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

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      Threat to seize foreign businesses frightening

      11/27/02 9:07:32 AM (GMT +2)

      THE threat by Zimbabwe to seize all foreign-owned business interests
is frightening because of its implications. It is to be hoped this was an
empty threat.

      Stan Mudenge, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at the weekend the
government had recently announced a high-powered investigation to establish
the nature of British-owned properties in Zimbabwe, with the specific aim of
freezing their assets if the owners are on a travel ban announced by the
government early this month.

      If the government announced a travel ban on the said owners, but is
now going ahead and threatening seizure of their properties, this is an
admission of the futility of the travel ban.

      No one in Europe is desperate to travel to Zimbabwe. Yet, on the other
hand, Zimbabwean government ministers are busy conjuring up excuses for
trips to Europe. Samuel Mumbengegwi, Chris Kuruneri and Paul Mangwana are
the latest examples of Zimbabweans clamouring to go to Europe.

      There are no European nationals desperate to come here to the extent
they become international objects of embarrassment.

      If people rejoice when they travel to places they are not wanted, most
commentators tend to view them with scorn.

      The government's travel ban targets more than 120 people, mostly
British officials. This is an apparent retaliation against the European
Union's "smart sanctions" against President Mugabe and senior members of his
government and the ruling Zanu PF party, because of their appalling human
rights record, political instability, the absence of the rule of law and
lack of democracy during the past 34 months.

      What is frightening about the threat is Zimbabwe's apparent inability
to learn or benefit from the mistakes made by the late former Mozambican
president, Samora Machel, when he took over all the companies and firms
owned by Portuguese nationals.

      The result was that Mozambique's economy was totally crippled. In
Zimbabwe's case, such a hare-brained scheme is the last thing a beleaguered
economy needs. Grabbing foreign-owned firms would be the last nail in the
economic coffin.

      If anyone seriously believes Zimbabwe will be able to rise from the
ashes of such ruins, then they need to wait and witness, first-hand, the
effects of any forced takeover of foreign firms.

      The first immediate effect is that there will be massive job losses.

      The second is that shortages will become the norm. Foreign-owned
companies have been able to weather the current economic crisis, largely
because of the largesse of their external headquarters. The imported raw
materials these companies have depended on to contribute to the Zimbabwean
economy can be expected to dry up, as will new foreign investment. No one
will be able to promote or trust this country as an investment destination.

      Zimbabwe seems to have this propensity to forget that there are other
countries that are competing for the same cake of foreign investment.
Investors will always go where the safety and security of their investment
is guaranteed.

      The manner in which the government has handled the issue of Border
Timbers, which is supposed to be guaranteed security under a
Zimbabwe-Germany government-government agreement is one eloquent statement
of the level of the country's commitment to safeguarding foreign investment.

      The same could be said of the acquisition of farms, especially as some
of them were purchased after the government declared it had no interest in
the land and certificates to this effect were issued before they were

      Similarly, the invasion of firms by so-called war veterans and
government supporters demonstrated that guarantees of security of investment
had been suspended.

      There has never been as damaging a statement by the government as the
announcement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It effectively condemns
Zimbabwe to a state of disinvestment and underdevelopment. No one with the
genuine interests of Zimbabwe can make such a declaration, especially as it
seeks to take the country back to pre-independence days.

      The government needs to think more carefully about the consequences of
the utterances of its ministers. Such hollow posturing does Zimbabwe no

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      Why you might not attend this funeral

      11/27/02 9:00:12 AM (GMT +2)

      FIRST, the bad news: Zimbabwe is dead. Second, more bad news: nobody
came to the funeral.

      Some will protest: Zimbabwe is so beautiful it will never die. More
bad news: beautiful things die too: Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe, Joyce Ndoro -
they died.

      Many people I know say if Zimbabwe died today, they would not attend
her funeral. Those who might chafe at the gender of the country, ought to
know no country has ever been given a male identity. The Earth itself is
Mother Earth.

      Radical feminists have protested at this. They believe it's a male
chauvinist ploy to identify women with everything not entirely positive,
although I believe Mother Earth is a positive planet, in spite of such
notorious Earthlings as Attila the Hun, Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Jean-Bedel
Bokassa, Adolf Eichmann, Joseph Mobutu, Jack the Ripper, Macias Nguema,
Caryl Chessman, Kamuzu Banda, Charles Manson, Hendrik Verwoerd, Antonio
Salazar, Sani Abacha, Dr Crippen, Rasputin - and Myra Hindley and Ian Brady,
who tortured and killed children in Britain more than 30 years ago.

      Zimbabweans who say they would not attend their country's funeral
insist they would not have died with the country. Only people who profited
from the government's peculiar application of democracy would perish with
their part of the country. Confusing? Today people are so bewitched,
bothered and bewildered by the crisis which President Mugabe's "war cabinet"
has failed to tackle, few can think rationally.

      The detractors say the Zimbabwe to die would be described as a married
woman who lived recklessly, took on many lovers, whom she flaunted in
public, much to the horror of her husband, his and her relatives and all the
neighbours, neglected her children into Street-Kidom and lived a life of
debauchery and immorality.

      For that reason, they vow they would not attend her funeral.

      Others speculate on how she died: was it hara-kiri or did she die of
Aids? Did she die of hunger, the lack of food, not the insatiable craving
for pleasure?

      Many feel the time has come to write, not RIP (Requiescat In Pace) on
Zimbabwe's gravestone, but MSRIH - May She Rot In Hell. She lived a full
life - full of cheating, killing, subterfuge, infidelity and was a past
mistress of The Double Double-Cross.

      In a phrase, she got her comeuppance.

      Zimbabwe committed suicide, for she had a good life at the beginning,
loved by all, including suitors she had dumped before marrying this patient,
if naive man who allowed her so many liberties when he left her in utter
disgust to shack up with their middle-aged maid, she was devastated.

      I took up this theme after attending the funeral of a young man who
died young. Mark Chavunduka was only 37 years old. He was ill for a short
while, but for a whole eternity there will be debate on whether his torture
by the soldiers of his own country in 1999 did not hasten his premature
demise. Certainly, the torture would not have enhanced his chances of
fending off the onslaught of whatever natural calamity awaited him.

      The merits and demerits of the story which precipitated his and Ray
Choto's fateful captivity by the soldiers have been endlessly ventilated
among journalists on all sides of the divide - The Good, and The Bad/Ugly.

      What will not be disputed is this: for whatever real or imagined wrong
they had committed, the two did not deserve the punishment they were
subjected to - like stoning a woman to death for having a child out of
wedlock (as some Muslims do).

      Zimbabwe is about to expire, to hand in her dinner pail, to kick the
bucket, to croak, "to join the fishes" as the Mafia would say.

      She has taken too many lives to survive a day longer in a world where
retribution for such wrongs is swift and final. So, imagine you are at her
wake, not in Mbare, for the woman lived like The Hostess With The Mostest -
in Borrowdale Brooke with all the razzmatazz of the supreme courtesan.

      "So, do you think she died with any regrets, for neglecting all her
children until they ended up rummaging for scraps of food in the dustbins,
not only of the rich, but even of the poor people of Hatcliffe Extension?"

      "Who knows?" says the only other person at the wake, a ghost which
bears a striking resemblance to Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo, Josiah
Tongogara, Enoch Dumbutshena, Masotsha Ndlovu, Jason Moyo and Sidney
Malunga - all rolled into one.

      "Do you think she found God in her last hours of her life?" I ask.
      The ghost laughs. "God? She might have found Him, but I doubt that He
found her. After the jokes she told about one of her friends being as good
as the Son of God? About one of her other friends who she touted as being
more righteous than a bishop? And then, the last straw, that man who
implored Him to help with his budget - what cheek! He'll make them pay for

      At which point I rouse myself from the reverie and confront the
conundrum: what is the purpose of Zimbabwe? In other words, of what use is
Zimbabwe today?

      Don't laugh. A country has some use, like a wheel spanner to a flat
tyre, a bandage to a scratch on the skin, a ring at a wedding, a referee at
a soccer match.

      In that context, of what use is this Zimbabwe today? For its people,
there must be very little use. Its greatest failure is being unable to feed
all of them, confining itself to those of her people who have party cards of
a certain type.

      For me, the cure for this Zimbabweosis - the state of being a
Zimbabwean who doesn't have this card that entitles you to free food, free
land, free houses, free cars, free sex, free booze - is lots and lots of

      So, when I watch them on television making those numbingly boring
speeches, I roll on the floor, my ribs tickled to breaking point. They take
themselves so seriously, just the sight of them in their two- or three-piece
suits breaks me up.

      Some of them bring you comedy to rival Safirio Madzikatire's
one-liners. I remember in the early 1980s meeting him in a restaurant in
Bulawayo, for the first time in almost 25 years. The first question he asked
was: "M'fana, are you still drinking?" I had to be careful before replying:
was he offering to buy me a drink? Was he asking me to buy him a drink? Was
he commenting on my physical appearance? What had he noticed in my eyes, in
my face, in my hair or in my clothes which had persuaded him to ask whether
the drink had finally done me in, physically?

      "No, I stopped," I said.

      He nodded sagely, that enigmatic smile on his lips. Still, I am not
sure why he asked the question. Another friend, at our first meeting after
the same period, asked me this question: "Where are the girls?"
      I would have liked to attend Safirio's funeral, as I attended Mark's.

      He was "good people", as they say, a man who laughed and laughed.

      As for the funeral of Zimbabwe, I think I'll wait for A Sign From
Above. Where will her soul be? My suspicion is that she took herself too

      Without laughter, there is no soul, I say.
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Aids epidemic 'bringing social collapse'

UN demands urgent action as virus kills 3 million a year, takes hold in
eastern Europe and risks pandemic in Asia

Sarah Boseley, health editor
Wednesday November 27, 2002
The Guardian

The Aids epidemic is causing the spiralling disintegration of some of the
poorest countries in Africa, precipitating famine and social, political and
economic collapse, says the latest official United Nations update.
The UNAids report takes a more sombre tone than ever before as it lays out
the increasing scale of the global epidemic which last year killed 3.1
million people, of whom 610,000 were children.

A further 5 million people were infected with the deadly virus in 2002,
bringing the world total living with HIV to 42 million. Most of the 29.4
million with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are likely to die - only about
300,000 currently receive life-saving drugs.

But the report also warns that what is happening now in Africa may prefigure
a similar pandemic in the populous countries of Asia.

India already has the second highest number of people - nearly 4 million -
living with HIV and the largest number of Aids orphans. A recent US
intelligence report estimated the number could surge to 25 million by 2010.

World leaders have been warned of an "explosive" spread of the disease into
new areas unless more resources are freed up to fight Aids.

Launching the report ahead of World Aids Day on Sunday, the executive
director of UNAids, Peter Piot, said there was a direct relationship between
HIV/Aids and the famine in southern Africa - in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique,
Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

"Aids is fuelling the food crisis in sub-Saharan Africa," he said. "This is
the first large-scale sign of what the impact of Aids can and will be for
society as a whole."

The report says that the six countries have more than 5 million adults and
600,000 children living with HIV/Aids out of a population of 26 million,
more than one person in five.

A generation of once-fit young adults who were the farm workers, parents and
teachers of southern Africa are falling ill and dying. A study this year in
Malawi showed that about 70% of households had suffered labour losses due to
sickness. Some had been forced to neglect their farms to try to earn cash to
buy food.

Alan Whiteside, director of HIV/Aids research at South Africa's University
of Natal in Durban, said that Aids was causing crises not just in health but
in development, economics and politics as well.

"Today in [southern Africa] over 15 million people are facing food
shortages. Sure, the rain hasn't come, but people are unable to plant the
fields. They are unable to get to the fields," he said, adding that there
could be a window of only four to six weeks when seed could be sown.

"Agricultural workers are lost. The learning from generation to generation
is lost."

He said there was a crisis of orphans, too. "Children are growing up
unloved, unsocialised and uneducated."

For the first time in the epidemic, as many women worldwide are infected
with HIV as men, largely because in sub-Saharan Africa, women account for
60% of infections. Yet it is the women who care for the sick, look after the
children and, in many regions, labour in the fields, so their loss is a
major blow.

The epidemic in parts of Africa is overwhelming the coping mechanisms of
whole countries, said Dr Piot.

"We must act now, on a much larger scale than anything we have done before,
not only to assist those nations already hard hit, but also to stop the
explosive growth of Aids in the parts of the world where the epidemic is
newly emerging."

The UN price tag put on the battle against Aids is $10bn (£6.4bn) a year. -
the world has paid only $3bn this year.

"There is clearly a major resource gap," said Dr Piot. "We are not doing
enough. There is definitely a case for increasing awareness among the public
in developed countries that the Aids epidemic even very far away in Africa
or India is affecting stability in the world where we are.

"There is a responsibility on governments and the public in countries like
Britain or western Europe to contribute to the fight against Aids in
developing countries.

"It is not only a moral responsibility. This is becoming one of the greatest
threats to stability in the world - and now I'm quoting Colin Powell in a
speech last week. 'Not enough is being done.' "

The report shows the epidemic taking off quickly in eastern Europe and the
central Asian republics. In 2002, there were an estimated 250,000 new
infections there, bringing the region's total to 2.5 million. But in some
countries the spread has been phenomenal, with almost as many new infections
in Uzbekistan in the first six months of this year as in the entire previous

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      Democracy under threat in the MDC

      11/27/02 9:06:55 AM (GMT +2)

      THE apparent feuding within the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) ranks over Munyaradzi Gwisai (MP Highfield) is an
opportunity for the party to discard ambiguity and clearly define its
political ideology.

      Gwisai's crime is making public utterances that have brought the MDC
into "disrepute". His utterances that the MDC has now sidelined students and
workers, formerly the backbone of the party, and allowed capitalists to run
the show seems to have hit a raw nerve with the top leadership.

      The MDC faces the danger of having punished someone whose views
mirrored those of the generality of its supporters. Clearly the MDC is an
amalgamation of different interest groups and it would have been wiser to be
tolerant of a divergence of views than the current intolerance being

      When former Zanu PF stalwarts Dr Eddison Zvobgo and Dzikamai Mavhaire
decided to be frank about their views, they were quickly ostracised by their
party, much to the chagrin of many who are now in the MDC.

      Their argument then was that Zanu PF was stifling debate and free
expression amongst its members. The opposition even invited Zvobgo and
Mavhaire into its fold implying a tacit tolerance of divergence.

      The treatment of Gwisai will send a message to its rank and file that
a plurality of views within the MDC is not tolerated.

      Zanu PF's former secretary-general Edgar "Two Boy" Tekere was another
who regularly fired at his own party frank reprimands when it faltered -
much in the same way Gwisai was doing.

      Tekere warned that many in Zanu PF were not upholding their avowed
socialist principles (manifesto), and were indulging in self-enrichment
(acts which are associated with capitalists). Today Tekere's utterances have
been vindicated in that Zanu PF went on to disregard its pro-people policies
favouring self-aggrandisement.

      Could it be some early warning signs that the MDC is "truth-phobic?"
The MDC could have expelled him only if Gwisai's statements and actions
could not be proved.

      Our position is that the basis for Gwisai's expulsion is not one which
a party acclaimed as a Movement for "Democratic" Change can uphold and be
proud of.

      Clearly there has got to be another charge for Gwisai's dismissal to
which the general public is not privy, otherwise the much publicised
accusations and perceived indiscipline charges do not suffice.

      It would seem the party's hierarchy present at the hearing were more
perturbed by Gwisai's exit from the hearing, in other words the attitude and
manner to which he responded to the hearing.

      Unfortunately the media only impressed the public on how Gwisai
excused himself from the hearing at the MDC headquarters, without giving the
public some insight into Gwisai's written response to the accusations
levelled against him.

      On a personal note, we have noticed that the MDC had great
organisational power in the year 2000, because it was directly linked to
students' and workers' unions. The late Learnmore Jongwe was the patron of
the Zimbabwe National Students' Union, and Nelson Chamisa, who had been
secretary-general the previous year, had a good hold on the unions.

      Instead of sustaining its links with the student unions, the MDC
allowed Zanu PF (which was sponsoring Student Representative Council [SRC]
candidates) to put in place proxy representatives in the country's tertiary
education institutions.

      A point we can prove and submit to the MDC and to the Press is the way
in which Zanu PF now controls the SRCs of the University of Zimbabwe,
Bulawayo Polytechnic, Masvingo Polytechnic and Harare Polytechnic.

      For those colleges where students are strident in support of a new
political dispensation, notice how some of their members have been absorbed
by the State security apparatus. So in the end the MDC has not been able to
sustain their influence on student unions.

      In other words, the MDC no longer enjoys co-operation from these mass
mobilisation bases. We submit that the MDC was a bit slow in this regard,
and should probably question why the Sudanese government postponed
indefinitely the SRC elections held at its main university.

      The answer is simple to find: SRCs are strong mobilisation platforms
which any political party seeking to attain power would lose at their own

      On the workers' front, ever since 2000, many workers' committees have
resorted to strike against poor remuneration and working conditions. Their
efforts at getting redress from their employers have been isolated and
muzzled by the State propaganda machine.

      For example, the medical practitioners, laboratory technicians and
junior doctors, teachers and Air Zimbabwe engineers went on strike, and the
MDC was silent save for a few impotent supportive statements issued by the
party. Even the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions seemed to place importance
on who is and who is not their member in supporting troubled workers.

      That the MDC has never organised any form of national mass action,
especially pro-worker action, has allowed the employers' caucus to be
stronger. The workers' miserly welfare has not been made any better. It is
in this regard that we find Gwisai's accusations that students and workers
are being sidelined finding favour with reason.

      The African National Congress (ANC) never at any one time abandoned
the worker and student bases in South Africa. The Congress of South African
Trade Unions (Cosatu) patently bore allegiance to the ANC and Steve Biko's
Black Consciousness Movement comprised of black students from the country's
major tertiary education institutions who bore allegiance to the major
political parties of the day.

      Reference is made to the statement by Biko where he says: "Our true
leaders are in jail, and by that I refer to Nelson Mandela and Robert

      In that context, it is self-evident that any party in the world cannot
afford to slacken its hold on the workers' and students' unions. Any party
that does so commits political suicide.
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      Justice for Agriculture registers as a trust

      11/27/02 8:38:50 AM (GMT +2)

      Farming Reporter

      Justice for Agriculture (JAG), a splinter farmers' organisation from
the Commercial Farmers' Union, is now formally legalised and registered as a
trust, with a board of trustees comprising eight founder members all, bar
one, farmers, a spokesman for the trust has said.

      "This was obviously essential for litigation purposes, especially for
class or representative actions, and particularly in view of the reticence
of other representative organisations to litigate on behalf of farmers. For
this reason, and also because of the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO)
Act, we have had to form a membership body which will be catered for by
formation of a membership association under the JAG trust. The PVO Act
provides exemption from registration with the Ministry of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare as long as the organisation provides legal aid
exclusively for its own members (Section 2, part 4 (H) (v))."

      So with a membership body, JAG does not fall under the PVO Act
requirement for registration, and can avoid a situation whereby it would be
declared illegal in a similar manner to the human rights organisation, Amani

      JAG legal strategies have already saved farmers considerable costs.

      Legal advice from a senior partner in a reputable law firm costs at
least $20 000 an hour. A $20 000 investment in JAG membership could save
farmers that in one visit, and the door and phone lines of the JAG office
are open all year round.

      "Furthermore, it is not only through legal advice that one stands to
benefit, but also help in a number of current pressing issues that challenge
the farming community, not the least of which is restitution or compensation
through the JAG loss claim document," the spokesman said.

      JAG was primarily set up principally to seek justice through legal
means where other "representative" organisations have been reticent to do

      JAG believes that whatever legal means at its disposal need to be
      n To get all property rights and security of tenure respected and to
work toward restitution so that farmers can get back to farming in the

      - To assist in helping the hundreds of thousands of farm workers that
have been left destitute as a result of the current land reform programme.-
To challenge the constitutionality of Section 8 legislation which has put so
many people in prison and out of their homes and off their farms.

      - To challenge the constitutionality of S.I.6 legislation which has
cost farmers billions of dollars and has resulted in farm workers being made
jobless and homeless.
      - To compile loss documents taking into account losses resulting from
illegal activities which have dispossessed people of their farms, their
houses, their assets, their savings, and their income so that future legal
challenges and or negotiations can succeed in getting compensation paid.

      - To publicise and hold legally accountable the authors and the
perpetrators of the losses and trauma resulting from illegal activities.

      The JAG Association needs farmers' membership in order to be able to
take representative actions through the Zimbabwean and eventually
International Courts.

      "Up until this time we could only set precedents with individual
actions. We are now legally able to litigate on a representative or class
action. You need to be a member to ensure your rights are upheld and that
every legal avenue possible will be pursued to achieve restitution or
compensation, wherever you might be in the future.

      JAG was working towards a vision for agriculture in the future which
upholds and respects the rule of law and property rights.

      The JAG Trust has now been legalised and registered and can accept
membership under the JAG Association. In order to join the JAG Association
for any of the above purposes, please send a cheque of $25 000 (Twenty five
thousand dollars) payable to: Justice for Agriculture, to 17 Phillips
Avenue, Belgravia, Harare or pay cash at our offices, from where membership
forms can be obtained.

      JAG was set up by farmers to represent, help and advise farmers.

      "Our portfolios include not only legal and publicity, but also housing
and job procurement, trauma and stress counselling, support benefits for
both farmers and their workers, and civil society, Commercial Farmers Union
and Zimbabwe Tobacco Association liaison.

      "Help and advice in these areas are always available. Needless to say,
we must be farmer funded. All membership fees and donations will be fully
accounted for, receipted and gratefully acknowledged.

      "All farmers' and non-farmers' donations are greatly appreciated. More
donations will be required in the future as new legal challenges need to be
taken locally and internationally," the spokesman said.
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      MDC applauds EU stance

      11/27/02 8:45:22 AM (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor

      THE European Union (EU), has been applauded for refusing to be
intimidated and blackmailed into allowing the two banned Zimbabwean
ministers to attend the EU-ACP joint parliamentary meeting in Brussels,

      The applause came from the MDC secretary-general, Welshman Ncube,
after the break-up on Monday of a meeting of African, Caribbean and Pacific
(ACP), countries and the EU.

      The ACP representatives walked out in protest at the European
Parliament's refusal to bar two ministers from its premises, where the
meeting was scheduled to take place.

      The two Zimbabwean ministers, Chris Kuruneri, the deputy minister of
Finance and Economic Development and Paul Mangwana, the Minister of State
Enterprises and Parastatals, are on the list of top Zimbabwean officials
slapped with travel bans to EU countries.

      Ncube said yesterday there was no way the EU would have allowed into
their Parliament "representatives of a murderous regime which rigs elections
and murders its own people"

      He said: "We salute the EU for standing together with the
long-suffering people of Zimbabwe who have known no peace and security since
President Mugabe's defeat in the constitutional referendum in 2000."

      Ncube said the EU stance was a strong and clear message to Mugabe that
the free and democratic world was no longer standing by to do business with
murderous regimes.

      "They will be isolated, ostracised, and held accountable until such a
time that they restore the freedoms and liberties of the people," he said.

      "It is a matter of regret that some of the ACP countries, in this case
led by South Africa, have continued to betray the struggle of the people of
Zimbabwe for democracy and freedom by remaining in solidarity with the
dictatorial Mugabe regime," said Ncube.

      He said while some ACP countries were vociferous in their condemnation
of what they called EU militarism, they had maintained their silence on
Mugabe's crimes and sins.

      Ncube said the MDC was aware that there were many ACP countries who
did not agree with the positions taken by South Africa, Haiti, Mali and

      "We hope and trust that sooner rather than later, the democratic
African and Caribbean countries will speak out and take a position in
defence of the rights and freedoms of the people of Zimbabwe," Ncube said.

      "The refusal of the EU to be intimidated by hysterical African slogans
celebrating dictatorship and repression is a victory for all democratic
forces in the world but more importantly for the people of Zimbabwe, whose
every right has been trampled upon by the Mugabe regime," he said.
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      MDC attacks new monetary policy

      11/27/02 8:44:36 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Mhike Business Reporter

      THE new national monetary policy tabled by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ), last week will not revive the economy, says the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

      The new monetary policy which sought to dualise the interest rate
regime was presented by Dr Leonard Tsumba, the RBZ governor.

      Lending rates for exporters and companies in the productive sector
were cut by more than half so that players could borrow money at low
interest rates. While, importers, consumers and other borrowers categorised
as "non-essential or consumption borrowers", would pay higher interest rates
as determined by the market.

      The official banking rate, previously pegged at 57,2 percent was
immediately suspended under the new policy, "until such a time when economic
conditions become favourable".

      Government normally presents its monetary policy twice a year - in
January and June.

      "In an attempt to lay out the Bank's monetary policy stance,
consistent with the 2003 budget -it has become necessary, however, to
timeously articulate complementary policy measures to the budget statement,"
the RBZ said last week.

      Economists and other commentators have criticised Murerwa for his
failure to draft a national economic instrument reflecting the nation's
fiscal and monetary policies. The Minister imputed the onus to draft
monetary policy measures and other fiscal policy implementation strategies
to numerous other government ministries.

      Last week's RBZ monetary policy announcement was the first step
towards the completion of the economic policy whose picture government
started painting on 14 November.

      Tsumba said: "The objective of the current monetary policy measures
has been to support both the export and productive sectors by achieving a
low and stable rate of inflation which stimulates positive growth.

      In a statement released this week, Tapiwa Mashakada, the MDC shadow
minister for finance, however said the new monetary policy represented a
desperate ploy, which gave a false impression that government was doing
something about the declining economy.

      Mashakada said: "The monetary policy has failed to address the
shortage of the foreign currency in the country. That shortage has forced
the Zimbabwean dollar to depreciate. The new policy is really clear on how
people will obtain foreign currency from the banks."

      He said the low interest rate on loans policy had far reaching
implications for consumers as it was unlikely to generate investment.

      "People would rather borrow to replace their own capital which can be
used to speculate and externalise assets."

      The new monetary policy has received mixed reactions from business and
the public.

      Antony Mandiwanza, the president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI), said the policy was incomprehensive in its approach to
economic problems.

      Witness Chinyama of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited said the dual
interest policy would be easily implemented as "the government will find it
difficult to divide the market into two to apply the policy rate."

      Shingie Munyeza, ZimSun's chief executive, hailed the new policy as a
positive move. Munyeza, said since tourism was recognised as part of the
export sector, it would have access to cheaper money to rebuild the

      The Herald also welcomed the new policy.

      In an editorial on 21 November, the government-controlled newspaper
said: "The new monetary policy is just what the doctor ordered . . . The
monetary policy is a step in the right direction but the central bank now
needs to come up with more incentives, particularly for the export sector to
generate more foreign currency for the country."
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Daily News

      State tightens money supply

      11/27/02 8:39:24 AM (GMT +2)

      By Colleen Gwari Business Reporter

      IN a bid to resolve the dire foreign currency crisis, the government,
through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), is reportedly reducing money
supply on the market.

      Economic analysts said the much talked about tumbling of foreign
currency rates on the parallel market were temporary as the central bank
implemented its new monetary policy.

      Commercial banks which spoke to The Daily News said the government had
instructed them to limit individual transactions to a maximum of $5 million
a day.

      In a related move, the government has forced banks to lengthen the
period in which cheque deposits can be cleared for withdrawals.

      The move had resulted in a money supply shortage which would tend to
trigger a rise in interest rates.

      Taking a queue from the money market, foreign currency parallel rates
tumbled, with the United States dollar trading at a $1 000 a unit, while the
pound sterling was trading at about $2 000.

      Although commercial banks could not provide exact figures of the money
supply deficit, saying the recently adopted Zimbabwe Real Time Gross
Settlement System was running days behind, indications were that the money
supply situation would continue.

      Contrary to government views that the closure of the bureaux de change
would help force rates down, business leaders and economic analysts had
warned that it would further worsen the situation.

      A visit to some bureaux de change in the capital yesterday, showed
that most had stopped trading.

      The panic associated with the government's intentions to abolish the
foreign exchange bureaus had forced members of the public to hold on to
their foreign currency in anticipation of better rates.

      While exporters welcomed the RBZ monetary policy saying it would help
resuscitate most companies faced with collapse, and generate the much-needed
foreign currency, the mining sector cried foul, saying its allocations were
far below expectations.

      Under the dual rate policy, borrowing by the export and productive
sectors would attract interest rates of between 5 and 15 percent, while
consumption borrowing rates would be market-driven.

      The RBZ has also suspended the bank rate which was fixed at 57,2

      The banking sector, doubting the sustainability of a rather fragmented
policy, had adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

      The Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe said it was up to individual
banks to draft their own minimum lending rates.
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Daily News

      NCA to demonstrate again this weekend

      11/27/02 8:46:13 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), says it will hold
nationwide demonstrations on Saturday this week to raise awareness among the
people to challenge Zanu PF's legitimacy as a government and call for a new

      Felix Mafa, the NCA acting national chairman, said in Bulawayo
yesterday they wanted civic organisations to educate and enlighten people on
the major causes of the problems facing the country.

      He said these were a direct consequence of President Mugabe and his
government which he said rigged the March presidential elections in broad

      Previous efforts by the NCA to stage demonstrations have been thwarted
by the police.

      But recently, the NCA has changed its strategy, holding
demonstrations, not in the city centre, but in the high-density suburbs to
evade the police.

      "The NCA is demonstrating to make the people realise and appreciate
that the socio-economic crisis in our country emanates from a government
which is illegitimate, illegal and not people-oriented," said Mafa.

      He said the NCA would defy the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)
which requires that the police be notified before a rally or public
gathering takes place.

      Mafa, who is acting in place of Lovemore Madhuku, described the Act as
a "draconian piece of legislation" designed by Zanu PF to oppress the

      There was need for the people to stand up and challenge it, he said.
      "We are following the same strategy we have been using and we are not
going to ask for a go-ahead from the police because we know what the answer
will be."

      Mafa said POSA contravened section 20-23 chapter 3 of the Bill of
Rights and was therefore illegal. "Freedom of association and assembly is
clearly enshrined in the Bill of Rights and by holding a demonstration we
feel we are doing the right thing that POSA is trying to deprive us of," he

      The demonstrations would start in the high-density suburbs all around
the country and he urged people to join.

      Mafa said: "We are not identifying exact venues but we will start from
the suburbs, and as usual, we are expecting thousands of people to join us."

      He urged people to support the idea of a new constitution that would
make possible an election re-run.

      "May I also advise those who are well-enlightened about the cause of
our crisis to conscientise others so they can realise that there is a need
for a new constitution that will enhance our socio-political stability.

      "We strongly believe that a new constitution would definitely change
things for the better."

      Mafa lashed out at the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
countries for "condoning" the abuse of human rights in the country by Zanu
PF and even recognising a "misbegotten government".

      "We are questioning the sanity of Sadc and those who have expressly
condoned every wrong that has been happening in the country. Zanu PF has
politicised food aid, which is a fundamental right that should be equally
disbursed regardless of one's political affiliation," said Mafa.

      The food situation has raised much apprehension as those perceived to
be opposed to Zanu PF are denied maize-meal
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Washington File

      26 November 2002
      Zimbabwe, Botswana Score at Opposite Ends of Freedom Index
(Heritage Foundation report shows striking contrast) (800)
By Jim Fisher-Thompson
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Zimbabwe has reached another low with the release of the
Heritage Foundation's "2003 Index of Economic Freedom" that rates the
once dynamic nation just above North Korea and Cuba as among the most
repressed places on earth, politically and economically.

In contrast, Zimbabwe's neighbor, Botswana, was judged sub-Saharan
Africa's "freest country" because of its adherence to democratization
and open market reforms. Overall, it ranked 35 out of 156 nations
rated by the Index. At the bottom of the list, Zimbabwe tied with Laos
at 153, followed by Cuba at 155 and North Korea's 156.

The Heritage Foundation was established in 1973as a research and
educational institute (think tank) whose mission is to further the
principles of free enterprise, limited government and individual
freedom. It has been rating the nations of the world against those
elemental criteria for nine years.

The Heritage staff in cooperation with the Wall Street Journal
newspaper compiled the 2003 Index based on data collected from June
2001 to June 2002. Statistics came from: The Economist Magazine's
Intelligence Unit; International Monetary Fund (IMF); World Bank;
Transparency International; and the U.S. Departments of State and

The 439-page report was released to the public at a November 22 forum
the Heritage Foundation sponsored on conflict in Africa. Keynoting the
forum, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter
Kansteiner commented on the situation in Zimbabwe, citing the recent
of an American there. "An American citizen was shot and killed at a
roadblock in Zimbabwe. We have asked for a full explanation. We have
gotten a partial explanation from a police report and are awaiting a
more detailed one. There was an autopsy that was performed and we're
waiting for that results." Last week, U.S. and U.N. diplomats were
illegally detained and their driver beaten by Zimbabwe police.

The Economic Index judged 156 nations using a number of political,
economic and social variables, including trade policy, government
intervention in the economy, foreign investment, property rights and
the black market. The countries were scored on a five-point system
with one being the best and five the worst. Botswana had a score of
2.50 and Zimbabwe 4.40.

The United States came in at number six, tying with Denmark and
Estonia. In Latin America, Chile, with a score of 2.00, came in best
in the region. In the Middle East, Bahrain "remains the most
economically free country" in the region, tied for 16th in the overall
Heritage list. Hong Kong registered first in Asia with a score of
1.45, which also made it "the world's freest economy."

In Asia, the Index stressed that "the four freest economies in the
region -- Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, have stayed
true to their Anglo-Saxon roots by keeping legal systems modeled after
Great Britain" and therefore prospered.

In a preface to this year's report, Heritage President Edwin Feulner
wrote: "The road to economic freedom is not easy, but it is rewarding.
Today, however, even as economic freedom continues to grow in
countries in all regions of the world, many other countries continue
to pursue the failed and counterproductive policies of the past,"
Feulner added.

And a prime example of the latter is Zimbabwe, where President Robert
Mugabe, through his autocratic rule and economic mismanagement, has
managed to turn an agricultural and industrial infrastructure envied
by many into a pauper state that requires food relief from
international donors; thus making the Index's most "repressed" list.
The Index states: "Overall, economic freedom in sub-Saharan Africa has
improved in the past year. The scores of 19 countries are better."
However, "Zimbabwe remains the region's least economically free and
continues to deteriorate," in part, because of Mugabe's policies.

"In an effort to increase the support for his presidency," the Index
noted for example, "Mugabe set in motion a plan to confiscate farmland
without compensation, later urging his supporters to occupy land owned
by political rivals. This policy was pursued openly even though the
Zimbabwe Supreme Court ruled the invasions unconstitutional."

In contrast, Feulner said, "The list of greatly improved countries [in
the Index] includes Botswana.[which] has long served, through its
prudent economic policies, as a model of successful development for
sub-Saharan Africa. Having capitalized on its record by improving its
trade policy, capital flows and foreign investment, banking and
finance and regulation scores, Botswana is now Africa's freest

Botswana also achieved another distinction in the Heritage report. In
2001, the Index began a separate list of countries whose economic
policies were "prudent" and advanced enough for inclusion in a Global
Free Trade Association. They were judged on several criteria
including: Open trade policies, liberal capital and investment flows,
ease in operating businesses because of low regulatory burdens, and
rule of law that secures property rights. The countries that qualified
for the Association in the 2003 Index included Botswana, "because of
improvements in its trade, regulation and foreign investment" ratings.

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

Alexandra Fuller has been nominated for a Guardian First Book Award for her
memoir of a childhood in Africa. Here, posing as an American tourist, she
returns to Zimbabwe to visit the valley she grew up in. Everything is
astonishingly familiar - and yet fatally different

Wednesday November 27, 2002
The Guardian

I am once again in Zimbabwe, on a journey back to the creased mountains of
my childhood where my family once owned a bad-luck, if picturesque, chunk of
land. Near the farm, chopped out from the spilling exuberance of jungle, my
younger sister Olivia is buried. We gave up the farm in 1981, at the end of
the war of independence in what was known (in those orderly days) as a
"compulsory purchase" (whereby black Zimbabweans were relocated lands
previously held by white people). I want to see both the farm and Olivia's
grave before it is too late.
This tight fist of soil pressed up against the Mozambique border contains
the ghosts of so many of my memories. And in a way, this tiny, stubborn farm
(more rock than soil, more beauty than brawn) also holds the ghosts of
Zimbabwe's memories. On these lands, 25 years ago, my sister and I uncovered
shards of pottery from ancient burial sites. Later we stumbled upon echoes
of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia's bitter fight for independence (army camps in the
kopjes). Still now, the land is gathering into its depths the people who
pass over her surface.

The farm, careless of those who have bled, birthed, died or fought on it,
has not, I discover, lost its shape. Roads have washed away, barns have
crumbled, weeds have swallowed where Rhodes grass once prevailed, but the
essential red, obstinate earth is unmoved.

I could not come into Zimbabwe as a journalist, so I applied for a tourist
visa from the Zimbabwean embassy in Washington DC. David Manyika, who issues
visas at the embassy, was chatty and personable. I found myself (prelude to
Africa) sitting on the steps of the embassy with him one late September
morning. We were waiting for someone who had the keys and who had not yet
arrived to open shop. Not that it mattered terribly much. There is hardly a
queue of anxious travellers hoping to visit Zimbabwe.

"What are you here for?" asked David, "do you want to apply for a Zimbabwean

It took me a moment to see that, in David's eyes, this was a tremendous
joke. "A Zimbabwean passport!" he repeated, weeping with laughter.

The queue at the passport office in Harare, on the other hand, snakes down
the street for two kilometres, day and night. Street children sell their
places in the queue to anxious citizens desperate to leave Zimbabwe - from
Z$250 for a place near the front of the line to an economical Z$50 for a
station near the back.

And David, unlike most of his stay-at-home colleagues, supports Mugabe. In
10 days within Zimbabwe itself (among the traders in the makeshift
marketplaces, the passengers on the bus, the nurses at the hospitals, the
teachers at my old school) I find only two Mugabe supporters. One is drunk
(veering at me from a group of bleary intoxicants slouched under the shade
of a veranda at a tavern outside Chinhoyi yelling, "You white! Go away! We
kill you! Zanu-PF!") and the other is a diamond smuggler from the Congo, and
so presumably ineligible to vote in Zimbabwean elections anyway, (declaring
in French-accented English, "Zimbabwe, it is great. Here it is built; good
roads, good busses, nice exchange rate, plenty of business. No law and
order. Perfect!")

Clutching my visa (there are rumours that immigration is no longer allowing
those in possession of a British passport into the country, so I am grateful
for my recent decision to become an American citizen) and trying to look as
casually like a daughter-returning-to-visit- family as possible, I arrive in
Harare's impressively modern new airport. My parents, who have driven
through the western half of Zimbabwe from the place where they now farm in
Zambia, are here to meet me and to spend a day with me before I rent my own
car and journey east alone, back to our old farm. My father is smoking his
pipe under a large laminated sign asking him, in both Shona and English, not
to do so, and mum has her nose in a well-fingered book. They embody, for me,
the scent of home; cut tobacco, parched paper, sun-scoured skin, road dust,
horse sweat and flea-plagued dogs. I bury my face in my father's embrace.
This is what is most familiar and beloved to me.

And it is familiar still. What is immediately surprising about Zimbabwe, and
Harare in particular, is that it has changed so little in the last couple of
years in spite of the ripe pungency of rot which emanates from its body
politic. The roads are still well-kempt, the street lights still work
(mostly) and the shops are still bursting with consumer goods (for the fewer
and fewer who can afford to purchase them). Restaurants still offer
incredible service, and the hotels are among the finest I have stayed in
anywhere - staff are deferential, menus are replete with choices and
properties are now staked with a sign that reads (in peculiarly polite
Zimbabwean fashion), "Please Don't Panic! It is Necessary that our Grounds
are Patrolled By Armed Guards. This is for your Safety and Comfort."

What has changed is the increased presence of Mugabe's militia machine and
the corresponding rows of displaced, starving people, hunched on Harare's
main streets. Members of Mugabe's green-uniformed "youth brigade" are
dispatched from the paranoid body that makes up the country's leadership.
They are nicknamed "greenbottles" by the locals. (Greenbottles, it turns
out, is also the name given to the fat, psychedelic flies familiar to any
hunter or butcher in this part of Africa that feed off carrion). These youth
are infamously aggressive and power-hungry and they are omnipresent. I have
barely left Harare, no one has even pointed a gun at me yet, and I am
already intimidated.

When I arrive in Zimbabwe, it is almost October. The month which the Mashona
know as "Gumiguru" or "the month of the big 10" but which white people have
always known as "suicide month." It is the beginning of the end of the dry
season, it has not rained for months and, by now, it feels as if it may
never rain again. It is an ominous month, inscrutable with its withheld
rain, swollen with waiting and hopelessness. It is usually the time when
farmers are preparing their land for the spring planting - when, across the
country, great plumes of red dust kick up behind tractors. This year, the
tractors are, for the most part, silenced and instead a thick blanket of
woodsmoke hangs like a ragged cloud, above the land, turning the sky to
unwashed grey and tinting the sun a pale, nicotine yellow.

A great, heavy, pregnant sense of waiting and dread prevails. On my slow
journey home, I visit as many old friends and acquaintances as I can find.
All, without exception, have stories of intimidation, violence, attacks,
beatings, vote-rigging by Zanu-PF against anyone who dares oppose Mugabe's
regime. By the time I reach the valley in which I grew up, I am weighed down
with a sense of complete hopelessness for this country. How can it survive
this madness?

It is old Thomas Matenga, whom I have known since I was a tiny child, who
gives me a gleam of hope. Thomas, who is managing a still-existent
commercial farm in the area in which I grew up, knows exactly where Olivia,
my sister is buried. It has been a long time since I have seen her grave,
and Thomas offers to show me the road leading up to it. First we snake
through an old orange orchard and up to a house (which did not exist in my
time) now occupied by the manager of the farm which encircles this little
old cemetery. We get out and walk and Thomas takes off his hat in a gesture
of respect as we approach the fenced-off enclosure of these old graves (the
fence does nothing to stop the exuberant attention of the local monkeys).
Olivia's grave is closest to us, near the rusted gate. The vegetation around
the grave is overgrown; moss and weeds have swallowed the top of the tiny
hump which describes her diminutive corpse.

We stand in silence for a moments until the tears stop. Then I ask Thomas,
"Promise me that if those thugs come and kick you off, you will come and
tell her goodbye from me."

Thomas turns his brilliant smile on me. "They won't kick me out. As long as
I have blood in my body, I will stand up to those people. What does this old
man [Mugabe] think of us? That we are weak? That we will give up and let him
kill our country? No. There is nothing that old man and his 'youth' can do
to me that hasn't been done to me already. Ha! He can take our voices, but
he can't take our minds."

"You are the most illogically optimistic old man I have ever met," I tell

The next day, I drive back along, old familiar roads, ribbed with erosion
and still laced with the shade of old msasa trees. I am in search of Mr
Donald (his father was Scottish, his mother a Mashona), who is one of the 21
tenants who live on what used to be our old farm. Mr Donald has made his
house in the old grading shed (where, as a child, I learned to count in
Shona by running up and down the rows of tobacco bales, "Potsi, piri, tatu,
ini!") Mr Donald welcomes me in for tea laced with soured milk - the
open-mouthed breath of the old grading shed is still bitter with ancient
burley tobacco.

I dip, blinking into the dim room and stand for a moment to let my eyes
adjust to this new idea of the grading shed. A wall of old hessian sacks
separates a double bed from a sofa and two chairs. There is a television set
in the corner and a photograph of Mr Donald's son, pressed into submission
in a careful school uniform, smiles shyly down from its stand on a lace
table cloth on the Welsh dresser.

The place is dusty with the fine film of red kicked up from the powdery dirt
floor. Two of Mr Donald's younger children sit by the door (they are swollen
with what I recognise to be worms, tinged by malnutrition) and are greedily
crunching their way through the bag of green apples that I have brought for
them. I am conscious, suddenly, that the only toilet available to these
children is a skinny long-drop set up next to the old grading shed.

Mr Donald and I begin to talk farming: we exchange advice on how best to rid
the soil of star grass, (what is needed is fertiliser, irrigation, a tractor
and a plough whereas Mr Donald works with a team of oxen and has access to
neither fertiliser nor irrigation). We discuss the most effective method of
removing ticks from a cow and the difficulty of obtaining maize seed in
Zimbabwe today. We discuss tobacco prices.

"I sold five bales of tobacco last season," Mr Donald tells me. "The
government took Z$30 000 [£350]for taxes and also for this new tobacco levy.
I don't know what the levy is for. They left me with Z$30,000. It's not
enough to plant another crop this year."

Mr Donald looks much older than his 50 years. He wears an old felt hat with
a leopard- skin band, a worn cotton shirt and bare feet. He fought during
the war for Ian Smith's government. His direct neighbour (who owns a tractor
and has already completed his ploughing in preparation for this year's crop
and who owns a herd of 30 impressively fat cattle) is an ex-combatant too,
although, unlike Mr Donald he fought to liberate Rhodesia from white rule
and is now entitled to a government pension.

After tea, Mr Donald takes me up behind the old workshop (which now houses
Mrs Donald's chickens) and shows me where he plans to build a house one day,
and the mukwa tree under which he has instructed his son to bury him when he
dies. "I am very happy on this place," Mr Donald says, "of that there is no
doubt. I want to pass it to my son one day. But at this rate there will be
nothing for my children. This way we will all soon be starving. The dreams I
had in my head for this place have died in my heart."

The sun is low in the west as I make my way back to the car. The air is
releasing into its rolling embrace the hot-breathed scent of the potato
bush. An emerald-splattered dove begins to call, "my mother is dead, my
father is dead, and my relatives are dead, and my heart goes dum, dum, dum."

From here, I drive back to Harare (setting myself conspicuously apart from
the general population in my bubble of blue Mazda) and then get the bus to
the border crossing into Zambia. The border town of Chirundu in October is
as close as I have ever come to the biblical description of hell. A
topographical map of Zimbabwe and Zambia shows the two countries converging
here in a depression of pale yellow, and the heat is correspondingly thin
and breathless.

The Zimbabwean side of Chirundu is crushed with an anguish of bodies who
appear to be suffering damnation without relief. A long, rickety shelter,
which does nothing to keep out the heat and dust, supports the multitude of
Zimbabweans hoping to escape into Zambia in the next week or so. They sleep
and eat and sleep some more, one on top of the other, too afraid to move
from their seats and lose their place in the queue out of here.

Zimbabwe has become a haunted land - a country without a voice. Some voices
have simply disappeared. Other voices have simply been intimidated into
silence. An old school friend, a single mother in Harare, told me: "Of
course I have an opinion. You know me. What do you think I think of this old
man? But I see those guys at the roadblocks and I flash my party card and I
give them the fist," she showed me her Zanu-PF salute, "because if they lock
me away, who takes care of Toby?"

My fellow bus passengers include several well-dressed traders from the
Democratic Republic of Congo ("Do you want to buy some diamonds?"), a few
haunted-looking smugglers from Mozambique (pathetically small quantities of
cooking oil and sugar jealously guarded under a thin layer of clothes), some
cheerfully drunk Zambians and a few subdued Zimbabweans. It takes us more
than two hours to clear the border, by which time I have been accepted as
the resident idiot American abroad.

It takes a special kind of patience to travel for long distances by bus in
Africa. Many of my companions have brought entertainment for the drive in
the form of cassette players and cans of Castle lager; the rest console
themselves with regular visits to every tavern east of Karoi ("Driver! Stop
here!"). As a result, we are now also forced to stop frequently between
taverns ("Driver! I mean it! Stop here!"). The drunks disgorge themselves
from the bus where they scatter jubilantly across the countryside, into
fields once sternly separated from the road by fierce strands of barbed wire
and now apparently open to all.

Almost all, that is.

"I wouldn't get off the bus here, if I were you, sister," one of the
Zimbabwean women warns me (she is wearing a black vest that proudly
proclaims in silver writing, "SLUT," and a pair of very tight green jeans).
"They might think you are British, these war veterans. They don't like

I stare out at the field. It is burned almost beyond recognition - and those
hasty huts with their suspiciously-staring residents didn't used to be
there. I used to know this farm. In those days, I would have been welcome to
make use of the bathroom facilities at the main house while my fellow
passengers would have been limited to a quick visit behind the roadside
bougainvillea bushes. I cross my legs and shrug.

I am sitting next to a very old woman who has also foregone the distracting
benefits of warm beer and frequent pee stops. Although we have smiled at one
another and we have both gone out of way to allow the other as much legroom
as possible, we have not exchanged a word. Now, as she stares out at the
drunks frolicking in the searing light of the afternoon - the driver is
trying, without success, to herd them back into the bus - she says suddenly,
"You should see these lumps on my feet."

I politely inspect the lumps which are, admittedly, impressive. "You people
should pay attention to what is happening to Zimbabwe not because half of us
will die in the next few months, but because half of us will live," the old
woman says as I am looking at her feet.

I sit up to look at her, but her old face has folded back into itself, and
her eyes have closed. The drunks clamour back onto the bus, we lurch forward
and my thoughts are drowned out by the roar of the bus and the blaring

· Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller's memoirs of her
childhood in Africa, is one of five books shortlisted for this year's
Guardian First Book Award. For more information on the shortlist go to
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 27 November

Zimbabwe boots AFP chief out of the country

Harare – The Zimbabwe government on Tuesday refused to renew the work permit of the AFP bureau chief in Harare, who must now leave the country by the end of the week. AFP's chairman and chief executive officer Bertrand Eveno expressed the international news agency's "deep regret" at the decision in a letter to the Zimbabwe government. Stephane Barbier (43) who has been the bureau chief in the five-country regional office in Harare since July 2001, must leave by Saturday when his current work permit expires. Eveno said in the letter that AFP has maintained a regional office in Zimbabwe for 22 years "acting always in good faith and strict compliance with all laws and regulations of your country." "I am obliged to register Agence France-Presse's sincere disappointment in this matter," Eveno said. In September the Zimbabwe authorities refused to renew the work permit of Griffin Shea, a US national working for AFP. Barbier's initial one-year permit had been extended by six months in June this year.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo in July indicated to AFP that under the country's new press law, only Zimbabwean journalists would be allowed to work in the country. President Robert Mugabe enacted a law in March that imposed stringent limits on press freedoms for independent and foreign journalists working in the country. The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act allows only permanent residents or Zimbabwean nationals to operate as journalists on a long-term basis. Foreign journalists may work only for an unspecified "limited period" or cover specific events. The Supreme Court is due to make a ruling in a lawsuit filed by Zimbabwean journalists challenging the constitutionality of the law. Subject to registration under the new law, AFP plans to keep its Harare office manned by Zimbabwean journalists but the regional office will move to Johannesburg, South Africa. The Harare bureau covers Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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War Vet's Trial Postponed

The Herald (Harare)

November 27, 2002
Posted to the web November 27, 2002


THE trial of a key suspect in the murder of Macheke farmer Mr David Stevens
will only start after the completion of the case of his co-accused who is
facing the same charges, the High Court ruled on Monday.

Banda Katsamudanga, a war veteran implicated as the key suspect in the
murder of Mr Stevens, is being tried separately with four other suspects.

His co-accused, Richard Svisviro, Muyengwa Munyuki, Charles Matanda and
Douglas Chitekuteku had their trial stopped early this month after Svisviro
fell ill during the proceedings.

Katsamudanga who could not be located at the time the trial commenced, was
separately indicted for trial a week after the case of his co-accused had

His trial, however, had been set to begin on Monday in anticipation that the
case of the other four would have been completed.

But the State, led by prosecutor Mrs Fortune Chimbaru, asked for a
postponement to allow the conclusion of the case of Svisviro and the other
three co-accused.

Justice Chinhengo and assessors, Major Misheck Nyandoro and Mr Stanley
Tutani, granted the application on the basis that there was a possibility by
the State to call accomplice witnesses in the event the four are convicted.

The court released Katsamudanga out of custody on $5 000 bail. It is not
certain when the trial of Svisviro and the other three will resume since his
condition has not improved.
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All Set for Launch of Transfrontier Park

The Herald (Harare)

November 27, 2002
Posted to the web November 27, 2002


Presidents Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and Thabo
Mbeki of South Africa will officially launch the Great Limpopo Transfrontier
Park next month.

The launch will take place on the Mozambican side of the new park believed
to be one of the world' largest transfrontier conservation areas.

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park links Gonarezhou National Park on the
Zimbabwean side, Gaza National Park in Mozambique and Kruger National Park
in South Africa.

Tourism ministers from the three countries, Cde Francis Nhema of Zimbabwe,
Mr Fernandos Sumbana of Mozambique and Mr Mohammed Vali Moosa of South
Africa met in Harare yesterday to finalise preparations for the launch.

Cde Nhema told participants at the meeting that as the three countries moved
closer to the launch, it was important to address inherent challenges in a
new innovative and creative manner.

"We must have the courage to recognise our successes, mistakes and failures
in the past and use them in a positive manner for the future.

"A balanced approach, carrying the necessity to be flexible and recognising
our different capacities will ensure that we move together in harmony and
that there will be no loss for anyone involved but a gain for us all," said
Cde Nhema.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism,
Ambassador Lucas Tavaya, said the signing ceremony was scheduled for
December 8 or 9 in Mozambique.

"Final preparations have already been completed and everything is set for
next month.

"The opening of the new park is expected to attract several thousands of
tourists starting from next year," he said.

Ambassador Tavaya said the park was expected to unlock great potential for
tourism revival and investment in Zimbabwe and the region.

Apart from the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, Zimbabwe was also linking
up Chimanimani National Park in Manicaland with Mozambique.

In Victoria Falls, another conservation area, the Okavango-Upper Zambezi
Mega Park, would benefit Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and Zambia.

The countries have removed border fences to allow elephants and other game
to follow traditional migration routes and tourists to travel across
boundaries without facing border controls.
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Zimbabwe bans foreign journalist
Wednesday, November 27, 2002 Posted: 10:23 AM EST (1523 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Invoking a harsh new media law, Zimbabwe's
information department has refused to renew the work permit for the French
news agency AFP's Harare bureau chief.
Stephane Barbier, 43, has worked in Zimbabwe since June 2001. He will move
to South Africa on Saturday but the news agency will maintain a bureau in
Harare, staffed by Zimbabweans, AFP said.
Zimbabwe's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, passed this
year to a clamour of protest from media freedom organisations, bans foreign
journalists from being based permanently in the country.
"It was expected. I did not expect a miracle," Barbier told Reuters on
Wednesday in reaction to Tuesday's ruling.
AFP's chairman and chief executive, Bertrand Eveno, said in a letter to
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo that AFP had maintained a regional office
in Zimbabwe for 22 years "acting always in good faith and strict compliance
with all laws and regulations of your country."
"I am obliged to register Agence France-Presse's sincere disappointment in
this matter," Eveno said, adding that he "strongly condemned" the measure.
The information department's letter to Barbier, seen by Reuters said:
"Reference is made to your correspondence... in which you ask for a letter
of support from the department to enable the department of immigration to
consider your application for renewal of a work permit."
"The Department of Information and Publicity deeply regrets that it is
unable to issue a recommendation on the matter."
Only a handful of foreign news organisations maintain a presence in Zimbabwe
where President Robert Mugabe's government is grappling with political,
economic and agricultural crises.
Reuters has a bureau with two correspondents -- both Zimbabweans.
The media law punishes "abuse of journalistic privilege," such as publishing
falsehoods, with fines and up to two years in prison.
Twelve journalists have been charged under the new act, including a
correspondent for Britain's Guardian newspaper, Andrew Meldrum, who was
acquitted in July of charges of reproducing a false story.
Meldrum, a U.S. citizen and a Zimbabwe permanent resident, is challenging
his subsequent deportation from the country.
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court reserved judgement last Thursday on a challenge by
journalists against the media laws.
The Independent Journalists' Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ) says sections of
the act, which Mugabe signed into law in March, infringe their
constitutional rights.
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ZIMBABWE: Government maize import monopoly challenged

JOHANNESBURG, 27 November (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe government's monopoly on maize imports, long cited as one of the reasons why the country is battling to keep up with food needs, is being challenged by a private importer which claims its constitutional rights have been violated.

A World Food Programme cereal import progress report for mid-November recorded Zimbabwe's total uncovered cereal gap until the next harvest as 465,051 mt. But a government order issued last year has fixed the price of maize and given the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) sole distribution rights.

This was to protect consumers during shortages brought on by a drought and disruptions to commercial farming during the land reform programme.

In response, importer Frontline Marketing took the matter to the Supreme Court this week, arguing that the company's constitutional right to trade was being infringed.

"My client [Frontline Marketing] trades in commodities and wants the opportunity to trade in maize," the firm's lawyer, Linda Chitato, told IRIN on Wednesday.

The matter was heard by five judges, in accordance with challenges based on the constitution, and judgement was reserved, she said.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change agriculture spokesman Renson Gasela said the GMB should allow anyone to import maize, to overcome the current shortages.

He conceded that prices of the unsubsidised commodity would increase, but "at least it would make it available."

He said that at the moment the government had allowed brewers to import maize, but this was on condition it was used to brew beer, and not resold.

"They should support anyone who wants to bring in maize," he told IRIN.


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Let us end the silent suffering
is on the increase.
is the cause of......
Murdered and battered women
Raped, maimed and abandoned children
This could be you, your mother, your sister, your daughter.
When..... 3 December 2002
12 Noon
Where .....From the High Court
to the Governor's Office
Who......All women and sympathisers
"Women, change starts with you"
Domestic Violence Probably Effects More Than Half of Zimbabwe's Women
This frightening revelation is made according to a survey conducted by the
Musasa Project, a non-governmental women's rights' group, in March 1996. 972
women aged 18 years and over were interviewed about their experiences since
the age of 16 in the Midlands province.
Researchers found that:
* One in two women had suffered psychological abuse, ranging from
insults and threats of violence to having their partner boast of or bring
home other lovers.
* One in three had been sexually abused or harassed, or forced to have
sex against their will, while one in six had been choked, strangled,
intentionally burned or attacked with a weapon.
* One out of every 12 respondents said she had been physically abused
while pregnant.
* Only about 17 percent reported no violence against them.
* One-third of the women had suffered economic abuse, such as being
deliberately deprived of money or prevented from working by their partners.
Most of the respondents were abused by someone they knew -- a spouse,
partner, in-law or neighbor.
Women or children who have been sexually assaulted also face a very real
risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS.
The women who escape from violent relationships face poverty and little
means to support their children. Each year, a number of women try to commit
suicide to escape such difficult situations.
Children in abusive households also suffer from the effects of violence,
whether or not they are physically abused. Studies have shown that children
who witness violence may experience many of the same emotional and
behavioral problems that physically abused children experience, such as
depression, aggression, disobedience, nightmares, physical health complaints
and poor school performance.
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Daily News

      Government too big: report

      11/27/02 8:54:18 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE government is too large and cannot be sustained by a small economy
such as Zimbabwe's, a Parliamentary committee said in its report to
Parliament yesterday.

      The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on the Budget, State
Enterprises and Parastatals, Finance and Economic Development, David
Chapfika, said the proposed 2003 Budget, which was being debated, gave more
allocations to recurrent expenditure.

      "There have been deficits on the recurrent budget in the past, but
these had been tackled by previous ministers. Its emergence suggests that
although there is a projected decline in the overall deficit relative to the
Gross Domestic Product, there remains a problem in the structure of
government expenditure patterns," Chapfika said.

      "These suggest that the size of government is still too large compared
with the size and performance of the economy."

      Chapfika said the salaries bill alone consumed 49,4 percent of revenue
and 34,6 percent of the Budget expenditure.

      Opposition MPs said the Budget fell short of addressing the country's

      Tapiwa Mashakada, the Shadow Minister for Finance, said the Budget did
not solve the problems of the ordinary man in the street.

      "The workers expect to see a budget which is a vehicle for job
creation and which increases disposable income in their pockets," he said.

      Mashakada said the Budget was addressing the symptoms and not the real
crisis of the economy, adding that some capital projects such as the Zambezi
Water Project were always on the Budget statements but nothing had been done
over the years.

      Tendai Biti (Harare East) described the Budget as a "sham", saying it
was meant to reproduce the Zanu PF government at all costs.

      Meanwhile, the former Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Timothy
Stamps, and the former Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Simba
Makoni, have retired and resigned, respectively, as non-constituency MPs.

      The two have left to pave the way for Amos Midzi, the new Minister of
Energy and Power Development, and Witness Mangwende, the Minister of
Transport and Communications, who were recently appointed to President
Mugabe's so-called war Cabinet.

      Their departure was announced yesterday by the Speaker of Parliament,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who told the House that the two former ministers left
last week.

      He said Stamps and Makoni had resigned with effect from Thursday and
Friday last week, respectively.

      "We commend them for their service to Parliament and to their
 country," Mnangagwa said.

      He said Midzi and Mangwende had become MPs with effect from last
Saturday and they would be sworn in today.
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            Zimbabwe not fit for cricket matches
            November 27, 2002, 09:00

            Zimbabwe is scheduled to host six of the Cricket World Cup
matches, but concerns arising from violence over the country's controversial
land reform programme have led to calls for the matches to be moved.

            A delegation led by Malcolm Speed, ICC Chief Executive, includes
the chief executives of the boards of the countries due to play in Zimbabwe:
England; Australia; India; Pakistan; Namibia; and the Netherlands, is in the

            Speed, who will lead them on three days of inspections starting
today, said soon after his arrival: "It's not our function to evaluate the
regime of any country. There are 84 countries that are members of the ICC.
We're interested in the way they play cricket, the way they go about
presenting their teams."

            Peter Chingoka, president of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, is
optimistic. "We are very confident that they will go back with a positive
report on the situation here," he said.

            "As far as cricket is concerned, we have said and continue to
say that it is safe and secure for all the participants to come to Harare
and to Bulawayo, as has been proved by the fact that Pakistan are here at
this present time and the peaceful and enjoyable tour that they are having
vindicates what we are saying from a cricket point of view."

            That view was not shared by Trudi Stevenson, a Member of
Parliament for Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change. She
believes it's wrong to hold World Cup cricket games in the country. "Rape
and starvation and torture is going on here as I speak and it's an affront
to us for people to go in there, into that cricket ground with (Zimbabwe
President Robert) Mugabe, the patron, sitting up there protected by all his
cohorts, but pretending that everything is all right, when the country is
suffering as much as it is," said Stevenson.

            The ICC believes that holding the World Cup matches in Zimbabwe
is very important both commercially and professionally for the game.
Australia and England are the two countries which have expressed most
concern about playing in Zimbabwe. An Australian tour to Zimbabwe was called
off in March after their government advised citizens not to travel to the
African country because of fears over election violence. - Reuters
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State Tightens Money Supply

The Daily News (Harare)

November 27, 2002
Posted to the web November 27, 2002

Colleen Gwari Business Reporter

IN a bid to resolve the dire foreign currency crisis, the government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), is reportedly reducing money supply on the market.

Economic analysts said the much talked about tumbling of foreign currency rates on the parallel market were temporary as the central bank implemented its new monetary policy.

Commercial banks which spoke to The Daily News said the government had instructed them to limit individual transactions to a maximum of $5 million a day.

In a related move, the government has forced banks to lengthen the period in which cheque deposits can be cleared for withdrawals.

The move had resulted in a money supply shortage which would tend to trigger a rise in interest rates.

Taking a queue from the money market, foreign currency parallel rates tumbled, with the United States dollar trading at a $1 000 a unit, while the pound sterling was trading at about $2 000.

Although commercial banks could not provide exact figures of the money supply deficit, saying the recently adopted Zimbabwe Real Time Gross Settlement System was running days behind, indications were that the money supply situation would continue.

Contrary to government views that the closure of the bureaux de change would help force rates down, business leaders and economic analysts had warned that it would further worsen the situation.

A visit to some bureaux de change in the capital yesterday, showed that most had stopped trading.

The panic associated with the government's intentions to abolish the foreign exchange bureaus had forced members of the public to hold on to their foreign currency in anticipation of better rates.

While exporters welcomed the RBZ monetary policy saying it would help resuscitate most companies faced with collapse, and generate the much-needed foreign currency, the mining sector cried foul, saying its allocations were far below expectations.

Under the dual rate policy, borrowing by the export and productive sectors would attract interest rates of between 5 and 15 percent, while consumption borrowing rates would be market-driven.

The RBZ has also suspended the bank rate which was fixed at 57,2 percent.

The banking sector, doubting the sustainability of a rather fragmented policy, had adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

The Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe said it was up to individual banks to draft their own minimum lending rates.

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