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

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From e-africa (SA), May

The never-ending war of Robert Gabriel Mugabe

24 years later, Zimbabwe's Big Man jousts with phantoms from a struggle few
can remember

On March 21 the state-run Herald Newspaper ran a lengthy analysis explaining
why Zimbabwe's ruling party beat its rival, the Movement for Democratic
Change, in a by-election in Zengeza township, one of the opposition's urban
strongholds in Harare. With characteristic zeal, the newspaper stated:
'African liberation movements which freed people from the yoke of
imperialism and colonialism would always get support from the people and
that, in Zimbabwe's case, Zanu PF has that solid track record.' Political
parties justify their claim to power in different ways. Some promote a
vision, others recite accomplishments in office. African liberation
movements often evoke the struggle they waged against foreign or minority
oppression, especially when they have been in office too long to remember
the ideals they once espoused or can no longer defend the record they have
built. But when evocation becomes exploitation, the present becomes captive
to the past. The manipulation of waning collective memory - the re-asserting
of the affirmative, inclusive aspirations of the struggle as exclusive
nationalism for party political gain in societies where the majority were
born after independence - poses one of the greatest threats to democratic
governance and economic development in southern Africa and, consequently,
the continent.

Although this conflict between the ideals of the struggle and their
post-liberation interpretation influences the political and economic
dialogue in Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa, it is nowhere more extreme
than in Zimbabwe, where the descent into violent political and economic
disintegration provides a case study in what happens when a liberation
movement goes from the struggle to the State House and fails to adapt from
an essentially military-command paradigm to a democratic one. In the lexicon
of the ruling party, ZANU PF, the struggle has become justification for
every breach of the hopes of the fighters who gave or risked their lives to
free their people: Every threat to the party's power is external or
externally imposed, and every rumble of popular discontent is justification
for permanent mobilisation. 'Mugabe - and Zanu-PF is Mugabe - uses the
rhetoric of the revolution to excuse repression,' said Wilfred Mhanda,
second in command of Zanu PF's military wing in the mid-1970s. 'We are told
we are in a state of war. We are not in a state of war.'

In the Southern autumn of 2000, Zimbabwe's characteristic calm unraveled in
a battle for land. Stung by his first defeat at the polls - the rejection of
his draft constitution in a national referendum - Mugabe unleashed veterans
of the liberation war to achieve by violence what he attempted to codify in
law, namely the acquisition of white-owned land without compensation. The
ensuing four years would witness the rapid unraveling of all democratic
practice. White commercial farmers and the large community of black
labourers they employed were brutalised and run off nearly 11 million
hectares of productive land. Courts were purged of nearly all jurists found
unsympathetic to the government. The foreign media was barred and the
domestic media placed under unprecedented restrictions. Two national
elections were disrupted by violence and extensive fraud. Food aid was
manipulated for political gain. And militant cadres of conscripted and
coerced youth were deployed to conduct a rolling campaign of intimidation.
Today, inflation chases 600%; eight of every 10 working-age Zimbabweans
cannot find a job; agricultural production has fallen dramatically and
nearly half the population faces persistent malnutrition and risk of

In justifying its political course, Zimbabwe's ruling class has made two key
assertions with increasingly militancy: first, that the struggle against
minority rule in the 1960s and 1970s was about taking back land expropriated
by white settlers; and second, that Britain, as the former colonial power,
has actively prevented the government's attempts to redistribute that land
more equitably. Both claims are true - up to a point. Land was indeed a
motivating factor in the liberation struggle, and Britain has been reluctant
to finance land reform (exemplified most notably during the 1979
independence negotiations at Lancaster House when London refused to make any
specific monetary commitments). But these claims are also highly selective.
The language of the struggle, captured most eloquently in freedom songs, was
inherently inclusive: universal education, free health care, and land for
all. Zanu PF's 1980 election manifesto enshrined national democratic rights,
freedom of the press - in essence, the redistribution of opportunity. The
first few years of majority rule reflected these imperatives. Mugabe's
aggressive education reforms created Africa's most literate society in one
generation. Life expectancy rose and infant mortality fell as access to
health care expanded. Reconciliation was a keynote of governance. Mugabe's
first minister of agriculture was white - a deliberate gesture to reassure
commercial farmers, the backbone of the economy, that their place was

Those gains, while significant, also masked early signs of Zanu PF's
discomfort with democratic practice. Mugabe's preoccupation with
consolidating power and eliminating enemies, which characterised Zanu PF's
internal dynamics during the struggle, continued after independence. The new
elite's quest for personal gain undermined the pursuit of social change.
Importantly, Zimbabwe's current 'permanent crisis,' as one Western diplomat
described it, was precipitated by the emergence of the first real threat to
Mugabe's monopoly on power. 'The struggles of the year 2000 - the farm
occupation, the protests over the constitution, the violence before and
after the election, to name but a few - are related to the current power
elite's definition and understanding of the meaning of the struggle for
independence,' concluded the war historian Josephine Nhongo-Simbanegavi in
her recent work on Zanu PF's military wing entitled For Better or Worse?
Women and ZANLA in Zimbabwe's Liberation Struggle. Like 50,000 other young
men and women from her generation, William Bongo and Freedom Nyamubaya
crossed the border into Mozambique to take up arms. She was 14 years old at
the time; he was scarcely older. They were motivated - as they all were - by
their deep anger at the injustices of minority rule and longed to help
secure free education, health care, better living standards and democratic

Both paid prices for their sacrifices. Asked what it was like to be on the
front, fighting against the better armed Rhodesian army, Nyamubaya replied,
'Wonderful. At the back we got raped.' Bango, meanwhile, spent three years
in a Rhodesian prison. When the war was over, they both turned their
energies toward building the society they imagined. Nyamubaya went into
development work with non-governmental organisations and bought a small game
farm. Bango, better educated than most of Mugabe's combatants, went to work
for the state-owned Herald newspaper. In time, both became disillusioned.
Although Mugabe expanded health care and opened the doors to education and
health care, the new signs of repression soon became impossible to dismiss.
Immediately after independence, the so-called crisis of expectation strikes
of teachers and nurses were brutally suppressed by the edgy new government
and within three years the leadership of Zapu - Zanu-PF's partner in the
government of national unity - had been arrested. Its leader, Joshua Nkomo,
was forced into exile. The national army was turned on civilians in a
campaign of homicidal intimidation in Zapu's Matabeleland stronghold in the
south. The reign of terror left up to 20,000 dead.

To be continued...
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ABC Australia

Zimbabwe tour in doubt: Speed
International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Malcolm Speed says
Australia's tour of Zimbabwe could be postponed if the dispute between the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) and the 15 sacked white players is not resolved
within 24 hours.

Mr Speed is in Harare for talks with the ZCU and the players later today,
ahead of the first Test between Australia and Zimbabwe which starts on

Today he told Channel Nine there was widespread concern about the integrity
of Test cricket.

But he added that it was the ZCU's job to put its house in order to prevent
the series descending into farce.

"It falls back to the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, so hopefully they can come up
with something that is acceptable to the players, they can come up with
something that's acceptable to the rest of the cricket community," he said.

Zimbabwe's cricket crisis deepened overnight as Sri Lanka wrapped up a Test
series whitewash over the home side with an innings and 254 runs to spare in
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Weary Zimbabweans seek better life

A year ago this week, Guardian reporter Andrew Meldrum was expelled from
Zimbabwe after being seized by security agents and held captive for 11
hours, despite a court order declaring the action illegal. From the
Ramokgwebana border post in northern Botswana, he reports on the country he
called home for 20 years

Tuesday May 18, 2004
The Guardian

The bus driver from Bulawayo grins and shrugs in typically Zimbabwean
fashion as he explains the difficulties of feeding his family and keeping
his five children in school. But he insists: "I am going to see the problems
through to the end. Nothing lasts for ever."
The driver, Never, plies the busy route between Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second
city, and Francistown, Botswana, ferrying droves of Zimbabweans trying to
find work in the neighbouring country. Amid the busy cross-border traffic,
he leans against his 12-seater van, which sits in the no man's land
straddling the border.

"I am out of fuel. Fuel is short again in Zimbabwe, can you imagine? So
these women are walking across the border with these chigubus (20-litre
plastic containers) to get diesel in Botswana and bring it back so we can
drive all the way to Francistown."

He chuckles at the absurdity of the situation. As we talk he remembers my
expulsion from Zimbabwe. "They put you in jail, put you on trial. And when
you were found innocent they threw you out of the country anyway. Don't
worry, [information minister Jonathan] Moyo and [President Robert] Mugabe
can't last for ever. We will get over our troubles and you will be able to
come back."

Two Zimbabwean border guards toting automatic rifles approach through the
tall grass and begin climbing through the rows of barbed-wire fences. They
shout at the young women carrying the fuel containers and motion with their
guns for them to come back for questioning.

"You better go now," says Never. "These guys could give you trouble. These
days they do what they like. They can be rough."

Through the field, past four barbed-wire fences, stands a much taller fence.
It is the electrified fence that the Botswana government erected two years
ago, ostensibly to keep Zimbabwean cattle from straying into Botswana, but
really to keep Zimbabweans from flooding into the country.

Stable and prosperous, Botswana is struggling to cope with the effects of
Zimbabwe's deepening economic and humanitarian crisis. Each month, according
to immigration authorities, its population of 1.7 million is swollen by an
estimated 127,000 Zimbabweans, most of them illegal immigrants, seeking
work, food and refuge.

In the year since I was forced to leave the country, the situation in
Zimbabwe has worsened in every respect. More people are going hungry, with
nearly two-thirds of the population reliant upon international food aid in
recent months. State brutality has become more systematic and more
widespread. Thousands of young Zimbabweans have been trained in torture at
the militia camps and are inflicting their skills on the population,
particularly anyone suspected of supporting the opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change.

The state repression against the independent press has increased. The Mugabe
government closed the Daily News, the country's most popular paper, with a
million readers. Other newspapers have been threatened with closure and 75
journalists have been arrested.

"Things are bad, really, really tough," says Thabani, 34, whose smile shows
two teeth missing. Speaking at the Botswana border post, he says: "I am a
bus inspector in Zimbabwe. But the money is too small. I can't pay rent or
buy food. Here the money has power. I will take any job here, a labourer, a
cleaner, a security guard, anything. Whatever money I make will go much
Zimbabwe's ongoing economic meltdown is evident from the black-market
traders waving sheaves of the country's rapidly depreciating currency. They
offer 1,000 Zimbabwe dollars to one Botswana pula, which just a few years
ago traded one for one. One US dollar fetches Z$6,000. But a loaf of bread
costs nearly Z$3,000.

A Zimbabwean man drives a battered truck with a load of folding wooden
chairs which he hopes to sell in Botswana. A young woman in a straw hat
tearfully pleads with the border guards to allow her into Botswana, but she
does not have the 100 pula required to enter so is turned back.

"There are so many Zimbabweans who go from house to house looking for any
kind of work. They will work for food or for a T-shirt," says Dorcas
Bogatsu, a secretary in Francistown. "And they are well educated. Their
English is good. It is very sad. Zimbabwe used to be a rich country."

In the chilly nights, Zimbabweans with no place to sleep huddle together
around small fires at the Francistown bus station. "When I find work I'll
send money back to my family," says Prosper, who says he once worked as a
schoolteacher but was threatened by Zimbabwe's secret police.

Along Blue Jacket Street, Francistown's main drag, young Zimbabwean women
cluster at street corners and wave at passing cars. Zimbabwean sex workers
now outnumber local prostitutes and the competition has driven down prices.

Ordinarily Francistown is a placid little border town, but the scenes, the
stories and the desperation of the Zimbabweans make the locals feel as if
they are living next to a volcano. No electric fence can keep that unease
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MDC suffers heartland byelection defeat

Andrew Meldrum
Tuesday May 18, 2004
The Guardian

President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party won a byelection in the
Matabeleland district of Lupane yesterday with 10,069 votes against 9,186
for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The ruling party's win represents a remarkable turnaround from the June 2000
parliamentary elections, when the opposition won nearly 80% of the votes in
Lupane. The byelection was held because the opposition member of parliament,
David Mpala, died after being assaulted in police custody.

The loss of the rural Lupane seat comes hard on the heels of the opposition
party's defeat in another previously safe seat, in the Kuwadzana township of
Harare. By snatching the seats back, the ruling party has struck devastating
blows to the MDC's two bases of support: Matabeleland and the cities.

MDC officials say the elections were not free and fair, accusing Mr Mugabe's
party of rampant vote rigging and heavy intimidation by a youth militia,
which set up camps throughout the constituency.

"It shows the power of food," said an MDC MP, David Coltart. "Young mothers
and grandparents who must feed orphaned grandchildren know that their
granaries are empty and they will need food from the ruling party."

Because the government has reported a bumper harvest of 2.4m tonnes of
maize, the country will not receive international food aid. But many
ordinary Zimbabwean farmers say they have not harvested enough to see them
through the winter.

Some MDC leaders have questioned whether the opposition party should take
part in elections that are not free from the start.

"These elections are a sham and by taking part in elections like these, we
are just legitimising elections that are a distortion of democracy," an MDC
member said.
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The Washington Times

Bush taps new envoy to Zimbabwe

Washington, DC, May. 17 (UPI) -- The White House said Monday New Jersey's
Christopher Dell has been nominated to be the new U.S. ambassador to

Dell is a career foreign service officer and currently serves as Chief of
Mission in Luanda, Angola.

He previously served as the designated chief of mission to the United States
Mission in Pristina, Kosovo, and held earlier postings in Bulgaria and
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17 May 2004


MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai congratulates South Africa for winning the 2010 World Cup bid



We in Zimbabwe wish to congratulate South Africa for winning the 2010 World Cup bid. We felt greatly honoured by your success as we have always regarded your bid as our own, firstly in the SADC region, and secondly in Africa. 

We followed with keen interest your campaign to host the Cup. We learnt many lessons as to how you conducted yourselves and presented your case to the world community for consideration. The scars of the unsuccessful 2006 bid were still fresh in our minds as we prayed with millions of the South Africans and other SADC citizens to be accorded the chance to host this prestigious event through South Africa.

 It is our sincere hope that by 2010, Zimbabweans would have overcome their debilitating problems arising from a 24-year crisis of governance. By the time our national team takes it place in the games in 2010 in Johannesburg, that team would be coming from a solid and proud nation, long healed from the brutal realities of the first decade of this millennium.

 Your success is a major SADC developmental achievement. We shall all benefit immensely from the attention our region will undoubtedly receive from the international community. We are ready to play our part, to raise the profile of the region and to discourage any nation from adopting a selfish approach that may earn any one of us a pariah status.

 As I said last week, millions of people follow soccer, the world’s most popular sport. A competition such the World Cup would bring huge economic benefits through trade, tourism and the development of infrastructure. In addition, the competition offers a healing opportunity to a region ruptured by a history of colonialism, racial discrimination, violence and tyranny.

Zimbabweans will certainly join hands with South Africans in hosting and celebrating the competition. We shall be a free nation, ready to field a free team, long before the games start.


Morgan Tsvangirai


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The Herald

Confusion hits farming sector

Herald Reporter
MORE new farmers yesterday expressed disgruntlement that they have not been
able to work on their plots this year because former white commercial
farmers were coming back to reclaim the land saying they had the backing of
certain senior Government officials.

A farmer in Mashonaland East Province who called The Herald said he was
offered a piece of land in the province but the former white farmer had now
returned and is asking him to leave the farm.

He alleged that a senior official in the province had signed papers that
authorised the white farmer to return.

"I have seen everybody who might matter in this issue but nothing has
materialised. I also know several other people in the area who have a
similar problem and some have already given up," said the farmer.

Many former white commercial farmers were said to be claiming that they
reached agreements with a senior Government official to remain on the farms,
outside laid down procedures.

Another new farmer cited the story in yesterday's edition of The Herald,
saying the same had happened to him and many other farmers he knew.

The new farmer said if the situation continued, he would be left with no
option but give up farming.

Another farmer said the confusion was being fuelled by the fact that war
veterans, who led the occupation of farms during the fast-track period, were
now quiet and the former white commercial farmers were now taking advantage.

"I have decided to abandon my piece of land altogether despite the fact that
I had an offer letter," said a farmer from Mazowe district who requested

The farmer, a businessman in Harare, said if the problem continued, it was
likely that people will start fighting or simply abandon those plots and
agricultural production would be affected.

Major problems are emerging with the land reform programme, with allegations
and reports from all provinces indicating that not all is well with the
scheme since the splitting up of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and
Rural Resettlement and the establishment of the Presidential Land Review

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, then headed by
Cde Joseph Made, was split into two: the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development and the Ministry of Special Affairs Responsible for Lands, Land
Reform and Resettlement headed by Cde John Nkomo.

Some officials in the new ministry and those from the disbanded Land
Inspectorate have allegedly been issuing directives to provincial governors
and to resettled new farmers claiming that offer letters issued, some
directives say in November 2003 and others say in December 2003, are

This has resulted in some former white commercial farmers being given a new
lease of life as they now believe that they should come back to repossess
the land from the new farmers under the pretext of the directives.

The latest developments come after the Government disbanded the Land
Inspectorate, which comprised civil servants from various Government
ministries and departments.

Efforts to get a comment from Cde Nkomo were fruitless yesterday as he was
said to be out of the country on business.
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The Herald

Zimbank workers appear before disciplinary committee

Business Reporters
HUNDREDS of workers who took part in the industrial action that crippled
operations at the Zimbabwe Banking Corporation at the beginning of this
month were summoned before a disciplinary hearing committee yesterday.

The fate of most workers remained unclear as management grilled those who
took part in the industrial action.

Most branches in Harare were being manned by managerial staff as workers
attended the hearing committee meetings.

According to sources, the majority of workers were issued with letters last
week in which they were invited to appear before the disciplinary hearing

Part of the circular sent to employees read: "I have a good cause to believe
that you participated in a collective job action in May, 2004.

"In terms of the code of conduct for the Banking Undertaking Statutory
Instrument 273 of 2000, which is applicable to you, charges for
participating in an illegal collective job action and any serious act,
conduct or omission inconsistent with the fulfilment of the express or
implied conditions of your contract of employment are hereby preferred
against you."

The letter went on: "If as a party, you fail to attend, the hearing shall
proceed without you to the possible detriment of your interests.

"You are entitled to be represented by a worker representative of your
choice and you may call witnesses to the hearing."

Zimbank is a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Financial Holdings Limited, which is
known by the acronym Finhold.

Efforts to get a comment from Finhold chief executive Mr Elisha
Mushayakarara proved fruitless.

The president of the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers' Union (Zibawu), Mr
George Kawenda, described the move by the financial institution to summon
workers as tantamount to victimisation, which was unwarranted.

"We are watching events at Zimbank with interest. Suffice to say the
decision by officials at Zimbank is very disturbing.

"We know that officials at Finhold want to retrench some of the workers, but
they must follow the correct channels.

"We will challenge whatever decision they may take against the workers,'' he

Zimbank workers downed their tools for two hours early this month to press
for a salary review.

The strike ended when management agreed to discuss the workers' grievances.

However, workers hinted to management that after a two-week notice they
would embark on a full-scale industrial action if their grievances were not

Management alleges the industrial action by the employees was illegal and in
contravention of the Labour Relations Act chapter 28:01 section 104.

The workers have no representatives since the members of the workers'
committee were also summoned to appear for hearings before the disciplinary
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      Australia to push on with Zimbabwe tour, CA says

      Tue May 18, 2004 12:40 PM By Greg Buckle
      MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's tour of Zimbabwe will continue as
scheduled despite concerns held by the International Cricket Council (ICC)
about the African team's lack of quality players, Cricket Australia (CA)
said on Tuesday.

      CA chief executive James Sutherland said the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
(ZCU) were working hard to resolve a complex dispute with 15 sacked rebel

      "The test match is due to start on Saturday. As we understand it, (ICC
chief) Malcolm Speed and the ICC are in Zimbabwe and there continue to be
discussions along various lines," Sutherland told a news conference at CA's
headquarters in Melbourne.

      "At this stage, all I can say categorically, there is nothing to
suggest the tour is going to take place in a different form to what was
originally scheduled."

      Ricky Ponting's top-ranked Australian team is scheduled to play the
depleted Zimbabwe side in a two-test series starting in Harare on Saturday,
followed by three one-day internationals.

      However, the Africans are without 15 of their best cricketers,
including former captain Heath Streak, after the rebel players were sacked
on May 10 in a dispute over team selection issues.

      Sutherland said CA would be supportive if the ICC decided the tour
should be postponed.

      "They are the governing body for cricket around the world and
obviously we would be understanding of their desires to do that," he said.

      "We'd be wanting to listen to the ZCU about it as well."

      Australia leg spinner Stuart MacGill made himself unavailable for the
tour on moral grounds.

      Zimbabwe were thrashed 5-0 in the recent one-day series at home to Sri
Lanka and also lost the two-match test series 2-0.

      "In particular there is concern about the integrity of test cricket,"
Speed said.

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From Associated Press, 18 May

Zimbabwe ruling party claims win

Opposition alleges voter intimidation

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party claimed victory late
Monday in a crucial parliamentary by-election, bringing it within two seats
of a sufficient majority to amend the constitution at will. Paul
Themba-Nyathi, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
said loss of the sprawling Lupane constituency in what had been its
stronghold area of north western Zimbabwe, resulted from rampant
intimidation. The party, led by former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, now
holds only 51 seats in the 150 seat legislature, dominated by Mugabe's party
with 98. Another small opposition grouping retains one seat. With a
two-thirds majority, 80-year-old Mugabe could amend the constitution to
perpetuate his party's 24-year rule indefinitely. "The intimidation was just
unrelenting," said Themba-Nyathi. He said MDC campaigners were abducted and
tortured when they protested over alleged abuses, including warnings to
rural villagers that they would not be eligible for famine relief if they
failed to vote for Zanu PF, village heads' taking names of voters at polling
booths and pro-Mugabe "war veterans" - self-styled ex-guerrillas - given
free rein to chant menacing slogans near polling booths. The by-election
followed the death in mysterious circumstances of the previous officeholder,
an MDC member. Asked about the long-term implications of the vote,
Themba-Nyathi said: "They (the government) will do what they like anyway."

State radio said the result reflected voter disillusion with alleged foreign
backing for the opposition and growing voter support for Mugabe's "fast
track" redistribution of 5 000 white-owned farms to black Zimbabweans. The
MDC lost the seat by 9,816 votes to 10,069 for Mugabe's party, having won by
14,000 votes to 3,000 in June 2000 general elections. The area was the scene
of widespread atrocities during 1982-1988 unrest after independence from
Britain, when the Zimbabwe Army's North Korean-trained "Fifth Brigade" was
deployed in what was considered a stronghold of Mugabe's rival, Joshua
Nkomo. The units allegedly were responsible for the deaths of 20,000
suspected opposition supporters in the entire western Matabeleland region.
During the past three years, Zimbabwe's economy has been in spiralling
decline with 600 percent inflation, 70 percent inflation and 3.3 million
people reliant for survival on international donors' food relief. The
government claims a bumper harvest of 2.4 million tons of maize has made
further donations unnecessary, but the MDC has joined churches and human
rights organizations in alleging that Mugabe plans to use food supplies to
ensure victory in scheduled March 2005 general elections. They say less than
700,000 tons has been reaped.
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From ZWNEWS, 18 May 2004

Who said it?

The spokesman for the president of Botswana, Dr Jeff Ramsay, has threatened
legal action against a number of organisations over comments attributed to
him regarding Botswana's relations with Zimbabwe. In an article entitled
"Tetchy cross-border relaions with Botswana", originally published on 12 May
by IRIN, the UN news network based in Nairobi, Ramsay was reported as
saying: ""Botswana has noted with growing concern openly hostile reports
against the government and the people of Botswana, which can only be
interpreted as a deliberate and systematic attempt to fuel hatred and
xenophobia between our people." The article was subsequently reposted on a
number of websites and publications, including Mmegi (the Botswanan
newspaper), and ZWNEWS, all with full attribution to the
original source. "I regard the above postings of the article to be not only
false but defamatory and injurious to my well being," Ramsay said to ZWNEWS.
"I never made the above comments. Mmegi has also been put on notice of its
potential for defamation on the same issue." In a letter published today in
Mmegi, Ramsay expressed similar sentiments: "I regard your publication of
the above false report as irresponsible, inexcusable and quite possibly of
malicious intent."

Comments very similar to those attributed to Ramsay were originally
published in a press release from the Botswana Ministry of Foreign Affairs
on 23 April. "Furthermore, Botswana is gravely concerned about allegations
that government and Batswana kill Zimbabweans. The Zimbabwean reports do not
provide evidence; and their intention is not only to tarnish Botswana's
image but also to fuel xenophobia between Batswana and Zimbabweans. The
ingenuity of these papers of deriving facts from fairy tales and publishing
them as such can only be interpreted as a deliberate and systematic attempt
to fuel hatred and xenophobia between Batswana and Zimbabweans and to sour
the warm and cordial relations that the governments of Botswana and Zimbabwe
continue to enjoy," the Ministry said, in reaction to an editorial in the
Bulawayo Chronicle entitled "Time to act against Botswana". This press
release was at the time widely reported on and reproduced in the southern
African media and beyond, without protest. The comments were actually made
by Bostwana's foreign affairs spokesman, Cliff Maribe.
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Daily News, Botswana

      Zim to pay fuel debt
      18 May, 2004

      GABORONE - The Government of Zimbabwe is to repay the 20 million-litre
fuel loaned to it by Botswana in 2000 by depositing money into a Botswana
Government account, ministry of foreign affairs and international
co-operation clarified today.

      Reacting to the Daily News story of Monday headlined "Zim fuel debt
written off?", a news release from the ministry says the debt has not been
written off.

      "Infact, just recently, the Government of Zimbabwe requested through
the Botswana Embassy in Harare, that it be provided with a Government of
Botswana account where the money to repay the debt would be deposited.

      The Government account number has accordingly been provided and we
await the deposit to be made soon," explains the release.

      The Daily News story was quoting the latest Auditor General Seletlanyo
Seerema's report, which states that the debt worth over P28 million has been
"indirectly written off".

      Serema told BOPA that Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation
said it had settled the debt by crediting the National Petroleum Fund from
which the loan was drawn.

      "However, the ministry's statements states that it has not written
off, either directly or indirectly, the debt in question.

      "It is correct that the Ministry used funds in its recurrent budget to
pay off the Petroleum Fund, but the debiting of the recurrent expenditure
vote did not in anyway mean that the debt should be removed from the books
of account." BOPA

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