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40 black rhinos poached from Zimbabwe's parks

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe has lost about 40 black rhinos to poachers who have
killed the animals in some government parks and conservancies over the past
three years, a state daily said Saturday.

"At least 40 black rhinos have been poached in some government parks and
conservancies in the country over the past three years," the state-run
Herald said.
The newspaper quoted World Wide Fund (WWF) spokeswoman, Melody Maunze, as
saying although other animals such as buffalos and lions were not in danger
during that period, the black rhino was under siege.

"...We are are concerned about the increasing levels of poaching in
conservancies, in particular, and some state parks," Maunze said.

"Efforts should be made to work with communities now settled in some
conservancies to constructively engage in wildlife management, which would
be a more economically viable option, suitable to local conditions than
traditional livestock production systems some of them are into."

The southern African country temporarily placed over 100 rhinos at a private
conservancy in the southern part of Matabeleland last year following the
continued poaching of the endagered species.

Under the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species, no
country is allowed to trade in rhino products following the massive decline
in its population in the 1980s.

Southern African countries are currently working together to help boost the
populations and recently Zimbabwe donated one black rhino to the Khama
Wildlife Sanctuary in Serowe, Botswana.

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"We Have Reached the Tipping Point" - Interview


Washington, DC

Democracy advocates in southern Africa have been posing the question recently: When does Zimbabwe reach a "tipping point", where popular opposition to the regime of aging president Robert Mugabe is greater than the government forces arrayed against it.

A delegation of political and civil society leaders who have been visiting the United Nations and Washington, DC says that time has come. They accuse the government of intensifying a campaign of violence against opponents, of accelerating arbitrary detentions and abductions and of exacerbating a humanitarian crisis that has given Zimbabwe the world's lowest life expectancy.

With 83-year-old Mugabe planning to run again in presidential elections next year, they are appealing for international pressure to support the internal pro-democracy struggle. Members of the group say they find it inexplicable that African leaders have failed to take a strong stand on Zimbabwe in the context of African Union commitments to political and economic reforms on the continent. They say they are angry that SADC, the southern African regional organization, declined to censure Mugabe during its March summit, which followed a brutal crackdown on government critics. They say they are particularly dismayed that neighboring South Africa, whose quest for democracy was aided by sanctions against the former white government - and whose president was charged by SADC with mediating the Zimbabwe crisis - has not taken a firmer stand for change. And they say they are saddened that African Americans, who they feel should identify with their struggle, are perceived by democracy activists in Zimbabwe as apologists for Mugabe.

The delegation included Deputy International Relations Secretary Grace Kwinjeh of the Movement for Democratic Change, the main political opposition; National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku; Otto Saki of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights; and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition National Coordinator Jacob Mafume. They were accompanied by Isabella Matambandadzo, program manager for Zimbabwe of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and former executive director of the Zimbabwe Women's Resource Centre and Network.

After meetings with human rights groups and other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and members of the U.S. Congress, the group participated in a lively seminar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington titled "Keeping Democratic Hopes Alive Amid Rising Repression." Participants described the events of Sunday, March 11 as a pivotal moment. About 50 people were beaten and arrested en route to a prayer meeting sponsored by the Christian Alliance, an ecumenical organization described as an effort by religious organizations to cooperate in resolving social and economic problems and to promote justice.

Zimbabwe 's economy is in desperate straits. The International Monetary Fund says the annual inflation rate, already a world record, neared 3000% in February. Last month the Fund revised its inflation projections to 5000% by year end. Unemployment runs between 80 and 90 per cent. A severe drought has further exacerbated the suffering, as hunger mounts. Due in part to an uncontrolled HIV epidemic, life expectancy averages 34 for women and 37 for men.

The country's media have long been shackled, and the pressure appears to be growing. Blogger and web analyst Ethan Zukerman wrote on April 5 about the murder of a prominent journalist following his March 11 reporting. "I'm sad to report a tragic reminder of just how dangerous journalism in Zimbabwe can be. Edward Chikomba, a freelance cameraman, who frequently worked for state-controlled ZBC (the sole terrestrial television network in Zimbabwe) has been found beaten to death on a roadside 50km outside of Harare. Chikomba is believed to be one of the cameramen who shot footage of Morgan Tsvangarai emerging from the courthouse showing evidence of his injuries while in police custody for Mighty Movies Zimbabwe, a production company that sells footage to international broadcasters….It's a good bet that his journalistic activities were a major factor in his death as Zimbabwe is in the middle of a sometimes violent crackdown on independent journalism. Gift Phiri of The Zimbabwean has been in custody since April 1st, charged with practicing journalism illegally. Luke Tamborinyoka, former editor of the defunct Daily News, has been hospitalized under court orders since March 30th, after losing consciousness during his trial - he'd been arrested in the March 28 raid on MDC headquarters and severely beaten in police custody."

On May 4, World Press Freedom Day, four media organizations in Zimbabwe issued a statement saying: The widely condemned Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Public Order and Security Act and the Broadcasting Services Act, continue to be used with impunity to muzzle the media and harass journalists…The intimidation, harassment and unlawful arrests, detentions and torture of journalists going about their professional duties continue unabated…As we mark this day, hundreds of journalists and media workers have been thrown into the streets following the closure of The Daily News, Daily News on Sunday, The Weekly Times and The Tribune.

The crackdown appears to be producing an unintended effect - a widespread sense that the government has gone too far and that the moment has come to take major risks to oust it. "Analysts have long been forecasting that the next step in Zimbabwe's political development will be an alliance between opposition political parties and civic and church groups to form something equivalent to the mass democratic movement, which took over the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa after the African National Congress was banned and exiled," wrote Sarah Dlodlowhich of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting   on March 21.

Women have been at the forefront of the rising protests. Two years ago, dozens of marchers from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) were arrested in Zimbabwe's capital Harare under a sign saying, "The Power of Love can conquer the Love of Power". Six weeks later over 100 Woza members holding a peace vigil were arrested. Blogger Daniel Moshenberg last year quoted a Woza press release on International Women's Day describing police action against them: "In Bulawayo, 174 women, 7 men and 14 babies were arrested and in Harare, an estimated 242 women and 5 babies were arrested, many of whom spent more than three days in custody."

On May 1, AllAfrica's Francois Gouahinga and Yudaya Mawanda talked to Grace Kwinjeh and Isabella Matambandadzo, who stayed in Washington a few days later than the other delegation members.

Kwinjeh: The purpose of the trip was to highlight the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. The situation did not really start on 11 th of March but in February, when President Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC tried to launch his presidential campaign. He was stopped, and after that there was a ban on all political rallies for three months in many of the big cities. [Even] before the ban it had been difficult to meet. I am one of those who had been arrested several times before that for holding what they call "illegal" demonstrations under the securities laws.

But March 11 th was a dramatization of a situation that was bad already, in the sense that the kind of brutality we experienced was beyond anything that we had psychologically prepared ourselves for. Prayer meetings in Zimbabwe are not governed by the security laws. You can meet to pray anywhere, any religion. There's freedom of religion. There's an alliance of churches that call themselves the Christian Alliance. These are credible church leaders we have known since independence. So they invited all political parties, not just the MDC, and all civic groups to a united prayer meeting in one of the high density suburbs, Highfields.

We went to this prayer meeting thinking that, well, it's a prayer meeting. We have been invited. And when we got there, to our surprise, we heard that some of our colleagues had been arrested. We went to find out why, because this was a legal prayer meeting on a Sunday morning when everybody is in church. I actually learnt later that one of the churches was raided, and people were beaten up who were just having their own normal congregation for that Sunday.

We were tortured for more than four hours with all sorts of objects … baton sticks, army belts, iron bars … If you look at my ear - they bashed me several times on the head with an iron bar. I fainted. The president of the party, Morgan Tsvangirai, was specifically targeted. For every one lash somebody got, he got five. He was always the main target. It got to a point where he lay there still, and I thought he was dead. To this day I really think that the power of God worked and intervened, because the kind of beatings with an iron bar on the head and surviving and actually coming out still walking is a miracle.

Dr. Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly was also assaulted so badly. At one point he was beaten in front of an assistant commissioner, Mabunda. And this assistant commissioner called Dr. Madhuku and said, "Madhuku, what did I tell you yesterday? Now you deserve what you are getting". The moment he said that there was an orgy of violence to beat up Dr. Madhuku. He's back home now - today he was addressing May Day celebrations, after all they did to him!

After the beatings we were put in a lorry [truck] like animals on top of each other. I was put in a cell with three other guys, feeling very faint because of the bleeding from my ear, and my head was swollen. In the morning, the army came again. Apparently an army bus had been burnt while we were being held. They came to interrogate me on who had burnt the army bus. I said, "I've been in police custody since morning. How can I be responsible for burning an army bus?" That is when they started to torture me again, until I couldn't stand. Then they made me sit and started to hit the soles of my feet. I don't know what else to say, because I passed out completely. You can see that my legs are still swollen, and I am still on medication. Colleagues were also being attacked in their cells.

There was a quick international outcry because prominent figures like President Morgan Tsvangirai, the National Constitutional Assembly chairman, Dr. Lovemore Madhuku, and two legislators - Tendai Biti and Nelson Chamisa were there. Mr. Chamisa was later attacked at the international airport in the departure lounge. He was leaving for a joint parliamentary assembly meeting of the African Caribbean Pacific [group of states] and the European Union.

You know security rules around all airports - the departure lounge is not a place where thugs can just go into, but he was assaulted and left for dead in the lounge. This is an elected legislator who is leaving on legislative business, but they attacked him, and he had to be hospitalized again.

"We fear for our lives"

And so our trip is to highlight the kind of brutality that is in Zimbabwe today. All rules have been suspended - notwithstanding that the rules were really unfair to us, the opposition - but even those have been suspended. We fear for our lives. We fear for the lives of the opposition.

There are now assassination lists being leaked of people to be assassinated by hit groups. There are cars with no number plates going from door to door abducting opposition supporters. Some we know where they are, some we do not know, and others are hiding. This is ten months before key elections are held. It's hardly an election environment at all, where people cannot express themselves, where everybody who belongs to the opposition has been criminalized.

We thought that at the United Nations level, at the U.S. government level, it is important for them to understand that what is happening in Zimbabwe is a real crisis. There might not be guns on the ground, like what is happening in Somalia and the crisis in Darfur. What is happening in Darfur and Somalia is wrong - and so is what is happening in Zimbabwe.

"The pattern becomes more brutal"

As a Zimbabwean society, we are a religious society, a peace loving society, and we are a traumatized society at the moment. We have seen protests repressed before. In 2000 [the government dismissed the opposition as controlled by] white commercial farmers, because Mugabe wanted to correct past land injustices by giving land to black people. And we had the same thing in 2002 and 2005. So the pattern of violence repeats itself but becomes more brutal. You are supposed, as a citizen, to seek protection from the police. In my country, we now run from the police because you never know what can happen to you. So I am lucky to be here to tell my story.

But the real story is that of the 28 activists who are being tortured and with whom I would be in Remand Prison with right now [except for international pressure to allow medical evacuation to South Africa]. Mr. Morgan Chomicki is a member of our standing committee, one of the highest office bearers. We hear that he is being tortured and is bleeding from the nose and mouth. There's Ian Makoni, who is an adviser to [MDC] President Morgan Tsvangirai. He has been tortured, and he has been there for two months. Several other activists are being denied bail and are being tortured. Part of our mission is a campaign for them to become prisoners of conscience, to bring to the attention of the international community the kind of brutality that we are living.

You have been quoted as saying that this delegation is the voice of the Zimbabwean people who have no access to international public opinion.

Matambandadzo: I think when you consider how this is a shared story about the many hundreds of Zimbabweans who have disappeared, been abducted - to date our figures stand at about 600 people who are missing in some shape or form - then you understand that [the delegation members] bear testimony. They carry the scars on their bodies and in their minds of what happens when a police station becomes a site of torture and of violence. They are the voices of the citizens who are being brutalized with impunity.

Police stations are locations where you go to seek justice and to seek safety and security in the event that you have been denied those things. We would have expected the commissioner of police in Zimbabwe to call a commission of inquiry into the ten police stations that were involved in the incidents pf March 11. We would have expected the minister of home affairs to demand accountability from his office bearers around the incidents of March 11. In fact, we would have expected the president of our nation to demand accountability. Instead, on national television, national radio, in the national press, the president said, "They deserved to be beaten". So that is really a shocking revelation of the extent of brutality in our society from office bearers who receive salaries that are directly related to tax payers' contribution.

You are suggesting that this incident, this day, is a kind of iconic representation of what's happening in Zimbabwe.

Matambandadzo: Yes. Dr. Madhuku calls it the 'tipping point,' when he speaks. How do so many people who are representatives of lawfully registered non-governmental organizations, who are members of parliament, of an opposition that is registered and recognized by the government, who are members of the political opposition, that is also registered and recognized by our government and our laws, get beaten up in police custody?

What do you expect to happen when you go home?

Kwinjeh: We expect retribution. You know, we were not taken to the courts, we were not charged, and we did not have the right to reply to the charges brought against us. But I am encouraged by the activists on the ground, my comrades on the ground. Today was May Day celebrations, and with all that has been happening over the past weeks, the past days, Zimbabweans attended the May Day celebrations. People like Dr. Madhuku, who have been tortured and left for dead, stood up to address the celebrations. The secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, who was almost murdered on the 13 th of September in 2006, was there to speak on workers rights, political rights.

So as Zimbabweans we will not give in to political dictatorship. We will continue to speak out and not to be cowed into silence. I think our strength and resilience comes from the courage of the Zimbabweans who continue to say that we do not accept the situation we are in. Only a few days ago, some women organized themselves and held a demonstration against the high electricity tariffs. They were arrested and 30 of them were stripped naked and tortured.

Whatever happens to us, we are going back home, we are Zimbabweans. It is in Mugabe's favor for us to stay here and say, "Look we cannot go back." He wants us to run, but we will not run. I faced evil in its eyes on the 11 th of March and looked at it and I think God saved me. The God who worked on the 11 th of March is the God who is going to continue to work on behalf of the oppressed, the poor, and the hungry in Zimbabwe.

What do you expect from the international community?

Kwinjeh: We expect the international community to deal with the Zimbabwean situation within its right context. Talking about elections is not the right context, at a time when there is no election environment. A situation where we are still denied access to public media, where we have to apply to police to have rallies and meetings is not the right environment for elections. We have young people who have turned 18 since 2005 who do not have identification cards, because we do not have the capacity, according to the government, to produce [them], which means they cannot be registered to vote. In the diaspora, there are three million Zimbabweans who have been disenfranchised. Electoral rules and laws in Zimbabwe are very much in favor of the regime. The right context would be to deal with proper political transformation through a new constitution. That is what people are saying. We want a new constitution. We want to be able to vote freely and fairly for a leader of our choice. That is what Zimbabweans want.

In your Fahamu guest column of April 11, you noted that when you were harshly beat up by the riot police officers on March 11 th , "It was about me as a woman and what I stand for or represent".

Kwinjeh: I have been in the women's movement with Bella since our college days, since our teens. At times women are said to be less equipped for continuously getting arrested. I wrote that article with many women in mind who continue to stand up and challenge the regime. At times we get targeted because we are women, and we are doing something outside the norm. When they target you by name and start beating you up, it is because of how you have been standing up to them and refusing to succumb to fear.

Sekai Holland [the MDC secretary of policy who was seriously injured on March 11] was called a whore - called a lover of white men because she is married to an Australian. She's 64 years old, she's a war veteran. She fought for Zimbabwe's liberation, but she was called a whore, and she was beaten up.

Then there is the use of sexuality. We made to lie down on the floor, and they would hit us on the buttocks with baton sticks. They would beat us up and say, "The prostitutes, whores, and Tony Blair's whores", and so on.

But, really, when I wrote about the woman in me, it was really as a feminist. There's backlash on all fronts, because Zimbabwe is still mainly a patriarchic society where - even in the movements we might be in - the word 'feminist' is still taboo. You can't call yourself a feminist; your comrades look at you. But feminism is about the women's struggle and liberation, which is part and parcel of political liberation of Zimbabwe. So, there is always backlash, labeling of women who stand out.

What is your appeal to the countries in your region and to the government of South Africa, which was tasked by the region to mediate in Zimbabwe?

Matambandadzo: South Africa is playing a brokerage role that brings forward the political elite of Zimbabwe and South Africa to discuss our future. Four men are seated at a table somewhere in Pretoria to talk about the future of millions and millions of Zimbabweans. They do not have a structure of accountability, they do not have an agenda that explains to us what they are discussing, but above all they are not discussing with us the issues that we see as priorities for our society.

We would expect, at the very minimum, that South Africa use the process it learned out of its own experience of interim government, where many people were consulted and included in a question saying, "What do you dream for your own future?" We would expect that South Africa would respect the processes of civil society in Zimbabwe - the processes of drawing up a draft constitution, the process of a women's charter, which outlines what women expect from the constitutional process. We would expect a starting point there - not to broker a deal for the political elites. That is a big shame for both countries. It is even a greater shame that SADC even endorses such a process and that the African Union seems to support it.

We were hoping that Africa's leadership would step up to the issue of the violation of rights. I want to put it in that context: that we have seen the most horrific violation of rights in Zimbabwe. March 11 is the violation of the right to be free of torture. But there are other violations of rights in our society, among them economic rights. We live in a society where inflation, officially, is 2000 percent. Where you walk into a supermarket to buy toothpaste, you wish and pray that the manufacturer would make a smaller tube. You wish and pray that you could buy one sanitary towel at a time, because you can't afford a month's supply. We live in a society where parents who can pay fees to send their children to school receive a letter from the school saying "send more money" before the term is out. The economic violations are very severe, and they are a sign of an incredibly irresponsible government. They occur in a context of phenomenal corruption and in a context where our state is incredibly excessive with the meager resources that we currently have.

There are further violations in our society, like the rights of women that Grace has talked about; the rights of media; the rights of freedom of assembly - no more than four people can meet at a time in Zimbabwe to discuss political issues.

When we look at that broad array of rights that's being violated, many of which I haven't named in this conversation, we would have expected African leaders to recognize that what is happening is a shame for the whole continent. It is an embarrassment that the vast majority of Africa's leadership can keep quiet. It is a huge embarrassment for the mechanisms we have worked very hard to establish on the continent that are meant not only to promote but to protect human rights. What it does is to send a very clear signal that [the political leadership's commitment to rights] is rhetoric; that the reality is very different.

Is there a country that you could look to today on the continent as an honest broker?

Matambandadzo : Every single African nation, if we were to invoke the mechanisms we have in the NEPAD [New Partnership for African Development] Peer Review Mechanisms, is enabled to be an honest broker. The question, really, is about the leadership - on whose side are they? We harbor in Zimbabwe, Menghistu [the former Ethiopian ruler] who for many years was responsible for death and destruction that Ethiopians faced. He is looked after through resources gathered through our central budget. This is irresponsible. We have not made him available to the rest of the African community to stand judgment and to take responsibility for what he did as a leader.

Through the mechanisms we have, be at the level of SADC or at the African Union, every single nation on the African continent, even the tiniest island, has the ability to show leadership and honest brokership on the question of Zimbabwe. It's a question of will.

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Warrant issued for Zim fugitive's arrest

From The Star (SA), 5 May

Sibusiso Ngalwa

Fugitive businessman Billy Rautenbach's days as a free man may soon be over
if the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has its way. The Scorpions have
applied to the Zimbabwean attorney-general for Rautenbach's extradition. He
has managed to elude authorities for the past six years while hiding in the
Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe - apparently under the protection
of President Robert Mugabe's inner circle. Rautenbach fled South Africa in
1999 when the net started closing in on him, following the issuing of a
warrant for his arrest on charges of fraud, corruption and theft relating to
his control of the South African arm of the Hyundai Motor Corporation.
Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy told the justice portfolio committee this
week that they had tied up their investigations against Rautenbach - a
Zimbabwean citizen - and had applied for his extradition on March 27. He
faces a host of charges, including 58 for fraud, 326 for theft, two for
corruption, two for conspiracy to commit fraud, one for money-laundering,
and one for reckless trading in terms of the Companies Act.

Attempts to get Rautenbach, currently living in Harare, to answer for his
alleged crimes had proved fruitless so far. McCarthy admitted the Rautenbach
case had embarrassed the NPA. The reason it took them so long to apply for
his extradition was partly because co-operation from other countries had
been slow, he said. "Rautenbach litigated from abroad on five occasions,
which caused delays. He also tried to negotiate with us but that came to
nothing. There were indications that he would come to us of his own
volition, but now we want the law to take its course. We are ready to
prosecute him." Rautenbach's name has become synonymous with shady business
dealings not only in South Africa but also in the countries he has taken
refuge. He was implicated in a cobalt theft operation amounting to
R6-billion from the DRC's state-controlled mining company Gecamines of which
he was chief executive in the late 1990s. He lost his position soon after
the scam was uncovered. His close ties with Mugabe saw him being one of the
few white farmers to retain his farm during the Harare government's drive to
oust white farmers as part of its land reform programme. McCarthy said he
was confident that the Zimbabwean government would assist the NPA with
Rautenbach's extradition.

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The stick-less carrot

Comment from ZWNEWS, 4 May

Countless column inches have been taken up recently discussing amnesties for
those in government with blood on their hands. Should justice for victims
take priority over political realities? Would amnesty be accepted were it
offered? Just how far down, or up, the chain of command should it operate?
Only yesterday, Morgan Tsvangirai, in the Washington Times, described it as
Zimbabwe's Catch 22: "If we say we'll bring these people to justice, they
will cling ever-more firmly to power. Yet, if we offer them unconditional
pardon, we sell out the hopes of their victims."

Amnesties only get considered in serious political negotiations when the
adversaries have arrived at some sort of stalemate, even if it may be fairly
clear that one side will ultimately prevail. The side offering the amnesty
must have calculated that it is in their interests to bring the conflict to
an end earlier rather than later, because to continue would be costly. But
they must also make it clear that they would be prepared to incur that cost
if absolutely necessary. The offer of an amnesty by one side must therefore
be accompanied by a threat: "If you do not take up this amnesty, things will
eventually be worse for you. It is better for you to lose now with an
amnesty, than to lose later without one." And the side accepting the amnesty
must believe that threat. Although they may be confident that they can hold
out in the short term, they must be seriously worried that will not survive
in the long term.

This is the tack that Tsvangirai is taking. He says: "The change I talk
about will come, regardless of whether Mugabe agrees to it or not. As surely
as dictatorship fell in Chile, Cambodia, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and
the former Soviet Union, it will collapse in Zimbabwe. But the longer Mr
Mugabe and his allies stall that change, the greater will be the wrath of
our people. There is still time for Mr Mugabe to make a dignified exit, but
not much. Beatings, torture, killings, rigged elections and control of the
media may secure his position in the short term, but nothing will change the
outcome." Unfortunately, these words reflect precisely the powerlessness of
the opposition. Hardly anyone in Zanu PF, least of all Mugabe, believes
Tsvangirai's analysis. Zimbabwe increasingly resembles, not Chile, Cambodia
or the former Soviet Union, but Myanmar. Zanu PF will treat Tsvangirai's
offer in a similar manner that the Burmese generals would treat such an
offer from Aung San Suu Kyi.

It may well be that an amnesty will eventually have to be used to persuade
Mugabe and his closest lieutenants to relinquish power. And there are groups
who could make such an offer. South Africa could, if she wished, make it
abundantly clear to Mugabe and Zanu PF the cost of the current leadership
hanging on. Even if, as is almost certain, South Africa refused to do so, it
is entirely conceivable that one or other faction within Zanu PF could gain
sufficient strength to persuade Mugabe to stand down earlier rather than
later, with the promise of an amnesty to shield him in his dotage.
Unfortunately there is no sign yet of this happening either. And equally
unfortunately, the divided opposition has a very long road to travel before
it too could credibly make a similar offer. It has offered a carrot, but it
has no stick.

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Mugabe amnesty outrages exiles

Washington Times

By Geoff Hill
May 5, 2007

JOHANNESBURG -- Some of the estimated 3 million Zimbabweans living in South
Africa have expressed outrage at opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
suggestion that he would be willing to consider amnesty for President Robert
Mugabe if that would open talks leading to free and fair elections.
    In a guest column in The Washington Times yesterday, Mr. Tsvangirai, who
is president of the Movement for Democratic Change, described amnesty for
Mr. Mugabe, his generals, ministers and secret police as "a Catch-22."
    "If we say we'll bring these people to justice, they will cling ever
more firmly to power. Yet, if we offer them unconditional pardon, we sell
out the hopes of their victims: millions of people who have a right to
justice," Mr. Tsvangirai wrote. However, he said that if it took immunity
from prosecution to secure change, then it should be considered.
    In Johannesburg, David Magagula, spokesman for the Matabeleland Freedom
Party said he understood what Mr. Tsvangirai was trying to achieve, but
added that those who had suffered would find it hard to accept.
    "This will be an amnesty between Tsvangirai and Mugabe, and the people
will never underwrite it," said Mr. Magagula, whose pregnant sister
reportedly was killed by Mr. Mugabe's soldiers.
    Tererai Karimakwenda runs an exile radio station that broadcasts nightly
from London to Zimbabwe, where all daily newspapers and broadcast stations
are run by government. He said he and his colleagues at Short Wave Radio
Africa have been inundated with callers objecting to the concept of amnesty.
    "This is a heated issue for Zimbabweans, and most do not understand why
Mugabe must be offered anything," he said. "It seems Mr. Tsvangirai will
have his work cut out selling this to the public."
    There was no reaction to Mr. Tsvangirai's proposal from Mr. Mugabe, who
yesterday criticized the country's Catholic bishops over a pastoral letter
read out Sunday calling for a new people-driven constitution to avert
bloodshed and mass uprising.
    "Once [the bishops] turn political, we regard them as no longer
spiritual and our relations with them would be conducted as if we are
dealing with political entities and this is quite a dangerous path they have
chosen for themselves," Mr. Mugabe, himself a Catholic, said.
    Mr. Mugabe singled out Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, one of his
most outspoken critics, saying, "He thinks he is close to God, that's why he
says he is praying for me to die. But unfortunately, God has not listened to
him for all this duration."
    After 27 years in power, Mr Mugabe's government stands accused of mass
killing, torture, and, since 2000, the murder or disappearance of as many as
300 people.
    Two years ago, he ordered bulldozers to clear shacks erected by the
urban poor -- many of whom had fled to towns in the wake of a failed
land-reform program -- and an estimated 1.5 million people were rendered
homeless. Economic collapse has brought an inflation of 2,300 percent, and
seen almost a third of the country's 14 million people forced into exile.
 Western governments, including the United States, still refuse to recognize
the 2005 election that returned Mr. Mugabe, 83, to power. Widespread
electoral fraud and intimidation were reported.
    From 1983 to 1987, troops loyal to Mr. Mugabe committed what some human
rights groups have described as genocide, when they reportedly killed as
many as 40,000 people in the southern province of Matabeleland, which has
always been vocally anti-government.
    In 1984, at the height of the campaign, Mr. Magagula said he and his
family were forced to watch while soldiers cut open his pregnant 36-year-old
sister, Thembiso, dragged out the fetus and crushed it in the dirt.
Thembiso, who was already a mother of four, died shortly afterward.
    "Why should [Mr. Mugabe] end his days in peace when I am so haunted by
what happened to my sister," Mr. Magagula said. "It is unthinkable."
    Claudia Mpofu lost family in the killings and, as a child of 12 watched
her mother being kicked to death over a period of seven hours.
    "I don't have the stomach to even slaughter a goat, but I would join a
firing squad to kill Mugabe," she said.
    Mr. Karimakwenda at the radio station said opposition to the idea of
amnesty went across all colors, regions and language groups.
    "Many of our listeners have personally experienced the brutality of
police, army and the youth brigades. Some have been tortured, raped or had
their homes burned down simply for wearing an opposition T-shirt," he said.
    But in Johannesburg, newly arrived refugee Thomas Kundishora was more
    He fled Zimbabwe last week after being beaten for taking part in a
strike and an anti-government demonstration. He has undergone surgery to put
a pin in his left arm, which was broken during interrogation at a Harare
police station.
    "I think Mr. Tsvangirai is a very brave man to even propose the idea,
and if that's what it takes to break the deadlock and move us towards
democracy, then we have no option," he said.
    But Mr. Kundishora agreed it would be hard to win majority support.
    "Bringing the public on board will not be easy, and even if we have to
make this sacrifice and let the killers and their commanders walk free, it
will be a long time before the country can heal itself. The pain runs too
deep for that."

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Mann's fate hangs on judge's decision


May 05 2007 at 05:24PM

A Zimbabwean court will rule next week whether a former British
special forces officer alleged to be the ringleader in a coup plot against
the Equatorial Guinean government will be extradited there.

In an extradition hearing in Harare, state prosecutors argued there
was evidence that Simon Mann had led a group of mercenaries headed for West
Africa when they were arrested in Zimbabwe in 2004 and should be tried in
Equatorial Guinea.

Mann was arrested with other suspects when their aircraft landed at
Harare's main airport to collect weapons bought from the Zimbabwe state
arms-maker. He was sentenced to four years under sweeping security laws but
is due for release later this month on good behaviour.

All 70 other alleged mercenaries were freed after serving minor
sentences in Zimbabwe.

The group of mostly former soldiers, who claimed they were en route to
guard mining facilities in the DRC, were found with uniforms identical to
those of President Teodoro Obiang Ngeuma's presidential guard, said
prosecutor Joseph Jagada, winding up the extradition hearing on Wednesday.

But Jonathan Samkange, Mann's defence attorney, said Equatorial Guinea
attorney-general Jose Olo Obono, who testified in the case, failed to answer
charges by international humanitarian groups of torture and abuse of
prisoners, including other coup suspects.

He said Mann had been convicted only on weapons possession and
security charges within Zimbabwe, and not on the coup allegations. Zimbabwe
had no obligation to extradite Mann, who would not get a fair trial and
faces torture and execution in Equatorial Guinea. - Sapa-AP

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Independent on
Saturday on May 05, 2007

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A New Zimbabwe: No handouts, please

Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 3 May

Beacon Mbiba

The promise of aid is a carrot used by Western nations to bring feuding
groups to the negotiating table. Americans and the British, among others,
dangled the carrot of aid for land reform and reconstruction to secure
agreement from Zimbabwe's liberation war leaders to the new Constitution
brokered in 1979 at Lancaster House in London. More recently, "development
initiatives" such as Tony Blair's Commission for Africa have recommended
doubling aid to sub-Saharan Africa to $25-billion a year. Britain has
indicated it could significantly step up the aid it provides to Zimbabwe, if
a "pragmatic faction" can get rid of Robert Mugabe. In return, donors want a
government to stabilise the economy, restore the rule of law, stop the use
of violence as state policy and hold free, competitive elections. Whether
Africans, or in this case Zimbabweans, need aid at all is a question rarely
discussed. My view is that we do not need the promise of aid for these
things to happen. A strong economy, freedom, peace and prosperity are
ambitions shared by all hard-working Zimbabweans - they are their own
incentives. Aid can be damaging to a developing nation. It distorts
priorities and policies - as has been seen, in Zimbabwe, with the land
issue. Transparent, pro-poor and sustainable land reform can be done without
assistance from Britain. We need to reflect and learn from our own
experience of the past 26 years. Before new promises are made, we should
agree on whether we need aid. From who, for what purposes and for how long?
The next question is how to use aid in a way that will lower our dependence
on outside help in future.

Donors give moral reasons for aid, but the United Nations Millennium Project
report of 2005 issued a damning verdict on aid. Donors are often highly
unpredictable (as we saw with British aid for land reform in Zimbabwe).
Their funds tend to be targeted at technical assistance (where the bulk of
the money goes back to the donor country), or tied to contractors from donor
countries. Donors' priorities reflect their own objectives. Aid becomes an
extension of the geopolitical agendas of the donors, when it should offer
co-ordinated support to the national plans of the recipient country. Most of
all, aid is poorly administered. Even so, we may need to accept some
donations in the short term to kick-start Zimbabwe's recovery. This is where
serious national debate needs to start. Aid promises may never materialise.
If they do, will they distort our national processes and entrench aid

Zimbabwe has mineral, agricultural, human, cultural and natural resources.
Without corruption and misallocation of resources, tourism and agricultural
production can be brought back to their peak levels of the Eighties. As many
as four million Zimbabweans are living and working in other countries. They
include scientists, administrators, professionals and entrepreneurs whose
skills should be mobilised wisely. Whether at home or abroad, Zimbabweans
want to work and to be productive; they don't want charity or handouts. If
we do accept aid and loans for reconstruction and development, this must be
with a view to empower households and local producers. In agriculture, we
need to empower smallholder farmers - to produce for the market, but also
for their own food security. This will require investment in rural
infrastructure. A new emphasis is needed on reconstructing rundown rural
roads and dams, restoring the viability of key crops and protecting
livestock by restocking and containing diseases. Major changes to the
macro-economy have taken place since the mid-Nineties. There have been some
positive, as well as negative, outcomes for development. Land reform
policies have altered the demographic structure of Zimbabwe. We must start
from an assessment of these changes and chart a future anchored to the
resources we find within ourselves. Aid should be our last resort.

Dr Beacon Mbiba is a Zimbabwean who teaches urban planning and development
policy at the London School of Economics. He worked as policy research
analyst for the Secretariat to the Commission for Africa (CFA), established
in 2004 by United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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President who frittered £600,000 on clothes as his people starved

The Times
May 5, 2007
Joanna Bale

Frederick Chiluba, the former President of Zambia, has been found guilty by a British High Court judge of plundering £23 million from his people.

He used the stolen money to indulge his taste for clothes, jewellery, cars, luxury homes and handmade high-heeled shoes to boost his 5ft height.

His people, meanwhile, were struggling to live on an average of 50p a day.

Chiluba spent at least £600,000 on designer clothes bearing his FJT monogram, representing his names Frederick Jacob Titus, Mr Justice Peter Smith said after a two-year legal battle and a four-month trial. “The most telling example of corruption,” he said, “was the clothing acquired by FJT”.

The former President “had a worldwide reputation as being a smart and expensive dresser. He had his own stylish suits with his initials, FJT, monogrammed on them, a large number of specially made signature shoes and thousands of monogrammed shirts.”

During Chiluba’s ten years in office, from 1991 to 2001, £600,000 was spent at Basile, an exclusive Swiss clothes shop, all of which was stolen from the republic.

The amount of clothing seized by the anti-corruption task force set up by his successor, President Mwanawasa, in 2002 was “considerable”, the judge said. “First there were 349 shirts. A large number of these bore the FJT monogram on them and they were from virtually every designer outlet.

“Second, there were 206 jackets and suits. A large number of these were from Basile, bearing the FJT monogram.

“Third, there were 72 pairs of shoes. A large number of these were made by Basile with the FJT logo. All were for Chiluba’s unique personal specification high heels. Many of them were in their original shoe covers and had not been used.”

This extravagant spending came at a time “when the vast majority of Zambians were struggling to live on 50p a day and many could not afford more than one meal a day”, the judge said.

Much of the stolen money was unaccounted for, but was shared out to government officials by Chiluba.

The judge said: “The most serious revelation in this case is the cynical and unjustified misappropriation of funds for the private purposes of government officials.”

He added: “The people of Zambia should know that whenever he appears in public wearing some of these clothes, he acquired them with money stolen from them. He was the President at the top of the control of government finances. He was uniquely positioned to prevent any corruption. Instead of preventing corruption, he actively participated in it and ensured it happened. It is a shameful series of actions and he should be ashamed.”

Chiluba took no part in the claims brought against him in London by the Attorney-General of Zambia on behalf of the Republic of Zambia. The judge said that he had been given “numerous opportunities to explain” himself to the Zambian people but had failed to do so.

He was paid just over £50,000 in salary during ten years in office and there was no evidence that he had the wealth to buy the clothes he owned. “It was simply stolen from the republic,” the judge said.

The action was brought in London because of the transfer of monies out of Zambia into bank accounts in London, which was at the centre of the wrongdoing by defendants in Zambia, England, Belgium, Switzerland and the US.

Janet Legrand a partner in DLA Piper, which led the Zambian Government’s claim, said: “This is a major victory for President Mwanawasa’s battle to stamp out corruption.”

Others found guilty by the judge of conspiracy were Xavier Chungu, former head of the Zambian secret intelligence services; Stella Chibanda, a former senior Ministry of Finance official; Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu, both financial advisers; Meer Care & Desai and Cave Malik & Co, English law firms that laundered the money; and Basile, the Swiss boutique.

Political player

Born Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba, April 30, 1943

Education Suspended for student activities while at secondary school. Completed his studies in economics via a correspondence course

Career Personnel clerk, then accounts assistant

Political career Union activist, he became chairman of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions. Detained in 1981 for calling a wildcat strike. Co-founder of Movement for Multiparty Democracy. Elected President in 1991; reelected 1996. Stepped down in 2002 after failing to amend the constitution to allow him to run for a third term

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MDC starts a Charm offensive in the United States

American Chronicle

Scott A. Morgan

Scott Morgan is a Human Rights Activist and Commentor on US Policy in

Scott A. Morgan
May 5, 2007
In the last 45 days the Main Political Opposition in Zimbabwe has traveled
outside the country to raise awareness of their plights back in Zimbabwe.
One mission did travel to North America as well.

The trip to UN Headquarters has been documented by the International Media
but nothing has been mentioned of the other stop.

After a day in New York lobbying other African Delegations for support in
drafting a peaceful resolution to the internal strife that plagues Zimbabwe,
a series of events also took place in Washington, D.C. With the main event
being a program put together by the Wilson Center. This was a chance for
decision makers to hear first hand what has been going on in the struggling
Southern African Country.

To say that the United States has been ignorant of events currently taking
place in Zimbabwe is a misnomer. The Voice of America has set up a special
broadcast called studio 7 to provide news and information to the country. It
was providing crucial support for the Parliament which the country ended
after the State Department issued a report critical of the country's Human
Rights record.

Those members of Congress that are members of the Congressional Human Rights
Caucus received two briefings regarding the most recent crackdown. One of
these briefings was given to the Caucus by an Opposition Member of the
Zimbabwean Parliament. The other briefing was given by Government and NGO
Officials who have first hand accounts in dealing with the crisis.

In Official Statements in the Media President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has
criticized President Bush. He has accused the US of using sabotage against
the Zimbabwean Economy. There was a high profile incident where the US
Ambassador was accosted by Zimbabwean Police in a park. And several years
ago during election employees of the US Embassy were assaulted while
observing the elections.

At this juncture it may be too early to notice how successful these efforts
in New York and Washington will be. Ghana has become a vocal critic of the
situation in Zimbabwe. But Senegal and Rwanda both of whom have close
relations with the US did sit down in New York and held talks with the MDC
Mission. Also there is growing bipartisan support for the restoration of
Good Governance in Zimbabwe as well.

Traditionally the US has supported the Underdog in most cases. This is
turning into a case where that past is once again coming into light. Lately
the US has provided financial support for some country to hold free and fair
elections and training for journalists and other professionals that are
needed for a thriving Democracy.

The MDC had been failing in its efforts not because of lack of effort but
because of indifference of others. But that is now changing.

The author comments on US Policy in Africa and the struggle for Human Rights
there. He writes for and other sites.

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An oil-for-Mann deal?

Mail and Guardian

Mail & Guardian Reporter

05 May 2007 11:59

       Suspected coup plotter Simon Mann's fate hangs in the balance as
a Zimbabwean court deliberates whether or not to comply with a request from
Equatorial Guinea to extradite him to that country, where he would face
trial on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

       Mann, who is in prison in Zimbabwe for attempting to purchase
weapons without a licence, is due to be released on good behaviour on May
11. His lawyers have argued that if Mann were to be extradited to Equatorial
Guinea he would not face a fair trial and would likely face torture and,
possibly, the death sentence. Joseph Jagada said in court on Wednesday that
the Equatorial Guinean government had agreed to allow a judge appointed by
the African Union to conduct Mann's trial in that country and that it
guaranteed that Mann would not face the death sentence.

      The trial has been adjourned until May 9.

      Mann was arrested in March 2004 along with 66 others, who served
sentences of less than a year, on charges of violating Zimbabwe's
immigration laws. Most of the men are South African nationals. Another
eleven men suspected of being involved in the coup plot were given lengthy
prison sentences by the court in Equatorial Guinea, where they remain.

      Jonathan Samkange, Mann's lawyer, told the Mail & Guardian that,
should the magistrate rule in Mann's favour, the Zimbabwe government has "an
obligation to release him", even if it chooses to appeal the ruling.

      Sources within the Attorney General's office told the M&G that
President Mugabe's government is eager to have Mann extradited to Equatorial
Guinea in exchange for oil and lines of credit. The Zimbabwean government
signed an extradition treaty with Equatorial Guinea after the coup plotters
were arrested. It has reportedly also clinched an oil deal and lines of
credit to support the central bank, which is facing foreign currency
shortages, the source said.

      Mugabe's visit to Equatorial Guinea, two days before he arrived
in Ghana to celebrate the country's 50th democracy jubilee, has raised
eyebrows. Details of what he discussed with Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the
president of Equatorial Guinea, are shrouded in secrecy.

      "Given what Zimbabwe stands to benefit economically as a result
of extraditing Mann, chances are high Mugabe will trade him for oil," a
Zanu-PF parliamentarian said. "It will be a political decision," he said.

      What has ruffled the government's feathers during the trial is
the testimony by Mugabe's former chief legal advisor, Andrew Chigovera, who
is also a former commissioner of the African Union Commission on Human
Rights (ACHR).

      Chigovera testified in Mann's defence that Zimbabwe would
violate international law if it extradited Mann to a country where he was
likely to be tortured.

      "This government has an obligation to uphold international law
and its own laws," Chigovera told the court when he testified three weeks
ago. He told the court that reports indicated that in the trial of the
alleged coup plotters in Equatorial Guinea, records were not kept,
independent observers were denied entry and there were communication
problems in court as the accused did not speak Spanish. He added that what
irked Chigovera most was the court's failure to investigate allegations of
torture made by the alleged coup conspirators.

      Both Mann's defence team and the Equatorial Guinean government,
which is being represented by the Zimbabwean Attorney General's office, made
their final submissions on Wednesday.

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4 500 teachers quit

Zim Standard

  By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - Civil servants are now demanding a 650% salary increment,
citing hyperinflation, amid reports that 4 500 teachers have resigned over
low pay and poor working conditions since January this year.

Teachers want their salaries increased from about $500 000 to $4
million with effect from this month.

They submitted their demands to the Public Service Commission through
the APEX Council last Wednesday.

If approved, the increments would see the lowest paid teacher on a
salary of $2,6 million a month.

Tendai Chikowore, the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA) president
and APEX chairperson, confirmed the latest demands, saying the increments
awarded by government in March had been eroded by inflation.

"We have made submissions to the government for salary adjustments for
the second quarter of the year as the government last year promised to
review teachers' and other civil servants' salaries quarterly," she said.
"It's quite positive but I can't reveal the figures because it might
jeopardize negotiations."

Meanwhile, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
secretary-general, Raymond Majongwe, says a survey carried out by his union
has revealed that 4 500 teachers had left the country since the beginning of
the year.

He said most had sought employment in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia,
and Swaziland.

A similar survey last year revealed that 5 000 teachers had left the
country in 12 months.

Over the past few weeks, schools have been flighting advertisements in
newspapers for teachers ahead of the start of the second term this week.

"According to our survey for this year, close to 4 500 teachers have
left since January. We have lost the greatest number of teachers compared
with previous years," Majongwe said. "We are really worried that when
schools open on Tuesday, many of them might fail to have lessons due to lack
of teachers. The worst affected are the peri-urban and rural schools."

Education, Sport and Culture Minister Aeneas Chigwedere could not be
reached for comment as he was said to be touring rural schools.

His permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere, was said to be locked in

According to unconfirmed statistics, Zimbabwe employs about 126 000
teachers but educationists say the country requires about 200 000 fully
qualified teachers.

The country is grappling with a severe brain drain as professionals
continue to trek to regional and overseas destinations in search of better
paying jobs.

Zimbabwe's education system - once hailed as the best in Africa - has
collapsed due to mismanagement and the economic crisis triggered by the
chaotic farm invasions in 2000.

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Police detain lawyers

Zim Standard


THE legal fraternity has been rocked to its roots after the arrest of
two top human rights lawyers outside the High Court in Harare on Friday,
where they had submitted papers fiercely opposing an attempt by the State to
bar the courts from granting bail to opposition activists accused of petrol

The lawyers, Alec Muchadehama and partner Andrew Makoni, representing
the arrested MDC activists accused of petrol bombing, were arrested at the
court around 5PM.

Muchadehama was thrown into the notorious Matapi police station cells,
condemned by the Supreme Court as unfit for human habitation, while Makoni
was detained at Stodart police station cells. They were both denied legal

Their arrest came after they had submitted papers in the High Court
challenging the validity of a Ministerial Certificate that barred the courts
from granting bail to members of the opposition MDC accused of the petrol

Yesterday, fellow lawyers lodged an urgent chamber application seeking
their release.

High Court Judge Justice Tedias Karwi was quick to order their

In the judgement Justice Karwi ordered that the arrest and detention
of the applicants (Muchadehama and Makoni) were unlawful.

"It is hereby ordered by consent that the arrest and detention of the
applicants be and is hereby declared unlawful. The respondents be and are
hereby directed to release the applicants forthwith or upon service of this
order," said the order.

Advocate Eric Matinenga represented the two lawyers while Richard
Chikosha from the Attorney General's office appeared for the police.

The order came after counsel for the two lawyers made an urgent
chamber application against Assistant Commissioner Mabunda, detective
inspector Rangwani, the police Commissioner and the Minister of Home Affairs
in order to have the two released.

In the founding affidavit, lawyer Harrison Nkomo of Mtetwa and
Nyambirai said they tried unsuccessfully to gain access to the detained

"We attempted to explain the reason of our visit and also tried to
inquire as to the nature of the allegations that the applicants are facing,
and also indicated to him that we wanted to get instructions from the

"The first respondent (Assistant Commissioner Mabunda) who was
reluctant to entertain us just indicated that the applicants were facing
charges of obstructing the course of justice. He barred us from taking any
instructions from the applicants," wrote Nkomo.

He added that Mabunda threatened to assault and detain Dzimbabwe
Chimbga, one of the lawyers who had gone to see Muchadehama and Makoni,
forcing them to leave the police station.

The president of the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc)
Lawyers' Association Sternford Moyo said they were very concerned at the
arrest and detention of lawyers while on duty.

"The police and the government of Zimbabwe have an obligation, arising
from both domestic and international law, to ensure that lawyers are allowed
to discharge their functions without hindrances from public officials or any
other person," said Moyo.

The right to legal representation was a cornerstone of an effective
administration of justice, he said.

"Where that right is not observed or is not guaranteed, the
administration of justice is rendered ineffective and the right to
protection of the law is reduced to a pious declaration," he said.

Meanwhile, an MDC official Pishai Muchauraya yesterday described a
harrowing experience at the hands of police officers after he was arrested
and detained on accusations of masterminding petrol bombings in the country.

After spending four horrendous days in custody he was released on
Friday after being told he faced the lesser crime of disorderly conduct at
Mutare MDC offices.

He was fined $2 500.

Muchauraya, the MDC information and publicity secretary for Manicaland
Province, said he was heavily assaulted for four days while in custody at
Harare central police station by officers from the police law and order

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Lawyers challenge Mohadi order

Zim Standard


LAWYERS representing 13 suspected petrol bombers have filed
submissions challenging the validity of a ministerial certificate barring
the courts from granting bail to the opposition activists.

Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi, last week issued the certificate
to a Harare magistrate, barring him from granting bail to the defendants.

They include GlenView (MDC) MP Paul Madzore and 12 other suspected
petrol bombers. Mohadi said the order was to "ensure peace and security in
the country".

The ministerial certificate surfaced when provincial magistrate
Lazarus Murendo was about to deliver his ruling on the application for
refusal of remand by the 13, and to have their case referred to the Supreme

In the certificate, Mohadi said the 13, charged with various offences
related to the petrol bombing of government properties, had a case to answer
and should remain in remand prison.

Mohadi claimed the defendants had undergone military training in South
Africa and that the police were still investigating the case.

Apart from Madzore, those detained include Ian Makone, a member of the
MDC national executive, and former Daily News journalist Luke Tamborinyoka.

Responding to the certificate, Alec Muchadehama of Mbidzo, Muchadehama
& Makoni on Thursday noted in court papers that the "so-called ministerial
certificate was irregularly issued and is improperly before the Court".

"The Certificate produced by the Minister is senseless, unlawful and
ineffectual. The certificate says it is intended to charge Applicants with
three offences, namely contravening Sections 25 (1) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9;23). The applicants have already
been charged for contravening section 25 (1) of the Code. They are now
applying for bail in respect of those offences," Muchadehama said.

He added: "There is no section (25 (1) (C) in the Code. To this extent
the Minister intends to charge Applicants with a non-existent offence. This
shows the Minister was not applying his mind at all."

The lawyer further argued that the minister had misconstrued his
powers in terms of sections of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)

"Maybe the minister is suffering under a misapprehension that he is
acting in terms of the repealed Section 116(2) of the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act (Chapter 19:27)," the lawyers argued.

The police accuse the group of staging a series of petrol bomb attacks
on targets that include police stations and stores owned by Zanu PF
officials. All the accused deny the charges.

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CIO roped in over Zanu PF divisions in Bulawayo

Zim Standard

By Kholwani Nyathi

Bulawayo -President Robert Mugabe, battling a potential revolt by some
of his closest lieutenants over his refusal to retire, is now believed to be
using the ruthless Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to keep the
faction-riddled Zanu PF intact.

This comes amid reports that the politburo and the central committee,
which met on Wednesday and Friday respectively, endorsed a proposal backed
by Mugabe to choose new structures in Bulawayo following a recent
confrontation between Zanu PF factions in the city.

The plan is being fiercely challenged by senior politburo and central
committee members from Bulawayo who last week threatened to challenge
"anyone who throws dirt" at the province.

Rival Zanu PF factions fought running battles in Masvingo and Bulawayo
last weekend where the party was scheduled to hold provincial elections to
choose new structures. Only Masvingo managed to hold the polls, overshadowed
by the skirmishes.

In Bulawayo, Zanu PF commissar Elliot Manyika cancelled polls at the
last minute, claiming the electoral college made up of district
co-ordinating committees was not properly constituted.

Senior officials who had vowed to challenge Manyika's decision in the
politburo and the central committee alleged he acted on wrong information.

Some of them are now alleging that Manyika was advised by the CIO to
stop the elections after a faction linked to former war veterans' leader,
Jabulani Sibanda, mobilised Zanu PF supporters to meet Mugabe at the Joshua
Mqabuko International Airport.

Mugabe was in the city on 26 and 27 April to open the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair. Sibanda, expelled from the ruling party for
"insulting" politburo members from the region, confirmed he was at the
airport, but said "I never went anywhere near Mugabe".

"Manyika walked out after speaking to one of his aides. The way he
stormed out showed that he was confident Mugabe would support his decision,"
said a source who attended the stormy meeting. "He did not seem to be his
own man, the CIO was in charge."

It has since emerged that the politburo and the central committee
endorsed Manyika's decision to hold fresh DCC elections in Bulawayo.

"It was not challenged because it is clear that is what the President
wants," said a politburo member from the region.

Zanu PF has virtually disintegrated into two distinct factions in
Bulawayo, with most politburo members from the region and in the interim
executive forming another group. The faction linked to Sibanda claims the
politburo and interim executive members do not have grassroots support.

"None of those people (Politburo, Central Committee and the interim
executive) were elected by the people. They were imposed and they now want
to impose structures on the people," Sibanda said.

Repeated efforts to get a comment on the latest developments from
Manyika and Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, were
fruitless as their mobile phones went unanswered.

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Clinic closes down as economic crises deepens

Zim Standard

  GWERU - After more than 50
years of serving the community, Rockford Clinic in Gweru, in Zimbabwe's
central province of Midlands, shut down two months ago when the last trained
nurse quit - a symptom of the wider crisis facing rural health services.

"Many people, including a substantial number of people who now hold
high positions in government, were born in and treated at Rockford Clinic,
but the (health) ministry had to close it down after it went for a long time
with only one qualified nurse and assistants picked from the nearby
villages," said Amos Magenga (65), who lives close to the clinic, about 90km
south-east of Gweru.

The operational woes faced by the clinic are all too familiar in
Zimbabwe: a shortage of nursing staff and drugs, dilapidated buildings and
equipment, and even clean water in short supply - the inevitable result of a
record inflation rate of 2 200% and a crippling shortage of foreign

"These days it's virtually useless to seek help from these health
centres, they can't even provide painkillers that one can easily obtain over
the counter in a shop," Topona Mangwende, 60, said.

"Health delivery inevitably suffers when the economy deteriorates to
the extent that we are seeing in this country," said Innocent Makwiramiti,
an economist and past chief executive of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce. "The government is so preoccupied with finding solutions to the
economic meltdown that social services like health are now almost

According to the United Nations Population Fund, "Women and children
continue to be particularly at risk as the situation continues to worsen.
Maternal and neonatal mortality has spiked in recent years as access to
basic health services and critical obstetric care has declined."

Rural communities are hardest hit because they are the least developed
and poorest regions of the country, Makwiramiti said.

A consequence of the crisis is that traditional medicine is enjoying
resurgence among Zimbabweans unable to afford orthodox treatment. "Because
of the poor state of clinics and hospitals we are being forced to adopt
desperate measures to save our lives when we fall sick," said Mangwende.

When his stomach began to "mysteriously" swell a year ago, he turned
to a traditional healer who claimed he had been bewitched and needed to have
the evil spirits exorcised - a treatment option that failed.

Gordon Chavhunduka, president of the Zimbabwe National Traditional
Healers Association, acknowledged the problem of fake healers, but said
members of his association were playing a vital role in solving Zimbabwe's
medical crisis. Around 80% of Zimbabweans are believed to use traditional

"More and more people in both rural and urban areas are turning to
traditional healers because they cannot get much help from hospitals and
clinics," Chavhunduka said. "We hold regular meetings and workshops with the
people to educate them on the advantages of using traditional medicine, and
what also makes us popular is that we are more affordable."

The country's political and economic crises, and one of the world's
highest rates of HIV infection, has seen Zimbabwe tumble to a ranking of 151
out of 177 countries in the United Nation's Development Programme Human
Development Index. - IRIN.

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No to 'unprofessional' reserve army, say ex-Zipra

Zim Standard

  By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - Former Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA)
fighters are refusing to join the reserve national army, saying they will
not be part of an "unprofessional army".

Max Mnkandla, the president of the Zimbabwe Liberators' Peace
Initiative (ZLPI), said Zipra combatants who were members of his
organisation were not registering with the Ministry of Defence as directed
by the government because they were opposed to the creation of the force.

ZIPRA was the military wing of PF Zapu led by the late Joshua Nkomo, a
vice-president in post-independence Zimbabwe.

Last month, the government created a reserve force under the Defence
(War Veterans' Reserve) Regulations 2007, which will be made up of war
veterans who took part in the 1970s war for independence.

But the former Zipra combatants say they will not "re-join an army
which has been turned into a ZanuPF wing".

"Zipra has always been a disciplined army and there is no way we can
be used by Zanu PF to turn against the people during election campaigns, for
Zanu PF to win elections," said a war veteran who preferred to remain

"There has not been any recognition of the role played by ZIPRA during
the armed struggle while at the same time most of our members have been made

Mnkandla, a former Zipra captain, said his organisation had urged all
former Zipra fighters not to re-join the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA).

"This is a Zanu PF army. As an organisation we have urged all members
who were with the disciplined Zipra not to re-join the Zanu PF political
army," he said. "Most left the ZNA unceremoniously during the Matabeleland
disturbances as members were being targeted and killed, while also being
sidelined for top posts in the ZNA."

According to the government gazette, there would be two classes of war
veterans, the first consisting of members below 50 who could be deployed to
active military duty and could undergo training if the commander of the army
decides so.

Those over 50 years "can be deployed for such duties not requiring
physical military training as the commander may determine".

Dumiso Dabengwa, assigned together with retired ZNA commander Solomon
Mujuru to make recommendations on the organisation of war veterans, refused
to comment on the matter, saying he had not been briefed about the ex-Zipra
fighters' concerns.

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UN calls for more resources to fight HIV

Zim Standard

  By Our Staff

By 2010, over 18 million children will have lost one or both parents
to Aids and millions more will be made vulnerable even before becoming
orphans, according to projections by the United Nations and its partners.

This projection was the basis of a two-day workshop held recently in
Johannesburg to call for increased efforts to work towards mobilizing
resources and developing mechanisms to deal with this "looming crisis". The
workshop was hosted by the United Nations and Partners' Alliance (a
strategic and operational partnership comprised of UN agencies, governments
and non-governmental organisations).

Southern African countries such as Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique,
Namibia, Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe were represented.
In Zimbabwe, there are more than one million orphans and it is projected
that by 2010 this number would have doubled. According to a statement by the
UN, delegates from these countries met to discuss ways in which to scale up
"promising interventions to fight the spread and impact of this brutal
epidemic on the lives of children".

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) emergency food security and
HIV and Aids officer, Josee Koch said there was a critical need to scale up
the response for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs).

He said: "In South Africa alone, there are more than two million
children from the country's estimated 18.5 million that have lost one or
both parents to AIDS. Immediate and appropriate mechanisms are needed
urgently to stop the spread of HIV and ensure that children are supported on
their way to realise their full potential for a better future."

According to the UN, the workshop noted the crucial assistance
provided by the Australian government for scaling the response to support
OVC in the Southern African region. Australia's assistance, provided through
the Australian government's Aid Agency - AUSAID - is being used to support
programmes through the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and other
organisations that use a livelihoods-based approach.

This approach is based on providing holistic assistance to OVC,
including the pivotal livelihood and life skills that enable children build
their future and grow up confidently into economically active and productive
young adults, says the UN.

Zimbabwe's representative at the workshop, Stanley Phiri, who works as
a United Nations Children's Educational Fund (Unicef) Children and Aids
advisor believes there are "already a number of promising programmes that
have a holistic livelihood response for young people".

He added that the real challenge remains in bringing these
interventions to scale.

Said Phiri: "This requires close collaboration and integration of the
numerous experiences and activities in the region to care for OVC and their
unique needs. From this, we can distill good practice. Through joint
programming we can scale up these interventions because we need to reach
more children, quicker and better."

The Alliance has identified the Junior Farmer and Field Life Schools
programme run in various countries as one of the promising examples of good

Notes the UN: "The programme provides orphaned boys and girls between
the ages of 12 and 17 years old with education, agr icultural and life
skills training as well as psychosocial support through partnerships with
other NGO's and other institutions.

"Over a one year learning programme that follows the crop cycle; links
are established between agriculture, nutrition, gender equality and
life-skills training. In this way, children are better equipped to make
informed decisions to lead healthy lives and can in the future be
Without the confidence and skills to build their future livelihood,
children and young people become more vulnerable and prey to contracting HIV
as they are often forced to make decisions involving trade-offs. Lack of
options can push some of them into activities or situations that put them
and others at high risk of HIV, such as sex work.

In striving to bring more coordination and alignment into the OVC
response in the region, the UN and Partners' Alliance was launched in March

"As an NGO we need to understand what works and what does not work in
different contexts. The Alliance has added crucial value because partners
are able to share and draw from experiences, avoid duplication and increase
impact," says OXFAM Regional Livelihood Advisor for southern Africa, Craig

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Shabani mine hit by pay row strike

Zim Standard

  By our staff

ASBESTOS miner, Shabani Mine is allegedly embroiled in a serious
labour wrangle which has seen management taking the desperate move of hiring
state security agents and flouting labour provisions in a bid to restore
sanity at the premises.

No comment could be obtained from Shabani Mine's various senior
personnel on the site.

The mine's chief executive, John Jere, referred all questions to the
company's chairman, identified only as Chiambagwe.

His cellphone has been unreachable for the past two weeks.

The dispute, which started unfolding in April, saw management
terminating the contracts of six members of the works council executive and
serving final written warnings to nearly 650 workers from the Mining
Development and Mining Production departments.

Informed sources told Standardbusiness the stalemate started during
the first week of April when workers demanded a 200% cost-of-living
adjustment which would have seen a Grade 1 (G1) employee's basic salary
rising to $420 000 from $140 000 a month.

"Management failed to deliver and the workers threatened to go on
strike on 6 April," said the source. "Seeing no action from management, the
workers on 19 April heaped stones in front of management offices, to which
management responded by announcing it had made recommendations to the board,
further enraging the workers who demanded a specific figure."

They said management then announced a 100% interim increase which the
employees rejected as "too little".

"They continued with the sit-in and this is when management hired
about 39 armed state security officers who came to the premises disguised as
workers, wearing overalls and helmets.

"It was said they wanted to scout for bad elements that were suspected
of spreading Movement for Democratic Change politics to the workforce."

They said management gave the workers two options: vacate company
premises or take the 100% increment and continue working.

The workers were ordered not to convene meetings, as they were illegal
under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

The sources said: "We just wondered how POSA applied to the works
area. Management also told workers they could be beaten into submission if
they continued with the strike. They then ordered employees to resume work
on 20 April and the workers submitted, as they were afraid of being
victimised by the armed security agents who were all over the premises.

"Some of the agents stood at the main entrance and watched workers as
they went underground while each manager was accompanied by a security agent
wherever he went."

On the same day, management allegedly suspended 650 workers from the
morning shift.

"Employees appealed for leniency through the works council and
enquiries were supposed to be done on the weekend of 21-22 April, but
realising that the suspension of workers had brought business to a halt,
management ordered the council to fast-track the hearings but council
insisted on adhering to regulations to which management responded by
suspending the council members on allegations of sitting-in," said the

They added that management then appointed a new council and proceeded
with hearings on 24-26 April.

A letter dated 27 April and signed by the mine's general manager,
Ceaser Zishumba, announced the expulsion of the council executive.

Part of the letter reads: "Following your refusal to attend a
departmental enquiry where you were supposed to answer charges levelled
against you, be advised that your case was heard in your absence on 24 April
2007 at 1600hrs and decision was taken to discharge you from employment.

"You are advised to start the clearing process immediately and you
should have cleared yourself and vacated the mining accommodation by 12 noon
on the 5th of May 2007".

The National Employment Council recommended a 185% salary hike. But
Shabani Mine allegedly stood by the 100% increment and issued a memo stating
the remaining 85% would be paid in mid-May "if the funds are available".

Standardbusiness has since received reports that the stalemate
continues, with the matter having been referred to Compulsory Arbitration.

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For 21 years, NRZ has been under-performing

Zim Standard

  By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has been performing
below capacity for the last 21 years owing to mismanagement and sub-economic
charges, says a senior official of the beleaguered parastatal.

NRZ general manager, Mike Karakadzai, told the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Industry and International Trade that NRZ last transported its
maximum freight capacity of 18 metric tonnes in 1985.

The committee was meeting at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in

Karakadzai said NRZ almost went into liquidation in 2005 because of
mounting debts caused by years of under-performance.

"From 1999, NRZ was seriously affected when the volume, by way of
freight movement and passenger services dropped to very low levels," he

"The situation worsened over the years up to 2005 when the
organisation was near collapse at that stage. We realised that the
organization was moving very low volumes of traffic, such that it was
difficult to generate revenue. The salary bill, for example, was 110%
against revenue in 2005 and the ratio rose to 134%.

"Most of the locomotives and wagons were grounded when the maintenance
programme was suspended due to lack of money and it was at the time that we
were moving about 3.7 metric tonnes against 18 metric tonnes of freight
traffic last moved in 1985."

In 2005, NRZ owed the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, its pension fund and
Railmed a total of $246 billion and rarely paid workers on time.

But Karakadzai claimed the utility was back on the rails, saying
management had set ambitious targets to move about ten million tonnes of
freight and 3.3 million inter-city passengers this year.

NRZ is also replacing track infrastructure and refurbishing its
grounded locomotives and wagons.

The parastatal has suffered from operational constraints resulting in
its failure to transport coal, minerals, maize, sugar and cotton.

Edwin Mushoriwa, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who is
the MP for Dzivarasekwa, chaired the hearing.

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Zimbabwe pays heavily as airlines shun country

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe is the most inaccessible tourist destination in
the Southern African region because international airlines are shunning the
country, with only nine foreign cities connected to Harare through direct
flights, says the head of the government's tourism agency.

Karikoga Kaseke, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive
officer told an international business conference at the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) last month that if the government failed to
address the problem of inaccessibility "it might just as well consider
saving the foreign currency it is spending on expensive promotions".

He said the expensive marketing programmes that have included bringing
in tour operators from countries such as China and Canada were becoming a
waste of resources as the targeted tourists were finding it difficult to
visit the country.

Kaseke, who a fortnight ago launched a scathing attack on Air Zimbabwe
saying it was "killing local tourism" by frustrating international airlines
that wanted to land in Zimbabwe, said the country was lagging far behind its
competitors in the region.

"Zimbabwe is the least accessible tourist destination in terms of
international visitations excluding cross-border visitors because we are
only connected to nine cities in nine countries," Kaseke said. "If we remove
South Africa, Zambia and Malawi we are left with six countries yet our
biggest competitor South Africa is connected to 190 cities in 180

"Zambia is connected to 37 cities in 18 countries and Malawi has
access to 36 cities in 17 countries. We have vowed that as long as we do not
address this issue of accessibility we might as well save the scarce foreign
currency used to pay for marketing programmes because it is going to waste."

Kaseke also revealed that although Zimbabwe had the second highest
number of tourist arrivals in the region after South Africa, its tourism
receipts were by far the lowest.

"We are not doing as well as we should compared to our competitors.
Last year there were 1.5 million visitors and we generated US$98 million in
revenue, South Africa had 7.1 million tourists and realised revenue of US$5
billion while Kenya had 1.6 million visitors against revenue of US$574
million," Kaseke said. "

Zambia had less than a million people visiting but got US$580 million
while Botswana got US$580 million from 1.19 million visitors," he said.

He said there were many theories proffered for the poor tourism
receipts which included externalisation of foreign currency and unregistered
tourism operators.

But Kaseke also admitted that most people who visited Zimbabwe were
low spenders with some using as little as US$7 during their stay in the
country. He said 85% of the visitors were from African countries.

"The average expenditure is US$100 per person," Kaseke said.

Zimbabwe's tourism industry, once considered to be among the biggest
in Africa, has been on steady decline owing to the political and economic
crisis facing the country. Efforts by government to woo tourists from Asia,
especially China, have failed to revive the sector as the visitors are said
to be low spenders.

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Fissures come to the fore as Zanu PF factions assert themselves

Zim Standard


HAVING State resources at its disposal, coupled with tactics of
cajoling, coercing and threatening dissenters has created the impression of
an unassailable Zanu PF. However, last weekend's troubles in Bulawayo and
Masvingo demonstrate that the greatest opposition to the ruling party is
likely to come from within.

There are, among senior members of the party, some who have come to
the realisation that Zanu PF is being used to serve the interests of a few,
who use their position to threaten others into silence and compliance.

The cracks go back several years but the purge of six provincial
chairpersons of the party merely helped to confirm that it had been hijacked
and was being used to advance the agenda of power hungry leaders who,
despite their professed commitment to democracy, pay scant attention to the
wishes of the people.

In essence there exists a divide between the old guard that is
frightened of change, on the one hand, and a group that is pressing for
greater accountability within Zanu PF on the other.

Basically the problem is that it is difficult to say what the ruling
party's position is on a given issue because everything is conveniently
ambiguous and therefore subject to a multiplicity of interpretations.

Lack of accountability and the subsequent confusion led to the
fielding of multiple ruling party candidates, for example in Kadoma and
Mberengwa, during last year's rural and district council elections.

Certainly the process that led to President Robert Mugabe becoming
Zanu PF's sole candidate for next year's presidential election was fraught
with procedural irregularities.

Since the Goromonzi "people's conference" last December when a
proposal was put forward to harmonise elections but was not adopted because
of dissension, Zanu PF sought to obfuscate the issue by pretending the
proposal was actually a resolution that Mugabe should continue at the helm
of the party, thus putting the lid on any further debate on Mugabe's
departure and succession.

The deceit continued in February during the fifth ordinary session of
the National Assembly of Zanu PF's Youth League with Mugabe pre-empting
discussion of the matter by announcing his readiness to contest the 2008
presidential election, on the ruling party's ticket. The matter had simply
never been debated.

Increasingly aware of widening fractures within the party, Zanu PF
suddenly resuscitated an idea abandoned during the 1980s and long
forgotten - the Chitepo College of Ideology. It is a concept peddled by a
frightened clique in the leadership of the ruling party that realises the
college will be a critical factor in winning the hearts and minds of voters
when normal electoral persuasion fails.

The college is nothing more than a weapon for whipping party members
into line in order to secure their unquestioning loyalty.

To demonstrate that there are no fixed ground rules in Zanu PF, each
time the ruling party has found itself in a quandary under challenge from
members, it has sought to dissolve provincial executive committees.

In both Bulawayo and Masvingo where there was outright confrontation,
the escape route was an "audit" of the ruling party's grassroots structures,
by which Zanu PF means the less sophisticated and therefore gullible of its

Zanu PF is riddled with so many contradictions but the only constant
factor in the equation is its determined commitment to remain in power by
hook or by crook. Just how long that will be depends on its ability to
embrace genuine as opposed to so-called "guided" democracy.

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Things likely to worsen as fear spreads

Zim Standard

  sundayopinion By Bill Saidi

TWO recent events reminded me of Justin Nyoka: the abduction in Gaza
of the BBC correspondent Alan Johnston and World Press Freedom Day, 3 May.

I first met Nyoka in Lusaka in the 1970s. I was working for The Times
of Zambia and he was effectively our Salisbury correspondent.

Since any financial transactions between the two countries conjured up
visions of show trials involving treason, he had come to Lusaka to collect
his fee.

Until then we had never met but had communicated constantly and knew
each other by reputation. Nyoka was a journalist through and through, a man
after my own heart.

Then we heard he had been abducted - or something. Initial reports
said he was taken against his will.

Later, it emerged he was in Maputo, working for Zanu PF. He stopped
writing for The Times of Zambia. I was sorry about that.

In Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola, the biggest urban centres in Zambia, other
Zimbabweans, younger than Nyoka and myself, had been "persuaded" to go for
training. Mind you, I had been propositioned too, being let off the hook
only because of age.

In 1980, when I came back, Nyoka was big in the government of Prime
Minister Robert Mugabe. We met many times, yet never mentioned our meeting
in the 1970s, or our association. But we always treated each other with the
utmost politeness, even when, as an editor at The Herald, I rubbed the
government the wrong way, and he was the permanent secretary for

I never probed Nyoka on the circumstances that turned him into a
liberation information guru. He didn't volunteer any information either.

Until his death in 1992 at the age of 57, I was content to accept the
story that he had voluntarily joined the struggle.

Of course, when he wrote for us, his copy was mostly about the African
National Council and its leader, Abel Muzorewa. The Times of Zambia, like
many other progressive African and even overseas newspapers, had supported
Muzorewa during the Pearce Commission campaign: the proposals were evil and
should be rejected.

Long after the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) had been passed by Parliament, I asked a friend if he thought Nyoka
would have endorsed this controversial, Stalinist, anti-free media law.

"No!" was his emphatic response.

We both remembered that AIPPA had been passed after Nathan
Shamuyarira - like Nyoka, a journalist - had long left the information
portfolio. We also remembered Shamuyarira's comments on AIPPA: his contempt
was withering.

Nyoka's last job in the government was secretary for National
Supplies, having worked for long in the information ministry.

"Gregarious" was an adjective often associated with Nyoka's
disposition. He was serious about his job, but loved journalism too much to
treat the journalism fraternity with anything but the utmost dignity and

His love for journalism engendered camaraderie with the fraternity
which ensured he harboured no pathological dread of The Word. He would not
have promoted the current hate campaign against the media. This fear is
likely to intensify as we approach the elections next year.

It stands to reason that the people who crafted AIPPA were frightened
stiff of the media and its imagined power to destroy their best-laid plans
to subjugate the people.

This fear of the media has resulted in the government relying for its
information on a State media that has become so sycophantic it sickens many
citizens to read, watch or listen to it. Its bottom-licking has sunk so low
if it ever comes up for air it will collapse from vertigo.

Alan Johnston is a victim of this same fear of the power of the media
which has led to many deaths of journalists around the world, and the recent
beating up of Gift Phiri and Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, among others.

Most people engaged in evil are frightened of the probing light of the
journalist, the way a vampire is scared of daylight.

Fortunately, nowhere in history has evil ever triumphed for long. Even
in Zimbabwe, the day will come when the frightened little men and women
trying to shield their guilty, myopic eyes from the probing light of the
journalist will wish they had embraced the warmth of Truth and Honesty.

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Zim Standard Letters

Concepts for successful social contract THE State media accuses the West of
worsening the plight of the workers by imposing "illegal sanctions" on
Zimbabwe. What they do not tell the workers is how they are suffering
because of bad governance.

They do not tell them how they are suffering because Zanu PF ministers
and party chefs have plundered the country's wealth, they do not tell them
of the huge gains Zanu PF bigwigs are making from running the black market.

The State media do not tell the workers how Zanu PF is benefiting from
the current crisis in Zimbabwe such that they would not want it to end, and
they do not tell the workers how government ministers are underpaying their
workers on the farms and at their various businesses.

The State media attempts to suggest that there is rationale in the
proposed National Health Insurance Scheme that has been mooted by the
National Social Security Authority (NSSA). But the ZCTU stands by its
decision that it will strongly oppose the implementation of this scheme
because workers were never consulted. Workers are going to have to part with
5% of their hard-earned money that will go to NSSA. We are saying "No" to
this because NSSA is well-known for misusing workers' money.

The scheme will allow workers to seek medical attention at government
owned clinics and hospitals but we all know that these are the same
institutions that have no medicine and have been brought to their knees by

NSSA is also silent on what will happen to those who are already part
of existing medical aid schemes. The workers of Zimbabwe have said no to
this scheme and the ZCTU stands by this decision.

There have also been recent exhortations from the State media to the
ZCTU to embrace the social contract. We are saying no to the social contract
under the current situation where there is no honesty, commitment and
transparency among social partners.

The social contract requires that social partners are committed to
implement, monitor and evaluate agreed positions. The concept of peace,
upholding democratic values, trade union and human rights are prerequisites
underpinning the success of a social contract.

These are the basic concepts that will lay the ground for a successful
social contract. A social contract is not merely putting signatures to
paper. It consists of various agreed positions that are to be implemented by
labour, government and business. The ZCTU will only embrace the social
contract under the above minimum conditions.

The fact that the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions gave birth to the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) can never be wished away, no matter how
the government and its stooges harp on it.

But the ZCTU mission remains to promote, advance and safeguard the
economic, social and constitutional freedoms of workers by securing legal,
political, domestic and good governance framework in Zimbabwe through
strengthening its capacity and independence, and those of its affiliates.

The national labour centre remains guided by this mission statement
and has no apology to make for spearheading the formation of the MDC. The
MDC and the ZCTU are organisations that are run independently of each other.
For the record, whatever the ZCTU does is within its mandate as given by the

Wellington Chibebe




 Open letter to the Mayor of Kadoma

      AS a resident of Rimuka, I wish to register my concern with your
office on the water supply to some sections of the Township, in particular
Njiri, Nzou, Mbada, Shumba, Mbizi, Tsoko and Gudo.

      The areas have been failing to access regular supplies since
some time in 2003. Just imagine visiting the toilet used by a family of six,
not to mention those with lodgers.

      Since last year your council has been supplying water to
residents using a bowser which is costing millions of dollars in terms of
fuel, which could alternatively be used for refuse collection or road

      When the Murambatsvina houses were being built the city council
promised that after their completion water would be available to all. The
Murambatsvina houses have been completed but the situation has become worse.

      When construction of chalets, which are said to be yours, began
along Kadoma - Bulawayo road people were told water would be available once
the chalets were completed. What we were promised and heard is that water
would be available.

      Such excuses are very disastrous to the image of Zanu PF, which
you represent, and the name of the Head of State, who is the leader of our

      My own research shows that some places in Rimuka, especially
those on higher areas such as the churches near Betties Abattoir,
Munhumutapa and some places at Jairos Jiri get water. It is only the middle
section of Munyaradzi which is not getting water and at times it comes out
in dribs and drabs.

      The water problem is being caused by valves which may have been
closed but which your staff should have checked. When components of the
cast-iron valves are tampered with, they drop and close down the water, the
trickles would be due to the circle system used in water reticulation to
avoid dead-ends.

      Next year there is an election. While Kadoma has been
experiencing water problems, what is going to be the reaction of the people?
We want to win the election.

      Check on the said valves and you will find that they are wells
where people are drawing water freely. The Town Engineer should address





 We are our own liberators

       THE major problem with President Robert Mugabe is that he has
graduated to a stubborn, uncaring and uncompromising leader, who has since
stopped listening to the voice of wisdom.

      Despite the fact that Zanu PF is working 24 hours a day trying
to misinform the world about the situation in Zimbabwe through a Zanunised
media, the truth will come out.

      Today Zimbabwe is a nation with the highest inflation figures in
the world and it is surprising that our leaders are not ashamed of it. The
truth is that the nation is not producing enough for domestic consumption
and for exports, hence the scarcity of foreign currency.

      We may have taken over most of the fertile land, but we cannot
have a functioning economy as long as the land remains unutilised and
underutilised. The so-called land reform, which Mugabe blessed, could turn
out to be the ruling party's weakest point.

      All those who took advantage of Mugabe's political gamble went
ahead and grabbed whatever they could lay their hands on and as long as they
sang in praise of Gushungo, they had the licence to loot. The looting spree,
in turn, bred corruption, which is now affecting the fibre of our society.

      These corrupt tendencies, which were allowed to flourish within
the corridors of power, have destroyed the economy, through condoning
lawlessness, which has compromised the independence of the judiciary.

      We have also helplessly watched on as militarisation of state
institutions is on the increase. We have allowed the security forces to
taste power and that could be dangerous.

      As it is the police, the army, the Central Intelligence
Organisation and war veterans have become an extension of Zanu PF. Can
anyone who disputes this tell me why the police went ahead and banned the
MDC rally planned for 18 February at Zimbabwe Grounds when the High Court
had given the MDC the go-ahead?

      Something frightened me after listening to the skirmishes that
followed on the fateful day. Police officers verbally assaulted ordinary
people, telling them to go home, sleep and forget about removing Mugabe from

       I was pained because the officers are in a profession where they
are allowed to take orders and nothing else.

      What will it take for Mugabe to realise that Zimbabweans do not
need Tony Blair or George W Bush to tell them that they are suffering, that
the country is at a crossroads and that democracy is being subverted? We do
not need anyone to tell us that the health sector, just like the education
system, faces an uncertain future. We are qualified enough to observe, study
and analyse our problems and we know that we are facing a political crisis.

      Those who continue to praise Mugabe need to be reminded that
they are the true enemies of the State because their support provides Mugabe
with a false sense of security. They need to be reminded that they are
prolonging the people's suffering and that they are doing this out of

      But even sadder is that most among us are content to play
spectator in a situation where they are supposed to be participants. Change
will not come from grumbling, talking and crying in the comfort of our
bedrooms, homes or offices.

      Let us remember that mass participation in any activities
designed to bring about positive change is crucial, whether these are
peaceful demonstrations, stayaways or elections. Mass participation is the
key to success.

      Let us not make the mistake of losing hope in elections. We need
to regain the enthusiasm of the 2000 elections and bring about change
through mass involvement and participation. We are our own liberators.

      As an individual I may be weak, but together with others, we can
become a strong force. Let us not allow anyone to toss us around.

      M M Vhusani Mlambo


      Chipinge South


 No supervision at awful ZBC

       EVER since radio started broadcasting in this country, there
were standards which newsreaders and announcers were expected to attain
before they could be allowed on air. In recent times, the days of Joseph
Madhimba offer an example of what I mean.

      What is happening at ZBC has left me wondering whether there are
standards that apply at all; secondly whether there are any supervisors of
newsreaders and thirdly whether there is someone who monitors that
supervisors actually carry out the supervision.

      Two very junior readers - Norman Chigomararwa and Trecey
Sibanda - are examples of people who would never under normal circumstances
be allowed to go on air if there were any standards and if there were
supervisors overseeing newsreaders and announcers.

      Firstly, I do not think they have the voices for radio and
secondly there is hardly a sentence they can read without mistakes - never
mind their atrocious pronunciation. It appears the only qualification for
these two to be on air is because no one else is prepared to do those
duties. Lastly, could ZBC have more respect for listeners please? I have
listened to the same news broadcasts being read at 4PM until 8AM the
following day. And while they are at it, could they stop giving us the
government diary as news. Surely during these hard times there is more
happening than what the President, his ministers and Zanu PF officials are

      I can't believe that even the ZBC board is satisfied that the
corporation is doing a service to the people of this country.

      Tirivanhu Mhofu

      Emerald Hill



 Double standards THE Ethiopian government of Prime Minister Meles
Zenawi continues with its scorched earth policy and human rights violations
against the opposition and its support base but there is no condemnation
from the West.

      Ethiopia will not be condemned for now because Zenawi's forces
are doing the Americans a big favour in Somalia - driving out Islamic
insurgents who could pose serious threats to American interests in the Horn
of Africa.

       That's exactly what happened when President Robert Mugabe (then
Prime Minister) was allowed to conduct a campaign of genocide against PF
ZAPU supporters in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces. The world turned
a blind eye and universities scrambled to award Mugabe honorary degrees at
the height of the massacres. Today the same universities want Gushungo
stripped of those degrees.

      Thabo Kunene

      South Africa

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