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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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US imposes sanctions on Mugabe

By Adam Entous
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush has imposed economic
sanctions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and 76 other high-ranking
government officials, accusing them of undermining democracy in the
impoverished southern African country.

Following the lead of the European Union, Bush issued an executive order
freezing their assets and barring Americans from engaging in any
transactions or dealings with them. The sanctions take effect immediately.

"Over the course of more than two years, the government of Zimbabwe has
systematically undermined that nation's democratic institutions, employing
violence, intimidation, and repressive means including legislation to stifle
opposition to its rule," Bush said in the order.

Mugabe has been under fire from the West over the alleged rigging of an
election last year and the persecution of political foes, as well as the
seizure of white-owned farms to be given to landless blacks.

The United States, the Commonwealth and the European Union, encouraged by
rights groups, have all imposed some travel, aid and economic sanctions on

Prime Minister Tony Blair has been particularly critical of Mugabe,
spearheading opposition to the Zimbabwe government in the European Union
under pressure from Britain's large expatriate Zimbabwean community.

In a statement, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the situation in
Zimbabwe "endangers the southern African region" and threatens to undermine
democratic reforms throughout the continent.

The White House stressed that the sanctions were not aimed at the people of
Zimbabwe, and that it was "working diligently" with its international
partners to ensure that adequate food supplies are made available to
Zimbabweans in need.

The U.N. World Food Program has said that while massive food aid helped to
stave off the threat of widespread starvation in the region, more than 7
million people face severe shortages in Zimbabwe.

In February, the EU renewed targeted sanctions against the former British
colony's president and his close associates for one year. The measures
include a visa ban, an arms embargo and a freeze on the assets of senior
officials of the Harare government.

Last month Mugabe launched a blistering attack on Bush and Blair, branding
them imperialists who wanted to impose a new form of colonialism on
developing countries.

This Executive Order (see below) reiterates the US government's rejection of the Mugabe regime's human rights abuses against its people, a situation that has deteriorated substantially in the last few months.  
In simple terms, this Order prohibits any transactions or dealings in all property and interests in property either in the United States or held by US citizens. It focuses specifically on the individuals who have commited the crimes, not the people of Zimbabwe. The list of 77 names mirrors that of the European Union, but most importantly, the President of the United States has authorised the Secretary of the Treasury, together with the Secretary of State, to additionally designate individuals and entities, that act for or on behalf of, or are owned or controlled by, the individuals listed in the Annex to the Executive Order.

[Page: H1676]  GPO's PDF


   The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Bishop of Utah) laid before the House the following message from the President of the United States; which was read and, together with the accompanying papers, without objection, referred to the Committee on International Relations and ordered to be printed:

To the Congress of the United States:

   Pursuant to section 204(b) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1703(b) and section 301 of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1631, I hereby report that I have exercised my statutory authority to declare a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy interests of the United States posed by the actions and policies of certain individuals who have formulated, implemented, or supported policies that have undermined Zimbabwe's democratic institutions.

   Over the course of more than 2 years, the Government of Zimbabwe has systematically undermined that nation's democratic institutions, employing violence, intimidation, and repressive means including legislation to stifle opposition to its rule. This campaign to ensure the continued rule of Robert Mugabe and his associates was clearly revealed in the badly flawed presidential election held in March 2002. Subsequent to the election, the Mugabe government intensified its repression of opposition political parties and those voices in civil society and the independent press calling on the government to respect the nation's democratic values and the basic human rights of its citizens. To add to the desperation of the besieged Zimbabwean people, the current government has engaged in a violent assault on the rule of law that has thrown the economy into chaos, devastated the nation's agricultural economy, and triggered a potentially catastrophic food crisis.

   As a result of the unusual and extraordinary threat posed to the foreign policy of the United States by the deterioration of Zimbabwe's democracy and the resulting breakdown in the rule of law, politically motivated violence, and the political and economic instability in the southern African region, I have exercised my statutory authority and issued an Executive Order which, except to the extent provided for in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date:

   Blocks all property and interests in property of the individuals listed in the Annex to the order;

   Prohibits any transaction or dealing by United States persons or within the United States in property or interests in property blocked pursuant to the order, including the making or receiving of any contribution of funds, goods, or service to or for the benefit of the persons designated pursuant to the order.

   The Secretary of the Treasury is further authorized to designate any person determined, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to be owned or controlled by, or acting or purporting to act directly or indirectly for or on behalf of, any persons designated in or pursuant to the order. The Secretary of the Treasury is also authorized in the exercise of my authorities under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to implement these measures in consultation with the Secretary of State. All Federal agencies are directed to take actions within their authority to carry out the provisions of the Executive Order.

   This Executive Order further demonstrates the U.S. commitment to supporting the Zimbabwe's democratic evolution, and strengthens our cooperation with the European Union in efforts to promote that evolution. The European Union has acted to freeze the assets of 79 individuals responsible for the political, economic, and social deterioration of Zimbabwe. With the exception of two individuals no longer associated with the Government of Zimbabwe, this order encompasses all those identified by the European Union.

   I have enclosed a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.

   George W. Bush.

   The White House, March 6, 2003.
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Daily News

      Mugabe's speech attacked

      3/8/2003 2:17:33 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE MDC has described as malicious and immature a speech by President
Mugabe at the Harare International Airport calling Morgan Tsvangirai, the
MDC president a "ghost" who lacked the proper education to rule Zimbabwe.

      Mugabe spoke to Zanu PF supporters at the airport upon arrival from a
two-week visit to France and South-east Asia where he attended the
France-Africa summit and Non-Aligned Movement summit.

      In a statement on Tuesday, Isaac Matongo, the MDC national chairman
said: "Good governance, democracy and patriotism require commitment to the
cause of the people and their welfare, not paper qualifications, as Mugabe

      He said Mugabe, with his bag of academic qualifications, had nothing
to show the suffering people of this country.
      Matongo said: "His record in public office speaks for itself. He has
destroyed a promising economy, ruptured well-settled communities and has led
a regime which has tortured, raped and killed thousands of innocent people."

      He said Mugabe's trips had nothing tangible to offer to the myriad of
problems he created at home.
      "Mugabe always returns home empty-handed, and seeks refuge in
attacking Tsvangirai," he said.

      Mugabe attacked Tsvangirai for betraying Zimbabwe and being a British
puppet who thrived on violence.

      "Desist from violence, Tsvangirai. Who the hell are you anyway to want
to rule this country? Chikoro hauna, unongovawo chipoko zvako. (You are not
educated, you are just a ghost)," Mugabe said.

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Leader Page

      Mugabe has created a generation of anarchists

      3/8/2003 2:39:01 AM (GMT +2)

      THINGS will have gone horribly wrong in any country when ruling party
youths are allowed to roam the country doing literally as they please,
including assaulting anyone they think is not behaving in a politically
correct manner.

      Some of the youths beat up people who may be old enough to be their
parents or even their grandparents. Which is what the party's highly
militarised youths did in Sunningdale this week.

      As reported in this paper yesterday, a 31-year old female vendor by
the name of Peggie Chaziva was severely assaulted by Zanu PF youths for no
other reason than that she had
      entered into a business transaction with a non-Zanu PF person. Chaziva
had innocently sold grapes to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was in the
area as part of his ongoing meet-the-people tour of urban centres.

      In the Zanu PF youths' poisoned minds, that innocent transaction
clearly constituted a crime for which the poor woman had to be subjected to
instant justice the barbaric Zanu PF way.

      If we have learnt any lesson from similar criminal behaviour by the
party's activists in the past, it is that no one should expect that Chaziva'
s assailants will ever be arrested, let alone punished, thanks to President
Mugabe who, through his so-called national youth service training centres,
has created a whole generation of anarchists just to ensure his
      political survival.

      As far as this government is concerned, Zanu PF youths are a law unto
themselves and cannot be punished for any transgression, no matter how
serious, so long as it is committed in the name of the party. Aware of this
sad reality as we may be, it is nevertheless imperative to ask a few
important questions here.

      Does the simple act, by a vendor or a formal trader for that matter,
of doing legitimate business or merely associating with someone known to not
support Zanu PF automatically translate into the other person being
anti-Zanu PF as well? And, is it a crime for any Zimbabwean to choose not to
support Zanu PF?

      The answer to the first question is obvious. It certainly does not.
Only simpletons which is what all these young Zanu PF thugs apparently are
could draw such an illogical conclusion. But, as far as Zanu PF is
concerned, the answer to the second question is, no doubt, an unqualified
"yes", the absence of any law to that effect in our statute books

      There can be no gainsaying the fact that all the legalised violence
against the entire population is justified in the ruling party leadership's
firm conviction that all Zimbabweans have an obligation to support Zanu PF.
And they are enforcing that "law" with rare ruthlessness.

      Evidence is mounting on a daily basis pointing to a total absence of
any form of scruples among those in power in their all-out war with the
entire population of this country for
      daring to continue to tell them, through both word and deed, that they
really don't want them to remain in power any more. Their goal is to at
least make all of us pretend we have no objection to their continued rule.

      It is precisely in pursuit of that eternally elusive and continually
receding mirage that the government has not only stepped up its violent
campaign to silence its critics but, to its lasting shame, has also
abandoned any pretence to its earlier claims to civilised governance and the
observance of basic human rights.

      Only a government that has finally decided not to care a hoot about
what the rest of the world thinks could have allowed its police to behave as
brutally as ours did last weekend at a time when the eyes of the whole world
are focused on Zimbabwe because of the Cricket World Cup.

      It was reckless enough for the regime to allow its brutal security
agents to needlessly torture MDC supporters at State House and in Mufakose
in Harare. But it was sheer madness for them to then compound that show of
extreme intolerance of dissent by failing to warn the police to avoid
publicly disgracing it by acting the way they did against cricket fans in
Bulawayo. These are clearly the last kicks of a dying horse
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Daily News


      Government plan cannot revive clinically dead economy

      3/8/2003 2:14:46 AM (GMT +2)

      Rejoice, Zimbabwe, for your economic salvation is at hand. Our
ever-concerned government has finally come up with a sure-fire economic
revival plan to revive our dead economy.

      A loud headline in The Herald of 5 March 2003 announced that the
government had launched "the much-awaited National Economic Revival
Programme, which seeks to promote economic growth through home-grown
solutions to various challenges facing the country".

      As far as I can see, our economy is dead. It is like a clinically dead
person who is only breathing because he is on a life supporting machine. As
soon as the machine is switched off, the patient will stop breathing and
doctors can declare him dead for relatives and friends to bury him.

      There is no way a clinically dead patient can be resuscitated.
Therefore, for our government to talk about reviving our clinically dead
economy is not even faith in miracles it is sheer folly.

      The Zanu PF government has effectively killed our once vibrant
economy, which was the envy of Africa. They cannot bring it back to life no
matter how many revival programmes they cook up. The only way our economy
can be born again is through the efforts of a new government. Zanu PF has
had its day and it has failed miserably.

      By the way, the current economic revival plan is the sixth such
programme to be loudly hailed as the panacea for all our economic problems
in the last two years alone. We have had Zimcord, the five-year Transitional
Development Plan, Esap, Zimprest and the Millennium Economic Recovery Plan.
Despite their fancy names, all these programmes failed to revive the

      As a fair-minded person, I always try to give even the devil his due.
I will, therefore, admit that some of these programmes on paper, were
brilliant pieces of work. The problem was that the government did not have
the political will and guts to bite the bullet and put them into action.

      I will not try to analyse the reasons for their failure, but question
why anyone in his right mind can believe that this one will be exceptional.
It is a glaring failure even before the ink it was drafted with dried.

      According to The Herald, the main highlight of the latest revival
programme is an export price of Z$824 to US$1. The definition of the export
support price is rather confusing. Only one with a Zanu PF mentality can
understand it, I guess.

      At first, I thought this was a move to motivate exporters so that we
can get better inflows of foreign currency. But, according to The Financial
Gazette of 6 March, Finance Secretary, Nicholas Ncube told the paper that
the new rate would apply to all sellers of foreign currency and not just to
exporting companies.

      He said: "What we have said is that anyone who brings in foreign
currency is technically an exporter and this we did to harness as much
foreign currency as possible."

      When I read this, I said to myself: "Aha, Minister of Finance Herbert
Murerwa is really clever. Ari kurova imbwa akaviga mupini. (He is beating
the dog with a hidden stick.")
      Good old Herbie. I always knew that someone from my home township of
Mbare would not let us down. He knows very well that to our aged
Marxist-Leninist President, devaluation is a dirty word. So, he is bringing
it in, in disguise, so that he does not suffer the same fate as former
Finance Minister Simba Makoni, who was unceremoniously booted out of office
for merely suggesting that devaluing the Zimbabwean dollar would be good for
the economy.

      To me, devaluation by any other word is still devaluation. Therefore,
we are heading in the right direction, so I thought.

      But, according to The Financial Gazette, Ncube denied that the
government had devalued the Zimbabwean dollar. He said: "Those who import
will use the rate of Z$55 to US$1, which kills your argument of

      He said the rate of $55 would still be used for those requiring
foreign currency for the importation of critical commodities and goods such
as fuel, electricity and raw materials. Mind-boggling, isn't it?

      To my uncluttered and non-Zanu PF mentality, all this is a lot of
gobbledygook which means nothing, but hogwash. If anyone even dreams that
this rigmarole will revive the dead Zimbabwean economy, they need to have
their heads examined.

      Last Wednesday I was pleasantly surprised to read a letter in The
Daily News written by Engineer Simbarashe Mangwegwende blasting this same
economic programme.

      I was surprised because I have always known him to be a one-track
technocrat with very little interest in politics. The fact that he wrote as
he did show how disgusted ordinary Zimbabweans are by Zanu PF's politically
motivated short-term measures while millions of Zimbabweans are starving.

      Engineer Mangwegwende wrote: "The best incentive for the economy right
now is OEshock therapy' removing all price and exchange rate controls and
letting the market sort out the economy.

      "Experience from countries that have applied this shock therapy
indicate that the black market would quickly disappear because the supply of
foreign currency and products would be more readily available on the
official market, at prices that may be higher than the controlled prices,
but definitely lower than the prevailing black market rates."

      Well said, Engineer Mangwegwende. No wonder Zanu PF dimwits fired you
from your position as Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply

      They cannot stand clear thinkers like you. They are more comfortable
with semi-literate mediocres, crooks and boot-lickers. However, I would
advise you and other focused young people like you to be actively involved
in opposition politics to get this confused government out and leave the
talking and preaching to us old hands.

      He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Leader Page

      State repression should not deter fight for freedom

      3/8/2003 2:39:43 AM (GMT +2)

      By Jack Zaba

      We knew when the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) was bulldozed
through Parliament that all hell had broken loose.

      The legislation was prompted by the fear on Zanu PF's part that the
people of this land would one day get fed up with the mess visited upon us
by President Mugabe's regime.

      People in ruling party circles smelt blood and envisioned an end to
their hegemony, and as they were not prepared to democratically cede power,
they knew that if the people were deprived of their democratic rights, they
would have no option but to use the avenue of violence to extricate
themselves from the quagmire they were enmeshed in.

      In short the tyrannical regime sensed an impending, imminent and
inevitable mass uprising by the people of this land. Through the unfolding
of history our leaders know that if the Indonesian spirit grips us all, we
are too powerful for any sophisticated armoury.

      This then pushed them to put up defensive structures and legislation
that would criminalise any form of collective action by our long-suffering

      For the record, governments become repressive whenever they realise
that their policies and actions, as the managers of national resources and
wealth, have become moribund and obsolete.

      Even at family level when a father who is usually autocratic is
outwitted by his son on
      certain fundamental familial issues, he usually resorts to the
language of threats and violence to silence the defenceless son. This is the
case with those who occupy top offices in our government today.

      Having realised that there is neither miracle nor Herculian power that
could help them
      restore the nation to sanity, they chose to be arrogant and

      The government ran short of ideas on how they could fill petrol pumps,
despite knowing how sadza could remain the staple food in our country, and
above all, they could not find a friend genuine enough to lend a helping

      Muammar Gaddaffi was tried and he jettisoned his fellow
Pan-Africanists, presumably because Mugabe failed to accord him due honour
and recognition, such as naming the tallest building in Harare after him or
calling First Street, Gaddafi Street.

      As for Mbeki, his is only moral, not material, support. Thus for him
the whole world is irrelevant. He chose to become a political hermit, who
can only give land and bequeath poverty to his people. He enclosed himself
in a political hot balloon making it hard to respire.

      According to African tradition, we value our neighbours and friends
because they are the very people who uplift us if we slip. Not so with our
Dear Leader. He does his things all alone the puritanical hermit of Africa.
This attitude has cultivated and irrigated his
      arrogance to and hatred of the whole human race, including his very
own people.

      Because of his outlook he has ignored the basic rights, such as
freedoms of association and speech, declaring that you can only speak if you
speak positively about the leadership, because it is incorruptible.

      You cannot associate unless your group is sanctioned as friendly to
the State. This is the basis upon which POSA and the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) were devised.

      It was a case of a state that was overtaken by fear of the unknown.
They were seeing shadows of people chanting anti-Mugabe slogans. This was a
dream that terrified them so much that they believed it would soon be a

      Then POSA was created, followed by AIPPA, much to the chagrin of those
who still have illusions of our nation ever enjoying democracy. Who cares
even if you whine relentlessly?

      With these two pieces of legislation the State thinks that it has
fortified the throne because anyone who does anything that doesn't fall
within its definition of patriotism could be legally incarcerated.

      I wasn't yet born when Ian Smith did the same thing to our freedom
fighters, Mugabe included, in their drive to remove colonialism.

      So under Smith the Mugabes, the Chitepos and all the others faced
detention without proper trial. Little did we know that our Dear Leader
envied the power and supremacy that was wielded by Smith.

      Never did we imagine that Mugabe's enthusiastic fight against
colonialism was actually hinged on how much he would love to don the same
robes left behind by Smith.

      Or could it be that Mugabe wants to exact vengeance for the detentions
he suffered?
      Unfortunately, now his revenge is against those whose umbilical code
was interred in the same soil as his.

      The more we are reminded of the war era, the more we visualise the
wishes of the
      people during the anti-colonialist era. Of all else, we realise that
people fought for freedom freedom to talk, to interact, to laugh, to create
wealth, as in owning the much-vaunted land and above all, freedom to choose
our leadership.

      So go on and rumble about First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth or Sixth
      as this would give the people further resolve to fight for the freedom
they once fought for against the colonialists.

      The ZBC should continue celebrating whenever the police quash a
demonstration by the troubled people of our land. This would strengthen and
fortify our resolve to fight.

      You can suppress the truth for a long time, but never for eternity. If
people march in
      demand of a new constitution, or in solidarity with their mayor it is
criminal, but if a group of daft people make noise in front of The Daily
News offices, it is patriotic.

      What I know is that all dictatorships end in shameful failure. The pot
is simmering and very soon it shall be ready for them to eat from.

      People dread POSA, but will not remain afraid of it. Similarly, they
are afraid of Mugabe's thirst and affinity for war, but will never remain
thus. Smith was equally vicious and brutal, but what happened to him?

      The fear inculcated in the people by our Dear Leader shall soon vanish
and the real nature of Zimbabweans shall be unveiled.

      Mr Mugabe, carry on with your tomfoolery at your own peril. It's a
matter of time!
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Daily News

      Mass action set for next week

      3/8/2003 2:20:36 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      THE opposition MDC leadership last night resolved to call for mass
action next week to express discontent and disgust over the prevailing state
of affairs in which its members are being tortured and harassed.

      A well-placed source last night said the meeting was chaired by the
MDC national chairman Isaac Matongo, and was attended by most senior MDC
officials, including its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

      "Members of Parliament, councillors, and ward officials from Harare,
Norton, Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Bindura attended the meeting," said the
source. "It was sort of test for the preparedness of the people on the mass

      Thee said the leadership was given two days to do "final mobilisation"
of the "Action For National Survival" and then Tsvangirai would announce the
      "It is likely to be Tuesday or Wednesday when Tsvangirai is going to
call for the action," added the source.

      William Bango, the MDC presidential spokesman, last night confirmed
that a meeting had been held at Harvest House, but was not forthcoming with
finer details.

      "That there will be mass action must not come as a surprise to you.
The president has been under pressure for months now to call for mass action
as people are getting tired of what is prevailing. He got the information
during his meet-the-people tours around the country," said Bango. "But the
form, content and structure of the action is yet to be decided. No date has
been set yet, but it will be soon."

      The called mass action comes on the heels of rampant torture and
harassment of opposition members.

      Last Sunday about 70 people were arrested and brutally assaulted after
attending an MDC rally. Before that, some MDC members on their way to a
party rally in Hatcliffe were dragged into the State House and allegedly
beaten up by State security agents.
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Zimbabwe Police Use Batons on Women at Rally

      March 8
      - HARARE (Reuters) - Baton-wielding Zimbabwe riot police beat dozens
of women on Saturday to break up an International Women's Day gathering and
briefly detained at least 15 organizers for questioning, witnesses said.

      Journalists covering a ceremony in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo
said police charged into a group of women who blocked the path of a police
truck taking away the organizers.

      The police then moved in with batons to disperse the remaining 500 or
so women who were meeting in a city park, the witnesses said. Police denied
they used excessive force.

      "Trouble started when the police came in to take some of the
organizers, and some women knelt in front of the truck, praying and singing
and blocking the truck from moving," one journalist told Reuters by
telephone from Bulawayo.

      "That's when the police charged into the crowd...They were beating
them with baton sticks, pushing them and just chasing them around," the
journalist added.

      Another witness said: "It was all going very well until the police
came. When they came, a lot of people surrounded their truck and that is
when things began to happen."

      The 15 or so arrested included three members of parliament who
represent the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the wife
of the MDC vice-president.

      A police spokesman said riot police used minimum force to clear the
way for the police truck after some women blocked the only road out of the
car park.

      "The impression being created that the police went on a rampage
against these women, that there was chaos, is a very big exaggeration," he
said. "The police had come to pick up the organizers to warn them against
turning their civic event into a political rally because they had no
permission to hold a rally."

      Jenni Williams, a former spokeswoman for Zimbabwe's white Commercial
Farmers' Union and a civic activist in Bulawayo, said she and at least 14
other women were taken to the police and released without charge after some
four hours.

      In February, police arrested more than 40 women as they handed out
roses, sang songs and called for peace during a Valentine's Day protest.

      Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe signed tough security legislation
into law just before he was re-elected in a controversial poll last March.
The Public Order and Security Act forbids the holding of public meetings
without police clearance.

      Critics say the act is aimed at suppressing opposition to Mugabe's

      Zimbabwe is grappling with its worst economic crisis -- fueled by
soaring unemployment and food shortages -- since Mugabe came to power after
independence from Britain in 1980.

      On Friday, President Bush imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe and 76 other high-ranking government officials,
accusing them of undermining democracy in the impoverished southern African


23 held in women's march
08/03/2003 17:53  - (SA)

Harare - At least 23 women were arrested on Saturday as they took part in a
march to mark International Women's Day in Bulawayo, said the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

Women held demonstrations across Zimbabwe to protest against what they
called the "abuse" of women.

Those arrested included an opposition legislator and the wife of the MDC's
vice-president, Gibson Sibanda, the party said in a statement.

Rights groups here say women are bearing the brunt of the economic and
political problems buffeting the country.

The MDC said, commenting on the arrests in Bulawayo: "This is clear evidence
that the regime is willing to go out of its way to suppress (dissenting)

In the capital, Harare, at least 400 women sang and chanted in pouring rain
in a demonstration against what they said was the humiliation, beatings and
rape of many women.

Riot police were out in full force, but there were no reports of arrests in
that demonstration.

The women held banners saying "We want food for our children."

Other placards read "Our girls are not slaves. Disband the militias" in an
apparent reference to the government's controversial National Youth Service
programme, which has been blamed for violence in some areas. - Sapa-AFP

Eye witness account
The Women of Bulawayo Have Spoken




From a previous quote
I guess this is what Mbeki & his Nigerian sidekick mean by an improved situation?!
Today is International Women's Day which is the day where WOMEN should be able to openly and freely express their concerns throughout the world.   In Bulawayo it kicked off at approximately 11.00 hours today at the Bulawayo City Hall Car Park.  There were some 300 women present, some with babies strapped to their backs and other children at their feet.    There was no attempt to leave the car park and they walked round in a carnival atmosphere, singing in the vernacular songs such as "Jesus is No. 1" and "We are here for Peace not War".   They were waving white strips of cloth for peace and red as anti-violence.
After 4 or so circuits two Police Land Rovers arrived and stationed themselves in the centre of the car park.   At this time several of the ladies were addressing the gathering on food/hunger, women's needs for sanitary requisites and the need for Peace.  At the same time a number of police men and women had gathered around the speakers vehicle.   The first person to be led away was Ms Gertrude Mtombeni followed by Ms Thokozani Khupe, MP for Makokoba.  After some discussion Mrs Zodwa Sibanda, wife of the MDC Vice President, was also led away followed by Mrs Enna Chitsa, Mrs Phiri, Mrs Khumalo, wife of MP for Pelandaba and Mrs Khumalo, MP for Mzingwane.   They were ordered into the back of the Land Rover. 
When the remaining crowd saw this they rushed to the exit of the car park and prevented the vehicle carrying those arrested from leaving.   The resolve of the women of Bulawayo was reminiscent, although not on such a large scale, of Tinneman Square. 
As the vehicle proceeded forward some 30 women knelt down in front of the vehicle and continued singing.  Other women moved around the sides of the vehicle and also continued singing.   After approximately 5 minutes the vehicle reversed and returned to the centre of the car park.  The women did not move from the exit.   A further attempt at higher speed was made to break through the crowd but the women stood their ground and returned to their knees.    As a result the vehicle again reversed and moved to the far side of the car park.  
At this time a Police truck loaded with Riot Police arrived and drove straight through the crowd.   As this happened the vehicle carrying those arrested exited and drove to the Central Police Station, a block away.   Simultaneously, the riot police debussed and started attacking the women with their batons.   At least one police member was seen to be carrying a tear-gas gun which thankfully was not used.   I believe evidence of paranoia was displayed by the police in the way they metered out indiscriminate punishment of anyone within reach.  
Several women continued to be beaten even though they had stumbled and had fallen to the ground.   As a result of this action one elderly lady (name supplied) was taken to a nearby medical centre for treatment. Others not yet identified may also be in need of treatment.
Incredibly, and this should be of encouragement to all Zimbabweans, the women re-grouped and assembled adjacent to the Central Police Station where they again commenced singing in support of those inside.   Once again the riot police dispersed the newly gathered crowd.   The group were supported by a large contingent of by-standers on the opposite side of the road.
Further arrests were made during this time which included the only white women participant, Mrs Mary Ndlovu and Mrs. Ineke te Velde who was an observer.   This was sometime after the original dispersal as they were walking away from the area.   Another arrest was that of Mrs Jenni Williams who was again a mere observer.  It is suspected that other arbitary arrests may have been made subsequent to those mentioned previously.
Mbeki, Obasanjo and other defenders of the Mugabe regime who are stating that the situation has improved and preach "Zimbabweans must sort out their own problems", please tell us how this can be achieved with out a return to the rule of law and democracy? 
Until Mbeki and Obasanis prepared to TRUTHFULLY answer the question above, the rhetoric in terms of NEPAD for the monitoring of regional countries and subsequent condemnation of policies detrimental to human rights and good governance has proven once again a farce in Africa
Mike Lander -  Bulawayo

Just confirmed everyone released. This is great but should this indignity and abuse have been suffered in the first place. The police now say they did not do anything wrong.
Another strike for freedom - Congratulations to the women of Bulawayo for their courage
Mike Lander
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Debate, 5th March 2003 House of Lords 6.39 p.m.
Baroness Park of Monmouth rose to call attention to the situation in Zimbabwe; and to move for Papers.
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the head of the World Food Programme, James Morris, has described the situation in Zimbabwe as a humanitarian nightmare. I hope, after reviewing the records of the international bodies, to propose what could still be done to help a Commonwealth country where the people, brave as they are, are near to despair.
Here is a country that, until two years ago, was the bread basket of southern Africa, with a sophisticated, successful economic and public infrastructure; with no race problems, and blessed with the rule of law. Its present collapse is attributed to land reform, which has been presented as driven by a just process of redistribution of land to the indigenous population. However, it has become an instrument of naked power enforced by paid young thugs. It is used for ethnic cleansing; it has destroyed the economyóinflation reached 280 per cent last monthóand consigned more than 1.5 million African men, women and children who used to work on farms to starvation and homelessness. They are specifically excluded from the national food assistance programme.
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Meanwhile, the Africans from the communal areas were cynically exploited to drive farmers off their farms. They were each given a few hectares of land for subsistence farming without seeds, tools or, above all, title, until they, too, were driven back to the communal areas to starve, as Ministers, soldiers and party members took over the farms.
This, not drought, has led to the famine. The rule of law has been destroyed. The police, public servants and the courts have all been taught that Mugabe is the law and the party is the law. As well as rampant corruption, there is no justice. Others will speak today of the horrific breaches of human rights, from torture and rape to the brainwashing that is now conducted in camps by the feared Green Bombers, who are now forcibly indoctrinating teachers, a much-respected profession.
According to a farm orphan support trust set up in 1997, 47 per cent of the population was at that time 15 or younger; 26 per cent of the adult population was HIV positive; the orphan population was growing by 60,000 children each year, and, by 2003óthis year, my Lordsóone third of all children under 15 years of age would be orphans.
The first thing that AIDS victims ask for is food for their hungry children. In Zimbabwe there is none. According to the World Food Programme,

"nationwide shortages of basic commodities and fuel, high parallel market prices and runaway inflation are a formula for disaster. More than half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are now living with the threat of starvation. We are seeing hunger-related diseases. Children have dropped out of schools. Desperate families in rural Zimbabwe have resorted to eating wild fruits and tubers, some poisonous, just to survive. The government has declined permission for us to conduct nutritional surveys that would help target what resources we have to the hardest hit areas . . . Food is seen as a weapon in domestic politics".
James Morris made that statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month.
So what have we done and what could we do to help? The Commonwealth sent only 42 observers to do the one thing that Zimbabwe needed thenóto tell the world what was happening at the elections. Of the troika appointed to review Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, the two African members, in the face of disaster, take the view that things are getting better; that the land programme has been a success and all that remains to be done is for the British Government to pay compensation for the land. They say that Mugabe has set aside 4 billion Zimbabwean dollarsóno doubt at parallel ratesóto pay for improvements in some happy future. Zimbabwe, they say, should be allowed back into the Commonwealth.
What about the EU? The French had no difficulty in pursuing their own agenda in Africa by inviting Mugabe to Paris, since Article 3.3 of the original Common Position on Africa of February 2002 had always allowed member states to admit those on the prohibited travel list,
"on the grounds of attending meetings of international bodies or conducting political dialogue that promotes democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe".
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Mr Chirac, before an audience in which Mr Mugabe was by no means the only corrupt tyrant present, spoke movingly about their obligations to behave well. Perhaps the Minister can tell us what success we have had in sequestering assets.
What about G8? The statement on the G8 summit last year made no reference to Zimbabwe but celebrated the establishment of NePAD, the African-led initiative that,

"puts good governance at its heart. African countries have pledged to raise standards of governance and have committed themselves to a peer review mechanism".
Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo rightly called the event a historic moment for Africa.
The strategy of HMG has been quiet diplomacyóI respect their reasonsóworking through the SADC countries most affected by the collapse of Zimbabwe, especially South Africa, the architect of NePAD. They have accepted the argument that it is an African issue to be settled by Africans. It would seem reasonable for the NePAD peer-review mechanism to be used and for the good governance policy to be related to Zimbabwe. But that has not happened, because all along there has been another player whose agenda is far from that of either the G8 or the EUóLibya. As President Mbeki explained to the G8 representative last November, the African Union is the supreme African institution, and NePAD is merely its socio-economic development programme, drawing its authority from the African Union. The peer-review mechanism, to which countries submit voluntarily, is an AU mechanism. There are others, including the Constitutive Act, the African Parliament, a commission on human rights, which all seem more appropriate than NePAD for political action. President Mbeki said that NePAD could not place itself above African continental law. He suggested that African countries were being invited to treat the AU, the parent of NePAD, as a dangerous irrelevance.
I fear that that puts paid to the policy of hoping to work through NePAD to help Zimbabwe, for Gaddafi is Mugabe's dearest friend. Nor is it reassuring that President Mbeki, as president of the Non-Aligned Movement, secured Mugabe a unanimous vote of confidence at a meeting in January, together with a motion blaming the,

"grave humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe",
on drought, the IMF and the World Bank.
It is a final irony that South Africa and the African Union bloc recently pushed through the appointment of Libya as Chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission.
I suggest that nothing will be done to help Zimbabwe to help itself through the Commonwealth, through NePAD, if its true status is that of a mere arm of Gaddafi's African Union, or through an EU in which too many have their own African agenda.
So what about the UN? Throughout 2002, there was not one single motion or speech on Zimbabwe in the Security Council or the General Affairs Council by the UK, South Africa or Nigeria. Naturally, I hope that discussions were going on behind the scenes.
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The Secretary-General's January 2003 press conference made brief reference to Zimbabwe, attributing its crisis to the forces of nature and mismanagement and adjuring Zimbabweans to work together.
However, Zimbabwe has at least surfaced in the Security Council's Resolution 1457, which mandates the UN investigative panel on the plundering of resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the Zimbabwean army and government, among others, to investigate further. It requires the Government of Zimbabwe to co-operate and invites all those named in the report to respond by 31st March. The Security Council notes:

"The elite networks involved in resource exploitation (top army commanders, businessmen and government structures) are changing their tactics as national armies begin withdrawal from the eastern Congoóthe government of Zimbabwe had adopted strategies for maintaining the mechanism for revenue generation, many of which involved criminal activities once their troops have departed. They seek to maintain their grip on the main mineral resources and have transferred ownership of at least US$ 5 billion of assets from the state mining sector to private companies under their control in the past 3 years".
The path that Zimbabwe's friends should now choose is to bring the full force of the UN to bear, using the power and resources of the United States, which is there to be harnessed. That should be done on humanitarian grounds, which cannot be gainsaidónor should they be ignored by the UN. Those grounds will necessarily include the trauma arising from the acts of genocide, torture and the use of food as a political weapon; from the collapse of the rule of law; the urgent HIV/AIDS crisis and the famine daily more apparent.
The UNDP has representatives on the ground, and the Government have just carried out their own audit on the land reform, on which the UNDP was originally to advise in 1998. The World Food Programme is closely engaged. The UN Rapporteur on Human Rights has recently reported on the attacks on the judiciary. None of that could be enough, given the present preoccupation of the UN, and indeed of the world, with Iraq, if it were not for that potential engine for action, the United States, and the present active engagement with the process of James Morris, Walter Kansteiner at the State Department and Andrew Natsios, the head of USAID. All those powerful men want to arrest the collapse of the country and to restore the rule of law before Zimbabwe becomes a black hole in Africa. We should be acting with the UN, sending in humanitarian monitors, and working with the World Food Programme to arrest famine, to fight AIDS and to cast, above all, through that international presence, a bright light on oppression, torture and corruption. It would not be a political intervention; it would be a humanitarian one. It is the last hope of many innocent people.
Should President Mbeki, and others, claim that the world is setting aside the mandate of the people at the 2002 elections, which his observers pronounced free and fair, perhaps we might remind him of the recent evidence sedulously concealed by Mr Mugabe's
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registrar-general. It showed that, while the electoral roll contained 5.2 million names, increased before the election to 5.6 million through additional illegal registrations, census data showed that in August 2002 there were only 4.2 million adults in Zimbabweóvery interesting.
What can we do here and now in our country? First, why have we denied asylum to all but a handful of the Zimbabwe citizensówhite and blackówho are trying to come here to escape torture and persecution? They are citizens of a Commonwealth country. Until recently, Zimbabwean teachers, now under grave threat, taught the British educational curriculum. They speak fluent English and could at once help with our teacher shortage. Zimbabwe nurses and social workers are equally immediately employable. Why could they not come initially for a two-year period, as, it is reported, the Home Secretary has considered offering to encourage workers from Turkey? The danger for the Zimbabweans is far greater than that faced by any Afghan, and they could at once be useful and self-supporting citizens.
What about the 7,000 to 8,000 British pensioners in Zimbabwe, many of them ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen, who receive their pensions through the bank at the official rateóat present 85 Zimbabwe dollars to the pound, although the true or parallel rate, constantly rising with inflation, is 2,500 Zimbabwe dollars to the pound? Their pensions are virtually worthless and do not buy even one meal a day, let alone pay their costs in retirement homes or buy the medicine that they need. There is no NHS. Some have killed themselves; all are in dire straits. I can give many more examples of suffering and destitution, but time does not allow.
At the behest of the Treasury, the High Commission charges for passports and visas at the parallel rate. What will Her Majesty's Government do to secure the same rate for pensions? As the Minister knows, I intend to press the issue further in a Question in 10 days' time, so I do not expect an answer now. Nevertheless, it is an urgent issue. Should those UK citizens, by some miracle, find the millions of Zimbabwe dollars needed to come to this country, they must still, although holding UK passports with the right of abode, prove entitlement to habitual residence. If they can do so, it will take them anything from four to six months and sometimes more, spent filling in complicated forms and being interviewed. During that time, their sole entitlement is the right of abode.
There is no provision whatever for any of those UK passport holders to be given even temporary accommodation, let alone money for food, even if they are destitute. Asylum seekers, on the other hand, receive those things at once, without question. The only help that the UK citizens will receive, if they are, for instance, ex-servicemen, will come from the Royal British Legion, if they are in contact with that organisation. If they are, the help is prompt and effective and is funded by service benevolent funds and charities. Why does the state acknowledge no
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responsibility? Why are such people not provided, on arrival, with guidance on where to go for help, as the state has disowned them? What does being a British citizen mean, if not help in time of trouble?
I urge the Government to act at once to give preference to Zimbabwe citizens seeking asylum. They must find a way to restore the value of pensions for UK citizens in Zimbabwe or to provide immediate financial support, and they should give at least the same support with accommodation and benefits to UK citizens arriving in this country destitute as is given to asylum seekers. Something must be done now, and such things lie within our national power.
No one marches for Zimbabwe in this country: let us begin to do so. Far from allowing Mugabe to warn us off as ex-colonialists, we should remember that we have a particular duty to Africa. That is something that we should neither forget nor allow other people to forget.
I add one postscript: according to The Times today, out of 39 people released after four days in prison for demonstrating against the Government after a cricket match, one woman prisoner was unaccounted for and 26 detainees had been held in a cell meant for six, in which they had been unable to lie down. That is what is happening in Zimbabwe today. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
6.54 p.m.
Lord Acton: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, on introducing the debate.
I was brought up on a maize farm in Southern Rhodesia. The farmworkers' families, like black Zimbabweans today, cooked maize mealóknown as mealie meal or sadzaóas their staple food. My eldest sister married a tobacco and maize farmer, and three of their sons followed in his footsteps. Last year, their farms were taken away, and they have scattered to New Zealand, Hungary and Zambia. One of my nephews was a champion maize grower; now he and nearly all his fellow commercial maize-growing farmers have vanished, leaving a vast hole in Zimbabwe's food supply.
The situation last season was made worse by poor rains, particularly in Matabeleland and Masvingo. Thus, although the harvest of May-June 2001 produced nearly 1.5 metric tonnes of maize, the harvest of May-June last year shrank to only a third of thatójust under 500,000 metric tonnes. With an annual requirement of 1.6 million metric tonnes, the government used scarce foreign currency to buy maize abroad. However, not nearly enough was imported, and generous international donors, led by the United States and including the European Union, especially Britain, stepped in. To prevent starvation among the 7.8 million at risk, the donor countries acted through United Nations programmes and non-governmental organisations in Zimbabwe.
As the noble Baroness said, the ghastly situation has been exacerbated by HIV/AIDS, which infects 34 per cent of the population. Without decent nutrition for
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the people, the disease spreads. Lack of food causes those with HIV to get AIDS. AIDS kills 2,000 to 2,500 Zimbabweans every week.
For this year, the Zimbabwean Government estimate that the maize harvest in May-June will rise slightly, to 550,000 metric tonnes from the abysmal 500,000 tonnes last year. However, informed sources suggest that, with the massive decline in commercial farming and poor rains yet again, the crop will go down by a quarter, to a dreadful 380,000 tonnes. Some 1.6 million tonnes are needed. That is a disaster.
Things are even more catastrophic. Commercial farmers used to grow about 340,000 tonnes of winter wheat annually. This August-September, the wheat harvest will be practically non-existent. Moreover, without the growers, the tobacco crop, which provided much of the foreign exchange to buy maize abroad last year, will collapse. Informed sources in Zimbabwe believe that 10 million people will be at risk of lack of food by Christmas. Only international donors can save them.
Britain has been exemplary in its generosity. In an Answer to a Written Question published in yesterday's Hansard, the Minister tabulated the contribution made by each European Union country to Zimbabwe for 2002 in millions of euros. The European Union as a whole gave 156.4 million euros, of which Britain's share was 68.6 million, Germany's 25.6 million, France's 14.6 million and Portugal's 1.2 million. I look to Britain once more to give a lead to the European Union's donations this year. However, I look to the British Embassy in Paris to talk to the French. If France is going to pursue its interests by entertaining Mr Mugabe and his entourage, it should do not half of what Germany does but more than Germany does to prevent starvation among Mr Mugabe's fellow Zimbabweans. As Portugal tried to invite Mr Mugabe to the now postponed European-African summit in Lisbon next month, the British Embassy should suggest that Portugal provide more than 1.2 million euros to feed Mr Mugabe's fellow Zimbabweans.
In December, the United States Administration pledged a further 100 million dollars, over and above its already impressive contribution, for food aid to Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. That is a useful start to the 2003 campaign to feed Zimbabweans. There is enormous interest in Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans in Britain, in Parliament and in the media. Britain should do all that it can to give aid and should do all that it can diplomatically to spearhead an international campaign, so that Zimbabweans will have enough mealie meal to eat this year.
7 p.m.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, express my appreciation to the noble Baroness, Lady Park, for bringing Zimbabwe to the attention of your Lordships' House, especially in the prevailing climate. Many noble Lords will have seen the recent Guardian report about the arrest of clergy from different churches. They were demonstrating in Harare against police brutality and, not surprisingly, they were
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promised some for themselves! More and more Church leaders are joining the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncubeóa brave manóin resisting the unlawful actions of the Mugabe regime. Many will have been deeply affected by accounts of the service in Bulawayo cathedral where opponents of the regime gave graphic details of the treatment meted out to them by the security services. Such courageous Church and community leaders deserve international support and a platform for their views.
It must be admitted, however, that there is quite another kind of Church leader. There are those who have been placed in leadership by the regime itself and those who are actively collaborating with it. That kind of leadership has forced the diocese of Rochester to suspend our longstanding link with the diocese of Harare. We regret that very much; it has caused us deep grief. Unprincipled collaboration has divided the Church in that diocese, diverted resources from where they are most needed, and dispersed clergy and faithful in a wholly destructive way.
Even in such adverse circumstances we have tried to continue helping those in most need. An order of Anglican nuns runs a centre for orphaned children who are also HIV-positive. Along with Zimbabwean Christians, we continue to support them. Hyper-inflation has already been mentioned; it is a result of what passes for economic policy in Zimbabwe these days. The elderly have seen their life savings melt away. They need support. Happily, it has proved possible for us to support some of them, even if in a small way.
Through the Just Children Foundation, we have been able to continue assisting work with street children and, through the Zimbabwe Development Trust, with displaced farm workers who have suffered a great deal. A feeding programme, involving our mission partners from Crosslinks, was rudely disrupted when they were suddenly expelled from the country, without explanation. That is another sign of the complete unreasonableness of the Mugabe government.
However, the lesson is that effective assistance can still be delivered through non-governmental organisations, especially church-related ones, and through the United Nations. That has already been mentioned. There is evidence that food aid through government channels is being used for political purposes and to starve opponents into submission. Food is, indeed, being used as a weapon.
Our partners in Zimbabwe tell us that the economic situation, with its food and fuel shortages, as well as international pressure, is beginning to have an effect. Senior figures in ZANU-PF, in the military and in commerce are wondering whether it is worth their while to continue supporting President Mugabe. The advice we are getting is that the pressure must be kept upóperhaps increasedóif the people of Zimbabwe are to be free. I was disappointed therefore to learn that the Commonwealth is not really taking any constructive initiatives in this area. Perhaps I am wrong; I would be pleased to be told that.
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When the people of Zimbabwe are free, that will be the time for national reconstruction. No doubt the Churches of Zimbabwe will be in the forefront. As their partners we, too, pledge our support for the rebuilding of their beautiful land. We pray that it will happen soon.
7.5 p.m.
Lord Blaker: My Lords, I, too, congratulate my noble friend Lady Park both on initiating the debate and on her speech. Zimbabwe was suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth for a year, which expires on 19th March. In that time, matters have worsened in Zimbabwe in just about every field. That has already been made clear in the three excellent speeches so far today.
The gross domestic product has fallen by 27 per cent in the past four years. Yesterday, the Government of Zimbabwe published a proposal for the development of the economy in which they took pride that the economy was expected to contractóI repeat, to contractóby only 7.8 per cent this year. I am pleased to add that the electoral roll used for the last election has recently fallen into the hands of the opposition in Zimbabwe and it indicates that there were 1.8 million phantom voters on the electoral roll.
My noble friend Lady Park said that Mr Mbeki, the President of South Africa and Mr Obasanjo, the President of Nigeria, proposed that Zimbabwe should be reinstated to the Commonwealth. Moreover, they declined to meet the Prime Minister of Australia, who is the chairman of the Troika. I emphasise that there is not a shred of a case for reinstatement of Zimbabwe to the councils of the Commonwealth at present.
Mr Mbeki claims that it should be left to Africans only to deal with the problem of Zimbabwe. There are some organisationsóSADC, NePAD, the African Unionóof which only Africans are members. I shall return to them, but they are not doing much about the problem of Zimbabwe at present. However, in the Commonwealth, such a matter is for the Commonwealth as a whole. The Commonwealth cannot have one rule for Africa and another for all other continents which contain members of the Commonwealth.
The observance of the principles of the Commonwealth is a matter for the whole Commonwealth. Moreover, if Mr Mbeki thinks about it, his proposal is a bad one for Africa. It would be understood to imply that Africa cannot live up to the standards observed by the rest of the Commonwealth members, and that Africa should be subject to more lenient rules, as a type of second 11. I do not recall Mr Mbeki saying that human rights in Africa should be left to the Africans only when western countries, including ourselves, were helping to eliminate apartheid in his country.
I shall welcome clarification on this point by the Minister in her reply: if no agreement is reached by the Troika regarding Zimbabwe, I understand that suspension will continue until the heads of government
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meeting in Nigeria in December. If the situation remains as nowóor anything likeóit is vital for the future of the Commonwealth that the suspension of Zimbabwe continues.
My next point is that the situation in Zimbabwe appears to be damaging the whole of southern Africa. I have a report dated 13th February from Reuters in Johannesburg, which indicates that while foreign direct investment flows into South Africa in 2002 were up a little compared with the preceding year, such flows into the other 14 member countries of SADC in 2002 dropped to 1.09 billion dollars, compared with 6.63 billion dollars in 2001. That is an astonishing figure. I should appreciate clarification on that point from the Minister if she has any knowledge of it. It seems to me amazing but possible, given the lack of confidence which must exist in investors in southern Africa as a result of the situation in Zimbabwe. It is true that the opinion of informed commentators and business people in southern Africa is that the worsening situation in Zimbabwe is harming the economy of SADC as a whole.
SADC, NePAD and the African Union all call for good governance, the rule of law, the observance of human rightsóand peer pressure by those organisations to observe those three principles. It is astonishing that the countries of southern Africa do not appear to be exerting that peer pressure. Perhaps something is going on behind the scenes. Perhaps the Minister can comment on that in her reply.
We all know that South Africa could turn Zimbabwe on to a better path in weeks if it wanted and tried to do so. Is it doing anything to that effect? The impression given by the countries of SADC is that they are sleepwalking into poverty.
I have a final question. Do not the G8 governments have a duty if only to their taxpayers to ensure that the economic aid that they give to NePAD countries is not wasted? What is the policy of the G8 countries towards NePAD regarding aid in the face of this critical situation?
7.11 p.m.
Lord Hughes of Woodside: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, on introducing the debate. It is important in times of great international crisis that we do not allow Zimbabwe simply to drift from international attention. My noble friend Lord Acton illustrated the gravity of the food situation. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Rochester and noble Lord, Lord Blaker, also described its seriousness.
Perhaps I may be forgiven for mildly chiding the noble Lord, Lord Blaker, but it is "President" Mbeki, and I believe that he should always receive his proper title. The reasons are important. People are most sensitive at present and we do not want suggestions of paternalism. I am sure that that was not his intention when he questioned interpretation.
We know that the situation is difficult and is getting worse. I am worried in particular that opinion in Africa and in the developing world is turning against
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the position that we in this House and the Government are taking and moving in favour of President Mugabe and ZANU-PF. That may lead to a severe rift in the Commonwealth.
Two weeks ago in the Jubilee Room in the House of Commons I chaired a meeting at the launch of a pamphlet entitled Zimbabwe on the Brink, written by Glenys Kinnock MEP. Also present was Derek Wyatt, the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey. In his remarks, Derek Wyatt said:

"Our democratic values are important".
I would have thought that a wholly uncontroversial statement. But someone in the audience, not at all sympathetic to ZANU-PF, said that we should be careful about using the phrase "our democratic values" as it suggested some kind of colonial importance. It suggested that we were trying to force our democratic values on the people of Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa. I reminded the audience, as I remind this House and as I hope those who read the debate will be reminded, that when we march through the streets of Whitehall in the company of Didymus Mutasa and Edison Luogbo, both leading members of ZANU at the time, to protest at the activities of the Sealous Scouts in southern Rhodesia; when we campaign on the slogan "No independence without majority rule"óNIMBAR, for shortóit is not on our values and their values. We all share the same values, especially ZANU-PF and ZAPU.
When we protested at the murder of Steve Biko and at the secret trials at Sharpeville and so forth, it was not our values and their values. When we took deputations to see the noble Baroness, Lady Chalker, who I am delighted to see in her place and who was Minister of State at the Foreign Office in the days of a government which I did not support, we received the greatest of support over and above her call of duty. I repeat my congratulations and support for her at that time.
Their values and our values were the same. There was a right of free speech, of democracy and of the freedom of association. The Zimbabweans who march with us in exile revelled in the opportunity of opposition and free speech. As they said on many occasions, they greatly valued the neutrality which the police showed during the demonstrations. There was no question about itówe all shared these values. We are not now saying that we want to impose our particular parliamentary system and democratic society on them. Heaven knows, as we know from recent debates there is no such thing as a perfect constitution. We are still bitterly arguing about ours, after hundreds of years of democracy. But the fact is that the principles of democracy must prevail and those in Zimbabwe must accept that.
What is happening will affect not only Zimbabwe, which is bad enough, but I fear that it will severely affect the future of the Commonwealth. We know that the non-aligned movement, the SADC, has said that it has given too much support to Zimbabwe. If the troika reports that Zimbabwe should be returned to the Commonwealth, it can do so only on a split decision of two to one. I cannot see Australia supporting that. If
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it does not report and the matter comes before the Commonwealth in December, we will be faced with the question: what should the Commonwealth do? I fear that the Commonwealth will split along racial lines. That is why I say to the noble Lord, Lord Blaker, we must be careful in how we address these issues.
We greatly value the position of South Africa and other countries in trying to resolve the problems in Africa, especially of Zimbabwe. I would be more than happy to stand back and let that be resolved by the South Africans and those around them. We are not interfering because we want to; we are becoming involved because we remember the past of Zimbabwe and we are determined to try to influence its future. Furthermore, we want to see the Commonwealth remain a united organisation.
My noble friend Lady Amos has worked extremely hard within the Commonwealth and elsewhere to push the point of view that what happens in Zimbabwe is wrong and has to be ended. I believe that we should give her every support. We in this House cannot afford to divide on our aims because they are the same, even though we may differ slightly on how we should bring them about.
The Commonwealth club is not a cosy club; it is not a case of once every two years or whenever the Commonwealth leaders get together and have nice meals here and there. The Commonwealth is a real, living organisation which is essential for the prosperity and development of the countries in it. We want to see that continue. We live in extremely dangerous times, but above all the danger rests and has been borne by the people of Zimbabwe. We would let them down if we did not support them in every way possible.
7.17 p.m.
Lord St John of Bletso: My Lords, I join in thanking the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, for again raising this important subject in your Lordships' House. The increasingly dire social, economic, political and environmental crisis in Zimbabwe worsens by the day.
With world attention currently focused on the impending war against Iraq, it is important that the ongoing humanitarian and political atrocities in Zimbabwe are kept constantly in the public spotlight. Sadly, too many people in this country and around the world have shrugged their shoulders over Zimbabwe, believing that nothing can be achieved to resolve the ongoing crisis. Certainly, sanctions have not so far worked.
Yet how in all conscience can anyone do nothing, when more than 14 million people, including more than 7 million children, have been driven almost to starvation? While millions of Zimbabweans continue to yearn for peace, stability and a resumption of years gone by, when the country with its fertile lands was totally self-sufficient, I believe that the situation has in some ways progressed since we last debated the subject in your Lordships' House.
Then, we wondered whether President Mugabe would step down and give way to a government of national unity. Now, by general consensus throughout
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southern Africa, the question is not whether he will go, but when. This has been the common theme for the three recent attempts to mediate a peaceful solution. The focus has shifted from when Mugabe will go to who will replace him and what transitional arrangements need to be put in place before new elections are held.
The first of these mediation efforts was orchestrated by a former colonel in the Zimbabwe Defence Force, Lionel Dyke, who put forward a structure for a new government of national unity which was totally unacceptable to the MDC. The proposal offered two Cabinet seats to the MDC and suggested Emerson Mnangagwa as the new Prime Minister, with Mugabe staying on as the titular president. As Mnangagwa is alleged to have been involved in several dubious activities, including being one of the chief looters of the DRC and one of the chief architects of the massacre of the minority Ndebele tribe in the 1980s, this proposal was a total non-starter. The ANC in South Africa tried to improve the offer, but again it was totally unacceptable.
Of more interest is the second attempt to find a path away from this crisis which has been made by Mjongonkulu Ndungane, the present Archbishop of Cape Town, the successor of Desmond Tutu. Acting in concert with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, an organisation based in Cape Town, the widely respected archbishop travelled to Zimbabwe four weeks ago and met with President Mugabe. It is understood that at this meeting Mugabe asked the archbishop to approach the British Prime Minister on the subject of land reform and unfulfilled promises from the Lancaster House agreement. I understand that this past weekend the archbishop was due to meet our Prime Minister and that he will again be meeting Mugabe on 12th March. Will the Minister elaborate on these discussions when she responds to the debate?
While I am deeply critical of President Chirac for inviting Mugabe to attend the recent international conference in Paris, he clearly is using his best endeavours to mediate and broker a peaceful hand-over of power in Zimbabwe.
However, an understandable response to these kinds of quiet diplomatic activities might be that, so far as concerns the suffering millions in Zimbabwe, the process seems to be taking a very long time to yield very few results. While the talking continues, Mugabe remains assertively in power. While the talking continues, food shortages across this naturally fertile land become more grave; fuel is now almost impossible to find; life-blood agricultural yields have been dramatically reduced; and the spread of HIV/AIDS, an issue raised by several noble Lords, is destroying many hundreds of thousands of lives.
Despite the recent assurances of President Obasanjo of Nigeria that land seizures have, in his words, "substantially ended", and that law and order are returning to Zimbabwe, this is quite clearly trite nonsense. Zimbabweans are aghast as to how both
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President Obasanjo and President Mbeki can tolerate the torture and repression of fellow Africans in the name of the spurious concept of "African unity".
However, the time for megaphone diplomacy has passed. The situation will not be resolved by trading insults with the tyrant. As the South African Foreign Minister, Nkosasana Dlamini Zuma, said this week, almost nothing will be achieved by shouting at Mugabe from a safe distance. It has become clear that the country's best hope of redemption lies in a process of quiet but persistent and firm diplomacy, most of which should be launched, driven and pursued from within southern Africa.
I am aware that many people, both within Zimbabwe and outside, have despaired at the apparent reluctance of President Thabo Mbeki and his government to take a firm line towards Mugabe. Yet, in his discussions with our Prime Minister during his recent visit to this country, Mr Mbeki cogently explained the particular difficulty of his position. I believe that South Africa is committed to helping Zimbabwe to overcome the current crisis as calmly as possible and, at all costs, to avoiding the kind of violent insurrection that could destabilise the entire region with disastrous results, not least a flood of refugees crossing the Limpopo.
President Mbeki's government have decided to maintain a policy of constructive engagement with their northern neighbour rather than join the global chorus of outrage and condemnation. My major criticism of, and concern for, the South African Government is that they have tended to try to legitimise ZANU-PF rather than uphold an even-handed approach to both the ZANU-PF and MDC parties.
I am aware that Her Majesty's Government, particularly the Minister, have been playing a pivotal role in supporting the diplomatic initiatives process in a way that seeks to neutralise the "colonial sympathy" button that Mugabe has attempted to push at every opportunity. I warmly and wholeheartedly support the call of the noble Baroness, Lady Park, for a strong UN resolution on Zimbabwe.
I believe that Britain's central role in the evolution of Rhodesia to independence and beyond leaves us with certain specific obligations. I again urge Her Majesty's Government to consider the possibility of compensating farmers who have been violently thrown off their land, provided this is conditional on an acceptable political solution leading to a transitional authority.
The pace of any progress towards resolution of the crisis will seem too slow to those people who are still being deprived of food and basic human rights, yet I do believe that progress is being made.
7.25 p.m.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to my noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth for introducing the debate. I congratulate her on making the House focus once again on Zimbabwe. I hope that she will continue to do so.
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I have read, seen and, above all, listened to as many horror stories as anyone about the sad situation in Zimbabwe. I have just returned from southern and west Africa, and while in southern Africa I heard from many people who are able to leave Zimbabwe, and from others who travel in and out of Zimbabwe, of some of things that are going on. I, too, had the pleasure of speaking with the Archbishop of Cape Town about the efforts that need to be made to find a way forward.
I shall not repeat the horror storiesóthere are enough in the papers if anyone wants to read about themóbut I shall try to analyse what is going on and consider the way forward. However horrific, wrong and terrifying the treatment of those who do not agree with the people doing the bullying in Zimbabwe, we cannot change the past; we have to set a path forward. How we can do that is one of the difficulties that we face.
There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings, and there is a great deal of misinformation going round, so let us look at the basis of the situation. Through my former responsibilities I have known the President of Zimbabwe and many of his Ministers for more than 16 years. In recent months I have often questioned whether those Ministers know about the reality of the frequently brutal treatment being handed out to ordinary Zimbabweans, both black and white; about the denial of food to non-ZANU-PF card-carrying members of the ordinary public.
It is the ordinary Zimbabweans and southern Africans from all walks of life who are repeating the reality of what is happening on the ground, and therefore I cannot believe that those Ministers are unaware. I believe that they have got themselves into a veritable corner and cannot see a way out which allows them to survive. They are therefore resisting all entreaties. The people that I listen to are not politicians but ordinary Zimbabweans who truly know what is happening.
There are groups at work in Zimbabweómy noble friend Lady Park has mentioned one suchówhich are completely out of the control of the government. There are elements of lawlessness that are out of any control whatsoever. I refer to the youth leagues, locally known as the "Green Bombers", who are behaving in a way never before experienced, except in the bad old days in Zimbabwe years ago.
These young people go into camps for so-called training but, while in the camps, they develop the most vicious habits against anyone who does not agree with them, even their parents. They behave in a totally unacceptable way against those who are strong enough to remain silent in the face of enormous provocation, as has happened to some members of the clergy in Zimbabwe in recent weeks. I understand that even the elders of ZANU-PF are now worried about what has been let loose with these young people, who are totally out of control. Controlling these young people would be one step forward, which only the Zimbabwean Government can take. They have a well-trained army, in whose formation this country played
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a large part. They can and should be taking this action. I do not plead with President Mugabeóit is not my wayóbut I believe that if the Zimbabwean Government want to gain understanding outside, that is one step that they can take.
Ordinary people who express their views are now arrested, such as those at cricket in Bulawayo last Friday. Some have since been released, but many have been detained in prison for more than 48 hours with no food and have not even been taken to court. This is quite outside the rules which existed in Zimbabwe post-independence but which have now been turned on their head. That is another action that the Government of Zimbabwe could take. I know this from the captain of the English Cricket Board, who was speaking on television in South Africa this morning.
The other thing that needs to be done is to correct the appalling restriction on the humanitarian agencies doing their work. They are seeking to alleviate the malnutrition and starvation in the country, particularly in the areas where there is no affiliation to ZANU-PF. That is an action which the whole world is waiting for.
The economy is in a deplorable state. We do not have time tonight to debate what has gone wrong; we have heard it before in this House. Above all, one is concerned about the once-buoyant agricultural sector, where the outlook is now so bleak. The national demand for maize is about 1.8 million tonnes. The disrupted planting in the last planting season plus the drought and the late rains last year mean that, at best, the maize fields will yield about 700,000 tonnes. That is a further depletion in food resources. Only four years ago Zimbabwe was a net exporter of maize and a key supplier for the World Food Programme.
One can go on about all the horrors of Zimbabwe. One of the critical needs is to get information about Zimbabwe to other members of the Commonwealth. In that way, perhaps President Obasanjo, President Mbeki and their Ministers will find out what is really going on. I can say from my experience with Ministers in the South African Government only 10 days ago that they do not know what is going on.
Finally, for the sake of ordinary Zimbabwean people, I believe that we need to have a widely drawn group of Africans and othersóperhaps, as my noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth said, under a UN banneróto assist a cross-section of Zimbabwean leaders to guide the restoration of law and order, to make sure there is equitable distribution of food and medicines and, above all, to re-establish sound economics in that country.
7.33 p.m.
The Earl of Sandwich: My Lords, in a country which has seen only victims, the dignity of the silent protest of Andy Flower and Henry Olonga on the cricket field has been one of the few encouraging spectacles in recent weeks. Another has been the recent peaceful demonstrations by Christians in Bulawayo and Harare, recalling so many similar events in apartheid
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South Africa. They show once again that people matter and that even the worst tyrannies are unable to stifle the right of every citizen, of all races and beliefs, to make their views known.
Less edifying, as we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Acton, and others, has been the government's published scoreboard of Zimbabwe's maize production. This shows the worst total for a decade last year, with large-scale farming having produced its lowest total of 270 kilotonnes, while the figure for small farmers, who are the intended beneficiaries of land redistribution, stands at only 388 metric tonnes, less than one-third of their 2000 total. This convincingly shows the masquerade of President Mugabe's so-called reforms, not to mention his racism, anti-colonialism and disregard for any democratic process.
The figures are becoming all too familiar. With large areas of commercial farming now idle, the Grain Producers Association is predicting 1.6 million tonnes of maize only this year. More than 7 million peopleóover half the populationóare defined as "food insecure" by the World Food Programme, and aid agencies are reaching only about 2.2 million of them. The situation is becoming more and more critical, especially for the poorest rural families.
There is even some concern about the amount of seed being consumed rather than planted. There are worrying signs of malnutrition. The vicious spiral of HIV/AIDS has further weakened the population to a point we can barely imagine.
There is no let-up in illegal farm evictions. Section 8 notices have been served on more than 40 farmers in the Karoi-Tengwe area, requiring farmers to cease operations and vacate the property within 90 daysóthis in spite of the government's assurance last August that land invasions would cease. The number of remaining commercial farms is now between 600 and 1,000, compared with about 4,400 when the land reform programme started.
One report from the famine early warning systems network says that about 1 million people have been affected by land reform and resettlement, with many farm workers lacking the proper equipment to start farming on resettled land. Increasing cases of destitution among the farmworkers and resettled farmers in Mashonaland, Matabeleland and Masvingo are now being assessed by WFP.
It is well known that ZANU-PF is making use of food aid for its own purposes. We received the assurance that none of this diverted food comes from any UK source, since our Government work only through the NGOs and international agencies. However, greater clarification is needed about food coming through the World Food Programme to which the UK is a leading contributor. I understand that even imported food has been put up for sale through the state grain marketing board monopoly, thereby benefiting party funds and bypassing the private sector. Some grain is also apparently being sold in Zambia in return for hard currency. Has the Minister
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received or will she request any comments from WFP, since presumably this food, which is now monetised, cannot be categorised as humanitarian aid?
Meanwhile, the public order legislation continues to ban almost all political activity. The Access to Information Act gags the press and distorts the media in favour of the regime. As we heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Chalker, ZANU-PF youth militia are trained to commit acts of violence. The police are routinely aggressive against members of the public. We know from the press about the arrest of Job Sikhala, the MDC MP for St Mary's and four other men, all of whom were beaten on the soles of their feet and tortured with electricity. Despite investigations ordered by a magistrate and questions asked, the men's statements have been ignored by the police and no action is being taken. In February, High Court judge Benjamin Paradza was jailed overnight without any inquiry being ordered.
The World Cup last Friday saw another example of police brutality. We have heard of the 17 clergymen who were held for eight hours in Harare merely for trying to present a petition complaining about police harassment, which has been a growing concern of the Church, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Rochester said. Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo has been joined by several other leaders in speaking out against new outrages committed by the police in the name of public order.
Vote rigging has also been mentioned. Later this month two by-elections are due to take place in the Harare townships of Highfield and Kuwadzana, and already there are reports of intimidation and fraud. One report says that thousands of new voters have been added to the Kuwadzana roll, many of them from outside the constituency or phantom names. The noble Lord, Lord Blaker, mentioned that there is new evidence that last year's national elections were rigged. Morgan Tsvangirai was surely right to remind the world recently:

"These pillars of tyranny are a clear violation of the Harare Commonwealth Declaration and they constitute the basis upon which the Commonwealth successfully indicted the Mugabe regime, through the report of the Commonwealth Observer Mission".
That was in his open letter to John Howard on 17th February.
I still believe in the importance of the Commonwealth, devalued as it has been, but I have to admit that the troika has had little impact on President Mugabe, mainly because of his old links with President Mbeki. I accept the caution of the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, and of my noble friend, but Mbeki's quiet diplomacy has exasperated Zimbabweans by its empty promises.
All Africa knows that the British Government are powerless to influence the course of events in Zimbabwe because of their colonial past and, more pertinently, their failure to deal adequately with the land issue not during, but after, the Lancaster House agreement. I look forward to hearing from the noble Lord, Lord Thomson, on that. The US is too obsessed
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with tyrannies elsewhere in the world to bother with Africa. So we are left with the EU, which is the only viable channel for effective sanctions.
7.41 p.m.
Lord Moynihan: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lady Park for securing this debate on Zimbabwe and for the many insights that, as always, her expert knowledge brings to bear in this House.
Today, when we might have hoped that the conflicts of the past were an ever more distant memory, instead Zimbabwe is a nation of instability, of land crisis and of violence, with a rampant AIDS problem and a devastated economy. It is difficult to see how the country can resolve the enormous challenges that face it when its fortunes remain tied to those of its leader, Robert Mugabe. We must face the fact that, despite the warmth of President Chirac's handshake, Zimbabwe is slowly bleeding to death as a nation, both politically and economically. It is a country careering towards economic collapse and it is not clear how much more ordinary Zimbabweans can take before the situation implodes in some way, with potentially dire consequences for the stability of southern Africa.
Those in Zimbabwe who believed that things could not get worse at the beginning of 2002 have been proved wrong. There has been a drastic deterioration in the past 12 months in all senses. The economy is unwinding before our eyes and looks set to weaken further this year. Inflation is over 200 per cent. Interest rates are unsustainably low and unemployment is more than 70 per cent. The Zimbabwean dollar is one of the worst performing currencies in the world. A tube of toothpaste in Zimbabwe now costs 1,500 Zimbabwe dollarsó27 US dollars at the official exchange rate. Tourism is down by 80 per cent since 1999. Hundreds of businesses have closed. Foreign investment has dried up and aid has been frozen.
The most distressing fact is that it could all have been avoided. The economic decline has largely been caused by year upon year of government corruption and mismanagement, compounded by disruptions to the vital agricultural sector through the Mugabe regime's land redistribution programme. Government-sanctioned invasions of commercial farms by their supporters have resulted in thousandsóI repeat, thousandsóof normally productive farms lying idle, precipitating a collapse in investor confidence and capital flight. As a direct result, Zimbabwe today is gripped by a preventable humanitarian crisis and a famine, brought about by the policies of one manóMugabe.
The situation in Zimbabwe is beyond mere international concern and ineffectual hand-wringing. It demands a coherent strategy for action, formulated and agreed by the international community. Yet instead, the international community on occasions appears gripped by a strange combination of paralysis and denial, which is allowing Robert Mugabe a free rein for his megalomania. By putting Morgan Tsvangirai on trial for treason, he has now ensured that his key political opponent is not just fighting for his political existence but literally fighting for his life.
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It looks increasingly as though the Commonwealth will not renew Zimbabwe's suspension from its councils, which followed Mr Mugabe's controversial re-election last March. Instead, Zimbabwe may be welcomed back into the fold. President Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Mbeki of South Africaóboth members of the Troika in whose hands the decision restsóhave indicated that Harare's one-year suspension should not be extended when it ends in two weeks. I am sorry, but I do not support the cautious optimism of the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso.
Mr Mugabe's visit to France last month and his red carpet treatment made a mockery of the EU sanctions regime. The logic of allowing Mr Mugabe to travel to Europe to prevent him from travelling to Europe has escaped many people, myself included. The Secretary of State for International Development was right to call it a tacky deal with France. I hope the Minister will endorse that sentiment tonight.
Can the Minister give assurances that the Government have made it clear to the French Government in the strongest possible terms that by allowing Mugabe to visit Paris last month their actions totally undermined the West's condemnation of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe? The actions of the President of France should be held in contempt. It would be an irony indeed, given that human rights abuses are being cited as a justification for military action in Iraq.
President Chirac's invitation to Robert Mugabe demonstrates how risible attempts to formulate a meaningful European common foreign policy have become. I deeply regret that. I hope the Minister will say what implications she believes this episode has for such a policy. When a ruthless torturing dictator and his wife are free to go shopping in Paris, the French Government allow a travesty to be made of the values on which the European Union was founded.
We have had a long and complex historical relationship with Zimbabwe. Many Zimbabweans are of British descent. We cannot afford to be portrayed as the interfering colonial power. We have not been so for many years. Yet nor can we ignore the plight of a country with so many ties to Britain. We should not be afraid to speak out, silenced by a lingering sense of post-colonial guilt, and to allow ourselves to sink into the policy of silence and craven acquiescence as a result. We should lead international opinion and work with Zimbabwe's neighbours. The time to act is now, before ordinary Zimbabweans suffer any further, or else future generations will not judge us kindly. We cannot allow our present preoccupation with Iraq to give Mr Mugabe a window of opportunity to outmanoeuvre us and to drive Zimbabwe further into despair. We have a role to play in ending the food shortages, in assisting Zimbabwe's economic recovery, in the restoration of political stability, in the return to respect for the rule of law and in ensuring free and fair future elections, if the Government have the will, the statesmanship, the courage and the judgment to recognise and pursue that role vigorously.
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7.48 p.m.
The Duke of Montrose: My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lady Park for giving us the opportunity to think and talk about the Zimbabwe situation. I declare an interest as having been born in Zimbabwe and having left before I was two years old. Other members of my family continued there.
I feel a great sadness that, for all the euphoria that surrounded the Lancaster House agreement 22 years ago, no one since then has been able to build the level of trust that would make it possible for Zimbabweans to come together in a common cause for their country.
To introduce one small cheerful note, I heard from a friend in Zimbabwe that everyone who has the opportunity is following the cricket on television, even if that means that they have to have a new understanding of what is meant by a "duck" or by "bowling a maiden over".
The noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, mentioned that at the start of the cricket competition, two of Zimbabwe's most talented players bravely took the field wearing black armbands. They have since been subjected to threatening phone calls and more. The death that they wished to record was the death of democracy. For democracy to have meaning, one needs food, the rule of law and education. It appears that all those are in increasingly short supply in Zimbabwe.
In the debate in your Lordships' House on 19th February, the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, emphasised the need for education in Africa and mentioned South Africa as the one country that provides universal primary education. That makes it even sadder to contemplate the fact that, 20 years or so ago, under the Smith regime, whatever one may think of its motives and actions, universal primary education was available in Zimbabwe. I have tried to verify the figures for today. The latest UNESCO figures go up only to 1999ñ2000 and show the figure of 80 per cent. However, I have seen recent figures that speak of a collapse in the number of those receiving education to less than one-third of the age group.
The attitude of President Mugabe's party to education has a strange consistency. In the days of civil unrest, ZANU did not particularly value those schools; rural primary schools were seen as easy targets for guerrilla fighters, as they represented parts of the structure that they wanted to topple. Now I read that hundreds of teachers in the central high veldt and the eastern highlands have been forced to attend reorientation camps on the suspicion that they might be sympathetic to the opposition party, MDC. One teacher is quoted as saying that for the past three years they had been scared to punish pupils, in case they were reported to the local ZANU-PF.
It appears that, even today, the only education that counts for President Mugabe's government is one that promotes his political agenda. Is the whole apparatus of a 20th century totalitarian state all that the 21st century has been able to offer such a country?
Among the many distortions that seem to be on offer is one that has elevated a concept of land hunger into a more serious condition than starvation and
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death. I have a friend in Harare who has worked for the past 25 years developing crops to enable small farmers to be self-sufficient. The latest developments mean that, with 365 cassava plants and 1,000 potato vines each, they would be able to feed themselves. The major weakness that he reports, which my noble friend Lady Park emphasised, is that for all the trumpeting of land redistribution in Zimbabwe since 1981, the scheme has not given one small farmer ownership of a single hectare. Each hectare, every blade of grass and every brick on brick is owned by the government. That means that officials can bully any settler or farmer and put a friend or relative in their place at any time.
My friend told the story of a second-form student in the school that his daughter has attended, whose father is a brigadier in the army. She boasted to her friends, "My father has 16 farms, and the next one is for me". Is that not an indication that a power game is going on in the elite simply to see how much each person can grab for himself?
Unfortunately, actions such as these rob ordinary citizens of their dignity and motivation. That seems in stark contrast to the rosy concept of African socialism to which President Mugabe was once said to aspire. If land redistribution is meant to be meaningful, the best way to restore dignity is for people to know that they have the security of owning their own land and that they can grow enough food to feed their families. With proper security of ownership and a harvest, people can begin to form their own opinions. Without that, it is hard to see how democracy can be restored.
7.54 p.m.
The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, it is now 12 months since the fraudulent elections were held in Zimbabwe, so it is perhaps a good time for us to take note of the situation. I am grateful to my noble friend Lady Park for giving us the opportunity to do so.
In the past 12 months, despite promises to the contrary and undertakings by President Mbeki to the G8 summit and other forums, not only has the political, economic and humanitarian situation worsened, but the wholesale suppression of democratic activity has been intensified.
Let us take the past week in Zimbabwe, which has been a normal week in the lifetime of Zimbabweans. Only 10 per cent of the food supply necessary to feed the country has been imported and an unknown number of adults and children have died of hunger and malnutrition. My noble friend Lord Moynihan referred to the cost of a tube of toothpaste. A mother must pay 5,000 Zimbabwean dollars, which is £59, for a small tin of baby food. In one week, 3,000 people have died of AIDS. The inflation rate, which noble Lords have said is well over 200 per cent, is now running at a yearly total of 450 per cent. Twenty thousand Zimbabweans fled the country as economic refugees.
As the noble Lord, Lord Acton, said, some 35 per cent of the adult population are HIV positive; more than 60 per cent of all women having children are HIV positive. That means that some 7,000 Zimbabweans
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who are HIV positive are fleeing the country per week. Saddam Hussein might have biological and chemical weapons, but Mr Mugabe continues to export contagion on a grand scale to sub-Saharan Africa, where there is no health system to cope with the diseases that accompany AIDS. Ministers' recent comments about the policy towards Iraq exposes the hypocrisy of this Government. If one takes away the arguments that they have used about chemical and biological weapons, everything that has been said about Saddam Husseinóthat he has caused rape, murder and genocideóapplies equally to Zimbabwe. The only difference is that Mr Mugabe is professional at it, while Saddam Hussein is a novice. Zimbabwe is like a volcano that covers not only its own citizens but the rest of the area in a deadly, pervasive layer of ash.
As many noble Lordsóincluding the right reverend Prelateópointed out, the number of arrests and beatings continues to rise and the Church has been harassed. My noble friend Lady Chalker referred to the Green Bombers. That genie is out of the bottle and there is not the political will to put it back in. The noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, mentioned the environment, which no one else has picked up onóthe decimation of the rhino and other rare species as a result of Mr Mugabe's policy.
It has also been an unusual week in Zimbabwe. Despite the Secretary for Foreign Affairs stating, "We do not arrest diplomats, only politicians", a meeting was held by a local branch of the MDC, which was the first for six months. The agenda was read by streetlight because it was too dangerous to have candlelight where they had their meeting. No one was applauded for what they said or their courage in standing up to intimidation, as that too would have brought the unwanted and unwarranted attention of the police and thugs.
Into this degenerating situation, we should consider the comments of Mr Mbeki, the president of South Africa, and General Obasanjo, the president of Nigeria. They consider that things are looking up in Zimbabwe and there is no reason to continue with Commonwealth sanctions. What planet do they live on? My noble friend Lady Chalker was absolutely right: the two leaders in southern Africa who should know what is going on are those two. As the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, said, it is clear that the Commonwealth is deeply divided. I fear that it is holed below the waterline. There is now one policy for Africa and another for the rest of the Commonwealth. As a result of what those leaders have saidóand they are senior figuresóI fear that NePAD is not worth the paper on which it is printed. The Commonwealth has failed the first crucial test. If it fails the next test at the forthcoming meeting, the repercussions will be felt for a long time.
I have disagreed with the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, on Zimbabwe before. He had the courage and grace to come to me and say, "Yes, I was wrong". I hope to goodness that he is right this time, because I take a different view. For the first time, the reports I am receiving from Zimbabwe indicate that people are almost at the end of their tether and that civil war is not
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far away. The international community is not being seen to do anything to help the situation. As all noble Lords have said, the situation is being exacerbated. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, is right that there is a ray of hope. I fear that it is more likely to be a civil war.
I have not raised any questions for the Minister, simply because she has not answered any of the questions I raised in previous debates and I did not want to bother this time. The Government will wring their hands and tell us how dreadful the situation is, but they will do nothing. We have to find a new path forward. I urge the Government to think again. To those in Zimbabwe who are suffering intimidation and fear which we cannot comprehend, I say only that there are many in Britain who have not turned their back on you. We wish to help, and we long to do more to help if only we were given the chance.
8.1 p.m.
Viscount Goschen: My Lords, my noble friend Lady Park is to be congratulated on securing this important debate. It would be so easy for Zimbabwe to fall below our radar screens at this time of heightened international tension concerning Iraq. Now that media attention concerning the elections and Zimbabwe's subsequent suspension from the Commonwealth has passed, it would perhaps be tempting to see the issue as yesterday's story. Indeed, there are some who talk down the situation in Zimbabwe. For example, President Obasanjo of Nigeria has implied that illegal land settlement was last year's issue and that its consequences belong to last year, not this year. However, we know that that is not so. The situation is desperate and urgent.
I know that people in Zimbabwe draw great strength from the fact that people in the UK and around the world care about their fate. It is extraordinary that every speaker has expressed not only outrage about events in Zimbabwe but great affection for that country and its people.
We have heard from very many speakers about the dire economic and agricultural situation in Zimbabwe. The position is not surprising. If productive farmers are chased off their farms and the land is given to Ministers, politicians, generals and the like and left to lie fallow, it is not surprising that, when there is no money to import food, hunger and starvation are the consequence. The tragedy is that the situation is entirely manmade. Zimbabwe was once relatively prosperous for its region and was highly productive. Its agricultural system was the envy of the region. However, the country's well-being has been soldóexchanged for power and wealth for the president and a small clique of ZANU-PF supporters.
When I was living in Zambia in the early 1990s, I used to travel to Zimbabwe. I was impressed with the country. The roads were well kept. The policemen were neat and polite. The shops contained plenty of goods, although some were in short supply. In Zambia, one could buy orange juice, mealie meal and vegetable oil but little else. The difference was
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profound. Now, Zimbabwean farmers are leaving their productive farms and loyal workers and starting again in Zambia. That highlights the real change in the region. It is due not to natural disaster but to the tyranny of one man and his small group of supporters.
Professor Tony Hawkins, director of the graduate school of management at the University of Zimbabwe, said:

"At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had a sound physical infrastructure, a skilled, educated population and strong institutions. Many of the skills have since emigrated, the infrastructure is decaying visibly, and its institutionsóthe public service, parastatals, the judiciary, the health and education delivery systems and the policeóare also deteriorating".
That is putting it very mildly indeed. In the 2002 Global Competitiveness Report, Zimbabwe is ranked 79th of 80 countries. It has a ranking of 75th of 80 for judicial independence, 77th for property rights and 75th for government favouritism. I would not be surprised if Zimbabwe has plunged further in those terrible rankings.
The problem is that the crisis is contagious. Zimbabwe represents a key test for the credibility of acceptance in the region that good governance is a prerequisite for economic growth and for support of development policies by western countries. If the test is flunked, the outlook for Africa is poor. Investors are looking south to see whether the rule of law and respect for property rights are considered serious issues. Development aid can be switched at the touch of a ministerial button. Investment capital, however, is extremely flighty and mobile. It will not go into a region where there are those threats. If the issue is shirked by political leaders in the region, the inference must be that rule by political thuggery and theft of assets for redistribution to the party faithful is acceptable or is at least not unacceptable.
The political situation, in terms of the will of the leaders of the surrounding countries to ensure that a solution is found quickly does not look encouraging. Given that the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate, the recent moves about which we have heard by President Mbeki and President Obasanjo, calling for the lifting of Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, have been interpreted as tolerance of the regime's disregard for the rule of law.
I listened carefully to the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso. Like my noble friend Lord Caithness, I sincerely hope that he is right. I certainly do not know what is going on behind the scenes or what pressure President Mbeki is applying. However, I hope that the Minister does know and that she will be able to tell us whether any progress is being made. If none is being made, not only will investment retreat from the regionóa profound and long-lasting consequenceóbut the country will continue to be very short of food. Its population will continue to be oppressed by force. If a solution is not found urgently, I fear that there will be extreme consequences, as my noble friend Lord Caithness has outlined.
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We are repeatedly told that this is an African problem which needs African solutions. Quite so. But that does not mean a blank cheque for the United Kingdom to stand by and watch the tragedy unfold. I believe that we owe it to Zimbabweans to take the risk of being branded by some governments as "interfering". Either we believe in the ideals behind the new African partnership and are prepared to demonstrate our seriousness or we do not. The question now is not about wider economic developments in the region. It is about a very urgent situation in Zimbabwe.
8.8 p.m.
Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend Lady Park on securing this important debate and on her powerful speech.
I am disappointed that the debate takes place against a background of continuing deterioration in Zimbabwe. Despite the excesses of electoral fraud, intimidation of the judiciary and a disastrously handled land reform programme, there are thoseóincluding President Mbeki of South Africaówho refuse to acknowledge that things are getting worse there and who will call on us to adopt quiet diplomacy towards the regime. In his 20-odd years of power, I have not noticed Mugabe opting for the quiet approach. The suggestion that, in the midst of a grave famine, we should moderate our condemnation of food aid rationing as a political tool; the suggestion that we should turn a blind eye to torture by his security forces; the suggestion that we should not speak out against murder and rapeóall for fear of upsetting Mugabe's sensibilitiesóare patently inexcusable.
I believe that the people of Zimbabwe, and the citizens of the wider Commonwealth, have been badly let down by Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki. Their position that the Zimbabwean Government have mended their ways and deserve readmission to the councils of the Commonwealth is untenable; I deplore it. While they call for quiet diplomacy, those leading the opposition from within Zimbabwe are calling for loud diplomacy. Brian Kagoro, the national co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, looking for support from some of the newer African governments, said:

"What you need in Africa are voices of dissent. There is a need to find new players on the African continent who are not partisan and want a real solution in Zimbabwe. South Africa's policy is a mixture of quiet diplomacy on human rights issues, when it should be loud, and loud partisanship in support of Zanu-PF, when it should be quiet".
Can I encourage Her Majesty's Government to redouble their efforts to support and bolster those elements that are opposing the tyranny of ZANU-PF rule? In the search for a solution to Zimbabwe's crisis, one of the great missed opportunities has been the failure of the leaders of SADC and NePAD to engage constructively with the opposition. Rather than constructing what appears to be a coalition of complicity with ZANU-PF, those leaders could have helped raise the stature and morale of other democratic elements within Zimbabwe.
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Sadly, the coalition of complicity is not limited to Africa. Within the past month there has been cynical manoeuvring among our European partners as they have sought to undermine the measures isolating the ZANU-PF regime. Disregard for the spirit, if not the letter, of the EU travel ban discredits the French Government; apparent preparedness to participate in "behind the scenes" collusion with the French gravely discredits Her Majesty's Government. Only after my honourable friend's questions in another place brought the issue into the public domain did there seem to be any attempt to stand up for what ought to have been a matter of principle from the outset.
Ministers tell us that allowing President Chirac to wine and dine Mugabe in Parisóand, as my noble friend Lord Moynihan pointed out, to allow his wife to go shoppingówas a price worth paying for the renewal of EU sanctions. They say that, otherwise, the travel ban would have been fatally undermined. Ministers proudly claim to have achieved a roll-over of the sanctions.
In fact, the EU travel ban has been seriously weakened. Article 3 of the Common Position adopted last year has now been amended; a member state wishing to grant exemptions for banned individuals to attend meetings of international bodies no longer needs to apply for the agreement of other member states.
Furthermore, there is now provision for member states to grant exemptions under a category simply of "attending intergovernmental meetings". Most tellingly, with this new provision as well as for existing provisions, our previous right of veto has been removed. The relevant clause used to read:

"A Member State wishing to grant exemptions . . . shall notify the Council in writing. The exemption will be deemed to be granted unless one or more of the Council Members raises an objection in writing within 48 hours of receiving notification of the proposed exemption".
This has now been watered down by the added provision:

"In the event that one or more of the Council members raises an objection, the Council, acting by qualified majority, may decide to grant the proposed exception".
We can probably all think of at least one member state that might feel moved to exploit those new provisions to the full. I suggest that our response to the independent and often self-serving agendas of some of our EU and Commonwealth partners should be to pursue our own independent and principled stand against tyranny and repression.
Our participation in EU sanctions and the Common Position adopted by the Council of Ministers should not preclude Her Majesty's Government from taking action in concert with those of our Commonwealth partners such as New Zealand and Australia who are adopting an admirably robust and determined stance against Mugabe's human rights abuse.
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8.15 p.m.
Lord Thomson of Monifieth: My Lords, I deputise for my noble friend Lord Shutt who has unfortunately had an accident. I know that everyone will wish him a safe and speedy recovery.
Like everyone who has spoken, I am indebted to the noble Baroness, Lady Park, for once again initiating a moving but deeply depressing debate on the situation in Zimbabwe. It inevitably takes me back to UDI when I was Britain's last Commonwealth Secretary and negotiated with Ian Smith for peaceful progress to majority rule and independence. At that time I shared with Robert Mugabe the humiliating experience of conducting my discussions with him while he was in detention without trial. That left a scar on my memory that I have not forgotten. Stanley Baldwin once complained in a different context of the problems of power without responsibility. I found as Commonwealth Secretary in those far off days that it was a painful experience to have responsibility without power.
Still today we reap a bitter harvest from Ian Smith's UDI. Unlike other African Commonwealth leaders such as Jomo Kenyatta, or, for that matter, Hastings Banda, who repaid imprisonment with magnanimity of spirit towards their former rulers and captors, Robert Mugabe, regrettably, has repaid his experience with tyranny towards his black and white citizens alike. We have heard many noble Lords recite a catalogue of examples of that tyranny, for instance, legislation to clamp down on non-governmental organisations bravely doing a decent job as human rights defenders, fresh legislative curbs on the press, arrests of journalists and expulsions of foreign journalists, gross intimidation and violence towards political opponents in the MDV in the two by-elections that are taking place.
What can we do? My noble friend Lady Williams has asked me to raise one matter where we have both responsibility and the power to fulfil it. I refer to the question of the deportation of asylum seekers back to Zimbabwe. Members of the MDC have in the past gone missing on arrival at Harare airport and there have been many stories of torture and other forms of harm.
On 25th February, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, in a Written Answer said:

"The temporary suspension of the removal of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe remains under review".ó[Official Report, 25/2/03; col. WA 17.]
When the Minister replies, will she clarify the situation? Will she give a clear commitment that steps will be taken to ensure that Zimbabweans who have campaigned for democracy in their own country at risk to their lives will not be sent back to risk persecution and torture?
Back in November last year the Home Secretary's decision was announced to introduce a visa regime for Zimbabweans coming to the UK. The Home Secretary was quoted in The Times of 8th November 2002 as saying that the visa regime is,

"to deal with what is very significant abuse of our immigration controls by Zimbabwean nationals".
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We are dealing with a very special situation here, one in which we do have a power to act and a responsibility. I repeat that failed asylum seekers may be in great danger if returned to Zimbabwe. I hope that I can have some reassurance from the Minister on that matter.
What else can we do? There was consensus in the speeches made about the sheer frightening horror of the food situation. The noble Lord, Lord Acton, mentioned that 10 million people would be at risk of starvation by Christmas if something was not done. What is the best framework for dealing with the problem? Some critical remarks have been made about the Commonwealth as a framework. I can say from personal experience that the damage that the Rhodesian UDI did to the potential role of the Commonwealth in international affairs is a regret to me to this day. We still suffer from that damage.
I do not underestimate the risks to the Commonwealth of the present situation, with the split in the troika and the division as to whether sanctions should be maintained. I hope that the Minister will give clear guidance that the sanctions regime will be substantially and vigorously maintained during the coming year. Equally, I do not underestimate the rather mysterious ways in which the Commonwealth can operate, its wonders to perform. For instance, the Commonwealth might well be able to help to bring about the quiet and peaceful retirement of President Mugabe from affairs, which would be a great blessing to us all.
Nevertheless, the wider framework of the United Nations is probably the framework that will be most effective, as the noble Baroness, Lady Park, said. That would be especially likely if there could be a useful and constructive alliance between the United States and South Africa. The United States could do itself a bit of good in the United Nations in the months immediately ahead if it were to take a vigorous part in leading a humanitarian campaign of an effective nature on food and health generally in Zimbabwe. From that, other benefits in human rights and political reconciliation might well follow.
We must not despair. I and other noble Lords, such as the noble Lord, Lord Hughes of Woodside, went to the extraordinary memorial service for Sir Garfield Todd in St Martin-in-the-Fields. There was a huge congregation. That did something to lift up my heart and restore my faith in continuing to fight the good fight in terms of finding solutions for the Zimbabwean problem. Mention has been made of the very brave cricketers. Many good people are trying to deal with the problem. I do not want to discredit the Commonwealth, but I hope that through the United Nations there can be a major effort in the months ahead to deal with the situation in Zimbabwe.
8.23 p.m.
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, my noble friend Lady Park opened this short debate with a superb speech. She reminded us not only of her
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knowledge of the subject, but that she is one of the most redoubtable fighters in either House for all the people of Zimbabweónot for any group, but for all of them.
If the newspapers are accurate, which they often are not, I gather that the Minister has just returned from Guinea, where I hope that her mission was successful. I cannot imagine why she wished to go there now, but I am sure that she had a very useful and constructive time. She has most certainly done her bit and fought strenuously on the affairs that we are discussing; I do not deny that for a moment. Nevertheless, it would be idle to pretend that people, and indeed the Opposition, are happy with the policy of quiet diplomacy, as it is being called. The noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, rightly drew attention to that unhappiness.
It may be true, as we have been told all along, that while we make huge efforts on the humanitarian sideówe are trying to meet the hideous starvation and other horrors and deprivations of the regionówe can be sure that we can do nothing else to change the political context of what is in all essentials a fascist state; nothing can be done about that. However, if, as legal experts in your Lordships' House tell us, genocide is a reason for intervention, Robert Mugabe comes very near the edge with his practices; they are on the verge of being defined as genocide. We are left disappointed; the word "disappointing" has been used again and again by noble Lords this evening about what has and has not been achieved.
Eighteen months ago, the Prime Minister, in fine rhetorical flow, said that his foreign policy was,

"a fight for justice, a fight to bring economic and social freedom to the starving, the wretched, the dispossessed, the ignorant, those living in wanton squalor, from the deserts of Africa to the slums of Gaza to the mountain ranges of Afghanistanóthey are our cause".
While those words may have taken wing and landed somewhere, they certainly overflew Zimbabwe. The cause somehow failed to ignite there and we have not been able to do what many of us feel in our hearts we should have done; we should have done more to prevent the present tragedyóthe inevitable, predicted tragedy that is now before us.
Let us assume for a moment that we cannot take any more action in Africa; apparently, we can in other parts of the world but intervention in Zimbabwe is ruled out by law and various other constraints. What, then, can we do here? What, as my noble friend Lady Park, asked, do we have the power to do? How can we be positive and follow the lead given by my noble friend Lady Chalker, whose experience in these matters is unequalled? She said that we must somehow be positive in our approach to this appalling tragedy and this catalogue of horrors.
Back in Novemberófour months ago almost to the dayówe had a debate in your Lordships' House about targeted sanctions in Zimbabwe. I offered from this Dispatch Box a "to do" list of seven things that might be done here in Londonófrom behind ministerial desksówhich might help to reinforce our efforts to halt the slide to tragedy. I suggested that we should implement the recommendations of the UN panel on
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illegal activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which raised all sorts of points about the activities of the Zimbabwean armed forces and many prominent Zimbabwean people. I asked why we could not target those individuals.
I suggested in that debate that we should extend sanctions to spouses. I suggested that we should eliminate some of the travel loopholesóthis was before Mr Mugabe went to Parisóand that if the criterion was to allow movement only where treaties oblige countries to let people in, we should seek to ensure that those treaties were rigorously adhered to and that there were no wriggles round them. I suggested that we should resist deals such as that which, subsequent to that debate, allowed Mugabe and his wife into Paris, as my noble friend Lord Astor reminded us. That let her go on her spending spree while children were dying of starvation in Zimbabwe. I cannot think of a sicker contrast.
I read in the papers this morningóthey are usually inaccurateóthat Mr Mugabe has the KCB. Does he in fact have it? International Who's Who makes no mention of it. If he has, could the Minister please urge those who deal with such things that he be stripped of it as soon as possible?
I recommended in that debate that, over and above what we were already doing, we freeze all assets of companies that were bankrolling Mugabe; many of them were mentioned in the UN report. I also said that we should publish a dossier of suspected torturers and that we should extend the embargoed goods list because it appears that Mr Mugabe has an endless supply of black Mercedes cars. Perhaps I have missed something, but in the four months since then, I have heard not a squeak. I am not aware that any of those things have been done. I have heard no subsequent reports from the UN panel with its devastating exposÈ.
My noble friend Lady Park has added more items to the list. She has urged that, quite rightly, we should protect expatriates' pensions, which are being unfairly decimated by official rates. Several noble Lords, including the noble Lord, Lord Thomson of Monifieth, have rightly reminded us about asylum seekers. It is appalling that we are sending back people to their death or imprisonment in Zimbabwe.
As I previously suggested, we should insist and ensure that when the year of exclusion from the ministerial councils to the Commonwealth comes to an end, that exclusion continues. I should like very much to knowówe all wouldówhat the Government are doing with potential friends in Africa to ensure that.
Since November, we have had good news from Africa. The National Rainbow Coalition has taken over in Kenya. It has a much more democratic approach, like the Government of Senegal. Other countries might be beginning to question the solid front of support for the evils of Zimbabwe and to challenge the bloc view that the African union has decided that nothing should be done.
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Have we have brought in the Americans, as my noble friend Lady Park suggested? They have been very robust indeed. There are American Congressmen and officials who are extremely eager to work with the British towards a much more forceful policy of putting pressure on Mugabe. We should never underestimate the role of the Americans in southern Africa. It goes right back to the days of Chester Bowles. The noble Lord, Lord Thomson, will remember that he did much did good work and laid many foundations for a better Africa than the one we see in some areas today.
I add yet another suggestion for a policy improvement. We must vigorously support broadcasting by the BBC and other channels into south and central Africa of the truth about what is really going on, with all the details and the kind of horrors your Lordships have rightly exposed and set out in the debate.
I agree with the hope that Mugabe cannot last much longer. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, is right about that issue. It is only a hope and nothing more. Nevertheless, if we deploy the kind of policies that we have suggested today and carry forward a more vigorous approachóthe kind that my noble friend Lord Moynihan outlinedóperhaps we can accelerate the process. I put the situation no higher than that. At least we must make sure that when men and women look back on this very dark and tragic period for Zimbabwe, they are left in no doubt that we did everything within our power to encourage brave Zimbabweans to send Mugabe on his way.
8.33 p.m.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Park, for introducing today's debate on Zimbabwe. The noble Lord, Lord Howell, mentioned that I have just returned from Guinea. I have in fact been in Guinea, Angola and Cameroon. I leave noble Lords to speculate about the reasons for my visits to those three countries.
I start by setting out the Government's policy on Zimbabwe. Our policy objectives focus on the importance of securing the restoration of a stable and prosperous Zimbabwe underpinned by democracy and good governance, including respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Today's debate has focused on three key areas. They are Zimbabwe's economic decline, the political situation, including the increase in human rights abuses and harassment and intimidation of the opposition MDC, and the humanitarian crisis, including the disastrous fast-track land reform programme.
I turn to the economy. Zimbabwe's economy has continued to decline and is now in crisis. It contracted by 12 per cent in 2002, according to the estimates of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. It is now the fastest shrinking economy in the world. Inflation is over 200 per cent, unemployment is over 70 per cent and its currency has continued to plummet in value. There is
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little food, fuel or foreign exchange. That decline is largely due to poor economic policies, which have undermined macroeconomic stability and destroyed business confidence.
Despite advice from international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, ZANU-PF has stuck to a policy of price controls, refusing to raise interest rates to combat inflation. The recent move effectively to devalue the Zimbabwean currency by 93 per cent for those changing foreign currency is too little, too late and is unlikely to make much impact on foreign exchange availability. But it is at least some recognition that the problem is of their own making.
As the noble Lord, Lord Blaker, made clear, the economic crisis in Zimbabwe is having an impact on neighbouring economies. Negative perceptions have deterred foreign investment and tourism to the region, which has contributed to currency volatility. Countries such as Zambia have suffered damage to local production and customs revenues from the influx of cheap Zimbabwean goods, mounting bad Zimbabwean debts, and an increase in largely unskilled Zimbabwean migrants, when their own unemployment levels are high.
I turn to the political situation. The country remains polarised. There seems little immediate prospect of dialogue between the ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, despite the efforts of South Africa and Nigeria last year. As has been mentioned, the MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai, is on trial for treason, along with the party's general secretary and shadow agriculture minister. The very fact of the trial is hardly conducive to political reconciliation.
Political life in Zimbabwe continues to be marred by violence. Much of that is perpetrated by the ruling party and directed against the opposition and civil society. This year alone has seen the arrest of eight MPs and four senior officials, including the MDC Mayor of Harare. Some of those arrested have been tortured while in police custodyóincluding the MDC MP, Job Sikhala; an allegation substantiated by government doctors. There has been a wave of police arrests in Harare and Bulawayo in the last few days.
The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Rochester mentioned that those arrested included clergymen from all denominations. MDC activists and cricket spectators who dared to unfurl anti-Mugabe posters at Zimbabwe's recent match with the Netherlands in Bulawayo were also arrested. The right reverend Prelate is right; they deserve our support. I agree with him that the role of non-governmental organisations is crucial.
Attacks on the judiciary have also continued unabated. On 17th February a sitting high court judge was arrested in his chambers and charged with corruption and obstructing the course of justice.
I turn to the humanitarian situation. About 7.2 million Zimbabweansómore than half the populationórequire food aid; and 35 per cent of the
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adult population is infected with the HIV virus. My noble friend Lord Acton focused on food shortages and the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, spoke of what he called the "food insecure". The food shortages that we now witness are primarily the result not of bad weather but of bad governance and bad economic policy. Kofi Annan made that clear in his New Year statement on 14th January, when he said that the tragic situation in Zimbabwe has been caused,

"partly by the forces of nature, and partly by mismanagement".
We are well aware that ZANU-PF has been manipulating food distribution. There have been numerous reports of the Grain Marketing Board, the state monopoly, withholding food from those who do not support the ruling party. There were food riots in Harare and Bulawayo in early January. Those were led not by the opposition MDC but by "war veterans" enraged at the Grain Marketing Board's policies.
We have condemned ZANU-PF for its manipulation of food for political advantage. Unfortunately, we have no control over the food that it buys itself. However, I reassure noble Lords, as I have done many times, about UK food aid. That is distributed through the United Nations World Food Programme very differently. The World Food Programme is careful to ensure that international food aid is distributed only through independent NGOs outside the control of the Government of Zimbabwe. The process is carefully monitored to avoid abuse. I assure the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, that we are in touch with the World Food Programme about all allegations of diversion of food aid.
The noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, mentioned the land reform process. There is no doubt that the humanitarian crisis has been exacerbated by ZANU-PF's "fast track" programme of land redistribution as much of the requisitioned land lies fallow. James Morris, the head of the World Food Programme and the UN Secretary-General's special envoy on the humanitarian crisis, said after his visit to Zimbabwe in January:

"Zimbabwe is almost beyond comprehension. This scheme(land reform), along with restrictions on private sector food marketing and a monopoly on food imports . . . is turning a drought that might have been managed into a humanitarian nightmare".
That is leaving aside the impact on the 350,000 farm workers who have now been displaced, with a knock-on impact to their families. We are talking about some 1 million people.
Even within ZANU-PF there has been considerable criticism of how land distribution has been carried out, as shown, for example, in speeches at the party's conference last December. More recently, press reports here and in South Africa state that an audit prepared by members of the Zimbabwe Government alleged that key figures in the leadership have been involved in land seizures that break the regime's limits on the size of farms and its "one man, one farm" policy.
So what action have we taken? I have listened carefully to noble Lords in this and the many other debates on the issue in this House. The issues that they
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raised and the action that they suggested we take related to work already in hand. We clearly share the same analysis. I share the frustration that I feel around the House by noble Lords that our policies are not delivering a difference more quickly. The noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, spoke of the process taking a long time to yield results. That is true. Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation. There is a limit to what we can do with a regime that is determined to ruin its own country and its own people.
We have worked with our colleagues in the European Union, the Commonwealth, the US and elsewhere to focus the attention of the world community on what is happening in Zimbabwe. That has resulted in a rollover of EU sanctionsóthe travel ban, the assets freeze and the arms embargo. The noble Baroness, Lady Park, asked me how much had so far been frozen. The amount now stands at just over £500,000, which is what I think I reported to the House towards the end of last year. Any future waiver of the EU travel ban will need to be agreed by a qualified majority of EU member states. That is a strengthening, not a weakening as stated by the noble Lord, Lord Astor of Hever. I agree with noble Lords that France's invitation to Zimbabwe to attend the France/Africa Summit in Paris was deeply disappointing. It is not clear to me from the readouts that I have had from the meeting that a clear message was given to Mugabe about the ruinous policies followed by ZANU-PF.
The noble Lords, Lord Thomson of Monifieth and Lord Blaker, the noble Viscount, Lord Goschen, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Rochester and other noble Lords raised the question of the Commonwealth and the work that we are doing through it. I remind noble Lords that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister was at the forefront of calls for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last year. I remind noble Lords that it was not an easy thing to achieve. The action that we have taken and the work that we have undertaken over many months to secure international agreement to what we wanted to do with respect to Zimbabwe have delivered some results. We will continue to work closely with our Commonwealth partners on Zimbabwe. The Commonwealth Secretary-General is reviewing developments since Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth's councils on 18th March last year. His report is due to be issued shortly.
By every measureópolitical, humanitarian and economicóthe situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated this year. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Blaker, that the Harare principles apply to all members of the Commonwealth. We see no grounds for lifting Zimbabwe's suspension from the councils. The noble Lord asked me to confirm that, if no agreement were reached by the troika, the suspension would continue. I cannot confirm that; we must wait for the report from the Commonwealth Secretary-General and for the troika to deliver a verdict. My personal view is that it should.
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I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Chalker of Wallasey, that we must share information. It is clear that our colleagues not only in Africa but in other parts of the Commonwealth have little understanding of what goes on in Zimbabwe. On a superficial level, things appear to work and to be much better in Zimbabwe than in some other parts of the world, where the roads are not as good or the telephones do not work. However, such things give a false impression of what goes on. We have shared information on land reform, and we worked with the Commonwealth to share the UN panel report, as suggested by the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth. We will continue to share information.
We are in ongoing dialogue with countries in Africa, particularly in southern Africa, about the problems facing Zimbabwe and the region. We have stressed that failure to address Zimbabwe's problems has the potential to undermine NePAD and that it is a brake on much-needed investment in the region. I thank my noble friend Lord Hughes of Woodside not only for his kind remarks but particularly for his recognition of the need to support our diplomatic and other efforts.
Our political dialogue continues. The Prime Minister met South Africa's President Mbeki at Chequers on 1st February. Zimbabwe was high on their agenda, and the Prime Minister shared our understanding of the considerable problems facing the country. I met Angola's President dos Santos on 27th February. Angola is the current chair of SADC. We had a useful exchange of ideas on Zimbabwe.
The noble Lord, Lord Blaker, asked whether there was peer pressure behind the scenes. My response is "Yes". Some of our African colleagues are as frustrated as we are, because that pressure is not delivering results.
The noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, mentioned the need to bring the UN on board. We work with the UN in several ways. We work with the World Food Programme, and noble Lords will recall that we worked with the United Nations Development Programme on land reform. It was the UNDP that said last year that the land reform process was unsustainable. Last year, the UK Government took a resolution on Zimbabwe to the Commission on Human Rights. The noble Baroness also referred to the speech made by the UN Secretary-General, from which I quoted. We will continue to work through the UN machinery.
The noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, spoke about the initiative taken by the Archbishop of Cape Town. The archbishop has seen President Mugabe and is considering an initiative under Church auspices. He is undertaking wider consultations with other stakeholders in civil society in Zimbabwe. Our understanding is that he will begin such consultations when he returns to Zimbabwe on 12th March. It is important that all stakeholder views are considered, as well as the broad scope of the problem, including the humanitarian, political and economic aspects. Of course, there are also the broad problems of
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governance, not just land. I repeat that they have implications not just for Zimbabwe but for its regional neighbours.
I turn now to human rights. The European Union issued a declaration on Zimbabwe on 19th February. It expressed the EU's concern at the increasing incidence of arrest, inhuman treatment and torture of members of the opposition and of civil society. It called on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect human rights and to end its harassment and violence. Despite the international support for our resolution to the Commission on Human Rights last year, the commission was unable to vote on it due to a blocking campaign by some African states. We think that the deteriorating human rights situation deserves the continued attention of the Commission on Human Rights.
The UK Government have led the international response to the humanitarian crisis. We started feeding programmes in September 2001. That was even before the government of Zimbabwe acknowledged that there was a problem. We are the largest European bilateral aid donor, the second overall after the United States. We have contributed £51 million to the humanitarian programmes in Zimbabwe since September 2001. We also have a direct bilateral feeding programme which is providing a meal a day for 1.5 million Zimbabweans. These are mainly children, pregnant mothers, the elderly, unemployed farm workers and their families.
Moreover, the two countries which ZANU-PF consistently single out for criticismóthe US and the UKóare leading the way in providing help for the people of Zimbabwe, and in feeding hungry Zimbabweans. The UK has also helped with essential health care and treatment for malnutrition in infants. DfID maintains a substantial programme to tackle HIV/AIDS, an issued raised by some noble Lords. We are spending £26 million on HIV/AIDS prevention programmes over five years.
Perhaps I may now speak briefly about the G8 and NePAD. I believe that there is a fundamental misunderstanding in this House of the nature of the Government's policy with respect to the G8 Africa action plan. The Government have not accepted that the situation in Zimbabwe is an African issue to be settled by Africans. In that, I take issue with the noble Baroness, Lady Park, although I agree with much of what she said. We have made absolutely clear that this is an issue for the whole international community. I say that also to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. That is why the European Union, the Commonwealth, the United States and others are engaged and that is why we are talking to leaders in Africaónot just through the NePAD process, but also through our bilateral contacts and through regional institutions, such as SADC.
In respect of NePAD, I repeat what I have said many times in this House. G8 countries were interested in forging a partnership with those African leaders with a commitment to reform. At the heart of the G8 Africa action plan is the notion of enhanced
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partnership. In response to the noble Lord, Lord Blaker, our aid is clearly linked to reform. What African leaders agreed last year was an inclusive process. They hope to persuade countries that are not interested in reform of the benefits through joining NePAD. G8 said that we are interested in working in enhanced partnership with the reformers.
The noble Baroness, Lady Park, also mentioned the NePAD peer review mechanism. It is due to start in April; 14 countries have volunteered; and it will cover economic and political governance. The papers that I have seen are extremely comprehensive.
My time is up, but if your Lordships will forgive me, I should like to refer to three further issues raised in debate. The noble Baroness, Lady Park, mentioned financial support for those coming to the United Kingdom. UK citizens returning to this country may be eligible for certain benefits, subject to normal conditions of entitlement. Personal circumstances can be taken into consideration.
The noble Lord, Lord Thomson, raised asylum. On 15th January 2001, the Home Secretary suspended removals of failed asylum seekers from Zimbabwe after the March presidential election. Removals are still on hold. We shall continue to keep the policy under review.
I really must take issue with the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, and the comparisons he made between Iraq and Zimbabwe. The noble Earl is ill-informed. Saddam Hussein invaded a neighbouring country. He has used chemical and biological weapons on his own people. For more than 12 years he has flouted the will of the UN and of the UN Security Council. We are all agreed that there are human rights violations in Zimbabwe, but if we are to make a comparison, we need to do so where we are comparing like with like. Otherwise the comparisons are meaningless.
I also take issue with the noble Earl's comment that I have failed to answer his questions. I have answered his questions in this Chamber and I have answered Questions for Written Answer. I have also done the noble Earl the courtesy of listening to his concerns about these issues. The noble Earl may not have liked my answers, but I have certainly given them.
In conclusion, as the noble Lord, Lord Thomson, says, the situation in Zimbabwe is deeply depressing. We will continue to work for a Zimbabwe which is stable, prosperous and democraticó
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, as the noble Baroness is coming to the end of her speech and there is still a little time, will she confirm whether, as reported in this morning's newspapers, Robert Mugabe is a Knight Commander of the Order Bath? And is she really going to say nothing about the UN panel and all its revelations?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, I am happy to pick up on those points. Yes, Robert Mugabe does have that honour; he was awarded it in 1994. The noble Lord, Lord Howell, asked a number of questions with respect to issues he says he has raised in this House.
5 Mar 2003 : Column 911
The activities of the UN panel have been extended for six months because there was a need for further clarification of the issues in its report. Before we are able to take the allegations further, we need more information.
The noble Lord, Lord Howell, asked about extending the sanctions to spouses. The noble Lord will know of the debate and discussion within the EU in terms of the roll-over of our current sanctions. Given his experience, he will understand why it has not been possible to extend the sanctions to spouses. The same applies to travel loopholes and assets. Furthermore, pensions are the responsibility of the Government of Zimbabwe. I have answered the question on asylum.
In conclusion, links with the people of Zimbabwe remain strong. That is clear from the nature of the debate in the House today. We will continue to do all we can to work with them to produce the kind of Zimbabwe we know that they want.
8.58 p.m.
Baroness Park of Monmouth: My Lords, it would be invidious to single out any of the admirable speeches we have heard throughout the debate. I am deeply grateful to all noble Lords who have attended. I extend special thanks to my noble friend Lady Chalker. I am particularly pleased that she was able to join the debate. I was also interested to hear the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Thomson of Monifieth. I thank everyone most warmly, especially the Minister whose knowledge of the subject I deeply respect. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion for Papers.
Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zim storms leave eight dead

HARARE - Eight people have drowned in heavy rains that have lashed the north
and eastern parts of Zimbabwe, police said Saturday.

Five of those who died had been panning for gold along river banks when they
were swept away by the rising waters.

Gold panning has become increasingly common as Zimbabwe's economy continues
to collapse. Many have turned to looking for traces of gold in dangerous
abandoned mine shafts and along riverbeds.

Meteorological officials in Zimbabwe warned that heavy rains could be
expected to continue as the remnants of a tropical storm that blew in from
the Indian Ocean dissipates.

But the rains came too late for the Matabeleland South province on
Zimbabwe's western border with Botswana, which President Robert Mugabe
declared a drought disaster area on Friday.

A hunger crisis that threatens half of Zimbabwe's 13 million people has been
blamed on erratic rains and the government's controversial land reform
program which saw the seizure of most of the country's white-owned
commercial farmland.

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Dear Family and Friends,
A month ago two of the most important African Presidents said that they would not support a renewal of Zimbabwe's suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth. Nigerian President Obasanjo and South African President Mbeki said they had been reassured by the Zimbabwean government that the land seizures were over. They were also told that all white farmers who had been thrown off their land would be given another farm in a policy of one farmer, one farm. They were lied to because in the last 10 days thirteen farms have been listed for state seizure and 24 others in Karoi have been served with 90 day eviction notices and none of us have been given back a farm on which to grow food for our starving country. The African Presidents also said that they were satisfied with assurances from our government that public repression would stop. Again they were lied to because since their visit 280 people have been arrested under the Public Order and Security Act. This number includes 73 women on a peace march; 19 priests and clergymen on a freedom of worship march; 1 human rights lawyer, 1 Bishop and 1 American diplomat. It also includes a well known civic rights leader who was assaulted whilst in police custody and 26 opposition MDC supporters whose vehicle was stopped as it drove past State House. The 26 were taken into the grounds of State House, detained and physically assaulted for wearing MDC T shirts. Another 70 MDC supporters were dragged out of their homes by police in the early hours of the morning after having attended an MDC rally.
Africa's two most important and influential leaders were not the only ones who were taken in by lies. The International Cricket Council said they were satisfied with reassurances by Zimbabwean police that cricket fans would be allowed to demonstrate peacefully at world cup matches here. In fact, 41 were arrested for demonstrating after the match against Holland, 28 after the game with Pakistan and 5 after the game against Australia. In a number of cases those arrested were held for as long as 4 days without being allowed bail and many were assaulted, kicked and whipped whilst in police custody. People carrying newspapers not written and owned by the State were not allowed to take them in to the grounds and one man was detained and interrogated because he wore a black armband. All queues, whether for food or fuel, were banned on roads leading to cricket grounds and people went hungrier than before. There was nothing at all peaceful about the world cup cricket matches that were held in Zimbabwe and frankly we are glad it's over.
Contrary to all the arguments that the cricket matches would highlight our plight, in fact they exacerbated it. Not once did we see film footage of protesters or even close up shots of our two brave players who wore black armbands. All the world saw were ridiculously romantic pictures of lions and elephants and Victoria Falls during the game breaks and not people queuing for fuel, lining up for bread, waiting for world food aid or being arrested and bundled into police cars for carrying banners calling for democracy. The oppression of all Zimbabweans, men and women, black and white, priests, professionals and peasants has increased dramatically recently. Arrests, unlawful detentions and assaults in police custody are now everyday occurrences and there are 9 pages carrying public statements by human rights and civic groups in this weeks Independent newspaper.
Zimbabwe's all powerful police found themselves unusually impotent when the remnants of Cyclone Japhat hit us this week. The worst storm in Marondera deposited 40 mms (1.5 inches) of rain in just half an hour and 3 days later nothing whatsoever has been done to repair the damage inflicted by the wrath of God. Storm drains uncleared for over a year still spew rivers across the streets. Pot holes have become craters; suburban tar roads have become slippery tracks with as little as 18inches of width still in tact. Cemeteries are flooded, graves and headstones have subsided into mud and dirt roads have become slippery accidents waiting to happen. Nothing is being done because the councils have no money. They have no money because their biggest source of revenue came from the commercial farmers, 85% of whom have been evicted by the State.
Things are falling apart very rapidly in Zimbabwe. This week the National railways announced the suspension of trains between the country's two main cities, Harare and Bulawayo, because of damage to the line. The damage was not caused by Cyclone Japhat but by illegal gold panners who have been left unchecked for months. They have now dug their trenches for gold right under the main rail line and it is no longer safe. No one knows yet how the goods carried by the daily train will now reach Bulawayo - petrol, diesel and food. People are hungry and angry, infrastructure is collapsing and still our own African neighbours will not condemn our governance. There are none so blind as those that will not see. Until next week, with love cathy. Copyright cathy buckle, 8th March 2003.
Both of my books, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available from and
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Daily News

      MDC rally application referred to CIO

      3/8/2003 2:19:59 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sydney Saize in Mutare

      PISHAI Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman in Manicaland, said his party was
surprised that its application to the police to seek clearance to hold a
rally tomorrow had been referred to the CIO.

      He accused the police of attempting to scuttle the rally.
      The rally is scheduled to be held at the Sports Oval Grounds in
Sakubva, Mutare.
      Muchauraya said chief superintendent, Emilia Moyo, the officer
commanding police Mutare district, surprised them when she referred the
party's application to the CIO for clearance.

      "We wrote to Moyo on Tuesday and she promised everything was fine, but
we were later surprised when she referred us to the CIO for clearance,"
Muchauraya said.

      "The party is shocked as to why they referred us to a State security
agency such as the CIO."

      Moyo, in a terse reply to the MDC letter dated 4 March, which she
signed and stamped, wrote; "Liaise with the CIO."

      Moyo could not be reached for comment yesterday, as she was said to be
in a meeting.
      Timothy Mubhawu, the MDC provincial chairperson, Retired Major Giles
Mutsekwa, MP (Mutare North), Tendai Biti, MP (Harare East) and Lucia
Matibenga, the MDC national chairperson of the women's movement, are
expected to address the rally.

      Muchauraya said the MDC would go ahead with the rally despite the
police attempt to thwart it.

      "No one, including the police and the State security agents, can stop
this process of change which is to be brought about by the MDC," Muchauraya

      He said the speakers would dwell on the current state of affairs
within the MDC and feedback from the party's MPs.

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Daily News

      Zanu PF provincial chairman faces chop

      3/8/2003 2:19:17 AM (GMT +2)

      By Foster Dongozi

      JABULANI Sibanda, the Zanu PF provincial chairman for Bulawayo, may
face the chop today over allegations by some former PF Zapu's old guard that
he was secretly propping up Emmerson Mnangagwa's presidential ambitions.

      Mnangagwa is Zanu PF's secretary for administration and long touted as
President Mugabe's favourite for the job in the event of his retirement. He
is also the Speaker of Parliament.

      The meeting to decide Sibanda's fate will be held by a Zanu PF
co-ordinating committee, which includes members of the politburo, central
committee, branch and district executives at Davies Hall.

      "We were shocked when we recently discovered that Mnangagwa had done
his groundwork by conscripting some members of the Bulawayo provincial
executive and, as you may know, he is unacceptable to us as a future
President," said a party insider.

      In January, Mnangagwa denied reports that he was behind a plan to
retire Mugabe.
      A senior official in Bulawayo yesterday confirmed that the meeting
would go ahead.
      "The co-ordinating committee will definitely meet tomorrow (today) and
an interim committee will be installed.

      "New elections cannot be held because all provinces will hold their
elections in September," said the official.

      Sibanda, who fell out of favour with the PF Zapu old guard, among them
Vice-President Joseph Msika, when he attacked them as ineffective,
reportedly scuppered his political fortunes as he had been earmarked for the
Bulawayo provincial governor post.

      His confirmation as governor of Bulawayo was postponed and political
heavyweights from Matabeleland are now pushing for his banishment into the
political wilderness.

      However, according to a letter dated 1 March by the Bulawayo deputy
provincial chairman, Silas Dlomo to Zanu PF national chairman, John Nkomo,
senior Zanu PF officials in Harare have frustrated previous efforts to oust
Sibanda, following a vote of no confidence passed by provincial officials on
21 January.

      The letter appeals against lack of action over the vote of no
confidence on the chairman of Zanu PF Bulawayo province, Sibanda, passed by
52 out of 100 members on 21 January.

      Part of the letter reads: "Papers relevant to the vote of no
confidence were timeously forwarded to the National Secretary for the
Commissariat, Cde Manyika. However, we are concerned about the silence by
the National Commissar on this matter and about the National Commissar's
continued recognition of the Bulawayo provincial chairman, who is still
being invited to the Zanu PF headquarters for meetings.

      "Jabulani Sibanda no longer has a legal mandate to act as chairman for
Zanu PF Bulawayo province.
      "Surely, it is this recognition which encourages him to continue
undressing local members of the Central Committee, including Vice-President
Cde J W Msika . . . "
      The letter said inaction against Sibanda by the department of the
commissariat violates the Zanu PF constitution.

      The letter to John Nkomo further reads: "With reference to the
above-mentioned, we wish to let your good office know that after a lot of
endurance and thorough analysis of Bulawayo political problems and after
exhausting all channels with the local leadership of the party, 52 out of
100 provincial officials resolved to put to an end the cause of the problems
by passing a vote of no confidence in the chairman."

      According to Zanu PF's constitution, the party's president is elected
by provinces at the party's national congress held every five years.

      No comments could be obtained from Mnangagwa, Sibanda, Manyika and
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Daily News

      Judge warns Ben-Menashe

      3/8/2003 2:18:38 AM (GMT +2)

      By Fanuel Jongwe

      JUDGE President Paddington Garwe yesterday warned Ari Ben-Menashe, the
key witness in the treason trial of three top MDC officials, that he would
be penalised if he continued ignoring warnings to stop insulting the
defendants and their lawyers.

      "The witness has previously been warned against using inappropriate
language and let me stress that the warning still stands," Garwe said.

      Earlier, Ben-Menashe had accused defence lawyer George Bizos of hiding
Rupert Johnson, a potential witness in the trial.

      Bizos objected to the accusation which he said was "a serious
professional offence". He demanded that Ben-Menashe be reprimanded.

      "In future the court may consider a penalty against the witness if
this conduct continues," the judge ruled.

      Ben-Menashe alleged that Bizos knew where Johnson was since "he is
your man".
      "You are hiding him," the Canadian-based political consultant charged.
He was answering Bizos' question on who paid for Johnson's travel to the DRC
where Ben-Menashe and Johnson allegedly met the DRC Minister of State
Security, Mwenze Kongolo.

      The defence alleged Johnson approached Renson Gasela, one of the
defendants, claiming to be a director at Ben-Menashe's consultancy, Dickens
and Madson. But Ben-Menashe
      disowned him, claiming he was a member of the MDC.

      On Wednesday, Garwe adjourned the proceedings abruptly after
Ben-Menashe refused to apologise to Morgan Tsvangirai for saying he was

      Tsvangirai, the MDC president, Welshman Ncube, the party's
secretary-general and Gasela, the shadow minister of agriculture, have
pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiring to assassinate President
Mugabe and depose his government.

      Garwe yesterday threw out an application by Ben-Menashe to be
immediately dismissed from the witness stand saying he had "answered every
possible question".
      "It's clear that the evidence is coming to an end," the judge said.

      "Not much purpose will be served by allowing the witness to go back to
Canada and call him again at a later stage to conclude his evidence.
      "The witness has been giving evidence for a long time. There is need
for some conclusion to his evidence."

      Asked why he did not mention in his statement to the police
allegations that Tsvangirai wanted to be President of Zimbabwe by December
2001, Ben-Menashe said: "I don't remember."

      He claimed he was not being paid anything by the Zimbabwean government
for entrapping Tsvangirai.

      "They paid for my air ticket," he said. "I have not been paid as
opposed to you who has been paid very heavily by the MDC to waste time in
this court."
      The trial, which has attracted much national interest, is scheduled to
continue on Monday.
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Daily News

      Boycott call hailed

      3/8/2003 2:40:25 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      Harare residents yesterday said they welcomed the call by the MDC to
boycott businesses and banks run by people linked to ruling Zanu PF and
urged the man opposition party to publish a list of such enterprises.

      They said the MDC needed to publicly identify the banks and businesses
bankrolling the Zanu PF machinery because the party derived its dictatorship
and authority from those institutions whose funds were being used to abuse

      In a snap survey carried out in the streets of Harare, most people
said they believed in the MDC's new strategy to cripple Zanu PF financially.

      The boycott call was first made by Tendai Biti, the MDC shadow
minister of Home Affairs and the party's secretary for economic affairs, at
a rally in Msasa.

      Joel Maronda, 39, of Marondera, said the MDC's call for business
boycotts was the best idea that Zimbabweans, fed up with "the illegitimate
regime of President Mugabe", could effectively implement without bothering
themselves with street protests which potentially could result in the death
of protesters.

      "Mass protests will only succeed once the government and its sidekicks
have been reduced to paupers," he said. "It's the money that is financing
this regime. The MDC should now help desperate Zimbabweans by compiling a
comprehensive list of businesses to be targeted. The people are ready to
silence Zanu PF as long as the MDC carries this campaign to the masses."

      He said any business needed money to function properly and Zanu PF
remained in authority simply because its financial base had not been

      Frank Moyo, 29, a correspondent for the independent Short Wave Radio
Africa, said if the government could make its people suffer economically,
then Zimbabweans should retaliate.

      Chimuti Tongoona, 56, from Gokwe, said the effectiveness of that
strategy depended on the MDC's information dissemination and Zimbabweans'
      "There are people who are getting rich through dubious means," he
said. "This idea has come out as a result of the prevailing economic
hardships. Out of that suffering, people are desperate for ideas that can
save them."

      Shadreck Maruma, 32, of Hatcliffe, said the MDC's call was dangerous
as it sought to destroy other people's lives.

      He said the only solution to Zimbabwe's economic hardships was through
dialogue between the MDC and Zanu PF.
      "The economic hardships we face are complex," he said. "The best way
to get out of the crisis is through peaceful discussions where differences
are resolved.
      "You can't punish your children by refusing them the right to buy
things they want from some businesses because they are run by Zanu PF

      But David Hawkins, 62, a businessman from Borrowdale, said boycotting
businesses and withdrawing money from banks run by Zanu PF officials was the
best the MDC could have thought of, given the readiness of the police and
army when dealing with demonstrators.

      "That boycott call is one thing that can counter the current Zanu PF
strength," he said. "I appreciate the MDC's new approach because the
government has a tradition of using force to cow people into submission. But
Zanu PF and its diehard businessmen will have no control over people
withdrawing their money from their banks. Those banks will collapse within
months if people just make the sacrifice."

      Stephen Mazorodze, 26, of Gutu in Masvingo, said it was useless for
Zimbabweans to continue supporting institutions that oiled human rights
abuses, dictatorship, rape, torture and starvation of opposition supporters.

      He said it was better for Zimbabweans to suffer once and for all and
enjoy the rest of their economic life.

      "At least the boycott will bring the much-needed change. Some of these
people are getting richer and richer through our suffering. We put our money
in their banks and they take that money to support Zanu PF projects which
have not benefited us."

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Zimbabwe hits back over U.S. sanctions

By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - A senior Zimbabwean official has condemned a U.S.
decision to impose sanctions on the leadership as part of a "white racist"
attack on a government he says is fighting for the interests of its black

U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday imposed economic sanctions on
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and 76 other high-ranking government
officials, accusing them of undermining democracy in the impoverished
southern African country.

Bush, following the lead of the European Union, issued an executive order
freezing their assets and barring Americans from engaging in any
transactions or dealings with them.

The Zimbabwean official said on Saturday the new sanctions were part of a
well-coordinated attack on Mugabe by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who he said
was angry over Mugabe's seizures of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe, a former
British colony.

"All these sanctions being imposed on us are unjustified because they are
part of a racist campaign against our land reform programme," said the
official, who declined to be named.

"This is not about democracy, human rights or about any concern for the
welfare of blacks. This is about our land and heritage," he told Reuters.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) welcomed the U.S.
sanctions, saying they represented a principled stand against tyranny.

Mugabe has been under fire from the West over the alleged rigging of an
election last year and the persecution of political foes, as well as the
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

The United States, the Commonwealth and the European Union, encouraged by
rights groups, have all imposed some travel, aid and economic sanctions on

Blair has been particularly critical of Mugabe, leading opposition to the
Zimbabwean government in the European Union.


In a statement on Friday, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the
situation in Zimbabwe "endangers the southern African region" and threatens
to undermine democratic reforms throughout the continent.

The White House stressed that the sanctions were not aimed at the people of
Zimbabwe, and that it was "working diligently" with its international
partners to ensure that adequate food supplies are made available to
Zimbabweans in need.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi said "We welcome these new sanctions
heartily because they are going to send a clear and unequivocal message to
Mugabe and his cronies that decent governments are not going to tolerate his

"It is a message that a government that tortures its own people as a matter
of course must suffer serious sanctions, and be isolated," he told Reuters.

In February, the EU renewed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his close
associates for one year. The measures include a visa ban, an arms embargo
and a freeze on the assets of senior government officials.

Last month Mugabe launched a blistering attack on Bush and Blair, branding
them imperialists who wanted to impose a new form of colonialism on
developing countries.

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Unity alone will not resolve our crisis – Mugabe is the crisis

I am suprised by individuals, institutions, organisations and associations who are for ever calling for national unity as a way of getting our economy back on the rails.

Drafting infinite economic revival strategies won’t help us either. The way we are tackling the problem is such that we will never be able to lift ourselves from this economic morass. Even individuals like dr Simba makoni, presidents Thabo Mbeki, Obasanjo and Chirac who are calling for a government of national unity to lift us form this crisis are day dreaming. All these people are cowards motivated by thier medieval and primitive barbarism aimed at thier economic and political gains while running away from the real problem. Some are saying we are in a political, economic and social crisis characterised by the unavailability of the 3fs i.e.fuel, food and forex. But for me that’s not the crisis, Mugabe is the crisis. So by not getting rid of Mugabe who is the crisis and is sabotaging the nation we are not solving the problem. If mugabe goes the crisis will also have gone.

M Makumbe - Buhera

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Let us all mourn the death of democracy

On April 18 we are supposed to celebrate the birth of democracy in Zimbabwe. Come 2003, what is there to celebrate my fellow Zimbabweans?

A big nothing. So what are you going to do about it — keep quiet and let nature take its course?

On this day we mourn the death of democracy. If we are going to go in the streets and show our feelings, the Zimbabwe Republic Police will have a field day.

As Zimbabweans, are we going to remain quiet while ZANU PF is causing havoc in our beloved country? If we remain silent our leaders and the world at large will just think that we are content with the status quo in Zimbabwe.

Most of us will think that leaving the country will solve our problems, but is that so?

I am calling on all Zimbabweans to show this regime and the world as a whole that we as Zimbabweans are fed up with this. As you celebrate independence, remember those who have died for democracy to prevail and those who died solely because they disagreed with the views of those in power in Zimbabwe.

Let us unite for one goal: to show President Robert Mugabe and his regime that we are fed up.

On April 18 we will be mourning the death of democracy. I call on everyone to put on black clothes or black armbands.

You might seem a lone cause wherever you are but remember you are not alone. If all of us can do it, that will not necessarily remove Mugabe and ZANU from power but that will make a statement they will notice.

Think about it. If it makes sense tell everyone you know.

Chale, - Harare.

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God is punishing the people of Muzarabani

For people in Muzarabani, I think there will never be a time as opportune as the present to be convinced that there is a very loving God in heaven.

To those who do not know the background to what I am referring, people in this region, which has been affected by the floods, declared it a no-go area for the opposition. Now, for sure, God has made the area inaccessible, not only to the opposition this time, but to almost everyone.

They asked to be all by themselves and they will be by themselves until they repent. These are the people who cleared their area of all MDC supporters.

Teachers lost their jobs, villagers who held different views to theirs lost their houses. This is how much these people loved their area.

I almost believed that they created their area, hence it had to be theirs and theirs alone.

The people of Muzarabani are truly sons and daughters of President Mugabe, who is the father of Zanu PF, the party that they love and protect.

Now that the avenging spirits (ngozi) are visiting Mugabe for all the souls that he destroyed, his offspring must not cry foul if they are caught in the crossfire.

This is how ngozi operates. It does not start with the offender, no. It afflicts other people who are close to the offender first. First to be afflicted by the curse was Leo Mugabe. He was the first victim of Mugabe’s wrongdoing. Now ngozi has invaded a whole area.

How are these sons and daughters going to receive relief aid now that their region is truly a no-go area?

This is time that the avenging spirit was waiting for to wipe out all the descendants in the area.

Yes, they are going to die and they have to die because their father killed as well. An eye for an eye that is what the Bible teaches.

I support the MDC and we know in our party that “vengeance is mine saith the Lord”. If you kill my brother today God will deal with you as he is dealing with Muzarabani.

Without bridges and roads you people in the area now have what you have always wanted a no-go area.

May you from today onwards enjoy your stay in the area that you love so much. No one from the MDC is going to visit you and this includes your sons and daughters who reside in Harare.

For those who are going to die, I say God is punishing you for the sins of your fathers.

God is now for we, the poor. Who can be against us if God is for us?

Emmanuel Nyakurayi - Chikanga - Mutare

Tsvangirai’s the man

I am disappointed that President Robert Mugabe still wants to rule our nation. It is clear that his time has passed and it is high time he left the throne to the person who is supposed to rule. Mugabe as a churchgoer must know the scripture that says: "Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar." He must resign the throne to Movement for Democratic Change’s Morgan Tsvangirai.

Solo the Great, - Harare.

To me, racial barriers

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Support for MDC must translate into mass action

The overwhelming support shown or given by Zimbabweans to the opposition MDC president in his meet-the-people tour is encouraging and it must, by all means possible, be acted upon.

When people cry for leadership to show and lead the way, I definitely think they mean it and waiting for the only one word: “Go”. The greatest mistake we can ever make as a people is to promise support and when we come to the nitty-gritty of the matter we do not show or reciprocate the leadership’s stance. The masses have the power to remove the incumbent government and, therefore, if one day the leadership say let’s go for it, we must be prepared for all the eventualities. We must be prepared to fill up the jails, we must be willing to face the guns and we must be in a position not to betray the struggle.

Mass protest is the only way to solve our problems peacefully. Mass protest must not be seen as a way of running away from reality; it must not be translated as a form of passivity. There is no vital or more forceful power or weapon than the masses who rise up at the same time as a united force. No guns can silence or deny the people their God-given right to freedom. Martin Luther King Jnr braced himself and his followers to face up to the brutality of the then oppressive, racist system in the United States. I remember their prophetic song of freedom they liked so much to sing on their marches: “We gonna march to freedom day, ain’t nothing gonna stop us now.” As it was true then, it is still very relevant today, nothing can stop us now on our way to the freedom we desire so much. We must all, from all walks of life, rise and be counted when the time for the protest comes. We don’t want a protest that will not yield the desired results of toppling Robert Mugabe and his entire government that must be our sole and strategic goal.

We don’t want a protest that will raise people’s expectations and then dismally fail them at the end. We want a protest that will address our concerns. That type of protest might mean a very long, winding struggle and concerted efforts. It might even demand that we go through a long period of self-denial while we concentrate on the agenda of the day of deposing Mugabe from power. It might also mean interrupting or disturbing our usual daily routines. The worst scenario is the one in which the leadership has invoked or aroused the spirit of protest and do actually nothing to implement that, as the people are now ready for a big thing, and if they are not let down by the leadership, I believe that our freedom as Zimbabweans is very nigh.

Thulani Woyane – Bulawayo

We mustn’t forgive

To live in fear is one thing, to bring a once prosperous nation to its knees is another.

We must never forget what was done to our country by those thugs. When the time comes they must pay for their transgressions.

I for one will be pushing for their heads, let me assure you. You see why, because I am free and definitely not afraid of any thugs.

Long live Zimbabwe!

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Can anyone in Canada help this student with her study? ..... please contact her directly for her postal details

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Stephanie Hermans and I am a grade twelve student at Assumption
College School in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. I am enrolled in a world
issues course, which involves studying various countries around the world. I
am interested in learning more about the country of Zimbabwe.

I was wondering if you might be able to provide me with some further
information, particularly pertaining to the environmental and economic
conditions. I am aware that the Internet provides a vast quantity of
information, but I was hoping for hardcopies of information. Any available
posters, maps, and other related materials about Zimbabwe would be very
helpful. Any information you could provide would be much appreciated. Thank
you for you time,


Stephanie Hermans
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