The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Electricity rationed in Zimbabwe

9 May 2007, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK

Households in Zimbabwe are to be limited to four hours power supply a day in
the latest setback to hit the country's struggling economy.
The measure, meaning electricity will only be available in homes between
1700 and 2100 local time, is likely to come into force immediately.

The move is designed to support the country's wheat farmers who need power
to irrigate their crops.

Rampant inflation has led to widespread shortages of fuel and food.

The monthly rate of inflation rose to 2,200% in March, the highest in the

Farm priority

Critics accuse President Robert Mugabe of presiding over the destruction of
the country's economy and society in an effort to hold onto power.

But the government says Zimbabwe's economic problems are primarily due to
foreign sanctions.

State-owned power firm Zesa Holdings said the restrictions would be in place
for the next three months while demand for power is lower than at other
times of the year.

Wheat farmers will be guaranteed power for 18 hours in an effort to boost
the winter crop.

Zimbabwe is being forced to import maize after a poor harvest which the
government blamed on drought conditions.

Power cuts have become a regular occurrence in Zimbabwe, where a shortage of
foreign currency has prevented investment in the country's creaking

Key industries such as mining have been affected, putting further strain on
the economy.

"This is no way a surprise," newspaper seller Francis Chakona told the
Reuters news agency of the rationing move.

"But the longer period will drive prices for firewood and candles up and
these items are already quite expensive."

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Amnesty International Public Statement

AI Index: AFR 46/015/2007 (Public)
News Service No: 092
9 May 2007

Zimbabwe: Repression of political opponents continues, with new incidents of
police brutality
Amnesty International today expressed serious concern at recent police
violence against lawyers and urging the Ministers to immediately investigate
the alleged misconduct of police officers from the Criminal Investigations
Department (CID) Law and Order Section at Harare Central police station.

The calls come following an incident on 8 May, when police violently stopped
a demonstration by the Law Society of Zimbabwe, organised to protest the
unlawful arrest and ill-treatment of lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Andrew

One lawyer, Mordecai Mahlangu, is reported to have sustained injuries in the
incident. Police also bundled other lawyers--including Beatrice Mtetwa, the
President of the Law Society--into a police truck and drove off to the
suburb of Eastlea. Police then assaulted the lawyers before letting them go.

The organization said that the police actions were disturbing and that they
point to systematic harassment and intimidation of lawyers who represent
activists from the political opposition parties.

Officers from the CID Law and Order Section appear to be operating above the
law--beating detainees, defying court orders, and denying detained activists
access to lawyers, food and medical treatment.

Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni were arrested by police outside the High
Court of Zimbabwe on 4 May 2007 after they submitted papers on behalf of
Amos Musekiwa, a detained activist from the main opposition political party
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mr Muchadehama and Mr Makoni were
taken to the CID Law and Order Section at Harare Central police station.

Later that night, a High Court judge issued an order compelling the police
to give the detained men access to lawyers and family members and to allow
food and medical treatment. Police officers reportedly refused to comply
with that order. On 5 May the High Court issued another order declaring the
arrest of the two lawyers to be unlawful and ordering their release. Again
police did not comply and are reported to have threatened to assault the
lawyers representing Mr Muchadehama and Mr Makoni when they tried to serve
court orders. The detained lawyers were only released on bail on 7 May after
being charged with "with defeating or obstructing the course of justice."

On 6 May police searched the offices of the lawyers and reportedly seized
documents protected by attorney-client privilege. Lawyers from the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights--Otto Saki and Lawrence Chibwe--were manhandled by
a senior police officer when they tried to prevent the illegal seizure of
the documents.

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Mbeki remains silent while Mugabe bashes lawyers and opposition

By Tererai Karimakwenda
09, May, 2007

As the point man appointed by African heads of State to mediate in the
Zimbabwe crisis, the president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki is expected to be
speaking strongly against the gross human rights violations of the Mugabe
regime in Zimbabwe. The special role he agreed to in Tanzania obliges him to
at least criticise the ongoing brutal and lawless incidents, like the severe
beating of lawyers by the police on Tuesday, when armed truckloads of police
violently broke up a planned march by lawyers in Harare. But Mbeki has
continued with his policy of "silent diplomacy" against mounting criticism
at home and around the world.

Mbeki met with the Ghanaian president and current chairman of the African
Union John Kufour on Tuesday in South Africa. Kufour talked about Zimbabwe,
but Mbeki was mum as usual. This time critics say his silence after Tuesday's
events is not a continuation of "silent diplomacy", but a loud declaration
that such brutal acts against the legal profession in Zimbabwe are not
enough to force even the slightest criticism of the Mugabe regime. Can such
a man be expected to be neutral or fair in his approach to a solution for
the problems next door? And are critics right to question his credibility?

Zimbabwean lawyer Sternford Moyo, who now heads the SADC Lawyers
Association, believes there are several important reasons why Mbeki is
obligated to speak out on the human rights abuses next door. He said it
would have not have been possible to end apartheid in South Africa without
pressure from the international community. Many countries spoke out against
the system and South Africa benefited substantially from that. Moyo
explained that SADC and the African Union both have charters that require
member states to respect the rule of law. And Mbeki as the president of
South Africa, which is signatory to these agreements, is obliged to ensure
that other member states comply.

Moyo said Mbeki's additional responsibility as the SADC mediator requires
him to remain neutral, but stressed that there are situations which are
repugnant and inimical to any resolution of a problem. The abuses in
Zimbabwe are one such repugnant situation.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Student leader hospitalized after 'push' from second floor window

By Lance Guma
09 May 2007

Clifford Hlatshwayo, the Vice President of the University of Zimbabwe
Students Representative Council, was hospitalized on Tuesday after he was
allegedly thrown out of a second floor window on campus. In the early hours
of the morning 4 to 6 suspected state security agents raided the room he was
sleeping in and started assaulting him. His assailants kept on taunting him
with the words, 'tinoziva zvamuri kuronga' (we know what you are planning).
There are however conflicting reports on whether Hlatshwayo jumped from the
room in an attempt to flee or was pushed by his assailants.

The students union insist he was pushed while another statement from the
Students Solidarity Trust said he, 'only managed to get away by jumping out
of the first floor window where he sustained injuries to the head, right
hand and right leg. The statement also says he is recovering at a private
clinic in Harare. In an interview with Newsreel, Promise Mkwananzi the
President of the Zimbabwe National Students Union who visited Hlatshwayo on
Wednesday, said his colleague had deep cuts to the face and suspected
internal injuries from the fall. He said specialists are already trying to
ascertain if there are any injuries to his spinal chord.

Hlatshwayo is the only remaining student leader from a radical crop of
leaders that was expelled from the university. He is spearheading a campaign
by the Progressive Student Movement to ensure government sponsored
candidates do not take over the students union. Mkwananzi said they suspect
the attack on Hlatshwayo is an attempt to 'break the centre' of the
Progressive Student movement and its campaign on campus. Only last month
Hlatshwayo was acquitted of malicious injury to property by a court
following what the students termed 'cooked up charges.'

Meanwhile there are reports that 20 students were arrested in Bulawayo after
police foiled a demonstration at the National University of Science and
Technology (NUST). Mkwananzi told us that several student leaders are now in
hiding for fear of reprisals by the state. Not much information was
available at the time we went on air but Mkwananzi said they were still
trying to piece together events and find out who had been picked up. On
Friday students are holding a summit in Harare to discuss the current
climate in which they learning in. It's not yet clear whether the police
will try and disrupt this particular gathering.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe: a challenge to the truth

Religious Intelligence

      Wednesday, 9th May 2007. 11:31am

      By: Nicholas Baines.

      Any critical account of life in Zimbabwe is written off by the
government-sponsored media in Zimbabwe as 'propaganda'. 'UK media lies',
aimed at securing re-colonisation, poison the minds of potential visitors
and investors, blinding them to the peaceful and harmonious reality of life
in a wonderful country. If it wasn't for Western countries such as Britain,
there wouldn't be any problems to speak of.

      Well, I have just returned from a two-week visit to Zimbabwe with a
group of 20 people from my Episcopal Area. We began to plan the visit nearly
three years ago and became increasingly diffident about it as conditions
deteriorated there more recently. Our fears were not based purely on British
media coverage of Zimbabwe, but also on reports we were getting from the
country through contacts in the churches at all levels. Our visit, then,
afforded a unique opportunity to see for ourselves what is going on there as
well as develop our long-standing link with the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe.

      The situation looks like this:

      . Inflation is well above 3000 per cent and rising, thus making any
planning impossible. The official exchange rate was 250 Zim dollars to 1 US
dollar; but the parallel rate (on which prices are based) was 16,000 Zim
dollars to 1 US dollar. The black market rules.

      . Nothing has been repaired for years and the country's infrastructure
is collapsing. Constant power cuts, sometimes lasting for days, are
interspersed with water shortages. In Gweru, the administrative centre of
the Midlands Province, we were without running water for our last five days;
in Kadoma, where I preached and presided on Sunday April 22, there has been
no running water for two months.

      . We saw signs of malnutrition in children, and adults suffering from
hunger fatigue. Some of the people we stayed with are normally eating what
is called 'zero one zero' -- no breakfast, a basic lunch and nothing in the
evening. This year's drought has devastated the maize crop.

      . Agricultural land, once so rich and well-farmed, is now largely
abandoned. The land-reform process has been catastrophic, not because it was
morally wrong in itself (the UK agreed to it), but because it was
ill-conceived, appallingly executed and has proved economically disastrous.
You don't need a GCSE in economics to know that it could never work.

      . Many businesses and industries have closed down or are working at a
small percentage of their capability.

      . HIV/AIDS is wreaking devastation and life expectancy for a male is
now 34 years.

      Our visit was designed to give us unique access to ordinary people.
Our hosts were generous and hospitable, wanting us to be comfortable and
looked after. However, nothing can hide the reality that lies behind this
warmth. People are going hungry and are beginning to feel hopeless. One
priest said to us, 'You see us walking, but we are dead already'. They are
fearful of the authorities and pessimistic about the possibility of next
year's elections bringing any change. They end many conversations with: 'We
must pray that God's will may be done.' And therein lies a problem.

      One of the aspects of Zimbabwean life that is hard to comprehend is
the disjunction between 'hope' and responsibility. Many of the people we met
hope that radical change will come and their lives improve. But when we said
that prayer must be accompanied by action, this was often dismissed. It is
clearly easy to be critical from a distance of these people's apparent
unwillingness to take responsibility for the changes that are needed (eg
voting against Mugabe in 2008), but nevertheless this is a striking feature
of many conversations.

      Our group comprised eight clergy and 12 lay people of different ages
and backgrounds. We had educationalists, medics, a lawyer, IT specialists --
all of us falling in love with Zimbabwe and her people. We spent time
together as a group, but were then dispersed to different parts of the
Diocese of Central Zimbabwe. Therefore, the picture we built came not from
second-hand reports, but from personal experience. Water shortages and power
cuts were experienced by all. Hunger was identified by all. Fear of
intimidation was discerned by many.

      From high-density townships to rural villages, the picture was
remarkably consistent.

      In the midst of all this the Anglican Church is struggling to keep
hope alive. The worship in the churches we visited was vibrant and
life-changing. The music was fantastic everywhere we went. People know how
to celebrate -- but whilst celebrating their faith and their God, they are
not celebrating their circumstances. Priests and people are trying to enable
one another to remain faithful under pressure and to have the courage to do
what is necessary to bring about change. We met some very brave and good

      However, the Anglican Church is also hindered in its witness. The
scandalous Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, dominates the church and makes
it impossible for the Church to speak with one voice. He is a Mugabe man and
is supported by Bernard Malango, Primate of the Province of Central Africa.
Archbishop Malango (who has announced his retirement from the end of 2007)
is a 'conservative' Primate who sees sexuality as a moral issue, but appears
to see little problem with (presumably, non-moral) matters of financial
fraud, incitement to murder and corruption. Kunonga has his support.

      Following a recent Provincial Episcopal Synod (April 12) the bishops
issued a statement that appeared weak in its demands, as this newspaper
reported last week. Yet it clearly called for change in Zimbabwe and, by
implication, change in governance and government. Those who have ears to
hear will discern in this an encouragement to bring about such change. Even
Kunonga signed a plea for change. The regime of Robert Mugabe will end --
all empires do -- and many of those who have climbed on his back will go
down with him -- including those who are prepared to let their people suffer
in the interests of their private power games.

      Our visit has left us with much to reflect upon. The extraordinary
faith and spirituality of the people we met reaches out in costly praxis to
the hungry, the orphaned and widowed, the sick, the aged and the bereaved --
but how can they speak and act prophetically before people who cannot bear
criticism or challenge? How can we best support the ordinary people of
Zimbabwe through the networks we have in the churches there? How can we help
prepare for the rebuilding of this suffering country in a way that does not
patronise, but enables Zimbabwean Christians to re-shape their country and
church? How can we most usefully use our resources to support those who will
one day be able to offer good models of governance and the exercise of
power? How can we most effectively pray for our brothers and sisters in
Christ while they suffer in a land waiting for liberation?

      And are these observations the result of naïve consumption of British
propaganda? No. We saw for ourselves.

      The Rt Revd Nicholas Baines is Bishop of Croydon

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Country Reaches Official Hyperinflation Level

Business in Africa (Johannesburg)

9 May 2007
Posted to the web 9 May 2007


Official silence on Zimbabwe's latest inflation figures is being ascribed by
Harare-based investment professionals to the authorities' embarrassment that
the internationally accepted hyperinflation level has now been reached.

The standard measure applied by economists and monetary authorities is
growth in inflation of over 50 percent month on month, and it looks as
though Zimbabwe has now moved beyond this point, says John Legat, head of
Imara Asset Management, Zimbabwe, part of the regionally represented Imara
financial services group.

Legat reports regularly to international investors in the Imara African
Opportunities Fund, a fund with equity positions in numerous African
markets, including stakes in some of Zimbabwe's leading listed companies.

He has consistently warned that inflation could get worse before it gets
better. Legat indicates that even in the hyperinflation stratosphere, this
view remains valid.

He tells investors: "The recent inflation number from the local subsidiary
of auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers came as a shock. We were all aware of
sharp price increases during March, but hadn't appreciated the extent to
which inflation had accelerated.

"A 160 percent gain on the month leading to a 6 300 percent increase on the
year was far above the IMF prediction of 5 000 percent for 2007. Official
inflation numbers (for March) have not been officially released, presumably
because they are too embarrassing.

"The rumours are that they hit 2 200 percent which was what PWC suggested
was the level for the end of December 2006. This would imply a growth of
inflation of over 50 percent month on month in March, which is the official
definition of hyperinflation."

To support his view that inflation may yet worsen, Legat quotes historical

Argentina's inflation peaked at 4 923 percent in 1989. Brazil twice hit 1
972 percent in 1989, following up with then 2 477 percent in 1993 - easily
surpassed by the PWC estimate of Zimbabwe's inflation (6 300 percent),
though still below the last officially admitted level of 2 200 percent for
the year. But by putting inflation into a currency context, history shows
that mind-boggling levels are possible.

At the inflationary peak reached by Chiang Kai-shek's regime, one US dollar
was worth Yuan 41 276 595 744 681 - still a world record!

By comparison, the Weimar Germans in the early 1920s were wimps with one US
dollar at a mere Mark 4 329 000 000 000.

Legat notes: "Interestingly, Zimbabwe is fast catching up with Argentina and
Brazil in the 1980s. The effect of compounding will soon have us up there."

One effect of Zimbabwe's latest inflationary surge could be a form of
currency indexing - if not by the authorities, at least by business.

John Legat points out: "Unusually, Zimbabwe still primarily uses an
unindexed Zimbabwe dollar.

"We have to believe though that with Zimbabwean prices moving at this speed,
businesses and individuals will find it increasingly difficult to operate
without resorting to US dollar-linked pricing.

"If not the US dollar, then the rand might be used as a means of exchange in
place of the Zim dollar."

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Opposition Splits While Zimbabwe Slips

New York Times

Published: May 9, 2007
JOHANNESBURG, May 8 - The last couple of years have been exceedingly tough
for the Movement for Democratic Change, the only opposition political party
of any note in authoritarian Zimbabwe. Party officials have been beaten with
stones and logs; their cars have been hijacked; their posters have been
methodically stripped from street poles. In one memorable instance, thugs
tried to toss the party's director of security down a sixth-floor stairwell
at its headquarters.

On March 31, Mr. Tsvangirai denounced President Mugabe, in power 27 years,
for running again.
And those are just the attacks they have endured from their own members.

Even more than the Zimbabwean government's frequently brutal abductions and
assaults on members of the M.D.C., the internecine brawls are evidence that
all is not well inside Zimbabwe's political opposition, the force on which
the West has pinned its hopes for democratic change.

As President Robert G. Mugabe's 27-year rule enters what many analysts call
a terminal phase, the selfproclaimed democratic opposition is near its

The Movement for Democratic Change is split into two bitterly opposed
factions, at war over ideology, power and prestige. Each has called the
other a tool of Mr. Mugabe's spy service, the Central Intelligence
Organization, and each has accused the other of betraying the party's
democratic ideals.

Now, with a crucial national election looming, the question is whether they
can reform their tactics and patch up their differences long enough to mount
a serious challenge to Mr. Mugabe - and if they do, whether ordinary people
will care.

Some Zimbabweans are skeptical. "They don't seriously challenge the regime,"
said Mike Davies, who leads a civic group, the Combined Harare Residents
Association. "You ask young people here what they want, and their No. 1
answer is 'I want to get the hell out of Zimbabwe.' They don't buy into the

Another expert, a political analyst in Harare, the capital, who spoke on
condition of anonymity out of fear of expulsion by the government, was
dismissive. "As a political party," he said, "they haven't cut the mustard."

An unlikely amalgam of whites and blacks, trade unionists and intellectuals,
the Movement for Democratic Change nearly won control of Parliament in 2000,
just a year after its founding, and nearly beat Mr. Mugabe in the 2002
presidential contest.

But by the end of 2006, repeated miscalculations and sometimes violent
infighting had divided the party into two feuding camps, both almost

They might still be, had Mr. Mugabe's riot police not severely beaten dozens
of opposition members during a protest on March 11, including Morgan
Tsvangirai, the popular figure who now heads the party's largest faction.

Although Mr. Tsvangirai and his loyalists presided over the party's
decline - and not a little of the violence - his photogenic head wound and
swollen eye instantly elevated the party's profile in the world press,
turning him into a symbol of democratic change in Zimbabwe.

For the M.D.C., Mr. Tsvangirai's drubbing could be a godsend. Though the
economy is in ruins, millions of citizens have fled the country and most of
those who remain resent Mr. Mugabe, the president, now 83, who has declared
his intention to seek a new term in elections next March.

Zimbabwe's neighbors, belatedly alarmed at the unraveling next door, have
appointed President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to mediate guarantees of a
free and fair election.

Most political analysts say Mr. Mugabe has already begun his campaign, in
his own way. In February his agents began a wave of kidnappings and beatings
of hundreds of Movement for Democratic Change leaders - a crusade, critics
say, to destroy the opposition's will to contest another election.

Faced with that crusade, the two M.D.C. factions have declared a temporary
truce and pledged to wage a single campaign against Mr. Mugabe. But with 11
months left before the vote, they have yet to choose a presidential
candidate or a parliamentary slate, much less a campaign plan.

Brian Raftopoulos, a Zimbabwean political scientist at the Institute for
Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, says the clock is ticking. "They
have to agree at the very minimum on a common election strategy and a common
nominee for president," he said. "I think they've got very little time to do

In interviews, Mr. Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, the general secretary of
the opposing M.D.C. faction, said they were in serious talks to put aside
their rivalry and refocus their energies on defeating Mr. Mugabe.

That will be a tall order, for as Mr. Ncube says, the two sides split over
bedrock issues about how a democratic opposition should function.

Divisions began to fester early this decade, after Mr. Tsvangirai was lured
into a government sting operation that videotaped him talking of Mr. Mugabe's
"elimination" and relishing the prospect of his own party's ascension to
power. Mr. Tsvangirai's subsequent arrest and trial on treason charges
becalmed the M.D.C. for more than a year, crippled his control of party
affairs and raised questions about his competence.

Since he was acquitted in 2004, the party's internal feuds have blossomed
publicly. While political analysts say the party fell apart for many
reasons, violence seems to have been the trigger.

In mid-2004, vigilantes loyal to Mr. Tsvangirai began attacking members who
were mostly loyal to Mr. Ncube, climaxing in a September raid on the party's
Harare headquarters in which the security director was nearly thrown to his

An internal party inquiry later established that aides to Mr. Tsvangirai had
tolerated, if not endorsed, the violence. One of them, Isaac Matongo, later
became the chairman of Mr. Tsvangirai's wing of the party. Mr. Matongo died
in his sleep in Harare last Wednesday.

Divisive as the violence was, it was a debate over the rule of law that set
off the party's final breakup in November 2005. As Senate elections
approached, Mr. Ncube's supporters argued that the M.D.C. should field a
slate of candidates; Mr. Tsvangirai's argued for a boycott.

When party leaders voted on the issue, Mr. Ncube's side narrowly won, but
Mr. Tsvangirai declared that as president of the party he was not bound by
the majority's decision.

In the ensuing divorce, each side accused the other of treason, and each
said the other had been infiltrated by Mr. Mugabe's spies, a charge that was
probably true for both. But in the 18 months since then, the two factions'
differences have persisted - as has the violence, albeit sporadically.

Unquestionably, the scattered violence within the party pales next to the
systematic beatings and torture that human rights advocates say have become
the Mugabe government's policy.

According to a new Human Rights Watch report, "hundreds of opposition
members and supporters, and civil society activists have been arrested,
abducted or tortured, and scores have gone into hiding" since the March 11

Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Ncube have publicly deplored the violence within the
opposition's ranks. Mr. Tsvangirai said the split in the opposition was "sad
and tragic," but added that the "petty squabbles" between the factions were
now "water under the bridge."

But in a party founded on the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King, the
image of disarray and, to some critics, hypocrisy, has taken its toll in
support from civic groups and the press.

Roy Bennett, a Zimbabwean in exile who is the treasurer of Mr. Tsvangirai's
wing of the party, says those who bemoan the state of the Movement for
Democratic Change are missing the point.

"Is the opposition the problem in Zimbabwe?" asked Mr. Bennett, who now
lives in South Africa. "The problem is Robert Mugabe and ZANUPF" - Mr.
Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

Mr. Ncube says he agrees, which is why the two sides are trying to present a
common front in the 2008 elections. But he and others find a disturbing
precedent in Zimbabwe's original liberation movement, the one that in the
1970s defeated the government of the white autocrat Ian Smith in what was
then Rhodesia.

That movement, too, was split - between Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union and the rival Zimbabwe African People's Union, or ZAPU. They
put aside their differences until after liberation was a reality.

The result was an internecine war. It claimed tens of thousands of lives,
perpetuated Zimbabwe's long history of political violence and produced the
nation's current autocracy.

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Zimbabwe Opposition Voices Early Concern About Electoral Climate


      By Carole Gombakomba
      08 May 2007

One faction of Zimbabwe's divided opposition Movement for Democratic Change
says it won't contest a by-election in the Zaka East constituency of
Masvingo Province due to the increasingly violent political climate and the
fact that whoever wins the seat will have to defend it 10 months hence in
the March 2008 early general elections.

Elections Director Paul Themba Nyathi of the opposition faction headed by
Arthur Mutambara told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the grouping decided not to contest the seat because of the
electoral climate.

Since mid-March the government has been keeping heavy pressure on the
opposition with hundreds of activists abducted and beaten, though most of
those targeted have been loyalists of Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC's founding

Officials in the Tsvangirai faction said they will shortly decide whether to
contest the Zaka East seat. The June 9 election has been called to fill the
seat vacated upon the death of ZANU-PF parliamentarian Tinos Rusere in

Local government minister Ignatious Chombo announced, meanwhile, that
elections for local offices will be held in January 2008. ZANU-PF had
proposed to hold the presidential, parliamentary and local government
elections at the same time.

Tsvangirai MDC faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the announcement showed
that the ruling party is already planning to rig next year's elections.

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Defections Bolster Tsvangirai Faction Of Zimbabwe's Opposition MDC


      By Patience Rusere
      08 May 2007

Despite reported moves towards reunification of Zimbabwe's opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, the MDC faction headed by Arthur Mutambara
Tuesday lost a leading member of its Bulawayo branch to the rival faction of
Morgan Tsvangirai.

Bulawayo Provincial Secretary Albert Mhlanga of the Mutambara faction
announced at a news conference late Tuesday that he was defecting to the
Tsvangirai grouping. He said he was bringing 35 other officials from Ward 16
or Gwabalanda with him.

Mhlanga, a city councilor and former deputy mayor of Bulawayo, said his
constituents pressed him to reunite with the faction of Tsvangirai, the MDC
founding president, as they believed personality clashes, not national
interest, split the party in 2005.

Reached for comment, Mutambara faction spokesman Gabriel Chaibva said he was
not aware of Mhlanga's defection, but told a VOA reporter that members of
the grouping were free to make individual choices.

Several senior officials have defected from the Mutambara faction, including
former secretary general Gift Chimanikire, Integration Healing and
Reconciliation Secretary, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Joel Gabhuza and Blessing
Chebundo, among others.

Tsvangirai faction Bulawayo spokesman Felix Mafa told reporter Patience
Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that more defections by senior
officials of the Mutambara faction can be expected in the days ahead.

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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Youth Preach 'Zero Tolerance' Of Opposition


      By Carole Gombakomba
      07 May 2007

Zimbabwe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party has
launched a "zero-tolerance" campaign against its political opposition in the
approach to the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for March

Sources said ZANU-PF youth were were bused last weekend from Mutoko to
Mutasa South, in Manicaland Province, where they addressed rallies and
instructed their audiences to harass and beat up members of the opposition.

Deputy Youth Minister and ZANU-PF Youth Secretary Saviour Kasukuwere denied
such rallies took place despite President Robert Mugabe's call to ZANU-PF
youth in April to "deal with the opposition" in their localities ahead of
the elections.

But political analyst John Makumbe said there is ample evidence that ZANU-PF
youth are under orders to intimidate and harass critics of the government.

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Not knowing the score


First-class cricket behind closed doors

Martin Williamson

May 9, 2007

Pressure is growing for the ICC to take action against Zimbabwe Cricket from
an unlikely, and usually low-profile, group - the game's statisticians.

Until this year, despite increasing reporting restrictions, the Zimbabwe
board, aided by dedicated volunteers, has always supplied scorecards of
first-class and List A matches to the media. But many of the old
statisticians have been driven away, while others have been ostracised by
the board.

Last year there were increasing problems with the accuracy of the data, and
often queries had to be flagged with ZC when cards did not add up or data
was missing. These were almost always resolved. However, this year ZC has
failed to supply any data, even to its domestic media or on its own website,
which is increasingly inaccessible and which has not been updated for
several weeks.

No cards have been provided for Faithwear Cup matches, the country's List A
competition, which took place more than five weeks ago. A source close to
the board said that it was unlikely that they would be made available as in
some instances the cards had been lost, while in others the data was so poor
as to be almost unusable. "Releasing them will be more that embarrassing,"
he admitted.

Cricinfo has made several requests for the information, and the ICC and the
influential Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians have also
contacted ZC. In almost all instances, the board has failed to even
acknowledge the mail.

A few cards for the Logan Cup, the first-class competition, have been
obtained, but in every instance this has been through volunteers or Cricket
Kenya, who have a side in the competition. This will be the first season in
the 103-year history of the tournament that scorecards have not been
available. The board only published the fixture list on the morning of the
first round of matches.

Bill Frindall, the BBC statistician, told Cricinfo that "this situation
sadly comes as no surprise". He added: "The ICC should threaten ZC with
suspension of their membership and the withdrawal of first-class and List A
status. They should also withhold Zimbabwe's 2007 World Cup fee which is
bound to end up in the hands of their puppet administrators.

"No doubt the ICC will prevaricate as usual. What a pity those ludicrous
multi-national matches of 2005 [the ICC Afro-Asia Cup and Super Series] were
not staged in Harare. The scores would have been lost forever."

"It highlights the growing shambles that is ZC," one administrator in
Zimbabwe, who did not wish to be named, said. "They can't even sort the
basics, so it doesn't take too much imagination to work out what a complete
mess other things it is responsible for are. The game is dying on its feet.
If people don't even know that matches are happening locally, what hope is

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

© Cricinfo

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Who will stop Zimbabwe's torturers?

The Guardian

International leaders are switching off their phones, declining to hear the
shrill cries coming out of Zimbabwe.

Tawanda Mutasah

May 9, 2007 7:30 PM
I had never seen a combat machine gun in a civilian hospital until the day I
went to Harare's Avenues Clinic to visit two women, pro-democracy leaders
who had just survived a brutal, methodical beating at the hands of the

"We went through unspeakable torture. Each time that night when we heard the
sound of boots returning, our bowels loosened," said Grace Kwinjeh of the
ordeal she and Sekai Holland, 64, underwent.

Now they were attempting to heal while under armed guard, hearing those same
boots approaching their bedsides intermittently throughout the night.
Zimbabwe's "3/11" - the day 50 people set out to attend a prayer meeting but
ended up suffering hours of torture by security agents - shocked the world
and raised hopes that president Robert Mugabe's impunity might at last be
halted. But barely a month later, the television news cameras are pointing
elsewhere, and international leaders are switching off their phones,
declining to hear the shrill cries coming out of Zimbabwe.

Why? There are two reasons. First, southern African leaders have told the
world that the Zimbabwe problem must be left to them to address; second, the
new victims of Mugabe's crackdown are "smaller" people - street level
pro-democracy organisers, known in their communities but scarcely recognised
in the neighbouring district, let alone in the wider world.

At least 600 of them have been abducted and tortured by state terror agents
this year. Far from being chastened by all the attention, Mugabe's regime
has stepped up its efforts, invading homes at night, picking off local
leaders and activists and taking them to cells in isolated police stations.
Officers who protest are court-martialled and transferred to remote
stations. A journalist has recently been murdered. And lest they protest too
loudly, non-governmental organisations have been warned that they may lose
their license to operate.

The world has been told - as so often during the past seven years - to put
matters in the hands of South African president Thabo Mbeki's quiet
diplomacy. Yet the repression and violence have only intensified since Mbeki
received his mandate from his neighbouring heads of state. Far from
condemning Mugabe, they called for the "lifting of all forms of sanctions
against Zimbabwe" and insisted that the scandalously rigged elections of the
past six years had been free and fair.

Small wonder that Mugabe was emboldened, and that terror squads now openly
brag to their victims that there will be no opposition left by the time of
the elections next year.

The efforts of those progressive African leaders who are seeking a solution
to the Zimbabwe crisis are, of course, welcome. But, while African solutions
for the constitutional, electoral, and economic questions that the country
faces are sought and debated, the reality of torture and abductions is an
urgent matter that literally cries out for immediate intervention. Does the
international community not have a responsibility to protect?

In her seminal 2003 book America and the Age of Genocide, Samantha Power
warned that when it comes to preventing loss of life and the torture of
groups and individuals at the hands of armed, predatory regimes, the world
community always does too little too late. Yet in 2005, the United Nations
security council rightly decided to discuss Operation Murambatsvina, under
which the Zimbabwe government destroyed the homes of 700,000 people and the
livelihoods of at least 20% of Zimbabwe's poor population. Now, Zimbabwe is
again at a point where the UN needs to act to end the escalating abductions
and torture.

South Africa's UN ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, argues that Zimbabwe's crisis
is not an appropriate matter for the security council, because it does not
threaten international peace and security. Yet Mbeki himself has spoken of
the huge humanitarian "burden" on his country as a result of the chaos next
door. Indeed, three million Zimbabweans have escaped into neighbouring
countries, fuelling increased poverty, crime and xenophobia.

We must learn from history. Ambassador Kumalo undoubtedly approved when the
UN General Assembly passed its resolution of September 30, 1974, against
South Africa. Yet it was not premised on apartheid's threat to security, but
on its serious violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In UN
security council resolutions passed this year on Somalia, Haiti, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, and others, the Security Council has
appropriately observed that serious human rights abuses pose a threat to
peace and security in the regions where those states are situated.

Zimbabwe's crisis meets this standard. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and
his human rights commissioner, Louise Arbor, made a good start when they
spoke out about the abuses in Zimbabwe this March. The UN could take the
next step by sending in a mission to review, monitor, and call for an end to
abductions and torture, and to protect human rights defenders. This falls
clearly within the UN's responsibility to protect, no matter what local
diplomatic initiatives African leaders undertake and regardless of how South
Africa feels about it. It is unconscionable that no one, so far, has been
willing to try to stop the perpetrators of Zimbabwe's terror.

In cooperation with Project Syndicate, 2007.




Comment No. 572837

May 9 19:56

Unfortunately for Zimbabweans there is no oil there; George Bush doesn't
have a family grudge to settle with Mugabe; Bliar doesn't get in a
righteous, Christian-soldier mood when thinking of Zimbabwe and doesn't have
Bush to follow; and the armchair generals like MARKGREEN0 and SEERTAAK don't
get excited enough by the thought of dead Christians - otherwise known as
collateral damage caused by an invading army. And they won't be prepared to
do the dirty work themselves, either.

I think the best idea would be to claim that Al-Qaeda are starting to
develop a presence there and the Americans would be in there before you can
say 'Oops, sorry, I thought there were some bad guys under that missile'.

Otherwise, sorry but the Iraq debacle has poisoned world affairs and no-one
knows who to believe anymore. What would you suggest ?


Comment No. 572840

May 9 19:58


Is this a plea for liberal interventionism? Plucky little
Belgium next? Grauniadistas all aboard?


Comment No. 572851

May 9 20:06

I work close to Zimbabwe House on The Strand in London. For three years I've
wandered past on a lunchtime, wondering where the semonstrators were. Not a
sign, nor a flag, nor even a message on the pavement. Over the road, down
Villiiers Street I've seen 'charity muggers' trying to get people to support
Amnesty International, yet I've never seen Amnesty standing by the embassy
door protesting at the imprisonment of protestors in Harare.

Compared to the vigils held outside South Africa House a hundred yards
further along in the 1980s it really is quite shameful. Post-colonial guilt
is not enough to explain the reticence, we have simply turned our backs on
Zimbabwe. Is Peter Tatchell the only person in this country prepared to
challenge Mugabe? Where's Bono? Where's George Galloway? Where's Tony Benn?
Where is anybody who seems to give a damn any more?

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Mugabe's cronies eye $2 million Aussie windfall

The Australian

By Malcolm Conn

May 10, 2007 01:00am

THE Federal Government may be forced to pay Zimbabwe cricket officials
millions of dollars of taxpayers' money if Australia does not tour the
strife-torn African nation.

John Howard has publicly said that his Government would indemnify Cricket
Australia from any fine it incurs for refusing to tour.

The fine is $US2 million ($2.43 million), plus likely claims of millions
more for lost television rights and sponsorship.

All the money would be paid directly to Zimbabwe cricket officials, cronies
of President Robert Mugabe.

The fine compares with Zimbabwe Cricket earning as little as $50,000 should
Australia play the three one-day matches scheduled for September.

CA will tell Foreign Minister Alexander Downer at a meeting in Melbourne
this evening that unless the Government takes the unprecedented step of
banning the national team from touring Zimbabwe, it will have no choice but
to tour or hand over millions of dollars.

Even if the Government pays the fine, CA fears that a refusal to tour
without either a government ban or an adverse safety and security report
would incur the wrath of much of the international cricket community, led by
financially powerful India.

This could do serious long-term damage to Australia's traditional summer
program, with many countries refusing to co-operate with Australia's

That could include South Africa refusing to play any future Boxing Day Tests
in Melbourne.

South Africa also stages an annual Boxing Day Test but agrees to tour
Australia at that time every four years in exchange for a significant fee,
believed to be $300,000.

India is already flexing its financial muscle by refusing to begin a Test
series in Australia until Boxing Day this year, leaving a hole in the
program from late November.

CA spokesman Peter Young described the meeting with Mr Downer as an
"information exchange".

"We want the Government to understand that yes, the fine is an important
issue. But the bigger issue for us is what it (not touring) will mean for
Australian cricket," he said

"The powerbrokers in world cricket have been rock solid behind Zimbabwe

"Their continuing argument is that it's not the fault of the Zimbabwe
cricket players that the country faces its particular political and social

Even if Australia tours, it is unlikely a full-strength team will go.

Some players may follow the lead of Stuart MacGill, who boycotted
Australia's 2004 tour of Zimbabwe on moral grounds.

Mr Young said the International Cricket Council had made it clear again this
week that it is not enough for a government to simply say "we'd rather you
didn't go".

"Eventually, our board will make a decision on all the advice it is given,"
Mr Young said.

This advice will include CA's corporate obligations. Under the corporations
law a board and its executives must act in the best interests of its

It would clearly not be in CA's best interest to become a global outcast,
which could cost it many millions by wrecking the traditional Australian
summer season.

Mr Young denied that CA would be shirking its moral obligations by touring

"CA is very aware of all the political and moral issues that are involved in
this debate," he said.

"We are aware that we don't exist in a vacuum. Sport and politics are
inextricably intertwined.

"But at the end of the day our expertise is in the organisation and playing
of cricket matches.

"Our corporate responsibilities are to act in the best interests of

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FEWS NET Warning Alert for Zimbabwe

May 9 2007

ZIMBABWE Food Security Warning

May 9, 2007



Lack of rain, inputs lead to poor cereal production, inflation continues


Figure 1. Estimates for maize crop yield at the end of April 2007


Prolonged dry spells in most southern districts of Zimbabwe during the 20006/07 production season will contribute to low cereal yields, particularly for maize (Figure 1). Though the northern districts received comparatively good rains, yields in these areas will be affected by frequent fertilizer shortages throughout the season.


Total maize, sorghum and millet production for the 2006/07 agricultural season is forecast to be about 50 percent of last season’s production, and less than 50 percent of the five-year production average. Estimated 2006/07 cereal production is forecast to meet between 40 and 50 percent of domestic consumption needs. Given the prevailing foreign currency shortages in Zimbabwe, and the many competing basic import needs (fossil fuels, electricity, medicines, agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, etc.) that require foreign currency, importing the cereals necessary to make up the consumption shortfall will be a serious challenge for the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ).


Although the 2006/07 rainy season (October to April) started early in Zimbabwe, rains were inconsistent and poorly distributed for the first several weeks. It was not until mid November that substantial rains fell throughout the country, and the majority of maize was planted in mid December. In Zimbabwe’s northern and central districts, the December plantings benefited from relatively good rains at flowering and grain filling stages during January and February, though a nationwide shortage of top dressing fertilizers during these growth stages, reduced potential yields in these areas. In addition, most of the maize crops in southern districts suffered irreversible damage from the prolonged El Niño-related dry spells that dominated the second half of the cropping season.


Inflation in Zimbabwe continues, with no sign of abating. The official annual rate of inflation, measured by the Central Statistical Office, reached 2,200 percent in March 2007 – a 470 point increase from the February 2007 annual rate. Such high rates of inflation wreak havoc in the economy and severely restrict household purchasing power, while also fueling civil discontent that has led to strikes among employees and workers from several economic sectors, including GoZ departments. The overall poor 2006/07 agricultural season, coupled with the continued shortage of foreign currency, are expected to fuel continued inflation for the greater part of the 2007/08 consumption year.


The ever-increasing cost of living is weighing down most poor households in urban and rural areas of Zimbabwe. The cost of a households monthly basket, monitored by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), rose from Z$ 686,116 in February to Z$ 1,483,324 in March 2007. Prices for all items in the basket increased last month, many by at least 70 percent. Notable increases include a 158 percent increase in the price of bread and 142 percent increase in the price of fresh milk.

Figure 2. Monthly budget for a family of six and minimum wages from November 2006 to March 2007

Source: Consumer Council of Zimbabwe & LEDRIZ

Minimum wages per household wage-earner can only cover about 17 percent of the CCZ food basket (Figure 2), and meager consumer wages lag behind the cost of food and non-food items.


Maize prices have also increased by more than 50 percent from January to March 2007 (Figure 3), and, due to uncertainty regarding the 2006/07 harvest, those few farmers with remaining stocks from the 2005/06 season are now holding onto their grains for their own consumption, causing further shortages on local markets. Maize prices have also increased in response to inflation.


Since most districts throughout the country expect poor cereal harvests, the decreases in maize prices normally experienced during the harvesting months of May to July, will be limited to a few districts in the central and northern parts of the country. The majority of farming households will be forced to purchase available maize at high market prices as early as the beginning of the new consumption year, unless significant distributions of cheaper maize by the GoZ’s Grain Marketing Board occur or substantial amounts of food aid are distributed. Current about 1.7 million people are receiving food aid.


The Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) by WFP and FAO is currently underway. Complementary vulnerability assessments, such as Zimbabwe’s Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), as well as local NGO assessments, will provide updated food security information for the country, as well as initial projections on food aid requirements for the new consumption year.


Figure 3. Maize price trends from January to March 2007

Source: FEWS NET

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Court grants Mann extradition to Equatorial Guinea

Yahoo News

by Fanuel Jongwe

HARARE (AFP) - A Zimbabwean court on Wednesday authorised the extradition of
a jailed Briton, Simon Mann, to Equatorial Guinea on coup plot charges,
sweeping aside concerns that he might face torture or invalid justice there.

"The application is granted," said Harare magistrate Omega Mugumbate,
granting an application by Malabo to extradite Mann.
The former SAS commando is accused of masterminding a planned ouster of the
oil-rich Equatorial Guinea's long-serving ruler Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

"It is ordered that the respondent be extradited to Equatorial Guinea," the
judge said, dismissing arguments that Mann would be denied a fair trial and
might face torture in that country.

Mugumbate underlined there had been guarantees that the Eton-educated Mann
would not face capital punishment, that he would be "well-treated and
allowed access to lawyers of his choice, and that he would not be subjected
to torture."

Mann's lawyer Jonathan Samkange asked for bail for his client pending an
appeal against Wednesday's order to the high court.

He said Mann -- who had been due to have been freed from a Harare jail on
Friday after serving time on an illegal arms charge related to the coup
plot -- was released two days early and detained afresh on an immigration

"It is our submission that he was released today instead of Friday for some
sinister motive. I appeal to this court to order that he not be extradited
until he has fully noted his appeal."

Prosecutor Joseph Jagada opposed the bail bid, arguing Mann was likely to

"The likelihood of Mr Mann being extradited is now very real. There is no
doubt that the allegations which he is going to face in Equatorial Guinea
are quite serious, which in the event of him being convicted might result in
a very long custodial sentence."

The court will rule on bail on Thursday.

A former member of Britain's crack Special Air Service, Mann was arrested
with 61 others when their plane landed at Harare international airport in
March 2004.

They were accused of stopping off to pick up weapons from Harare while on
their way to Malabo to oust Nguema, who has ruled the central African state
with an iron fist since 1979.

Mann said he and his co-accused were on their way to the

Democratic Republic of Congo and needed the weapons for a security contract
at a mine.

He was sentenced to seven years in jail, but the term was later reduced.
Most of his co-accused were released from a Zimbabwean prison in 2005.

The case made headlines worldwide following the arrest in Cape Town in
August 2004 of Mark Thatcher, the multi-millionaire son of former British
prime minister Margaret Thatcher on charges that he allegedly helped
bankroll the abortive coup.

Thatcher pleaded guilty in South Africa to unwittingly helping finance the
plot and was fined some 400,000 euros (510,000 dollars). He has since left
the country.

Mann had earlier told a Zimbabwean court that Zimbabwean security agents had
coerced him into confessing to being the plot's ringleader.

"The statement was dictated to me and I wrote what I was told," he said.

"I was taken to the airport by unknown men and they showed me the plane
threatening to extradite me to Equatorial Guinea if I did not sign the

Samkange has opposed the extradition request on the basis of Malabo's poor
human rights record, arguing Mann faced torture, a biased military trial and
a lengthy jail term.

Human rights group Amnesty International cited arbitrary detentions and
torture in Equatorial Guinea in its 2006 report and alleged that many
prisoners, including suspected mercenaries, were being starved in jail.

Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, depended on cocoa and coffee
exports to eke out a living but the discovery of offshore oil in the 1990s
changed the nation's fortunes.

It has catapulted to become Africa's third largest exporter of oil, after
Nigeria and Angola. But despite the newfound wealth, most of its inhabitants
are still almost destitute.

Zimbabwean political analyst Bill Saidi said the ruling left a bad taste in
the mouth.

"What he (Mann) wanted to do was obviously terrible but he did not actually
commit the crime. One does not think we should be so greedy as to sacrifice
a man's life for oil or something."

Since Mann's arrest, relations between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea have
blossomed with visits exchanged between the countries' leaders and several
deals signed between their governments.

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Mercenary's lawyer suspects political foul play


May 09, 2007, 18:15

Jonathan Samkange, the lawyer for Simon Mann, a convicted mercenary, says he
is optimistic that the Zimbabwean High Court will overturn the decision by a
lower court to extradite Mann, wanted on coup plot charges in Equatorial
Guinea. Samkange says there was political interference in the court's
decision to extradite Mann.

The court in Harare rejected defence arguments that he would not be given a
fair trial and could be tortured in the West African state. Mann, a former
British special forces officer, has been held at a Zimbabwe prison after he
was convicted by a court in September 2004 for attempting to purchase
weapons without a licence.

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Africa must act on Zimbabwe crisis, main opposition says

Yahoo News

Wed May 9, 10:40 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's main opposition on Wednesday said it was
"imperative" for African leaders to take action on the political crisis in
their country.

"It is imperative that African leaders, in particular the African Union (AU)
and Southern African Development Community (SADC), not turn deaf ears to the
current crisis in our country," Tendai Biti, secretary general of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told a news conference here.
"We ask the African leaders to call for an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe,
which is long overdue, to condemn these political atrocities, put pressure
on the regime to stop the onslaught on democratic forces," he said.

Biti's appeal came hours after the Pan African Parliament said in it would
this week consider sending a fact-finding team to Zimbabwe to probe the
country's deteriorating rights situation.

The PAP announcement made Tuesday in Midrand, near Johannesburg, followed a
motion by South African lawmaker Suzanne Vos, who urged the body which is an
arm of the AU to investigate alleged rights violations, assaults and murders
in Zimbabwe.

AU chief John Kufuor said Tuesday in Midrand that he would discuss with
South African President Thabo Mbeki the economic and political crisis in

Biti said that Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, and his deputy were
last week expected to meet Kufuor in Ghana, but said the trip was postponed
following the death of the party chairman, Isaac Matongo.

Biti said that Mbeki, who is the facilitator of the SADC dialogue, should
realise that "no dialogue can take place in an environment full of fascism
and violence perpetrated by the state."

"It is our view that turning a blind eye on this state-sponsored violence
and atrocities is tantamount to fertilising impunity," he said.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, in power in Zimbabwe since the country's
1980 independence from Britain, has come under increasing flak for allegedly
throttling democracy and human rights and leading the once-prosperous
regional breadbasket into economic ruin.

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High Court Refers Daily News to Information Minister

New Zimbabwe (London)

9 May 2007
Posted to the web 9 May 2007

A ZIMBABWEAN Court Wednesday rejected an application by The Daily News to be
registered, and suggested that the paper must submit its application to the

Harare High Court judge Anne-Marie Gowora said: "In my view, it is clear
that the applicant has not made out a case for the court to assume the
discretion to deem that the applicant is duly registered or is deemed to be
so registered."

The Daily News and its sister paper, The Daily News on Sunday, were closed
down by the government in 2003 after failing to register in accordance with
new media laws.

The judge hit out at the Information Minister for failing to expeditiously
deal with the case following a Supreme Court finding that the Media and
Information Commission (MIC) could not deal with the case as it was biased.

"It therefore behoved him, bearing in mind the time limitations set in the
Act, which Act he administers, to put in place measures for the speedy

determination of the application for the registration by the applicant which
obviously was not going away. This he failed to do," the judge said of the

She noted that the minister had in court papers indicated that he could not
appoint an independent commission as this required an amendment of the law,
but nothing was being done in that direction.

"The Minister indicated that he is having consultations with his legal
practitioners over how to resolve the issue. By now his consultations should
have borne fruit but still the court is none the wiser as to what course of
action he intends to take to ensure that the application is dealt with,"
Gowora said.

"He does not even suggest that the amendment, which he believes is the best
course possible, has been put into effect and that the legislature has been
requested to pass such amendments."

The permanent secretary in the ministry of information, George Charamba,
last week told the State media that there was nothing wrong with the Access
to Information and protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), under which The Daily
News and The Daily News were banned for failing to register with the MIC.

The judge said assertions by the ANZ that there was no-one to deal with the
case following the Supreme Court's barring of the MIC from the case was not

"To contend as Mr Matinenga does that there is in fact no administrative
body in existence is to go too far... in terms of this Act, an
Administrative authority includes a Minister of Deputy Minister of State. It
is therefore not correct that there is no administrative authority in
existence to deal with the application. Consequently there is no reason why
relief provided for in terms of section 4 of the Act cannot be availed to
the applicant," the judge said.

Publishers of The Daily News which was shut down by Zimbabwean authorities
three years ago had asked the High Court to grant them the right to publish
until the long-running dispute was resolved.

The MIC has twice refused to grant it a licence despite a Supreme Court
ruling in March last year which threw out the ban on the newspaper.

Lawyers for the government argued that the High Court had no jurisdiction to
grant a licence, saying the Information Ministry should be allowed time to

Once the country's best-selling daily, the Daily News has been reduced to a
handful of former managers and journalists occupying a small office in
central Harare.

In its heyday, the paper had a circulation of 150 000 and offered an
alternative voice to the state media.

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Terror bombings: Three detectives arrested

From The Herald, 9 May

Court Reporter

Three detectives from Harare Central Police Station have been arrested for
allegedly supplying two lawyers - Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni - with
false information about the petrol-bombing of Zanu PF offices in Mbare.
Elfas Mahuku (32), Tapiwa Goredema (24) and Lawrence Ndlovu (29), who are in
the Criminal Investigation Department's Residential Unit, were yesterday not
asked to plead to charges of defeating the course of justice before
magistrate Ms Gloria Takundwa. They were remanded out of custody to June 6.
The trio was advised not to interfere with investigations and to continue
residing at their given addresses. Prosecutor Mr Austin Muzivi alleges that
between April and May 3 this year, the three teamed up and went to the
Joshua Nkomo Zanu PF offices in Mbare for investigations following the
bombing of the premises. It is the State's case that the CID Law and Order
Section was investigating the case when the three detectives went there.
They interviewed Kudakwashe Tavirima and Tyson Chinyemba before proceeding
to Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni law firm's offices where they allegedly
supplied false information.

It is further alleged that the three lied to Muchadehama and Makoni that
there was no bombing at the offices and that the case was stage-managed by
Zanu PF members as a political gimmick. The State alleges that the case was
framed in a bid to convince the High Court to grant Amos Musekiwa, one of
the suspected petrol-bombers, bail. It is the State's case that the two
lawyers then used the said lies in Musekiwa's bail application currently
pending at the High Court. Meanwhile, Muchadehama and Makoni made a
double-barrelled application yesterday challenging their placement on remand
and arguing that the Harare Magistrates' Courts had no jurisdiction to hear
the case. In the applications, their lawyer, Advocate Eric Matinenga, who
was being instructed by Mr Innocent Chagonda and Mr Stenford Moyo, submitted
that the proceedings at the lower courts were in contempt of the High Court
orders made by two judges at the weekend. He said Justice Tedius Karwi on
Saturday gave an order for the police to release Muchadehama and Makoni
while Justice Alfas Chitakunye on Sunday ordered that the two be brought to
court within an hour's time that day.

Adv Matinenga argued that the police defied the orders and brought the duo
to court a day later. "Any other minute in this court makes us accomplices
in contempt of the High Court orders. In my submission, you (magistrate)
have no jurisdiction to handle this case since the High Court has declared
the arrest and detention of the two unlawful. If you still insist in
handling the case, I submit that there is no reasonable suspicion that the
two committed an offence. It is not the duty of the police to judge on the
truthfulness of the submissions in a bail application before the High Court.
What the police have done in this matter is to pre-empt the decision of the
High Court. "When one is making a bail application, hearsay evidence is
acceptable and that was going to be an issue if the High Court had ruled
that submissions were aimed at obstructing the course of justice," argued
Adv Matinenga. In response, prosecutor Mr Fungai Nyahunzvi said the
application was double-barrelled and that the court should make a ruling on
the issue of jurisdiction before the State responds on the application for
refusal of remand. Magistrate Mr Robson Finsin adjourned the case to today
for ruling.

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MDC Condemns Police Brutality on Lawyers

8 May, 2007


The brutal assault yesterday by the police of Beatrice Mtetwa, President of
the Law Society of Zimbabwe and three other members of the Law Society of
Zimbabwe is a shameful and sad development in the continued subjugation of
citizens' rights. It is a stark representation of the breakdown of the rule
of law. The lawyers were assaulted for attempting to participate in a
peaceful march against the unlawful detention of their colleagues, Alec
Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni who were arrested for carrying out their
duties as officers of the law. The MDC condemns in the strongest of terms
the assault on the lawyers.

The MDC notes with a strong sense of disdain the injustice and continued
assaults on members of the legal profession. A government that is serious
and respects its citizens does not engage in random acts of thuggery against
those who seek to defend the rights of individuals. Lawyers are highly
esteemed members of the society, revered for defending innocent citizens
against unjust interpretations of the law. Zimbabweans must be wondering as
to who will defend them if the state agencies have turned to be gangsters
who subject members of the society to brute force and harassment. The
actions of the police speak volumes of the need for a complete overhaul of
state institutions. It is very clear that state machinery such as the police
have become so politicized to the extent that all semblance of
professionalism is sacrificed in the vain attempt of propping up an
illegitimate ZANU-PF government.

The deafening silence from the Minister of Home Affairs as well as from the
Minister of Justice and the Attorney General is at the very least pathetic.
It is unfortunate that while state agencies go berserk, not a single voice
of sanity and decency can be heard in official government circles. As the
MDC we call upon the Ministers of Home Affairs and Justice to come out in
the open, condemn the assaults and unlawful arrests and to take the obvious
step of arresting perpetrators of violence. The Attorney General as Chief
Advisor to government should in a show of the decency and professionalism we
entrust in his office come out and reject the use of his law officers in
sick and outright political victimization and abuse of individual rights.

The shameful dissection of peoples' rights does no more than to blacken the
already smudged image of the ZANU-PF government. This is a regime that has
no moral compunction and is glad to feed on its own children to satiate its
lust for power till infinity. The abuse of the lawyers, defenders of the
people puts paid to the oft quoted government propaganda of being victims of
western machinations. These were Zimbabwean lawyers brutalized for standing
up for fellow Zimbabweans.

We call on the international community especially the SADC region to rein in
on Robert Mugabe's wayward behaviour. He must be told in no uncertain terms
to shape up and protect the rights of Zimbabweans. It has to be made clear
to him that no amount of brute force will cow the people of Zimbabwe and
lead them to forgo their self evident rights. This must be made loud and
clear to the regime of Robert Mugabe.

Gabrial Chaibva

Movement for Democratic Change

Secretary for Information and Publicity

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Namibia to Switch on Zim Power

New Era (Windhoek)

9 May 2007
Posted to the web 9 May 2007

Petronella Sibeene

National power utility Nampower yesterday said it would start receiving
electricity from Zimbabwe, under the US$40 million (N$290 m) power purchase
agreement in December, a month earlier than planned.

Under the agreement signed by the two countries, the power import was to
start in January 2008 but this has been brought forward to December 2007.

Nampower Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba told New Era that progress has
been made during the past two months to refurbish the Hwange Power Station
using the US$40 million to revamp the aging and overstretched station.

Namibia's maximum power demand stands at 410 megawatts. As a result, it
imports between 50 and 150 megawatts from neighbouring South Africa
depending on the time of day, Shilamba said.

Locally, the Ruacana plant generates a maximum of 240 megawatts, usually
during the rainy season when the river is full. Paratus plant with a
generation capacity of 24 megawatts and Van Eck whose capacity stands at 120
megawatts are stand-by utilities.

Currently Zambia and Zimbabwe, which are on non-firm contracts with the
country, supply approximately 50 megawatts of power to Namibia.

Nampower earlier this year struck a US$40 million deal with Zimbabwe's ZESA
under which the Namibian company would provide US$40 million (N$290 m) to
rehabilitate and upgrade the coal fired Hwange Power Station.

Namibia would in turn be guaranteed 150 MW of electricity supply.

Shilamba told New Era that since the signing of the multi-million dollar
loan and power purchase agreement between the two countries, great strides
had been made with regard to the rehabilitation of the power generators in

The US$40 million is already transferred to an offshore account in Botswana.

The money will further be transferred directly to the suppliers of equipment
required in the resuscitation of the old generators at Hwange in Zimbabwe.

"The first unit will run one month earlier than anticipated. By December,
about 40 MW will be made available to Namibia," Shilamba said.

The power agreement allows Namibia to import 150 megawatts for a period of
five years from the Hwange plant that has a generation capacity of 480

It was anticipated that the first 40 megawatts of the 150 megawatts to be
received would be supplied to Namibia as soon as the first generator was
rehabilitated by January 2008.

Shilamba, who was in Harare two weeks ago to attend the SADC energy
ministers and power utilities conference, said that given the work that has
already been done in just two months Namibia would start receiving the
agreed amount of power as early as December 2007.

"This will be a great relief for our country," Shilamba said.

A technical team comprising of two persons from Nampower and two others from
ZESA had arrived from Europe recently where they made arrangements for the
shipping of equipment with manufacturers.

A consultant from Laymeyer International has been appointed to coordinate
the process of rehabilitation.

According to Shilamba, Nampower has stationed two young professional
Namibians at the Hwange power plant in order to gain experience.

"We are happy that we are on track," he added.

Electricity from the Hwange Power Station would be routed to Namibia through
South Africa until Nampower's Caprivi Link Inter-connector is up and

The two have an agreement that allows Namibia to source its power from
Zimbabwe especially du-ring off-peak hours.

While Eskom, Namibia's main electricity supplier, has its surplus
diminishing, and Zambia that feeds the Caprivi link faces problems, Shilamba
says should the situation become unbearable, power can be sourced from other
Southern African countries such as Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of

Besides, internal power sources such as the Van Eck, Ruacana Hydro and
Paratus power stations are there to meet the demand should other sources

He assured that despite the challenges the country and region face as far as
power supply is concerned, Namibia will never be plunged into darkness.

Nampower has a 15-year-agreement with Eskom for the supply of electricity.
While the South African utility has been plagued by huge demand locally,
Shilamba says Eskom will continue to honour its commitment. It continues to
supply Namibia with at least 50 percent of its power needs.

Regional countries, Namibia included, continue to try and avoid looming
power blackouts amid revelations by major regional suppliers such as Eskom
that it has run out of surplus electricity to export due to growing demand
for power in South Africa itself.

Eskom had previously said that it could plug off its supply grid to Namibia,
Zambia and Zimbabwe on a 24-hour notice.

Frequent breakdowns at Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power plant in the Western
Cape province has worsened South Africa's power supply situation.

Zambia, from which Namibia has in the past been importing extra electricity,
announced in April that it was facing a serious power deficit.

Zambia generates about 1 600 MW and needs to increase its capacity to about
4 500 MW by 2010.

A boom in the economy propelled by a sharp rise in the country's copper
industry has resulted in an increased demand for electricity in Zambia.

Analysts warn that the situation could be worse for Namibia, which has
recently become the centre of attraction for investors, especially in the
uranium and diamond mining sectors.

Miners warn that a shaky electricity supply situation could stifle
investment in Namibia's mining sector.

Namibia last month licensed a N$1 billion wind energy electricity generation
project, which is seen as a stopgap measure for the country's energy woes.

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Harare to consider food appeal after UN assessment

Zim Online

Thursday 10 May 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - Zimbabwe would consider making a formal appeal for food aid only
after the completion of an exercise to assess food availability the
government is jointly conducting with United Nations relief organs,
Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo said.

International relief agencies including the UN's the Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO) have already written off Zimbabwe's cereals harvest for
2007 because of erratic rains and a severe economic crisis, with farming
inputs and crop seeds either in short supply or priced beyond the reach of

The United States Department of Agriculture has said Zimbabwe will only
harvest 850 000 tonnes of maize leaving the hard cash-strapped country with
a deficit of 1.2 million tonnes of its main staple food.

Gumbo, who last month declared 2007 a drought year and admitted harvests
were far inadequate to meet national requirements, said Harare would only
contemplate making a formal appeal to the international community for help
after the assessment exercise.

"We have the WFP (World Food Programme) and FAO assessing the crop
situation. So we will cross the bridge when we reach there," said Gumbo in
response to an inquiry by ZimOnline when the government would ask UN
agencies to mobilise food aid from international donors on behalf of

Without a formal appeal for help, UN agencies are handicapped in their
efforts to seek help for starving Zimbabweans while a late appeal would also
delay aid reaching the hungry on time.

A joint FAO/WFP delegation led by Kissan Gunjal last month began assessing
the country's food needs at the invitation of Harare. The assessment
exercise should be completed by May 18.

The decision to invite the two organisations was a major climb down by
President Robert Mugabe's government which last year blocked the two
institutions from scrutinising the country's crop harvest.

The government in 2004 also rejected food aid from the international
agencies boasting that the country had harvested enough to feed itself,
which turned out to be false.

Zimbabwe, which had one of the most vibrant economies in Africa, was a
regional breadbasket but has had to survive largely on handouts from
international food agencies since Mugabe began seizing commercial farms from
whites for redistribution to landless blacks.

Failure by the government to provide resources and skills training for black
villagers resettled on white farms saw agricultural production plummeting by
about 30 percent, causing food shortages and also crippling Zimbabwe's
manufacturing sector that largely depended on the farming sector for inputs.

Apart from food shortages, Zimbabweans also have to contend with inflation
of 2 200 percent and the highest in the world, unemployment above 80 percent
and shortages of essential medicines, electricity, fuel and hard cash as the
country battles an economic meltdown critics blame on mismanagement by

Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from Britain, however
denies mismanaging the economy and blames Western sanctions. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe targets last 'pocket of resistance'

Zim Online

Thursday 10 May 2007

By Edith Kaseke

HARARE - Zimbabwe's legal profession, the last defender of basic freedoms in
the country, has fallen victim to President Robert Mugabe's heightened
crackdown on opponents as the former guerilla leader moves to consolidate
power and keep a lid on rising anger over an imploding economy, analysts
said yesterday.

Police last Friday swooped on attorneys Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni
outside a courthouse and locked them for the weekend. The two have since
appeared in court charged with defeating the course of justice but human
rights groups say this is an attack on the legal profession.

Police then followed up this week by beating up lawyers protesting against
the arrest of their two colleagues, and this barely two months after they
brutally assaulted main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and several other opposition activists.

Muchadehama and Makoni are part of a team of lawyers representing Tsvangirai
and some civic leaders who were arrested and assaulted in custody on March
11 for attempting to hold a prayer rally in Highfield in defiance of a
government ban.

"Arrest of lawyers acting in the discharge of their duties and functions is
inimical to an independent legal profession," said Southern African
Development Community (SADC) Lawyers Association head Sternford Moyo.

"The right to protection of the law, also a fundamental right is placed in
jeopardy. An independent legal profession is a prerequisite of the
observance of the rule of law," Moyo said.

Analysts said lawyers, especially those representing the opposition had
become targets of police, who on several occasions have topped up their
disdain of the law by refusing to obey court orders and judgments.

Several times lawyers have been denied access to political activists held in
police custody. On the other hand senior government officials have
manipulated the state bureaucracy they control to frustrate human rights
lawyers who they regard with contempt and as an obstruction to their goal of
jailing those they accuse of seeking to overthrow Mugabe.

At 83 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, Mugabe is facing
growing pressure over his controversial policies, such as seizing land from
white commercial farmers to give to blacks, which has partly accelerated the
country's economic meltdown.

Hyperinflation, at over 2 200 percent and still galloping, is the most
visible sign of the economic crisis which has also resulted in unemployment
soaring to over 80 percent and sparked crunch shortages of food, fuel and
foreign currency.

"You can see this is systematic and if there was anyone in doubt that these
are the actions of dictatorship then they should think twice," John Makumbe,
a University of Zimbabwe political scientist told ZimOnline.

"It is actually frightening that a government can target lawyers but then
when you look back you can see that this has also happened to the judiciary.
So it is going to be difficult for example for a lawyer to serve a judgment
to the police because you could be locked up on trumped up charges,"
Makumbe, who is a critic of Mugabe's policies, said.

Analysts said Mugabe's attack on pillars of freedom were systematic and
followed the decimation in 2001 of the High Court and Supreme Court benches
where independent-minded and white judges were replaced with blacks some
critics say are sympathetic to Mugabe's government.

As it purged the judiciary of undesirable elements, the government also
moved swiftly to emasculate the small but vibrant independent media by
arresting dozens of journalists critical of its policies and closed the
biggest daily paper The Daily News and three other papers.

Tough security laws prohibiting the MDC or ordinary citizens from holding
public meetings or demonstrations without police permission were enough to
virtually cripple the opposition party for years.

The MDC has attempted to remobilise its ranks in recent months but secretary
general Tendai Biti told journalists in Harare on Wednesday that the
government has been prompt in its reaction, rounding up mostly the
opposition party's provincial executives who are critical in drumming up
grassroots support.

With the judiciary castrated, the media weakened and organised political
opposition under severe pressure and in disarray, the private human rights
lawyer had virtually remained the last one standing in defence of basic
rights and freedoms in Zimbabwe.

But leading advocate Eric Matinenga's words to a Harare magistrate on
Tuesday were clear testimony that human rights lawyers may themselves no
longer feel safe or confident to take on the government in defence of
citizens' rights, especially the rights of those belonging to the opposition

"This (arrest of Muchadehama and Makoni) shows that if one is representing
members of the opposition, he must look behind his shoulder," said
Matinenga, criticising the police for interfering in the judicial
process. -ZimOnline

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Zim opposition party to stay out of by-election

Zim Online

Thursday 10 May 2007

      By Regerai Marwezu

      MASVINGO - The main wing of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party loyal to Morgan Tsvangirai says it will not
contest a June by-election to replace former Zaka East constituency
legislator Tinos Rusere who died two months ago.

      Spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the party saw little point in electing a
new Member of Parliament to hold office for only a few months before
stepping down as the country is expected to hold fresh presidential and
parliamentary elections in March next year.

      "This will be just a sheer waste of resources and to us it defies
logic," said Chamisa, adding that the opposition party believed it would be
better to use the funds set aside for the by-election to pay for food for
hungry villagers in the constituency.

      It was not possible yesterday to establish from the smaller faction of
the MDC led by prominent academic Arthur Mutamabra whether it planned field
a candidate in the by- election.

      Another smaller opposition party, United People's Party, led by a
former ZANU PF senior politician Daniel Shumba also said it would not
participate in the poll.

      ZANU PF, which is expected to retain the Zaka East parliamentary seat
it held under Rusere, last weekend selected retired army colonel Batanai
Chineka to represent the party in the by-election.

      The by-election will have no impact on the balance of power in
Parliament with ZANU PF retaining its absolute control of both chambers of
the House. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Opposition Official Calls For International Sports Boycott


      By Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
      09 May 2007

A senior official of the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of Zimbabwe's opposition
Movement for Democratic Change who has accused Harare police of severely
beating her while she was in custody in March, has called for the
international sports community to isolate Zimbabwe until President Robert
Mugabe's government reforms.

Sekai Holland, policy and research secretary of the Tsvangirai MDC faction,
is married to an Australian and has been recovering there from the injuries
she sustained while in police hands following an abortive March 11 prayer
meeting in Harare.

She told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe
that she opposes a scheduled September tour of Zimbabwe by Australia's
cricket team because she fears for the safety of cricketers based on her own

Holland has urged Cricket Australia to scrap the tour and has given an
account of her beating while in police hands to Australian government

She expressed optimism that Cricket Australia would call off the tour to
exert pressure on the Mugabe government, as the Canberra government has
urged it to do, even offering to pay a US$2 million fine to the
International Cricket Council.

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Zimbabwe expected to chair key U.N. environment body


Wed May 9, 2007 3:45PM EDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Zimbabwe appears set to head the Commission on
Sustainable Development, the main U.N. inter-governmental body on
environment and development, diplomats said on Wednesday.
But Norway said the election was not certain and added its objections to
those of the United States and other Western nations to the candidacy of
Zimbabwe, whose economy is crumbling with inflation running above 2,000

Erik Solheim, Norway's international development minister, said the issue
was not settled yet on whether Zimbabwe's Environment Minister Francis Nheme
would be elected to the post at the end of this week. His nomination has
broad support from African nations, whose turn it is to assume the

"We do not find Zimbabwe the right country to head the CSD for the next
period," Solheim said.

Environment and development ministers are meeting at U.N. headquarters this
week for the CSD's annual session, which this year focuses on energy
efficiency and alternative sources.
On Friday, Tom Casey, the U.S. State Department deputy spokesman, said: "We
don't think that Zimbabwe would be a particularly effective leader of this

He said development in the southern African country has "been going in only
one direction -- and it's backwards."

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980,
widely blamed on President Robert Mugabe's policies, such as the seizure of
white-held farms to resettle landless blacks.

Mugabe, the country's sole ruler since independence, denies mismanaging the
economy and blames Western sanctions for the crisis.

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Minister Mohadi intimidates judiciary over political detainees

The Zimbabwean

By Violet Gonda
9 May 2005

The bail application of the political detainees in remand for over a month
now was postponed to Thursday after the defense team asked to review
ministerial certificates issued by Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi. The
certificates barred the judiciary from granting the MDC activists bail. Alex
Muchadehama, one of the lawyers representing the detainees, said the state
is deliberately making it more and more difficult for the defense team to
represent their clients properly.

The bail hearing of the 32 was supposed to have been heard Wednesday but
Muchadehama said: "We found out that in most of the cases the Minister of
Home Affairs had planted in the files - ministerial certificates, which we
had not been made aware of." He said this is what necessitated the
postponement so that the defense team could study the documents. The lawyer
said along with the 'flimsy reasons' raised by Minister Mohadi in denying
the detainees bail, Mohadi is equating the September 11 terrorist attacks in
the USA with the so-called petrol bomb attacks in Zimbabwe. The lawyer said
here is yet another example of a minister interfering with the work of the

Since there are too many cases, the court also agreed to group the detainees
into clusters of 15 people so that they could be heard in groups. Bail
hearings are expected on Thursday and Friday.

The detainees, including the MDC Presidential Assistant Ian Makone, Member
of Parliament Paul Madzore and their information officer Luke Tamborinyoka,
have been in custody for more than a month without a proper trial. MDC
Secretary General Tendai Biti said: "Some are critically ill, but their
conditions are allowed to continue to deteriorate in the lice infected
prisons." Another opposition official, Morgan Komichi is said to be critical
and fighting for his life.

The authorities have started targeting court officers, which led to the
arrest of Muchadehama and his colleague Andrew Makoni on Friday. The two
lawyers spent three days in filthy police cells on allegations of
obstructing the course of justice. Even government court officials are also
being targeted.

It's reported that a representative of the Attorney General, state
prosecutor Richard Chikosha was beaten and detained overnight on Saturday
for consenting to a court order.

The state controlled Herald Newspaper also reported that three detectives
from Harare Central Police Station have been arrested for allegedly
supplying Muchadehama and Makoni with false information about the
petrol-bombing of Zanu PF offices in Mbare.  According to the paper the
three allegedly told the defense team that the case was stage-managed by
Zanu PF members as a political gimmick. Muchadehama said he could not
comment about these reports as the matter is in the courts. He however said
the intimidation of state officials like the prosecutor "clearly show that
we are living in a rogue state."

He said: "It means even where people have an opportunity to do what is
correct but because you are living in a rogue state you'd rather do what is
wrong because you'll be afraid."

Meanwhile, Tendai Biti urged African and Southern African leaders to pay
attention to the current crisis in Zimbabwe and call for an extra-ordinary
summit on Zimbabwe to condemn these atrocities. He said: "We ask the
facilitator of the SADC dialogue, President Thabo Mbeki to realize that no
dialogue can take place in an environment full of fascism and violence
perpetrated by the state. It is our view that turning a blind eye on this
state-sponsored violence and atrocities is tantamount to fertilizing

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"They won't believe she is my mother"


      by Paul Mason
      BBC Newsnight

Newsnight reports on the case of the son of a Zimbabwe opposition leader
whose UK asylum claim was rejected despite his sister's being granted.

I met Joel Matibenga in a London hotel lobby, waiting for his mother, Lucia.

The last time I saw Lucia was the same way millions of other people saw her:
on horrifying footage of Zimbabwean trade union leaders being beaten by
Robert Mugabe's police.

Joel and his sister Ropa have both fled to the UK to seek asylum: as
children of a prominent MDC activist they have both been targeted in attacks
by the ruling ZanuPF party.

But while Ropa was granted asylum, Joel was not. He says the Home Office
disputes that Lucia is his mother. He has been five years in the limbo of
the asylum system, branded "not a witness of truth" by those whose job it
was to judge him.

Decision making

At present the government does not deport failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers,
as the result of a Court of Appeal decision.

But this case highlights what critics of the Home Office believe to be the
poor quality of decision making within the system.

Last year less than one in 10 Zimbabwean asylum seekers were granted asylum
on first decision: but of those who appealed in the same year 41% had their
original rejection overturned.

Despite recent reforms, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees this
year said "the assessment of credibility and establishing the facts of an
asylum claim is a problem area for a significant proportion of [immigration
service] decision makers".

Joel believes his case demonstrates that.

We have invited a Home Office minister to respond: so tune in to Newsnight
see the lean, mean, newly "fit for purpose" Home Office in action.

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