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

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The Star

      Indaba urges action on Zim crisis
      March 7, 2003

      By John Battersby

      Pro-democracy Zimbabwean activists have drafted a plan to restore good
governance in Zimbabwe.

      Senior members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have called
on the African Union and the Southern African Development Community to back
their call for a group of eminent persons to promote dialogue and ensure the
Zimbabwean government complies with the plan.

      The group has drawn up a set of preconditions for a return to
normality in the country and called on the government of President Robert
Mugabe to recognise the current political crisis.

      The call was made following a two-day conference held in a lodge north
of Pretoria under the auspices of the Institute for Democracy in South
Africa . It was attended by about 50 activists including trade unionists,
church leaders, civil rights leaders and politicians from Zimbabwe and South

      Zimbabwe, which is facing economic meltdown and a crippling famine,
has been mired in a political crisis since parliamentary elections a year
ago which were declared flawed by several monitoring groups.

      The conference, which sought to promote dialogue between adversaries
in Zimbabwe, turned into an internal dialogue between activists when only
one Zanu-PF member, former justice minister Eddison Zvobgo, arrived but
declined to speak.

      A handful of SA government and ANC participants attended the
conference, which was marked by intense debate about the way forward. The
South African government drew hostile criticism for its alleged bias towards
the ruling Zanu-PF party and the systematic marginalisation of the MDC.

      The MDC, which has filed a lawsuit contesting last year's
parliamentary election, has rejected offers to give it token ministerial
positions in a government of national unity dominated by Zanu-PF.

      It has insisted that it would enter into a transitional arrangement
only if it was linked to new elections, if Mugabe relinquished political
office and if an impartial body to ensure compliance by Zanu-PF was

      The SA government has followed a policy of "quiet diplomacy" in a bid
to get an internal dialogue going in Zimbabwe.
      Recent statements and actions have indicated a clear tilt towards the
ruling party.

      The seminar heard detailed accounts of widespread human rights
violations in Zimbabwe, including the systematic intimidation and torture of
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean citizens by trained youth militias.

      The Zimbabwean government denounced the seminar publicly before it
began and several Zanu-PF and MDC participants withdrew shortly before the
conference got under way.
      Most of the participants had been either detained or tortured by the
Zimbabwean authorities. - Group Political Editor
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ABC Australia

Famine in Zimbabwe

AM - Friday, March  7, 2003 8:27

LINDA MOTTRAM: A glimpse into the extent of the food crisis in Zimbabwe, a
country struck by drought, but also by political turmoil that many believe
has contributed much to the tragedy.

The United Nations World Food Program says millions of people in Zimbabwe
are now in need of urgent food aid, estimating that more than half the
population in a country that should be brimming with food, is facing severe

For the first time in almost two years, after restrictions imposed against
many reporters by the Mugabe government, our Africa Correspondent Sally Sara
has returned to Zimbabwe to see for herself the impact of failed crops and
commercial farm closures.

SALLY SARA: Zimbabwe's maize crop is less than a month away from harvest. By
this stage in the season the maize plants should be taller than the farmers
that tend them but this year the fields are stunted and withered.

In Masvingo Province many districts went for forty days without rain. Now,
the sickly fields won't feed the families here.

Netsia Mugabe is a sixteen-year old orphan. She's trying to find enough food
for her four brothers and sisters.

NETSIA MUGABE [translated]: My parents were relatively young and
unfortunately they died and they left very young children, Tsabo four years
but Malea Chuba [phonetic] he was two. I imagined how I could keep a
two-year old child in the family.

SALLY SARA: Netsia and her siblings huddle together in their mud hut.
They're now surviving on emergency food and so are most of their neighbours.

The United Nations World Food Program is feeding more than seventy five per
cent of the people in this district called Shindi. Almost eight thousand
people from surrounding villages have arrived in search of food.

In villages like this one the problem is getting worse. Many people who
attempted to plant crops here didn't receive fertiliser in time to give the
maize the head start it needed.

The situation is being replicated across Zimbabwe.

Luis Clemens, spokesman for the United Nations World Food Program says more
than 7 million people are in need of aid.

LUIS CLEMENS: Each of these 7.2 million people have a name, have their own
story and to me their needs are overwhelming, are staggering and I think it
warrants attention across the world and the focus has been on some 4500
white commercial farmers.

SALLY SARA: The World Food Program says the shortages are not the result of
drought alone. The WFP says the Zimbabwean government is responsible for
much of the suffering.

The government has forced commercial farmers off their land and allowed the
economy to slide into chaos.

The nation which once fed itself and many of its neighbours is now in
crisis. Zimbabweans are going hungry and the worst may be yet to come.

This is Sally Sara in Masvingo, Zimbabwe for AM.
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A Prerequisite For Development

By Ben Freeth (drawing on resources particularly from John Robertson)

It is no mere coincidence that the borders of the least developed parts of
the Zimbabwean economy are also the borders of the communal areas. It is no
mere coincidence that these same borders coincide with the borders of
severe land degradation, deforestation and environmental desertification.
It is no mere coincidence that the above realities are now becoming
realities in the commercial farming areas as well. Genuine empowerment,
development and poverty alleviation is not going to take place by
redistributing existing assets: a system needs to be put in place that
makes asset and wealth creation possible. The system that is able to create
economic strength involves the very same production and financial
procedures that made commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe such a success
story and was also a key component of the agricultural and subsequent
industrial revolutions in the developed world.

To the commercially minded individual and farmer it is essential that the
land has value. Land with no commercial value is never going to have a true
value as an asset to the individual. If this is the case the individual is
never going to see it as a place to invest in, to build on, to improve, to
develop or pay tax for. Individuals simply do not invest in businesses that
do not belong to them. In the same way individuals do not invest in land
that is state owned and could be taken away at a politician's whim.

The principle is simple: the individual needs a dependable economic system
that gives him the motivation and resources to develop the land in a
sustainable manner creating a stable economic and political environment for
the country to progress and develop within. In short the country needs one
standard of private ownership expressed in the form of title.

Up until February 2000 when the people of Zimbabwe, in essence, voted in a
referendum for security of tenure, nearly a third of Zimbabwean land was
titled. In March 2003 around 98% of land in Zimbabwe is effectively
controlled by the state and it cannot be said that there is any true
security of tenure left anywhere in the country. As a result the principle
source of Zimbabwe's livelihood and wealth creation is being destroyed. By
chiselling away at property rights, the foundation of the whole
wealth-delivery system has been undermined resulting in acute poverty
creation not poverty alleviation.

The key benefits of title are very evident to see amongst the farmers in
whatever agro-ecological region, soil type or rainfall regime the titled
farmer finds himself in. The system provides for:
· security of tenure
· collateral
· access to bank credit
· motivation for environmental stewardship
· financial and psychological motivation
· confidence in long term planning
· capital and asset accumulation
· wealth creation for skills development
· wealth creation for research and development
· sustainable agricultural practices

With two systems in place in Zimbabwe, contrasts will continue to grow, and
with that: increased resentment and the politics of envy that have been
harnessed in the current so-called land reform program. By ZANU PF choosing
to promote a system that creates political control, the very evident
economic benefits of title have been disregarded. As a result Zimbabwe has
the fastest shrinking economy in the world with huge disinvestments,
poverty creation and now starvation. The system is demonstrably disastrous
and actively prevents individual sponsored development.


Imagine a million peasants (the approximate number of peasants farmers in
Zimbabwe) transformed into a million individual commercial farmers. What a
huge development force that could be in Zimbabwe!! Imagine each of their
small farms valued at a modest $2000 US each which they could use as
collateral to borrow with on a road to becoming truly independent
individuals. Imagine them getting loans up to 50% of the asset value and
$1000,000,000 US being pumped into the economy. Imagine the chiefs and
headmen becoming facilitators in the process: holding seminars on title for
their people; registering the family heads; being involved with surveying
the land; establishing and sitting on the board of the community banks with
the on-the-ground knowledge of the people and preserving the integrity of
their areas; helping their people through their agents with cash flows,
skills development, agricultural development projects; environmental
stewardship projects ; tree planting programs; irrigation schemes; the
development of sustainable agricultural practices..........

Imagine this true agricultural revolution where all farmers become
commercial farmers; and with that a resultant industrial revolution also
taking place in the cities, towns and the new towns that would be created.

Yes, it is hard to imagine, seeing Zimbabwe going the other direction at
this time. But together, with sensitivity, courage and determination
Zimbabwe could be transformed into a thriving country, and the breadbasket
once more, of Southern Africa. Just because a road looks hard to begin
with, it doesn't mean it is not worth travelling on. We will ignore this
road to our lifetimes regret.


· Land occupation that is not environmentally and financially sustainable
is not an option.

· Land occupation needs to inspire personal motivation and individual

· Communal and state ownership with its feudal parallel is an anachronism
extending state control of the individual and promoting endemic poverty
through subsistence agriculture.

· If Zimbabwe is to develop agriculturally and in other spheres title is a
pre-requisite to success.

· Just because it seems fraught with problems in achieving one system of
land ownership in Zimbabwe it does not mean that it should not be
vigorously pursued.

· The current disaster offers a unique opportunity to empower and free the
citizens of Zimbabwe and develop the nation under a different political


· Seminars will need to be held with the chiefs to discuss the proposal
explaining the benefits; land registration; individual ownership and the
rights and obligations that go with it; the nature of the land market;
procedures for changes of ownership; procedures for using collateral to

· Progressive chiefs that wish to adopt title in their own areas need to
come forward.

· Seminars for the people need to be held in the progressive chiefs areas.

· A land registration exercise needs to take place.

· Agricultural development banks need to be established (with a possible
initial moratorium on farm sales)

· As neighbouring areas see it working a similar process needs to be

(NB It is of course accepted that under the present political dispensation
such a course of action is impossible)

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Quinnell Case: Constitutional Challenge to the Land Acquisition Act.

In a recent communiqué (24th February) Ray Passaportis drew farmers'
attention to the granting of a certificate in terms of Section 7 of the
Legal Practitioners Act for advocate Trendgrove, who is not resident in
this country, to appear for the Quinnell case in our Supreme Court.
Advocate Chris Anderson has agreed to assist.

Advocate Anderson is at present committed to the Tsvangirai case so it
seems likely that the Quinnell case will only be heard in the next term
commencing April/May.

The Quinnell case argues 8 constitutional issues in the Land Acquisition
Act and various amendments thereto.  We need only succeed on one
constitutional point of the eight to win the case and destroy not only
every Section 8 Order but the whole unconstitutional fast track process
initiated under the 10th May 2002 Amendment and Amendment No 2 (25th
October 2002).

JAG is looking to raise funds to meet the expenses of both Advocate
Trendgrove (+-R180,000.00) and local legal council (+-1,000,000.00) and
would welcome contributions and donations from not only the farming
community but also other stakeholders with a vested interest in Zimbabwean
agriculture not only here in Zimbabwe but also regionally and overseas.

Local contributions can be made directly to the JAG Trust Account through
our 17 Phillips Avenue, Belgravia, Harare office while external
contributions can be channelled to:

Account Name: Wright Rose Innes Trust Account, Standard Bank, Kempton
Park, Johannesburg

Account Number: 022856935

Branch Code: 012442

Account Reference: RJ177/02/Jaskolka/no farming no food trust

All donations for this worthy legal cause, which seeks to uphold the legal
and constitutional rights of not only commercial farmers and farm workers
but all those citizens adversely affected by the disastrous down stream
knock on effect of the current "fast track" so called land reform
programme, will be greatly appreciated.  Even the smallest token gesture
will be welcomed.


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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Brenda Drillwell

Talking about doing your bit. Well I do believe doing your bit doesn't only
pertain to the "physical bit". Unfortunately the mass thinking in this
country is all gloom and doom. Hate this and hate that. Resist this and
resist that. Complain about this and complain and that, and so it goes.
When do you ever hear the words of gratitude for this and that.  If one
cares to look and compare, one will see that we do have much to be thankful
for. OK so we don't have a situation that's perfect, but there are many a
less perfect situations out there and it would be a lovely change to hear
and read thankful words for a change.

If one believes in the teachings of a God, a Divine source, we will believe
in the "Power of Positive Thinking". Not only has it been written "What you
believe so it will be", but it has been scientifically proven that we do
create our own destinies by what we think, say and believe.  As long as we
all keep Thinking of all the negative aspects in our environment, and dwell
on these matters of worry and concern, well that's all we will ever get.

There is strength in mass thinking. We all need to work on our thinking and
turn it around and in turn our situation around, because for every bad
there is a good if we care to look for it.  The most powerful instrument we
have is our thoughts. It doesn't need to be visual or physical. It can be
exercised anytime without permission or being hammered for it. Lets all be
proactive and look and be thankful at what we do have, and not what we
don't have. Lets do our bit mentally working together on positive thinking
about our circumstances and that of our beautiful country and all the
lovely people who live here.



The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails,
the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity - even
under the most difficult circumstances - to add deeper meaning to his life.
It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for
self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than
an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo
the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation
may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or

If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in

>From Victor Frank's "Man's Search for Meaning".

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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            Zimbabwe government says arrest of judge lawful
            March 07, 2003, 19:30

            Zimbabwe's government has rejected criticism that its arrest of
a judge charged with interfering in the case of a business partner was an
assault on judicial independence. Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister,
told the state-owned Herald newspaper that High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza
was facing a corruption charge and not just a case of misconduct which could
be dealt with by an internal judicial tribunal.

            Yesterday, half of Zimbabwe's High Court judges condemned
Paradza's arrest and detention last month as unconstitutional. Paradza is
suing President Robert Mugabe's government for wrongful arrest over a
"humiliating" night spent in a jail cell infested with lice, which he said
was an assault on judicial independence, his lawyer said.

            In a statement, 10 of Zimbabwe's 20 High Court judges said the
state had failed to follow procedures laid down in the Constitution to
handle allegations of misconduct against a judge, including the appointment
of a tribunal to investigate. Chinamasa told the Herald that while arresting
a judge in his chambers gave a wrong impression, there was no law barring
the detention of judges facing criminal charges.

            "It cannot be seriously contended that judges can commit these
crimes with impunity or that when they commit such crimes they should be
subjected to a special process outside our judicial system," he was quoted
as saying.

            Paradza was detained overnight in February over allegations he
interfered in the case of a business partner, which was being handled by
another judge. He was subsequently charged with corruption and freed on
bail, to appear in court on March 21. Paradza's lawyers say the charges were
politically motivated and designed to punish him for embarrassing Mugabe's
government the previous month when he freed Harare's mayor, a member of the
main opposition party, who had been held for holding an illegal political

            Police say the corruption charges against Paradza are not
politically motivated. He stands accused of trying to influence a fellow
judge to release the passport of Russel Wayne Luschagne, his partner in a
safari hunting business venture. Luschagne's passport had been held by a
court under his bail conditions for a murder charge, and police said Paradza
had said he stood to lose $60 000 if Luschagne did not get his passport back
in order to make a business trip to Spain. - Reuters
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Zimbabwe pensions go down the drain

By Eddie Botha
Business Editor

EAST LONDON -- The financial crisis in Zimbabwe took another turn when
cheques for that country's pensioners living in South Africa were
dishonoured yesterday after funds at Standard Bank's Braamfontein branch ran

The Daily Dispatch was alerted to this after a Stutterheim resident reported
that she and three other widows, all ex-Zimbabweans, had been informed by
their local banks that their pension cheques had been referred back to the

Standard Bank media relations manager Erik Larsen confirmed late afternoon
that the non-residents' pension account had run out of funds.

"In terms of the foreign exchange regulations there has to be enough funds
in the account. If these funds are overdrawn we have to dishonour the
payments. That appears to be what had happened," said Larsen. He said he had
spoken to banking officials who told him that funds had been made available
late in the afternoon.

"I must advise those who receive pension cheques to re-deposit their cheques
as soon as possible while there are still funds available," he said.

Larsen said there was unfortunately nothing that Standard Bank could have
done to avert the situation. "It is all dictated by how much money is
available in the account."

Stutterheim widow Eileen Hyde, whose husband worked as an engineer in the
then Rhodesia, said she received the call from First National Bank during
the course of the day.

"The cheque that was dishonoured was for my January pension. So it was late

Hyde, who holds a British passport, said in terms of the current rate of
exchange she receives a small pension.

"And all the years we have paid money into the fund, for this to happen.
It's appalling," she said.

British High Commission spokesman Nick Shepherd said he would report the
Dispatch's query to the British High Commission and advised any British
citizens who are experiencing the same problems to get in touch with the
British Consulate in Cape Town for possible assistance.
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MARKET REVIEW: Zimbabwe: Government Moves

March 7, 2003 3:39am

The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Edward Chindori-Chininga, says
the government will continue to increase the price of gold to discourage the
thriving parallel market in the gold sector where some buyers are siphoning
off their minerals to neighbouring countries.

Chininga said government was concerned with the drop in the tonnage of gold
being sold to the Reserve Bank and efforts were being made to bolster

He said that in 2002 there was a significant decline in the average gold
production, from 30 tonnes of gold per year to only 18 tonnes. While the
government-recommended price of a gram of gold is 7,000 (Zimbabwe) dollars,
the same amount of gold fetches about Z$18,000 on the parallel market.

Meanwhile, the ministry of Mines and Mining Development has mobilised close
to Z$1bn for small-scale and alluvial miners in an aggressive indigenisation
programme in the mining sector. The programme will see the composition of
share ownership in the mining sector being reformed to give indigenous
people who have an interest in mining a huge proportion of shares in all the
mines that are owned by non-Zimbabweans. (ZBC Radio, Harare, 10/2: BBC Mon.)

Publication: Africa Research Bulletin (ARBE)

Distributed by Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Africa
Intelligence Wire

Copyright © 2003 Africa Research Bulletin (ARBE). All Rights Reserved.
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ECONOMIC TRENDS: ZIMBABWE - Workforce Draining Away

March 7, 2003 3:39am

Political unrest is forcing professional workers to leave the country.

BBC News Online reports that the continued political unrest in Zimbabwe and
the raft of economic problems now facing the country is having a damaging
effect on the workforce.

According to the ACCA in Harare---a body that represents chartered
accountants---thousands of professionals have already left the nation.

The medical profession has also been badly affected forcing Zimbabwe to
recruit personnel from other regions. But the exodus could bring some
unexpected economic benefits.

Political uncertainty, sporadic violence and the daily problems of food and
fuel shortages are taking their toll on Zimbabwe's white collar workforce.

Accountants, engineers, doctors and teachers alike are finding it impossible
to maintain their standard of living in the face of rampant inflation.

The World Bank estimates that the level of inflation will reach 500% this

In 2002, more than 6,000 professionals left the country.

Most have joined the growing Zimbabwean expatriate communities in Britain,
South Africa and Botswana.

But others have settled in regions as far afield as the Caribbean and

An ACCA spokesman, who did not wish to be named, said that there were
plentiful opportunities for accountants who choose to leave.

"Regardless of the economic situation we are facing, they have always been
in demand in the region and across the globe."

Other professionals such as doctors and nurses are also finding work in
countries where their skills are in short supply, for example in Britain.

That is causing a problem back in Zimbabwe, which has had to recruit medical
staff from other regions. In the private sector, it is a different story.

Although many workers are leaving, there are plenty of candidates to take
their place---because so many companies are closing their doors, as the
economic climate worsens.

Although the general picture is bleak, there is an unexpected bonus for
Zimbabwe from this skills drain.

In 2002, Zimbabweans living abroad collectively sent home more than $40m a
month---providing a welcome boost for the country's depleted foreign
reserves. (BBC News Online 10/2)

Publication: Africa Research Bulletin (ARBE)

Distributed by Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Africa
Intelligence Wire

Copyright © 2003 Africa Research Bulletin (ARBE). All Rights Reserved.
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Business Day

Zimbabwe transition plan mooted


International Affairs Editor

A CONFERENCE on strategies for political transition in Zimbabwe will call on
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union
today to appoint an eminent persons group to promote interparty dialogue in

In its draft form, the statement from a conference organised by the
Institute for Democratic Alternatives in SA says the eminent persons group
should have authority to promote the necessary political conditions for
transition in Zimbabwe.

The conference was attended by senior Zimbabwean officials from opposition
party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and civil society groups as
well as prominent South Africans.

Yesterday's draft statement called for the MDC and civil society groups to
form a task force to consider frameworks for a post-Mugabe transition.

The MDC favours the idea of a transitional ruling authority ahead of
presidential elections. The party proposes that this consist of
representatives of political parties, as well as business and civil society
groups, including trade unions.

However, Pretoria has proposed a government of national unity, which would
rule the country until the next scheduled presidential election in 2008.

Meanwhile in Harare, the key witness in the treason trial of the MDC's
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, made an emotional plea to the judge yesterday to
be dismissed from the case, saying he was being "abused" by both state and
defence lawyers.

Ari ben Menashe has been testifying for four weeks against Tsvangirai and
two top associates about an alleged plot to assassinate President Robert
Mugabe. With Sapa-AFP
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From IBA, 6 March

IBA calls for International Criminal Court to investigate and try Robert

London - The International Bar Association (IBA) today called for the trial
of Robert Mugabe for serious violations of international humanitarian law.
The IBA addressed its call to all State Parties to the International
Criminal Court (ICC), each of whom has the authority to request that
prosecution be initiated. The IBA urged that the first act of the ICC's
Prosecutor should be directed at the alleged atrocities committed by
Zimbabwe's President and his regime. 'No single act would more accurately
reflect the purpose and importance of the ICC than to have Mr Mugabe as the
first individual tried by the new Court', said Mark Ellis, the IBA's
Executive Director. 'Fortunately for the international community and for
those who have suffered under Mr Mugabe's policies, the existence of the ICC
means that if found guilty he will not escape being held accountable for his
actions.' Mr Ellis states that there is already sufficient evidence to
justify the investigation of allegations that Mr Mugabe has committed and
continues to commit crimes against humanity. These are defined as acts that
are part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian
population, including murder, torture, imprisonment or other inhumane acts
of a similar nature intentionally causing great suffering.

Evidence and reports are emerging almost daily in support of these claims
from Zimbabwe, where threats, beatings, and torture appear to be
systematically directed at those groups who stand outside, or criticise the
ruling Zanu PF party. Mr Mugabe's rhetoric increasingly defines those who do
not actively support him as traitors, and many of the actions of the police
and the militia appear to be motivated by such rhetoric. In the current
atmosphere, the independence of the rule of law has been consistently
undermined, as frequently highlighted by the IBA's Human Rights Institute.
The ICC came into existence on 1 July 2002 as the first permanent court ever
established to investigate and try individuals for the most serious
violations of international humanitarian law, including crimes against
humanity. The ICC is currently recruiting its first Prosecutor, hence the
timing of the IBA's call.

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From The Star (SA), 7 March

Fury is growing in Zim over SA govt position

Peter Fabricius

The South African government should not underestimate the depth of anger and
resentment towards it that is growing among opponents of President Robert
Mugabe in Zimbabwe. At a seminar this week, they booed when a senior SA
official enunciated the SA position on Zimbabwe - especially when he said
that the position was based on the assumption that Mugabe's government was
legitimate because he is a democratically elected president. "Zimbabweans
must resolve their own problems," he insisted. But these Zimbabweans see a
glaring inconsistency between this position and SA actively lobbying against
sanctions in international bodies like the Commonwealth, Non-Aligned
Movement and European Union. Brian Raftopoulos, widely acknowledged as one
of Zimbabwe's sharpest analysts, expressed the criticism of SA more coolly
and succinctly than the others. He said: "One of Mugabe's most skillful
achievements has been to displace the Zimbabwe crisis onto the region and
make it a broader Pan-African problem."

Mugabe had persuaded SA, Africa - and indeed the entire developing world -
that the essence of the crisis was a fight against the former colonial power
Britain to redress colonial-era maldistribution of land. "It's important for
South Africa to show solidarity with Zimbabwe on the issue of the
marginalisation of the Third World, but not at the expense of the oppression
of the Zimbabwean people," Raftopoulos said. Political persecution,
including torture, has got worse over the past year, human rights activist
Tony Reeler said. Raftopoulos said that SA's position had recently shifted
from a neutral one - supporting a government of national unity incorporating
the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC - towards "more overt support for
Mugabe".This was most evident in Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo's efforts to block the extension of Commonwealth sanctions against
Zimbabwe because the situation in Zimbabwe was now normal.

The SA official at the seminar suggested that SA considered land reform a
success. He said he had been moved by a meeting with a black farmer who was
newly settled on land that had been seized from a commercial white farmer
and who was now growing his second crop. The Zimbabweans believe that SA
ministers and officials like him who have visited the country recently have
been hoodwinked by Mugabe's selective window-dressing. They say very few
peasants are prospering because the violent and haphazard land reform
programme has not given them the wherewithal to work the land and because
the best farms have been given to Mugabe's cronies like Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo.The say that if the visiting SA officials had talked to the
opposition - which they did not - they would have been shown the vast
swathes of recently productive farmland now lying fallow, while over
7-million people queue for emergency food aid.

Mbeki has recently justified his constructive engagement policy on the
grounds that it is producing results. He cites three examples of things he
has persuaded Mugabe to do: to give back one farm to each white farmer
kicked off the land; to soften the draconian media legislation; and to grant
citizenship to thousands of descendants of foreign-born black farmworkers
who have lived in Zimbabwe for generations. The Zimbabwean opposition says
that none of these reforms has happened or is likely to. Meanwhile, Mbeki's
claims are legitimising a government which the opposition says is morally,
politically and economically bankrupt - and he is thereby blunting other
weapons such as international pressure which might just help to force real
reforms. "We don't want you to do the job for us," Raftopoulous said. "We
will do it ourselves. But just give us the political space." Others put it
less politely: "If you can't help us, at least get the hell out of the way."
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Reuters Alert

      07 Mar 2003
      Despite AIDS, voice of Zimbabwe's women kept alive
      Sophie Knott

      International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(IFRC) - Switzerland
      Regions: Africa, Zimbabwe

      by Solveig Olafsdottir in Harare

      HIV/AIDS has stripped Gladys Sananguray of her social status. When her
husband died of AIDS in 1999 and she herself tested positive, Gladys and her
children were thrown out of their home in the Zimbabwean town of Chitungwiza
by her husband's family.

      Now they live in a shed that provides no shelter from the elements and
which has no electricity or running water. But Gladys is living with a fear
that is even greater than the here and now.

      "The future of these lives, if I die myself," Gladys worries. "I do
not know who will take care of these young children of mine."

      Hers is a predicament faced by millions of women around the world. In
sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS infection rates among women now exceed those
for men, leading to the collapse of traditional family structures and the
gradual loss of cultural continuity as a whole generation of children are
left orphaned.

      Most parents choose not to reveal their HIV/AIDS status to their
children and family because of the stigma attached to the disease. They know
they will die and there will be no-one to fend for their children. It's a
painful knowledge to live with. In sub-Saharan Africa women are the main
producers of food. They are also the cultural link between generations. With
their death, an important voice is dying.

      On International Women's Day, the International Federation is warning
of catastrophic social consequences unless women are given a greater say in
the battle against HIV/AIDS.

      The Zimbabwe Red Cross is determined to break this vicious cycle of
silence and lend a voice to women through its Memory Box project. Mothers,
powerless in the face of death, are helped to communicate with their
children by making a treasure chest of information such as family
photographs, letters, stories and history.

      Parents and children working on the project together has multiple
benefits. It not only helps lessen the trauma of a parent who will leave
children orphaned, it also keeps alive the memory of a mother, helping
children to maintain a sense of history and belonging long after the death
of the parent.

      The Memory Box also serves as an important vehicle in the AIDS
education battle, by allowing people to talk openly about the disease. The
response of Gladys's children to her HIV-positive status has brought her
great relief.

      "When I am talking to them, they say, 'no, Mum, nowadays it is all
over so we accept it as it is. We still need you," she says. "They always
take my memory book, read, revise and talk to each other."

      The reality of Lexa Samugadza, a single mother of three young girls,
is somewhat different. She has worked since she was 15 in Chitungwiza's
health clinic and is self-sufficient. Her family has taken her condition as
a fact of life that needs to be coped with. Still, she shares Gladys'
worries about her daughters' futures and wishes she could see them through
to adulthood.

      "I think I wrote in my memory book that they must keep away from men
and concentrate on their school, and then after that they must learn to keep
each other close," says Lexa."Even if they have different fathers they have
to support each other."

      She may not be there when they are adults, but Lexa still wants her
mother's ambitions to be fulfilled. "I want them to go to university so they
can teach other children that if you don't have a father, only your mother
around, you can be someone," she insists.

      Lexa's 25-year-old sister, Adeline, has worked for the Red Cross
HIV/AIDS programme for more than seven years. She has no doubt that, in
order to protect women from HIV/AIDS, women need to be empowered to fend for
themselves. She is right. In sub-Saharan Africa, women now account for 58
per cent of adults with HIV/AIDS. Across the world, 19.2 million women are
living with the disease out of an estimated global total of 42 million

      With stigma and discrimination preventing women from speaking out and
protecting themselves, those figures are set to rise. Adeline pushed her
sister to appear on camera, feeling that women have to speak up for
themselves and share their experience so that others can learn.

      "At first we were treating it as a family affair - we did not want
others on the outside to know her status - our family's status," Adeline
says. "But as time goes on, we are being taught about how to break the
stigma. We find it so easy to spread the word all over the world."

      Although organisations such as the International Federation carry out
large-scale HIV/AIDS prevention programmes, more work is needed to lessen
women's vulnerability to the disease and to ensure a cultural continuity
between generations. Programmes such as the Memory Box are a step in the
right direction but there is still a very long way to go.

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From a Speech to the Welsh Conservative Party Conference in Cardiff

Michael Ancram

And then there is Zimbabwe. I can hardly mention that country without
feeling a profound sense of shame in how Britain under the lily-livered
leadership of a government transfixed by its post-colonial guilt has
abandoned that once great land.

I got into Zimbabwe for a day last summer. What I saw was one of the most
depressing experiences of my life.

Millions of people facing starvation alongside productive farmland, which
had once been the breadbasket of Southern Africa lying, unfarmed with last
year's harvest lying rotting in the fields.

I found farmers illegally evicted from the land which many of them had
bought with Mugabe's assurances after independence. I found displaced black
farm workers harassed by ethnic cleansing every bit as nasty as Kosovo
starving and frightened in the woods. I was told of the state organised
violence, the torture, the rape, the murder.

I met representatives of the proud Matabele tribe who feared genocide by
starvation at the hands of Mugabe. I saw democracy and the rule of law being
destroyed, and all this at the hands of the vile despot Mugabe.

President Chirac of France may not mind embracing this bloodstained figure.
I would not give him the time of day. I along with millions of Zimbabweans
just want to see him gone.

As I left Zimbabwe one hollow eyed displaced black farm worker grasped my
hand and said simply "Don't let the world forget us".

I won't, but our government has shown every intention of doing so.

They resisted our calls for targeted sanctions until they were too little
too late. They have now even connived in the manipulation of those sanctions
to allow Mugabe into Paris three weeks ago.

They have failed to enlist the UN into monitoring food distribution in
Zimbabwe. They twisted and turned on the cricket world cup issue desperately
seeking to walk by on the other side.

Tony Blair who told the world that it was his moral duty to act in Zimbabwe
has visited everywhere in Africa but Zimbabwe and has deliberately ducked
mentioning Zimbabwe at world summits where to do so might have made a

That is why I am ashamed. Tony Blair's abandonment of the people of Zimbabwe
who look to us in their hour of need shames us all. I will fight for
Zimbabwe on behalf of our party until something is done.
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The Hindu

British businessman to come to Olonga's rescue

London, March. 7. (PTI): Appreciating Henry Olonga's "courageous decision"
to wear black armbands during the World Cup as a protest against the rule of
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, a British businessman has offered to
sponsor the paceman to play in a county here.

Sussex businessman Lawrence Mallison, has stated that he was prepared to
spend about 30,000 pounds for sponsoring Olonga as an overseas cricketer for
Essex of any other county if the Zimbabwe Cricket Union contiues to punish
him by not picking him for future matches.

"I think it is important that Henry should not be abandoned after the World
Cup is over," Mallison said adding that his business "can at least afford to
give him a well-deserved foot-up. Getting him over here might also help him
make contacts that could lead on to something else."

Though Essex liked the idea, they have doubts over giving any opportunity to
Olonga as their two overseas players including Andy Flower of Zimbabwe are
expected to be available for the whole season.

Olonga, who created a stir by wearing the armband during the initial stage
of the tournament alongwith Andy Flower, reacted positively to news of the

"I would be very interested and certainly open to the idea," he was quoted
as saying in The Times today.
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Zimbabwe protests go on
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Cape Town

Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak
The Zimbabwe team has left home soil behind them
Zimbabwe's role as co-hosts may be over, but the controversy surrounding the country's involvement at the World Cup rumbles on.

A half-page advertisement in the Johannesburg Star newspaper has urged cricket fans in South Africa to wear black arm bands and brandish red cards in opposition to President Robert Mugabe.

Next to a cartoon of Mugabe batting with a club of nails and dripping blood, the Zimbabwe Cricket Supporters for Democracy gave the message: "Zimbabwe Democracy? You be the umpire."

There followed a list of action taken against demonstrators at cricket grounds in Zimbabwe, including the arrest of 42 people at the match against Holland.

"Join the wave for change," the advert urged. "Wave a red card to tell Robert Mugabe he's out."

And the ZCSD logo? Two hands reaching through a set of stumps as if they were bars of a jail cell.

Former West Indies wicket-keeper Mike Findlay was almost arrested on his arrival in Johannesburg because immigration staff were left bemused by his St Vincent and Grenadines passport.

Findlay, who played 10 Tests for the West Indies from 1969 to 1972, is visiting South Africa as a member of the Caribbean 2007 World Cup delegation

Tempers frayed but the immigration officers were still unwilling to accept a passport they did not recognise and prepared to detain Findlay for questioning.

Only when South African cricket officials, who had come to receive the delegation, intervened was Findlay was allowed to proceed.

It is hoped that Sir Garfield Sobers, who will present the trophy to the player of the tournament at the final, will enjoy a smoother entry.

South African's shock exit from the World Cup has clearly been too much for some people in the country.

After Monday's fateful tie at Kingsmead, radio "personality" Daryl Illbury offered listeners his thoughts on the Sri Lankans.

Among the observations by the East Coast Radio breakfast show presenter were that: "They (the Sri Lankans) should get out of our shores" and "They have long stupid names".

A torrent of furious telephone calls to the station followed and Illbury was duly suspended for two days.

Jan-Berry Burger
The biggest of the Burgers - JB
The presence of three Burgers in the Namibia squad (J. B., Louis, and Sarel) clearly tickled former New Zealand wicketkeeper-turned-broadcaster Ian Smith.

"You've got more Burgers in your team than Nando's. How do you know which is which?" Smith asked Louis.

"We've got small, medium and jumbo," came the reply.

The writing for England's World Cup fate was on the mobile phone - if not the wall - when Andrew Walpole, the press manager, sent the following message to all journalists immediately after the game against Australia.

"England will depart Port Elizabeth on Wednesday AM for either Bloemfontein or UK."

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Morgan: Security threat was real

World Cup organisers privately supported the safety fears of England
cricketers in Zimbabwe, according to England and Wales Cricket Board
chairman David Morgan.
Morgan says International Cricket Council security bosses backed worries
about death threats from "The Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe" organisation,
despite publicly stating otherwise.

"We received a letter via the ICC security directorate which made a very
clear statement that the Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe was an organisation
that did pose a threat to the safety and security of our cricketers," he
told BBC Radio Five Live.

Morgan's statement came just after England arrived home, having failed to
make it past the group stage of the World Cup.

      Zimbabwe crisis timeline
Nasser Hussain's men were docked four points when they decided to pull out
of the fixture against Zimbabwe in Harare because of fears over player

The ECB asked for the match to be rescheduled, but the World Cup technical
committee said their safety and security concerns were "not justified".

England would have been likely to qualify for the Super Six stage if they
had not forfeited the points and their exit was followed by the resignation
of Hussain as one-day captain.

The England skipper reiterated his position at Heathrow Airport on Thursday:
"I made my decision throughout the winter and the bottom line had nothing to
do with the captaincy.

      Hussain quits one-day job
"I don't believe I warrant a place in the one-day side and my decision was
retiring from one-day international cricket.

"Unfortunately, I'm the captain which means I have to step down as captain
of the one-day side as well."

With the team back in England, the ECB is set to review the team's poor
performances in Australia and South Africa.

"It's been a disappointing winter, there's no doubt about it at all," said

"But there were many extenuating circumstances, beginning on the first day
of the Ashes series with Simon Jones' injury and the lack of early fitness
of Darren Gough and Andrew Flintoff.

"It was wrong to send an unfit Darren Gough on the beginning of the tour,
but the review of the whole of the winter is still to be carried out."

Despite criticism during the Zimbabwe situation, Morgan maintained the ECB
had done everything they could at the time.

"I think the ECB handled a very difficult situation as well as it could be
handled," he added.

"I think the reporting of the decision-making we undertook has been pretty

"Our only reason for not going to Zimbabwe was that we could not find
clear-cut guarantees for the safety and security of the players, officials
and their families."
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'Miners' throw trains off track
07/03/2003 13:44  - (SA)

Harare - Train services on Zimbabwe's busiest railway line have been closed
for the past three days after illegal gold miners in central Zimbabwe dug
large tunnels underneath and right next to the railway line, railway
authorities said on Friday.

Passenger and freight services between Harare and the western city of
Bulawayo had to be stopped on Wednesday when railway personnel discovered
that the miners had dug a 100m labyrinth of tunnel next to the electrified
line just outside the central town of Kwekwe, said Munesu Munodawafa, acting
general manager of the state-owned National Railways of Zimbabwe.

"I am happy that the tunnels were discovered before an accident happened,"
he said.

"We would be talking about something else now. They have caused a lot of

"It's sad that these people don't value human life. The police are arresting
them on a daily basis, but it has not deterred them," he said.

Railway security officers had been put on 24-hour patrol.

Work on filling the tunnels had been hampered by heavy rains, he said. He
hoped services could resume later on Friday.

The breakdown had affected the transport of coal for the country's power
stations, already struggling with low supplies as a result of fuel shortages
that have hit coal mining operations. Deliveries of sugar, also critically
short in Zimbabwe, had also been disrupted, he said.

An estimated 1.5 million Zimbabweans have turned to illegal gold mining as a
result of famine and economic collapse afflicting the country.

They risk not only arrest, but also a high likelihood of being buried alive
in the tunnels they dig manually without any proper supports.

In the country's worst train crash last month 50 died in a collision between
two trains. The signalling system meant to stop one of the trains was
switched off by thieves who stole the copper cables.

Many people were also burnt to death when fuel being carried illegally by
black-marketeers in the passenger coaches caught light in the collision.
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Daily News

      Ben-Menashe springs surprise

      3/7/2003 11:02:44 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa and Fanuel Jongwe

      ARI Ben-Menashe is a man who is never short of surprises.

      Yesterday, the key State witness in the treason trial of the MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and two top party officials, sprung yet another
surprise when he accused both the prosecution and defence counsels of
abusing him by keeping him on the witness stand for too long.

      He begged Judge President Paddington Garwe to immediately release him
from the stand.
      "The interests of the State are not the same as mine," an emotional
Ben-Menashe said in an application after the lunch break.

      "I came here to testify on what happened and I believe I have fully
testified. The State believes the longer the cross-examination goes on, the
more Mr Bizos helps them to secure a conviction."

      Advocate George Bizos is leading the defence team for opposition
leader Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary-general, and Renson
Gasela, the party's shadow minister of agriculture.

      "The defence believes the only way they can win is by a technicality,"
Ben-Menashe said. "I have answered every possible question - sometimes the
same question six times.

      "I have been standing here for four weeks and there does not seem to
be an end to this ongoing circle and I am asking Your Lordship to protect me
from this abuse.

      "I ask you to dismiss me immediately. I have work to do. I have a
family and I am not the accused. I am not a prisoner here, but everybody
seems to think I am the accused."

      Bharat Patel, the Deputy Attorney-General, conceded that Ben-Menashe,
who has earlier requested a break from cross-examination, had been
testifying for probably a record time.

      The principal State witness has been on the stand for almost the trial
's now 19-day sitting.

      Bizos opposed Ben-Menashe's application, objecting to suggestions that
the defence was to blame for delaying the proceedings.

      "His request should not be treated seriously," Bizos said. "Our
clients are facing a serious charge. It's not for the witness to
characterise our cross-examination, to question the Deputy Attorney-General
or direct Your Lordship on how the proceedings should be conducted."

      Justice Garwe is expected to make a ruling today on the application.
      On Wednesday, Ben-Menashe caused the premature adjournment of the
proceedings after attacking Tsvangirai.

      This prompted Justice Garwe to sternly reprimand him yesterday for the
umpteenth time.
      But, no sooner had the judge censured Ben-Menashe that the
Canada-based Israeli political consultant bore into Tsvangirai again, saying
he was mentally unhinged.

      Garwe cautioned Ben-Menashe to "respect the dignity of the court and
use appropriate language".

      On Wednesday the judge adjourned proceedings abruptly after
Ben-Menashe refused to apologise to Tsvangirai for saying he was "nuts".

      Responding to a question from Bizos, Ben-Menashe had retorted: "The
future President of Zimbabwe is nuts."

      Bizos said he would only continue cross-examination on condition
Ben-Menashe apologised to his client.

      Ben-Menashe then insisted he would only apologise to the court.
      He drew laughter from the gallery when he said: "If it helps to move
the process, I apologise to everyone."

      "Despite numerous warnings, the witness continued to use insulting
language to the accused and the defence counsel," Justice Garwe said when he
resumed the proceedings yesterday.

      "In a court of law, rules have to be observed and this is the position
not only in this country, but everywhere in the world.
      "It's contemptuous of the court to disobey the court's rules and I
remind the witness to conduct himself in a manner that respects the decorum
of this court."
      Within minutes of the judge's ruling, Ben-Menashe described Tsvangirai
as "mentally unstable" and was lucky to get away without a reprimand.
      Ben-Menashe's remarks came after Bizos challenged him to say whether
Tsvangirai's call for "modesty" during a meeting at the headquarters of his
consultancy, Dickens & Madson, was consistent with his alleged request for
help to stage a coup.

      "He negates himself," Ben-Menashe shot back. "He appears to any
logical person to be mentally unstable. Accused one is mentally unstable."

      Earlier on Wednesday, Ben-Menashe tried to address journalists in the
court Press gallery on an alleged plot by the opposition party during a
brief adjournment. The MDC had hired Alfons Altmann, a convicted criminal in
Canada, he said.

      He only stopped after Bizos asked Patel to rein in his star witness.
When the trial resumed, Bizos implored Garwe to bar Ben-Menashe from making
public statements about the on-going proceedings.

      To which Ben-Menashe quipped: "Does that apply to Mr Bizos as well? I
also want to say Mr Bizos should stop making statements to the South African
and English press," "One of the statements was that I was on trial, and not
the accused." Bizos denied the charge.
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Daily News

      NCA members arrested

      3/7/2003 10:54:13 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The police were caught napping yesterday when 500 National
Constitution Assembly members demonstrated in Harare demanding a new
democratic constitution.

      But the police managed to arrest six of the demonstrators.
      Felix Mafa, the organisation's vice-chairman yesterday said the six
were taken to Harare Central Police Station where they were still detained
by last night.

      Mafa said the police were now on the hunt for Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the
NCA chairman, who did not participate in yesterday's demonstration.

      "We condemn the arbitrary arrest of our members," said Mafa.
      "The demonstration is confirmation of our determination to defy the
draconian Public Order and Security Act. We will continue with the
demonstrations until we have good governance which will come through a
people-driven constitution."

      He said there was no justification for arresting anyone as the
demonstration was peaceful. "It is just the overzealousness of the police,"
said Mafa. "We will continue to have more of these demonstrations."

      The placard-carrying NCA members started their march at the Africa
Unity Square and briefly gathered outside the Parliament Building before
they marched towards Fourth Street.

      Once there, they marched along Nelson Mandela Avenue and briefly
stopped at the Parliament Building before they proceeded with their march.

      Taken by surprise, a few Members of Parliament left their business in
the House to watch the demonstrators who sang revolutionary songs denouncing
the Lancaster House Constitution, drafted in 1979 and amended more than 13
times by the Zanu PF government.

      But the Zimbabwe government has said a new constitution was not a
priority because people rejected its proposed draft constitution in the
February 2000 referendum.

      The demonstrators only dispersed after a ZRP defender with armed riot
policemen descended on them at the corner of Nelson Mandela Avenue and Angwa
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Daily News

      Motorists accused of smuggling fuel to SA

      3/7/2003 10:57:59 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      EVEN with the fuel shortage in the country, a syndicate of
Beitbridge-based motorists is allegedly smuggling the commodity into South

      The smugglers allegedly sell 20 litres of blend petrol for only R50
(about Z$350 at the official rate) which is half the pump price in that

      The culprits exchange the South African rand for local currency on the
black market where one litre fetches the equivalent of $7 500.

      The pump price for petrol in Zimbabwe is now $140 a litre. The police
in Beitbridge confirmed that cases of fuel smuggling were rampant but said
they believed it was being done by individuals and not by organised

      But they refused to disclose further details and referred further
questions to the police in Gwanda.

      Sergeant Trust Ndlovu, the Matabeleland South provincial spokesperson,
said the police were not aware of the allegations.

      Ndlovu said: "'It is difficult to verify such reports because people
are not willing to come forward and report such matters to the police."

      Investigations by The Daily News last week revealed that the fuel
smugglers are motorists who drive battered Datsun 120Ys.

      The vehicles operate as unregistered taxis in Beitbridge.
      It was also revealed that the fuel scam involves petrol attendants at
two filling stations in the town who provide the fuel.

      A manager at one of the filling stations dismissed the reports as
baseless and said they had standing orders that every delivery should be
distributed as equitably as possible among motorists.

      The syndicate drives across the border with full tanks and up to four
20-litre containers of the scarce commodity for resale.

      It is suspected that the smuggling ring involves customs officers who
facilitate the passage of the fuel through the Zimbabwean and South African
border checks.
      The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority's regional controller in Beitbridge
could not be reached for comment. He was said to be in Harare on business.

      "'The racket is as old as the fuel crisis itself," said a source at
the border post. "The reason why it cannot be smashed is that some customs
officers on both sides are receiving handsome bribes from the racket.

      '"The fuel is off-loaded at some points in the high-density suburbs of
Messina. South African customers are then alerted and quickly buy out the
commodity. The dealers make up to three cross-border trips per day if the
fuel is available in Beitbridge."

      South African motorists in Messina have allegedly joined the
      They allegedly install high-capacity reserve tanks which they fill up
on the Zimbabwean side for resale at black market prices in Messina and to
the surrounding farming community.
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Daily News

      Staff exodus hits St Giles

      3/7/2003 11:00:19 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lawrence Paganga

      St Giles Rehabilitation Centre has been hit by an exodus of
physiotherapists, severely crippling its operations in Harare.

      Beauty Mushipe, the therapy manager at St Giles, said only three
instead of the original seven physiotherapists were still working at the

      She said: "The situation has been really bad for the past seven months
as therapists have been leaving after getting better options elsewhere."

      She said the children's wing was now relying on rehabilitation
technicians as there were no physiotherapists working in that wing.

      Mushipe said since St Giles was a non-governmental organisation, its
salaries were not sufficiently competitive.
      "Most physiotherapists are preferring to operate private businesses as
they get 50 percent of the amount that a client is charged," said Mushipe.

      The National Medical Aid Association has set $2 500 as the charge for
a 30-minute physiotherapy exercise.

      Mushipe said the departure of the physiotherapists was seriously
hampering operations because physiotherapy was St Giles' main focus of

      St Giles provides functional independence to neurological patients who
would have suffered strokes or sustained injuries to the head and the spinal
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Daily News

The Mole

      If wishes were reality, Mugabe would triumph

      3/7/2003 10:46:14 AM (GMT +2)

      If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Amending this old saying a
little to suit Zimbabwe's present political situation, it could be put this
way: If wishes were reality, Robert Mugabe would triumph. A bit far-fetched?
Not really, if you consider the following.

      Have you noticed how wishful thinking and real as well as imaginary
support from people of little or no consequence who generally give President
Mugabe a false sense of international acceptance or triumph are being
routinely elevated to front page news in State-controlled newspapers?

      The trips to France and Malaysia, for the Franco-Africa and
Non-Aligned Movement summits, respectively, provided most of the
opportunities for Mugabe to grandstand vaingloriously.

      For those who may have missed out on this sustained propaganda blitz,
the following is a fairly representative sample from events of the recent
past which our boot-licking friends at The Herald, no doubt, think are
momentous developments.

      The infamous letter to Australian Prime Minister John Howard from the
treacherous Nigerian leader, Olusegun Obasanjo, recommending the lifting of
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, for example, was mischievously
misinterpreted to mean a direct order to the Commonwealth to lift the
suspension. How else would one interpret the headline to this Herald front
page lead story: Lift sanctions, Commonwealth told?

      Part of the story read: "President Obasanjo argued that Cde Mugabe was
addressing the two main contentious issues in Zimbabwe - his land policy and
the alleged crackdown on the opposition."

      Are we to understand that sending his despicably partisan police to
arrest, detain and torture opposition MP Job Sikhala or to violently disrupt
and disperse Harare residents meeting with their mayor, Elias Mudzuri, who
belongs to the opposition MDC, and then publicly humiliating him by
violently manhandling and arresting him before throwing him into police
cells for the weekend and last weekend's arrest, harassment and torture of
opposition supporters now languishing at Marimba Police Station without food
are, in Obasanjo's esteemed opinion, Mugabe's way of "addressing the
contentious issue of the alleged crackdown on the opposition"?

      If that, indeed, is Obasanjo's idea of progress by Mugabe on the
political front, then The Mole can only say the man must possess a very wry
sense of humour.
      There was so much hype over the invitation of Mugabe by French
President Jacques Chirac last month to the biennial Franco-African meeting.
It was hailed as a diplomatic victory of leviathan proportions. But then, of
course, although that brief sojourn in Paris may have been of immense value
to his wife Grace's wardrobe, in view of the French capital's reputation in
matters of couture, to the rest of us it counted for nought.

      Then, in another front page lead story filed from Kuala Lumpur under
the headline: No to Zimbabwe's isolation:
      Mahathir, we were told that "Cde Mugabe updated the Malaysian Prime
Minister about the drought in the country and the food shortages caused by
the drought."

      In case Mahathir has no other sources of information, besides his
liberally mendacious friend, Robert, and the papers his regime controls, it
might have been helpful for him to seek a second "update" from different
sources not closely connected to the Mugabe regime.

      If he had taken the trouble to do that, The Mole is certain Mahathir
would have been told that his friend Bob was being self-delusive on a grand
scale. Because, although the drought is partly to blame, the main cause of
the country's food crisis is his megalomaniac friend's lunatic destruction
of commercial farming for no reason other than to ensure his political

      In any case, lies or no lies, in Mahathir, Mugabe was simply seeking
solace from a man who has absolutely no power to influence his political

      Thus, when Mahathir said he would "not entertain any idea to isolate
Zimbabwe", he was merely saying that which he knew Mugabe wanted to hear. No
doubt it was sweet music to the ears of Mugabe, whose appetite for being
flattered seems insatiable. But he also knew it was like whistling in the

      Who, in the Commonwealth and the rest of the civilised world, cares a
hoot what Mahathir will or will not "entertain" with regard to how they
treat Zimbabwe's rogue regime?

      Perhaps the most pitiful - some will say, shocking - of all of Mugabe'
s public displays of wishful thinking was the bewildering claim he made
while in Singapore last Friday.

      He told a news conference that his South African protector, Thabo
Mbeki, had told him in confidence that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had
"admitted" in his meeting with Mbeki that his "stance against Zimbabwe on
land was wrong".
      Now this is wishful thinking on a very dangerous scale.

      Even though it is a foregone conclusion that every diplomatic observer
worth their salt must have instantly dismissed that wild claim as palpable
nonsense, it, nevertheless, must have greatly embarrassed Mbeki, who has
deservedly borne so much bashing for his foolish support of the bungling old

      Predictably, both Blair and Mbeki have denied that Blair ever said any
such thing.
      Someone recently remarked that Mugabe is exceptionally strong for a
man of his age. He said any "normal" person would have long ago succumbed to
either a nervous breakdown, fatal heart attack or simply gone mad. That
person is probably right, but The Mole is not so sure the last-mentioned has
not happened already.
      - Talking about mental conditions, the utterances of South African
Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in connection with the situation in
our country are making Zimbabweans begin to seriously question the state of
her mind.
      A few months ago, she came here as a guest of the Mugabe regime and,
after being feted lavishly at Victoria Falls, made outrageous pronouncements
about everything being fine and normal in Zimbabwe, even though daily she
was reading stomach-wrenching accounts of police routinely bashing and
torturing Mugabe's political opponents.

      This week, Dlamini-Zuma was at it again. Following reports of the
arrest and torture of 26 MDC supporters detained at State House last
weekend, she was asked by journalists at the National Press Club in Pretoria
why her government did not condemn the Mugabe regime for its many acts of
political repression and harassment of opposition party supporters.

      Zuma unashamedly retorted: "The problem with you (the Press) is that
you are waiting for one word - condemnation of Zimbabwe. It is not going to
happen as long as this government is in power!"

      There you have it:
      Unqualified blind support of murderers, rapists and torturers.
      And she carries the title "Dr"! Does this woman have a conscience?
      The Mole despairs.
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      Don't trifle with emotions of hungry, angry people
      3/7/2003 11:01:27 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Mugabe's populist grandstanding at the Non-Aligned Movement
summit in Malaysia, where he attacked Western nations for oppressing
developing countries, was hypocritical.

      His own government, in an act of open retribution, has starved people
who did not vote for him in the March 2002 presidential election.

      The outcome of that election was largely rejected by the international

      The MDC is challenging the results of that election in the highest
courts in the land. The government may be trying to put on a brave face, but
it is clear that they are nervous about the outcome of those legal
proceedings, for the evidence of chicanery seems to be overwhelming.

      The Non-Aligned Movement, which endorsed Mugabe's land reform
programme, and which is a relic of the Cold War era, has lost relevance

      Few of its members can be counted among the great democracies of the
world. Most are led by outright dictators or benevolent despots who maintain
a facade of pluralism while giving dissenting voices little chance to be

      Meanwhile, Mugabe's government has continued to invade and confiscate
land from commercial farmers, despite its assurances to the Commonwealth
troika that the exercise was now complete.

      On that basis, the Commonwealth is supposed to be lenient with the
government when it considers the renewal of smart sanctions against Mugabe
and his cohorts later this month.

      Nigeria and South Africa would have preferred for Zimbabwe's
suspension from the Commonwealth to be lifted immediately and all sanctions

      But the secretary-general, Don McKinnon, says he is actively
consulting the rest of the heads of state on the way forward.

      The chances are that the suspension and the sanctions will remain in
force until December this year.

      Jacques Chirac, by inviting Mugabe to the Franco-African summit in
Paris, was playing his own political game as a champion of the African

      Shortly after that summit, he was off to Algeria, a former French
colony, where hundreds of thousands have been killed in a protracted civil

      If he was trying to mediate, he should have been reminded that he had
unfinished business in the Ivory Coast, another former French colony, which
flared up into a civil war last year. French mediation efforts have still
not yielded the desired peace.

      As a peace broker between Mugabe and the British prime minister, Tony
Blair, Chirac may not fare any better.

      He ought to take seriously the advice of the Australian Prime
Minister, John Howard, who said it was important to realise that when
dealing with somebody like Mugabe, symbolism and face and status were
tremendously important to them.

      These symbols are important for dictators who are, by definition,
incredibly vain people. They signify nothing to democratically elected

      Mugabe would have his compatriots believe that he was greatly
successful on his recent sojourn. But that success can only refer to Grace
Mugabe, whose insatiable appetite for shopping was on international display.
The trip did not benefit Zimbabwe in any way.

      Queues for bread, sugar, fuel, maize-meal and all the basic essentials
one can think of are still evident and growing by the day. Hunger and
starvation still stalk the land, from Victoria Falls to Chimanimani.

      The fuel queues, now as familiar a sight in the cities and towns as
street kids, are getting longer by the day.

      Desperate people can be a danger to themselves and those around them.
Mugabe and his party have now achieved that status, it must be noted with

      On his return from his latest jaunt, Mugabe waxed optimistic about the
prospects for a change in Zimbabwe's fortunes. Raising such false hopes
among the people could be his final undoing.

      It is hazardous in the extreme to trifle with the emotions of very
hungry, very angry people.
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      Silence, inaction and fear are no longer enough

      3/7/2003 11:02:01 AM (GMT +2)

      By Cathy Buckle

      Just exactly what is it going to take to get the ordinary men and
women in Zimbabwe's cities, towns and villages to join hands with their
brothers and sisters to stand up for what is right?

      We did it in February 2000 at the referendum. We stood together, went
to the voting booths and marked "No" on a ballot paper. We found the courage
then so what on earth has happened to us?

      Is that to be the only moment in our 23-year history when were able to
swallow this huge fear engulfing Zimbabwe and do the right thing?

      If you have been beaten, arrested, degraded, raped or had your
livelihood taken from you since February 2000, then read no more.

      If your husband or wife has died at the hands of political thugs, we
mourn your loss.

      If you've written letters to the paper, spoken to a journalist or worn
a black armband in mourning for the death of democracy in Zimbabwe, you have
played your part.

      If you've been on a protest march, signed a petition or spoken on
Short Wave Radio Africa, you have been involved.

      There are 11,6 million people in Zimbabwe. I wonder how many of us can
say that we have done our bit to bring democracy back to our country?
      When all this is over I wonder how many of us will be able to hold up
our heads with pride and dignity and say that we played our part?

      To those people who continue to ply their excuses and wail
pathetically about the demise of Zimbabwe and still do or say nothing, I say
shame on you.

      The excuses for your silence and inaction have worn so thin that they
are now completely transparent.

      God gave each and every one of us a voice with which to speak, hands
with which to write and feet with which to walk.

      If you are not prepared to use any of these three God-given gifts to
help yourselves and your country by now then perhaps you no longer deserve
to live in our once beautiful, prosperous and peaceful land.

      Businessmen and big companies continue to wheel and deal. They will
not handle products they deem "politically sensitive".

      They accept government tenders and take money from the very people
who, in 2001, invaded their companies and extorted billions of dollars.

      The Commercial Farmers' Union continues to have dialogue with the very
men who destroyed them, stole their land, took over their houses and
eradicated their membership.

      Takashinga Cricket Club expelled Henry Olonga from their ranks because
he dared to tell the truth about the situation in the country.

      The cricket authorities whinged about the millions of dollars they had
lost when England refused to come and play here.

      The Zimbabwe Cricket Union forbade both Flower and Olonga from even
wearing black armbands at World Cup matches. Shame on all of you for your
moral cowardice.

      We know who you are and in the times ahead you will see that you have
blood on your hands and the stain is indelible.

      The time has come for each and every single one of us to voice our
discontent at bad governance and oppression. Black, white and brown - there
are no more excuses left.

      Play your part and be proud to be Zimbabwean.
      Silence, inaction and fear are no longer good enough. Look at those
who have shown their courage and follow their example.

      Over three million of our friends and relations are living in exile.
Will they never be able to come home because their friends were too scared
to even wear black and white clothes in silent protest at a cricket match?

      Over 200 people have died in political violence - have their deaths
been for nothing?

      How many thousands have been left unemployed, homeless and beaten -
will their pain, suffering and humiliation have been in vain because of our
moral cowardice?

      When no wheat is planted in Zimbabwe's soil this winter and we again
go hungry, who will we be able to blame except ourselves?

      Each and every one of the 11,6 million people in Zimbabwe must ask
themselves today if they are doing the right thing.

      If you have taken offence at these words then perhaps you are one of
those doing nothing.

      It's no good telling people how brave they are any more - it's time to
join the club.
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Daily News

      MDC dismisses national economic revival strategy

      3/7/2003 10:59:57 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Mhike Business Reporter

      THE MDC has dismissed the National Economic Revival Programme (NERP)
announced by the Finance Ministry this week as another botched attempt by
the government to revive the economy.

      NERP was launched in Harare by Dr Herbert Murerwa, the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development, on Monday.

      Tapiwa Mashakada, the MDC shadow minister for finance, yesterday said:
"NERP should qualify as the joke of the year. An incisive analysis of the
document shows no evidence of government's intention to move away from
economic dirigisme (controls-driven policies)."

      The new economic revival plan was underpinned on a two-tier nominal
exchange rate of $800 for all exporters and $55 for government's official
transactions, and other non-export sectors of the economy.

      The two-tier regime would therefore yield a blend rate of $427,50,
translating to a $7,50 decline from last year's blend rate of $435.

      Mashakada said: "With inflation running as high as 208 percent, the
new exchange rate remained a far cry from the expectations of the private

      The government also announced an adjustable band of 2,91 percent below
and above the mid-rate of $800. That effectively meant that the nominal
exchange rate would be adjusted to $824.

      Mashakada said it was disturbing to note that tourism, a key foreign
currency generator, and other service sectors had been omitted from the
exchange rate realignment.

      "Even if the new measures were to be effective for the targeted
operations, it should be known that export growth alone would, without the
resumption of balance of payments support, still leave Zimbabwe with a
critical foreign currency supply bottleneck," Mashakada said.

      Presently, total arrears stand at US$1,4 billion (Z$77 billion).
Arrears to the International Monetary Fund amount to US$190 million while
those owed to the World Bank are at US$186 million.

      As a result of the country's high indebtedness most bilateral and
multi-lateral creditors have in the past three years, cut off virtually all
credit lines.

      Mashakada said: "There cannot be economic revival when the country
remains in its parlous state, completely cut off from the rest of the world,
without foreign aid, investment and trade links."

      Domestically, most of the macro-economic fundamentals are presently

      For instance, government's failure to consistently import and
distribute fuel effectively, has left numerous companies stranded or closed.

      Government's answer to the fuel crisis under NERP would be the
inclusion of oil companies in the importation of fuel. Another measure would
be the upward revision on the volume of importable fuel by individuals. It
was increased ten-fold from 20 litres to $200 litres.

      Mashakada referred to that move, and others measures for the
entertainment industry, for aluminium and scrap metals, and the measure of
interest rates, as "merely good for footnoting".

      The entertainment industry would, under the new policy, enjoy an
exemption of duty on music, film and video equipment, which Mashakada said
was designed for the benefit of one State institution, that is, the
recapitalisation of the ZBC, in the absence of broadcasting competition.

      On interest rates, Mashakada said: "It is ironic that government
intends to raise interest rates but at the same time pump money into the
economy through its various multi-billion-dollar facilities such as the $100
billion Productive and Export Facility at concessionary rates."

      He said economic stabilisation was essential for any economic revival
programme. "By ignoring the need to put in place appropriate fiscal and
monetary policies to bring about macro-economic confidence first, the
government is playing infantile games with economic policy formulation,"
said Mashakada.
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Daily News


      The rise and rise of Chinotimba

      3/7/2003 11:03:39 AM (GMT +2)

      By Foster Dongozi Features Writer

      FROM an unknown municipal security guard - some of whose duties
included guarding beerhalls - war veteran leader, Joseph Chinotimba has
certainly risen from obscurity to such prominence that he was at one time
introduced to visiting heads of state by President Mugabe.

      Municipal records show Chinotimba never went beyond two years at
secondary school and list his highest educational qualification as Form One.

      And as he continues to climb the ladder, the ambitious Chinotimba has
targeted the august House of Parliament, where he aspires to represent the
Highfield constituency during the by-election on 29-30 March.

      "Chinos," as Chinotimba is known, sprang to fame in 2000 when he was
part of a group of war veterans and Zanu PF supporters, who spearheaded the
violent seizures of commercial farms.

      Then known by his nom de guerre as Comrade Brown, Chinotimba attracted
the attention of the media by sporting a hat made from grass and thorns
which he never doffed even in the presence of party gurus.

      The hat fashioned from thorns, a long beard and missing front teeth,
completed the picture of a man who would send shivers down the spines of
frightened farmers and their children every time he snarled at them.

      With the benefit of hindsight, it is possible that he repackaged
himself as an enigmatic character to attract the attention of journalists
and that of his leaders.
      But just who is Joseph Chinotimba, a man who has been acquitted of an
attempted murder charge, who is a member of one of several Apostolic Faith
sects but is accused of having ordered the permanent closure of a church
building in Manicaland and converted it into a beerhall?

      So full of contradictions is Chinotimba that despite the well-known
label of terror and intolerance attached to him, he unwittingly revealed
that the facade of bravado that he has displayed in the past was because he
had the backing of war veterans and ruling party hoodlums behind whom he
could hide as he terrorised political opponents - real or imagined.

      When former Daily News female photographer, Urginia Mauluka, was
savagely and brutally assaulted by members of the riot police, an irate
Chinotimba telephoned the newspaper's offices to condemn the excesses of the

      "I am also human and I felt very bad that Mauluka was beaten up by the
police," said Chinotimba.

      Away from rallies, factory and farm invasions, one is tempted to
believe that Chinotimba is a very timid man who realised that the violent
path was the only avenue that would haul him from the rut of poverty, a
status commensurate with a lowly job of being a municipal policeman.

      Soon, the violent path started bearing fruit.
      The first sign that Comrade Chinos was becoming a sacred cow was when
he took unauthorised leave from his employers, the Harare Municipality, to
lead the land invasions from February 2000 but continued receive his monthly
salary. The municipality was run by a government-appointed commission at the

      By August 2000, Chinotimba was still exhibiting a degree of political
naivete when he led 400 war veterans who briefly barricaded President Mugabe
and then Home Affairs minister, John Nkomo, at their party's headquarters.

      This was after the government had destroyed illegal structures built
by landless people around Harare.

      Chinotimba also burnt his fingers when he attacked Retired General
Solomon Mujuru, a member of the powerful decision-making Zanu PF politburo,
regarded by many as the king-maker in the ruling party.

      "I challenge him (Mujuru) to come out in the open and tell us what he
has done for the comrades since 1980.

      "We suffered a lot after independence when our demobilisation funds
were cut off but he did not help us. So he must just shut up."

      Mujuru countered by firing a broadside which questioned Chinotimba's
independence war credentials.

      Realising that he had bitten off more than he could chew, a grovelling
and petrified Chinotimba apologised to Mujuru, expressing his admiration for
him and claiming he had been misquoted by a newspaper.

      As the marauding war veterans who for years had been sidelined from
the main body politic by Zanu PF realised the sweetness of power,
Chinotimba, who had been elected Harare provincial chairman for the war
veterans' association, started casting his net towards civilian politics.

      His mentor, Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi, must have given him some ideas as
to how previously marginalised war veterans could wriggle their way to the
top of Zanu PF politics.

      Hunzvi had earlier led a march on State House and disrupted Mugabe's
address during a gathering at Heroes' Acre.

      Within days of landing the Harare provincial war veterans' post,
Chinotimba climbed a few rungs up the political ladder after he was elected
Zanu PF political commissar.

      By this time, he had sloughed the hat fashioned from grass and thorns,
which would have been the envy of many birds desperate for a nest. The
scruffy attire disappeared and designer suits and a new set of false teeth
completed Chinos' all-new image.

      Chinotimba, who had then been "promoted" to a driver, was now to be
seen prowling around in a chauffeur-driven Cherokee Jeep, later reported to
be Zanu PF property.

      In the middle of 2001, he was "appointed" first vice-president of the
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, an organisation dismissed by many as a
loose coalition of war veterans and Zanu PF supporters.

      Chinotimba owed his senior post in the "union" to forays into
factories and firms that he and his cronies raided on the pretext of
championing workers' rights. Reports that they were demanding bribes from
officials so that their premises would not be raided, soon followed.

      By this time Chinos had certainly moved up the ladder of affluence. He
was withdrawing sums as large as $800 000 from banks in the upmarket
Westgate shopping complex and patronising equally upmarket hangouts like the
News Cafe in Newlands in the company of a retinue of bodyguards.

      In September, 2001, Chinotimba was officially anointed as a member of
the ruling class by Mugabe when in a bizarre twist of events, he was
introduced to visiting heads of state from southern Africa.

      Zimbabweans still vividly remember Chinotimba fumbling awkwardly as he
performed the customary bear hug favoured by African leaders on a bemused
Bakili Muluzi of Malawi.

      Foreign Affairs Minister, Stan Mudenge defended the decision to
introduce Chinotimba to visiting heads of states, despite the fact that he
was facing an attempted murder charge.

      "Every man is innocent until proven guilty, and that includes
Chinotimba." was the rationale for this undiplomatic excess.

      One of the most stunning events was in November 2001 when Chinotimba
launched Mugabe's presidential campaign for the 2002 presidential election.
"This is the time for unity and all divisions and factional fighting that
characterised the parliamentary election should cease," thundered Chinos,
sounding every bit like a president.

      Recently, he prompted nationwide chuckles when he told party adherents
that anyone who met Jesus would have met God and that seeing God was just as
good as seeing Jesus.

      He drew similarities between himself and Mugabe. "Mukawona Chinos
mawona vaMugabe uye mukawona vaMugabe matowona Chinos." (If you see Chinos
it's just as good as seeing Mugabe). Although he has risen up the social
ladder in a typical rags-to-riches story, some war veterans questioned the
source of his fortune. That he is on the side of civilian ruling party
officials is now clear.

      In July last year, war veterans threatened to demonstrate against
Jonathan Moyo if he did not bring back Joy Television, owned by indigenous
entrepreneurs and war veterans.

      But a bristling Chinotimba jumped to the professor's defence.

      "A war veteran cannot demonstrate against a member of the politburo
who was appointed by President Mugabe," said Chinotimba, who once held
Mugabe and John Nkomo hostage for about ten minutes.
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March 6, 2003
Zimbabwe Situation Crimes Against Humanity
As a human rights monitoring organization in the SADC region, NSHR welcomes the mounting pressure being brought to bear by certain key members of the International Community on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his regime in Harare. The United States and certain members of the European Community are becoming increasingly critical of Mugabe over the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
Contrary to claims by South Africa and Nigeria, the human rights, humanitarian and human security situation in that country has deteriorated even further as President Mugabe and his closest associates continue to act with impunity.
Widespread and systematic human rights violations such as murder, imprisonment and other severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, persecution against political, racial, ethnic, cultural and religious entities, enforce disappearances and other inhumane acts such as famine, which are causing great suffering including serious injury to mental or physical health are occurring in Zimbabwe.  Such acts are intentionally directed against Mugabe’s opponents (i.e. the political Opposition, the judiciary and civil society actors, including the clergy). The principal perpetrators of such violations are members of police, intelligence, military, paramilitary and vigilante groups acting on the orders or with the full knowledge and tolerance of President Mugabe and his regime.
Hence, the present human rights situation in Zimbabwe deserves to be classified as crimes against humanity by the whole International Community.  President Mugabe and his cronies must be hauled before a special international criminal tribunal or before national courts in accordance with the principle of universal criminal jurisdiction embodied in the 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture.
Last month, French President Jacques Chirac, addressing Mugabe and 51 other African leaders, warned that those who perpetrate human rights violations risk the punishment of the International Criminal Court. President Chirac noted that the days of impunity, when people were able to justify the use of force, are truly over.
NSHR calls upon other States, in particular the African States who subscribe to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Convention against Torture, including Namibia, South Africa and Nigeria as well as all other nations to isolate Robert Mugabe and his cohorts.
For further comment, please call Phil ya Nangoloh or Dorkas Nangolo at Tel: +264 61 236 183 or +264 61 253 447 (office hours) or Mobiles: +264 81 275 1883 (Dorkas) or +264 811 299 886 (Phil)
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