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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index


David R. Sands


The Bush administration said yesterday it may reduce its
diplomatic and aid personnel in Zimbabwe to protest the
government's "completely unacceptable" response to an
incident last week in which a U.S. Embassy employee was
beaten by supporters of President Robert Mugabe.

State Department spokesman Philip Reeker dismissed as
"utterly without foundation" charges by Zimbabwe's interior
minister that U.S. diplomatic personnel were to blame in the
Nov. 15 incident, in which two Zimbabwean nationals, one
employed by the American embassy in Harare, were severely
beaten on a visit to an expropriated farm controlled by
allies of Mr. Mugabe.

The "unprovoked attack" is "a serious breach of the Zimbabwe
government's responsibilities to safeguard diplomatic
personnel in Zimbabwe," Mr. Reeker said.

"Their response will be certainly factored into our ongoing
assessments of the safety of our personnel and of diplomatic
and humanitarian operations in Zimbabwe," the spokesman

The beating is just the latest irritant in rapidly
deteriorating U.S.-Zimbabwean relations.

Mr. Mugabe has reacted angrily to U.S. criticisms of his
human rights record, his coercive land-redistribution
program targeting the country's productive white farmers,
and of the government's political manipulation of food and
aid distribution in a country where more than half of the
12.5 million population could be facing severe food
shortages and famine in the coming months.

A senior State Department official earlier this month said
the administration was weighing "intrusive, interventionist
measures" to bypass the Mugabe government and ensure food
delivery throughout the country, a comment the Mugabe
government said was an effort to justify a potential

Mr. Reeker said yesterday the amount of U.S. aid, which is
delivered through U.N. and private relief aid channels, was
based on the humanitarian need in the region, not on
relations with the government in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told the
leading state-owned newspaper in Harare that last Friday's
confrontation was sparked by "the intrusive and
interventionist behavior of U.S. Embassy personnel."

The U.S. government lodged an official protest on Monday
after the U.S. group - which included an American embassy
employee and a British national working for the United
Nations - were accosted by a group of "war veterans," former
members of Zimbabwe's military who have become a crucial
support base for the president.

U.S. officials say the group was attempting to document the
scale of the food crisis. Zimbabwean officials claim the
party was on a propaganda mission, tossing food from their
vehicle and then filming the local residents rushing to get

The beatings of the two Zimbabwean nationals followed a
sharp interrogation of the group. The State Department on
Tuesday condemned the "completely ineffective response" of
Zimbabwean police after the U.S. diplomat contacted them by
cell phone.

The official account of the incident "clearly once again
betrays the cynicism of the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe,"
Mr. Reeker said.

The spokesman said no decisions have been made on whether to
pull U.S. diplomatic and aid personnel out of the country,
but warned the attacks were of "grave concern to us and to
others in the international community."

Mr. Mugabe has blamed a regionwide drought for the recent
food shortages, but a report released in South Africa
yesterday by a Danish human rights group supported U.S.
contentions that at least some of the shortfalls were
created by the government for political reasons.

"The threat of being deliberately starved by the government
if the opposition won votes was used to profoundly influence
vulnerable rural voters in the recent elections," according
to the report from Physicians for Human Rights-Denmark,
based on three months of interviews and travel inside

"If it is not possible to increase nonpartisan food supplies
into the country, it is our opinion that starvation and
eventually death will occur along political party lines,"
the group warned.

This article was mailed from The Washington Times
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 11:23 AM
 Subject: 'Presidential Elephant' update
Hi everyone, Just thought you might be interested in hearing how the last de-snared elephant calf is doing.  Story attached.  (Last two paragraphs speak of the elephant family.)
The Anti-Poaching Unit, just yesterday, found a dead wild dog, a dead zebra, and a dead buffalo, all in the one area here on the Hwange Estate.  All dead in snares.  They also picked up 46 snares just in that one day .....  and found a poachers camp too - with meat hanging out to dry.  Ambushes set to try to catch them.  Here's hoping ...
The elephant snaring continues here.  The latest one was sighted with a snare around it's chest, however I was never able to relocate it.  The rains have now arrived, and elephant sightings are becoming less frequent.  This concerns me a a great deal, given that the elephants are no doubt still picking up snares.  Given the increased poaching, I'm certain there's elephants walking around out there with snares.  I just wish I could locate some family groups.  (With the rains, I haven't sighted a family group for over a week now - and given none are collared, I have no idea where they are.)
An adult female elephant was found shot just a few weeks ago.  Looks like our poachers now also have guns .....
This is all complicated by lack of fuel.  It can be difficult enough funding my own huge petrol bill, but when you can't even buy petrol, it's so much more frustrating!
Anyway ....  we must perservere.
Take care, Sharon.

LETTERS FROM ZIMBABWE  (No. 31)   -   7 November 2002

by Sharon Pincott


An army of flying ants in the sky;  dung beetles rolling their balls of elephant dung;   a tortoise;  a frog;  an egret.


The rains have arrived.


I watched as the first raindrops hit the ground, sending up puffs of dust.  It is true that the smell of the first rains is a smell etched into the psyche of all of those who live in the African bush.  The lingering dust of the long dry months is washed away.  The wings of the flying ants cover the surface of the excavations made by the elephants at the mineral licks, now all full with water.  That familiar frog chorus fills the air.  Flowers bloom in the bush  -  a chandelier of pinkish white lilies;  the bright red fireball at the base of the trees;  the crinkly white flowers of the bauhinia;  the striking yellow of the Zambezi Gold.  Everything appears to turn greener by the hour.


The elephants have dispersed.  They are no longer mudbathing in the sloppy grey mud, their delight no longer showing in bright pink eyes rolling around in massive heads almost completely submerged in mud, looking as if they’re possessed.  I miss seeing them appear regularly from the bushes, doing their ‘floppy run’ to the pan  -  their familiar relaxed, loose movements, head swaying to an age-old rhythm, always bringing a smile to my face.


The mongoose family continues to visit often.  They remind me of otters as they slither around in my birdbath on sweltering days.  Then, bedraggled, they pull themselves along on their bellies, over the grass, as if both back legs are injured.  Two of the boldest ones come and lie on the grass mat, inside my rondavel, legs outstretched.  Outside, they chatter to each other incessantly.  I close my eyes, listening, wondering if they are, perhaps, from another planet!  They certainly sound like they could be.  I imagine them transmitting back from planet earth.  I sit and wonder what they’re saying.  I’m beginning to think that mongoose really are little men, spies no less, from Mars! ….


The snakes have definitely arrived.  I sighted three in just one day.  This, for me, is not good news.  One slithered under a table in a researcher friends’ house.  “I don’t know alot about snakes.  I don’t know if that’s poisonous or not”, said my friend calmly watching the snake’s movements.  The snake reared up, hooded and spitting, in that very familiar, very unwelcome way.  “Now THAT’S poisonous! ….”


The big daddy baboon who appears from nowhere at my open door, to sit for a while, is also unwelcome.  One day he’ll give me a heart attack.   


Back on the ‘Touch the Wild’ estate, I had not sighted the de-snared family of elephants since the day after the last snare removal.  It had been nearly 6 weeks.  I was driving home after a full day in the field, the elephants no longer around in big numbers.  I caught sight of a small family in the bush by the roadside.  I hit the brakes.  Out of the corner of my eye I had sighted the mother of the de-snared calf.  With a distinctive ‘V’ injury in her right ear, her name is Vee.  I reversed.  There they all were, all 8 members of the family.  The de-snared calf was by Vee’s side.


His little leg has healed so well.  There will be no permanent injury.  Belonging to the ‘V’ family, his name is Victory  -  because …. it was.
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2002 9:49 AM
Subject: MORE Re: 'Presidential Elephant' update
Hi again ....  Just another quick update :

The news is far worse than first thought I'm afraid.  Dead wildlife count is now:
Buffalo - 6 Sable - 6 Zebra - 2 Painted Dog - 1 All dead in snares.  Over 150 live snares have now been collected just in this one area, here on the Hwange Estate.  THREE poachers' camps now located, with structures set up for drying meat.  No poachers have been caught.
A (live) giraffe was sighted just this morning with a tight snare around a leg.
I went this morning to take some photographs - and to my horror, in this same location, I sighted three family groups of elephant.  (What's worse, is that elephant sightings have been infrequent of late due to the onset of the rains - and now, they're in THAT area.)  This is one of the known areas that the 'Presidential Herd' roam.  It is an area right in the middle of my study range.  Fresh elephant spoor right beside broken snares is proof that at least 4 elephant have recently encountered these snares.  I hate to think what I might see when the elephants are again more visible at the waterholes ...
I'm in the process of trying to get another 4-man team out there, picking up snares.
Now all we need is for CITES to lift the ivory ban, and then these poachers will be out for ivory - not just meat.
Trying times ....
cheers, Sharon.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Sharon Pincott" <> To: <>; "WEZ" <>; "Keith and Col"
<> Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 7:23 PM Subject: 'Presidential Elephant' update Hi everyone, Just thought you might be interested in hearing how the last de-snared elephant calf is doing.  Story attached.  (Last two paragraphs speak of the elephant family.)
The Anti-Poaching Unit, just yesterday, found a dead wild dog, a dead zebra, and a dead buffalo, all in the one area here on the Hwange Estate.  All dead in snares.  They also picked up 46 snares just in that one day .....
and found a poachers camp too - with meat hanging out to dry.  Ambushes set to try to catch them.  Here's hoping ...
The elephant snaring continues here.  The latest one was sighted with a snare around it's chest, however I was never able to relocate it.  The rains have now arrived, and elephant sightings are becoming less frequent.
This concerns me a a great deal, given that the elephants are no doubt still picking up snares.  Given the increased poaching, I'm certain there's elephants walking around out there with snares.  I just wish I could locate some family groups.  (With the rains, I haven't sighted a family group for over a week now - and given none are collared, I have no idea where they are.)
An adult female elephant was found shot just a few weeks ago.  Looks like our poachers now also have guns .....
This is all complicated by lack of fuel.  It can be difficult enough funding my own huge petrol bill, but when you can't even buy petrol, it's so much more frustrating!
Anyway ....  we must perservere.
Take care, Sharon.


Sent: Friday, November 15, 2002 8:55 AM
 Subject: New story
New story attached - albeit not a real nice one.
cheers, Sharon.

LETTERS FROM ZIMBABWE  (No. 32)   -   15 November 2002

by Sharon Pincott



The crowned cranes have arrived.  So have the tiny black spaceships, hurtling through the air at rapid speed.  I smile.  Do mongoose get rides back to Mars on dung beetles?! ….


Elephant sightings become infrequent with the first rains.  I look at video footage to pass the time as I sit and wait in hope.  The youngsters race around like lunatics.  High-pitched squeal-like trumpeting as they run giddily forwards, and backwards.  Who are they chasing?  -  or who’s chasing them?  Seemingly nobody.  It’s a game, and they’re loving it.  It must surely be true.  There must, indeed, be some thought process going on in that comical little mind.  The young elephants have an imaginary friend, or perhaps foe  -  or must we really believe that young elephant simply are indeed genetically programmed to behave in this bizarre way?  I really don’t think so. 


I don’t remember vividly a lot about my childhood.  I do remember the guinea pigs that lived under the sharp-edged pampas grass;  the smell of cigarette smoke, that I loathed;  and eating gooseberries from my mother’s garden.  As I sit watching an elephant bull with my punnet of gooseberries in hand, I recall glimpses of my childhood.  Whoever would have thought that the young girl eating gooseberries in the tiny country township of Grantham in south-east Queensland, would one day be savouring the taste of them amongst the elephants of Africa.  I look at my elephant friend, drinking just a few metres away:  “I had a dream, and you were in it, and I was in it with you”.  It was no longer a dream.  It was reality.  But part of it, now, was in fact a nightmere.


Poaching continues to cause great concern.  An elephant with a snare around it’s chest, only sighted once.  Two zebra.  Dead.  Six buffalo.  Dead.  Six sable.  Dead.  A painted hunting dog.  Dead.  All found.  Snared.  Too late.   …. And an elephant.  Shot.  Dead.


Where will it end? …. 

The loading of a rifle is a sound that I don’t particularly like.  Dangerous animals, dangerous people perhaps.  It’s a necessary precaution.  I walk into the bush with two ‘Touch the Wild’ professional guides.


We stop abruptly.  Branches chopped off a tree signal that all is not right.  A few metres away are crossbeams, set high in a tree.  It’s a structure used for drying meat.  The long horns of a sable, impressive no longer, are aloft in the branches.  The sable’s head, body not attached, is on the ground.  The pro-guides watch the yellow-billed kite in the air.  Before the vultures, the kites discover fresh meat.  Further on, a buffalo lies dead.  Across the sandy road the poachers had boldly set up camp.  Plastic from a mealie-meal bag on the ground.  Ashes from a recent campfire.  More structures for drying meat.  A zebra skin.  Another buffalo skin.


The poachers had fled.  For now.


Fresh spoor around broken snares is disturbing proof that elephant have encountered these death traps just recently.  I fight an overwhelming urge to somehow be able to take the snare off the leg of the innocent giraffe, sighted one recent morning, and have it put tight  -  tighter  -  around the legs of the poachers, and leave it there, festering and debilitating, day after day.


Would this be punishment enough? 


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      War vets divert maize-meal to Zanu PF rallies

      11/21/02 8:36:53 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      Incidents of MDC members being prevented from buying basic commodities
by Zanu PF functionaries, which have largely been confined to rural areas,
have spilled into urban centres.

      The Bulawayo United Residents' Association (BURA) has charged that
so-called war veterans are diverting maize-meal supplies from shopping
centres to places in suburbs where they conduct political rallies.

      The BURA information and publicity officer, J L Dube, recently said
suspected MDC supporters were barred from attending meetings where some
essential commodities were being sold.

      Dube said on Thursday last week a truckload of maize-meal, which was
supposed to be delivered to the Nkulumane shopping centre, was diverted by a
group of war veterans to a spot where they were holding a meeting.

      "The situation is just disastrous. It seems war veterans have taken
over the responsibility of the distribution of maize-meal and other basic
commodities to shops, and suspected MDC supporters cannot access these
items," said Dube.

      "They cannot even attend the Zanu PF meetings so as to buy the
commodities thereafter. "We need some investigations about why the
maize-meal is being sold by war veterans in the streets instead of at shops.
To make matters worse, these people are not licenced to sell the commodity."
Some disgruntled residents said since last month, Zanu PF has been convening
a chain of meetings in the high-density suburbs at which the war veterans
advise those "on the wrong side of politics" to come forward and join Zanu
PF for them to be allowed to buy maize-meal.

      Diglotius Sibanda, a Nkulumane resident, said it has become common for
Zanu PF to call meetings in the evenings where maize-meal is sold only to
those who attend.

      He said residents, especially those suspected to be supporters of the
MDC, were not allowed to buy the commodity even if they attended the

      However, Zanu PF has dismissed the allegations as unfounded and

      An official who identified himself only as Dube said: "We don't know
anything like that, my friend, and, in any case, Zanu PF will never do that.
      "Such reports are spread by people who want to gain some political

      There are also reports that the government wants to introduce a
situation whereby maize is sold only in council recreation halls and only to
Zanu PF supporters.

      Meanwhile, the Harare Executive Mayor, Elias Mudzuri, confronted a
Zanu PF gathering at the Hatfield municipal hall where they were selling
maize without the consent of the city council.

      He was reportedly denied entry into the hall by about 500 Zanu PF
supporters who chanted anti-MDC slogans denouncing him. The weekly reported
that those present were ordered to produce Zanu PF party membership cards in
order to be allocated maize-meal.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Zanu PF evicts MDC supporters

      11/21/02 8:38:35 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      ZANU PF youths continued their acts of violence with impunity in Mbare
this week by intensifying evictions of suspected MDC supporters from flats
in the suburb.

      Last Thursday night, a group of Zanu PF youths forcibly evicted a
number of residents from Block 12 of Matapi Flats.

      A woman who escaped eviction by a whisker said more than 30 Zanu PF
youths armed with sjamboks and knobkerries descended on the flats around

      "They came into the building with a woman named Oripah and forced
their way into our rooms and began taking our property out and dumping it
the corridor," she said.

      They allegedly told their victims not to make a sound or cry out for
help otherwise they would beat them to death.

      The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Oripah moved into
Matapi flats two months ago and evicted the original tenants.

      Since then she has been working with the marauding youths acting as an
informer and directing them to the homes of opposition MDC members.

      She alleged that Oripah was there last Thursday night when the youths
took their terror campaign to Block 12 and was busy pointing out the homes
of MDC supporters.

      Another woman who lives in Block 12 but who was not affected by the
evictions said the police reacted swiftly and the youths fled. Five families
had to sleep in the corridors that night as they feared reoccupying their
flats in case their tormentors returned.

      By Friday morning the hallways had been cleared of all personal
effects belonging to the unfortunate families as they had already gone to
seek alternative shelter elsewhere.

      However, all those interviewed said only the Police Reaction group
acted with urgency when dealing with the Zanu PF militias but the Zimbabwe
Republic Police were not active at all.

      Police in Harare refused to comment on the matter and referred this
paper to the police headquarters who refused to speak to The Daily News.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Forex rates

      CURRENCY Official rate  Parallel rate 
      Z$/US$  55.00 1400/1480
      Z$/UK  86.87 1700/1800
      Z$/SAR  5.70 130/150
      Z$/Botwsana Pula  9.28 200/210
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Mugabe's re-militarisation of ZANU PF

      Reginald T Gola
      11/20/02 7:36:06 PM (GMT +2)

      Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF, which is largely believed to be
illegitimately ruling, has seen great advantage in the maintenance of a
para-military complexion in the post independence era.

      The nature of Zimbabwean politics, coupled with tyrant Mugabe's high
desire to build a strong personality cult the Mao Tsetung way of Communist
China, the fear of the emergence of democracy and good governance, fear of
accountability, the high will to continuously loot public resources,
institutionalisation of unpunishable state and party thuggery, and another
high desire to set up permanent election rigging machinery, among other
reasons, has no room in the very near future for an opposition government.

      The Zimbabwean "Lord's Resistance Movement" ZANU PF, has been very
calculating. This is a party that survives and rules on terror. The terror
which is unleashed through the war veterans of the liberation struggle who
have yielded to the Mugabe bribery politics.

      The generality of War Veterans had been reduced to dust-bin stuff
after the 1980 independence until the emergence of a would be viable
opposition had it had some visible strategy and political maturity.

      This opposition shook the corridors of power. There was a lot of
agitation in fear of good governance. Good governance and democracy which
would likely see every looter, murderer, fraudster and corruption baron in
his/her right place. This was fear of the prison walls. Fear of all the law
suits and claims from the victims of state terrorism, ZANU PF, and
government crimes.

      Mugabe had made a gross miscalculation when he attempted to violently
silence Comrade Hitler Chenjerai Hunzvi. When he tried to make him the only
martyr of the War Victims Compensation Fund that he (Hunzvi) looted with his
father, relatives and comrades just like all the senior party and government

      Common sense prevailed as a matter of urgency and Mugabe had to make a
sudden u-turn. As usual, charges got cooked into thin air as the power of
bribery prevailed.

      Hunzvi was hired and made to undertake an oath of undying loyalty and
support for Mugabe. This saw him (Hunzvi) being an instant millionaire and
abandoning his medical practice and converting his Glen View surgery into a
ZANU PF concentration camp for the opposition and human rights activists.

      At his death Zimbabwe witnessed a villain being declared a national
hero by Mugabe's "Lord's resistance Movement" for serving the tyrant with
unquestionable loyalty.

      This involved the infamous "kill the white farmer, opposition and
human rights activists" campaign which has left over a hundred activists and
farmers killed and the number has continued to rise.

      Para-military parties entrench themselves through their war skills and
proficiency in the use of the legal and the illegal arms of war.

      An alternative government would only come into being in the event of
the para-military party splitting within itself and one of the splinter
groups winning the elections. For a civilian party to dislodge a
revolutionary party is a mammoth task. Nigeria's Chief Mushood Abiola's fate
bears living testimony of that.

      The civilians in Nigeria won the elections and immediately got
arrested and eventually killed by the militarised state.

      General Vitalis Zvinavashe's threat to Tsvangirai was not a joke. The
para-military party would go to any extent that would keep it in power. That
is to say that it had a choice between playing it smart through the rigging
alternative or going for the blood-shade alternative.

      The discarded war veterans would have had a great potential of turning
history the other way if they had continuously remained discarded.

      They would have either come up with their own war veterans party
possibly led by Hitler Hunzvi, or aligned themselves to some other political
party. The effect would have been balanced violence and thuggery as trained
personnel, the police and the army, would have faced equally trained
personnel from the other party.

      So both Hunzvi and his fellow war veterans yielded to the power of
bribery which served as the first straw to Zimbabwe's economic woes as it
entailed the release of huge amounts of unbudgeted funds running into
several millions of dollars set to appease the dissenting war veterans.

      These war veterans and the revolutionaries that fought the war of
liberation are scattered all over the state, government and ZANU PF
institutions. That is to say, the police, the army and the public service
and parastatals are naturally headed by ZANU PF activists.

      This explains the partisan complexion of the would be politically
neutral institutions such as the police and the army. This explains as why
the Zimbabwe Republic Police have failed to protect law abiding tax paying
citizens with divergent views.

      This further explains why the police and the army are easily assigned
on partisan errands such the victimisation and battering of the opposition
and human rights activists with impunity. This explains as why the
commissioner of police safely declares his partisan position publicly and
why the army commander would be publicly seen shuttling between Harare and
Masvingo as a ZANU PF peace brooker to the party's wearing factions in

      This is nothing but just clear confirmation that Mugabe's Zimbabwe is
not yet at all, ready for good governance or change. This should be viewed
as a direct challenge to the opposition and human rights organisations to
either re-strategise or disappear into oblivion.

      Good governance faces a siege in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. The arrangements
are very delicate. So delicate that the country would be ungovernable in the
event of the advent of democracy.

      The new government faces the challenges of purging all key
institutions such as parastatals, the public service, the army, the police,
the CIO, the state media and every other Zanunised institution to build
politically neutral organisations alongside an equivalent of South Africa's
Truth and Reconcilliation Commission which would see many big wigs
languishing in prison.

      This set up is, by and large, conducive to an instant coup as various
interests would be at risk.

      Mugabe's "Lord's Resistance Movement" has disappointed Zimbabwean

      The nation had looked forward to a gradual scale-down of thuggery,
terror and lawless society as the abused war veterans aged, pensioned and a
new crop of leadership cropping up and the ruling illegitimate "Lord's
Resistance Movement" inevitably assuming a civilian complexion.

      But now the tyrant has decided to re-militarise, to ensure that there
exists a permanent rigging machinery in the country.

      This has been done through the resuscitation of the partisan youth
national service whose sole purpose is to physically bash human rights and
opposition activists backed by the war veterans, ZANU PF militia, the CIO,
the army and the police.

      This is Bandaism.

      Kamuzu Banda of Malawi is a great inspiration to Mugabe. This is how
Banda militarised his civilian Malawi Congress Party to ensure maximum and
permanent citizenry, oppression and suppression of human rights and
opposition activities through the notorious Young Pioneers.

      The "Green Bombers" had been introduced to work on Nkomo's PF ZAPU in
the 1980's and they really did a good job by their master's standards. With
the merger of PF ZAPU and Mugabe's "Lord's Resistance Movement", ZANU PF,
the "Green Bombers"were found to be no longer of relevance. Accordingly,
they were urgently demobilised as a reconciliatory measure.

      The Zimbabwean army, the CIO, the public service and the police now
have the Border Gezi and Guyu "Green Bomber" Training Centres, among others,
as strategic labour reservoirs.

      These fully partisan youths would fully politicise the entire public
service and the various state institutions within a short space of time.

      In this way the "Lord's Resistance Movement" would have successfully
entrenched itself for a few more years. It would have bought more time, but
history has it that a revolution can only be delayed as against suppression.

      The politics of corruption and bribery works but temporarily. It
always gets to a point when rewards turn into sour grapes. When the power of
money collapses. When money stops buying. Our dear brother Mengistu Haile
Marriam would confirm this.

      So would our dear diamond loaded Comrade, the late Laurent Desire
Kabila, whose diamond mines got him ready mercy from the Zimbabwean "Lord's
Resistance Movement" and the SADC despite the fact that he was, himself, an
illegitimately ruling rebel in the Congo.

      Reginald T. Gola is an organisation development Consultant, a
legislative consultant and a political commentator. E-mail:

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Zim adopts dual interest rate policy

      By Stella Mapenzauswa
      11/20/02 8:49:51 PM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S central bank said yesterday it was suspending its key
banking rate with immediate effect and adopting a dual interest rate system
in a bid to help shore up the country's struggling economy.

      Reserve Bank governor Leonard Tsumba unveiled the new monetary policy
framework against the backdrop of an acute economic crisis widely blamed on
mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe's government.

      A chronic shortage of foreign currency has hampered crucial fuel and
food imports, crippling what was once one of Africa's most vibrant economies
and raising the spectre of starvation for half of Zimbabwe's population of
14 million.

      Tsumba said in a statement that exporters and companies in the
"productive" sector would be able to borrow money at low interest rates,
while importers and local consumers paid market-determined interest rates.

      The previous bank rate was 57.2 percent in the past year.

      "This measure has become necessary so as to achieve the twin
objectives of stimulating economic growth while at the same time bringing
inflation under control," Tsumba said.

      Inflation has soared by more than 100 percent since last November,
climbing by a record annual rate of 140 percent in September. Unemployment
is hovering at close to 70 percent and the government has predicted the
economy will contract by nearly 12 percent in 2002.

      Analysts said the new measures would probably have limited impact as
they would not address the foreign exchange shortage.

      "The monetary policy statement is positive . . . under the difficult
circumstances that we are in as a country," said Munyaradzi Kereke, an
economist with a leading commercial bank.

      "But for as long as there is no sufficient foreign exchange, it will
take a bit of time before producers can respond positively to the monetary

      Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies that
government policies - including the seizure of white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks - are responsible for the country's
political and economic crisis.

      Tsumba yesterday told reporters, economists and industry executives
that a revolving fund would be set up which would allow exporters to borrow
money at an interest rate of five percent, and "productive" companies at 15

      The foreign currency shortage has forced the Zimbabwe dollar to
depreciate dramatically to about 1 500 to the greenback on the unofficial
parallel market in the past two years - just a fraction of its official rate
of 55 to the dollar.

      Tsumba yesterday declined to discuss the exchange rate.

      In his 2003 budget speech last week, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa
said the government was tightening exchange controls further in a bid to
halt "rampant abuse of the country's scarce foreign exchange export

      Murerwa said exporters would have to remit 50 percent of all their
foreign exchange earnings to the central bank while the remaining half would
be deposited with the central bank and made available to them on the basis
of a priority import list. - Reuter
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2002 6:38 PM
Subject: Binga
Dear V
 I spent two days in Binga - no sign of any food distribution from Save the Children Fund (UK) although Joel Gabbuza tells me that it was due to get underway today (21st November).  I saw about 20 villages - all adults severely stressed, nearly all children suffering to some extent from malnutrition, some quite severe.  All villages reported deaths - most not directly linked to food, but related.  I witnessed people eating leaves from trees as well as roots and tubers from the bush and seeds off local trees.
I only saw maize meal prepared in one village.  We saw one adult man - about
45 years old, retrenched from his job in 1999 and now dying of HIV/Aids.  He was a skeleton and I do not think he will live more than another few days.
There were no protein foods at all in his village.
The GMB Manager confirmed the political distribution of food - in fact he said "we only sell food to Shona speakers".  There were CIO and Presidents Office staff at the depot with what the Manager called "political elements".
I was told of petty corruption in the distribution of food from the Catholics - local feeding centers said they were not getting what they should be and there was talk of the staff selling some of the material (soap was mentioned).  I also saw they were using dirty water for the preparation of the food for the children in many centers, although what you do about that I do not know.
I saw CIO/War Veteran/Militia activity in Binga and at Kamativi - the latter seems to be used as a major training and activity center.  They were militant and threatening - when I spoke Ndebele they replied in Shona.
180 tonnes of maize at the GMB depot was damaged by rain three weeks ago and sold to locals without restriction.  There was no food at all in the depot when I was there although the Manager said he should be getting 30 tonnes a week from Bulawayo.
All villages said they had no seed - no sorghum, no millet - this is very serious.  Today I tried without success to buy seed in Bulawayo - seed of any kind and was told that there was none available.
Eddie Cross
21st November 2002.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Do I care a Damn?

Back in the 50’s the then political leadership of Northern and Southern Rhodesia conceived the idea of an audacious project – they would build a dam on one of the worlds greatest rivers, the Zambezi. The financing came from the World Bank, at the time it was the largest single project ever funded by the Bank in the world and was built by an Italian contractor. Two new cement factories were established for the project and millions of tonnes of concrete were poured into shuttering to close the gap between the walls of the Kariba gorge. It remains today, one of the largest concrete structures in the world.

The river raged; huge floods smashed the cofferdams and swept away the temporary bridges. Hundreds lost their lives, both on the construction of the dam and in the subsequent rage of the river. The river rose to a 1 000 year record level – but to no avail, the concrete walls slowly strangled the river where it was most vulnerable.

Once closed, the river behind the hills spilt over its banks and began to engulf the surrounding land. The wildlife was mystified – how could the river flood like this in the dry season? Many were caught on high ground and too late found that they could not cross to safety. A rescue effort run by Rupert Fothergill was launched and a fleet of small boats and National Parks personnel with volunteers spread out over the thousands of square kilometers of country affected by the rising waters. Dangerous large mammals like buffalo were shot; everything else from snakes to antelope and lion, were sedated and moved to safety. The effort received worldwide attention at the time, films were made of the hero’s of the effort. It was great TV.

But another drama was being played out in the Zambezi valley, a human saga, no less dramatic but far less newsworthy. A quarter of a million people lived along the banks of that magnificent river. They were shielded from the influence of the white man and the missionary by wide swathes of inhospitable bush, teeming with wild life and other perils – malaria, black water fever, cholera, sleeping sickness. Few ventured beyond the wide escarpments that marked the boundaries of their domain. The odd hunter, the occasional prospector, a once a year foot patrol from the BSAP. Contact was minimal.

They were relics from our ancient past, a simple people who had learned how to live in the confines of their magnificent valley. Their way of life had not changed for centuries, why change when everything worked so well for them? They had everything they needed and more. Then the river began to rise – not as normal when the floods from the Congo came down from the north, but slowly and with no retreat. White men came on the river and through the bush to say that the river was blocked and that they must move to higher ground. Impossible they replied, who could stop the spirit of the river? When they walked the 300 kilometers to the nearest traders post or town, they heard talk of a dam, they traded their skins and tobacco for what they wanted and then walked home, anxious but not perturbed – how could puny man change something so great as the river Zambesi?

I left college in 1962 and joined the Ministry of Internal Affairs as a "Land Development Officer". I had three years of farm experience, a diploma in Agriculture and a dog and I found myself in the Gokwe district in charge of 8 million acres of virgin land where there were more elephants than people. My immediate boss was the District Commissioner – known locally by the disparaging name of Kamunu. He spoke fluent, even classical Shona but had little regard for the people for which he was the "Gurumende" or Government. He loved the bush and spent a lot of his time hunting, I can still recall my horror when I walked into his office and found the floor covered with ivory tusks.

My task was to move 30 000 people from the basin of the Kariba Dam to higher ground – some of it 150 kilometers from their beloved river. The same thing was happening in Zambia and in the next door district of Binga. I had a small fleet of trucks, bulldozers and graders and 5 borehole drilling units. We had a small staff compliment including Andrew – my personal attendant, a wonderful Afrikaner mechanic know locally as Blossom and some real characters who had chosen to move to the end of the earth to work in lonely places. One of the borehole operators had a classical education from one of the best Universities in England and played a guitar with his caravan packed with books. Others were less savory – they came for the chance to hunt and fish.

In the sky above us the first satellite was spinning its way across the blackness of outer space and Kennedy was facing an assassins bullet. On the ground I was building roads into the valley, drilling boreholes on the high ground for the people being displaced. When ready I took down empty trucks and forced the quiet river people onto them with their few possessions. Communication was difficult – they spoke little else but their native Tonga and many had had never seen a white man let alone a heavy duty truck backed up by bulldozers. By now they knew the truth, the rising waters were flooding their valley and they were resigned to the fate of their traditional homes. Even so, the first people we moved simply picked up their few belongings and walked back to their abandoned homes. We had to load them onto trucks and then bulldoze their homes while they watched to ensure they did not return.

We then fed the people we moved each month for two years while they settled down. Rations were made up according to lists of people made from records of those moved. The fact was that they had never eaten refined maze meal, did not know what to do with dried milk. Their children died like flies from new diseases and malnutrition. They did not know their neighbors who came from other parts of the country to be resettled – Chirumanzi, Bikita, Gutu, they spoke dialects of Shona, other people the Ndebele of the south. They were given the crude tools with which to farm, but had never owned or used oxen and donkeys. The land was hot and dry and the boreholes from which they obtained their water, deep and difficult to pump by hand, Often the water was salty or highly mineralized.

They were "resettled" at a time when the missionaries were retreating everywhere so schools and clinics were slow in coming. When they did come, the standards were low and service poor. Despite every effort they remained a shattered, dislocated people, less educated, less able to cope than the strangers they forced to live amongst. Some found their way back to the lakeshore where they started to resume life as fishermen but it was not as it used to be.

When the war started the Tonga supported Zapu and Zipra soldiers found a home in their villages. At independence they thought life would get better – it did not. Initially marginalised because they were a Zapu area, they were then marginalised because they were not Shona speakers. During the period when schooling and health services were expanded rapidly following the political changes in 1980, they were left behind. Still they kept their language and their culture. They remained distinct, that was their problem.

When the MDC was formed in 1999, they sent representatives to hear what the new party offered. They heard that these new people were not racists, they promised a better way of life, they offered change – not just in politics but in the way things were being done. Perhaps they thought, we might get a better deal from these people. They joined the MDC and in 2 000 they voted solidly for the "new people". In March 2 002 they repeated this giving Tsvangirai a huge majority in their areas, then in September 2 002 they voted to return a majority of rural district counselors, completing the change in local leadership.

It was too much for Mugabe – they would be punished for their political allegiance. A drought in the summer of 2001/02 created the opportunity as their crops failed totally and they were left to rely on food imported to the area by commerce or the state. When they refused to bow to political pressure in the September elections the orders went out – food from the Grain Marketing Board depot was for "Shona speakers only". NGO operations were shut down and the Catholic missions refused permission to feed 58 000 children under 5. When protests were made they grudgingly allowed the child feeding to resume – but nothing for the people who voted MDC. All commercial food supplies were halted, roadblocks went up on the main roads into the district and any significant food supplies confiscated. The NGO operations were shut down and their stocks of food locked behind closed gates.

The Tonga, those wonderful, quiet, cheerful people – displaced from their beloved river by "progress" and then shattered by neglect and racist discrimination from both black and white government. Turned again to the wilderness to survive. For three months they have lived on seeds and tubers from the wild on which their forefathers depended for centuries. Their children under 5 got one meal a day from the Catholics – "permitted" by the Zanu PF governor, but nothing for the others. The message is quite simple "vote Zanu PF or starve". They choose to starve. Once we gave them a dam on a river – do we give a damn today? I do.

I was in Binga this week, we visited about 20 villages, and deaths were reported in all of them. In one we saw a man in his late 40’s, a living skeleton, in others whole families led by brave women who were doing their best to keep them going. What is their future? Do you give a damn? How much longer are we going to tolerate the actions of Mugabe as he tries to subjugate his own people in the pursuit of power and privilege?

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, November 21st 2002.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Euro-MPs attack Belgium over Zimbabwean ministers

      11/21/02 8:24:57 AM (GMT +2)

      BRUSSELS - Members of the European Parliament attacked Belgium
yesterday for allowing two Zimbabwean ministers to attend a conference in
Brussels next week and threatened to keep them out of the conference venue.

      "The decision violates an EU-wide travel ban on important Zimbabwean
government members agreed by the EU . . . in response to the appalling human
rights situation in Zimbabwe," the head of the parliament's biggest grouping
said in a statement.

      Hans-Gert Poettering, chairman of the centre-right European People's
Party (EPP), criticised the granting of entry visas to Chris Kuruneri, the
Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, and Paul Mangwana, the
Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals.

      Poettering said the EPP would ensure they "are denied access to the
European Parliament premises". EU Parliament president Pat Cox has said the
two ministers may be barred from the legislature's building, where lawmakers
from the EU and the African, Pacific and Caribbean (ACP) group are due to
meet from 25 to 28 November. Belgium defended its decision to allow the
ministers to attend the conference despite an EU-wide ban on visits by
senior government officials from Zimbabwe.

      The EU slapped the travel ban on President Mugabe and many of his top
officials earlier this year over allegations of human rights violations and
election rigging.

      The Belgian Foreign Ministry said the Zimbabweans had immunity from
the ban under a so-called "seat agreement" with the ACP states, mainly
former colonies of EU members. This allows blacklisted officials to attend
certain international gatherings. For example, the United States allows
politicians normally forbidden to visit the country to attend sessions of
the United Nations in New York.

      "There are exceptions to the EU common position on visas for ministers
attending international meetings of international institutions or
organisations," Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Patrick Herman said.

      He said that other EU countries had no qualms about the visit and that
the Zimbabwean ministers would be allowed to enter only Belgium.
      The dispute follows a decision by the EU to bar Belarus's President
Alexander Lukashenko and seven of his ministers from EU territory because of
Minsk's human rights record.

      Portugal opted out of that ban because of the EU's recent decision,
under British pressure, to prevent Zimbabwe taking part in a planned meeting
of EU and southern African ministers in Copenhagen.

      As a result, the meeting was switched to Maputo, Mozambique. - Reuter

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Bullet still lodged in MDC activist's body

      11/21/02 8:48:44 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      DARLINGTON Kadengu, an MDC activist allegedly shot by the new Member
of Parliament for Insiza, Andrew Langa, still has the bullet lodged in his

      Kadengu was shot in the back allegedly by Langa, a Zanu PF candidate,
during campaigning for the Insiza constituency last month.

      Langa, who went on to beat Siyabonga Ncube, the MDC candidate, by 6
000 votes, has not been arrested for the shooting.

      Police are understood not to have even interrogated Langa over the

      The MDC said it wants to sue the police, Zanu PF and Langa in his
personal capacity, for the shooting.

      The by-election was held to fill the seat left vacant by the death of
George Joe Ndlovu, who died under mysterious circumstances. Kadengu
yesterday said he was positive that the person who shot him was Langa
because he allegedly further threatened to "finish" him off as he writhed in
agony in the charge office.

      Instead, the police detained the injured Kadengu and six other MDC
supporters who had gone to Filabusi Police Station to report an alleged
ambush by suspected Zanu PF supporters who made off with campaign material
and $5 million in cash.

      Kadengu and the other MDC supporters later appeared before a Gwanda
magistrate charged with public violence under the draconian Public Order and
Security Act.

      Kadengu said after he was shot, Langa wanted to shoot him again but
was restrained by the officer-in-charge of Filabusi Police Station, an
Inspector Shoko.

      Kadengu said initially the police said they would hold them in custody
overnight for their own safety. In the morning, police are said to have
received instructions from "above" to inform the group that they were under

      A doctor who treated Kadengu said the bullet was lodged in a
precarious position near the heart. This needed specialised surgery which
could cost him his life if not properly done, the doctor said.

      Kadengu, 23, yesterday said although the bullet wound appeared to have
healed he still felt pain, particularly in the morning.

      "Whenever it gets cold I feel pain. I think I can no longer lift heavy
weights because of the wound," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Zim's external debt to grow by US$1.1m a day

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business News Editor
      11/20/02 9:00:52 PM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S foreign debt will grow by more than US$400 million a year
or US$1.1 million a day for the next five years to a whopping US$6.22
billion at a time the country is unable to meet its foreign obligations
because of severe hard currency shortages.

      Zimbabwe, which has been unable to service its external debt for the
past two years because of a three-year foreign currency crisis, is estimated
to have an external debt of around US$4 billion, with arrears of up to
US$1.3 billion.

      The money is owed to several international financial institutions and
governments, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World
Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the United
States of America, Britain, France and Germany.

      Using statistics provided by the Zimbabwean government, the IMF
projected in its October update of Zimbabwe's economic indicators that the
country will have cleared arrears on its external debt by 2007.

      Foreign debt will however rise at a rate of US$400 million to US$6.22
billion in the next five years, according to the IMF's statistics.

      The Bretton Woods institution's figures show that the US$6.22 billion
will represent 63.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product, which
is projected to rise from the present US$8 billion to US$9.8 billion in the
next five years.

      Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa has committed himself to
clearing the country's foreign debt arrears, but analysts this week said
worsening foreign currency shortages would make this almost impossible.

      In his presentation of the 2003 national budget last Thursday, Murerwa
said Zimbabwe could not afford to continue defaulting on its external debt
obligations because this hindered the country's chances of encouraging the
resumption of balance of payments support from international financial

      Zimbabwe has received no balance of payments support from the
international community for the past two years partly because of the erosion
of the rule of law and property rights in the country as well as political
violence and human rights abuses.

      "The accumulation of arrears hinders our ability to fully participate
in the international financial system," Murerwa told parliamentarians. "I
therefore remain determined to initiate a credible programme to reduce these

      He said increased output in the agriculture sector, the backbone of
Zimbabwe's economy, would improve export earnings and enable the country to
clear its external arrears.

      However agriculture, which declined 21 percent this year, has been
hard hit by the government's seizure of commercial farmland and is expected
to remain unstable for the next two years at least.

      Export earnings are forecast to fall to US$1.4 billion this year from
US$1.7 billion in 2001 and to tumble further in 2003 because of instability
in agriculture and tourism and declining output in the mining sector.

      This resulted in worsening hard cash shortages this year, making it
impossible for the government to pay more than US$800 million it had
budgeted for its external arrears.

      Analysts said it was unlikely the government would immediately come up
with a credible programme to reduce mounting arrears because Zimbabwe's
capacity to generate foreign currency had been heavily eroded.

      They pointed out that the foreign currency trickling into the country
was being used for critical imports like electricity, food, which gobbled up
US$300 million this year, and fuel, which alone needs up to US$450 million

      The analysts said Murerwa could only clear Zimbabwe's external arrears
if he halted food imports, but this was possible only if the country
achieved above-normal agriculture output.

      "The assumption of a credible programme to reduce arrears can only
work if we stop importing food and reduce our fuel and electricity bills,
which is almost impossible," an economist with a Harare financial
institution said.

      "The minister should explain where he would get the foreign currency
to pay the arrears because we are not generating enough. Maybe he is basing
his assumptions on something we don't know."

      Consultant economist John Robertson added: "The government has failed
in the last two years to clear its arrears and I wonder what sort of
juggling act he (Murerwa) has planned to clear the arrears now."
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      ZANU PF's final blow on judiciary?

      Staff Reporter
      11/20/02 8:59:33 PM (GMT +2)

      THE office of the attorney general (AG) and the magistrates' courts
came under fierce attack from the government this week in what analysts said
could be the ruling ZANU PF's final assault on the independence of Zimbabwe'
s already emasculated judiciary.

      The AG's office drew fire from ZANU PF officials, principally
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who accused it of failing to competently
represent the state in several legal cases.

      Criticism escalated this week after the Harare magistrates' courts
ruled in favour of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
parliamentarians Job Sikhala and Tafadzwa Musekiwa as well as former High
Court Judge Fergus Blackie.

      Magistrate Caroline Ann Chigumira at the weekend refused to place
Sikhala and Musekiwa on remand, saying the state had failed to demonstrate
why she should do so.

      The legislators were arrested two weeks ago for allegedly abusing a
parliamentary scheme that allows MPs to import vehicles without paying duty.

      Another magistrate this week relaxed bail conditions for Blackie,
charged with illegally freeing a woman jailed for stealing from her

      Moyo, the deputy ZANU PF spokesman, castigated the ruling on Sikhala
and Musekiwa, saying Zimbabwe's criminal justice system needed to be
overhauled urgently because of continued bungling by the AG's office.

      "There is something profoundly wrong and rotten between the AG's
Office and the magistrates court because the wheels of justice have fallen
off to a point where the police will be demoralised into inaction and where
reasonable members of the public are concluding that MDC individuals have a
licence to commit all manner of crime with impunity," he charged.

      But AG Andrew Chigovera quickly denied the charges of incompetence,
telling the Daily Mirror: "It's not fair to me and to the committed officers
who have stuck to their jobs under very difficult conditions."

      Political commentators and legal experts this week said it was
noteworthy that the government was only complaining about cases involving
MDC officials or supporters, as well as individuals and organisations deemed
to be sympathetic to the opposition.

      "There is a pattern that is there for all to see," constitutional
lawyer and University of Zimbabwe (UZ) lecturer Lovemore Madhuku told the
Financial Gazette.

      "ZANU PF complains and castigates the AG in cases in which political
players from the opposition MDC are involved as well as individuals
perceived to be enemies of the status quo."

      Other MDC-related cases that have triggered criticism of the AG's
office include the department's consent to the postponement of the treason
trial of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and senior officials Welshman Ncube
and Renson Gasela.

      The AG's office is accused of not having thoroughly prepared for the
trial and has also been criticised of dragging its feet in the prosecution
of MDC members accused of killing Bulawayo war veterans' leader Cain Nkala
last year.

      "The agenda is political," Madhuku noted.

      "The AG's office is being viewed as politically ineffective, hence
efforts are being made to politicise the office and force it to make
political decisions that will lead to political prosecution, no matter how

      UZ political analyst Elphas Mukonoweshuro said the attacks on the AG's
office indicated that ZANU PF no longer had an interest in the due process
of the law.

      He said the government was literally telling Chigovera that his office
should forge ahead with prosecution of political opponents, even if the
cases have no legal merit.

      "The message which is simply being conveyed to the AG by ZANU PF is
that the script on any political matter must be written and achieve the
wishes of ZANU PF. That is the bottom line," Mukonoweshuro said.

      Other analysts said after successfully politicising the High Court and
the Supreme Court, the ruling party was now moving to influence the
operations of the AG's office and the magistrates' courts, where some degree
of independence still existed.

      The government has purged the bench of judges deemed to be sympathetic
to the MDC and elements seen as supporting white farmers, whose properties
the government is seizing to resettle blacks.

      Judges who have left office have been replaced with ZANU PF

      In what international organisations have also criticised as part of
efforts to rein in the judiciary, some magistrates were earlier this year
physically attacked by suspected ZANU PF supporters.

      The attacks were believed to have been connected to rulings favouring
MDC supporters.

      "The attacks on the magistrates reflect ongoing attempts on the part
of government authorities and state-sponsored militia to undermine the
judicial system and prevent court officials from executing their duties
impartially and professionally," Amnesty International said of the attacks,
also condemned by the United Nations.

      The analysts said further attacks on Zimbabwe's judiciary would worsen
the country's already damaged image, further discouraging foreign investment
and worsening relations with the international community.

      Zimbabwe, facing its worst economic crisis in 22 years, has already
lost billions of dollars worth of foreign direct investment while balance of
payments support by multilateral organisations has been suspended.

      The international community has cited increased state repression,
political violence, human rights abuses, as well as the erosion of the rule
of law and property rights, as some of the reasons for withdrawing financial
support to prop up Zimbabwe's ailing economy, which is in its fourth year of
a biting recession.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Washington File

      20 November 2002
      Conflict Resolution in Africa is a Bush Administration Top Priority
(Asst. Sec. Kansteiner briefs reporters at Foreign Press Center)
By Charles W. Corey
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- The overarching importance of conflict resolution is a
Bush Administration top policy priority for Africa, says Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter H. Kansteiner III.

Speaking to reporters at a November 18 Foreign Press Center briefing
in Washington, Kansteiner said, "We've got to stop the wars. Africa
will not develop if you have wars going, and we have got to assist in
bringing some of those wars to closure."

A key part of that process, he said, is private sector development all
across Africa.

"Africa is not going to make it economically without international
private sector involvement," he warned, "and that comes in trade,
which is why we are pushing the African Growth and Opportunity Act
(AGOA) as hard as we are; and it comes in foreign direct investment,
getting U.S. capital to look at Africa in a serious way; and it comes
in portfolio investment."

Kansteiner said he is most proud of the Bush Administration's efforts
to help interested African governments gain sovereign credit ratings.

"We now have 15 African countries signed up to get their credit
rating," what he called "the first basic ticket that you have to have
to play in the capital markets world game.

"You can't show up on Wall Street (America's prime financial center in
New York) without a sovereign credit rating, and only four African
countries had it until we started our program. We're very excited
about that."

Besides economic development, he said, the fostering of democracy
development is also a top priority. "An independent judicial system
that actually upholds contracts and abides by rule of law and
recognizes private property rights" is of key importance. "You've got
to build that kind of judiciary in order to attract the foreign
capital that is needed."

He went on to identify two additional administration policy
priorities: the fight against HIV/AIDS, which he termed a pandemic
that must be dealt with aggressively, and protection of the

On the environment, Kansteiner said the African continent is blessed
with unique ecosystems. "Conservation is the right thing to do in and
of itself. But it's also the right thing to do because tourism is
Africa's second largest hard currency earner -- after oil and gas.
Tourism is the big ticket, and the only reason you have tourism is
because there are unique environmental systems that people want to
come see, and so you've got to protect them."

Kansteiner then responded to questions from reporters about various
conflicts across the continent.

On the situation in Cote d'Ivoire, Kansteiner said the United States
has been "very much in touch" with the Economic Community of West
African States (ECOWAS), the Council of Ministers and heads of state
as the Lome Peace Process goes forward.

"We are now working with ECOWAS to see how the ECOWAS buffer force can
be put into Cote D'Ivoire and we are working with them on exactly what
some of the logistical details might be and how the U.S. and others in
the international community can help to get the ECOWAS force there as
quickly and as efficiently as possible."

With regard to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kansteiner said,
"we've had numerous conversations" within the MONUC (Mission de
l'organisation des Nations Unies au Congo) context and are working
with what the South Africans are trying to do in their verification
schemes. "So we're working with all parties on how we can bring
increased stability to the Eastern Congo," he said.

Kansteiner said there has been some "good progress" under way. "There
is change going on right now in Eastern Congo and we need to all
participate and help manage that change effectively."

On Sierra Leone, Kansteiner said, "the neighborhood suffers because of
the instability that Liberia poses. There's no doubt that if it is
suffering today, it will suffer tomorrow, as long as that instability

The internal dynamic of what's happening on the ground in Liberia, he
told reporters, is of "great concern" to the United States.

"The way forward for Liberia is to not only have an internal
reconciliation, but also to become a constructive player within the
region." Liberia, he said, needs to "open up and allow civil society
to live and abide by the human rights norms that we all agree to."

When asked why the United States is not doing more to pressure
Liberian President Charles Taylor, particularly with regard to Sierra
Leone, Kansteiner took issue with the reporter, saying, "I think there
is pressure. In fact," he said, "it was interesting that they felt the
pressure so much that they bought a six-page spread in The Washington
Post (that highlighted Liberia in full page advertisements).

Diamond sanctions now in place, he said, have "clearly produced some
results" because they have cut off some revenue streams. The United
States, he added, continues to press for increased timber sanctions
against Liberia at the United Nations.

"You know, we're putting together this series of mechanisms where you
ring-fence the revenues of the ship registry or of the timber, in
particular." Ring-fencing, he explained, enables an objective third
party to come in and conduct a thorough audit.

"What does Liberia do with these timber proceeds? Where are these
timber proceeds going? And, in fact, it audits in an effort to make
sure that those finances and the cash flow does not go to disrupting
the neighbors, but goes to what it should go to: education, health,
and all of the many needs that the people of Liberia have."

Asked about Zimbabwe, Kansteiner called U.S.-Zimbabwe relations
"correct. We still have full diplomatic relations. They maintain an
embassy in Washington and we maintain an embassy in Harare." He
acknowledged, however, that "we have problems in the relationship.

"Just last week, a member of our embassy was detained, questioned, and
his foreign service national driver was, in fact, injured, roughed up,
beaten up. This is something that we cannot tolerate in the sense of
diplomats being harassed. Property was taken from him. And we are
demanding a full and complete explanation. So it is not a particularly
healthy relationship."

Asked to comment on Kenya's upcoming December 27 presidential
election, Kansteiner called it "a very big, very important" event.

"I think anyone that studies Africa and knows Africa realizes how
significant it is. I think the Kenyan people know that, too -- at
least that's the sense I get -- and I think they want it to go right.
As do we."

Kansteiner said the United States is assisting Kenya's independent
electoral commission to help out on everything from voter registration
to voter education.

"We want to see the process be a smooth one, not only on election day,
which is very important, but also in these weeks leading up to
election day."

Kansteiner said he was "very, very pleased to see, over the weekend
there were two almost competing rallies, both (held) in Nairobi, both

The two primary parties, the Rainbow Coalition and Kenya African
National Union (KANU) Party, held rallies that were in relative
proximity to one another, he said, and yet it all remained very civil
and peaceful. That is an extremely good sign and we applaud the
Kenyans for beginning their very important election in such a proper

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Tsvangirai's SA lawyer registered

      11/20/02 8:51:51 PM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S High Court has registered George Bizos, the distinguished
South African lawyer who will defend opposition MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai and two senior party officials in their February 2003 treason

      Justice Rita Makarau yesterday granted an application by Bizos for
temporary registration to practice law in Zimbabwe, which allows him to
defend Tsvangirai, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube and shadow
agriculture minister Renson Gasela.

      The three are charged with plotting to assassinate President Robert
Mugabe ahead of the presidential election held in March this year, a charge
which all three deny.

      The alleged plot is said to have been captured on video by Canadian
political consultancy firm Dickens and Madson, whose boss Ari Ben-Menashe
claims he was approached by the MDC officials to assassinate Mugabe.

      Advocate Chris Andersen and Advocate Eric Matinenga will assist Bizos
and Innocent Chagonda of Harare law firm Atherstone & Cook will instruct

      Bizos has handled several high-profile cases, including the 1963-64
Rivonia trial in South Africa which ended with the imprisonment for nearly
30 years of black nationalist Nelson Mandela, who became the country's first
non-racial head of state in 1994.

      The High Court in Harare last month registered Jeremy John Gauntlett,
another top South African lawyer who will represent Tsvangirai in his
petition to challenge Mugabe's disputed re-election in March this year. -
Staff Reporter
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      CFU sets up body to seek compensation

      Staff Reporter
      11/20/02 8:50:59 PM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The troubled Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) said yesterday
it had set up a committee to explore ways of seeking compensation for land
and assets seized by President Robert Mugabe's government.

      The CFU said the compensation committee, chaired by Alan Stockil,
himself a dispossessed farmer from Masvingo, would also examine farming
options in southern Africa by officially contacting governments of the
neighbouring states.

      "The committee has established communication with some of the
important potential partners and established their attitudes towards payment
of compensation to farmers and the conditions under which they may do so,"
the CFU said in a statement.

      "These conditions require the government to make fundamental changes
in the implementation of the resettlement programme and the restoration of
constitutional governance.

      "These changes will have to be made before any meaningful economic
recovery programme can begin. That process, brought about by further
economic decay, will create an opportunity for negotiations to begin about
establishing a multilateral scheme."

      It said all the CFU's 4 500 member farmers should have their
properties valued, irrespective of the farm's legal status.

      The government has evicted nearly 3 000 white farmers whose land it
says it needs to resettle landless blacks.

      It is paying partial compensation for improvements made on farms and
not for the land itself, which it says must be paid for by Britain, Zimbabwe
's former colonial ruler.

      The CFU said: "Those who were evicted before a private sector
valuation could be done should submit an inventory of what was on the farm
at the time of evacuation and this can be processed to form the basis of a
compensation claim in due course."

      On farmers' relocation to other countries, the farmers' pressure group
said options were being examined.

      "When a range of options are known and fully documented, proposals
will be made to likely development agencies for fully funded settlement
schemes to be established in the context of each country's national
development plans," it said.

      "Such schemes, we believe, will give the relocated farmers security of
investment and tenure derived from government and donor recognition and

      In last week's national budget, the government allocated $4.5 billion
towards the compensation of farms against $10 billion sought by the Ministry
of Lands.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Outlook for Zimbabwe grim bank

THE governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank painted a bleak picture of the
country's economy yesterday, warning of a continuing decline in gross
domestic product (GDP) and a worsening foreign currency shortage.
Bank governor Leonard Tsimba said in a monetary policy statement that real
GDP would fall up to 12% this year and 7% next year.

He also warned that a foreign currency shortage that had drastically reduced
the production of goods and services for local consumption and export had
"made it difficult to meet external obligations".

Current food shortages would necessitate the diversion of scarce foreign
exchange to import food, Tsimba said. Sapa-AFP

Nov 21 2002 12:00:00:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Catholic hierarchy bowing to status quo?

      Marko Phiri
      11/20/02 7:06:13 PM (GMT +2)

      ONE of the worst tragedies that can occur in a country where the
regime has no respect for human life is to find folks who are traditionally
looked upon for moral and spiritual guidance acquiescing to the status quo.

      And this because ordinary men and women have too often been dealt with
through punches aimed at their heads for raising legitimate complaints about
the lack of respect of their rights and civil liberties.

      So the people who become their voice are those within religion be it
in Islam as mullahs, in Christianity as pastors or bishops who the governing
parties would think twice before they do them any physical harm.

      Yet as Zimbabwe trudges on with the political crisis like an
indefatigable ancient Rome gladiator, it has to point to one big human
catastrophe that within the local Christian Church has been found men of the
cloth who have poorly disguised their political preferences.

      And here the unfortunate part is that this kind of behaviour has also
been found in a Church that has been known for ages to champion the cause of
the oppressed, yet today those ideals seem to have been found inimical to
the sentiments of the leaders of the Church.

      The Catholic Church has been celebrated ever since it was standing up
to despotism, despite accusations through the ages that it aided and abetted
some of the worst atrocities ever committed against human kind.

      Could it be true that the same accusations will be heard about the
local episcopal hierarchy if developments here are to be used as a pointer
toward the lethargy with which the Church has dealt with some issues brought
to its attention by aggrieved citizens. And not necessarily brought to its
attention, but what it is seeing with its own eyes.

      While the Catholic Church has vindicated itself from some of the
charges laid against it about how some bishops for example acquiesced to
Adolf Hitler, or the atrocities the Church itself committed during the
Spanish Inquisition, the local Church will be hard pressed to prove it did
something to stop Zimbabwe going the way of Mobutuism - that is if we are
not there already.

      Of particular concern is that the local Church as we know it today is
not the same as it was when the fight for majority black rule reached its
zenith back in the 1970s. The freedom fighters (alongside the ordinary
citizens), it is safe to say, could have taken much longer to realise their
dream of making extinct the rule of Ian Smith were it not also for the
efforts of the Catholic bishops back then.

      The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) itself had a huge
and indispensable role in the push for black rule which perhaps could
explain why the post-independence CCJP has not been one of the present
government's favourite non-governmental organisations with allegations it is
an extra arm of the opposition.

      The government imagines the CCJP is using that same clout it wielded
to aid the Robert Mugabes back then to oust Smith and therefore is turning
the heat on this regime to push for its exit in cahoots with the Movement
for Democratic Change.

      And still with that in mind is the very fact that it was the Catholic
bishops who included Lamont and Karlen who were in the forefront for the
push for democratic change, it could also explain the militancy against the
present Bulawayo archbishop.

      But what has happened and which many people would not be ready to
forgive is that this push for democratic rule, respect for human rights,
depoliticisation of food aid has been reduced into the sole crusade of
Archbishop Pius Ncube with some of the episkopoi seemingly being of the firm
belief that all is well in the country.

      It will be recalled it was a Pastoral Letter by bishops in Malawi back
in 1994 that forced Kamuzu Banda into bringing democratic reform and
subsequently the election that saw his exit after many brutal years in

      In the Philippines, it is the Catholic bishops who have always pushed
for repsonsible governance, and their efforts saw the end of the Ferdinand
Marcos era and also brought to a miserable close the dream presidency of
former screen idol Joseph Estrada.

      But the silence we have seen here could well relay a message about
shepherds who failed their flock.

      It is no secret that there are avowed Mugabeists on the episcopalian
rungs, and it is a farce in light of the Church's social teaching and other
concerns for the faithful that there have been no critical voices in the
form of pastoral letters aimed at the ruling party.

      Outside censures by the local Catholic leadership, the people surely
have no way they can speak out seeing many have died in the process. Could
be no bishop is ready yet to be some latter-day Oscar Romero, a staunch
government critic gunned down in El Salvador in 1980 while he was
celebrating Mass.

      That country itself offers invaluable lessons for the local Church,
both the lay people and the clergy. A small oligarchy in El Salvador in the
1970s ruled with an iron fist and protesting citizens were routinely dealt
with through a hail of machine gun fire.

      In 1974, Oscar Romero was made bishop of a rural diocese where he came
face to face with the reality of the life of peasants.

      If hardship and suffering were sure earthly experiences that
guaranteed one admission into Pearly Gates, then what the peasants Romero
found himself among were set for was a blissful afterlife.

      On June 21 1975, police gunned down five peasants in Romero's see,
Santiago de María. The bishop protested to the president of El Salvador, but
because human rights abuses continued, it therefore means his complaints
were ignored.

      In February 1977, he was made archbishop of San Salvador and came
blazing on a vigorous pro-human rights trail instantly becoming the
government's gadfly.

      During his term, priests were killed by government forces and many
more deported as they called for the respect for human rights and democratic

      Perhaps not surprisingly, four of the five country's episkopoi decided
there was no sense taking sides with the masses and effectively aligned
themselves with the government.

      Romero found himself isolated and fighting a somewhat lonely war. Even
the papal nuncio took sides against him.

      But his sole source of conflict with the authorities was his homilies
where he highlighted the people's suffering while the leaders enjoyed the
best of everything.

      Perhaps to explain why the information ministry here has put its foot
down and has not been too eager to let other broadcasters in on the
airwaves, Romero's homilies were broadcast through the archdiocesan radio
station to the whole country.

      In the process, he became a popular national figure because he spoke
the language of the downtrodden. It was during his tenure as San Salvador
archbishop that he was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Food for
thought for the local episcopal hierarchy.

      It is perhaps not too surprising that Romero's funeral on March 30
turned violent as demonstrators and the police clashed. The resultant news
footage of unarmed demonstrators being gunned down on the steps of the
National Cathedral sent shockwaves around the world, but because Zimbabwe
has little of Romero clones, it could be said we are still far from that

      Yet what was saw with the funeral of the late Kuwadzana legislator
could have easily turned exactly into that.

      At least the evangelicals and others have made known their stance that
they support the present dispensation, that the Catholic leadership has been
silent on a number of pertinent issues itself could be taken by some as a
telling verdict of where their loyalties lie.

      However, it may also be possible that the message relayed by the war
veterans back in May 2001, as reported by the Zimbabwe Mirror headlined Mind
your own business or else ... war vets warn Catholics (May 2001 11 ) got the
bishops unsettled.

      Could it be that message that has stopped the prelates from speaking
on the totalitarian state that Zimbabwe has turned into today?
      Marko Phiri is a Zimbabwean-based freelance writer
Back to the Top
Back to Index

ABC Australia
Thursday, November 21, 2002.  Posted: 09:35:04 (AEDT)
Doctors claim Zimbabwe authorities torture opponents
A group of Danish doctors have accused government authorities in Zimbabwe of torturing political opponents with impunity and withholding food aid from them.
In a lengthy report, Denmark's Physicians for Human Rights say there is no doubt torture and ill treatment are still being practised by Government supporters.
The report says the fact the perpetrators continue not to care whether they torture people who can identify them, or whether their acts leave marks that can easily be recognised, underlines a clear assumption on their part of impunity.
The Danish doctors say in the last four months, manipulation of food supplies was directly related to elections.
The Government influenced vulnerable rural voters by threatening to starve them if the opposition won votes.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From IOL (SA), 20 November

Mugabe is 'starving his opponents to death'

By Andrew Quinn

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has tightened control over food supplies in his beleaguered country, starving opponents and manipulating relief aid to enforce his hold on power, a Danish human rights group said on Wednesday. "If it is not possible to increase non-partisan food supplies into the country, it is our opinion that starvation and eventually death will occur along party political lines in Zimbabwe," Christian Tramsen of Physicians for Human Rights-Denmark said at a news conference in Johannesburg. The Danish report, based on extensive interviews within Zimbabwe over the last three months, is the latest to allege that Mugabe has cut off food to opponents who have challenged the power of his ruling Zanu PF party. Earlier in November the European Union accused Mugabe of using foreign food aid as a political weapon, while the United States has said it might consider measures to guarantee that food aid deliveries are free from political interference. Half of Zimbabwe's 14 million people are at risk of starvation, according to the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP). Zanu-PF, which blames the country's food crisis on drought, denies it has politicised food distribution and has accused some aid agencies of sending more relief to opposition strongholds. The Danish report alleged that the government began tightening control over food supplies ahead of the March 2002 election which saw Mugabe elected to his fifth term in office. With the country facing its worst economic crisis in 22 years of independence, the state Grain Marketing Board has used its power to permit sales to supporters of Zanu PF while turning away members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the report said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index