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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Dispatch online

Anti-Mugabe protest at hotel

JOHANNESBURG -- A small band of enthusiastic protestors demonstrated against
the presence of President Robert Mugabe here yesterday.

Between 20 and 30 people toyi-toyied at the city's upmarket Westcliff Hotel,
where Mugabe was rumoured to be staying. The hotel denies Mugabe is a guest.

Mugabe was in Alice yesterday, attending a graduation ceremony at Fort Hare
University. There are about 500 Zimbabweans at Fort Hare, of whom about 400
are on presidential scholarships.

The Johannesburg protestors held aloft posters claiming: 'Mugabe is not the
people's choice'; 'Wake up Africa; Zimbabwe is dying'; 'Help us liberate
Zimbabwe'; 'Mugabe go now'; and "Mugabe -- rapist, murderer, torturer,

Protestor JJ Sibanda, a spokesman for Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad, said the
group had confirmation Mugabe was staying at the hotel.

"Walter Sisulu is a hero. Mugabe is a murderer and rapist and he's here to
shed crocodile tears for Sisulu. Sisulu refused public office, Mugabe clings
to it."

Sibanda said he believed Mugabe thought "quite little" of Sisulu.

The protesters, all black, got the "thumbs-up" from a number of passing
white motorists. -- Sapa
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Dispatch online

Mugabe unbending over MDC talks


LENDING SUPPORT: Buffalo City mayor Sindisile Maclean and Robert Mugabe at the University of Fort Hare
graduation ceremony.

By Adrienne Carlisle

ALICE -- President Robert Mugabe yesterday again effectively scotched any hope of his ruling Zanu(PF) party sitting down for talks with opposition Movement for Democratic Change any time soon.

The Zimbabwean president said here that as long as the MDC was "dictated to" by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, dialogue with it was not possible.

Mugabe has already insisted that the MDC recognise him as legitimately-elected president before he engage in talks with them.

Addressing about 400 Zimbabwean students at the University of Fort Hare yesterday, Mugabe said if the "MDC put its house in order" and adopted what he referred to as "basic principles", Zanu(PF) might find itself able to "interact with it".

He praised Nigeria and South Africa for "standing firm" in their belief that the Zimbabwean situation must be resolved by Zimbabwe and Africa.

He said "sacred principles", such as those held by Zanu(PF) on land ownership could not be sacrificed "on the altar of expediency". Zimbabwe would not be cowed by what Blair and US President George W Bush had "done in Iraq".

He said while he expected one or two people to die in the war to extend sovereign control over Zimbabwe's resources, the people always, ultimately, won such wars. Mugabe acknowledged to the students that the situation "back home" was difficult with a drought, sanctions, shortages and high prices for basic foodstuffs. But he predicted a better year ahead with better agricultural and other yields.

He vehemently dismissed the suggestion, to cheers from the students, that his government's land acquisition and allocation policy was "disastrous". He said emerging farmers were facing a new situation but would be assisted by government. The newly appointed land review committee was looking into implementation of the policy and would soon report how it was going.

He said those white farmers who continued to campaign for Zimbabwean people to be tenants and servants could leave the country and he would not "shed a tear". Those that wished to stay and work within the policy were free to do so.

Mugabe called on students who qualified in SA to return to Zimbabwe and contribute to the well-being of that country. He is in the country to attend ANC veteran Walter Sisulu's funeral today.

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Saturday 17.05.2003, CET 10:00
Lausanne University agrees to settle “biopiracy” case
March 5, 2001 8:10 AM
Print this story Send this story to a friend Send us your thoughts on this story
What control do countries have over their own biological resources?
What control do countries have over their own biological resources? (Keystone Archive)
The University of Lausanne has agreed to renegotiate a controversial agreement over the use of Zimbabwe’s medicinal and poisonous plants. The agreement follows mounting criticism of a patent for a potential fungicide compound, which was granted to a professor at Lausanne University.
The decision to renegotiate the patent came at a highly charged meeting in Zimbabwe between the Universities of Zimbabwe and Lausanne, as well as the Environment Ministry and the Zimbabwe Traditional Healers Association.

Participants agreed that the patent held by the University of Lausanne, as well as the current agreement on access and benefit sharing, were legally unacceptable.

Zimbabwean and Swiss non-governmental organisations have repeatedly accused the university of “biopiracy” – charges denied by Professor Kurt Hostettmann, director of the Institute of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry.

In 1995, the universities of Lausanne and Zimbabwe signed a research agreement on plants, which stipulated that a joint application would be made for any patent filed. Lausanne ignored the provision and proceeded to file a patent on its own for the anti-fungal properties of the plant, Swartzia madagascariensis.

Francois Meienberg, spokesman for a Swiss non-governmental organisation, the Berne Declaration, who also attended last week’s meeting in Zimbabwe, says the agreement was totally unsatisfactory.

“Both universities made a mistake when they signed this contract,” he told swissinfo. “The University of Zimbabwe is not allowed to give access to the country’s genetic resources. Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Zimbabwean government is the only body which can grant access.”

Meienberg said the case was proof that the illegal appropriation of biological resources from developing countries was still common practice by northern universities and corporations.

“It is clear that universities go into countries where the state is not organised in this respect and try to find a loophole.”

The Berne Declaration wants the Zimbabwean Ministry of Environment and Tourism to draw up clear rules for bio-prospectors to ensure that any benefits are not monopolised.

Meanwhile, the Lausanne professor, Hostettmann, has vigorously denied charges of biopiracy: “By making an agreement including the University of Zimbabwe, our aim was not to exploit Zimbabwe.”

Hostettmann said he had been investigating the potential as a fungicide of the root bark of swartzia madagascariensis as far back as 1990 when he had no contact with Zimbabwe, and that by 1994, he had already been able to isolate the active constituent. He said the samples gathered in Zimbabwe confirmed what he had already discovered.

Ironically, the United States pharmaceutical company, Phytera, which was developing the compound, has stopped its research because of toxicity problems.

Hostettmann says he hopes to continue collaboration with the University of Zimbabwe under a new agreement which would include other partners like the government and traditional healers.

“The Rio Convention on Biological Diversity must of course be respected,” he said. “But it is not clear in many countries who the official partner should be. We agree entirely with NGOs that precise guidelines should be established urgently.”

by Vincent Landon
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Dear Family and Friends,
This week some truly staggering statistics were published about the state of agricultural production in Zimbabwe three years after 90% of our commercial farms were seized by the government. Prior to 2000 we produced 162 thousand tonnes of soya beans a year, which gave us enough for our own use and allowed for exports. Now we have to import the beans and only manage to grow 30 thousand tonnes ourselves. Tobacco production has been reduced by more than half and one expert said that the quality of the burley was so poor that the auction floors had stopped selling and closed the sales. Maize production has dropped from 2 million tonnes in 2000 to just 800 thousand tonnes now and over 60% of our national herd has been slaughtered as farmers had no land on which to graze their cattle. It is no wonder the World Food Programme had to feed 8 million Zimbabweans last year and are estimating almost the same number will need assistance again this year. Undoubtedly our government will blame drought but this week even Pope John  Paul said that our land reform programme was "an error which would only create tension and discord."
I think the most dramatic statistic to come out in the report was that prior to 2000, farmers bought 1600 tractors a year but last year only 8 new tractors were purchased countrywide. The day after these shocking facts were released, a weekly newspaper reported that over US$ 100 million of agricultural produce from Zimbabwe is to be given to Libya in order for us to secure petrol and diesel and pay outstanding fuel debts. I cannot think where our government are going to find any agricultural produce to give to Libya when we cannot even feed ourselves. God knows we need the fuel but at what price in the months ahead.
The fuel situation has just got worse and worse throughout the country. By mid week the national airline, Air Zimbabwe was refuelling in Zambia as aviation fuel here was virtually depleted. By Friday newspapers reported that in Harare only one of the city's 25 new ambulances was still running, the rest were parked alongside fire tenders with empty tanks and crews unable to attend emergency calls. This morning the streets of Marondera town were all but deserted with almost no traffic moving, great swathes of empty parking bays and massive queues outside all the filling stations in the town. At the moment there is nothing to queue for but still the people wait, and wait, and wait. We are a nation in waiting - for bread, sugar, maize, milk, margarine, petrol and, ever hopeful, we wait for democracy. The economists here keep saying that we are on the point of economic implosion and frankly we wish it would just hurry up and implode - whatever that actually means - because trying to survive every day is just utterly exhausting now. Everywhere you go people look tired, angry, fed up and desperate. In agriculture we went from combine harvesters to ox carts in three years and in transport we've gone from 4 wheel drive luxury cars to bicycles in just three weeks. I'd like to think that this week at least I managed to raise a few smiles in my home town.
After a two decade break, I got on a bicycle and rode with my 10 year old son to school and back every day this week. I guess the sight of me pedalling furiously over the bumpy track made people smile but I've already clocked up 24 kilometres and every bone, muscle and fibre of my body is screaming out for the comfort of my car seat. Imagine my utter speechlessness one morning when Richie shouted over his shoulder to ask me if we could go out and do some "fun riding" over the weekend. Hardly able to breathe, legs going madly on the pedals, freezing melting mist dripping off my nose, I managed a sort of grunted "I'll be too busy" and just pedalled even harder to try and catch up.
I don't know how we are holding on anymore, but, one day at a time, we stagger on and although we've run out of fuel and food, we still have hope. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle, 17th May 2003.
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are now available throughout Europe, America and Canada from Bloomfield Books, contact: in Australia and New Zealand from John Reed Books: and worldwide and in Africa from and
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            Anti-Mugabe group attends Sisulu funeral
            May 17, 2003, 16:30

            Zimbabweans from across the political spectrum, including the
Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad (CZA), set aside their political differences
and attended the funeral of Walter Sisulu, the African National Congress
struggle hero, at the Orlando Stadium today.

            Jay Jay Sibande, the CZA spokesperson, said: "Although we are
against the presence of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe at the funeral,
we do not intend to protest at the moment. However, Mugabe should know that
he is not welcome in South Africa."

            The group staged a protest at the Westcliff Hotel yesterday
where Mugabe was staying. The group also took a bus tour through Soweto on
Wednesday in protest against Mugabe's regime, Sibande said. "The aim of the
tour was to send a message to South African people that they should push the
South African Government to take action against Mugabe."

            Mugabe, who kept a low profile at the funeral, received a
welcoming round of applause from mourners when he was named along with the
heads of state of Lesotho, Mozambique, and Malawi. - Sapa
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            Zimbabwe groups condemn expulsion of US reporter
            May 17, 2003, 16:45

            Zimbabwe opposition and media groups today condemned the
expulsion of a US journalist who had worked in the country for 23 years and
criticised authorities for ignoring a court order barring his deportation.

            Andrew Meldrum, a correspondent for Britain's Guardian
newspaper, was put on a plane bound for London last night despite a judge's
ruling hours earlier ordering his release. Meldrum (51) was the fourth
foreign journalist to be thrown out of Zimbabwe in the past two years and
had been accused by the government of driving a hate campaign against
President Robert Mugabe as the country sinks deeper into crisis.

            Meldrum's deportation came after Kembo Mohadi, the Home Affairs
Minister, sent a certificate to the High Court saying he had sanctioned his
expulsion as an "undesirable immigrant" under the country's security laws.

            Meldrum, who had permanent residency in Zimbabwe, was one of
more than a dozen reporters in the country who were arrested last year under
tough media laws. - Reuters
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US Journalist Denounces Deportation From Zimbabwe
VOA News
17 May 2003, 15:40 UTC

An American journalist deported from Zimbabwe says authorities expelled him
in order to intimidate other reporters in the southern African nation.
Andrew Meldrum made the remarks at London's Gatwick airport Saturday after
arriving on a plane from Zimbabwe. Officials in Zimbabwe had forced Mr.
Meldrum onto the plane despite a judge's order to let him stay in the

Mr. Meldrum, a correspondent for Britain's Guardian newspaper, said his
deportation was illegal and should be more accurately described as an
abduction. He said Zimbabwe authorities held him captive for 10 hours, and
prohibited him from contacting his wife or lawyer. He also said officials
drove him to Harare International Airport Friday with a jacket over his head
so he would not know where he was going.

Mr. Meldrum, who has worked in Zimbabwe for 23 years, says he will continue
to write about the country. The 51-year-old correspondent was one of the few
foreign journalists left in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe officials have given no
reason for Mr. Meldrum's deportation. A High Court ruled on Friday Mr.
Meldrum could appeal the government's decision to deport him, but officials
defied those orders.

Last year Mr. Meldrum was acquitted on charges of publishing false
information. But he says authorities had continued to accuse him of writing
falsehoods. Following the reelection of President Robert Mugabe last year,
Zimbabwe passed strict new media laws. Last week, the Zimbabwe Supreme Court
struck down a section of the media law as unconstitutional.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.
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Mugabe living it up at Westcliff a 'crime'

      May 17 2003 at 11:27AM

By Lumka Oliphant

While the people of Zimbabwe queue for basic needs, their president, Robert
Mugabe, was rumoured to be staying at the Westcliff Hotel, one of South
Africa's most expensive establishments.

Mugabe is in the country to attend the funeral of ANC stalwart, Walter

The opulent and colonial Westcliff charges R2 470 a night per "ordinary"
room and the most expensive suite would cost the guest R11 950.

On Friday a small number of protestors demonstrated against Mugabe's
presence at the hotel. "It is our policy not to disclose information on our
guests," said the hotel's public relations officer, Laura Vercueil.

The protestors held posters saying: "Mugabe is not the people's choice",
"Wake up Africa, Zimbabwe is dying", "Help us liberate Zimbabwe", "Mugabe go
now" and "Mugabe rapist, murderer, torturer, hypocrite".

Protestor Mathula Lusinga lashed out at the hotel's management for accepting
Mugabe as a guest.

Lusinga said Mugabe should not even be allowed to attend Sisulu's funeral
because he is not a democratically elected leader of Zimbabwe.

About six policemen from the Parkview police monitored the protesters.

The protesters, all black, were getting the "thumbs-up" from a number of
passing white motorists.
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From News24 (SA), 16 May

Zim to expel fugitive MP?

Harare - Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa is set have the
youngest member of the 150-seat parliament, Tafadzwa Musekiwa, 28, expelled
from the assembly. Musekiwa, MP for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change in the Harare suburban seat of Zengeza, fled Zimbabwe and sought
asylum in Britain earlier this year after fellow legislator Job Sikhala and
his lawyer were detained and tortured. Chinamasa told the assembly he
planned to stage a motion to declare the Zengeza constituency vacant. He
described the absence of Musekiwa for 21 sitting days of the House "a
disgrace" and "a disservice to constituents". The minister's move would
trigger a by-election in the constituency. The MDC won 57 seats at the June
2000 parliamentary elections but has lost two in savagely-fought rural
by-elections, due to the deaths of their MPs. The polls were marred by
widespread violence and intimidation, and supporters of President Robert
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party were suspected of using of famine relief to
bribe voters. The loss of Zengeza would put the MDC further at risk of
losing the required 50 seat blocking quota for constitutional amendments.
The MDC, led by veteran trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, recently won two
suburban by-elections in the capital of Harare, which had been caused by the
deaths of MPs. Musekiwa was reported to be eking out a living in Britain by
undertaking menial casual work, including dish washing. Chinamasa branded
this as "very demeaning" and said it "affects the sovereignty of this
country". For Musekiwa to be expelled and his seat declared vacant, at least
75 MPs need to support Chinamasa's motion when it comes up for debate next
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I was abducted, says deported journalist
(Filed: 17/05/2003)

A newspaper correspondent accused of being critical of the Zimbabwe
Government has arrived in London, and vowed to continue to write about the
country despite his deportation.

The Guardian newspaper's Andrew Meldrum, a US citizen who has lived in the
southern African country for 23 years, was flown out of Harare last night
despite a High Court judge's order staying the deportation.

As he arrived at Gatwick airport this morning he described the way he was
expelled as an "abduction" meant to intimidate other journalists working in

He claimed: "I would like to point out that to say deportation suggests this
is a legal process. In fact it was not legal. It was an abduction really,
and I was physically bundled away.

"I think the government is getting increasingly desperate. It's a classic
case of shooting the messenger, or in this case, deporting the messenger.

"It's also meant to be intimidating to the rest of the press and Zimbabwe.
There is a committed band of journalists in Zimbabwe and they will not be

"I will continue as best I can to write about the issues in Zimbabwe and the
rest of southern Africa."

Meldrum, 51, whose wife Dolores is still in Zimbabwe, told colleagues who
met him at the airport that he was feeling fine "all things considered".

Early yesterday, Meldrum was forced into a government car by a group of
uniformed and paramilitary police and taken to Harare Airport by immigration
officials. They had issued him with an order stating that he was a
"prohibited immigrant".

He was flown out of the country on an Air Zimbabwe flight despite a last
minute dash to the airport by his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa.

She had obtained an order from Zimbabwe's High Court judge, Charles Hungwe,
staying the deportation and requiring immigration officials to produce him
before his court yesterday afternoon.

He said that he was confident that his wife would be fine while she wound
things up in Zimbabwe with the support of their many friends.

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

He had been 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.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said yesterday: "I am very concerned about this
case. Petty and vindictive actions like this simply expose the Zimbabwean
regime for what it is."
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe turmoil tormented former minister's doomed son

Jeanne Van Der Merwe

Tonderai Makoni, son of the former Zimbabwean finance minister, was haunted
by the turmoil in his homeland in the weeks before his grisly death,
apparently a suicide, his best friend said this week.

On Monday, Makoni, a 23-year-old student at the University of Cape Town,
left a note inside his flat in Mowbray and dropped a video off at his
girlfriend's home nearby. He then apparently lay down in front of an
oncoming train near Rondebosch station.

His body was found by a Metrorail security guard at about 4.30pm that day.

Makoni was the second son of former finance minister Simba Makoni, who was
fired by President Robert Mugabe in August last year. Makoni snr is a
businessman with interests in banking and information technology and was
considered a political moderate.

Police identified the young Makoni by his wallet, which contained his
student card and his Zimbabwean passport.

A fourth-year student in media and visual studies, Makoni would have
graduated next month.

A police spokesman confirmed that a suicide note had been found in Makoni's
room. He would not disclose the contents of the note.

Friends and fellow students held a memorial service for him on Wednesday.
His funeral was held in Harare yesterday.

A close friend and fellow student, Lunga Malimela, said many students at the
Liesbeeck Gardens residence, where Makoni had a flat, confided in him.

"For him, the situation in Zimbabwe was a very personal thing. It must have
bothered him that he could do so little about it."

Malimela said Makoni had mentioned suicide to him, but he did not think he
was serious.

"We always went to him with our problems. Even on that morning he died, a
friend asked him for help. He never asked any of us for help.

"His problems were his own. He said he was going through some problems, but
we had no idea it was that bad."

Makoni was an aspiring hip-hop artist and his final-year film studies
project was a documentary on the music style. Malimela said he was a
talented singer.

"He inspired all of us. He was always very complimentary about other people
and he always encouraged me to sing. He was an artist, but he didn't like
the limelight.

"When I got to his flat at about six on Monday, the house warden and the
police said he had committed suicide. I didn't want to believe them."

Makoni's flatmate for the past six weeks, Wellington Sithole, said Makoni
kept to himself much of the time. Sithole said he had had no hint of the
tragedy that was looming.

Another friend, who asked not to be named, said Makoni had mentioned
committing suicide a few weeks ago but his friends had all believed he was

"He was an amazing person. He was a great guy to have around. His friends
had been worried about him lately. They said he used to be different," the
friend said.

Police said they did not suspect foul play and that the inquest docket would
be completed soon, pending an autopsy report.

Makoni's family asked the university not to discuss his death, apart from
saying that students had organised a memorial service this week.
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'After 23 years, Mugabe has thrown me out, but he'll never silence me'

Andrew Meldrum, The Observer's correspondent in Harare, says his brutal -
and illegal - removal from Zimbabwe only illustrates that the murderous and
incompetent regime's days are numbered

Sunday May 18, 2003
The Observer

The door slammed and the car screeched off at high speed. I was in the back
seat, flanked by two men in plain clothes, surely agents of the dreaded
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). One threw a jacket over my head and
held it tightly around my neck. 'The games are now over,' said the other,
thumping me on the back for emphasis. 'Now it is serious.'
I knew this procedure only too well - the brusque abduction, the handover
from police to CIO, the hood over the head, the drive to remote police
stations where the victim was brutally beaten and often suffered convulsing
electric shocks. I had interviewed many Zimbaweans over the past few months,
including opposition members of parliament and lawyers, and heard them tell
the same terrible story.

I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans because I did not want to let them know
I was frightened. I sat up, put my shoulders back and tried to take a deep
breath inside the dark shroud. 'If only we go to the airport, then I might
be OK,' I told myself.

The road to Harare's airport is long, straight and well paved. My stomach
lurched when we made a sharp turn to the right and slowed down, going over
big humps. This was not the airport road.

'Now we are going to a special place,' said one man, and the rest chortled
ominously. I began to envisage bone-crushing blows and singeing shocks. I
stopped myself. I could not afford to scare myself. I had to stay strong and
I would survive.

It had all happened at lightning speed. The immigration officer had served
me with deportation orders and turned me over to police and security agents.
As they led me away, I began telling the assembled press that the last
foreign correspondent in their country was being thrown out. 'This is not
the action of a government confident of its legitimacy,' I said. But with
that the police surrounded me and roughly pulled me away.

'This government is afraid of a free press,' I shouted, as they tore at my
jacket and knocked me off balance. 'It is afraid of critical and independent
reporting,' I yelled at the top of my voice as I wrestled with five officers
kicking and pushing me into the waiting car. Suddenly deportation seemed the
least of the threats I faced.

It was stifling under the hood and although I could make out vague figures I
could not tell where we were speeding to. After what seemed like an eternity
I could feel that the car had turned back on to a tarred road and was moving
again at high speed.

Straining to see through the hood, I made out a white shape arching over the
road. My heart soared. It was the Independence Arch, just a few kilometres
from the airport. I began breathing more normally. The car pulled up at the
departure lounge and I was led away, still hooded, down corridors and into a
small room in the basement of the airport. My ordeal was not over, but I had
come through the worst. I was alive. It was just a matter of hours until I
would be forced on a flight out of Zimbabwe, my home for 23 years.

To say I was deported is incorrect because it suggests I was ejected through
some legal process. I was abducted, and it was entirely illegal - even under
President Robert Mugabe's repressive laws. The constitution spelled out my
rights as the holder of a permit of permanent residence. Two orders from the
High Court stated clearly that any deportation would be illegal. As I was
held in the subterranean cell, my lawyer presented airport immigration
officials with a judge's order to stop the deportation. Even now she is
filing papers to reverse the action.

The abduction was designed to threaten and frighten. And not just me but all
my colleagues in the press who write for foreign and local papers. The
Mugabe government thinks that by removing me from the country in that
frightening fashion it can intimidate the rest of the press. It will not
silence me nor, I am certain, will it succeed in bullying Zimbabwe's
courageous and committed journalists, especially those working for the
foreign press and the privately owned domestic press. We all shared the same
dedication to reporting on the systematic state violence, the torture, the
disastrous economic decline, the trampling on basic freedoms, in the hope
that our work will help to hold the Mugabe regime accountable for its

My case is one small example of how the government routinely breaks its own
laws. The day before I was sent off, a member of parliament for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was nabbed by CIO as he
entered the House of Assembly. His whereabouts are still unknown at the time
of going to press. The parliamentary elections in 2000 and the presidential
elections in 2002 were both conducted with blatant illegalities. Passports
are denied citizens illegally. Farms were seized and often portioned out to
Mugabe's cronies illegally. The vibrant and popular privately owned press
has dutifully recorded these unlawful acts. For that it has seen scores of
spurious criminal charges filed against reporters and editors. Many
journalists have been jailed and two tortured. The printing press of the
Daily News was destroyed in a massive explosion, and despite considerable
evidence police failed to turn up any suspects.

I was put in jail last year for 33 hours and later faced a long trial. I was
acquitted, but then the Mugabe crew tried to deport me. A court ruling
halted that last year, but on Friday the govern ment decided it would not
let something as pesky as the rule of law stop it getting rid of me. I was
the last foreign correspondent in Zimbabwe. All other journalists bravely
writing for the overseas press are Zimbabwean citizens.

The failure of the Mugabe government is painfully obvious to all in Zimbabwe
today. Poverty and hunger gnaw at the majority of people in what used to be
called the breadbasket of Africa. Now Zimbabwe is seen as a basket case
where more than half the 12 million people survive only thanks to
international food relief. Supermarkets that used to be well stocked now
have bare shelves. The staple food, maize meal, cannot be found. Bread,
flour, salt, sugar, cooking oil, milk and butter are all unavailable or in
short supply. Queues stretching for miles are evidence of the crippling fuel
shortages. Regular blackouts of electricity are ample evidence that the
government has not paid for its imported power. The newest shortage is of
the country's currency. The government does not have the foreign exchange to
buy ink and paper to print more of the increasingly worthless Zimbabwean
dollar notes.

My Air Zimbabwe plane had to make an unscheduled stop in Malawi to get jet
fuel because there was none in Zimbabwe. And the plane was lucky to get it.
Air Zimbabwe already has such a bad reputation for not paying debts that
many foreign airports will no longer give it credit.

Rather than accept that their policies have brought misery to the people,
Mugabe and his cronies send out squads of goons, like the ones who took me
away, to stamp out dissent. Stubborn and crafty Mugabe may be, but at 79 -
and in power since 1980 - he has become fossilised and incapable of coming
up with the flexible strategies, particularly new economic policies, needed
to save Zimbabwe.

The collapse is gathering speed and even frightening Mugabe's former
supporters. While I was held captive for 10 hours, many immigration
officials, the police and even Mugabe's own secret police furtively told me
they knew the action against me was illegal and wrong. Some said they knew
change was coming. 'We know Mugabe must go,' said one. 'We just don't know
how it is going to happen.'

At first the intention was to put me on a South African Airways flight to
Johannesburg, but the airline refused after seeing my lawyer's court order
stating the action was illegal. Instead I was put on a London flight of the
state-owned Air Zimbabwe, which would never say no to the government. As I
was led to the flight, my valiant lawyer, the feisty Beatrice Mtetwa, had
somehow managed to get past two sets of guards. Immigration officers,
frightened of the papers she was waving, fled their desks to avoid the
confrontation between law and government. I struggled to get to her, but was
pulled away and bundled on to the plane.

Now I am in London, a continent away. But Mugabe and his gang have not
succeeded. The harsh light of publicity that this action throws on the
government may be more damaging than any of my stories. And I remain
determined to continue chronicling the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe,
wherever I may be. I hope they will find me just as annoying out of the
country as when I lived there.

And democratic change is coming, make no mistake. Mugabe is facing pressure
from an increasingly restive population, from within his own Zanu-PF party
and from the international community. Now he is also facing pressure from
fellow African leaders. This month the Presidents of Africa's two most
powerful countries, South Africa and Nigeria, came to Harare to press the
message that Zimbabwe's mess is a problem for all of Africa. They pushed
Mugabe to begin negotiations with the opposition. Such talks are the first
step towards a transition that will take Zimbabwe back to democracy and,
eventually, prosperity.

But it is a long road ahead and the action against me is a classic case of
shooting, or rather deporting, the messenger because the government does not
like the truth - that things are not working in Zimbabwe and change is
waiting right around the corner.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe elite 'looted DRC'
Sunday Times Foreign Desk
Key senior members of the Zimbabwe government are to be investigated by the
United Nations for allegedly looting and illegally exploiting natural
resources, including a fortune in diamonds, in the Democratic Republic of

According to UN sources in Nairobi, investigators are to travel to Harare
within days, where they will question, among others, the Speaker of the
Zimbabwean parliament and former National Security Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa - the man widely tipped as a possible successor to President
Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa was identified in a UN report on the looting of Congo, released in
October last year, as the "key strategist" for the Zimbabwean branch of an
elite network that benefited from a variety of criminal activities in Congo,
including theft, embezzlement and the diversion of public funds,
undervaluation of goods, smuggling, false invoicing, nonpayment of taxes,
kickbacks to public officials and outright bribery.

Mnangagwa told the Sunday Times he was unaware of any investigation into his
affairs while he served as chairman of a joint committee of ministers
responsible for the war-torn Congo. He also denied that UN investigators had
written to him or otherwise contacted him with their questions.

"But let them come," he said. "That report is full of lies. They had better
come now and talk to us."

The UN document - titled The Final Report of the Panel of Experts on the
Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of DR
Congo - details how this "elite network" benefited from instability in Congo
and sought to fuel that instability by supporting armed groups opposed to
Rwanda and Burundi.

"The elite network of Congolese and Zimbabwean political, military and
commercial interests seeks to maintain its grip on the main mineral
resources - diamonds, cobalt, copper, germanium - of the
government-controlled area," the document says.

"This network has transferred ownership of at least 5-billion of assets from
the state mining sector to private companies under its control in the past
three years with no compensation or benefit for the state treasury."

The document identifies Mnangagwa's key ally as Zimbabwe Defence Force
commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe, and names several other key ZDF
figures as being involved. "The general and his family," it says, "have been
involved in diamond trading and supply contracts in the DRC."

It also claims Air Marshal Perence Shiri, a long-time ally of Mugabe, has
been involved in military procurement and in organising air support for the
pro-Kinshasa armed groups fighting in the eastern Congo. Shiri is also part
of the inner circle of ZDF diamond traders who have turned Harare into a
significant illicit diamond-trading centre, the document says.

Zimbabwean Defence Minister Sidney Sekeramayi is also implicated in the

A preliminary report on the panel's investigation is to be handed to the UN
Security Council next month. A final report is due in September.

Meanwhile, a Ugandan probe following UN charges that Uganda and Rwanda
illegally exploited Congo's natural resources has exonerated Ugandan
President Yoweri Museveni but has suggested members of his family and top
military officers may have been involved, Reuters reports.

The judicial investigation has recommended further investigation of
Museveni's sister-in-law and brother, the army commander and the head of
military intelligence.
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An essay on history

As you doubtless are aware, the annals of history abound with peoples who
have, 'come, saw and conquered'. It is a constant that has formed the
history of civilization from the dawn of time, probably beginning with the
extinction of the Neanderthals.

We are in danger of judging the actions of the past by the morals and ideals
of today. If Africa had been seriously colonized at an earlier date by the
metropolitan powers, rather than during the latter part of the 19th century,
it is quite likely that there would be states today in Africa, which had
majority white populations. They would, likely as not, also be of first
world status. I use for my model, the history and settlement of such
countries as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

After thousands of years of a tradition of conquest, settlement and
displacement, a great change began to occur in international politics during
the 19th century, especially in the UK, the super power of its time. The UK
was instrumental in abolishing slavery, and actively sought to force an end
to the Atlantic slave trade by the use of its powerful navy. They also
forced an end to long established Arab slave trading from Zanzibar. It also
has to be said, the tradition of slavery in Africa is a long one, and it was
black Africans themselves from the interior, who were supplying slaves to
the coastal areas for export.

Slaving was seen as a commercial enterprise like any other, in fact, along
with prostitution, it is probably one of the oldest forms of commercial
enterprise. This can clearly be seen in the 1830 census records of the state
of Virginia in the USA, where 3,775 free blacks are recorded as themselves
owning 12,740 black African slaves. These slaves were often hired out to
white plantation owners for work. There are even cases of free black women
owning their husbands. These startling facts, for obvious politically
correct reasons, are not often mentioned by African-Americans, who wish to
peddle the falsehood of slavery being the sole preserve of the white man. It
also has serious implications for African-Americans who are seeking slave
reparations. Who were the descendents of slaves and who were descended from
the slave owners? It clearly proves that people of that time, unlike we
people of today, saw slavery purely as a business. We have not even touched
upon the 'white slavery' of the time, which was known as indentured
servitude. The Virginia colony was forged on the backs of these wretched
people, often transported for life from England for trivial offences, such
as stealing a loaf of bread to feed starving children.

The British Empire's change in attitude towards its subject peoples during
the 19th century, meant that Britain now saw its role as bringing the
benefits of civilization to the Empire. No longer were native peoples
eradicated or displaced, but rather the ethos was to create god fearing
people with 'British' christian values. This same climate of change was also
occuring in the UK itself, where child labour was abolished, along with many
other abuses of the 'Dickensian' era.

Rhodesia was a modern and advanced country, that was born in the last years
of the 19th century. Even before UDI it was a first world country, a country
which was enjoying rapid growth and economic expansion. Of course, not all
was sweetness and light in the garden, but again, we must not be too quick
to judge the past with a modern eye. However, it is beyond dispute that
after 1893, there was an explosion in the African population of Rhodesia.
This can be accounted for by the introduction of the rule of law, the
curbing of tribal conflict and modern medical care. Even basic medical care
has a huge impact on a population used to a high infant mortality rate.

It is also true that during the time Rhodesia existed as a nation, nobody
ever went hungry, even during the darkest days of the bush war. It is also
true that after 1965, there was a growing black middle class who were
beginning to take a more active part in the country's economic life.
Rhodesia was evolving socially at a sustainable pace. Ian Smith knew full
well that Rhodesia needed measured evolution rather than revolution.
Unfortunately, due to overt Communist support of terrorism, and the Wests
covert support of the same, Rhodesia got revolution and Mugabe, and an
inevitable slide to the third world. I don't see how the citizens of 'modern
' Zimbabwe have benefitted from Mugabe's revolution? They may well have
benefitted from measured evolution, had the country been given a fair chance
to succeed. The West would not even give Zimbabwe-Rhodesia a chance. Never
has there been such a cynical betrayal of the principles of democracy, at
the alter of appeasement and colonial guilt.

The biggest problem in Africa, since the advent of independence for the
former colonies, has been the culture of blaming the former colonial masters
for economic failure. It worked for many years in the insidious climate of
colonial guilt, and succeeded in sucking in vast amounts of aid and
assistance. Unfortunately, most of this disappeared into the pockets of the
corrupt and depraved political leaders. In most cases, an enlightened
colonial master had been swopped for a far more unwholesome local despot.
Africans have exploited each other, far more than they have been exploited
by the colonial authorities. A perfect example of Africans exploiting
Africans has been the recent horrors of the DRC. So many African nations
with their noses in the Congo's trough, as the people of that tragic country
suffered terribly.

It is almost unbelievable for example, that a country like the DRC, which
covers an area the size of Western Europe and has natural resources in
plenty, can be so grindingly poor. At face value it should be an economic
dynamo, a treasure trove of riches benefitting all its people. For Africa to
succeed and compete in the modern world, it has to have modern leaders, and
a population who can leave their tribal nepotism behind them and think on a
national level. Africa has failed abysmally in the DRC, it has failed
massively again in Zimbabwe. Will we ever see that real decisive swing
towards necessary change in Africa?

Much of the bitterness of white Africans towards black Africans, is based
upon this continual saga of corruption and failure. It is difficult for
people to understand how a first world country such as Rhodesia, with its
strong and diverse economy, can be brought down to the level the worst kind
of banana republic in only twenty years. I believe this may provide you with
some enlightenment of why there is so much disdain for black African rule.
Actions always speak louder than words, the fancy rhetoric of African
leaders is meaningless without real achievements.
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