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

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From The Star (SA), 8 May, 2004

Gun-running that Zim wants to keep secret?

By Brendan Seery

Putting 70 alleged mercenaries on trial in Zimbabwe could have been
potentially embarrassing for the government. It would have revealed that a
Zimbabwean parastatal company has been deeply involved in gun-running across
Africa. The alleged mercenaries, arrested in March, are to be extradited to
Equatorial Guinea to stand trial for plotting the overthrow of the
government there. The Harare authorities announced the extradition last
week, not long after receiving legal documents from lawyers representing the
arrested men outlining their defence to various minor charges laid against
them in Zimbabwe. A court case would have revealed that the parastatal
Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) has been working for the past few years
with a number of white South Africans in joint ventures to ship arms around
the continent. The South African arms brokers, operating with offshore
companies, registered in places like the Bahamas, were able to guarantee
delivery of weapons "within 24 hours of payment being received, to anywhere
in Africa," according to a source in Pretoria. Once payment had been
received, an aircraft would be dispatched from South Africa to Harare. It
would load the weapons from military facilities at Harare airport and would
then fly on to its final African destination, said the source.

The source is a friend of businessman Nick du Toit, the man arrested in
March as the alleged mastermind behind the Equatorial Guinea coup plot.
Among his many business interests, Du Toit and a partner ran an arms broking
business which relied upon ZDI's ability to fill orders quickly. The rapid
response of this arms channel saw Du Toit and his partner doing "very well
indeed" out of the weapons business, said the source. "But he was just a
broker - there was no way he would have got involved in a coup. He had too
many business interests in EG and he would have risked too much." Du Toit
was arrested in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, 24 hours after the Harare
authorities seized a Boeing 727 aircraft and its 70 passengers and flight
crew on March 8. According to the Zimbabweans, the men were trying to
collect a shipment of weapons in Harare and use them to overthrow the
government in Equatorial Guinea. Those arrested have denied the allegations,
claiming they were collecting the weapons for an operation to protect a mine
in the lawless eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Pretoria source produced the invoice from ZDI to Nick du Toit's
Bahamas-registered company, Military Technical Services, from February this
year. The invoice confirmed the purchase of weapons with a total value of
$1-million (R6,86-million). The invoice was signed by Group Captain GH
Mutize, the marketing manager of ZDI. The organisation's directors are a
veritable Who's Who of the Zimbabwean military: General Vitalis Zvinavashe
(former chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Force, now retired),
Lieutenant-General CG Chiwenga (his successor) and Air Marshal Perence Shiri
(chief of the air force of Zimbabwe and one-time commander of the notorious
North-Korean-trained Fifth Brigade). The weapons supplied to Nick Du Toit's
customers could have come from three sources: The Zimbabwe National Army
armouries; from weaponry captured by Zimbabwean troops in their involvement
in the DRC or could be have been bought new. Whatever the origin of the
weapons, the revelation of the ZDI weapons deals will certainly raise
eyebrows among African Union states, as well as further afield in countries
concerned at arms proliferation.
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From The Sunday Mirror, 9 May, 2004

President summons minister Mangwana Kadoma terror campaign allegations emerge

Mirror Reporter

Paul Mangwana, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and
Zanu PF's member of parliament for Kadoma East was on Friday summoned by
President Robert Mugabe following allegations that he had formed a terror
team in his constituency, the Sunday Mirror has been told. The Daily Mirror,
our sister paper, wrote a story in which the Kadoma District Coordinating
Committee (DCC) and the Zanu PF member of parliament for Kadoma Central,
Ishmael Mutema alleged that Mangwana set up the militia dubbed the 'Task
Force' that targeted his perceived opponents ahead of the 2005 parliamentary
elections. A source said Mangwana, immediately after being summoned for the
hearing that was set for yesterday, telephoned some people in the
constituency whom he regarded as his allies to inform them of the
development. Understandably, President Mugabe had also been furnished with
the complaints over the alleged terror campaign, and was reportedly incensed
by the divisive potential of such an act. Sources say he was mostly
disturbed by the fact that the complaints were coming from war veterans, a
crucial component in Zanu PF election campaigns. It could not be
established, however, whether the meeting took place or not and Mangwana
could not be reached for his response following the revelation. Efforts to
get an official comment from government were also fruitless.

Observers say the unravelling developments regarding Mangwana's position in
Mashonaland West, where he is the deputy legal affairs secretary, are deeply
mired in ethnic biases. Mangwana, who became member of parliament for Kadoma
East in the 2000 general elections, is ostensibly resented in the
constituency because he is an 'outsider'. Mashonaland West is fundamentally
home of the Zezuru, a Shona sub-ethnic group, while Mangwana is originally
from Masvingo, a province dominated by the Karanga, another Shona sub-ethnic
establishment. He was a practising lawyer in urban Kadoma, where he managed
to weave political recognition for himself, culminating in him running in
rural Kadoma East. Said one member of the Kadoma DCC recently: "How could
the party (Zanu PF) take someone from as far as Kadoma town and impose him
in a constituency which he hardly knows anything about? "Does that mean we
have run short of our own sons and daughters, people who participated in the
armed struggle here and know all our sacred places?" This demonstrated
resentment of Mangwana by the people of Kadoma East, who are well-known for
their suspicion of outsiders, has also spilled into the larger domain, the
province, where his fortunes seem to be on the dim.

Mangwana tried to run for several top provincial provisions but lost
dismally, before being 'handed down' his current humble position as a token
of respect by the party's leadership in the province. The ethnic dimension,
sources say, was also demonstrated in 2000 when Mangwana was announced as a
full minister during a reshuffle made by President Mugabe. He was however
dropped hardly 24 hours after the announcement, and relegated to the
position of deputy minister. The government said the announcement had been
made on the basis of a typographical error, but sources say he was dropped
following intense lobbying by Zanu PF Politburo members from Mashonaland
West. Their argument, it was reported, was that President Mugabe should not
consider him as part of the cabinet allocation for the province since he did
not come from there. The late first Vice President, Simon Muzenda, who also
came from Masvingo, had reportedly recommended him for the position.

Kadoma central MP and Zanu PF Kadoma DCC member, Ishmael Mutema, in an
undated intra-party correspondence marked "Top Secret" and copied to two
Zanu PF politburo members from the province, Enos Chikowore and Nathan
Shamuyarira, said he had been informed that Mangwana had formed a militia
dubbed "Task Force" which went about harassing his perceived opponents. He
further charged that the "Task Force" was formed to harass other members of
the party who are aspiring to contest in March 2005 general elections,
adding that a vehicle had specifically been allocated to the team to carry
out the alleged terror campaign. Mutema mentioned as Mangwana's commanders
several people, identified as Madzikanda, Gonya, Chingwa and Wushe, adding
that torture rooms had been set up in Kadoma East to beat up Mangwana's
perceived enemies. Mangwana refused to comment on the allegations that were
made by the Kadoma DCC, which he reportedly wanted out.
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Comment from The Sunday Times (SA), 9 May, 2004

The Zimbabwe Bird now flies as a symbol of betrayed promise

As Robert Mugabe imposes increasing hardship on his people, Chenjerai Hove
laments the loss of hope that has come about in just 24 years

April 18 1980, midnight, the Prince of Wales has the British flag lowered so
he can take it to his motherland. A new flag is hoisted. The Zimbabwe Bird
flies again in a land where it has long not been allowed to and we feel the
ancestors singing and dancing with us as we recompose the songs of our

Zimbabwe, nyika yamadzibaba
Zimbabwe, nyika yeZimbabwe
(Zimbabwe, the land of our fathers
Zimbabwe, the land of Zimbabwe)

We sing and feel like dancing our clothes to tatters, in celebration, in
joy. A celebration for the arrival of our new dignity. The colonists and the
rebel whites had trodden where even our angels feared to tread but now
self-respect is back in our hands, never to be taken away by anyone. We
could sweep our own house with our own broom and we could write our own
history, even in our own blood. What a celebration, in all those colours
which tell us that black and white are now merged in their dreams of the
land, in our gold and our trees, in our minerals, our joys and sorrows, our
smiles and our tears. Prime Minister Robert Mugabe makes the speech
launching our flag - and the dreams which go with it. The flag flaps in the
wind, like a long-lost child - the prodigal son of African politics has been
born. We all smile with an innermost feeling hidden in our hearts for
decades. Twenty four years later, the flag drips with tears. Only 24 years.
What happened to make us cry so soon? Others cry after 50 years, 100 years,
200. What made us cry so soon?

The 1979 Lancaster House constitution was bad for the people. It gave
Zimbabweans a flag without the economic power to enjoy freedom. Mugabe
forgot, in the glare of power, to have that document translated into local
languages for local and national debate. He forgot to inform the people how
bad the compromise document was. The constitution did say a few things about
the land. There was recognition that the war of liberation was not about
installing a black person in State House. It was about getting the land back
to its rightful owners. But on the day flags were exchanged, there was no
mention of the land. The soil sank under the weight of political and
diplomatic niceties. Those who fought for our country were always called
vana vevhu, children of the soil. After the exchange of flags, they were
forgotten and buried. It became a social and political aberration to be
associated with those who had fought the war. They became the class of the
uncouth, the undisciplined who had no education and could not speak enough
English to be compared with the eloquent Mugabe.

It was only 17 years later that the so-called ex-combatants forced
themselves onto the political stage, "so-called ex-combatants" because most
of them are so young that they could have fought the war only from their
mothers' bellies. They were compensated mercenary-style without it having
been planned for in the national budget, leading to the printing of vast
amounts of paper money and the collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar. Another
betrayal and useless efforts to rectify a problem which had been in the
political intensive care for too long. Now the people are shocked how Mugabe
forces youths into his personal militia, which rape mothers in front of
their children. The same youths are given guns to shoot at whoever they
think is a political opponent of Mugabe. Sadly, they wield the same flag
that gave us our dignity and self-respect, imposing a heavy silence on a
people who should be able to shout if their rights are trampled on.

Zimbabwe is now a country virtually run by the secret service, the dreaded
Central Intelligence Organisation. They are the ears and eyes of the
president and are quick to tell their victims that they are "from the
president's office". The secret service has been unleashed on the people, in
all places and professions. Their task is to infiltrate organisations and
break them apart. They go with the package of death threats and
disappearance of opponents and critics of Mugabe's political party and
agenda. The secret service is in pubs, churches, trade union organisations,
students' movements, in hospitals, every where. When Zimbabweans go out for
a drink or a meal, they check carefully who is sitting next to them. If it
is men in suits and dark glasses, they try to move further away. Betrayal
upon betrayal. The land betrayal, the human rights betrayal, the corruption
which is now rife. All those put the Mugabe government in confrontation with
the people, hence the vast amounts of taxpayers' money spent on running a
massive secret service network.

Zimbabwe lives under a new language regime. First there was the battle for
the term "patriotism", now it is against anyone who is so "blasphemous" as
to criticise Mugabe. The president has, all of a sudden, been transformed
into a religion, a demi-god. The propaganda machine is in overdrive and the
only daily newspaper which reported events as they really occurred has been
banned. Now, when the people protest, they are met with stronger force than
Mugabe's predecessor, Ian Smith, used to employ against them. As my ageing
mother puts it: " Vaita sei chazvo vana ava ? [What has gone wrong with
these children?]" The flag still flaps on, but no political leader seems to
remember the dreams and aspirations that flag gave Zimbabweans at midnight
on April 18 1980. All one needs to do is go back to school and re-read
George Orwell's Animal Farm to understand the broken promises and lies which
suppress Zimbabweans today.

Hove is an award-winning novelist and poet from Zimbabwe
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APRIL 2004 Edition - WOZA MOYA/ HUYA MWEYA (Meaning: Come Holy Spirit/ Cleansing Wind) 



Write: Box FM 701, Famona, Bulawayo Ph: 011-213-885 / 09-63978 Email:

WOZA means ‘Come forward’.  By women for women and with women, across race, colour, creed, class or political persuasion. Empowering women to be courageous, caring, committed and in communication with their communities.


24 years after Independence! Are Women Celebrating? Are they free in Zimbabwe?

Are they congratulating each other and celebrating?




WHAT WERE THE PROMISES MADE IN 1980? One Man One Vote / Education For All / Accessible Health Services & Housing / Employment & Opportunities



Do we still have ONE MAN ONE VOTE? NO! Elections are being conducted in a violent atmosphere instead of being free and fair! The Constitution with its Bill of Rights is in shambles. How can the Imbodza/ Imboza ka Lancaster Constitution protect our rights? It allows itself to be gang raped to spawn unjust laws and is used to strip us of our remaining rights.


What is a constitution? A constitution is a set of laws and principles, which direct how an organisation or country is governed. It contains a social contract (agreement) between people and their leaders, determining their political, economic and social relations. In a democratic country, ordinary citizens have sovereign power (final authority) in that they choose who will govern them. The constitution guides the electoral process. Elections are the main way that ordinary citizens can control the national decision-making process. Periodic elections ensure that citizens have the opportunity to choose effective leaders (i.e. those that achieve positive results and practical improvements) and remove ineffective leaders. Elections remind leaders that they are accountable to the people they serve, and that government works best when it is based on the consent of the governed.


Do we still have EDUCATION FOR ALL?  NO! It is estimated that in 2004 over 40% of children will drop out of school, their parents can no longer afford school fees. Free Primary Education did not last beyond the 80’s.


Do we still have ACCESSIBLE HEALTH SERVICES AND HOUSING? NO! The state cannot provide normal health services, never mind help those suffering from the HIV/Aids pandemic. The terminally ill are sent home to die. As to housing, we now live like rats in holes divided up by pieces of cloth.


Do we still have EMPLOYMENT AND OPPORTUNITIES?  NO! Unemployment is now almost 90%. It is hard to find an honest way to earn a living. Those that are still employed pay 45% taxation and most of the rest goes on transport. Taxation could be better used in generating more jobs than in buying tear gas to disperse peaceful workers when they march to protest against high taxation. The new way to siphon our pockets is called VAT, supposed to be Value Added Tax but it is Vampires Added Torture. Soon the cost of Water and Electricity will be unaffordable to ordinary citizens.



Women also demand the following minimum standards for the restoration of democratic elections in 2005 and beyond! These principles are contained in the SADC Parliamentary Forum “Election Norms and Standards”. We need these principles to give us HOPE that our human rights will once again be respected in Zimbabwe!  

·        Restore the Rule of Law – the current plague of corruption is a direct result of this principle being ignored.

·        Restore basic freedoms and rights – we want to be free to mix and mingle, when we want to, where we want to and with whom we want to. Repeal POSA and open up the airwaves for all views to be heard.

·        Establish an Independent Election Commission (IEC)

·        Restore public confidence in the electoral process – Conduct an audit of the voter’s role and allow voter education.

·        Our vote is our secret – we believe this do you?


WOZA went out to interview women on Independence Day 2004; here are some of the interviews…………….


English Summary of Interviews conducted 18 April 2004.The interviewees, widows aged above 44 years with more than 6 dependants each felt that they was nothing to celebrate on Independence Day 2004. They all said that instead of congratulating each other they would offer condolences. Two of the women spoke about the disgrace of flying the Zimbabwe Flag when most houses were now flying red cloths to signify a dying nation. The women also had one solution, which was to take to the streets and put pressure on the regime for their empty promises of 1980. They wanted hope and prosperity but got despair and suffering. The women painfully showed us pictures of their lives in the early 80’s but then pointed to their cramped homes filled with broken furniture, empty cupboards and cold stoves of 18 April 2004.


Gugulethu (60) - Widowed businesswoman. Mother of 4: Konke esakuthenjiswa ngo 1980 akwenzakalanga yonke into ikhwela nsuku zonke. Kusukela khona lithathwa lelo lizwe sibi sesawudo liyadula, into eyayengancitshwanwa.  Pho ke, izithembiso zika 1980 zingaphi? Ukuhlupheka kumandla! Ngakho ke asilayo enye into esingayenza phandle kokuthi sibaphe ubunzima obukhulu ngokutshengisela imihla ngemihla, sale sisezitaladeni ngoba ukukhulumisana labo laba Bantu akutshintshi lutho. Omama yibo abahlupheka okwedlula wonke umuntu kuleli lizwe, yibo abanakekela abantwana ikakhulu ekuguleni njengoba umkhuhlane ubhahile. Ukudla, lemithi akukho, lalawo maphilisi okuthiwa ngama Anti-Retroviral Drugs aya kwabalutshwana abangani lezihlobo. Thina omama yithi kuphela esingaletha lokhu kwahluka. Ngithi Phambili  ngokutshengisela. Interviewer: Ngemva kwalokhu kuxoxa obekusobala ukuthi lumama ubesizwa ubuhlungu ngimbuzile ukuthi yena uthini ngaleli langa lokujabulela inkululeko? UGugulethu Uthe lothu, weza lemfanekiso yakhe ekuphileni kwakhe ngemva kwe Independence lakusukela ku 1980 echasisa ngezinyembezi uthe “Mina ngithi langalezi -nhlupho eziya phambili.”


Edith (72) - Widow, ex-Teacher. Mother of 12:  Abantu bathenjiswa izinto ezinengi, kodwa isimanga yikuthi konke lokhu sekungaphezu kokwenelisa kukazulu. Sathenjiswa njalo izindlu kuzulu wonke ngo 2000 kodwa osekwenzakala yikuthi inengi ngamaloja, njalo akulamuntu osebenza kuleli ongenelisa intengo yendlu. Imisebenzi esayithenjiswayo kayikho okwenzakalayo yikuthi abantu bakhutshwa imisebenzi. Ilizwe leli belinothile kodwa itshaphaziwe linotho. USmith wazama ukuxwayisa wathi, lingavuli impompi yemali angthi livula impompi yamanzi, abaze bamlalela. Lokhu kwandisa uhlupho, thina uzulu, endaweni yokuthi yonke le imali yokuphapha nsuku zonke yandiswe ngokuvula amafekitali kungabi lamuntu oba yisiphepheli ngokuswela. Abantwabethu lamhlanje bayizi phepheli emazweni wonke, ngenxa yendlala. Yebo kambe leyo nkululeko bayithola abayitholayo ngegazi, kodwa ke bonke abantu ababebasekela labo balwi abakhangelwa muntu, kodwa kuyibo abenza leyo nkululeko etshiwoyo, yaphumelela baphathwa njengezinja. Laba bantu yibo khathesi abangaselalutho bachithekelwa yinotho yabo yonke, kanye lemizi yabo. Lamhlanje ilanga ngalinye eZimbabwe liletha ukwesaba empilweni zabantu. Ngoba ukuvele usole nje, kuhlezi kusaziwa ukuthi kumele unyamalale, loba utshaywe utshiywe estitshini sokufa. Ngakho mina lenengi leZimbabwe asiboni sizatho sokuthaba sisithi amhlophe ngoba kawakho lawo amhlophe akhona.  Langenkathazo lezi zeminyaka engamatshumi amabili lane okuhlupheka.


Rumbidzai (44) - Widow, Trade Unionist. Mother of 5: Hapana chakachinja, kubvira 1980 kusvika pare zvino. Vana vaikudza vabereki vavo, asi iye zvino ne Independence iyi, ma Born Free ariku dzidziswa kurova babereki, nokuuraya, asi taifara tichiti tawana rusununguko. MuZimbabwe madzimai atisi kuwana kodzero semadzimai edzimwe nyika. Sesu shirikadzi, takafirwa nevarume vaishandira hurumende asi kapenjeni kacho akasikumbotibatsira. Chero ndichishanda, apana zvirikundibatstira nokuti maomero oupenyu watirikurarama arikundiita kuti, ndisakwanisa zvachose kudzidzisa vana vangu nokuvapa chikafu chakakodzera. Saka ndiri kuti madzimai handei, tinoratidzira zvese zvatisiri kugutsikana nazvo, kuti tinzvike. Vimbiso yedzidzo irikupi? Ndirikuti hurumende ngaitarise madzimai zvikuru shirikadzi ne nherera nyika yose. Ini zuva ranhasi, ririkundirwadza saka ndirikuti, nedzoyi! Nhasi ava makore makumi maviri nemana tichitambura pameso angu ndirikuona rufu, regai kusimudza mureza weZimbabwe. Simudzai mireza mitsuku, yerufu!


Tendai (51) - Domestic Worker. Mother of 3: Ndirikunzwa misodzi yangu ichida kuerera kana ndichiona vanhu vachifarira nzara, rufu nezvirwere. Saka chero ivo vachifara ini zvangu andisi, nokuti chokwadi ndechekuti tava nemakore makumi mabiri nemana tichitambudzika pasina kana chakambo chinja. Asi kana ndichifunga mushure mema kore aya kuti chingwa chaicho, taiita chokushara, kuti ndinofarira kudya chekuneipi Bakery. Chikafu chese chemumba ne 25cents chaiyo, ndaidya nevana svondo rese.  Asi iye zvino kamuzukuru kangu ikaka ukakapa 500 dollars, kanho kuudza kuti ayitenge chinhu. Ma Born Free aya ndiwo apinduka kuita mhandu dzedu, asi vari hura hwedu. Mai we kani, todii ko mwari, asi chiripo ndechokuti vana ivava varikuudzwa Nhema dzega asi vachidzidziswa ruvengo nehumondi.  Mooyo wangu urikundirwadza kana ndakuzvibvunvza kuti, ko rusununguko rwacho ruripi? Kudzvinyirirwa koga ndiko kuripo. Saka chasara chete, ndechekuti vanhu vose vabude tiende kunoratidzira nemhuuwandu hwedu. Uye zve ndiri kuti matambudziko aya emakore makumi maviri namana enhamo! Mureza we Zimbabwe ngauremekedzwe. Nenhamho dzakadai ngakusimudzwe machira matsuku ekuchema.


Rudo (57) Widow, Cross Border Vendor. Mother of 5: Ndiri kurarama nenzira dzakaomarara zvikuru, ndato rasikirwa ne temba, rese rokurarama. Kutengesa kwandaiita mu South Africa, andichakwanisi nokuti ndakugara ndakarambidzwa kuwana Visa, uye zwe vanhu vomuZimbabwe avachidikanwa mune dzimwenyika. Murume wangu akafa muna 1984 ndirikuwana 300 dollars pamwedzi chete se penjeni. Independence yavarikufarira iyi inofarirawa ne vanhu vashoma vari ivo vanoda zvematongero enyika, kwete ruzhinji rwe Zimbabwe. Saka andisikuti Makorokoti asi kuti, nedzoyi!

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Zim Standard

Mudenge linked to farm invasion
By our own Staff

A GROUP of war veterans, saying they are doing so on behalf of Foreign
Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge, have forcibly taken over a US$800 000
six-hectare rose project, about 30 km kms outside Masvingo town.

The six-hectare rose export business is a partnership project between
commercial farmer Peter Buchan and a Dutch Company, Florac (Pvt) Limited.

The invaders arrived at Chikore Farm on Friday night and chased away the
farm manager out of his house.

The former freedom fighters locked up another manager, a Mr Steve, in the
farmhouse later that night and by yesterday afternoon when The Standard news
crew arrived at the farm, he was still holed up in the house.

It could not be verified whether he was safe inside.

A war veteran, who refused to be named, confirmed that the farm was
earmarked for Mudenge.

"At the moment the Minister appears to be the only beneficiary. We are
questioning the idea of Mudenge taking over the farm because this project
should benefit the locals," said the war veteran.

A man who at one time answered his phone said the Minister was attending a
memorial service. Afterwards both his mobile numbers were out of reach.

The invasion, which comes barely a month after the Kondozi take over by
government, has prejudiced both Buchan and Florac of billions of dollars.

A cargo vehicle carrying flowers destined for Harare to be flown to London
was yesterday impounded by the former freedom fighters, who have vowed to
remain on the property until the Minister takes it over.

The war veterans - who had barricaded the farm - were yesterday frantically
looking for a local market to dispose of the wilting flowers.

The Standard crew, pretending to be looking for flowers to buy, visited the
farm after they gave a lift to some of the war veterans who had gone out to
scout for buyers. The flowers are produced in greenhouses.

The situation at the farm was tense yesterday and all the greenhouses were

Buchan is understood to have left the farm early last week for Harare for
his own safety after allegedly being threatened by a government official in
Masvingo who ordered him to leave the farm by yesterday.

The official, who was identified, left some youths at Chikore who are
currently preventing farm workers from carrying out their duties as well as
intimidating them at night.

When The Standard visited the area yesterday Chief Fortune Charumbira, the
Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing - a
known personal friend of Mudenge - was leaving the farm in a Nissan Prado

One of the war veterans said Charumbira had visited to assess the situation
on the farm.

The government served Buchan with a Section 8 Notice in February indicating
that it intended to acquire the farm. Over the past few days there have been
hectic diplomatic efforts by officials from The Netherlands Embassy to save
the farm from compulsory acquisition.

Netherlands Deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Jan Van Raamsdonk, yesterday said
the farm should be protected by bilateral agreements signed between his
government and Zimbabwe.

"Government officials have assured us that government will honour bilateral
agreements between us. I hope they will do that," said Van Raamsdonk.

"If the State wants to claim the farm, an independent evaluation should be
done to compensate the owner as well as Florac," he said.
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Zim Standard

Chigwedere's illegal conduct

WE must once again ask whether there is any remedy when Government and the
police are guilty of abusing their powers as demonstrated by their illegal
closure of private schools throughout the country.

The extraordinary decision to shut down schools is one more example of how
the government considers itself above the law. There is no provision in the
Education Act that gives the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture the
power to shut down schools for increasing fees. The government has made a
complete ass of itself over the matter because what it did was totally and
completely illegal.

The Education Act stipulates that no school may charge a fee or increase a
fee by more than 10% without seeking the approval of the Secretary for
Education. Nowhere in the Act does it empower the Secretary or the Minister
to close schools. The closure of the private schools was an assault on
people's freedoms befitting only an authoritarian country.

Both Aeneas Chigwedere and Augustine Chihuri acted unreasonably without
taking due regard of the law. The police's unquestioning compliance with
this illegal decision is outrageous and satanic. The attack on the weakest
members of society i.e. the innocent children was a most cowardly way of
trying to solve the nation's problems. In any event, the cause of the rise
in schools fees is Zanu PF's mismanagement of the economy.

The illegal action against the private schools will destroy whatever
optimism there is for the future of this country. For more than four years
now, the government through a host of bad laws coupled with extra-legal
pressures has steadily whittled down the effective freedoms of Zimbabweans.

The closure of schools carries a clear message for the long suffering
Zimbabweans of all colours and creeds: that there is no end to this monster
of intolerance and hatred that is being unleashed by the Government and the
ruling party on fellow Zimbabweans.

Nor are the Zimbabweans themselves blameless. We have thus far remained
silent and acquiescent. One must ask: what will it take for Zimbabweans to
wake up from their deep slumber?
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Zim Standard

Mugabe's security gobbles millions
By our own Staff

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has tightened his security by making most of his
local trips by helicopter, gobbling millions of dollars of taxpayers' money
in the process.

This comes at a time when the country is suffering massive food shortages,
unemployment and serious foreign currency problems.

His trademark white helicopter - accompanied by two military escort
helicopters - has now become a common feature above Harare skies.

The two armoured helicopters provide the security for Mugabe's white

On many occasions, the three helicopters make a spectacular descent at
Mugabe's official State residence.

It is understood Mugabe nowadays mostly travels to his rural homestead of
Zvimba by air. Zvimba is only about 80 kms away from Harare.

Military experts told The Standard yesterday that a single trip alone by
Mugabe - which takes him only a few minutes to Zvimba - could cost taxpayers
millions of dollars.

On Thursday, Mugabe also made a trip to Masvingo using the same three
helicopters to address chiefs on their annual assembly.

With the general elections expected early next year, Mugabe is likely to
increase his trips for his customary multiple "star rallies" held all over
the country.
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Zim Standard

No more talks, says MDC
From Savious Kwinika in Lupane

THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Vice President, Gibson Sibanda, on
Friday announced that his party had completely abandoned talks with Zanu PF
citing the lack of seriousness and commitment on the part of the ruling

Speaking at an MDC star rally at Lusulu Village in Lupane, about 250 km
north of Bulawayo, Sibanda said talks with a "stubborn, corrupt and power
hungry political party of the calibre of Zanu PF" was a sheer waste of time.

"We have decided to abandon the talks with Mugabe and his cronies because
they are not serious. They are only thinking about how to rig, murder and
torture their opponents ahead of the Lupane by-election, so we cannot engage
in talks with short-sighted people," said Sibanda.

"Maybe if Thabo Mbeki has finished celebrating his victory down there, we
might consider resuming but at the moment, there are no talks whatsoever to
talk about," he added.

The MDC vice president was addressing a rally where numerous allegations of
intimidation, threats and harassment by local chiefs and village heads were
raised by MDC supporters.

Said Sibanda: "Now that the Western world has eased and lessened pressure on
Mugabe, he has forgotten that he stole the 2002 presidential election in
Tsvangirai's face. Morgan Tsvangirai was the MDC presidential candidate in
the 2002 poll.

"We have not forgotten. Very soon when we will kick start our campaigns with
sophisticated movement and skill." said Sibanda without elaborating

He was accompanied by a high-powered MDC delegation that included party
Secretary-General Welshman Ncube and several MPs.
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Zim Standard

Concern as Zanu PF lures chiefs with perks, money
By Valentine Maponga

ZANU PF is enticing chiefs into its fold by awarding them hefty salaries and
using the same tactics that Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front employed in the
1970s to influence traditional leaders to back the State, says Wilfred
Mhanda, president of the splinter Zimbabwe Liberators' Platform.

Adds Mhanda: "Zanu PF and the Rhodesian Front are only different in that the
ruling party has perfected the tactics used by Ian Smith and his ancestors."

Mhanda says Smith used money to buy the chiefs' support in a failed attempt
to get the majority black voters to back his government during the height of
the war of independence.

The Zanu PF-led government, which is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to
win next year's general election with an increased majority, recently
awarded traditional leaders hefty monthly allowances of up to $1 million
each - three or four times the salary of an average worker.

Headmen, who are a notch lower than the chiefs in the traditional hierarchy,
were awarded 40% of that amount while village heads were also assured that
they would now get allowances from the State.

As the battle to win the hearts and minds of traditional leaders heightens,
Patrick Chinamasa - the Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs - has
also given the chiefs more power to handle small crimes or claims in their

Experts in traditional customs say there are serious problems associated
with the government's overtures because that would result in partisan
traditional leaders.

The appointment of chiefs, which largely is done through intricate tribal
methods and customs, could also be hijacked by government, say the experts.

Already, they said, some undeserving members of the governing party have
been appointed chiefs in their areas bypassing the legitimate heirs who
might be considered too independent of the government.

Gordon Chavunduka, the president of Zinatha - an organisation that
represents traditional healers and herbal medicine practitioners - said the
best situation was where communities paid their chiefs and they did not get
a government salary.

"What is paid to the chiefs should not come directly from the government.
It's the community which should be paying these chiefs, just like what used
to happen in the past," said Chavunduka.

He said the power of the traditional leaders was gradually being eroded as
the chiefs get employed by the State like civil servants.

"The chiefs will tend to be agents of the party and not representatives of
their own people," said Chavunduka.

As if to confirm Chavhunduka's fears, Chief Fortune Charumbira - the Zanu PF
member and Deputy Minister of Local Government Public Works and National
Housing - has openly praised President Robert Mugabe for lobbying for the
chiefs' new salaries.

"Knowing some of these chiefs, who are too pleased to be on a ZANU PF
government payroll, they will definitely do everything they can to safeguard
the interest of Zanu PF first before they start administering any justice,"
said an analyst based in Harare, who requested anonymity.

Brian Kagoro, a human lawyer, says there is nothing wrong with chiefs
getting paid by the State but that their traditional roles should not be

"Chiefs really have got a role to play in society but my argument is that
there is need to be an independent fund to pay chiefs' salaries so as not to
compromise their positions," said Kagoro.

Zimbabwe judges and magistrates are paid from the government's Consolidated
Revenue Fund to try not to compromise their positions.

The March Gutu-North by-election showed how Zanu PF is luring chiefs into
its fold through the hefty salaries and other incentives such as providing
them with secretaries, offices and vehicles.

The Standard witnessed traditional chiefs' openly campaigning for the
governing party and compiling a register of voters which was administered by
their government-appointed secretaries.

In other cases, there were reports that voters were asked to stand behind
village headmen at polling stations, a move that the opposition parties said
was meant to intimidate voters.

It was also reported that traditional leaders shepherded their subjects to
polling stations during the Gutu North by-election with chiefs' secretaries
jotting down the names of all those who had voted.

Senior Zanu PF leaders have even openly endorsed the move to get traditional
leaders involved in party politics on behalf of the governing party.

"We want every village head to make a head count of his subjects, ensure
each has a completed data form which is submitted to the chief," said
Vice-President Joseph Msika in Gutu during the by-election.

One traditionalist though said the danger was that the partisan chiefs would
gradually lose the respect of their subjects thereby undermining what has
been traditionally an effective way of governing the rural areas.
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Zim Standard

Huge response to hard currency plan
By Kumbirai Mafunda

ZIMBABWEANS in the Diaspora have overwhelmingly responded to overtures by
the central bank by remitting a total of US$3,7 million (about $19,7
billion) in less than a week after the licensing of 11 money transfer
agencies (MTAs), it has been established.

The licensed agencies began offering services last week to about 3,4 million
Zimbabweans scattered all over the world as the central bank tries to entice
the remittance of foreign currency into the crisis-torn country.

This follows the sealing of business agreements with reputable international
money transfer agencies and their registration by the Reserve Bank.

Central bank sources said as of Thursday last week a total amount of US$3,7
million had been received by MTAs.

The sources said the response from Zimbabweans outside the country had put
many agencies under pressure, as they were not expecting such an expeditious

Queues could be seen at some agencies in Harare and Bulawayo where relatives
of Zimbabweans outside the country gathered to collect funds. It is reported
that large volumes were coming from the United Kingdom, which of late has
recorded a great influx of Zimbabweans.

Stanbic Bank Managing Director Pindie Nyandoro, whose international partner
is Standard Bank, said the response in the infantile stages of the process
has been tremendous.

"We have had a lot of queries on the modus operandi and we still need to
advertise," said Nyandoro.

Another agency, Kingdom Currency King, reported that there was a dramatic
increase in foreign currency inflows since Monday.

"Volumes are picking up," said George Mushawati, Kingdom Currency King's

Economic analysts said Zimbabwe could to rack in as much as US$30 million a
month if 300 000 people out of the 3,4 million outside the country remitted
only US$100 per month each.

"As long as we are giving the right exchange rate and security people will
continue remitting," said Eric Bloch, an economic analyst.

Some analysts attributed the swift response that greeted the MTAs as a
measure of newfound confidence in the monetary system.

"People can now receive and trade in foreign currency in a completely legal
way and get the same amount like they were getting on the black market with
complete security," said Bloch.

Other analysts said the good response from Zimbabweans living outside the
country was due to the swiftness with which funds are being transferred and
the lifting of commission charges.

It only takes 48 hours (two days) to receive money sent through the MTAs,
thus making it a fast and efficient way to send money.

Under the arrangement, Zimbabweans living abroad can move into any of the
corresponding international money transfer agencies and send their money
back home through the trademark "Homelink" launched by the RBZ.

Recipients in Zimbabwe can choose to collect their money in hard currency or
to be paid in local currency at the "Diaspora rate" of $5 200 to the US$ or
the current weighted auction rate which ever is now slightly higher.
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Zim Standard

Satirical play incenses Censorship Board
By Trevor Muhonde

THE Zimbabwe Censorship Board has complained to the organisers of the
just-ended Harare International Festival of the Arts over the hosting of the
controversial play Super Patriots and Morons that it claims has political
connotations, StandardPlus has established.

The Censorship Board has not sanctioned some parts of the play, which is a
satirical look at the present political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.

Super Patriots and Morons was staged on Wednesday in Harare during Hifa,
much to the chagrin of the board. The play was bought from Rooftop
Productions by Hifa and was premiered at the international arts showcase on
April 27 and 28.

The play, directed by Davies Guzha and with a cast of veteran actors such as
Walter Muparutsa, Eyhara Mathazia and O'Brien Mudyiwenyama, mirrors what
some reviewers say are the antics of the ruling Zanu PF party and some of
the shady aspects of politics.

It is set in an unnamed country that is suffering from severe food shortages
resulting in food queues, against a background of a repressive government
that has become infamous for its misrule.

The play also looks at the government's efforts in trying to silence
dissenting voices such as the closure of newspapers.

The script concentrates on how the government in the imagined country is
abusing authority and what the populace needs to do to regain their dignity
and right to be properly governed.

Among some of its more telling aspects are the appointment of a new chief at
the central bank, the arrest of corrupt company directors - such as happened
to the bosses of asset manegement company, ENG - the problems associated
with the externalisation of foreign currency and the arrest of a government
minister, all major talking points in Zimbabwe today.

Official sources confirmed that the Censorship Board had summoned the
producers of the play and Hifa organisers after the play was staged in
Harare last week with some of its controversial parts left intact.

"The Censorship Board had problems with certain parts of the play. According
to them, the play is unfit to be held in front of a public audience," said
the source who refused to be named.

Rooftop Promotions, producers of the play, refused to comment and referred
StandardPlus to the Censorship Board.

Hey Malaba, Censorship Board chairman, said he was not allowed to make
comments to the Press. "Speak to the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs,"
he said.

Efforts to reach Melusi Matshiya, the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs,
were unfruitful as he was said to be in meetings.

Jill Day, Hifa's Media Relations' Officer, denied that the Censorship Board
summoned them for a hearing over Super Patriots and Morons.

"I know nothing about meetings between the Censorship Board and Hifa," Day
told StandardPlus.
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Zim Standard

MDC challenges Chigumba's Zengeza election victory
By Angela Makamure

LOSING Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate in the just-ended
Zengeza by-election, James Makore, has filed an election petition with the
High Court challenging the results.

Makore, who polled 6 706 in the elections held on March 28 and 29, lost to
Zanu PF's Christopher Chigumba who garnered 8 447 votes.

Chigumba filled the vacant parliamentary seat left by Tafadzwa Musekiwa, who
resigned last year and left for the United Kingdom citing security reasons.

The petition was also made available to Chigumba who is the first respondent
and Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, cited as second respondent.

In his founding affidavit attached to the petition, Makore said there were
gross violations of the electoral laws and acts of electoral fraud by Zanu
PF during the election.

He said since March 3, Zanu PF members perpetrated violence against MDC
supporters making it difficult for him and his supporters to campaign

Makore said Zanu PF set up about 14 bases in Chitungwiza, which they used as
torture chambers for MDC supporters.

"From the onset my efforts to campaign were greatly hampered by the first
respondent's (Chigumba) actions. He together with other Zanu PF activists
perpetrated untold violence and other electoral irregularities before and
during the days of polling," Makore said.

"In regard to violence the situation resembled an undeclared civil war by
Chigumba and Zanu PF on MDC supporters," he added.

Makore said the violent activities culminated in the fatal shooting of
Francis Chinozvina, an MDC youth.

"The circumstances of this incident were captured by eyewitnesses. These
witnesses are prepared to testify. After the death of Chinozvina, I
approached Augustine Tsuro of the Registrar's Office. He was at the command
centre. I requested him to stop the elections as our supporters were now
being murdered. A lot of fear had now gripped the constituency," said

Makore said several MDC rallies in the constituency were disrupted and about
nine houses belonging to his supporters were attacked.

He said despite lodging reports of violence to Chigumba, the police and the
Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), Chigumba and his agents continued to
disrupt rallies and meetings organised by his party.

Makore claims about 15 MDC members were kidnapped and assaulted.

Chigumba is also accused of vote buying, bribing voters and "importing"
people who stay in Epworth, Mbare, Seke and St Mary's to vote in the Zengeza
Constituency so as to increase his votes.

"We compared the voters roll for the urban municipal elections and
discovered that extra voters had registered for the parliamentary
by-election," said Makore.

Makore also condemned the police for not taking action against the
perpetrators of violence.

"It would be travesty of justice if Chigumba was to be allowed to carry on
with any parliamentary duties given the manner in which he was elected,"
said Makore, adding: "It is improper and unfit for persons like Chigumba to
sit in Parliament conducting business for which they would clearly have no

Several affidavits, medical reports and a death certificate belonging to
Chinozvina, have been attached to Makore's petition to support his
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Zim Standard

MDC's Evelyn Masaiti sues for illegal detention
By Angela Makamure

MUTASA Member of Parliament, Evelyn Masaiti, who was jointly charged with
five other people for allegedly contravening the draconian Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) last month, is taking legal action against the Minister
of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi for illegal detention.

The six through their lawyers - Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal
Practitioners - have already served Mohadi with the notice of intention to
sue him.

They are each claiming $348 million as compensation for their unlawful
arrest, assaults, contumelia and unlawful deprivation of liberty for five

Masaiti, Henry Chimbiri, Stanford Bote, Oscar Pemhiwa, Takesure Mushavire
and Zvamaida were arrested on 17 April on their way to Harare from Mutasa
communal lands where they had gone to attend a memorial service for an MDC
district chairperson, Ben Mwamuka.

Masaiti said trouble started when she dropped off three young men whom she
had offered transport to Harare at the Mabvuku turnoff along Mutare Road.

She said they were then stopped a few minutes later by police manning a
roadblock and she was quizzed on why she had dropped off the three men.

"The police accused me of ferrying MDC youths to Harare who would cause
chaos in Mabvuku. They also accused me of organising a football match in
Mabvuku for MDC youths on that particular day, but I was not aware of all
this," she said.

They were arrested and taken to Mabvuku Police Station where they were
detained for five days. Masaiti says police assaulted them.

In a notice to the Minister dated March 23, lawyer Alec Muchadehama, who is
representing the six, said unless they were paid the said amount of money,
they would take the Minister to the courts.

"There was no food or blankets at Mabvuku Police Station. They slept in the
filthy cells being feasted upon by mosquitoes and bedbugs, to say nothing of
the cold weather and discomfort of the hard floor in the cells," Muchadehama

He said the accused were only advised of their offence five days later.
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Zim Standard

Siwela speaks against 2005 poll boycott
By our own Staff

PAUL Siwela, the president of ZAPU - a Bulawayo-based party - is urging
opposition political parties to participate in the 2005 general election to
deny Zanu PF the two thirds majority in Parliament it is seeking.

Siwela told The Standard in Bulawayo that since the 2005 general election
would be linked to President Robert Mugabe's exit from active politics, Zanu
PF desperately wants a two thirds majority in Parliament to amend the
constitution for Mugabe's successor.

"Zanu PF will be all out to get two thirds majority in Parliament so as to
amend the constitution which would allow for the election of a President by
Parliament instead of the present scenario where the President is elected by
the people. We are opposed to this as it would pave the way for the election
of some dangerous elements within Zanu PF to the presidency," said Siwela.

He said apart from Mugabe, Zanu PF has no presidential candidate who can win
the leadership of the party and retain the party as a united front

Siwela said Zanu PF also does not have a candidate who can win a
presidential race against the opposition under free and fair conditions.
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Zim Standard

Chigwedere's closure of schools illegal
By our own Staff

AENEAS Chigwedere, the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, had no
powers to shut down the 45 non-government schools that hiked fees without
the approval of the Secretary of Education, The Standard has established.

Although the Education Act (1996) stipulates that no responsible authority
of a non-government school may charge a fee, or increase a fee by more than
the prescribed amount without seeking approval from the Secretary for
Education, it does not empower the Minister or the Secretary to shut down

The government last week closed 45 elite schools and deployed police at
their premises after the schools increased fees and levies by more than 10
percent against the dictates of the Education Act. The move affected more
than 30 000 children.

In what could be a further blow to Chigwedere's ministerial directive to
close the schools, Justice Susan Mavhangira on Thursday declared that the
closure of Hartman Preparatory School was "null and void" and that it be
opened with immediate effect.

The order was granted by consent and each party would pay their legal costs.
Mavhangira directed that the police stop interfering with operations at the

"I should express my gratitude for the mature resolution of this case by
both parties. The order is granted," said Mavhangira, in a case that did not
last more than five minutes.

Representing Hartman School, lawyer Innocent Chagonda said there was no
basis for opposing the order because the shut down was illegal.

"It was a straightforward case so it was difficult for them to oppose
because the closure was illegal," said Chagonda.

Farai Ruzive of the Civil Division of the Attorney General's Office
represented the State. Analysts said the order could open floodgates of
cases against the education ministry from other closed schools.

According to the Education Act, any person that increases fees without the
Secretary for Education's approval is liable to a fine not exceeding $1 000
or jail term for a period not exceeding one year or both.

The Act further says a conviction for an offence "shall not, in the case of
a continuing offence, be a bar to further prosecutions for that offence".

Law experts last week said Chigwedere's arbitrary closure of the
non-government schools was illegal because it was outside his jurisdiction.
They said Chigwedere should have reported the defiant school authorities to
the police for subsequent prosecution and not close the schools.

The chairman of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Arnold Tsunga,
said it was also completely irresponsible on the part of the police to
comply with Chigwedere's order.

"Under the Education Act the Minister does not have the powers to close
schools under such situations. The reaction of the overzealous Minister and
the sheepish compliance of the police was outrageous and without any logic,"
said Tsunga.

Beatrice Mtetwa of Kantor & Immerman legal practitioners concurred that
Chigwedere had no powers to close schools.

Tendai Biti, a lawyer and an opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
legislator, said by closing the schools Chigwedere was taking the law into
his own hands.

"He does not have the powers. What he is actually doing is fascism," said
Biti. "In any case, parents' associations approve these fees. The
associations are like ordinary clubs so they escape the scrutiny of that
law. They have a right to association and assembly as enshrined by our

Another analyst said the closure of non-government schools was part of the
larger "hondo yeminda" grand plan. He said the government feels that it has
not 'liberated' the private schools.

"They feel it is the last bastion of white dominance in the country. For
them it is a war but they are destroying the education sector just as they
did the manufacturing sector and agriculture," he said.

Among the schools that were shut down were Tynwald - which is owned by
former Zimbabwe Defence Forces' chief Vitalis Zvinavashe - Heritage, Arundel
Girls, St Georges College, Eaglesvale, Peterhouse, Falcon College,
Hillcrest, Ruzawi, Gateway, Ariel, Lilfordia, Kyle, Twin Rivers, St George's
College, Watershed and St John's College.
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Zim Standard

Politicians feel the pinch
By Caiphas Chimhete

THE closure of private schools by the Minister of Education, Sports and
Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, was the result of pressure from senior
politicians who are feeling the financial pinch of paying millions in fees
for their children at elite schools, it has been established.

They said while senior politicians and civil servants want their children to
learn in the private schools where they get quality education, now can not
afford the high fees and levies demanded.

However, some said the politicians believe that private schools are the
"last bastion of white dominance" in Zimbabwe and "should be destroyed".

Former University of Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gordon Chavunduka,
said the schools are beginning to be too expensive for some of the
politicians. They are now using their political muscle to keep the fees as
affordable to them as possible.

"They are feeling the pinch now. But it is an economic problem that needs a
political solution - political in the sense that we need to mend relations
with the IMF, World Bank and all the other Western countries to bring back
the economy to normality," said Chavunduka.

He added that the hikes were justified considering the high quality of
education offered by the schools.

Starting this term, Bishoplea School in Harare was charging $3,5 million a
term, Lomagundi $8,8 million while students at Peterhouse in Marondera have
to fork out about $10 million per term.

But one parent, whose child is at St Micheal's where the President's son
Chatunga learns, believes there is a hidden political agenda in closing the

"All along the schools have been increasing the fees without government
approval; it was between parents and the school authorities. Those that
cannot afford the fees should send their children to government schools
which are cheaper rather than destroy the quality education at these
schools," complained the parent.

Fidelis Mhashu, the Movement for Democratic Change's shadow Minister for
Education and Sport, said the government wanted to destroy the private
education sector because it strongly feels whites still wield a lot of power
in that area.

"It has done that in agriculture and now it is education. It was the only
sector that had remained untouched in the country," said Mhashu.

He added: "Chigwedere is contributing greatly to the lowering of education
standards in this country. He is denying children their right to education
as prescribed by the Education Act. He is very callous."

Unlike in government schools, students in private schools can afford a
textbook each and they have tours outside Zimbabwe. The students also learn
subjects such as International Computers Drivers Licence (ICDL) and sit for
globally-recognised Cambridge University examinations.

"With all these things, which cannot be done in government schools, I think
the fees are justified. For example, St George's went to South Africa last
week for a football match, but government schools in Harare struggle to
raise money to play soccer in Chitungwiza just 25kms away," said an irate
Chisipiti High School student.

On Wednesday, a report back meeting of parents at Cresta Lodge Hotel was
told about Chigwedere's 'political decision' to forcibly open the schools
even without the defiant headmasters. On Thursday, he again threatened to
amend the Education Act as well as taking "drastic action".

Analysts said his speech prompted the arrest of the headmasters of Lundi
Park Primary School, Ruzawi, Peterhouse and Peterhouse Girls' High School.
They were released after each paying $100 000 admission of guilt fine.

Antony Mandiwanza, the chief executive officer of Dairiboard Zimbabwe
Limited (DZL) who chaired the Cresta Lodge meeting, declined to comment.

"Leave me alone on this matter because it is a personal issue. I was trying
to find a vacancy for my child and that is all," said Mandiwanza.

But other parents who attended the meeting said Chigwedere said "if
everything else fails" to make the schools reduce their fees, he would use
political muscle.

This did not go down well with some parents who accused Chigwedere of
wanting to destroy education in the country.

The Standard is reliably informed that headmasters of schools that were
allowed to open were duped into signing forms accepting the new fees,
preventing them from appealing if not satisfied.

Meanwhile, some parents say they are unhappy with the high fees charged by
private schools. On Tuesday, authorities at Tynwald Secondary School called
for a meeting with the parents.

One parent, who attended the highly-charged meeting, said Mrs Zvinavashe -
wife of former defence chief Vitalis Zvinavashe - was told openly that
parents were not happy with the arbitrary school fees hike.

"We want our children to go to school but the way Zvinavashe is hiking fees
is unjustified. In December last year he increased (fees twice and now we
are paying $1,3 million but there is no soccer pitch or even a laboratory.

"Apart from that when we enrolled our children we were told that he would
provide a school bus but nothing has materialised. We were duped," said the

"We are actually building the school for Zvinavashe, it would be reasonable
if that school was a community school. What if he closes the school tomorrow
and turns it into something else, how would we benefit," said the parent.

Zvinavashe could not be reached for a comment last week. School officials
refused to comment.
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Zim Standard

12 000 Zim children living on the streets
By Bertha Shoko

WHAT drives a child from their home to roam the streets, to beg, scavenge
and scrounge in the rubbish bins for discarded bits and pieces of food and
risk sleeping in street alleys with nothing but plastic sheets to keep warm
during cold nights?

Even for adults, spending a night in the open, at a railway station or a bus
terminus is a prospect one never looks forward to, especially during the
cold winter season.

According to research done by a local non-governmental organisation,
Future's International, more than 12 000 children are now living on
Zimbabwe's streets.

On a global scale UNICEF estimates that 30 million children spend their
lives on the streets and around 10 million of these are abandoned having
"severed relationships with their families".

For 12-year-old Tichaona Sibanda, an orphan, living on the streets of Harare
is safer than staying at home with his abusive uncle and aunt.

Tichaona says after his parents died when he was 10 years old life became a
"living hell".

"My parents died when I was 10 in a car accident on their way from
Bulawayo," he said.

"After that we went to stay with my uncle, that is my father's older
brother, in Greendale. His wife did not like this new arrangement and was
always making trouble for me and my sister so that our uncle would beat us
all the time," says Tichaona tearfully .

"I couldn't take the beatings and the scolding from his children, so I left.
My sister was the only one who knew I was leaving and she cried very much
and tried to stop me from going.

"But I insisted on going and I promised her I would come back and take her
when I become rich. God will bless me one day and maybe then I can afford to
take my little sister, if she is still alive."

Tichaona has big dreams for his future.

"I hope one day a well-wisher will come and take me and send me back to
school. I want to be a lawyer so that I can help those children who are
abused," he says with determination.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Tandi had a harrowing tale to tell of the
exploitation by her grandmother. She says she ran away from the grandmother
in Seke communal area, near Harare, because she was forced to have sex with
different men.

"My grandmother is the only relative I have ever known since my childhood. I
never saw my mother or father," Sarah says, a deep sorrowful look in her

"My grandmother used to brew and sell beer at our home. One day when I was
11 years old a drunk customer sneaked into my bedroom and raped me," claims

"Then next day I told my grandmother and she promised she would report to
the police but never did.

"Instead, everyday a different man came and raped me and each time my
grandmother promised to do something about it, until I realised that she was
the one sending the men and getting paid.

"When I confronted her she told me that I had to work for my school fees and
food. This happened for almost two years until I ran away from home with the
help of my friend."

How does she survive on the harsh streets of Harare?

"I sleep with men for money since this is the only survival tactic I know.
Sometimes I sell vegetables but the municipal police are always taking our
goods so I have stopped. Hopefully one day I will get a man to marry me,"
says Sarah.

At a recent workshop in Harare, Doreen Mukwena, the Director of Child
Protection Society (CPS) said the problem of street kids requires serious
commitment from government and society at large.

"The harsh environment of the street life often exposes these children to
the possibility of physical injuries or death from violence," Mukwena said.

Recently, the Harare City Council embarked on a "clean up campaign" aimed at
ridding the streets of Harare of street kids who have become a menace to
society in their quest for survival.

The council claimed it was taking the street kids to be housed at nearby
farms where they would find work in farms but some of the affected kids say
they were dumped in the middle of nowhere.
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Zim Standard

Destroying education for its own sake

IT is a matter of national pride when people say that education in Zimbabwe
was once upon a time the envy of Africa and much of the Third World. To this
day, Zimbabwe has the best educated population on the African continent.

But sadly, we are in danger of completely reversing the gains that have been
achieved over the years in this area. All because of government's propensity
towards controlling everything. There are now government tentacles
controlling the Press, agriculture, industry and now education. In fact, the
list is endless.

The latest in government predatory escapades: The closure of private schools
was and is totally inexcusable. The Minister of Education, Sport and
Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere may wish to indulge in semantics by saying his
Ministry did not close schools but stopped them reopening, but his
pontifications fool no one.

Indeed, there has to be a limit to how much any government can meddle in
people's lives. True, in today's society, there is very little an individual
could do that does not impinge on others. And yet in matters education,
questions of individual liberties inevitably crop up.

There are differences of opinion, some strongly held but the point must be
made that uniformity is secondary to the preservation of the basic right of
parents to educate their children as they think fit. To imply that it is
acceptable for people to spend what money they have on luxury cars and other
things but not permissible to spend it on their children's education is an
affront to all who care for either freedom or culture.

The point is made that people make choices in life. And government has
absolutely no right to coerce people to do what it likes. Clearly, this is
where Chigwedere has become too big for his education boots. There is a
terrible misconception among Zimbabwean ministers that they are masters of
the people not their servants. If a Zimbabwean of whatever colour or creed
disagrees with the government he is immediately labelled an enemy or a
saboteur. Why? Why?

The supreme lesson of this millennium is that people who are free go right
ahead through self-effort. The disadvantaged, the weak and the infirm have
obviously to be helped and assisted but it will be immoral to stifle
creativity and energy in people. That is where this government is going
wrong. Very wrong!

It is important to restate that Zanu PF's skewed policies are solely to
blame for the abnormal economic environment in Zimbabwe which has
necessitated the spiralling of prices of virtually everything. School fees
cannot be the exception.

In State schools, things have literally fallen apart. Evidence of this
abounds. Oversized classes, infrastructural decay, low salaries, acute
shortage of textbooks, with pupils sometimes sharing 10 to a single text
book. It is precisely because the private schools charge more than State
schools that they are able to maintain better facilities. And this because
of the high fees that parents are willing and able to pay for the quality
education they desire for their children.

It matters little whether examination results in State schools are better
than in private schools. It is common knowledge that the State education
system has completely failed to pay attention to the individual
personalities and problems of children. Teachers in State schools in
Zimbabwe are trained simply to transmit knowledge. They were not taught to
encourage and mould the individual development of each child. Private
schools do and it costs money.

It is hogwash for Chigwedere to over-emphasise the importance of examination
results to the exclusion of everything else. Yes, paper qualifications are
important but personal qualities as reflected in the pupil's etiquette,
demeanour, appearance, attitude to work, confidence and general behaviour
are equally important. That is where private schools excel.

In fact, in today's world, the great majority of employers place little or
no relevance on school reports and examination results when assessing a
young person's candidature for a job. The final decision by employers is
invariably made on the basis of the candidate's personal skills and
qualities rather than academic qualifications.

In the face of criticism, Chigwedere and his officials must not simply dig
their heels in. They must listen to what people say. Chigwedere's major
shortcoming, and a weakness that pervades the higher echelons of power in
Zimbabwe is the belief that they alone know what is best for Zimbabwe. This
is very wrong.

What must be clearly understood is that any parent worth his salt is
invariably passionate about providing the best for his/her children. Taking
political action to destroy people's ingenuity and creativity is the worst
thing that any Government can do.

We will be the first to admit that the pursuit of equality is a higher and
more important goal than the pursuit of liberty. But that pursuit must not
be carried out while destroying everything in the process. That is where
Chigwedere and the government in general appears to be following what we can
only describe as the domino theory: knock them all down one by one.

We have watched the growth of authoritarianism in Zimbabwe for far too long
and its damaging effects our on country are all to obvious. Faced with a
crisis of its own making, the government is now unfairly demanding
sacrifices from people. And to make things worse, it dictates rather than

Zimbabwe is not Chigwedere and Chigwedere is not Zimbabwe.

Our parting shot with Chigwedere and the long-suffering parents is that
schools and colleges which obey the dictates of government deteriorate
rapidly to produce people with blinkered and streamlined minds or become
second-rate institutions which serve nobody and achieve nothing.
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Zim Standard

We don't need no education
overthetop By Brian Latham

THE government of a troubled central African country has closed dozens of
schools. The deeply disturbed government says that compliance with its
Stalinist economic principles is more important than education.

A bewildered source in the less than United Nations told Over The Top that
not since the deranged Pol Pot had ruled Cambodia had a government
deliberately denied education to children.

Still, Zany officials said the move was justified because they were finding
it increasingly difficult to pay school fees and buy Kompressors in the same

Meanwhile a senior member of the opposition More Drink Coming Party said the
schools had been closed because 90 per cent of parents sent their children
to proper schools.

He said this had nothing to do with disliking state schools. It was just
that private schools tended to have important things like walls, roofs,
teachers and textbooks. These were amenities that State schools often
lacked, mainly because they had all been stolen.

The Zany education minister said schools should follow government policy and
run at a loss, like the rest of the economy.

In the troubled central African dictatorship, only companies and
institutions closely allied to the Zany Party and its most equal of all
leaders, Comrade Lop Top were permitted to make a profit. Anyone else doing
so was considered unpatriotic, a crime punishable by a weekend in police
cells, death, or both.

Meanwhile young children in the troubled central African police State were
said to have been disturbed (and slightly amused) by the sight of Zany cops
sealing off their places of learning.

Singing, "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control," the
children made their way home.

Hearing that children had sung the words to a song written by a decadent
western popular music group, a Zany official said the children were right to
say the didn't need an education, but they certainly needed a great deal
more thought control.

"We are tired of our enemies in the More Drink Coming Party stirring up
unpatriotic feelings among our youth," said a deranged official from the
misinformation ministry. "We have many camps where the youths at the closed
schools can go for their education."

The announcement worried millions of parents who thought their children
might be conscripted into the notorious Dzaku-dzaku movement and made to
wear ill-fitting uniforms. The children would also be forced to rampage
through More Drink Coming areas (which constitute most of the troubled
central African country) and beat people over the head, some parents

Still other parents worried that if their daughters were conscripted they
would face a "fate worse than death" in the rape camps.

A Zany official denied strongly that there were any rape camps in the
troubled central African basket case. While admitting there may have been
cases of non-consensual intimacy in certain cases, he put this down to "boys
being boys."

The closure of schools in the troubled central African fleapit follows the
closure of farms, many businesses and the economy in general. A Zany insider
told OTT that before long there would be no educated people left in the
troubled central African nation. "That is our secret policy," he gloated,
"because it is a well known fact that only clever and educated people vote
for the More Drink Coming Party. Everyone else votes for us."

The startling admission that the troubled central African banana republic
was to be turned into a nation of retards prompted thousands of well
educated parents to consider moving to less troubled parts of the world -
like the Sudan.

"That's the whole point," said a smiling Zany official.
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Zim Standard

Zimdollar continues to decline
By Rangarirai Mberi

THE Zimbabwe dollar continued its decline against major currencies last
week, but economists forecast the rate to find stability in the coming
weeks. The dollar slid from $5271 to $5333,76 on the US dollar Monday, but
was quoted stable at $5328 Thursday.

Experts expect the dollar to decline marginally this week, but say
Thursday's auction had given the market hope that the dollar would hold on
to current levels in the near term.

Century Holdings' Group Economist Moses Chundu traced the dollar's recent
weakness to market reaction on Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe chief Gideon Gono's
monetary policy review, in which he confirmed market feeling that he wants
the dollar devalued.

"The rate is likely to stabilise before we get to $6000. The accelerated
decline has been due to his (Gono's) statement, in which he announced the
$5200 rate. The message the market got was that the Governor wants the
dollar devalued to at least $5200," Chundu said.

The decline has however slowed in the last three auctions, Chundu observed,
a sign that the dollar was close to stability.

Gono last month gave Zimbabweans living outside the country the option to
cash in their US greenbacks at a new $5200 rate or at the auction rate,
whichever was higher.

The market immediately reacted to Gono's announcement by knocking the dollar
down to $4 700 - the level prior to Gono's concession - to around $5 000,
souring his sweetener to entice exiled money within a week.

"The market has used Gono's $5200 rate as some sort of benchmark. We will
see it come off at the next auction (tomorrow) but I suspect the rate should
settle after Thursday," a dealer with a local bank told StandardBusiness.

The parallel market has in the meantime stalled, and the depreciating dollar
takes the economy a few steps towards a convergence with the parallel
market, which touched shock levels just below $8 000 on the US dollar last

Dealers and economists last week mostly played down fears the local
currency's decline would take it to $6 000 and get the parallel market
moving again. The economy would be unable to sustain rates above $6 000,
economists said.
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Zim Standard

The ugly face of poverty behind scenic Nyanga
By Valentine Maponga

ABOUT 100 kms north of Nyanga, one begins to see stacks of farm bricks
everywhere along the road, some as close as 500 metres from the next pile.

Near Ruwangwe Township - where the tarred road ends - a tired-looking woman
in her late thirties sits on a pile of bricks waiting for customers. She
says she sells bricks to passersby at $30 000 for 1000 bricks, but has not
seen any customers since morning.

Brick moulding has become a part of the lives of the people of Nyanga and a
major source of income for this poor and under-privileged community.

In sharp contrast to the scenic views of the rolling hills and the misty
capped mountains that surround the resort town of Nyanga, the northern part
of this area is very hot and dry throughout the year.

Unreliable rainfall patterns affect crop production in the small villages
around this area, classified under the unproductive Region Five of Zimbabwe.

Here, many homes are built on hilltops because the little land available -
just about 100 square metres per family - is kept for cultivation.

Because of the harsh life and lack of employment opportunities, many of the
young and able have left for the cities such as Harare or Mutare in search
of jobs. Mostly, it is the women, children and the elderly who have been
left behind to tend the small fields.

Land for crops in this part of Manicaland has also been decreasing because
of increasing populations. This has forced some farmers to cultivate on any
piece of available land, including mountain slopes and riverbanks.

Mutsa Chasi of Gande Village under Chief Katerere, says her family has been
living from hand to mouth and regards bread and tea as luxuries. "Basic
commodities such as sugar and bread are not part of our life. We can only
get them once or twice a year - during special holidays such as Christmas,"
said Chasi.

Anna Chakanyuka of Chibisa Village says she used to brew beer to raise money
for food, clothing and for school fees for her children. "As you have just
seen in most of the fields we have planted sorghum. Some women still brew
beer for a living," she said.

Canadian Ambassador John Schram recently commissioned a $172 million project
to economically empower the women of this part of Nyanga and surrounding

The money has been used by the women to prepare home gardens and to develop
about 100 small irrigation plots.

Water from a windmill-powered borehole supplies the Nyambare Nutrition
Garden, which has about 65 members, most of them women.

Another project - Musurudzi Irrigation Garden - draws its water from a
nearby dam and the water is available throughout the year.

The women say the projects have greatly improved their lives by allowing
them access to land and introducing them to income generating activities.

Johanna Chibisa of Chibisa Ward 4 said she was optimistic that they would
now enjoy life just like other employed Zimbabweans.

"We shall plant as many crops as we can and sell as much we can so that we
can prosper and be presentable wherever we go," said Chibisa.

The projects are co-ordinated by EDIT Trust; an NGO formed in 1998 to
contribute towards the development of rural communities.
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Zim Standard

Democracy more than just casting votes
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

IF you had asked me in the seventies what democracy was, I would have
confidently told you that it meant one-man one-vote.

That was the nationalist slogan of the day. To many of us getting the vote
was the sum total of the struggle. It would be the achievement of democracy.
We believed that once we got one-man one-vote all else would be added unto
us. We would have entered the political kingdom which Osagyefo-Kwame
Nkurumah of Ghana had urged us to seek after.

However, to define democracy only as the practice of representative
government by popular vote is to lose the real meaning of the word. As with
all words, democracy does not necessarily mean, in all cases, what it means
by general historical usage or to those who coined it in the first place.

One does not need a degree in the science of semantics to realize that this
is so. We have today so many blatant totalitarian dictatorships which call
themselves democratic republics when they are a far cry and even the very
opposite of even the most rudimentary of democracies. One such so-called
"democracy" is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. Africa also has its
share of such "democratic" republics.

Some did away with elections won after independence. Before he dies the
leader, who in many cases purports to rule by divine ordination, appoints a
successor. The successor in turn appoints his cronies as the ruling junta.
Since there are no elections such "democratic governments" can only be
removed by force.

Other such "democracies" go through a semblance of elections which are
cleverly rigged and the electorate brutally bludgeoned into submission.
After the elections they loudly proclaim to the world how they just held
free and fair democratic elections. However, when members of the
international community ask to observe their elections they are vehemently
rebuffed with the claim that this would be an infringement of their national
sovereignty. Actually, they care for, guard and protect this "sovereignty"
much more than they do the very basic human rights of the people they rule

Democratically electing representatives to government is neither the essence
of freedom nor does it guarantee the same.

In July 1932 Adolf Hitler's Nazi party won the most votes in relatively free
and fair democratic elections in Germany. As soon as he was made Prime
Minister, Hitler steadily moved towards dictatorship. Here I will take
liberty to quote from the World Book Encyclopedia's chronicle of the
historical and fateful events which followed.

It says: "By July, 1933, the government had outlawed the freedom of the
Press, all labour unions, and all political parties except the Nazis. The
Reichstag (parliament) gave Hitler full law making and financial powers.
Hitler secret police, the Gestapo, ruthlessly hunted down his enemies. The
Gestapo shot or jailed any person even suspected of opposing Hitler. By
1934, Hitler ruled Germany completely. He gave himself the title fuhrer

"The Nazi-controlled Press and radio flooded Germany with propaganda.
Germans could read and hear only about the glories of the new order,
Hitler's term for his system of rule.(Is our own Hondo ye minda not a shade
of this?)

"The Nazis forced employers in many industries and professions to fire Jews
and political suspects. Hitler established strict controls over industry,
labour, and agriculture. After 1938, the Nazis decided where a person could
work and what he would earn.

"Hitler set up the Hitler youth organization to win the loyalty of future
generations. All German boys and girls had to join it. They marched,
exercised, learned Nazi beliefs and worked on farms. The Nazis taught
children to spy on anyone suspected of opposing Hitler, even their own
parents. (Is this where the Green Bombers youth militia idea came from?)
Concentration camps were built to imprison Hitler's enemies and suspected

"A network of special police and spies kept watch on the German people and
maintained an atmosphere of terror. The Reichstag met only to listen to
Hitler. Judges and courts still existed, but Hitler or his lieutenants
reversed any verdict they did not like."

Does this all seem rather familiar?

One may rightly ask: If electing those who rule us does not guarantee
freedom, where is that democracy which will do that?"

The National Constitutional Assembly led by Dr Lovemore Madhuku, believes
that the way to restrict the government's power is by a "super law" called
the constitution.

They believe that a well-drafted constitution, enshrining the United Nations
General Assembly proclaimed declaration of human rights, will be able to
protect the people against the abuse of government power by politicians.

It is true that a constitution can go a long way towards protecting people's
rights but it can be changed by a majority vote of the elected
representatives. This is why, in his inaugural speech, President Thabo Mbeki
of South Africa, felt constrained to reassure the people by saying: "Those
elected should never develop or encourage an attitude of arrogance, but
should always be responsible. The ANC would not use its two-thirds majority
to change the constitution."

Would our own dear and great leader say that?

Sir Winston Churchill said: "Government of the people, by the people, for
the people, still remains the sovereign definition of democracy."

To him democracy did not mean just participating in elections periodically.
It meant active participation and involvement in matters of governance by
all citizens, all the time.

Democracy is a culture in which all citizens feel that it is their duty to
take part in public affairs, to keep informed on public issues, to inform of
their views and to protest strongly when their rights are being infringed
upon. Democracy is not an abdication of the citizen's responsibility to
safeguard his or her own freedom.

Democracy is a culture in which various interest groups like business,
labour, the professions and civic organisations (NGO's) participate freely.
They make their views and needs known to government through information,
lobbying or outright protest. They also do the nation a great service by
helping the citizens to understand and utilize the tools of democracy such
as voting, free speech, freedom of assembly and the judicial process.

Any interest group which becomes an arm of the government like our own
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), led by Joseph Chinotimba's
definitely not part of the democratic culture I am talking about.

Democracy is a culture in which an elected representative feels that he
represents the constituency which elected him more than he does the dictates
of his political party.

If and when his political party acts against the interests of those who
voted for him he either rebels against that party or resigns his seat. He
must have the courage of his convictions. Unfortunately many Zanu PF Members
of Parliament today no longer support the policies of that party. However,
they would rather keep quiet in order to keep their cushy positions. In
private they disparage their party and blame it for all the ills which have
befallen Zimbabwe.

One is heartened by the spunk of a real democrat like Kindness Paradza, the
Zanu PF member of parliament.

In his maiden speech to the parliament, he truly represented those who voted
for him by criticising the unjust media laws passed by government. Even
though he is being harassed by the powers that be, he seems to be standing
his ground.

Someone said people get the government they deserve. I say, people deserve
the government they keep. Real democracy and freedom will only be guaranteed
when people refuse by any reasonable means to keep in power people who enact
laws which impinge on personal freedoms in order to perpetuate their stay in
power. They should be regarded as the enemy, no matter how much they
proclaim that they are working towards the common good.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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