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

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The Village Voice

Nat Hentoff
Terrorizing the Press
'Could I Be Bombed? Or Be Thrown Behind Bars?'
May 16th, 2003 3:30 PM

Councilmember Charles Barron, according to Newsday, is considering a run for
mayor. He has already targeted a key vulnerability for the incumbent's
re-election: "I don't think Bloomberg knows what he's doing educationally."

Meanwhile, Barron's defense of the increasingly volatile, tyrannical regime
of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe puts his own sharpness of judgment in question,
as I have demonstrated in previous columns. A further, quite startling
example of his myopia can be found in Barron's official report of a
fact-finding trip he took to Zimbabwe from October 11 to 23 of last year:

"It has also been widely reported that the press are routinely suppressed.
However, we found a reasonably vibrant free press in the country. . . . [The
independent newspapers] appeared to be able to go about their daily business
without interruption . . . "

It may interest Mr. Barron to know that on May 3, 2002-World Press Freedom
Day-the Committee to Protect Journalists named Zimbabwe one of the worst
places in the world to go about the daily business of being a journalist.

And on May 2 of this year, Amnesty International released Zimbabwe/Rights
Under Siege, a long, extensively documented report-largely ignored by the
American print, broadcast, and cable television media. (It's only Africa,
after all.) This report stated:

"State repression of the media has never been worse. Prior to independence,
the media was strictly controlled by the [white] government of Ian Smith
through the use of restrictive legislation to defeat the nationalist
movement. . . . However, the past three years have seen a sharp escalation
in the government's hostility towards the independent media. . . .

"There has been a significant increase in the incidence of state
intimidation, criminal defamation charges, arbitrary arrests, and attacks on
independent journalists and media houses. . . . Two media houses were
petrol-bombed in 2002, bringing the total number of bomb attacks on the
physical infrastructure of the independent press to four since 2001."

When Councilmember Barron speaks of the "reasonably vibrant free press" in
Zimbabwe, he omits the physical courage it takes to rebound against Mugabe's
brutal press critics.

In October of last year, Sandra Nyaira, the former political editor of the
independent Daily News in Zimbabwe, was in New York to receive the
International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism award.
Councilmember Barron was in Zimbabwe during that week, but I doubt that had
he been here, he would have celebrated Sandra Nyaira at City Hall-as he did
the month before in welcoming Robert Mugabe there.

On accepting her award, Nyaira said: "Day in and day out, journalists in
Zimbabwe work without knowing what the future holds for them-could it be a
bomb? Could you be thrown behind bars for being too critical? Or could you
just lose your job? . . .

"I stand here today to accept this prestigious award, [but] I feel so
ashamed that it is because of my African brothers and sisters, who are so
power hungry. I watch in sadness as we fight for democracy and see Zimbabwe,
the jewel of Africa, being turned into a pariah state all because of one
man's search for power."

Her reference to "the jewel of Africa" has chilling resonance. It was the
title of Doris Lessing's piercing history of Zimbabwe under Mugabe in the
April 10, 2003, New York Review of Books. She grew up in Zimbabwe, and her
first-person account of those years begins:

" 'You have the jewel of Africa in your hands,' said President Samora Machel
of Mozambique and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania to Robert Mugabe, at
the moment of independence in 1980. 'Now look after it.'

"Twenty-five years later," Lessing continued, "the 'jewel' is ruined,
dishonored, disgraced."

In New York, Sandra Nyaira, reflecting the courage and determination of her
country's independent reporters and editors, made clear that Mugabe has
"failed to dampen the spirits of most journalists in the independent media,
who continue to work tirelessly to keep the nation informed by giving the
other side of the story."

A March 25, 2003, report by the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (with
offices in New York and Washington) puts an additional harsh light on
Councilmember Barron's notion of Zimbabwe's journalists going "about their
daily business without interruption":

"On March 18, lawyer Gugulethu Moyo, a director of the company that
publishes the Daily News . . . was assaulted and detained at the Glen View
police station. Ms. Moyo had gone to the police station to provide legal
representation to a Daily News photographer who had been arrested for
allegedly participating in a mass action called by the MDC [the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change].

"When she arrived at the police station, Ms. Moyo was physically assaulted
by two individuals in full view of the police officers present, who did not
seek to intervene." One of her attackers was Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife of the
Zimbabwean army commander, Lieutenant General Constantine Chiwenga. Moyo was
"punched, kicked, and hit many times."

Last year's October issue of the New York-based World Press Review featured
Iden Wetherell, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, recipient of the
magazine's International Editor of the Year award.

Charged with "abusing journalistic privilege" under Zimbabwe's fierce
censorship laws, Wetherell has been arrested, threatened, and otherwise
harassed-but not intimidated. In the World Press Review article, Wetherell
spoke of the "balancing" of stories about Mugabe in some of the American

"Stories start off by saying, 'Whilst President Mugabe is demonized as a
tyrant, he is a hero to many.' That sort of approach fails to explain
anything-that more than 1 million Zimbabweans voted against him in the 2002
presidential elections. It obscures the fact that it is Zimbabweans who are
saying this man is a tyrant, not just the West, that the allegations of
misuse of power, of misallocation of funds, come from well-documented
sources within Zimbabwe. To situate him as 'under fire' from forces in
Washington mistells the reality that he is being widely criticized as
abusive within Zimbabwe itself."

Wetherell believes that despite Mugabe's ceaseless terrorism against his
people, "democracy will win over tyranny." Next week: What are the odds? And
why has Nelson Mandela been silent about the acute suffering of the people
of "the jewel of Africa"?

"If only Mandela would speak out," a human rights worker told me, "what a
difference that would make!"
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American Reporter Receives Deportation Order From Zimbabwe
Peta Thornycroft
16 May 2003, 17:03 UTC

American reporter Andrew Meldrum, a veteran correspondent for Britain's
Guardian newspaper, received a deportation order from Zimbabwe Friday.
Immediately after he was informed of his deportation the High Court issued
an order to allow him to appeal.

Andrew Meldrum was forced into a police car when he emerged from the
Department of Immigration, Friday. Before he was shoved down into a
passenger seat he said at the top of his voice that the Zimbabwe government
could not tolerate criticism. He said the actions of the government were a
blow to press freedom in Zimbabwe.

In the custody of at least four policemen, Mr. Meldrum was then taken,
against his will, to an unknown destination, believed to be Harare
International Airport.

Meanwhile lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa applied for and was granted an urgent
hearing in the nearby High Court to fight the deportation order.

Ms. Mtetwa delivered copies of the court papers to the Immigration
Department in central Harare and then went at high speed to the airport and
served them on members of the national carrier Air Zimbabwe.

Mr. Meldrum's wife Dolores, hoping to speak to her husband, was refused
permission to see him. Mr. Meldrum's cellular telephone was turned off.
American diplomats were also denied access to Mr. Meldrum at the airport
where he was believed to be held.

The lawyer says the police will be in contempt of the High Court order if
they do not return Mr. Meldrum to the court.

Andrew Meldrum is a permanent resident of Zimbabwe and according to the
constitution has the same rights as citizens.

His employer, London's Guardian newspaper, says he has been persecuted and
harrassed by the Zimbabwe government for the last year.

Government newspapers have accused Mr. Meldrum of being biased against the
government of President Robert Mugabe. The newspapers even accused him of
being a terrorist and a spy. Mr. Mugabe frequently blames Britain for
causing Zimbabwe's problems.

Mr. Meldrum was the last remaining foreign citizen working as a journalist
in Zimbabwe.
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ABC News

U.S. Reporter Not Deported From Zimbabwe
Judge in Zimbabwe Stops Police From Deporting U.S. Journalist Accused of
Criticizing Government

The Associated Press

      HARARE, Zimbabwe May 16 -
      A judge stopped police Friday from deporting a U.S. journalist accused
of criticizing Zimbabwe's government.

      Andrew Meldrum, 51, a correspondent for the London-based Guardian
newspaper who has lived in Zimbabwe for 23 years, was pushed into a car by
police Friday morning and taken to the airport to await deportation.

      Several hours later, High Court Judge Charles Hungwe ordered
immigration officials to bring him to court for a hearing. Hungwe said he
saw no reason Meldrum should be detained.

      "He must be able to enjoy his freedom," he said.

      Meldrum had not arrived at the court by Friday evening.

      Earlier, Meldrum's lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told the court that
immigration officials were in contempt for ignoring Meldrum's pending
Supreme Court appeal of a previous deportation order.

      Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mahadi, who is in charge of police and
immigration, had issued a second deportation order Friday. The order said it
was not in the public interest for him to disclose why Meldrum was deemed
"an undesirable inhabitant" of Zimbabwe.

      The judge said the state's reluctance to explain left "suspicions in
one's mind."

      Earlier Friday, police seizing Meldrum had tried to keep him from
speaking to reporters.

      "This is not the action of a legitimate government," Meldrum shouted
before police dragged him away. "It is afraid of a free press. It is afraid
of independent and critical reporting."

      Meldrum would have been the fourth foreign journalist to be expelled
from Zimbabwe in the past two years. He was acquitted last year on charges
he published false information about Zimbabwe, violating stringent new media
laws. The government immediately issued a deportation order, which he

      On Tuesday, immigration officials seized Meldrum's U.S. passport
containing his long-term Zimbabwe residence permit. He was ordered to report
to immigration offices Friday where he was told he had violated the terms of
his residence permit, his lawyer said.

      Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, called the deportation "a
political act which should invite the strongest possible condemnation from
the international community."

      "The Zimbabwean authorities have been persecuting Andrew for the last
12 months and their clear determination to deport him can only be
interpreted as a concerted effort to stifle any free press within the
country," he said.

      President Robert Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian government has
cracked down on the independent press, the judiciary and opposition
officials during three years of political and economic chaos.

      At least 16 journalists have been arrested under the new Access to
Information laws that democracy activists say are used to stifle criticism
of the government. Most foreign journalists have been denied visas to enter

      The international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders lists
Mugabe among the world's 42 "predators of press freedom." The group also had
called on Zimbabwe's government to stop its harassment of Meldrum.

      Zimbabwe's Supreme Court last week threw out a section of the
stringent media laws, saying it violated journalists' constitutional right
to freedom of expression. The section which Meldrum had been charged under
made it a crime for journalists to report any incorrect information,
intentionally or not.
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The Scotsman

Guardian Journalist Missing in Zimbabwe after Deportation Fight

By Andrew Woodcock, Political Correspondent, PA News

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw tonight voiced his concern over the treatment
of The Guardian newspaper's correspondent in Zimbabwe, following a thwarted
attempt by the African country's government to deport him.

Andrew Meldrum was today forced into a government car by a group of
uniformed and paramilitary police and taken to Harare Airport by immigration
officials, who issued him with an order stating that he was a "prohibited

But his expulsion was halted after a last-minute dash to the airport by his
lawyer, who had obtained an order from Judge Charles Hungwe requiring
immigration officials to produce him before his court.

Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa had just 50 minutes to reach the airport, where she
served court orders on immigration officials and the pilots of the South
African Airways flight which was due to take him to Johannesburg.

It is believed that the airline refused to take him on board the flight, but
he did not appear before Judge Hungwe by a 3.30pm deadline and his current
whereabouts were tonight not known.

Neither Ms Mtetwa nor US consular officials have been able to contact him at
the airport, where it was thought he may be being held.

Meldrum has suffered repeated harassment from officials who accuse him of
unwarranted criticism of the regime of President Robert Mugabe.

He is currently awaiting the result of his appeal against an earlier
deportation order issued last July.

The new deportation order signed by Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mahadi said
it was not in the public interest for him to disclose why Meldrum was deemed
"an undesirable inhabitant" of Zimbabwe.

The Foreign Office tonight said that the British High Commission in Harare
was doing "all it can" to assist Meldrum, in cooperation with the US Embassy
in the country.

Mr Straw said: "I am very concerned about this case. Petty and vindictive
actions like this simply expose the Zimbabwean regime for what it is."

As he was being taken to the airport, Meldrum shouted to reporters: "This is
not the action of a legitimate government. It is afraid of a free press. It
is afraid of independent and critical reporting,"

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger called the deportation "a political act
which should invite the strongest possible condemnation from the
international community".

He added: "The Zimbabwean authorities have been persecuting Andrew for the
last 12 months and their clear determination to deport him can only be
interpreted as a concerted effort to stifle any free press within the
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The BIG Zimbabwe cricket tour protest

I had the pleasure of meeting the journalist Peter Tachell at the ANTOR
Annual Media function on Wednesday.  As many of you will know, Peter is the
man who tried to do a citizen's arrest on Robert Mugabe at Harrods and more
recently in Belgium.  For this he has lost part of his vision in his eyes
when Mugabe's bodyguards very forcibly beat him up.  He is not giving up his
protest against Mugabe and asks that as many of us as possible join him.
He has asked me to ask as many of you as possible to join the BIG Zimbabwe
Cricket Tour protest on Thursday 22 May at 09h30 - 12h00.  Details of the
protest and why it is important to have it are below.
Kind regards

Spread the word. Email this message to your friends
The BIG Zimbabwe cricket tour protest
Opening Day, First Test, England V Zimbabwe
9.30am - 12 noon
Thursday 22 May 2003
Outside the main entrance - Grace Gate - at Lord's Cricket Ground
St John's Wood Road, London NW8
Nearest tube: St John's Wood

Wear a black armband in solidarity with the struggle for democracy and human
rights in Zimbabwe.
Further information: Alan Wilkinson 07710 419 141
We need your help. Please phone and email your friends. Persuade them to
join the protest. Take a half or full day's annual leave from work. It is a
small sacrifice compared to the sacrifice people are making in Zimbabwe.
They are being arrested, tortured, raped and murdered. All we are asking is
this: set aside three hours to take a public stand in support of democracy
and human rights in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe wants the cricket tour to go ahead. It is part of his strategy to
normalise relations with the international community. The whole world's
media will be watching on Thursday 22 May. We need lots of protesters on
that day. If you care about Zimbabwe, don't depend on others to protest on
your behalf. They may be depending on you. With your help, we can make a
huge impact and send a morale-boosting message back to our friends inside
Zimbabwe: you are not alone; we are on your side.

Suggestions: Wear a black armband. Bring a placard. We also need some people
to dress in cricket whites with pads and bats splattered in fake blood. Can
you help us?

Background Briefing On The Zimbabwe Cricket Tour
Mugabe has "politically cleansed" Zimbabwe cricket
The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) has "politically cleansed" the team that
plays England in the First Test next week (22-26 May). Only players
uncritical of the Mugabe regime were eligible for selection.
How can it be right for England to play cricket with a team that flouts the
sporting principles of open selection and fair play by requiring its players
and officials to pass a political loyalty test?
Andy Flower and Henry Olonga were forced out of the Zimbabwe team, together
with coach Kevin Curran and trainer Malcolm Jarvis. Two other top players,
Alistair Campbell and Guy Whittall, were also eased out.
Members of the Zimbabwe team are contractually banned from criticising the
Mugabe regime. They are being gagged. The ZCU is denying them freedom of
speech. It is using the threat of dismissal as a way of silencing them.
Zimbabwe's cricketers are sporting ambassadors for Mugabe. He wants this
tour to go ahead. It is part of his strategy to normalise relations with the
rest of the world.

There can be no normal sporting relations with an abnormal regime that uses
torture, rape and murder as weapons of repression.

>From January 2000 to February 2003, 260 opponents of the Mugabe regime were
murdered and 3,409 tortured, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum. Nearly all the victims were black.

The ZCU is not an independent sporting body. It is the sporting arm of the
Mugabe dictatorship. Most ZCU officials are members or supporters of the
ruling party, ZANU-PF.

President Mugabe is patron of the ZCU. His government's authority was
required before the tour could go ahead. He controls the ZCU. All Zimbabwe's
players are politically approved.

The ZCU's official letterhead bears the words: "PATRON: HIS EXCELLENCY THE
The initials CD stand for comrade. The use of this ZANU-PF party-speak is
evidence of the ZCU's close and deferential association with Mugabe's

The ZCU has politicised cricket by making Mugabe its Patron. Despite many
reprints during more than a decade of well-publicised human rights
violations, the ZCU has never bothered to delete President Mugabe's name
from its letterhead. Indeed, last July, President Mugabe was re-elected on a
unanimous vote of all ZCU board members.

England's cricketers are colluding with the ZCU's politicisation of sport.
By agreeing to play the Zimbabwe team, they are giving de facto endorsement
to the ZCU's  political vetting of players and team officials.
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Daily News

      Post-Mugabe deal in place

      5/16/03 7:34:29 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sydney Masamvu Assistant Editor

      THE international community is putting together an economic package
for Zimbabwe that is dependent on President Robert Mugabe stepping down in
the next six months, Western diplomats in Harare said yesterday.

      They told The Daily News that the proposed package would support a
transitional government that would take over if Mugabe stepped down before
the end of the year.

      The transitional government would be in place until fresh elections
were held.

      "The international community has already started to work on the
post-Mugabe period. In fact, this working plan is based on the information
we have and opinion already formed," a senior Western diplomat based in
Harare told this newspaper.

      "We are working on a plan to help Zimbabwe in the transitional period,
which will occur within the next eight months at the very latest."

      The diplomat added: "President Robert Mugabe might not finish his term
of office - that is the information we have in the diplomatic community. In
fact, he might step down by the end of the year given the slide the country
is experiencing. Our plan is based on this information."

      The ruling ZANU PF's secretary for information, Nathan Shamuyarira,
yesterday declined to comment on the matter.

      "I don't want to comment on an issue that I am not aware of and whose
details I'm not privy to," he said.

      However, opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president
Morgan Tsvangirai said his party would welcome a transitional "arrangement"
that would lead "to the restoration of legitimacy in Zimbabwe".

      The MDC says Mugabe's government is not legitimate and is only in
power because it rigged the 2000 parliamentary elections and last year's
presidential poll. The opposition party is challenging the parliamentary and
presidential election results in the courts.

      According to diplomats, the international community is prepared to
offer an economic package to a transitional government that will be mandated
to ensure that Zimbabwe holds free and fair elections that will lead to the
"restoration of democracy in the country".

      One diplomat said: "Our economic package is based on the need to get
Zimbabwe working and that there be stability during the tenure of the
transitional period before elections are held."

      Under the financial arrangement, international lines of credit would
be reopened as a way to trigger inflows of foreign currency into Zimbabwe.

      International financial institutions have withdrawn lines of credit in
the past three years because of the country's hard cash squeeze, which has
made Zimbabwe a bad credit risk.

      The withdrawal of credit has hampered imports of major commodities,
especially fuel and electricity, and has also crippled the operations of
many local companies.

      Diplomats said under the envisaged economic package, the international
community would also offer to reschedule or even retire Zimbabwe's foreign
debt of nearly US$5 billion (Z$4 120 billion at the official rate).

      Western countries would also provide funds for fuel and power imports.

      Financial help and technical expertise would also be offered to revamp
the voters' roll under the auspices of the United Nations.

      This would be done in preparation for a fresh poll.

      The diplomats said it was not clear at present what form the proposed
transitional government would take.

      However, the international community would soon begin to sell the idea
to influential officials within ZANU PF and the MDC.

      They said former finance minister Simba Makoni and Speaker of
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa were two of the names being suggested as
possible candidates to head the transitional government.

      However, Mnangagwa this week denied that he had any interest in
succeeding Mugabe.

      The diplomats said the international community was proposing that the
head of the transitional government should not be allowed to contest fresh

      Reports of the international community's economic package came as
Britain and South Africa this week indicated that they were now in full
agreement on how to tackle the Zimbabwe crisis.

      The indications were made during a visit to South Africa by British
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw this week, a week after regional leaders flew
to Harare to press for talks between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

      The leaders of Zimbabwe's two main political parties have so far taken
a tough stance against the proposed talks.

      Mugabe says he wants the MDC to recognise him as the legitimate head
of the Zimbabwean government before he will agree to any negotiations.

      The MDC says there should be no preconditions.
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Daily News

      Fuel crisis grounds Harare's fire and ambulance services

      5/16/03 7:43:16 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba Staff Reporter

      THE severe fuel shortage has grounded all but one of the 25 ambulances
and fire engines belonging to the Harare City Council, posing a serious risk
to the city's residents.

      Insiders said about 164 calls from patients in Harare went unattended
to on Wednesday because of the shortage of fuel.

      Yesterday, all the city's ambulances and fire tenders were parked at
the council's fire station in Bishop Gaul Avenue in Belvedere because of
lack of fuel.

      The fire tenders receive on average six to 10 calls daily and operate
on a three-shift system at all three fire stations at Greendale, Waterfalls
and Bishop Gaul Avenue.

      A source in the council's ambulance department yesterday said only one
of the council's 25 new fleet of ambulances was operating.

      "The rest of the ambulances are parked at the central fire station in
Belvedere area," he said. "The one that is working is diesel-powered and the
others are petrol-driven."

      Cuthbert Rwazemba, the council's spokesman said residents yesterday
jammed the council's switchboard demanding ambulance services.

      He said: "The last delivery we received of 30 000 litres of diesel and
half the normal supplies of fuel was received on 5 May from the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) and today we have not received anything. We
wonder what will happen next because residents and patients who need these
essential services will be desperate."

      The fuel crisis has hit almost all industry, including government
parastatals and hospitals.

      Yesterday, in a statement to residents and ratepayers, the council
said "all services that require transport, including fire and ambulance
services are grounded due to lack of fuel."

      The council said it required 30 000 litres of diesel and 20 000 litres
of petrol every week but all their fuel depots had run dry.

      On average, the ambulance services attend to between 130 and 150
patients everyday but because of the crisis, the council's one ambulance was
carrying two or three patients to a health service centre.

      The council said the fuel crisis caused severe problems and anxiety,
not only to the patients who required immediate services, but to the 116
employees who operate the ambulances and their families.

      The council was expecting 30 000 litres of diesel and 10 000 litres of
petrol to be delivered from NOCZIM anytime yesterday.
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Daily News

      MPs slam use of torture by police

      5/16/03 7:43:44 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      OPPOSITION Members of Parliament on Tuesday accused the police of
contributing to the death of democracy in Zimbabwe because they have
continued to torture suspects in their custody without carrying out

      Debating a motion put before the House by Gibson Sibanda, MDC
vice-president and the opposition's leader in Parliament, Job Sikhala, the
MP for St Mary's (MDC), said Zimbabweans had for long been treated as
foreigners by the government, which has used the police to suppress them.

      "Torture and fear will never take this country anywhere and it is the
only thing that will invite the tragic downfall of this regime," Sikhala

      "The police today enjoy the privileges of the regime, enjoying all the
protection, enjoying the suffering we have endured, the torture and
tormenting of other people. It is historically factual that even strong
regimes collapse. We should be able to create relations that last."

      Sikhala cited the deaths of Steven Chasara, the party's chairman for
St Mary's who died last June after being tortured for eight days by the
police, Tonderai Machiridza, another activist who died after being severely
tortured, and David Mtetwa, the opposition's secretary for Chitungwiza, who
also died after torture by the police.

      Sikhala implored Home Affairs Deputy Minister Rugare Gumbo, Dumiso
Dabengwa, the former head of the same ministry and minister Kembo Mohadi,
who experienced torture by the police during their time in the then PF ZAPU
to work to protect ordinary citizens.

      Edward Tshotsho Mkhosi, the MP for Bulililamangwe South, said the
continued torture of suspects by the police would have a far-reaching impact
on whoever took over the country.

      Zacharia Ziyambi, Kadoma West (ZANU PF) said the reported beatings of
policemen on duty showed total disrespect for the police by the public.

      Shadreck Chipanga, the Makoni East MP (ZANU PF) defended the work of
the police saying they executed their duties according to the training they

      Leonard Ringisai Chirowamhangu, the Nyanga MP (MDC), said ZANU PF
supporters had looted and destroyed shops and stole property but they had
not been arrested. Gabriel Chaibva, the MP for Harare South (MDC) said
Steven Tonera died outside Ruwa Police Station after he was tortured and
this was a public record.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Word must become flesh

      5/16/03 7:35:16 AM (GMT +2)

      MANY Zimbabweans, betrayed before by those in whom they had reposed
utmost faith, will note with apprehension declarations this week by Britain
and South Africa that they have now agreed on how they could help end the
crisis gripping Zimbabwe.

      British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and his South African
counterpart, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, this week said they had now agreed to
encourage the ruling ZANU PF and the opposition MDC to compromise on their
differences for the benefit of Zimbabweans.

      Straw said after talks with Dlamini-Zuma in South Africa: "We now have
to encourage parties in Zimbabwe to work more effectively together to reach
a common understanding for the benefit of the people."

      We would vouch that many Zimbabweans would agree with Straw. But we
are sure most of them would also demand from Straw and Dlamini-Zuma that the
word must now become flesh.

      There have just been far too many delegations, missions, troikas,
talks and agreements on Zimbabwe's descent into anarchy, but sadly the
country has continued to burn, all because those championing these
initiatives would rather not confront reality: telling President Robert
Mugabe that for all the good he has done - and we recognise that - it's time
to go.

      In this respect, reports by the media last week quoting South African
President Thabo Mbeki as saying Zimbabwe's economic crisis is not a result
of government corruption and mismanagement of the economy are not very

      They show that some of the key players in Zimbabwe's end game have yet
to grasp the real cause of the deepening crisis.

      Or does Mbeki need reminding that the lawlessness and violence which
destroyed commercial agriculture, the bedrock of Zimbabwe's economy, was
actually carried out with the blessings of the government?

      But if South Africa now genuinely wants to save Zimbabweans from the
ongoing chaos, then Mbeki - for he alone has been the chief stumbling
block - must now use his influence to bring Mugabe to the negotiating table,
but then only to negotiate the exit package of the Zimbabwean leader. This,
and nothing else, is an unavoidable prerequisite to any attempt to resolve
the political, economic and social mayhem weighing down Zimbabwe.

      Mbeki has in the past pointed out - and rightly so - that he alone
could not provide the solution to Zimbabwe's problems and that he could not
also effect a regime change in another free and sovereign country. But if
Mbeki is to be honest with himself - and we have no reason to doubt this -
he will admit that Mugabe and his administration have remained intransigent
to internal and international pressure to change their destructive policies
only because of the support and protection of South Africa and the Southern
Africa region.

      Another phase of "quiet diplomacy", which, of course, to many
Zimbabweans is synonymous with inaction, will just be a betrayal of
Zimbabweans, eight million of whom would have starved to death were it not
for food handouts from international donors, thanks
      to Mugabe's chaotic land grab. Equally treacherous would be for
Pretoria and London to fail to press the MDC and ZANU PF into meaningful
dialogue all because of Mugabe's demands that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
must first recognise his chief foe as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe.

      It is not clear why a popularly elected leader should trouble himself
so much with winning recognition from just one mere Zimbabwean and not from
the multitudes who are supposed to have elected him in a free and fair

      But we are sure that Straw and Dlamini-Zuma will agree that the ego of
one man cannot be more important than the lives of 12 million Zimbabweans.
The only preconditions that must be there before the proposed talks take
place between the government and the opposition must be that Zimbabwe
returns to the rule of law, with the police moving with firmness and
impartiality to quell politically inspired violence that has become so
endemic. The pro-ZANU PF militias masquerading as a national youth service
brigade must be disbanded immediately and the distribution of food aid
de-politicised. And, most importantly, there must be prior commitment by
both parties to restore the country to legitimacy through fresh, free and
fair elections conducted by an independent electoral commission and the
international community.
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Daily News

      Prices of basic goods continue to escalate

      5/16/03 7:29:44 AM (GMT +2)

      By Colleen Gwari Business Reporter

      PRICES of basic commodities continued on an upward trend this week,
with the cost of bread rising by an average 100 percent.

      A survey of major shops in and around Harare showed that bread was now
selling for anything between $500 and $600, from between $300 and $350 last
week. The gazetted price of bread is $60.

      Prices of confectioneries, including buns, also doubled.

      Though no official comment could be obtained from bakers, industry
officials attributed the
      increases to the escalating cost of production.

      They said production costs were being pushed up by last month's fuel
price increase and a rise in electricity charges.

      Analysts said the rate of inflation was also likely to rise to more
than 500 percent before the end of the second half of the year, which would
put further pressure on production costs and prices.

      Though prices of basic commodities continued to rise this week, most
of the products were not available in shops.

      Below is a table of some commodities in leading supermarkets in
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RBZ Appeals to Banks to Help Ease Forex Crunch

The Daily News (Harare)

May 16, 2003
Posted to the web May 16, 2003

Macdonald Dzirutwe Business Editor

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this week told banks it was unhappy with
their continued participation in the trading of foreign currency on the
outlawed parallel market at a time when foreign currency inflows have
plunged to an all time low.

Banking executives who attended a meeting called by RBZ governor Leonard
Tsumba at the central bank's headquarters in the capital, said Tsumba had
accused the banks of not supporting the government's efforts to raise
desperately needed hard cash.

The executives said Tsumba had said while banks had continued to trade on
the parallel market, some of the money should at least be remitted to the
central bank to ease the forex shortages.

"We had a meeting with the RBZ governor who made it clear to us that in
terms of forex inflows there is nothing. It was a gentlemen's meeting where
we were sharing concerns," an executive who attended the meeting told The
Business Daily.

"It was a polite way to say you are participating on the foreign currency
market but at least you should remit part of the forex to the central bank.
So we are trying to see how we can work around that problem."

The executives said a follow-up meeting was pencilled in for next week where
operational parameters for the banks would be agreed upon regarding the
issue of trying to ease the foreign currency crisis.

The central bank had also urged banks to support grain bills which will soon
be issued by the State-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to raise money to buy
grain from farmers.

But the bankers had indicated that the GMB bills which had been issued
before were unattractive and it would be difficult for the banks to support
the bills when there were other attractive instruments on the market.

The bankers however said if the central bank wanted support for the GMB
bills, the banks should also be allowed to use these as security when
borrowing from the RBZ.

Banks use Treasury Bills (TBs) as the underlying security when borrowing
from the central bank and unsecured borrowing attracts a fine of 40 percent
in interest.

"We have also said why can't we use GMB bills as security because it does
not make sense to lock on an investment which you cannot use as security,"
another banking official said.

"If we use other forms of security, then that will reduce the cost of
borrowing and banks will also be able to contain minimum lending rates."

However the central bank would still need Parliament to pass a Bill before
banks are allowed to use any other form of security besides the TBs.

The officials said Tsumba had also indicated that banks were not fully
rallying behind the government's land reforms, widely blamed for the loss of
production in commercial agriculture.

Bankers however told the central bank that several sticking points such as
the issue of land tenure had hindered banks from lending to the newly
resettled farmers.

But the banks could still lend money to the new farmers if the government
expedited its promise to give lease agreements to the landowners.

"I think it is a starting point because then you will be able to lend the
farmer knowing that he will be on the land for some time," another official

"Lending to farmers goes through the normal risk assessment process and you
need assurances that the person will be able to pay," the official added.
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      ZIMBABWE: Trade minister visits Brussels
      IRINnews Africa, Fri 16 May 2003

      ©  IRIN

      President Mugabe and his cabinet are subject to an EU travel ban

      JOHANNESBURG, - Zimbabwe's minister of trade, Samuel Mumbengegwi, has
visited Brussels to attend a meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific
(ACP) group of countries, despite a European Union (EU) travel ban on
Zimbabwe's government ministers, the BBC reported on Friday.

      The EU imposed the travel ban last year on government ministers and
leading officials of the ruling ZANU-PF party following concerns over the
outcome of the presidential elections and alleged human rights violations.

      The BBC quoted a spokesman for the Belgian foreign ministry as saying
there was little Belgium could do as Mumbengegwi had been invited by the

      In November, representatives of the ACP pulled out of a joint
parliamentary session with the EU because it had banned Zimbabwe's minister
for state enterprises, Paul Mangwana, and deputy minister of finance and
economic development, Christopher Kuruneri, from its premises.

      Belgium, which hosts the ACP, had granted them visas in spite of the
travel ban.

      Meanwhile, Zimbabwe immigration officials on Friday ordered US
journalist Andrew Meldrum to leave the country, where he has been based for
23 years, news reports said.

      "I'm being deported. I've been declared a prohibited immigrant,"
Meldrum, 51, told reporters before he was taken away by police and driven to
Harare airport. "This is a vindictive action of a government afraid of a
free press," said Meldrum, who reports for Britain's Guardian newspaper.

      Earlier this month Meldrum went into hiding and his lawyer accused
immigration officials of wanting to deport him. He reported to immigration
officials this week and was ordered to hand over his passport and his
residence permit, AFP reported.

      Meldrum was arrested last year and charged with publishing falsehoods
after a story he wrote about political violence turned out to be incorrect.
However, a court later acquitted him. He was served with a deportation order
immediately after his acquittal, but the High Court granted him leave to
stay in the country until he could challenge that earlier deportation order
in the Supreme Court.

      The material contained in this article is from IRIN, a UN humanitarian
information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United
Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item
on this site, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or
extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All graphics
and Images on this site may not be re-produced without the express
permission of the original owner.
      All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs 2003
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Break Off Foreign Links First, Says Mugabe

East Cape News (Grahamstown)

May 16, 2003
Posted to the web May 16, 2003

BCecile Greyling

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe dismissed possibilities of talks with
that country's opposition party the Movement for Democratic change
yesterday. (subs: Fri) He said the MDC needed "basic principals" and first
needed to cut it's ties with foreign influences before it could become a
factor in Zimbabwe.

"We will talk to those we believe can be talked to, he said." Mugabe was
addressing a packed auditorium of 500 cheering Zimbabwean students after a
colourful graduation ceremony at Fort Hare University at Alice.

Mugabe arrived at the campus in his jet black bullet-proof S600 V12 Mercedes

The president and his entourage flew in to Bulembu Airport early yesterday
morning while his "ground crew" had driven the Mercedes down to Alice from

Despite tight security with police and eight staunch-looking body-guards,
the graduation ceremony took place in a relaxed atmosphere.

The event was given more colour when well-known and controversial
praise-singer Jongela Nojozi called Mugabe an "African hero". Clad in animal
skins and brandishing a spear and knobkierie, the former praise singer of
Ciskei dictator Lennox Sebe said Mugabe had done well "chasing whites out of
Zimbabwe" amidst loud cheers from some members of the audience.

About 500 Zimbabwean students are currently attending Fort Hare University.
Most of them are there on presidential scholarships. Yesterday 70 Zimbabwean
students were awarded their degrees, 22 graduating with master's degrees and
one with a doctorate.

During the ceremony a handful of students greeted and shook hands with
Mugabe who kept an keen eye on the proceedings.

Afterwards Mugabe greeted the Zimbabwean students by repeatedly punching his
fist into the air.

The group was told the president and his wife had brought gifts for all the
students and they would be treated to a "full beast", "lots of pork" and
"mieliemeal" at a celebratory feast tonight (subs:" Sat).

Mugabe said Zimbabwe had freed itself from colonialism and foreign control
but the country's resources needed to be developed.

He said promises made in at the independence of Zimbabwe in 1979 was not
honoured by Tony Blair.

"They will never win the war of our liberation struggle to take what is

He said any remaining white farmers in the country who were unwilling to
join his land reform process were welcome to leave. "We will not shed any

He said the MDC "see things the same way as Blair", by not recognising the
results of the last general election in the country.

He was "glad that the presidents of Nigeria and South have stood firm" that
the problems in Zimbabwe "should be corrected by Zimbabweans and by

The president admitted that the country was dealing with a difficult
situation due to drought and sanctions but assured the students that "things
are much better".

He said the county's maize and tobacco crops had increased after recent good
rains and that farmers were preparing for the winter wheat crop.

"One can't get good results in the first year", he said.
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MDC Press
16 May 2003
MDC Disgusted At The Decision To Deport Andrew Meldrum
Today's obscene decision by the illegitimate Mugabe regime to deport the Guardian's Zimbabwe correspondent Andrew Meldrum, is another nail in the coffin for press freedom in Zimbabwe. It represents another desperate move to conceal the reality of the politically induced crisis engulfing the country from the outside world.
Meldrum's only crime is to expose to the world the true horror of Robert Mugabe's tyranny in Zimbabwe. He is being punished for courageously honouring his professional duty as a journalist to write the truth. 
The decision to expel Meldrum is a clear signal from the Mugabe regime that, despite recent assurances, they have no tolerance for core democratic values such as freedom of speech. 
The regime should realise that expelling journalists who write the truth simply serves expose the sheer level of tyranny and undemocratic practices that they are perpetrating in Zimbabwe. 
Not only has Andrew Meldrum been deported, he was also forced to suffer the indignity of being man-handled by the authorities. Such disgusting antics underline the horrendous reality of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.  
Those inside and outside Zimbabwe who dogmatically provide succour to Mugabe on the grounds that he is still presiding over a functioning democracy should ask themselves: What democratic country harasses and deports a journalist for discharging his basic duties? What democratic country fears and systematically attempts to destroy the independent press? What democratic country tortures innocent civilians and denies them food aid as punishment for their political affiliation?
The answer to these questions is abundantly clear: Zimbabwe is not a functioning democracy. Andrew Meldrum's expulsion is yet another testament to this. Zimbabwe now represents a fully functioning autocracy which regards democracy in all its forms with overt contempt.
Paul Themba Nyathi
MDC Secretary for Information & Publicity
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The Times

Pressure on Mugabe

Sir, The Shadow Secretary of State for International Development (letter, May 12) favours pressure on President Mugabe by the G8 summit.

There is no reason why Mr Mugabe should not turn this perceived pressure from “Western powers” to his own advantage to win more support from his own people and from other African states. When we visited Zimbabwe during last year’s election campaign he was making great capital from British threats, and went on to do the same thing with the abortive attempt at a cricket boycott.

Zimbabwe will eventually get rid of Mr Mugabe, either due to the natural process of time or through pressures from internal bodies and from neighbouring states.

Both Malawi and Kenya have replaced authoritative leaders in recent years without major international boycotts or interventions.

Yours faithfully,
41 Orchard Close, Gilwern,
Monmouthshire NP7 0EN.
May 13.

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