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

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Public Statement

AI Index: IOR 30/010/2005 (Public)
News Service No: 118
6 May 2005


Item 9 d: Presentation of the Activity Report of the Special Rapporteur on
Human Rights Defenders

Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Zimbabwe
Chairperson, Commissioners,
Amnesty International remains deeply concerned by the repression of human
rights defenders in Zimbabwe. Over the past four years, they have been
subjected to threats, ongoing surveillance by state security agents,
arbitrary arrests, physical violence and torture.

Several individuals have been forced to flee the country. Because they are
critical of the government, human rights defenders are viewed as supporters
of the political opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
have been branded as subversive, foreign-controlled and racist.

Amnesty International is particularly concerned by the treatment of human
rights defenders belonging to the women's movement, Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA). Since February 2003 WOZA activists have repeatedly been arrested by
the Zimbabwe Republic Police while taking part in peaceful demonstrations to
protest the worsening social, economic and human rights situation in the
country. They have also been arrested while attending private meetings and
for engaging in public prayer.

WOZA activists have been verbally and physically abused in police custody
and denied access to lawyers, food and water. Babies and young children have
been detained with their mothers, sometimes overnight in police cells.

In the first three months of 2005 no less than 300 WOZA activists were
arrested or detained by police on four separate occasions, including
International Women's Day. Dozens were beaten, some severely. Most recently,
on 31 March police broke up a peaceful post-election prayer gathering in
Harare, arresting some 260 women. Many were beaten during and after arrest.
A number of the women were badly injured and had to be hospitalized. They
were released the following day having been pressurized into paying
"admission of guilt" fines for alleged road traffic offences. The women were
reportedly told that if they did not pay fines they would remain in
detention over the weekend and face charges under the repressive Public
Order and Security Act (POSA).

Amnesty International condemns the use of national legislation to suppress
freedoms of expression, association and assembly and silence dissent in
Zimbabwe. In particular the organization repeats its condemnation of POSA
and strongly supports the recommendation made by the African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights in the report of its 2002 Fact-Finding Mission to
Zimbabwe that POSA should be amended to meet international standards for
freedom of expression.

At the 36th Session of the African Commission in Dakar, Senegal, in November
2004 Amnesty International raised its serious concerns about proposed new
legislation governing the operation of NGOs in Zimbabwe, which specifically
targeted NGOs working on governance and human rights issues. Although the
NGO Bill was passed by Zimbabwe's parliament on 9 December 2004 it has not
been signed as law and current indications are that the law will be
revisited by parliament. While this is welcome news Amnesty International is
deeply concerned by the climate of insecurity and threat which this
legislation has created amongst human rights NGOs.

Amnesty International believes that the introduction of the NGO law is a
deliberate attempt on the part of the government of Zimbabwe to paralyze the
activities of human rights organizations and thereby limit criticism of the
government. Amnesty International views the NGO legislation as consistent
with previous attempts by the government of Zimbabwe to use repressive legal
measures to curtail the activities of human rights defenders and prevent the
investigation, documentation and reporting of human rights violations in the

Amnesty International therefore calls on the African Commission to hold the
government of Zimbabwe accountable under the African Charter on Human and
Peoples' Rights (African Charter) by requiring it to:

  a.. immediately cease all harassment, intimidation and other human rights
violations against human rights defenders, and to fully implement the
African Charter and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, by among
others, respecting and ensuring the rights to freedom of expression; to
assembly and association of defenders;
  b.. make publicly clear that any legislation governing the operation of
NGOs or the work of human rights defenders will be fully in line with
Zimbabwe's commitments under the African Charter, and will fully reflect the
provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the
Resolution on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Africa, adopted by
the African Commission at its 35th Ordinary Session in Banjul, the Gambia,
in June 2004;
  c.. repeal or amend all national legislation which is incompatible with
the principles and provisions of the African Charter;
  d.. end the legacy and culture of impunity for human rights violations;
  e.. fully implement the African Commission's recommendations following its
mission to Zimbabwe in July 2002. The African Commission should set up a
working group, to be chaired by the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
Defenders, which will follow-up on the extent to which the government of
Zimbabwe has implemented the recommendations, including those on the
protection of the rights of defenders.

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Zim Online

FEATURE: Mugabe turns police force into an arm of ZANU PF
Sat 7 May 2005
  BUCHWA MINE - Fifty-two year old police Assistant Inspector Michael
Chikuni stands still during morning parade.

      In front of him is a bulky police instructor bellowing instructions at
the group of senior officers undergoing "ideological re-training" at Buchwa,
more than 200km west of the capital, Harare.

      At 52, Chikuni can barely cope with the physical demands of the
training regime at the camp. But he has no option. Any excuses would be
deemed an act of defiance and insurbodination punishable by instant

      With retirement looming on the horizon, Chikuni cannot afford to risk
losing his pension by defying the authorities. And so he plays ball.

      Senior police officers who have gone through the re-training
programme, speaking in hushed tones, say life at the centre is no bed of

      "We were constantly subjected to daily torture. We would wake up as
early as 4am to scale nearby steep mountains while singing war songs in
praise of the ruling party and denigrating opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Tony Blair (British

      "When you are found not to be singing due to fatigue or some other
reason, you are labelled an MDC supporter and punished severely. From then
on, you would have to deal with the resentment that would follow," said one
police officer who went through the six-week training programme at the

      After the rigorous physical exercises, it is back to the barracks
where they have to imbibe the ZANU PF hate doctrine. They are told to
safeguard the country's sovereignty by bludgeoning into submission anyone
"who is seeking to reverse the gains of the liberation war."

      President Robert Mugabe's government, which accuses the MDC of seeking
to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle, initiated the re-training
programme for the police in 2000 to "instill patriotism" in the officers
after the ruling ZANU PF party received a bloody nose at the polls from the
then nine-month old MDC.

      Human rights activists accuse Zimbabwe's police force of applying the
law selectively in favour of ZANU PF. The police have also been accused of
using the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) to disable the opposition and
render it impotent in battles for political supremacy. The police deny the

      But it is at Buchwa, an abandoned mining settlement, that the
government has sought to brainwash the police officers in a new programme of
political re-orientation.

      Senior police officers who attended the programme criticised the crude
training methods at the camp. With no running water and an obsolete sewerage
system, they say the place poses great danger to the officers' physical

      They say the police training is a replica of the controversial
national service training programme initiated by the government in 2000. The
programme has been blamed for churning out violent youths who have
terrorised opposition supporters since 2000.

      "There is nothing special with the training other than that it is a
mere indoctrination exercise where ZANU PF fodder is forced down our throats
so that we would teach it to our junior members," said another police
officer, also on condition of anonymity.

      He added that they were being taught various methods to suppress the
activities of the MDC, accused by Mugabe of a being a front for the West to
effect regime change in Zimbabwe.

      Political observers argue that the aim of the controversial exercise
is to force an increasingly despondent police force, which is supposed to be
apolitical, to support ZANU PF.

      Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabweans have known since independence, is
accused by his critics of wreaking what was one of Africa's successful
economies. Inflation stands at 123.7 percent and unemployment is at 70
percent. The health delivery system is in a mess and 5.5 million Zimbabweans
need immediate food aid to avert starvation.

      Mugabe also stands accused of serious human rights violations. The
African Union last year criticised Zimbabwe's police for behaving like a
ZANU PF militia. The 81-year old Mugabe denies charges of mismanagement
accusing the West of sabotaging his government.

      "We have now lost faith in the police force. They have sacrificed
professionalism on the altar of political expediency," said Felix Mafa of
the Post-Independence Survivors Trust (PIST) a Bulawayo-based pressure

      Asked to comment on the allegations, chief police spokesman Assistant
Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena refused to speak to ZimOnline, accusing our
reporters of lying about the police force.

      "You are always writing lies about us, I cannot talk to you," he said
before switching off his mobile phone. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

FEATURE: Zimbabwe's five-year old fuel crisis back with a vengeance
Sat 7 May 2005
  HARARE - At the crack of dawn, bleary-eyed 52-year old Idris Musongwe of
Kuwadzana, a poor suburb west of Harare, is dozing off together with a group
of women on the roadside.

      It is bitingly cold and the little fire they have lit seems to be
doing little to fend off the cold.

      But even in these temperatures, Musongwe and the other women, draped
in their traditional long wrap overs, appear to be driven by one motive: the
desire to provide for their families against all odds.

      "If I oversleep, my family goes hungry," says the 52-year old widow,
with an iron conviction that has seen her soldier on in looking after her
six children, the majority of whom are still at school.

      But waiting for transport here is proving to be a test of sheer
endurance. The bus never seems to come. The trip to Mbare Musika, a
sprawling fruit and vegetable market in one of Harare's poorest suburbs,
hangs in the balance threatening the family's source of livelihood.

      The bus appears to have struck an agreement with fate, never to pitch
up. Minutes slowly turn into hours and the waiting game continues.

      Fifty kilometers away across town in the working class suburb of
Chitungwiza, the mad rush to secure early morning transport to go to work
becomes increasingly desperate as the clock ticks away.

      Here, touts who call the shots at most transport queues, have suddenly
trebled their fares. Commuters, who are struggling to make ends meet, back
off at the frightening fare that is being demanded upfront. They will have
none of it!

      In Zimbabwe's highly inflationary environment, every cent counts and
commuters will not part so easily with their hard-earned dollars.

      The two scenarios above are not taking place in outer Mongolia. They
are a true reflection of the desperate times commuters are facing in
Zimbabwe as the country's five year economic recession shows no signs of

      The transport network, which was the envy of Third World Africa at
independence in 1980, has virtually crumbled as part of the larger crisis of
governance rocking Zimbabwe. With no foreign currency to import fuel, the
wheels of industry are off.

      The fuel crisis has filtered down to the commuters, hitting hard the
ordinary Zimbabwean who is bearing the brunt of the country's five year
economic recession.

      Critics accuse President Robert Mugabe, at the helm for the past 25
years, of wreaking what was one of Africa's models of development through
his economic and political policies.

      Mugabe denies charges of economic mismanagement, blaming the crisis on
Zimbabwe's enemies unhappy with his land reforms when he seized large
swathes of farmland from the small white community for redistribution to
landless blacks.

      Inflation stands at 123.7 percent, the highest in the world. The few
who are still in formal employment say they cannot cope with the highly
inflationary environment with some being forced to cycle to work to cut
transport costs.

      Critics say Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party which won a landslide
victory in a disputed parliamentary election in March appears totally
clueless in coming up with solutions to resolve the economic crisis.

      But even among the party's faithful, they are losing faith in the
party's ability to deliver.

      "I thought our victory would bring better times as the politicians
promised. Now we are worse off than we were before the elections," says Edna
Muchenje, a ZANU PF supporter in Kuwadzana.

      Economists blame the government for keeping prices of essential
commodities such as food and fuel at artificially low levels to secure votes
during the election.

      Now just a month after the disputed election victory, they say Mugabe's
misguided policies are coming back to haunt innocent Zimbabweans. ZANU PF
fought the election under the banner of economic regeneration, with central
bank governor Gideon Gono at pains to portray a Zimbabwe which was now out
of the woods.

      "We will have to learn to live with groping our way in the dark to
catch buses to work," says a junior accountant in the city, Teddy Chasakara.

      Officials in the fuel procurement industry say measures put in place
by the central bank to mop up foreign currency by compelling fuel buyers to
surrender all hard currency to the central bank have triggered the crisis in
the fuel sector.

      A fuel marketer who refused to be named said: "We used to import fuel
using our own transport and our own resources. Now the central bank requires
us to buy fuel after first surrendering all the foreign currency we have to
the bank. Why would anyone want to go through all those hassles?"

      It appears with the ruling ZANU PF party appearing foggy as the crisis
deepens, there is no end in sight to Zimbabwe's five-year old fuel crisis. -

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Zim Online

Passport fees hiked in bid to stem migration
Sat 7 May 2005
  HARARE - The government yesterday hiked passport application fees by more
than 300 percent in a bid to stem the tide of thousands of Zimbabweans who
have been queuing at the offices seeking to leave the crisis-ridden country.

      An ordinary passport will now cost Z$100 000, up from $30 000 while
those seeking executive passports, issued after 24 hours, will have to fork
out Z$1.5 million. An urgent passport issued after three days will now cost
Z$1 million while a lost passport will attract a fine of $1.5 million.

      The government has been battling to block the brain drain which seen
the cream of Zimbabwe's labour force leave the country in the last five

      Last month, President Robert Mugabe said the government would come up
with a mechanism to stem the tide which has seen three million Zimbabweans
leave the country.

      With an average worker in Zimbabwe taking home about $2.5 million per
month, the new fees are pegged way beyond the average man's reach. An
official at the Registrar-General's office, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said the increase was necessitated by the need to deter the high
number of people queuing for passports.

      President Robert Mugabe's economic and political policies have seen
about three million Zimbabweans fleeing the country in the last five years.

      Human rights activists accuse Mugabe of driving thousands of
opposition supporters and ordinary Zimbabweans into economic exile where
they do menial jobs mainly in South Africa, Britain and Botswana. -

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Zim Online

Church wants electoral system overhauled
Sat 7 May 2005
  HARARE - Churches in Zimbabwe's eastern province of Manicaland have urged
the government to overhaul the country's electoral process which they said
was inadequate in delivering credible and fair elections.

      In a joint post-election pastoral letter released yesterday, the
Anglican, Catholic and Evangelical churches, which have been at the
forefront in the search for a solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis, said
parliamentary elections held in March lacked credibility and were not free
and fair.

      "It is a matter of grave concern to the churches in Manicaland that a
healthy electoral environment has largely been absent in Zimbabwe. The
absence has greatly affected the integrity of the recent electoral
processes," reads part of the letter.

      The ruling ZANU PF party convincingly won a two-thirds majority
against the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in
the March election. But the MDC has rejected the result alleging massive
rigging by ZANU PF.

      The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, appointed by President Robert
Mugabe to run the March election, failed to dispel charges that it rigged
the election in ZANU PF's favour. The MDC is challenging election 16 results
at the Zimbabwe Electoral Court.

      "The electoral environment in Zimbabwe has been bleeding for a
considerable time. The wounds will continue to fester, affecting future
electoral process," said the letter.

      The church also criticised the stationing of polling stations at
traditional leaders' homes which they said swung the vote in ZANU PF's

      Zimbabwe is in a five-year debilitating economic and political crisis
blamed on Mugabe's policies. The opposition accuses Mugabe, at the helm
since independence 25 years ago, of using violence to entrench his rule. He
denies the charge.

      The church, considered the moral voice of society, has tried in the
past to foster dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC in an effort to resolve
the political stalemate in the country. But its efforts hit a brick wall
after the ruling party snubbed the process. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

SA says waiting for "dust" to settle in Zimbabwe
Sat 07 May 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - South Africa says it is waiting for emotions, running
high in Zimbabwe after a disputed parliamentary election last March, to cool
down before resuming efforts to broker a solution to the crisis rocking its
northern neighbour.

      Addressing journalists at the International Relations, Peace and
Security meeting in Pretoria yesterday, South African deputy foreign
minister, Azziz Pahad, said his government was "waiting for the dust to
settle" before attempting to end a political stalemate between President
Robert Mugabe and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      Pahad said the stalemate was hindering economic recovery in Zimbabwe.

      Tasked by United States President George W Bush and other key western
leaders to help end Zimbabwe's political crisis, Pretoria has since 2000 led
regional efforts to broker a negotiated settlement between the Harare
administration and its political opponents - but without success.

      Critics say Mbeki has failed to pressure Mugabe to abandon some of his
controversial policies specifically because of the South African leader's
policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Harare under which he has consistently
refused to publicly criticise lawlessness, human rights abuses and
dictatorship in Zimbabwe.

      The MDC angrily cut all communication with Pretoria last month saying
Mbeki and his government had taken sides in their dispute with Mugabe after
the South Africans endorsed ZANU PF's landslide victory in the March 31

      ZANU PF won 78 out of the 120 seats that were up for grabs in the
March poll but the MDC rejected the poll result saying Mugabe and his party
had used fraud to secure victory.

      The MDC won 41 seats, 16 less than the 57 it had previously won in
2000. An independent won the other seat and Mugabe appointed 30 other
unelected Members of Parliament under a constitutional clause allowing him
to do so. As a result of the appointments, ZANU PF now controls two-thirds
of Parliament enabling it to unilaterally rewrite Zimbabwe's constitution.

      Pahad did not say what action Pretoria was going to take to win back
the confidence of the MDC or whether Mbeki was contemplating adopting a more
robust approach in his search for a solution to Zimbabwe's crisis. -
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Set us free: spies

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-May-06

IN an extra twist to the widely publicised spy-ring saga, the three
imprisoned "local undercover agents" have appealed to the High Court against
both conviction and sentence seeking their freedom.
The three are Zimbabwe's then ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey
Dzvairo, Zanu PF external affairs director, Itai Marchi and ex-Metropolitan
Bank secretary Tendai Matambanadzo.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Joseph Musakwa, yesterday confirmed the
trio - who were in February convicted for violating the Official Secrets
Act - had lodged a notice to appeal with the higher court.
"They have filed a notice of appeal, the three of them," Musakwa said.
In February, Dzvairo was slapped with a six-year prison sentence, while
Marchi and Matambanadzo were each thrown behind bars for the next five years
during a trial, which drew international, regional and local interest.
The media was barred from reporting court proceedings in the high profile
case in which it was alleged that the three had sold state secrets to
foreigners in exchange for money.
Dzvairo, Marchi and Matambanadzo were convicted on their initial pleas of
guilty on Christmas Eve last year without legal representation.
Later, they backtracked after their lawyers appeared.
In a related incident, Musakwa told the Sunday Mirror last week that the
hearing of Zanu PF's director of security, Kenny Karidza, who is facing
similar charges had since become a "trial within a trial" as the war veteran
was contesting the admissibility of his revelations to investigating
Phillip Chiyangwa, former MP for Chinhoyi, who was also implicated on
similar charges was freed by the High Court with Justice Charles Hungwe
blasting the magistrate who had kept him in remand prison accusing the
judicial officer of being influenced by the media in his judgment.
Hungwe said the State's case was porous and lacked watertight proof to
convict Chiyangwa.
The judge said: "The way the magistrate handled the matter was untorward and
injudicious. The language he used was overzealous..
"It has become a trend that a suspect is virtually tried, charged and
sentenced by the press. The magistrate carried the media's view into the
court.. the applicant is entitled to his immediate release."
The sixth suspected spy, Erasmus Moyo, a diplomat based in Switzerland, is
still at large.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Jokonya less hostile:MDC

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-06

THREE days after Zimbabwe joined other nations in celebrating the World
Press Freedom Day, the main opposition MDC said the new Minister of
Information and Publicity, Tichaona Jokonya, is less hostile to the
independent press compared to his predecessor, Jonathan Moyo.
President Robert Mugabe fired Moyo from the government after the rabid
critic of the private press, to whom he has since turned for publicity,
stood as an independent in Tsholotsho during last March's general elections.
Moyo went on to snatch the seat from the MDC, becoming the only independent
in the 150-member august house.
MDC national spokesperson and losing candidate for Gwanda, Paul Themba
Nyathi, indicated that while press freedom was at its lowest in the country,
hope lay in the career diplomat's appointment as the new information boss.
Jokonya has worked as President Mugabe's envoy at the UN in New York and
Geneva after which he was recalled to take up the post of senior permanent
secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs.
 "The MDC is however slightly encouraged by recent comments made by the new
information minister, Tichaona Jokonya, who appears to be less hostile
towards the independent media than his predecessor," Nyathi said.
He added the task was now on Jokonya to follow up his rhetoric with action
taking steps towards the re-opening of newspapers shut down under Moyo's
reign; namely The Daily News and its sister paper The Daily News of Sunday
and The Tribune.
 "If he  really is committed to a more permissive media environment then he
must take immediate steps to allow all closed newspapers to re-open
unconditionally," Nyathi said.
Since his appointment, Jokonya has pledged that the government would be more
tolerant to both local and foreign media. He said his ministry would strive
to cultivate a culture of trust between State and media houses.
He also hinted the government would re-visit some provisions of the widely
criticised Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) under
which many journalists have been arrested, but the courts threw out all the
State's allegations saying they were porous and did not constitute
reasonable suspicion that crimes had indeed been committed.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Price of bread goes up

Givemore Nyanhi
issue date :2005-May-06

THE price of bread went up from $3 500 to $4 000 yesterday at some shops
that had the scarce commodity as other basic commodities such as cooking
oil, sugar, maize meal and milk remained unavailable at three major
supermarkets in the city centre.

At least two of the supermarkets had empty bread racks, while the only other
supermarket that had fresh baked bread in supply was characterised by a long
queue of more than 30 people waiting to buy a white loaf of bread for $3 500
in the early afternoon.
But it was a different scenario in high-density suburbs such as Warren Park
and Mabvuku, where most shopkeepers and tuckshop owners had hiked a loaf of
Lobels bread by about 12 percent to $4 000.
The shopkeepers argued that they were facing difficulties in the purchase
and distribution of bread from major manufacturers because of two reasons:
namely the ongoing shortage of fuel and the short supply of wheat in the
country due to the poor rains.
With the country already making preparations to import wheat, as well as
maize, to increase food security, the cost of bread is set to shoot up in
response to the import costs and foreign currency necessary to feed the
nation, analysts and observers said.
All three shops did not have maize meal, the country's staple food, in
supply at all - a situation that began a month ago soon after the March 31
parliamentary polls.
Maize meal was not the only product out of supply; sugar has disappeared
from the shelves of city supermarkets for a similar period of time. By
yesterday afternoon, fresh milk supply showed all the signs that it would
soon disappear completely, with shoppers buying even those dairy products
they would normally chose to ignore.
Traditional Dairibord products have been scarce in most shops for some time
now, though a number of new but relatively unknown dairy companies were
selling milk, among them yellow packaged Amanzi and white packaged Glen
Clova Dairy.
Though the products have vanished from the shelves of most retail shops in
the city and most urban centres countrywide, the products have been
on the black market in an uncanny way that revives memories of
the unwelcome 2003 food shortages.
And most of these products are being sold at exorbitant levels, a
development that could have negative effects on the central bank's
anti-inflation drive.
Of the three different supermarkets visited yesterday, only one of them had
cooking oil in supply early in the afternoon, though there were pronounced
indications that demand would soon overwhelm supply as customers were
beginning to jostle for the commodity.

Commodity       OK     TM    FCG
C/Oil (750ml)    -  $19 700          -
Sugar           -                -          -
Bread           -     $3 500          -
M/ meal        -           -           -
Milk           -          -                    -
Meat(kg) 49 500 36 500   55 500
The cooking oil that was available yesterday, Sunola Refined Cooking Oil, is
manufactured in South Africa, and a 750 ml bottle was selling at $19 700
while a 2-litre bottle was selling at $49 200.  Locally manufactured oil was
only available on the black market.
Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries (ZSR) and Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited (DZL), both
of which have been diversifying from their core businesses of sugar and milk
respectively, into other sectors such as transport, wholesaling, beverages
and value-addition, have yet to come out with official statements on the
These listed companies, alongside other basic commodities manufacturers such
as National Foods, have been diversifying as a way of moving away from raw
material supply problems due to the unavailability of foreign currency.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Harare council finally clears refuse

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-06

THE Harare City council finally heeded a call by Glen-View residents and
collected refuse that had accumulated in the suburb for the past six months.
Residents told The Daily Mirror that they were happy with the council's move
and hoped that it continues to collect refuse which had become an eye sore.
"We hope the council will continue to do such a commendable job because
uncollected refuse was now posing a health hazard to the community", said
Elton Tiane, a resident of Glen View.
Harare City Council yesterday  said it had started collecting refuse in most
urban areas after reviving its fleet.
"This afternoon (yesterday) our vehicles are already in Glen View and other
suburbs," said council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi. - Mirror Reporter
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Unions slam lack of assistance for HIV-positive workers

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 6 May 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's trade unions have attributed
the rising incidence of HIV infection among workers to a lack of effective
workplace management programmes targeting the labour force.

Nathan Banda, who heads the health and safety project of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), said a new national report on the pandemic
clearly pointed to an urgent need for more funding to support proper care
and treatment programmes for workers.

The report, released by the National AIDS Council (NAC) this week, noted the
absence of coordinated strategies to help those infected and affected by the

Among the concerns raised was that inadequate retirement and retrenchment
packages often meant workers were unable to afford private healthcare
services once they had left their jobs, while small business operators and
informal sector workers were frequently excluded from government HIV/AIDS
care and prevention programmes.

"The situation of workers in this country is much worse today than it was a
year ago. ZCTU has very ambitious plans - like counselling and support
centres in many workplaces - but we cannot get these to work because the
government has continually denied us money from the NAC coffers, although we
are major contributors through the three percent AIDS tax levied on all
workers," Banda told IRIN.

In 1999 Zimbabwe imposed a tax on earnings to help pay for AIDS-related
healthcare costs. At the time, the measure was expected to bring in about US
$26.6 million annually.

Research undertaken by ZCTU in June 2004 showed that one out of every four
workers was HIV positive, but Banda warned that this figure only reflected
HIV prevalence amongst workers in urban areas. The umbrella labour body has
an estimated membership of 300,000 drawn from 34 affiliate unions.

Dr Owen Mugorongi, a senior official in charge of HIV/AIDS and TB programmes
in the ministry of health and child welfare, conceded that the findings
covered in the national report had been overtaken by developments since the
research had been completed.

"We would like to fund every little programme that takes us a step forward
in the fight against HIV/AIDS at a national level. But we are facing serious
financial problems, and programmes simply cannot take off. We will certainly
consider some of the recommendations from the conference report when we meet
to review the national response to the HIV/AIDS crisis," he told IRIN.

Mugorongi stressed that existing national HIV/AIDS care and prevention
strategies were severely underfunded and could not cope with the number of
orphans and needy families who had lost parents and breadwinners to the

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that Zimbabwe has an
orphan population of around 1.3 million, which is set to rise, placing an
increasingly heavy burden on already overstretched social and health

"Today, Zimbabwe suffers from one of the world's highest rates of HIV/AIDS
infection, together with a plummeting life expectancy and a catastrophe in
orphan care. Combined, this has led to marked deterioration in all social
sectors, impacting greatly on children. The problems facing children in
Zimbabwe are immense, including shortfalls in nutrition, girls'
vulnerability, access to education and the problem of street kids," the UN
children's agency said in a recent report.

ZCTU has already started applying to international donor organisations for
direct funding for HIV/AIDS workplace programmes. The unions need at least
US $1.5 million to set up and sustain drop-in assistance centres in
workplaces over the next three years.

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Parallel market flourishes as shelves empty

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 6 May 2005 (IRIN) - The general shortage of commodities in Zimbabwe
has created a burgeoning parallel market, which is limiting access to basic
items for most of the poor.

Tonderai Mukerezi, a public relations officer for the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe (CCZ), told IRIN: "The emergence of the black market is a sad
development and will affect the consumer, because goods are sold at
unbelievably high prices, and the cost of living will soar."

An informal survey carried out by IRIN around the capital, Harare, revealed
that most shops had run out of basic commodities, such as sugar, maize-meal,
flour, cooking oil, toothpaste and margarine.

Almost all these commodities are readily available on the parallel market
and in backyard kiosks, where they are being sold at prices up to three
times the official rate.

In Mbare, a poor suburb with abundant unofficial market activity, a 10 kg
bag of maize-meal sells for Zim $90,000 (about US $15) compared to the
official price of Zim $35,000 (US $5.72), while a 2 kg packet of sugar is
available for Zim $15,000 (US $2.45), instead of the gazetted Zim $7,500 (US

A 750 ml bottle of cooking oil fetches Zim $22,000 (US $3.59), almost double
the official price of Zim $13,000 ($2.12), while a tube of toothpaste sells
for Zim $20,000 (US $3.26), which is Zim $13,000 (US $2.12) more than the
official price.

The government introduced price controls on basic commodities in November
2001 in a bid to protect consumers from rising costs on basic commodities.
In November 2002 price controls were extended to cover a wider range of
goods, despite protests from manufacturers who complained that they could
not cover their production costs.

Harare resident Timothy Musa told IRIN that despite the higher prices of
commodities on the parallel market, he was happy that he had finally managed
to purchase maize-meal at Mbare.

"We had gone for a whole week without maize-meal because it is not there in
the shops. A neighbour tipped me [off] to come here [to Mbare], and despite
the high price, I am relieved that my family will have something to eat this
evening," said Musa.

Before paying for the 10 kg bag, Musa insisted on the trader opening it for
inspection, as they have been known to cheat by adding sand.

"Life has become so difficult for me - just imagine ... I had to lie to my
employer that I was not feeling well, in order to come and look for the
maize-meal here. To make matters worse, the commodity is being sold at a
price I can hardly afford," said Musa, who works as a school cleaner.

A thriving black market for fuel has also mushroomed - in downtown Harare
motorists queue along the streets of the central business district instead
of at fuel stations.

Along one such street, overlooked by the head office of the state-controlled
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), young men drain petrol and diesel
from old, non-running cars to sell to waiting clients.

The fuel is sold in five-litre containers at Zim $14,000 (US $2.28) per
litre, as opposed to Zim $3,450 (US $0.56) for petrol and Zim $3,600 (US
$0.58) for diesel.

Private procurers and NOCZIM cannot meet the demand because they lack the
foreign currency to import fuel.

At the CCZ Mukerezi said the parallel market, which flourished in 2003
during another wave of shortages, had re-emerged recently because of a
variety of factors, chief among them the scarcity of foreign currency.

"The reasons for the emergence of the black market are varied: there are
companies that are genuinely experiencing foreign currency problems, with
which to import essential ingredients used in the manufacture of products,"
he told IRIN. "As a result, some producers have scaled down their
operations, leading to shortages in the market."

Mukerezi also blamed some wholesalers and retailers for causing artificial
shortages by conniving to divert goods to the black market.

"We have noticed that there are some unscrupulous entrepreneurs, who are
exploiting the situation to charge the prices they want; hoarding by both
producers and consumers is fuelling the black market," he alleged.

A manager at a leading manufacturer of oil products told IRIN that the
shortage of foreign currency was making it difficult for his company to
produce goods subject to government price controls.

"Without forex it is difficult for us to keep on manufacturing products,
since most of our raw materials are imported. In order to remain viable, we
have had to produce non-controlled goods, which we then sell at profitable
rates, and that is why you see there is a shortage of such things as cooking
oil," he explained.

The US dollar currently fetches about Zim $18,000 on the parallel market,
against the official rate of Zim $6,117.

Everton Mpambwa, a Malawian truck driver who regularly travels between
Harare and Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, makes extra money by trading US
dollars on the parallel market. He then uses the local currency to buy
commodities at official prices, which he sells in Malawi.

"You get lots of Zimbabwean dollars when you go to the black market - that
means you will buy goods this side [in Zimbabwe] at cheap prices, and then
sell them again in Malawi," Mpambwa told IRIN, adding that he hides the
commodities among the items he transports to his company in Lilongwe.

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New Zimbabwe

Chinotimba's mobs on warpath

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 05/07/2005 00:09:19
NOTORIOUS war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba has led a violent mob of his
supporters through a sweep of commuter ranks in Harare, and forcing
commuters to use buses from the State-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger

Chinotimba's violent campaign started on Wednesday, and continued Thursday
as youths, under his direction, raided the City/Chikurubi and Kamfinsa
commuter ranks leading to running battles with touts.

Chinotimba wants commuters to use buses owned by the ailing Zupco which is
struggling under intense competition from private commuter operators.

State television confirmed the clashes last night, but there was no
indication police had intervened to stop the clashes or bring back order.

Interestingly, the commuters Chinotimba's hired gangs were harassing are
mainly police officers, prison officers, intelligence agents and their
families working at the Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

Our correspondent said last night: "Chinotimba just appears to be a loose
cannon. His bullish sweep through the commuter rank, forcing it to close in
the process, suggests some tacit approval of his actions from the police."

Chinotimba achieved notoriety in 2000 when he became the self-styled leader
of the farm invasions by violent mobs and war veterans loyal to President
Robert Mugabe's government.
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South Bend Tribune

U.N. and human rights

Anyone who wonders why the United Nations seems to have a credibility
problem need look no further than its Human Rights Commission.

For all the U.N.'s good work, it is difficult to take seriously an
organization that would elect and then re-elect Zimbabwe to the commission
charged with critiquing the conduct of others. Unfortunately, the rules for
naming commission members don't include screening out the worst human rights
violators on the globe.

When Zimbabwe, with its notorious president Robert Mugabe, was assigned to
the commission for three more years, Australia, Canada and the United States
protested, to little purpose.

Mugabe wants his repressed, tortured country on the commission for one
reason only: to be in a position to deflect criticism of himself. This is
the president who stole the last two elections in his country and trashed
its economy to keep himself in power.

The Zimbabwean ambassador to the U.N. responded to U.S. outrage by saying
that "those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" -- not a very
apt reply from the spokesman of a president who uses starvation as a means
of political control.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's suggestion in March that the Human
Rights Commission ought to be abolished was a good one. Better to scrap it
and then, in the aftermath of broad U.N. reform, devise a new mechanism to
monitor human rights.

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The Zimbabwean
CIO declares cyber-war
Taking transparency a bit too far - the empty Reserve Bank stand at the recent Zimbabwe International Trade Fair mirrors the nation’s empty coffers. Yet the government continues to splash out trillions of Zimdollars on orders of fancy equipment from the east. This begs the question Who is paying? And with what?
JOHANNESBURG – In a desperate bid to control the flow of independent information in and out of the country, the increasingly paranoid government of Robert Mugabe, has acquired sophisticated phone tapping, radio jamming and internet monitoring equipment from China.
The equipment has been handed over to its dreaded spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in an effort to block the circulation of what it alleges is hostile propaganda from foreign based radio stations and cyber-space.

The independent radio station based in the UK, SWRadio Africa, has been experiencing jamming problems from two transmitters near Gweru since before the elections.

Sources inside the CIO told The Zimbabwean that the deal also involved the importation of upgraded Chinese copies of Soviet-era air-borne radar systems for the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) and a few ground-based radar stations.

"More equipment is on the way, as government feels there is a need to counter hostile propaganda coming through cyberspace. I cannot tell you about the budget but it will cost trillions," said the source, who added that Chinese instructors and technicians had trained CIO agents in operating and maintaining the equipment.

In China, the government of President Hu Jintao, a hard-line Communist keen to return the old order, has apparently intensified a crackdown on the use of mobile phones and the internet for the circulation of anti-Communist propaganda and the promotion of what it sees as Western-style freedom of the press and human rights issues.

In a move that parallels Zimbabwe’s programme of re-education in schools and youth camps, students in China were recently ordered to take more Communist Theory classes in line with what the regime calls "ideological education" according to the New York Times.

Zimbabwe's latest acquisitions allegedly include smaller, less visible high-tech bugging equipment that is more difficult to detect. Minute omni-directional recorders with enhanced long ranges at ultra-high frequencies have also been ordered and can be useful for snooping on meeting sites from a safe distance.

The source refused to explain how the new phone bugging equipment works but confirmed that it included updated versions of pirated, Israeli-made equipment sourced through Cuba.

In Zimbabwe, the CIO intends to use most of the equipment to snoop on the internet, widen the taping of landlines and cell-phones of opposition figures, State and private media journalists suspected of working for foreign media, as well as opposition and public opinion leaders - regardless of whether they are pro or anti-government.

"The purpose of widening the net is to sense new threats to the present order, as most of the known opposition, particularly the MDC and tribal-based hooligans like Paul Siwela have been neutralized.

"We are now scanning the horizon for fresh signs of political opposition and other threats to national security. At the same, time we are countering and daily reducing the misleading effect of anti-Zimbabwe propaganda from radio stations and internet-based organizations outside the country. Government wants to win the cyber-war and the results have been pleasing so far," said the source.

Part of the strategy in the cyber-space war was to use CIO "case officers" and Zanu (PF) activists disguised as students at universities all over the world. The source said one such case officer, who formerly operated from the Matabeleland South office of CIO, had been deployed to a university in southern Portugal in mid-2003 as part of efforts to re-orient world student opinion on the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Efforts to contact State Security minister Didymus Mutasa for comment were fruitless. A secretary at his office said the minister was away and would not have the time to take the call even if he were there.
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The Zimbabwean

Abuse of public media exposed
HARARE - Former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has finally exposed
government's abuse of the public media for its own goals. In an interview
with the Mail and Guardian (M&G) Online (25/4), Moyo clarified what had
been, until now, a mystery surrounding the fate of Zimbabweans' stake in
Zimpapers, donated to the nation in January 1981 by the Nigerian government.
The shares were entrusted to the nominally independent Zimbabwe Mass Media
Trust (ZMMT) on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. But in an effort to
circumvent the newspaper stable's public mandate and justify its
pro-government propaganda output, the authorities have repeatedly claimed
that Zimpapers was not a public entity, but a private company listed on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, whose majority shareholder is the government.

Moyo however, dismissed such claims in the M&G. He noted that 51% of the
shares in Zimpapers belonged to a Trust "that was not the government or Zanu
(PF), and should not be controlled by either", adding that, "the beneficiary
of that trust should be all the people of Zimbabwe. The government has no
business directing Zimpapers". Moyo also denounced government control of the
media in the Zimbabwe Independent (22/4) which he said was "anathema to

Although Moyo exposed this blatant hijacking of the public media by
government, he did not clarify which Trust he was referring to, since he
himself had apparently superintended over the dissolution of ZMMT in
December 2001 to pave way for the Multimedia Investment Trust (MIT). Moyowas
reported in The Herald (2/2/2002) saying the newly established MIT would
"act as an investment vehicle for Government, drawing investment dividends
from the media and communication industry".

Since then the legal status of MIT and what happened to the assets of ZMMT
have not been explained. It would therefore be instructive for Moyo or more
pertinently, the relevant authorities, to clarify this matter.

Meanwhile, The Standard editor Davison Maruziva and one of the paper's
reporters, Savious Kwinika, this week joined the growing list of private
media journalists who have been charged for breaching the country's security
and media gag laws for publishing a story that the authorities claimed was
"false" and contained statements that were "prejudicial to the State".

This followed a report published by The Standard two weeks ago alleging that
seven ballot boxes and papers had been found at the home of Zaka District
Administrator Nyashadzashe Zindove. The report added that Zindove had been
arrested over the matter.

The paper (17/4) later apologised to its readers and Zindove for incorrectly
naming him as the accused instead of Zaka acting District Administrator John
Dzinoruma Mubako. Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe.
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The Zimbabwean

'Bullies' keep stranglehold on food
GWANDA - In Insiza, Darlington Kadengu, a former MDC activist may never
forget Andrew Langa, the man who in August 2002 allegedly fired some bullets
into his shoulder and paralyzed him for life.
Kadengu was shot during a Zanu (PF) -MDC youth altercation at Filabusi
center a few days before the voting day.

According to Petros Mukwena, the MDC deputy information officer for
Matabeleland South, the party has an accurate record of Langa's violent
past, including his recent alleged assault of Gwanda mayor Thandeko
Mnkandla. Langa has never been arrested.

"Getting away with the shooting of Kadengu made him feel much bigger than
the law. He is so violent as to be disrespectful and the tendency is growing
because of the impunity he enjoys as minister. During the recent campaign
for the parliamentary elections, we recorded two incidents in which he
allegedly shot at or order others to shoot MDC supporters.

"He has on numerous occasions attacked our supporters and denied them food
aid. What pains us most is that the police have not done anything even in
cases where the MDC provided spent cartridges to prove that shots were
indeed fired," alleged Mukwena.

Langa's Mitsubishi Colt was reportedly damaged when his driver lost control
and hit a tree while chasing MDC youths in a movie style action at Vocola
Business Centre in January this year.

Sources at Zanu (PF) said Langa had also set up an intricate network that
helps him maintain control of the grain distribution process, leaving out
opposition supporters. It is alleged to involve the fitting of his family
members, traditional chiefs and Zanu (PF) district officials into the
structures that procure and distribute food aid.

"The food distribution process has become the preserve of the Langa family
and its hangers-on. Langa's wife, who quickly rose from being an ordinary
school-teacher to become a senior official in the Ministry of Gender two
years ago is now the manager of the GMB district depot at Filabusi.

"Chief Vezi Maduna, the Zanu (PF) legal affairs secretary for Matabeleland
South ensures that traditional leaders under him distribute food only to
ruling party supporters.
"Under him is a network of party councillors who draw up and maintain ward
food aid registers. Chief Sibasa is also doing the same in his area. Both
chiefs have openly stated that opposition supporters are not welcome on food
queues in their area and war veterans form the force that enforces that,"
said the source.

Patrick Hove, a member of Langa's team allegedly implicated in both shooting
incidents, has been placed at the GMB depot in Bulawayo and tasked with
ensuring the delivery of grain to Insiza each time the scarce commodity is

Last week Ncube was reported to have called traditional leaders to various
rural growth points and service center and demanded that they compile the
names of their subjects who voted for the MDC in the recent parliamentary

The threat of physical violence involving guns still invokes fear in
Matabeleland where over 20 000 people were killed by government forces for
supporting Joshua Nkomo's PF ZAPU which was seen as blocking President
Robert Mugabe's ambition for a one party, socialist state in the 1980s.

Food also remains a powerful tool of manipulating public opinion and
influencing voting patterns in a province, which has no history of good

Neither Zanu (PF) leader mentioned above were available for comment.

Mnkandla described the two ministers as bullies who had no legitimate claim
to be in cabinet apart from being perennial bootlickers to President Mugabe.

"In a normal democracy, such men would not be members of the national
cabinet, but Zanu (PF) has yet to regain its senses and return the country
to normality," said Mkandla.
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The Zimbabwean

Prospects for democracy
The following is a summary of the evidence given to the International
Relations Committee of the US Congress recently by the US Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs, Constance B. Newman. It is a very
clear statement of fact and shows a real depth of understanding of the
Zimbabwe situation and a desire to get to grips with it.
WASHINGTON - The March 31 elections for Zimbabwe's parliament were a
travesty of democratic standards. They were not free and fair. Instead, they
are proof that Robert Mugabe and the Zanu (PF) party continue to trample on
Zimbabwe's democratic institutions and traditions; they continue to rule by
fraud and coercion. The elections were a sad day for Zimbabwe and for the
cause of democracy in the region.

Late last year, Zimbabwe's civil society and democratic movement debated
whether to boycott the election. The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party and many independent groups were doubtful that Mugabe
would tolerate an honest election; they did not want MDC to legitimize a
vote that was likely to be tainted. Their fears were not baseless: elections
in 2000 and 2002 were marred by massive violence and fraud.

After much deliberation, MDC made a painful choice to enter the 2005 race to
get out the democratic message to the people, and to keep Zanu (PF) from
monopolizing parliament. MDC ran a strong race. It had a popular message
about economics, health, and democracy, and mounted a serious campaign in
every district of the country, drawing large crowds in urban and rural areas

MDC has clearly emerged as a mature, viable opposition party. The fact that
MDC even exists in spite of five years of heavy repression is testament to
the enduring strength of democratic culture in Zimbabwe

Unfortunately, MDC's pre-election concerns were valid. The independent press
was muzzled; ruling party candidates used food as a weapon to sway hungry
voters; state-owned TV and radio were heavily biased; freedom of assembly
was constrained; secret police attended opposition rallies taking down

On election day, tens of thousands of voters were turned away from the
polls. The vote count was almost certainly rigged and credible evidence
suggests that Zanu (PF) stole more than a dozen seats from MDC.

The result is that Zimbabwe's parliament will continue to do the bidding of
Robert Mugabe but will not speak for all of Zimbabwe's people. It lacks the
legitimacy and the power to tackle the huge problems that are wrecking the

It is difficult to overstate the size or danger of these challenges. The
economy is collapsing; unemployment is more than 70percent; food prices are
going into orbit; political and economic refugees continue to flee,
including some of Zimbabwe's best educated citizens; new investment is zero;
firms are facing bankruptcy; and health care is collapsing in the face of a
raging HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Worst of all, Zimbabwe may be on the brink of another food emergency brought
on by drought and the government's disastrous economic policies. We do not
know the full dimensions of the emergency, since Zimbabwe has barred
assessment teams from the World Food Programme from entering the country.

However, what evidence we have strongly indicates that millions of
Zimbabweans will face serious food shortages later this year. These people
are the poorest of the poor, the real victims of ZANU-PF's mismanagement and
betrayal of the ideals of the Zimbabwean revolution of 1980.

Zimbabwe is caught in a spiral of governance crisis and economic collapse.
We are deeply worried about its fate.

We are not able to agree with the South African Government's conclusion that
the election results were a "credible reflection of the will" of the
Zimbabwean people.
This was an insult to the people of Zimbabwe.

At the same time, SADC influence may have played a key role in keeping the
election largely free of violence, and we expect that SADC will continue to
work for the restoration of democracy in Zimbabwe.

We were also encouraged that the African Union (AU) observer team called for
an investigation of the irregularities that took place on election day. We
hope that the AU will pursue this issue with the appropriate authorities in
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The Zimbabwean

What would it be like?

I kept wondering, as I read the Zimbabwean of the 29th April 2005, what
Zimbabwe would be like today if the doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers,
engineers, judges, farmers, accountants, fitters and fact all
the middle class born, trained and bred in Zimbabwe, had not just decamped
and gone elsewhere.
I keep wondering what would have happened if that wonderful middle class of
Zimbabweans that emerged after Independence in the 1980's and 90's had
stayed here and faced the Mugabe regime.

If we had had even two million extra votes in this last election, with
people able to monitor and watch the forces of evil and prevent them by
sheer numbers, from stealing yet another election.

I keep wondering whether that middle class who had managed the schools, the
sanitation and water affairs of our country, the hospitals and clinics,
power generation, the legal affairs, the accounting of our resources, the
procurement of our fuel, the production of our food......if those people had
stayed here and said NO.

Would we be in the predicament we are in now? Would this regime have got
away with the excesses that they are getting away with? Would our country
have been raped, pillaged and destroyed by a ruling elite, who are trying to
get as much into their own pockets as quickly as they can before their
bubble bursts?

I keep wondering whether we gave it all away by leaving the battleground for
others to fight.
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The Zimbabwean

Judicial bashing and bribing
Zimbabwe has a fairly developed legal system. This is however under severe
attack from the Executive and political elements within the ruling party to
reduce its ability to offer real and effective remedies for human rights
The attack on the legal and justice delivery system has taken various forms
and permutations, which include inter alia:

- Judicial bashing: This includes incidents of assault (Chipinge Magistrate
Walter Chikwanha was assaulted in August 2002 and suffered broken ribs after
a ruling that angered war veterans.

The assailants are known but were never prosecuted); arbitrary arrests and
detentions (Justices Blackie and Paradza and provincial Magistrate Caroline
Chigumira are examples); malicious prosecutions, character assassination
(defamation) using the state controlled media - both print and electronic -
(Justices Gubbay, Smith, Blackie, Majuru , Nare and Provincial magistrate
Judith Tsamba have been some of the obvious victims of this type of attack);
politically organized demonstrations, politically motivated invasion of
court and disruption of judicial proceedings, threats and intimidation.

Others have been administratively frustrated for example through arbitrary
transfers and being overlooked for promotion without any cogent reasons.

- Forced resignations: A number of judicial officers have been forced by
politicians in the ruling party to resign from their judicial positions in
the last few years.

- "Judicial bribing": There is a strong perception that senior members of
the judiciary that is, the majority of Supreme Court, High Court and
Administrative Court judges have been offered farms which have not been
lawfully acquired and where they have no title to the land or security of

This makes them highly susceptible to political control and manipulation.
There are other favours given by the politicians to the judges seen as
unwritten judicial perks.

These and other discretionary privileges granted by politicians need to be
regularized so that judges retain their integrity and do not get
manipulated. This will also help towards rebuilding confidence in the
justice delivery system.

- Packing superior courts with seemingly compliant judges: After many
competent, respectable and world-class judges were forced to resign, there
was a strong perception that the Executive took advantage to "pack" the
bench with politically correct/compliant judges.
As a result human rights jurisprudence has been weak in the Supreme Court
sitting as a constitutional court, the court increasingly losing its
position as the protector and guarantor of universally recognized human
rights and fundamental freedoms.

The cases of the Supreme Court being used as the reason for the closure of
the Daily News and the High Court being used as the pretext to close The
Tribune Newspaper stick out as ready examples of lack of a constructive and
purposive approach to human rights cases by the superior courts.

- Defiance of Court Orders: There is no question that the judiciary in
Zimbabwe can no longer offer real and effective remedies in all cases.
Numerous court orders get defied and the courts have failed to demonstrate
sufficient will to deal with officials who defy court orders.
The cases of Members of Parliament Fletcher Dulini Ncube, Phillip Chiyangwa
and Roy Bennet and that of politician James Makamba give ready examples of
high profile cases were there was flagrant disobedience of court orders with

Another example of inability to offer real and effective remedies is in the
38 electoral challenges that were made in 2000. Not a single one has been
successfully resolved to finality judicially and yet Zimbabwe has had
another general election in March 2005!

A deliberate impression is being created that in politically
related/motivated and human rights cases, the judiciary is irrelevant and
only political allegiance has a chance to offer real and effective
solutions. This is not acceptable to human rights lawyers.

- Marginalisation, neglect and impoverishment of magistrates and public
prosecutors: The magistrates, public prosecutors and other supporting staff
of the inferior courts have been completely neglected, marginalized and
exposed to real abject poverty.

This has left them highly susceptible to manipulation, corrupt practices and
threats to their physical safety as they often compete for seats with
suspects and accused persons in the crammed commuter omnibuses to and from

Half of the suspects and accused persons who appear before them are much
more wealthy than the bench.

- Attacks on human rights lawyers and human rights defenders: There has been
an increase in the last few years of reports of assaults, harassment,
threats and intimidation of human rights lawyers and other human rights
defenders in general.

The general threats to human rights defenders is epitomized by the impending
NGO legislation which effectively criminalizes human rights defending in
Zimbabwe and poses a real threat to the existence of influential NGOs in the
human rights sector.

The judiciary has been under this systemic and systematic attack because in
an environment of declining human rights like in Zimbabwe, an independent
judiciary and legal profession has been the voice of reason which has
challenged and checked the excesses of the Executive, human rights
violations and slowed down the complete subversion of the constitution by
the Executive and the slow but sure transformation of our beautiful country
into a de facto dictatorship.
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The Zimbabwean

Letter from Home
Water situation has reached crisis point

Dear Family and Friends,

There has not been a single day in the last week when we have had
uninterrupted supplies of both water and electricity in Marondera town.

The water cuts are unexpected and unexplained and trying to find anyone in
authority prepared to talk about the problem, the reason or the expected
duration, is a complete waste of time.

In other parts of the country the water situation has reached crisis
proportions. According to even the state owned television news, there are
now densely populated areas of Harare, which have had no water for two

On Thursday night ZBC TV news showed shocking film footage of scores of
desperate urban people crowding around a shallow and unprotected well
waiting their turn to fill containers from a clouded pool of water.

It is an untenable situation and there are reports that some schools are now
having to close less, than a fortnight into the winter term, as there is
simply no water.

The electricity cuts are now regular occurrences and invariably at times
when demand is at its highest. A casual telephone enquiry about the power
cuts to the local electricity offices this week resulted in a flustered
employee who was clearly taken by surprise when actually asked to explain
why there was no power.

Some stuttered and mumbled excuses about insufficient maintenance, no money
for spares and no foreign currency were eventually proffered but it wasn't

"What about the hydroelectricity we produce at Kariba?" I asked, "the
generators powered by the coal we mine at Hwange?" I questioned, but there
were no answers and you could almost hear the man squirming on the phone.

Everyone in positions of authority in this country, no matter at what level,
now seems to take it for granted that they will not be held answerable or
accountable and so they stutter and mumble and use the standard Zimbabwean
excuse saying "I am not the one".

Marondera, like every other town and city across the country has completely
run out of fuel this week and there is a feeling of both panic and anger at
this disgraceful state of affairs.

Shortages of basic food products such as sugar, salt, cooking oil, roller
meal and margarine will now be exacerbated as deliveries dry up altogether
with no fuel for trucks.

Trying to find basic food in one huge wholesaler in Marondera this week, I
started counting empty shelves but gave up when I got to 72. I was simply
looking for foods we produce in Zimbabwe like sugar, pasta and cooking oil
but my search and counting of empty shelves was just too absurd and I left.

And, all this in the same week as Zimbabwe took delivery of two new Chinese
passenger planes and was chosen to sit on the UN Human Rights Commission for
the next three years. The hypocrisy and absurdity of it all, is
overwhelming. Until next week, love Ndini Shamwari Yenyu.
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The Zimbabwean

Why won't they just ask?
Zimbabwe is in the grip of starvation - the worst in living memory. And yet
the 'development cabinet' sits and does nothing to alleviate the suffering
of the people. It looks as though the government has no idea of how to solve
the country's problems. May we offer some advice?
Please, go to the international community and ask for assistance. Swallow
your misplaced international pride. We are aware that several western
governments have made it known that they are willing to support an appeal
for food aid from Zimbabwe if it is made.

We know that the government wanted to amass and control food supplies in
order to use food as a weapon in the recent election. Now that it's over -
for goodness' sake act responsibly. Be a proper government - take care of
the people,

We all know, the government itself accepts, that there is no food, no
harvest about to come in, no forex with which to import food. The storage
silos are empty.

We appeal to the government: Stop treating the issue of food as a state
secret. The GMB ahs always published figures before. There has always been
transparency about how much food has been produced, how much is stored, how
much is expected, how much is needed, how much is being imported.

But now the Zimbabwe National Army seems to be running the GMB. And they
have been silenced, ordered not to divulge any statistics. Why not?

We agree with MDC shadow minister for agriculture Renson Gasela who said
this week: "Only totalitarian, oppressive regimes would keep citizens in
ignorance of the food supply situation."

Why is the Zanu (PF) government refusing to make this simple request to the
international community? Why are they sentencing the people of Zimbabwe to a
slow and horrible death by starvation? Have they no compassion - especially
for the sick and the children who are in most need of nourishment? May we
have some answers please.
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The Zimbabwean

We will not stop now
This raw and honest account of a battle fought and won and lost comes from a
woman who has been an MDC activist for a long time. Both she and her husband
have been arrested and detained in one of Zimbabwe's filthy prison. Her
husband has been badly beaten. The toll on their family life and health has
been huge. They, like many others, continue to fight on. To protect her
identity we call her simply:
To my Dearest Family and friends,

To lift up my feet and walk a step, to open my mouth and share a thought, to
find a smile or a warm glance to a passer by is accompanied by a sharp
searing pain in my heart.

To wake up, be it in the middle of the night after nightmares or to wake
after some hours of sleep is to wake to realise that the horror and theft
and evil choice of a small group of tyrants is true, I have not wanted to go
to sleep in order to avoid waking up to that pain.

You may say it isn't your pain - but of course it is! You see, in Zimbabwe
when something happens to a lone brave electoral agent or to Roy Bennett and
his family or to a brave villager who voted to change, his life affects so
many of us deeply.

You see we, of course, in many ways gave big parts of our hearts and souls
over this time - giving hope and promising not to give up until we see
change, sometimes at a heavy cost to our families, relationships and lives.

Continuing and continuing to believe in good ... even though we are beyond
strength, beyond power and beyond comprehension. WE WILL NOT STOP NOW.

I want to solve this crisis and I want to solve it now, I want to rescue my
beloved broken country and heal it and say to my friends whose tears join
mine - hey guys this is what we do... but I don't know how, and that is the

When the vendors at the shops come crowding me and say "Hey Tshisa Mpama
what do we do now - they stole it!" My heart is broken, let alone seeing the
look from my wonderful children's trusting eyes or feeling the intense
shattering of my beloved husband's spirit.

But, I have to say but, because this is God's team, AND WE WON........ FOR

This is people seeking goodness, this is people who make a plan, this is a
people who have built our country on guts, on humour on gut-breaking hard
work and on stick-to-itiveness and on never, never giving up.

I know at this moment I don't know how we are going to get the world's
attention and I don't know how we can close their eyes to the rubbish about
race when we get standing ovations as white Zimbabweans at party rallies and
when we entrust our lives in the hands of people of a different race -
forgetting to notice their colour and know that our hunger for justice is
the same and our hearts are aching with one pain......I don't know, I don't

It is here, the hope and it is here, the fighting spirit and it is so close
to the end now I can almost taste it ........FREEDOM .....I will never stop
fighting for it...It is worthy of the fight.
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The Zimbabwean

Open letter to Nelson Mandela

Former SA President Nelson Mandela
Dear Sir,

What power words can have! Even as I write each word now, I realise that, if
they do not capture your attention, they are likely to be tossed aside.

"FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS" were words uttered by a group of people, from your
country, who used their power to toss aside the will of millions of
Zimbabweans, including those living in exile elsewhere, who were not allowed
to vote. Shame on these South Africans!

Why, Sir, would Zimbabweans choose a government to lead them for five more
years of hunger, fear, oppression and death? Why would Zimbabweans choose to
retain a lifestyle that is crashing around them as they struggle to survive?

Why, Sir, would Zimbabweans wish to perpetuate a situation where families
are being torn apart?

Could you, please, for a moment, imagine that South Africans in 1994 chose
Mr P.W. Botha to lead them out of the oppressive apartheid regime? Don't be
insane, you say! Why, then, would Zimbabweans, whose life expectancy is
likely to be 33 years (as a result of poverty, AIDS and malnutrition caused
by the greed and wickedness of the current regime) choose to be led by this
same regime again?

I can assure you with all my heart and soul that it is not so.

As a Zimbabwean, I cannot remain mute. I have to tell you and the rest of
the world .....Please, this is not our will.... Please hear the silent
screams of our suffering people.

Sir, you may ask what are we doing about it ourselves. It is hard to answer,
of course, because we are a gentle people. We have no arms and do not wish
to cause any blood-shed. Our MDC leaders do not want to send thousands to
their death.

Mugabe's armed forces and weaponry are huge, and he will defend his power at
any cost! We know, though, that we may have to risk death by going to the
streets. You will appreciate that we have fought many injustices in the

Our situation is like that of a child who has been raped, running for safety
to the house of an Uncle, only to realise with horror, as this man undoes
his trousers, that he is the same.... There is no help. Only, forever, more
of the same.

At this moment, Zimbabweans are bruised and battered, even from the sheer
effort it takes to vote and then to try to protect that same vote.
Notwithstanding this, we are a resilient people and we love our country.

There is much goodness in our hearts and we are committed to truth, justice
and dignity, in spite of what this man attempts to do to us . We WILL see
this through, and we WILL see our New Zimbabwe and our New Beginning. We
chose FREEDOM on 31 March 2005. It is ours, and we will take it.

Look past our tears and our drawn faces into the souls of Zimbabweans and
you will see the colour of gold. Our refining has purified our souls and
within them lie nuggets of determination, courage, decency and a love of
life and hope. Zimbabwe may be bleeding, but this nation will never give up
and will fight to withstand evil in order to heal itself.

Sir, will YOU stand with us? Could you use the power of YOUR words?
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