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

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ABC Australia

Mugabe says he will quit in 2008, seeks successor
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said in remarks published on Saturday he
plans to retire when his term ends in 2008 and is looking for a successor.

His remarks in an interview this week with Kenya's East African Standard
newspaper appeared to quash speculation that he might step down before his
term ends.

"I want to retire from politics. I have had enough. I am also a writer and
would like to concentrate on writing after this term of office is over," he
was quoted as saying.

"I have not even completed this term. I have four more years and I am not so
young, you know. I need to rest from politics and do something else like

The East African Standard said Mugabe, 80, spoke to its reporters in
Zimbabwe after he attended a gathering of traditional elders who urged him
to hang on to power and seek re-election.

"I know why the chiefs endorsed me," Mugabe said.

"It is because they know the consequences the country will face in terms of
good and firm leadership should I retire."

Mugabe was upbeat about his chances of finding a suitable successor, the
newspaper reported.

"I don't think I will miss [fail to find] a successor. Out of 30 million
people there must be a capable person to take over from me and he will be
the chosen one."

In 2002 Mugabe won a six-year term in elections pitting him against
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Some observers condemned the poll as flawed and unfair.

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The Telegraph

Tribal rivalry left behind in united hatred of Mugabe
(Filed: 15/05/2004)

Zimbabwe's poorest region is bedevilled by the twin plagues of Aids and
misrule, reports Peta Thornycroft in Lupane

Zimbabwe's impoverished and neglected southern region of Matabeleland is
witnessing a miracle of sorts.

The signs were clearly seen yesterday at an opposition rally when Morgan
Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, addressed a
crowd on the eve of a by-election.

The former union leader was hailed as a hero in Lupane, 160 miles south east
of Victoria Falls.

"Morgan, Morgan, Morgan," they shouted as Mr Tsvangirai spoke from a dusty
soccer pitch surrounded by mahogany trees and cattle with clanking bells.

Yet the MDC leader is from the majority Shona tribe, while the voters are
members of the Ndebele. Mr Tsvangirai comes from a district 250 miles away
which many of those listening have never heard of. He speaks a language they
do not understand.

But for the Ndebele, who have suffered more than any others under the
autocratic rule of President Robert Mugabe, any possibility of change
generates excitement.

"We cannot be free with Mugabe," said Priscilla Tshuma, 35, eyes glistening
with excitement. The mother of three had walked "so far" to see "Morgan" for
the first time.

"They [Shonas] killed our fathers, uncles, brothers," she says of massacres
which began 21 years ago, and lasted until Zanu-PF forced the opposition
into a government of national unity, a one-party-state, for the next 12
years. It was in Lupane that the worst massacres took place after Mr Mugabe,
then the prime minister, ordered his North Korean-trained troops to
slaughter, maim and starve people in Matabeleland.

The victims, buried in shallow graves or stuffed down disused mine shafts
were supporters of the Zimbabwe African Peoples' Union, Zapu, with whom Mr
Mugabe had had an uneasy alliance in the final stage of the war to end
Rhodesian rule.

No one knows how many died, perhaps 20,000. The bloodshed has been less this
time as Mr Mugabe uses the courts and parliament to crush the MDC, the first
mass opposition party to cross tribal, race and class lines.

It came within a whisker of winning the election in 2000 when it was only
nine months old. Since then it has been bludgeoned and bankrupted by
hundreds of largely trumped up court cases including a farcical two-year
treason trial against Mr Tsvangirai and two of his lieutenants.

In rural areas it is now hard to tell whether the MDC has been suffocated or
gone underground. It won five times more votes in Lupane in 2000 than Mr
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF.

In blatantly rigged presidential elections two years later, largely run by
the army, the MDC retained its 14,000 votes, but 3,000 new voters appeared
from nowhere in Lupane and its majority was reduced by that number.

Now they have to fight to keep the seat and admit that defeat in Lupane,
even allowing for cheating and beatings, would be a serious blow.

The party has lost one by-election in Matabeleland, where hatred for Mr
Mugabe has been constant since before independence in 1980.

"I can be free with Morgan," Mrs Tshuma said. "We are not forced to come
today, they [MDC] don't want to know our names, to put [us] on lists."

Police kept their distance as the crowd, dressed in their best, trickled
into the soccer ground and swelled to 1,500.

It was a normal day for the MDC. More than 60 MDC youth members were
arrested during a fight over campaign posters, one journalist was beaten up,
and a woman Zanu PF supporter was stabbed in the backside.

According to the United Nations, more than a million people in Matabeleland,
or half the province's population, survived the past two years only because
of western food aid. That figure includes 55,000 residents of Lupane.

No one at the rally had heard the government's widely derided announcement
claiming that the country had enough grain and that foreign food agencies
should therefore shut up shop.

Mr Mugabe ordered the UN to halt its annual harvest assessment. "They don't
want us to see their failure," said a worker from a leading foreign food
distribution network.

Four years ago, Mr Mugabe, fearful of an MDC victory began evicting 3,500
white farmers and hundreds of thousands of their MDC supporting workers off
the land. Most of it now lies fallow.

As if the people of Matabeleland were not suffering enough, there is another
plague stalking their land.

Under a tree, Bestnut Khumalo, 28, said he was in pain around his collar
bone. Unable to walk, thin as a wisp, he said. "I don't want to eat. I have
much pain.

"The hospital says I am [HIV] positive. Will I get better? I do not know.

"When I was younger I dreamed of building a house, but there is nothing in
Zimbabwe, so I went to Botswana. My daughter is there. I came home when I
was ill."

His uncle who asked not to be named as he is a civil servant, said: "He has
this virus. The hospital tried to treat him but it didn't work."

Two young women carrying babies on their hips said they and their infants
"vomited all the time". A couple of filthy orphans who should have been at
school hung around because, their grandmothers said, "fees are now too

Olivia Ncube, 24, said her daughter, Luba Duba, 18 months, could not walk
properly. "She vomits all the time. So do I. I took her to the hospital, but
we do not get better."

Gertrude Ncube, also 24, said she had TB and her children, Charlotte and
Pumzile were ill.

Back at the rally, Mr Tsvangirai joked with the crowd and asked: "Why would
anyone be stupid enough to vote for Zanu PF?"

He knows the answer. The people know the answer. Fear.
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Resurgent Mugabe looks to the future

Rory Carroll reports from Lupane, a district about to back the man who
devastated it

Saturday May 15, 2004
The Guardian

Robert Mugabe likes to win elections, but few imagined his appetite for
victory would extend to Lupane, a constituency which has a special reason to
loathe Zimbabwe's president.
It was here that he waged war against the Ndebele people two decades ago by
exterminating entire villages, leaving the teak forests dotted with mass
graves and making Mr Mugabe a folk monster for those who survived.

Yet it is here that the president turns today for an electoral endorsement
when voters choose a new member of parliament.

No matter that the byelection was occasioned by an assault on David Mpala
which is widely blamed for the opposition MP's death, or that Lupane's
economy is in even worse shape than the rest of the country: Mr Mugabe
expects to win.

"Party set to retain Lupane seat," ran the headline this week in the local
paper, the Chronicle. Like all dailies it is pro-government, so it meant the
ruling Zanu-PF party. It also meant regain, not retain, but that would be to
quibble about a result apparently foretold.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) expects to be clobbered
in what should be a stronghold. "We know from canvassing that the vast
majority of Lupane still supports us but the rest of the country won't know
that," said David Coltart, an MP for nearby Bulawayo.

For the president it is a remarkable turnaround. Twelve months ago his
23-year rule seemed to be coming to an end under the weight of a general
strike, fissures within the ruling party and shortages of petrol and

Today the opposition is on its knees, shortages have eased and the
80-year-old is orchestrating an exit strategy for eventual retirement on his
own terms. His spokesmen say this is the reward for land reform popular with
peasants and for standing up to bullying from the former colonial power,
Britain, which is popular across Africa.

But Mr Mugabe is not taking his popularity for granted: this month the
censorship board banned a play called Super Patriots and Morons, which took
a satirical look at an anonymous African country struggling with fuel
queues, food shortages and authoritarian rule.

The opposition says Mr Mugabe plans to overturn its large majority in Lupane
by sticking to the formula of intimidation and rigging which delivered him
the presidential election in 2002.

Victory this weekend would set up the ruling party to sweep next year's
parliamentary elections, and meanwhile leave it just one seat shy of the
two-thirds parliamentary majority needed to unilaterally amend the
constitution, smoothing Mr Mugabe's anointment of a successor.

"I am 100% sure that they will rig it and declare victory. They are
absolutely evil, these people, they will do anything for power," said Pius
Ncube, the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo and a vocal critic of the

Youths from the militia known as the Green Bombers have set up camps in all
26 wards, according to the MDC candidate, Njabuliso Mguni. "They go out and
terrorise the villages."

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The well-dressed strangers in four-wheel drives are assumed to be agents
from the Central Intelligence Organisation. At least 10 opposition polling
agents have been arrested.

Intimidation is widespread. Staff at St Luke's missionary hospital visibly
trembled when two pick-up trucks disgorged pro-Mugabe militants and Jabulani
Sibanda, the leader of the war veterans, stormed into the reception to
demand better medical treatment for his followers.

A group of village headmen with tales of harassment would be interviewed
only off a dirt track in a moonlit forest, deeming any other time and place
too perilous.

Kenneth Ndlovu, 52, said Zanu-PF members had visited each village and kraal
head in the past three months and ordered them to supply voter lists, attend
rallies and deliver support on polling day. Compliance earned a monthly
salary of up to £140; refusal prompted a slew of threats. "They told me to
leave my village. But I won't," said Mr Ndlovu, who lamented that many
headmen had succumbed.

No one knows how many votes such traditional leaders will swing. In the
absence of opinion polls and independent media the political preferences of
some 45,000 voters scattered over a sprawling rural constituency may never
be known.

Fourteen of the 60 polling stations are mobile and will be difficult to
track, according to Reginald Matchada-Hove of the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network, an umbrella group of independent watchdogs. Some voters had been
prevented from registering and opposition rallies had been disrupted, he

State broadcasters have trumpeted the ruling party's plan to revitalise
Lupane with a new university and an "aggressive marketing strategy" designed
to bring foreign investment to impoverished subsistence farmers.

A novelty of the campaign has been the low level of violence. No deaths have
been reported and few injuries. The most serious clash left a Zanu-PF woman
needing stitches after being axed in the buttocks by MDC supporters,
according to hospital staff.

One theory to explain the relative peace is that Mr Mugabe, a Shona, does
not want to animate memories of the military crackdown that killed thousands
of minority Ndebele in the 1980s.

The other theory is that Zanu-PF is experimenting to see if it can triumph
without bloodshed, thereby boosting the legitimacy Mr Mugabe is said to
crave. "They have calculated they can lessen the violence and still win. I
think they could be right," Mr Coltart said.

The party mustered 2,000 cheering supporters under a roasting sun in Lupane
this week to greet their leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who made a rare foray
from the capital, Harare. But the opposition is bankrupt and demoralised.
Party workers are unpaid, leaders are entangled in court cases and there is
no effective medium to counter government propaganda. State security
infiltration sows paranoia.

Several white supporters said they were no longer willing to lend vehicles
and donate fuel to a party they fear will lose half its 52 seats in general
elections that could be brought forward to this year.

"Since Iraq the international community has forgotten us," shrugged one. For
the time being, he said, the MDC's main task was simply to continue existing
in a backwater despotism.
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Australians arrive in Zimbabwe

Keeping to the party line

Wisden Cricinfo staff

May 15, 2004

The Australians' first press conference after arriving in Zimbabwe was an
understandably cautious affair on both sides. The players and management are
aware that this has the potential to be a hugely controversial trip, and so
spent most of the time sticking firmly to a pre-arranged and well-rehearsed
script; the media know that the Zimbabwe authorities tolerate nothing
remotely critical and so didn't probe too much.

There was one point where things got a little political when Steve Bernard,
the tour manager, was asked what would happen if Robert Mugabe turned up at
a game. "I understand he's not coming to meet us, so I don't really think
that's going to matter either way," Bernard said. "Politicians aren't all
that interested in coming to see us play, I gather, so we don't expect to
see them there. They may well turn up and so be it, but we're here to play
cricket and I don't expect we'll be asked to pose for anyone or anything
like that."

But Bernard made it clear what the official line was regarding the morality
of touring when he was asked about being in Zimbabwe when there was so much
international pressure on the Mugabe regime over alleged human-rights
abuses. "It's a cricket tour and that is how we are treating it," Bernard
said. "We are supporting Zimbabwe cricket and Zimbabwe cricketers."

Otherwise, much of the questioning centred on the strength, or rather
weakness, of the Zimbabwe side and how Australia would cope. "That's
probably going to be our biggest challenge, Ricky Ponting admitted. "We have
to be at our best to maintain the high standards we have set.

"I want us to play the best cricket possible while we're here, if that means
finishing games pretty early then so be it. A lot of the guys haven't played
any cricket for quite a while and that generally makes you a bit keener."

© Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
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Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2004 5:51 PM
Subject: exact estimate

Dear Family and Friends,
Since the end of February 2000 Zimbabwe has been a country in crisis.
of thousands of farm workers, managers and owners were thrown off their
properties to make way for people who at first were called "peaceful
demonstrators", then "land invaders," then "settler farmers" and are now
"new farmers." Homes were taken over, farmers and their workers were
assaulted and terrorized, private property was looted, burnt or seized, and
agricultural equipment and machinery became the property of the State. To
what our government calls this "Agrarian Revolution" look OK in the eyes of
world, Presidential Powers were used, the constitution was changed, court
rulings were ignored and legislation and statutory instruments were gazetted
favour of the actions of the Zimbabwe government.

As each month and year passed Zimbabwe got hungrier, food got scarcer and
inflation soared from 10 to 600 percent. No one really expected 2004 to be
better, particularly if we were to believe what we could see with our own
and even if we believed the propaganda churned out in Zimbabwe every day. As
country's main growing season approached last year, I wrote in my letter of
9th August 2003: "Night after night on the State owned television there are
desperate pleas from people who were allocated 7 hectare plots on farms.
for us, they cry, give us seed and fertilizer." Three weeks later I wrote:
week even the State run newspapers announced that the seed companies could
provide 40% of national requirements." And, in October 2003, I wrote: "There
neither seed nor fertilizer to buy in the shops."

Zimbabwe's maize crop has not yet been harvested but for the last two weeks
government have announced that we are in for a "bumper harvest." At first
said we could expect 1.7 million tonnes and now our Agriculture Minister
Made has fine tuned his estimate to very precise and exact numbers and says
Zimbabwe is about to reap two million, four hundred and thirty one thousand,
hundred and eighty two tonnes of maize. WOW, if the Ministers figures are
correct, you would think our government would be throwing the borders open
inviting journalists, camera crews and agricultural experts from all over
world to come and see just exactly what an awesome harvest has been
They are not!

A fortnight ago the Zimbabwe government ordered a UN crop assesment team to
leave the country after it had been in the field for only 4 days. The World
Programme said they had written approval to carry out the assessment but
Minister Made said they were here without his say so. The UN described
Made's estimated harvest figures as "impossible" and "a fantasy", the FES
Foundation warned of "an impending famine" and Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers
Union estimated a crop of around 700 000 tonnes saying: "the seed that was
does not add up to that output."

This week the Minister of Social Welfare said that Zimbabwe does not need
more World Food Aid. Frankly, our eyebrows are raised very high and ordinary
people here are very scared of how the next few months are going to be.
the government has a change of heart, there aren't going to be any
or camera crews to witness the facts on the ground and there isn't going to
any world food aid to catch people who teeter on the brink. Everything in
Zimbabwe is dictated by politics, even harvest figures and elections are
near. Until next week, with love, cathy,
Copyright cathy buckle 15th May 2004.
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From The Daily Mirror, 14 May

It's not over yet!

Innocent Chofamba Sithole

Succession politics threaten Sky News public relations deal

The fallout between the ruling Zanu PF and the Department of Information and
Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet over the Sky News saga
has hit a new low, the Daily Mirror can reveal. Sources close to the furore
surrounding the British television crew that had flown into the country to
shoot a series of documentaries in an apparent international public
relations campaign for the ruling party and government claimed the deal has
fallen victim to the ruling party's internecine succession politics. In a
letter dated Monday 10 May, the department of information's principal press
secretary Edward Mamutse told Sky News producer Ben Depear that his crew
should now leave the country as they had finished part of their shooting,
which, Mamutse said, meant that their accreditation had also expired. "The
department notes that you claim completion of the first part of your
assignment for which you have been accredited. This in effect means that
your accreditation has expired as of today," Mamutse said.

An unnamed senior official in the same department was also quoted in
yesterday's Herald confirming the Sky News crew's departure on Wednesday
afternoon after the department had notified the immigration department to
ensure the crew's departure. As in their earlier reports since the onset of
the Sky News saga, the Herald reiterated its claims by curiously anonymous
sources that it was not Zanu PF that had brought in the Sky News team. "It
emerged last week that a Ugandan national, David Nyekorach-Matsanga and not
Zanu PF, was behind the crew contrary to media reports which said the ruling
party had invited the Sky News crew," the newspaper reported in yesterday's
edition. However, in an apparent response to these claims, Zanu PF's
information chief, Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday made it abundantly clear
that it was the ruling party - "and not someone else" - that had initiated
the Sky News deal. "The Sky News team that has been filming in Zimbabwe in
the last ten days was invited to come to Zimbabwe by Zanu PF. The statement
given to your readers that they were invited by some one else is not
correct," read a press statement from Shamuyarira's office. "The party and
the government agreed that Sky News should come to produce a documentary
film on Zimbabwe. That work has started but it is not yet completed," the
statement added.

According to authentic correspondence between Shamuyarira and Sky News head
of foreign news, Adrian Wells in the possession of this newspaper, the team
was also supposed to interview President Robert Mugabe, lands and land
resettlement minister and Zanu PF chairman, John Nkomo, Speaker of
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor
Gideon Gono, among other leading government officials. "We should grab this
chance. Can you clear the arrangement with the President (Mugabe), and
instruct Comrades Mamutse and (Stephen) Chidawanyika to line up those to be
interviewed, and arrange the programmes in detail," Shamuyarira wrote to
information minister Jonathan Moyo on March 17 this year. Chidawanyika, Zanu
PF's deputy director of information and publicity, last night declined to be
drawn into elaborating on the press release from the party. However,
confidential sources have told the Daily Mirror that the underlying dynamics
attendant to the Sky News saga have their genesis in the ruling party's
internecine succession politics. They claimed certain political interests
were worried that the documentaries would project some of the interviewees
in glossy light to the international media audience, thus advancing their
profiles as acceptable candidates in Zanu PF's succession race.

However, the ruling party's information department appears determined to
have the Sky News programme run to its conclusion. While the party managed
to get round the information ministry's demand that the Sky News crew return
to their country of origin and seek accreditation from there, it awaits to
be seen whether the Sky News crew would secure the necessary accreditation
and the green light to proceed with the presidential and all planned
interviews. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports suggest Sky News has already
begun to show some of its documentaries although it could not be ascertained
whether or not the coverage was to the ruling party's satisfaction.
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Zimbabwe: Special Election in Matabeleland Province Seen As Test of Ruling
Peta Thornycroft
15 May 2004, 19:07 UTC

A special election underway in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland province is seen as a
test of strength for the ruling ZANU-PF party. People in the district of
Lupane are electing a replacement for an opposition candidate, who died
after his health deteriorated following his reported torture. The special
election should be an easy victory for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, but local observers say they are concerned about
The presence of the opposition MDC in most rural areas outside of
Matabeleland is hard to gauge. Most political analysts say this is either
because its support has waned, or because widespread repression has forced
it underground.

The opposition has lost four special elections in the last four years. All
the elections were supervised by the ZANU-PF government. Opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai told an election rally in Lupane last Wednesday that,
until there is an independent electoral authority, people should expect the
results of the ballot may be manipulated.

Observers point out that, despite a decreasing population in the area, 3,000
more people voted in the 2002 presidential elections than in the
parliamentary elections two years before. All those votes were counted as
won by the ruling ZANU-PF. Still, the opposition scored an easy victory, and
it is expected to win this time, as well.

Lupane is a poor district with about one out of five people infected with
the HIV virus. Hospitals have been reporting a dramatic upsurge in malaria
death this year. Most of the people are unemployed, and depend for their
livelihood on food aid from Western donors.

Twenty years ago, Lupane was the site of Zimbabwe's worst atrocity,
perpetrated by government troops against political opposition. The Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace, which investigated the massacre, estimated
between 10,000 and 20,000 people died, and an unknown number of others were
forced to flee.

Police arrested dozens of youths ahead of the opposition party's rally last
week, but kept a low profile during the rally, and released most of the
detainees without a charge afterwards. One ZANU-PF supporter was reportedly
beaten up and taken to hospital.

In the first hours of voting Saturday, the opposition reported two of its
supporters were taken into police custody and allegedly tortured.
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Zimbabwe Police Arrest Constitutional Activists
Sat May 15, 2004 11:30 AM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - Police fired teargas and beat activists with truncheons
in the central Zimbabwe city of Gweru on Saturday as they prepared to hold a
meeting on constitutional reform, the coalition organizing the gathering
Police arrested 80 people including the group's chairman Lovemore Madhuku
ahead of the meeting, said Ernest Mudzengi, spokesman for the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

The meeting was meant to focus on an economic and political crisis many
blame on President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government.

The NCA, a coalition of human rights groups, political parties and student
and church organizations, has lobbied for constitutional reforms in Zimbabwe
since 1999.

"The police assaulted participants with truncheons... 20 sustained injuries.
We condemn this latest act of police brutality, which we view as part of the
ZANU-PF regime's increasingly insane strategies of holding onto power,"
Mudzengi said in a statement.

The chief police spokesman, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena,
said he was still getting details on the incident.

The NCA says major flaws in the constitution make it impossible to hold free
and fair elections in Zimbabwe, and have helped Mugabe to tighten his
24-year grip on power.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and some Western
countries say Mugabe's re-election to a six-year term as president in 2002
was fraudulent.

But Mugabe, who dismisses the MDC as a puppet of his Western opponents, says
he won fairly.

ZANU-PF, which narrowly beat the MDC in 2000 parliamentary elections, has
since wrested away four opposition seats in a series of by-elections, amid
charges of an uneven playing field.

Zimbabweans in the northwestern district of Lupane cast ballots on Saturday
in another such poll to replace an opposition legislator who died earlier
this year.

Victory in Lupane would give ZANU-PF 97 seats in the 150-strong legislature
and would be a psychological boost ahead of next year's general elections.
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 The Battle for Zimbabwe - Geoff Hill

I recently finished the book and can highly recommend it. I found it interesting but it also left me with a mixed feeling of sadness and fury. I thought I'd got over all this stuff, but .....I haven't.
In fact I could readily identify with Geoff's introduction: "The most fearful curse has to be, 'May you fall in love with Africa'......Having an affair with Africa, like any great love, will take you through conflicting emotions of hate and desire, joy and despair. And, if you stay long enough, it will drive you insane and, in your madness, you will finally realise that, come what may, this is where you were meant to be."
My heart tells me that this is where I was meant to be, but my brain knows the absolute opposite.
Geoff had leave Zim to publish his book and having read it, one would know why. The stuff he managed to dig out was extraordinary and I would think that he would have been a marked man if he had stayed.
From my perspective, amongst the more interesting aspects of his book were his descriptions of:
  1. The scale of corruption in Zim and SA. We all know that it is widespread but the degree to which it is practiced leaves one with the feeling that it is so entrenched that it is now impossible to deal with. No section of African society seems to be immune. The gauntlet of corruption that the millions of Zim povo have to deal with fleeing to neighbouring states is amazing.
  2. Related to the above, the machinations and the structures of the highly organized looting of the Congo's resources by Zim Govt. Ministers and officials, with the active participation of Zim Govt.structures makes for fascinating reading. Al Capone could teach these guys nothing.
  3. Not only does he describe the obvious ethnic fractures of Shona, Matabele and other minorities but also the internal infighting between the 4 major Shona factions with Mugs' Zezuru faction holding sway and not being too hesitant to arrange the knocking off of Manicas or others who step out of line.
  4. The barbarity of Mugabe's regime, that is geared to maintaining power by unbridled savagery, is even more extreme than most of us onlookers could ever dream of. Geoff's descriptions of the wide-spread methods of the Green Bombers and War Vets make the beheading death of Nick Berg look almost humane. His experience, when he was himself detained by them, is frightening and he was a very lucky chappie to survive. His interviews, both within Zim, SA and Britain, of refugees' experiences are both interesting and horrifying at the same time.
  5. He concludes with a chapter 'When Freedom Comes' and lists the daunting challenges that lay ahead, including the prosecution of those guilty of crimes and the required mental healing of the population segments that have been brutalized.
  6. He also refers to the pressures that will be brought to bear by Matabeleland for separation of their 'State' from their Shona masters.
  7. His question, 'Will SA go the way of Zim' was answered guardedly in the affirmative but in my view, was unconvincing.
In case anyone has any funny notions about my motivation for this review, I have done it out of pure interest and not as any service to anyone connected to this publication.
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This is Exeter


      12:00 - 15 May 2004
      A city mum who fled the violence in Zimbabwe is attempting to rebuild
her shattered life in Exeter.

      Liz Bennie, 59, who now lives in Topsham, lost everything when
supporters of President Robert Mugabe's regime seized her home and business.

      Today she spoke of her last traumatic 18 months in Africa, as members
of Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party occupied the ranches of white farmers
across the troubled former British colony.

      Her husband Harry, who was diabetic, died last June aged 71 at their
20,000-acre ranch with Liz at his side.

      She claimed the trauma of what was happening around the couple at the
hands of Mugabe's so-called war veterans was largely responsible for his

      Liz said she was still adjusting to living in the UK and no longer
being in fear for her life.

      She said: "It is so easy when you are here to ignore what is happening
over there.

      "People are really suffering - it is very important British people
don't forget what is going on.

      "I am lucky to have roots in England where I could escape to, but
there are plenty of families with nowhere to go and no-one to turn to."

      Liz grew up in Devon and has two adult children from her first
marriage. She married Harry in 1998 after meeting him two years earlier on a
trip to Zimbabwe.

      Before emigrating permanently she bought a house in White Street,
Topsham, to which she has now returned.

      The couple ran a successful safari business employing 60 people on
their ranch until the political climate turned ugly in Zimbabwe.

      Using violence and intimidation, the war veterans began driving white
families from their homes in a radical programme of land "reclamation".

      For almost two years the couple knew it was only a matter of time
before their ranch would be targeted.

      Gradually the intimidation tactics grew more frequent and more
frightening as men were drafted in to take possession of their ranch.

      A gang eventually set up camp on the outskirts of Liz and Harry's

      Liz said: "The first time I knew trouble was coming was when 12 war
vets waved me down on the road back to the ranch.

      "I stopped, thinking they wanted work, but they said they just wanted
to go up to the ranch, and they didn't need work."

      The couple lived in growing fear as their property was gradually taken

      Liz said: "The constant sound of chopping wood told us they were there
to stay - they were felling our trees for firewood and to build houses.

      "They would set fire to parts of the ranch - we could see the glow at
night as bush on the perimeter burned. They did other things too, like
cutting off the water supply to the workers, beating up our workers who
refused to desert us, and threatening to kill Harry."

      Her husband was eventually taken to hospital in Bulawayo. However, by
the time he came out Liz had made up her mind she had to return to Britain.

      Once back she begged her husband to leave Zimbabwe, but he still
refused to leave the ranch.

      In February 2003 Liz returned to Africa after her husband suffered a

      But he died within a few months of her return and she again fled the
country. By now the ranch had become the property of the state.

      Liz is now building a new life in Exeter and continues to monitor the
situation in Zimbabwe.

      She said: "I feel for the black people who Mugabe is claiming to

      "They have no work, no food and, at the moment, no hope."

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I have extracted relevant bits from a very long article put out by Amnesty International, and published on the following website.

the European Union's arms exports
Amnesty, Fri 14 May 2004

Undermining Global Security: the European Union's arms exports
AI Index: ACT 30/003/2004

1. Introduction:

This report seeks to analyse the current polices and practices of the 15 EU Member States and the 10 new Member States with regard to their control of the transfer of military, security and police (MSP) technology, weaponry, personnel and training. The report demonstrates why Amnesty International is convinced that more effective EU mechanisms to control MSP exports are urgently required to help protect human rights and ensure respect for international humanitarian law.

Austrian and UK transfers to Zimbabwe:
Following widespread and sustained human rights abuses by the Zimbabwean security forces and their armed supporters, the European Union (EU) introduced an embargo on military equipment to Zimbabwe in May 2000. In the run-up to the presidential election in Zimbabwe in March 2002, repression by government forces of opposition rallies and other campaign gatherings intensified. Youth militia, supporters of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), and so-called war veterans, often with the direct collusion of the police, perpetrated much of the political violence.

Despite the EU embargo and this pattern of repression, 66 four-wheel drive vehicles produced by the Austrian arms company Steyr were delivered to the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) in November 2001. Opposition parliamentarians in Austria raised concerns that the vehicles would be used to transport youth militias and war veterans spearheading Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's campaign for re-election in March 2002.

The Austrian authorities claimed that the vehicles were not covered by the EU embargo or by Austrian national legislation on military equipment because they were not fitted with guns and other special devices. (17) In contravention of Criterion Two of the EU Code, the 66 vehicles were considered by the Austrian government to be ordinary "transport vehicles" so that Steyr did not need special permission from Austria's Foreign and Internal Affairs Ministries before agreeing the deal with the Zimbabwean government.

Moreover, the involvement of Zimbabwean armed forces in the brutal war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo meant that the Austrian government also ignored Criteria Three and Four of the EU Code. In addition, the Austrian domestic law forbidding Austrian firms from selling military equipment to countries involved in war, or to places where there is a strong likelihood of war breaking out, was ignored.

In March 1998 the UK government announced that the Department for International Development (DIFD) had approved a project to supply over one thousand Land Rovers to the Zimbabwe Police as part of a programme to help to reform the police in Zimbabwe. The project was valued at US$14.8 million.(18)

Although these transfers of Land Rovers took place before the imposition of the EU embargo against Zimbabwe, concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe had previously been raised by a number of human rights organisations, including Amnesty International. In May 1998, just before the EU Code was adopted, the UK government had indicated that it was aware of the likelihood that the Land Rovers could be used for political repression. Nevertheless, the aid project was not formally cancelled until May 2000. By that time it was reported that some 450 Land Rovers had already been delivered and various reports had detailed the use of Land Rovers to facilitate human rights violations by the Zimbabwean security forces. For example, in the town of Zaka in Masvingo Province, local government Land Rovers were reportedly used in co-ordinated attacks on New Year's Eve 2001 against opposition party activists. Fifteen opposition political activists were hospitalized after severe beatings by militia members. DFID and the UK government's continued support for the supply of such vehicles after June 1998 was contrary to Criterion Two of the EU Code.

The government of Zimbabwe received a consignment of six ex-Czech army RM 70 122mm multiple rocket launchers in 2000.

Slovakia has been a point of origin or transit for arms deliveries to human rights abusers and countries in violent conflict, as well as to suspected illegal destinations. Slovak transport agents have been involved in arranging some of these deliveries.(86) In March 2000, a plane left Bratislava's airport bound for Harare, Zimbabwe, allegedly carrying a mis-declared weapons cargo for use by Zimbabwean forces in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.(87)

United Kingdom aid to foreign military
In 2000 a parliamentary answer provided details of how Britain had provided military training for nearly 4500 foreign military personnel from over 100 countries including Algeria, Brazil, Indonesia, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe between April 1999 and March 2000.(260) Neither details of the nature of the military training nor of the specific forces trained has been made public. Such training is of potential concern given the poor human rights record of many of the countries whose forces were trained. Without adequate transparency and reporting to the public and parliament, such MSP training can facilitate human rights violations in the recipient countries.

United Kingdom and the DRC:
The UK transfer of spare parts for military aircraft to Zimbabwe in January 2000, despite concerns that Zimbabwe was using these jets in the conflict in neighbouring DRC, then subject to an EU arms embargo, were raised by human rights and development organizations.(370) Following a public and parliamentary outcry in the UK and reports of the worsening human rights situation in Zimbabwe itself, the UK licences were eventually suspended in May 2000

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