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

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Calls for EU to boycott Zimbabwe

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Zimbabwean opposition leaders are to ask the EU to
impose a South African style trade boycott on businesses linked to the
regime of Robert Mugabe.

In an interview with the EUobserver, Sekai Holland, the secretary for
International Affairs of the Zimbabwean opposition said a list of
individuals and companies would be presented to the EU in the next few

The proposal, if taken on board by the EU, would represent a significant
ramping-up of current sanctions.

The union currently imposes punitive sanctions, including travel
restrictions, on Mr Mugabe and 71 of his closest allies, including his wife.

The new measures would affect financial supporters of the ruling Zanu PF,
both in Zimbabwe and in Europe.

There are a number of businessmen making money for the government abroad
according to Ms Holland - of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"There is even one man in London who is selling the Daily News" she said -
referring to a paper which is banned in Zimbabwe for its anti-government

Last year the New Zealand government announced that it would impose
sanctions similar to those now being put forward, listing 142 officials and
business associates of the ruling Zanu PF.

In addition to cutting essential financial backing for his regime, Ms
Holland says a similar move by the EU would help turn the screws on Mr
Mugabe, whose grip on power appears to be weakening. But the MDC is also
fighting to get Zimbabwe on the world's agenda.

With growing involvement from regional power brokers, South Africa and
Nigeria, and some European policy makers asking for 'African solutions to
African problems', "the fear", says Ms Holland, "is that the EU will start
to backslide". There may be evidence to back this claim.

Despite the travel ban, a technicality coupled with political manoeuvring
allowed the French government to invite Mr Mugabe to travel to Paris earlier
this year, infuriating the MDC and some European capitals, most notably

Similarly the Zimbabwean Trade Minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi, who is also on
the EU's list of undesirables, is to attend an ACP-EU ministerial meeting in
Brussels this week, according to a spokesperson for Harare.

The more Mr Mugabe's façade of power seems to be weakening, the more he
tries to reinforce the 23 year-old edifice. Recent weeks have seen his
government clamp down hard on dissidents and journalists.

But even with his loosening grip Mr Mugabe's actions are still setting the
agenda. As Africans consider who could replace him as leader, Africa's
colonial legacy has once again become the centre of debate.

The MDC, although championing resistance against Mr Mugabe, has been accused
of betraying pan-African ideals by seeking outside intervention.

Ms Holland, a former war veteran denies this. "This is not an African
problem, it is a human problem".

"[Mr] Mugabe has denied Zimbabweans the right to vote and express opinion
which the nationalists fought and died for...he is a super-Rhodesian".
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US journo out of hiding
13/05/2003 20:07  - (SA)

Harare - A US journalist who has long been based in Zimbabwe, Andrew
Meldrum, handed himself in to immigration for an interview on Tuesday.

He was asked to hand over his passport and residency permit while he went
back to write a letter stating that he was a journalist, Meldrum who works
for Britain's Guardian, told reporters outside immigration offices in
central Harare.

"They want me to write a letter stating that I am a journalist... and they
have taken my passport and resident permit and asked me to come back
tomorrow," he said.

"But I have been working here for 23 years with proper documentation and I
don't know what this fuss is all about," he said emerging from a 40-minute
interview with immigration officials.

Immigration officials went looking for Meldrum on Thursday night, but he was
not at home and fearing renewed attempts to deport him, his lawyer wrote to
them asking why they wanted him.

Although he enjoys permanent residency status, the authorities tried to
deport Meldrum last year after a magistrate's court acquitted him of writing

He successfully challenged the order, which is now pending determination by
the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, Meldrum said immigration accused him of giving Zimbabwe a bad

"Immigration said I had continued to write bad things about Zimbabwe, which
I denied," he said.

Meldrum said he was "determined" to carry on with his work.

"I am sticking up for my rights, my legal rights... not just my rights but
the rights of all journalists in Zimbabwe," he said.

He is one of a handful of non-Zimbabwean journalists still operating in the
country. At least five foreign correspondents have been forced to leave
Zimbabwe since 2001.

Zimbabwe's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
promulgated by President Robert Mugabe in March 2002, shortly after he was
re-elected in a contentious vote, forbids foreign journalists from operating
in the country on a long term basis.
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Evidence concealed

5/13/03 7:46:53 AM (GMT +2)

Court Reporter

A TEAM investigating allegations of treason against three senior
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders deliberately withheld
evidence that contradicted statements made by the state’s star witness,
Ari Ben-Menashe, a prosecution witness conceded yesterday.

The revelation was made when the treason trial of MDC leaders Morgan
Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela resumed at the High Court
yesterday after breaking off briefly at the end of March.

The opposition party leaders are charged with conspiring to assassinate
President Mugabe in the run up to last year’s presidential election,
charges that they have denied.

Police Assistant Commissioner Moses Magandi, who was part of the
four-member investigating team, told the court that the investigators
had “made a decision” to withhold a transcript that Ben-Menashe claimed
contained evidence of the plot to assissinate Mugabe.

The decision was made during the compilation of the suspects’ docket and
resulted in the investigators withholding a transcript prepared by Tara
Thomas, an assistant at Dickens and Madson, a Canadian-based political
consultancy headed by Ben-Menashe.

Ben-Menashe alleges that the MDC leaders attermpted to engage his firm
to assassinate Mugabe.

A meeting held in London between the opposition party officials and
representatives of Dickens and Madson was secretly recorded and a
transcript prepared by Thomas.

Defence lawyers said the police replaced Thomas’ transcript with “a
vastly poorer” transcript compiled by a government transcriber.

Under cross-examination by advocate George Bizos, who is leading the
defence team, Magandi said the original transcript was “so
unintelligible” that they decided to exclude it from their docket.

“When we looked at the document, we found we could not make head or tail
of it,” Magandi told the court.

“The document was so unintelligible, we found it would be of no use to
our investigation,” he added.

The transcript was part of evidence, including an audio-cassette and a
mini computer diskette, that Ben-Menashe handed over to a senior
Zimbabwe defence forces official, Air Vice-Marshal Robert Mhlanga.

Bizos said there was no evidence in the transcript of the alleged plot
by the MDC officials to assassinate Mugabe and overthrow his government.

The South African-based defence lawyer said the police had withheld the
transcript because it proved Ben-Menashe was “an infamous liar” and that
he had seriously misrepresented the contents of the audio-tape and

Magandi conceded during cross-examination that a Press statement issued
on behalf of the Zimbabwean government by Dickens & Madson “did not
correspond” with the contents of the audio-tape.

The Press statement said: “At the meeting (in London) Mr Tsvangirai
again requested aid in assassinating President Mugabe and arranging a
coup d’ etat.”

Magandi told High Court judge, Justice Paddington Garwe: “What I can say
is that I could not hear that on the tape.”

Bizos queried why, if he knew the truth, Magandi allowed Ben-Menashe to
mislead the world by his claims on television that the tape and
transcript contained evidence of the alleged assassination plot.

Magandi said he had no power to prevent Ben-Menashe from making public

The trial continues today.
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            Zimbabwe police hold opposition protesters: Party
            May 13, 2003, 14:45

            Zimbabwe's opposition said police detained nine women today who
refused to remove T-shirts supporting their leader Morgan Tsvangirai, on
trial for treason over an alleged plot to assassinate President Robert

            The nine were among 200 women from the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) who marched to the High Court, the party said. Riot police
ordered them to stop wearing shirts bearing the words: "We are behind you
all the way".

            "The women refused to remove their T-shirts, but were forced to
retreat. They marched back to their offices and on arrival, some of them
were bundled into the two police trucks," the MDC said in a statement.

            A police spokesperson could not confirm their detention. Police
have stepped up security around the Harare court for the trial, which
resumed yesterday and takes place as Zimbabwe grapples with its worst
political crisis in decades.

            Tsvangirai, MDC leader, and two party colleagues could face the
death penalty if convicted of the charges, which they allege have been
concocted to discredit the opposition movement. The MDC accuses Mugabe of
vote rigging in last year's presidential election and has threatened to lead
street protests against him.

            In a newspaper advert published today, the MDC women's league
praised the three defendants as brave political fighters. "We here today,
the women of the MDC, stand behind our leaders in the struggle against
humanitarian crimes," the advert said. "You have shown that your bravery and
commitment to this country and its people knows no bounds. Now it is our

            Zimbabwe has seen its once vibrant economy all but collapse with
fuel shortages, inflation well over 200% and about half the population of 14
million facing acute food shortages. - Reuters
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 Zimbabwe told to 'leave Meldrum alone'

Ciar Byrne
Tuesday May 13, 2003

International press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres has called on the
government of Zimbabwe to stop its continuous harassment of the Guardian's
veteran correspondent in the country, Andrew Meldrum.
Government officials in Zimbabwe say Meldrum was "wanted for questioning",
after immigration officials turned up at his home in the capital Zimbabwe
last Wednesday evening. He was not there.

"Last year he was thrown into jail like a criminal for two days and then
cleared by the high court, but security officials are still harassing him,"
said the RSF secretary-general, Robert Menard.

"He is one of the last foreign journalists left in the country and is being
very closely watched. The authorities must leave him alone and let him do
his job freely and safely."

President Robert Mugabe is one of 42 leaders and organisations who appeared
on a list of "predators" of press freedom drawn up by RSF to mark World
Press Freedom Day earlier this month.

Zimbabwe's chief immigration officer, Elasto Mugwadi, met yesterday with
Meldrum's lawyer for the first time.

However, two Guardian officials who flew to Zimbabwe last Friday to attend
Monday's meeting were ordered to leave within 24 hours.

Shaun Williams, director of corporate affairs, and Siobhain Butterworth,
head of legal affairs, were told that their 30-day visas were revoked
because they had not sought prior permission from the home minister before
entering the country to discuss a sensitive issue.

Letters have been sent to the immigration department signalling Meldrum's
willingness to be interviewed in working hours at its Harare offices once he
is told what the questioning is about.

His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said such night-time approaches "invariably led
to arrest, detention and deportation".

Meldrum said at the weekend: "The government thinks that by trying to
intimidate or deport me, or prevent me from working, they will also prevent
other journalists who are doing great work."

He was one of the first journalists prosecuted under new media laws
introduced by President Mugabe's regime last year, but was acquitted by a
Harare magistrate of allegations that he published false information about
the country.
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Daily News

Court finally grants bail to murder suspects

5/13/03 7:59:12 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

HIGH Court judge, Justice Moses Chinhengo last Wednesday granted $20 000
bail each to 10 MDC activists who are facing two counts of murder after
they allegedly threw a petrol bomb in a Chitungwiza house where a
policeman and his relative were sleeping.

The 10 are Albert White, 24, Wellington Manyaya, 32, Morgan Mathuthu,
22, Regis Mutungi, Jealous Pedzayi, Lillian Dambaza, 28, Francis
Machiridza, younger brother to the late MDC activist Tonderai, who died
last month as a result of alleged assault by the police while in
custody, Jonah Machingura, 24, Terrence Saunyama, 22, and Boniface
Manyonganise, 34.

Chinhengo ordered the 10 to pay $20 000 bail each through the clerk of
court at Chitungwiza Magistrates Court and also ordered them to report
to St Marys Police Station once every Friday until the matter was
finalised or the conditions were varied by the court.

He also ordered them not to interfere with state witnesses or police

The state oppossed bail arguing that the offence the group was facing
was prevalent and that mit was likely that they would commit similar
offences if granted bail.

Defence lawyer Lucky Muchadehama argued that Chitungwiza magistrate
Wynona Kaneta seriously misdirected herself in denying them bail when
they appeared before her on 28 April.

In his notice of appeal against refusal of bail pending trial,
Muchadehama said: The magistrates reasoning is premised on the basis
that the appellants were already convicted. She was no longer
considering bail but already sentencing them to imprisonment without the
option of a fine before they were even convicted let alone defend

When they appeared for initial remand, the 10 activists were facing two
counts of attempted murder.

Kaneta denied them bail arguing that they were facing very serious
offences and the victims were still in hospital.

Allegations against them are that on Independence Day, the 10 activists
allegedly went to House Number 1667 in St Marys, where John Makhuli,
30, a member of the neighbourhood watch committee, and his relative
Wilson Magande, 34, slept.

They allegedly broke the front door of the house and threw a petrol bomb
through a window, and destroyed property worth $400 000. Makhuli and
Magande suffered serious burns and were subsequently admitted at
Chitungwiza General Hospital.

Both died last week from injuries and burns sustained during the attack.
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Business Day

Dose of déjà vu in Zimbabwe impasse


EVENTS in Zimbabwe are beginning to seem familiar to those with a sense of
our country's recent history.

Comparing Zimbabwe's present with our past as we began to negotiate
democracy offends some because it implies moral similarity between legalised
racism and the Zanu (PF) government led by Robert Mugabe.

However, if we put the moral debate aside apartheid was worse, but that is
no comfort to a worker beaten up for backing the opposition we do find
strategic parallels.

If these are understood, commentators, our government, and Zimbabwe's
opposition may be better able to understand the process and help it.

The key common element is stalemate. In both cases, an undemocratic
government faces popular resistance but is in no danger of overthrow. (Those
who claim Zanu (PF) was "democratically elected" must explain where else
they would tolerate an election in which government monopolised control of
the process, preventing any opposition check on it).

It faces rising costs of maintaining its rule but controls public
administration and is a strong presence in society. In both, the ruling
party was split between reformers and "hardliners". In both, serious
negotiation was impossible until both sides grasp- ed they could not destroy
the other.

This should convince commentators a settlement will require far more than a
couple of meetings. Already, we are seeing the same sort of reportage we saw
in our transition euphoria about a quick settlement replaced by despair when
it does not materialise.

A settlement born of stalemate cannot, though, be achieved without a process
in which the two sides recognise that they will have to talk to, and then
that they will need to live with, each other. We are only at its beginning
and, instead of proclaiming imminent Utopia followed by inevitable
disappointment, analysts will need to recognise that a settlement will be
built only out of slow progress.

How do we tell whether there is progress? That is best answered by looking
at the lessons the Zimbabwean stalemate holds for our government and others
trying to broker a settlement and for its opposition.

The governments need to understand there can be no settlement without the
opposition: moves to secure a transfer from Mugabe to another Zanu (PF)
leader without Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) consent will commit the
same error as the apartheid government bid to bypass the African National
Congress (ANC), to talk with "moderates".

Nor can there be a settlement if the power holder places humiliating
preconditions on talking. Just as negotiation here was impossible as long as
the apartheid government refused to talk until the ANC renounced violence,
so Mugabe's insistence that the MDC leader recognise him as the elected
president is an insistence that the other side capitulate. Once talking
begins, the MDC might make concessions such as dropping its legal challenge
to the election if it does not have to endorse the result. But we may know
Zimbabwe's government wants to talk only when preconditions to talking are
lifted or drastically softened. Until then, the most that may be possible is
a pretence to negotiate in the hope of winning the moral high ground, as
seen in stages of our talks.

The governments must also acknowledge that the opposition needs
trust-building measures if a settlement is to become possible. Just as our
negotiations had to be preceded by freeing of political prisoners and the
unbanning of organisations, so in Zimbabwe an opposition which has suffered
a sustained assault will need concrete steps towards free political activity
before it can trust the government enough to compromise with it.

The governments trying to broker a settlement will, if they want influence,
also have to show they are serious about demanding that the Zimbabwe
government shift their actions have ensured they are seen by the opposition
as establishment allies.

Just as western governments who were seen to condone apartheid had to show
they could secure concessions from the government, so will our government
and its partners need to do that in Zimbabwe.

So progress requires significant concessions by Zimbabwe's government which
will send a clear signal that the MDC is an indispensable part of the

If ours and the other governments cannot do this, the "quiet diplomacy" said
to have brought us this far will not achieve a free, stable Zimbabwe.

The stalemate also poses challenges for Zimbabwe's opposition: Zanu (PF) and
key elements of the establishment the military and public service will have
to be part of a new order just as, here, the ANC's "sunset clauses" ensured
that elements of the old order played a role in the new.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis may be severe and the costs of the crackdown may
grow. But its establishment is not defeated. Nor is it inevitable that
Mugabe will be replaced by a leader willing to recognise the opposition:
jockeying for power in Zanu (PF) makes possible his replacement by someone
even more confrontational. And a new democratic order cannot begin life
without elements of the existing public administration.

All this means that only a settlement in which Zanu (PF) presumably led by
its reformists, and much of the current hierarchy will continue to play a
significant role, is possible. Even that will call for opposition strategy
which bolsters ruling party moderates at the expense of "hardliners".

Like the ANC in our negotiations, Zimbabwe's opposition will need to balance
two imperatives retaining their only weapon, their popular support base, and
ensuring that it is part of the process, while making the concessions which
enable those in the establishment who do accept a settlement to become party
to one.

A strategy based on the belief that international pressure and domestic
resistance have brought the state to its knees may delay democracy and cause
immense damage.

Only when these government and opposition shifts become visible will we know
that a settlement is possible. Only when our government, Zimbabwe's
establishment and the opposition recognise the need to make them will we
know that our neighbour's pain may be nearing an end.

Friedman is senior research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies.
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Business Day

Nature of Mugabe's exit will be a test of SA resolve

Having failed to exert influence by quiet diplomacy, Mbeki needs to steer a
bold path as Zimbabwe falters
An economy in a tailspin, critical shortages of basic commodities, clear
signs of rising public frustration and repression, combined with a
threatened series of mass actions must point to, at the very least, a
"tilting point" for a regime in power.

The issue for Zimbabwe now is not whether President Robert Mugabe is on the
verge of a tilting point, but when and how his regime will exit. The placid
nature of Zimbabweans has amazed observers of popular upheavals, but recent
mass action shows that this could be coming to an end.

A fast-contracting economy is eroding the ability of the ruling Zanu (PF)
regime to pay off those who count in its power base. Events on the streets
could easily overtake the diplomatic efforts in coming weeks.

It is always difficult to determine the exact time or circumstance leading
to the fall of a tyrant, but growing international and domestic pressures
ultimately translate into the forces of law and order abandoning the regime
in scenarios of collapse.

Pretoria insists that Zimbabweans should determine their country's future.
The facts are that they tried to, but the election was stolen, by most
reliable accounts. It is SA that could catalyse orderly change and a
transition to democratic rule in Zimbabwe in coming weeks.

How Zimbabwe's tilting point will be managed is crucial to the stability of
the region and indeed what sort of fallout SA will face from the pending
collapse. Avoiding a power vacuum and disarray has to be a priority for SA.
So far, quiet diplomacy led by SA and pursued by the region has delivered
greater chances of violent collapse and chaos than an orderly transition.

Quiet diplomacy has compromised SA's position as a mediator and potential
peacekeeper in Zimbabwe. If it ultimately does have to intervene militarily,
that position means SA troops could be seen by Zimbabweans as backers of
Zanu (PF) rather than a neutral force of law and order.

The overriding suspicion in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) is that SA and the renewed diplomatic push that began last week with a
visit to Harare by President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo and Malawian President Bakili Muluzi is more about saving Zanu
(PF)'s skin than ensuring a transition to elections. The MDC has said it
will give SA a second chance to mediate. In taking up this second chance, SA
had best act with speed in bringing about a settlement that can ensure an
orderly transition to free and fair elections. But days after returning from
Harare, Mbeki sought to quash speculation that there was pressure on Mugabe.

However, the urgency to avoid chaos calls for pressure, as there is simply
no time left to defer to Mugabe's ego and diplomatic niceties. This should
include wide-ranging threats: a travel ban on the Zanu (PF) elite; cutting
off of nonessential imports; Eskom should be forced to cut off power; other
parastatals should be halted from doing business and private SA businesses
should be asked to wait before starting up new projects. Heightened rhetoric
to distance ourselves from Mugabe's tyrannical and destructive role should
also be part of this diplomacy.

On its own, critical rhetoric about poor governance and human rights
violations is important to show ordinary Zimbabweans that Pretoria actually
believes Mugabe's game is up.

Muluzi's statement last week that the delegation of three presidents did not
visit Harare for "a cup of tea" but did some tough talking to Mugabe about
bad economics and bad governance is a break in the silence from regional
leaders. This, combined with the very act of meeting with MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, sent a message that Mugabe no longer commands their sole
attention. But Mbeki's quashing of speculation has now confused these

With pressures to instil sufficient political will, the interparty talks
over a Mugabe exit and a transitional arrangement, as well as an even
playing field for the elections, may not be insurmountable. Mugabe's
insistence that the opposition accept him as the legitimate president of the
country by dropping their court challenge could fall away as a precondition
for talks if he retires. Working out a power-sharing arrangement for the
transition will involve squabbles, but could be a way to avoid prolonged
chaos. A strong international presence to monitor the political atmosphere
and elections is a definite requirement to ensure these are free and fair.

The choices that Zanu (PF) has to make cannot wait long. Hanging over this
is the MDC threat of a further call to mass action and, with that, a
possibly final showdown for Mugabe and Zanu (PF) in which the political and
security elite could well be subject to mob justice. If, in the next round
of mass action, the Zimbabwean police and army refuse to arrest
demonstrators, the signal would have been given that government's time is

Support for the stayaways has introduced fear to elements within Zanu (PF)
which are more adept than its leader at reading political tea leaves. That
may be why the party is grudgingly coming up with crumbs of reform, easing
draconian media laws and the lifting of price controls. Legislation which
effectively bars any right to demonstrate must still be scrapped. But to
think that this will be sufficient to ease rising domestic pressures is an

Much is at stake for SA's diplomatic credibility in the unfolding course of
events in Zimbabwe. Much of this has been destroyed, and the risk of a flood
of refugees remains. A forceful push to avoid further tragedy could be
redeeming. The test for SA, as much as Zimbabwe, could be weeks away.

Katzenellenbogen is international affairs editor.
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Menashe is misleading people of Zim - Bizos

      May 13 2003 at 06:02AM

Harare - A defence lawyer for Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
on trial for treason, claimed when the trial resumed on Monday that police
tried to cover up for a key state witness.

Defence lawyer George Bizos alleged that police had suppressed a transcript
of an audiotape made by Ari Ben Menashe, the chief state witness.

The tape had been presented as a key piece of evidence.

Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has been
accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe before the
presidential elections last year. On trial with him are MDC
secretary-general Welshman Ncube and shadow agriculture minister Renson

      'Ben Menashe was lying'
The trio face the death penalty if convicted.

Five State witnesses, including Ben Menashe, testified before the High Court
went into recess more than a month ago. The State's case hinges on tapes
made at meetings between Ben Menashe and Tsvangirai in London and Montreal.

The tapes are almost inaudible.

During his cross-examination, Bizos accused police assistant commissioner
Moses Magandi and his colleagues of suppressing a document "that would have
proved Ben Menashe was lying".

"You allowed him to mislead the people of Zimbabwe... and the world."

The document referred to was a transcript of an audiotape made at the London
meeting. Ben Menashe claimed that the tape showed Tsvangirai asked for help
in "eliminating" Mugabe, but Bizos said the transcript clearly showed this
was not the case.

Earlier, Magandi said the police had not used the transcript meeting because
they could not make "head or tail of it". - Sapa-AFP
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Business Day

Mugabe, Tsvangirai square up


Harare Correspondent

HARARE A week after President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian and Malawian
counterparts tried to kick-start reconciliation talks between President
Robert Mugabe and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, the two protagonists now seem to be hardening their
positions once again.

Mugabe is persisting with the treason trial against Tsvangirai, while the
opposition boss is determined to proceed with his petition challenging
Mugabe's reelection as president.

Tsvangirai was yesterday back in court for the trial, which adjourned last

As if in retaliation, the MDC is stepping up its efforts for the case
against Mugabe's disputed re-election.

The cases are seen as stumbling blocks to the initiative to resolve
Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis.

The treason trial resumed with defence lawyer George Bizos cross-examining a
police investigator on why he did not submit part of what key state witness
Ari Ben-Menashe claimed was crucial evidence in the case. Tsvangirai, his
party secretary-general Welshman Ncube, and Secretary for Agriculture Renson
Gasela are facing charges of plotting to assassinate Mugabe in 2001.

Bizos yesterday cross-examined police Chief Superintendent Moses Magandi on
why he excluded as evidence the transcript of the London meeting between Ari
Ben-Menashe and Tsvangirai.

Bizos said the transcript was left out because it could invalidate
BenMenashe's claim Tsvangirai had solicited help for Mugabe's assassination.

Magandi said the transcript was excluded because "we could not make sense of
it and we felt it would not help the court".

Meanwhile, Ncube and MDC deputy leader Gibson Sibanda were trying to obtain
passports to attend a meeting in Malawi this week with the country's
president, Bakili Muluzi, to continue last week's talks.
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President Muluzi Should Not Fool the World

The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

May 13, 2003
Posted to the web May 13, 2003

Salule Masangwi, Director of Publicity, NDA

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) learned with shock the blatant lies
by President Bakili Muluzi to the World, through the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC), that his relationship with the opposition in Malawi is
cordial and that he wants Zimbabweans to emulate his example. Nothing can be
further from the truth.

To begin with, President Muluzi through the United Democratic Front (UDF)
Young Democrats has always harassed, by using violence, members of the
opposition whenever they disagree with him on matters of governance and the
rule of law. Memories are fresh with the following few, amongst many,
violent activities by the Young Democrats on members of the opposition in
the recent past: · The beatings of the NDA members and the burning of a
Mercedes Benz belonging to an NDA supporter at Parliament buildings; · the
beatings and harassment of Hon. G. Mwamondwe, Hon. Kandodo Banda, Hon. J.
Manduwa, and Hon. J. Sonke within the compounds of Parliament buildings by
the same Young Democrats, solely because they openly opposed the Third Term
Bill; · the attempted assassination of Hon. B.J. Mpinganjira, President of
the NDA, and his entourage at the Bunda turn-off roadblock when they were
returning from a rally at Chinsapo in Lilongwe; · the more recent
victimization of Aleke Banda through fabricated lies against him by
President Muluzi himself and his expulsion from the trusteeship of Press
Trust, just because he has resigned from the UDF.

We say President Muluzi is the one that is directly involved in these
violent activities because the nation has just witnessed President Muluzi's
appointment to cabinet posts of some individuals that were directly involved
in these violent activities and/or were responsible for the Young Democrats
that unleashed such terror on the opposition members.

Does it make any sense for a group of young thugs to enter Parliament
buildings to unleash terror and beat up MPs in full view of the Malawi
Police Service who watched the scenes helplessly without a word of
condemnation or directive to apprehend the culprits from the Head of State
himself as he has hurriedly done with the case of violence at an MCP

The silence by the Head of State on the beatings at Parliament buildings
when the media was awash with reports that the perpetrators of such violence
were UDF Young Democrats is testimony that President Muluzi knew something
about the violence.

The nation has also just observed the way President Muluzi has gone out of
his way to break the law to dissolve the Board of Trustees of Press Trust
and to go ahead and appoint his own Trustees just because he wants to
victimize Aleke Banda who resigned from government and the UDF to become an
opposition member.

What President Muluzi calls 'working with the opposition' probably refers to
his buying of individual members of the opposition for his own selfish
motives. An example is when President Muluzi admitted, at one of his
numerous campaign rallies, that he assisted Hon. John Tembo, the then Vice
President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), by buying MCP party cloth for
distribution to his party supporters.

By working together with the opposition, he may also have been referring to
what he terms the 'government of national unity' where he has appointed some
Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) members, who have all along supported his
Third Term bid, to cabinet positions.

In the case of buying opposition members, President Muluzi cannot claim to
be working with the opposition, rather he is killing the opposition and
democracy in the country. One cannot say he is co-operating with something
he tirelessly tries to kill.

On the other hand, his so-called 'government of national unity' is a joke to
say the least. If President Muluzi wants to unite this country by working
with the opposition as he claims, why did he exclude MCP? Why did he exclude
all those in AFORD that were against his Third Term Bill? Does forming a
government of national unity mean working with those that were already
co-operating all along? Why are governments of national unity formed?

These are some of the questions that have been bothering Malawians on the
claims by President Muluzi.

The NDA thinks it was and is still a big joke for President Muluzi to go to
Zimbabwe to mediate in the wrangle between President Robert Mugabe and the
opposition in that country. If anything, President Muluzi needs mediators
from elsewhere to assist him to work with the opposition in this country.

The people of this country have died due to hunger, curable diseases, and
poverty in general and yet millions of Kwachas have been spent on useless
programmes such as the Third Term issue and the sponsoring of terror groups
to fight the opposition.

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            Guardian journalist's passport seized
            May 13, 2003, 20:15

            Zimbabwean immigration officials seized the American passport of
Andrew Meldrum, a correspondent of the Guardian newspaper of London today,
amid fears that President Robert Mugabe's government plans to deport him.

            Meldrum and his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, agreed today to go to
the immigration department a week after five officers turned up at his home
at night demanding to see him and refusing to state their reason. At the end
of what he said was a "belligerent" 30 minute interview with a senior
immigration officer, Meldrum said he was ordered to hand over his passport
and his Zimbabwe residence permit.

            He was allowed to leave the building but was told to return to
the office tomorrow. Mtetwa said earlier she feared Meldrum would be
detained and illegally deported. The 51-year-old American citizen, who has
lived in Zimbabwe since 1980, is constantly vilified in the state media
which accuses him of being a British spy, an opposition organiser and a
saboteur. Today he went voluntarily with Mtetwa to the department where, he
said, a senior officer named only as Siziba claimed he had been "writing bad
things about Zimbabwe" and insisted he had been violating the conditions of
his residence permit.

            "I have been working here for 23 years as a journalist and my
residence permit says I am a journalist. That is what I am doing," he said.
"I don't know what the fuss is all about. They want me to write a letter
stating that I am a journalist. They said they were looking into how I was
granted my residence permit."

            Officials refused to allow Heather Lippett, a US embassy
vice-consul, into the office to be present during the interview.

            In April 2001, immigration officials tried to kick in the door
of BBC correspondent Joseph Winter's Harare apartment and later deported
him, despite the fact that he had a valid temporary residence permit.
Authorities claimed that his permit had been "illegally" issued, an
allegation Winter and his lawyer denied.

            "I feel grimly determined," Meldrum said. "I am sticking up for
my legal rights in Zimbabwe. They are not just my rights, they are the
rights of other journalists. "Yes, I have plenty of fears, about night
visits, for the safety of my wife, but that is the worry of many people in
Zimbabwe today."

            Meldrum is the last foreign national to be working in Zimbabwe
as a correspondent for overseas media. The remainder are Zimbabwean
citizens, but most have been refused official "licences" from the state
information department. Jonathan Moyo, the Information Minister, has
maintained a comprehensive ban on visiting foreign correspondents since he
took charge of Mugabe's propaganda machine in late 2000. Also since then,
three foreign correspondents resident there have been forced to leave.

            The New York-based International Committee to Protect
Journalists says Mugabe's regime is among the 10 worst offenders against
press freedom in the world. Under Mugabe, journalists have been tortured,
arrested, assaulted and harassed, and the independent Daily News has been
bombed twice. On the second occasion its entire printing press was destroyed
within hours of Moyo declaring the newspaper "a threat to national
security". - Sapa
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Comment from ZWNEWS, 13 May

Elections, not arm-twisting

By Michael Hartnack

When the US State Department's Walter Kansteiner visits the region this week
he needs to press President Thabo Mbeki on what the South African leader
means by democracy. Does it mean a representative government accountable to
voters? Or is having millions of enrolled voters put crosses on ballot
papers just the modern equivalent of a mediaeval coronation? Zimbabwe's
Robert Mugabe, of course, is firmly in the mediaeval coronation camp. He
began justifying plans for a one-party state right after winning power in
1980. "We can say 'let's have multi-party' and people will resort to their
ethnic groups for support . . opposition parties resort to illegal or
subversive activities," he told a business gathering in Lake Leman,
Switzerland. ". We are thinking that our family must be one." That was just
the start. But what about Mbeki, who has expended so much of his country's
money and his own political credibility on keeping Mugabe, or at least Zanu
PF, in power? Mbeki said last week that Zimbabwe's problems "did not
originate from the desperate actions of a reckless political leadership or
corruption." Where was Mbeki in 1997 when the Zimbabwe dollar began its
nosedive toward the present crisis when the country has run out of bank
notes, and also of money to print more? Where was Mbeki when Mugabe defied
public opinion to send troops to the Congo, or to make vast payouts for
bogus "war disabilities"? Can Mbeki honestly not know how the productive
sector has been systematically destroyed by Mugabe in an attempt to cow
civil society?

There were confident predictions before Mbeki, Nigeria's President Olusegun
Obasanjo and Malawi's Bakili Muluzi came to Harare last week that the trio
would pressure Mugabe into agreeing an exit plan. This would be followed by
the appointment of an interim government, and free and fair elections, in
contrast to the rigged parliamentary and presidential polls of 2000 and
2002. Instead, the presidents applied pressure to Morgan Tsvangirai's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change to recognise the rigged polls as
an irreversible process which had somehow given Mugabe legitimacy, however
many ballot boxes were stuffed or election agents murdered. Obasanjo, in
flowing robes and fresh from his own questionable election victory, took a
line straight from Shakespeare's Richard II: "Not all the water in the rough
rude sea can wash the balm from an anointed king." Once a ruler had gone
through the process of an election, and been sworn in there should be no
further challenge to his authority, he said. MDC sources say Obasanjo,
Muluzi and Mbeki tried to manoeuvre Tsvangirai into conceding that the
officials who conducted the 2002 bogus poll in Zimbabwe were appointed
constitutionally, acted in terms of the constitution, and Mugabe was then
sworn in constitutionally.  The MDC would have none of it.

Mugabe, looking exceptionally grumpy, said afterwards: "Does the MDC now
recognise me? That's the issue." Mugabe realises that the MDC refusal to be
converted to the African leaders' coronation theology strikes at the root of
his rights of patronage, his power to delegate to subordinates the task of
unleashing, with impunity, state-sponsored violence. The one concession the
MDC did offer - and it was a massive one considering the strength of feeling
among its supporters - is that Mugabe might be granted amnesty from criminal
prosecution (but not civil law suits) if he agreed to go peacefully.
Tsvangirai said the MDC was "ready to consider an amnesty" in the context of
a package deal, if it was "the price of Mugabe going". Since the departure
of the visitors, the Supreme Court has, amid great fanfare, ruled
unconstitutional a clause of the odious Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act that made it an offence punishable by up to two years'
imprisonment (and a ban from practice as a journalist) to publish any kind
of incorrect statement. In reality, the court could make no other ruling as
state lawyers had conceded the clause was unconstitutional and announced a
substitute clause was being framed. There are scant grounds for thinking the
ruling indicates a relaxation of Mugabe's assault on the press and on civil
society. The Act remains with its provisions for "licensing" journalists,
subjecting them to a government-appointed commission, and applying a
government-drafted code of conduct.

Tsvangirai, meanwhile, warns of the urgency in breaking the political
deadlock which lies behind the economic crisis, the threat of famine and,
worse, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus which, if it hits
Zimbabwe's malnourished and HIV-infected population, could claim literally
millions of lives. Zimbabwe's bungling and inadequate mechanisms of
government failed despite months of advance warnings in 2001 to secure
adequate supplies of maize meal and wheat.  In defiance of public opinion,
these mechanisms have been perverted to profit a self-seeking elite, rather
than meet the needs of a desperate nation. Mbeki must not wait for another
year of famine or the advent of the SARS virus before facing the fact that
Zimbabwe does not need an anointed monarch in the form of Mugabe or anyone
else. It needs a government capable of proving to the people that it can
govern. For this, transparency and accountability are essential, and that
means parliaments and elections - real ones.
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 12 May

Police corruption allegations in Zim treason trial

Harare - South African lawyer George Bizos, defending Zimbabwe opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a treason trial, has claimed police tried to
cover up for a key state witness. Bizos alleged that police had suppressed a
transcript of an audiotape made by Ari Ben-Menashe, the chief state witness.
The tape of a meeting between Tsvangirai and Ben-Menashe had been presented
as a key piece of evidence in the trial. Tsvangirai, the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been charged with plotting to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe ahead of last year's presidential
elections, which Mugabe won. MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube and shadow
agriculture minister, Renson Gasela have also been charged. The three
opposition officials face the death penalty if convicted of treason. Their
trial resumed on Monday after being adjourned more than a month ago. Five
state witnesses have already testified in the trial, including Ben-Menashe.
The state's evidence hinges on transcripts of tapes made at meetings between
Ben-Menashe and Tsvangirai in London and Montreal. The tapes have proved to
be almost inaudible.

In his cross-examination of police assistant commissioner Moses Magandi,
Bizos accused the investigator and his colleagues of suppressing a document
"that would have proved that Ben-Menashe was lying". "You allowed him to
mislead the people of Zimbabwe... and the world at large," he said. The
document he was referring to was a transcript of an audiotape made at the
London meeting. Ben-Menashe claimed that the tape showed Tsvangirai asking
for help to eliminate Mugabe, but Bizos said the transcript of the tape
clearly showed this was not the case. Earlier, Magandi said the police had
not used the transcript of the London meeting because they could not make
"head or tail of it". He said that the investigating team felt that
Ben-Menashe would clarify the issues contained on the tape at the trial. The
treason trial resumed against a background of widening political and
economic tensions in the southern African country. Tensions between the MDC
and Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party have increased in the last two months. The
MDC has refused to recognise Mugabe's election victory last year, and in
March called for a widely-followed two-day strike to protest alleged
misgovernance. Tsvangirai and the MDC have warned there will be further
strikes. The MDC has taken out full-page advertisements in the private press
stating: "The will of the people shall prevail."
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Daily News

Police officer denies any wrongdoing

5/13/03 7:57:59 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

A POLICE officer denied in court yesterday ever assaulting or witnessing
any of the three men accused of murdering Bulawayo war veteran leader,
Cain Nkala, being beaten during investigations into the matter as
claimed by defence lawyers.

Detective constable Aimon Ndlovu told advocate Eric Morris during cross
examination, During the course of this investigation I only came into
contact with Kethani Sibanda, Sazini Mpofu and Remember Moyo.

I never assaulted the three accused. I never witnessed any assaults
being perpetrated on the three accused.

Ndlovu also claimed he had not seen any injuries on any of the three
Movement for Democratic Change activists who claim to have been severely
assaulted while in police custody in order to induce them to admit to
the murder.

Nkala was kidnapped from his Magwegwe West home in Bulawayo on 5
November 2001.

His decomposing body was exhumed from a shallow grave on a farm near
Solusi University a week later, on 13 November.

The MDC members appearing before Justice Sandra Mungwira on charges of
murdering Nkala are the partys treasurer and its Member of Parliament
for Lobengula-Magwegwe, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, activists Sonny Masera
and Army Zulu.

Putting Ndlovu under the grill, Morris pointed at the telling
similarities between Ndlovus testimony and that of another police
officer, Refias Masuna, who gave evidence in the case earlier on.

But Ndlovu said the similarities were because he worked with Masuna but
he claimed that he had prepared his statement from memory assisted by
rough notes from his diary.

Asked to produce the notes, Ndlovu said he had failed to find the
notebook when he wanted to refresh his memory before coming to court.

Thats the unfortunate part. I cannot produce it, Ndlovu told Morris,
denying suggestions he had deliberately destroyed or hidden the notes.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:
How Long Can Farmers Live on Capital?

At the current rate of inflation in Zimbabwe the value of money halves
approximately every 5.8 months.  That means that $100 million drops in
value to $50 million in about six months and drops to $25 million in a
year.  You can figure for yourself how much that would be worth in five
years. For pensioners and others on a fixed income the reality is an
ever-decreasing standard of living and possible destitution. With the best
will in the world savings do not keep pace with the rate of inflation.
Nor do salaries, so having a job is at best a short-term palliative.
Emigration is an alternative if you have both the will to leave and
qualifications that meet the host country's requirements. For those who
remain the situation is grim unless they are in business.

For the many displaced farmers currently living on capital the alternative
to destitution is to buy or start a business. Being in business is the key
principle to surviving hyper-inflation.

Funding For Business Training Is Available

Zimbabwe African Workers Trust (ZAWT), a UK based organisation, has made
funds available through the Farm Family Trust for displaced farmers who
want help and guidance in developing business skills. FFT has asked the
Business Link to provide a hands-on course for those who either plan to buy
an existing business or intend to start a new business.

To meet the urgent needs of displaced farmers, and other business people,
we have shortened and intensified our programme so that it can now be
completed in 12 months rather than three years.  This is a highly practical
programme based on a due diligence procedure which not only covers
essential business principles but is successful because month by month
accompanying assignments and board meetings show participants how, provides
coaching and ensures that the knowledge is implemented.

This year's programme is limited to people from a total of 30 businesses,
including but not limited to agriculture, who are serious about succeeding.
Because there is a commitment in time and money we are offering a free
2-hour introductory workshop so that interested people can make an informed
decision as to whether this programme is what they need.

Should you, or anyone you know, be interested in attending the workshop on
one of the following dates please contact us and let us know your preferred

2-hour introductory workshops will be held on May 20th, May 28th or June

Lorna Pearson: Phone 04 494283
Stan Parsons:


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

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Daily News

Spirit medium barred from Great Zimbabwe

5/13/03 7:58:33 AM (GMT +2)

 From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

THE police last Saturday barred Dickson Marufu, a self-proclaimed spirit
medium, and government officials accompanying him from performing
rituals at the Great Zimbabwe monument.

Marufu, who claimed that he was possessed by Sekuru Manhope also known
as Manunure wanted to perform a ritual ceremony at the monuments,
arguing that there is hidden treasure under the Great Zimbabwe.

Some chiefs and government officials were supposed to see the
53-year-old Zaka man performing wonders.

However, things took a different turn when Marufu, accompanied by his
chief Reuben Ndanga, were denied permission by the police and officials
from the Department of Museums and Monuments.

Marufu and Ndanga, in the company of officers from the Department of
Information and Publicity in the Presidents Office, went to the
monument but came back empty-handed after a misunderstanding with the

Sources said police and Department of National Museums and Monuments
felt that the self-proclaimed spirit medium would tamper with physical
structures at the national shrine.

People did not live in the structures that you see, but they lived in
caves, claimed Marufu.
I will prove that there is something more fascinating, and a bigger
structure underground.

Police yesterday confirmed that they barred Marufu from conducting the
ritual ceremony.

The director of Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Barnabas Matenga said, As far
as we are concerned no function of that sort had been sanctioned by us
or the local community and all the stake holders. In the interest of
protecting the sacred shrine, any function has to be authorised first
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Piecemeal approach to problems ruinous

      5/13/03 7:49:09 AM (GMT +2)

      ELSEWHERE in this newspaper we report on the ongoing strike for more
pay by teachers countrywide.

      With union leaders warning more schools will close this week because
of the crippling job action, the government, as was to be expected, has
resorted to issuing threats and doling out half-baked measures instead of
addressing the root causes of discontent not only among teachers, but
throughout the entire civil service.

      All we hear from the government is that the Public Service Commission
has been instructed to take "tough action" against the striking teachers and
nothing at all about what the government is doing to resolve the teachers' -
we would say - genuine concerns.

      And yet it should have become crystal clear even to the government
that only a comprehensive and sustainable solution addressing the plight of
public servants, and not arrogant threats, is what is required.

      Next after teachers will be doctors or nurses downing their tools to
press for a review of their salaries eroded away by runaway inflation,
itself the result of the government's mismanagement of the economy.

      Whatever happened, we ask, to the much-vaunted public service job
evaluation exercise conducted last year and which we were told would put an
end to all the problems and pay squabbles bedevilling the civil service?

      As if to underscore its lack of seriousness to resolve the problems
facing the civil service, the government last week hiked teachers' transport
allowances from $7 312 to $22 000 per month, but never addressed the
salaries issue which is the teachers' real grievance.

      Needless to say that $22 000 cannot pay anybody's transport bill for a
month since the government hiked the price of fuel last month.

      It is this ad hoc approach to deep-seated problems, which
unfortunately seems to be the government's most preferred way of managing
national affairs, which has reduced Zimbabwe to the embarrassing mess that
it is in today.

      What is needed, if at all there is any soul in the government who
cares, is a thorough review and restructuring of the civil service.

      The burgeoning civil service, and that should include the armed
forces, must be trimmed down into a lean but efficient and well-paid

      This and nothing else would put an end to the strikes that have become
routine in the civil service.

      We hope that the government, arrogant as we know it to be, will for
once take advice and do the correct thing.

      Of course, any honest attempt to reform the civil service would mean
many of the government's blue-eyed boys, who continue to earn taxpayers'
money simply because they can utter the correct political slogan, losing
their jobs, something the government loathes so much.

      Still we would implore the government to bite the bullet and for once
be seen to be putting the nation ahead of personal and parochial interests
by reforming the public service, if only because that way it could save
something from the health and education sectors which, after all, it has
always dangled as its most priced achievements, never mind their parlous
state since coming to power 23 years ago.
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Daily News

      Zimbabwe courts SA for aviation fuel

      5/13/03 7:44:39 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Goko Business Reporter

      THE government has approached the Airports Company of South Africa
(ACSA) for emergency fuel supplies as an acute shortage of Jet A1 fuel
threatens to ground the national airliner, Air Zimbabwe, sources said

      According to the sources, senior Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe
(CAAZ) officials left for Johannesburg last Sunday to plead with ACSA for an
undisclosed amount of Jet A1 fuel and to discuss ways through which Zimbabwe
could import the fuel cheaply, if possible with South Africa's help.

      "They are in South Africa. The purpose of the visit was to try and
convince the South Africans to supply Zimbabwe with Jet A1 fuel," a CAAZ
official told The Business Daily yesterday on condition he was not named.

      CAAZ chief executive Karikoga Kaseke could not be reached for comment
on the matter but airports director Jerry Ndlovu confirmed Zimbabwe had
sought South Africa's help to stave off the Jet A1 shortage that could scare
away the few remaining international airlines still landing at Harare
International Airport.

      "We have been in touch with ACSA over possibilities of them helping us
procure fuel. We also want to see how they are getting it cheaply," said

      Zimbabwe is in the grip of an acute fuel shortage since Libya cut off
an oil for barter deal with Harare last year. The country has been without
foreign currency to pay for crucial imports including fuel since the
International Monetary Fund, donors and development partners cut off aid
over differences with Harare on governance issues.

      An Air Zimbabwe plane en route from London to Harare last Sunday had
to divert and land in Zambia because it did not have enough fuel to complete
the flight.

      However, the airline's officials said the plane had to refuel in
Lusaka to conserve the dwindling fuel supplies in Harare.

      The sources said more CAAZ and Ministry of Transport officials were
expected to leave Harare for Johannesburg today to join the team that went

      It was however, not possible to establish the progress of the talks
between the Zimbabweans and the ACSA officials. But the sources said not
much was likely to be achieved unless the Zimbabweans put money on the
table. CAAZ, which is believed to be holding US$2 million

      (Z$1,6 billion) for fuel imports, is seeking to source cheaper Jet A1

      The vital fuel sells at between US25 and 27 cents in South Africa but
in Zimbabwe airlines must pay in excess of US$1.

      Zimbabwe consumes 15 million litres of Jet A1 fuel a month. But the
country has virtually run out of all liquid fuels forcing the State-run
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe to appeal to banks to help raise foreign
currency to pay for fuel.

      South Africa has in the past helped Zimbabwe with fuel and electricity
but has in recent weeks appeared reluctant to bail out its northern
neighbour out of its worst energy crisis.
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Business Report

      Mugabe shows he has no intention of stepping down

      The conjunction of the Mbeki/ Obasanjo/Muluzi talks with Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe - three hours and in private - and opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsivangirai - 90 minutes
and with others present - and the summary removal from office of the MDC
mayor of Harare proved that the Mugabe regime is not willing to succumb or
even negotiate a reasonable resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis.

      Any thought of Mugabe retiring quietly, handing over to a successor
and giving way to demands for fresh legitimate elections is sheer delusion.

      It is patently clear that Mugabe is determined to see his presidency
through to 2008. He claims legitimacy; he has the power and control; and he
has the army, police and party hierarchy in his pocket through the exercise
of presidential patronage.

      To him it is irrelevant that the economy is in a state of collapse.
Inflation is running at more than 200 percent. Unemployment is above 70
percent. Fuel supplies have dried up. Electricity supply and coal deliveries
are erratic. Industry has nearly ground to a halt and agricultural
preparation for the winter season is minimal.

      Mugabe has total political control. It is of no consequence to him
that the elections have been declared illegitimate by the the Commonwealth
secretariat and any like-minded bodies.

      He won the elections and, furthermore, wields the constitutional power
of appointing to parliament his own 30 presidential nominees of independents
and representative chiefs - which goes a long way to ensuring parliamentary

      The game plan with regard to the MDC - which South Africa, Nigeria and
Malawi have gone along with - is that he is prepared to talk to the MDC if,
and only if, it is prepared to recognise his legitimacy.

      That is, to drop its legal action with regard to the legitimacy of the
elections, ignore the evidence of the blatantly rigged elections and accord
Mugabe a peaceful retirement.

      This is the last thing the MDC is prepared to do, for it would be
totally compromised and vapourised as a political force.

      So how does one surmount this impasse? Outside intervention is clearly
not on the cards. America has no attributable 9/11 to remotely justify
bringing about order, sanity and economic reconstruction. Britain is
impotent as an imperial country.

      The Commonwealth lacks cohesion and other Africa states are
immobilised by vague notions of racial brotherhood.

      Mugabe's Zanu-PF is not going to give way simply because the economic
house is collapsing about its ears. It is an awful scenario, but the only
tenable possibility would appear to be either a palace revolt - unlikely
with too many ambitious for power - or an army takeover.

      The latter would lead, possibly, to an imposed constitution with the
abolition of the 30 reserved presidential seats and legitimate elections.

      There would have to be the unwholesome recognition of a transitional
army administration and acceptance of a massive UN/UK "Marshall Plan".
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Business Report

     Remedies for Aids and Mugabe may sicken exporters

      By Ann Crotty

      It's important to listen to the views of big business, or at least to
the views of the people who represent it.

      But perhaps we're paying too much attention to them, because they seem
to whinge an awful lot.

      It may be part of some keen psychological battle of wits, where
business fears if it does not constantly complain, the government may
increase taxes, raise interest rates even further or put another huge dollop
of empowerment requirements on it.

      Indeed, it may be the fault of the media. Perhaps we are driven by the
view that the public is only interested in negative stories, hence we only
give voice to those who complain.

      How can it be that two years ago the media carried almost as many
stories complaining about the rand's weakness as it currently does
complaining about the rand's strength?

      Whatever the reason for the whingeing, it would be nice to get a break
from it every so often and put things in perspective.

      It is, of course, the volatility of the exchange rate rather than its
value that causes companies to become agitated about the rand.

      It makes planning difficult. It also makes earnings performance look
erratic, which has implications for executive remuneration.

      The most significant implication is that it makes apparent the fact
that blithely tying remuneration to short-term earnings performance is

      And no doubt executives who are negatively affected this year will
loudly argue that point.

      The best way to deal with those arguments is to retrench the executive
for not having the foresight to see the likelihood of a strengthening in the
rand equal to its earlier decline.

      And for making apparent to all concerned that he or she has no talent
for dealing with uncertainty. Who needs overpaid executives in a world of

      As someone whose livelihood is not directly linked to exports, I have
the luxury of being more sensitive to issues beyond the rand and its

      For instance, there is the fact that we seem to be creeping closer to
a resolution of the HIV/Aids crisis.

      Each day it seems the stance of the minister of health is becoming
increasingly difficult to sustain.

      There are encouraging signs that the conclusions of the report
undertaken in conjunction with the treasury will provide an escape hatch for
the minister.

      Even more encouraging is the growing realisation that HIV/Aids is not
necessarily a death sentence. Not only can it be treated, but increasingly,
it seems, treatment makes good economic sense.

      For this we should be grateful to an open society, which accommodates
the views of a variety of pressure groups

      These groups have not only forced the pharmaceutical cost side of the
equation to be revised downward, but they have also ensured that, regardless
of the government's wishes, the problem has remained uppermost in the public

      Of course, even once the finances are secured, there is still the huge
problem of rolling out the antiretroviral programme.

      But presumably, those difficulties will diminish with experience. And
with the battle for government acceptance of the treatment programme
settled, we can start to pay attention to a vigorous prevention programme.

      To the extent that there is such a thing as a national psyche, it must
have suffered huge damage during the past several years of constant argument
about whether we can afford to deal openly and constructively with the death
and damage wreaked by HIV/Aids.

      The mere fact that we decide to deal with it should unleash huge

      And can it be that there may even be some almost imperceptible
progress on the Zimbabwean front? It's almost too much to hope for,
especially when it seems the Zimbabwean economy has literally ground to a

      But it does seem that President Thabo Mbeki has helped to gently
corral Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe into a position where a gentle
nudge could remove him forever from the face of African politics.

      To many, this may seem unjust recompense for the tragedy he has
caused. And it certainly is.

      The George W Bush alternative of going in with guns blazing makes for
good television, but doesn't look like a viable or sustainable long-term
alternative to Mbeki's soft approach.

      The US president may have successfully rid Iraq of leader Saddam
Hussein, but he has created other leadership problems in that country, which
will become apparent in the months ahead.

      We should in fact be making the best of an appalling Zimbabwean
situation. We should be using it rather like one of those ubiquitous cooking

      "And here's one we did earlier: so you can see what happens when you
don't put in enough fiscal and monetary discipline; or when there's not
enough land reform applied at an early stage; and don't leave it to the last
minute to stir something in for poverty alleviation or empowerment."

      Of course, the sad news for exporters is that with HIV/Aids and
Zimbabwe no longer dominating the picture, we may be forced to live with a
reasonably strong rand for the foreseeable future.

      Mind you, there's always the whimsical foreign currency trader and
global fund manager. So we'll never be lost for inexplicable volatility.
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Zimbabwe confiscates Guardian reporter's residence permit

Steven Morris
Wednesday May 14, 2003
The Guardian

The Guardian's Zimbabwe correspondent, Andrew Meldrum, was yesterday accused
of breaking the terms of his residence permit by writing about the country's
political situation.
Officials told Meldrum, who has been covering Zimbabwe for 23 years, that he
was allowed to write only about economics and tourism. They confiscated his
residence permit and passport.

Lawyers for Meldrum, one of the last foreign reporters in the country, fear
the government is attempting to deport him. Last Wednesday, immigration
officers arrived unannounced at his home after dark and said he was wanted
for questioning. He was not there. His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said such
night-time approaches "invariably led to arrest, detention and deportation".

The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, said he could only conclude the
authorities were attempting to intimidate Meldrum and undermine the
operation of a free press in Zimbabwe.

Ms Mtetwa wrote to the immigration authorities saying Meldrum was prepared
to be interviewed by officials at their offices in normal working hours.
Yesterday Meldrum, an American citizen, voluntarily went to the immigration
offices in Harare with Ms Mtetwa and a US consular official. The official
was not allowed to sit in on the meeting.

Meldrum said a senior immigration official told him that he had been writing
"bad stories" about Zimbabwe and his residence permit allowed him to write
only about economics and tourism. Meldrum argued that the permit simply
stated that he was allowed to work as a journalist.

Outside the immigration offices Meldrum said he felt "grimly determined". He
said: "I am defending not just my rights in Zimbabwe, but the rights of all
journalists here and of permanent residents."

After the raid at his home, he feared for his own safety and that of his
wife and lawyer. "But that is the way many people live in Zimbabwe today."

Ms Mtetwa is to deliver a letter to the immigration service today putting
forward Meldrum's position.

The Zimbabwean authorities have been attempting to imprison and deport
Meldrum, 51, for more than a year. Last July the high court rejected a move
by the government of President Robert Mugabe to have him deported. The
previous week a magistrates court acquitted Meldrum of charges brought under
a new press law which threatened to punish journalists writing "falsehoods".

International press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontières has called on the
government of Zimbabwe to stop its "harassment" of Meldrum.
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The Scotsman

Straw in talks on Mugabe's retirement


JACK Straw's routine visit to South Africa was last night upgraded so that
the British foreign minister and Thabo Mbeki, the South African president,
could hold urgent talks on a potential settlement of the Zimbabwe crisis,
designed to secure Robert Mugabe's retirement.

Officials and analysts said Mr Mbeki would tell Mr Straw that Mr Mugabe's
regime in Zimbabwe had reached "tilting point" and that it was no longer a
matter of whether Mr Mugabe would relinquish or be toppled from power but
when and how.

The sudden change in the programme of Mr Straw - whose talks were originally
scheduled with foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - followed meetings
Mr Mbeki held late last week in Harare with both Mr Mugabe and the
Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr Mbeki will spell out to Mr Straw a scenario that would offer Mr Mugabe
his last chance for a dignified exit after 23 years in power.

The South African president, in his talks with Mr Tsvangirai, secured a
provisional agreement from the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) that he was prepared to enter talks with Mr Mugabe and his ruling
ZANU-PF party without preconditions.

Mr Tsvangirai told Mr Mbeki that if there was a political deal on the table
that included the MDC in a transitional government leading to
internationally supervised elections within a reasonable period, then the
opposition party would drop a court case challenging the legitimacy of the
victory of Mr Mugabe and his party in presidential and parliamentary
elections last year.

Most reliable accounts say that Mr Mugabe and ZANU-PF stole the elections by
widespread rigging and have since presided over a disastrous deterioration
in the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.

Inflation is running at 240 per cent and rising; foreign aid and investment
has dried up and the economy is contracting fast; official unemployment
exceeds 70 per cent; there are critical shortages of food and fuel, and
electricity cuts are frequent.

Increasingly repressive policies to maintain Mr Mugabe's power are fuelling
rising resistance. The capital, Harare, and other major towns are restless,
and diplomats say mass civil unrest or a rebellion is not far off.

"Even the MDC will have little control if that happens," said one diplomat.

John Battersby, political editor of South Africa's Independent Newspapers
Group, who has access to top sources in the Mbeki presidency, said Mr
Tsvangirai also signalled he was prepared to serve in a transitional
government headed by ZANU-PF, provided Mr Mugabe was not part of the
arrangement. "He would agree to measures that would guarantee Mugabe
immunity from [human rights] crimes," said Mr Battersby.

"How Zimbabwe's tilting point will be managed is crucial to the stability of
the region, and indeed what sort of fallout South Africa will face from the
pending collapse," commented Jonathan Katzenellenbogen, diplomatic editor of
Business Day, the country's leading financial daily.

South Africa now has nearly two million Zimbabwean refugees on its soil and
its policy until recently of talking only to Mr Mugabe, but not his
opposition, has produced no results.

Not only has Mr Mbeki been heavily criticised by Mr Tsvangirai and the MDC,
but African states like Kenya, Botswana and Ghana have recently accused him
of sitting on his hands while Zimbabwe teeters towards total disaster.

Mr Mbeki, anxious to restore his diplomatic credibility, will try to involve
Mr Straw and Tony Blair in a new multi-lateral Mugabe exit plan before
events on the Harare and Bulawayo streets in coming weeks overtake
diplomatic efforts.

Mr Mugabe looked old, tired, lonely and battle-weary at last week's talks in
Harare with Mr Mbeki, the Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, and the
Malawian leader, Bakili Muluzi. After years of denial, diplomats said he
finally conceded the scale of his country's crisis and that no rescue
mission could work until he acknowledged it.

President Obasanjo said before leaving Harare: "Things are definitely bad.
And neither the MDC nor the government can all on their own bring about
reversal without having all hands on deck."

Before his crucial talks today with Mr Mbeki, Mr Straw yesterday visited the
huge black township of Soweto and attended a memorial service in Pretoria
for the late veteran leader of the African National Congress, Walter Sisulu,
who died last week.

The foreign minister said: "Walter Sisulu was someone I admired hugely as a
student. He was a symbol of Africa's fight for freedom against the
oppression of apartheid."

The reality of Zimbabwe

DRESSED in a white shirt, black trousers and polished shoes, Fungai is glad
of a lift back to Mutare, Zimbabwe's eastern border town. He has not heard
of the new fuel increases. Petrol went up by more than 200 per cent in
April, the second hike in two months as Robert Mugabe's government scrabbles
to keep the economy afloat.

Fungai has been walking from the hotel where he works to Mutare town
centre - at least 6km - for weeks now. He couldn't afford the bus fares
after the last increase. "What are we going to do now? It's terrible,
terrible," he says.

"How are we going to survive?"

Jolting back into Harare, we find our house without light. The Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority recently announced that as it can't pay the $36
billion (£22.38 billion) it owes to suppliers in Mozambique, the Democratic
Republic of Congo and South Africa, suburbs would have to go without power
for several hours per day.

It was raw tomatoes for dinner by candlelight.

Under cover of darkness, the landlord slipped a note through the door. "Due
to the current high costs, we have no option but to double your rent." No
point complaining. As poverty and food shortages bite, at least 900,000
Zimbabweans living in urban areas need food aid, according to World Food
Programme figures.

Industrial production is down 30 per cent. And this week, the energy
minister, Amos Midzi, warned that the South African firm Eskom might switch
off supply to Zimbabwe with only ten minutes warning.

Zimbabwe's much-talked about land reform isn't the main problem. Comrade
Mugabe, as state news-readers call him, says it is. That way he can convince
Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, and other friendly African leaders
that any fuss over Zimbabwe is Prime Minister Tony Blair trying to support
his farming "kith and kin".

But talk to anyone on the streets of Harare and you won't hear a word about
farms, land or mealie patches. People are worried about money. And survival.
Inflation is 228 per cent. Fuel supplies have all but run dry. Cash, too, is
in short supply - the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has run out of foreign
currency to print money.

The economist Eric Bloch, says: "The entire infrastructure is collapsing and
all indications are that the economy must sink further, for virtually no
remedial actions are being taken by government."

Collapsing infrastructure is there for all to see in Harare, once proudly
named "Sunshine City". Rubbish lies uncollected for days. Whole paving slabs
have come undone, leaving gaping storm drains for the unsuspecting
pedestrian to fall down.

According Mr Mugabe, the majority of Zimbabweans are a "happy lot". It's
certainly getting harder to complain.

Thousands of workers went on a three-day strike last month to protest
against the fuel price hike. The state-owned post office promptly fired
2,800 employees. Although Zimpost later reinstated the workers, the move was
calculated to strike fear into those contemplating taking similar action.
With unemployment running at about 70 per cent, jobs are dear things to

There are other punishments. Soldiers went on the rampage in Harare's
low-income suburbs of Highfield, Glen Norah, Mabvuku and Mufakose, beating
up "anyone they suspected had heeded the stayaway", the Daily News claimed.

"People are champing at the bit for a huge push that would see the
desperately-needed changes to our governance," says Cathy Buckle, a social
commentator. "People have simply had enough."

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Zim Experiences Acute Tyre Shortages

The Herald (Harare)

May 13, 2003
Posted to the web May 14, 2003


ZIMBABWE is experiencing an acute shortage of popular brand tyres, forcing
car owners to opt for cheaper imported brands that are not necessarily fit
for the country's roads.

A snap survey carried by Business Herald revealed that popular brands such
as Dunlop tyres were now in short supply in most retail outlets.

The types of tyres, which are very scarce, are the 1100 by 20 sizes for
haulage trucks and buses as well as the 155 by 13 used by small vehicles.

An official with the National Tyre Services said they rarely had excess
supplies of the 1100 by 20 brand because they were constantly in demand.

"At the moment we do not have any in stock. We are waiting for new supplies
and we do not know when they will be available but Dunlop does supply us if
they have the tyres," said the official.

Some tyre dealers have attributed the shortage to price controls on tyres,
which were introduced by the Government last year.

Under the current gazetted prices the 155 by 13 sizes are supposed to be
selling at $12 440 while the 1100 by 20 brand of tyre are supposed to be
sold at $ 83 577,40.

The limited supplies available were, however, being sold at about $40 000 to
$60 000 for the 155 by 13 sizes and about $500 000 for the 1100 by 20 sizes.

Tyre dealers said they were now stocking the 18-ply brand, which was priced
at $300 000 as an alternative for the 1100 by 20 sizes.

They said they were using other brands such as Bridgestone and Firestone
from countries abroad such as Japan as substitutes for the 155 by 13 brands.

"The brand of tyres that are now being sold are cheap imports that are not
suitable for the country's climate.

"We need a specific brand of tyres that can survive the humid conditions in
this country. As a result, we are getting increasing cases of tyre bursts
from motorists who purchase such tyres due to excessive heat," said one of
the dealers, Mr Martin Mtisi.

He said apart from encouraging the proliferation of cheap imports into the
country, the shortages had also given rise to increases in the value of the
available supplies.

On the other hand some transport operators have resorted to using retreads
as an alternative to buying new tyres which were proving to be more

The re-treads, however, were unsafe for public transport, as they tended to
last for a limited period.

The National Tyre Services Limited in their 2002 year-end results alluded to
the fact that the formal market was under threat from the black market
traders as well as those who justify the marketing of second hand tyres as a
cheaper alternative.

"The retention of price controls and availability and cost of currency
remain critical to future performance," the company said.
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