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

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Let's talk it over May 4 2003

      By Matt Mckenzie, Sunday Sun

      Protesters threatening to disrupt the North's first Test match have
agreed to speak to cricket authorities to try to thrash out a compromise . .
. thanks to the Sunday Sun.

      Campaigners against Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe say they will
take direct action during the game at Durham's Chester-le-Street ground next

      It had been feared that the showpiece event would be blighted by mass
pitch invasions and disruptions to play.

      But the Sunday Sun has stepped up to the crease to put North cricket
chiefs in touch with organisers of the newly formed Stop the Tour group.

      Activist Peter Tatchell has now agreed to speak to Durham County
Cricket Club chairman Bill Midgley ahead of England's game with Zimbabwe,
which starts on June 5.

      Mr Tatchell said: "We may be able to come to some sort of deal.

      "That will depend on the Durham authorities and how much leeway they
are prepared to give.

      "We are very happy to have a dialogue with the cricket authorities."

      However, the human rights campaigner repeated his vow to demonstrate
at the game.

      He said: "There will be protests outside the Chester-le-Street ground
from 9.30am on June 7.

      "We are asking people in the North East to join us in a vigil for
Zimbabwean democracy and human rights.

      "We are appealing to players, spectators and protesters to wear black
armbands in solidarity with the struggle for democracy."

      The armband suggestion echoes the powerful statement made by Zimbabwe
cricketers Henry Olonga and Andy Flower during the World Cup, which saw both
men later exiled from their native country.

      The Durham chairman welcomed the prospect of discussions.

      Mr Midgley said: "It's up to the spectators and the players to make up
their own minds.

      "I think the fact that the tour is on has brought the debate to the
public arena. I will ring Mr Tatchell and see if we can come to some sort of

      "We have never said we would try to prevent them from making peaceful

      He added: "I think the vast majority of the North East has got
sympathy with their views."

      The Stop the Tour group has promised "highly organised disruptive
behaviour" and is targeting most of Zimbabwe's UK games.

      Mr Tatchell said it was hypocritical for England to boycott the World
Cup game in Harare then rake in cash from this tour.

      He said: "If it was wrong for England to play in Zimbabwe in February,
why is it now suddenly right for Zimbabwe to play here?

      "The human rights situation hasn't improved, it has deteriorated. I
can't remember when a British sporting body agreed to play against a
politically vetted team.

      "It may never have happened before. I think that is the most
outrageous aspect of this tour."
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Protest at Zimbabwe cricket match May 4 2003

      Pro-democracy demonstrators have made a colourful protest outside a
cricket ground where the Zimbabwean team were playing.

      The small group gathered in the sunshine outside the ground in
Edgbaston, Birmingham, to protest against the Zimbabwean team's summer tour
of England.

      A coalition of mainly London-based anti-Robert Mugabe protesters hung
banners, flags and placards around the entrance to the ground citing their
opposition to the "murder, rape and torture in Zimbabwe".

      The spokesman for the Stop The Tour campaign group, Alan Wilkinson,
has previously discussed using mass pitch invasions in a bid to disrupt the

      But the demonstration was very low-key.

      Black armbands were distributed to passers-by and protesters received
a good reception from drivers, many of whom tooted their approval.

      Warwickshire County Cricket Club drafted in more than 50 security
staff, almost 10 times the number normally used.

      Dennis Amiss, chief executive at the club, said: "We have revised our
security procedures in light of media speculation that there may be
demonstrators. But we are expecting it to be peaceful."

      Inside the ground, the British Universities team played before a small
crowd of spectators on the second day of the four-day game, which kicked off
the Zimbabwean team's tour on Saturday.

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Fuel queues good for sex trade
04/05/2003 18:31  - (SA)

Harare - Long winding queues for fuel in Zimbabwe might be a nightmare for
motorists but they are good business for one group of people - sex workers,
the official Sunday Mail reported here.

"Some commercial sex workers spend nights with motorists in vehicles and
minibuses in fuel queues at garages in the populous city of Bulawayo," the
paper said.

The three-year old fuel crisis in the southern African country was proving a
"blessing in disguise" for female sex workers, who were "cash(ing) in" on
the situation, it said.

Fuel queues have become part of daily life for many Zimbabweans, who queue
for hours and sometimes days to be able to purchase the scarce commodity.

The Zimbabwe government is struggling to find the foreign currency necessary
to import sufficient quantities of fuel. - Sapa-AFP

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Comment from The Sunday Times (UK), 4 May

Politics force Zimbabwe to ask boys to do men's work

David Gower

Without Andy Flower and Henry Olonga the tourists will struggle, and Robert
Mugabe's odious regime is to blame

Andy Flower is in England playing cricket. Sadly, not for his native
Zimbabwe, but for Essex. Flower is one of the best batsmen in the world,
but, along with fast bowler Henry Olonga, he is paying a heavy price for his
World Cup protest against Robert Mugabe's regime. The two are in exile,
unlikely to represent their country again or even to be allowed to return
home. While Flower is playing county cricket, Olonga is turning out for club
side Lashings as their former teammates begin a tour of England. I hope that
the Zimbabwe touring party has a happy, successful visit, but I cannot see
it working out that way. The protests when they arrived last week were low-
key, but the team is destined to be embroiled in a political discussion for
the next couple of months. However much they try to isolate themselves from
it, they will also be reminded every time they take the field that their
best player, the one man on whom they have relied for runs, will be absent
for largely moral - and therefore by default, political - reasons.

The chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), Peter Chingoka, a man
whose hard work and good humour have done much for Zimbabwean cricket, was
at pains to distance himself and his team from the politics of his country.
Sadly, it just doesn't work, however much he, Tim Lamb or the rest of us
would like it to. I was adamant that England's cricketers should not set
foot in Zimbabwe during the World Cup, both to recognise the appalling civil
rights and humanitarian situation in the country and to prevent the Mugabe
regime from enjoying the luxury of pretending that all was well there. Given
that nothing has changed and that it seems the regime has taken advantage of
the world's preoccupation with Iraq to crack down even further, I have
serious misgivings about continued sporting relations with Zimbabwe. But I
like the captain, Heath Streak, Chingoka and the whole concept of Zimbabwean
cricket. It would be unfair if Zimbabwean cricket were cut off from the rest
of the world. All who love that country must keep alive the hope that the
political situation might change. If Mugabe goes and Zimbabwe can rediscover
itself, its cricket would benefit. The least we can do is encourage
Chingoka. Yet we know he cannot be completely divorced from his country's
politics. He said last week: "Cricket is a truly integrated and multi-racial
sport", something that cannot be said about the country as a whole. Yet even
in the sport there are limits. Selection is influenced by colour, with
differences of opinion in the committee leading to the resignation of Andy
Pycroft during the World Cup. Before that, there were three white selectors
and three black. Speaking to former national captain and coach David
Houghton during the latter stages of the cup, it seemed there were no plans
to fill the vacancy and restore the balance. Tatenda Taibu is a talented
wicketkeeper and useful batsman and just 19 years old. He is also
vice-captain. It is a position to which he would no doubt have been elevated
in normal circumstances some years down the line, but don't tell me that his
is not a political appointment.

At least the team's presence will allow the surrounding protests to continue
to highlight the political problems in Zimbabwe. Even so, if we look on that
as a plus, the whole thing will rear its head again next year when the same
moral arguments will apply when it comes to deciding if England should tour
Zimbabwe. The Zimbabweans will struggle over the next couple of months
without Flower and Olonga, with a squad short on talent. Much more of this,
and, despite all the work being done there to promote the game, and the 80
full-time coaches at the forefront of the ZCU's efforts to improve
standards, there will be cries to have the country's international playing
status reviewed. The men from Zimbabwe have come here with dreams. To play
at Lord's will be special, but even the previous, more experienced team
admitted to being overawed by cricket's headquarters. The story of Vusimuzi
Sibanda is a nice one. Picked on the ZCU scholarship scheme, he was given a
chance to go to Churchill High School in Harare, learnt the game well there
and now plays for Takashinga CC, for whom he "likes to bat at three or
four". At 19, he has a first-class average, in the limited sphere of
Zimbabwean cricket, of 20.57 with the bat and 24.60 with the ball. We would
love to see such a man produce some Boy's Own stuff at Lord's, but somehow I
cannot see it happening.
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From The Sunday Times (UK), 4 May

Mugabe defies plea by African leaders to quit

RW Johnson, Cape Town

Tomorrow's mission to Harare by three African heads of government who will
urge Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's embattled president, to stand down seems
certain to end in failure. Diplomats said Mugabe would either reject the
proposal from Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and
Bakili Muluzi of Malawi or would set conditions that were impossible to
fulfil. Mugabe has already indicated that he will brook no compromise unless
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change first recognises him as
president. The MDC has refused to accept his re-election last year and is
challenging the result in Zimbabwe's supreme court. He is also said to want
immunity from prosecution and security guarantees that the MDC is likely to
reject. "Given what's going on in this country - the complete lack of fuel,
inflation over 200%, very little food, the state's inability to pay its
electricity bills and huge popular discontent - you might think the forces
pushing Mugabe out were irresistible," said one Commonwealth diplomat. "But
Mugabe is the immovable object."

Mbeki is the moving force behind the mission. He has been made increasingly
anxious by the depth of popular support for the last two mass stay-aways
from work in Zimbabwe and the possibility that the Mugabe regime could
crumble into chaos. The fixed point in Mbeki's attitude has been that the
ruling Zanu PF party - the brother liberation movement of the African
National Congress - must stay in power, if necessary with a new leader and
in coalition with the MDC. Mbeki's failure to get Commonwealth sanctions
against Mugabe lifted, his own high commissioner's reports on human rights
atrocities against MDC supporters and the fact that Zimbabwe now owes more
than £70m to South Africa for electricity have all played a part in his
decision to seek a new government under the former finance minister, Simba
Makoni, one of the few leading members of Zanu PF to command international
respect. Paul Nyathi, an MDC spokesman, said his party could not accept the
conditions demanded by Mugabe. His security demands, which would probably
include keeping a portion of the presidential guard, were unrealistic, said
Nyathi. "You just have to see how he lives now - in a huge fortress
protected by a special presidential guard, with guns always drawn - to
understand what that means," he added. "Not only has Mugabe had tens of
thousands of people tortured and killed but he's doing it right this minute.
He seems to think you can go on doing that while you simultaneously ask for

Any initiative to replace Mugabe has to overcome other problems, too. First,
Zanu PF is badly split. As Mugabe's reign of terror has intensified, a group
of cabinet extremists, including the information minister, Jonathan Moyo,
have become entrenched. They know they cannot survive the president's
departure and it was no accident that when Mugabe let slip on television
last week the notion that he might, on certain conditions, be willing to go,
this was quickly denied by Moyo. Second, the two most powerful Zanu-PF
factions are led by the former secret police bosses Emmerson Mnangagwa and
Sydney Sekeremai. They, too, have much to lose. Third, Makoni is no longer
an MP and has little real support. And finally, the constitution makes no
provision for one president to succeed another without an election, and it
is admitted even by Zanu officials that Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader,
would easily win a free ballot. "Mugabe has steered Zanu into pretty much
the same position as the Nazis in the latter days of Hitler," said one
western diplomat. "By the end you only have the Führer and if he goes down,
so does the whole ship. If Mbeki really wanted to swap Mugabe for someone
else in Zanu PF, the time for that was two or three years back. There's no
hope now."

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Consider all possible scenarios

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

May 4, 2003
Posted to the web May 4, 2003

Vince Musewe

There is much expectation that Mugabe will retire in the short term but does
this mean that we will see the economy rebound? For investors it is
important that you consider all possible scenarios in order to be prepared

It is clear that much damage to the economy has been done to date with a
significant decrease in GDP, 70% unemployment and rising, hyperinflation, a
decreasing population due to Aids and poverty, foreign currency shortages
and an ever increasing government debt that will have to be repaid. This
scenario does not bode well for whoever will have the responsibility of
turning the economy around

On the investment side we continue to see a rising stock market, rocketing
property prices and money market rates that have to increase to be
realistic. There are various scenarios that we must look at: The high road
Mugabe goes quietly before the end of this year, a transitional government
that is not dominated by the current ministers is put into place and new
internationally monitored elections are scheduled and the silly laws that
have resulted in the stifling of democratic political activity are abolished

In such a case, government expenditure and the printing of new money will
have to be reigned in significantly and a land reform credible audit is done
while allowing those farmers who want to continue farming to do so freely
and as quickly as possible

What is likely to happen will be that interest rates will be allowed to
increase to their natural level above the inflation rate while inflation
might come back a little as expenditure is reduced and money supply

What will happen is that we will be back to the pre "price control regime"
where the government does not control interest rates. The above effort would
have to be supported by new in flows of foreign exchange to support
rebuilding the productive base of the economy and provide adequate energy
supplies to the economy in the medium term

For the woman in the street, goods and services will continue to be priced
unrealistically but at least they will be available. The ordinary Zimbabwe
will not see an immediate benefit in the medium term except a more stable
environment with positive expectation of the future

As for investors, we might see a migration of funds back to the money market
and a cooling down of the ZSE. One would therefore be well placed by having
at least 30% of their funds in the money market now in case we do get this
high road. In such a case the increase in money market rates would more than
of set any likely decrease in equity values

The low road Mugabe insists to be around until 2008, there is violent mass
action and civil war

In such a scenario, we would get more international isolation, lack of
foreign exchange to pay for imports especially energy imports. GDP would
further decrease and unemployment would increase with more Aids deaths.
Poverty and hunger would get worse and crime levels would increase

Government expenditure would continue rising with no accountability at all.
The economy would further be purged with the current incumbents entrenching
themselves and further dominate all economic activity. A massive outflow of
refugees would happen to neighbouring states and abroad causing serious
socio economic problems in the region. It would be a total collapse of a
managed economy and "total control" by Mugabe

In such a scenario we would be damned. The ZSE will be the only haven for
investors assuming that it will continue to function but most businesses
would close down and switch the lights off. Because of the civil unrest, we
would get massive disinvestments as investors liquidate their holdings and
externalise funds where they can. The local currency would collapse further
and black market rates at least double

The above scenario would result in massive losses for all investors be they
in cash, property or equities. If such a scenario where to happen it could
be better to be in cash and at least have 60% of your assets there

What to do now The middle road scenario is really up to individuals but at
least you now have the two extreme scenarios between which you could debate
and arrive at a suitable asset allocation according to your risk appetite
and perceptions

I think what we can all hope for is for the low road not to happen, as this
would be catastrophic to all of us including those in the ruling party
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Zimbabwe - Sunday Mirror

Allegations of fraud follow dissolved land committees
Innocent Chofamba-Sithole Deputy Editor

THE recently dissolved provincial and district land committees have been
accused of abusing their bureaucratic authority and fuelling fraud and
corruption in the government's ongoing land reform programme.

Tasked with allocating 11 million hectares of commercial farmland acquired
by government for the resettlement of landless blacks, the land officers
have been held responsible for some of the most glaring malpractices in the
land allocation exercise.

"It was noted that some of the land officers had become the source of major
confusion in the land allocation exercise as they engaged in underhand land
allocations meant to benefit themselves and their associates. But also, we
should not forget that influential politicians also pressurised these
officers to allocate land to them outside the framework of the national land
policy," said one government source who pleaded anonymity.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Joseph Made
recently announced the dissolution of the provincial and district land
committees, saying that government was "reverting back to normal land

Made explained that the inclusion of the provincial and district land
committees had been necessitated by the need to set up a broad-based
institutional arrangement to "manage this massive land reform programme

The provincial and district land officers will, however, continue to manage
rural land resettlement, but under the supervision of the head office in the
ministry of agriculture and rural resettlement, with the minister being the
land authority.

The dissolution was widely perceived as a vote of no confidence in the land
committees and a preparatory step towards the instalment of a Presidential
national land audit team to carry out a more thorough-going survey of the
mammoth programme.

President Robert Mugabe mentioned in his Independence Day speech that his
office would take over the exercise.

"The Office of the President has decided to have a national land audit
exercise to take stock of land redistribution achievements to date and, more
realistically, gauge the level of support needed by our new farmers," he

The Presidential team would have to brace itself for accusations of
widespread abuses and cases of fraud against the land committees, who
sometimes worked under the instructions of influential government officials,
powerful politicians and their friends and relatives, as well as politically
well-connected businessmen.

Provincial and district land officers were discovered to have given
themselves excessive powers to make concessions with former white commercial
farmers without referring such decisions to the minister. They allegedly
downsized farms that had already been allocated to enable farmers to escape
the maximum farm size rule, thereby resulting in squabbles between the new
settlers and the old farmers.

But Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president, Colin Cloete said he was not
aware of any collusion between members of his union and land officers to
have their farms clandestinely spared from acquisition by government.

"When farms were identified for acquisition, farmers would offer to give up
some and keep one (in the case of multiple farm ownership), or downgrade the
farm by ceding part of it for resettlement," Cloete said. While admitting
that there might have been some inconsistencies in the manner in which the
land committees handled the allocation exercise, Cloete said, "although the
committees are the implementing authorities, the Minister (of land and
agriculture) had the final say." Prior to their dissolution, some provincial
and district land committees had been reported as having perpetrated abuses
of government's national land policy. Mashonaland central acting governor
and minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, Elliot
Manyika revealed to the Weekend Mirror last year that he had dissolved the
Mt Darwin district land committee, whose members had acquired more than one
farm each. Manyika explained that some of the committee's members had played
an active role in the farm invasions that heralded the beginning of the
current phase of the land resettlement programme and, as such, believed they
had a legitimate reason to acquire more than one farm each.

Manyika's province, which houses the rich farming areas of Mazowe and
Concession, has been the theatre of intense jockeying for land by
influential politicians and businessmen.

As such, the political pressure under which some of the province's land
committees operated derailed whatever efforts they could have expended in
trying to strictly follow formal procedures.

Mashonaland west province, too, has also attracted significant controversy
over the manner in which beneficiaries of the A2 scheme were identified and
how land was allocated to them.

The ruling Zanu PF's provincial chairman for Mashonaland west, Philip
Chiyangwa told the Sunday Mirror early this year that the wrangle over the
Nyabira area - where almost 90 farms of prime land lie fallow owing to
disagreements among the province's leaders - had to do with the unprocedural
manner in which land allocation was carried out.

Political influence from the head office in Harare was exercised in
circumventing the relevant land committees to allow for the resettlement of
people from outside the province, Chiyangwa alleged.

But while such cases of clear disregard for procedures governing land
allocation have come to the fore, the lands and agriculture ministry has
itself failed to respond accordingly by asserting its authority through
insistence on formal processes.

In the Insiza district of Matabeleland south province, the local land
committee had allocated Fountain Farm, which has highly developed
infrastructure and produces poultry, citrus and livestock, to the Ministry
of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation's national service
training programme. The farm was, however, allocated to the Minister of
State for Small and Medium Enterprises, Sithembiso Nyoni under the A2 Model
directly from Harare. The lands and agriculture ministry, through Made,
promised to withdraw Nyoni's offer letter, but this has not happened to

Analysts have noted that the ministry appears not to have the capacity to
resist bending backwards for influential political figures who acquire land
outside the normal policy framework.

Although the government has not begun a comprehensive assessment of cases of
abuse of the land reform programme with a view to prosecuting identified
perpetrators, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is currently investigating
several cases of blatant fraud and corruption by some land committee
officials. One such case is that of the Hurungwe district administrator, a
Mr. Munetsi, who is on suspension for impropriety. Munetsi allegedly held
back the delivery of 504 offer letters to A2 beneficiaries and instead
substituted some of these with letters of his own, allocating plots to
illegal beneficiaries on Buffalo Downs and Buttervent farms.

According to an addendum to the land audit report prepared by Minister of
State for Land Resettlement, Flora Buka, Munetsi is suspected to have been
offered cash in return for land by those he gave offer letters to.

Buka's report also alleges that the district land committee in Muzarabani
allocated themselves A2 plots on Lot 1 of Mutorazeni and Carse Farms outside
the national land policy, but it does not spell out whether these irregular
allocations have been rescinded or not.

Made's comment on the allegations of corruption against provincial and
district land committees could not be established at the time of going to
press due to incessant network failure on the NetOne network.

His secretary, Ngoni Masoka, could also not be reached as he was said to be
locked in a meeting on Friday afternoon.
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Letters to ZimGateway :
Mugabe regime will be remembered most for spreading the politics of hate
Not only does life have an ending, but our occupations too, whether we are plumbers, ministers or presidents.
In Numbers 27 v 12-23, Moses is dealing not only with the fact that the end of his life is approaching, but also with the loss of his role as the leader of the Israelites.
Moses has to put the leadership and care of the people in the hands of the youthful Joshua. It will be difficult to imagine anyone being anymore different from Moses, but Joshua is the person Israel needed at that time.
It is Joshua Zimbabwe needs at this time. Moses’ death signalled the end of wandering in the wilderness and the beginning of a military campaign to take over the Promised Land.
Sons and daughters of Zimbabwe, for how long shall we continue to wander in the desert?
Our vision has turned into a mirage. There is no leader who is irreplaceable. Zimbabwe is in ruins. Zimbabwe’s economic plan is on the heap.
The economic quagmire we are in is a product of a long sequence of events which began in 1980.
Corruption was mild at first, and theft by high-ranking government officials was swept under the carpet. Even if you puff under water, the smell comes to the surface. Where are we now?
It is now public knowledge that those loyal to the corrupt system have milked the nation dry. Maybe it is their reward for allegiance to the President and his government. He who guards the fig tree will eat its fruit.
It is because of this cut-throat competition for self- aggrandisement that national interests were abandoned and compromised.
This is not about a political party you belong to, but about justice for the country we love so much.
It is for the hope of Zimbabwe that I make this contribution. Let us concur that Zimbabwe’s future is at stake. There is no economic plan at hand to pull the nation through.
What we have are only documents without any linkages. Every day I feel emotionally and psychologically drained because of events that obtain in Zimbabwe.
Our economy is in the intensive care unit. The country’s huge external debt is proving to be unserviceable. Our international creditworthiness is moving towards zero. The Zimbabwean dollar is on a free fall against major currencies, a three-digit inflation rate has come to stay. Critical shortages of basic commodities and essential services have become our daily bread.
History will not forgive the present leadership. Under these circumstances to think of forgiveness is attempting the impossible.
The present government will be remembered most for spreading politics of hate. Our society has become too polarised. A lot have suffered political martyrdom just for holding divergent views. Some were government- sponsored killings. Brother has killed brother, all in the name of land reform. People are enduring much suffering and pain in the country.
There is selective starvation and selective application of the rule of law for those people who are not considered politically correct.
To make things even more dismal, children, who do not have any legislative voice, are also suffering in the process.
The “people’s government” has messed everything up. Our lives are now askew with broken dreams and shattered hopes. The nation is saturated with tears.
We have become a crisis-oriented nation, always living in the midst of a crisis or expecting one to occur at anytime.
A man who does not constantly lick his lips should not blame the wind for drying them.
Fellow Zimbabweans, it is our collective responsibility to sort out this mess. The potential wealth of our country is incalculable, but we continue to live on or below the bread line. I am criticising bad governance, corruption, greed and arrogance of these black officials who replaced Europeans.
We have a president who cannot deliver. One does not need special glasses to see this. What sin did we commit to deserve such a leadership? How can an elected government starve its own people?
We are just from a presidential election which, according to the Registrar-General, all Zimbabweans lost and Mugabe was the victor.
The President, though in the afternoon of his life, may resubmit himself to the electorate in 2008.
As a nation, what are we going to do in the interim? Time for waiting is not time of inactivity. It was not raining when Noah built the Ark. This is the time to strategise. Together, let us plan our way out of the lion’s den.
When we are under siege, we must come together and defend our interests.
Let us handle this delicate matter carefully as if we are handling highly radioactive material.
Paradzayi Muvezwa - Harare

The political economy of plunder
THERE are so many brand new luxury vehicles seen on the streets of Harare these days. How does this incredible distortion of wealth distribution occur in a starvation economy?
The answer lies in the systematic political economy of plunder that Zanu PF has developed in order to strip the nation of its wealth.
The strategy is essentially very simple:
* Identify or create a shortage of any basic commodity - eg forex, fuel and maize meal are just not available in the formal market place to the ordinary buyer.
* Enact legislation so that movement of the commodity is controlled by a parastatal eg RBZ, Noczim and GMB.
* Restrict trade in that commodity to licensed traders only and selectively grant licences to political cronies. Since the shortages began, many new banks and fuel companies have opened up despite the hostile trading environment.
* Introduce price controls for the commodity that are way below the market value, or even below the cost of production.
* Preferentially (or exclusively) sell the commodity at the controlled prices to the licensed political cronies.
* Allow these traders/political cronies to resell the commodity on the black market at prevailing free- market rates, hence fuelling inflation and reaping massive profits. Forex, fuel and maize meal are readily available on the black market at many times the controlled price.
The latest shortage is electricity. Load-shedding is upon us, but seems selectively aimed at the heavy industrial sites in Southerton in order to "persuade" them to pay in forex.
Zimbabwe's economic collapse is not just an unfortunate side effect of President Robert Mugabe's chaotic land reform policies and his desire for a life presidency. It is a strategy, carefully planned at the highest levels to create a black market economy designed to enrich the gangster elite that is the Zanu PF leadership.
T Chimurenga - Harare

Mugabe's Zimbabwe like a limping dog
I am a student studying in London who decided to go and see my family in Zimbabwe during the Easter break.
What I encountered was heartbreaking. Goods were priced six times as much as they were last year when I left; the police are still acting like President Robert Mugabe’s cousins and the nation is on the brink of starvation.
I almost cried for my people. People used to ask me whether I would like to come back after my studies and I always maintained I would, but after seeing the disaster at home my answer is now a definite no.
The whole nation needs to buy food to last a week — obviously not bread — stash it in their homes and have a seven-day mass action that would shake the Old Man at State House.
Something like that needs to be done. The Movement for Democratic Change cannot go it alone. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions can not either, but the whole nation needs to do so.
Even the ZANU PF militias and supporters would agree they cannot afford to get into a kombi to go to town. They too should set aside their desperate love for the Old Man and admit that things are bad.
It does not need a rocket scientist to see that Zimbabwe is a limping dog, does it?
Changamire Dhamba – London.
It’s Chombo who messed up fine city
I am a Zimbabwean living in the United Kingdom. I always turn to The Daily News for accuracy and maturity in news on Zimbabwean politics and daily general information coverage.
The other day I had the shock of my life to read that Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo could talk about corruption, incompetence, flouting of tender procedures and so on without feeling guilty.
He is a minister in a government that has not only failed in urban areas, but the country as a whole. He is in a Cabinet that is one of the most corrupt in the world. Chombo defended corruption at the University of Zimbabwe when he was supposed to be heading the Ministry of Higher Education exemplarily.
Chombo accused Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri of failing to turn the city around yet old Robert Mugabe and himself are the very people who brought the city into the mess it is in through dummies like Solomon Tawengwa, who were appointed to public office without the slightest knowledge of public affairs management.
Harare was brought to its knees by 20 of bad governance, yet Chombo wants Mudzuri to rebuild the city in two days.
It only shows what an incompetent manager Chombo is and the rest of the Cabinet that sat down to reach such a useless conclusion.
It is not difficult to see why the country collapsed with people sitting down a whole blessed afternoon to plan an injustice on an elected man.
Besides, as the mayor was elected, why does he have to dance to Chombo’s tune?
I find this decision very childish. The people of Zimbabwe are fed up with this exhausted regime and its dirty tricks.
Mugabe and people like Chombo are a waste of time to all of us and our struggle for survival. The end of apartheid in South Africa and racial segregation in Zimbabwe are not necessarily the equivalent of independence.
Independence is not brought by just the end of racial injustice. It is born at the end of all forms of domination.
Mugabe and his Cabinet are no longer popular. Mugabe and company hijacked the people’s cause for self-determination that had started with the 1894-96 uprisings and the spirit of resilience Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi demonstrated.
Mugabe and company are sacrificing and using Zimbabwe and even Zanu PF itself as a pedestal for personal fortune and security. Zanu PF was founded on values and goals radically different from the selfish missions under which its policies are traded today.
Those who died in the liberation struggle did not die for the silly abuse and monopolisation of power by a dictator and his belly-dancing sycophants.
It must be re-established that the true Zanu PF ended with the war of liberation. The present criminal clique is just a mafia gang trading under a convenient name and that is why it must be removed and its leadership tracked down, arrested and humiliated publicly.
Here in the UK we are not just relaxed and contributing through mail as many people think. I am an active and proud member and spokesperson of The Zimbabwean Dream, an active protest and awareness forum.
I am also a lead singer, choirmaster and active member of Zimbabwe Vigil where we demonstrate every Saturday outside the Zimbabwean High Commission in Central London. I am serious about rebuilding Zimbabwe.
The satanic cult-cabinet under the management and supervision of Mugabe should never be thought of as legitimate.
Chombo is illegally heading the Ministry of Local Government because the person who appointed him has no mandate or the legitimacy to do so.
Mugabe, as we know, has illegitimate power. The courts or the people will soon prove this point.
When that happens, from here we shall take over the embassy until someone legitimate is elected by the people in a well-organised and transparent election.
Courage Shumba – London, UK

Moyo, the truth doesn’t kill
The Sunday Mail of 6 April has Jonathan Moyo saying that the government had deployed the army to “deal with terrorism”.
Moyo unashamedly warned that “where the army is deployed, people should not expect a picnic”.
Soon afterwards we saw on TV so-called army deserters being paraded meaning that these were not deployed by the government.
Hasn’t the Minister of Information got it all wrong?
Who do we have to believe now – the army information officer or the real information officer in the name of the minister himself?
Surely people should do their homework before they misinform the nation. The truth must be there.
The Bible says knowing the truth shall make us free. Please, tell us the truth so that we live by it.
Between the army and Moyo they must tell us who is telling the truth and who is lying.
Moyo, tell the army the truth.
Rev Dr Levee Kadenge - Harare

Why declare loyalty to crumbling Zanu PF?
On 24 April, the State propaganda station, ZBC, carried a story in which one Emmanuel Nyambuya claimed that they had formed a rival union to represent the interests of students in the country.
I think it’s prudent that as a student and a fellow classmate of Nyambuya at the University of Zimbabwe, I must respond to this before the whole nation is confused and hoodwinked by such dirty politicking by Zanu PF.
First, let me say that Nyambuya was ousted from his post at the UZ.
He was given a vote of no confidence by the union and has, therefore, no mandate to appear on national television claiming to be representing not only myself but other students at the UZ and nationally.
It is amazing that while some politicians, including President Mugabe, are negotiating for their safety after the fall of this regime, others have the audacity of coming out on television and declaring their loyalty to a falling regime.
Second, let me say that the Zimbabwe Congress of Student Unions, which Nyambuya claims to represent, is not a new animal in the student union politics. That pseudo-union of the Zanu PF youth wing has been supported before by Zanu PF ministers and their cohorts.
It is not a new machination that Zanu PF has come up with. What pains me most, however, is that any citizen or serious student should start believing that they can engage in any meaningful discourse with the falling and illegitimate Zanu PF regime.
The Mugabe regime has proved from time to time that it has no national interest by looting and holding on to political power despite its abject failure.
As students through the Zimbabwe National Association of Student Unions, we have said that the Mugabe regime is illegitimate and that we will participate in any process that will result in us burying and forgetting the regime.
Charles Kanonge - Harare

Mugabe, wake up to reality for your own and your family’s sake!
“If a ruler honours liars, all his advisors will be wicked.” Proverbs 29:12 (Living Bible). How very true King Solomon’s wise words are to our situation in Zimbabwe today.
Jonathan Moyo, Minister of State for Information and Publicity, was elevated to this position for his capacity to manufacture government propaganda – and what happens?
All the government news media, both electronic and print, peddle lies all the time. Typical of such blatant lies is the usual, if not stereotype, comment following the job stayaways called by either the MDC or ZCTU:
“It was business as usual in Harare, everywhere in fact.”
“However, thousands of workers were stranded as commuter bus operators withdrew their services. And those workers who turned up for work were locked out by their employers.”
Shame on you news readers!
Wake up, Robert Mugabe, from your deep slumber and face reality for you are slowly being entrapped in your own snare. Those loyalists whom you believe are the guardians of “your” sovereignty are actually being used by the devil – to destroy you and your family.
They are fooling you into believing all is okay. Humble yourself before God, and the truth will unfold as you begin to see things from His perspective.
To you ZTV/ZBC staffers and like-minded journalists of whatever publication, take heed: James 4:7 “Submit yourselves to God . . . Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
To the generality of Zimbabweans (those who fear only God, of course) here is a message of warning and hope: “When the wicked are in authority, sin increases. But the godly will live to see the tyrant’s downfall.” (Proverbs 29:16)
In these troubled times, it is very easy for anyone to fall into sin.
Be on guard.
Chokwadi Chinorwadza – Greendale, Harare

Beware of these Nigerian and South African Trojan horses
As the temperature rises once again in the kitchen, we are hearing of the Mbekis and the Obasanjos coming on yet another heroic mission to save us. Does anyone still remember Abuja?
They have suddenly remembered us again! Let us beware of Trojan horses, my countrymen and women.
The best way (if there remains any) to resuscitate Zanu PF is for that very sick party to revisit what should have happened in 2000.
A period in the recovery ward of opposition politics is what Zanu PF needed then and now: to allow the party to regroup, find itself a new leader and compose a new political message for the post-liberation war era.
This is enough time for it to disinfect itself of the fat ticks that have been sucking the country dry for the last 10 to 15 years. Who knows?
In five or 10 years’ time, Zimbabweans may be prepared to give them another chance to rule. That is what the game of leadership is all about.
For anyone to believe that Zanu PF can re-invent itself while simultaneously solving the avalanche of economic problems that now threaten to drown this nation is like suggesting that HIV is not responsible for Aids.
There are those who tell me that the long-awaited light at the end of our long, dark tunnel is now in sight.
Before we step forward, please, let us make sure it is not an oncoming train, be it a diesel model running on Nigerian oil, or an electric version running on South African electricity.
Rwendo Rurefu - Harare
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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 3 May

Police bury torture victim in secret as mourners watch from the long grass

The first known secret burial of an arrested Zimbabwe opposition activist

From the cover of the bleached long grass, a small group of mourners watched a friend being buried on the horizon at a desolate cemetery south of Harare. The mourners could not get closer, as beyond the mounds of red earth bordering lines of waiting graves in the Seke South cemetery were soldiers and policemen. They would be the ones to lower Tonderai Machiridza, 32, to his last resting place. To the south of the cemetery, more soldiers were lurking in the bush. To the west another group of battle-ready men hung about. Riot police and soldiers had collected Mr Machiridza's body from the mortuary at the government hospital that afternoon to bury it - without family, friends or mourners. There was to be no ceremony, traditional or Christian. A spokesman for a funeral parlour near the cemetery and around the corner from a row of lean-to coffin-makers' shops confirmed that his company had been assigned to handle the burial. "It is out of our hands," he said. "The police are taking the body from the mortuary and they are going to bury the deceased."

The dead man's friends crouching in the bush were triumphant to have got close to what the government had decided should be a secret burial. They had run several miles through dusty streets from the home where a vigil was meant to have taken place. They were survivors of a raid the night before when soldiers swarmed through the house, "beating, shouting and swearing at" grieving and angry people who had gathered to vent their sorrow shrouded in blankets on the floor. In the pandemonium some escaped over the barbed wire above the concrete security wall. Dried lines of blood at the top of the wall had been left by many legs snagged on the wire. Among those who escaped was Mr Machiridza's pregnant wife Lidia, 27, and their two children. More than 50 mourners, including the dead man's mother, Mary, were taken to cells at the nearby St Mary's police station. They were to be held for the rest of the day because Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was due to speak over the coffin of one of his most energetic local organisers.

Mr Tsvangirai was due to tell the crowd of the barbarism of Mr Machiridza's death, of how he had been picked up with three colleagues 10 days earlier, allegedly tortured and taken to a government hospital where he was chained to the bed and left without treatment. Friends rescued him and took him to a private clinic, where he was admitted to intensive care. But he had already lost too much blood to survive. The MDC said that the night before the planned burial relatives took Mr Machiridza's body to the home of the policeman who, they said, was the main torturer. A police spokesmen said that was why mourners were arrested. The hall where Mr Tsvangirai was due to speak was sealed off and police set up road blocks at the main entrances to the township. Then, with the help of the army, they buried the activist on a clear autumn afternoon. Police said two officers would be charged with the murder of the activist but did not give their names.

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ABC News online

Posted: Mon, 5 May 2003 8:05 AEST

African leaders meet on Zimbabwe crisis

A delegation of African leaders will arrive in Zimbabwe today for talks with President Robert Mugabe and Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The meetings come amid increasing speculation that Mr Mugabe is preparing for possible retirement.

South African President Thabo Mbeki is leading a diplomatic effort to repair the deep divisions between the opposition and the ruling party in Zimbabwe.

Mr Mbeki will be joined by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Malawian President Bakili Muluzi for the one-day talks.

Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai are being urged to re-open negotiations over a possible transitional Government.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says it is prepared to meet with Mr Mugabe to put an end to worsening unrest.

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The Times - World News
May 05, 2003

Zimbabwe talks suffer setback after 'agents' jibe
From Jan Raath in Harare and Michael Dynes in Johannesburg
PROSPECTS for a rapid solution to the escalating crisis in Zimbabwe received a setback yesterday after a state-owned newspaper denounced the delegation of three African presidents arriving in Harare today as British “agents”.

President Mugabe also indicated that he would spurn talks with Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), amid a new diplomatic initiative designed to haul the former British colony out of its worst political and economic crisis since independence in 1980.

The visit is made ahead of a trip to southern Africa by the US State Department’s top Africa official, Walter Kansteiner, which is widely viewed as an effort to win backing for US calls for political reform in Zimbabwe.

The Sunday Mail questioned whether the three presidents were going to be in Zimbabwe as “African brothers; to help or act as agents in efforts by Britain, the former colonial ruler, and the United States to force Mugabe to step down”.

In an astonishing gaffe, it declared that the three presidents, including President Mbeki of South Africa and President Obasanjo of Nigeria, the two most powerful figures in Africa, were not to be trusted as they could be “British agents” coming to “play British games”.

Mr Mbeki, Mr Obasanjo and President Muluzi of Malawi are expected to meet Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai today in an attempt to persuade them to negotiate a path away from Zimbabwe’s impending economic and political catastrophe.

While he ruled out “regime change”, Mr Mbeki said last week that the key issue was to bring Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai to the negotiating table, but he gave no further details of the talks’ agenda.

Diplomats say that there is a growing consensus between African and Western countries that the key issue is to find some way for Mr Mugabe, 79, who is in his 24th year of power, to step down and make way for free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections held under international supervision.

Regional analysts say that the talks today hold the same significance as the intervention by neighbouring black states in 1979, which forced Mr Mugabe to go to Lancaster House in London for negotiations with white-ruled Rhodesia that led to elections and independence in 1980.

But Mr Mugabe’s refusal to participate in an Africansponsored settlement could finally turn Mr Mbeki and Mr Obasanjo, who have hitherto bent over backwards to support the former Zimbabwean liberation leader, against him.

For the past three years, Mr Mugabe has portrayed the mounting economic crisis in Zimbabwe as the result of a British “war” against the Government. Last week the Sunday Mail dismissed reports that he might step down before his term of office expires in 2008 as “wishful thinking”.

Mr Tsvangirai said last week that “the only way” to resolve the crisis was through “serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and Zanu (PF)”. The MDC has insisted on “a peaceful political environment” as a precondition for talks, including the restoration of the rule of law, the repeal of repressive laws and the disbanding of ruling party militias.

The talks would have to lead to the establishment of a transitional government and elections within three months of Mr Mugabe resigning, according to the Constitution.

The MDC has offered two new concessions in the past week. Party sources said that it would be willing to drop its high court challenge to presidential elections that returned Mr Mugabe to power last year if he gave a “cast-iron commitment” to resign soon.

It was also willing to discuss a “dignified exit” for Mr Mugabe.

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Mbeki will tell Mugabe that regime must change

By Basildon Peta, Southern Africa Correspondent

05 May 2003

Three African presidents will fly to Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, today in the most serious attempt so far to persuade Robert Mugabe to step down.

Thabo Mbeki, President of Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour South Africa, will be joined by Bakili Muluzi of Malawi and the Nigerian leader, Olusegun Obasanjo. They are now said to accept that Mr Mugabe's departure is the only possible starting point for resolving the Zimbabwe crisis.

Although few Zimbabweans are expecting an announcement of regime change at the end of the one-day visit, many regard the mission as the beginning of the end of Robert Mugabe's uninterrupted 23-year rule. .

Senior officials in Mr Mbeki's government insist that the South African President is finally ready to work hard to secure Mr Mugabe's departure from office. Mr Mbeki knows his plans depend on Mr Mugabe's co-operation and so he will try not to annoy the Zimbabwe leader.

The United States, backed by Britain, is pushing for a solution that would see Mr Mugabe replaced by a member of the ruling Zanu-PF party. The new President would then call a constitutional conference and organise elections to be monitored by the international community. America, Britain and South Africa have indicated that the country's former finance minister, Simba Makoni, is a suitable interim figure to take over from Mr Mugabe.

A constitutional amendment for Mr Mugabe to retire without an immediate election would require the opposition to co-operate. Mr Mbeki and his colleagues will also meet the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change. Mr Mbeki may have kind words for Mr Mugabe in public but his officials insist that in private he will encourage him to quit. To heighten the pressure, President George Bush is sending Walter Kansteiner, his special adviser on Africa, to the region this week.

Mr Mugabe, 79, has hinted that he might step down in favour of a member of his own party. Quoting an unnamed analyst, a practice often used to air the views of the Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, the Zimbabwean Sunday Mail newspaper said Zanu-PF had the credentials to rule, while the opposition was "a British creation".

Well-placed sources in the Mbeki government said South African officials had discreetly met opposition representatives to discuss an exit plan for Mr Mugabe.

Embattled Zimbabweans have pinned their hopes on Mr Mbeki providing a mechanism to end their political and economic misery. "We want to look back at Mbeki and say this great man became our saviour," said Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of Zimbabwe's largest civic group, the National Constitutional Assembly. "No one wants history to record Mbeki as the greatest betrayer of the Zimbabwean people."

Amnesty International is calling for a United Nations resolution condemning Zimbabwe for human rights abuses, on the ground that Mr Mugabe's violations of human rights constitute a serious threat to regional security.

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