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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Spectator

24 May 2003

British churchmen back Mugabe

Peter Oborne on the refusal of Anglican and Catholic bishops to denounce the
tyranny in Zimbabwe 
It is remarkable for Britain to be visited by a saint.
But that was surely our good fortune last week, when Pius Ncube, the
Archbishop of Bulawayo, passed through London. This gentle and soft-spoken
former goatherd is a man of great holiness. In a country where churchmen
have kept quiet, Ncube has consistently spoken out with extraordinary
courage and firmness against the near-genocide that Robert Mugabe is
visiting upon the Zimbabwean people.

'The downside is that I'm on performance-related pay.'

Week after week, from the pulpit of Bulawayo Cathedral, Ncube uses his
sermons to make a Christian protest against the torture, intimidation, rape,
murders and forced starvation that are part of the daily rigours of Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF regime. When the Australian cricket team came to Bulawayo
to play in the cricket World Cup, inevitably it was Ncube who led the
protest from within the ground.

The response from Mugabe has been predictable. Ncube has been subject to
death threats, abuse and threatening visits from the authorities. His phone
is tapped, and he is followed everywhere by secret police. He is painted as
an ogre figure in the government-controlled press. Every action he takes is
wilfully misinterpreted. When he made a pastoral visit to Khami Prison in
his diocese, the Bulawayo Chronicle claimed that afterwards there was a
'surprising increase in homosexual pornography' at the penitentiary.

His stand is made more extraordinary by the contrast with the inertia of
most Zimbabwean churchmen. Though there are some distinguished individual
exceptions, the baleful fact remains that both the Anglican and the Roman
Catholic churches have preferred either to remain silent or to work within
the Zanu-PF framework. Indeed, some of the most prominent churchmen do not
merely bite their tongues; they are active cheerleaders of Robert Mugabe.

One notable case in point is Nolbert Kunonga, the Anglican Bishop of Harare.
It is not simply that Kunonga has refused to condemn the outrages of Zanu-PF
Zimbabwe. He uses his pulpit to praise Mugabe. In January last year, Kunonga
took over a prayer meeting in Harare and used it as a forum to promote
Mugabe's land-reform policy. On another notorious occasion, the bishop made
the astounding and impious assertion that Mugabe was more godly than he was.
He endorsed Mugabe ahead of the presidential election in March last year.
Then, once the election was won - though only through the use of the most
brutal and murderous intimidation - he attended Mugabe's inauguration
ceremony. There he informed guests that the election result represented
God's will. He dismissed Mugabe's critics as 'little voices shouting at a
passing elephant'.

Kunonga's sycophancy towards the Zimbabwean despot affronted several of his
fellow clergy. But he knew how to deal with their protests. He recently
secured a court order banning more than a dozen churchwardens and members of
the congregation from worshipping at the cathedral after they complained
noisily about his pro-Mugabe sermons. Last April the United States added
Kunonga to the list of corrupt public officials and villainous policemen who
are banned from travelling to the United States.

It is one thing to remain quiet about Kunonga in Harare, where it takes real
courage to speak out against the Zanu-PF regime. The bigger mystery is the
silence from Lambeth Palace. To be fair, pressure has been brought behind
the scenes. In the wake of the US ban, George Carey wrote a private letter
to Bishop Nolbert in which he declared, 'I am more than a little concerned
of [sic] how less than circumspect you have been about your affiliation with
the regime you appear so keen to support.' But neither George Carey nor his
successor Rowan Williams have publicly condemned the Harare prelate. Piers
McGrandle of the Tablet asked Lambeth Palace back in February whether it
planned to distance itself from the Bishop of Harare. He was informed that
'there are no plans to issue a statement for the time being'. The private
excuse from Lambeth Palace seems to be that work is being done behind closed
doors to bring the wretched Kunonga into line. Some say that they do not
want to demoralise Zimbabwean Anglicans; others try to claim that the
Archbishop of Canterbury has no powers to act. Neither defence counts for
much. The Carey letter was written more than a year ago, and it is plain
that his policy of private persuasion has failed to work.

Sadly, the Roman Catholic Church is just as timorous as the Anglican. Robert
Mugabe's second marriage to his wife Gracie was officiated by Archbishop
Patrick Chakaipa, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe. Chakaipa's
attendance caused offence in some strait-laced Zimbabwean circles, since the
President had enjoyed an adulterous relationship with Gracie before the
death of his first wife, and two children were born out of wedlock. Other
churchmen feared that by sanctioning the Mugabe marriage, the Church was
condoning the regime and undermining its own prophetic role. Chakaipa
remained on good terms with Mugabe. When the archbishop died three weeks
ago, the President sought to declare him a 'national hero'. Pius Ncube spoke
out against this move, declaring that 'national hero status is political and
the archbishop was not a politician'. In the end, Chakaipa was laid to rest
at Chishawasha, a Roman Catholic mission. Robert Mugabe gave an oration at
the funeral. Pius Ncube approached him during the Peace and shook his hand
'just to show that I have nothing personal against him'.

Ncube is an astonishing man, fighting a private battle against despotism and
murder that has unmistakable echoes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's lonely crusade
against Nazism during the second world war. Bonhoeffer was executed just
before the end of the war; Ncube is running the same kind of risk. Like
Bonhoeffer, Ncube is estranged not just from the ruling regime but from much
of the Church that he serves, since its leading members have preferred to
collaborate with the regime.

But none of us in Britain has the moral right to condemn the churchmen on
the ground in Zimbabwe, any more than we have the right to condemn the
Protestant pastors in wartime Germany who cheered on Hitler. We cannot
imagine the perils they are under or the compromises they are forced to
make; nor do we know the little acts of human goodness they still perform.
This exemption cannot be made, however, for the Anglican and Roman Catholic
churches in London. Our bishops do not live under daily threat of arrest,
torture and mutilation. They are not followed by the secret police. But our
churches, too, are mesmerised by Mugabe, and afraid to speak against him, as
the shameful story of the archbishop's visit to Britain last week

When the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust, the vigorous US-based group which fights
for freedom and human rights in Zimbabwe, proposed that Pius Ncube should
visit London, the news was greeted with dismay. The Catholic bishops did not
show delight and gratification at the chance to give moral support to a
fellow Christian in his lonely battle against terror. Incredibly, it seems
that Ncube was asked to reconsider his plan. At the time of the Bishops'
Conference, during Low Week after Easter, the Catholic establishment looked
set to block the Ncube visit. It is still unclear why Westminster Cathedral
felt so uneasy about Ncube, though sources say that David Konstant, the
Bishop of Leeds who has responsibility for international affairs, came under
pressure from the Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe. There are also
intriguing suggestions that No. 10 Downing Street, which has close links
with Westminster Cathedral, was putting steady pressure on the Catholic
Church to play down the event. Moves to block the visit altogether were
stymied at a party given by the Bishops' Conference on 29 April, when the
shadow foreign secretary, Michael Ancram, a prominent Catholic, made it
known that he would cause a public fuss if Ncube was stopped.

In the end, a deal of sorts was hammered out. Ncube would come to Britain,
but a publicity ban would be put on the visit. The Zimbabwe Democracy Trust
had been planning to make the most of its illustrious visitor, with
interviews tentatively planned on Breakfast with Frost, Newsnight, Channel
4, etc. Some had even been formally booked. They were cancelled. In the end,
the Catholic Church, rather than celebrating their remarkable guest, and
sending the message of support back to Zimbabwe, hustled him through Britain
as if he were an escaped convict. The British government treated him with
equal distance. Attempts for a meeting with Tony Blair - normally ready to
join forces with any transient pop-star or footballer - were rebuffed. This
week Ncube travelled to Washington, where he has been granted a series of
high-profile meetings with senior administration officials, including the
secretary of state Colin Powell.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and Primate of
All England, has got off to a shaky start. But the Ncube episode will put a
permanent stain on his term of office. He has just one comfort. His Church
of England counterpart, Rowan Williams, has behaved just as shamefully by
allowing the Anglican Bishop of Harare to rant unchecked on behalf of Robert
Mugabe. The behaviour of both archbishops, and both churches, is
incomprehensible. They are sanctifying evil.
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Organized Political Violence Growing in Zimbabwe, says Rights Group
Peta Thornycroft
22 May 2003, 15:43 UTC

Organized political violence in Zimbabwe rose dramatically last month,
according to a report from human rights monitors.

The latest monthly report from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum says nearly
300 people were arrested in April without a reasonable suspicion of
wrongdoing. This was more than in any single month since the presidential
elections last year.

The report says some of the violence was government retribution for two
general strikes, one called by the opposition and the second by the trade
unions. Both strikes paralyzed commerce and industry in most of the country.

The Human Rights Forum says the latest organized political violence
accompanied two by-elections in the Harare area, both won by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

The Human Rights Forum has repeatedly said it only documents cases brought
to its attention and the incidence of torture and arbitrary arrest is
massively underreported.

It says that it investigated 79 cases of torture in April, up from 12 in
March. One opposition activist died from injuries he allegedly sustained
while in police custody.

Meanwhile, public pressure is growing on Zimbabwe's opposition to take to
the streets again. The Movement for Democratic Change says it is planning
what it describes as its final push to force President Robert Mugabe to
leave office. It has not said what this action will be, but most political
observers believe it will combine strikes with street protests across the

The unrest and resulting violence by activists and police is being caused in
part by continuing severe economic problems in Zimbabwe.

According to government statistics, inflation has risen to 260 percent, the
highest in Africa. But private sector accountants said this week the real
figure is double that.

There is also a severe fuel shortage. On weekdays Zimbabwe's roads,
including those in the heart of the cities, are now quiet, with parking
available anywhere. Many of the country's vehicles can be seen in fuel

The black market rate of the Zimbabwe dollar has dropped by another 30
percent in the past week. According to the state controlled media,
government agencies are trying to buy up all the foreign currency they can
find to pay for fuel and electricity. The state media says this has resulted
in the further devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar to more than 2,000 to one
U.S. dollar.

Food shortages have left more than half the population relying on food aid
to survive. And now, the Commercial Farmers Union says production of winter
crops would drop by more than 50 percent, because the top cereal growers
have been evicted from their farms. The Union says the few hundred remaining
cannot find fertilizer or fuel.
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Zimbabwe's Mugabe urges open debate over successor

By Stella Mapenzauswa

MT. DARWIN, Zimbabwe, May 22 - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe encouraged
his ruling ZANU-PF party to openly discuss his successor on Thursday, adding
to speculation that he might be considering retirement.
       The veteran leader, in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
first hinted in April that he was ready to relinquish power and meet the
main opposition over a deepening political and economic crisis if it
recognised his disputed re-election.
       ''The issue of my successor must be debated openly although I would
urge you not to allow it to create divisions within the party,'' Mugabe told
about 7,000 party supporters at Tsakare village in Mt. Darwin, 150 km (93
miles) northeast of Harare.
       ''I am well aware that there are people keen on the position and some
have even consulted traditional healers to enhance their chances, but I want
to warn them that a successor can only be chosen by the people,'' he said in
the local Shona language.
       Mugabe's government has dismissed a report in the private Daily News
last week that the international community was preparing an economic package
for crisis-ridden Zimbabwe which hinges on his resigning before the end of
the year.
       The report came a week after the leaders of South Africa, Nigeria and
Malawi met Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a bid to
resolve the country's problems of spiralling prices, shortages, low
employment and unrest.
       The talks added to speculation that Mugabe, 79, may be ready to
retire after 23 years in power.
       But on Thursday Mugabe vowed that Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which he accuses of being a puppet of Western
nations, would only rule in the southern African state ''over our dead
       The MDC has launched a court challenge against Mugabe's election in
March 2002 to another six-year term. Western countries and the Commonwealth
condemned the poll as fraudulent.
       Mugabe accuses the West of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy as
punishment for the government's seizure of white-owned commercial farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.
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Zimbabwe minister moves to block treason evidence

HARARE, May 22 - Zimbabwe's government on Thursday argued against a judicial
probe into its contacts with the main state witness in the treason trial of
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai saying it would compromise national
       Tsvangirai and two other senior members of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) face possible death sentences if convicted of
treason for allegedly plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe.
       State Security Minister Nicholas Goche sent a ministerial certificate
to the High Court saying information on a contract and payments to the prime
witness against Tsvangirai was ''classified under covert operations'' and
could not be disclosed.
       Defense lawyer George Bizos said the government's attempt to block
the information was ''completely unjustified'' and it was difficult to see
how state security could be compromised.
       Brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe, director general of the Central
Intelligence Organisation, said on Wednesday CIO operatives had destroyed
certain invoices detailing government payments to Canadian public relations
consultant Ari Ben-Menashe.
       But he declined to say why the evidence was destroyed.
       The state's case rests on a videotape of a meeting in Canada between
Ben-Menashe and Tsvangirai, who allegedly discussed Mugabe's
       Ben-Menashe has testified that Tsvangirai sought his help in the
alleged plot but he has admitted he taped the meeting solely to get evidence
for the government. He denied entrapping Tsvangirai.
       Bizos asked the court to reject the certificate and accused the
government of trying to suppress information crucial to a fair trial.
       ''There is no basis for issuing the certificate...It is an abuse of
the legal process and your Lordship must not accept it,'' he said.
       High Court Judge Paddington Garwe adjourned the trial to next
Wednesday to decide on the matter.
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The Times
May 22, 2003

Anti-Mugabe protests at Zimbabwe Test match

Anna Meryt runs onto the pitch at Lord's in an anti-Mugabe protest. She was arrested.

Exiled victims of President Robert Mugabe's regime protested today outside the home of English cricket against Zimbabwe's continuing tour of the country.

Around 25 protesters held placards opposite Lord's cricket ground. They carried banners with the slogans "Say no to state terrorism in Zimbabwe" and "Wake up world! Zimbabwe is dying!".

The group of protesters was smaller than the 500 which had been previously predicted. But the group danced around, sang and blew whistles to ensure their presence was felt.

Peter Tatchell, leader of protest group Stop The Tour Campaign, was among the high profile names involved.

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

"It is also wrong that the England and Wales Cricket Board has agreed to play against a Zimbabwe side that has been politically vetted to exclude critics of the Mugabe regime."

Mr Tatchell was referring to the exclusion of fast bowler Henry Olonga who was not picked for the side after he wore a black armband in a World Cup game.

Kate Hoey, the former sports minister, was also in attendance to show support for demonstrators, while Michael Ancram, the shadow foreign secretary, sent a message of support.

Protester Sarudzayi Barnes said: "The reason for the protest is to try to stop the cricket match from going ahead.

"We don't want it to go on because there is a lot of human rights abuse going on in Zimbabwe."

She added: "Mugabe is the patron of the cricket board and it leaves a lot to be desired that this tour is going ahead."

She accused cricket bosses of bowing to greed in allowing the tour to go on.

Shortly after England began their innings, Anna Meryt, a woman in her thirties from London, ran on to the pitch carrying a small banner which said "Bowl out killer Mugabe". She was arrested and taken to Marylebone police station.

Earlier this week some 94 Labour and Conservative MPs signed a Commons motion opposing Zimbabwe's tour. By going ahead, the series would misleadingly suggest that the situation in Zimbabwe was returning to normal, they argued.

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.

England decided not to go ahead with its World Cup match against Zimbabwe because of safety fears and cricket bosses have come under fire for deciding to go ahead with the tour.

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      ZIMBABWE: Concerns over winter wheat
      IRINnews Africa, Thu 22 May 2003

      ©  IRIN

      Wheat farmers are concerned about the next crop

      JOHANNESBURG, - Prospects are looking grim for Zimbabwe's winter wheat
harvest with many farmers unable to plant or tend their crops following
equipment theft and foreign currency and fuel shortages.

      Last year the country produced 230,000 mt of wheat - over 100,000 mt
down from the previous year - but indications this year are for a vastly
reduced crop of winter wheat and barley, Commericial Farmers Union (CFU)
President Colin Cloete told IRIN on Thursday.

      He said theft of irrigation equipment, transformers and electricity
cables was rife, to the extent that the government had banned aluminium
exports in a bid to stop the stealing.

      Zimbabwe's wheat is grown under full irrigation in winter, with most
of the water coming from private and state dams and some boreholes.

      Production in the past has accounted for about two-thirds of the
national demand of 400,000 mt.

      Cloete said farmers have had to overcome chronic diesel and fertiliser
shortages brought on by the foreign exchange crisis.

      The minutes of a CFU meeting last week said farmers were told the
country's fuel situation was one of "hand to mouth" and fuel company
representatives were unable to give farmers any meaningful advice.

      Two large fertiliser companies reported they had zero stocks, their
product was sold soon after manufacture and back-order lists were lengthy.
This was due to the lack of foreign exchange to import ingredients required
to manufacture fertiliser, reduced power supplies and transport constraints.
Monitored prices also meant manufacturers could not recoup their production

      "Supplies of fertiliser for the winter cereal crops are very short
because of these factors. Even if prices come right there will no extra
product," the CFU report said.

      Cloete added that slow tobacco sales were also quelling hopes of a
boost to the country's foreign exchange supplies.

      As an alternative to scarce maize, many Zimbabwean consumers have
substituted bread as a staple.

      "It there's no wheat, we'll just have to go without bread. We are
really concerned this year," Cloete said.

      The last Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) report said
cereals like maize, wheat, millet and sorghum remained in critically short
supply in the major markets throughout the country for much of April 2003.

      A food supply mission is in the final stages of assessing Zimbabwe's
cereal production for 2002/3 but early indications are that overall
production will be lower than last year.
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Commonwealth leader "tells it like it is".

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) met in London on May 20,

Following this meeting, where the Hon. Alexander Downer M.P. presented a
detailed and factual report on the situation in Zimbabwe, The Nigerian
Foreign Minister continued publicly to press for the lifting of Zimbabwe's
suspension from the Commonwealth.  This was in spite of the fact that the
Commonwealths latest report, like Downer's statement, confirms the
deteriorating situation to which every Zimbabwean can painfully testify.

Meanwhile in Johannesburg on May 21, 2003, a detailed economic report by
Mike Schussler, commissioned by the Zimbabwe Research Institute, confirmed
that in the three years up to the end of 2002, the Zimbabwe crisis had cost
South Africa R15 billion (US$1,8 billion), the equivalent to a total loss
to the South African economy of 1,3% of its GDP!!

Excerpts taken from a paper presented to the CMAG by Hon. Alexander Downer
M.P., Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia, in London on May 20, 2003.

The report covered:-

· The most recent developments in the unprecedented escalation of
repression of the opposition

· The lack of action taken against the perpetrators of human rights

· Political manipulation of the Police and Judiciary

· Undermining of democratic processes. The Commonwealth Observer Group to
the Presidential elections (signed by all the COG, except the Namibian
observer) concluded that "the conditions in Zimbabwe did not adequately
allow for a free expression of will by the electors". The COG detailed a
range of clear violations of the Commonwealth democratic principles set out
in the Harare Declaration, including :-

1) A high level of politically motivated violence and intimidation, mostly
perpetrated by members/supporters of the ruling party.

2) Failure by the Police to enforce the rule of law impartially

3) Flawed legislative framework limiting freedom of speech, movement and

4) Disenfranchisement of thousands of voters because of a lack of
transparency in the registration process.

5) Reduction in polling station in urban areas preventing many from casting
their vote.

The Government of Zimbabwe moved quickly to swear in President Mugabe and
did not accept the COG report.

· Politicisation of food distribution. While food manipulation has been
particularly rife in the lead up to local and by-elections, NGO's have
documented the distribution of food supplies on political lines even in the
absence of a pending elections. (Many examples were cited in the report)

· Land Reform.  Only 20 - 50% of "redistributed" commercial farms (under
the A2 scheme) have been taken up.  Many "new farmers" have left the land
due to lack of capital and other inputs promised under the Government
Inputs Credit Scheme which is reported to be only 5% of overall need.  In
October, 2002 Youth Minister Elliot MANYIKA was quoted as saying that those
farmers who had acquired land under the fast track program had to ensure
that they support Zanu(PF) or risk losing the land.

· The Zimbabwe Government has consistently refused to discuss financial
assistance for the land reform program with the UNDP, thus undermining
South African and Nigerian request for increased donor support for the
program.  The Government has made no official response to the UNDP'S REPORT
ON LAND REFORM submitted to GOZ in January, 2002, which described the land
reform program as "chaotic" and "the cause of much economic, political and
social instability".
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All 340 farmers who attended the meeting held at ART farm on the 15th May
came away hugely encouraged by the meeting and what had already been
achieved. The reaction to that meeting has been very positive. The next
phase as announced by Allan Burl will be to select and train the people who
will assist farmers to compile their full JAG loss documents and enter them
on the database.  We would like to advertise the following opportunities in
relevant centres and look forward to applications.

Harare 8 positions
Mutare 2
Chiredzi 2
Masvingo 2
Bulawayo 6
Gweru 2
Kwe Kwe 2
Kadoma 2
Chegutu 2
Chinhoyi 2
Karoi 2
Marondera 2
Centenary 2

The successful applicants must be available for training in HARARE from the
9th June to the 13th June 2003.

The applicants must be competent and computer literate and have a basic
financial and book keeping knowledge. The applicants must be centrally
situated in their community with ease of accessibility, and have access to
a computer with scanner and e-mail and Internet access. (This can be done
from home.)

The applicants must be good communicators and be able to work closely with
farmers. They will need to follow up and motivate farmers to ensure that
the documents are completed and that their district has participated fully.
They will also need to ensure that all deadlines are met. We will ensure
that they have the correct training and the professional backup to
guarantee a finished document of the highest professional standard.

The project should be completed in six months.

Remuneration will be related to the number of documents compiled and/or
entered on the database and a contract will be drawn up with successful
candidates at the end of the training exercise.

Successful applicants will have to sign an employment contract and will
have to ensure that all information remains confidential and a separate
confidentiality agreement will also have to be signed.

We recommend that the person has not only the support of their local
farmers association and chairman but also the confidence and support of the
local farming community in their catchment area.

The object of this exercise is to ensure that the interests of all farmers
are fully protected.

All farmers are urged to participate in this initiative even if you have
left your farm and or the country.  As it was very aptly put by Dave Scott
at the Art Farm meeting "This is likely to be the most important document
you compile in your life." Make sure you are part of the future by staying
part of your community and get involved.

For any further information feel free to contact us at JAG offices: (04)
799 410, Wynand Hart: 011 207 860 or John Worsley-Worswick 011 612 595.
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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: Ben Freeth

JAG has been dismissed on a number of occasions as a "radical organisation"

.  It is sad that people have been lead to think that way but it is
certainly not surprising.  Anyone confronting a regime of fear and
dictatorial decree is labelled radical by his own people.  During the NAZI
era the percentage of Frenchmen that actively fought in the resistance
movement was less than 1%.  They were labelled as radicals and were turned
in by their own countrymen to face the NAZI firing squads.

JAG's "radical" nature is slightly different. The people that label us as
radicals are fearful because:

· They believe it is radical to try to bring accountability to individual
perpetrators of injustice so they do not do it.

· They believe it is radical to use the law to protect your rights so they
do not do it.

· They believe it is radical to compel the perpetrators of injustices to
pay through the courts for the damage they have caused so they do not do

· They believe that it is radical to expose the perpetrators of injustice
in the press so they do not do it.

· They believe it is radical to try to create a just and secure future for
commercial agriculture in the future where the rule of law and property
rights are respected so they do not do it.

· They believe it is radical to have a policy of "no dialogue" with a
corrupt and evil regime (our grounds are that dialogue only legitimises the
regime and gives it a longer life span) so they rather continue their

· They believe it is radical to speak out openly for what you believe in so
they rather have secret meetings in dark alleys with evil men making shady
deals, which never work, and openness and truth become casualties on the

The time has come to leave our fears behind us and forge forward for
justice.  There are hundreds of thousands of farmers and farm workers who
have lost their only home, their only source of income and their only farm.
Are you going to leave it at that?

· Conscientiously fill in you JAG Loss Claim Documents.

· Write affidavits for JAG's Rule of Law Case showing what happened.

· Become part of creating a future by joining JAG and playing an active
part in it.

· Apply to become a JAG Loss Claim Document coordinator.

There's lots to do, let's not stand in the sidelines and let our life's
work be lost.  A future Zimbabwe will need food and jobs and competent
people to produce them.  If we don't invest some energy now we won't get


Letter 2: Debbie Graham

Further to Patrick Ashton's letter in your column, I had no idea what he
was on about initially, since I don't often get the chance to read the
papers.  After asking around, I am absolutely shocked that our Commissioner
of Police has been offered any sort of position with Interpol, let alone a
senior position.  Could anybody enlighten me on the identity of the "top
man" at Interpol?  Could it be Sadam Hussein, or perhaps Bin Laden?


Letter 3: T Cairns

 "You're The Voice" by John Farnham

We have the chance to turn the pages over
We can write what we want to write
We gotta make ends meet, before we get much older
We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun?

You're the voice, try and understand it
Make a noise and make it clear
We're not gonna sit in silence
We're not gonna live with fear
This time, we know we all can stand together
With the power to be powerful
Believing we can make it better
We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun?

You're the voice, try and understand it
Make a noise and make it clear
We're not gonna sit in silence
We're not gonna live with fear...


Letter 4:

Can anyone give me a contact no. or address for Alex & Pam van Leenhoff, ex
Karoi farmers? Thanks, Pat Townsend.


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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Discord hits ZESA board

5/22/03 11:41:52 AM (GMT +2)

AN attempt by power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authoritys
(ZESA) executive chairman, Sydney Gata, to seek exemption from formal
tendering and fast-track the appointment of an Australian firm to
undertake consultancy work on the proposed Electricity Sector Reform
Progamme has hit a brick wall, splitting the ZESA Board right through
the middle, it was established this week.

Figures in our possession indicate that the company, Marketforce
Business Solutions (MBS), would, after providing for a discount of 10
percent, charge ZESA US$900 000 ($741.6 million at the official exchange

Gata, in his correspondence to the State Procurement Board, a copy of
which was distributed to ZESA Board members, said that the fees quoted
by the Australian company were within the range of consultancy fees
charged by other consultancy firms.

Gata wrote to the Secretary of the State Procurement Board on April 30
2003. He was applying for exemption from formal tendering and authority
from the State Procurement Board to award a contract on behalf of the
Ministry of Energy and Power Development to MBS.

The Australian company was also expected to make recommendations on the
setting up of the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission (ZERC). A
Zimbabwean, Michael Nyathi, is cited in MBSs profile as the managing
principal of the company and team leader of the project.

Under the proposed reform programme, which is still thin on detail and
hazy as to the timetable, ZESA will be replaced by successor companies
responsible for generation, transmission, distribution and supply of
electricity under a parent company known as ZESA Holdings Limited. The
unbundling of ZESA into various units and their proposed subsequent
privatisation would also open the floodgates for the entry of other
players in the sector with the ZERC responsible for pricing, licensing
and regulation among other things.

Gatas proposal, some ZESA Board members said this week, sparked off a
heated but sterile debate at their first meeting on the issue last week
on Wednesday. He failed to garner overwhelming support from the Board.
Most Board members refused to rubber stamp the executive chairmans
proposal, insisting that the hiring of the consultancy should be done by
the parent Ministry of Energy and Power Development and not by ZESA.

A follow-up meeting on the issue was held yesterday afternoon, during
which a representative of MBS did a presentation to the ZESA Board.

Among other issues, yesterdays Board meeting discussed the proposed
appointment of MBS, statutory minimum wage and general salary increases
for staff, special allowances for skilled and professional staff, the
privatisation of Hwange and Kariba Power Stations as well as the
ratification of the tariff schedule for exporting customers.

The Board members could not be swayed by arguments put forward as the
reasons for the application for the waiver of formal tendering procedures.

The feeling among the Board members was that there had not been a robust
exchange of views on the issue, the sources said, adding that in any
case, they did not feel it "to be in the best interest of fair play and
transparency" for ZESA, a key industry player to be involved in the
appointment of the regulatory authority.

The government has since ratified the proposed reform in the electricity
sector which includes the privatisation of the Hwange and Kariba Power
Stations as well as the securing of equity in Cahora Bassa by ZESA. Gata
says that these projects should have commenced a year ago.

Energy and Power Development Minister, Amos Midzi on April 24 2003 wrote
to the managing director of Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe, Pindi Nyandoro,
reaffirming governments commitment to proceed with the disposal of up
to 50 percent of its stake in the Hwange and Kariba South Electricity
Generating Assets to unnamed strategic partners. He said that government
undertook to provide security for any credit extended to ZESA by the
bank. The cover would be provided from the proceeds of the privatisation
of ZESA generating assets.

Gatas argument had been that, since the law providing the establishment
of the ZERC had already sailed through Parliament and just awaiting
Presidential assent, there was an urgent need to appoint "an experienced
reform consultant to assist the Ministry of Energy and Power Development
& as players in the industry will not be able to function in a legal

"It is not like we were trying to bypass tender procedures. We just made
recommendations to the ministry given the urgency of the matter. There
are many instances they have given us exemptions before. This issue has
got its own merit. The regulatory authority should have been in place a
long time ago to facilitate the proposed reform in the sector", said
Gata when contacted for comment yesterday.

He said that ZESA would meet the government next week to "see how this
issue can be expedited".
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Banks pounce on CSC
Hama Saburi Deputy Editor-in-Chief
5/22/03 11:40:59 AM (GMT +2)

FINANCIAL institutions owed in excess of $7 billion by the cash-strapped
Cold Storage Company (CSC) have given the meat-processing concern the
choice to accept new loan conditions or risk losing assets.

The five banks that were financing the debt-ridden parastatal for the
past five years toughened their stance last month after it became
apparent that the CSCs board of directors was jittery about conceding
to their demands.

Genesis Investment, the Jewel Bank, Kingdom Bank, Time Bank and Trust
Bank had put their act together by tasking a syndicate manager to work
out solutions that would remedy their exposure to CSC.

The syndicate manager, representing Time Bank, proceeded to get all the
five banks into agreeing on a new loan regime and securing a government
guarantee, but the CSC board has failed to move eight months down the line.

A Ministry of Finance official, who declined to be named, said banks are
unanimous that CSC should agree to the rescheduling of the expensive
short-term debt into a long-term script that can be used for liquidity

"They have also asked the CSC board to elaborate the turnaround strategy
for the parastatal among other things. We are surprised that CSC did not
respond despite the looming danger," the official said.

In an attempt to buy time, the board requested for an audit of the meat
processing concerns operations and to validate loans owed to individual
banks before signing the syndicated loan agreement (SLA).

The audit has not even started, despite earlier promises by CSC to
complete it before the end of last year.

"As considerable time has passed without significant progress being made
on this matter, the syndicate held update meeting on Friday, 4 April 2002.

"It was unanimously agreed that we request you to sign and return to
Time Bank the syndicated loan agreement together with the signed bills
and debentures within twenty one (21) days from the date of this letter.

"It was also agreed that should this request not be met within the
stipulated period, individual creditor banks will be free to take
whatever action they deem fit," read a letter leaked to The Financial

Most of the banks are already in possession of judgments in their favour
against the 66-year old parastatal, which has a solid asset base
consisting six abattoirs, cannery, by-products processing plants,
ranches and feedlots throughout the country.

The pending judgments, which do not require the auditors report to
enforce, constitute a major threat to CSCs survival.

The company, with capacity to slaughter 600 000 cattle a year, is
supposed to be central in governments quest to rebuild the depleted
national herd and foreign currency generation.

CSC has fallen flat on its mandate because of the heavy debt burden,
which has been ballooning at a cost of 60 percent interest.

The suspension of export to the European Union because of the outbreak
of foot-and-mouth disease dealt a heavy blow on CSC, whose financial
health deteriorated after the company embarked on capital developments
that were not matched by the provision of affordable resources to see
them through.

"The only way available to avert such danger is for CSC to reach a new
loan agreement and new repayment terms with banks as creditors. Please
note that the government guarantee issued to banks does not substitute
the need for a repayment programme from CSC.

"It is in this context of trying to save CSC from such danger that the
syndicate of banks sent you a new syndicated loan agreement for your
consideration and adoption. Until such new loan agreement is signed
between CSC and the banks, CSC is living under great danger of collapse
because as a company, any creditor can place it under liquidation and
have its assets auctioned to recover the outstanding debts. Please take
this point seriously. We have come a long way on this matter," read a
letter sent to the acting CSC chief executive officer, Ngoni

A senior manager with Genesis said members of the syndicate were ready
to advance fresh funding to CSC should it concede to the new requirements.

CSC, chaired by distinguished industrialist, Anthony Mandiwanza, has
suggested that fresh loans should better interest rates offered to
exporters and the productive sector under Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)

Exporters and companies in the productive sector are accessing loans at
between five and 15 percent interest.

CSC was established in 1937. Prior to 1994, it operated as a commission
until its dissolution in September 1994 to pave way for commercialisation.

Creditors have been growing impatient over CSCs failure to clear
long-standing debt. At one point, Genesis secured a High Court order to
attach its office furniture and other equipment over a $231.1 million debt.

Minutes of the meeting of April 4 this year indicate that banks are not
willing to wait any longer for CSC to carry out its audit and are also
unhappy with delays in finalising the issue.

"It has now turned out that the auditors mandate includes doing an
audit of the entire operations of CSC including all depots and such a
wide ranging audit had nothing to do with the validation of CSC debt.

"Had the old and new debts been separated from the outset, it would not
have taken more than two weeks to carry out a validation of the old

"This would have allowed conversion of the debts and issuance of the
bills to proceed leaving the banks with something to hold on to in the
form of script which could be used for liquidity support for example,"
read part of the minutes.

Banks have already lost out because the CSC bills are no longer as
attractive as before hence it will be difficult to find any takers,
while the RBZ is not keen on accepting them as security.
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Meldrum’s suspension and Zim’s image
Chido Makunike
5/22/03 8:57:09 AM (GMT +2)

OVER about the past year, the government has made no secret of its
desire to be rid of Andrew Meldrum, Harare-based correspondent of the
British paper the Guardian.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo had made it clear soon after his
appointment that he did not agree with the concept of non-citizens
reporting for foreign news organisations, and foreign correspondents
were soon under siege from the government.

Armed with the Moyo-penned Access to Information and Privacy Act, the
authorities have aggressively sought to limit the damage to the
Zimbabwean governments’s international image by attempting to control
what is written about it and by whom, in the process earning a far worse
reputation for intolerance and repression.

Moyo’s act has been widely condemned for its letter as well as for its
spirit. While he argues that it is little different from similar laws in
other countries that have not earned world opprobrium for repression of
the Press, he has found few backers for his view.

Rather than widen the horizon of information and freedom available to
the public, Moyo and the government have aggressively used the
repressive law to clamp down on the Press, compounding that government’s
many self-inflicted problems. The many journalists who have been jailed
and harassed through Moyo’s act have invariably been acquitted of
charges laid against them. It is now widely considered to be the
spiteful work of one man against a critical Press on behalf of a
government that has shown itself to be uniquely incompetent at the art
of winning over opinion by the power of ideas and persuasion.

While the law has been used mostly against Zimbabweans, foreign
journalists have not been spared. Meldrum, an American citizen, has been
a particular thorn in the flesh of a government that has been gifted at
making itself look bad in international opinion under Moyo’s tutelage of
the information ministry.

Meldrum’s reports of what is happening in Zimbabwe are no different from
what the Zimbabwean private media reflect, but they particularly rankled
the government for a number of reasons.

Meldrum is a white foreigner reporting for a largely white Western
audience at a time there are many things gone wrong in Zimbabwe. This is
problematic to the government on several counts. The Mugabe regime
blames its poor image on demonisation by the West for dispossessing
white farmers of land, and believes Meldrum’s reports help to bolster
that perception.

Moyo has expressed the wish that foreign media employ Zimbabweans as
their correspondents.

He has made plausible arguments that the Western media rely on white
foreigners in Africa to a greater extent than they do elsewhere.

In a country and region where race has been central to a lot of the
recent and ongoing conflicts, I believe an argument can be made that
apart from a government shooting itself in the foot by plain old
repression and bungling, the nuances and

contexts of a lot of happenings are missed by white Westerners, giving
their readers a one dimensional, stereotypical view of Africans.

Those stereotypes often feed off and are compounded by the racial
tensions of the countries from which many of the Western correspondents
originate. During a long sojourn in the US, I remember often being upset
by the poor research and understanding of the societies they purported
to report on so authoritatively of many Western correspondents in
Africa, even when their facts were correct.

So if the argument for more locals to tell the story of events in
Zimbabwe were made by someone more respectable and less self-servingly
cynical than Moyo, I would say I agree with that for many reasons.
Westerners I have said this to have often protested that they are
objective in their reports, and that cultural and racial bias do not at
all affect their outlook and hence their reports, but I find this a
silly, unconvincing argument, and one that it is not even necessary to make.

Who we are, where we come from, our personal and group experiences
cannot but influence our perspectives. It is important not to let those
factors override attempts at objectivity, and the best journalists from
anywhere in the world will work at this.

Yet for instance, two people, one a white American and the other an
African American, might both report the facts of a racial incident
identically, but their interpretation of it will necessarily be very
much influenced by their different experiences of being black or white
in a racially charged society.

So from this perspective I know where Moyo is coming from., and do not
find his stance particularly controversial. The idea is not for African
correspondents to give a sanitised view of life and events on a troubled
continent to Western and other audiences, but to hopefully give a
factual and yet more holistic picture. It is the difference between
merely being an observer of happenings, and being both an observer and
one who is immersed in them.; an integral part of the society/culture
that is being reported about. But given Moyo’s extreme hostility to the
media he does not control, it would not at all be surprising if his real
reason for wanting foreign media houses to use local correspondents is
the hope that they would be more amenable to his control, and to
intimidation by him.

Meldrum was harder to stereotype than other foreign correspondents. He
came at independence, and chose to make Zimbabwe his home, earning
residency status. He has lived in Zimbabwe since 1980, developing deeper
roots and a more sophisticated understanding of the society than the
typical short term correspondent. His residency status made him less
amenable to intimidation on the grounds of fear of willy-nilly
deportation, at least in the ancient, pre-Moyo, pre-minister of
"justice" Patrick Chinamasa days when there was more of a semblance of
the rule of law than there is now.

In countries that respect the rule of law, it is sacrosanct that once
you have been granted residency, you have certain rights that cannot be
withdrawn on the whim of a minister, or

because you say and write things unpopular with the ruling authorities.
But then again, this is Zimbabwe in 2003!

After he was acquitted of contravening a clause of Moyo’s AIPPA last
year, there was an attempt to deport him, which failed on his appeal to
the High Court. He continued to file the

reports of happenings in Zimbabwe that merely reflected what many others
saw and experienced for themselves, but that so enraged Moyo and the
authorities. They continued to

look for pretexts under which to hound him out of the country, becoming
more frustrated and reckless in the process. That recklessness
culminated in his expulsion last week in defiance of a High Court order
to release him from the unlawful detention of the immigration
authorities and to prresent him before Justice Charles Hungwe.

Last Saturday, on hearing foreign media reports that Meldrum had been
expelled, despite that morning’s local press reports about Hungwe’s
order the night before, I called Meldrum’s house to find out what the
situation was. I assumed that even if there had been some later change
that over-ruled the judge’s order, making his deportation lawful, he
would have been given the days or weeks that are the norm in such
situations. After all, I reasoned to myself, someone who has not been
found guilty of any crime, and a twenty three year resident of the
country, would be given a reasonable, humane amount of time to wind up
his affairs.

I was startled on talking to his wife Dolores to find that he had been
bundled on to an Air Zimbabwe plane to London the night before! This is
therefore not a Face to Face account, although I was able to talk to him
on the phone when I went to ask his wife what happened. Early on the
Saturday afternoon, while I was at his home, he called his wife from
London soon after getting there, the first time they had spoken since
they parted on Friday morning, when she dropped him off at the
immigration department’s offices for what they had mistakenly thought
would merely be more another session of routine harassment.

Said Mrs. Meldrum " I did not see him at all from the time I dropped off
him off at Linquenda House (where the immigration department’s offices
are) on Friday morning to when he was put on the evening flight to
London. We didn’t even know for sure that when he was seen being forced
into a vehicle outside the immigration offices he was being taken to the
airport. Fellow journalists, American embassy officials and well wishers
called me to say they suspected he was being taken to the airport," she

"After they had decided to deport him, they would have lost nothing by
telling me of his whereabouts. I was extremely worried about his well
being. Throughout the day, the only link that made us suspect that he
was being held at the airport was a tan coloured car parked there that
had also been seen outside Linquenda House," she related. I was
surprised by how relatively calm she seemed after the virtual kidnapping
of her husband in defiance of a High Court judge’s order. The phone rang
every few minutes with friends offering support, and others wanting to
find out what had happened.

In relating the evening’s events, she said at one point she asked the
state prosecutor, Loyce Matanda-Moyo, "Is my husband dead?" to which she
claims the prosecutor looked at her, paused and smirked before
answering, "I don’t know." After knowing he was safe and sound in
London, this sounds almost like an over-dramatisation of events, but not
when you consider the inexplicable stonewalling of the authorities on
Meldrum’s whereabouts, hours after they had

detained him, it does not seem so paranoid of her to have wondered if
the worst had been done to him..

Said Mrs. Meldrum, also an American citizen and a permanent resident of
Zimbabwe who has resided here for the last 18 years, "I have the feeling
that different parts of the State were

working together to make sure he was deported, regardless of the
legalities. The prosecutors’ office, whose role is supposed to be
limited to proving a defendant broke one law or another, as well as Air
Zimbabwe worked together to ensure Andy was expelled from Zimbabwe. Air
Zimbabwe had been served with a court order, along with the immigration
department not to deport him, but they went ahead and did so anyway. "

"Why where they so inhumane not to tell me even after he had been put on
the plane?" she wondered. She and friends accompanying her had had a
glimpse of him in the departure lounge of the airport just before he was
put on the plane, the last time she saw him, and the first confirmation
they had of their guess that he had indeed been taken to the airport
when he left the immigration department’s offices that Friday morning.

After being tipped that he was likely being taken to the airport for
deportation, she had put together some clothes and other personal
effects for him. When she got there, she told airport and Air Zimbabwe
officials of this, requesting that if they knew where he was, or if he
was eventually brought to the airport pending deportation, she be
allowed to give him at least basic toiletries and a change of clothes.
Every official she talked to denied seeing him or knowing where he was.

In retracing the events of the previous 10days, Dolores Meldrum
repeatedly mentioned how Evans Siziba, the senior immigration officer
who has gained particular notoriety in this saga for so aggressively
seeking to deport Meldrum, was the same official who handed him last
July’s initial deportation order that was over-turned then by the High
Court. She seems to feel Siziba had an almost personal vendetta against
her husband, an uppity foreigner who dared to defy his efforts by
successfully challenging deportation orders before the courts! The judge
himself had mentioned the "willful contempt of court by the immigration
department, and the lack of good faith of the respondent."

On talking to him on the phone last Saturday, he said what he since
repeated in many other media :"My experience is but a small example of
what many other people in Zimbabwe have gone through. The Zimbabwean
government is trying to scare me and others in the press, but they are
not going to intimidate me. This will just ensure more bad publicity for
them. The process was illegal, and they have just shot themselves in the
foot. I will not be silenced."

Indeed, he has become even more the focus of world wide media attention,
at the expense of yet another knock in the already tattered reputation
of the Mugabe reputation.

Whatever glee the immigration, information and other government
departments may derive from getting rid of Meldrum, at what cost has
this been done to Zimbabwe’s interests? Can they not see that far more
harm is done to Zimbabwe’s protestations that it does adhere to the rule
of law? Is it not obvious that Meldrum will now become a cause celebre
whose writings will carry

more weight in the very countries the Mugabe government is
surreptitiously sending its ministers to plead for understanding, credit
and handouts?

I posed these questions to Beatrice Mtetwa, Meldrum’s lawyer. "I think
they simply got desperate," she answered, "and they simply no longer
care how they are perceived. They could not have handled Andrew
Meldrum’s case any worse than they did. They could have done it all so
much more decently than this if they had chosen to.The government lawyer
was part and parcel of the deceit in delaying to bring Meldrum to the
court on Friday afternoon at 3:30 as Justice Hungwe had ordered," she
charged. "The furtive way that all the officials behaved, including the
Air Zimbabwe officials at the airport, shows that everyone knew what
they were doing was unlawful," she continued.

Mtetwa is going ahead with contempt proceedings against officers of the
immigration department in their personal capacities and the responsible
ministry. "They should be locked up until Meldrum is produced in court
like they pledged to do to the judge, and the fines should be directly
deducted from their salaries," she continued.

Is this a realistic hope? "I doubt they will bring him back," she
conceded. "They cannot afford to because Justice Hungwe has impeccable
legal credentials and is also an ex-combatant as well as a founding
member of the War Veterans Association, so they have no hope of leaning
on him to get a favourable judgement by casting the aspersions .of being
a tool of imperialists, like they try to do with others. They can’t call
him names."

When I asked her what keeps her going in the face of such bad faith by
the State, she replied , I feel it is important to have a chronology of
evidence. The court order can be effected up to five years from now.
There has to be a record of what is going on."

The final result of the whole incredible saga of Meldrum’s expulsion by
the government is another own goal, making any of its representations of
normality and adherence to the rule of its own laws a wasted effort.
This incidence of petty bureaucrats making and effecting unjust laws,
and then failing to even enforce those with any shred of consistency, is
but an example of how a desperate government tries to score points at
the expense of the national interest.

Meanwhile, according to Dolores Meldrum, "my husband is doing the media
rounds in London." Thanks to the Mugabe government, he has attained a
far greater prominence with which to influence world opinion against it,
the exact opposite of what it hoped to achieve by kicking him out of the
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Zimbabwe Test starts after protests
Anti-Mugabe protesters
Some Mugabe protesters made their point on a red open-top bus
Exiled victims of President Robert Mugabe's regime staged a noisy protest at Lord's cricket ground as play began in the first match of the England-Zimbabwe cricket Test series.

Dozens of demonstrators played and sang in the rain while they held placards outside the north London ground on Thursday.

Nearly 100 MPs have accused the England and Wales Cricket Board of "putting profit before principle" by allowing the tour to go ahead.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, leader of another protest group, the Stop The Tour campaign, has said his group felt under no obligation to "show restraint" as encouraged by the MCC cricket board.

'End to violence'

And despite a ban on protests inside the ground, one campaigner was escorted off the pitch after walking on waving a banner saying "Bowl out killer Mugabe".

Mr Tatchell said the woman, in her 30s and from London, had been arrested and taken to Marylebone police station after reaching the outfield. A man was also led off as he stepped onto the pitch.

Fellow protesters got on board an open-top bus and were aiming to deliver a letter to the Zimbabwe Embassy, calling for an end to state-sponsored political violence.


Protesters outside the ground made their message with music and dance.

They carried banners with the slogans "Say no to state terrorism in Zimbabwe" and "Wake up world! Zimbabwe is dying!".

A small police presence was visible near the demonstrators.

'Day for Zimbabweans'

Protest organiser Washington Ali stressed the intention from his group was to stage a peaceful demonstration.

He said: "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 individuals.

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

Many of the MPs who signed up to the opposition motion had urged England to boycott their games in Zimbabwe during the World Cup earlier this year because of human rights abuses under the Mugabe regime.

Members of the Commons foreign affairs select committee met on Thursday, calling for Mr Mugabe to be stripped of his honour as a Knight Commander of the Order of Bath.

This was bestowed on him by the Queen in 1994.

The MPs said: "He is not the first bearer of that honour to fail to deserve it."

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Support for Mugabe Brings SA No Benefit

Business Day (Johannesburg)

May 22, 2003
Posted to the web May 22, 2003

Rhoda Kadalie

THERE is nothing more sickening than to see Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe popping up all over the place, enjoying the largesse of our country
and the adulation of our political leaders when he should be standing next
to Slobodan Milosevic before the International Court of Justice. Staying at
the luxurious Westcliff Hotel, while millions in Zimbabwe starve, was
obscene. His attendance at the funeral of Walter Sisulu, a man whose very
essence he defies, was a disgrace.

What is more worrying is how President Thabo Mbeki and the foreign affairs
office are scurrying about trying to give legitimacy to a dictator who
should be consigned to the dustbin of history.

In his weekly letter (ANC Today, May 9-15), Mbeki incredulously claims that
"(c)ontrary to what some now claim, the economic crisis currently affecting
Zimbabwe did not originate from the actions of a reckless political
leadership or corruption" and blames Zimbabwe's ills on abstract historical
forces and economic inevitability, not on Mugabe's rotten leadership.

No, according to Mbeki, Zimbabwe's economic decline has to do with a racist
negotiated settlement with London, that " quarantined the matter of land
redistribution because of agreements reached" and that "sought to
counterbalance the principle of black liberation with the protection of
white property, inserting into the settlement the racist notions of black
majority rule and white minority rights".

This is racist reductionism at its very best and Mbeki attributes no agency
to black people for their own liberation from oppression. According to this
logic, post-colonial societies and their liberation leaders will remain
forever the victims of colonisation. Liberation from colonisation, yes, but
never liberation towards a democracy that is sustainable.

Pulled by the rapids of history to destinations not of our choosing, we may
as well give up as there is no control over this "internal logic of various
processes in society (that) compels all of us to be carried along by events
to destinations we may not have sought".

By delinking Mugabe's reckless economic agenda from his growing dictatorial
tendencies, Mbeki is able to rationalise Zimbabwe's decline. This is as
deliberate as it is flawed. Mbeki knows that an economic agenda that is
devoid of an equally ambitious agenda for democracy and human rights is
bound to end up in a sociopolitical and economic morass, as Zimbabwe is
today, but on this score he prefers to remain in denial.

The Zimbabwean disaster is entirely man-made, despite Mbeki's explanations
to the contrary. The war veterans, the draconian media laws, the harassment
of independent judges, illegal land seizures, the theft of state assets were
all politically and racially inspired by a president demanding to stay in
power for life. Patronising in its tone, Mbeki's letter is a veiled warning
to those who dare to ask questions, who, according to him "pose as high
priests at the inquisition, hungry for the blood of the accused, as though
to condemn, demonise and punish".

This dangerous political standpoint becomes even more threatening when world
leaders like the UK's Prime Minister Tony Blair and his lapdog, Jack Straw,
cosy up to Mbeki for their own selfish political agendas.

Reeling from severe criticism from within his own cabinet for sidelining the
United Nations and support for the unilateral invasion of Iraq, Blair is
losing his moral authority over foreign policy concerns such as sovereignty
and human rights. Disillusionment with his role internationally is made
worse by his promise to soften his stance on Mugabe, ease the anti-Mugabe
"media frenzy" and loosen restrictions on the Commonwealth ban.

With the inauguration of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo looming, Mbeki
is being wooed to pave a reconciliatory path to African Commonwealth
members, to ease what would otherwise be an awkward celebration with Mugabe

Why do world leaders from western countries, in particular, tolerate
dictators simply because they are black? Colonial guilt and its corollary
racial oppression have become so entrenched that both sides are unable to
snap out of what have become continental pathologies.

Why should we make do with lower standards of democracy?

When world leaders retreat from holding Mugabe accountable for their own
selfish reasons, they implicitly support the tendency of African leaders to
rule ad infinitum and with impunity.

Kadalie is a human rights activist based in Cape Town.
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National Review

      May 22, 2003, 10:50 a.m.
      Hitler's Control
      The lessons of Nazi history.

      By Dave Kopel & Richard Griffiths

his week's CBS miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil tries to explain the
conditions that enabled a manifestly evil and abnormal individual to gain
total power and to commit mass murder. The CBS series looks at some of the
people whose flawed decisions paved the way for Hitler's psychopathic
dictatorship: Hitler's mother who refused to recognize that her child was
extremely disturbed and anti-social; the judge who gave Hitler a ludicrously
short prison sentence after he committed high treason at the Beer Hall
Putsch; President Hindenburg and the Reichstag delegates who (except for the
Social Democrats) who acceded to Hitler's dictatorial Enabling Act rather
than forcing a crisis (which, no matter how bad the outcome, would have been
far better than Hitler being able to claim legitimate power and lead Germany
toward world war).

Acquainting a new generation of television viewers with the monstrosity of
Hitler is a commendable public service by CBS, for if we are serious about
"Never again," then we must be serious about remembering how and why Hitler
was able to accomplish what he did. Political scientist R. J. Rummel, the
world's foremost scholar of the mass murders of the 20th century, estimates
that the Nazis killed about 21 million people, not including war casualties.
With modern technology, a modern Hitler might be able to kill even more
people even more rapidly.

Indeed, right now in Zimbabwe, the Robert Mugabe tyranny is perpetrating a
genocide by starvation aimed at liquidating about six million people. Mugabe
is great admirer of Adolf Hitler. Mugabe's number-two man (who died last
year) was Chenjerai Hunzvi, the head of Mugabe's terrorist gangs, who
nicknamed himself "Hitler." One of the things that Robert Mugabe, "Hitler"
Hunzvi, and Adolf Hitler all have in common is their strong and effective
programs of gun control.

Simply put, if not for gun control, Hitler would not have been able to
murder 21 million people. Nor would Mugabe be able to carry out his current
terror program.

Writing in The Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law Stephen
Halbrook demonstrates that German Jews and other German opponents of Hitler
were not destined to be helpless and passive victims. (A magazine article by
Halbrook offers a shorter version of the story, along with numerous
photographs. Halbrook's Arizona article is also available as a chapter in
the book Death by Gun Control, published by Jews for the Preservation of
Firearms Ownership.) Halbrook details how, upon assuming power, the Nazis
relentlessly and ruthlessly disarmed their German opponents. The Nazis
feared the Jews - many of whom were front-line veterans of World War One -
so much that Jews were even disarmed of knives and old sabers.

The Nazis did not create any new firearms laws until 1938. Before then, they
were able to use the Weimar Republic's gun controls to ensure that there
would be no internal resistance to the Hitler regime.

In 1919, facing political and economic chaos and possible Communist
revolution after Germany's defeat in the First World War, the Weimar
Republic enacted the Regulation of the Council of the People's Delegates on
Weapons Possession. The new law banned the civilian possession of all
firearms and ammunition, and demanded their surrender "immediately."

Once the political and economic situation stabilized, the Weimar Republic
created a less draconian gun-control law. The law was similar to, although
somewhat milder than, the gun laws currently demanded by the American
gun-control lobby.

The Weimar Law on Firearms and Ammunition required a license to engage in
any type of firearm business. A special license from the police was needed
to either purchase or carry a firearm. The German police were granted
complete discretion to deny licenses to criminals or individuals the police
deemed untrustworthy. Unlimited police discretion over citizen gun
acquisition is the foundation of the "Brady II" proposal introduced by
Handgun Control, Inc., (now called the Brady Campaign) in 1994.

Under the Weimar law, no license was needed to possess a firearm in the home
unless the citizen owned more than five guns of a particular type or stored
more than 100 cartridges. The law's requirements were more relaxed for
firearms of a "hunting" or "sporting" type. Indeed, the Weimar statute was
the world's first gun law to create a formal distinction between sporting
and non-sporting firearms. On the issues of home gun possession and sporting
guns, the Weimar law was not as stringent as the current Massachusetts gun
law, or some of modern proposals supported by American gun-control

Significantly, the Weimar law required the registration of most lawfully
owned firearms, as do the laws of some American states. In Germany, the
Weimar registration program law provided the information which the Nazis
needed to disarm the Jews and others considered untrustworthy.

The Nazi disarmament campaign that began as soon as Hitler assumed power in
1933. While some genocidal governments (such as the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia)
dispensed with lawmaking, the Nazi government followed the German
predilection for the creation of large volumes of written rules and
regulations. Yet it was not until March 1938 (the same month that Hitler
annexed Austria in the Anschluss) that the Nazis created their own Weapons
Law. The new law formalized what had been the policy imposed by Hitler using
the Weimar Law: Jews were prohibited from any involvement in any firearm

On November 9, 1938, the Nazis launched the Kristallnacht, pogrom, and
unarmed Jews all over Germany were attacked by government-sponsored mobs. In
conjunction with Kristallnacht, the government used the administrative
authority of the 1938 Weapons Law to require immediate Jewish surrender of
all firearms and edged weapons, and to mandate a sentence of death or 20
years in a concentration camp for any violation.

Even after 1938, the German gun laws were not prohibitory. They simply gave
the government enough information and enough discretion to ensure that
victims inside Germany would not be able to fight back.

Under the Hitler regime, the Germans had created a superbly trained and very
large military - the most powerful military the world had ever seen until
then. Man-for-man, the Nazis had greater combat effectiveness than every
other army in World War II, and were finally defeated because of the
overwhelming size of the Allied armies and the immensely larger economic
resources of the Allies.

Despite having an extremely powerful army, the Nazis still feared the
civilian possession of firearms by hostile civilians. Events in 1943 proved
that the fear was not mere paranoia. As knowledge of the death camps leaked
out, determined Jews rose up in arms in Tuchin, Warsaw, Bialystok, Vilna,
and elsewhere. Jews also joined partisan armies in Eastern Europe in large
numbers, and amazingly, even organized escapes and revolts in the killing
centers of Treblinka and Auschwitz. There are many books which recount these
heroic stories of resistance. Yuri Suhl's They Fought Back (1967) is a good
summary showing that hundreds of thousands of Jews did fight. The book
Escape from Sobibor and the eponymous movie (1987) tell the amazing story
how Russian Jewish prisoners of war organized a revolt that permanently
destroyed one of the main death camps.

It took the Nazis months to destroy the Jews who rose up in the Warsaw
ghetto, who at first were armed with only a few firearms that had been
purchased on the black market, stolen or obtained from the Polish

Halbrook contends that the history of Germany might have been changed if
more of its citizens had been armed, and if the right to bear arms had been
enshrined it Germany's culture and constitution. Halbrook points out that
while resistance took place in many parts of occupied Europe, there was
almost no resistance in Germany itself, because the Nazis had enjoyed years
in which they could enforce the gun laws to ensure that no potential
opponent of the regime had the means to resist.

No one can foresee with certainty which countries will succumb to genocidal
dictatorship. Germany under the Weimar Republic was a democracy in a nation
with a very long history of much greater tolerance for Jews than existed in
France, England, or Russia, or almost anywhere else. Zimbabwe's current gun
laws were created when the nation was the British colony of Rhodesia, and
the authors of those laws did not know that the laws would one day be
enforced by an African Hitler bent on mass extermination.

One never knows if one will need a fire extinguisher. Many people go their
whole lives without needing to use a fire extinguisher, and most people
never need firearms to resist genocide. But if you don't prepare to have a
life-saving tool on hand during an unexpected emergency, then you and your
family may not survive.

In the book Children of the Flames, Auschwitz survivor Menashe Lorinczi
recounts what happened when the Soviet army liberated the camp: the Russians
disarmed the SS guards. Then, two emaciated Jewish inmates, now armed with
guns taken from the SS, systematically exacted their revenge on a large
formation of SS men. The disarmed SS passively accepted their fate. After
Lorinczi moved to Israel, he was often asked by other Israelis why the Jews
had not fought back against the Germans. He replied that many Jews did
fight. He then recalled the sudden change in the behavior of the Jews and
the Germans at Auschwitz, once the Russian army's new "gun control" policy
changed who had the guns there: "And today, when I am asked that question, I
tell people it doesn't matter whether you're Hungarian, Polish, Jewish, or
German: If you don't have a gun, you have nothing."

- Richard Griffiths is a doctor of psychology with research interest in gun
issues. Dave Kopel is a NRO contributing editor.
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