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Daily News
Sweden a consistent champion of democracy 
2/28/02 8:32:22 AM (GMT +2)
By Simba Chabarika Deputy Features Editor
THERE is only one day in the political life of Man when he is equal in importance to the president of the country - election day.
On this day, the peasant is able to tell the president and other hopefuls what he thinks of them.
For Zimbabweans, the time is at hand, and on 9 and 10 March 2002, the power of the people will be reflected in the ballot.
Elections come with a lot of hype and associated events -some hilarious, others sad. A mixed grill.
Candidates bash each other with virulent verbal blows, meaningless rhetoric and hours of long tirades.
Unfortunately, political tolerance is anathema to Zimbabwean politics. Close to 100 people have lost their lives. Others remain permanently scarred and maimed for life, as if campaigning was akin to fighting the liberation struggle.
While all this drama unfolds, the leaders wine and dine, out of harm's way, only to express condolences to the bereaved to whom the effects and memories of the loss will last forever - long after the election is gone.
The long friendship between Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU) has been one of the major casualties of the sad drama.
Although the EU has co-operated with Zimbabwe both politically and financially since the country's independence in 1980, there is now bad blood between the two.
Recently, the EU came under fire for allegedly announcing a Zambian opposition leader as having won the presidential election before all the results were in.
The EU denied the charge and instead slammed the poll results as not reflective of the voters' wishes.
The Zambian government has rejected the EU report, rubbishing it as blatantly partisan, preconceived and mere hearsay.
The June 2000 parliamentary election in Zimbabwe saw a 190-strong EU election observer team led by Pierre Schori, the Swedish ambassador to the United Nations, come into the country.
Schori was back again for the presidential election, as head of the EU observer team but was denied accreditation as he was an uninvited guest from a "wrong" country - Sweden.
Eventually, he was expelled from the country and the EU consequently withdrew all its observers and imposed smart sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle.
"Schori's departure was a harbinger for Mugabe's exit too because Mugabe is next in line. He is definitely going," said one Harare man.
Schori was the man of the moment, despite Foreign Affairs Minister Stan
Mudenge preferring to call him a tourist. "We don't chase away tourists," he said with barely disguised sarcasm when Schori arrived.
While in Zimbabwe for the parliamentary election and after he left, Schori compiled reports.
"The aim of the mission was two-fold: to contribute to a more favourable climate for the elections and to come up with a clear judgment on the electoral process.
"I saw the EU mission as an act of commitment to the people of Zimbabwe and to democracy worldwide: a natural consequence of our support to the struggle for independence and our wish to build a strong partnership with a peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe," he said.
He reported the high levels of violence, intimidation and coercion that marred the election campaign period.
"Zanu PF leaders seemed to sanction the use of violence and intimidation against political opponents and contributed significantly to the climate of fear so evident during the election campaign. Overall, the conduct of the government failed to uphold the rule of law and compromised law enforcement agencies," Schori said in his statement on 26 June, 2000.
"MDC supporters were also engaged in violence and intimidation, but the degree of their responsibility for such activities was far less.
Moreover, MDC leaders were clearer in their condemnation of violence."
In his final report on 4 July, 2000, to the European Parliament in
Strasbourg, Schori said he refused to use the term "free and fair elections" because it was not applicable in such a complex process as witnessed by the team in Zimbabwe.
EU observers reported that the pre-election period was one of the worst they had been in, while the actual election days were among the best they had seen.
Schori recommended that it was imperative for the government to move swiftly to re-establish the rule of law and allow the police and prosecution services to take action against those who were involved in violence and human rights abuses.
He called for the establishment of a new, independent election organisation above partisan interests and for the EU to ensure that international observers were deployed in good time for the 2002 presidential election.
"The European Union should make a particular effort during the coming months to monitor events in Zimbabwe closely, and provide assistance and support where appropriate," he said.
After all, observing or monitoring elections can never really change the outcome, but transparency is needed in democratic institutions.
During the 2000 election, the EU observers visited 1 729 polling stations -about 40 percent of the total number of polling stations dotted around Zimbabwe in the two days of voting.
"The general climate in the polling stations was positive. Polling staff were competent; police officers present also performed well. EU teams rated the polling process as good or very good in 84 percent of their reports, an impressive performance by international standards."
Schori says the EU 2000 election team was efficient in conflict prevention -quick on the spot, in great numbers, with good national coverage, spreading calm and peace and with a sustainable strategy also for the post-conflict phase.
The team helped build confidence within the electorate in voting procedures and in the secrecy of the ballot.
"Generally speaking, I think we should increase our readiness to send observer missions that look at the whole election period including the pre-and post-election phases and which work closely with civil society keeping a long-term development perspective."
The partnership between the EU and Zimbabwe revolves around upholding democracy, strengthening the rule of law, promoting social and economic development and encouraging good governance and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
True, Zimbabwe is a sovereign state but is a signatory to the Cotonou agreement which allows the EU to point out continuous violation of human rights, curtailment of Press freedom and blatant disregard of the rule of law.
Zimbabwe has barred EU members Britain, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands from observing the poll while it has invited nine individual EU members to be part of a joint observer mission with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
Ironically, Sweden is one of the largest donors to Zimbabwe and the Schori snub, ipso facto, means they can go to hell with their aid.
The ill-will has led the government to reduce the EU to an appendage of the ACP.
But Schori is no stranger to Zimbabwean politics as he was once Mugabe's friend.
"Looking back at my long-standing relationship with Zimbabwe, I can think of no better illustration of it than two quotes. The first comes from former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme's words at the United Nations Conference in support of the people of Zimbabwe and Namibia in Maputo on 20 May 1977:
"Mr Ian Smith has said that Rhodesia and South Africa are agreed that they are both fighting to preserve the Western democracy that the white man brought to Africa. For us in Europe, with our colonial past, it is necessary to be crystal-clear. We will never accept Smith's and Vorster's perversion of Western democracy.
"Their oppression and racism will never be included in a world of freedom. I cannot find words harsh enough to condemn their misuse of the words of democracy and freedom.
"They are denying the people of Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa the most fundamental human and political rights.'"
Schori says Palme's view guided Sweden's position during the liberation of Zimbabwe.
"I was personally deeply involved in providing support and assistance to political prisoners and exiles. Twenty years after independence, I was asked to lead the EU Observation Mission to the parliamentary elections," said the man who was to be deported by the very same people he worked so hard to support.
Today, Schori, like many Zimbabweans and the rest of the world, is anxiously awaiting the outcome of the election on those two days next week.
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Daily News - Leader Page
The tragedy of our war veterans’ rule 
2/28/02 8:10:50 AM (GMT +2)

WHEN, in 2000, President Mugabe personally sanctioned violent farm invasions by so-called war veterans, dishonestly labelling them “peaceful demonstrations against the government for its slow pace in land acquisition and redistribution”, it was the beginning of the anarchy which has now become a national curse: the tragedy of government by war veterans.
At that time, we were told that henceforth, with land now in the hands of the black majority, there would be a surplus of maize as the new landowners, mostly former freedom fighters, would concentrate more on food production as opposed to commercial farmers who used most of it to grow tobacco.
Two years down the line, the country’s granaries have literally been emptied to their bare concrete floors and the country is facing the spectre of mass starvation.
We are now having to depend on trickles of imported maize far too little to go round.
Ironically, as our Bulawayo correspondent reported on Monday, it is the war veterans, the very people who hounded white commercial farmers off their land, assuring us they would grow enough to feed the nation and more, who have taken over the distribution of the little imported maize whenever it becomes available at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots.
Suddenly they have turned their backs on maize production to assume the role of maize distributors.
Most of the land they seized is now lying fallow.
Apologists for the Establishment will be quick to blame the maize shortage on the current agricultural season’s poor rainfall. But that excuse is too much of a transparent lie.
The maize which we should be feeding on now is supposed to be stocks from last season’s harvest as whatever limited harvest will be realised this season will only start flowing into the GMB’s silos in May.
The truth, therefore, is that it is the new landowners who are solely to blame for the catastrophic food shortages we are now experiencing because they slept on the job last season when climatic conditions for successful farming were at their optimum.
Together with Lands and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, who constantly misled both the President and the nation at large into believing there was no need to worry as the country had enough maize reserves, they must be charged with high treason for attempting to starve the entire nation to death.
More seriously, though, one inevitable question visitors to this country, and that obviously includes the election observers, must be asking is: In what capacity are those war veterans, if they, indeed, are what they claim to be, controlling the distribution of maize since they are neither elected representatives of the people nor an official government agency?
The plain and honest answer to it is that, from the day Mugabe unleashed them, first on white farmers and, later, on the rest of the population, to punish the people for humiliating him by rejecting government’s treacherous draft constitution in February 2000, war veterans were not only placed above the law, but they became a law unto themselves.
And then when, following court rulings ordering their eviction from the farms they had illegally and forcibly occupied, Mugabe not only ordered the police to ignore those court orders, but also to lay their hands off the war veterans from then onwards, they effectively became both the law of the land and the country’s de facto rulers.
It was at that point that the rule of law was set aside -and has remained suspended right up to the present - to be substituted by a government of Zanu PF, for Zanu PF supporters by the war veterans.
The grim reality our visitors must take note of is that we haven’t got a normal government in Zimbabwe.
Whatever the so-called war veterans say is what goes.
They can sack teachers, nurses, and district council officials, order the transfer of magistrates, district administrators and senior police officers, close down schools, clinics and rural district council offices.
They can disrupt any court proceedings.
And, with absolute impunity, they can harass, torture or order anybody’s arrest.
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Hundreds missing from voters’ roll

By MacDonald Dzirutwe Staff Reporter
2/28/02 2:08:26 AM (GMT +2)

THE names of hundreds of urban voters, including those of prominent
opposition party officials, are reported to be missing from the voters’
roll, raising fears that they could have been systematically struck off to
disenfranchise voters ahead of next weekend’s crucial presidential election,
it emerged this week.
Paul Themba Nyathi, the director of elections for the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said among those missing from the
voters’ roll were MDC legislators Evelyn Masaiti and Priscilla
Misihairambwi, whose name was only reinstated at the end of last week after
political pressure.

The leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, is President Robert Mugabe’s
deadliest rival in the ballot and has overwhelming support in the country’s
urban areas.

Nyathi said many urban voters were likely to be disenfranchised because they
only inspected the voters’ roll once, adding that the MDC had received
numerous complaints from those who had re-checked and found their names

The MDC official said Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, who registers voters
and is in charge of the poll, had attributed the omission of the
complainants’ names to "human error".

"It is a very shambolic exercise which has even affected some of our senior
officials and he (Mudede) has attributed these things to human error,"
Nyathi said.

"It’s not an excuse for shoddy work. I can actually confidently say a
sizeable chunk of voters between the age of 18 and 25 will not be able to

The chairman of the Combined Harare Residents’ Association, David Samudzimu,
said 30 registered voters who were present on the voters’ roll supplied by
Mudede’s office on January 4 this year had had their names struck off in an
updated roll last week.

"When I asked Mudede why the names were not appearing on the voters’ roll,
he said the voters’ roll was interim and was still being updated," Samudzimu
 told the Financial Gazette.

"In an atmosphere where rigging is said to be taking place, there is a need
to examine these anomalies carefully in case a number of people will be
embarrassed come March 9 and 10."

Mudede was not available for comment yesterday and did not respond to
messages left with his secretary by the Financial Gazette.

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Agency warns on genocide

Staff Reporter
2/28/02 2:11:00 AM (GMT +2)

THE US-based Genocide Watch group has warned that Zimbabwe could slide into
genocide and called on Washington and the European Union (EU) to warn
President Robert Mugabe they will back military intervention should
pro-government militias and elements in Zimbabwe’s army launch mass killings
of the government’s foes.

"The early warning signs for politicide (mass political killings) and
possibly even genocide in Zimbabwe have now reached Stage Six," the
Washington-based group said in its latest alert on Zimbabwe.

According to Genocide Watch’s rating system, Stage Six is the final
preparatory phase before mass murder is actually carried out.

Moves by Mugabe to shut Zimbabwe from being monitored by human rights
groups, election monitors and the Press and a new public order law
criminalising anyone who criticizses him were signs that in addition to
election rigging he was possibly planning mass political or ethnical terror
which he wanted to hide from outside scrutiny, it said.

Genocide Watch is part of the International Campaign to End Genocide (ICEG),
which is a coalition of international organisations working on predicting,
preventing, stopping and punishing genocide and other forms of mass murder.

Among the groups in the ICEG coalition is the Jerusalem-based Institute on
the Holocaust and Genocide, the Aegis Trust –Genocide Prevention Initiative
based in Britain, the Belgian Prevention Genocides and Germany’s Committee
for an Effective International Criminal Law.

Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba could not be reached for comment Agency
warns on violence yesterday on the allegations raised by Genocide Watch. His
office said he was out attending meetings.

Genocide Watch, which visited Zimbabwe in October 2001 to investigate the
situation in the southern African nation, said:

"Mugabe must be put on notice that if political or genocidal massacres are
committed by these militias or by elements of the Zimbabwe armed forces, he
will be held personally responsible.

"Zimbabwe’s leaders should be notified that if such massacres occur, the
United States and EU will support armed intervention by a United
Nations-authorised regional force, and President Mugabe and those who might
perpetrate the crimes would be subject to persecution."

Political violence has gripped Zimbabwe since February 2000, when
self-styled veterans of the country’s 1970s independence war invaded
white-owned farms ostensibly to pressure Mugabe to quicken the resettlement
of landless blacks on white farms.

But instead the veterans turned the supposed land quest into a campaign
against white farmers and their workers who they accuse of supporting the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

At least 35 people, most of them MDC members, were killed in the run-up to
parliamentary elections held in June 2000.

The violence has since intensified as a critical presidential election next
weekend pitting MDC leader Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe draws
nearer. Up to 25 people - mostly opposition supporters - have been killed
since January this year.

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'CIO hatched Mugabe assassination plot plan’

By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
2/28/02 2:12:00 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE’S dreaded spy agency is directing President Robert Mugabe’s
election campaign and is the brains behind the so-called plot implicating
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Mugabe’s alleged assassination, it
was established this week.
Authoritative official sources disclosed that Mugabe’s election command
team, the think-tank of his re-election bid in next weekend’s ballot, was
using a campaign strategy based on daily instructions and briefings from the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

"Members of the intelligence team are giving daily directions and focus to
the whole election process," one senior intelligence source told the
Financial Gazette.

"The job of (ruling ZANU PF) party members is to implement the strategy.
That is how the process is working," the source, who is privy to the
campaign strategy, said.

Mugabe’s command centre is headed by Elliot Manyika, ZANU PF’s political
commissar and himself a former CIO agent.

The sources said the CIO had taken a leading role in directing the campaign
in order to prevent the eruption into the open of simmering divisions within
ZANU PF on how Mugabe’s election campaign should be conducted.

Consequently, this strategy had forced most ruling party stalwarts to take a
back seat while others had been deliberately sidelined.

The contribution of those who are still active is in the background while
Mugabe is thrust to the fore.

The election campaign team works with ZANU PF’s provincial chairmen.

Senior ZANU PF officials such as Nathan Shamuyarira, Eddison Zvobgo, Didymus
Mutasa, Joseph Msika and Simon Muzenda and Thenjiwe Lesabe had been
relegated to the sidelines, the sources noted.

Most members of ZANU PF’s election command team, including Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo, have been directed to work in the background.

Key members of the command centre are Manyika himself, State Security
Minister Nicholas Goche and ZANU PF’s administration boss Emmerson
Mnangangwa, seen as Mugabe’s eventual successor.

The sources said the CIO’s counter-intelligence unit was actively involved
in the plot in which Tsvangirai, president of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), was filmed last December allegedly plotting to
assassinate Mugabe.

They said the plan was part of a grand strategy of assassinating Tsvangirai’
s character days before the election, which opinion surveys and most
analysts indicate will be won by the opposition leader if it is free and

Tsvangirai, who was earlier this week charged with high treason over the
case, denies what he says are trumped up charges.

The sources said Ari Ben-Menashe, whose Canadian firm Dickens and Madson
secretly filmed Tsvangirai during a meeting in Montreal, had for some time
been holding high level meetings with the CIO’s directors of
counter-intelligence and Goche over the rigged plot.

The plan culminated in the release three weeks ago of the video footage by
an Australian television station.

Ben-Menashe is a former Israeli intelligence agent who has disgraced himself
by fronting for several corrupt African administrations and staging a series
of dirty tricks on behalf of his paymasters.

At the time the video was made, he was already on Mugabe’s payroll.

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S African editors petition Pretoria over Zim election

Staff Reporter
2/28/02 2:13:16 AM (GMT +2)

SOUTH African editors yesterday sought assistance from their Department of
Foreign Affairs over the Zimbabwe government’s refusal to accredit all
international journalists who wish to cover Zimbabwe’s landmark presidential
election next weekend.
Henry Jeffreys, the convenor of the Media Freedom Committee of the South
African National Editors’ Forum, said editors had dispatched a letter to
their government yesterday seeking assistance in allowing all South African
media to cover the election.

He said despite Zimbabwe’s promises to Pretoria last week that applications
from South African journalists wishing to cover the poll would be
"favourably considered", the applications of several publications had been
turned down.

"We wrote to the government today and we are also in contact with the South
African observer mission asking them to lean on the Zimbabwean government,"
Jeffreys told the Financial Gazette by telephone from Johannesburg.

"I know that Media24, SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) and
have been accredited, but the Independent newspapers, the Sunday Times, the
Mail and Guardian and Radio 702 have been turned down.

"We are now interacting with the South African government and asking them to
engage their Zimbabwean counterparts."

His organisation was also concerned by the fact that international
broadcasters accredited to cover the election had to beam their reports
through the government-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which
left their programmes open to manipulation.

The Harare government has refused accreditation to at least 59 journalists
from Australia, Canada, Denmark, South Africa, the United States of America
and the United Kingdom.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Bill Graham on Tuesday said he would speak to
Zimbabwe’s High Commissioner to Canada about reports that Harare was
blocking all journalists from his country from covering the election.

Jeffreys added: "President (Robert) Mugabe made specific reference to free
access for journalists at the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community)
leaders’ meeting in Blantyre earlier this year. We think that he is going
back on his word to SADC.

"We feel strongly that all South African media wishing to cover the election
should be allowed to do so."

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Social Welfare faces collapse as officers flee to UK

Staff Reporter
2/28/02 2:13:56 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE’S social welfare system might soon be crippled following reports
that many government social workers have passed interviews this month to
join the British government, it has been established.
Sources in London this week said 21 Zimbabwean social workers were
interviewed in the British capital recently and immediately offered jobs by
the British authorities.

Many of them have since returned home to terminate their contracts with the
Zimbabwean government and make preparations to take their families to the
British Isles, a source told the Financial Gazette by telephone from London

Thousands of Zimbabwean doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers and other
professionals have fled the strife-torn southern African country to secure
jobs in Britain’s public and private sectors as well as in neighbouring
South Africa.

Many of those fleeing are highly qualified professionals whose lives have
been wrecked by the skewed policies of President Robert Mugabe, whose
continued tenure in office comes under the spotlight in a crunch
presidential ballot next weekend.

In fact, such is the exodus of professionals from Zimbabwe that one plane is
reported to have left Harare last month with more than 80 pharmacists on

Hundreds of other desperate Zimbabweans are however being turned back at
London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports every week after failing to satisfy
British authorities that they are genuine asylum seekers or that they would
be able to fend for themselves in Europe.

A senior official in the Zimbabwe department of social welfare, who
identified himself as Mukaro, said only the permanent secretary in his
ministry could comment on the issue of the social workers who had been
recruited by Britain.

Mukaro however said his boss would only respond to questions that are faxed
to him, which was not possible before going to print.

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Hunger stalks Zimbabwe ahead of key ballot

From Grace Mutandwa Arts Editor
2/28/02 2:17:18 AM (GMT +2)

ASPINDALE — Lines of worry written on their faces, they either sit or stand
patiently in a long winding queue.
Others looking hopeless and dejected mill around as riot police try to
maintain order and also keep both the human and vehicle traffic moving in an
orderly fashion.

Over the past few weeks, this had become the picture in the capital’s
Aspindale Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot, close to Harare’s high-density
suburb of Kambuzuma, as well as in other GMB depots throughout the country.

Zimbabweans are facing yet another drought and dwindling maize stocks. They
throng the depots hoping that they can buy just a bag or two of maize or

Although it was clear by early last year that the country would face a
severe shortage of the staple maize, the government waited until stocks ran
out before making frantic efforts to import maize.

Zimbabwe needs at least 150 000 tonnes of maize every month distributed as
5 000 tonnes of maize per day but the GMB’s current imports of less than 4
000 tonnes a day cannot meet demand.

The government recently announced that it had imported 200 000 tonnes of
maize but this has not been matched by the situation on the ground. If
anything, the search for maize-meal by Zimbabweans has become more desperate
each passing day.

"My family hasn’t had sadza (the maize porridge) for more than a week. I
have been camped out here at the GMB for three days now, spending the night
in the open all because I wanted to secure a bag or two of maize or
maize-meal," Harare’s Nathaniel Ruredzo says, as he gestures at his empty
push cart.

He says he had heard rumours that this would be the last day the GMB would
be selling maize to the public and he was just hoping that he would be
rewarded for his vigil.

The GMB announced that last Friday would be the last day of selling directly
to the public without explaining the reasons behind the decision.

"I have a wife and five children. How can I go back home and face them
empty-handed?" Ruredzo asked, speaking last week before the GMB’s decision
to stop selling maize directly to members of the public.

"The government can’t tell us that there is maize coming in every day when
the reality is that there is a major shortage. We are used to eating sadza
and, in any case, that’s the only food we can afford now because everything
else is beyond our means."

A few metres away from Aspindale, the husband and wife team of Shylet and
Never Moyo can bear to smile a little.

After two days of sleeping out in the open at the depot, they finally
managed to buy three bags of maize.

"We have an extended family that depends on us heavily so we had no choice
but to do all we could to get maize," Shylet said.

"We bought each bag at $875 and we will re-sell one bag at between $2 000 an
$3 000 so that we can raise money for relish and to have the other two bags

As the more than 2 000 people stand or sit in the scorching sun, others in
lorries or smaller vehicles form their own queue which seems to take forever
to move forward.

At the gates leading into the Aspindale depot, one could see a sizeable
number of vehicles and a crowd of people already inside.

A heavily built man sporting dark glasses and driving a beaten-up blue Mazda
2200 drives out slowly and scores of people lean forward to gaze longingly
at the several 20-kg bags of maize-meal stashed neatly at the back of his
uncovered truck.

The man, who refuses to be named, says: "I came here just before 6 am and
this is now well after 4 pm. I have also had to wait quite a while to get
maize meal.

"I have a huge family and relatives to feed so the 160-kgs I have are not
even enough, although it’s better than nothing because my family had gone
for almost two weeks without sadza."

Several consumers complained that GMB officials were only selling to their
friends and relatives, some of whom would later re-sell the maize-meal at a
hefty profit.

But maize-meal is not the only commodity in short supply in Zimbabwe as the
country prepares to vote next weekend in its most important presidential
election since independence from Britain 22 years ago.

Millions of Zimbabweans have had to go for weeks, if not months, without
sugar and cooking oil. Beef and chicken, apart from also being short, are
beyond the means of most consumers when available.

Consumers also complain that the quality of some of the products has gone

Following the introduction of price controls by the government last October
to try to buy votes ahead of the presidential election, several goods have
disappeared from the supermarket shelves.

Most manufacturers have cut down on production because price controls make
it impossible for them to remain in business, more so in a country with high
production costs fuelled by runaway inflation of 117 percent.

Almost every day shop shelves spot gaping spaces as more and more products
disappear and remain unreplaced.

Some scarce commodities such as maize-meal, sugar, cooking oil and popular
soaps are now being delivered just before shops close and are sold the
following day.

There are also fears that flour could soon be out of stock. Some brands of
fruit juices have been discontinued after the farm that produced the juices
was taken over by militant supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling
ZANU PF party.

An Avonlea low-density suburb domestic worker, Emilia Chiroodza, in a queue
at a Harare supermarket with more than 500 other consumers last week, said
she and many other residents now sent their children to play at the shops
just to monitor what had been delivered on any day.

"My nine-year-old son told me that sugar and maize-meal were delivered
yesterday evening, which is why I’m here today. Last week I was lucky to get
a 10-kg bag of maize-meal and two packets of sugar. I hope today I will get
more maize-meal because I have six children and a husband to feed,"
Chiroodza said.

The drought and the government’s often violent seizure of commercial farms
have triggered the food shortages, the worst in recent years.

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Farmers recover stolen cattle worth $10m

Staff Reporter
2/28/02 2:20:07 AM (GMT +2)

CATTLE worth $10 million belonging to white commercial farmers were on
Thursday last week recovered in the Beatrice area of Mashonaland East
province, the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) said.

CFU president Colin Cloete said farmers had however failed to recover about
100 breeding cattle valued at $2 million because the rustlers had already
slaughtered these.

Cloete would not be drawn to say who was responsible for the cattle rustling
but said officials from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had
arrested four people in connection with the thefts.

"We managed to recover a lot of stolen cattle in Beatrice with the help of
the CID officers," Cloete told the Financial Gazette.

"Five hundred cattle were recovered but around 100 had already been
slaughtered. The average price of one cattle is $20 000 so you can make the
total value out of that."

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the thefts but said he still
needed time to check on the identity of those behind the rustling.

Since February 2000, when violent government supporters began invading
private farms, farmers have lost cattle and property worth billions of
dollars through theft and vandalism. But no one has yet been jailed over the
rampant thefts.

The CFU said war veterans and ruling ZANU PF militants, who have invaded
farms in Beatrice and elsewhere across the country, were moving around the
Beatrice area demanding cattle from white farmers, which they said they
wanted to feed other farm occupiers carrying out campaigns for President
Robert Mugabe.

Cloete also said there were increasing reports of farmers and farm hands in
the Beatrice area being forced off their properties ahead of next weekend’s
presidential election.

"War veterans are chasing the labour and farmers from the farms and are
demanding gratuities for the workers," said Cloete. "The motive is to remove
them from the farms before the elections."

The war veterans had also appointed themselves labour representatives for
farm workers and were demanding higher gratuities from farmers on behalf of

It could not be established whether the farm hands end up benefiting from
the huge sums extorted from farmers in their name.

White farmers and their workers have long been accused by Mugabe and ZANU PF
party of siding with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and have
been on the receiving end of politically motivated attacks by government

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Amnesty slams Zim police

Staff Reporter
2/28/02 2:20:47 AM (GMT +2)

INTERNATIONAL human rights watchdog Amnesty International has warned that
the withdrawal of European Union (EU) election observers from Zimbabwe could
worsen state-sponsored human rights abuses and criticised the strong-arm
tactics used by the police and the ruling ZANU PF aimed at cowing the
opposition ahead of the March poll.

The London-based agency said human rights violations by ZANU PF are likely
to escalate in the coming week due to the absence of impartial international
poll observers.

The EU, which had one of the largest contingencies of international election
observers, abruptly pulled out its 30-strong team last week following the
expulsion of its Swedish head of the delegation Pierre Schori.

Amnesty warned that the lack of impartial international observers would
facilitate further suppression of individuals’ rights to freedom of

"The decision to withdraw EU observers will give the green light for further
serious human rights violations in Zimbabwe," the organisation said.

Citing a breakdown of the rule of law and partiality in the conduct by
police, Amnesty charged that professional policing had been undermined by
political instructions.

It cited the case where ZANU PF supporters were escorted by the police into
Harare’s central business district a week ago before storming into the
offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Riot police did not intervene during the incident that lasted for about 20

"This attack was apparently facilitated by the police misusing authority
granted to them by the newly promulgated Public Order and Security Act
(POSA)," Amnesty said.

POSA, passed by Parliament in January, gives sweeping powers to the police
to crack down on gatherings and other actions perceived to be threats to
public order and security.

Amnesty said it had been applied selectively by the Zimbabwean authorities
to suppress the opposition.

It said it had documented other violations of the right to public assembly
in the past month, which it believes were caused by the absence of
international observers.

These included the arrest on February 16 of 11 church leaders in Bulawayo
for organizing an "illegal" inter-denominational meeting and the
cancellation by police of a campaign rally on February 10 that was to be
addressed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Gokwe.

Organisers of both events were told by the police their meetings would not
go ahead because these would endanger public order and security.

The report by Amnesty coincided with other reports of intimidation of
opposition supporters by ZANU PF.

The MDC this week accused ZANU PF of running 144 terror camps across the
country as part of its campaign to cow the opposition ahead of the March
9-10 presidential poll in which Tsvangirai poses the toughest challenge to
President Robert Mugabe’s 22-year reign in the former Rhodesia.

According to the MDC, Mashonaland Central — one of the few provinces where
ZANU PF still has a grip — had the largest number of 40 torture camps and
was followed by the Matabeleland region with 29.

"These bases signify the ruthless continuation of organised violence,
abductions, tortures and, in some cases, outright elimination of opposition
supporters by ZANU PF," MDC information secretary Learnmore Jongwe said in a

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena however dismissed the MDC claims and
blamed both ZANU PF and the MDC for fuelling political violence.

"If there are any torture camps out there, it would help if they could
provide us with such information to enable us to carry out investigations,"
Bvudzijena told this newspaper.

He said about 520 cases of political violence were reported between February
1 and 25 this year, which resulted in the arrest of 410 ZANU PF and 250 MDC

In Marondera, our correspondent reports that ZANU PF has literally turned
the Mashonaland East provincial capital into a "one-party town", with any
dissenting voices facing the wrath of ruling party mobs.

"The situation here is very bad for us. ZANU PF intends to stop any
campaigning here," MDC provincial spokesman Didymus Munhenzva told the
Financial Gazette.

Transport operators in the town are being forced to display ZANU PF campaign
material, witnesses said. The practice has already spread to other cities
such as Harare.

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FinGaz - Comment

Signs of the end

2/28/02 2:30:28 AM (GMT +2)

A FEW months before Ethiopia’s military strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam was
toppled by rebels in 1991, he suddenly cut short a European tour to return
home, where he ordered a purge of his real and imagined foes.

Scores of top army officers and an unknown number of civilians, all accused
of plotting against him and of attempting to shoot down his plane as it took
off from Addis Ababa, were ordered executed by the firing squad.

The pogrom was only the latest in Mengistu’s blood-soaked reign of 17 years
in which he murdered virtually all of the army officers with whom he took
power in a 1974 coup which ousted Emperor Haile Selassie.

Many will especially recall the 1977-78 Red Terror in which thousands of
Mengistu’s foes were brutally murdered in one of modern history’s most
tragic eras.

Towards the end of his rule, Mengistu was so paranoid about his impending
ouster that his vast network of spies had infiltrated the entire fabric of
Ethiopian society, often checking on inane details such as who sleeps with
whom and for how long.

The movements of any visitor in Ethiopia, but particularly those of
journalists, were so closely monitored by the state security apparatus so
much so that the spies even knew the meal the visitor had had at any
particular time.

Despite all these "gallant" efforts and the veneer of invincibility,
Mengistu was to run like mad for dear life when the moment of reckoning —
when the rebels swarmed all over Addis Ababa — finally arrived. The rest is

As Zimbabwe faces its most testing moment, anxiously waiting to vote for a
new leader, there are striking similarities with Ethiopia at the end of
Mengistu’s odious dictatorship.

All the key institutions of the land, the latest being the agency in charge
of elections, have been heavily militarised so that President Robert Mugabe
is kept well abreast of any goings-on there and beyond.

The men and women in the President’s Office have never had to work so hard
so that nothing escapes their eyes and ears as paranoia descends on the
ruling guard.

Those rightly or wrongly perceived to be enemies of Mugabe — they are
usually branded enemies of Zimbabwe — have almost always a tragic story to

More so if they are hapless Zimbabweans in remote rural areas and on farms,
where "re-education" centres have been set up to purge the people’s minds
and hearts of all vestiges of Western cultural imperialism.

Mobs of self-styled war veterans, many of them too young to have fought in
Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war, roam the land with impunity committing a
string of dastardly crimes, many of which have inevitably gone unpunished.

In the past few months, these forces have been beefed up by thousands of
extra-legal militia as they launch the final solution, or officially the
Third Chimurenga.

With so much mud and dirt thrown at the opposition refusing to stick, we now
have charges of high treason being levelled against Morgan Tsvangirai,
Mugabe’s chief foe in the landmark ballot next weekend.

And yet the facts are there for all, even the blind. First, the Canadian
firm which purports to have unearthed the plot has always been employed by
the government, which clearly makes the point that this whole episode was a
sting operation.

Second, the company’s disgraced owner Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli
intelligence spy, clearly presented Tsvangirai with so-called options,
crucially the "elimination" of the President, which anyone can discern even
from the doctored video.

Tsvangirai merely asks the question in response: So what happens after the
elimination of Mugabe?

Thirdly, the fact that Mugabe himself admits he knew of the alleged plot in
early December last year — after being told so by Ben-Menashe — raises
serious questions why Tsvangirai was not arrested and quizzed, as he should,
at the time.

Predictably, this had to be left until the very last moment of the election
campaign so as to milk the alleged plot for all it is worth against the
opposition leader. The plan is to discredit him.

Zimbabweans must not despair. They must simply refuse to be intimidated by
any of these desperate acts, which clearly mark the end of the darkest
chapter in their history.

The nation’s future and their own destiny are entirely in their own hands
and no one else’s. They must use their secret vote to free themselves from
tyranny and madness, and their just reward will be palpable peace and
prosperity in the land.

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Email received from Zim...........

Yesterday I went in to Harare and saw  xxxxx. I was
shocked , when they told me that the reason their six-year old son was not
school, was because the militia are now going into the Harare schools and
beating up the children of activists. This is a child who has already
an attack on his home because his mother believes in justice and liberty for
It is absolutely despicable that these bullys are responsible for instilling
life -long terror into a child. He of course is not the only child in
to be associated with nightmares such as this. Thousands of children in
live in fear every day, as they and their parents are terrorised and
What has happened to the concience of the world?
There is a ZANU PF rally here today, at the school just opposite the
complex in which I live. I had intended leaving Harare this afternoon, but
decided the more responsible thing to do was to cut short my trip and return
this morning. On my return journey, I passed six lorry-loads of fist-shaking
shouting thugs--a frightening experience, but nothing compared with the
of a six-year old , who can't go to school lest he be thrashed with barbed
or worse.
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(All names have been changed...)

This is very absolutely disgusting, all concerned please be very careful and
alert at all times.

Hi there,
Well for the bad news, our friends Johnny & Kitty were out on Friday night,
went home at 11pm and found 3 armed "people" inside their home, after
beating up Johnny & Kitty , Johnny & the kids, Peter & Sallie were tied up
in one room, with the telephone wires. Kitty was raped by one of them, he
beat her, & told her if she didn`t stop fighting he would kill her, & still
do IT ! Then forced her to drive them to Epworth, with all the stolen TV`s,
Video, Cd`s & most of Johnny`s cloths etc....droped the rapist there with
the goods. Then made to drive the other 2 to Gov. hse & dropped them off,
when she drove away she realized they had left a pistol on the
seat............she was then stopped at a police roadblock, well miracles,
they were fantastic - the cops went back & arrested the 2, she had just
dropped off. One cop went home with her - she wasn`t sure if there had been
a 4th person, but Johnny & the kids were OK, she phoned us at
4am on Sat morning, they brought the kids to us, followed by a truck full of
cops. She then had to drive to show them where in Epworth she had dropped
the 1st BASTARD..... then on to the trauma centre, who didn`t have a rape
kit, then on to Avenues, who also didn`t have one....... eventually, after
she 1st prayed for him, the Dr. woke up & started helping them..... Geoff
went up to the hospital to be with them at 6 am.....they all only got home
11am. They will be staying with us for a while..... Kitty has so much
medication to take anti - HIV etc.etc. We have printed out a schedule, next
lot at
10pm then at 3.30 am.....etc.etc.Peter & Sallie are OK, it is so amazing how
God has worked in this, Sallie kept talking to Johnny while they were tied
up - he didn`t know where Kitty had gone to/ just heard the car drive
off..........he is OK, stiff & stressed out, but they have all slept well,
all Sat afternoon & night. Kitty was so brave, she is pretty goofed most of
the time, but is dealing with it.....knows she had no option, in order to
save her kids & husband - she keeps saying God can use this, and He is in
control - her faith is amazing, & I know they will all be OK. I spoke to
their GP to-day,she says these drugs are a 99.9% cure/ preventative, thank
God ! They will only know if the bastard had HIV if they catch him & test
him, it is better just to take all the preventive drugs - ( at $81 000-00 )
she is coming around here to-morrow, and is arranging a Counceller, to come
here aswell, & councillors from Highland Presby, are coming around to-morrow
afternoon. Alice & Jack have been fantastic, brought us stew for dinner last
night, & keep popping in so the kids can play, the 4 of them get on so has distracted the kids, they are a bit scared to look at Kitty,
she has 2 black eyes, and it is very swollen, this morning she couldn`t open
her eyes, but they are much better to-night. The kids are sleeping in our
room, Peter had his toncils out
3 weeks ago, and he has a bit of a cough..... hope it doesn`t get worse. THE
GOOD NEWS - they are alive, will mend - & we are all here to-gether. Mom has
been such a star, helping with meals & the kids - & Just being here for me.
Will write again - please keep us in all your prayers - only 3 weeks to the
elections, then we can all get back to living again, at least our police
force are reacting now - T & P are so full of praise for them........such a

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S.Africa slams EU on Zimbabwe sanctions

CAPE TOWN, Feb. 28 — South Africa slammed the European Union's handling of
an observer crisis ahead of Zimbabwe's election next week and declared EU
and U.S. sanctions against President Robert Mugabe ''meaningless'' on

       Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, the government's main spokesman
on Zimbabwe, told parliament the European Union had been wrong to send an
observer mission headed by a Swede after Mugabe had named Sweden amongst six
countries barred from observer status because of alleged bias.
       ''That was a wrong tactical decision,'' he said in a closing response
to a parliamentary debate on the Zimbabwe election.
       The EU banned Mugabe and his close aides from member countries and
the United States froze Mugabe's assets abroad in targeted sanctions
following the expulsion of the Swedish mission leader Pierre Schori and the
withdrawal of the EU team.
       ''To impose sanctions on the eve of the elections, knowing that they
are meaningless, means that somewhere a tactically wrong decision was taken
to influence the elections,'' Pahad said.
       ''That is gross interference in the affairs of another country,'' he
       South Africa has been criticised at home and abroad for doing too
little to ensure a free and fair election in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe is
seeking to extend his 22-year rule in an election marred by violence and
       But Pahad said that both sides were to blame for the chaos.
       Criticising media coverage of the campaign, he said: ''We must not
speak as if violence and intimidation are the monopoly of just one party --
it is happening across the board.''
       Earlier in the debate, the leader of South Africa's New National
Party, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, urged the government to plan for the
consequences of a failed election.
       ''South Africa needs contingency plans to deal with an unstable
situation where one of the parties to the election may decide not to accept
the outcome,'' he said.

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Yahoo News

Zimbabwe court opens door to foreign voters

By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government says it will abide by a court
ruling striking down an electoral law that critics say is aimed at ensuring
President Robert Mugabe's re-election next week.

Mugabe, whom Western leaders accuse of intimidating rivals before the March
9-10 presidential election, also told visiting officials from anxious
neighbour South Africa on Thursday that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
had not been charged with treason, contrary to what the challenger and
Zimbabwe police have said.

Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling effectively gave back the right to vote to
millions of Zimbabweans living abroad, an independent body said. But
Tsvangirai's party said Mugabe could still force the law through using his
presidential powers.

And, with voting just days away, the ruling may be too late.

The opposition accuses the president, who has led Zimbabwe since
independence from Britain 22 years ago, of orchestrating a campaign of
intimidation and employing new security and electoral laws to fend off the
stiffest challenge to his rule.

Citizens living abroad, many believed to favour Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), had been barred from voting under the electoral law
passed by parliament in January.

"On paper they now have the right to vote but it depends on the government
providing the machinery to do that," said Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman
of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a non-partisan body promoting fair

The government said on Thursday that it disagreed with the judges' ruling
but would abide by it.

"We will respect the court's ruling and we will attend to the necessary
administrative changes required," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in
remarks broadcast by state media.

But he added: "The well-established rule is that the courts cannot question
or scrutinise any proceedings of parliament."

MDC lawyer Bryant Elliot said the ruling would make little difference
because voter registration had already closed. Mugabe could also still
reintroduce the amendments on his own.


The deteriorating situation Zimbabwe has drawn condemnation from London and
is expected to dominate a summit in Australia this weekend of the former
British colonies in the Commonwealth.

Among those, southern Africa's strongest power, South Africa, is under
pressure to deal more firmly with its neighbour, where a collapsing economy
and severe food shortages threaten to destabilise the entire region.

Deputy President Jacob Zuma, leading the highest ranking In the
highest-level South African delegation to Harare since September, discussed
the troubled election with Mugabe and senior officials at meetings in the
capital on Wednesday night.

Sowing some confusion about the status of accusations against Tsvangirai,
Zuma said on Thursday that he had been assured that campaigning was
proceeding "normally" and that the opposition leader had not in fact been
charged with treason.

"The Zimbabweans assured the South Africans that leader of the opposition
Morgan Tsvangirai had not been charged with treason as reported in the media
and said police had only questioned him," Zuma said in a statement.

Yet Tsvangirai himself had told reporters after a summons to a police
station on Monday that he had been charged with treason following the
broadcast of a video purporting to show him discussing Mugabe's

And chief police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, who had said on Monday that
Tsvangirai had been summoned to face a treason charge, said on Thursday that
charges had indeed been brought.

"As far as I am aware, he has been charged," he said.

Two other MDC officials were charged this week with treason, which carries
the death penalty on conviction.

Tsvangirai launched a defamation suit on Thursday against an Australian
television station which aired the grainy video tape.

The European Union and United States have slapped sanctions on Mugabe and
his inner circle but the Commonwealth, which meets near Brisbane from
Saturday, is split on the issue and diplomats doubt concrete measures will
emerge until after the election.

Mugabe, 78, is not expected to attend the summit. ZANU-PF has scheduled
weekend rallies in Harare and in the south.

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Arrests plague Zimbabwe opposition

Mugabe accused of trying to repress rival party

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 28 — Zimbabwe police arrested 31 members of the
opposition party Thursday while they were training to be polling agents in
March elections, the party said.
         “FOUR TRUCKLOADS with an unspecified number of police officers
descended on the premises and started beating up people at random, while
others surrounded the building where about 500 MDC supporters were
undergoing polling agent training,” the Movement for Democratic Change said
in a statement.
       The party said 31 officials were arrested in the police raid. Police
were not immediately available to comment.
       Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who poses a serious challenge to
President Robert Mugabe in presidential elections set for March 9-10, has
accused the government of intimidating his supporters.

       Mugabe’s actions have drawn the ire of the United States, South
Africa and the European Union, all of which have threatened sanctions over
the long-serving leader’s unwillingness to allow elections to be monitored,
his actions against his political opponents and his long-standing policy of
seizing the land of white farmers without providing compensation.
       Mugabe has been defiant in the face of criticism. In an appearance
Wednesday in Mashonaland Central province, a traditional stronghold of his
ZANU-PF party, he said that Britain, the former colonial power, and other
Western countries were biased for saying the elections could not be free and
       “Shut your dirty mouths. You are not our judges, you are not our
keepers,” Mugabe said, according to state radio. He continued campaigning
Thursday, heading to northern strongholds by helicopter.

       Tsvangirai’s candidacy poses the strongest challenge to Mugabe’s rule
since he came to power with Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. Political
analysts and human rights activists have accused Mugabe of using violence,
intimidation and a raft of oppressive new laws to try to ensure his
       Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court struck down some of those rules Wednesday,
finding that amendments to the election act were illegal, said Adrian de
Bourbon, the lawyer for the MDC, which challenged the laws.
       The amendments gave state election officers sweeping powers and
restricted vote monitoring, identity requirements for voters, campaigning
and voter education.

       On Wednesday, a judge in the High Court, the country’s second-highest
court, delayed the implementation of new citizenship rules that had
disqualified tens of thousands of voters.
       The law stripped the citizenship of longtime laborers from
neighboring countries and any of the country’s minority whites who hold dual
citizenship with Great Britain. Opposition activists had complained the law
disenfranchised some of their supporters.

       Mugabe’s popularity has plunged in recent years as Zimbabwe’s economy
has collapsed. The country, once a food exporter, has been forced to import
food to make up for shortfalls caused partially by government’s haphazard
seizure of white-owned commercial farms.
       The government has bought 200,000 tons of corn from South Africa, but
nine days from the election only a fraction has been delivered. “No one will
die of hunger,” Mugabe told supporters Wednesday.

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Zimbabwe police raid opposition office, nine hurt

HARARE, Feb. 28 — At least nine members of Zimbabwe's main opposition party
were injured on Thursday during a police raid in which 38 people were
arrested after a clash with supporters of President Robert Mugabe.
       Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said police had followed a group of
opposition supporters to a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) office in
Harare after they had clashed with Mugabe supporters, leaving one seriously
       ''The MDC supporters were trailed by police to their offices and
arrested,'' Bvudzijena told Reuters.
       The MDC said it was conducting election training for 500 members at
its Harare provincial office when the police raided the building, arresting
31 people.
       ''Members of the MDC provincial leadership immediately locked
everyone inside the building to protect them, but the police forcibly opened
the doors and made the arrests,'' the MDC said in a statement.
       The MDC said police beat its supporters at random and nine suffered
       A wave of political violence has gripped Zimbabwe in the countdown to
presidential elections on March 9-10.
       MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who poses the first serious challenge
to President Robert Mugabe in 22 years of power, has accused the government
of waging a campaign of intimidation to win the elections.
       Mugabe's government has denied the opposition charges and accused the
MDC of fuelling violence.

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Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 17:10 GMT
Mugabe rival sues over video
Morgan Tsvangirai on the campaign trail in Chitungwiza, south of Harare
Morgan Tsvangirai denies plotting to kill the president
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has started legal action against an Australian television station after it broadcast allegations that he plotted to kill President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai strongly denies the allegations.

It comes as police detain 30 of his supporters in a raid in the capital, Harare.

A spokesman said nine people were hurt in the raid, which broke up a meeting of hundreds of the party's election agents preparing for presidential elections in just over a week's time.

Mr Tsvangirai is being investigated over allegations of treason arising from the film.

But a South African government delegation, visiting Zimbabwe, said it has been told that Mr Tsvangirai has not yet been charged with any offence.

We are a lawful and loyal opposition in Zimbabwe

Tendai Biti
The state-owned media in Zimbabwe seized on the footage and broadcast it repeatedly.

Mr Tsvangirai poses the greatest challenge to Mr Mugabe's 22-year rule.

"Lawful opposition"

Click here for latest regional reports

A spokesman for Mr Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, said the allegations in the film were false, and that the SBS television station had been "duped" by Mr Mugabe's supporters.

Ari Ben-Menashe
An ex-Israeli intelligence agent was involved in making the recordings
He said the Movement for Democratic Change was pursuing legal action "to vindicate our name and to vindicate the truth".

"We are a lawful and loyal opposition in Zimbabwe, and there is absolutely no way that ourselves as a party or our leadership would ever contemplate... these sort of heinous allegations that have been made in those tapes," the spokesman said.

Two weeks ago, SBS broadcast video footage of a secretly filmed meeting which allegedly shows Mr Tsvangirai discussing "eliminating" Mr Mugabe.

It said it would stand by its story and defend the defamation action filed in the New South Wales state Supreme Court on Thursday.

Intimidation and violence

The allegations and subsequent police action were condemned by the United States, Britain and human rights groups as a ploy to influence 9-10 March election and cement Mr Mugabe's rule.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe, who is 78, has been in power since 1980

Mr Tsvangirai was reported to have been charged with treason, which carries the death penalty, on Monday. However he was released from police custody.

He was also reportedly detained briefly in Harare on Wednesday after a meeting with party officials.

The same day Zimbabwe's Supreme Court declared illegal a controversial law which disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans living abroad.

Mr Mugabe has been accused of using intimidation and violence to secure his re-election.

However, speaking ahead of this weekend's Commonwealth meeting Nigerian President Olusegun Obansanjo said the organisation should only impose sanctions on Zimbabwe if it is proved that President Mugabe has broken its rules.

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Blair a lonely voice in Commonwealth on Zimbabwe

LONDON, Feb. 28 — British Prime Minister Tony Blair headed for Australia on
Thursday for a Commonwealth summit, a lonely voice in the 54-nation
organisation calling for immediate sanctions on Zimbabwe.
        Blair has accused President Robert Mugabe of behaving like a
dictator in intimidating opponents and the media ahead of next month's
presidential elections where he faces his toughest challenge since coming to
power 22 years ago.
       Blair told parliament this week that Britain would push for
Commonwealth action against Zimbabwe, despite failing to win support for its
former colony's suspension from the organisation four weeks ago.
       Even suspension would be a largely symbolic step by the Commonwealth,
which has few serious levers of influence on its members other than
diplomatic pressure.
       Blair repeated his call in an interview with Australian television on
the eve of his departure, though he conceded there was little appetite among
Commonwealth members for immediate steps against Mugabe just before the
March 9-10 elections.
       Commonwealth members -- mainly former British colonies -- range from
wealthy nations such as Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, to
populous India, as well as tiny Pacific republics like Nauru and Tuvalu. 50
of the 54 member countries are developing nations.
       ''Some Commonwealth members feel -- it is not my view -- but some of
them feel this isn't the right moment for sanctions,'' Blair told the
Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
       ''...There doesn't appear to be agreement for that, but it is at
least important that the Commonwealth delivers a very strong statement of
its support for the democratic process.''
       Blair's spokesman said Britain hoped the heads of government meeting
in Australia would ''at least send a strong signal'' that the Commonwealth
would be watching the elections very carefully.

       The organisation has sent more than 40 observers to the southern
African state. The European Union pulled out its observers after Zimbabwe
refused to accredit its team head. It imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe
and his inner circle.
       Blair insisted that although the Commonwealth was divided in its
approach to tackling Mugabe, it was still determined to see democracy
prevail at next month's vote.
       ''I wouldn't underestimate the strength of feeling amongst all
Commonwealth countries that the elections in Zimbabwe do indeed have to be
free and fair, or their determination -- should for example the opposition
win the election in Zimbabwe -- to ensure that the democratic will is
       Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980,
faces a stiff challenge from opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
       Tsvangirai was charged with treason on Monday over an alleged plot to
assassinate Mugabe -- a charge Britain said was further evidence that Mugabe
was trying to rig the election.
       However, South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma said in a
statement on Thursday, after an overnight visit to Zimbabwe, that he had
been assured that Tsvangirai had not been charged with treason.
       The statement contradicted Tsvangirai and Zimbabwean police who said
he was charged with the capital offence following the broadcast of a video
purporting to show him discussing Mugabe's assassination.
       Blair said that, if Tsvangirai were arrested and prevented from
participating in the election, the Commonwealth would respond.
       ''I have no doubt at all that whatever disagreement there may be in
the Commonwealth about sanctions now in respect of Zimbabwe, if anything as
outrageous as that happened then the Commonwealth will pull together,'' he
       The Commonwealth leaders' biennial meeting is to take place from
March 2-5 at Coolum, 100 km (60 miles) north of Brisbane.

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Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 13:06 GMT
Nigeria urges caution on Zimbabwe sanctions
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo
President Obasanjo is a key player in the Zimbabwe debate
test hello test

By Barnaby Mason
BBC diplomatic correspondent

The Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said the Commonwealth should impose sanctions on Zimbabwe only if it is proved that President Robert Mugabe has broken the rules of the club.

The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
Britain failed to persuade the Commonwealth to suspend Zimbabwe in January
President Obasanjo said that the Commonwealth was a family that had laid down certain rules and, if anyone broke the rules, he would be sanctioned. But he said the matter had to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

He was speaking in the Australian capital, Canberra, after talks with the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, ahead of a meeting of Commonwealth leaders.

Mr Mugabe is accused of using intimidation and violence to secure his re-election as president in polls to be held in just over a week.


The question of what the Commonwealth should do about Zimbabwe will be the main focus of attention at the summit but agreement on its immediate suspension from the organisation is unlikely.

President Obasanjo is a key figure in the argument.

The clear implication is that the Commonwealth should wait until after the Zimbabwean presidential election and act on the basis of the report of its own observer mission.

The mission is led, as it happens, by a Nigerian.

There is a disagreement on tactics between the Africans, among others, and some of the old, predominantly white Commonwealth countries, especially Britain and Australia.

The host of the meeting, John Howard, now says the issue should be left to the summit but his government has talked of imposing sanctions anyway if the Zimbabwe opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is prevented from contesting the election.

The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, described the bringing of treason charges against Mr Tsvangirai as an outrage and said Mr Mugabe was acting in an undemocratic and dictatorial way.

But Britain failed in January to persuade a Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to suspend Zimbabwe and the outcome looks like being the same when the group discusses the issue again later today.

The summit is likely to give the ministers the power to act quickly if necessary after the election

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Zuma, Mugabe in 11th-Hour Talks

Business Day (Johannesburg)

February 28, 2002
Posted to the web February 28, 2002

Vuyo Mvoko

DEPUTY President Jacob Zuma was scheduled to leave for Zimbabwe last night
for last minute talks with president Robert Mugabe and vicepresident Simon

Yesterday, Zuma's office declined to divulge any information on the
meeting's agenda, except to say it would be "a continuation of ongoing
consultations" between the two governments.

For an excerpt from the Africa 2002 guidebook, click here.
(Adode Acrobat).

To buy the book, click here.

Zuma was to be accompanied by Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana and his
Agriculture and Land Affairs counterpart Thoko Didiza.

Meanwhile, United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa was also
expected to leave for Zimbabwe last night on a "fact-finding but not
observer" mission. He said he would meet with "high-profile officials" of
the ruling Zanu-PF, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and
leaders of civil society organisations.

He was to be accompanied by UDM national chairman Kingsley Masemola,
secretary-general Malizole Diko and party foreign affairs spokesman Welsh

"The UDM is committed to the promotion of a peaceful and prosperous
post-election Zimbabwe.

"Zimbabwe has been the basket of Africa with a thriving economy and the UDM
would like to see her economy restored to its full productive capacity,"
Holomisa said.

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This item is from the ZanuPF mouthpiece

Leave Harare Alone, West Told

The Herald (Harare)

February 28, 2002
Posted to the web February 28, 2002

Innocent Gore and Itayi Musengeyi

WESTERN powers, particularly Britain and the European Union, should "shut
their dirty mouths" and let Zimbabweans choose a leader of their choice next
week, President Mugabe said yesterday.

He criticised the West for pre-judging the poll and declaring that it would
not be free and fair. Those countries and their puppets in the MDC had
realised that the opposition would not win the election, he said.

For an excerpt from the Africa 2002 guidebook, click here.
(Adode Acrobat).

To buy the book, click here.

"Shut your dirty mouths. We do not want to hear that (that elections would
not be free and fair) from you. You are not our judges. You are not our
keepers. Leave us alone.

"It is only our people who will vote and choose a leader of their choice on
March 9 and 10. And we know they want Zanu-PF and will vote for us," Cde
Mugabe said to applause from the more than 20 000 people who gathered at
Bopoma Secondary School in Rushinga in the Zanu-PF stronghold of Mashonaland

He said Zanu-PF had never been afraid of squaring up with the MDC in the
elections, having thrashed the opposition party's white masters during the
liberation war and in 1980 elections.

"We defeated their white masters in the 1980 elections despite the fact that
bombs were thrown at us from all angles. And people still came in their
thousands to vote and we won."

The President said he was aware that the grudge between him and the West
stemmed from his desire to see an equitable redistribution of the land.

"Torai vana venyu munovayamwisa kunyika dzenyu. Ino inyika yedu. Tine vana
vedu vatinodawo kuyamwisa. (Take your kith and kin and look after them in
your country. This is our country and we have got our own children to look

"Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans and England for the English. We will never go
to Britain to take their farms."

He laughed off the imposition of the smart sanctions on him and members of
his Cabinet.

"I have never set a day to say I want to visit Britain. It's either I was
invited to attend meetings or I was just passing through. Zimbabwe is such a
beautiful country, more beautiful than the dreadful and ugly Britain," he

Zimbabwe was blessed with natural wonders such as the Victoria Falls and the
Matopo Hills. Even British imperialist Cecil Rhodes had chosen to be buried
in Zimbabwe instead of his home country.

"If it was during our time, we would not have allowed that to happen.
Sometimes I think of exhuming his bones and send them to (British Prime
Minister) Mr Blair. But we have not reached that stage yet," Cde Mugabe

Cde Mugabe once again urged Zanu-PF supporters to be peaceful in their
campaign and refrain from violence. But he said they should be on the
lookout for MDC trouble-causers.

Having realised that their party would not win the election, he said, MDC
youths were going about provoking Zanu-PF supporters and would do anything
to ensure that ruling party supporters would not cast their votes.

Cde Mugabe said Mashonaland Central was 100 percent Zanu-PF and that the
liberation war had first broken out in Rushinga in the 1970s before
spreading to other areas.

After all the gains of independence, such as peace, the building of schools,
clinics, roads and other infrastructure, brought about by Zanu-PF
Government, people should not be misled into voting for the MDC, he said.

He noted that the Rushinga area still needed Advanced Level schools, better
roads and dams for irrigation.

He has addressed thousands of people in the other seven provinces throughout
the country, plus two urban areas - Epworth and Dzivaresekwa - and had seen
that people now realised that they had been cheated into voting for the MDC.

Cde Mugabe reiterated that no-one would die of hunger as every effort was
being made to bring in more maize from South Africa.

He said the Government would continue to improve the status of chiefs and
headmen and would provide them with modern facilities for their homes and
their courts.

The First Lady, Cde Grace Mugabe donated $250 000 to Nyabawa Primary School
and six sewing machines for women's projects, while the chiefs donated a ram
and a goat to President Mugabe.

Addressing another rally at Kamutsenzere in Mavuradona Cde Mugabe said the
MDC had embarked on a terror to discredit the election because it had no
chance of winning.

"The MDC is a murderous party. They are murderers right from Tsvangirai to
the lowest member in the party," Cde Mugabe said.

He cited the Chivhu incident in which a bussinessman who is a Zanu-PF
supporter was killed after suspected MDC members attacked a Zanu-PF base.

The president said the MDC had fooled itself by believing that it had the
support of all urban people. He said the two rallies he addressed in
Dzivarasekwa and Epworth had proved that Zanu-PF still had huge support in
the urban areas.

"We launched our urban campaign yesterday (Tuesday). They had been saying we
are afraid of campaigning in the urban areas but the good attendence at the
rallies showed that we still have support in the urban areas," Cde Mugabe

He urged the people in the Mavuradona area to vote for Zanu-PF in their
thousands and bury the MDC.

People, he said, should keep in mind the fact that the liberation war
started in Mashonaland Central and should therefore defend the gains of

Cde Mugabe reiterated that the Government would continue acquiring the land
and give it to the people. He also said the Government would consolidate the
progress in education by establishing more universities and vocational
training centres.

Cde Mugabe warned people against the dangers posed by AIDS saying the
pandemic was killing a lot of people.

The first lady Cde Grace Mugabe, gave $500 000 to Muzarabani Rural District
Council for the construction of housing on high ground since the area
normally experiences floods which destroy houses.

Last year she also gave the council $500 000 for the same purpose. The first
lady gave another $250 000 to Magurenje School to buy roofing material.

She also gave women in the area six sewing machines while Cde Mugabe gave
$200 000 to Mt Darwin Dairy project.

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Mugabe Took Our Stadiums, Says MDC

Business Day (Johannesburg)

February 28, 2002
Posted to the web February 28, 2002

Dumisani Muleya

Opposition leader Tsvangirai claims Zimbabwean president is engaged in dirty
tricks in last week of electoral campaigning

AS PRESIDENTIAL election tension rises in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe
and opponent Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) are locked in a fierce dispute about venues for this coming
weekend's "star" rallies.

Tsvangirai yesterday told international election observers and journalists
that a serious fight had broken out between Mugabe and himself on the use of
White City stadium in Bulawayo and the Show Grounds in Harare.

The MDC Bulawayo rally was supposed to be on Saturday and the Harare one on

Tsvangirai's close lieutenants, party secretary-general Welshman Ncube and
agriculture secretary Renson Gasela were charged yesterday with treason for
an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe. They were all released. Tsvangirai
was charged on Monday with a similar crime under a section of public order
and security legislation.

On venues, Tsvangirai said the police wrote to the MDC, informing them about
the cancellation of his rallies because Mugabe had seized the venues.
"Mugabe has taken over the venues that we had booked for our weekend
rallies. This is a deliberate attempt to disrupt our programme because this
coming weekend is the last before the election," Tsvangirai said.

"We were shocked about the letter from the police because they had earlier
cleared us to hold those rallies. It's clear that police are acting on
Mugabe's orders."

A police clearance and an advance notice is required before rallies are held
in terms of the recently passed Public Order and Security Act, which is
being used to harass and arrest dissenters on a large scale.

However, Tsvangirai said his party's lawyers were filing an urgent
application in the courts, challenging Mugabe's arbitrary directive.

The MDC recently won a court interdict to use White City stadium after the
ruling Zanu (PF) prevented them from holding a rally at the venue. Zanu (PF)
militias had slept at the stadium to ensure that the opposition had no
access to the venue. There violent clashes the following morning.

The MDC whose rallies have been disrupted on numerous occasions yesterday
released a long list of "militia bases" scattered all over the country.

The militias are said to have established structures of violence and are now
unleashing a wave of terror on the voters perceived as opposition supporters
as well as disrupting rallies.

Meanwhile, the chief election observer from Namibia, a strong ally of
Mugabe, said on Tuesday that political violence ahead of Zimbabwe's hotly
contested presidential election was "exaggerated".

"It is our considered view that the prevalence of violence is exaggerated,"
Kaire Mbuende told a news conference, adding that nonetheless "there is
violence associated with the electioneering process coming from both sides
of the political divide".

Rights groups and the opposition the MDC have reported a surge in political
violence that has left at least 26 people dead so far this year.

The MDC says more than 90 of its supporters have been killed in politically
motivated attacks since the party shot to prominence two years ago.

But Mbuende said voter education had made "the majority of people in
Zimbabwe beyond intimidation". He also deplored sanctions imposed by the
European Union and the US against Mugabe and his inner circle. With Sapa-AFP

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11 Ghost' NGOs in Elections Observer Team

Daily Times (Blantyre)

February 28, 2002
Posted to the web February 28, 2002

Mabvuto Banda

THE Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe, which is supposed to fund a
35-member team to monitor elections in Zimbabwe, has asked the head of the
delegation to review the composition of the group before it releases funds.

Diplomatic sources said yesterday this follows the discovery by the embassy
that 11 NGOs listed on the delegation do not exist and the Norwegians found
it difficult to sponsor such a team.

For an excerpt from the Africa 2002 guidebook, click here.
(Adode Acrobat).

To buy the book, click here.

'Our findings corraborated what other concerned NGOs, like the Human Rights
Network, discovered and presented to us,' said the source.

The Human Rights Network, a 30-member network of NGOs in the country,
yesterday confirmed in a statement the registrar's office failed to locate
11 of the NGOs on its registers.

'We have checked with the Registrar General's office and discovered that
about 11 NGOs do not exist,' Rogers Newa, chairman for the network, said a

Newa listed the Human Rights Network, Movement for Political and Civil
Rights, Human Rights Democratisation Advocacy, Association for Social
Reform, Africa Media Malawi Chapter, Association Against Domestic Violence,
Centre for Land and Environment, Promotion for Human Rights Organisation,
Women Interest Groups and Council for Socio-Economic Development of Women
and Youth, as ghost NGOs.

But leader of delegation designate Mary Nyadovi-Kerr maintained the NGOs
exist and dismissed comments from civil society that she created the ghost
NGOs. She insisted the trip is on this week.

Kerr, who is also Special Assistant to the President for NGOs, told MBC that
she has invited credible NGOs like PAC, Christain Service Committee and the
Centre for Land and Environment.

The delegation, which was scheduled to leave last week for Harare, is still
stranded following the Norwegian decision and has since trimmed the
delegation to 20 awaiting government funds.

A member on the delegation who asked for anonymity said they have been told
that they will leave Thursday (today) by road after Ministry of Foreign
Affairs releases the funds.

Newa disassociated the network from the delegation saying that Malawi needed
to send a strong group because it regards the Zimbabwe elections as very
crucial for the region.

Misa Malawi Chapter chair Lance Ngulube, whose organisation was listed on
the delegation but presented by people it is not ware of, said that using
Misa was deceitful.

'As a reputable media freedom advocacy body in the region that has expressed
disgust at latest developments in Zimbabwe regarding state of the media, we
find it unpalatable that our name is mentioned as one of the NGOs sending
members to observe elections and yet we were not consulted,' Ngulube said.

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Blair urges support for MDC

London - The international community must be ready to support Zimbabwe's
opposition if it wins next month's presidential election, British Prime
Minister Tony Blair urged on Wednesday.

He told parliament that what was happening in Zimbabwe - repressive state
laws, violence, a crackdown on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and the harassment of its leaders - was "an outrage".

"The actions of (President) Robert Mugabe are completely undemocratic and
wrong and dictatorial."

Zimbabwe goes to the polls on March 9-10, with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
posing the most serious threat yet to Mugabe's 22-year grip on power.

"What we should concentrate on now ... is to make sure that if the result
does go against Mr Mugabe - and we cannot be sure because of some of the
appalling things that have been happening - we must be in a position to make
sure the proper democratically elected government of Zimbabwe is supported,"
Blair said.

He said talks to that effect were already going on within the European Union
and the Commonwealth.

Earlier this month the European Union imposed sanctions against Mugabe and
his senior colleagues and the United States followed suit.

Britain has stepped up its criticism of Zimbabwe in recent months, and Blair
confirmed he would be pushing for its suspension from the Commonwealth at
the 54-nation body's summit in Australia starting Saturday. - Sapa-AFP

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