6/02 7:42:18 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

The World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors’ Forum (WEF) have
protested against the recent arrest of two journalists, Edwina Spicer and
Jackie Cahi in Zimbabwe, calling it “the latest part of an ongoing
government campaign to intimidate journalists”.

In a letter to President Mugabe dated 4 March, the Paris-based World
Association of Newspapers (WAN) and the WEF called for an end to the arrests
and beatings of journalists, attacks on the independent media, and the
banning of foreign reporters in Zimbabwe.

Spicer and Cahi were arrested on 25 February and held for 20 hours in a
police station in Harare.

They were accused of filming State House, which is a prohibited area, under
the Protected Areas Act.

They had been filming Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, as he went to
the Morris Depot police station, which is near State House, where he was to
answer charges of plotting to assassinate Mugabe.

The journalists were stopped by the police and the Presidential Guard and
later arrested and detained.

WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and
promotes Press freedom worldwide.

It represents 18 000 newspapers.

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Daily News

Cosatu urges Zanu PF to disband youth brigade

3/6/02 7:39:55 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Monday called on the
Zimbabwean government to disband the Zanu PF youth brigade and protect
citizens from harassment.

Patrick Craven, the Cosatu spokesperson, said the location of the youth
brigade torture camps was known, but no attempt had been made to shut them
down, even though it was clear they were being used for a campaign of terror
and brutality.

Youths, some as young as 14, are recruited into the camps where they are
given military training before being unleashed onto the public.

News 24, a South African news agency, said the statement by Cosatu followed
reports of the abduction of Zimbabwe trade union leader Ephraim Tapa, and
his wife Faith Mukwakwa on 16 February, when “war veterans” intercepted the
vehicle they were travelling in Murehwa.

Tapa, a member of the general council of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), was returning from a meeting held in Harare earlier in the

According to ZCTU secretary­general Wellington Chibhebhe, Tapa’s two
brothers, who were travelling in the same car, escaped, but one was shot in
the arm.

“We are very worried about Mr Tapa and his wife. They both suffer from
health problems and need medical treatment,” Chibhebhe said.

He said the kidnapping had been reported to the police, but so far there had
been no investigation. “The government has not responded to our request to
investigate the matter,”
Chibhebhe said.

He said he had last received a report confirming that Tapa and his wife were
alive last Friday, but had since heard they had been moved to an unknown

Cosatu said it supported the ZCTU’s call for a halt to terrorism in the
run-up to the presidential election this weekend.

Cosatu said it deplored Mugabe’s recent threat in a campaign speech to
de-register the ZCTU.

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Daily News

Zanu PF fails to stop ZCTU rally

3/6/02 7:26:46 AM (GMT +2)

From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

ZANU PF supporters on Thursday tried to hijack the Bulawayo Small City Hall
from a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) rally but failed after
workers turned out in their thousands.

In an attempt to replay the White City Stadium fiasco where Zanu PF
activists camped overnight at the venue of an MDC meeting last month, the
Zanu PF supporters alleged they wanted to use the hall for an unscheduled

But as the small group of Zanu PF supporters tried to gate-crash into the
hall, they were overwhelmed by hundreds of workers in the hall.

The Zanu PF supporters, with no help from the police, had no choice but mill
around the hall as the ZCTU meeting went ahead.

There was no sign of the police, although they had offered to provide
security when the ZCTU notified them of the meeting.

The ZCTU booked the hall a week ago for the labour forum whose theme was:
“Darkness Before Dawn Workers, Victory is Certain.”

At the meeting the ZCTU called upon workers to vote for a presidential
candidate with the interest of the workers at heart.

Wellington Chibhebhe, the ZCTU secretary-general, told more than 8 000
workers that they should have courage in the run-up to the election.

“If it is the MDC which is troubling us, then we will see them come the
election. If it is Zanu PF troubling us, we will see them at the election,”

he said amid thunderous applause.

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Daily News

MDC pledges to compensate victims of violence

3/6/02 7:45:31 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

AN MDC government will establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to
deal with issues arising from political violence that has left over 100
opposition supporters dead so far and to facilitate the healing of old
wounds, Morgan Tsvangirai, the party’s presidential candidate, said at the

Addressing more than 20 000 supporters at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on
Saturday, Tsvangirai pledged to compensate all the victims of political
violence if elected into power this weekend.

President Mugabe, whose ruling Zanu PF party lost all parliamentary seats to
the MDC in the June 2000 parliamentary election, simultaneously held his
campaign rally at Barbourfields Stadium, barely five kilometres away from
Tsvangirai’s venue. Thousands of people were also in attendance at Mugabe’s

Fears of violence because of the competing two rallies were allayed when
they passed without incidents.

Police maintained a heavy presence in the city and mounted roadblocks on all
major roads leading to the two venues of the rallies.

Tsvangirai said of the youth brigade: “We will deal with these youth
militias who assault people old enough to be their parents in the name of
Zanu PF. Mugabe should disband these militias.”

Tsvangirai said the spirits of the people they have killed and terrorised
would haunt them, hence they need to appease them.

The rally was temporarily disrupted by a surveillance military aircraft
which flew over the stadium and sent MDC supporters into wild chants of
their slogans. It veered off and flew away.

This preceded the arrival of Mugabe at the Barbourfields Stadium.

Tsvangirai said Mugabe should not claim the monopoly of liberating Zimbabwe.

“The people of Zimbabwe liberated themselves and Mugabe should stop
misrepresenting history,” he said.

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Daily News

Churches deplore coercion of rural voters in no-go areas

3/6/02 7:43:22 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

CHURCHES in Manicaland have deplored what they called the severe coercion of
“our people to conform to political positions, manipulated by one-sided
viewpoints presented by the State media”.

In a statement issued in Mutare, the churches said their parishioners were
“being intimidated, afraid and hungry”.

They said they were saddened by the political violence in the run-up to this
weekend’s presidential election and called upon all leaders to ensure the
violence stops completely.

The statement said: “Our people are being deprived of the free flow of
political ideas because of the creation of no-go
areas. Our people in rural areas are allegedly being prepared to line up
behind their chiefs at polling stations in order that they vote according to
their leaders’ views.”

The statement said in view of the above, it was evident that the
preparations for the election had neither been free nor fair for the voters.

They said they continued to be deeply aggrieved by all forms of manipulation
and violence, and condemned these actions as an affront to God and to the
dignity of human beings.

“It is the duty of every person of influence and authority in Zimbabwe today
to ensure that the beatings, torture and killings stop completely. Those who
continue to violate others must be brought to justice through the courts,”
said the churches.

They said in spite of the flawed electoral process “we believe that the
people of Zimbabwe must courageously exercise their democratic right and
vote freely for a President of their own choice”.

“Our President should be self-sacrificing, honest and truthful, just,
respectful and tolerant of diverse views and opinions, and in touch with the
concerns of all citizens,” they said.

The churches said they wrote the statement from a strictly non-partisan
stance, concerned only with the promotion of God’s Kingdom of justice and
peace in the society they live in.

The churches’ statement came at a time when some observers, including Kaire
Mbuende, the head of the Namibian mission, have said the media was
exaggerating the levels of pre-election political violence.

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Daily News

Jesse Jackson slams Mugabe

3/6/02 7:38:43 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

JESSE Jackson, once a friend and admirer of President Mugabe, has dumped him
over the violence in the run-up to the presidential election.

The African-American civil rights leader said in a recent interview with The
New York Daily News: “I’m disappointed. I’ve known and respected Mugabe
across the years. Now there has been a deterioration.”

Jackson, who has steadfastly supported African efforts at economic and
political independence, took a personal swipe at the increasingly autocratic
Mugabe, whom he once counted as a close friend and political ally.

Jackson said he has been unable to reach the President to deliver the
message directly.

He made an emotional direct plea to the Zimbabwean people to turn out in
their millions for the election.

“Against all the odds, vote anyhow,” he said. “Choose non-violence over
violence and urge Mugabe to allow a free and fair election.”

Jackson expressed deep concern over the Zanu PF-sponsored political violence
throughout the country and doubted whether the election results would be a
true reflection of the will of the people.

The outspoken cleric said he was deeply troubled by the government’s
election terror campaign.

“It’s very disturbing; the levels of violence, arresting the opposition,
accusing the opposition of treason, and driving out the media,” Jackson

“Elections must be free and fair, that’s our appeal. If the opposition is in
jail, it can’t be free and fair. If the international Press is kicked out,
we don’t have monitoring.”

Jackson pleaded with the international community to keep a critical eye on
Zimbabwe throughout the election.

He also warned African leaders not to blindly line up behind Mugabe if he
tries to rig the vote.

“The United Nations must be very vigilant and the Organisation of African
Unity as well,” he said. “Their credibility is at stake too. They must
protect people and principle, not just their fellow leaders.”

Jackson said a fair election was the only way to restore international
support to Zimbabwe as it fights a crippling drought, hunger and the effects
of the Aids pandemic.

“Isolation by the international community will just compound those
 problems,” he said.

Although Jackson agreed with smart sanctions targeting Mugabe and Zanu PF
leaders, he opposed cuts in development aid. Those cuts would only hurt the
suffering Zimbabwean people, he said.

“They are aimed at Mugabe, but he won’t miss a meal,”Jackson said.

The West should match its verbal attacks on Mugabe with a massive programme
of humanitarian assistance, he said, noting that American planes could drop
food and medicine as they did in war-torn Afghanistan.

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Daily News

Shiri approached MDC

3/6/02 7:19:06 AM (GMT +2)

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

The Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, Air Marshal Perence Shiri,
approached the MDC in January to seek the party’s position on the future of
President Mugabe, should he lose this weekend’s election and how the party
is likely to treat perpetrators of the Matabeleland massacres in the 1980s,
should it win the election.

MDC MPs, Job Sikhala and Tafadzwa Musekiwa, said this yesterday as they
denied a fresh wave of allegations levelled against the MDC, this time by
the Airforce Commander over the weekend.

The two denied Musekiwa initiated any meeting with Shiri as alleged in a
documentary shown over the weekend by the State-owned ZBC-TV on the alleged
plot to kill Mugabe by MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai.

Nowhere in the ZBC documentary is the assassination plot or coup mentioned
by either Shiri, Musekiwa or Sikhala.

In fact, Shiri alleged he was approached to pacify the army if the MDC won,
not before the election.

Shiri commanded the notorious North Korean-trained 5 Brigade, held
responsible for 20 000 deaths in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the 1980s.

The two MPs said the meeting took place at Shiri’s house in Borrowdale on 8
January 2002 and not 7 January as the documentary alleges.

“Who in Zimbabwe, and let alone junior members of the MDC like us, can
voluntarily and without invitation meet with Air Marshal Perence Shiri?”
asked Sikhala, the MP for St Mary’s.

The two said they held Shiri in high esteem and never thought he would stoop
so low as to openly misinform and mislead the nation.

Musekiwa, the MP for Zengeza, said: “We look at Air Marshal Shiri as a man
of high professional standing. It is regrettable that he has deliberately
lied about the circumstances of our meeting.”

Musekiwa described Shiri’s allegations that he approached the Air Force
chief at Mazowe Hotel and promised him $10 million to calm the army as “lies
and ridiculous”.

Sikhala said on 8 January 2002, around 9am, Shiri phoned Parliament and left
a message for Sikhala to call him on cell number 011 202 973.

“I called him back and he introduced himself,” said Sikhala. “I could not
believe that Air Marshal Shiri would phone me. He said he wanted to have a
meeting with me as the MDC secretary for security because he had a message
to convey to Morgan Tsvangirai.”

Sikhala said Shiri wanted to meet him at Shiri’s house. Sikhala says he
asked if it was safe because he did not trust Shiri’s intentions. He said
Shiri assured him of his safety in his house.

Sikhala said he asked Shiri what it was he wanted to tell him that could not
be discussed on the telephone.

“Shiri’s answer was: “Hamungangopindika mupower musina kusangana nesu vakuru
venyika (You cannot assume power without the blessings of the army),”
Sikhala said.

He said he was nervous about visiting Shiri on his own. He, therefore,
invited Musekiwa.

Shiri now alleges it is Musekiwa who proposed the meeting.
“This is Musekiwa’s point of entry into this political comedy and not as
cooked up by Shiri,” Sikhala said.

He said between 3 and 6pm on that day, Shiri continuously telephoned him on
Musekiwa’s cellphone because his cellphone was out of service, insisting
they should turn up for the meeting.
“He repeatedly told me that he had asked everybody at his house to go away,
including soldiers on guard, so that we could have an open meeting. When we
arrived, he started talking in general.

“Then he started talking about the MDC’s chances of winning the presidential

“We told him that we were going to win the election,” Sikhala said. “Shiri
said according to government’s own security reports, the MDC was going to
win the election overwhelmingly and that it was for this reason that the
security forces wanted to know the MDC’s position on key issues.”

He said Shiri wanted to know what the MDC would do to Mugabe after the
election, whether they would surrender him for trial in The Hague, given
that the Ndebeles were powerful in the MDC leadership.

“He wanted to know whether it was true that the MDC was controlled by
whites. He wanted to know whether the MDC would remove resettled people from
the land and, finally, what the MDC’s attitude towards the heads of the
security forces would be.”

Sikhala said they told Shiri they could not give him specific answers
without consulting Tsvangirai. The the meeting is said to have lasted until
around 9pm.

Musekiwa and Sikhala say they briefed Tsvangirai, who then tasked Gift
Chimanikire, the MDC’s deputy secretary-general, to take the answers to
Shiri on 10 January 2002.

Sikhala said the second meeting was again arranged by Shiri, who sounded
anxious to obtain the answers to his questions.

“He was told by Chimanikire that whites did not control our party, that it
was all Zanu PF propaganda,” Sikhala said yesterday. “On the Matabeleland
massacres he was told the MDC had no intention of travelling on the path of
retribution and that Mugabe would be accorded treatment befitting a former
Head of State.

“He was told the MDC had no intention of creating a new army and police
force and the MDC will work with the current security agents and their

“The meeting closed on that note.”

The two men said the allegation that they offered Shiri $10 million to
pacify the army in the event of an MDC victory was spurious and unfounded.

Musekiwa said: “It is disturbing that the ZBC and The Herald are peddling
lies to the effect that we were planning a coup.
“At no stage was the issue of assassination or coup ever mentioned during
the two meetings.

“We challenge Shiri to produce tapes of the two meetings in the interest of
the public’s right to know the truth.”

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