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

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28 May 2003
Three women arrested for attending prayer meeting.

At least three women that include Theresa Maonei were arrested by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police at First Street in Harare this afternoon. The women were part of a crowd of at least 2000 people who gathered at 1st Street to attend a lunchtime prayer service for the return to peace for Zimbabwe. Pastor Munemo of Apostolic Faith Mission conducted the service.

The President of the Movement for Democratic Change Morgan Tsvangirai at a campaign rally called on all Zimbabweans to pray for the country ahead of the peaceful demonstrations the party has called for next week.

Members of the riot police broke the prayer meeting by ploughing into the crowd right in the middle of prayers and indiscriminately assaulted the people who had gathered most of them women using baton sticks. They also threw tear gas into the crowd.

They chased people in all directions injuring at least twenty people. Rev Munemo has since gone to Harare Central Police Station to inquire on the three women who were arrested. He can be contacted on 091394217.


Paul T Nyathi
MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity.

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Don't blame Mugabe for everything

Many of Zimbabwe's problems are the legacy of colonial rule

Thabo Mbeki
Thursday May 29, 2003
The Guardian

Our experience in the African National Congress tells us unequivocally that
no lasting solution to the challenges that face Zimbabwe will be found
unless that solution comes from the people of Zimbabwe themselves. It tells
us that no self-respecting Zimbabwean with any pride in his country will
accept that another should determine his destiny.
In the heated atmosphere that surrounds the issue of Zimbabwe, the tendency
to pose as high priests at the inquisition, hungry for the blood of the
accused, has taken root - as though to demonise and punish is the way to
solve the most difficult problems. In this situation, as in war, the truth
soon becomes a casualty.

From its very beginning as an independent country, Zimbabwe understood that
it had to address the domination of the socio-economic sphere by the white
minority - a legacy of colonialism. However, because of agreements reached
during the independence negotiations in London, which counterbalanced the
principle of black liberation with the protection of white property, the
issue of land distribution was virtually quarantined. London inserted into
the political settlement the racist notions of black majority rule and white
minority rights.

Beyond this, the new democratic state worked to advance the socio-economic
interests of the liberated majority. It focused on meeting the needs of the
people, changing the state machinery to reflect the new political reality,
and encouraging black participation in the economy and society in general,
so that the majority joined their white compatriots as actors for
development, rather than mere consumers and employees.

To advance these objectives, the government ploughed considerable resources
into education, with dramatic success. Significant state expenditure went
into health too, resulting in an increase in life expectancy from 55 to 59
years. Spending on rural development resulted in the small farmers' share of
marketed maize rising from zero in 1980 to 70% in 1989.

By 1991, the civil service wage bill accounted for 16.5% of GDP, a burden on
the economy caused by the rapid expansion of state services and the drive to
achieve equal pay for black civil servants. Spending on the social sectors
during the same year amounted to 13% of GDP.

To alleviate poverty, the state decided to adopt measures that would keep
the cost of living low. This was done through a system of subsidies, which
has been maintained for two decades. By 1990, such subsidies absorbed a
staggering 3.7% of GDP.

These extraordinary expenditures could only be sustained by running a large
budget deficit and through foreign borrowing. In other words, live now, pay
later. By the end of the first decade of independence, public sector debt
stood at 90% of GDP. The capital needed to finance economic growth began to
dry up.

Contrary to the false assertions about the socialist Mugabe government,
Zimbabwe remains an overwhelmingly capitalist economy; but by 1987 private
investment had dropped to less than 8% of GDP, compared to an already low
12% in 1985.

As early as 1984, when the government had to appeal to the IMF for
assistance, it was clear that the path it had chosen was unsustainable. But,
contrary to what some now claim, the economic crisis currently affecting
Zimbabwe did not originate from the desperate actions of a reckless
political leadership, or from corruption. It arose from a genuine concern to
meet the needs of the black poor, without taking into account the harsh
economic reality that we must pay for what we consume.

The longer the problems of Zimbabwe remain unresolved, the more entrenched
poverty will become. The longer this persists, the greater will be the
degree of social instability, as the poor respond to the pains of hunger.
The more protracted this instability, the greater will be the degree of
polarisation and social and political conflict.

To respond to this, the state will have to emphasise law and order. As it
responds in this way, the less will it be able to address anything else
other than law and order. The more it does this, the greater the absence of
order and stability. None of this will happen because there are demonic
people in Harare. The internal logic of society compels all of us to be
carried along by events, to destinations we may not have sought. As has
happened with us at various times, Zimbabweans too will have to break the
vicious cycle.

As neighbours, we will encourage Zanu-PF and the MDC to sit down together to
agree on a common response to the challenges their country faces. As
patriots who occupied the same trench of struggle with Zimbabwe when we,
together, battled to end white minority rule in our region, we will do what
we can to enable Zimbabweans to enjoy the fruits of their hard-won
liberation. Righteous and self-serving indignation will achieve nothing.

Thabo Mbeki is the president of South Africa
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Zimbabwe opposition calls out the people

Andrew Meldrum
Thursday May 29, 2003
The Guardian

The Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, increases the pressure
on President Robert Mugabe today by calling for a five-day national strike
and urging the people to take to the streets.
"Rise up in your millions and take part in nationwide peaceful protest
marches for democracy and good governance to encourage Zanu-PF [the
government party] to take dialogue seriously," he says in an advertisement
published in the Daily News today.

Mass public protest is a new strategy for the opposition party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), and it is not certain that the marches will

The Mugabe regime has shown it is not afraid to call out the police and army
to break up public demonstrations critical of the government.

Public anger at the shortage of food, fuel, electricity and even bank notes
has risen to a new peak this week, convincing the MDC to bring forward the

It had originally planned to hold it in mid-June.

The stoppage is expected to be a significant vote of no confidence in the
Mugabe regime.

The MDC has already closed the country down twice, with two national strikes
lasting two days and three days in March and April.

"The strike will be a success, there is no question about that," a
Zimbabwean journalist said.

"It is crunch time for the government. Everybody is angry. No one can get
fuel. No one can get cash, because the country has run out of currency.

"No one can afford even basic food. People are hungry. We have electricity
blackouts at any time. And everyone knows who is wrong. They blame the

Inflation has hit 260% according to official statistics, and many economists
say it is even higher.

Workers have not been fully paid for the past two weeks because the banks
are short of notes. The government does not have the foreign currency to
import ink and paper to print more of the increasingly worthless Zimbabwe

But even the rapidly growing public fury does not guarantee that the MDC
will succeed in mobilising a huge protest. The police and army have shown
that they will use rifles and tear gas against even a small protest.

It is difficult to concentrate a large number of people in the centre of
Harare because most of the capital's population lives in townships up to 20
miles away.

"It is difficult to say if the call for mass action will succeed," said a
lawyer. "The anger of the people is palpable, you can feel it. But so far no
one has held a mass public protest and people are afraid of being mowed down
by the police and army.

"But there is an increasing sense of desperation amongst many people that
they have nothing to lose, and that will make it dangerous for the Mugabe

Even if this effort to orchestrate a mass protest does not succeed, it could
pave the way for future action which could topple the regime, in the same
way that the former Serb president Slobodan Milosevic was forced to leave
office in Belgrade.

The police and army have armoured personnel carriers with water cannon. Some
also have machine guns. They were bought from Israel last year. But the
burgeoning crisis has weakened the confidence and morale of the security
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Daily News

      US warns Mugabe

      5/29/2003 7:52:26 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sydney Masamvu Assistant Editor

      PRESSURE mounted yesterday on President Robert Mugabe to resign, as
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it would stage
"Million March" street protests for one week from Monday while the United
States warned Harare against using strong-arm tactics to quell the protests.

      The protests, which the MDC has dubbed the "final push", are expected
to end on 6 June, when the opposition party's top leaders will meet to
review the situation.

      The US government, while urging the MDC to stage peaceful protests,
uncharacteristically warned the Zimbabwean government against using the iron
fist to crush the demonstrations.

      "We urge the movement, other opposition groups and civil society
organisations to conduct any and all protests peacefully," a US State
Department spokesperson said in a statement obtained by The Daily News in
Harare yesterday.

      "The Zimbabwe government reacted to a mostly peaceful stayaway last
March with violent repression, including numerous severe beatings of
stayaway participants and sympathisers. We strongly urge the government of
Zimbabwe to respect the right of the citizenry to protest peacefully and not
to follow through on threats to suppress the protests ," the statement said.

      It noted that Mugabe had repeatedly stated that the MDC would take
power over his "dead body" and that government officials had indicated that
the protests would be dealt with aggressively.

      Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi warned this week that the
government would come down hard on those caught breaking the law during the
planned protests, which he indicated threatened law and order.

      The US, fresh from militarily toppling Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein
with the support of Britain, did not say in its statement how it would react
to any violent suppression of the demonstrations.

      MDC insiders said yesterday the party's national action committee,
which has been working on the logistics of staging the street protests in
the past month, would finalise its preparations tomorrow.

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused to comment in detail on the
impending protest, saying he would relay his message to Zimbabweans on

      "I will be giving a statement on the proposed action in the next 48
hours," he said last night.

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi confirmed that the party's management
committee had resolved at a meeting held in Harare yesterday to embark on
the protests starting on Monday.

      Nyathi said apart from Mugabe failing to respond to a list of 15
demands raised by the MDC earlier this year centring on a return to good
governance, Mugabe no longer had the capacity, imagination nor policy
package to get Zimbabwe out of its deepening economic and political crisis.

      "Against this background, the MDC, which carries the mandate of the
majority, appeals to all Zimbabweans to register their concern by rising in
their millions to take part in nationwide protest marches," he added.

      Nyathi said during the one-week mass action, Zimbabweans should not go
to work but march in their millions in the streets to protest the collapse
of the country.

      MDC insiders said the protests, whose objective is to force Mugabe to
resign, would kick off on Monday and be reviewed by the party's national
executive on Saturday.

      The insiders said members of the MDC's top leadership, including the
national executive and parliamentarians, would lead the protests

      Sources said about 100 000 marshals had been trained to guide
protesters in Harare alone. They said protesters in Harare would start their
marches from Mbare and Highfield while others would move from the northern
suburbs so the two groups would meet at Africa Unity Square and Parliament
buildings, where they would be addressed by the party's leadership.

      From there, the sources said, the protesters would proceed to
Munhumutapa Building, which houses Mugabe's office, and then move on to
nearby State House, the President's official residence.
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Daily News

      State to fork out $54m on war vets' congress

      5/29/2003 7:55:39 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE government is to give $54 million to the Zimbabwe National War
Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA) to stage its long-delayed congress in Mutare
next month, a war veterans' leader said yesterday.

      ZNLWVA secretary-general Endy Mhlanga spoke as it emerged that top
ruling ZANU PF officials jockeying to succeed President Robert Mugabe as
party leader were also making overtures to fund the event, where the war
veterans are expected to discuss the succession issue.

      "The money ($54 million) is just part of a bigger budget earmarked for
war veterans' programmes. It is also meant to oil them in the face of
hostility that the government is facing," he said, confirming that the
government would fund the staging of the congress.

      He said the war veterans, classified as soldiers under Zimbabwe's
laws, were a government arm and were thus entitled to State funding.

      "The congress is on next month and we have budgeted $54 million for
it. Of course the money is coming from the government. July Moyo's ministry
(of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare) is the one that we are
dealing with and we will be getting the money soon," the ZNLWVA chief said.

      Official sources said although the government had battled in the past
year to buy enough food to feed eight million hungry Zimbabweans, it had
already set aside more than $50 million for the veterans' congress, whose
staging has been delayed by internal feuds in the past two years. The
sources said senior ZANU PF officials, keen to court the veterans' support
in their bid to become ZANU PF's new leaders, had also offered to sponsor
the congress.

      Mhlanga said: "I am under the impression that those who want to help
us are doing so in the spirit of just assisting the body. We won't be used
to further anybody's interests. We have already made our position clear on
the President's successor."

      The veterans have said they will endorse whichever candidate Mugabe
picks as his successor, although ZANU PF's constitution does not allow
Mugabe to do so. The veterans have also threatened to crush with the force
of arms mass demonstrations called by the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change from Monday to protest against Mugabe's economically ruinous

      Although the succession issue is purely an internal ZANU PF affair,
political analysts point out that the winner could possibly lead an interim
government that is likely to be formed ahead of fresh parliamentary and
presidential elections.

      Jockeying for Mugabe's party job got into full swing last week after
the 79-year-old leader hinted strongly for the second time in two months
that he could retire soon. Mugabe asked ZANU PF leaders and supporters to
debate his succession in public.
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Daily News

      Armed police run riot in Harare

      5/29/2003 7:56:39 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      ARMED riot police yesterday stormed into the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA)'s Workington Power Station and beat up workers
holding a meeting on the premises.

      Riot police yesterday also broke up a lunch-hour prayer meeting called
by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). They arrested three
women while others were assaulted in the First Street Mall in Harare.

      In Workington, over 70 striking ZESA workers sustained serious
injuries after they were beaten up and others were injured in the stampede
that followed the arrival of the armed policemen.

      Shepherd Mandizvidza, the ZESA spokesman, however professed ignorance
of the police action.

      But he said: "Personally, I think the police are well positioned to
justify why they took that decision."

      Mandizvidza said ZESA's position on the strike remained the same. He
said according to the Labour Court order issued on 23 May, the workers
should have returned to work while their representatives and management

      Some workers had returned to work "under protest" after their strike
was declared illegal at the end of last week. They met in Harare yesterday
to discuss the Labour Court ruling.

      In separate interviews yesterday, the disgruntled workers said the
meeting began early in the morning and they resolved to continue on a
go-slow because management was reluctant to address their grievances.

      "It was just as we rounded up our meeting that two policemen arrived
at our workplace and demanded to address us," one of the workers who were
beaten said. "The workers dispersed and started jeering at the policemen. We
told them to go away and advise our management that we needed them to
address us."

      The workers said when the police realised that they were not making
any progress, they drove off.

      The two officers allegedly returned later accompanied by about 15
armed riot policemen who forcibly opened the gates to the premises and
charged towards the gathered workers who were waiting for management to
address them.

      The police were still battling to contain the angry workers who were
demanding that the police leave their premises when The Daily News visited
the scene.

      About eight armed police officers with tear-gas canisters and batons
were standing guard at the front gate at Workington Power Station.

      Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, was unavailable for comment

      But Ian Munjoma, the secretary-general of the electricity workers'
union, said: "The police came to the ZESA premises, locked the main gate at
the transport yard and threw tear-gas canisters at the locked-in workers.
They severely assaulted them because they had nowhere to escape to. That's
cruelty of the highest order because there is no way physically dealing with
striking workers is allowed in the Labour Relations Act. It was wrong for
the management to call in riot police to attack genuine workers."

      He said workers would today meet with the ZESA management to continue

      Meanwhile, the three women arrested after police broke up a lunch-hour
prayer meeting in Harare were still detained at Harare Central Police
Station by late yesterday afternoon.

      The meeting was held in response to a call by MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who on Sunday urged Zimbabweans to embark on a week of prayer
before the start of anti-government protests next Monday.

      The arrested women were part of a group of over 2 000 people from
different denominations who had gathered for the prayers before riot police
broke up the meeting and started assaulting them.

      The Daily News could not establish what charges the three were facing
as Press officers at the Harare Central Police Station and the Police
General Headquarters refused to comment.

      A reverend organising the prayers said despite yesterday's arrests and
assaults, other prayer meetings would go ahead as planned.
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Daily News

      Residents' association wants to be part of Mudzuri case

      5/29/2003 7:57:08 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) yesterday made an
urgent chamber application to be included as an interested party in the
matter of the suspension of Elias Mudzuri, the executive mayor of Harare,
which is before the High Court.

      Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing, suspended Mudzuri on 29 April on allegations of

      On 9 May, Chombo lodged an urgent chamber application seeking an order
to prevent Mudzuri from continuing to function as mayor in breach of the

      Chombo cited Mudzuri and the City of Harare as the respondents.

      The CHRA, a voluntary umbrella group of 39 associations representing
residents in Harare suburbs, made the urgent chamber application seeking to
be included in the proceedings because it has a "direct and substantial
interest" in the mayor's suspension.

      Justice Susan Mavhangira is expected to make a ruling on the
application today or tomorrow.

      The CHRA is challenging the legality of Mudzuri's suspension. It also
wants the court to interdict any other actions by Chombo, whom it accuses of
using the police to enforce the disputed suspension.

      Armed riot police forced Mudzuri to leave town house on 5 May.

      Chombo, in his opposing affidavit to the CHRA's application, denied he
had ordered the police to evict the mayor.

      He said: "I deny that I ever directed the police to act on my behalf.
It is clear that I am seeking the enforcement of that order by way of court

      In his supporting affidavit for the CHRA's application, Israel Mabhoo,
the CHRA vice-chairman, said the association had been recognised by the
government, including Chombo's ministry, and the courts as the principal
association representing the interests of Harare residents.

      Clement Muchenga of the Attorney General's Office is representing

      He said: "In suspending the mayor, the minister was exercising a right
under council-central government relationship. Its exercise has no
connection to the fact that the mayor was elected and that the minister is a
political appointee. The right is personal in nature it relates to the
minister and mayor only, not all residents of the city."

      Muchenga said whenever a mayor was suspended, the deputy mayor took
over in an acting capacity.

      "In this way, council operations remain in operation. No right of the
residents is infringed on suspension. Though they elect a mayor, they have
no right to suspend him. The only way they can remove him from office is to
vote him out in another election," he said.

      Advocate Edith Mushore, instructed by CHRA lawyer Sheila Jarvis, said:
"That is exactly the right that CHRA seeks to enforce."

      Muchenga submitted that the ratepayers' interest in the matter was not
"direct and substantial" to the subject matter and once this was shown to be
so, the application would fail.

      He said: "This application fails also on that basis."

      But he added: "However, it cannot be denied that the suspension of
mayor is of interest to the ratepayers."
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Daily News

      Self-proclaimed labour body terrorises companies

      5/29/2003 7:57:41 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      A previously unknown group calling itself ZANU PF's Labour Centre is
causing havoc within Zimbabwe's industry and commerce circles, threatening
employers to reinstate dismissed workers or have them paid their terminal
benefits even in cases still pending before the courts.

      The so-called Labour Centre has written letters to several companies
using letterheads of the ruling ZANU PF party. The letters are signed by one
P Kunze, who claims to be the organisation's officer.

      Nicholas Mazarura, the deputy secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Allied
and Construction Workers' Union, yesterday said the self-proclaimed labour
group was causing "headaches" to employers within the construction industry.

      "Even as workers, we are puzzled as to how and in what capacity they
are terrorising companies," he told The Daily News.

      "Be it ZANU PF or the (opposition) Movement for Democratic Change,
political parties have no right to interfere in the operations of companies.
That is a total violation of labour laws."

      It could not be established yesterday whether the "Labour Centre" had
any links with the ruling party.

      ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira declined to make any comments on
the matter.

      The shadowy organisation is reportedly demanding $500 from each
disgrunted employee or fired worker who requires its assistance.

      Mazarura said 11 companies had been approached by the group, which
apparently operates from Simon Mazorodze Road opposite Mbare Police Station
in Harare.

      "We have been advising the companies concerned to ignore the letters
and report the matter to the police. Some have taken heed of what we told
them but some have ignored us because of fear," Mazarura said.

      In one of the latest letters dated 20 May 2003, a copy of which was
shown to The Daily News yesterday, Kunze wrote to a Harare company that is
based in Southerton demanding that it reinstate two employees who were
dismissed on allegations of theft or pay them their terminal benefits. "We
contacted Mbare Police Station but they have no information pertaining to
this case (of theft). The complainants allege that your company has been
sold but they are yet to receive their terminal benefits. If this is true,
you are supposed to give them what is due to them," Kunze wrote.

      A police official at Mbare Police Station yesterday said: "We don't
know about such an organisation. People must be on the look-out for people
who are there to reap where they did not sow. If you want finer details,
maybe you can phone our bosses at the headquarters."

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, who routinely refuses to speak to
The Daily News, was not reachable on his mobile phone yesterday.

      Mazarura said Kunze lied when he said the company in question had
closed down.

      "The company in question is just changing hands," he said. "Moreover,
if the workers in question were dismissed on allegations of theft, it is
only proper for the case to first be solved by the law of the land before
the workers can claim their benefits."

      In the run-up to the violence-marred presidential election last year,
ZANU PF supporters raided several Zimbabwean-based companies which they
accused of mistreating their workers. The gangs extorted millions of dollars
and, in some cases, beat up officials of some of the firms.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Moyo's lone and doomed mission

      5/29/2003 12:32:02 AM (GMT +2)

      HARD-NOSED South Africans must have been bemused, if not angered, by
brave but doomed attempts at the weekend by Zimbabwe's Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo to try to sell them what they certainly do not need Harare's
repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

      Moyo, infuriated by criticism of Harare's policies by South Africa's
Sunday Times, took the unprecedented step of directly appealing to President
Thabo Mbeki's office to intervene in toning down the newspaper's alleged
demonisation of President Robert Mugabe.

      "It would be a pity if, in the name of media freedom, we (Zimbabwe and
South Africa) allowed and assisted the development of a media in any of our
countries that is disrespectful and contemptuous of heads of state in the
region . . . ," he fumed in a lengthy letter to Essop Pahad, a minister in
Mbeki's office.

      While acknowledging that Pretoria did not have any editorial control
of the privately-owned Sunday Times, Moyo called for urgent talks between
the two governments to curb what he said was a perennially hostile South
African media.

      The Sunday Times' sin had been to mock Mugabe over comments he made
recently when he received part of the Zimbabwe Bird that had been exiled in
      "These media guys in South Africa should know that there is nothing
special about them and they should show respect to our leader (Mugabe),"
Moyo lectured Pahad.

      He then stated: "For the avoidance of doubt, I should state
categorically that we (the Zimbabwean government) believe in media freedom
as one of the pillars of democracy, yet we are clear that this freedom is
not a licence for vested interests to insult and demonise a head of state
from a friendly neighbouring country."
      So there was Moyo not only qualifying media freedom but telling Pahad
that the Sunday Times' criticism of Mugabe must stop, exactly what Harare's
repressive AIPPA was enacted to do and more.

      It is doubtful that Pahad will take Moyo's complaint seriously, let
alone act on it. The reason is simple and understandable: unlike Zimbabwe,
South Africa's constitution entrenches media freedom and the government
cannot and will not interfere in the operations of the media.

      Furthermore, South Africans themselves will not tolerate any
AIPPA-style legislation in their midst after struggling for so long and hard
to overthrow similar Stalinist tendencies of the former white supremacist
apartheid rulers.

      No doubt, Pahad and most South Africans would have also noted the
source of the latest outburst the same Zimbabwean minister who a few months
ago blasted Pretoria in very undiplomatic language after Moyo's eventful
holiday in Johannesburg.

      Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge had to work overtime to cool
down frayed tempers after Pretoria invoked an unusual diplomatic protest
seeking to know if Moyo's comments reflected Harare's new official position.

      Instead of seeking to export AIPPA to South Africa a futile exercise
Moyo and the government should re-examine those policies and acts of madness
which have rightly turned the international spotlight on a rogue regime.

      Indeed, Moyo's invective in the form of the letter sent to Pahad once
again makes the point that Harare does not care to listen to any diplomacy
this after South Africa and other regional states obliquely expressed
disquiet over AIPPA and had been made to understand that the Stone Age
legislation would be changed to try to give it a human face.

      If the truth be stated, Moyo's solo effort to try to reform a
fundamentally flawed and primitive law is an exercise in futility. He should
instead be working flat out to scrap the entire legislation and bring
Zimbabwe back into line with the rest of the civilised world.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Is MDC now heading for grand finale?

      5/29/2003 12:32:48 AM (GMT +2)

      By Kuthula Matshazi

      ACCORDING to the political opposition's pronouncements in the past
weeks, Zimbabwe could be witnessing profound changes in its political
spectrum after 2 June.

      This is the date that the official opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has set for countrywide demonstrations to force President
Robert Mugabe out of power.

      Part of the demonstration is an intended march to State House, the
official presidential residence, ostensibly to remove him.

      The MDC has been going around the country for the past weeks
announcing plans for the intended demonstrations and psyching up people for
the final showdown, code-named "Final Push".

      This is an important decision for two reasons. Firstly, it is a
make-or-break situation for the MDC, in terms of its political future and
that of the country.

      Secondly, it marks the possible dawn of a new era in Zimbabwe, where
politics would cease to be dominated by the ruling Zanu PF government.

      If the MDC goes ahead and undertakes the action successfully, then it
would have broken the Zanu PF stranglehold on local politics, albeit by hook
and crook.

      However if they fail, it marks their demise as a political party and
would shatter the hopes of many Zimbabweans who are pinning their
aspirations for transformation on these intended demonstrations. The MDC is
likely to lose credibility on the international stage as well.

      The stakes are very high for the MDC. While it braces for the final
showdown, the government, through the Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo
Mohadi, has come out forcefully, saying that it will deal with whatever
action it deemed unlawful with the full wrath of the law.

      This is a subtle way of indicating that the government will descend on
the demonstrators using the Public Order and Security Act, which prohibits
such gatherings.

      So basically, whoever is going to be involved in the demonstrations is
ready for the consequences. There shall be bloodshed.

      However, if the MDC fails to carry out the demonstrations, mainly as a
strategic retreat in order to prevent the killing of the people, its image
and that of its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, would be dented.

      Or there could be a suicidal scenario where large-scale killings occur
but still the MDC could fail to achieve the objective of deposing Mugabe and
his government.

      Tsvangirai has on several occasions flip-flopped on the issue of
dislodging Mugabe and the Zanu PF government from power by either
withdrawing the threat or remaining silent.

      The people have previously expressed their readiness for the
confrontation. What they say they lacked was the political leadership. So
now Tsvangirai has set a tall order for
      himself and the people of
      Zimbabwe. And he cannot be found wanting now.
      Adding to Tsvangirai's woes, The Daily News, while urging Tsvangirai
to do something concrete to force Mugabe and Zanu PF to solve the current
crisis, has fittingly warned against adopting a strategy that would result
in the further killing of large numbers of people.

      But whatever the final outcome should the demonstrations take place,
there surely could be widespread killing, brutal beatings, arrests and
      disappearances of people.

      While a change in Zimbabwe's politics is imperative, I doubt whether
the MDC would, this time around, be able to carry out their proposed
strategy successfully.

      But in politics, miracles abound.

      Kuthula Matshazi, is a Zimbabwean based in Toronto, Canada.
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Daily News

      Locals still use Zimdollars for air fares, says minister

      5/29/2003 12:37:05 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      THE government has not sanctioned the national airliner, Air Zimbabwe,
to charge Zimbabweans fares in foreign currency for domestic and
international flights, Transport Minister Witness Mangwende said yesterday.

      He said the Zimbabwe dollar was still the legal tender for companies
operating in the country.

      Mangwende's comments come after reports that Air Zimbabwe is
considering asking Zimbabweans to pay in hard currency for local and
international flights.

      "Government has not sanctioned any recommendations to require
Zimbabweans to pay for their local and international air tickets on Air
Zimbabwe in foreign currency," the minister said.

      He added: "It is common cause that the legal tender in Zimbabwe is the
Zimbabwe dollar, the national currency. Air Zimbabwe is required to use the
Zimbabwean dollar as has always been the case for Zimbabweans travelling
from the country to any and all of its destinations."

      He said any passengers asked to pay in forex should approach his
ministry so that "appropriate action" can be taken.

      Zimbabwe's fuel crisis, which is partly blamed on severe foreign
currency shortages, has hit the national airliner hard in the past month,
with one of its planes being forced to make an emergency landing in Zambia
to refuel.

      Several planes have had to refuel in neighbouring countries in the
last few weeks, while foreign jets are said to be stocking up on fuel before
leaving for Harare.

      Air Zimbabwe is also operating below capacity because of a decline in
foreign tourist arrivals.
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Daily News


      We have reached a point of no return

      5/29/2003 12:35:20 AM (GMT +2)

      By Pedius Sikisa

      Since late 1997, Zimbabwe has experienced a series of efforts to save,
not efforts to save the ailing nation, but rather to save the reputation of
collapsing politicians.

      The nation has had to face unnecessary expenditure: President Robert
Mugabe and his Cabinet moving numerous times around the world, spending
taxpayers' money in an unaccountable fashion, the rampant corruption and the
collapse of the rule of law.

      Plainly corruption damages economic development and hinders the growth
of democratic institutions. Corruption impedes the ability of developing
countries to attract scarce foreign investment and distorts capital

      Until recently, Zimbabweans were completely under manipulation and
without the zeal to set themselves free. The result of such activities is
that the hearts of Zimbabweans seemed to tire. The morale of an average
reasonable man or woman is so low towards national pride, and so high
towards personal pride. The spirit of uniqueness is used to destroy.

      Zimbabweans are getting more and more tired by the day, especially
towards the law.

      Assuming that the farm invasions were genuine, the owners of the land,
the war veterans, had to forego the law to take that land. And so students
and parents forego their part of law to retain education and health.

      It is important to look at the current state of government in Zimbabwe
in the context of the experiences that Zimbabweans have had in recent

      These have been painful and sad, and should challenge all who think
about Africa to stare the vulgarity, brutality and
      ugliness of its history in the face. The Zimbabwean history with
respect to national governments has been viewed against the tapestry of a
very unpleasant past and the present abuse of power. We cannot appreciate
and cherish our national constitution unless we interrogate this history the
human history that left us all with deep psychological scars and
existentialist bruises.

      Unfortunately this sad chapter of our history continues to exist. The
deal that was sealed by signatures of the European potentates in Berlin in
1885, which was not negotiated by Africans themselves, marked a new era as
the colonisation machine was turbo-charged.

      Only four years later in October 1889 Cecil John Rhodes
surreptitiously obtained a charter to colonise this beautiful piece
      of land using the fortune of his bogus British South Africa Company.
As such, Zimbabwe entered the same paraphernalia of colonial rule which was
the fate of most African countries and which every normal African condemns
in the extreme sense of the word.

      The decade 1953 to 1965 saw most African countries gaining
independence, with most of French Africa becoming independent in 1960. The
flying of national flags, introducing new names to highways, airports and
stadiums, made everyone happy.

      Unfortunately not much has been added to the "flag independence".
Africa entered a period of developmental enthusiasm. The charismatic leaders
who brought independence embarked on budget straining adventures in the hope
of quickly closing the gap between their nations and the First World.

      By 1980, most of them were heavily indebted. This is where Zimbabwe
did not learn. We got independence late, so late that it could have been a
blessing in disguise as we had a chance to see what could be appropriate and
inappropriate, learning from the successes and failures of projects embarked
upon by our fellow Africans who had attained their independence earlier.

      Twenty-three years later, we are even worse off than our African
brothers. We are bankrupt and heavily indebted, with basic requirements out
of reach, fuel shortages having an upward spiral to the price of all else
and inflation at more than 214 percent.

      Surely Zimbabwe is ungovernable. We should have learnt that the
independence struggle should be accompanied by a desire to liberate Africans
from all forms of domination from whoever is in power.

      Importantly, the focus of independence in Africa has been to replace
the white faces with black faces, while the "white system" remains.

      When we look at Rhodesian tactics and Zimbabwean tactics and find no
difference, then true independence is yet to come.

      Its also unfortunate that our leaders developed the same fallibilities
as those of our colonial masters. In order to close the wealth gap quickly,
our leaders legalised corruption. Why couldn't we learn that corruption is
the recipe which brought Africa to a standstill?

      The common disease among our leaders is denial of the truth. Proverbs
29 vs 2 says: "When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice, but
when a wicked man rules, the people groan." We have to stand for our rights
as Zimbabweans.

      We have reached a point of no return. It takes you and me to defend
those noble virtues and ideas. If we stand behind a donkey and it kicks,
surely it will be silly to blame the ass. Rise up as one and defend the
virtues that brought Zimbabwe into being.

      Pedius Sikisa is a student with the University of South Africa doing B
Com Economics.
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Economist warns SA to heed Zim's mistakes

PRETORIA -- Efforts by three African leaders to broker peace in Zimbabwe were being jeopardised by their continuing support for President Robert Mugabe, a Zimbabwean economist said yesterday.

Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi had dented their "honest broker status", Tony Hawkins told a conference here on security.

He said the three leaders had put forward a one-sided negotiation plan. Mugabe was allowed to set preconditions, but the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was not.

He also described attempts to get Zimbabwe reinstated to the councils of the Commonwealth as misguided.

Even with a speedy solution, it would take Zimbabwe at least five years to return to the economic footing it held in 1998, Hawkins said. It could take as long as 10 years to return per capita incomes and employment to their 1991 level.

Skills lost to the country were unlikely to return, confidence would be slow to recover, and donors would be hesitant to finance a "third honeymoon" after two huge aid injections in the early 1980s and 1990s.

"The damage done to the economy, especially to commercial agriculture and manufacturing, is permanent."

He said inflation was expected to surge from the present 269 percent to 500 percent by year-end.

South Africa could learn from Zimbabwe's problems which largely resulted from its failure since the mid-1980s to deliver on promises of jobs, land, education, health services and higher incomes.

The South African government should not create the impression that there were quick fixes to the country's own developmental backlogs.

Such suggestions were dangerous because it led governments to take steps like those taken by the government in Zimbabwe, he explained.

He advised South Africa to tackle expectations and land crises before they became unmanageable.

It should also be wary of frightening off investors with "quick fix" affirmative action and black economic empowerment, Hawkins said. -- Sapa

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