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

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From The Sunday Argus (SA), 6 March

Subtle manoeuvring replaces overt violence in run-up to polls

By Christelle Terreblanche

An informal fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe by members of South African
civil society has found that although violence is considerably less of a
problem than in previous pre-election periods, the playing fields are far
from level. Charles Villa-Vicencio, the executive director of the Institute
for Justice and Reconciliation spoke on behalf of the nine-person South
Africa Solidarity Network mission that visited Zimbabwe this week. The
delegation met a range of non-government organisations, church leaders and
the main political parties. Their observations fly in the face of President
Thabo Mbeki's statement this week that he had "no reason to think that
anybody in Zimbabwe will act in a way that will militate against elections
being free and fair". All agreed that there was less overt violence now than
in the run-up to the 2000 national elections or the presidential elections
in 2002, Villa-Vicencio said. "There is a downplaying of overt violence,
such as the killings and harassment but this does not mean the playing
fields have been levelled. Four years of intense violence cannot be done
away with in a short 90-day pre-election period." He said that
non-government and faith organisations highlighted the fact that the cost of
the violence and the fear of defying the ruling Zanu PF was still
potentially there, while many believed that submission to the authorities
has been internalised.

The Zimbabwe Solidarity Network was recently established after a series of
meetings and conferencesand includes the SA Council of Churches, the
Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, the Institute for Democracy in SA
and the Centre for Policy Studies. The group was this week still waiting for
an invitation to observe and monitor the March 31 national elections
formally. "In the meantime, these organisations are all trying to gain as
full an understanding of the pre-election period as possible and some
visited Zimbabwe this week to link up with partner organisations," he
explained. Villa-Vicencio stressed that their visit was an informal one by
individuals representing the various organisations. He said they had found
the churches extremely divided and as torn apart as the whole of Zimbabwean
society. One of their observations was that the ruling party was fragmenting
as the battle for the succession of President Robert Mugabe "reached deep
into the party", exacerbated by his imposition of candidates on many
constituencies. Predictions on the ground were that the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change party would at least retain the 57 seats out of a
total of 157 they won in 2000. Members of the ruling Zanu PF, on the other
hand, were hoping to regain a two thirds majority.

"One gets an impression that there is extensive discontent on the ground,
but whether this will translate as votes for the opposition is
questionable," Villa-Vicencio said. "There is a very low level of voter
education going on, estimated to be happening only in 11% of Zimbabwe.
Militia groups are being mobilised in camps and the military and police are
being called up. And there is still a lot of suspicion about the youth
movement and their role. But there is little overt intimidation."
Villa-Vicencio said they had heard two explanations for the slow pace of
getting ready for the elections, including complying with the Southern
African Development Community's (SADC) principles and the hoped-for
repealing of oppressive legislation such as the strict media laws. "There
are those who say Zanu PF is doing what it can to comply, but that
bureaucracy moves slowly. The other argument is that the Zanu PF government
is deliberately dragging its feet so that any repealing of laws or relaxing
of legislation would happen at the last minute when it is almost too late."
He said even the MDC was acknowledging a concerted effort by the government
to curb violence. "But on another level one can say that the oppression,
control and manipulation are now far more subtle. So the playing fields have
decidedly not been levelled and the SADC principles are not strictly adhered
to." The SA government was this week preparing eight observers led by Home
Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as part of the official SADC
observer mission, while parliament's 20-strong observer team will leave for
Zimbabwe on March 14.

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From The Sunday Argus (SA), 6 March

Under cover in Zimbabwe

Can the Zimbabwe elections be free and fair? No. Will anyone be able to
prove it? No. There is a strange calm in the country, the calm of a beaten
fighter's corner after a boxing match. No soldiers on the street, no signs
of assault or intimidation, little hostility against foreigners. The crops
are standing high on corporate farms around the capital and shelves are
being filled with consumer goods. There is enough money in certain circles
to cause traffic jams outside Harare's many glitzy hotels. But there is an
all-pervasive atmosphere of resignation of the type that can only be
produced by fear. In the town of Concession north-west of Harare one of the
few remaining white farmers left pretends to help me with a faulty wheel
while we hurriedly talk on an isolated dirt road. Every move is being
watched, he says. The country has been organised in a pyramid of cells by
Zanu PF and the paranoia over spies and agents of British prime minister
Tony Blair, which has led to several high-level arrests and party
expulsions, has spread to the bottom ranks. A Zanu PF win is a foregone
conclusion, he says. He wishes they could just get it over with, so
everybody can continue with their lives.

The few Zimbabweans who are prepared to talk politics with a stranger do so
out of despair and frustration, and not from any election fever. A road
worker points with pursed fingers at his mouth: We are hungry. A mineworker
outside Mvurwi uses the chance presented by my request for directions to
tell me they are not being paid and don't have money for food. Most people
are too afraid to be drawn, or they give ritual answers, especially in the
rural areas. All is well with land reform, says a new farmer, who keeps
calling me "bwana". A non-government organisation employee refuses to let me
into his house near Bindura. He has just returned from a compulsory Zanu PF
meeting. What stood out for him was the passivity and lack of aggressive
posturing. It was being taken for granted that Zanu PF would win, and the
people at the meeting were instructed not to indulge in any violence until
March 31. That is little consolation to him, he says. It is just for the
sake of presenting a peaceful face to the outside world and getting a free
and fair verdict from observers. After March 31, there will be hell to pay.
He doesn't think he'll be able to stay in the country beyond the end of the

From an angry black commercial farmer I get the sense that the land
resettlement scheme has deteriorated into such a mess that even staunch
opposition supporters believe that only the ruling party can sort it out. So
they'll turn their backs on the election, and let President Robert Mugabe
win. The government media are already promoting the constitutional changes
that would follow on a two-thirds majority. The changes will allow Mugabe to
appoint his anointed successor, Vice President Joyce Mujuru, in his place
instead of having to call a new presidential election. In Harare the absence
of campaigning is striking. A few posters of independent stalwart Margaret
Dongo and Movement for Democratic Change candidates have sprouted, but the
Zanu PF machine is said to be in disarray. Only the state media is promoting
the party, but they devote so much attention to shooting down the MDC that
they actually promote the opposition as well. It is this bumbling, which
extends to the electoral system, that will make it impossible to prove that
the election wasn't free and fair.

Three or four dozen observer missions have been invited, but most are
ideologically ambivalent, or come from countries that cannot be said to be
models of democracy. Who is going to watch the observers? In 2002 members of
the Southern African Development Community mission were reported to sit in
their hotels all day long, but who will write the reports this year? Far too
few independent journalists with the required experience of Zimbabwean ways
and customs are left. Many journalists have entered the country
clandestinely, apparently with the authorities turning a blind eye - to come
and play their own role in faking a free and fair election. But because they
work undercover, they will be unable to monitor events properly. Even if
they arrived in sufficient numbers, they would have major obstacles to
surmount in the collapsing infrastructure. In the five years since the first
land invasions, the countryside has decayed. Some roads have become
impassable, telephone lines have snapped and the vanished road signs make it
a long and frustrating matter to find anything. Anybody will be able to say
anything about the election after March 31, but none of it will be provable
or conclusive. It's a pity: the country could have been a powerhouse of
fresh ideas and an African dynamo, had Mugabe stepped down when he should

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The Telegraph

Sacked minister Moyo forms 'third force' to fight Mugabe
By Paul Lord in Harare
(Filed: 06/03/2005)

Jonathan Moyo, sacked last month as Zimbabwe's information minister, is
secretly setting up a new political alliance to challenge President Robert
Mugabe in this month's general election, The Telegraph can reveal.

Mr Moyo - Mr Mugabe's favourite henchman until he fell victim to vicious
political in-fighting - has created a group of disillusioned war veterans,
16 independent political candidates and high-profile dissenters from the
ruling Zanu PF Party.

At a public rally today in the country's second city, Bulawayo, Mr Moyo and
his allies plan to announce a common platform - effectively creating a third
political movement alongside Zanu PF and the main opposition party, Movement
for Democratic Change.

The new alliance, whose manifesto - leaked to The Telegraph - calls for a
fixed presidential term, promises to pose the most serious challenge to
81-year-old Mr Mugabe in his 25 years in power.

In an interview last week, Mr Moyo, 47, warned that Zanu PF faced disaster
if it failed to revamp its leadership and bring in younger blood. The party,
he said, needed to "open up, reach out and catch up".

"We have to accept that at various levels of leadership you get the best out
of people at their prime," he told a newspaper in Zimbabwe.

"You simply can't have the same output from a 30-something and an
80-something person - there are diminishing returns. All societies benefit
from people at their peak and not when they are at retirement age."

Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni, a spokesman for Mr Moyo's new group, confirmed last
night: "The independent candidates are forming a network and common platform
under the leadership of former information minister Jonathan Moyo.

"Eventually we will form a party and third voice in parliament."

Joshua Mhambi, another leader of the new alliance's secretariat, said that
the aim was to topple Mr Mugabe. "Our main goal is the presidency," he said.
"Participation in this election is a way of announcing and establishing a
new and powerful presence towards 2008." Mr Moyo and Mr Mugabe were once the
closest of cronies, united in their distaste for Western governments and
determined to clamp down on dissenters.

The British Government, Mr Moyo once said, were "hamburger-eating
imperialists" and agents of the "dysfunctional Blair Toilet System".

But Mr Mugabe and Mr Moyo fell out spectacularly last month, allegedly after
a close ally of the information minister was passed over for the
vice-presidency. In a rare defection from the president's inner circle, Mr
Moyo - the architect of Zimbabwe's draconian media laws - declared that he
would run as an independent candidate in the elections on March 31. He was
summarily fired, stripped of his Zanu PF membership and evicted from his
government villa in an elite suburb of the capital, Harare.

These swingeing punishments were seen as a reflection of Mr Mugabe's
determination to hang on to power against any possible challenge.

The manifesto drafted by Mr Moyo's new group, which has already bought
office space in Bulawayo, effectively calls for an end to a Zimbabwe that is
run by one man.

It demands voting by secret ballot, voting rights for Zimbabweans who have
left the country, popular elections of premiers and a senate, and a campaign
against government bureaucracy.

Mr Ndiweni said the group hoped to shock the Zanu leadership by launching
the alliance just weeks before the election. So far, political campaigning
in Zimbabwe has been low-key - Zanu PF posters are hard to find in Harare or
Bulawayo and few rallies have been organised.

Mr Ndiweni said: "You don't want to give your opponent time to scheme.
Forming a third alliance will shake up the system and Mugabe is going to be
completely shocked by the rally on Sunday."

Critics of Mr Moyo, who was closely associated with the president's
catastrophic land-reform programme and violent repression of opposition in
Zimbabwe, claim that the group's goals are over-ambitious and accuse him of
playing power politics. His new group, they say, will be running on a
platform similar to that of the opposition MDC and offers little that is new
to voters.

Mr Mhambi insisted that the group's greatest weapon would be Mr Moyo
himself. "The MDC should have studied Zanu," he said. "You can't beat Zanu
with violence. They're too good.

"Moyo can engage Zanu in a war they're unfamiliar with - a war of the mind."

The group also claims that it will prove a more palatable opposition
alternative for other African leaders who no longer wish to support Mr
Mugabe but have proved unwilling to back the MDC, which enjoys influential
Western backing.

Mr Ndiweni claimed that those leaders might include Thabo Mbeki, president
of Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour South Africa, and a vital ally of Mr
Mugabe's for years. "Mbeki can't leave Zanu for the MDC," Mr Ndiweni said.

"He's looking for a party that is an alternative to Zanu from a pan-African
liberation perspective, not European-centric like the MDC.

"Mbeki knows that Jesus will come before a modernised Zanu PF."

Zimbabwe used to be prosperous but has been crippled by a deep depression.
The government's seizure of land has crippled the economy and contributed to
soaring inflation, rising unemployment, poverty and malnutrition. Life
expectancy is now less than 34 years and aid agencies believe that more than
five million people face famine.

Mr Moyo's designs on power have been boosted by support from Jabulani
Sibande, chairman of the powerful War Veterans Association and an open
critic of Zanu PF.

"I joined the armed struggle for 12-and-a-half years - I grew up in war," Mr
Sibande told The Telegraph. "We fought for majority law but now we are being
governed by the minority."

Mr Sibande has already faced rebuke from Zanu PF party leaders. "I was
suspended, reinstated, suspended again," he said. "Now, I don't know whether
I'm suspended or not. I didn't leave Zanu - they left me."

While he opposed the formation of a new party - fearing that support would
be fragmented - he said there was little choice. He pointed to corruption as
the biggest problem within Zanu.

"The problem with the Zanu leadership is they make laws but don't follow
them. They are more powerful than the constitution," Mr Sibande said.

"Our people don't see the difference between what the white settlers did and
what Zanu leadership is doing. It is even worse because we voted them into

"There are certain individuals who have to be voted out. But you vote them
out and they come back, by Mugabe appointing them."

Frustration over the tight-knit circle surrounding Mr Mugabe has given the
alliance of independent candidates extra impetus. The government is run
almost entirely by people from the Shona tribe whereas the new group is made
up almost entirely of politicians from the rival Ndebele tribe.

"Zanu has become a clique," Mr Ndiweni said. "There are so many tribes in
this country. Why would one tribe play the guitar and expect all of us to
dance? We are not all monkeys."

Yet while many Zimbabweans would be keen to challenge the rule of Zanu and
Mr Mugabe, they would hesitate before supporting Mr Moyo, a figure who
strikes fear among opposition voters and has performed dramatic political
U-turns in the past.

The former university professor was an outspoken critic of Mr Mugabe before
he joined government in 2000. As recently as 1999, Mr Moyo was writing
articles condemning the president. "His uncanny propensity to shoot himself
in the foot has become a national problem which needs urgent containment,"
Mr Moyo wrote in one newspaper. "Does the president not realise that when he
belittles universal issues such as basic human rights, he loses the moral
high-ground to his critics?"

Within months, however, Mr Moyo had become the spokesman for the
government-appointed Constitutional Commission, which was overseeing a new
democratic base for Zimbabwe.

The draft document was rejected in a national referendum in February 2000
but Mr Moyo's star continued to rise. In June 2000 he was appointed as Zanu
PF's general-election campaign manager.

Max Mkandla, a radical opposition activist, said last night: "We forgive him
but we do not forget. And we don't know how independent any Moyo party will
actually be."

Mr Ndiweni was standing by Mr Moyo: "People love to hate him but they can't
stop talking about him."
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From: "Trudy Stevenson"
Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2005 8:27 PM
Subject: Planning for Change

Planning for Change

Our election will take place on Thursday, 31 March.  This is two days after
the Easter holiday, which begins on Friday 25 March and ends on Monday 28
March.  In other words, we only have two working days that week before the
public holiday on Thursday 31st.  Many of those who have realised this have
even decided to "make a bridge" and take the entire 10 days off  for only 3
working days - sounds a good deal!  But that deal will mean less votes for
Change - and we need EVERY VOTE!

Many people have not yet realised that the election virtually clashes with
Easter, and are planning to either go kumusha or to go on holiday - if they
have the money!  I want to warn you that if you go away for Easter, you
might not be able to get back to the cities in time to vote, because
indications are that there will be a shortage of fuel at that time.

Please, I am begging everyone who wants a New Beginning and a New Zimbabwe
to make voting their priority, this year.  ZanuPF are masters at rigging -
but they cannot rig as easily if there is a big voter turnout, especially
now that we have translucent ballot boxes, voting in one day and counting at
the individual polling stations.  We are hoping that voting will go much
more quickly this time, because there will be 3 queues at every polling
station - one for surnames A-L, one for M, and one for N-Z.

Reports from the rural areas show that the people there have finally
understood the nature of the ZanuPF regime - that they are criminals who
make promises and even give them a bit of money, beer or food to steal their
vote, and then they run off with all the loot!  MDC rallies are attracting
huge crowds all round the country - and we don't force people to attend our
rallies, unlike the regime!  People in the urban areas need to understand
that apathy plays into the hands of that criminal regime and will allow them
to continue to suck the lifeblood out of our country for another 5 years.

Your vote really CAN make a difference.  EVERY VOTE COUNTS!
Vote for a New Zimbabwe and a New Beginning!
Please spread this message far and wide NOW!  Thank you.

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Zim Standard

Scandal rocks Miss Tourism World pageant
By our own Staff

CONTROVERSY-Ridden Miss Tourism World pageant has been rocked by another
scandal as it emerged that the winners of the beauty contest were not paid
the US$100 000 that the top five finishers were supposed to share.

Before the finals were held, more than a week ago, organisers of the event
announced that the top five winners would share US$100 000 without giving
the breakdown.
Czech Republic's Zuzara Putnarova "won" the Miss Tourism World title while
Spain's Raquel Babelcia was chosen first runner-up.

Zimbabwe's Oslie Muringayi was chosen second runner-up while Ukraine's
Oliynick was third runner-up. Shirley Aghoste of Nigeria was voted fourth
runner-up. Muringayi's top finishing was regarded as reward to Zimbabwe for
agreeing to host the pageant.

The prize money for the winners was supposed to come from the US$2 million
dollars that the government paid John Singh for the licence to host the

Sources close to the pageant said Miss Tourism World, Putnarova had only
been paid US$8 000, while contestants from Nigeria, Tanzania and Malaysia
were owed more than US$ 5 000 for costs incurred while preparing for the

Several people told The Standard that Zimbabwe had become a lucrative
hunting ground for international con-men eager to exploit a regime desperate
to portray itself as a safe destination for international tourists.

The president of the little known Miss World Tourism, Singh, fled Zimbabwe
for London on Thursday night after Original Black Entertainment Television
(OBTV) took him to court for failing to pay them for their role in promoting
Miss Tourism World pageant

Michael Orji, OBTV's director, said he was supposed to be paid 10 percent of
the US$2 million, which Zimbabwe paid for the licence.

Speaking from India where she is exiled, Miss Tibet, Tashi Yangchen,
described Singh as "a scoundrel".

Cynics have suggested that reports that Zimbabwe had "won" the right to host
the pageant after shrugging off stiff challenges from competing countries
was a ploy meant to hoodwink the gullible Zimbabwean authorities into
accepting to host the pageant and to pay the staggering US$2 million.

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Zim Standard

Violence flares up
By Foster Dongozi

POLITICAL violence has flared-up at various flash-points around the country
with opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidates being
routinely targeted by suspected Zanu PF supporters, The Standard learnt

Police are reportedly reluctant to arrest the ruling party's supporters.
This is in defiance of an appeal by President Robert Mugabe and Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, who have both said political violence would
not be tolerated in the run-up to the 31 March general elections.

By yesterday, at least 10 aspiring MDC candidates had been arrested by
police while putting up posters or campaigning in different constituencies
around the country. Others were beaten up by Zanu PF supporters while

On Friday, Chinhoyi MDC candidate, Silas Matamisa, and five campaign agents
were arrested at the town centre while putting up posters and distributing

On the same day, Prince Chibanda, the MDC candidate for Zvimba North, and
Paidamoyo Muzuluthe, the district information and publicity secretary, were
also arrested and later detained at Chinhoyi Police Station.

Chibanda and his team were campaigning in Raffingora, when a group of Zanu
PF supporters, headed by a war veteran known only as Kangachepi, abducted
him and his team.

Paul Themba-Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson said the police were biased in
favour of the ruling party. He added no Zanu PF candidates had been arrested
while putting up posters or campaigning.

"Chibanda and his team were assaulted and taken to a torture camp at a
nearby farm. Eight of his team members escaped and reported the matter to
the police," Themba-Nyathi said.

He said although the police arrested the war veteran, the two MDC officials
were surprised when they were told that they would have to spend the night
in the police cells."

Last week, the MDC candidate for Mount Darwin South, Henry Chimbiri, his
election agent, Petros Chiunye and Mashonaland Central MDC provincial
chairperson, Tapera Macheka, were severely assaulted by a rowdy mob that
included Zanu PF Bindura councillors.

They were taken to Bindura police station, where they were detained while
the Zanu PF councillors were released after making statements.

Chimbiri said: "Although we were the ones who were assaulted by the Zanu PF
councillors, the police were treating us as if we were the guilty ones.

"Police are actually participating in a process of torturing and
intimidating MDC members ahead of the general elections."

He said although they were barred from putting up posters, Zanu PF
candidates were putting up their posters without hindrance. He said they
paid an admission of guilt fine of $25 000 because police insisted they
would only be released the following day.

Nyathi said: "MDC candidates and activists appear to be the target of
increasing police harassment as polling day approaches. This may be denied
by authorities through the public media but their denials appear somewhat
spurious compared to facts on the ground."

By late yesterday, MDC candidates who had been harassed by police or Zanu PF
supporters include: Godrich Chimbaira (Zengeza), Godfrey Gumbo (Hurungwe
West) Prince Chibanda, (Zvimba North) Henry Chimbiri (Mount Darwin South)
Godfrey Chimombe (Shamva) Silas Matamisa (Chinhoyi) Brian Mufuka (Rushinga)
Joel Mugariri (Bindura) Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane) and Edwin Maupe of Mutare

In Manyame, 11 MDC youths who were campaigning for the party's candidate,
Hilda Mafudze, were beaten up by Zanu PF supporters.

Campaign T-shirts and fliers were confiscated and burnt by the ruling party

"The incident was reported to Norton police station but the police refused
to arrest the Zanu PF youths," Themba-Nyathi said.

Last month, police in Harare also invaded and scuttled an MDC training
session for its 120 candidates, saying the meeting was illegal.

In Bulawayo, police arrested MDC supporters while they were distributing
fliers. A couple putting up posters in Hurungwe East was severely beaten up
by Zanu PF supporters. In Nyanga, the MDC says soldiers recently mounted a
brutal attack against MDC supporters, who had just attended a rally.

Themba-Nyathi said although the government wanted to give the impression
that there was no political violence, the opposite was true. He said the
police was being used to undermine the SADC Protocol on conduct of free and
fair elecions.

Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, was not
immediately available for comment yesterday.

However, Bvudzijena was recently quoted by the State media accusing the MDC
of making false allegations particularly reports of alleged soldiers
attacking three opposition party candidates.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Nathan Shamuyarira, refused to comment yesterday
saying he had not received reports of violence by his party members.
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Zim Standard

Mining industry in turmoil
By Kumbirai Mafunda

ZIMBABWE'S mining industry was last week left quaking yet again following
the expiry of a deadline for platinum producers to close down offshore
foreign currency accounts (FCA)'s.

President Robert Mugabe's foreign currency-starved administration issued an
ultimatum last month ordering platinum firms to liquidate offshore accounts
and deposit proceeds into local foreign currency accounts. The order
stipulated that all companies should have regularized their accounts by
Monday last week, a mere 10-day period for the entire industry.
The regulation puts a damper on a new set of guidelines for the Platinum
Metal Element (PME) industry that were effected early last month by the
Governor of the Reserve bank Gideon Gono.

Gono said companies with platinum properties in the country would operate
four foreign currency accounts under the supervision and management of the
central bank.

The four accounts are the Operating Foreign Currency Account (OFCA), the
Debt Service Sinking Fund (DSSF) FCA, Dividend Sinking Fund (DSF) FCA and an
Evident Account (EA). This structure, Gono said, would give maximum
protection and assurance to the exporters and their creditor and investor

But the Chamber of Mines, the umbrella body for the mining industry last
week moved out of the closet warning that the new legislation overrides
critical provisions of the current Mining Agreement signed by mining firms
and the government. The Statutory Instruments also vary with operational
modalities unveiled by the Reserve Bank in January that govern the marketing
of the white metal.

"The Statutory Instrument looks very hurried and it sends a wrong message to
the investing community," said Ian Saunders, President of the Chamber of
Mines. The rules for an investor have changed and changed for the worse.
This is quite a wrong decision," lamented Saunders

Besides the new government regulations, a draft mine bill distributed to
stakeholders demands a significant percentage of share in private mines
should be allocated to local empowerment groups.

Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats), a leading platinum producer removed its
kid gloves last week to criticize the new fiscal regime.

"In the opinion of directors, this development, if not addressed, will have
a negative impact on the cost and risk of doing business in Zimbabwe," Greg
Sebborn CEO at Zimplats warned last week.

Zimplats was last week frantically seeking an audience to discuss the new
developments with Ministry of Mines officials and central bank authorities.

The platinum sector remains the area with the greatest potential for growth.
The white metal is set to outpace gold and tobacco to become the country's
top foreign currency earner. With Impala Platinum Mines earmarking
significant resources for exploration and development work for the
Zimbabwean operation over the next 10 years or so this can only improve the
prospects for Zimbabwe's platinum sector.

Zimplats and Impala Platinum have begun production at their Ngezi project,
located along the Great Dyke while Anglo American is planning to develop its
Unki deposit in Zimbabwe.

This development would make Zimbabwe the world's third largest Platinum
producer. However, the new fiscal regime coupled with government bungling on
empowerment could place limitations to the full exploitation of the rich
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Zim Standard

Mutare granny forced to flee from home
By our correspondent

MUTARE - A 61 year-old grandmother last week fled her homestead in
Shorishori village's Ward 15 in Mutare South constituency following death
threats from Zanu PF youth militia.

She has sought refuge at the opposition MDC Manicaland offices.
Betty Shorishori left behind her two grandchildren - one in Grade III and
the other in Form I - after threats that her home would be torched for
supporting the opposition party.

Narrating her ordeal to The Standard news crew, the elderly woman, said her
problems began when she attended an MDC rally held last Sunday in the area.

Shorishori said she was later informed that her name had been singled out at
a local Zanu PF meeting as a supporter of the opposition party.

"I heard my grandchildren's names had been deleted from a list of
beneficiaries of free education through BEAM (Basic Education Assistance
Module," she said in Shona.

BEAM is a government programme designed to assist orphans and other
disadvantaged children to go to school throughout the country. Headmasters
and teachers identify the needy children.

"What followed was that I could not buy maize from the GMB (Grain Marketing
Board) and could instead only buy the maize from Sydney Mukwecheni (the
incumbent MDC MP for Mutare South). Vakanditi ndichafambira mudenga
seshiri," (You shall fly like a bird) she said.

Shorishori said she was informed that all people who attended the MDC rally
were not going to be given food aid, they would be beaten up or their homes
would be torched at night.

"I do not want all that to happen to me that is why I had to rush to the MDC
offices so that they tell me what to do," she said.

Several MDC supporters have fled their rural homes into urban areas fearing
retribution from Zanu PF activists. The trend was most widespread towards
the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections, during which several
opposition supporters were murdered while others brutalised.

Dudza Marware, the MDC's Ward 15 organising secretary, said Shorishori was
seeking protection as well as assurance that her grandchildren would not be

Mukwecheni assured Shorishori that she would not be harmed. He called all
MDC supporters to desist from fleeing their homes but to report any forms of
intimidation and violence to the nearest police station.

"You cannot be forced to vote for someone or a party that you do not want.
Your vote is your secret, be assured of that," Mukwecheni said.

Zanu PF chairman for Manicaland province, Shedreck Chipanga, was not
immediately available for comment.

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Zim Standard

Zimbabwe urged to comply with SADC guidelines
From Kumbirai Mafunda recently in Bulawayo

BULAWAYO - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe should speedily synchronize the country's
electoral laws with SADC principles and guidelines on democratic elections
if this month's parliamentary polls are to be proclaimed free and fair.

Participants attending a conference on "Lessons learnt from countries that
held elections after the adoption of the SADC principles and guidelines"
recommended that Zimbabwe should comply fully with all provisions governing
democratic elections before the end of the month.
The Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa (CPIA), an organization that
promotes peace, stability and security on the continent through conflict
prevention and management organized the conference.

The participants also recommended that the government should repeal
obnoxious legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), which are
being used to prevent the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
from campaigning freely across the country.

"We recognize the national security importance attached to the enactment of
legislation such as Posa and Aippa. We nevertheless, recommend the lifting
of restrictive sections to make the political environment conducive to free
and fair elections," reads part of the recommendations, which will soon be
submitted to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The participants said the government should take a cue from neighbouring
Botswana, which waived similar legislation before its ninth general
elections held in October 2004.

SADC heads of state and government adopted the SADC guidelines and
principles on democratic elections in Mauritius in August 2004.

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Zim Standard

NGOs Bill scuttles USAID funding for health project
By our own Staff

THE government's Expanded Community Based Distribution Programme (ECBP) for
contraceptives hangs in the balance after a major donor for the project
pulled out citing uncertainty over the non-governmental organisation (NGO)
Bill, awaiting President Robert Mugabe's assent.

The withdrawal of funds by the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) for the ECBP, which is run by the Zimbabwe National
Family Planning Council (ZNFPC), would impact negatively on the country's
health delivery system.
The programme was designed to avail health services to the grassroots -
women in rural areas, farming areas and other remote areas in various parts
of the country.

Speaking at the sidelines of a workshop organised by the Farm Community
Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ), ZNFPC assistant director service delivery,
Margaret Butau, said the future of the programme faced uncertainty after the
USAID withdrew funding.

"We were getting funding from USAID through Advance Africa for this
programme and they have since closed office because of lack of funding. The
ECBD is one of our initiatives to ensure that women at grassroots level
receive information on family planning methods and also access them without
having to travel long distances," Butau said.

Advance Africa, an NGO, which was involved in reproductive health matters,
closed office in the country on 28 February, after failing to secure funding
for its programmes.

The programme was scheduled to run until June this year but was expected to
continue with approval from the USAID.

Butau said the government had promised to fund the programme to ensure
continuity and giving priority to people who do not have access to clinics.

A number of donors have ceased funding public health programmes in the
country in protest against the government's bad human rights record.

USAID programme specialist responsible for health, Mercia Davids, confirmed
that they were funding the programme but had stopped because it had come to
an end. She, however, declined to give further details.

"The political context that we are in makes it very difficult for many
public health programmes to be supported by donors. At the moment the NGO
Bill is awaiting assent by the President and this has caused many jitters in
the NGO and donor community," said one participant, Vongai Siziba.

The programme, which started in 2000, had only been implemented in 16 of the
58 districts countrywide.

The ZNFPC is a parastatal mandated to co-ordinate and implement family
planning programmes and related reproductive health components.

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Farm workers slam NAC
By Bertha Shoko

THE National Aids Council (NAC) has come under fire for sidelining farm
workers in various HIV and Aids intervention programmes in the country,
despite shocking statistics that the farming community is one of the hardest
hit sectors by the scourge.

The Standard understands that five years after the National Aids Trust Fund
(NATF) was set up, farm workers have not benefited from the fund, although
they also paid the Aids Levy.
Getrude Hambira of the General Agriculture Plantation and Workers Union of
Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) implored NAC and relevant ministries to look into the
plight of farm workers, who are the hardest hit group by the Aids pandemic.

She said there should be no discrimination in accessing the Aids levy.

Hambira said the spread of Aids on farms was being fuelled by poverty, which
is rampant in the farming communities.

Godfrey Magaramombe, the Director of the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe
(FCTZ) urged NAC to put structures that enable the council to reach out to
the farming community.

"Reaching these communities and lending a helping hand is very important. We
challenge NAC to do just that. Only physical barriers, perhaps disease
quarantine, should prevent anyone from accessing a place. There is no excuse
really," said Magaramombe, who was speaking during a workshop on Information
Sharing on HIV and Aids and Farm Communities last week.

The workshop was organised by FCTZ.

In a presentation at the workshop, NAC national advocacy co-ordinator, Oscar
Mundida, blamed lack of relevantstructures saying it was difficult to
monitor the progress of programmes because farm workers tended to be

However, a public health and HIV and Aids consultant, Priscilla Mataure,
dismissed NAC's argument.

"That is totally unacceptable for an organisation purporting to have the
interests of all Zimbabweans at heart. Yes, there are no structures, we all
know that but they should have at least come up with alternatives to this
problem," Mataure said.

NATF was created in 2000 after the government imposed a three- percent AIDS
levy on personal and corporate incomes to help scale up the fight against

Vulnerable groups such as women, children and People Living With Aids were
supposed to be among the core beneficiaries of the fund.

Commercial farming areas have been identified as high-risk areas with the
HIV prevalence rates on farms higher than the 24,6 percent national figure.

Ministry of Health and Child Welfare estimates that 24,9 percent of sexually
active group (15-49) in commercial farming areas are infected with HIV, the
virus that causes Aids, compared to 28,1 percent in urban areas.

The high levels of infection are attributed to mobility of workers, and
poverty due to low income levels.

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Zim Standard

Skeletons baffle Gweru authorities
By our own staff

GWERU - Authorities here are baffled by the recent discovery of two human
skeletons at Gweru General Hospital's old mortuary. The Standard understands
the remains are thought to be of people murdered during the
Matabelelend/Midlands disturbances in the 1980s.

The remains were discovered a fortnight ago when a delegation, headed by
Midlands governor, Cephas Msipa, was touring the disused mortuary, in
preparation for the construction of a new mortuary, which is expected to
accommodate 60 bodies.
Sources said the two skeletons, which werewrapped pieces of cloth, could
have been left in the old mortuary when hospital authorities transferred
other bodies to the new mortuary in 1983. The skeletons have been in the
disused mortuary for the past 22 years, they said.

Gweru General Hospital medical superintendent, a Dr Bunduki, and Midlands
police spokesperson, Inspector Patrick Chademana, confirmed the discovery
but gave contradictory statements on why the skeletons had remained in the
disused mortuary.

Bunduki said the bodies could be of political victims or freedom fighters of
the liberation war of the 1970s.

He said during the colonial era the hospital used to operate two mortuaries,
one for whites and another for blacks. Bunduki said the bodies could have
been forgotten when the "one-mortuary system" was introduced.

The hospital has no records of the deceased.

"So far there are no records of the bodies as government only keep records
for a maximum period of three years, except when they are meant for the
archives," Bunduki said.

However, Chademana said the two were destitutes who were found dead in the
city. He said the police brought the corpses to the hospital eight years

"The bodies were actually left in the disused mortuary eight years ago. They
are destitutes who were found dead in the city by the police who then took
them to the hospital mortuary," Chademana said.

He said at one time the new mortuary, which used to accommodate 12 bodies,
became full and the two bodies were transferred to the disused mortuary and
were "forgotten".

Msipa confirmed seeing the two-decade old skeletons, but said he was also
puzzled why the skeletons were left for so long.

He refused to comment any further, referring all questions to the hospital

More than 20 000 people were killed by North Korean trained 5 Brigade in
Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces during the "dissident era", a period
spanning from 1981 - 1987.
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Campaigning intensifies
By our own staff

THE country's two major political parties have intensified campaigning to
lure the electorate ahead of this month's parliamentary elections. Movement
for Democratic Change president, Morgan Tsvangirai addressed three star
rallies in the Midlands and Mashonaland West.

MDC presidential spokesperson, William Bango, said Tsvangirai's rallies were
"well attended."
"We had three rallies in Sanyati, Gokwe-Nembudziya and another one at Gokwe
Centre. Attendance was very good with an average of 10 000 people and
fortunately enough there were no incidences of violence," Bango said.

Today, the opposition party will be holding rallies in Mabvuku, Budiriro and

President Robert Mugabe addressed a rally in Highfield yesterday, where he
urged people in Harare to vote for the ruling party in this month's

The rally, at which Mugabe donated 80 computers to eight schools, was
attended largely by school children from neighbouring high-density suburbs.

Each of the eight schools received 10 computers.

Some of the schools that received the computers are Glen Norah High 1 and 2,
St Peter's, Highfield High 1 and 2 and Kwayedza.

Mugabe has been donating computers to schools around the country as the
campaign for the 31 March general election intensifies.

However,people who turned up for the event told The Standard that they were
forced to attend the rally. "We were just told to come here, we didn't even
know what was happening. I was going to the shops when I met Zanu PF
supporters who told me that I should join others and come here," said one
man from Lusaka in Highfield.

Zanu PF candidate for Glen Norah, Victoria Chitepo, who is battling it out
against incumbent MDC MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, also attended the

In Mbare constituency another Zanu PF candidate, Tendai Savanhu, held a
rally at Stoddard Hall, where more than 4 000 supporters turned up for the

The supporters braved yesterday's heat for more than four hours before
Savanhu showed up and spoke briefly, urging the people to vote for him.

Mashonaland Central governor and resident minister, Ephraim Masawi and Zanu
PF losing candidate for Mbare Tony Gara were also present during the rally.
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Villagers travelling 12 km to fetch water
From our own correspondent

CHIREDZI - IT can be hard trying to make ends meet in the rural areas. For
55-year-old Netsai Makondo of Hvuluko village in Chiredzi waking up as early
as 4AM every day is a normal daily routine.

She starts by washing her wrinkled face before picking up a huge clay pot
and heading for the Runde River-12 kilometres away, to fetch water for
domestic use.
The elderly woman passes through the Gonarezhou National Park that is
habitat to a variety of dangerous animals such as lions, cheetahs, leopards
and elephants.

Other than wild animals, Makondo also braves another danger when she finally
reaches the vast Runde River - vicious crocodiles.

When Makondo returns home, she prepares breakfast for her three grand
children - orphans of the deadly Aids disease - before they start a
seven-kilometre journey to the nearest school.

Makondo heads for the field after her grand children have left, and returns
in the afternoon, ready to retrace the same distance to Runde, only this
time to water her small herd of cattle.

"I have been doing this for the better part of my life. It's not new to me,"
Makondo told The Standard news crew, which visited the remote area last

Members of the Hvuluko community, about 80 km south of Chiredzi town travel
long distances to fetch water for every day use.

The villagers said the government had not initiated any major developments
in the area since the country attained independence in 1980. The area is
situated in the dry Masvingo province, where rainfall is unreliable.

"We have been facing water problems for a long time. When we became
independent we thought the government would help us by constructing
boreholes in our area but nothing materialized,'' said Mupamhi Mhlautsi, an
elderly villager from the area.

The villagers said their lives were in constant danger from wild animals
when they travel through the Gonarenzou to the Runde River to fetch water

"You see, it is not safe for us to travel through the forest. The animals
are dangerous. We have lost relatives and domestic animals to wild beasts,"
Mhlautsi said.

The villagers said they had, on numerous occasions, appealed to the
government for boreholes as well as irrigation schemes to enable them to
grow crops in the area. However, they said, the government had not been

"It is difficult to grow any crops here because of poor rainfall. That is
why we have been pleading with the government to do something for us. But as
you can see, no one heard us until the British came here, saw our plight and
acted urgently by donating the two boreholes," said Amos Baloyi.

Touched by the plight of the Hvuluko community, the British and French
embassies recently drilled two boreholes, one for domestic use and the other
one for the Hvuluko Market Gardening Co-operative.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony a fortnight ago, the British
Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Rod Pullen, said Britain was committed to helping
Zimbabwe, especially the poorest people in the country, despite political
differences between Harare and London.

"We take no account of politics in our endeavour to help different
communities in Zimbabwe. The Department for International Development
(DFID), the ministry of the British government responsible for development
co-operation world wide, continues to provide assistance of some £30 million
each year to Zimbabwe," Pullen said.

He said the money was largely for the development of social sectors such as
health and education as well as the provision of agricultural support to
community level farmers.

For drilling the boreholes, Britain provided $58 million, while France
weighed in with US$31 500.

The community showed their appreciation during the commissioning through
music and dance - knowing their plight had come to an end.

The co-operative grows a variety of crops that include vegetables, tomatoes,
maize, beans and carrots, which they sell to markets in Chiredzi and
Masvingo towns.

The chairperson of the project, Makanani Matlemu, said the two boreholes
would help improve the lives of the community.

Pullen said Britain would provide extra funds for small projects to

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Zim Standard


Taking a stand against violence

IF genuinely intended and effectively carried out, President Mugabe's
admonition against violence during the run-up to this month's parliamentary
elections and the exhortation that there be zero tolerance to violence,
could form an important start in healing the sharp divisions that have
separated this nation since the rejection of the draft constitution in 2000.

When the 2005 election campaign trail started, there was general cynicism
that the compelling factor for the ruling party was the fear of renewal of
targeted sanctions by the international community. The outside world has
since taken its position by renewing the sanctions against the leadership in
the government.
The government is, in fact, now free to act the way it wants by
demonstrating to the outside world that it is capable of taking lasting
decisions, at its own pace and not under duress.

President Mugabe, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Commissioner of Police,
the ruling party's political commissar have repeatedly denounced violence
ahead of this month's parliamentary elections.

At times, however, the President confuses his central message of peaceful
elections by employing violent language, such as his wide-ranging interview
with the State-controlled Newsnet on the eve of his 81st birthday two weeks
ago when he used terms such as "treasonous' and "worst betrayal" to describe
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Use of such hate language where efforts are being made to ensure that the
level of harassment, intimidation and violence that characterised the 2000
and 2002 polls does not become a permanent feature of the election process
in this country, complicates matters.

Last week the MDC reported that there were increased cases of violence
against its members and supporters in Bindura, Shamva, Manyame, Masvingo and
Nyanga, while yesterday a merchant of violence - the pro-Zanu PF group -
Chipangano, was at work in Mbare.

There are just 25 days to go before the 2005 parliamentary elections and the
fear is that we will get to 31 March 2005 with no real let up in the levels
of violence, rendering all the admonitions and pronouncements against
violence, absolutely meaningless.

And yet it is the deficit between what we do and say, which gives the
international community the justification to continue to renew targeted
sanctions against the political leadership in this country, earning us the
reputation of a rogue State.

We cannot continue to be a nation at war with its own people. The love for
power must not override the interests of the majority - the very same
constituency in whose name the abuse of power is being perpetrated. History
teaches us that no matter how much chicanery or mechanisms of oppression are
employed to deny a people a say in how they are governed, eventually they
will reclaim that right.

The government says it is committed to better health, education and job
creation, but the people it expects to re-elect it know that Zimbabwe's
health system is not the same that made it a shining example among the
community of nations during the first decade of independence.

Zimbabweans also know that while the population enjoys a literacy rate
beyond 80 percent, standards have fallen to the extent that President Mugabe
acknowledged this fact during his recent nationwide tour to hand over
computers to rural schools. The school drop out rate is increasing, while
the pass rate has suffered a significant decline.

Zimbabweans are also aware of how unemployment hovering around the 80
percent mark affects the majority of the people. These unfulfilled promises,
in the eyes of the people, are some of the shortcomings of the present
government. It does not give them much confidence when it puts in
legislation in the name of empowerment and indigenisation, which have the
effect of sending panic among investors and results in closures of
companies. The latest such move is in the mining sector.

The government argues that it intends creating more jobs in agro-related
industries, but what the people, who are unhappy with its policies, see are
more redundancies of farm workers as a result of the land reform programme.
They are unlikely to be persuaded that this time the government really cares
about them.

Equally in the education sector, the ruling party launched a major offensive
against teachers in the rural areas in the wake of the 2000 parliamentary
elections. The teachers fled the rural areas, yet the government says it is
worried by the poor pass rate and the decline in the standards and quality
of education available in rural schools. It does not see itself as the
architect of the problem. People will have problems believing what it says
or its intentions, however well they may sound.

People are going to judge the government's sincerity on zero tolerance and
violence-free elections by the response of the law enforcement agencies and
how it is dealing with Zanu PF supporters who are perpetuating violence.

But it is important that they continue to make it difficult not only for the
ruling party supporters, but even for those in the opposition to engage in
violence. Too much blood has been shed in the short course of this country's
history that we should have the courage to stand up against any further acts
of violence.

To do otherwise would be to betray the sacrifices made by those who gave up
their lives for a free, independent and democratic Zimbabwe.

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Zim Standard

The day the Don saw red

THE Don of `Freedonia's revolution was livid. "Maiwee!" he cried, "leave him
to me. I will personally deal with him." It was not long afterwards that
Freedonians started to understand what the Don had in store for the
illustrious son.

Now this illustrious son of the revolution, occupied a palace from which a
visitor could survey the tranquil, rolling green valley and the distant hill
from which a tributary begins a long journey to an ocean, much further to
the east of Freedonia.
Few Freedonians could recall when they last saw the Don so outraged. "He was
saying I am a member of the inner circle so I have authority to assemble
party elders at a rural outpost. Goodness me!" The Don was losing his cool.

Time can move so swiftly when it's delivering you to the pit. The palace,
word had it, was no longer suitable for the illustrious son according to the
changed circumstances.

"How the mighty have fallen," remarked one female, part of a group of the
wretched of the earth, whose hovels not far from the palace were a daily
annoyance and eyesore to the surrounding opulence.

It hurts more to have tasted the good things in life and to have to learn to
adjust than not to have ever tasted them and therefore never have to expect.

The illustrious son had been thrown to the wolves. As was common practice in
Freedonia, the Accountant-General began to show interest in and instituted
an audit of funds for the illustrious son's numerous "projects" and real or
imagined accounts. They were determined to dig up any dirt that would stick.
This was one face of Freedonia's political la cosa nostra.

What is so special about that, you may ask. Well, nothing really in normal
circumstances in a normal society but Freedonia had these peculiarities that
tended to stand logic on its head.

An example: Some two years back one of the leaders of Freedonia, but not
necessarily belonging to the ruling elite, faced capital punishment after it
was revealed he had dabbled in some conspiracies. His life, like a spider,
hung by a slender thread. It was a case of their word against his, and
attempting to extricate oneself was as easy as trying to find a needle in a

More than half a decade ago, one leading light in the early phases of
Freedonia's struggle cheated Freedonian justice system, after the heavens
decided it was best to relieve him of the burden of non-ruling party
political activism. The spectre of a death sentence hung over him when he
was called to the better world. It was their word against his.

The Accountant -General began examining the expenses of setting up and
staging live satellite links to galabashes and the numerous lavish dinners
at which the illustrious son hosted a cross section of domestic and external
guests, as well as the expenditure of the vast State resources, that were
once availed to him and had hitherto largely required no accounting.

At a function held at a foreign mission, he mulled over the idea of seeking
asylum. Being, quick witted, he realized the potential for being
misunderstood and the attendant price for such an error of judgement.

"Perish the thought," he told himself. "I will do it my way."

His way, was to seize a red 4x4 truck parked outside. He hit the pedal hard.
In fact, as hard as he could. He would try to reach the border by sunset and
see whether he could get fishermen to see him across in their dug out

"Once across," he told himself, "I will be safe. There will be many choices
of what to do, many avenues to heaven."

His attention was drawn by a distant droning sound. It seemed headed in his
direction. He hit the accelerator. "If I could reach the forest, I will
disappear under the canopy of trees, then I can sit out until it is dark."
Various thoughts raced through his mind.

Turning the crackling car radio, he confirmed his worst fears. They were
looking for him. There was an airborne patrol comprising four low flying
helicopters. Road blocks were being put up across all the major highways
leading to Freedonia's borders.

"The buzzards! I will teach them that I am not yet done with them," he
cursed. Absolutely, typically illustrious son stuff!

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March poll: Will the media respect the rules?
sundayopinion with Wilbert P Mandinde

ZIMBABWE goes into the sixth parliamentary race on 31 March 2005, which will
be a historic election because of a number of changes to the electoral laws.
In an effort to comply with the SADC Electoral Principles and Guidelines,
elections will for the first time be held in one day, ballots being
deposited in translucent boxes and eventual counting done at polling
Any government would love to have its elections declared free and fair and
certainly the Zimbabwean government would love such a conclusion coming from
all those who will observe the elections. For an election to be free and
fair, citizens have to enjoy freedom of movement, assembly, association and
expression during the electoral processes. There also should be political
tolerance during the pre and post election periods. President Robert Mugabe
was widely hailed for declaring zero tolerance to political violence during
one of his recent state of the nation addresses. But it is not the issue of
violence only which should be of concern. There are many other things which
should be considered key among the which is the right to freedom of

The government recently gazetted the Broadcasting Services Regulations
(Access to radio and television during an Election), 2005 with provisions
for election programmes, allocation of airtime on television and radio,
election broadcasts, election advertisement as well as news and current
affairs programmes during the election period. What a good move it is to
come up with such a law! But it is something to come up with a law and quite
another to abide by that law. During the 2002 Presidential Elections, the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) (as it was then) adopted a set of
standards - the 10 Golden Rules governing direct access to the airwaves as
well as political advertisement which included the following;

1. Each party's Presidential candidate or representative will be allocated
time specified by the ZBC who will remain responsible for the publication of
the broadcast material.

This provision is found modified in the Broadcasting Services Regulations
2005 where in Section 5 ZBH has to ensure that contesting parties or
candidates are given equal opportunities for the broadcasting of election
matter. Again this provision has to be read together with section 8(1) of
the regulations where ZBH is being compelled to broadcast news and current
affairs programmes relating to elections "in a balanced, fair, complete and
accurate manner."

However if we are to have history judge us, according to a report compiled
by the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ), President Mugabe was
allocated 94% of all the airtime allocated to political parties. Morgan
Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) getting 4%
which percentage was dedicated more to castigating the party as "stooges of
western imperialists". Shakespeare Maya then of NAGG, Paul Siwela of ZAPU
2000 and Wilson Khumbula shared the remaining 2%. What chances are there
then that suddenly ZBH will be fair and impartial?

One would also ask when ZBH would start implementing these regulations? On
11 February, viewers endured some three hours of the launch of ruling party
election campaign. Before that launch, viewers had no choice but to watch
and listen to the ruling party's President and first secretary as he went
about donating computers to various schools and at the same time castigating
the opposition MDC. It would appear there still is a blackout on opposition
parties. And really this will have to stop if we seriously wish to have our
elections declared free and fair.

Section 5(2) of the regulations allow ZBH to "allocate advertising air time
on television and radio to a political party or candidate during an election
period after each party or candidate contesting an election."

In our experience with the state controlled media, be it electronic or
print, they do not accept adverts from the opposition or any organization
said to be linked to the opposition. One would wonder what it is that is
going to make ZBH comply with these regulations. Even our own law
enforcement agency has a bad history of refusing to abide by the law, which
they should uphold, and disobeying court orders. This is a culture of
lawlessness which has become part of us for sometime now; but what will it
take to do away with such a culture?

Of major concern to any right thinking person will be the provision under
section 7(4) giving ZBH the power to "reject an advertisement submitted for
transmission ."

One would certainly hope that ZBH would not take advantage of such a clause
to reject adverts by opposition political parties. It has already been
highlighted above that the state controlled media has in the past refused to
accept adverts from opposition political parties. Anyone in the media
business knows the revenue generated by advertisements but for any media
house to refuse to accept adverts for the sole reason that they are from the
opposition certainly does not make business sense.

And for the first time it would appear that the Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (BAZ), long considered to be a toothless bulldog now has been given
some teeth. In terms of Section 10 of the regulations BAZ will have the
power to hear appeals by any party aggrieved by any decision of ZBH. It
should come up with its verdict within forty-eight hours of the complaint
and should it fail to do that then the complainant shall be deemed to have
won. How impartial BAZ is, is the jackpot question. It has always been
stated that a licensing authority should be independent. A law creating a
licensing authority susceptible to control and interference by the
government falls foul of Section 20 (1) of the Constitution. In the case of
Zimbabwe, the licensing and regulatory authority created is the government
itself. There can be no suggestion therefore that the licensing and
regulatory authority (the Minister of State for Information and Publicity in
the President's office) is independent.

The regulations do not take into account the fact that there could be
appeals and counter appeals to the High Court and Supreme Court. These are
courts which as Zimbabweans we are now very afraid of. It is also said
justice delayed is justice denied. The courts sat on election petitions for
the 2000 parliamentary elections. For five years they have failed to
complete only thirty-seven cases! What guarantee do we have that whatever
matter will be placed before them even on an urgent basis will have a
determination in time so that justice is not just done but seen to be done.
It is the responsibility of our judiciary to restore our confidence in it
once again. At the moment we have lost confidence and we are very afraid of
our own judiciary.

Any person who contravenes these regulations will be liable to a level ten
fine, which at the moment is one million dollars. Now if one goes by the
advertising rates provided for in the first schedule to the regulations, it
is apparent that should ZBH decide against or accept certain political
parties' adverts, they can still make a profit from the adverts of favoured
political parties which profit will be more than enough to pay the maximum
of Z$1,000,000 provided for in Section 11. A more severe and deterrent
penalty would have been appropriate.

These regulations only govern the electronic media while the print media is
totally ignored. Yet the State controlled print media has also in the past
been found wanting. The ruling party has its own paper, The Voice. But for
the ruling party to also use papers under the Zimpapers stable in the same
way it uses The Voice is highly unacceptable. It would be better to have
similar regulations governing the print media so that the election material
is presented in a balanced, fair, complete and accurate manner.

The right to freedom of expression is the cornerstone of all other rights.
We can go and express ourselves through the ballot on 31 March but the issue
really is will all the candidates get equal opportunity to express
themselves so that we make informed choices?

At the same time we need some assurances that we will continue to enjoy the
right even after expression as history has shown that whilst you have the
right to express yourself, you do not have any rights after expressing
yourself. And for our elections to be declared free and fair, for once the
public media will have to be opened to other players not just the ruling
party. We look forward to the divergent views we are likely to get on our
screens for the first time in many years.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

'MDC candidate arrested'

Farirai Machivenyika
issue date :2005-Mar-07

MDC candidate for Zvimba North, Prince Chibanda, was last week reportedly
arrested following violent clashes between supporters of the opposition and
ruling parties which left several people seriously injured. Chibanda becomes
the third MDC candidate to be arrested in the run-up to the 2005 elections
which pit Zanu PF with Zimbabwe's main opposition political party which won
57 of the 120 contested seats in 2000.
The blows come at a time when the two protagonists, President Robert Mugabe
and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, have called on their supporters to desist
from politically-motivated violence.
Chibanda was reportedly arrested alongside the MDC's secretary for
information and publicity for Zvimba District, Paidamoyo Muzulu, and
detained at Chinhoyi Police Station.  The opposition party's information
department said in a statement yesterday that Chibanda and his group were in
the constituency when they were attacked by a group of Zanu PF supporters at
Basset Farm in Raffingora.
"Chibanda was in the constituency doing his campaigns when a group of Zanu
PF supporters, headed by a war veteran only known as Kangachepi, at Basset
Farm in Raffingora, abducted him and his team," read the statement.
Chibanda and his colleagues were allegedly assaulted and taken to a secret
hideout where they were further assaulted.
Eight are said to have escaped and reported the matter to Chinhoyi police.
An MDC official at the opposition party's headquarters, Harvest House, who
refused to be named for fear of breaking party protocol, said after the
incident was reported, the police went to the hideout and arrested Chibanda,
his colleagues and their captors.
However, when they arrived at the police station, the official said,
Chibanda and Muzulu were detained over night, while the ruling party
activists were set free.  Said the statement: "The two MDC officials
(Chibanda and Muzulu) were taken to Chinhoyi police station, together with
the ZANU PF activists, but were surprised when they were told that they
would have to spend the night in the cells because the officers who were
supposed to attend to their case had gone home for the day."
Chibanda and the other MDC members were reportedly released the following
day without charge.
Contacted for comment, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzujena said: "That
person wasn't arrested. The information at hand says he was not arrested.
Contact your sources and they will tell you what happened."
 Last month, Goodrich Chimbaira, the opposition party's candidate for
Zengeza, was arrested for allegedly convening a political gathering without
police clearance, while Godfrey Chimombe, who is eyeing Shamva was also
arrested a fortnight ago for putting up campaign posters at a council
building without the consent of the owners.
Thokozani Khupe and Nomalanga Khumalo, MDC MPs for Makokoba and Umzingwane,
had charges against them for organising meetings without informing the
police, dropped..
They, however, argued that theirs was a prayer meeting, not a political
gathering, and does not require police clearance under the Public Order and
Security Act.
Constitutional law expert, Lovemore Madhuku said the latest developments
were a confirmation that nothing has changed.
He said: "It's a confirmation that the system has not changed its ways.  It
was naïve not to expect that.  It is impossible to have a free and fair
election under the current scenario because Zanu PF thrives on crowding out
its opponents."
He added that it was important for the government to level the playing
field, if the elections were to have credibility.
Another political commentator, Joseph Kurebwa, said if the claims by the MDC
of the arrests and harassments of its members were true, then the outcome of
the elections would be deemed neither free nor fair.
"It is important to know the nature of the arrests of their members. One has
to know the charges and whether they are credible. If their allegations are
true, then it's obvious that the elections won't be deemed free and fair,"
Kurebwa said. He added that it was also important to understand in election
time that parties were also bound to make unsubstantiated allegations to
gain political mileage.
"Parties will sometimes make frivolous allegations, but all in all the State
has to create a conducive environment if the outcome of the elections is to
have any credibility," he added.
Kwekwe-based political commentator Augustine Timbe, said: "There is a lot of
excitement during election time and some opposition parties become
overzealous and create discomfort for themselves and end up being on the
wrong side of the law.
"The environment is conducive for free and fair elections.  Aggrieved
parties can seek recourse from ZEC through the electoral disputes court that
is at par with the High Court."
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Sadc Forum sidelined

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-07

THE government has sidelined the Southern African Development Committee
(Sadc) Parliamentary Forum which produced a damning report on the 2000
parliamentary elections. The Forum will not be observing the March 31
general elections.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stan Mudenge recently announced a list of 45
regional and international organisations including countries from the Sadc
region, African Union and South America, which are going to observe the
However, it excluded among others, the Sadc parliamentary forum and Britain.
Mudenge was quoted in the public media as saying countries from the European
Union and others had not been invited because of their warped perception of
Reacting to the government's move, MDC's shadow minister for foreign affairs
Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga said: "The government has decided not to
invite the Sadc Parliamentary Forum to observe the 2005 elections. As the
MDC, we are very concerned."
She said the only reason the government did not extent an invitation to the
forum was  that it was the only body in the Sadc region that said the 2000
parliamentary elections,  were not free and fair.
"I have since written a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking an
explanation to that effect," Misihairambwi-Mushonga added.
Zimbabwe is represented in the Sadc Parliamentary Forum by legislators
Gabriel Chaibva (MDC), Charles Majange, Joram Gumbo and Ester Nyauchi of
Zanu PF.
Chaibva told The Daily Mirror yesterday that the government had decided not
to invite the forum because it was yet to fully implement the Sadc
guidelines on democratic elections.
"The government knows very well that it did not implement the Sadc
guidelines and the invitation of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum to observe the
elections would have exposed the regime. Government knows that the forum
brooks no nonsense. The forum was going to scrutinise the election process,"
Chaibva, the outgoing Member of Parliament for Harare South said.
Gumbo-Zanu PF chief whip - said the government invited the forum through the
Sadc community.
"As far as I am concerned, they were invited through Sadc. The Forum is part
of Sadc and falls under the auspices of the African Union and I do not see
any reason why the government will stop them from observing our elections,"
Gumbo said.
A spokesperson of the Electoral Supervisory Commission said the commission
was not involved in selecting countries and organisations to observe the
parliamentary elections.
"We do not invite observers, we simply accredit them," said the
Efforts to get comment from Mudenge and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
were in vain at the time of going to print yesterday.
The Forum is a regional organisation that brings together 12 parliaments of
the southern Africa region and represents 1 800 members of parliament.
Among the forum's critical issues of concern in the 21st century is the
support of the growing democracy in the region.
The forum is motivated by the fact that for many years, the people of the
region have fought and struggled for democracy and human rights, against
forces, institutions and socio-economic and political bodies that limited or
completely deprived them of democracy, human rights and civil liberties.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

NCA against re-introduction

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-07

ZIMBABWE's combative National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) is at
loggerheads with President Robert Mugabe's recent statement that his
government will re-introduce a senate; that will among other members,
accommodate those who lost the party's primary elections last December.
President Mugabe told Zanu PF
structures in Chimanimani last month that party candidates who lost in the
primaries must not despair, as they would be accommodated in the senate.
He reportedly said: "Although we had abolished the senate, which is the
Upper House, we will re-introduce it in the next four to six months. Those
who did not make it during the primary elections will be considered for this
Upper House".
The NCA said President Mugabe's utterances were unfortunate.
"The NCA is appalled that Zanu PF has the boldness in its recent
announcement to even suggest the abuse of national constitutional reform in
order to reward rejects of its own internal political processes by creating
a Senate for them," Fungai Jessie Mujome, the NCA national spokesperson
"Such a house of Parliament would more aptly be called a sanatorium. Such
privatisation of the urgent need for constitutional reform is an insult to
the collective intelligence of Zimbabweans."
Majome said any political party that attains a two-thirds majority in
parliament and then manipulate that advantage'to tinker with the
constitution for self serving ends, would be betraying the sacred and
patriotic hopes of Zimbabweans'.
The NCA, which clashed with the MDC after it opted to participate in this
month's parliamentary polls against its advise not to, applauded the
opposition party for envisaging a people driven constitutional reform in its
 "The priority number 3 out of 5 in 2005 general election manifesto for the
Movement for Democratic Change reads -A new MDC government will ensure that
the people have an opportunity to make a transparent, accountable and
inclusive constitution making process," Majome said.
Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Dydimus Mutasa dismissed assertions by
the NCA that the Senate would be introduced to accommodate ruling party
candidates that lost in the intra-party.
"We had a Senate way back in 1980. Who had lost primary elections by then
such that the party was forced to introduce the Upper House? The Senate was
only abolished in 1990. Ngavafunge zviri straight (NCA must think
 straight)," Mutasa said.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC activist tortured, left for dead

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-07

A GURUVE man was tortured, hanged by the neck on a tree and left for dead by
a group of unidentified people for allegedly supporting the MDC last Monday,
police have said. The case (RRB 0548388) was reported at Mushumbi Pools
Police station on February 26.
Investigating officer, Sergeant Mukondo told The Daily Mirror that Noah
Chirembwe (24) was abducted from his village, Mazambara under Chief
Chitsungo by a group of people and tortured.
"The police investigations are still underway to establish the perpetrators
of the violence. The police will make sure that every person
 who doesn't abide by the law
will be brought to book. We urge all members of the public to have
a peaceful countdown to the (parliamentary) elections," Mukondo said.
Chirembwe's request for medical report to Guruve Hospital read: "The victim
had his hands tied with a twine made rope and hanged by his neck on a tree
and later struck with a burnt wooden stick upon his back and right cheek and
also struck with sticks and ropes upon his body several times after being
implicated for being aligned to the opposition party."
Mashonaland Central MDC chairman Tapera Macheka said despite President
Robert Mugabe's call for peaceful general elections, there was politically
motivated violence in the province.
"Cases of violence in Mashonaland Central are far from over. We have
experienced a number of cases where we face intimidation from ruling party
supporters," Macheka said.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Fuel shortage hits bulawayo commuters

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Mar-07

SCORES of commuters in Bulawayo were last week stranded as commuter omnibus
operators grounded their vehicles owing to an acute fuel shortage in the
city. There were parked at most ranks in the city with commuters jostling to
board the few operating omnibuses.
Unconfirmed reports said
some unscrupulous operators were cashing in on the shortage of the precious
liquid by charging exorbitant fares.
 "I hope the government could find a lasting solution to this fuel crisis.
Imagine on Tuesday I was forced to pay $ 5 000 to travel to Pumula. This is
really unfair," said a commuter who refused to be named.
Most operators preferred to ferry commuters travelling shorter distances.
Because of the chaotic situation at the ranks, some commuters opted to foot
to various destinations.
Pickpockets had a field day as they capitalized on the situation.
Fuel shortages resurfaced in Bulawayo about a week ago.
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Lawyer not hopeful for 'mercenaries' speedy release

March 06, 2005, 14:15

The lawyer for the 62 suspected mercenaries to be freed from prison in
Zimbabwe after being accused of planning a coup in Equatorial Guinea does
not expect they will be released in a hurry.

Alwyn Griebenow said today that he would be on the afternoon flight to
Harare and tomorrow morning would start to establish what was going on. "I
have spoken to the SA Embassy in Harare. They say they have been told
nothing. They are in the dark."

Asked what he read into the Zimbabwe government saying the men would have to
stay in prison a little longer while it verified their true countries of
origin, Griebenow said: "I think Zimbabwe is trying to be spiteful right up
until the last moment." He said he would nonetheless be in the Zimbabwe
capital indefinitely and did not rule out the possibility that his clients
would be deported by truck over the Beit Bridge road border without him
being informed.

Such treatment, he said, was "the same as happened to Cosatu (the Congress
of SA Trade Unions)". Cosatu has twice been booted out of Zimbabwe while on
fact finding missions in advance of the controversial election at the end of
the month. The first time they were bussed back to Beit Bridge and the
second they were returned by airplane.

Griebenow's clients are among an original 70 arrested at Harare
International Airport when their plane stopped over to allegedly collect
firearms to be used for guarding diamond mines in the Democratic Republic of
Congo - or overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. Although they were
all travelling on South African passports when they were arrested on March 7
last year, it later emerged the men were originally from a number of
different countries including Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. -
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From The Washington Post, 5 March

Zimbabwean activists tell of beatings

Campaign activities banned or perilous, opposition says

By Craig Timberg

Mutare - Activists from Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, were returning from a campaign rally recently when they
stopped at a shopping center in search of some cold drinks. What they found
instead, they said, were about 20 government soldiers in no mood for the
niceties of democracy. One soldier, spotting the party's distinctive
red-and-white T-shirts, announced, "This is a no-go area for MDC." According
to the activists, who later described the encounter, the soldier added
brusquely, "We've been tolerating you for a long time. Get into your car as
quickly as you can and leave this place." Then, as the activists started to
pull away in their pickup truck, the soldiers began hurling stones. One
candidate for parliament, Gabriel Chiwara, 39, stumbled as he tried to climb
into the front seat. Chiwara, an electrician, said the soldiers tackled him
to the ground and kicked him for several minutes with their boots. As he
begged for mercy, he said, the soldiers shouted: "You have to die! You are
selling the country to the whites!"

As Zimbabwe approaches elections March 31, encountering "no-go areas" and
official hostility has become a common experience for members of the
opposition party. Despite promises from President Robert Mugabe to make
certain the polling is "free and fair," opposition candidates said almost
any form of campaigning puts them at risk of arrest, harassment and
beatings. The Feb. 20 attack at the shopping center, about 50 miles from
this northeastern city, was one of several reported since Mugabe, who is
struggling to keep his party's edge in parliament after nearly 25 years of
unbroken rule, publicly vowed that the coming elections would be free of
violence. The account of the attack was based on interviews with party
activists who were present. Because of government threats to jail foreign
correspondents working in Zimbabwe, it was not possible to confirm the story
with officials, but it resembles numerous reports of beatings of opposition
activists compiled by journalists and human rights groups in recent years.

Mugabe has worked in recent months to convince international leaders,
especially from friendly African governments, that this vote will be
different from those in 2000 and 2002, when elections were condemned by
international groups as unfairly slanted toward the ruling party. He has
instituted several reforms, including the use of translucent voting boxes
and one-day voting. South African President Thabo Mbeki, the region's
diplomatic leader, has often defended Mugabe. He recently criticized U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for calling Zimbabwe one of the world's
"outposts of tyranny." Yet opposition leaders in this nation of 13 million
said almost every form of campaigning either has been restricted or is
dangerous. They also said they have scant access to mass media because the
government controls all radio stations, television broadcasting and daily
newspapers. Perhaps most important, they said, voters have become
discouraged and frightened by the rough tactics of Mugabe's party. It is
often not clear whether the attacks have been orchestrated by Mugabe's party
or merely inspired by his vitriolic rhetoric. Mugabe regularly accuses
opponents of being traitors seeking to return Zimbabwe to the control of
Britain, the colonial ruler here until 1980. "The terrain is very tough, and
we think it is getting harsher and harsher," said Pishai Muchauraya, 31, one
of the opposition candidates who were attacked. His mother, he said, has
been denied government food handouts because of his affiliation.

In recent weeks, opposition party activists have reportedly been arrested
for putting up campaign posters. One youth leader was arrested for
criticizing Mugabe. Party planning meetings have been raided by police. And
entire sections of the country - mainly the rural areas where Mugabe's crude
calls to patriotism find the greatest support - have been deemed too
dangerous for campaigning. Even in the cities, where opposition support runs
strong, candidates cannot hold rallies, hand out pamphlets or knock on doors
without obtaining prior approval from police, who have wide latitude to
approve or deny such requests. When the police do approve an event, a list
of conditions is issued, including a prohibition on using "language likely
to undermine the authority of the President of Zimbabwe." Opposition
candidates said that they gather with supporters mostly at night in private
homes and that they rely on volunteers to quietly contact voters who might
be interested in hearing campaign appeals. The election comes at a volatile
time for Zimbabwe, which faces a devastated economy and growing hunger. The
ruling party, Zanu PF, suffered its greatest public rift in December,
leading to the estrangement of several party officials. Among those who left
was Mugabe's information minister, Jonathan Moyo, who has since become an
independent candidate for parliament. Moyo has turned his acid tongue on the
ruling party, saying Mugabe is surrounded by "deadwood" who would have lost
power years earlier without his help.

Zimbabweans are also feeling the effects of widespread hunger. In the vast
cornfields that provide their staple food, the plants appear pale and
stunted from drought. The nation's agricultural yield has not recovered from
the disorder caused by Mugabe's five-year-old program of land reform, in
which the acreage of white commercial farmers was seized -- often
violently -- by veterans of the nation's independence war and others. "The
corn is all gone now," said one elderly man in a village south of here.
Rampant inflation continues as well, despite a decline in the official
inflation rate, which once topped 600 percent, to 134 percent. Prices for
food and other products are rising far faster than most salaries, while less
than half of adults have steady jobs. But despite widespread frustration,
Zimbabweans express little optimism that conditions will change after the
elections. The ruling party altered the election law to allow soldiers under
Mugabe's command to run rural polling stations. The opposition party charges
that lists of registered voters have been rigged to pad totals in rural
areas, where Mugabe's support is stronger, and hold them down in cities. The
millions of Zimbabweans living abroad, who overwhelmingly oppose Mugabe,
have been prohibited from voting.

Even if the opposition party gains a majority of votes, Mugabe and members
of his government may legally appoint 30 of the 150 seats in parliament,
giving him a comfortable margin if the election goes poorly. Yet opposition
candidates said their main opponent was not Mugabe, but the apathy and fear
created by years of authoritarian rule. Many voters, they said, will not
risk crossing the ruling party if attacks on dissidents remain common. The
Feb. 20 incident, as recounted by opposition activists, was especially
brutal. One victim, Josphat Munhuumwe, 32, said he was inside a shop when he
saw the soldiers attack Chiwara. He ran outside, he said, and they soon
began kicking him brutally. Finally, he said, a man who appeared to be in
command told the soldiers to stop, and they fled into the nearby woods.
"They left me for dead," Munhuumwe said.

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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

Parastals likely to scupper RBZ $10 trillion facility
Kuda Chikwanda Chief Writer

GROSS irregularities have been unearthed in the parastatal and state
enterprise community following revelations most of these statutory bodies
numbering over 73 do not have boards of directors.

Highly placed sources confirmed to the Sunday Mirror that only five of these
government controlled bodies falling under the auspices of the ministry of
Transport and Communications had responded to requests by the ministry of
Parastatals and State Enterprises to supply information concerning their
boards of directors.

The sources allege that the ministry wrote to all parastatals and state
enterprises through the relevant parent ministries, in mid-January this
year, requesting information on whether the statutory bodies had boards of
directors or not.

However, the response rate from the statutory bodies had been
unsatisfactory, with insiders in the ministry who spoke on condition of
anonymity adding that those bodies that had responded had furnished the
ministry with irrelevant information.

"We are in the process of repeating our requests for information on which
parastatals and state enterprises do not have boards. The only ministry to
send the required information was the ministry of Transport and
Communication that gave information on the five bodies under its control,"
said one insider.

The information on boards of directors would have not only benefited the
particular ministry which is currently preparing a data base on all
statutory bodies, but would have had a significant effect on $10 trillion
facility made available to such bodies by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
governor, Gideon Gono at the monetary policy review meeting held early this

The apparent refusal to provide information on which statutory bodies have
boards of directors and those which don't have, will likely scupper plans by
the concerned bodies to access the central bank facility - one of the
conditions to such funding being effective corporate governance. In efforts
to get the names of the recalcitrant government bodies refusing to furnish
Gumbo's ministry with required information and also attain the names of
those bodies without boards of directors, the Sunday Mirror contacted Rugare
Gumbo, minister of Parastatals and State Enterprises.

Gumbo said he was in a meeting and referred this paper for assistance to
Tineyi Chigudu, principal director in the ministry.

"Talk to Chigudu, and tell him that you need assistance on the matter. He
will give you details. Tell him you have my authority," said Gumbo.

However, Chigudu disputed allegations that most parastatals were operating
without boards of directors.

"It is not true that only five responded to our requests. In fact a lot more
responses have reached our office. There may be some complacency on the part
of some of these statutory bodies, but I am sure all responses will come in,
and we will complete our database. At the moment we are still compiling
information," said Chigudu.

Chigudu added that his ministry was currently working on Generic Corporate
Governance document, the equivalent of the South African Kings report and
the British Cadbury's report - both reports laying out guidelines for
corporate governance.

"We are currently trying to get comments from stakeholders, and if possible,
we would like that report to be tabled for cabinet considerations within the
next 14-days. It will be mandatory for every parastatal and state enterprise
to follow the guidelines of that document, which borrows from the Cadbury
and Kings reports, but is a home grown solution," said Chigudu.

Amongst other things, the Cadbury and Kings reports require ss that boards
of directors maintain a sound system of internal control toFrom Page 1
safeguard shareholders' investment and company assets.

Issues concerning boards of directors and competent management at
parastatals and state enterprises have always been problematic, and at the
same time, have been controversial, as Zimbabwe's economic decline has been
attributed mainly to the statutory bodies.

Some parastatals have gone for long periods without boards of directors, and
in cases where boards of directors are present, the directors have often
lacked the requisite skills and knowledge to steer the government bodies
from the brink of collapse.

The procedure in which the parent ministry appoints a board for a parastatal
under its auspices has come under fire as ministers have been accused of
appointing their friends or political peers to the boards, regardless of
whether such individuals can carry out the mandate endowed upon them.

Chigudu also blasted the appointment by parent ministries of unskilled
personnel and individuals already sitting on numerous other boards to sit on
parastatal boards.

"Our databank will focus on skilled personnel in various sectors. We want
directors of such bodies to be people with sufficient and relevant skills to
enable optimum performance. Equally important is our criticism of appointing
a person who sits on 101 other boards. Such individuals will hardly have any
time to attend to parastatal affairs," added Chigudu.

Glen Norah legislator and chairperson of the parliamentary sub-committee on
public accounts, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, concurred with Chigudu,
saying such individuals would "not perform satisfactorily in terms of
capacity or time".

"How do you expect inexperienced people to rein in over business
malpractice, corruption and inefficiency in the running of such bodies?" the
Glen Norah legislator quiried.

However, Misihairabwi-Mushonga raised a number of issues she had found
problematic while chairing the parliamentary sub-committee on Public
Accounts. Chief amongst these were the appointment of political allies and
friends to such boards, and the concept of executive chairmen on the boards
of parastatals and state enterprises.

"Why should an organisation, especially a critical public one such as a
parastatal, have an executive chairman?" she queried. "That chairman becomes
too powerful and has unlimited power. The trend is very clear. Organisations
with executive chairmen are extremely problematic." Currently Zesa Holdings
and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) are led by executive chairmen.
Sidney Gata leads the former, while Rino Zhuwarara leads the latter in such

Such trends - in totality - are likely to have adverse effects on the
statutory bodies that fail to comply with requests from Gumbo's ministry.
Calling the statutory bodies the "missing link" in the economic turnaround
programme, Gono has continually stressed the importance of corporate
governance so as to safeguard funds invested in the public companies.

Gono said that the statutory bodies were milking the national fiscus,
failing to deliver on their mandate and charging excessively on their
services - the combined effects being inflationary pressure that was
detrimental to the country's economic turnaround.

At the same meeting, Gumbo blasted the statutory bodies, saying there was no
good management at parastatals, state enterprises and local authorities, and
added that the $10 trillion scheme would be tantamount to financing

"It is one thing to give money to parastatals, but it is quite another to be
absolutely certain that the money will be used correctly," said Gumbo.

Gono and vice-president Joyce Mujuru later co-chaired an eight-hour heated
meeting, in which parastatal bosses of over 16 state-owned enterprises were
grilled and were threatened with dismissal from their posts for
non-performance.safeguard shareholders' investment and company assets.

Issues concerning boards of directors and competent management at
parastatals and state enterprises have always been problematic, and at the
same time, have been controversial, as Zimbabwe's economic decline has been
attributed mainly to the statutory bodies.

Some parastatals have gone for long periods without boards of directors, and
in cases where boards of directors are present, the directors have often
lacked the requisite skills and knowledge to steer the government bodies
from the brink of collapse.

The procedure in which the parent ministry appoints a board for a parastatal
under its auspices has come under fire as ministers have been accused of
appointing their friends or political peers to the boards, regardless of
whether such individuals can carry out the mandate endowed upon them.

Chigudu also blasted the appointment by parent ministries of unskilled
personnel and individuals already sitting on numerous other boards to sit on
parastatal boards.

"Our databank will focus on skilled personnel in various sectors. We want
directors of such bodies to be people with sufficient and relevant skills to
enable optimum performance. Equally important is our criticism of appointing
a person who sits on 101 other boards. Such individuals will hardly have any
time to attend to parastatal affairs," added Chigudu.

Glen Norah legislator and chairperson of the parliamentary sub-committee on
public accounts, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, concurred with Chigudu,
saying such individuals would "not perform satisfactorily in terms of
capacity or time".

"How do you expect inexperienced people to rein in over business
malpractice, corruption and inefficiency in the running of such bodies?" the
Glen Norah legislator quiried.

However, Misihairabwi-Mushonga raised a number of issues she had found
problematic while chairing the parliamentary sub-committee on Public
Accounts. Chief amongst these were the appointment of political allies and
friends to such boards, and the concept of executive chairmen on the boards
of parastatals and state enterprises.

"Why should an organisation, especially a critical public one such as a
parastatal, have an executive chairman?" she queried. "That chairman becomes
too powerful and has unlimited power. The trend is very clear. Organisations
with executive chairmen are extremely problematic." Currently Zesa Holdings
and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) are led by executive chairmen.
Sidney Gata leads the former, while Rino Zhuwarara leads the latter in such

Such trends - in totality - are likely to have adverse effects on the
statutory bodies that fail to comply with requests from Gumbo's ministry.
Calling the statutory bodies the "missing link" in the economic turnaround
programme, Gono has continually stressed the importance of corporate
governance so as to safeguard funds invested in the public companies.

Gono said that the statutory bodies were milking the national fiscus,
failing to deliver on their mandate and charging excessively on their
services - the combined effects being inflationary pressure that was
detrimental to the country's economic turnaround.

At the same meeting, Gumbo blasted the statutory bodies, saying there was no
good management at parastatals, state enterprises and local authorities, and
added that the $10 trillion scheme would be tantamount to financing

"It is one thing to give money to parastatals, but it is quite another to be
absolutely certain that the money will be used correctly," said Gumbo.

Gono and vice-president Joyce Mujuru later co-chaired an eight-hour heated
meeting, in which parastatal bosses of over 16 state-owned enterprises were
grilled and were threatened with dismissal from their posts for
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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

Deserters selfish, misguided: Zvobgo
Godwine Mureriwa Assistant Editor

FAILED Masvingo Central ruling party aspirant Eddison Zvobgo (Jnr) has said
that the problems being faced by Zanu PF were the direct consequence of some
members placing their interests above those of the collective ambitions of
the organisation saying that those who chose to stand as independent
candidates were misguided and selfish.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Zvobgo (Jnr) instead encouraged
members of the ruling party to rally around the successful candidates as he
was doing in the case of Shylet Uyoyo who will be representing Zanu PF in
Masvingo Central in the March 31 polls.

Former information minister Jonathan Moyo, former Matebeleland South
provincial chairman Lloyd Siyoka and Godwin Shiri decided to stand as
independent candidates thereby raising the ire of President Robert Mugabe.

The ruling party made a decision to hold certain constituencies for female
candidates only in line with Sadc electoral guidelines. Other aspirants were
barred from contesting in the primary elections for a number of reasons,
mainly to do with disciplinary records and their individual histories in the

"It is the duty of every committed Zanu PF member to support the principles
and resolutions of the party. Unity, dedication and discipline are the
foundations not only of our party, but also of our wider society. We must
all support Zanu PF candidates," he said.

Zvobgo (Jnr) said that every organisation had rules and regulations that
were designed to benefit the institution as a whole and the placement of
individual interests above the collective good was detrimental in the long

This stance is a far cry from what has happened in the past, where the
province was rocked by incessant factionalism. He said it was not only a
Zanu Pf problem pointing out the case of sitting MP Silas Mangono of the
opposition MDC who was elbowed out and is now standing as an independent

"But such a trend is least tolerated in Zanu PF, which came out of a
struggle- where self-discipline and sacrifice were prerequisites for victory
to be attained. " Zvobgo (Jnr) urged his supporters and all Zanu PF members
to be progressive and accept the resultant reality of primary elections. He
elaborated, " My supporters are true Zanu PF cadres. They are heirs to the
tradition of self-sacrifice for the common good. They are aware of Zanu PF's
history and traditions and will not allow us to be divided from the
principles of the party. The likes of Herbert Chitepo and Josiah Tongogara
stand firm in our memories as heroes who sacrificed their
everything-including life- for all Zimbabweans. So, how can anyone turn
his/her back on such a tradition? It is not just about the pursuit of power
as an end in itself, but the effective service of the needs of the people."
On the question of whether or not the ruling party would reclaim the tightly
contested Masvingo Central from the MDC, Zvobgo (Jnr) was cautious, but
optimistic saying, "If all party members dedicate themselves to vigorously
implement the policies of the party, victory will be achievable, not only in
Masvingo Central, but in the whole country.

"My father always said, 'If gold rusts what will iron do? By this he meant
that those who are born within a tradition must set an example for those who
come after. Some of the problems we are experiencing in the party today are
because some people who joined the party did not understand this." Zvobgo
(Jnr) differed with those who said the party had an agenda to prolong the
political survival of the old guard at the expense of younger members
saying, "The party realised that commitment and discipline had to be shown
over a number of years. Unfortunately, some of us were born into the party,
albeit could not be in active politics since we were serving the State (in
the Attorney General's office). "Remember how in the Bible King Solomon
solved the dispute of two women over the ownership of a child? He threatened
to cut it into halves. The false mother agreed, but the real mother said
'NO, let her have the child.' True commitment and principles are seen in
actions rather than mere words, especially under such tough circumstances"
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ANC wants stronger SACP, Cosatu ties
Moffet Mofokeng
Posted Sun, 06 Mar 2005

Deputy President Jacob Zuma has urged the Congress of SA Trade Unions to
strengthen its relations with the African National Congress and the SA
Communist Party.

The alliance - comprising the ANC, the SACP and Cosatu - would help South
Africa advance its democratic gains, he said on Saturday at a conference
marking South Africa's 10 years of democracy.

"When you have discussed everything, I urge you to discuss the importance of
the alliance as your last item," Zuma told delegates at the conference in
Midrand, outside Johannesburg.

"The alliance must be careful not to undo the success we scored. We must not
damage what is so important for our future," the deputy president said.

Bitter spat over Zim, BEE

Zuma's comments came after a bitter public spat between leaders of the three
organisations over Zimbabwe, and South Africa's black economic empowerment

Cosatu was accused of being an agent of Western powers, and harbouring
political ambitions when it recently differed with the ANC's policy on

Zwelinzima Vavi, Cosatu's general secretary, said the federation has no
intention to become a political party, or to turn the labour movement's
leaders into politicians.

Cosatu has no political ambition

"We have no political ambition. We have no intention of turning Cosatu into
a political party. We are happy as trade unionists," Vavi said in a 32-page

"We have no business whatsoever of being ambitious to become politicians,"
Vavi said.

He said it would be a fundamental mistake "if we can't criticise our
government, or side with the opposition even if we represent our

Cosatu supports no Zim political parties

Earlier on Saturday, Cosatu's president Willie Madisha said: "We don't
support any political party in "that country (Zimbabwe)".

"We don't support the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), we don't know
it. We don't support Zanu-PF, we don't know it.

"We don't support any small political party. We don't know them," he said in
a 30-minute speech at the opening of the Cosatu-convened conference.

Cosatu has been booted out of Zimbabwe on two occasions when they travelled
there on fact finding missions.

Concern over unemployment

Saturday's event was attended by Zuma, Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana,
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, ANC members and members of the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

Zuma said Cosatu and government were concerned about South Africa's high
unemployment rate which he put at 27.8 percent. But Cosatu has put the
figure at 42 percent.

"That's a big number, but I know we have been trying to solve the issue," he

The conference ends on Monday.

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Sunday Times (UK)

            March 06, 2005

            Zimbabwe's evicted farmers plough new hope into Nigeria
            Christian Allen Purefoy, Lagos

            A GROUP of Zimbabwean farmers dispossessed by President Robert
Mugabe's "land redistribution" programme have been welcomed 2,500 miles away
in Nigeria, where they are starting new lives.

            Others among the growing Zimbabwean farming diaspora have moved
to countries nearer home - in particular Mozambique and Zambia - but the
venture south of the Niger River is uncharted territory.

            An initial group of 15 farmers have spent the last month
building homes, barns and boreholes on 38,000 acres of land they are leasing
in Kwara state, 250 miles north of Lagos.

            After harrowing experiences in Zimbabwe, where many of them were
removed from their homes by machete-wielding mobs of "war veterans" loyal to
Mugabe, the farmers are reluctant to give their names.

            Last week they were riding motorbikes along dirt tracks as they
laid out fields. Workers cleared ground with bulldozers.

            "We will start farming as simply as possible with what can be
grown here and then play it by ear," said one, who is haunted by memories of
Zimbabwe and asked to be identified only as Adam. Five of the new farms will
be dairy, he said, and the others will grow crops such as rice, soya beans
and maize.

            Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian president, has been an outspoken
critic of Mugabe. The Zimbabwean leader was so angered by Commonwealth heads
of government at a meeting hosted by Obasanjo last year that he pulled out
of the organisation.

            Bukola Saraki, the governor of Kwara state, welcomed the farmers'
arrival, saying they would be able to show Nigerians how to improve yields.
"Let us transfer that knowledge and technology to our people," he said.
"Compare the population of 15 human beings to that of Kwara state - they
cannot colonise us. What we should do is learn from them."

            The Zimbabwean farmers are committed to training 10 Nigerian
farmers a year, and 1% of their turnover will be spent on education

            Each has borrowed £130,000 to start their farms, loans they
estimate they can pay off in five years. They are flying in tractors and
other equipment from Brazil, which is supplying livestock, and from South
Africa and Europe.

            "We're here to farm and worry about the crops," said Adam. "We
don't want to let the Nigerian government down."

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