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

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      Zimbabwe co-operation pledged

             By Alastair Leithead
            BBC, Johannesburg

      UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has rounded up a two-day trip to South
Africa by saying that both countries broadly agree on what the final outcome
should be in Zimbabwe.

      Mr Straw met President Thabo Mbeki and held a series of talks with the
South African foreign minister.

      The trip was meant to strengthen bilateral ties between Britain and
South Africa after disagreements between the two countries over the Iraqi
war and the policy over Zimbabwe.

      But there are still clear differences in policy between them.

      South Africa remains committed to quiet diplomacy and Britain is still
urging international condemnation of President Mugabe over the current

      But the two foreign ministers issued a joint communique, saying they
agreed on what the outcome should be - independence, freedom, peace,
democracy and prosperity for the people of Zimbabwe.

      The will to encourage the two opposing sides in Zimbabwe to talk was
also emphasised.

      Other issues on the agenda included the New Plan for Africa's
Development (Nepad) which will again be championed by President Mbeki at the
G8 meeting in France next month.
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Straw tones down Zimbabwe rhetoric

By Manoah Esipisu
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - The government has toned down its rhetoric on
Zimbabwe, with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw saying he backed South Africa's
quiet diplomacy in tackling the country's acute economic and political

Straw said after meeting South African President Thabo Mbeki and Foreign
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Wednesday that London backed a bid by
African leaders to kick-start talks between Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"What we now have to do is to encourage parties in Zimbabwe to work more
effectively together to reach a common understanding for the benefit of the
people," Straw told a news conference, adding Britain stood ready to play
its part.

Straw said he did not discuss a plan to encourage Mugabe to leave office
because it was not Britain's place to do so.

Britain has led a campaign for Commonwealth sanctions against Mugabe because
of his controversial redistribution of white-owned farms to landless blacks
and a 2002 re-election in polls international observers said were gravely

The Commonwealth, made up mostly of former British colonies, suspended
Zimbabwe for a year in March 2002, and has extended that ban until at least

Mbeki has been criticised for what analysts see as his soft touch on

Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Malawi President Bakili
Muluzi visited Harare last week to spur dialogue between Mugabe and the MDC,
which accuses the 79-year-old Zimbabwean leader of political repression.

While the visit did not produce any immediate signs of progress, South
African political analysts said slow moves may have started towards
unlocking a crisis which has crippled Zimbabwe's economy and poisoned its
relations with the West.

Dlamini-Zuma told the same news conference that there was now full agreement
on Zimbabwe between South Africa and Britain.
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Zimbabwe: No Shortage of Imported Goods For Those With Money
Tendai Maphosa
14 May 2003, 13:40 UTC

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis since independence 23
years ago. Basic commodities and fuel are in short supply. But, there is no
shortage of imported goods in the supermarkets for those with money.

Australian butter, Dutch cheese, South African wine, milk, cooking oil,
margarine and even the staple maize meal are just some of the many products
in abundance on supermarket shelves in the better off areas of Harare.

While some of these products were available when the Zimbabwean economy was
doing well, they had to compete with products manufactured in the country.
Now they practically have the shelves to themselves.

An economist for Zimbabwe's National Chamber of Commerce, James Jowa, says
the shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe has made it very expensive to
produce just about anything. As a result, he says, imported products are now
often cheaper than those made in Zimbabwe. "Because of the major increases
in the cost of producing goods and services, it's becoming relatively
cheaper to import goods and services, particularly consumption goods like
cooking oil, things like soap," he said.

Mr. Jowa also says that the price controls on a number of essential
commodities have made it uneconomical for companies to produce them.

A businessman who spoke on condition of anonymity says business people are
either using their own external funds or getting money on the parallel
market to import the goods, some of which go straight to the thriving black
market where huge profits can be made.

But few legitimate businesses are profiting in Zimbabwe. Most manufacturers
are operating at 30 to 40 percent capacity, and many companies are either
down-sizing or relocating to neighboring countries.

Mr. Jowa, the Chamber of Commerce economist, says Zimbabwe, which once had
one of the strongest economies in Africa, is actually undergoing a process
of de-industrialization.
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EU to give Zim Euro 13m
14/05/2003 21:53  - (SA)

Brussels - The European Commission has agreed a new Euro 13m aid package for
Zimbabwe to counter drought and food shortages, it said on Wednesday.
The funds, agreed by the EU executive's Humanitarian Aid Office, "will help
improve nutrition, food, water and sanitation levels and combat HIV/Aids",
said a statement.
EU-Zimbabwe relations are cool, following EU sanctions slapped on Harare
including a travel ban on President Robert Mugabe and 71 associates for
alleged rights and democratic abuses.
The new EU funds will provide food to over 600 000 children, and help
support nearly 300 000 farms with seeds, tools and fertilisers, and assist
over 100 000 orphans and vulnerable children, it said.
To maximise the impact of the aid, the commission will maintain a support
office in Harare to appraise project proposals, co-ordinate and monitor
operations, said the commission.
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Zim seeks $75m for fuel
14/05/2003 21:58  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's state fuel procurement firm wants to raise the
equivalent of us$75m to import petroleum-based fuels, a state-run daily said
on Wednesday.

The southern African country has experienced a crippling fuel shortage since
1999, which has worsened in recent months.

The fuel scarcity has been attributed to an acute shortage of foreign

The Herald reported that the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) "is
on the market to raise funds through bills."

Zimbabwe last month hiked the price of fuel by more than 200%.

The price increase resulted in a three-day national strike called by the
labour movement.

Zimbabwe's national airline this week said it had just two or three days'
worth of fuel supplies due to the crunch.

While several private oil companies are importing fuel on their own
following the opening up of the market by the government last year, supplies
have not significantly improved.

Noczim, a parastatal was for years, the sole importer of fuel.
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The Herald

President appoints land review committee

Presidential Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday named an eight-member Land Review Committee to
examine land reform and resettlement in each province, district and ward.

The committee, which consists of eminent Zimbabweans with varied
competencies in public administration, agricultural research and development
and social issues, is expected to start work soon and will submit its
recommendations to the Presidency within two months.

It will be chaired by former Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet,
Dr Charles Utete, and comprises National Economic Consultative Forum
co-chairman Dr Robbie Mupawose, former Agricultural and Rural Development
Authority chief executive, Dr Liberty Mhlanga, and former Lands, Agriculture
and Rural Resettlement secretary, Dr Tobias Takavarasha.

Other members are Dr Boniface Ndimande, former permanent secretary for
Agriculture, Lands and Water Development, Professor Rudo Gaidzanwa of the
University of Zimbabwe, and Dr Mavis Chidzonga, a former Member of
Parliament for Mhondoro.

The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda is an
ex-officio member of the committee who will provide the link with the
Government and facilitate the immediate implementation of any corrective
measures that are deemed necessary.

President Mugabe said the committee will assess progress achieved so far in
the implementation of the land reform programme as a whole and establish the
extent to which the programme's objectives and principles have been achieved
and implemented.

It will outline remaining challenges and constraints in the ongoing
implementation of the land reform in order to provide a holistic approach to
the agrarian reform agenda and recommend concrete and programme-enhancing
ways of adequately and effectively addressing any administrative and
material shortcomings.

The committee is expected to verify the implementation of the A1 and A2
resettlement with the attendant concern of the provision of agricultural
inputs and support services for the optimal use of resettled land.

It will establish the situation regarding the existing infrastructure on the
resettled farms and the additional support that may be required.

The committee will gauge the productive capacity of the resettled farmers
and agree on measures necessary to ensure targeted production for each

This will include assessing appropriate hectarages for each type of crop,
including livestock production.

Cde Mugabe said the land review committee would also assess the impact of
land reform on former commercial farmers and farm workers while also
establishing the role of agribusiness, including indigenous companies, in
agrarian reform.

It will establish the skills required to enhance agricultural productivity
and food security and review the merits of the demarcation undertaken on
existing agricultural concerns in terms of the productivity and viability

In seeking a comprehensive way forward, the committee will also look at the
situation of farms not yet settled or demarcated and how these could be
incorporated into future land resettlement.

Cde Mugabe said the committee would also work with members of the
sub-committee of the task force on land reform in order to ensure continuity
and draw useful lessons deriving from the implementation of the fast-track
phase of land reform and resettlement.

It will work under and through the Minister of Special Affairs in the Office
of the President and Cabinet, Cde John Nkomo, and the Minister of State for
Land Reform, Cde Flora Buka.

The committee will be supported by a technical unit and an administrative
secretariat. The technical unit will comprise resource persons with relevant
expertise who will provide the necessary support and technical advice while
the secretary will provide day-to-day financial, administrative and
logistical support to the committee and its entities at provincial and
district levels.

Eight provincial task teams with their respective district teams, headed by
provincial co-ordinators, will assist the committee. The provincial and
district task teams, specifically recruited for the purpose, will consult
the different stakeholders on critical elements of land reform and

Dr Utete said members of the committee met informally on Tuesday. The
committee sees itself as part of Government machinery to ensure that land
reform and resettlement becomes a big success in terms of productivity.

He hoped that with the members' wealth of experience, the committee will
complete its task within the stipulated two months.
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Germany returns Zim bird
14/05/2003 21:15  - (SA)

Harare - A fragment of Zimbabwe's prized and mythical soapstone bird
sculpture looted from the Great Zimbabwe ancient city a century ago was
returned to the country on Wednesday after years in a German museum.

The unique stone-carved Zimbabwe Bird, an emblem of the southern African
country - it appears on the national flag, the country's bank notes and
coins, and official documents - was handed over to President Robert Mugabe
by Germany's envoy to Harare Peter Schmidt.

The stylised elegant bird carvings stood on walls and monoliths of the Great
Zimbabwe ruins, a Unesco-designated World Heritage site built between the
13th and 15th century.

In what Mugabe described as "ruthless cultural plunder", the British
coloniser of Zimbabwe, Cecil John Rhodes, took several birds from Great
Zimbabwe around 1906 and took them to South Africa.

Four remained in South Africa and were later returned to Zimbabwe after
independence in 1981.

'100 years in exile'

However, a pedestal of one was either given or sold to German missionary
Karl Theodore George Axenfeld, who later sold it to the Ethnological Museum
in Berlin in 1907 for 500 Deutschmarks.

Said Mugabe: "The fraction of the bird that we are officially welcoming back
today has had a very eventful if not troubled existence during its almost
100 years in exile."

During the occupation of Germany by Russian forces during World War II, the
bird was looted from Berlin and taken to Leningrad, where it remained until
after the Cold War, when it was returned to Germany.

Another collection of the bird's remains is at Rhodes's former Groote Schuur
residence in Cape Town. Mugabe has promised to talk to President Thabo Mbeki
in a bid to recover it.

"The entire process of colonial acquisition was a game without rules to the
extent that it was typical to argue that the treasure was gotten by 'virtue
of conquest'," said Mugabe.
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Protest Over Journalist in Hiding As Harare Court Raps Media Law

International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto)

May 9, 2003
Posted to the web May 14, 2003


The International Federation of Journalists today condemned "outrageous
intimidation and threats" against a leading foreign correspondent in
Zimbabwe and called on the government of Robert Mugabe to lift its vendetta
against independent media in the country.

The IFJ statement follows a night-time visit by a group claiming to be
immigration officials to the home of Harare based journalist Andrew Meldrum.
His lawyers claim that the latest action is the culmination of personal
attacks and harassment by the Zimbabwean authorities for over a year.

Meldrum, the correspondent of The Guardian, who has gone into hiding with
his wife, enjoys the protection of a high court order issued last year when
he was cleared of charges brought against him under the notorious Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act. After he was cleared an attempt
was made to deport him even though he has legal residency status in

Meldrum's acquittal caused official embarrassment, as he was the first
journalist to be tried and then acquitted under the Act.

"It is shocking that a leading journalist must go into hiding fearing for
his safety," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ, "but as a
journalist he is well aware of the fate of hundreds of others in Zimbabwe
who have been taken at night to be interviewed only to suffer mistreatment
and sometimes torture in jail." The IFJ says that the credibility of the
Mugabe regime's attack on the media has been undermined further by the
decision of the Supreme Court, on 7 May, to strike down Section 80(1)(b) of
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) in the
constitutional case filed by Daily News staffers (SC 280/2002).

The ruling is important for media workers as Section 80 (1) of AIPPA clearly
hindered the freedom of expression and interfered with the right of
journalists to receive and impart information.

"The courts now realize that vindictive punitive legislation to silence the
media is unworkable and unacceptable in any state where the rule of law and
decency should prevail", said the IFJ.

The IFJ has once again called on the international community including the
United Nations and European Union to apply pressure on the Zimbabwean
government to halt the campaign of harassment against media. "Journalists
like Meldrum must be free to work without undue pressure," said the IFJ.
"There can be no democratic future for Zimbabwe until all journalists can
work in the country out of the shadow of fear and intimidation that has been
created by the authorities".
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Daily News

      $120bn lost due to farm disturbances

      5/14/03 8:41:30 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba Staff Reporter

      The government's chaotic land reforms have cost the country more than
$120 billion in lost revenue this agriculture season alone and resulted in a
rapid decline of crop yields in what could be a virtual death of commercial
agriculture, the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) said yesterday.

      Neil Wright, the CFU's chief economist, was elaborating on a CFU
report highlighting the impact of the land reform programme, under which
most white-owned land has been taken over by the government ostensibly for
the resettlement of landless blacks.

      The report, based on information gathered in February, but which was
updated this month, said Zimbabwe's commercial agriculture and related input
industries were on the verge of collapse and that farm output would be
scaled back by between 40 and 60 percent this year.

      About 200 000 farm jobs were also lost in 2002.

      Wright said the chaos on the farms had cost Zimbabwe more than $120
billion and the situation could worsen if lawlessness persisted on the

      The CFU report says the government's present land policies, combined
with lack of security and a collateral base for credit, have seriously hit
production of virtually all commodities.

      "Key input industries for agriculture are also on the verge of
collapse and others are operating at well below capacity due to a
substantial contraction of their main markets, foreign exchange shortages,
interruptions in the supply of raw materials and price controls undermining
their production ability," the report says.

      The report adds that fertiliser companies such as Sable Chemicals,
Zimphos, Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and Windmill are operating below
capacity due to problems in mobilising foreign currency to import raw
materials, especially potash, and the inability of the National Railways of
Zimbabwe to move these into the country quickly.

      This situation, the report noted, had seriously affected stockfeeds
imports and chemical production companies had had to drastically rationalise
their products.

      The CFU report said investment in tractors, farm machinery and
irrigation equipment was insignificant due to the uncertainty prevailing in
the commercial farming sector.

      The industry survives on servicing equipment and selling spares. The
CFU said between October and December 2002, only eight tractors were sold by
all dealers but prior to 1997, around 1 600 tractors were sold every year.

      The CFU reported that prior to the planting period for the 2002/2003
summer crop season, farm equipment valued at $23 billion was seized, looted
or vandalised.

      About 453 commercial farmers, out of 4 137 who worked the land before
the start of the controversial land reforms three years ago, were still
operating their farms, but this number was likely to fall if the government
continued with its farm seizures, it noted.

      "As of February 2003, the number of members no longer farming when
compared with January 2000 was 2 098," the report said.

      "According to a survey undertaken in February 2003, only 453 members
were still fully operational on their properties, while another 666 were
partially operational."

      The organisation said maize production had fallen from 810 000 tonnes
in 2000 to an estimated 80 000 tonnes due mostly to viability concerns,
theft and the seizure of maize kept on farms.

      It said despite the government's claims that the land reforms were
completed in August 2002, the acquisition procedures were still being
implemented in a lawless and disorderly manner, with illegal occupations,
interruptions to production, theft of moveable property and human rights
violations continuing.

      Doug Taylor-Freeme, the CFU's vice-president, yesterday said evidence
on the ground pointed to a bleak future for Zimbabwe's agriculture.

      "Commercial agriculture production has been severely affected," he

      "Soya-bean production has gone down from a record 162 000 tonnes to 30
000 tonnes. Most farms that produced agriculture products are sitting idle
and more jobs will be lost. Maize seed production has been seriously reduced
and a shortage looms in the coming season."

      The report said Zimbabwe exported about 20 000 tonnes of soya beans in
2001 but this year the country needed to import the crop because of the
sharp decline in output.

      The report said the production of crops such as groundnuts and
sunflower had dropped to insignificant levels, while wheat, sorghum, barley,
coffee, sugar cane, dairy and ostrich production had also drastically gone

      Zimbabwe's food security and foreign currency earnings have been hit
by the decline in agricultural output, the report said.

      Close to eight million Zimbabweans are in need of emergency food aid
because of the impact of the land reform programme and a drought that has
hit southern Africa.

      "Commercial farming operations have been reduced substantially since
the 1999/2000 season when fast-track resettlement began," the report noted.

      "These developments have had and will continue to have severe
repercussions on Zimbabwe's food security and foreign exchange earning
ability in the short to medium-term."
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Daily News

      Chigwedere makes moves to replace Zimsec

      5/14/03 8:27:39 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture has drafted proposals
that could result in the embattled Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council
(Zimsec) being replaced by a new examinations body in 2004, according to
Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere.

      Chigwedere said the draft proposals had been submitted to the Minister
of State Enterprises and Parastatals, Paul Mangwana, under whose
jurisdiction Zimsec falls.

      Mangwana, who is expected to submit the proposals to Cabinet, could
not be reached for comment yesterday.

      If the proposals are approved, Zimsec, which was hit by an
examinations fraud scandal earlier this year, will merge with the Higher
Education Examination Council (Hexco).

      Zimsec administers primary and secondary school examinations, while
Hexco runs the examinations of technical and polytechnic colleges.

      Zimsec has been accused of compromising education standards because of
its lack of skilled manpower and poor security measures that have led to the
falsification of examination results, among other problems.

      "Zimsec has been involved in a lot of corruption and the Ministry of
Education has decided that there should be a new examination body that
should make a fresh start in governing local examinations," Chigwedere told
The Daily News.

      He said he expected Cabinet to consider his ministry's recommendations
quickly so that they could be tabled before Parliament during the current

      "It is our ambition to push the Bill through the current parliamentary
session so that we have a new examination body running by the beginning of
2004," the minister said.

      "It is very expensive to have the two councils operating separately
and there is need to rationalise the examination bodies and come up with one
body, which is cheaper," he added.

      Among the problems experienced by Zimsec is the leaking of examination
papers by staff and the forging of results for individuals who neither
registered nor sat for exams.

      Several of the parastatal's officials have appeared before the Harare
Magistrates' Courts on charges of contravening the Prevention of Corruption
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Daily News

      Cops threatened to feed us to crocodiles: accused

      5/14/03 8:28:21 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The police threatened to feed to crocodiles one of the six men accused
of kidnapping and murdering Bulawayo war veterans' leader Cain Nkala if he
did not confess to the killing, the High Court heard yesterday.

      The claim was made during cross-examination of police constable Aimon
Ndlovu by advocate Eric Morris during the "trial within a trial", which is
to decide the admissibility of statements taken from four of the six accused

      The accused allege that they were forced to confess to the abduction
and murder of Nkala in 2001.

      Ndlovu denied that the police had on November 21 2001 threatened to
throw Kethani Sibanda, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change
activist, to the crocodiles in Ncema Dam near Esigodini.

      Nkala was kidnapped from his Magwegwe West home in Bulawayo on 5
November 2001 and his decomposing body was exhumed from a shallow grave at a
farm near Solusi University a week later.

      Sibanda is appearing before Justice Sandra Mungwira with MDC treasurer
and Member of Parliament for Lobengula-Magwegwe, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, as
well as MDC director of security Sonny Masera, and party activists Army
Zulu, Sazini Mpofu and Remember Moyo.
      Ndlovu said Sibanda had freely confessed and made indications to the
police after pleading not to be detained overnight at Esigodini.

      He said Sibanda had appeared "relaxed and comfortable" when he asked
for a chance to confess.

      Ndlovu said Sibanda had been warned not to play games. "He denied he
was trying to play games and said he was prepared to show us where Cain
Nkala's body was buried as he had taken part in his kidnapping."

      Morris queried why Sibanda would look relaxed and comfortable
confessing to a "brutal, cold-blooded, premeditated murder" that could send
him to the gallows if convicted.

      He said: "How much sense does that make to you?"

      Ndlovu said Sibanda had told the police that Nkala was kidnapped to
enable the accused to extract information from him on the kidnapping of
Patrick Nabanyama, an MDC election agent in the June 2000 Parliamentary
election. The trial continues today.
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Daily News

      Auditors probe abuse of $40m drought fund

      5/14/03 8:28:59 AM (GMT +2)

      From Energy Bara in Masvingo

      AUDITORS have begun examining the books of Masvingo rural councils,
which are suspected to have misappropriated at least $40 million ear-marked
for the purchase of food for villagers affected by drought, it was learnt
this week.

      The funds were disbursed under a public works programme to villagers
affected by the drought that has hit southern Africa.

      Senior government officials said the audit had been ordered by the
Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

      They said a team of internal and external auditors had been engaged to
probe allegations of financial mismanagement within several rural district
councils in the province.

      The councils are suspected to have invested part of the money
earmarked for food aid on the financial markets before disbursing it to
intended beneficiaries.

      Masvingo provincial administrator Alphonse Chikurira confirmed that
auditors were looking into the councils' financial books.

      "Our auditors must have arrived last week to look into the
 allegations", said Chikurira.

      He however said he would only be able to comment extensively on the
matter once an audit report was produced.

      The government officials said Gutu rural district council topped the
list of local authorities suspected to have misused funds.

      Two Gutu rural council officials are already being investigated by the
police for alleged misuse of public funds, the officials said.

      Officials in the Department of Social Welfare yesterday said they were
shocked by the allegations of financial irregularities at the district

      An official in the department said: "We were not involved in the
direct supervision of the funds. Our role was to make sure that people were
paid. We thought nothing was wrong until we discovered that the councils
were first investing the money and later helping themselves with the

      Masvingo provincial governor Josaya Hungwe is said to have last month
told a provincial development committee meeting that he was aware of the
activities of the rural district councils and had ordered council officials
to cease their activities.

      The councils were ordered by the government to disburse the money in
an attempt to ensure that the funds were speedily given out to villagers,
who received $1 500 each after working for two weeks.

      However, commentators questioned the ability of the councils to
administer the money since some of them were facing financial problems.

      Because of bureaucratic bungling, several villagers in Masvingo
province were not paid on time, resulting in some abandoning projects they
had undertaken under the programme.
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Daily News

      Urgent meeting called to end teachers' strike

      5/14/03 8:30:06 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Public Service Commission (PSC) has summoned the Zimbabwe Teachers
' Association (Zimta) executive for an urgent meeting today to try to end a
crippling national strike by teachers who are demanding higher pay and
improved working conditions.

      Peter Mabande, the Zimta chief executive, yesterday confirmed that the
government had called for urgent talks to try to find a solution to an
industrial action which has halted lessons at most schools since they
re-opened for the second term last week. "We are going to have an emergency
meeting with the PSC tomorrow (today) morning," Mabande told The Daily News.

      "Naturally we will be happy if our demands are met, otherwise the
impasse will remain. But anyway we will enter into the negotiations in good
faith and see how things shape up."

      Lance Museka, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour,
Public Service and Social Welfare which deals with labour disputes,
confirmed that discussions between the government and Zimta were scheduled
for today.

      "We want to discuss the necessary steps that must be taken in order to
facilitate a speedy resolution to the industrial action by the teachers," he

      In Harare, classes have been disrupted by teachers who ordered pupils
back home. In Mutare, teachers at most schools have not been reporting for
work .

      The teachers want salaries and working conditions which are comparable
to other civil servants with the same qualifications and work experience.
The strike has now spread to small towns such as Chegutu, Kadoma, Chinhoyi,
Glendale and Mount Darwin.

      Trainee teachers at colleges such as Hillside in Bulawayo and Mutare
Teachers' College have been boycotting lectures in solidarity with the
striking teachers.

      Our correspondents in Mutare report that pupils could be seen
loitering around the townships of Sakubva and Dangamvura yesterday.

      It was the same situation in Chinhoyi, Gweru, Masvingo and Bulawayo
where pupils were told on Monday not to report for lessons until the pay
dispute had been resolved.

      Catherine Mugwididi, a parent in Kadoma, phoned The Daily News
yesterday to express her exasperation over time that was being lost by
pupils who are preparing for examinations later this year.

      "I have a daughter who is supposed to write three Ordinary Level
subjects in June. She is going to be affected in her preparations. Would the
government and teachers quickly resolve this stand-off?" she pleaded.

      The teachers are demanding an entry-level salary of $268 000 a month,
up from the present $56 000.

      Takavafira Zhou, president of the Progressive Teachers' Union, said of
today's meeting between Zimta and the PSC: "We hope both parties will enter
the meeting in good faith, but the industrial action will go on unless
something worth talking about comes out of the meeting."
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Zanu PF, MDC must stop posturing and start talks

      5/14/03 8:38:24 AM (GMT +2)

      By Kuthula Matshazi

      PARDON my optimism, but I feel there is a great opportunity for the
major political parties, Zanu PF and the MDC, to start talking about solving
the country's political problems.

      Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has unequivocally pronounced it in
his interview with The Sunday Mail, (11 May, 203). Again, pardon me for
being politically incorrect in these times of great political divide.

      What I read from Moyo's interview are two possibilities.

      First, that the government might still be playing political games, as
it has always done and, secondly, that it is either genuine in its desire to
solve the situation in the country now because of the imminent danger posed
by the suffering people. Or still that they have suddenly started caring.

      The majority of the people are now just on the brink of snapping. This
has been said over and over again for some time, but I suppose it had to be
put into proper perspective.

      The situation was not as bad as we could have ever imagined it finally
would be. Now it has reached catastrophe point. People are holistically
bankrupt. They do not have anything more to lose. They are at a stage where
they would rather do anything to help themselves survive a dangerous stage.

      Don't fool yourselves, Zanu PF knows it - and Moyo has confirmed it -
that the people are just not suffering, but extremely suffering.

      This brings me to my second point - that of public relations stunts
and political games.

      Zanu PF has always used PR strategies to govern the country. They
could test the mood of the people, they could lie to them and promise them
heaven but instead give them hell. Well, it worked up to a point in time.
Even PR strategies can be effective for so much.

      The only PR strategy that can work now is for the people to see the
government constructively and positively engage in fixing these problems and
coming out with results.

      Zanu PF cannot cheat people and claim that they are being sabotaged at
every turn.

      Neither can they "show" them that they care. Now people are no longer
interested in stories. They need food, they need medicine, they need jobs,
they need housing. Yes, here and there they could have been sabotaged, but
they must first get their act together to gain the people's sympathy.

      The government must be a consensus builder, not a bully or a pussycat.
They must formulate strong policies and be responsive to problems. The
government must acknowledge and deal with problems successfully. They must
engage the opposition political party and not intimidate them.

      For its part, the MDC should take the perceived opportunity by the
government to dialogue with them. They must also realise what I have alluded
to above. They must stop PR and playing political games and be prepared to
help alleviate the suffering of the people. They must constructively engage
the government and be a true national opposition. They must stop calling for
sanctions, directly or indirectly, against Zimbabwe. What they are doing in
Zimbabwe is what the United States did in Iraq. In a bid to oust one person,
Saddam Hussein, they bombed multitudes of people whose numbers we are still
to be told. After the massive killings of people, the US claims that they
had only a couple of civilian casualties.

      So far the MDC PR strategy has worked, but for how long? If the
current impasse continues, yes, the people might not realise the PR game the
MDC might be playing, but honestly what effect will that be having on the

      Can Morgan Tsvangirai's conscience allow him to live with the
decisions of calling for sanctions that are causing the suffering of
Zimbabweans in the hope that this would be a strategy to topple Mugabe?
Then, in that case, we would be dealing with two similar devils.

      People are now a potential lethal weapon to the political process.
They have now been sensitised by this catastrophe and will no longer sit
back and be apathetic to politics - at least, I hope so. In a way, these
hardships have served to sensitise people of the need not to leave their
destiny in the hands of a few bunch of individuals.

      Politics is not a crazy game for idiots; it's about power and the
control of resources. These guys are not idiots. They are power-hungry
schemers who are causing suffering to the people because of their desire for
political power.

      If leaders of both parties really care about the plight of the people,
I think they would come out of their political positions and solve these
problems. This is not a time for PR strategies.

      As I have earlier, even PR strategies have life spans.

      It is about the survival of the people; the people that these
politicians say they want to serve.

      Currently, both Mugabe and Tsvangirai are spending money on PR firms.
Make no mistake about PR firms; they are very strong communicators who
manipulate people's opinions and situations.

      Like journalists, they make or break a person or situation and many
times they have the last word in. Their role is not to establish or promote
the truth, but to promote their clients' image.

      Their contact with the common people is negligible and, therefore,
their understanding of the country's problems is questionable. However, what
they get are professional milestones as they enjoy political scheming.

      One way or the other, these talks just have to materialise. It cannot
be wishful thinking.
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      Mugabe, better heed advice to go peacefully

      5/14/03 8:33:58 AM (GMT +2)

      This last school holiday, we had two little relatives staying with us.
They are both little girls, one aged six and in Grade One, and the other
aged nine and in Grade Four. On any day, most of the time they played in the
living room and watched TV at the same time.

      What I found most amusing was their reaction to the advertisements
that seek to denigrate the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as an irrational
man who dares tell a "duly elected president" to go.

      Once the rapping sound of guns that accompanies the words on the
screen was heard, the little girls would run to the set and wait to say with
Tsvangirai: "What I must tell Mugabe today is please go peacefully. If you
do not want to go peacefully, we will remove you violently!"

      Of course, the little girls are not politicians, they are merely
practising their nascent language skills!

      I think we must congratulate ZBC for airing that message repeatedly.
Perhaps with repetition, it will eventually dawn on the Zanu PF leaders that
it is indeed time for the entire lot to go. There are abundant signs that
indeed it is time for them to go.

      Governments are there to craft laws that protect the people they

      Parliament is there to ratify those laws that are sound and
people-friendly and reject those that are anti-people.

      When a government begins to make laws that protect itself from its
constituency, the nation, the people it is sworn to serve, then it is time
for that government to go.

      The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public
Order and Security Act are clear examples of such laws that serve to protect
the government against the people. By crafting such anti-people laws, that
government will have read that it has lost all popularity and, hence, the
mandate to rule. Indeed, democracy is about popular rule! Unpopular
governments are rejected governments.

      Sovereignty is about political, social and economic independence. Each
of these elements is an integral part of the others and they complement each
other. Political sovereignty without economic independence is meaningless.

      For the ordinary man in the street, independence means
self-sufficiency. The primary purpose for all governments should be to make
the country work in security and peace.

      As citizens, we cannot go about our daily businesses in peace and we
do not feel self-sufficient. Indeed, we cannot in the midst of a plethora of
maladies - shortages of food, shortages of drugs in hospitals and
pharmacies, rampant unemployment, fear of arbitrary arrest and torture - the
list is endless!

      The economy is not working because this government has rendered it
invalid. It is indeed time for this government to go.

      Governments must go when they have lost all sense of shame.

      What good is this government doing the nation? Absolutely nothing, but
ruin. They are not shamed by the long queues at all the country's filling
stations. They are not shamed by the long queues for basic commodities. They
are not shamed by empty shelves in the supermarkets.

      They are not shamed by dilapidated and ill-functioning hospitals. They
are not shamed by a police that has run amok, meting out vengeance and
retribution against the nation (Whatever for?).

      They are not shamed by the brutalised bare buttocks of a 60-plus old
woman. Indeed, they are not shamed by presiding over the collapse of the
economy. They are not shamed by putting the good name of Zimbabwe into

      The nation cannot continue to be shamed this way and it is time to
say: "Please, go peacefully."

      It is time to go when a government is continually visited by foreign
heads of state to advise and chastise it on an endless catalogue of

      Is this not an indication that there is something wrong with us? How
loud does the government want our neighbours to shout that what we are doing
is hurting them as well?

      When they stand with other leaders in international fora, what economy
do they speak of? Indeed, what peace and what human rights do they speak of?

      The government must go, not merely because of the MDC challenge to its
legitimacy. It must go because it has failed to perform.

      It must go because it has made serious mistakes that have jeopardised
the nation's livelihood. It must go because it has failed to provide
solutions to the numerous problems that beset us and which it inflicted on
the nation through its failure to listen to good advice.

      There are numerous other pointers that we need a fresh start as a

      We cannot have this fresh start with Zanu PF. We need fresh ideas and
these cannot be found in Zanu PF. It is high time time that Zanu PF realised
that they are not the nation and that they are not bigger than the nation.
That they fought in the liberation war cannot be an excuse to stay put in
power even when that very stay is hurting the nation and the economy.

      We fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe and not its subjugation.

      We cannot become the nation's tormentors, looters and destroyers and
still claim its hospitality.

      If we have become so, as indeed is the case, then it is time to go.

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Leader Page

      For how long can State duck issues?

      5/14/03 8:37:48 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWEANS must continue to suffer and possibly die at crumbling
State hospitals because the government says it must first enact a Hospitals
Management Act and appoint a Health Services Commission before it can sort
out the scandal that is the public health sector.

      Why is it taking the government so long to enact the law and appoint
the commission, especially given the fact that a commission of inquiry
appointed by President Robert Mugabe himself had indeed made such a
recommendation as far back as in 1999?

      Making the public health sector work in a country where at least 2 000
people die every week because of HIV/AIDS-related illnesses would be the
most urgent preoccupation of any government that has a conscience.

      But more importantly, just how the proposed new law or commission will
suddenly convert State hospitals from being places where people simply go to
die into modern health institutions remains a mystery.

      Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa tells us the
proposed new health law and the commission will help decentralise the
management of government health institutions so that management boards lift
efficiency of these institutions.

      Major government hospitals such as Harare Central Hospital, if
Parirenyatwa is not aware of this, are already being run by chief executives
with as much autonomy as any manager would need, but nothing has changed at
these hospitals.

      As always, the government refuses to see reality and instead it wants
to address peripheral issues which are not the root causes of the crisis now
gripping the public health sector.

      But for how long will the government continue to duck issues?

      Certainly the reason why, for example, Vice-President Simon Muzenda
must go to China for treatment as he has done in the past, is not because
there is no Hospitals Management Act nor the proposed health services

      The reason, as everyone knows, is because the chances of dying in a
malfunctioning theatre at one of the poorly maintained government hospitals
is much higher than ever before.

      Never mind the attendant danger of putting one's life in the hands of
doctors and nurses who are disgruntled by the poverty wages they get from
the government and are also battling with acute shortages of drugs, food,
equipment and even linen at State hospitals.

      All this because the government would rather divert more resources to
its defence forces and the discredited national youth service programme than
to the health sector.

      Added to this has been the appointment of cronies who have absolutely
no clue how a modern health system works to take charge of the State health

      This, unfortunately, is the sad story of Zimbabwe, where common
thieves and other fly-by-nights have landed themselves some of the best jobs
in government only because of who they know in the system.

      Which, of course, also explains why not only public health
institutions are collapsing, but also why parastatals such as Air Zimbabwe,
ZISCO and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe are such an expensive
embarrassment to the nation.

      Parirenyatwa and his colleagues in the government, we would advise,
are better served re-routing resources from the army, the Central
Intelligence Organisation, the national youth service programme and the
government's other self-serving projects to the health sector. Personnel in
the public health sector should be recruited only on the basis of what they
can do and not who they know.

      We believe this - and this alone - is the starting point if the health
sector is to be rescued from its certain death. Any other action, including
these high-sounding but empty commissions, will not do the trick.
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      Witness contradicts Ben-Menashe over alleged UK, CIA plot

      5/14/03 8:32:50 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      A SENIOR police officer yesterday denied knowledge of claims by the
State's principal witness in the treason trial of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, that the British government and the United States Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) were involved in the alleged plot to assassinate
President Robert Mugabe.

      Assistant Police Commissioner Moses Magandi yesterday told the High
Court that the first time he learnt of the purported British and CIA
involvement in the alleged assassination plot was when he read about the
allegations in the Press.

      "I did not know about them (allegations of British and CIA
involvement) until I read about them in newspapers when this trial started,"
Magandi told Judge President Paddington Garwe.

      Ari Ben-Menashe, the Canadian-based political consultant and the State
's key witness in the case, told Garwe at the start of the trial in February
that Britain and the CIA had allegedly helped plot Mugabe's demise and that
London had offered US$10 million (Z$8,24 billion) for the assassination.

      Pressed by defence lawyers as to why he had omitted mentioning this
vital evidence in his statement to the police, Ben-Menashe told the court he
had verbally informed Magandi about the involvement of the United States and
Britain in the alleged assassination plot.

      But Magandi, who was part of the team that investigated the case and
is one of the State's witnesses in the trial, yesterday told the court that
Ben-Menashe never told him of the involvement of the two foreign powers in
the alleged attempt by Tsvangirai and two other top leaders of his Movement
for Democratic Change to kill Mugabe.

      The policeman, who is being cross-examined by the defence lawyers,
also told the court that Ben-Menashe had not disclosed to him that he had
been paid US$615 000 by the Zimbabwean government for unspecified
consultancy services before he secretly video-taped a meeting where
Tsvangirai allegedly requested Dickens & Madson, Ben-Menashe's firm, to
facilitate the assassination of Mugabe.

      Responding to charges by George Bizos, the South African advocate
leading the defence team, that Ben-Menashe had supplied the police with an
altered version of the memorandum of agreement between his consultancy firm
and the MDC, Magandi said the police had accepted whatever Ben-Menashe gave
them because they thought it was the correct version of the agreement
between the Canadian's company and the MDC.

      Pressed on why the police refused to give a copy of the video-tape
recording to the Canadian government which wanted it to assist them in their
own investigations into the matter, Magandi said he could not answer for the
Zimbabwean government which made the decision to refuse with the tape.

      According to Bizos, the Canadian High Commission in Harare wrote to
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking assistance to obtain a copy of the
contentious video-tape.

      The High Commission had indicated they wanted to pass the tape and
other relevant material on to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for an
investigation into the alleged assassination and coup conspiracy by the MDC
leaders. The Zimbabwean government turned down the request.

      The trial, in which Tsvangirai and his lieutenants could be sentenced
to death if found guilty, continues today.

      Meanwhile, nine MDC women supporters were yesterday arrested at the
party's headquarters after they marched through the capital in solidarity
with their leaders on trial.

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said about 200 women marched to the
High Court where the women were force to retreat by armed riot police squads
deployed at the court.

      Nyathi said the police later picked up nine of the women marchers from
the party's Harvest House headquarters and took them to Harare Central
Police Station where they were still detained by midday yesterday.

      The police refused to comment on the arrests.
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