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

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News Alert
At a press conference held in Harare earlier today MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai, informed journalists that the MDC had received information that Zanu PF was printing thousands of 'MDC t-shirts' to be worn by Zanu PF thugs in order to spark trouble during the nationwide 'democracy marches' that will take place next week. To counter Zanu PF's insidious plan Tsvangirai has called on all protesters not to wear any MDC regalia.
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      30 May 2003 19:17:49 GMT
      Zimbabwe's MDC to press on with anti-govt protest


By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, May 30 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition party said on Friday
it would press ahead next week with protests against President Robert
Mugabe, but warned that militant government supporters could turn the
demonstrations bloody.

The army deployed soldiers in some of the country's restive urban townships
on Friday evening, residents said, and five cabinet ministers appeared on
state television to warn Zimbabweans that the government would stamp out any

"This is an attempt to stage a coup d'etat and it will not be tolerated,"
said Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

But Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai told
reporters his party was not deterred by government threats to crush the

He said the MDC was still set on forcing Mugabe into talks on Zimbabwe's
future, which is currently overshadowed by crippling shortages of cash, food
and fuel that highlight the seriousness of country's worst political and
economic crisis in decades.

The MDC's political allies, including some small opposition parties working
under the umbrella of pressure group National Constitutional Assembly (NCA),
backed Tsvangirai with a call for Mugabe to resign ahead of a week of mass
protests scheduled to start on Monday.

Tsvangirai said he had information that Mugabe had issued guns to his war
veteran supporters to stop the protests, but said the MDC for its part was
determined to ensure the protests were peaceful.

"I want to assure you that nothing is going to deter us. Mugabe has to be
brought to the negotiating table," he said.

"The potential of violence and the risk of violence can only come from the
state," he added.

At a separate news conference, NCA political parties representative Wurayayi
Zembe said Zimbabwe was in a horrific state of disaster.

"It is evident to all that the illegitimate ZANU-PF regime has failed to
govern and that its downfall is imminent."

Two months ago the MDC organised one of the biggest protests against
Mugabe's 23-year rule. Now the party has dubbed next week's demonstrations
the "final push" to drive from power a man who it says has grossly
mismanaged one of Africa's most promising economies.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained independence
from Britain in 1980, denies that charge.

The 79-year-old former guerrilla leader blames the southern African
country's troubles on opponents of his controversial drive to seize
white-owned farms to hand to landless blacks.
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The Star

Zim army vows to crack down on protesters

      May 30 2003 at 03:14AM

      By Basildon Peta

Zimbabwean army units have begun deploying across the country in preparation
for planned opposition street protests aimed at toppling President Robert

Government officials said soldiers in barracks around Harare were moving
weapons and deploying in other cities and towns.

The deployments followed a public threat by Mugabe's army to crush the
protests called by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Officials said the entire Zimbabwean army had been mobilised and officers'
leave cancelled.

      'Final push to force Mugabe to accept reality'
The MDC raised the stakes by insisting that it would press ahead with its

The main aim of the week-long protests - "the final push for freedom" - was
to force Mugabe, 79, to "accept reality" and leave office, it said.

The army said it would not tolerate the protests because they were likely to
turn violent.

Mugabe warned the MDC that it had no chance of pushing him out of power. He
said the opposition would rule Zimbabwe only "over our dead bodies".

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces warned the MDC that it was "standing ready" to
resist against violence.

In advertisements in the independent press, the MDC has called upon the army
to disobey "illegal orders" to suppress the will of the people.

The MDC warned that soldiers taking part in Mugabe's "terror against the
people" would be dealt with severely whenever it formed a future government.

But this attracted even more military ire: "The MDC is hereby warned that
such activities are in contravention of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Act ...
which makes it an offence for any person to interfere with members of the
uniformed forces in the performance of their duties," said the army.

In what was seen as a warning to would-be protesters, the police swooped on
a group of women at a prayer session on Wednesday and arrested three

The prayer session was one of many called by the MDC as a prelude to next
week's protests.

The police said the prayer session had been a "rehearsal" for next week's
mass action and was thus "illegal".

The women were still in police custody on Thursday.

The police also said they had collected several "illegal" pamphlets urging
people to take part in the street protests.

The army's threat comes amid information that it is secretly arming Mugabe's
militias and youth brigades.

Army sources promised chaos and bloodshed on a scale never seen before if
protesters tried to march into Mugabe's official residence in Harare.

Sources said Mugabe was taking the MDC threats seriously and was well aware
that the last national strike by the opposition had been an overwhelming
success. He was therefore not underestimating the strike's dangers. -
Independent Foreign Service
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Zimbabwe police chief gives up Interpol title

PARIS, May 30 - Zimbabwe's police commissioner has resigned from the
executive committee of Interpol after claims his honorary title amounted to
an endorsement for Zimbabwe from the international police organisation.
       Interpol said in a statement on Friday Augustine Chihuri had given up
his title as honorary vice-president of the committee after a Zimbabwean
police spokesman inaccurately suggested it endorsed the actions of police in
that country.
       ''The statement was inaccurate,'' said Interpol Secretary General
Ronald Noble. The title was one of several routinely handed out by the
executive committee to outgoing members to recognise their work, he added.
       Human rights groups have accused the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
of using repressive legislation to systematically harass, arrest and torture
critics of President Robert Mugabe.
       ''The fact that a ZRP spokesman attempted to use Interpol to fight
off political criticism has caused Interpol to be unfairly and unnecessarily
attacked,'' Noble said.
       Interpol, which groups 181 member countries, is banned from
involvement in political activities.
       The Zimbabwe Defence Forces, which group the army, air force and
police, have warned they will deal forcefully with any violence linked to
planned protest marches next week against Mugabe.
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Mugabe told to 'surrender'
30/05/2003 15:13  - (SA)

Harare - A coalition of Zimbabwean civic and political groups on Friday
called on President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party to surrender power
or face widespread resistance to their "oppressive rule".

Wurayayi Zembe, the representative of political parties within the National
Constitutional Assembly, which advocates a new democratic constitution for
the country, said Mugabe's surrender would pave the way for a national
constitutional conference.

"Failure by Mugabe to make a national statement of surrender will leave us
with no option but to intensify our multifaceted resistance to oppressive
rule," Zembe told a news conference.

Expressing support for the planned opposition antigovernment strike and
street marches next week, Zembe said: "We urge the people of Zimbabwe to put
more pressure on the illegitimate Zanu-PF regime until the people's power is
established through a democratic constitution."

'A murderous government'

Mugabe's "final downfall is imminent", he added.

"The government is so defunct that it cannot provide the citizens with the
means to have money. It has become a murderous government... they have
buried us alive."

Zimbabwe has in recent weeks faced an unprecedented shortage of cash
resulting in some banks and institutions turning to the black market to buy
Zimbabwe dollars to give to clients.

Speaking on behalf of the six opposition parties aligned to the NCA, Zembe
called for the dissolution of parliament, which he said had been abused by
its own pro-Mugabe majority to enact repressive laws.
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Zim protest a 'coup attempt'
30/05/2003 19:48  - (SA)

Harare - The government accused the main opposition Friday of planning a
coup to oust longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe in its call for mass
anti-government demonstrations next week.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa warned that the planned demonstrations,
illegal under the country's strict security laws, would be met with "the
full wrath of the law", state radio reported.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has called mass protests and
strikes on Monday through Friday in what it described as a "final push"
against Mugabe's government.

Chinamasa said this means the opposition has threatened to remove Mugabe
from office by unconstitutional means.

"The state cannot take such threats lightly," he told the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation.

The justice minister said the opposition's call for Zimbabweans to take to
the streets meant they were bent on a campaign of violence and anarchy
against the government intended to result in the overthrow of Mugabe's

The opposition has promised only peaceful protests.

"Resort to a coup d'etat is unconstitutional and unlawful and thus
constitutes the serious crime of high treason," Chinamasa said.


Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and two senior opposition officials are
already facing treason charges for what the state prosecution says was a
plot to assassinate Mugabe in late 2001. All three vehemently deny the
charges and say they were framed by a Canadian-based political consultant
hired by Zimbabwe's secret police Central Intelligence Organisation.

Tsvangirai met with reporters at his party headquarters Friday and said he
and opposition leaders will head Monday's street marches.

"It is important to take a front line role," he said.

Officials said Tsvangirai was expected to lead one march toward downtown
Harare before reporting to court Monday morning for the resumption of the
treason trial against him.

Zimbabwe's military said on Thursday it would take to the streets in force
to deal with any "perpetrators of violence" during the planned

Police officials, meanwhile, refused to comment on reports all vacationing
officers were being recalled to their posts Friday and all pending leave was

"He must understand it is our constitutional right to resort to peaceful
protests," Tsvangirai said. "Our action is going to be peaceful," he said.


The planned five days of demonstrations are a bid to force Mugabe into
discuss the nation's deepening economic and political crisis, the opposition
says. They also hope he would agree to step down as president and that
presidential elections could be swiftly scheduled.

Mugabe has refused to meet with the opposition until it recognises his
narrow victory in last year's disputed presidential elections that the
opposition and independent observers said were rigged.

Tsvangirai said on Friday that ruling party militants and veterans of the
independence war that swept Mugabe to power in 1980 were issued with arms
and ammunition on the orders of the president and top military officials.

"Judging by the state response, the potential and risk of violence can only
come from the state. The potential that this degenerates into shooting
cannot be underestimated," Tsvangirai said.

He also said the government had printed opposition T-shirts and other
symbols of the party for ruling party militants to use in instigating
violence which they can later blame on the opposition.

The government has repeatedly denied using such tactics and says it has not
armed nonmembers of its security forces.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic crisis since independence with record
inflation of 269% and acute shortages of hard currency, local money,
gasoline, medicines and other essential imports and food. Half of the 13
million population faces starvation. - Sapa-AP
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      Zimbabwe prints emergency cash

      The firm which prints Zimbabwe's banknotes is working round-the-clock
to ease the cash shortage, the central bank governor says.
      Leonard Tsumba urged Zimbabweans not to panic, saying that extra
printing paper arrived in Harare on Thursday and would be used immediately.

      Banks have been running low on banknotes since a national strike last

      The opposition has called for a week-long strike and "democracy
marches" next week and people were again queuing to withdraw cash on

      'High treason'

      Banks have limited the amount of cash customers can withdraw in a
single transaction.

      Inflation is currently running at an annual rate of 269% and Mr Tsumba
said that a new 1,000 Zimbabwe dollar note would be introduced in November.

     Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has accused the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change of "high-treason" by calling next week's protests.

      "The clear intention behind such threatened actions is to effect a
coup d'etat against the legitimately elected government of Zimbabwe," he was
quoted as saying by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).

      This is the first time the MDC will engage in mass action against the
government since last year's disputed presidential elections.

      Stocking up

      There are also shortages of basic commodities such as bread, sugar and

      Some eight million people require food aid, according to aid agencies.

      The opposition blame the shortages on economic mismanagement, while Mr
Mugabe says they are a result of a Western plot to bring him down.

     The main trade union umbrella organisation has urged workers to stock
up on the staple food, maize-meal, and cash ahead of next week's protests.
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Traders Holding Large Quantities of Bank Notes in Neighbouring Countries

The Herald (Harare)

May 29, 2003
Posted to the web May 30, 2003


ZIMBABWE is facing a serious problem of foreign currency with foreign
traders holding large quantities of bank notes in neighbouring countries,
worsening the shortage of bank notes.

Black market activities, both for basic commodities and foreign currency at
the country's borders, have seen large piles of the Zimbabwean bank notes
being stashed near border posts to finance transactions there.

Economist and business consultant Dr Samuel Undenge said traders outside the
were holding million of dollars in bank notes.

"One wonders how so much money was allowed out of the country," said Dr

Most of the banknotes are being held in Zambia, Mozambique and the United
Kingdom where there are many Zimbabweans.

Analysts said most Zimbabwean currency that is externalised rarely comes
back to into the country as it continues to circulate in those neighbouring

"If you go into Manica, Nyamapanda or Chimoio in Mozambique right now to
sell your goods you are paid for those goods with new crisp Zimbabwe notes
by that Mozambican trader because locals prefer the local currency which
they use back home and not the Mozambican currency which is not convertible

"When they are given the money instead of bringing it back into the country
they change that money into United States dollars to enhance their profits
when they come back home so in the end those Zimbabwe dollars continue to
circulate in that country.

"Most of the Zimbabwean traders change the money to United States dollars so
that when they come back to the country they can change those dollars at a
better rate and our Zimbabwean dollar remain in that country," said one

They said similar transaction occurred on the Zambian side of the border,
where it is easy to see traders waving the local currency to Zimbabwean
bound travellers for them to change their hard currencies.

"Not all travelers coming into the country change their money at the border
so that same trader will keep that money there until he find buyers or
alternatively until he decides to buy from local stores," another analyst

When the new $500 notes were first introduced two years ago, many of the
notes were already in Mozambique before most people had even seen them here.

"The whole scenario calls for the relevant authorities to plug these leaks
because they have also reduced the money in circulation.

Dr Undenge said that the current banknote shortage could also be attributed
to the recent price increases.

"You have a situation where prices have quadrupled and this means the demand
for cash has also increased four fold.

"The situation has been made worse by the central bank which has insisted
that they would not print more notes as it would fuel inflation.

"The argument that an increase in money supply would fuel inflation does not
work because the rate of inflation has increased already," added Dr Undenge.

Another economist, Mr David Mupamhadzi said the issue of externalisation of
local currency and its contribution to the current banknote shortage was

"What I can say is that the issue of externalisation of local currency is
the symptom of a problem that was already prevalent in the country.

"There are basically three reasons for people to keep money and that is as a
precautionary measure, as a contingency plan and the third reason for
speculative purposes and the last two apply to the current situation.

"Under the current economic system people are keeping money for contingency
reasons. One has to have money with them all the time in case they bump into
some commodity which is currently in short supply.

Mr Mupamhadzi said that the situation also applied to speculative reasons.

"For one to be able to speculate one has to have money at all times so when
the central bank last year pegged maximum withdrawals at $500 000 most
speculators began withdrawing their money gradually and most of the money
ended up on the informal channels," he said.

Mr Mupamhadzi said that there was need to put in place incentives for
deposits so that the banknotes being held outside the official channels
could be brought back into the official channels.

"One way of doing it is to increase deposit rates or the introduction of
competitions for people to keep certain balances so that they are eligible
to win several thousands or millions of dollars at the end of six months or
a year," Mr Mupamhadzi said.

He said that printing money is not a solution since it would only fuel
inflation since it would not be matched by production.

"In any case even if the Reserve Bank is to print say $10 billion and feed
it through the official channels that money will be gone within the end of
the day," he said.
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Concern Over Cash Crunch At the Banks

May 30, 2003
Posted to the web May 30, 2003


Zimbabwe's banks were gridlocked on Friday amid severe currency shortages
which left thousands of workers facing the prospect of no cash at month's
end to buy food and pay bills.

Many of those queueing were hoping to withdraw enough money to stock up
ahead of a week of expected stayaways and closed shops as a result of
anti-government protests called by the opposition Movement for Democratic

Most of the people in bank queues were women, many with children, who had
been waiting for hours hoping to draw money, a source at a women's resource
centre told IRIN.

Some banks had closed their automatic teller machines (ATMs) and were
limiting withdrawals, leaving customers with only enough money for small
purchases or to pay an electricity bill, she said. To make sure their
families are fed, women are likely to turn to local vegetable plots, or try
to secure credit from small traders near their homes.

The Herald newspaper reported that to alleviate the problem, the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe would inject $24 billion (US $29 million) in $500 (US 61
cents) notes into the market by mid-June and would introduce a Zim $1,000
(US $1.23) note at the end of November.

Economist John Robertson explained that the banks' cash shortage was brought
on by an inflation rate of 269 percent, low interest rates discouraging
deposits, and a scarcity of foreign currency to buy materials to print

"There is no advantage to putting money into the bank because the interest
rates are so small and, once you put it in, you have trouble getting it out.
So, many people have decided to keep their cash," Robertson said.

He added that the chronic shortages of food and essential goods in Zimbabwe
had reduced people to carrying large sums of cash in the hope of finding a
scarce item, or a petrol station with fuel for sale.

"Most people are walking around with wads of cash in their pockets all the
time in case they find what they are looking for, instead of the cash going
into the bank," Robertson said.
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Comment from Business Day (SA), 30 May

Mugabenomics: Zimbabwe's fast track to economic ruin

By Jethro Goko, Deputy Editor

Nothing typifies Harare's way of doing things more than the hilarious
interview that talk show radio 702 recently had with one of President Robert
Mugabe's most trusted lieutenants, which the station occasionally replays to
my utter glee. In the interview, bubbly early morning host John Robbie asks
Nathan Shamuyarira a politburo member of the ruling Zanu PF and former
senior cabinet minister what Harare is doing to resolve Zimbabwe's worsening
political and economic crisis. In his sleepy baritone voice, Shamuyarira
asks "What crisis?", à la one of those television creatures from outer
space. All of the irrepressible Robbie's subsequent efforts to elicit some
comprehensible response on Zimbabwe's much-publicised food, fuel and foreign
exchange crises are met with an emotionless and depressingly disinterested
"no". It is staggering wonderful journalistic work. However, to those who
know how Mugabe and Zanu PF operate, there is nothing particularly
noteworthy about Shamuyarira's replies. This is the ruling party's way of
doing things, the way that has brought Zimbabwe to its knees: a cold world
where nothing means anything, so to speak.

A bizarre story, which was an ominous pointer to the economic disaster that
has befallen Zimbabwe, did the rounds in Harare at independence in 1980,
when Mugabe was appointed prime minister. The new team of officials at the
finance ministry made up of some of the finest economists the country has
ever produced decided to develop a very comprehensive fact sheet, to be
delivered to the crown prince every day to tell him about the state of the
economy. Just a few months after the fact sheet was introduced, there was a
hitch in its preparation one day and someone was dispatched to the prime
minister's office to apologise for the delay. To the surprise and horror of
the adviser, the private secretary told him not to worry because the prime
minister never read the fact sheet anyway, as he did not consider it
particularly necessary. As one of the advisers who claims to have been
around then puts it: "It was like working for a mechanic who does not
believe in checking oil in the car." So, not surprisingly, Zimbabwe's
economy is on the verge of collapse.

With an inflation rate probably nearer 500% than the official figure of
300%, prices are shooting up daily, making Zimbabwe possibly the world's
fastest-documented contracting economy all thanks to Uncle Bob, who has
always seemingly been bent on defying even the most basic laws of economics.
Take for example his legendary dismissal of his finance ministers (the last
one to taste his wrath was the literate but timid Simba Makoni, now
tragically being touted as a presidential hopeful) and his passionate belief
that the law of supply and demand does not apply to Zimbabwe. If anything is
in short supply, Mugabe imposes price controls. The absurdity of
Mugabenomics reached its zenith in the late 1980s when former cabinet
minister Maurice Nyagumbo the liberation hero who had been incarcerated in
prison the longest (20 years) by white minority leader Ian Smith committed
suicide (or was he done in) after he could not understand why he was being
humiliated in public for helping an agricultural co-operative to acquire a
vehicle and selling it for above prescribed prices.

One of the principal pillars of Mugabenomics, of course, is his apparent
belief that a country cannot go broke. Under this misguided approach, he has
used fixed assets to pay for recurrent expenditure: to the extent that he
has even mortgaged land in his desperate attempts to get fuel from the
Libyans - the same land that he says he is so keen to see get into the hands
of ordinary Zimbabweans. Many Zimbabweans trace the beginning of their
economic problems to payments made by Mugabe to war veterans in 1997, which
cost the fiscus billions of unbudgeted Zimbabwe dollars. This launched the
now official policy of printing paper money, which has fuelled inflation.
Then there was the devastating blow dealt to the economy a year later, in
1998, when Mugabe greedily and expediently decided to get enmeshed in the
Congo war. Although this war benefited many of his cronies as they looted
the Congo's resources it proved to be a misadventure of monumental
proportions; the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. Zimbabwe has
never been the same since then.

But why am I writing about all this? I am gatvol with Mugabe's apologists,
who keep harping on about the cause of the crisis as essentially the
unintended, but consistent, consequences of the dear leader's good
intentions for his nation. What claptrap. If there is any consistency in
Mugabe's policies, it is that they have been founded on arrogance,
incompetence and an inexplicable callousness that should not be associated
with a man who had the opportunity to be revered as one of Africa's greatest
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From The Catholic Herald (UK), 30 May

Church's media blackout on Ncube visit

Outspoken Zimbabwe archbishop says Church officials made him agree to stay
silent about human rights abuses and political violence on visit to England

By Simon Caldwell

The most outspoken Catholic cleric in Zimbabwe was subject to a media
blackout during his first visit to England - at the insistence of Church
officials in Britain. Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, who has won
international praise for his prophetic condemnation of human rights abuses
in Zimbabwe, visited London and concelebrated Mass in Westminster Cathedral
on Sunday May 11. He spoke to non-governmental organisations working in his
country the day after and held meetings with Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-O'Connor, Bishop David Konstant of Leeds, chairman of the bishops'
department for international affairs, and Bishop John Rawsthorne of Hallam,
chairman of Cafod, the overseas development agency of the Bishops'
Conference of England and Wales. But he did not give any interviews to the
Press or broadcast media and none was made aware of his visit. Archbishop
Ncube later flew to the United States, where last week he enjoyed a higher
profile even though he said he wished his visit to remain low key while
South Africa, Nigeria and Malawi attempted to broker a deal between Mr
Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. In Washington DC,
Archbishop Ncube was praised publicly by Secretary of State Colin Powell and
spoke openly of the plight of the people of his country in an interview in
The Washington Times. Almost at the same time, the Pope criticised Mr
Mugabe's violent land reform programme during a meeting with Kelebert
Nkomani, Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the Holy See. John Paul II said: "It is an
error to think that any real benefit or success will come simply by
expropriating large landholdings, dividing them into smaller production
units and distributing them to others ... [land reform] should be in full
accord with national policies and those of national bodies."

On his return to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Ncube said his visit to Britain was
kept out of the public eye because the Catholic bishops, "under the auspices
of Cafod", feared that his "role as a mediator for peace" would be
compromised if he publicly criticised President Mugabe, who views Britain as
his biggest enemy. He said he was told that if he spoke to the Press about
the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, it might cause a further
deterioration in his "already strained" relationship with Mr Mugabe, a
situation which could put his life at risk. Archbishop Ncube told The
Catholic Herald that he was happy to abide by the publicity ban. An article
in The Spectator of May 24 had earlier alleged that the "Catholic
establishment" wanted to block altogether the visit of Archbishop Ncube but
Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram, a Catholic, made it known at a
Church party in London on April 29, the week of the Low Week meetings, that
he would cause a public fuss if Archbishop Ncube were stopped. Bishop
Konstant this week vehemently denied the allegations made by Peter Oborne,
the author of the piece. "This is absolute nonsense, period," said the
bishop. "There was no press ban. It is very straightforward. The article is
not true. It is really quite extraordinary how they [The Spectator] were
able to, if you like, twist a perfectly straightforward matter in the way
that they have done." Bishop Konstant said he had "no idea" why no media
were notified about the archbishop's visit. Archbishop Ncube, however, told
a group of NGOs on May 12 that the two-hour briefing he gave them on the
situation in Zimbabwe was "100 per cent off the record" because of an
agreement he had with the English and Welsh bishops. Matthew Heard of the
Catholic Institute for International Relations, who was at the meeting, said
the ban surprised him because only a month earlier Archbishop Ncube joined
the other eight Catholic bishops of the country in signing a Lenten pastoral
letter which explicitly condemned the "frightening" corruption, lawlessness,
food shortages and the abuses of power committed by the regime. Mr Heard
said: "We were more or less expecting him to comment along that line. I
believe he didn't say too much when he was in Westminster Cathedral as

After the Mass in Westminster, Ncube was twice applauded by the congregation
when cathedral administrator Fr Mark Langham thanked him for his visit and
hailed him a "heroic and outspoken defender of human rights in Zimbabwe".
The archbishop told the congregation: "I ask you to continue to pray for
Zimbabwe. It is a very difficult situation when leaders who started out
being very exemplary all of a sudden forget people. There is widespread
starvation. Thanks to Cafod and the World Food Programme half a million
starving people are receiving food. But conditions are difficult. There are
100 per cent price increases every week. We hope these difficulties will be
overcome by God's mercy." The day after, on Monday May 12, Tim Livesey, a
spokesman for the Cardinal who is on secondment from 10 Downing Street,
explained his failure to inform The Catholic Herald of the archbishop's
visit by saying he had been "unaware" that Ncube was coming. But some
sources suggested however that Mr Livesey and Joachim Van Halosz, another of
the Cardinal's press officers, had liaised regularly with the Zimbabwe
Democratic Trust in the run up to the visit. Archbishop Ncube's outspoken
stance against the political violence of the Zanu-PF party has led to his
arrest by Mugabe's police. He is followed, his phone is tapped and has been
subject to abuse, death threats and intimidating visits from members of the
security forces. Yet he continues to campaign against "violence, hunger and
hardship", leading protests at the Queen's Sports Club stadium in Bulawayo
ahead of a World Cup cricket match there in March. Neither Cafod director
Julian Filochowski nor a spokesman for the Cardinal would comment.
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The Forgotten Tragedy

With the attention of the international community firmly fixed on the
fall-out of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the plight of Zimbabwe, once
"Africa's Breadbasket", has been largely ignored.
Zoe Flood
"We are hurtling towards a disaster of catastrophic proportions. I fear for
myself, my family and for my country" a Zimbabwean friend writes. "Surely
Zimbabwe cannot go on like this," another asks incredulously, "But day after
day we do." Such are the messages coming from ordinary people whose lives
have, in the last three years, been thrown into chaos and uncertainty by an
increasingly tyrannical leader desperately clinging on to power.

In recent months, while the world's gaze has been captivated by history's
first 24-hour, live war and by a Western crusade to unseat, in the words of
Tony Blair, "one of the most revolting regimes in history", Zimbabwe has
descended further to a level at which daily life is characterised by, at
best, food and petrol shortages (pictured right), hyper-inflation and
despair, and at worst, starvation, torture and death.

When my mother first took me to her beautiful homeland, Zimbabwe was
celebrated as the "breadbasket of Africa", the post-colonial success story,
and Robert Mugabe, a committed socialist and leader of the ruling Zanu-PF
party, was hailed for his policy of racial reconciliation and his plans to
improve the health, living standards and education of black Zimbabweans. A
little over 23 years later, and Mugabe's grip on the nation has become a
stranglehold. The economy lies in tatters, with inflation at a crippling
269%, and state repression is the order of the day.

Two weeks ago, the last foreign journalist reporting from the country, The
Guardian's Andrew Meldrum, was forcibly deported. Just days later, Australia
confirmed its stance as one of the regime's most outspoken critics with the
presentation to a Commonwealth Action Group of a report entitled "The Record
of Abuse and Repression by the Zimbabwean Government". The report described
in detail acts of rape, torture and "the repression of the opposition" by
the government. It confirmed alarming reports that have recently emerged of
youth camps where young Zimbabweans are trained to be government killers,
forming the notorious 'National Youth Service', better known as the 'Green
Bombers' in recognition of the violence they perpetrate.

The horrors do not stop there. Human rights campaigners cite that there have
been over 200 government-instigated murders in the past three years, with
the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum reporting that in 2002 alone, there were
over 1,046 cases of torture and at least 58 politically motivated deaths.
Amongst those tortured was Mark Chavunduka, the editor of the
privately-owned newspaper, The Standard, with attacks on freedom of speech
continuing when the printing presses of The Daily News were blown up.
Draconian and repressive legislation such as the 2001 Broadcasting Services
Act, which gives ministers the authority to interfere with the content of
broadcasting programming, has accorded the government with the tools to
silence critics. And silence it does. In March this year, the opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), called for a two-day
national stay-away from work in protest at the government, in which around
80 per cent of employees participated. MDC officials claim that over 500
people were arrested shortly after, with over half this number subsequently
requiring hospital treatment for the injuries sustained in custody.

If fear of the national police and the dreaded Central Intelligence
Organisation does not sufficiently paralyse the opposition, then the daily
hunt for life's basic necessities will preoccupy most. Over half of the
country's population, amounting to more than 6 million people, are now
facing severe food shortages. Those who do have access to food must daily
face supermarket shelves empty of the most basic of provisions, or
alternatively fork out up to $3,000 (when the minimum wage for an agricultur
al worker is only $23,070 per annum) for a pound of butter on the
increasingly ferocious black market. Soaring petrol prices force citizens to
spend fruitless hours in extensive queues, only to be ultimately denied
fuel. A decade ago, $145,000 would have bought a spacious house in Harare's
suburbs; just last year, my grandmother spent $113,000, the remainder of her
life-savings still trapped in the country due to government restrictions, on
a week-long advertisement of said house Harare's Herald newspaper

How then, did a country possessing such potential and such hope descend into
this quagmire, where unemployment stands at 70 per cent and where over 30
per cent of the adult population are sufferers of HIV or AIDS? Last
Thursday's debate at the Union attempted to address this very question, and
to identify to whom the blame should be attributed. Peter Tatchell, a human
rights campaigner famous for several attempted citizen's arrests of Mugabe
and a speaker at the debate, firmly believes that the present government is
responsible, saying that "Mugabe took control and simply failed to deliver".
Tatchell had his own taste of the repression suffered by those Zimbabweans
who dared to oppose the government, having been assaulted and told he would
be killed by Mugabe's bodyguards in Brussels. I asked him somewhat
unthinkingly whether he was frequently able to visit the country for which
he campaigned so tirelessly. "Of course not!" he responded, "I'd be killed."
He told me of how a Zimbabwean government plot to murder him had been
thwarted just in time by police in London. "I get very scared at times," he

George Shire, who had fought for Zanu-PF in the War of Liberation, spoke of
Zimbabwe's "longer history" as being the cause of violence, echoing
Meldrum's words that the "Rhodesian regime was so violent that only violence
could unseat it".

Whilst the colonial legacy has certainly contributed to Zimbabwe's tragic
present, Mugabe had a choice about which path to follow. Francis Maude MP,
former Shadow Foreign Secretary and an outspoken critic of Mugabe's regime,
acknowledged on Thursday that the President had used his power in the past
for good ends. His objectives became "appalling" around three years ago
when, according to Maude, Mugabe began to use the "issue of land reform as a
useful alibi" to disguise the steps he was taking to consolidate his own

When I was last in Zimbabwe in 2000, a friend remarked that the country
could only be saved if someone were to remove the leader that sat at the
pinnacle of the repressive and corrupt system. Tatchell agreed, saying:
"Mugabe is the linchpin - if he goes, the system will crumble". Yet in
recent days, Mugabe has announced that discussions about who will succeed
him may begin. Numerous citizens have noted bitterly that without valuable
natural resources the West is unlikely to rush in to save the country, an
observation that so far seems to ring true. Hope perhaps lies with the
hungry and angry Zimbabweans. The MDC has called for renewed "mass action"
next week, with the more optimistic suggesting that this will be the "final
push". Others do not see a stubborn megalomaniac giving way so easily.
Whether the oppressed of Zimbabwe succeed in recovering at least some of
their democratic rights, the fact remains that these continue to be tragic
times, and Zimbabwe should not be ignored.
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The Herald of Friday the 30th May 2003 contained Lot 92 and Lot 93 of
farms listed. The following districts had farms listed.

Lot 92
Lomagundi 2 farms
Marondera 1 farm
Que Que 1 farm
Salisbury 1 farm
Urungwe 3 farms

Lot 93

Charter 5 farms
Goromonzi 3 farms
Lomagundi 10 farms
Makoni 6 farms
Marandellas 4 farms
Mrewa 5 farms
Salisbury 7 farms
Urungwe 12 farms

All farmers are urged to take the necessary steps to ensure they protect
their legal rights.

For further information contact the JAG office.

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There has been a tremendous response from all over the country with regard
to this initiative. We would like to thank those eighteen people that have
responded and would like to urge the following areas to assist in
forwarding your representatives' names.

Chiredzi - two names
Masvingo - two names
Mutare - one name
Chinhoyi - two names
Gweru - two names
Centenary - two names

The course will be held on the 11th, 12th and 13th June 2003 at St Lucia
Park, Crichron Avenue, Marlborough, Harare. (If you are on your way out of
town, turn left off the Golden Stairs road onto Harare drive. Take the
first road right and continue to the end. Behind Standard Bank Club.)

We have the pleasure in offering full board and lodging at the centre to 18
people that attend the course. If you are from out of town and would like
to make use of this offer contact the JAG office as soon as possible. (In
order to ensure maximum benefit we recommend that all out of town people
make use of this free offer).

Lectures will commence at nine in the morning and end at five in the
afternoon. There will be a lunch break at one o clock, a mid morning and
mid afternoon tea break. The lunch and teas will be free to registered
people only.  A more detailed schedule of the programme will be publicised

Registration of trainees must be completed by Friday 6th June. All farmers
are urged to ensure that their area has got someone representing them on
the course.

For further information contact the JAG office 04-799410,
J Worsley-Worswick 011 612 595
W Hart 011 207 860

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The Herald

Security forces on full alert, says Goche

Herald Reporter
SECURITY forces are on full alert countrywide and have the means and
capacity to deal with individuals and groups bent on overthrowing the
Government, the Minister of State for National Security Cde Nicholas Goche
warned yesterday.

Cde Goche, who is also the chairman of the Joint Operation Command said this
ahead of next week's planned protest march organised by the MDC to topple
the Government.

"The MDC's persistent calls for violent mass actions, not only negate
national democratic practices, but also undermine national security," he
said. "This is not acceptable and the security forces will discharge their
constitutional responsibilities of maintaining law and order."

The Joint Operation Command comprises the ministries of defence, home
affairs and national security.

Defence Minister Cde Sydney Sekeramayi and Home Affairs Minister Cde Kembo
Mohadi were present when Cde Goche read a joint statement for the JOC.

Cde Goche said security ministries noted with concern the MDC's declared
intention to unlawfully remove the constitutionally elected President and
Government of Zimbabwe from power.

"The avenues for a constitutional change of government are provided for in
the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The Constitution stipulates that multi-party
parliamentary and presidential elections are held every five and six years

"Any other means of ascending to power are unconstitutional and therefore
treasonous," he said.

Security forces as defenders of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, he said, have
a duty to protect the Constitution and Zimbabwe.

"Despite claims by the organisers of the so-called 'final push' that there
would be no violence, we have learnt from experience that the mass actions
always turn violent, resulting in loss of life and wanton destruction of

"Mass action is in itself an act of economic sabotage which also includes
banditry and terrorism," Cde Goche said.

He said intelligence at hand indicated that MDC and its formations plan to
unleash violence on the public and against Government institutions and
property and to use members of the public to pursue its narrow and sectional

"We will provide security to individuals and organisations going about their
lawful business. We will protect lives and property. We will deal with
lawless elements," he said.

"We wish to state categorically that the security forces cherish democratic
values as enshrined in our Constitution."

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa also
warned that perpetrators of illegal mass actions would face the full wrath
of the law.

He said it was crystal clear that the motive behind the threatened action
was to effect a coup against the legitimately elected Government of

He warned the public not to be misled by the MDC into thinking that it was
pursuing peaceful and lawful means to bring a new regime in the country.

"MDC's violent path has a track record," he said. "They have in the past
misled the public into thinking that it was pursuing peaceful means through
court action but outside the court they speak a different language. They
speak peace when they actually plan to wage war against the Government."

MDC has in the last few weeks been holding rallies countrywide to mobilise
support for what the opposition party calls the 'final push' to oust
President Mugabe from power.
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