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

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Communist Party Slams Zimbabwe Human Rights Abuse

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

May 23, 2003
Posted to the web May 29, 2003

Jaspreet Kindra

The South African Communist Party, alliance partner of the ruling African
National Congress, has condemned Zimbabwe's "low-intensity democracy".

After its central committee meeting last weekend, the SACP stopped just
short of naming the ruling Zanu-PF regime. It "condemned authoritarianism,
torture of political opponents of the regime and gross violations of human
rights in Zimbabwe".

Spokesperson Mazibuko Jara also announced that the party would send its own
"fact-finding" mission to Zimbabwe in the next three months.

This is the party's strongest statement yet on the situation in South
Africa's northern neighbour and the only strongly worded condemnation of the
Zimbabwean regime to emerge from the alliance.

There has been concern within the SACP that not enough is being done to
resolve the Zimbabwean crisis. The party now says it will seek engagement
with the Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
a "complementary and not parallel process" with those of the South African
government and the ANC.

The non-governmental Zimbabwe Research Initiative reported this week that
inflation in Zimbabwe was expected to exceed 500% this year. Inflation in
South Africa stands at about 11%. The organisation also reported that the
Zimbabwean crisis had cost South Africa's "real economy" more than
R9-billion last year.

Jara said the SACP would try to establish links with individual socialists
within Zanu-PF and the MDC as well as with other socialist organisations in

"We wish to ensure that an independent socialist perspective emerges in
Zimbabwe and the Southern African region," Jara said.

The party also expressed "solidarity with the workers and the poor", who, it
said, "were the worst affected by the current crisis".

"The SACP stands firmly for the promotion of an environment in which free
political activity can take place without fear of intimidation," Jara said.

The SACP already has ties with other socialist political organisations, such
as Frelimo in Mozambique and the Communist Party of Lesotho.

Last month the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) condemned the
arrests of Zimbabwean trade unionists for protesting against the 200% hike
in fuel prices announced by the state.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is expected to launch an indefinite
mass stayaway next week to demand a reduction in fuel prices.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said the labour federation would "support
our fellow trade unionists in their struggle for basic human rights and
against poverty in Zimbabwe".
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Zimbabwe-Angola Sign Agric Co-Operation Agreement

The Herald (Harare)

May 29, 2003
Posted to the web May 29, 2003


ZIMBABWE and Angola yesterday signed an agreement for co-operation in the
agriculture sector.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Cde Joseph Made,
and his visiting Angolan counterpart Mr Gilberto Lutucuta signed the
protocol on behalf of the two countries.

Cde Made said the protocol would cover the exchange of ideas in agricultural
and veterinary research, agro-industrial production and animal and crop

"This protocol will give us a guidance in our co-operation. It will be in
effect for two years that will be automatically renewed for two more years,"
said Cde Made.

"We will enter into joint venture projects and recommend interested
companies from the private sector to work within the two countries."

The protocol would also cover an exchange programme for farmers.

Mr Lutucuta said Angola needed help in its reconstruction process that
started following the end of the a devastating civil war that affected the
country for more than two decades.

He said the country was ready to import agricultural inputs and equipment
from Zimbabwe to develop its own agricultural sector.

"It is very possible that some Angolans will come here for trading," said Mr

"We visited some seed companies that are very important for us.

"We had an opportunity to visit some livestock companies which we hope will
help us in our reconstruction programme in that field."

Mr Lutucuta arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday on a four-day visit that took him
to resettlement areas and agro-industries.

He said the visit helped him understand the land reform programme better.

"We also had the opportunity to know the capacity of the new farmers," said
Mr Lutucuta.

"We had the opportunity to see the support being given to the farmers by the

Mr Lutucuta said the rural agricultural base in Zimbabwe was very strong and
Angola needed to learn from how it was established.

Prospects of economic and social revival were high in Angola, as the county
had embarked on programmes meant to correct the damage caused by the civil

The war ended following the death in combat of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi in
February last year.

Savimbi led one of the most formidable rebel groups in Africa that fought
the Angolan government for more than two decades, but collapsed soon after
his death.
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            Zimbabwe military warns opposition not to protest
            May 30, 2003, 05:30

            Zimbabwe's military has warned it will deal forcefully with any
violence linked to next week's planned protest marches against President
Robert Mugabe. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), has called for a week of peaceful protests
beginning on June 2.

            He has asked Zimbabweans to come out "in their millions" to
demand that Mugabe step down. "Stand up and be counted. Demonstrate your
anger," he said in a statement. "Be peaceful. Be disciplined. Be vigilant.
Be courageous."

            The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), incorporating the army,
airforce and police, issued a warning to potential protesters, telling the
official Herald newspaper that prior demonstrations had "turned violent with
both innocent lives of citizens and property being deliberately destroyed."

            "In the light of this, the ZDF will not be an idle observer,
instead it will bring to bear its full force upon those perpetrators of
uncalled for violence," the paper quoted a ZDF statement as saying.

            A copy of the statement was not available to Reuters. The
statement from the ZDF, which traditionally supports Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF
party and took a strong stance against the opposition ahead of the country's
2002 elections, marked the military's first direct warning ahead of next
week's protests.

            Similar warnings delivered ahead of previous demonstrations have
usually been issued by the police.

            Tsvangirai urged protesters to exercise maximum restraint,
saying Mugabe's supporters "are actively planning to start violence."

            Tough new security legislation which Mugabe signed into law last
year outlaws public gatherings without police clearance, and on Wednesday
the MDC said riot police arrested three women among a crowd holding prayers
in Harare ahead of the planned opposition protests.

            Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain
in 1980, hinted last week for the second time in two months that he may be
ready to hand over to a successor amid a deepening political and economic
crisis many blame him for. However, he vowed the MDC, which he calls a
puppet of the West, would only rule "over our dead bodies".

            The MDC and labour unions each called strikes earlier this year,
which were among the biggest protests against Mugabe controversial
re-election in March 2002 polls that both the opposition and several Western
countries said were rigged. - Reuters
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Cape Times

      Zimbabwe out of money, new violence feared
      May 30, 2003

      By Basildon Peta

      Harare: Zimbabwean army units have begun deploying across the country,
with the military warning it will use its "full force" to quell any violence
during next week's street protests against President Robert Mugabe.

      Tensions have been stoked by the opposition stepping up its drive to
remove Mugabe from power and by a severe shortage of cash that has seen
banks scrabbling to find local currency and thousands of people queueing,
many of them hours before opening time, outside banks.

      Some banks have limited withdrawals to Z$10 000 (US$12.50) and have
resorted to buying currency from supermarkets and businesses, some of which
have been charging them a fee of 5%.

      The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Leonard Tsumba, said
yesterday the country was printing money "at full capacity" in an attempt to
ease the shortage and was to inject Z$24 billion (US$29 million) into the
economy by the middle of next month.

      "What we're trying to do is guard against unnecessary panic," Tsumba

      It was not explained how the bank, which had contributed to the
shortage as it lacked the foreign currency to import paper, had acquired the
materials it needed.

      Meanwhile, soldiers in barracks around Harare began moving weapons and
deploying in other cities and towns. The deployments would continue
throughout the weekend, government officials told the Independent Foreign

      Earlier, a middle-ranking army officer, who declined to be named, told
the Independent Foreign Service that Mugabe had ordered the military to arm
war veterans and youth brigades to help crush the opposition challenge to
his authority.

      This claim has not been confirmed, although the leader of the National
Liberation War Veterans' Association, Patrick Nyaruwata, said his militias
would resist what the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was
calling its "final push for freedom".

      Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, has called on Zimbabweans to
come out in their millions in street protests from June 2 to try to drive
Mugabe from power. But he has urged protesters to exercise maximum restraint
as Mugabe's supporters are "actively planning to start violence".

      "Be peaceful. Be disciplined. Be vigilant. Be courageous," Tsvangirai
said in a statement.

      The Zimbabwe Defence Forces, incorporating the army and air force,
said previous demonstrations had "turned violent with innocent lives of
citizens and property being deliberately destroyed".

      "In the light of this, the ZDF will not be an idle observer. It will
bring to bear its full force upon those perpetrators of uncalled-for

      The ZDF statement was the military's first direct warning about
protests. Before, such warnings have been issued by the police.

      The police have said they will crack down on illegal demonstrations.
Under the stringent security laws, permission must be sought from the police
for political gatherings.

      On Wednesday, riot police arrested three women in a crowd who were
holding a prayer meeting in a mall here.
      Prayer meetings have been held since Tuesday in response to
Tsvangirai's appeal to protesters to pray every day in preparation for next
week's campaign.

      Police claim these meetings are politically motivated and illegal.
They dispersed another here yesterday and arrested a woman prayer leader,
who sang hymns in defiance.

      Opposition pamphlets distributed before the prayer meetings said
Mugabe's repressive government had "lost all love and fear of God". They
likened Zimbabweans living in misery to the biblical Israelites in Egypt who
sought spiritual inner strength to confront forces of evil.

      Meanwhile, Tsumba pleaded with people to bank their cash and use
cheques and credit cards. Many people have been hoarding cash amid fears
that they will not be able to access it.

      Tsumba warned that the shortage of banknotes was likely to persist
because of soaring inflation - which is running at 269% and rising.

      The shortage has been crippling business operations and a black market
has arisen.

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The Mercury (SA)

      Mugabe deserves all the press criticism
      May 30, 2003

      Not surprisingly, Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has
lived up to his tainted reputation by requesting that President Thabo Mbeki
should stop the South Africa media for its "relentless demonisation" of
Robert Mugabe and of the Zimbabwean people.

      This plea re-emphasises the utter hopelessness which now exists in
that country.

      For besides the undeniable fact that the Zanu-PF faction has, under
the auspices of Mugabe, brought a once thriving and beautiful country to its
knees, nothing should be manipulated to allay what has occurred in Zimbabwe.

      This request reflects the skulduggery with which the leading party is
attempting to salvage its tenure in Zimbabwe.

      It would be yet another travesty if Mbeki (or his foreign minister)
were to respond favourably to Moyo's request.

      And, no less, even more of a let-down were he to in any way admonish
the South African media for its more than justifiable criticism of Mugabe
and his policies. He deserves nothing less.

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Daily News

      Police put on high alert

      5/30/2003 7:59:33 AM (GMT +2)

      By Farai Mutsaka Chief Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has summoned all officers on leave
to return to their bases by 4pm today as the government prepares to face
down week-long mass protests called by the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) from Monday.

      Senior police officials yesterday said they had been put on high alert
ahead of the protests, dubbed the "final push" by the MDC as it seeks to
pressure President Robert Mugabe to resign over charges of economic and
political mismanagement.

      The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however said they
had been ordered to use "minimal force" against the demonstrators to avoid
international condemnation of the government's handling of the protests.

      A senior policemen in Mashonaland West told The Daily News: "Everyone
has been ordered to be at their respective police stations by 4pm tomorrow
and everyone should be in riot gear. All strategic places will be heavily
guarded. We won't use force though."

      Griffiths Mpofu, the Deputy Police Commissioner who was said to be in
charge of the security plan, yesterday would not discuss the police's
strategy for the mass action.

      "No comment," he said. "These are security plans you are asking me
about. In fact, you know there is a commissioner of police, phone him."
      Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri was said to be out of the office

      ZRP officials said they had been ordered not to shoot and to use
minimum force while the army, also placed on high alert, would not play an
immediate role in dealing with the planned protests.

      The sources said all strategic national areas such as government
offices and fuel stations catering for State security vehicles would be
heavily guarded because of fears that opposition party activists could
tamper with them to immobilise the police force.

      The police sources told The Daily News that provincial Joint
Operations Command (JOC) heads were given strict orders to ensure that the
protests did not turn violent.

      They said violence during the demonstrations would be used by the MDC
and foreign countries to justify international intervention.

      The JOC comprises senior officers from the police, the army and the
spy Central Intelligence Organisation. It co-ordinates security strategies,
especially when the security of the country is under threat.

      Police officers said a radio message dispatched to all stations on
Wednesday night indicated that unknown quantities of dynamite had been
stolen from Renco Mine in Masvingo.

      The sources said the ZRP feared these could be used as explosives
against strategic national points.

      While the police officers were ordered to use minimum force, they
would be armed in case the situation got out of hand, the sources said.

      Army officials said although they would be on standby, the army would
not take an immediate active part in security measures, but would intervene
if the protests intensified.

      "The provincial JOCs have been told that we should make no show of
force because the MDC wants to use the OSharpeville massacres trick' to get
international sympathy and possibly foreign intervention," a senior police
officer in Harare said.

      Apartheid-era police in South Africa killed 69 people and injured many
others when they opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in the township of
Sharpeville in 1960.

      The United States' State Department on Wednesday warned the Zimbabwean
government against using strong-arm tactics against the demonstrators,
although it did not say how Washington would react if security forces
resorted to violence to crush the protests.

      In the past week, the government, the army and veterans of Zimbabwe's
1970s war of independence have warned in dire terms that they will take
action should the protests turn violent.

      Police officials said yesterday they had been told to set up
roadblocks to control the movement of people into the centres of cities and
towns throughout the country.

      They had orders not to indiscriminately fire teargas but to mount
roadblocks where intensive searches, including body searches, would take

      "We have information that they (MDC) would want to use the slightest
opportunity to cause chaos, get people injured and killed in the melee and
blame the State for it. The objective is to attract foreign interest in the
whole matter," one official said. However, MDC secretary-general Welshman
Ncube said: "The police are supposed to be a professional and apolitical
body, but here we have a situation where the police are speaking ZANU PF

      "What the police should be saying is that they respect the right of
the MDC to hold a peaceful demonstration and we will be there to ensure that
they exercise that right without being molested. On our part, we will do
everything to ensure that the demonstration is peaceful."

      The opposition party says it is planning peaceful demonstrations to
press Mugabe to step down before the expiry of his term in 2008.

      The demonstrations could include marches to Mugabe's State House
residence and his Munhumutapa offices, both in the capital Harare.
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Daily News

      Harare hit by water shortages

      5/30/2003 8:00:18 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Harare City Council yesterday said water shortages being
experienced in some parts of Chitungwiza were because of mechanical problems
that were being experienced at its Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Works.

      In a statement to the Press, the city's acting director of works,
Vumisani Sithole, said Morton Jaffray had experienced problems two weeks ago
which resulted in reduced pumping to the main Warren water controls and the
city's other main reservoirs at Letombo and Alex Park.

      Sithole said: "In order to build up enough storage at these
reservoirs, demand management measures were decided to be implemented. Among
these measures was throttling of valves in lines feeding major consumers,
including Chitungwiza."

      Chitungwiza's suburbs of Zengeza 3, 4 and 5 and Seke units A, B, C, D,
F, O and G were the most affected.

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Daily News

      Judge upholds gag on CIO

      5/30/2003 8:01:45 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      JUDGE President Paddington Garwe yesterday upheld a ministerial
certificate issued by State Security Minister Nicholas Goche barring defence
lawyers in the treason trial of three top opposition leaders from
questioning Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) chief Happyton Bonyongwe
on transactions between the CIO and a company headed by Ari Ben-Menashe,
principal State witness in the case.

      Garwe, however, said that the defence could cross-examine Bonyongwe on
any other matters outside the parameters of the minister's certificate.

      The judge ruled that the information requested by defence lawyers
"related to State security issues" and that there was no need for the court
to "go behind" Goche's certificate to determine the validity of the minister
's claim of privilege.

      He said even in cases where accused persons were facing serious
charges, "the courts have to remain alive to the fact that there are matters
that no government would like to reveal in an open court. The clandestine
activities of security organisations of various countries are not matters
for public disclosure in an open court".

      South African advocate George Bizos, leading a team of lawyers
defending opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, his secretary-general Welshman Ncube and MDC legislator Renson
Gasela who are facing charges of plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe
had demanded that the court disregard Goche's certificate. The three deny
the charges.

      The certificate bars Bonyongwe from producing, as demanded by Bizos
and his team, invoices and receipts relating to the payment by the
Zimbabwean government of US$30 000 (Z$24,7 million) for the production of a
video-tape allegedly showing three MDC leaders plotting Mugabe's murder.

      Bonyongwe had told the court he could not produce the documents
requested by the defence since they had been destroyed because according to
the CIO's internal regulations, such documents had to be destroyed three
months after they are received.

      Asked by defence lawyers to produce a copy of the regulations that
provided for the destruction of the documents and the identities of the
people who authorised their destruction, Bonyongwe said disclosing the
information would prejudice State security.

      Goche intervened by invoking the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act
and issuing the certificate to prevent the defence from cross-examining
Bonyongwe on what he said was "information relating to the covert account of
the Department of State Security which is classified OTop Secret'.

      Goche said: "The disclosure being sought has the potential of
grievously undermining and compromising the very existence of the (State
Security) Department. The requested disclosure would, even if done in
camera, seriously prejudice the State's national security interests."

      Bizos protested at the issuing of the ministerial certificate,
accusing Goche of abusing the court process.

      He said the minister's action impinged on the accused persons' right
to a fair trial as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

      In a related case, Garwe threw out an application by the defence to
grant a new order to compel Ben-Menashe to disclose the whereabouts of US$97
000 paid by the MDC to his company.

      The MDC paid the money before the government hired Ben-Menashe in
January 2002, ostensibly to spruce up its battered image abroad.
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Daily News

      Government now a bystander as crisis deepens

      5/30/2003 8:03:04 AM (GMT +2)

      By Abel Mutsakani Managing Editor

      THE government's stoic silence and apparent inaction over the acute
shortage of bank notes ravaging the country is the clearest sign yet that it
has become a hapless bystander as Zimbabwe hurtles towards total collapse,
analysts said this week.

      The failure by the government to print its own Zimbabwe dollar
currency underscored its growing impotence in the face of a cocktail of
crises choking the country, according to the analysts.

      Zimbabwe, grappling with its worst economic crisis since independence
from Britain in 1980, is already experiencing severe shortages of foreign
currency, food, fuel, electricity and essential drugs.

      "It (cash shortage) is a manifestation of an increasingly
dysfunctional state. It shows that the government's power to influence and
control events has been seriously eroded," said University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
political analyst Eldred Masunungure.

      Until a central bank Press conference yesterday afternoon, Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Leonard Tsumba and Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa had remained mum in the past few weeks.

      Even as financial experts warned that the cash crunch could cause
chaos in the financial sector and even lead to its collapse in the

      Central bank insiders say the RBZ cannot print enough bank notes
because it has no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers for the special ink and
paper needed to print money.

      However, early this month, Reserve Bank officials blamed the note
shortage on members of the public and illegal foreign currency dealers
hoarding bank notes.

      An illegal black market for the local currency was already beginning
to emerge this week, with banks, building societies and individuals paying
commission to anyone who could supply them with large quantities of the

      Foreign currency, like nearly every other basic commodity in the
country, is now almost exclusively available from the parallel market.

      Masunungure, who heads the UZ's political and adminsitrative studies
department, said by confining itself to a mere spectator's role as the cash
crisis unfolded, the government was inadvertently entrenching an atmosphere
of a power vacuum in the country, just as opposition forces were mobilising
for mass demonstrations next week to topple the administration.

      Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has set the first week of June for
mass demonstrations to force President Robert Mugabe to step down.

      Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of ruining the economy and scaring away
foreign aid, which is desperately needed to revive Zimbabwe's economy.

      Mugabe denies ruining the economy and blames the fast-deteriorating
crisis on sabotage by Western governments opposed to his land reform

      Masunungure said: "The erosion of the State's capacity to control the
situation has been happening over time, but it was hidden. This shortage of
the Zimbabwe dollar makes it visible to the common eye."

      Harare-based economic analyst John Robertson, however, said the
government was a victim of its past policies.

      He said besides watching from the sidelines, there was little the
Harare authorities could do to end the cash crunch or reverse the wider
economic crisis.

      Robertson said the note shortage was the result of ballooning
inflation, which rose to 269,2 percent in the year to April, from 228
percent in March.
      Zimbabwe has one of the highest inflation rates in the 12-nation
Southern African Development Community (SADC). The country's main trading
partners in SADC enjoy single-digit inflation.

      Economists blame the government's unbridled appetite for expenditure
for the country's high budget deficit, the single largest factor fuelling
      They said the foreign currency needed to pay for imports of special
ink and paper necessary to print money was in short supply partly because
the government had, through its land reforms, destroyed the mainstay
agriculture sector.

      Agriculture, the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy, earned hard cash
through exports of crops such as tobacco, whose output has dropped because
of drought and the instability caused by the land reform programme.

      Mugabe seized productive farms from white farmers and parcelled out
the land to black villagers and aspiring black commercial farmers.

      Most of the resettled farmers, however, do not have the skills
training or farm inputs they need to maintain production.

      Food shortages in the country are largely blamed on the disruptions
caused in the previously white-dominated, large-scale commercial
agricultural sector.

      International trading and development partners had cut off credit
lines to Zimbabwe in protest over the government's controversial land
policies and other governance issues, Robertson said.

      He added: "In short, largely because of its past actions, the
government has now become a spectator in the whole game. These are the
consequences of wrong economic policies."

      Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief economist James Jowa said
the cash shortage was only a symptom of the underlying and wider economic
crisis gripping the country.

      The analysts said the government did not have much room to manoeuvre,
besides addressing the concerns of the international community over the
country's land reforms, human rights and democracy and fiscal discipline.

      Jowa said: "Expanding the RBZ's capacity to print more money will only
help fuel the problems of inflation the country is already struggling with."
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Daily News

      Activists call for judiciary independence

      5/30/2003 8:03:44 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE government of Zimbabwe should take all necessary steps to ensure
the independence of the judiciary and to repeal legislation that violates
provisions of the African Charter, according to the African non-governmental
organisations (NGO) Human Rights Forum.

      The forum, which met in Niger two weeks ago, said the government
should ensure the protection of lawyers, public prosecutors, magistrates and
      Several lawyers have been harassed, assaulted or arrested while
pursuing their duties. Magistrates around the country have also been
attacked, allegedly because of their rulings.
      Analysts say this compromises the independence and effectiveness of
the judiciary.

      "As African human rights organisations, we are worried that there have
been credible reports of attacks on the judiciary and the due process of the
law, including assaults, intimidation, harassment, obstruction and torture
of lawyers, public prosecutors, magistrates and judges," the African NGO
Forum said.

      It also urged the Zimbabwean government to repeal legislation that
interfered with fundamental freedoms, especially the controversial Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

      AIPPA, signed into law by President Robert Mugabe soon after his
re-election last March, has been slammed for restricting freedom of the
Press and for being used to target media organisations that are independent
from the government.

      Several journalists have been detained by the police and hauled before
the courts for violating provisions of the Act.

      "The government of Zimbabwe should give full effect to the right and
responsibility of individuals, groups, organs of society to promote and
protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms," the
human rights organisations said in its resolution.

      "The government has to take all necessary measures to ensure the
protection of human rights defenders. It has to take immediate steps to
repeal the legislation which violates the provisions

      of the African Charter, like the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act and the Labour Relations Act, to bring them in conformity
with the provisions of the African Charter."

      The forum also resolved to urge the African Commission on Human and
People's Rights to publicise the results of its fact-finding mission to
Zimbabwe last May.

      The African human rights commission visited Zimbabwe and held
discussions with local stakeholders, including the government and human
rights organisations, but has not made its findings public.

      Commenting on the forum's resolutions, Arnold Tsunga, the executive
director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said it was significant
that Zimbabwe and Cote D'Ivoire were the only countries in Africa on which
the forum made specific country resolutions.

      He said the organisation normally made generalised resolutions.

      "Once you have this kind of specific resolution, it shows our
situation has reached a stage where it's causing continental concern," he

      "The important thing about this resolution is that contrary to the
general belief that judgment about the human rights situation has been at
the instigation of foreign countries, this is an African initiative which is
not influenced from outside Africa," Tsunga added.
      Delegates at the Niger meeting also expressed concern over continued
political violence and intimidation and the increased use of militias in
civil and political matters.

      The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum submitted a detailed report on the
human rights situation in the country, indicating that 57 people were killed
in politically motivated violence between January and September 2002.

      The report said 38 of those killed were opposition Movement for
Democratic Change supporters and eight were ruling ZANU PF activists.

      Two of the deceased were war veterans and the remaining 10 belonged to
no known group.

      Independent surveys of political violence in Zimbabwe have shown that
most victims of the violence are members or suspected supporters of the main
opposition party.

      The surveys have found that most of the perpetrators of the violence
are ruling party activists.

      State security agents have also been implicated in violence, but they
have denied their involvement.
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Daily News

      NCA wants Constitution discussed at party talks

      5/30/2003 8:07:05 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) this week said it will
decampaign proposed dialogue between the ruling ZANU PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) unless negotiations between the country
's two main political parties included plans to review the country's

      The NCA is a coalition of non-governmental organisations, labour and
civic rights groups, churches and opposition political parties, including
the MDC.

      In February 2000 the NCA successfully mobilised Zimbabweans to reject
in a national referendum the government's proposed new constitution which
would have entrenched President Robert Mugabe's powers. The government's
defeat in the referendum was its first in any national vote.

      NCA spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said in statement to the Press earlier
this week: "The NCA wishes to advise that it has resolved that it will not
recognise the proposed talks between Zanu PF and the MDC if they do not
emphasise the need for constitutional reform."

      Mwonzora said the national task force of the civic alliance had met in
Harare last week and resolved to urge ZANU PF and the MDC to include
constitutional reforms in the proposed talks or face an NCA-marshalled
public campaign against the dialogue.

      According to the NCA the crisis in Zimbabwe was a result of a flawed
constitution which gives Mugabe sweeping powers without stipulating his
      MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube, called the NCA's statement
threatening to decampaign the proposed talks premature but the opposition
politician said his party agreed with the civic alliance that Zimbabwe's
crisis was rooted in the country's flawed Constitution.

      Ncube said Mugabe alleged that Mugabe had subverted the
controversy-ridden presidential ballot last year using powers vested in him
under the Constitution. The MDC agreed with the NCA on the need for a new
and democratic constitution, Ncube said.

      Justice Minister and ZANU PF's legal affairs secretary Patrick
Chinamasa could not be reached for comment on the matter.

      The government has in the past however said that constitutional reform
was not a priority.

      Mwonzora said the NCA wanted to prevent Zimbabwe's next President from
wielding extensive powers as Mugabe wielded under the current Constitution.

      He said: "If, however, Zanu PF and the MDC proceed with their talks
and ignore the Constitution, the NCA will vigorously campaign against the
talks and advise the people of Zimbabwe that they have been sold out."

      Continental power houses South Africa and Nigeria have been piling
pressure on ZANU PF and the MDC to negotiate to break a political impasse
arising from Mugabe's disputed re-election last year.
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      AirZim battling to recover US$630 000

      5/30/2003 8:08:04 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba Staff Reporter

      AIR Zimbabwe is battling to recover US$630 000 (about Z$520 million on
the official market) it paid to France's Air Littoral Industrie under an
aborted deal for the national airliner to lease two planes from the French
company, officials in the State-owned firm said yesterday.

      The money, which is the equivalent of Z$1 575 million on the parallel
market, was paid by Air Zimbabwe to cover deposit and commitment fees. Under
the ill-fated deal, the Zimbabwean airliner had to pay the fees before
taking delivery of the aircraft.

      Air Zimbabwe sources said the State-owned airline's managing director,
Rambai Chingwena, had in the last two months written several letters to Air
Littoral demanding reimbursement of the money.

      But they said the French aircraft supplier had so far not responded to
Chingwena's pleas.

      The last letter Chingwena wrote to Air Littoral's head of fleet
management, Lionel Sineux, was two weeks ago. Sineux, who has ignored
Chingwena's other letters, has still not responded to the letter, the
sources said.

      Chingwena could not be reached for comment on the matter. His office
this week said he was out of the country.

      The airline's chief internal auditor, Mordecai Magaisa, who is acting
managing director in Chingwena's absence, refused to answer questions on Air
Zimbabwe's as yet unsuccessful efforts to recoup money paid to Air Littoral.

      Air Zimbabwe spokesman David Mwenga confirmed the airline had written
to the French firm, but said he did not know whether the company had
responded or not.

      Mwenga said earlier this week: "I don't have that information because
l have not been following it up. We wrote them (Air Littoral) some letters,
      l don't know what then happened. I have to get details from the
finance people."

      He could not be reached yesterday to establish what progress the
airline's finance department had made in recovering the money.

      The deal, under which Air Zimbabwe was to lease two passenger planes
from the French company, was scuttled by the government because it would
have drained millions of hard cash in lease-hire fees from the struggling

      Under the stalled deal, Air Zimbabwe was to pay Air Littoral US$147
000 for each of the planes, every month for the next three years.

      Air Zimbabwe had gone ahead and signed a contract with the French
supplier, against advice by the government not to enter into the deal.

      Air Botswana, which has dealt with Air Littoral before, also advised
the airline against the deal.

      According to correspondence between Air Zimbabwe and Air Littoral, the
Zimbabwean company paid US$357 881,09, which was part of a total US$450 000
security deposit that was to be paid before the planes were delivered.

      A US$170 000 commitment fee was also paid upfront and an additional
US$102 086 was paid to Air Littoral, although it could not be established
what this was for.

      Air Zimbabwe told the government it would recover the money after the
deal had been cancelled.
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      Matter of fact . . .

      5/30/2003 8:08:42 AM (GMT +2)

      IN the editorial published in The Daily News yesterday headlined Moyo'
s lone and doomed mission, we inadvertently quoted Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo as telling his South African counterpart Essop Pahad: "These
media guys in South Africa should know that there is nothing special about
them and they should show respect to our leader (President Robert Mugabe)."

      Moyo's lawyers, Muzangaza Mandaza and Tomana, have now brought to our
attention that these comments were never made by Moyo in his letter to
Pahad, which we have now seen.

      We take this opportunity to apologise to Moyo for inadvertently
attributing this statement, made by a reader of a weekly newspaper, to the
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      ZESA strike plunges Harare into darkness

      5/30/2003 8:09:33 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      SEVERAL low and high-density suburbs in Harare have gone without
electricity for the past two days because of the continuing strike by
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) workers, an official with the
power utility said yesterday.

      The workers, who have been on strike since last week, are demanding a
minimum monthly wage of $125 000 and the immediate dismissal of ZESA
chairman Sydney Gata. The Labour Court has declared the industrial action
illegal and instructed the workers to report for duty.

      Stephen Pieron, the ZESA Harare area manager, yesterday said several
Harare suburbs had no electricity due to the shortage of manpower.

      "We don't have the people to do the job," he said. "Senior engineers
are clearing all the high-voltage faults. The rest are going unattended
because we have no people at the moment. The fault section has to repair
faults, but we don't have an adequate labour force. We received over 450
cases of faults of which only 250 have been attended to."

      Pieron said there were repeated power interruptions between Saturday
and Monday and some areas still had no electricity.

      Among the suburbs affected are Vainona, Borrowdale, Pomona, Arcadia
and Sunningdale.

      Elizabeth Rubenstein of Arcadia said almost half of the suburb was in
darkness for the past four days because of power outages.

      "All the food that we had stocked in our refrigerators has gone bad.

      We have resorted to using firewood for cooking and this has caused us
untold suffering."

      Rubenstein said the area had become dangerous for pedestrians and
motorists because of poor lighting at night.

      Mark Georgies, a resident in Vainona, said the suburb had had no
electricity between about 10pm on Tuesday and yesterday.

      Georgies said ZESA management and the striking workers should engage
in serious dialogue in order to arrive at a quick resolution of the
employees' grievances.

      "The crisis at ZESA is something that requires immediate government
intervention. The management should swallow its pride and understand their
workers' plight."

      Some high-density suburbs have experienced power interruptions lasting
between three and five hours.

      Salary negotiations between ZESA workers' representatives and
management opened in Harare yesterday, a day after riot police stormed into
the power utility's Workington Power Station offices and assaulted workers
who were holding a meeting.

      Shepherd Mandizvidza, the ZESA spokesman, said the negotiations were
continuing in good faith and a positive outcome was expected by the end of
the two-week deadline set by the Labour Court.
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Leader Page

      First duty of army, police is to the nation

      5/30/2003 7:51:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) this week joined a gathering crusade
against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s "final push",
ratcheting up pressure on Zimbabweans to ignore calls to participate in next
week's anti-government protests.

      In response to the MDC's pleas for Zimbabwe's uniformed forces not to
use strong-arm tactics against demonstrators, the ZDF on Wednesday vowed it
would "not be an idle observer".

      It warned it would "bring to bear its full force upon those
perpetrators of uncalled-for violence".

      Similar threats have been issued by the government and veterans of
Zimbabwe's war of liberation.

      The war veterans last week threatened to use "military force" against
the protesters, who they claimed would be armed.

      On Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi warned that the
government "was ready to crush any demonstration which will lead to to the
destruction of property or the threat to national security".

      Yet the MDC has been at pains to assure the nation that it is planning
peaceful protests to press the government to resolve the economic and
political crises that have caused suffering to the majority of the people of
this country.

      It is difficult not to conclude that the government is running scared
and is trying to intimidate people who might have been planning to
participate in the demonstrations aimed at pressurising President Robert
Mugabe to step down.

      How else can Zimbabweans interpret these almost desperate attempts to
instill fear?

      It is also deeply worrying that the government seems to be setting the
stage before the mass action even begins, to give the impression that
Zimbabweans will be under siege from opposition party activists.

      It can only be doing this to justify a heavy-handed response to
attempts by Zimbabweans to exercise rights they are guaranteed in no
uncertain terms by this country's Constitution.

      No one disputes the fact that the armed forces have a duty to step in
and protect the citizens of this country if they are under threat. Put
differently, the first and foremost duty of the security forces is to the
citizens of Zimbabwe.

      Clearly if next week's street protests are hijacked by elements whose
sole aim is to cause mayhem, destruction of property or even injury and loss
of life, the police and the army must deal with such elements swiftly and

      But this should not give them a licence to violently fall upon
peaceful demonstrators in an attempt to crush the anti-government protests.

      In the past, peaceful demonstrations and public gatherings have turned
violent mostly because of the intervention of State security agents.

      Witness the chaos resulting from the riot police's brutal reaction to
a peaceful pre-mass action prayer meeting on Wednesday and the police's
inexplicably violent response to a workers' meeting at the premises of the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

      It is more than likely that reactionary elements will try to take
advantage of the proposed mass action. Those organising or planning to
participate in these demonstrations should be aware of that and take the
necessary precautions.

      That alone means that there is a very real risk of violence breaking
out that will not be driven by the demonstrators themselves.

      Zimbabweans those participating in the protests and even by-standers
do not need the added burden of worrying about violence from those very
people who are supposed to be protecting them from reactionary elements who
want to uphold the status quo at whatever cost to the nation.

      As we have said before, the first duty of members of the army and the
police, whatever their orders, is to the people of Zimbabwe, regardless of
their political affiliations. They cannot and must not side with tyranny.

      History will not look kindly on those State security agents who lose
sight of this fact.
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Leader Page

      Foreigners should not be allowed to decide our future

      5/30/2003 7:52:44 AM (GMT +2)

      By Kuthula Matshaziv

      I HAPPEN to share accommodation with a Zimbabwean who feels that
Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are the sole
answer to Zimbabwe's problems. He feels that any new party formed is doomed
to fail.

      What if Tsvangirai is dumped as leader of the opposition MDC as
suggested in some media? What if he is found guilty of treason? What if a
new, more vibrant party is formed?

      None of the scenarios are possible. Tsvangirai and the MDC will
prevail. When the God-chosen time comes, the MDC will topple President
Robert Mugabe and rule, so contends my friend.

      True, Tsvangirai has been the hope for the ultimate dislodgement of
the Mugabe regime. However, there have been questions about him measuring up
to the task. Apparently, while he has successfully mobilised for a vibrant
opposition, some of his critics think that he has failed to garner force for
the ultimate push.

      Is his image as a leader compromised? Previously, he has made several
gaffes, which unfortunately the media has not adequately questioned.

      My point is that while Tsvangirai has been brave enough to stand up to
Mugabe, he has been found wanting in the thick of things. When it matters
most, his political manoeuvres have been ambiguous.

      If we let Tsvangirai continue making such gaffes and flip-flops, then
we are doing ourselves a disservice.

      We have to hold him to scrutiny. Doing otherwise would be a fatal
mistake, the kind that brought us the current Robert Mugabe.

      He has to demonstrate that he is consistent in his policy, has
excellent vision and sober judgment, has the ability to run a sound
government and conduct strategic relations both internally and externally.

      For instance, I did not understand how Tsvangirai could welcome and
commit himself to the intervention of the three presidents, Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Bakili Muluzi of
Malawi, and then within that period call for mass action for a final push to
oust Mugabe.

      Yes, we desperately need the final push, but what are our means to the
final push? Mass action.

      So does it mean that he intends to continue dialoguing with the three
presidents, who are obviously averse to the kind of final push (mass action)
that Tsvangirai is calling for? Is the push meant to be a political tactic
to back up the talks? If it is, then where will it leave the MDC's relations
with these presidents since, as I have said before, they do not favour such

      So, basically what is the reason for Tsvangirai to engage these
presidents when he knows that they are averse to mass action? Recently,
Tsvangirai`s visit to Malawi was cancelled. What can we infer from that?

      In February, writing to Australian Prime Minister John Howard,
Tsvangirai branded Mbeki and Obasanjo as accomplices in Mugabe's
perpetration of human rights abuses.

      How do Tsvangirai and MDC think they will promote good relations with
these and other African leaders, which are so glaringly missing in their
political equation? Without any doubt, African relations are strategically
important. How does the MDC, for instance, choose to foster closer relations
with countries overseas at the expense of regional countries?

      There have been several media reports that the Americans and the
British are involved in political manoeuvres to form another party or
replace Tsvangirai. The British and the Americans are accomplished schemers.
They always want to see through their plans at any cost. Obviously,
Tsvangirai knows it too. If there is substance in the talk, how has it
affected the MDC's political strategy? Are there any alarm bells for the MDC
leader or the party hierarchy? If there are, is the party up to the task to
deal with the impending developments competently?

      Tsvangirai and MDC would need all political slickness and political
points scoring to outmanoeuvre the British and American intentions. In other
words, they will be hard-pressed to deliver tangible political gains to
remain on the political radar screen.

      For that reason, the MDC could have seen it strategically important to
engage in these demonstrations so that they could be seen to be doing
something on the ground and that Tsvangirai as a leader still has the needed
impetus to drive political change.

      On the other hand, the idea of the Americans and British forming a new
party or replacing Tsvangirai could be retrogressive. It would reverse the
political impetus that had already been built.

      Still a new political party or leader under the current
British-American initiative would obviously work to ZANU PF's advantage. It
might throw off-track the opposition and buy ZANU PF more time in office and
a chance to reorganise.

      If the British and Americans are really assisting in conceiving
another political party or replacing Tsvangirai, then it's clear that
Zimbabweans should resist such moves. We cannot have foreigners constantly
drawing up political strategies and solutions for our country. Just like the
three African presidents who would not resolutely resolve our problems
because of their disconnection from the daily lives of Zimbabweans and, to
some great extent, their pursuit of their own self-interests, leaving our
destiny in the hands of foreigners would be detrimental to our progress to

      So for Tsvangirai and other political players and the people of
Zimbabwe, we have a lot of work to do to extricate ourselves from this mess.
A made-in-Zimbabwe solution is imperative.

      Kuthula Matshazi is a Zimbabwean based in Canada
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      Supply of commodities improves as prices rise

      5/30/2003 7:55:17 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      THE supply of several basic commodities improved in the past week but
prices more than doubled in most cases, which analysts yesterday attributed
to the government's decontrolling of some goods when it made changes to its
price control policy early this month.

      A snap survey by The Business Daily showed that major shops in and
around Harare had increased stocks of cooking oil, margarine, milk and salt,
which had become scarce after the government introduced price controls in
October 2001, in an attempt to curb inflation.

      Most manufacturers had cut back on output of those basic commodities
whose prices were gazetted by the government, arguing that since the cost of
raw materials and production was still rising despite price controls, they
were producing commodities at a loss.

      The resulting shortages have led to a thriving black market in basic
commodities, where prices are sometimes 10 times more than those set by the

      In the past week, a 500g tablet of Geisha soap, which had been
replaced by a 125g piece of soap of the same brand, re-emerged on shop
shelves. It was selling at between $900 and $950, while a 750ml bottle of
cooking oil was retailing for more than $1 700.

      Analysts said some products could be reappearing on shop shelves
because the decontrolling of goods had made it economically viable for
manufacturers to increase their output.

      Lovemore Kadenge, president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society, said if
properly managed, the government's new price monitoring regime would be more
effective than price controls.

      He said: "Price controls have never worked anywhere and Zimbabwe
cannot be an exception."
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      Even Makoni can't save ZANU PF

      5/30/2003 7:50:25 AM (GMT +2)

     The media in Zimbabwe are currently awash with news that some ZANU PF
leaders are allegedly campaigning for the presidency of that organisation, a
position presently held by Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

      Two personalities, Dr Simba Makoni and Emmerson Mnangagwa, feature
prominently in both speculative as well as what appear to be fairly well
researched articles in some newspapers.

      Both men are staunch ZANU PF stalwarts, Mnangagwa having gone through
the grill and mill of the armed liberation struggle and the Rhodesian regime
's penal institutions, including the Khami Maximum Security Prison outside

      He became the country's security minister, a post he held during the 5
Brigade period when thousands of people in Matabeleland, the Midlands and
some parts of Mashonaland were terrorised, violently intimidated, raped or
butchered by the red-bereted North Korean-trained 5 Brigade, also known as
Gukurahundi, a Shona word which means "scrapper of the chaff".

      It is a matter of personal opinion whether or not that name was given
in reference to the brigade's inhuman atrocities in areas perceived to be
strongholds of Dr Joshua Nkomo's Patriotic Front-Zimbabwe African People's
Union (PF ZAPU).

      It is, however, a fair conclusion that all those who created 5 Brigade
(Gukurahundi) must have regarded its targets as chaff, hence the name.
Mnangagwa is one of those people.

      In the 2000 parliamentary election, Mnangagwa lost his seat in Kwekwe
to an opposition Movement for Democratic Change party candidate. He was,
however, later appointed Speaker of the House of Parliament by Mugabe.

      He also lost in a contest for the ZANU PF chairmanship to John Nkomo
in that organisation's last national congress in Harare in 2001.

      Makoni is known for having been Zimbabwe's youngest Cabinet minister
immediately after the country's attainment of independence on 18 April 1980.

      He later headed the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
originally called the Southern African Development Co-ordinating Conference
(SADCC), as its secretary-general. After that, he was appointed the chief
executive officer of Zimbabwe Newspapers, whose financial performance he
certainly improved within a year before some senior ZANU PF personnel
plotted his replacement. Mugabe appointed him Zimbabwe's minister of finance
in 2000 following public demand, especially from the middle-aged and the
18-30 age groups.

      His stint as the country's finance minister was marred by ZANU PF's
violent and chaotic land seizure and occupations, which precipitated a
massive socio-economic decline from the brunt of which Zimbabwe is groaning

      He called for the devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar, a suggestion
strongly and angrily denounced by Mugabe who on one occasion described it as
coming from what he termed "enemies of the State".

      A look at Zimbabwe's galloping inflation, currently at an incredible
269+ percent, clearly shows the wisdom of Makoni's suggestion to devalue the
national currency, a development that is continuously occurring through

      That apart, the crux of the matter is that should ZANU PF wish to
replace Mugabe, the process should be free and fair so that the best
candidate carries the day. It is a historical fact that the liberation
struggle was all about justice, liberty and equality. Lives and property
were lost and/or sacrificed for those ideals.

      Elections are some of the most important activities in the lives of
nations. They are important to the voters as well as to the candidates. Each
voter would like his or her candidate to win, and each candidate would like
to triumph.

      If the process is neither free nor fair, elections generate
frustration which may lead to tragedies such as civil wars. Many rebellions
and splits in political organisations are products of frustration caused by
unfair and unfree elections or by lack of liberty or equity in the
distribution and utilisation of national resources.

      It is vital for those involved in such activities to take full
cognisance of this fact so that elections can generate enthusiasm and
interest rather than apathy, alarm, fear and suspicion among voters.

      If ZANU PF is to elect Mugabe's successor, it is important for the
organisation's leadership to emphasise that its members should be free to
vote for whomever they believe will efficiently head their party.

      That individual should have at least shown leadership qualities in the
past. It is also important to choose a person without a pronounced
tribalistic or racialistic bias or record.

      Zimbabwe is a young nation in the making. It is, therefore, important
that its leaders should be people whose perception of a nation is free of
traces of revenge or suspicion. They should not fear their past.

      It is not enough, let alone desirable, that one should have
participated in the liberation struggle for one to lead a political
organisation whose major aim is to improve the people's living standards.

      A good example is Zimbabwe's western neighbour, Botswana. Its national
leader, Festus Mogae, did not feature prominently in that country's
agitation for independence, but he has nurtured its economy so efficiently
that Zimbabweans today flock to that land for economic survival.

      Meanwhile, Zimbabwe, led by Mugabe, a man who spent years in the armed
liberation struggle, is virtually socio-economically dead.

      What is urgently needed is a new brand of leadership with a vision to
start afresh, and not devalue the Zimbabwean dollar, but introduce a
completely new currency with a new value to usher in a new socio-economic

      Can ZANU PF do that, let alone the likes of Mnangagwa?

      Is ZANU PF able to reverse the economic decline it has caused during
the 23 years it has been in power?

      If so, why has it not done so up now when the country is grinding to a
tragic halt because of lack of fuels?

      Will ZANU PF led by either Mnangagwa or Makoni administer this country
much more efficiently than when it was under Mugabe?

      My humble submission is that that organisation, as a social product,
has entered an irreversible stage of decline, and that no amount of patching
up can save it from its own internal human weaknesses and inevitable

      However, for its own domestic and international operations, Makoni
seems to be a better evil than Mnangagwa whose role in the unforgettable
Gukurahundi atrocities is a historical fact.

      The ZANU PF members who support him are giving him a stamp of
respectability and approval for those atrocities.
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