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

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The Scotsman

Mugabe Exiles Stage Test Match Protest

By PA News Reporter

Exiled victims of President Robert Mugabe's regime were staging a protest
today at the start of the England-Zimbabwe cricket test series.

Some 500 demonstrators were promising a peaceful protest at Lord's cricket
ground in London.

Some were planning to follow that up with an open-top bus ride through the
capital to the Zimbabwe High Commission where they were hoping to deliver a
letter calling for an end to state-sponsored political violence.

Protest organiser Washington Ali stressed that the intention was to stage a
peaceful demonstration.

He said: "We are planning a peaceful protest. We do not support pitch
invasions or other attempts to disrupt the match.

"This is a day for Zimbabweans to draw the world's attention to the crisis
afflicting our country. It is not a day for headline-grabbing stunts by

"The protest is intended as a show of solidarity with our brothers and
sisters who are suffering back home."

However human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, leader of another protest
group, the Stop The Tour campaign, has fiercely criticised the MCC's
handling of the tour and warned that his group feels under no obligation "to
show restraint".

Some 94 Labour and Conservative MPs signed a Commons motion opposing the

By going ahead, the series would misleadingly suggest that the situation in
Zimbabwe was returning to normal, they argued, adding the Government should
step up its efforts to resolve the crisis in the southern African nation.

Many of the MPs who signed up to the motion had urged England to boycott its
games in Zimbabwe during the World Cup earlier this year because of human
rights abuses under the Mugabe regime.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Alan McCormick

Could you circulate the address for Interpol so we may all write to them?
The more objections the better. Also ask Zvakwana and JWs' contacts to do
the same?  It would be good if it is not just white ex farmers

Greetings Alan,

Herewith as requested Interpol's email address:
Have also forwarded with your mail to Zvakwana and J W together with the
address as per your suggestion.

Best regards
John Worsley-Worswick


Letter 2: Nina Firks

Apparently there are to be meetings at various places throughout the
country today and tomorrow to discuss the ZTA's sale of TS shares - another
piece of blatant chicanery which I presume the respective members of their
hierarchy are going to talk themselves out of and away from...... Which
reminds me of the following excerpt taken from Pg 3 of the Daily News on
Tuesday 13 May 2003, under a heading "Tobacco farmers seek assurances" -
and which there appears to have been, to date, no reaction to or comment on
from any quarter:

"We got through this season, but not without difficulties," Zimbabwe
Tobacco Association president, Duncan Millar, said yesterday ...........
"It was very difficult for the newly settled farmers - the beneficiaries of
the government's land reform programme - because besides fuel, they also
had to deal with galloping inflation," Millar added.'

Correct me if I am wrong but is he (Duncan Millar) not referring to those
who are in effect illegal squatters who have been encouraged by an illegal
regime who preside over a lawless society, to take/steal land from the
farmers who both own and are represented by, among other notable bodies,
the ZTA?  Are Zimbabweans now so lost in the mire that the ZTA's
president's words, (above), are to go unnoticed and unchastised?  Can this
be read as acceptance or apathy?


Letter 3: Seok Hyun Hong - President World Association of Newspapers and
Gloria Brown Anderson - President World Editors Forum

His Excellency President Robert Mugabe
Harare, Zimbabwe
c/o High Commission in Canada

19 May 2003

Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and the
World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications in 100 countries,
to express our serious concern at the deportation of journalist Andrew

According to reports, on 16 May Mr Meldrum, correspondent of the
London-based The Guardian, was deported from Zimbabwe after 23 years.
Earlier that day Mr Meldrum had been called to a meeting with immigration
officials who ordered him to leave the country. As he spoke to reporters
outside the immigration building, police grabbed him by the collar, pushed
him into an unmarked car and drove him to the airport.

On 7 May, immigration officials had appeared at his Harare home after dark
demanding to question him. Mr Meldrum was not there but his lawyer said
that she suspected that they may have been trying to deport him. On 13 May,
immigration officials confiscated his residence permit and passport and
told him that he was only allowed to write about economics and tourism.

Mr Meldrum's expulsion follows a series of attempts by the authorities to
silence him, including an unsuccessful attempt to deport him last year
after he was acquitted of charges of publishing falsehoods.

We respectfully remind you that the deportation of Mr Meldrum constitutes a
clear breach of his right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by
numerous international conventions, including Article 19 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which states: 'Everyone has the right to
freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold
opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information
and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.'

We respectfully call on you to rescind the order to deport Mr Meldrum
immediately and to permit him to carry out his profession in Zimbabwe free
from harassment. We urge you to ensure that in future your country fully
respects international standards of freedom of expression.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Seok Hyun Hong
World Association of Newspapers

Gloria Brown Anderson
World Editors Forum


Letter 4:

What is a Policeman.

According to the international police we have a perfect example..... Police
Commissioner Chihuri......our (Zimbabweans) chief of police... the man the
international community feels should be VICE PRESIDENT OF INTERPOL ???????
I understand that politics plays a big part in your election process but
why do you choose the one person in modern history who has based his career
on converting his whole police force into a violent political force in
support of the ruling party, regardless of the judiciary. ??????

We had a referendum concerning the constitution in this country and the
president realised that the people had finally turned against him. The
Democratic system we had at the time would have prevailed, the incumbent
president would have been replaced and life would have continued. However
commissioner Chihuri had other ideas... He publicly announced that he could
not recognise anyone other than Mugabe as president.

He then set about throwing out every senior policeman who didn't agree with
him right down to District level and replaced them with junior officers
known to be loyal to the Zanu pf machine. They were complicit in the
aggressive land acquisition program.... anyone who stood up to the violence
would be arrested..... anyone who committed a crime in the name of land
acquisition would be protected by the only authority in the land that the
common man could appeal to.

A personal example of this is an observation of a local businessman in a
town near Harare who owned a security company, being abducted and held
captive in the middle of town for two days without food by war vets and his
own security staff. This incident was in a main industrial street and
everyone in the town was aware of it. No one could intervene, as the police
were present in uniform supporting the abductors.  Finally after three days
the High Court Of Zimbabwe issued an order to the police to intervene and
release this person.  This was personally witnessed by many individuals and
the police arriving with the written warrant and their joining in a dance
around a fire lit next to the main office, with shouts and cheers they
burnt the docket and having hugged the people surrounding the victim they
left..... laughing. Many many personal examples and thousands of
documentary examples can be given.

A friend of mine (Dave Stevens) was dragged out of a police station,
tortured horribly... and executed. How could the perpetrators avoid justice
without your VICE PRESIDENT of INTERPOL actively participating in ensuring
that no one was arrested ???? In a Police Station???

Zimbabwe would have muddled through the politics and numerous compromises
would have occurred but for the fact that the Zimbabwe Republican Police
have been converted into a totally partisan force that is complicit in
torturing any opposition to the present government. I attribute 99 % of our
suffering to the fact that our police force deserted us.  INTERPOL vote
our commissioner VICE PRESIDENT..


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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Washington Times

Zimbabwe 'unbearable,' cleric says

By David R. Sands

    Zimbabwe's economic and social crisis has become "unbearable" under
President Robert Mugabe and the regime faces a crisis in the very near
future, a leading Catholic prelate and one of the country's most outspoken
human rights campaigners said yesterday.
    "Life is terrible, unbearable in Zimbabwe right now," said Pius Ncube,
archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, in an interview
during a trip to Washington this week to meet with senior U.S. officials and
humanitarian groups.
    Archbishop Ncube, who has clashed repeatedly with Mr. Mugabe for his
public condemnations of government policies, said he was optimistic about
the future of Zimbabwe if only because "the situation can hardly go on much
longer as it is."
    "Even Mugabe must realize that," said the bishop. "Things in our country
can hardly get worse."
    The U.S. government has echoed many of the archbishop's criticisms of
the Mugabe government, condemning the regime for suppressing political
liberties, mismanaging the economy, failing to deal with a food crisis and
the spread of AIDS, and adopting a coercive land-reform program that has
driven most the country's productive white farmers off their land.
    Mark Bellamy, principal deputy assistant secretary in the State
Department's Bureau of African Affairs, said the Bush administration was
determined to maintain "targeted sanctions" on Mr. Mugabe and his top aides
until a deal is struck on new elections paving the way out for the
79-year-old Mr. Mugabe.
    The United States and the European Union "must not yield to appeals to
restart official aid," Mr. Bellamy said. "We must make it clear we will only
assist Zimbabwe when it is on the road to political recovery."
    With South Africa, Nigeria and Malawi trying to engineer a compromise
between Mr. Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the
beleaguered Zimbabwean opposition movement, Archbishop Ncube said he was
trying to keep a low profile during his Washington visit.
    But he was given meetings with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and
with officials from the National Security Agency during his stay.
    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday's meeting with
Mr. Powell was designed to "thank the archbishop for his principled stance
in favor of human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe."
    Mr. Bellamy, who joined the archbishop at a forum on Zimbabwe yesterday
at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was critical of
Zimbabwe's neighbors, in particular regional power South Africa, for failing
to apply more pressure on Mr. Mugabe to step down.
    "We have not gotten very far in this crisis because some of the main
actors, notably South Africa, have been apathetic at best," he said.
    Mr. Mugabe, who helped the country achieve independence from Britain in
1980, has slammed his critics as "colonialists." He defended the
land-distribution program as necessary to redress past injustices.
    A widely disputed election last year, a regional famine, and mounting
clashes between the government and the MDC have left Zimbabwe's economy in
tatters. Unemployment is at 60 percent and inflation is running at 500
percent annually.
    Archbishop Ncube noted that the Zimbabwean dollar was on a par with the
U.S. dollar a decade ago. Today, a bottle of Coke costs 1,000 Zimbabwean
dollars on the streets of Harare, the capital.
    "My heart simply bleeds for my country," he said. "And I am only telling
you 1 percent of the problems we face."
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Daily News

      CIO probes Makoni's links with Tsvangirai

      5/22/2003 8:19:20 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sydney Masamvu Assistant Editor

      THE Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Zimbabwe's spy agency, is
probing alleged links with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) of former finance minister Simba Makoni, widely touted as a possible
successor to President Robert Mugabe, it was established yesterday.

      The investigations were stepped up this week after disclosures that
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was spotted by CIO agents on Monday evening
paying a private visit to Makoni's Harare residence to offer his condolences
following the death of Makoni's son in South Africa last week.

      Makoni's 23-year-old son, Tonderai, a student at the University of
Cape Town, was buried in Harare on Saturday.

      South African media reports claim that he committed suicide, but the
Makoni family has not commented on his death.

      CIO officials yesterday said their agents had trailed Tsvangirai's
motorcade from the High Court after his treason court case had adjourned and
monitored his talks with Makoni, who was thrown out of the government last
year after repeatedly calling for a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

      Mugabe and his inner-circle ministers publicly rebuked Makoni, 53, for
his stance.

      Tsvangirai confirmed yesterday that he visited Makoni's residence on
Monday as an ordinary citizen to pay his condolences. Like any Zimbabwean,
he said, he was free to attend any event of his choice.

      Intelligence officials said their investigations would also cover
alleged fund-raising activities of Makoni's wife on behalf of the MDC prior
to her husband's appointment as finance minister in July 2000.

      Reports have suggested that she was then the fund-raising chairperson
of the Harare chapter of the women's league of the opposition party. She
could not be reached for comment up to late last night.

      The CIO is understood to have placed Makoni under surveillance to
monitor his meetings and contacts, especially Harare-based diplomats, since
he quit the government in a huff.

      "There is an investigation going on over Makoni's perceived links with
the MDC," a senior CIO official told The Daily News yesterday.

      Predictably, the official preferred not to be named.

      "We have information that Tsvangirai indeed visited Makoni's residence
and we accept this was because of the bereavement, which is within our
culture," the official said.

      "It is important to note that Tsvangirai, as the leader of the
opposition in Zimbabwe, has never attended any State occasion, let alone a
funeral for any top official within (the ruling) ZANU PF.

      "From an intelligence gathering perspective, we do not lose sight of
the whole picture," the official said.

      He added that "it is important to distil and analyse Tsvangirai's
private visit to Makoni and not to dismiss it as a routine visit to pay
condolences because there is a history and pattern which we are following".

      State Security Minister Nicholas Goche, who runs the CIO, refused to
comment on the issue yesterday, saying his ministry's operations were

      "I don't want to comment on any issue. Are you saying I should always
tell newspapers how we perform and carry out our functions?"

      Makoni, seen as a moderate in a party dominated by hard-liners who
want to tough it out during Zimbabwe's present economic and political
crisis, has long been mentioned as a possible successor to Mugabe, who is
under increasing international pressure to quit before the end of his term
in 2008.

      The former finance minister was axed from the government after Mugabe
himself branded as economic saboteurs any Zimbabweans calling for the
devaluation of the dollar.

      Ironically, the government later devalued the dollar after Makoni's
enforced exit from the Cabinet, highlighting Harare's desperate quest to
mobilise scarce foreign exchange needed for critical imports of fuel and
food, both in short supply in crisis-sapped Zimbabwe.

      Since his departure from the government, Makoni - still a member of
ZANU PF's supreme Politburo organ - has also been calling for reconciliation
talks between the MDC and the governing party.
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Daily News

      Ministry to spy on striking teachers

      5/22/2003 8:29:15 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture will from today, deploy
officials at all government schools to determine whether striking teachers
have returned to work as ordered by the Labour Court, the ministry's acting
permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere, said yesterday.

      Teachers, who have been on strike since early this month, were given
48 hours to return to work after the Labour Court on Monday declared the
strike illegal.

      The 48-hour deadline expired at midnight yesterday.

      "We will be sending officers to all schools to assess the situation
and see if the teachers have returned to work," Mahere said, adding that it
was only after this assessment that the ministry could determine if teachers
had returned to work.

      "However, I don't anticipate any problems as the teachers are anxious
to have their grievances resolved," he said.

      Mahere would not say what action the government would take if teachers
defied the order.

      Some teachers yesterday said they would return to work but would
maintain a go-slow until their grievances were addressed.

      They want the government to review their salaries and to complete a
job evaluation exercise that is expected to put them at the same level as
other civil servants.
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Daily News

      Gata implicated in $1,6bn ZESA pension fund scam

      5/22/2003 8:28:14 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba Staff Reporter

      TRUSTEES of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) pension
fund met in Harare yesterday and resolved to investigate allegations that
ZESA executive chairman Sydney Gata allowed nearly $1,6 billion to be
illegally borrowed from the fund, The Daily News has established.

      The allegations have been raised by the Zimbabwe Electricity Energy
Workers' Union (ZEEWU), whose officials say senior managers at the power
utility were allowed to borrow the money for the government's rural
electrification programme.

      ZESA insiders said the allegations of misuse of funds came to light
barely five months after the new trustees of the ZESA Pension Fund took over
from a board led by Edmore Tofirepi, a ZESA employee whose term of office
ended in January.

      Officials at the electricity company said the trustees and workers
were concerned about inconsistencies in the use of money belonging to the
fund and this had lead to a meeting between the trustees and Gata yesterday.

      Gata is also chairman of the pension fund. Workers, who went on strike
on Monday, are demanding that Gata be removed from office.

      "The trustees are now investigating the allegations being levelled
against the fund managers and those who might have benefited from the fund,"
one official said. "The nearly $1,6 billion that ZESA borrowed from the fund
has not been repaid.

      "It has to be repaid at zero percent interest rate. It's really
shocking that the workers who contribute to that fund are denied that right
to borrow when some senior managers are doing it with Gata's approval," the
official added.

      Irene Tembo, one of the ZESA Pension Fund trustees, yesterday
confirmed that the board of trustees held a meeting with Gata, but declined
to give details.

      She said: "This meeting was meant to assist us to understand how the
fund was being managed. As new people, we want to find out what has been
happening and Gata was helping us because he is the chairman."

      Wilson Lungu, the pension fund manager, also confirmed the meeting at
ZESA head office, but refused to provide details.

      Sources at the power utility however said each ZESA employee
contributed 6,25 percent of his or her monthly salary towards the pension
fund, but workers were not allowed to borrow from it.

      They however said ZESA as a company had withdrawn money from the fund
without workers' consent and had not paid it back.

      A senior official at ZEEWU said representatives of ZESA workers from
across the country met last Wednesday at a ZESA Harare area office in Wyne
Street, to discuss, among other things, the unapproved borrowing by ZESA
from the pension fund.

      "We met to deliberate on the allegations against Gata as the executive
chairman of ZESA and the pension fund," the official said. "The workers are
saying ZESA should not have borrowed from the fund in the first place
because the fund is strictly there to be invested for the benefit of workers
when they retire from ZESA. It should have been invested in the properties

      The official said after the deliberations, the workers asked Lungu to
explain how the fund was being managed, but he reportedly failed to answer
in a satisfactory manner.

      It was then resolved that the five trustees of the ZESA Pension Fund,
led by Irvine Chidhakwa, should look into the allegations of misuse of fund

      One of the trustees yesterday said the main bone of contention between
Gata and the workers was his dual chairmanship of the pension fund and the
power utility.

      "As trustees, we feel that Gata should not be left to remain the
chairman of the ZESA Pension Fund and the ZESA parastatal," the trustee
said. "We are investigating how the fund was being managed. We are saying
there is conflict of interest as regards Gata's position with regards the ma
nagement of the fund."

      The ZESA public relations office yesterday had not responded to
written questions from The Daily News at the time of going to print, despite
promising to do so by 3:30 pm.

      Meanwhile, the ZESA workers' strike spread from Harare to other towns,
including Hwange, where the parastatal has its main power station.

      The work stoppage had also spread to Mutare, Chinhoyi, Bulawayo, Gweru
and Masvingo.

      Ian Munjoma, the general secretary of ZEEWU, said the strike would
continue until workers and management came to an agreement.

      Workers are demanding a basic salary of $125 000 a month.

      In Bulawayo, ZESA workers yesterday petitioned Amos Midzi, the
Minister of Energy and Power Development, to relieve Gata and his board of
directors of their duties with immediate effect.

      "We hold Gata solely responsible for the collapse of ZESA, which is
evidently affecting all the different stakeholders, namely domestic
customers, government, workers and industry," the petition reads in part.
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Daily News

      State destroyed evidence of payment to Ben-Menashe

      5/22/2003 8:30:04 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      CENTRAL Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss Happyton Bonyongwe
revealed yesterday that the State security agency destroyed documents
relating to the payment of US$30 000 to the government's star witness, Ari
Ben-Menashe, for the production of a video-tape forming the basis of treason
charges against top leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      Bonyongwe said receipts and invoices from the transaction between the
Zimbabwe government and Ben-Menashe were destroyed three months after they
were received.

      He said the destruction of the documents was part of State security

      Bonyongwe made the revelations after George Bizos, the South African
advocate leading the defence team in the trial, demanded receipts and
invoices for the money paid to Ben-Menashe, a copy of the regulations which
provided for the destruction of the documents and the identities of the
people who destroyed the papers.

      The CIO boss refused to produce the copy of the regulations which
authorised the destruction of the documents, claiming State security

      He would also not reveal the names of the people who destroyed the
papers or those of the people who authorised them to do so.

      The court took an early adjournment after acting Attorney-General
Bharat Patel asked for leave to consult the Minister of State Security,
Nicholas Goche, on whether Bonyongwe should be questioned on details of the
government's dealings with Ben-Menashe, which Bonyongwe said were

      "We will argue that the monies were paid for services rendered and for
the production of evidence in an attempt to secure a conviction," Bizos
said, referring to the US$30 000 paid to Ben-Menashe to video-tape a meeting
at the headquarters of his consultancy firm, Dickens & Madson, attended by
the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

      Ben-Menashe claimed that at the meeting Tsvangirai requested Dickens &
Madson's aid in the murder of President Mugabe and the staging of a coup to
topple the ZANU PF government.

      Tsvangirai and his co-accused Welshman Ncube, the MDC's
secretary-general, and Renson Gasela, the party's shadow minister for
agriculture, have denied the charges.

      "The motive of Mr Ben-Menashe (for producing the tape) has been
articulated by him saying it was for the love of the people of Zimbabwe,"
Bizos said.

      "We don't have to accept the say-so of Mr Ben-Menashe. We have to
investigate why the money was paid. We hope the Attorney-General and the
minister will not issue another certificate to prevent us from questioning
the witness on how and why the money was paid."

      In February, Goche issued a certificate barring defence lawyers from
cross-examining Ben-Menashe on his consultancy contract with the Zimbabwe

      Goche argued that disclosure of details of the contract would
"prejudicially affect the security of the State".

      The trial continues today.
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Daily News


      Truth, justice will prevail

      5/22/2003 8:22:05 AM (GMT +2)

      I am an American, and I have tried to keep up with the events in
Zimbabwe.As an American, I believe in the principles of my nation, that
truth and justice will prevail, and that all people have the right to life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

      I am saddened when Jack Zaba says that the citizens of Zimbabwe are in
danger of losing their dignity (The Daily News, 20 May).

      This cannot be true. For dignity comes from within and is shown in
your countrymen's spirit of strength.

      There will come a day when your nation will be rebuilt. There will
come a day when you can look to your country's future.

      There will come a day when you can stand amongst your neighbours and
proudly proclaim your love of country. There will come a day when freedom
will abound.

      In my country, Martin Luther King Jr is remembered for his civil
rights work. He worked diligently to bring about change in our nation's
laws, for Americans of all races to be treated equally.

      He was a minister, a great man, who believed that every person had
worth, and a role in our country's future.

      He is known for his civil disobedience to America's unjust laws,
remembered for his speeches, and is one of our nation's historical figures.

      He believed in the spirit of each person, that we could work together
and make our nation better.

      King's "I Have a Dream" speech still rings true today, because all
people are given strength and dignity by the Creator.

      No man can take your dignity away, unless you allow him to!

      King was a minister, and knew that God was within each of us, giving
us strength and comfort.

      Zimbabwe will be blessed. The time is coming. Remain strong today, so
that you can rejoice tomorrow.

      King reminds us that our hope binds us to the future of all men: "I
have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be
exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be
made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of
the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our

      I am hoping Zaba can find comfort in knowing that he is not alone. The
world is watching, and waiting, cheering his spirit and that of Zimbabwe on.
Zimbabwe is part of the dream.

      Heather Hughes
      Newnan, Georgia
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Daily News

      G8 leaders urged to take firmer stand against Mugabe

      5/22/2003 8:33:41 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights (LCHR), a United States-based
human rights advocacy group, has asked the G8 countries meeting in France at
the beginning of next month to take a firm stand against President Robert
Mugabe, whose conduct they say threatens the success of economic recovery
programmes aimed at Africa.

      In a letter written to United States president George W Bush on 16 May
and copied to the leaders of G8 countries, LCHR's executive director,
Michael Posner, said the G8 countries should give due attention to Zimbabwe,
whose population they say has become targets of Mugabe's repressive regime.

      The G8 leaders will meet in the French resort town of Evian from 1 to
3 June.

      Posner said the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis was fundamental to
the successful implementation of the group's Africa Action Plan and the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

      "The very fundamental challenges to NEPAD presented by the Zimbabwe
crisis and the response to it must be prioritised at the G8 meeting," said
Posner in the letter, also copied to foreign secretaries and ministers of
the G8 countries.

      "The resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis is not only a legal and moral
imperative, but is also fundamental to the successful implementation of the
G8 Africa Action Plan and the New Partnership for Africa's Development," he

      Under NEPAD, which is modelled on the "Marshall Plan", through which
the US helped rebuild Europe after World War Two, Africa needs US$64 billion
(Z$52 736 billion) of investment inflows annually to ensure sustainability.

      But Western countries that are expected to bankroll the ambitious
economic recovery plan have demanded that African leaders put in place peer
review mechanisms to ensure good governance and stability on the troubled

      However, despite their promise to the industrialised nations to ensure
that these conditions are met, South African president Thabo Mbeki and his
Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun Obasanjo, the main architects of NEPAD,
appear to have failed to solve the Zimbabwean crisis.

      The two leaders have also publicly supported Mugabe's government, seen
as the major threat to NEPAD's success.

      Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Sule Lamido on Tuesday indicated his
country's continuing support for Mugabe by saying Nigeria would campaign for
Zimbabwe's early
      re-admission into the Commonwealth.

      Zimbabwe was last year suspended from the club of mainly former
British colonies for
      alleged gross human rights abuses. The suspension was extended to
December by Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon. But Posner said
the G8 countries should use their influence to press African leaders to rein
in the 79-year-old Zimbabwean leader.

      "Efforts to end the crisis must involve the combined efforts of
governments and civil society groups in Africa which are encouraged by the
G8. Since your June 2002 meeting, the situation in Zimbabwe has further
deteriorated, and its black population is targeted for abuse," said Posner.

      He added: "The crisis in Zimbabwe is a litmus test for the efficacy of
your discussions. The situation in Zimbabwe starkly contradicts the
principles contained in NEPAD and supported by the Africa Action Plan."

      Zimbabwe, facing record unemployment and inflation, is experiencing
its worst economic crisis since independence. Unemployment stands at more
than 70 percent, while inflation has shot up to 269 percent.

      Efforts by several parties, including African leaders, to revive
stalled talks between the ZANU PF and the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) have also not been successful.

      The MDC is challenging in the courts, the outcome of last year's
presidential election, which returned Mugabe to power, citing alleged
electoral fraud.
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      Zimbabwe edges to a negotiated settlement

      5/22/2003 8:35:21 AM (GMT +2)

      By Abel Mutsakani Managing Editor

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai appear to
be slowly edging towards a negotiated settlement of Zimbabwe's political
crisis, but analysts say the country's economy, on a free-fall since 2000,
might not be able to hold out much longer.

      After three years marked by political violence and bickering, the two
protagonists have in the past few weeks strongly signalled that they now
want to negotiate an end to the political impasse and chart a way out of the
economic and social crisis gripping Zimbabwe. Subject to each first
satisfying the other's pre-conditions.

      But the analysts warned that Zimbabwe's economy had dangerously picked
up momentum towards total collapse, which could trigger a social explosion
that could overtake, or even consume, both the ruling ZANU PF and opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      Harare-based independent economic analyst John Robertson said Zimbabwe
's battered economy, which in the last five years has miraculously survived
crisis after crisis, could not sustain a likely protracted waiting period
before Mugabe and Tsvangirai reached a political settlement.

      Robertson said: "Take for example spiralling inflation, it is a clear
sign of worse trouble to come for an economy whose key sectors, such as
commercial agriculture and tourism, are at best in a state of near

      The government's Central Statistical Office this week announced that
inflation had in April jumped to an all-time high of 269,2 percent, to raise
the profile of a burgeoning economic crisis that has manifested itself
through acute shortages of hard cash, food, fuel and essential drugs.
Inflation was at 228 percent in March.

      Zimbabwe's mainstay commercial agricultural sector has been virtually
destroyed after Mugabe controversially seized land from skilled and
resource-rich white farmers and parcelled it out to landless black peasants.
The resettled farmers have however not been given inputs or skills training
to enable them to maintain production.

      Tourism, once the country's fastest growing sector, is on its knees
because visitors shun political violence and lawlessness in the country.

      University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political scientist Eldred Masunugure said
despite tough public posturing, there was "a new meeting of the minds"
between Mugabe and his ZANU PF party on one hand and Tsvangirai and his MDC
on the other.

      He said the two now realised that they had to negotiate or there was a
real danger events could explode beyond control of both of them.

      The discernible shift towards a negotiated solution was partly because
of pressure on both sides by the regional and international community, and
also because of the law of necessity on the ground, the respected UZ
political scientist said.

      Bowing to pressure by continental powerhouses South Africa and
Nigeria, both Tsvangirai and Mugabe have separately said they are ready for
mutual negotiations over the country's crisis. But Mugabe demands that
Tsvangirai first recognises him as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe.

      On the other hand, Tsvangirai refuses to grant the recognition because
he says Mugabe fraudulently won re-election last year.

      Instead, Tsvangirai wants Mugabe to announce when he is leaving office
before he can withdraw a court application challenging the ageing leader's
ballot victory last year, setting the stage for what observers says will be
a difficult and prolonged negotiation process.

      Meanwhile, the economic crisis has heightened in the past month with
fuel and electricity, already in short supply, severely limited because
foreign energy companies are refusing to supply Zimbabwe due to outstanding

      Masunugure said: "The situation in Zimbabwe demands negotiations and
the major political forces realise they risk being swept away by the tide of
change if they do not take the opportunity to talk."

      But Masunugure was quick to point out that the movers and shakers of
Zimbabwe's political landscape were in a do-or-die race for time with the
country's deepening economic crisis to cobble up a settlement or risk
spontaneous social unrest.

      Masunugure, who heads the UZ's political studies and administration
department, said the grinding poverty, joblessness, forex, fuel and food
shortages were "incendiaries which could trigger off a popular outburst of

      He said: "My reading is that the centre may be holding now, but it
cannot hold for much longer. The situation in the country is highly
inflammable. All the ingredients for a social conflagration are there."

      UZ Institute of Development Studies associate professor Brian
Raftopoulos said if ZANU PF and the MDC earnestly resumed dialogue that they
abandoned last year, that could temporarily hold back public discontent.

      But he added negotiations would have to be fast-paced or the anger of
Zimbabweans, already at a knife-edge, could explode.

      "There would have to be something substantive on the table, ideally
before the end of the year, otherwise the truth is there is no time for
delays in resolving this situation," he said.
      But Robertson said Zimbabwe's economy was already progressively
collapsing that even an immediate settlement between the government and the
opposition could not reverse the slide.

      "It does not matter what the politicians do now, it will take time to
reverse the decline of the economy. There will have to be a long period of
recovery," Robertson warned.
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Leader Page

      Pyrrhic victory

      5/22/2003 8:20:06 AM (GMT +2)

      A triumphalist headline in the government-run Herald newspaper
yesterday proudly proclaimed that the Australian Foreign Minister had been
rebuffed by other Commonwealth ministers in his bid to apply new sanctions
against the Zimbabwe government.

      The newspaper, reporting on the London meeting of the Commonwealth
Ministerial Action Group, gloated over the apparent failure of Australian
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to win support among the eight-nation
group to get tough with Zimbabwe over its bloated human rights record.

      To drive home Harare's celebratory mood, presidential special affairs
permanent secretary Willard Chiwewe chipped in to state categorically:
"Downer knows that the (human rights) situation in Zimbabwe is better than
in Australia.

      "There is less racism in Zimbabwe than in Australia and there is more
tolerance here than in Downer's country. Clearly the situation in Zimbabwe
needs to be handled by more serious people and not bigoted diplomats with
narrow and racist interests."

      Most Zimbabweans are not surprised to see Chiwewe once again waving
the racism card - the only defence the government now invokes each time it
is caught short in its human rights record.

      This ploy, frequently used by the government in the past to misinform
many Third World governments on the actual causes of Zimbabwe's meltdown,
plays on the soft and emotional racial attitudes of formerly colonised
people to try to win sympathy.

      Crucially the government - and indeed Chiwewe did the same in his
latest statement - refuses to explain the single most important question
raised by most Zimbabweans and Downer himself on Tuesday: why the wanton
seizure of productive commercial farms, an exercise which is still going on
long after Harare said it had been completed?

      But the gross human rights violations, dramatised once more only last
week by the illegal deportation of American-born journalist Andrew Meldrum,
go further than the seizure of farms and the earlier murders of farmers and
their workers. Almost daily, opposition and pro-democracy activists are
being harassed - some tortured at police stations - by government security
agents and ruling ZANU PF followers in the name of maintaining law and

      Opposition members are being denied food aid in parts of Zimbabwe; the
judiciary and the media are under a state of siege as a frightened
government, led by a "war" Cabinet, fights to hang on to power in the face
of a popular public revolt.

      Instead of beating its drums and celebrating a Pyrrhic victory in
London, the government ought to be thankful that it escaped yet another
international censure for being a pariah among the world's civilised

      It ought to be racing faster than Formula One world champion Michael
Schumacher in righting the many wrongs and injustices that it has caused
Zimbabweans, young and old, and those still to be born in what is now an
economic wasteland of Zimbabwe. But then long-suffering Zimbabweans know
only too well that this government is beyond redemption and will not listen
to anyone but itself.

      Chiwewe and others still fighting for the lost cause could help
themselves and their motherland immensely by not celebrating ephemeral
victories and trashing well-meaning leaders such as Downer. They ought to be
offering wise counsel to Zimbabwe's errant leaders and telling them what
they hate most: for the sake of Zimbabwe, please go NOW.

      Or could it be that Chiwewe and other ZANU PF supporters still

      believe that they can derail the people's overwhelming march to
freedom and somehow rewrite history like no one else before them? Are they
really reading the writing that is on the wall or do they comfort
themselves, as Vice-President Simon Muzenda keeps telling us, that Zimbabwe'
s problems are only a dark cloud that will soon pass?

      The reality on the ground is that the government has run out of time
and ideas to end Zimbabwe's crisis - a crisis it has created - and the
longer the government clings to power against popular sentiment, the more
intractable the problems will become. Indeed the reality on the ground is
that each day that passes without President Robert Mugabe cobbling up his
exit package, the harder it will become for him to leave office peacefully
and orderly, which is perhaps what most Zimbabweans would still prefer, even
at this eleventh hour.

      We urge Mugabe and his advisors not to follow what looks like the path
of the brave and yet it is doomed, but to courageously stand up like amadoda
sibili (the real men) - to quote the President himself - to confront the
hard decisions that must be made for the sake of their country.

      It can be done; others have done it before and so can we. Over to you,
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      The economy and rule of law are inseparable cousins

      5/22/2003 8:20:56 AM (GMT +2)

      By Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana

      WITH the inflation rate currently standing higher than the new Reserve
Bank building, the New Economic Recovery Programme (NERP) which the
government is hyping up is nothing but a hare-brained, mundane exercise in
pumping air into a bubble.

      After leading the country on a forced march to the prevailing
socio-economic demise, who in his well-functioning faculties would lower his
trousers and offer their bums to the government to administer some economic

      If there is a such person, then nature was unfair, if not downright
cruel, to endow him with the gullibility of a turkey that yearns for an
early Christmas.

      Trusting the government to roll up its sleeves and heave the economy
back on track is as foolish as trying to rehabilitating a rapist by
appointing him hostel master at a girls' dormitory.

      The last serious and credible efforts by government to resuscitate the
economy were initiated by the then Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, Simba Makoni.

      He had laid down a well-thought-out strategy that was so comprehensive
that many were convinced that the government had at last graduated from
economic fantasy to reality.

      But no sooner had the ink with which the blueprint was written dried,
than Makoni was booted out of government.

      President Robert Mugabe declared that the measures Makoni wanted to
pursue were hatched by enemies of the state. These included the devaluation
of the Zimbabwe dollar, among others.

      Makoni's genius counted for nothing. He was unceremoniously discarded,
hence the contention that NERP is yet another jaunt that will end in
abortion as was the case with other recovery plans before it.

      In the NERP advertisement, the government mentions that we have the
land, people, and other resources. True, we have them. And, we have always
had them.

      What we do not have, and which we desperately require, is the
conducive environment for economic recovery. The government has to put in
place the fundamentals, which include the restoration of the rule of law, if
NERP is to succeed where its forerunners flopped.

      All things being equal, an economic recovery plan that does not start
with concerted efforts to reduce government expenditure is an exercise in
vain. It is just like mixing steel with clay.

      With a Cabinet comprising 25 ministers, Mugabe is enjoying the
pleasure of maintaining
      a horde of hangers-on at the expense of the hard-pressed populace. In
addition to that, the eight provincial governors and the Attorney-General
enjoy full ministerial privileges.

      As if that is not onerous enough, there is also a pool of 12 deputy
ministers who ironically do not deputise for their bosses during their

      Given the geographical size of the country, the population, and the
issues to be tackled, arguments in favour of this large Cabinet can only be
advanced by those with personal rather than national interests to safeguard.

      If Jesus Christ did a splendid job with only 12 disciples and without
draining taxpayers' money, surely Mugabe does not need so many people in his

      If Jesus' is too spiritual an example for him to follow, in the
secular world there are numerous cases to borrow a leaf from. There are
several conglomerates that have downsized, doing away with non-core
businesses. These are pathfinders whose footprints are so visible that
Mugabe will not get lost.

      One does not need to have undertaken studies in workstudy management
to know that efficiency levels can be improved by reducing the Cabinet by 75

      Abolishment of the office of resident minister and governor, all
ministers of State, deputy ministers and an amalgamation of some ministries
can drastically reduce government expenditure, while at the same time
improving on the economies of scale.

      A look through the Cabinet portfolios reveals a serious element of
duplication of services.

      Take for example that of Youth Development, Gender and Employment
Creation. This can easily be amalgamated into the two ministries of
education so that we come up with a single, yet focused ministry. The same
applies to those of Defence, Home Affairs and State Security.

      The current ministries are unnecessarily fragmented.

      If they are merged, they become easier and cheaper to manage. Surely
anyone in his right senses would not need specific ministries for State
Enterprises, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Science and

      Most of the ministries can easily be dissolved and be made into
departments, resulting in drastic cost saving. This country can be run, at
most, by a 14-member Cabinet. With the savings that will accrue from the
resultant leaner Cabinet, funds can be channelled to such areas as public
health programmes, which owe their continued existence to donor funding.

      With the relations between government and the private sector as cold
as snow, the prospects of NERP's success are slim. The government has not
endeared itself to industry and commerce because of the arbitrary manner in
which it is gazetting prices.

      It is not taking manufacturing costs into consideration, with some
commodities being controlled below the break-even point.

      Manufacturers and service providers are reduced to pawns as the
government ekes out schemes of perpetuating its precarious stay in power.

      The controlling of prices, amid the rampant load-shedding, fuel woes,
high interest rates, foreign currency shortages among other unpalatables,
have serious consequences on industry, yet the government is as far from
coming up with solutions as the medical fraternity is from inventing a cure
for AIDS.

      The government trampled upon any flickering hopes of attracting some
injection of foreign capital - it notched up an incredible pauper's victory
by riding roughshod over its own laws to deport Andrew Meldrum, a permanent
resident of the country, and put a damper on the economic recovery plan.

      With the Presidency allegedly giving State agents the blessings to
wilfully dribble past High Court orders, the prospects of success for NERP
compare well with those of attempting to shoe a galloping horse.

      The economy and the rule of law are inseparable close cousins - you
either have them both or they both desert you.

      Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana writes on social and political issues.
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      Zimbabwe's arrears shoot to $251bn

      5/22/2003 8:38:18 AM (GMT +2)

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business Editor

      ZIMBABWE'S arrears to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have
jumped nine percent since January to US$305 million (Z$251 billion), almost
equivalent to the country's total revenue in 2002, according to latest
information from the IMF.

      The figures come two weeks before the IMF executive board sits to
discuss a report produced by fund officials who were in Zimbabwe in February
and March for Article 4 consultative discussions.

      The board is also expected to decide whether the country should be
relieved of its voting rights, which would begin a process that could lead
to Zimbabwe losing its membership to the fund.

      Latest statistics from the IMF show that the cumulative overdue amount
owed by Zimbabwe to the multilateral institution was US$305,8 million at the
end of last week.

      This translates to $251 billion at the official exchange rate of
$824:US$1 and is only $14,5 billion shy of the $265,5 billion collected by
the government in revenue in 2002.

      The cumulative amount owed by Zimbabwe to the IMF at the beginning of
this year was US$279 million ($229,8 billion).

      Gerry Johnson, the IMF resident representative in Zimbabwe, said the
total principal overdue to the fund was US$210,1 million, while the interest
overdue was US$14,35 million.

      Zimbabwe's outstanding principal overdue to the IMF at the beginning
of the year was US$184,95 million, while the interest due on the principal
was US$12,7 million.

      Information from the Bretton Woods institution shows that the
Zimbabwean government, which is faced with a severe hard cash crisis, is
scheduled to pay US$28,53 million this year and another US$24,07 next year.

      Analysts yesterday said Zimbabwe's growing arrears were an indication
of the country's worsening foreign currency crisis, which has forced Harare
to suspend payments due to several foreign creditors.

      These include the IMF, the World Bank, the African Development Bank
and the European Investment Bank.

      The IMF executive board is scheduled to meet in two weeks to discuss
the report produced by an IMF mission to Zimbabwe in March.

      The board is expected to decide whether the southern Africa country
should be stripped of its voting rights.

      Consultant economist John Robertson said it was almost certain that
the report would be damning, capturing the steady decline of Zimbabwe's
economy since 1999 when the IMF suspended economic aid to Harare.

      The IMF and other multilateral agencies suspended balance of payments
support to Zimbabwe citing Harare's failure to implement economic programmes
and government policies that had eroded the rule of law and property rights.

      The suspension of international assistance, coupled with a sharp drop
in foreign direct investment, had contributed to a severe four-year foreign
currency squeeze. The withdrawal of voting rights, if implemented, would
effectively set into motion a process that could lead to the formal
suspension of Zimbabwe's membership of the fund.

      Analysts say this will worsen Zimbabwe's image as a bad credit risk
and contribute to a further plunge in foreign direct investment.

      "It is bound to happen that we will not have our voting rights because
there has got to be a penalty for not following the rules," Robertson told
The Business Daily.

      "I believe the report will be damaging, but I believe it will be
capturing what is happening here," he added.

      Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980, manifested in record unemployment of more than 70
percent, hyperinflation of 269,2 percent and severe shortages of hard cash.

      The foreign currency crisis has lead to fuel and electricity shortages
that have hit industry and commerce, forcing most firms to operate at below
capacity, a development that has only worsened the hard cash situation.
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      Minister orders Wankie Colliery board to resign

      5/22/2003 8:39:11 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Goko Deputy Business Editor

      MINES Minister Edward Chindori-Chininga has demanded the resignation
of the board of Zimbabwe's sole coal producer, Wankie Colliery Company
Limited (WCC), following differences over the appointment of a managing
director for the firm, ministry officials said this week.

      The officials told The Business Daily that the minister had asked for
the board's resignation last month, "for the umpteenth time", but had made
no progress.

      The government is the majority shareholder in the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange-listed Wankie, which falls under the Ministry of Mines.

      Ministry of Mines officials said Chindori-Chininga and the board fell
out late last year over the choosing of a general manager for WCC, which is
facing serious financial problems and is operating at below capacity because
of fuel shortages and other factors.

      Board favourite Jabulani Mavimba, former Circle Cement boss, and
Godfrey Dzinomwa have both been mooted as possible replacements for
incumbent Kudzai Bwerinofa, who was retired early in October.

      Bwerinofa is still serving in an acting capacity.

      Chindori-Chininga would not discuss the matter this week, saying he
would "address the issue at an appropriate fora and time" and not in the

      "Any matters arising from Wankie are better addressed at the
appropriate time," he said, adding that there was nothing he wanted to
expand on at this time.

      Wankie Colliery chairman Ngoni Kudenga would also not comment on
reports that Chindori-Chininga had asked for his board's resignation.

      He said: "I will not be drawn into talking about that."

      He however admitted to The Business Daily yesterday that efforts to
recruit a new managing director for Wankie had stalled.

      "All l can tell you is that there hasn't been any progress on that
matter," Kudenga said.

      The appointment of a new boss for Zimbabwe's sole coal producer was
derailed at the end of last year when Chindori-Chininga withdrew his earlier
endorsement of Mavimba, whom he had recommended to President Robert Mugabe.

      The minister made an about turn in November, directing the board to
settle for Dzinomwa, believed by government officials to be the best person
to replace Bwerinofa because of his mining background and his stint at WCC
in the 1990's.

      Correspondence made available to this newspaper indicates that the
minister sought to convince President Mugabe to issue him with an order that
he could use to have Dzinomwa appointed.

      Sources said this infuriated the Wankie board, which had set its mind
on a managing director from the private sector.

      The sources said the President had however ordered the company to "put
its house in order" because he did not want to be involved in "cheap
operational matters and bickering".

      It was not possible to secure comment from Information and Publicity
Secretary George Charamba, who was said to be in meetings throughout Tuesday
and yesterday.

      But a source close to the matter told The Business Daily: "Mugabe has
ordered Wankie principals to put their house in order. He would not take
kindly to the deadlock and indecision, and he has distanced himself from the
unfolding saga or fiasco. But all Mugabe wants is continuity at Wankie and
thus, he has demanded a revisit of the matter (appointment), if need be."

      The sources said the Wankie board's strength lay in the company's
articles of association, which they said had made it difficult for the
minister to sack its officials.

      The board, using the articles of association, has emphasised in
successive letters to the ministry that it is solely in charge of
operational issues, even matters pertaining to the appointment of top

      Despite holding a 40 percent majority, the government has least say in
the 10-member board, which also represents the interests of private
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      Fuel tanks burn

      5/22/2003 8:32:54 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THREE fuel tanks went up in flames yesterday morning at Harare's Cold
Comfort Farm, which is run by Didymus Mutasa, the ruling ZANU PF's secretary
for external affairs.

      Mutasa is a founding member of Cold Comfort Trust.

      According to farm workers who were still milling around the scene of
the accident when The Daily News visited the farm late yesterday afternoon,
the cause of the fire was not yet known.

      However a farm worker said the fire might have been caused by intense
pressure on the plastic tanks that were used to store petrol, which is sold
from a fuel station on the farm, located in Harare's Tynwald residential

      "We do not know what really transpired," the worker said. "We are just
assuming that these tanks blew up maybe because of intense pressure and

      The worker said only one of the tanks that caught fire was full, the
other two were empty.

      According to the workers, the city's fire brigade had to be called to
put out the fire and the police also attended to the scene.

      Farm workers could yesterday be seen clearing the burnt area and
cutting surrounding trees.

      The workers said no-one was hurt in the accident.

      Contacted for comment, Mutasa said he was not aware that the fuel
tanks had gone up in flames.

      "This is news to me and I am not in a position to comment on something
that I am not aware of," he said.

      The unnamed fuel station located on the farm was originally run by
Soundrider Comm Private Limited, a company jointly owned by a Chinese
national and local business people.

      Cold Comfort Farm, closely associated with Zimbabwe's struggle for
independence, was founded in 1959 by the late Anglican priest Guy Clutton
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