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

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Published: Mon, 26 May 2003 01:00:00 UTC  Author:  Craig Hoy

            Ancram warns on post-Mugabe Zimbabwe

                 Michael Ancram has warned that Zimbabwe could be plunged
into a fresh crisis once the death knell is sounded on Robert Mugabe's

                  Amid growing signs that Mugabe's grip on power is
slipping, the shadow foreign secretary said the alternative could be equally
bad for the people of Zimbabwe.

                  Calling for a concerted effort to ensure elections in the
country are "free and fair", Ancram warned that a culture of corruption and
suppression is now endemic.

                  "My fear about Zimbabwe is that the end may be nigh for
Mugabe - for reasons of nature as much as of politics - but that doesn't
mean he won't be succeeded by someone as bad," he told

                  "There are a number of lieutenants who are every bit as
bad as he is. Unless there is a deliberate international attempt to ensure
that the elections that follow the departure of Mugabe are properly
supervised and monitored you could get another rigged election and another
Mugabe-style dictator coming in."

                  The removal of Mugabe will not automatically secure
Zimbabwe a bright future, the shadow foreign secretary warned.

                  "He has created a corruption in that country where there
are a large number of people who have a vested interest in keeping that
corruption going because they are benefiting from it," said Ancram.

                  "Whether or not Mugabe is coming towards the end you still
the need for an international effort to ensure that there are free and fair
presidential elections, properly monitored from the moment of voter
registration onwards to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe will not re-elect
Mugabe or someone like Mugabe."

                  Challenging the prime minister to keep the diplomatic
thumb screws on, he warned against moves towards low-key lobbying of the

                  "The danger at the moment is that the world is turning
it's back on Zimbabwe," Ancram told

                  "We have had the story that Blair has been persuaded that
'quiet diplomacy' is the way forward.

                  "Quiet diplomacy basically allowed Mugabe to get to where
he is now, the ethnic cleansing, the death by starvation, the rape camps,
the torture and murder of opposition members.

                  "We need to keep reminding the world that all of these
things are happening in Zimbabwe."
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The Scotsman

Opposition claims top members of Mugabe's party want to defect


ZIMBABWE's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has claimed senior ruling
party officials have secretly asked to join his party, fuelling speculation
that President Robert Mugabe's days in power are numbered.

"We will accept [the officials] but they should not expect high posts and to
be treated with kid gloves when they come to us," Mr Tsvangirai told
supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at a rally this
weekend, according to a report in the Standard newspaper.

Mr Tsvangirai has been addressing back-to-back rallies across the country
over the past few weekends, ahead of street demonstrations scheduled for
early June.

He has promised his supporters that 2003 will be "the year of freedom". Most
here are taking that to mean the end of Mr Mugabe's 23-year stranglehold on
power, which has brought this once calm and prosperous country to its knees.

"We will not call on [the US president George] Bush to remove the despotic
dictator but we will do it ourselves because it is our responsibility," Mr
Tsvangirai told thousands of supporters at Saturday's rally in Chitungwiza,
an impoverished town just outside Harare.

He did not name the ruling party officials who he said had approached him
"in the Nicodemus hours of the night".

But the claim adds to speculation that even those in power here privately
believe Mr Mugabe's rule could soon be over.

Eyewitnesses at a rally yesterday in Harare's Highfield suburb said Mr
Tsvangirai claimed some ruling party officials had asked him: "What are you
going to do with us if you come into power?"

In January this year, Mr Tsvangirai claimed he had been approached by an
intermediary representing a top government official, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and
the army chief Vitalis Zvinavashe over plans to form a transitional
government and pension off Mr Mugabe.

That report was fiercely quashed by the government. But there are signs that
the 79-year old leader may be seriously considering stepping down.

On Thursday he hinted that some ZANU-PF leaders were engaging "in
clandestine activities over the issue" of who was to succeed him, the
government-run Herald said.

He said the party leaders were "consulting traditional healers and ancestral
spirits in search of charms".

As Zimbabwe edges closer to meltdown, electricity and bank workers last week
joined teachers on strike.

Parts of Harare, including the airport, were reported to be crippled by
power cuts last week.

Employees of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) were ordered
to report for work yesterday after the strike was declared illegal.

A strike last week by teachers over pay, which left pupils in many
low-income suburbs without lessons to go to, was also declared illegal. With
inflation now at 269 per cent, the government is struggling to contain
popular discontent.

The Zimbabwe dollar is said to be worth less than one cent of its value in
1990. The few people who have money move around with briefcases and car
boots full of cash in order to be able to pay for their purchases.

Employees of one of Zimbabwe's biggest banks, Zimbank, have also gone on

Amid calls for more demonstrations, city residents have begun panic-buying
what few goods are available. Long queues formed outside banks in Harare on
Saturday, while in shops people jostled to fill their baskets.
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Swindle As Way of Life

This Day (Lagos)

May 25, 2003
Posted to the web May 26, 2003

C. Don Adinuba

Petrol has been selling in the East for N85 per litre, instead of the
official price of N26. When a few days after Easter I refused to pay the
illegal price the manager of a petrol station, a suave fellow, justified his
price on the ground that every Nigerian was lawless and fraudulent.
"Otherwise," he argued, "the president, his party and the electoral
commission would not have declared outrageous election results". A number of
commercial cyclists and bus drivers who had all along been supporting me
suddenly changed position, wondering whether the president or any governor
still had the moral authority to challenge even criminals vandalizing
pipelines of petroleum products and public power facilities like cables.
"Our rulers are financial and electoral marauders," they chorused. Nigerians
may never understand the profoundly dangerous implications for every facet
of our national existence of the April 12 -19, May 3 2003 general election.
Trust, convincingly established as the basis of modern economic prosperity
and social development in every society, is now completely eroded in

Many citizens had thought that the general election was going to offer them
an opportunity to change most state governors, state and national
legislators and the president. If the sweeping changes had occurred, the
ruling Peoples Democratic Party would have been the greatest casualty. The
PDP - once described by its chairman Audu Ogbeh as "a political rally"
because what holds members together is not a common development vision or
ideology but the desperation for power- did what used to obtain in Mobutu's
Zaire and Saddam's Iraq: brazen suppression of the supreme will of the
people. For instance, in Odi, the town in Bayelsa State where Obasanjo's
troops razed down every house and mowed down every living thing, Obasanjo
scored over 80 per cent in the April 19 presidential vote.

Perceptive analysts are not altogether stunned at the official results of
the polls. There has been a massive deterioration of ethical standards in
the Nigerian political space since 1999. For one, there have been numerous
politically motivated murders, in addition to several communal and religious
crises which left in their wake thousands of deaths. For another, the
primaries which supposedly produced candidates for the 2003 general election
could not by any stretch of the imagination meet the irreducible standards
of acceptable conduct. Yet for another, the three conventions which the PDP
has held since Obasanjo's leadership were anything but free and fair because
the Presidency had its own candidates. Now, if the PDP would not hold free
and fair conventions because the presidency had vested interests, could it
realistically be expected to conduct a general election in which its members
were candidates, contesting against members of rival parties?

The subversion of the people's will in the 2003 general elections would not
have been so grand and brazen if we had not since 1999 been operating a
social order which consistently rewards perfidious acts in the name of
playing politics. The choice of Iyiola Omisore, standing trial for the
murder of Attorney General and Justice Minister Bola Ige, as the PDP
senatorial candidate in Osun East made nonsense of public morality. And the
declaration that Omisore won overwhelmingly in Ige's senatorial district is
tantamount to debasement of reason. We can now understand why Ige's wife
died of cardiac arrest recently and why there has been so much abracatabra
in the murder trial.

Those asking that the nation brook the perfidy of the recent election
"because it will not be repeated in 2007" are in historical error. When a
number of great irregularities were observed in 1999 by well-respected
people like former American President Jimmy Carter and Elizabeth Blunt of
the BBC, a lot of Nigerians pleaded that we overlook the grave errors for
sundry reasons. Little did Nigerians know that our people's readiness to
condone social evil was to embolden the PDP government to engage in an
electoral manipulation unknown in Nigerian history. If this fraud should
stand, then the PDP may not bother at all to conduct the 2007 polls; it will
just declare the results.

Nigerians will, as usual, be advised to accept the situation as an act of
God and "in the interest of our country's peace, unity, stability and our
nascent democracy". Citizens demanding justice and electoral integrity will
be denounced as "unpatriotic and anti-democratic forces working with foreign
and imperial elements to destabilize our great and beloved country. The
imperial forces must know that Nigeria has come of age and that we have been
an independent and sovereign nation since 1960".

Meanwhile, thousands of Nigerian traditional rulers, academics, journalists,
contractors, clerics and others desperate for contracts, appointments and
raw cash will be paying solidarity visits to seats of power across the land,
describing the rulers as "God sent and divinely ordained". Publicly-owned
media will be falling over themselves to overpublicise each visit. We will
all be treading a familiar path. When Ibrahim Babangida nullified the June
12 1993 presidential vote we saw all this inelegant drama, with the Ooni of
Ife, for example, saying during prime news on the network service of the
Nigerian Television Authority that "IBB is talking sense". When Sani Abacha
executed Ken Saro-Wiwa, which aroused an immense international furore, the
National Forum of Traditional Rulers and Leaders of Thought led by Jeremiah
Useni emerged overnight, assuming even diplomatic duties. Didn't all kinds
of Nigerians hold rallies to "persu ade" Abacha to formally accept his
adoption by all his five "leprous" parties as their presidential candidate?
Aren't the same characters involved in the ongoing Obasanjo re-election

Just as Abacha had Imams and pentecostal pastors praying at the Eagle Square
in Abuja for his transmutation, Obasanjo has prayer warriors like Sunday
Mbang, head of the Methodist Church, who describes the 2003 election as "the
freest and fairest in Nigerian history" and exuberantly calls for the arrest
of the presidential candidate of the opposition All Nigerian Peoples Party,
Muhammadu Buhari, for contemplating mass action in protest against the
polls. Yet, the church in the Philippines, Haiti, Poland and elsewhere has
used mass action to fight injustice and enthrone a more humane social order.
"Some people worship me with their lips, but their heart is far from me",
laments the Bible in Mark chapter 7 verse 6. What would Ricardo Antonich,
the Jesuit theologian and author of Christians In The Face of Injustice,
think of Mbang?

What is the mindset of an archbishop who advertises himself as a democrat
but calls for the arrest of a presidential candidate for merely exercising
his democratic right of rejecting an election result and warning of mass
action, a weapon heroically employed by pro-democracy campaigners to fight
Abacha? "There cannot be democracy without democrats", declares Francis
Fukuyama in his fascinating book, The End of History and The Last Man. Where
are the June 12 campaigners who enthusiastically argue that the action did
not spring out of any parochial considerations but rather grew out of a deep
sense of justice? Has justice been done since the May 12 2003 election?
Justice must have accents in Nigeria.

Our politicians seem determined to make Nigeria go the way of the Democratic
Republic of Congo, the second most naturally endowed country in Africa after
South Africa, but is today in ruins on account of the avarice and
irresponsibility of its political class. The penchant for the subversion of
the people's will has resulted in the mess known today as Liberia, Zimbabwe
and Cote d' Ivoire, ironically once among the most stable and prosperous
countries on the continent. Since the PDP does not possess the capacity to
inspire, sustain and deepen the Nigerian people's confidence up to 2007, a
National Conference of stakeholders in the Nigerian project is the only way
out of the present morass. It is a desideratum.

Adinuba is head of the Nigerian Office of Discovery Public Affairs
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Daily News

      Food insecurity worsens in southern Zimbabwe

      5/26/03 7:06:12 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      FOOD insecurity has worsened in the southern parts of Zimbabwe because
of poor harvests, according to the latest report from the United
States-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET).

      In its report, FEWSNET said food security had improved in Zimbabwe's
northern and central districts, where some households had managed to harvest
some crops this year.

      However, food insecurity had worsened in Matabeleland and the extreme
northern Zambezi Valley districts, where most households did not harvest any

      The FEWSNET report said: "The relief that farming households in the
central and northern main cereal growing districts are getting from the
2002/2003 cropping season's harvest is not being shared by households in the
southern and extreme northern Zambezi valley districts of the country, where
there is hardly any harvest.

      "The rural areas are solely dependent on food assistance for
 survival," the United States agency said.

      It said the impact on rural households of inadequate harvests in the
southern parts of Zimbabwe had been compounded by the death of up to 10
percent of the area's cattle herd, the main source of food and draught power
in most of Matabeleland.

      Cattle herds in Matabeleland have been hit hard by the drought that is
also partly blamed for Zimbabwe's food insecurity, which has left close to
eight million people in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.

      Destocking by cattle producers has also contributed to the decline in
the cattle herd.

      Many large-scale cattle producers have been forced to cut their herds
because of the uncertainty caused by the government's controversial land
reform programme.

      Under the programme, which is also estimated to have cut food
production by more than 50 percent in the past two years, the government has
taken over most white-owned land to resettle black peasants and aspiring
commercial farmers.

      Cattle deaths in the Matabeleland region have also been blamed on
tick-borne diseases, against which farmers are unable to protect their
livestock because of shortages of dipping chemicals.

      Most agricultural chemicals used in Zimbabwe are imported and supplies
have been hit by the country's severe foreign currency shortages.

      Meanwhile, FEWSNET said food insecurity had also worsened in urban
areas, with many households unable to buy maize, bread, cooking oil and
other basic commodities.

      "Urban populations remain by and large without any large-scale food
assistance programmes, yet these households are becoming more food insecure
as the national economic situation depreciates further," the FEWSNET report

      The Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the sole trader in maize and wheat in
Zimbabwe, is reported to have received insignificant maize deliveries
because most farmers are holding on to their harvests for household

      This has worsened the plight of urban consumers, who rely primarily on
the GMB for food supplies.

      Zimbabwe is expected to produce between 800 000 and 900 000 tonnes of
maize this year, less than half the national annual requirement of two
million tonnes.

      Food experts have urged the GMB, reeling under a $50 billion debt
accrued from rolling over grain bills since 1998, to import more maize this
year to avoid a food crisis.

      The company is however hampered by its precarious financial position
and the hard cash shortages affecting the country.

      Most food aid programmes put in place to feed millions of Zimbabweans
threatened with starvation because of drought and the land reform programme
are expected to end next month.

      However, experts say Zimbabwe will need to import food for the next
two to three years because of the severe damage done to its agricultural
sector by the government's resettlement programme.
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Daily News

      State to ask UN agency to extend food assistance

      5/26/03 7:06:39 AM (GMT +2)

      The Zimbabwean government is to make a formal request to the United
Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to extend emergency assistance to
millions of its citizens facing starvation.

      WFP deputy executive director Sheila Sisulu said the results of a crop
assessment, to be released next week by the UN's Food and Agriculture
Organisation and the WFP, will reveal the extent of the food crisis in the

      The WFP is running its biggest relief project in Southern Africa, with
assistance being rendered to Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique
and Zimbabwe.

      Sisulu met with Zimbabwe's Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, July
Moyo, and officials from the departments of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs
in Zimbabwe this week.

      "All of them were very clear that they were going to make a request
for assistance to the WFP," Sisulu said.

      "The extent of the request will be indicated to us in the coming week.

      "We will all be watching those figures to determine the extent of food
assistance that is going to be required all round, specifically in

      She said the WFP had been preparing to move out of Zimbabwe as its
emergency intervention period ended in June.

      Zimbabwe has the largest number of people requiring assistance, with
an estimated 7,2 million people facing hunger due to drought and crop

      The high prevalence of HIV/Aids is exacerbating the problem.

      Sisulu said the WFP gave assistance to the most vulnerable people. In
March, during the height of the relief programme, the organisation provided
food aid to five million Zimbabweans.

      "We averted a crisis in the region. If the international community had
not come to the rescue at the time that it did, we could have had a serious
crisis," she said, adding that although there had been rain in some areas in
dire need, it had not broken the drought.

      The WFP is also providing relief in Ethiopia, which is facing a severe
drought, and in Eritrea and other areas in the Horn of Africa.

      It is also planning to increase its activities in the Democratic
Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast, where civil conflict has sparked a
humanitarian crisis.

      Politics had a negative impact on people's safety and security, Sisulu
said. "If asked whether this is the case more so in Africa, I would have to
say yes."

      Since the end of the war in Iraq the WFP has resumed operations in
that country, using the former government's distribution infrastructure to
provide food aid.

      "The former government of Iraq had a very good distribution system as
a large percentage of the population was dependent on food supplies. The war
has destabilised this but we are now restoring the network," Sisulu said.

      She returns to the WFP's headquarters in Rome this week after spending
time with her family in South Africa following the death of her
father-in-law, Walter Sisulu.
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Daily News

      ILO to discuss worsening human rights in Zimbabwe

      5/26/03 7:07:07 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE International Labour Organisation (ILO) will discuss the worsening
human rights situation in Zimbabwe at its annual conference in Geneva next
month, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general Wellington
Chibhebhe told The Daily News yesterday.

      Chibhebhe said Zimbabwe, which last year was heavily criticised by the
international union movement over human rights abuses, was again on the
agenda of the ILO's 2 to 19 June meeting.

      Chibhebhe said: "Zimbabwe is certainly on the agenda because the
situation has deteriorated. There will be a follow-up on the questions
raised and the resolutions passed last year by the Committee on Standards.

      "Certain issues were raised, including the adherence to Convention 87,
which deals with the freedom of association, and Convention 97, which deals
with the right to organise."

      Zimbabwe's human and labour rights situation has deteriorated in the
last three years as President Robert Mugabe battles to keep swelling public
discontent over his rule under check.

      Several trade union leaders have been arrested in the past 12 months
for organising strikes by workers to press for better living conditions.
Under the government's draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA),
Zimbabweans must first seek approval from the police before they can hold a
public meeting or protest.

      The police have frequently used POSA to break up meetings of the ZCTU
even though under the law the union can organise meetings of its officials
or members without having authorisation by the police.

      Nine ZCTU officials were arrested last year while attending a labour
symposium organised by the umbrella union body. The labour officials were
charged with plotting to overthrow the government but were released after 48
hours in custody because the Attorney-General refused to prosecute because
of lack of evidence.

      International labour leaders have also not been spared harsh treatment
by the government with some of them refused entry into the country. Last
Friday Commonwealth Trade Union Council director Annie Watson was saved from
deportation at the last minute after the ZCTU pointed out to the government
the potential political damage of such a move.

      In the farming sector, once the biggest employer in the country, an
estimated 300 000 workers have lost their jobs after the government seized
farms from white farmers who employed them.

      The workers have been left out of the government's land reforms under
which it is ostensibly redistributing the farms to landless black peasants.

      Chibhebhe said the government was also supposed to have sent a copy of
its new Labour Relations Amendment Bill to the ILO before passing it into
law but he said it was not clear whether that had been done. The new Labour
Relations Amendment Act limits workers' right to industrial action.

      Meanwhile, the ruling ZANU PF party-linked Zimbabwe Federation of
Trade Unions (ZFTU) says it will also attend the ILO annual conference.

      The ZFTU, which is led by ZANU PF official and war veteran Joseph
Chinotimba, is viewed by many as a government creation intended to weaken
the ZCTU.
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Daily News

      MDC has prepared groundwork for mass demos

      5/26/03 7:07:49 AM (GMT +2)

      By Margaret Chinowaita Staff Reporter

      MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) officials yesterday told The
Daily News that the party had already finished the groundwork for the mass
demonstrations planned for next month.

      They said the week of prayer called by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai
yesterday was a last-minute move to psychologically prepare Zimbabweans for
the unprecedented march against Mugabe. "The mass action is scheduled to
start around 2 June unless there are major changes to the plan," one MDC
official said.

      Tsvangirai urged his supporters to pray for the next four days in
preparation for final confrontation with President Robert Mugabe.

      The main opposition leader, who has been touring the country readying
his supporters for what he terms the "final push" against Mugabe, told about
15 000 MDC supporters at Zimbabwe Grounds in Harare's Highfield high-density
suburb to hold prayers every lunch hour from tomorrow up to Friday.

      He said the dates for the mass demonstrations, to force Mugabe out of
, would be announced at the end of the prayer week. The anti-Mugabe
demonstrations would simultaneously take place in every town and city, he

      Tsvangirai said: "This week will be a week of prayer in preparation
for the demonstration. You will be preparing for a democracy march which
will take place in every town.

      "We will inform you how the demonstration will be held through the
local party structures."

      Analysts have warned that any opposition march on State House is
likely to meet with stiff resistance from Zimbabwe's army which is loyal to
the ageing leader.

      Veterans of the liberation war that was led by Mugabe have vowed to
use military force to crush any attempts by MDC supporters to march on State

      Tsvangirai yesterday called on his followers to be courageous.

      He said: "There is no room for cowards where we are going, each and
every one of us should participate in this final push. This time it is a
test on you. There is no liberation that is brought about by the leaders, it
is brought about by you the people."

      Tsvangirai told his supporters to be peaceful during the planned mass
demonstrations, which he said would not be called off until Mugabe resigned.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      A refreshing signal

      5/26/03 7:15:35 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's invitation to members of his ruling ZANU PF
to openly discuss his successor as leader of the party is a refreshing
signal that the President might be ready to pass on the baton to someone
younger and with fresh ideas for resolving Zimbabwe's worsening economic,
political and social crises.

      Broaching a subject that has in the past been taboo within ZANU PF and
the government, Mugabe last week told supporters at Mt Darwin in Mashonaland
Central province: "The issue of my successor must be debated openly,
although I would urge you not to allow it to create divisions within the

      Mugabe repeated the call for open debate on his successor at another
ZANU PF rally held near Marondera city two days later.

      No doubt most Zimbabweans, and that includes hundreds of thousands of
supporters of ZANU PF, agree with Mugabe that after 23 years at the helm, it
is time he took a rest from active politics.

      Not least because the nation has realised that he might no longer have
the ideas needed to marshal the country and even his own ZANU PF party

      It is important that now that he has indicated his readiness for the
succession issue to be discussed freely that Mugabe go a step further and
muster the courage to tell the nation when exactly he intends to step down.

      Before he actually steps down, however, he must set aside his burning
antipathy towards Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), and finally sit down at a negotiating table with
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

      It is crucial for the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis that Mugabe
and Tsvangirai put their heads together to plot a way out of the country's
political impasse. This is necessary if the government is serious about
stopping the country's economic meltdown.

      Even Mugabe must realise that no matter how able his successor, he or
she will not be able to put Zimbabwe's economy back on the path to recovery
if there is no political settlement between the government and the main
opposition party.

      Before he goes, the President should also address the concerns of the
international community, to encourage the release of aid and balance of
payments support withheld in protest against his government's policies.

      As he prepares for his departure, Mugabe could now move to stamp out
lawlessness, political violence and human rights abuses, to name only a few
of the international community's concerns.

      Mugabe should do all the above even if only because he does not want
to leave as his legacy a crumbling economy and hopelessly divided nation.

      Those wishing to take over from Mugabe in ZANU PF and in the
government should, as their leader is urging them, come out openly to
declare their intentions in the best interests of the nation.

      Zimbabweans should be able to judge for themselves the calibre of
potential future leaders.

      Clandestine and divisive machinations aimed at placing one ahead of
the others in the race for the top job are destructive, not only to ZANU PF,
but the country as a whole.

      ZANU PF may lose power one day but the party must remain a strong and
organised political organisation.

      It would be a debilitating setback for the bigger struggle for
democracy in Zimbabwe if the ruling party was to be sacrificed and destroyed
because of unbridled ambition by a few individuals within the party.

      ZANU PF's own performance as an unrivalled political power for 19
years, until the formation of the MDC in 1999, should be a salutary lesson
to all Zimbabweans that never again must they allow one man or group, no
matter how well intentioned, to dominate their lives without challenge.
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Leader Page

      Party politics, not skin colour, to blame for crisis

      5/26/03 7:17:25 AM (GMT +2)

      By Cathy Buckle

      Many years ago there used to be a small establishment in Marondera
called The Three Monkeys Inn.

      This pub has long since gone, but the image it brought to mind of the
famous three wise monkeys is never more apt than today. Picture three
monkeys sitting side by side. The first has its hands over its mouth, this
primate speaks no evil.

      The second has its hands over its ears and is the monkey that hears no

      The third covers its eyes with its fingers and this monkey sees no

      I am sure we could all find human forms to fill the places of the
three monkeys who see, speak and hear no evil.

      Perhaps one should be Nigerian Foreign Minister Sule Lamido after his
recent unbelievable pronouncements in London at the closing of the
Commonwealth ministers' meeting which again maintained Zimbabwe's suspension
from the Commonwealth.

      Lamido said: "I find people are so patronising about their concern for
the welfare of the people in Zimbabwe. It should be seen from the
perspective of the African people."

      Whilst he does not mention the colour of the African people's skin, we
assume that Lamido means that the issues in Zimbabwe should be seen from the
perspective of black people in our country.

      What an insult and a tragedy that after 39 months of mayhem in
Zimbabwe someone as supposedly well informed and important as the Nigerian
Foreign Minister cannot see just exactly who is suffering now in Zimbabwe.

      There are eleven and a half million people in Zimbabwe and a generous
estimate as to how many white-skinned people still live here is perhaps 30
000 or 40 000.

      White people make up less than one half of 1 percent of our population
and yet Lamido has the gall to say that the problems should be seen from the
perspective of African people. We do see the problems from that perspective,
Sir, the problem is that you don't, or won't.

      When the ZANU PF government seized 95 percent of the country's farms
they made 4 000 white farmers homeless and jobless. This is a minute drop in
a huge ocean when compared to the 300 000 black farm workers who were made
homeless, jobless and destitute by the land grab.

      In a recent government-initiated audit of who is now running Zimbabwe'
s farms, the names were a who's who in Zimbabwe and included everyone from
ministers to army and police chiefs and senior ZANU PF officials. So which
perspective do you see this from, Lamido, a black one or a ZANU PF one?

      Well over 200 people have died violent deaths in the past three years
and their murderers still walk free to this day. Of those 200 people, less
than 15 had white skins and less than another 15 belonged to the ruling ZANU
PF party. So which perspective do you see from these statistics, Lamido,
black or white?

      Over three million people have fled Zimbabwe in the last 39 months and
are now economic or political refugees living in other countries.

      Ninety-five percent of the people who have left home are black
Africans who were unable to survive here and unwilling to live in a country
where there is no freedom of speech, movement or association.

      In 2002 the World Food Programme fed eight million starving
Zimbabweans and this year, if and when our government gets round to
admitting that we haven't got anything to eat again, the world will feed 7,6
million black Zimbabweans.

      This isn't about black and white, Lamido, it never has been - it's
about the survival of a political party and you, along with other African
leaders, are doing a great disservice to the people of Zimbabwe and your
black brothers and sisters.

      As long as you continue to see the crisis in Zimbabwe, which is
destabilising the entire sub-continent, as a matter of skin colour, the more
people will suffer and die.

      Any fool can use skin colour as a scapegoat to explain away the issues
in Zimbabwe, but it takes men of vision, of courage and who have a genuine
compassion for humanity, to open their eyes and see for themselves who the
real losers are here.

      There is only one perspective to see the death of Zimbabwe from, and
that is party politics and not skin colour. There are none so blind as those
who will not see.

      Cathy Buckle is a housewife based in Marondera
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Daily News

      Harare needs extra $60bn due to rising costs

      5/26/03 7:07:02 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Goko Business Reporter

      THE Harare City Council urgently requires about $60 billion to meet
cash shortfalls caused by escalating prices of commodities and materials
required by the municipality and the high cost of foreign currency required
to pay foreign suppliers of water reticulation chemicals.

      Town House spokesman Cuthbert Rwazemba said the council had set aside
$33 billion for expenditure this year but escalating costs had left the city
needing an extra $59,5 billion which residents must provide.

      Rwazemba said for instance, the cost of water treatment chemicals had
increased about 15 times since the beginning of the year.

      He said: "Water treatment chemicals are largely imported and as such
this has the effect of increasing the cost purification of water by 15 times
from the budgeted $2,5 billion to $27,5 billion."

      Inflation which surged to a record high of 269,2 percent last month
had eaten into council coffers while the Zimbabwe dollar's fall by 1 398
percent against major currencies such as the United States of America dollar
had not helped matters for the council treasury.

      Rwazemba said the council had not yet made a final decision on how to
raise the additional money because it was still to consult residents and
other stakeholders.

      He said Town House had for the time being resolved to implement a
number of cost-cutting measures including tightening allocations of fuel to
council staff, recycling of paper and forging of partnerships as well as
out-sourcing non-core business and activities.

      The council will also step up efforts to collect all outstanding
rates, rent and other charges from residents with plans to enforce payment
through litigation.
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Zim, 150 others ban tobacco advertisements

From Bulawayo Bureau
Zimbabwe, along with more than 150 other countries in the world has banned
tobacco advertising in an effort to discourage smoking, the Minister of
Health and Child Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa has said.

Dr Parirenyatwa told our Bulawayo Bureau from Geneva, Switzerland, where he
is attending the World Health Assembly, that the countries have signed a
convention banning tobacco advertisements in a bid to discourage smoking,
particularly among the youths.

Although tobacco industry officials were not available for comment yesterday
analysts said the move would adversely affect the industry.

Dr Parirenyatwa said the convention was binding and all signatory countries
were expected to honour it.

He said it had been discovered that the adverts encourage smoking, which has
resulted in millions of deaths in the world.

"We (The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare) are going to hold a meeting
next week with various stakeholders in the tobacco industry (in Zimbabwe) to
chart the way forward following the ban of the adverts since tobacco is the
largest foreign currency earner in the country,'' he said.

According to the World Health Organisation, 3,5 million people die annually
worldwide from tobacco-related diseases and this figure is expected to
increase to 10 million by 2020.

About 70 percent of the deaths are expected to be in developing countries.

WHO has blamed the rise in tobacco-related deaths on weak action by
governments, international trade and cheap tobacco prices.

Statistics compiled by the United Nations Children's Fund showed that the
number of children who smoke is now greater than before.

A survey conducted by the organisation showed that out of 1 358 secondary
school pupils who participated in the survey, 23 percent had smoked while
36,6 percent of those who had never smoked were likely to start smoking the
following year.

According to WHO, research has shown that pregnant women who smoke risk
giving birth to mentally retarded children or small babies.

Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke usually suffer from respiratory
diseases such as asthma attacks and sudden infant death syndrome.

Smoking also causes diseases of the heart and circulation, diseases of lungs
and the stomach in particular ulcers and cancers of the mouth and bladder,
eye irritation, sore throat, cough and headache.

Organisations such as the Rehabilitation and Prevention of Tuberculosis and
WHO have always been advocating a smoking ban in public places.

In Zimbabwe, the Government banned smoking in public transport vehicles,
trains, planes and eating places in October last year.

Dr Parirenyatwa said the summit also encouraged health ministers to
discourage smoking among the youths and pregnant women.
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Business Report

Zimbabweans stock up ahead of likely stayaway
May 26, 2003

By Sapa-AFP

Harare - Banks in central Harare were faced with long queues on Saturday amid fears that more general strikes might soon be called and reports that banks were limiting cash withdrawals.

Journalists reported at the weekend that many people were waiting outside cash machines in Harare's main First Street and surrounding areas.

A three-day work stoppage last month left banks and customers struggling for cash and the situation appeared to have worsened since, with official media reporting that the central bank no longer had the necessary foreign currency to buy the materials needed to print new notes.

The state-owned Herald newspaper on Saturday reported that cash shortages had resurfaced at "most banks in Harare".

"Now we can't even get our money when we need it," the paper quoted one would-be customer as saying 

The newspaper said customers were only being allowed to withdraw a maximum of up to Z$20 000.

Zimbabweans are struggling under shortages of many basic goods, including foodstuff and fuel, while year-on-year inflation last month topped 269 percent.

Today is a public holiday in Zimbabwe and there have been reports that there could be more protests soon, although the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has set no definite date.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions last week advised people to stock up on provisions and to keep money aside for a possible indefinite job stayaway. Military veterans are reportedly mobilising to crush any strike.
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Daily News

Accurate reporting yes, but don’t intimidate the suffering people

5/26/03 7:09:52 AM (GMT +2)

YOUR front-page headline on 23 May War vets vow to crush mass action is intended to intimidate the populace and it seems that The Daily News, with its various editorial changes made recently, is tending to lean towards the government line.

This is a very clever move by our very confidential Security Ministry, headed by Nicholas Goche.

There has even been a big “act” by Jonathan Moyo about penalising the journalists who were registered with a different newspaper and have now changed stables. This is to make it seem that he is angry but underneath, he is rubbing his hands with glee.

A previous announcement in The Daily News gave the first hint some months ago when there was a headline to the effect that Morgan Tsvangirai had been grilled at a meeting held in the northern suburbs by his supporters.

There was never a public apology made for it, but there was an admission that there was an error made and that there was to be an investigation into the matter.

People appreciate accurate reporting, but do we need to intimidate the people who are suffering so much these days at the hands of a ruthless government?

Maybe the Americans and British should make a counter threat.

What will Thabo Mbeki do about it if he has anarchy on his doorstep? Nothing I guess . . . maybe he will reiterate his favourite saying: “The people of Zimbabwe must sort out their own problems.”

Support the Suffering Harare
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