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

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Zim Standard

      Fighting back with vim and vigour
      overthetop By Brian Latham

      THE government of a troubled central African country has declared
sanctions on several western imperialists in a move that will undermine the
effectiveness of the European parliament, it announced this week.

      The list, published in the state-controlled press, was hailed as a
triumph of strategic thinking in the war against western domination.
State-sponsored analysts working at the department of misinformation,
declared that sanctions against the running dogs of imperialism were sure to
deal a massive blow to Europe's efforts to destabilise the central African

      They said the introduction of smart sanctions would be particularly
damaging to the economy and government of a small patch of mud situated off
the coast of France.

      Ironically, the small patch of mud is an increasingly popular
destination for citizens fleeing the sunshine and freedom of the troubled
central African nation.

      Still, members of the European Parliament said the sanctions were
unlikely to have any effect at all, mainly because MEPs were themselves
totally ineffective. "Most of us get elected because the food in Brussels is
considerably better than it is in Little Boddington on the Sewer. Also,
booze and fags are cheaper here," said one.

      More pragmatically, the men and women banned from visiting the
troubled central African country said their banning was delightful news and
unlikely to affect their holiday plans. "None of us were planning to visit
your troubled central African country in the foreseeable future anyway," one
of them told Over The Top.

      Meanwhile, a spin-doctor at the department of misinformation said it
was all very well for the banned Euros to act smug, but they'd be laughing
on the other side of their faces when the serious fraud squad seized all
their assets in the troubled central African country.

      Responding to the issue of assets, a spokesperson for the European
Parliament said, "It is believed that only one of us is affected by the
assets issue. While we cannot provide names, one banned individual has come
forward to say he visited your country briefly in 1964 at which time a
commercial sex worker managed to pilfer four pounds, six shillings and four
pence from his hotel room.

      He has no idea how the dreadful woman managed to sneak into his room,
but assures us that, should she still be living, she can keep his assets. To
the best of our knowledge, these are the only assets any of us can lay claim
to in the troubled central African nation."

      Another MEP, the wife of a muddled Welshman and former leader of the
Labour Party said that she had no intention of visiting the troubled central
African country even when it ceased to be troubled. "Last time my husband
set foot in that place he was arrested by a corporal and treated rather
badly-so, if you think I'm going to subject myself to that sort of
harassment, you can jolly well think again," she said.

      Meanwhile, analysts who do not work for the department of
misinformation questioned the effectiveness of sanctions against Europeans.
It seemed unlikely that sanctions would work because, in case no one had
noticed, all aeroplanes arriving in the country were empty, while all
aeroplanes leaving were full.

      "This seems to indicate that no one is queuing up to come here," said
one analyst, who also pointed out that most foreigners had long since
disposed of any assets they held in the troubled central African country on
the grounds that they were no longer assets but liabilities.
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Zim Standard

      Mugabe's disastrous ad hoc fuel policy
      By Chido Makunike

      LAST week we got an astonishing insight into the ad hoc nature of
policy making that has over the years led to Zimbabwe's decline into its
present parlous state.

      Zimbabweans have been asking why fuel queues have reappeared after
recent assurances that our new official best friends, the Libyans, had
agreed to keep us awash with petrol and diesel for the foreseeable future.

      President Mugabe, cocooned as he personally is from the everyday
problems of his fellow citizens, usually keeps a British-style stiff upper
lip, acting as if everything is just fine and under control. The pressure of
maintaining this facade is beginning to take its toll, and he was forced to
not only admit that all is not well, but that he was fresh out of ideas to
stop the slide.

      For years, we have been told that government had to control every
aspect of the importation and selling of fuel because it was a strategic
commodity that could not be left in the hands of sly, greedy,
neo-imperialistic global Western capitalists, who might use their power to
threaten our sovereignty.

      In the midst of a largely self-inflicted economic crash that has led
to the drying up of foreign currency, those sovereignty concerns are thrown
out the window and the international oil companies are now "partners" who
should import their own fuel.

      Mugabe talked about how the fuel comes in the name of government, the
constant worries about how long it would last and the profits made by the
oil companies who distribute it after government has subsidised it.

      Perhaps soliciting public sympathy, he whined: "Twenty-two years in
government, of playing this game of foolery. They don't suffer from the
headaches and stomach aches I suffer. For how long shall I superintend this
institution of tomfoolery?", a question I have asked myself about Mugabe's
presidency for many years now.

      At a moment's notice, years of government policy are reversed by
decree with no examination of the implications, or why policy that was
considered to be so "principled" yesterday, is now considered to be

      No mention of the fact that the oil companies have been pleading to be
allowed to bring in oil on their own all these years. Nor of the fact that
now that economic collapse and expediency have forced Mugabe to let them do
so, the situation of our rapidly devaluing currency would mean fuel prices
having to go up many times over for importers to cover the real, as opposed
to the official, costs of foreign currency.

      Apart from this first real presidential admission that things are
really bad, what is even more worrying is the implicit admission that there
is no plan in place at all to deal with the spiralling problems.The
strategy, if you can call it that, is to keep passing the buck from
government to virtually anybody else.

      If Tony Blair was the source of all our problems yesterday, tomorrow
it will be the oil companies who have the nerve to take advantage of
government's generosity in allowing them to import fuel independently. They
then stab government in the back by wanting to sell it at prices that will
allow them to make a profit-the greedy, heartless capitalists! See how they
never tire of looking for new ways to sabotage our revolution?

      International oil companies are far from being angels. Even in their
home countries, they are often accused of using their mega bucks and
influence to involve themselves in all kinds of chicanery, from big time
bribery to massive environmental pollution, and I am loath to defend them.
The question is merely one of realities.

      Would it have been better to let them compete over the years to bring
in oil independently under close government regulation, letting the prices
rise higher over time in response to our falling currency, or keep the
prices artificially low by letting government control trade in oil, buying
the foreign currency at the rising black market rate, while selling it based
on the fixed, absurdly unrealistic official rate?

      The choice has been the latter, but this kind of command control and
populist subsidisation can only work in a booming economy of surpluses, not
one of sharp decline. Now that we have grown accustomed to Z$74/litre
petrol, raising it to more than $600/litre to reflect our currency and other
economic realities will cause unprecedented chaos.

      We may not like the big global capitalists, and we may chafe at the
world economic set-up, but I think part of the lesson of the decline of
Zimbabwe is that we are too economically small and insignificant in world
terms to think we can rearrange systems of trade in isolation from the rest
of the world.

      The pie in the sky voodoo economics of subsidising everything may
appeal to our sensibilities, but it doesn't work in the long term. The
people you are trying to appease by unrealistic economic policies over the
years are the same people whose wrath will give you headaches, stomach
aches, unnecessary aggression and sleepless nights when the results of those
policies, worsened by your words and actions, precipitate economic collapse.

      Now that Libya's Gadaffi seems to put more value in hard currency than
in Mugabe's rhetorical solidarity, we are either soon going to be paying a
hell of a lot more for fuel, or we'll be walking. My dream of owning the
biggest, most expensive, most prestigious petrol-guzzling luxomobile may be
about to be shattered.

      Its so unfair that it is Mugabe and his ministers, the very people who
have brought us so low, who continue to enjoy such perks, and twice a year
salary reviews while the rest of us fret from day to day between bread,
petrol and public transport queues. I'm sorry about his headaches, but he,
his henchmen and their policies may actually be Zimbabwe's biggest headache.

      Yes indeed, I couldn't agree more: it has been a long, depressing 22
years of tomfoolery under Mugabe. For how long shall we let him superintend
the further disgrace and decline of Zimbabwe?
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Zim Standard

      For many, it's worse than the colonial era
      By Eupha Mahenga

      A DESPERATE move by the Zanu PF government to protect consumers from
economic hardships it created by imposing unpopular price controls on most
basic commodities has backfired, causing more hardships instead.

      Effected late last year by the desperate ruling party which sought to
ensure the re-election of President Robert Mugabe in the face of a strong
challenge from MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, the price controls have
caused havoc in the country threatening the livelihood of many people.

      The effects of the controls have been so drastic that life in Zimbabwe
has been transformed into a nightmare.

      An acute shortage of commodities that are on the controlled prices
list is now the order of the day, condemning Zimbabweans to a life in

      Such basic commodities as mealie meal, cooking oil, salt and sugar
which were always readily available have vanished from the shelves, fuelling
the parallel market where the prices are out of reach of ordinary

      On the parallel market a thin loaf of bread now costs between $150 to
$280. Around March this year, a bigger and nutritious loaf cost $30.

      A 5kg pack of maize meal which a few months ago went for $130 has gone
up to $650. The same unrealistic price increase have been effected on other
commodities which are hard to get in the country.

      This scenario has caused untold suffering to people who are adjusting
to life without a slice of bread each morning and food prepared without
cooking oil. At one time locals learnt to endure meals without salt which
was in short supply.

      In fact, most Zimbabweans who are either low income earners or have no
income at all are now reliving the colonial era when they could only afford
to eat bread at Christmas. During that time every family, especially those
in the rural areas, expected the treat of having bread at breakfast.

      However, for this festive season things could be much worse as the
commodity is likely to be unavailable for the traditional heavy Christmas

      Things have become so bad that even finance Minister, Herbert Murerwa,
admitted before President Mugabe on Thursday that price controls had become
a threat to Zimbabwean society.

      Said Murerwa while presenting the 2003 budget to parliament: "Efforts
to protect the consumer from spiralling prices are being undermined by price
controls that focus mostly on the final product, ignoring developments
affecting inputs into the production process. This has affected production
viability and the sustainability of the controlled price levels. As a
result, the real costs to the society have been highS"

      The real beneficiaries of the system, Murerwa noted,were the
speculators and dealers and not the targeted vulnerable groups, who were now
watching helplessly as their breadwinners and friends lost employment as
companies retrenched workers owing to viability problems occasioned by
unsustainable price control levels.

      Victor Chisi, a senior manager with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
(CCZ) told The Standard that although noble, the introduction of price
controls had created more problems for the country.

      "The idea was noble because the people could not afford the
commodities. However soon after the introduction of the price controls the
commodities ceased to exist on the shelves, giving rise to the thriving
informal market," said Chisi.

      He added that the prices had become so high that consumers could not
afford them, prompting his organisation to call for boycotts on the
expensive items.

      Only last week, CCZ called for a beef boycott as a way of illustrating
the plight of the consumer. Prices of economy beef have shot up to between
$800 and $1000, way beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans.

      A small scale retailer from Ruwa who confessed that he did not have
much knowledge of economics, told The Standard that by introducing price
controls, Mugabe's government had revealed its ignorance over basic economic

      "The aim of every retailer or business is to make a profit. By buying
products at an uncontrolled prize and selling them at a controlled prize one
simply makes a loss. In such an environment, he or she has no option but to
close shop. I was surprised that government actually created such a
condition that forced us to close down our businesses and later blamed that
on Tony Blair," said Munashe Tshuma.

      Despite this state of affairs, the government yesterday announced, in
an extraordinary gazette, that it had extended price controls to the
agricultural, motor and newspaper industry.

      The education, building and technology sector were also not spared.

      This move, which will also freeze the price of vegetables, means
almost everything sold in Zimbabwe now has a controlled price.

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Zim Standard

      Zesa to get tough with new farmers  11/17/02
      Story by By Debra Mazango

      THE bankrupt Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) intends to
cut off power supplies at most farms acquired for resettlement because the
new owners have failed to service their bills, The Standard has learnt.

      The move comes at a time when Sydney Gata, the executive chairman of
Zesa, who happens to be a brother-in-law of President Robert Mugabe, is
reported to be on leave. Gata is a staunch supporter of Zanu PF and has in
the past, crisscrossed the country campaigning for the ruling party.

      At many of the rallies, Gata chanted Zanu PF slogans and told
villagers they would get electricity if they voted for Zanu PF.

      According to information at hand, most of the new farmers who now
reside on the properties left behind by evicted white farmers have not been
paying their electricity bills, thus prejudicing the authority of billions
of dollars.

      Huge bills have been incurred for the use of irrigation schemes, for
example. The displaced commercial farmers were cumulatively paying about $1
billion per month to Zesa.

      A senior official at Zesa confirmed to The Standard that the chaotic
land reform exercise had further exposed the bankrupt nature of the power

      "It was agreed sometime back to step up efforts to disconnect
defaulting customers and the issue of power cuts at most farms acquired for
resettlement has been one of the measures to be taken to contain the growing
financial crisis Zesa is facing," said the official.

      It is understood that new farmers have been served with letters
warning them of Zesa's intention to disconnect supplies at the end of
December 2002 if they failed to pay their bills.

      Whether the power utility has the independence of action to carry out
the threat-only time will tell.

      Some of the farmers have since pleaded with the parastatal to allow
them to settle their bills after their crops have been harvested next year
while others have suggested that their crops be used as collateral.

      Displaced commercial farmers throughout the country left unpaid bills
amounting to more than $4 billion at the parastatal.
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Zim Standard

      Zanu PF bars Mudzuri  11/17/02
      Story by Chengetai Zvauya

      HARARE executive mayor, Elias Mudzuri was yesterday denied entry into
the Hatfield Municipal Hall where about 500 Zanu PF supporters were
distributing maize meal on a partisan basis, sourced from the Murehwa
Milling Company.

      The Zanu PF supporters, led by the unsuccessful councillor for the
ward, Tendai Gurira, were selling bags of maize on council premises and
without prior permission from the city fathers.

      The maize bags were piled high on the stage of the hall and two long
queues of people could be seen extending away from the stage. After having
their Zanu PF cards checked in the one queue, the card holders would proceed
to the second queue to receive their allocation of maize.

      When The Standard arrived at the hall, they could hear Zanu PF
supporters shouting derogatory slogans at the mayor. The supporters had
already hounded out of the premises, the MDC councillor for the area,
Benjamin Maimba.

      ''Pasi naMudzuri neMDC yake, hatidi kumuona pano,'' the supporters
chanted, forcing the mayor to also leave the premises hurriedly for fear of
his security.

      Said Mudzuri: ''Zanu PF have turned the council's social centres into
commercial halls without our permission and I don't understand why they have
done so.

      ''We issued a directive that no council halls were to be used without
the approval of the council and when I received the report of what was
happening here, I had to come and see it for myself but they denied me entry
into the premises.'' he added.

      The Standard understands that the Hatfield Police Station refused to
provide Mudzuri with an escort to help him stop the trading.

      ''Police have refused to escort me to the hall. When I asked the
member in charge of this station for help, he declined so it can be
concluded that they were also involved in this illegal activity.'' said
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Zim Standard

      Gwisai at it again  11/17/02
      Story by By Farai Mutsaka

      MDC problem child, Munyaradzi Gwisai, has again ruffled feathers
within his party-this time by his open humiliation of MDC vice-president,
Gibson Sibanda and other top opposition party officials.

      Gwisai, who has in the past stirred controversy with statements that
have been out of sync with the party position, last week walked out of a
hearing chaired by Sibanda where he was supposed to answer charges of

      Apart from Sibanda, the disciplinary committee comprised the deputy
secretary-general, Gift Chimanikire, the deputy women's league chairperson,
Enna Chitsa and the secretary for security Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa as well as
lawyers, Edith Mushore, Josphat Chuma and Yvonne Mahlunge.

      Gwisai, who had been summoned to answer allegations of misdemeanour
stemming from his utterances against the party leadership and its policies,
refused to be quizzed by the committee and instead called on its members to
read a document he had brought to the hearing. He then walked out.

      While the contents of the document have not been entirely revealed, it
is understood that Gwisai had outlined his position as a socialist and
lambasted the party for embracing capitalism.

      Party spokesman, Paul Themba-Nyathi confirmed that Gwisai had walked
out on Sibanda and his committee.

      "Gwisai left a document which he asked the committee members to read
before he stormed out of the MDC headquarters where the hearing was being
convened," said Nyathi adding that the party's national executive would soon
meet to decide Gwisai's fate.

      Said Nyathi: "Gwisai was summoned to the disciplinary committee to
answer allegations of indiscipline. He arrived as requested but did not
stay. He submitted a document to the committee, imploring them to read it
and then he left. He refused to stay and answer the charges levelled against

      Nyathi would not divulge the action likely to be taken against Gwisai
but said the party's national executive would soon meet to decide the fate
of the self-confessed socialist.

      "The committee has submitted a report on the issue and the national
executive will look at the constitutional provisions and take the necessary
action. However, what happens to Gwisai will be determined by our
constitutional provisions."

      Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, said although Tsvangirai had
heard about Gwisai's walkout, he was yet to receive an official report and
could only make a comment when he had done so.

      "The president has not yet received a report from the committee and
will only comment on the issue once he is in possession of the report. But
as a matter of fact, the person who is handling Gwisai's disciplinary issue
is the vice- president, so he would be the best person to talk to," he said.

      However, a source within the MDC said it was mostly likely that Gwisai
would be expelled.

      "Most national executive members are unhappy with Gwisai's actions and
it could be a matter of time before he is chucked out. A number of people
within the party leadership are of the belief that this kind of action will
set a bad precedent in the party but hostility over Gwisai has been building
up for some time and the walkout was the last straw. The disciplinary
committee has even recommended serious disciplinary measures and Gwisai
would be lucky to escape with a suspension," said the source.

      The sources added that party president, Morgan Tsvangirai supported
the move to expel Gwisai whom he now viewed as "an incorrigible bad boy" of
the party.

      This is not the first time that Gwisai, a vocal and hardcore
socialist, has tussled with his party.

      Earlier this year, Gwisai stirred a hornet's nest when he castigated
the party for "losing" direction by allowing its largely student and labour
base to be infiltrated by intellectuals and capitalists.

      Meanwhile, Tsvangirai told The Standard shortly before he left for an
MDC parliamentary workshop in Kadoma yesterday that he was not impressed by
the bahaviour of some parliamentarians in his party who were endangering the
MDC's credibility as an alternative to a corrupt Zanu PF government.

      He said indiscipline and untoward behaviour seemed to be growing in
the party which had transformed Zimbabwe's political landscape, formerly
dominated by the ruling party.

      Said Tsvangirai: "Some MPs spend a sizable amount of time cutting out
deals for personal gain while others are known to patronise certain gambling
houses and have had their integrity smeared by the company they hobnob with.

      "While we are reluctant to interfere with individual and personal
lifestyles, we must realise that whatever happens to any of us as public
figures impacts on the credibility of the party and dampens the hopes and
aspirations of the majority who have put all their trust in us."

      The opposition leader noted that impressive sacrifices made in the
past three years when the MDC took on the Zanu PF regime could all be lost
through careless behaviours of MPs.

      "As role models, the behaviour of MPs and party officials is always
under public scrutiny and can easily turn out to be a generational
indictment. Once society begins to feel exasperated by our misguided deeds,
we will be in serious trouble. It will take a long time to regain the
people's confidence and respect," he said.
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On a wing and a prayer

Erika Gibson

Johannesburg - The aviation authority in Zimbabwe says it is concerned about
the safety of Air Zimbabwe as no maintenance has been done on the airline's
planes since September.

The airline plans to outsource the maintenance and servicing of its planes
to South African Airways (SAA) in an attempt to meet the requirements of
aviation authorities.

The Independent in Zimbabwe reported that the airline's ground personnel
have been on strike since September, demanding better salaries. The airline
dismissed all the striking workers.

Since then, any technicians they could find have been working on the planes.
This is illegal under international aviation regulations, because the work
was not supervised.

These regulations stipulate that it is standard practice to supervise repair
and maintenance work to guarantee the quality of the work and safety of

When these regulations are not met, passengers may not be transported on the
planes. Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, also uses the airline company
for his official travel.

Concerns A letter sent by the Zimbabwean civil aviation authority to Air
Zimbabwe, apparently indicated that there were concerns about a number of

A plane was refuelled without members of the fire brigade in attendance and
while there were passengers on board.

Temporary ground personnel, appointed in the place of the striking staffers,
were apparently given temporary qualifications although they are not skilled
to do the work.

The aviation authority was "disturbed" by the airline's "total disregard for
safety measures and the danger this posed for its passengers".

A spokesperson for Air Zimbabwe was "too busy" to comment.

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Middle East Newsline


      CAIRO [MENL] -- Libya seeks to form military ties with both Arab and
African states.

      Arab diplomatic sources said Libya has engaged several neighboring and
regional states in a dialogue for defense and military cooperation. They
included Sudan and Zimbabwe.

      Last month, Libya and Zimbabwe discussed the prospects of expanded
military cooperation during the visit of Defense Minister Sydney Sekeramayi
to Tripoli. The Zimbabwean minister spent three days in Libya.

      Libya and Zimbabwe have extensive security ties and Tripoli has
supplied equipment and training to the forces of President Robert Mugabe.
But the visit by Sekeramayi was said to be the first high-level attempt to
establish military cooperation.

      NOTE: The above is not the full item.

      This service contains only a small portion of the information produced
daily by Middle East Newsline. For a subscription to the full service,
please contact Middle East Newsline at: for further details.
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Zimbabwe woman says was duped into naked ritual

HARARE, Nov. 17 - A Zimbabwean woman has told a court that she paraded naked
before a traditional healer as part of a ritual he had allegedly promised
would gain her entry into Britain, a Sunday newspaper reported.

       The state-owned Sunday Mail said the woman had been ordered to strip
naked and walk around the healer, who sprinkled her with water to cleanse
evil spirits.
       The healer is being tried on criminal injury charges for allegedly
coercing the woman to go through a humiliating ordeal.
       Thousands of Zimbabweans are trying to flee the African country's
grave shortage of food and political turmoil, with Britain a prime
destination. But London has begun requiring Zimbabweans to gain visas for
       The woman told the court she became suspicious after the healer
charged her a fee of Z$23,000 for the ritual, far above the Z$4,720 she had
($1- 55 Zimbabwe dollar on the official market) ($1- 1,500 Zimbabwe dollars
on the black market)
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Zim Standard

      Desperate students turn to theft
      By Cynthia Mahwite

      BULAWAYO-At a time when the cost of living continues to escalate in
the country, students at tertiary institutions are bearing the brunt of
government's skewed economic policies as they struggle to survive on menial
payouts insufficient for even one course textbook.

      With the inflationary rate currently hovering at around 139% and
expected to reach about 540% next year, students at these institutions are
living on a budget of $90 per day. The loans they are currently receiving
from commercial banks are pegged at $20 000 per academic year.

      The government last year handed over to the banks, the responsibility
of providing students with loans and grants, following a series of
demonstrations from students who were demanding an increase in their

      "The amount of money we are receiving as loans is inadequate and
insulting in terms of meeting our day to day needs. We are living as paupers
in the tertiary institutions," said Pedius Sikisa a second year student at
Masvingo Teachers college.

      Of the $20 000 they receive per year, tertiary students are expected
to pay for rent and transport and for the purchase educational materials.

      In a semester which lasts 15 weeks, the money allocated to these
students amounts to a paltry $90 per day.

      A plate of sadza and stew at the college canteens which were
privatised by government sometime ago, costs at least $220 per plate.

      "We are buying a mere cup of tea for $20, an egg for $50 and a plate
of sadza and beef for between $220 to $250. This state of affairs has forced
many students to indulge in criminal activities to supplement their income.

      The Standard has established that many students have been involved in
the thefts that have rocked institutions of higher learning in the past few

      Among the items that have disappeared at the universities and colleges
have been electrical items such as VCRs, televisions and computer software.

      "That some female students are resorting to prostitution at colleges
is now an old song, the new one talks about students turning into part-time
criminals to make their education a living success. It's common these days
for things to vanish at campuses," said Mark Moyo a student at Nust in

      Several of the students have been arrested and convicted of various
criminal offences, mainly thefts

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Zim Standard

      Archbishop Pius Ncube: Man of the year

      LAST month, President Mugabe announced that the government would
scrutinise non-governmental organisations and review the policy and laws
governing them. This came in the wake of false accusations that the British
government was working with NGOs such as Amani Trust in clandestine
operations to unseat the present Zimbabwean government.

      "We have a plethora of both foreign and local NGOs that disguise their
activities in semantics such as human rights, democracy and promoting civil
society," justice minister Chinamasa, fulminated in parliament last

      As it was in Rhodesia, so it is in Zimbabwe. We seem to have forgotten
nothing and learnt nothing. In Smith's Rhodesia, all non-governmental
organisations including churches who were concerned with the whole issue of
the struggle for liberation, for justice and reconciliation, were reviled
for aiding and abetting a "communist terrorist minority bent on raping,
looting, mutilating, murdering and winning the support of tribespeople by

      How history repeats itself! Chinamasa went on: "We would like to see
all NGOs keep out of politics." What a tragedy.

      For 15 years, Ian Smith was hammering that same message. How ironic to
bear witness to a replay of the Rhodesian situation 22 years after
independence. The demise of the Smith regime does not seem to have provided
any lessons at all to the latter-day dictators of this world.

      The extent to which non-governmental organisations and churches
assisted the process of liberation, justice and reconciliation, is now being
conveniently ignored and forgotten in the interest of sanctifying greed,
power and privilege.

      Christian Care, for example, did a tremendous job in providing care,
education and shelter to families of detainees and victims of political
violence. Amani Trust's work and mission must be understood in this context.
So should the work of many other non-governmental organisations both foreign
and local, who are currently involved in the struggle for justice and
reconciliation in Zimbabwe.

      In the current unambiguous struggle between good and evil in Zimbabwe,
there is a tremendous responsibility on the part of non-governmental
organisations, churches, the independent press and the generality of
Zimbabweans to inform and interpret to the world the nature of the struggle
in which we are involved in the country. This is a huge task which
non-governmental organisations cannot in any way shy away from or be
absolved of.

      Archbishop Pius Ncube of the Roman Catholic church in Bulawayo is
clearly leading the way. He is clearly a man of the year. Amani Trust and
many other individuals and civic society groups involved in the struggle for
human rights, justice and reconciliation are also showing the way.
Archbishop Ncube's word is based on what is actually happening in the lives
of people and communities in Zimbabwe.

      Why are Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Trevor Huddleston of
apartheid South Africa, Bishop Donald Lamont of Rhodesia, Bishop Kenneth
Skelton (former Anglican bishop of Matabeleland in the then Rhodesia),
Pastor Martin Niemoller of Nazi Germany and Rev Martin Luther King of the
US, amongst many others, such celebrated Christian leaders?

      It was not only because of their courage and refusal to compromise
their Christian principles and beliefs in the face of evil and their utter
abhorrence of violence but equally because they stood out as rarities in
their respective churches. These were some of the rare good men and women
who made the world the theatre of their operations in the pursuit of
freedom, justice and reconciliation. They combined a gentle compassion for
the victims of injustice with an uncompromising hostility to the oppressor.

      The government of Zimbabwe must not think and feel even for a minute
that it is the only guardian of the land. The importance of a strong and
vibrant civil society cannot be over-emphasised. It is unacceptable for
government to think and behave as if it has the ultimate power or final say
over the lives of people.

      Politics is the business of everybody not Chinamasa alone, neither is
it the sole preserve of Robert Mugabe and Jonathan Moyo. Nobody is ordained
to rule. Governments come and go. Zimbabwe has eternity before her.

      It would be naive in the extreme for Chinamasa and indeed anybody else
to believe that non-governmental organisations can keep out of politics.
Politics is life. How did you Chinamasa get into politics in the first
place? If you did it why can't anybody else "did it" too?

      There isn't a single non-governmental organisation that is threatening
peace and security in Zimbabwe-the security of Zanu PF perhaps but certainly
not that of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is not synonymous with Zanu PF. Zimbabwe is
much bigger than any individual, including the president. There is no way a
non-governmental organisations can play second best to a governmental one.
We are all equal and we are all entitled to ask government why they alone
should be involved in politics?

      As we have stressed before, the only way Zanu PF can be secure
politically is to deliver the goods to the people of Zimbabwe. And this
includes freedom, justice and fair play. That is the key. The ruling party
must return to the ideals that gave birth to the liberation struggle in the
first place. It is just that simple!

      It's no good blaming outside forces and non-governmental
organisations, churches, Archbishop Ncube and the independent press who are
merely doing their job and have a vested interest in the success of
Zimbabwe. It is pure fantasy for the government to think that in the face of
an economy that is decaying badly, the hardships and the political violence,
people can just keep quiet.

      Yes, it is pure fiction for anyone to think that given the erosion 20
years later of our rights, non-governmental organisations and the people
themselves should see no evil, hear no evil and smell no evil. People fought
to have some kind of paradise free from shortages-but now that paradise is

      And you expect people not to speak out, to remain mum. What crooked
way of thinking is this? Human nature in not like that Chinamasa!
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