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

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Comment from ZWNEWS, 1 November

The lie of the land

By Michael Hartnack

Daily, Zimbabwe's state-run media proclaims the success of the now-completed
land reforms, which, they say, has roused the envy of the British
government, the independent media and all the other opponents of Robert
Mugabe. As ever, the issue of land redistribution is mired in propaganda and
misinformation. In any case, the threat of famine has vastly more immediate
importance to 12 million Zimbabweans struggling to find supplies of maize
meal, bread, sugar, cooking oil, salt. As the first rains of the season fell
a week ago, the state-owned Herald carried full-page advertisements telling
old-established communal area and newly resettled farmers where to obtain
free seed and fertiliser. For an optimum harvest come March 2003, these
should have been distributed two months ago. The Famine Early Warning
Network say most land recipients have no seed, nor any idea when they will
be able to obtain it. Ruling Zanu PF party officials admit up to half of
those allocated land have not occupied the farms seized from white owners,
or made any move to work the soil. Critics of Mugabe put the figure much
higher, with up to 90 percent of the 8 million commandeered hectares lying
fallow. Only 600 of the 5 000 white farmers are still attempting to plant
crops, many on extremely limited areas alongside fields that have been
pegged by militants, but left to go derelict. "The rest have been driven
out," says Jerry Grant of the Commercial Farmers Union. With them have gone
250 000 farm workers and up to 2 million dependants, and of these only 10
percent have found a place to squat on abandoned white farms.

Despite efforts to encourage production by the new farmers, output of
tobacco, which traditionally earned a third of Zimbabwe's foreign currency,
is expected to fall from more than 200 million kg to between 70 and 80
million kg. Commercial farmers' maize crop will decline from 810 000 tonnes
in 2000 to virtually nil in 2003. While production in resettlement areas is
not taking off, that in the established 20 million hectare communal areas is
declining due to AIDS deaths, resulting labour shortages, and falling family
incomes, say development agencies. Peasant maize production has always
depended heavily on the ability of the now near-bankrupt state agencies to
provide subsidies in various forms. Those with the best chance of reaping
meaningful crops in 2003 are the members of the wealthy black elite who have
seized farms. They include Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife of army commander
Constantine Chiwenga, who has already been selling, to the British chain
store Sainsburys, produce grown by the farmer she ousted.

This tiny, wealthy minority have the capital and the capacity to hire
agricultural graduates - in some cases ex-commercial farmers - as managers.
The commercial banks are giving them finance on the strength of urban
assets, such as up-market houses, although realists warn that attachment of
these assets is likely to be resisted at gunpoint should the owners prove to
be a bad risk. The morality or otherwise of the banks' collaboration with
the so-called "fat cat land grabbers" may come to haunt Zimbabwe's financial
sector in years ahead. Their bankability must run out with the regime. And
the new large-scale landowners - hardly the landless peasants who were
supposed to be the principal beneficiaries of land redistribution - will
have difficulty cashing in on export crops, since foreign buyers are wary of
being sued in their home countries for receiving stolen produce. Sainsburys
has said it thought the farmer had been compensated, and will now review the
deal. However, the black elite should be well placed to plant food crops for
local consumption with planned subsidies totalling Z$50 billion. An
"Agri-bond" for this amount is being forced on the pension funds despite
economists' warnings this may leave thousands of pensioners holding
worthless annuities in their declining years. Inflation is already 139,9
percent and the IMF forecast it may go to 522 percent next year. One thing
is for sure, everything that goes wrong with production under the Fast Track
Land Reform will be blamed on others, ranging from sabotage by departing
whites to Western governments' responsibility for climate change.
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Daily News

      Price controls fail economy

      11/1/02 10:26:33 AM (GMT +2)

      From Zerubabel Mudzingwa

      The government yesterday publicly admitted that the price controls for
basic commodities introduced last year had failed to revive the economy.

      Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Industry and International
Trade, told delegates at a National Economic Consultative Forum meeting in
Gweru yesterday that the government was now pursuing other avenues in an
effort to cushion indigenous businesses and revive the economy as price
controls had failed to produce the desired results.

      The meeting, which was attended by Cabinet ministers, senior
government officials and captains of industry, was officially opened by
President Mugabe.
      "Last year, we had to introduce price controls on basic commodities
because of rampant price increases that were fuelled by profiteering and
black market exchange rate escalations. However, the price controls have
failed to work," Mumbengegwi said.

      He, however, could not be drawn to say whether or not the government
would now lift the price controls on basic commodities.

      Mumbengegwi said the economy had remained subdued because of severe
shortages of foreign currency, smuggling of goods outside the country,
excessive profiteering, high conspicuous consumption levels, hoarding and
what he called politically-motivated closures of certain companies.

      He said the government's much-talked-about indigenisation programme
had also been severely affected by the shortage of foreign currency, lack of
collateral, inadequate funding and dependence on foreign technology.

      Mumbengegwi said the government had set aside a $2 billion facility to
assist distresses indigenous-owned companies facing collapse and to further
      indigenous businesspeople.

      "The money," he said, "attracted a concessionary interest rate of
between 15 and 25 percent."

      Speaking at the same occasion, Mugabe urged government departments and
the private sector to co-operate towards a common-shared vision of economic

      "In order to deepen the process of economic empowerment and,
therefore, redress
      existing social and economic imbalances as well as generate
sustainable economic growth and development, it is vital that all
stakeholders play their part. Short of this common vision, all the
objectives we seek to achieve will be futile and vain," Mugabe said.

      He singled out multinational companies in the energy sector and
accused them of sitting on the fence instead of being involved in the
importation of fuel.
      At the moment, the government imports fuel through the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe and the multi-national companies buy the fuel from
government for distribution. He said the government had no business in fuel
procurement as it was not getting any profits from it.

      "For how long shall I continue to superintend the game of Tom Foolery?
They (multinational companies) should invest in fuel because they are the
ones who enjoy the profits. They too must import fuel because they have the
foreign currency," Mugabe said.
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Daily News - Leader Page

      MDC right to stay calm under gross provocation

      11/1/02 9:45:33 AM (GMT +2)

      By Charles Frizell

      AFFAIRS of state are played like a game of chess, move, counter move
and the occasional stalemate or checkmate. As the players play their games,
real people suffer, starve and die.

      As the game proceeds, the real issues are very soon forgotten as the
players strive to outmanoeuvre each other while sticking to the rules of the
game. Meanwhile, people starve and die.

      The players, the national leaders, move the pieces around and are
happy to sacrifice these "pieces" to achieve their goal, forgetting that
these are not "pieces", but living human beings. The situation in Zimbabwe
is desperate, that is clear to all. The cause of the disaster is also clear
to all, and that is the "Killer" Party and its leader.

      If it were not a "game", the logical move would be to remove the key
pieces rapidly and permanently because, as everyone knows, that would bring
an instant solution.

      But the rules of the game prohibit that, so the suffering and the
deaths continue.

      Now we have President Mugabe saying that he will hold another
presidential election "if the MDC challenge is upheld by the courts".

      Another cunning move, because his judges are exceedingly unlikely to
rule against him, and in the unlikely event that they do, we will just have
a repeat of the mayhem we saw in both the first presidential election and
the recent council elections. So more time is bought to terrorise and cow
the population.

      Some in their frustration have criticised Morgan Tsvangirai and the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for "doing nothing".

      I can see the MDC's frustration too, but they are doing the right
thing for the country in the longer term, and that is what really matters.

      If they resorted to bombs and bullets we would sink into civil war in
exactly the same way as other African countries have done.

      Do we want another Mozambique, Angola, Uganda, Ethiopia or Congo?
      The MDC are showing more maturity than has ever been seen before in
Africa, and those who are so quick to criticise should realise that it is
very difficult not to retaliate when one's members are being beaten, raped,
starved and murdered.

      I can only hope that they manage to stick to this path under extreme

      A problem that arises is that the abused people may form violent
groups to strike back at the Killer Party's gangsters.

      One can sympathise with any person who chooses to strike back
violently if his sister or mother has been raped or his brother, son or
father murdered.
      Farmers whose life work has been stolen cannot be feeling too happy
      I think the Killer Party has miscalculated the amount of hatred it has
generated against itself.

      Because I am not as mature and tolerant as the MDC, if I were a lot
younger I would take to the bush in anger and frustration.

      I am not a patient chess player, and I have never felt any inhibitions
about eliminating vermin, especially if this would save our country from the
continuing abuse.

      Wars against oppression are indeed just wars. We also have to realise
that we must make our own salvation. Help - material or military - is very
unlikely to come from outside.

      Nigeria may be a big and wealthy country by African standards, but it
also sets the world standard for corruption. President Thabo Mbeki and South
Africa could no doubt terminate the regime in a matter of months, should
they wish to do so. But they do not wish to do so.

      Those who have visited South Africa will know that it is still a
hotbed of racial hatred going both ways. The outside world does not realise
what a powder keg of anti-white hate has been built up there over the

      Therefore, it is a cunning move for the Killer Party to pose as
anti-white, even though we in Zimbabwe know it is in reality an anti-people

      Added to this, Mbeki is not half the man Nelson Mandela is.

      We cannot expect any help from South Africa unless the outside world
squeezes them so hard their eyes water. It is hopeful though that pressure
is being brought to bear by the United States of America and the European
Union (EU), though whether they will have the moral courage to pursue it I
cannot guess.

      The record is not encouraging. It is also surprising in a way that the
EU and the US have not been so forthright in their criticism of the Killer
Party. Notable for its low profile has been the United Kingdom, despite
Mugabe's incessant diversionary attacks on its prime minister.

      I think he knows that an outspoken attack on the US could very rapidly
lead to a first-hand evaluation of the accuracy or otherwise of US guided
      Meanwhile, I guess all we can do is try and survive as we wait for
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From The Star (SA), 1 November
Expats scoff at Mugabe's plan to tax them
By Basildon Peta
Harare - President Robert Mugabe's cash-strapped government is planning to
levy taxes on three-million Zimbabweans working abroad in a desperate bid to
raise cash for fuel and electricity imports. But expatriate Zimbabweans are
mostly scoffing at the attempt, noting that the same government had banned
them from voting in the March presidential election. "No taxation without
representation" is the unofficial response. "I am not prepared to subsidise
Mugabe's regime when I was denied my inalienable right to vote," Jeremy Dube
said in Johannesburg on Thursday. Others circulated emails among themselves
dismissing the planned taxation. Deputy Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri said
the Zimbabwean government was planning to levy income tax on Zimbabweans
working abroad "in a bid to benefit from the brain drain and strengthen the
country's revenue base". The government's rationale is that the state
invested in their education, and so is entitled to a return in the form of
taxes. It was unclear how the government intends to enforce the new
expatriate tax, which it hopes to implement early in 2003. It claims that
foreign governments will help, but, given Zimbabwe's world standing, this
seems wishful thinking. Most Zimbabweans working abroad were driven out by
the harsh economic climate, including inflation of 140 percent,
unemployment, and shortages of basic foodstuffs such as bread and milk.
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Business Day

Mugabe orders firms to import fuel


HARARE  - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe said on Friday his government
would no longer procure fuel for the country, in a move analysts have dubbed
an admission of failure of fuel procurement policies.
"The fuel comes in the name of the government. When the fuel comes we are
worried about its duration, whether we have enough stocks. And what do we
do? We call in multinational companies. They sell and make profits," the
official Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying.

He said his government would no longer "crack" their heads over procuring
fuel for resale by foreign companies.

"They must import and not wait for government to do it for them. They have
the foreign exchange. In true partnership they should play their part," he

Eddie Cross, the secretary of economic affairs in the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), said Mugabe's statement was an admission of

"It's the first significant admission of failure and collapse by the
government," Cross said. He said Mugabe's statement signaled the
government's "special relationship with Libya is no longer functioning".

Zimbabwe receives 70$ of its fuel imports from Libya. In September the
government renewed a deal with the North African country, trading fuel for
produce from Zimbabwe.

A front page article on Friday in the private Zimbabwe Independent newspaper
read: "Libyan fuel deal faces collapse."

The paper quoted unnamed industry sources as saying Zimbabwe's
US$360-million line of credit with Libya had "failed to operate normally
because of Zimbabwe's failure to pay dues on time".

For nearly three years Zimbabwe has suffered from regular fuel shortages,
due to a lack of foreign currency and corruption at the state fuel
procurement agency.

The country, which burns 1.2 million litres of petrol and 1.5 million litres
of diesel a day, reportedly needs US$600-million a year to pay for its fuel

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Daily News - Feature

      Strife-torn Africa searching for elusive peace

      11/1/02 10:21:32 AM (GMT +2)

      By Simba Chabarika

      "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of

      The South African deputy president Jacob Zuma quoted from the Bible
and stole the hearts of African religious leaders attending an Inter-Faith
Peace Summit recently in Johannesburg.

      Zuma, the guest of honour, said Africa needed peace - perfect peace.If
Africans could engage in an indaba the way they did at the conference held
in Benoni, then there is real hope for peace on the continent.

      But can this be achieved with all the numerous dictatorships, wars,
ethnic cleansing, tribal wars and violence that are rife on the continent?

      It is with such concerns in mind that the Geneva-based Lutheran World
Federation, in collaboration with other faith-based organisations, sponsored
this first-ever meeting of African religious and traditional leaders aimed
at practical strategies for peace promotion and conflict resolution in

      The National Religious Leaders Forum of South Africa was the summit's
local host while the government of Finland provided financial support.

      The conference, whose theme was "Embracing the Gift of Peace," was
indeed an historical occasion.
      It was the first time ever that church and religious leaders from the
African continent came and worshiped together. It was also the first time
that the African religious and traditional leadership had spearheaded the
need to talk about peace with such a concerted effort and on a united front.

      Even the venue was appropriate. It was Kopanong - a Sotho/Tswana word
for a "place of meeting or conferring together".

      "It is the first time that faith leaders from so many different
traditions and parts of Africa have gathered to engage in inter-faith
dialogue and cooperation for peace in Africa," said the General Secretary of
the Lutheran World Federation, Dr Ishmael Noko. "We are an image of the
rainbow nature of religious expression in Africa."

      It was here that more than 100 leaders of diverse religious and
traditional persuasions across Africa, put their heads together in a bid to
bring peace to this war-torn piece of the planet.

      Moslems, Christians, Baha'is, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, African
traditionalists - all were there.
      A significant number of women and youth participants together with
international observers and resource persons, also made up the crowd.

      "It is often the women and youths of our communities who have played
the key role in furthering practical inter-faith action for peace, beyond
the limits of rhetoric. This is despite the fact that women, children and
youth have often been marginalised or even mistreated in our faith
communities," Noko said.
      Perhaps Zuma set the tone and zeal of the meeting: "I am filled with
pride as an African to become part of this first African Inter-Faith Peace
Summit as you deliberate on the role of the faith community in entrenching
peace in our beloved African continent. We are indeed encouraged by this
conference as it indicates to us that the faith community fully recognises
its key role and responsibility in fostering a culture of peace and
fellowship in the continent."

      Zuma said the new African Union leadership had made a commitment to
work tirelessly for the regeneration of Africa which entailed efforts at
ridding the continent of conflicts and wars.

      "I must emphasise that there is one common thread in all the peace
efforts being pursued in Africa. It is the fact that solutions being sought
are African solutions," Zuma said. He said liberation struggles in Africa
were mostly driven by church and religious leaders and their roles could
never be undermined.

      "Our struggles were sustained by prayers and the actions of thousands
and thousands of men and women. If we achieve peace in our continent, then
this can only be a blessing to humanity, a blessing to our continent which
will be cherished by generations to come."

      The Finnish ambassador to South Africa, Kirsti Lintonen said when it
came to armed conflict, Africa was the worst continent.

      This has caused distress to millions of people and hampered
development but churches and other religious organisations had an important
role to play in securing and building peace, she said.

      "Faith can move mountains, often through painstaking patient work, but
sometimes in a short time, when the time is ripe. Churches contributed
crucially to the peaceful transition from communism to democracy in Eastern

      "You know that they also had a role in the peace negotiations in
Mozambique and in securing a peaceful end to apartheid in South Africa.
People listen to you. You have an authority based on faith and word, ethics
and morality," she said.

      "Churches have more credibility than political movements."

      The five-day conference discussed conflict resolution and mediation
techniques, the role of inter-faith dialogue in promoting peace, relations
between religious communities and the State, African women against conflict,
African traditional methods of conflict resolution and reconciliation among
other subjects.
      Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat of Kenya told the conference that the
cause of conflict has to do with the issue of governance.

      Injustice and the lack of a level playing field are always at the root
of the problem.

      "Those in power may have emerged through a rebellion, a coup, or
rigged elections. Constitutions have often been amended to suit the
retention of power by the incumbent. We do have long-serving presidents in
this continent and there is no way of removing them through the ballot box,"
Kiplagat said to much applause.

      He said out of the 53 countries that are members of the AU, 35 have
suffered from conflicts, mostly rebellion against the state - that is groups
organised by region, ideology, race or ethnicity taking up arms against the
state - and 27 countries fall into this category.

      At least 23 African heads of states or government come from military
backgrounds including those who have led armed rebellions against the state.

      Seventeen countries have had leaders assassinated, with some having up
to three assassinations bringing the total killed to 26.

      Nigeria and Ethiopia lead with three each, followed by Ghana,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Liberia with two each, Kiplagat

      Delegates exchanged ideas, shared experiences and presented case
studies of areas where peace has been achieved through Inter-religious
councils comprising different church and community leaders.

      Houna Agbessi Daagbo Hounon of the Vodun Hwendo spiritual tradition of
Benin, said the summit was a good thing for Africa. "Why should we kill each
other? We must learn to live like brothers and sisters," said the
colourfully-dressed traditional leader.
      Although modern weapons were not the principal cause of conflict, the
summit urged religious traditions and communities not to be used as weapons
against each other. A strong message should be sent to manufacturers of
deadly "tools of death" like landmines, rifles and other small arms.

      Professor Gordon Chavhunduka who represented the Zimbabwe National
Traditional Healers' Association says he was delighted that all major
churches in Africa who attended the summit, agreed that traditional religion
and traditional medicine, were important and could never be left out in
future discussions about Africa.

      "Delegates passed a resolution which said that people who are not
Christians can no longer be referred to as heathens. Now they (churches)
understand that these people belong to the African religion which is one of
the largest in Africa. In fact it was the only one in Africa before
missionaries came. This was a great achievement of the conference," Prof
Chavhunduka said.

      A landmine survivor and a former child soldier, narrated their
first-hand accounts of people caught in war in Africa.

      As the conference ended, it passed The Johannesburg Inter-Faith Peace
Declaration and adopted a plan of action advocating the path of peace and
measures to actively engage governments in dialogue towards conflict
resolution, peace promotion and sustaining democratic institutions.

      Dr Noko said follow-ups on conflict areas in Africa would be made to
make this an action-oriented summit and not just one of those "talk shops".

      "There is an urgent need for religious leaders to be given a voice on
conflict issues. We need concrete action," he said.

      So much hope, but so much work to be done. Could peace be building up
on the crimson-coloured African horizon and signal a saving of human lives?
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Zim Independent
Eric Bloch
  Friday, 1 November 2002 
 Supply responses will be more muted
ZIMBABWE’S recently appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Herbert Murerwa, is not new to the post, for it was held by him prior to the appointment of his predecessor, Simba Makoni. And during his previous term in office, he suffered the same constraints as prevented Makoni from attaining an economic upturn, and bringing about substantive strength in the fiscal environment.
When Murerwa was previously charged with the responsibilities which are now, once again, his heavy burden, he demonstrated on many occasions that he was very well aware of the causes of Zimbabwe’s economic distress, and of the constraints which made addressing those causes effectively exceptionally difficult. Most of all, he evidenced clearly that he knew the actions that had to be taken to halt the accelerating decline.
Unfortunately, despite that knowledge, he was recurrently prevented from implementing the necessary measures by the president, cabinet or politburo, all of whom were obdurate adherents to ideologies and antiquarian economic theories wholly unsuited to the Zimbabwean environment and to the needs of the masses struggling to survive and craving for improved economic circumstance.
It is well-known that Makoni had high aspirations of turning the economy around, and very determinedly tried to do so, but was continuously obstructed in his endeavours and frustrated in almost every potentially constructive step he tried to take. Presumably he believed that in some way or other he would be able to persuade his colleagues of the merits of economic policies diametrically opposite to those which they avowed. Regrettably, the best will in the world, consolidated by good intentions, does not suffice to convince those who either had contrary vested intentions or were such dogmatic adherents to their ideologies that they were unable to accept any need for change.
Eventually, and undoubtedly with very considerable regret, Makoni must have concluded that he was fruitlessly beating his head against a brick wall of bigoted inability to recognise realities. He must have reached a stage of recognition that no matter how correct his recommended policies and measures may have been, his recommendations would be continuously rejected. Eventually he resorted to the inevitable and resigned, only to be replaced by one who had previously been confronted with virtually identical obstacles.
Hopefully, his previous inability to motivate his cabinet colleagues to accept facts as facts, and to stimulate resolution amongst them to try alternative economic policies, as those that have prevailed and as still exist have proved themselves to be total failures, will not deter him from continuing "the good fight" and persevering in efforts to bring about change. And yet, first indications are to the contrary.
They suggest that, instead, his colleagues may have convinced him of the non-existent merits of the destructive economic policies which bedevil Zimbabwe. If that is so, one must hope that his undoubted intellect will cause him to revert to pressurising for policies as are effective, in contradistinction to those which are negative and rapidly bringing Zimbabwe’s economy to the brink of total destruction.
An instance in which it appears that Murerwa has been diverted from perception of the essential was when he, last week, responded to the questions from Members of Parliament at a pre-budget workshop. He is reported to have said that he was "not convinced that devaluation under these circumstances and in this kind of environment will translate into supply responses … Of course, we need to have the right exchange rate so that the economy can perform but doing this now would have adverse effects, particularly in an environment of poor supply and negative market sentiment".
He was totally correct when he stated that Zimbabwe requires the right exchange rate if the economy is to perform, although obviously the establishment of a realistic rate is only one of many actions necessary for sound economic performance to be regained. He was also correct when he said that devaluation now would have adverse effects. That cannot be denied.
However, in the absence of devaluation now, the effects of that inaction will be far, far worse. Government’s puppet economists striving to ingratiate themselves recurrently suggest otherwise, and yet the volume of evidence, that the ludicrous exchange rate that has been rigidly maintained by government for over two years is a major contributor to the continuing economic collapse, is irrefutable.
The harsh fact is that Zimbabwe is sustaining a very severe reduction in exports and, therefore, in critically needed foreign exchange generation. There are several causes of the falling export performance, including such great destruction of the agricultural sector that less and less agricultural outputs are forthcoming for export. (Concurrently, the agricultural havoc created by government is of such magnitude that Zimbabwe has to import commodities which previously were produced by the agricultural sector, thereby creating a massive drain of already insufficient foreign exchange).
Inflation has soared higher and higher since 1997. As a direct consequence, production costs have also soared. Wages and salaries have had to be increased radically in order to counter, if only in part, the ravages of inflation. Energy, telecommunication and other direct and indirect production costs and overheads have similarly risen very considerably. As a result, and in the absence of devaluation, exporters have had to increase their selling prices to such an extent that most exports are now offered at prices which are uncompetitive as against those offered by producers elsewhere.
In turn, export volumes would increase, yielding increased production and therefore increased productivity which would assist in containing inflation, for most producers also produce for the domestic market. And, most importantly, greater inflows of foreign exchange would enhance the very supply responses which Murerwa acknowledges are presently poor. Thus, although it is a certainty that the poor supply and negative market sentiment to which he referred will endure for some time after devaluation, and although further devaluations will be progressively required, nevertheless devaluation will translate into better supply responses and, in time, if accompanied by other necessary measures into positive market sentiment. But failure to devalue will unarguably translate the present poor supply responses into markedly worse, very muted ones, for foreign currency will become increasingly scarce, and market sentiment will deteriorate from its already extremely low levels to never before reached depths.
And when Murerwa acknowledged that the foreign currency crisis has fuelled the parallel market, he is correct. But if Zimbabwe does not devalue, and ensure a realistic exchange rate, the parallel market is the only vehicle to keep some exporters in business. They cannot survive at current rates. Neither will those reliant upon imports as, until foreign currency generation increases sufficiently, all exchange entering the official market will be commandeered for government and its parastatals.
At the workshop Murerwa also attributed some of the economic problems to Zimbabwe’s negative image, and that is certainly so. Most donor states have discontinued their support of Zimbabwe, as has the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and many others. Foreign direct investment has plummeted to almost insignificant levels. But the minister was only partially correct when he told the parliamentarians that "the international community takes signals from what you say about the country". Far greater signals are taken from the pronounced evidence of massive breakdowns in law and order, and from serious doubts as to the substance of Zimbabwean democracy. The signals of government-provoked and condoned racism, vast corruption, contempt for most of the international community, resistance to change, are all signals of far greater visibility to the international community than are the mouthings of parliamentarians, although it is probable that those signals are also heeded.
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  Friday, 1 November 2002 
  Zim Independent
Mugabe’s dream turns into nation’s nightmare
MUCKRAKER recently commented on President Robert Mugabe’s claim that there was no place in Zimbabwe for David Coltart or Roy Bennett except in prison. Coltart was in fact invited to return to Zimbabwe by Mugabe himself after completing his studies at the University of Cape Town.
Coltart headed the Zimbabwe Society on campus and had written to the new prime minister in August 1981 to tell him many students at UCT were ready and willing to return home.
Mugabe thanked him for his letter and said the government intended to establish "a non-racial society based on equality". He said Zimbabweans must "put aside the hatreds and animosities of the past and approach the future in a positive, constructive frame of mind.
"As we struggle to rebuild our country out of the destruction of war," he told Coltart, "we look to young people like yourselves to assist us achieve our objective of establishing a prosperous, harmonious and humane society in this country…I hardly need to remind you that this is as much your home as it is ours."
In an unattributed quote from Franklin D Roosevelt, Mugabe concluded by saying that in returning to Zimbabwe "you have nothing to fear but fear itself".
How times change! Now he wants everybody to fear him. And Zimbabwe is the symbol of pulverised prosperity, disharmony and inhumanity. One man’s dreams of eternal power have become the nation’s nightmare.
Muckraker has been wondering why the Sunday Hate Mail’s intellectually-bankrupt "Under the Surface" has been missing in action for a fortnight. It now transpires that it had something to do with the Insiza electioneering. Jonathan Moyo and his semi-literate parrot, Munyaradzi Huni, were not around, we are told by sources at the propaganda factory — Herald House.
That’s why the column was not featuring on the tedious pages of the Siberia of Zimbabwean journalism. But watch out for the next edition of the Hate Mail. "Under the Surface" would be back from the Insiza backwoods with his rustic humour sharpened. You can surely expect more tired jokes and gullible political analyses.
Gullibility is the hallmark of Huni’s writing. Last week he was pretending in his weekly political make-believe stories that he had a secret anti-Zimbabwe document authored by the British which had been rejected by the international community. Muckraker has now given up on this semi-literate Huni’s Mukadoda stories. But for the sake of readers, the document referred to was actually a record of proceedings in a recent House of Lords debate. The Independent recently published the remarks by Baroness Valerie Amos and British peers on the Zimbabwe crisis debate — not once but twice.
For the past two weeks the hungry people of Insiza got used to seeing chauffeur-driven parasitic strangers who would appear very early every morning in flashy 4x4s and Land Rovers from their Bulawayo hotels clad in multi-coloured shirts and T-shirts emblazoned with the images of the country’s ruler. The visitors, who are members of the Zanu PF locust class, would then drive around the Mahole area addressing angry and hungry villagers.
Moyo’s media delegation was interesting. The loquacious and quarrelsome minister traversed the constituency like a feudal aristocrat surrounded by his journalistic serfs whose reports reflected nothing but increasing derangement.
The team of journalistic dinosaurs included Huni (deadwood), ZBC’s Sifiso Sibanda and Makhosini Hlongwani, prominent Chronicle official eulogist, Innocent Madonko and the other bootlickers from government’s regional publications which are still evidently handcuffed to the past.
President Mugabe also dispatched his own gang. Moyo was part of it, so was Nicholas Goche, whose job is to gather intelligence using the antiquated CIO machinery, Joseph Made, the great author of starvation, Ignatius Chombo, Elliot Manyika, Josiya "Padare" Hungwe and other parasites who went around pleading with villagers to allow them to persist with their corrosive raid on national resources.
Still on Insiza, the Hate Mail reported that even police deputy commissioner (operations and crime) Griffiths Mpofu was there to direct the police operations! Muckraker wonders how he coordinated with his friend Moyo who he wanted to beat the hell out of only last year.
Town House insiders say Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri enjoyed the break because Chombo, who likes to meddle in council affairs, was also engaged in the Insiza by-election with other Zanu PF mandarins. The talk in town is that the two will never be able to work together amicably. Their doctrines and agendas are diametrically-opposed. Mudzuri has been resurfacing roads around Harare’s suburbs which were destroyed by Zanu PF councillors who were eventually fired en mass for alleged incompetence.
These were succeeded by unelected commissioners whose duty, it seems, was to buy more cars for themselves and employ many unemployable loafers from the Zanu PF stable. Now rebuilding the city for the benefit of ratepayers has never been a Zanu PF agenda. The mayor is expected to ruin the city, not run it. That is why Chombo is trying to foist a team to help turn around the council. Where was this team when Zanu PF was destroying the Sunshine City, we wonder?
Muckraker thinks the Swazi King, Mswati III, who stands accused of abducting teenage girls and turning them into wives, should give the Swazi people a break. Mswati, whose sole distinction in history is being Africa’s remaining absolute monarch, should understand that it is no longer possible to continue clinging onto hidebound cultural traditions. Why marry youngsters under duress? Mswati has no defence on moral and democratic grounds because the mothers of the abducted kids are complaining.
Kings, if they want to remain relevant, should understand that anachronistic cultural practices and traditions have to be discarded if only for the sake of enlightened leadership.
Of course Mswati is not the only one who dragoons young women into his bedroom. Muckraker recalls the story of a local political baron who captured his secretary and turned her into his wife amid national ridicule and protest. Such abuse of authority should never be tolerated. Let it be heard in the corridors of power in Mbabane and Harare! Do these absolutist dictators have no other national business than ogle at poor little girls going about their appointed business!
The Herald on Saturday told us that a 16-year old schoolgirl was abducted and gang-raped by eight men. According to the report, the girl was pounced upon in a Harare suburb by a man who powdered her on the nose and mouth before throwing her into a car. She was driven out of Harare and taken into a derelict hut built out of planks and gang-raped.
Although the girl couldn’t identify where she was taken to, at least she provided the clue as to who could be the perpetrators of the crime. Muckraker remembers that there was a gang of thugs who chased away farmers and allocated themselves stands in Harare’s outskirts and beyond. The girl suspects she was taken to Beatrice along the Masvingo road.
Is there anyone who doesn’t know which group of people in Zimbabwe is associated with abduction, rape, looting, blindfolding and drugging or poisoning their victims? The police shouldn’t waste time. Come on Giffiths, get them.
Mandaza’s Ibboring Sunday Mirror never ceases to amaze us. The sun-burnt publication was at it again on Sunday with a ridiculous elementary mistake. In one of its front page pictures the Mirror had England’s Sheffield United forward Peter Ndlovu. The caption read: "He is among the top eleven (in journalism it’s 11) soccer stars of the year — Page 24." Before turning to the page, readers would have known that Peter was not among the soccer stars. What did you find on the back page — Caps United goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro. How Peter came in, it’s anybody’s guess. You can’t put such things beyond the Mirror. Like the Herald on Tuesday telling us on its front page that Stephen Nkomo is Matabeleland North provincial governor. When propaganda gets too much even its purveyors can’t tell where the truth lies.
Why does the French embassy think Ibbo Mandaza works at the Independent? This week the French ambassador dispatched an invitation to the Independent addressed to Mr and Mrs Ibbo Mandaza, "the chief editor" — whatever that means — of the Independent. Did Mandaza tell them he had an office at the Independent or the French embassy just assumed, for whatever reason, that he is based here? No, Ibbo does not work here. For the record, he works in Workington just next to Jongwe Printers! The other invitation was correctly addressed to Iden Wetherell, "the editor". What a combination!
A reader has sent the following piece: A farmer knocked at the Pearly Gates. His face was scarred and old. He stood before the man of fate for admission to the fold. "What have you done," St Peter asked, "to gain admission here?" "I’ve been a farmer Sir," he said, "for many and many a year." The Pearly Gates swung open wide as St Peter touched the bell. "Come in," he said, "and choose your harp. You’ve had your taste of hell."
Thanks to those readers still sending in e-mails from Nigerian fraudsters. The latest is from "Dr Clement Kaba" who says he is an accountant with the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja. He has millions of dollars left over from contract awards, he says.
The other is from the "secretary of the African White Farmers Co-operative of Zimbabwe", Kelvin Philips.
He writes: "After the last general elections in our country, where the incumbent president, Robert Mugabe, won the presidential election, the government has adopted a very aggressive land reform programme. This programme is solely aimed at taking the land owned by white African farmers for redistribution to black Africans. As such, this programme has attracted worldwide condemnation from the UN, world leaders including the British prime minister and the American president. This has also forced several white farmers to flee the country for fear of victimisation and physical abuse.
"About a couple of weeks ago, our headquarters in Harare was attacked and looted by supporters of the government of Mugabe and in the process they burnt down the whole building. Fortunately, we had a large portion of our collective savings kept in a safety deposit vault at the local bank…"
The rest is not difficult to guess at. What amazes us is that people still fall for these scams. And the Nigerian government, which likes to complain about the "undeserved" reputation Nigerians have abroad, does nothing.
With reference to Bishop Kunonga’s attempts to crush dissent in the Anglican Church, we have received the following queries from a faithful member of the Anglican flock:
l Can a bishop "ban" a choir? Has a "choir" ever been banned before? In such an instance, whom would the Anglican Church support — the choir, and members of the congregation, or the bishop?
lWhy would a bishop take the course of going to court to get a choir banned — is he not the head honcho of that particular church?
l On what legal grounds would a court actually "ban" a choir from attending a church?
Our correspondent says he can understand a court of law prohibiting persons from presenting themselves at a private domicile, but what would the opinion be of the Archbishop of Canterbury with regards to a bishop requesting a court of law to prohibit persons from attending church? Is this ethical?
The appeal to "ban" the choir has come about because, apparently, they would not sing when the bishop wanted them to, and then sang when he did not want them to. Isn’t this a bit odd, he asks?
To my mind, he should just re-arrange his own requirements regarding the actual times of singing, so that his requirements and the perceptions of the choir regarding his requirements, and the performance of such perceptions, take place more or less at the same time. I suppose he has to follow some sort of programme in order to vacate the building for other events, such as weddings, funerals, coronations, etc, but maybe a quota system regarding time spent singing, and time spent NOT singing could be derived, after consultation, of course with the errant choir, so that all parties enjoy a measure of "togetherness" regarding singing, and the timing thereof. This way he won’t get his cassock in such a knot.
I would assume, of course, that when this particular choir does actually sing, regardless of whether such singing is at the behest, or otherwise, of the bishop, that they all sing the same thing, and in conjunction with each other. If not, then I can fully understand the bishop’s frustration. And assuming, further, that such unison of singing is in accordance with the words commonly accepted as belonging to the hymns or songs being sung, as opposed to the little game we used to play at school, wherein we made up our own words to the hymns as we went along. (Although this may happen at Christmas with carols, I sincerely doubt that the choir of the foremost Anglican Church in the country would be as puerile as this.)
Given the assumptions above, I would recommend that instead of "banning" the choir, it should be agreed to overlook the bishop’s requirements regarding the actual time of singing providing the times for praying, kneeling, sitting, sermoning and collection plate all have timetables controlled by him in deference to his superior earthlyposition in terms of the hierarchical structure of the church to which they all belong.
Confused? Yup — so’m I!
Guess it’s a question of "how the Mitre are fallen"!"
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  Friday,  1 November 2002 
Zim Independent
Insiza outcome mirrors national paralysis
Zanu PF has again smashed its way into parliament in Insiza. It was the same brutal force used to grab the Bikita West constituency in February last year. In insiza, as in Bikita West, the election went without any incidents of violence, according to the police and the state media. Both have been instructed to hear no evil, see no evil, report no evil, an admonition they have adhered to with religious fervour.
And to ensure there is no evil, the government has made sure privately-owned newspapers have no access to these "war zones". That ensures that there are no atrocities and certainly no casualties.
But that is a fallacy Zimbabweans have allowed the government to perpetuate with vainglorious impunity. It would have been naïve in the extreme for anyone, let alone the MDC, to expect victory in the Insiza by-election. That would have been a perfect miracle of our time. Most of the MDC election agents and polling officers were arrested or harassed out of the constituency during the campaign period.
While Zanu PF’s propensity for violence is well-documented, not a single member of its agents was arrested for violence. Not even its candidate, Andrew Langa, who shot and wounded an MDC election agent only a few days before the election.
Instead, it was the victim of the shooting who was taken in for questioning. That incident alone serves as a microcosm of the plight of the embattled Insiza folk who have been beaten up, harassed and deprived of food so that they learn a lesson not to vote for the opposition. Come voting day and all of Insiza was overflowing with food which all along was nowhere to be found. This was the act of a magnanimous, people-oriented party that must be voted back into parliament.
So the outcome was as predictable as the sun will rise again tomorrow. The people of Insiza voted with their stomachs and terror behind them. If Zanu PF lost there would be more terror, torture and starvation. That was the message President Robert Mugabe’s war cabinet made clear to the people of Insiza. They were all ready for an all out onslaught against a starving and terrorised rural community far removed from the obscene glare of international publicity.
The most depressing thing about the electoral process and its outcome in Insiza is its symbolic mirror of the national paralysis in the face of Zanu PF thuggery, the arrogance of its officials and Mugabe’s majestical disdain for the entire nation.
After his controversial re-election in March, people expected Mugabe to tread carefully while trying to bring the people together after the brutalities of both the parliamentary and presidential elections.
Instead we have all been subjected to one insult after another in the name of his party and the chaotic so-called agrarian reform.
The youth militia trained at a huge cost to the taxpayer, themselves victims of ever-rising unemployment in a crumbling economy, are being used systematically to subdue the whole nation and buy Mugabe more time in power.
This Zanu PF problem is not for the people of Insiza or Kuwadzana or Mbare to solve. If we wanted to be charitable, we could say it has become an international or a regional problem. But the truth is that Mugabe has become a problem for the people of this potentially prosperous nation to deal with. Sooner rather later, the people of Zimbabwe must confront Mugabe’s brutality head on and stop apportioning blame to either Thabo Mbeki or Olusegun Obasanjo or the MDC.
It is not Mbeki, Obasanjo or the MDC whose rights and liberties are violated on a daily basis. We are the victims and it is only ourselves who can reclaim those rights and liberties and restore dignity and sanity to our motherland.
If Mugabe does not respect the people’s wishes and quest for democracy, it is because he has realised none of us deserves them.
Otherwise we should be ready to stand up for what we believe to be politically and morally right. Why should the people of Insiza sacrifice their own puny lives for the rest of the nation?
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News Analysis
  Friday, 1 November 2002 
Zim Independent
Zim journalists caught in a dilemma
Dumisani Muleya
THE decision by journalists to accredit with the government-controlled Media and Information Commission to continue working could plunge the pressmen into a dangerous minefield.
But at the same refusing to be licensed — which is what the official understanding of accreditation boils down to — could also have been equally perilous. Journalists would have been exposed to criminal charges and banned if they rejected the process.
The issue of accreditation thus effectively presents a conundrum for the embattled journalists. It has now transpired that the matter was simply the proverbial case of being caught in between a deep blue sea and the devil.
But journalists had made a decision and it was for accreditation. The prize for compliance could be heavy inasmuch as the reward for defiance could have been severe. The new deadline for accreditation is now November 21.
A paper done for the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)-Zimbabwe by legal expert Irene Petras for presentation at the journalists’ recent conference in Harare where the decision to register was taken, was enlightening insofar as the implications of accrediting and refusing to be licensed were concerned.
Once a journalist has been accredit he can work in Zimbabwe with the right to enquire, gather, receive, and disseminate information. The journalist can visit public bodies to investigate stories and interview individuals in those institutions. He can record audio or video footage and take photographs or film.
According Information minister Jonathan Moyo’s legislation, a journalist has the right to refuse to prepare reports or materials inconsistent with his convictions under their name, remove their name or prohibit the publication of a report prepared by him but distorted in the process of editing. A journalist can also write under a pseudonym.
An accredited journalist’s name would appear on the roll of journalists and he would receive a certificate of accreditation. This all sounds great but the overall intent of the law is ominous.
Herein lies the danger. Petras explains:
"An accredited journalist would be obliged to observe a code of conduct, which is enforceable by the commission. This code of conduct is drafted by the commission in consultations with organisations it considers to be representative of the profession.
"It is not mandatory for the commission to accept their input, and all journalistic bodies and representative organisations not approached by the commission have absolutely no say as to what constitutes acceptable conduct.
"This code of conduct has not yet been prepared, and therefore the journalist would be agreeing in advance to a document containing rights and duties of which he has no knowledge, and which could be contrary to his convictions."
Moyo’s commission is chaired by Harare Polytechnic journalism lecturer Tafataona Mahoso whose media record is not only vague but also untraceable beyond his weekly Sunday Mail columns and seminars. It is also stuffed with several other government apologists.
Petras says the powers of the commission should be the primary concern for journalists.
"To accredit, or not to accredit? That is not the first question," she said. "Before a journalist can begin to consider this he should make himself aware of how the authority responsible for accreditation is constituted and controlled, and its aims and objectives."
The commission is appointed by Moyo in consultation with the president. The minister fixes the period of the appointment of commissioners, terms and conditions of engagement, and their remuneration and allowances. He can suspend or dismiss members of the commission.
The commission, which is there to "ensure that Zimbabweans have effective control of mass media services", can act against journalists on comments — not proven evidence — from the public about the administration and performance of the media. It is empowered to "investigate, adjudicate and enforce their decisions by any means, save for detention in custody".
The legal parliamentary committee, which included sharp attorneys Eddison Zvobgo and Welshman Ncube, earlier this year ruled that the powers bestowed upon Moyo’s self-serving commission were unconstitutional. Journalists are challenging the purported media regulator’s powers in the courts. Petras says forcing a journalist to sign a contract with the commission on the basis of a non-existent set of rules and regulations would be simply illegal.
"To require a journalist to agree in advance to terms and conditions which are not only vague, but also completely undefined, is contrary to the law," she said.
"If there is no certainty about obligations to be created by the contract, then there can be no meeting of minds, and thus no agreement."
Petras observes that journalists should not be dragooned into registration under obscure terms.
"Therefore it could be argued that a journalist should not be obliged to enter into an agreement of accreditation with the authorities as the terms and conditions are uncertain," she said.
"The ordinary law of contract, an agreement can be set aside on the basis that it is vague. In this manner the obligation to accredit could be challenged and, if successful, set aside by the courts."
Observers say by agreeing to be licensed journalists have become part of the problem of engaging in unlawful contracts with the commission, while trying to challenge the same unconstitutional registration requirements.
But the more serious consequence of this decision is that by registering, journalists would put themselves at the mercy of the commission, which has the power to punish them for breaking the yet undefined regulations or, worse still, de-register them.
If the journalist is found, in the discretion of the commission, to have breached the code of conduct, he is subject to any of the following measures: deletion of his name from the register; suspension; restricted practice; payment of a penalty of up to $50 000 or prosecution by the Attorney-General.
"The journalist would also be subject to section 80 dealing with the abuse of journalistic privilege and open to criminal sanctions in the event that any of the provisions are contravened," Petras said.
However, Petras notes the ramifications of refusing to accredit could have been worse.
"The implications of failing to accredit severely restrict — in fact make it almost impossible — a journalist to practise his profession in this country," she said. "An unaccredited journalist cannot enquire, gather, receive, and disseminate information, which effectively restricts him from carrying out his work."
There are further sanctions for declining to accredit. Journalists become liable to criminal charges, including a jail term of up to two years.
"Whilst a journalist’s name is deleted from the roll, or whilst he is suspended, he cannot practise directly or indirectly by himself or in partnership or association or be employed in any capacity as a journalistic professional except with the written consent of the commission," Petras said.
Rejecting accreditation also affects media houses.
"An unaccredited journalist cannot practise as a journalist or be employed as such by a mass media service," she said.
"Apart from the effect on the journalist, this also has serious implications on mass media services, as their certificates of registration can be suspended, withdrawn or refused if they are employing an unaccredited journalist."
A mass media service operating without a valid certificate is also liable to a criminal offence and payment of a fine or imprisonment for up to two years, or both, as well the forfeiture of its products, equipment or apparatus to the state."
There are grounds for challenging the issue of accreditation, Petras said. Apart from a constitutional attack against accreditation — which by intent and design amounts to licensing — there are also other clear grounds for challenging the mandatory registration requirement.
"There is also the argument that one cannot consent to being accredited and bound to a non-existent code of conduct, as this would constitute a contract that would be void for uncertainty," Petras observed. If a journalist decides not to seek accreditation, there also exists the argument that section 79 of Act violates one’s freedom of expression."
In one of its recent rulings, the Supreme Court stated that "freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and that is applicable not only to information and ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population."
The court went further: "Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness, without which there is no democratic society."
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Local News    Friday, 1 November 2002  
Zim Independent
Bulawayo unveils $16 billion budget
Loughty Dube
THE cash-strapped Bulawayo City Council this week unveiled a $16 billion budget that will see rates and other tariffs raised by over 145% in the coming year.
The 2003 budget, tabled at the beginning of the week, comes against a $640 million budget deficit carried forward from this financial year.

The $16 billion budget will focus on on-going capital projects which include construction of schools, rehabilitation of city infrastructure, maintenance of the road network, procurement of sewerage equipment and completion of the Millenium Housing Scheme.

The budget was passed without incident after MDC and Zanu PF councillors were earlier on divided over procedures allegedly used by the chairman of the finance and development committee, Charles Mpofu before presentation of the budget.

Some councillors argued that Mpofu, a Movement for Democratic Change councillor, had not adequately consulted all stakeholders before tabling the budget.

The budget will be funded from rate increments that would see ratepayers fork out more in supplementary charges, refuse removal, sewerage charges and water.

The increments will be effected in two stages with the first 95% coming in January and the remainder in July.

Presenting the budget in the council chambers, chairman of the finance and development committee Mpofu said the increments were inevitable as a result of high interest rates and inflation.

"With inflation hovering around 139% and continuously rising, it would be an understatement to mention the need for a review of tariffs and charges," Mpofu said.

"Granted that the proposed increases are not what could be considered to be generous, consideration has to be given to the available choices, namely the collapse of the city or its survival.

"We deemed it appropriate to raise charges to these levels in order for the city to survive and with the speed with which the purchasing power of currency is being eroded, this could render the new charges immaterial," he said.

The Bulawayo City Council, owed over $400 million by the government and ratepayers, has relied on the open market for money to fund its capital projects.
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 Local News    Friday, 1 November 2002  
Zim Independent
Mid Airlines off to Jo'burg
Mabasa Sasa
MID Airlines, a local commercial passenger and cargo carrier, has expanded its service routes after launching its Harare-Johannesburg flight yesterday.
The company's managing director, Arnold Ndebele, said yesterday the Harare-Johannesburg flight would be on daily on a Boeing 737-217 with the capacity to carry 109 passengers.

"We wish to advise the flying public in Zimbabwe and the region that this is the beginning of greater things to come from Mid Airlines. We invite everyone to come and experience our art of exceptional flying," Ndebele said.

Mid Airlines also flies to Lusaka from Harare four times a week using a 10-seater plane and is enjoying "commendable support" from the Zambian flying public, Ndebele said.

He said: "Our passenger and cargo loads between Harare and Lusaka have been growing since we started flying this route at the beginning of October." Mid Airlines head of public relations, Fortune Ncube, said the company was in the initial stages of expanding operations.

"We are working on establishing and scheduling a Victoria Falls-Johannesburg flight as well as a Harare-Kinshasa route," Ncube said.
He said Mid Airlines had travel agents in Lusaka and Johannesburg that were helping them by making the public aware of what the aircraft service had to offer.
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Letters    Friday, 1 November 2002  
Zim Independent
Open letter to President Robert Mugabe

I AM writing to you as a member of Amnesty International - group 157, an impartial, non-political organisation concerned solely with the human rights of the people whom it works to protect.
Amnesty International has recently issued a new report on Zimbabwe titled Zimbabwe: The toll of impunity. I express concern at the on-going level of human rights violations in your country.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the perpetrators of past violations have not been held accountable for their actions and that this has promoted a culture of impunity, which is facilitating further violations.

Amnesty International's research indicates that many of these human rights violations, including threats, assaults, abductions, torture and killings, have been and are being carried out by state-sponsored militias composed of supporters of the ruling Zanu PF party, members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association and unemployed rural youths; and that by the end of 2001 these informal militia groups were supplemented with government-trained members of the Border Gezi Training Centre.

I express concern that these militia groups have established many bases throughout Zimbabwe from where they are able to commit human rights violations with impunity.

I express concern that the activities of militia have created "no-go areas" for journalists of the independent media and for civil society organisations wishing to investigate and report on a range of issues.

Evidence gathered by Amnesty International also shows that these militia groups commit human rights violations with the active support and/or acquiescence of government security officers.

I call on you to take immediate steps to end impunity for members of militia groups and take all possible steps to ensure that Zimbabwean residents, regardless of their political beliefs, are safe from human rights violations such as threats, abductions and torture.

I appeal for thorough, independent and impartial investigation of the activities of militias and for alleged perpetrators of human rights violations among them to be brought to justice. Finally, I urge you to take urgent steps to ensure that there are no no-go areas in Zimbabwe for local civil society organisations, journalists or international bodies to monitor and document allegations of human rights violations and to ensure that the police work impartially and professionally with local or foreign investigators, such as representatives from the African Commission, the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Community, or Special Reporters of the United Nations to end impunity and bring the perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.

I also call upon you, President, to rescind or repeal the Presidential Clemency order no. 1 of October 6 2000, so that perpetrators of violence protected by that order can be brought to justice without further delay.

Mile Nogues Dominique,
Amnesty International,
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