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

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Independent (UK)

Summit cancelled after Britain bans Mugabe henchmen
By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent
13 October 2003

A summit of international leaders in London next year, due to be opened by
the Queen and addressed by Nelson Mandela, has been cancelled after the
Government barred members of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwean regime.

A dispute in the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU), set up in the 1890s to
promote world co-operation and peace, has led to the withdrawal of next
year's annual conference from Britain in March, after several years of

The Foreign Office refused to break an EU travel ban on named members of Mr
Mugabe's disgraced regime. Officials said they would not grant visas to
associates of Mr Mugabe, including his right-hand man, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mr Mnangagwa, a former head of the state security services, helped to plan
an invasion of Matabeleland to crush opposition Zapu rebelsin which some
50,000 people died.

Also in the delegation was the Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, an
architect of the land reform programme.

Invitations to Mr Mandela and Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United
Nations, have been withdrawn, and bookings of Westminster Hall, where the
opening ceremony was due to be addressed by the Queen, have been cancelled.

Hundreds of leading parliamentarians and heads of state were due to attend
the event, which has not been held in Britain since Margaret Thatcher was
Prime Minister.

The dispute revives memories of February's Anglo-French fall-out, when
Jacques Chirac invited Mr Mugabe to attend the 22nd Franco-African summit in

The British delegation to the IPU, led by the Labour MP John Austin, argued
it would be unethical to break the EU travel ban, and any meeting would be
seen as sanctioning human rights abuses by the Mugabe regime. "I think the
entire British group of the IPU will be extremely disappointed by this
decision to withdraw the conference, but there are certain principles you
have to stick by," Mr Austin said last night. "The UK Government is
absolutely right to adhere to this ban."

African nations threatened to boycott the conference if it was held in
London, and France condemned Britain for adhering to the EU travel ban,
which applies to 78 members of Mr Mugabe's regime and was renewed in

After a row at the IPU's headquarters in Geneva on Friday, in which Britain
was called an imperialist, members voted against holding the event in London
without the banned Zimbabweans.

Organisers are drawing up plans to hold the summit elsewhere, possibly in

Bill Rammell, a Foreign Office minister, spent months trying to keep the
conference in London. "We did everything in our power to accommodate the
IPU's concerns, but at the end of the day we could not breach our
international legal obligations," he said.
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IPS news

The Melt Down of Liberty Continues Unabated

Wilson Johwa

HARARE, Oct 13 (IPS) - "Demonstrations here never last more than 10 minutes
before the police move in," photojournalist Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi remarks

It is another misleadingly tranquil day in Zimbabwe's capital city, Harare,
where Mukwazhi and two colleagues are keeping tabs on a group advocating for
a new constitution, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA). Members of
the organisation are due to march to parliament with placards, agitating for
a new constitution as the starting point to resolving the political gridlock
in the country.

However, Mukwazhi's comments turns out to be an understatement. Even before
the demonstration begins, it is quashed. Plainclothes police officers sneak
up on anyone wearing an NCA shirt and throw them into waiting vehicles.

Mukwazhi and the two other freelance photojournalists are bungled together
with the NCA demonstrators within seconds of snapping pictures of NCA
chairman Lovemore Madhuku who, with a small group of activists, tries to
unfurl a banner.

Altogether, 102 NCA activists are arrested. Together with the three
photojournalists they spend 24 hours in custody charged with "engaging in
conduct likely to breach the peace". This is an offence under an
all-encompassing law from the country's colonial past, the Miscellaneous
Offences Act.

Freedom only comes when they pay admission of guilt fines, even though they
all know they have committed no crime. "We paid in protest, not paying the
fine would have meant staying in prison," their lawyer, Alec Muchadehama

Once released Mukwazhi seeks legal action to have the admission of guilt
stuck down. Having three such admissions could cost any journalist his
hard-to-get official accreditation card as it is tantamount to having a
criminal record.

While the government of President Robert Mugabe digs it's heels in, the
right to peaceful demonstration is one less freedom Zimbabweans have.

Engaging in a public protest is like waiving a red flag in front of the
police who have a reservoir of laws to justify a clampdown. The main law
against gatherings is the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which
replaced another draconian colonial legislation, the Law and Order
(Maintenance) Act.

Since its enactment in January 2002, POSA has been used to target opposition
supporters, independent media and human rights activities. It restricts
their right to criticise the government, engage in or organize acts of
peaceful civil disobedience.

On October 9, a demonstration by the country's powerful labour organisation,
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), was also foiled before it
began. Fifty-five ZCTU members who had planned to speak out against high
taxation and the cost of living were arrested. Three of them were seriously
assaulted by the police.

Members of the group were cautioned and released. But charges might be
pressed later if the police decide to do so. However, the ZCTU remains
unintimidated. It has planned more demonstrations against high taxation and
inflation until Zimbabwe's budget is presented next month.

It's president, Lovemore Matombo, was among those detained. He says the most
distasteful irony was finding himself in the same cell that he occupied for
35 days in 1975 for resisting colonial injustice. "You really feel quite
depressed purely because we are an independent country and are supposed to
be democratic enough to allow the basic freedoms to flow in the normal way,"
he says.

The union leader says what disturbed him further was that they were hassled
merely for protesting against the well-known issue of taxation. For years
Zimbabweans, who are among some of the most heavily taxed people in the
world, have unsuccessfully sought tax relief from the government.

Three days after the ZCTU protest, a newly-formed anti-globalisation
coalition, the Zimbabwe Social Forum which is affiliated to the World Social
Forum, was denied permission for a peaceful march.

"Because of the legislation and the political environment in Zimbabwe, it
had to be a peace rally instead," said one of the organizers, Thomas Deve.
Matombo says the government's intolerance for civil disobedience is purely a
matter of clinging to power despite all odds.

The government stands accused of plunging the country into it's worst
economic crisis ever, with inflation at over 500 percent, unemployment at 70
percent and the local currency being worth a little more than the paper on
which it is printed.

Suppressing all forms of protest is the method of choice in perpetuating
control over a very frustrated population.

At the University of Zimbabwe, previously the country's melting pot of
protest, many students' rooms still do not have doors since soldiers knocked
them down during the "final push" mass action organized by the opposition in
June to force Mugabe to the negotiating table.

Talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been on
and off. To date no headway has been made.

Over the weekend at it's annual general meeting, the NCA warned members who
dare to speak out to expect a lot more State repression. "As we continue in
our conviction towards the established of sustainable democracy in Zimbabwe,
more arrests, torture, closure and even worse forms of oppression,
suppression and repression are certain to come our way," Matombo
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13 October, 2003

Zimbabwe’s Fragile Democracy on Trial Again


Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity, was today informed by police that he will stand trial on October 29 for ‘trying to overthrow a constitutionally elected government’.


This spurious and baseless charge was originally levelled against Mr Themba Nyathi in the immediate aftermath of the successful MDC mass action of 18/19 March when Mr Themba Nyathi was arrested and detained under draconian provisions contained in the anti-democratic Public Order and Security Act.


The announcement of Mr Themba Nyathi’s trial date demonstrates once again the determination of the Mugabe regime to silence all forms of dissent in Zimbabwe and to close down the democratic space. His trial will commence two days after the resumption of the treason trial of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai. Once again it is Zimbabwe’s fragile democracy that will really be on trial and the noble and universal values that we stand for as peace loving Zimbabweans.

MDC Information and Publicity Department



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      SA faces worst drought in 100 years

            October 13 2003 at 04:06AM

      With half of the country in the grip of a severe drought, forecasters
have warned that the biggest drought disaster in 100 years might be looming.

      This has put the spotlight on invasive alien vegetation, which
consumes seven percent of South Africa's water.

      Invasive alien plants destroy usable land, outmuscle
naturally-occurring flora and fauna, consume precious water resources and
aggravate poverty.

      It is estimated that 10-million hectares of South Africa's land
surface are currently affected - spreading at a rate of five percent a year.

      According to research published last week using satellite imagery to
generate vegetation maps - indicating areas of drought - the country is
presently experiencing drought conditions over most of the summer rainfall

      "The imagery shows shocking similarities with the disastrous drought
year of 1992."

      "If current conditions prevail, South Africa can expect one of the
biggest drought disasters in 100 years," the CSIR/SA Weather Service

      The 1992 season was one of the driest years in recorded history. About
70 percent of the crops failed, and it was estimated that half the
population in the affected areas were at risk of malnutrition, related
health problems and even starvation.

      An aggravating factor this year was the number of wild fires that
occurred in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces between July and
September, destroying thousands of hectares of grazing.

      Large numbers of animals are dying and farmers are being forced to
sell their livestock.

      The bad news is that the Zimbabwe-based SADC Drought Monitoring
Centre's long-term weather forecasts don't hold out much promise, either.

      "The south-western and eastern parts of the SADC region (South Africa,
northern Mozambique and Malawi, Seychelles, southern Tanzania and Namibia)
are likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall for the period October
to December 2003."

      The Drought Monitoring Centre goes on to forecast normal conditions
across much of Southern Africa between January and March 2004, with the
possibility of below-normal rainfall in the west - between March and June.

      So, yes, for summer rainfall areas, the rainy season is on its way.
But, no, it looks like it may be insufficient to turn things around in the
parched north-east.

      The WeedBuster Campaign 2003 cannot guarantee precipitation, but if it
helps to foster a collective societal response to the scourge of invasive
alien plants it will help to ensure that precious rainfall does not go to

      The theme for this year's campaign - Safeguarding Freshwater,
Biodiversity and Livelihoods - links the threats posed by invasive alien
plants to water security, ecology and poverty.

      This year is The International Year of Freshwater, and the WeedBuster
Campaign coincides with similar focus weeks in Australia and New Zealand.

      According to Dr Guy Preston, chairman of the Working for Water
Programme, it is widely accepted that invasive alien species are the single
biggest threat to South Africa's biodiversity.

      "In addition to the impacts on biological diversity and water
security, these invasive alien plants are also having very significant
impacts on the ecological integrity of our natural systems, the productive
potential of land, the intensity of fires, flooding, erosion, the health of
estuaries, water quality and the livelihoods of all those (and particularly
the poor) who depend on the life-support systems that these invasive alien
plants undermine," he told the World Parks Congress in Durban last month.

      Working for Water, initiated in 1995, is a multi-departmental poverty
relief programme implemented by the Department of Water Affairs and

      It has provided training and employment opportunities for more than 20
000 people, has been associated with more than 30 national and international
awards, and its budget has steadily increased, from R25-million in 1995/96
to R442-million this year.

      a.. Activities have been planned across the country, beginning with
the clearing of invasive alien vegetation from the country's smallest
national park - Groenkloof National Park - in Pretoria, on Monday.

        .. This article was originally published on page 4 of The Pretoria
News on October 13, 2003

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Mugabe eases tough media laws

      October 13 2003 at 03:48PM

By Cris Chinaka

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has approved the easing of tough
media laws targeting journalists accused of publishing "falsehoods," but
analysts say his government retains a big arsenal to attack press freedom.

A notice in a government gazette made available on Monday said Mugabe had
signed amendments passed by parliament to the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), including a replacement for a clause on
publishing "falsehoods" that the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional.

Before the amendments, the AIPPA simply made it an offence to publish
"falsehoods". But now the law says a journalist will face criminal charges
only if there is suspicion this was done "intentionally or recklessly".

      His government retains a big arsenal to attack press freedom
Conviction could result in a fine or two years in jail.

Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional lawyer and chairperson of a group
campaigning for a new constitution, said that although the amendments
appeared to relax press restrictions, the media legislation package remained
a threat to press freedom.

"One way of looking at these minor amendments is that they are aimed at
securing convictions in the courts, and that they still leave the government
with enough ammunition to deal with anyone in the private media if it needs
to," he told Reuters.

Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, signed harsh new
security and media laws last year in what his critics said was a drive to
stifle dissent and muzzle media as the country grapples with its worst
political and economic crisis in decades.

In February, President Thabo Mbeki - who has promoted a policy of "quiet
diplomacy" toward his northern neighbour - said Zimbabwe had pledged to
review parts of the media law seen as too restrictive.

Mugabe's delay in making the expected changes had led critics to call
Mbeki's policy ineffective.

The media law still requires journalists and media organisations to register
with a government-appointed commission and bars foreigners from working
permanently in the country as correspondents.

At least two dozen journalists have been charged under the act, including
the former Zimbabwe correspondent of Britain's Guardian newspaper, who was
deported earlier this year.

The government says the media laws are meant to bring professionalism in a
sector it accuses of promoting a Western-sponsored propaganda campaign
against Mugabe.

A month ago, police shut down the country's only privately owned daily
newspaper - The Daily News - after the Supreme Court ruled that its
publisher, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, was operating illegally as it
had not registered with the media commission.
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New Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act Now Law

The Herald (Harare)

October 13, 2003
Posted to the web October 13, 2003


The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, which
seeks to improve and correct certain anomalies and errors that came to light
since the law was promulgated last year, is now law after President Mugabe
assented to it.

In a notice in an extraordinary Government Gazette released at the weekend,
the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda said
President Mugabe had assented to the law.

Parliament approved the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Amendment Bill in June this year.

Part of the amendments include the insertion of a new section on the abuse
of journalistic privilege after the Supreme Court struck out section 80 of
the Act which made it an offence for a journalist to publish falsehoods as
unconstitutional in May this year.

The section made it an offence to publish a falsehood but made no reference
to the intention of such publication.

When the Supreme Court declared the section unconstitutional, the Government
was already working on amending the Act to correct the anomaly.

The new section makes publication of falsehoods a criminal offence only when
there is a deliberate intention to publish a lie or when the author of the
falsehood is totally reckless about whether the information is false or not.

A journalist who abuses his or her journalistic privilege by publishing
information which he or she intentionally or recklessly falsifies in a
manner which threatens the interests of defence, public safety, public
order, the economic interests of the State, public morality or health or is
injurious to the reputation, rights and freedoms of other people shall be
guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not
exceeding two years.

A journalist who publishes information which he or she maliciously or
fraudulently fabricated when knowing the statement to be false or without
having reasonable grounds to believe it to be true and recklessly with
malicious or fraudulent intent representing the statement as a true
statement shall also be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or
imprisonment not exceeding two years.

A new section on abuse of freedom of expression states that a person who
makes use of a mass media service for the purpose of abusing freedom of
expression by publishing falsehoods shall be guilty of an offence and liable
to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding three years.

The new Act amends the principal Act by repealing section 35.

The section now states that any person who, when required under any
enactment to supply to a public body any personal information verbally or in
writing about himself or herself or a third party, supplies any information
which he or she knows to be false or does not have reasonable grounds for
believing to be true, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or
imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both such fine and

Section 22 of the principal Act is amended and now states that a the head of
a public body may refuse to disclose to an applicant personal information
concerning the applicant if such disclosure will result in a threat to the
applicant's or another person's safety or mental or physical health.

The same section has also been amended so that issues of personal safety are
not mixed with issues of national security.

Section 87 is amended to provide for a right of appeal to the Media and
Information Commission about the manner in which a mass media service makes
a correction of information injurious to a person's reputation, honour and

The new Act exempts the following from registration - a mass media service
founded by or under an Act of Parliament, a mass media service consisting of
the activities of a person holding a licence issued in terms of the
Broadcasting Services Act, a representative office of a foreign mass media s
ervice permitted to operate in Zimbabwe and the production of publications
by any enterprise, institution or other person that are disseminated
exclusively to members or employees of that enterprise, association,
institution or other person.

Section 2 of the principal Act is amended by the insertion of definitions of
dissemination, journalist and legal representative.

Under the same section, the new Act amends the principal Act by repealing
the definition of mass media service or mass media.

The new definition states that mass media includes any service, medium or
media consisting in the transmission of voice, visual, data or textual
messages to an unlimited number of people and includes an advertising
agency, publisher or, except as otherwise excluded or specially provided for
in this Act, a news agency or broadcasting licensee as defined in the
Broadcasting Services Act.

Mass media products means an advertisement, the total print or part of the
total print of a separate issue of a periodically printed publication, a
separate issue of a teletext programme, the total or part of the data of any
electronically transmitted material or audio or video recorded programme.

Mass media service means any service that produces mass media products
whether or not it disseminates them.
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World Faith News

"Walk With Us," African Ecumenical Leader Tells U.S. Churches

From "Nat'l Council of Churches" <>
Date Mon, 13 Oct 2003 10:35:45 -0400

For Immediate Release

Walk With Us, African Ecumenical Leader Mvume Dandala Tells U.S. Churches;
New All Africa Conference of Churches General Secretary Visits NCC, CWS

October 13, 2003, NEW YORK CITY - Determination to equip Africas churches
to respond powerfully to the continents pressing needs characterizes Bishop
Mvume Dandala, the new head of Africas leading ecumenical organization.

Dandala, 51, a South African who in September became General Secretary of
the Nairobi, Kenya-based All Africa Conference of Churches, does not mince
words when he describes Africas daunting challenges of tragic poverty,
HIV/AIDS and other killer diseases and conflict brought by political

But he doesnt stop there.  Sometimes when people see the wars that
continue to afflict us, they dont see the positive things, he says - a
continent trying to deal with its problems and the enormous potential of
Africas churches to equip, empower and protect the people.

Dandala, known for his work in conflict resolution at the height of the
apartheid era in South Africa, is the immediate past Presiding Bishop of the
Methodist Church of Southern Africa.  He led a World Council of Churches
Living Letters delegation to the United States in November 2001, meeting
with delegates to the NCCs annual General Assembly among others to wrestle
together with questions raised by the attacks of September 11, 2001.

October 6 in New York City, he met with staff of the National Council of
Churches USA, Church World Service and the United Methodist Church after
participating in a U.S. speaking tour and teach-in organized by Africa
Action, the oldest Africa advocacy organization in the United States.
Dandala also spoke at an October 5 breakfast forum at The Riverside Church
in New York City and co-officiated at Holy Communion at morning worship

The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), established in 1963, is a
fellowship of 169 national denominations and 35 national Christian councils
across the continent, comprising an estimated 120 million members.

The AACCs program seeks to equip the members for witness and service in
such areas as Christian and family life education, theology, interfaith
relations, youth, women, development, refugee and emergency services, and
information.  Nov. 22-27 in Yaounde, Cameroon, members will gather for the
AACCs 8th  continent-wide assembly, under the theme Come, Let Us

Some of us are very passionate about what this network could do, Dandala
commented to CWS and NCC staff.  We want to be sure the churches come
together in a meaningful way.

That is easier said than done, he acknowledged.  Travel and phone calls
between countries can be difficult and expensive, letters can take up a
month to reach their destination and Internet access is scarce.
Interconnectivity, taking our future into our own hands, together, is key,
he said.

In response, Church World Service is assisting the AACC with computer
hardware, software and networking upgrades based on a needs assessment visit
last year.  The project is one of several collaborations between CWS - the
global humanitarian agency of the NCCs 36 member churches - and the AACC, a
longstanding partner.

This week CWS Executive Director John L. McCullough presented Dandala with a
down payment of three new laptops as part of the broader package of
assistance.  Dandala responded, Your commitment to help us with these
computers will help us strengthen our networks in a vast continent that
doesnt have much in the way of digital connections - but needs them more
than ever before.  Maybe CWS is just thinking that with computers our
letters can be written more efficiently, he said.  For us they empower the
church to speak with more authority to the things happening on the continent
at this time.

African church life is a mixed picture, Dandala acknowledged.  He expressed
sadness and distress at churches that take peoples money and give nothing
back. In the HIV/AIDS and other crises, some churches are in the
forefront of the struggle to care but others are making things difficult,
teaching, for example, that AIDS is Gods punishment of Africa.

Dandala said the AACCs mission includes bringing African church leaders
together to consider the kind of Christianity we need in Africa -
ecumenical, socially sensitive, healing and transforming - the kind of
salvation that has a direct positive impact on peoples lives.

On the political front, Dandala called the establishment of the African
Union in 2002 something of a miracle at the moment.  The AUs predecessor
body, the Organization of African Unity, had as a cornerstone principle
non-interference in other countries affairs - predicated, ironically, on
respect for boundaries that had been imposed by colonial powers.

That principle has been the downfall of the continent since 1957, which has
seen the inability to do anything when evil takes place somewhere, Dandala
said.  But now the AU agrees that we have a moral obligation when one of
the leaders on the continent is destroying his or her country. For example,
he said, it was unthinkable a few years ago that heads of governments would
intervene as they did in Liberias civil war, convincing Charles Taylor to
step down as President.

We wish it could happen more, he said, expressing distress at watching
Zimbabwe destroy itself.  Its a fact that land distribution in Africa is
badly skewed against the poor, the ordinary people.  We need to find a
political solution that conveys that democratic values can be used
meaningfully in resolving conflicts on the continent.  Some of us as
churches have said that to (Zimbabwes President Robert) Mugabe.

Concluded Dandala, Churches are like the veins and arteries in the body of
Africa.  Yes, we are the church in Africa, but we are not alone - we are
part of the worldwide church.  Many world powers are interested in Africa
not to build but to plunder, not to empower but to frustrate, he said.  We
look to the churches worldwide and say the only bulwark that can protect us
is the powerful collective voice of the churches to say, Give the people a
chance, and to walk with us.


NCC Media Contact: 212-870-2252/2227
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Daily News


Zanu-PF are communists

My fellow Zimbabweans, most of us are seeking to understand what is
happening in our country but it’s straightforward. Let me give you another
way of looking at our problem, in fact we have always had this problem. Our
liberators, Zanu Pf are communists and their political party is a communist
party too. Their claim to be democratic but consider the following facts:

1. Before the great fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and going back, the
leader of the communist country was addressed as First Secretary, hence R.G.
Mugabe is your first Secretary for those that belong to Zanu PF. The manner
in which Zanu PF is structured with the politburo being the highest organ
that makes all decisions my friends, that all comes from communism

The Constitution grants sweeping powers to the President, making him the
person to name the government while the Parliament is restricted to
participate in setting the national agenda and - most importantly – the
president and first secretary passes the yearly budget in a communism State,
does that sound any different from Zimbabwe and how Zanu PF has set our
country. The term Executive President should make you understand better who
makes all the rules.

I can go on and on and give more examples of how Zimbabwe is being run by a
communist party that claims to be pro-democracy and yet we are not allowed
to express ourselves, journalists are not allow to write the truth and our
freedom of association is restricted by the government. Pretty soon we will
be told by the government who to talk to and who not to talk to. My fellow
countrymen communism has failed and we all know that. Democracy is about a
society run by the people for the good of the people, all of us. Today our
society is run by a few members of the politburo and only for the benefit of
Zanu PF elite, the amazing thing is that even their loyalist are suffering
too and they still don’t care.

This shows how politically immature we are as a society, why can we not pick
and choose who we want to lead us without lose of human life or distraction
of property. Why can one person not understand that he is not longer wanted
by the people and leave in peace?

Who ever you are, if you voted for Zanu Pf and continue to vote for them you
are supporting communism. Look at the history here if you don’t believe me,
most of your Zanu Pf officials have been trained in Russia one time or the
other, look at Zanu PF’s friends Libya and Congo. There is no democracy in
those countries and to other Sadc heads of states on how there are dealing
with the Zimbabwean crisis I can only say “Shame On You!”

Saying we are democratic is one thing and actually being democratic is

The end is near!

Simbarashe Mujuru

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PR COMMUNIQUE - October 13, 2003



Written by the former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, about
a non-violent movement fighting for democracy in Burma, this op-ed in the
Washington Post today, I hope, will give heart to those fighting for
democracy in Zimbabwe:

The Soul of a Nation
By Vaclav Havel
Sunday, October 12, 2003

Just recently friends of mine sent me a couple of photographs of Aung San
Suu Kyi. The nonviolent struggle of this woman for her fellow citizens'
freedom dwells in my soul as a stark reminder of our struggles against
totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe.

Our nation, the Czech Republic, together with the entire free world, has
observed with great concern the Burmese junta's refusal to cede power and
the subsequent brutal intervention to quell the protest of its citizens
after the victory of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy in Burma's
1990 elections.

The Burmese authorities began to allow her to move around her own country
only a year ago. It was then that the photos that have so captured my
interest were taken. Despite the ban on information about her and despite
the junta's intimidation, the Burmese people have always learned quickly by
word of mouth of her presence, and thousands upon thousands of citizens
overcame their fear and gathered upon this occasion to listen to her.

I have seen other photos from Burma as well, showing men in uniforms who
demand to be celebrated as if they were ancient kings, appearing before
staged audiences that betray the motivations of fear and resignation. These
men -- armed to the teeth -- shudder at the sight of unarmed people who are
able to overcome their own fear and stand as examples to others. They were
so terrified to see the photos of the crowds hailing Suu Kyi that they
blocked the road, slaughtered many of her fellow travelers and detained her
in May. Perhaps they have foolishly convinced themselves, as many of their
fellow dictators have, that their ungrateful nation cannot see the good
they do.

I recall that my friends and I for decades were asked by people visiting
from democratic Western countries, "How can you, a mere handful of
powerless individuals, change the regime, when the regime has at hand all
the tools of power: the army, the police and the media, when it can convene
gigantic rallies to reflect its people's 'support' to the world, when
pictures of the leaders are everywhere and any effort to resist seems
hopeless and quixotic?"

My answer was that it was impossible to see the inside clearly, to witness
the true spirit of the society and its potential -- impossible because
everything was forged. In such circumstances, no one can perceive the
internal, underground movements and processes that are occurring. No one
can determine the size of the snowball needed to initiate the avalanche
leading to the disintegration of the regime.

There are many politicians in the free world who favor seemingly pragmatic
cooperation with repressive regimes. During the time of communism, some
Western politicians preferred to appease the Czechoslovak thugs propped up
by Soviet tanks rather than sustain contacts with a bunch of dissidents.
These status-quo Western leaders behaved, voluntarily, much like those
unfortunate people who were forced to participate in the massive government
rallies: They allowed a totalitarian regime to dictate to them whom to meet
and what to say. At that time, people such as the French president,
Francois Mitterrand, and the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, Max van der
Stoel, saved the face of the Western democracies by speaking and acting
clearly. By the same token, politicians such as Japan's Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi and Philippine Foreign Secretary Blas Ople redeem the
Asian reputation by not hesitating to speak the truth. The regime in Burma
is, as a matter of fact, the disgrace of Asia, just as Alexander
Lukashenko's regime in Belarus is the disgrace of Europe and Fidel Castro's
regime in Cuba of Latin America.

In Burma, thousands of human lives have been destroyed, scores of gifted
people have been exiled or incarcerated and deep mistrust has been sown
among the various ethnic groups. Human society is, however, a mysterious
creature, and it serves no good to trust its public face at any one moment.
Thousands of people welcomed Suu Kyi on her tours, proving that the Burmese
nation is neither subjugated nor pessimistic and faithless. Hidden beneath
the mask of apathy, there is an unsuspected energy and a great human, moral
and spiritual charge. Detaining and repressing people cannot change the
soul of a nation. It may dampen it and disguise the reality outwardly, but
history has repeatedly taught us the lesson that change often arrives

"To talk about change is not enough, change must happen," said Suu Kyi
during a tour among her people. The Burmese do not require education for
democracy; they are and have always been ready for it. It is not necessary
to draft a "road map" for establishing freedom of the press or for
releasing political prisoners. The will to act now would be sufficient to
fulfill both. But that is apparently what is missing in Burma. Aren't there
obvious flaws in a road map if the road for those who set forth on the
journey to democracy is blocked and if they are slaughtered or inevitably
end up in prison?

The writer is former president of the Czech Republic.
© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Re Open Letters Forum No. 160 dated 07 October

As an overseas observer of the ongoing drama of Zimbabwe, I found Joubert's
letter quite refreshing from the usual platitudes expressed through this

Of course he is being sarcastic and radical, but sometimes we need to be
stirred into action, but even so rhetoric alone will not do it, we have to
believe in what we do and we have to have faith, faith in ourselves, faith
in whatever God we worship, faith in democracy; and most of all faith in
our fellow men and women.

Life has always and will always be a compromise between what is required
and what is achievable, the saying Great Oaks from small Acorns grow is
true and we should never forget the higher you go the greater the fall.

Keep up the good work, Cheers Jo-An.


Letter 2: Re ZNSPCA Communiqué

I find the article about the dairy farms in Beatrice very disturbing. I
feel the article loses its impact because the owner of the farm is not
named. We should be told the name of the farm and the name of owner of the
Dairy herd, where he lives and where he works. The government is very quick
to name & shame anybody who falls foul of it then why not the same for
everyone. The De Jager property being ransacked whilst the governor and
others are watching comes to mind. I do not suggest that any accusations
are made because then you lay yourself open for a lawsuit. Just what was
found and the personal details of the owner and where the farm is so
interested people can go & look for themselves. Lets name & shame these

John Kinnaird


Letter 3:

Dick and I have been greatly saddened by the Debate and Bitterness stirred
up on all sides in the recent correspondence. We desperately hope this
letter offends no one, as no offence is meant, but we wish to place on
record our feelings.

We would like to thank and commend farmers past and present and all
townsfolk for their support and encouragement received in all the years
since we first needed help after the first contact on our newly acquired
virgin farm in January 1970.

When the war hotted up in mid 70's we would have found it hard to survive
without the active support of our community, "Bright Lights" and the
"Farmer Sticks" from many other areas and members of the Security Forces
both Regular and Part time, made up mainly of Urban folk, both Black and
White, who were giving time away from their jobs, businesses and homes at
severe cost in many cases. When we were first designated in November
1997, up to the time we were finally forced to leave our farm in September
2002, we received sympathy and support from All, not forgetting our Farmers
organisations. We would like to mention especially the help we received
from our Farming Community and the African Community around us. Till the
time we sadly left the Country for Personal reasons in March 2003, we have
received kindness and Thoughtfulness from everyone and still do.

So Please we all need each other, can we not wrap up this sad and
debilitating debate? There is very little anyone can do in a situation
where there is a Total lack of Law and Order and no support from the
Security Forces which is the case Now. Our thoughts and Prayers are with
our family, Friends and Community at Home.

We count ourselves very fortunate, though heartsore, to live where we do
now. We have received encouragement from the Community here who
incidentally are also threatened.

Regards Dick and Sue Marr
Winterton. Kwazulu Natal.

P.S. It may amuse many to see Dick and I delivering meat, Dick pushing the
trolley and me checking the stock in at the "Tradesmen" entrances of posh
hotels in the Drakensberg.


Letter 4: Names

Lots of letters call for working together, networking, etc. but are
unsigned.  The first step is surely to know who you are.  Have your name
published with your letters/poems/thoughts for the day so that when we meet
we can share.  Having your name attached is the first step to freedom from
oppression and fear.  This regime relies on fear to survive.

Also name the people who are trying to intimidate you, be it an army chef
or former worker.  Intimidation can work both ways.  If they know or find
out their identities are recorded and in print they might become a bit more

Good luck and God Bless to you all wherever you may be.

Alan McCormick


Letter 5: Correct Terms

I have noticed that in certain news media the current occupiers of stolen
property are referred to as the "New owners", as if their presence was
legal and legitimate.

I believe that where we see or hear such inaccuracies, each of us should
take the time and effort to point out to the offending media that though
there may be new OCCUPIERS, actual OWNERSHIP has not changed.  These
properties are still OWNED by those who bought and paid for them.

OWNERSHIP implies a legal status that mere occupiers (or invaders) do not



Letter 6: Farmers in Touch

I was sad to receive an E mail from the CFU on Friday to say that they felt
an association ought to be formed to keep farmers off the land in touch.

Reading the Jag letters recently I have felt that we are becoming more and
more divided. Farmers on/off the land farmers/town folk surely the time
has now come for us to put differences aside and work together for the good
of the country/agriculture We have your organisation which I feel has
offered tremendous support can this not be the "association'? Why have
another one we surely have the same aim? What better example than for the
leaders to get together and lead?!

Juliet Anon please!


Letter 7: Re Open Letters Forum No. 160 dated 07 October

Mmmm The letters of recrimination go on. I am a townie and I remember well
the deal struck by the CFU with the ZANU-PF kleptocracy in the late 80's to
benefit the farmers to the disadvantage of local business. For those of you
who don't remember it was in the form of a statutory instrument that
limited all companies to a maximum mark-up of 25% when selling to a CFU
member. Naturally such an edict was unenforceable, as it took no account of
variations in operating costs, staffing needs, stocking requirements or
anything else. What it did do was display the simplistic attitude of the
commercial farmer to life in general and business in particular. Naturally
I, along with many others, ceased to do any business with commercial

When the idiotic "agricultural revolution" got underway many of us in town
got involved in politics and tried in every way we could to head off the
catastrophe we could see coming, I even went to a few CFU meetings to see
what could be done to help. It became apparent, virtually immediately, that
the white farmers were doomed to destruction. No cohesive plan was in
evidence, just rugged individualism and a "we'll make a plan" attitude. So
collective destruction was the inevitable outcome.

The best I could do was offer, free of charge, safe storage for their
moveable kit to farmers who had been removed from their properties. My yard
filled up with a number of farmer's equipment, some were grateful, some
took it as a natural right and I should have been happy to be allowed to
have their stuff on my premises. After two and a half years of watching
farm employees working on the kit and jacking it up for sale and a constant
stream sold equipment leaving and fresh kit arriving I have put my foot
down and asked for my yard back as I need the space.

Those farmers having made a plan to become transport operators have now
started to appear at my office with trucks for repair and lo and behold
what do I find. The same simplistic approach to life as I saw in the
eighties. He is convinced that everybody is ripping him off, he knows more
about trucks than my professionals and never hesitates to let us know how
he stripped down his Massey Ferguson and so has a perfect understanding of
a 14-litre hi tech diesel. He will try and cut each and every corner and
blame everyone else for the failure of his approach, drag out payment and
dispute every invoice.

All in all I can understand why there was not as much sympathy for your
plight at the time. It is an indisputable fact that without your skills,
hard work and self-sufficiency this country will starve, forex inflows will
never recover to any meaningful extent and the destruction of the natural
resources will know no bounds. But with those attributes comes a package
deal of arrogance and self-centeredness that is breathtaking. I, as a
businessman, know full well that my business will be taken from me when
Mugabe deems it politically expedient to do so. I also know that the
CZI/ZNCC will not lift a finger to prevent this from happening as that
leadership will benefit from the "Hondo ye-business". The difference is
that what I do is not an essential part of the lifeblood of Zimbabwe, it is
just business, what you did was and by dint of the make-up of your
collective characters you lost it for all of us.

Take care

Keith Battye

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - October 13, 2003



The Agricultural Experiment.

The Zimbabwe Independent of 10.10.2003. printed a report on the wonderful
agricultural experiment that has affected so many people in the country
over the last three years.

Following on from respected Zimbabwean agriculturalists such as the CFU and
the late Mr. Hunzvi being called in to monitor and assist with 'the
experiment', The Independent has indicated that local and international
experts have now been called upon to make assessments on the experiment.

According to Vincent Kahiya, a report on the experiment has been published
by the highly respected former senior civil servant Dr. Charles Utete.
Kahiya's article continues to say that the report has now been handed over
to UN Secretary General Dr. Kofi Annan "to convince the international
community that reorganization would take place on the farms to correct

It is most reassuring and exciting for Zimbabweans to have such high level
consultancy on agricultural research carried in the country, and it can now
be assumed that they can look forward to studying reviews done by Dr. Annan
and his local UN co-ordinator Victor Angelo.
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Commuter Operators Demand Different Fares

The Herald (Harare)

October 13, 2003
Posted to the web October 13, 2003


CONFUSION reigned in the transport sector yesterday as commuters coming into
town were charged varying amounts for the same distances.

This followed an announcement by the Government that it would issue a new
fare structure for urban routes this week in a move set to return transport
service system to normal.

Some operators however, immediately effected their own increases resulting
in the confusion, as the increases were different.

Commuters travelling from Highfield into town were charged $500 while others
paid $400.

Those travelling from Mabvuku were charged $500 in conventional buses and
amounts ranging from $600 to $1 000 in the smaller kombis, which led to
confusion over the exact fares.

It was the same for Mufakose residents who were paying between $400 and $1
000 depending on the vehicle they boarded and what time of the day it was.

Mr Joel Muchidza of Mabvuku said the increases by the commuter operators
were not surprising as they had a culture of trying to benefit whenever an
opportunity presented itself.

"Commuter operators are suffering just like the rest of us and whenever
there is a fuel price increase or a Press report that something has changed,
they immediately hike fares.

"When we saw the newspaper articles saying new fares might be announced
soon, we knew that we were in trouble," he said.

Police spokesman, Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said the police would
continue cracking down on commuter omnibus operators who effected unapproved
fare increases.

He said those that were arrested for overcharging on numerous counts would
be taken to court for prosecution.

Some commuter operators have for the past three weeks withdrawn services in
a bid to press the Government for higher fares. This resulted in commuters
facing serious difficulties to get transport to and from work.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Commuter Operators Services president, Mr
Felix Papaya recently attributed the transport blues to the inability by
operators to buy vehicle spares.

He said operators were failing to repair their vehicles because of the low
fares they were charging.

The last urban transport fare gazette was implemented in May this year and
is still effective.

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Homelessness On the Rise - UN

The Herald (Harare)

October 13, 2003
Posted to the web October 13, 2003

Tawanda Kanhema

IT never rains but pours for the thousands of homeless people in Harare.

Jostled around and trampled upon by the hostile realities of life, most have
sought refuge in odd places, where they languish in grinding poverty.

The United Nations Housing and Settlements Programme Report recently
released saddening statistics, indicating that at least one billion people
were living in slums around the world and this figure could double by the
year 2030 if it is not properly addressed.

In Harare, unplanned settlements have sprouted in the high-density areas,
industrial sites, riverbanks, backyards of the city's most prestigious

Dumpsites too have suddenly become home to many homeless people.

The UN report attributed the continual increase in the number urban
slum-dwellers to the ever-growing phenomenon of rural to urban migration,
which is still rampant in developing countries, mostly in East Asia and

It also described slums as poor areas that lacked basic services or access
to clean water, with poorly built and overcrowded houses.

This would seem to be an understatement if one looks at the living
conditions of people in parts of Dzivarasekwa extension, Mbare and Hatcliffe
extension all in Harare and Porta Farm, near Norton, where people are living
in abject destitution.

Residents for instance in Dzivarasekwa Extension Phase 2, use water from
unprotected wells closely dug next to pit latrines that contaminate
underground supplies.

Wells have been dug at random in the suburb, which has not been serviced
since its establishment in 1996.

Mr Sam Chaikosha, of the Civic Forum on Housing said it is imperative to
introduce affordable building technology in order to solve the worsening
housing crisis in Zimbabwe.

Other stakeholders called for greater co-operation between government and
the private sector in the battle for the provision of housing.

Local government, according to analysts, needs adequate allocation of land
and financial resources for it to be able to provide decent accommodation
for the thousands of people in the slums.

However, a faint glimmer of light seems to be emerging at the end of the
tunnel as government recently announced the acquisition of at least 65 farms
in Harare and other major urban centres for the building of low cost
accommodation to eradicate housing problems.

Minister of Public Works, Housing and Manpower Development, Cde Ignatius
Chombo this week announced on UN Habitat Day, that 20 farms had already been
subdivided and serviced in Harare for the construction of low cost housing.

He also announced that $375 million had been invested to upgrade and build
houses to cater for those living in slums of Harare, Bulawayo and other
cities' high-density suburbs.

While this would change the face of Harare and provide decent shelter for
the thousands of people living in squalid conditions in suburbs around the
city, a fraction of society, apparently irredeemable from destitution, will
remain without a roof above their heads.

And, even when loans become available for housing schemes, those living in
slums would not afford to buy the 'low cost' houses earmarked for them,
neither will they be able to fit into the housing loan schemes.

Having retired from society after failing to cope with the escalating cost
of living, unemployment and rampant disease, some of Harare's poor have
formed their own sub-society surviving on begging and converting garbage
into laundry soap.

A visit to Pomona dumpsite revealed a society made up of pathetic, stranded
passengers on a fast-moving train of urban life, where the homeless use
liquid waste to make soap.

At least 12 000 homeless people live in plastic shacks around the city, with
illegal sub-communities and clusters sprouting at bus stations, in the
central business district and industrial sites.

These people live primarily on begging.

The other cluster, which has sought refuge at the dumpsite, is made up of
elderly people who are seemingly more determined to feather their nests and
fend for themselves.

"People call us scavengers but we are fending for ourselves," protested Ms
Fiona Munemo, who lives at Pomona dumpsite.

"We make soap from liquid waste and sell it for a living," she said.

They seem not aware that decent accommodation, health-care and sanitary
facilities are a basic human right. Their growing children have never set
their feet in a classroom.

Pathetic living conditions in Mbare, Harare's oldest and poorest suburb,
where an average of 40 people share a single toilet while six people share
one room, have forced most people to opt for shacks in industrial areas, on
the banks of Mukuvisi River and along the railway line.

According to Homeless International, 50 percent of the people in Mbare have
been on the council's housing waiting list for the past 10 years.

As a result, most of them have given up hope of ever being able to put a
roof above their families, moving to shacks and slums.

The most worrisome fact is that most of the people living in slums and on
the streets are young children, orphaned by the Aids scourge, who live with
their young siblings. Estimates show that at least 12 000 children are
currently living on the streets and up to 780 000 have been orphaned by Aids
in Zimbabwe.

Most of these orphans will find themselves on the streets as extended
families, who are supposed to cushion them, fail to cope with the harsh
realities of economic problems.
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Sunday Mirror (Zimbabwe)

Makoni leads succession race
Innocent Chofamba-Sithole

SACKED former finance minister, Simba Makoni is the most popular candidate
to succeed President Robert Mugabe and appears to be Zanu PF’s best bet
against the opposition should snap presidential elections be held today, a
recent opinion poll has revealed.

Conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) in August this year,
the survey also found that 60.4 percent of respondents expect a democratic
selection process in the ruling party’s succession issue as opposed to
Mugabe picking his own heir.

A total of 1351 questionnaires were administered in two randomly selected
districts in each of the country’s 10 provinces.

On which candidate they would vote for should Mugabe retire today and snap
elections were held, the majority (35,8 percent) threw their weight behind
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
The respondents were also overwhelmingly in favour of Tsvangirai contesting
the next presidential election as the MDC candidate. However, of paramount
significance in the context of the ruling party’s succession race is the
fact that Makoni, with 15,2 percent of the vote, emerges as Zanu PF’s most
popular candidate. Party chairman and special affairs minister, John Nkomo
lags behind him with 5,6 percent while the ‘Son of God” and Mugabe’s alleged
anointed heir, Emmerson Mnangagwa follows closely with 5,5 percent.
Interestingly, while Nkomo and Mnangagwa received the bulk of their support
from their home provinces (Matabeleland and Midlands, respectively), Makoni
enjoys support from all provinces nationally, save for Matabeleland north
and south.

In both the Midlands and Masvingo provinces, home to the Karanga ethnic
group to which Mnangagwa belongs, Makoni scored better than the ruling party
’s secretary for administration and current Speaker of Parliament. With a
margin of error of plus or minus five percent, the survey is also not
without its humourously shocking exposes. Information and publicity minister
Jonathan Moyo, who is privately taunted by some ruling party stalwarts as a
latter-day Zanu PF convert, clinched 3,1 percent to upstage party
juggernauts Dumiso Dabengwa, Sydney Sekeramayi, Eddison Zvobgo and Nicholas

Viewed by residential area, 14.2 percent of the rural respondents favoured
Makoni as Mugabe’s successor, against 6.9 percent for both Mnangagwa and

The MPOI surveys have been dismissed in the past as non-objective on account
of their seemingly partisan results that always favour the opposition, even
though subsequent political reality has gone on to disprove their accuracy.
Political scientists at Sapes Trust, a regional social science research
institute, have questioned MPOI’s methodology, describing it as unscientific
and its survey results as therefore flawed. Other observers also disgareed,
for instance, that Makoni could trail Tsvangirai in popularity ratings as a
possible national leader, saying one of the reasons why Zanu PF strategists
considered Makoni as a presidential candidate was that he had the capacity
to draw votes from the MDC since he also commanded a large following within
the opposition itself. Besides the fact that he could also woo the white
world, they argued, Makoni could be a unifying factor as a compromise
candidate for the presidency. Senior MDC officials were this year alleged to
have made overtures to Makoni to accept the presidency of the opposition
party in what was perceived as an acknowledgement of, and an attempt to
exploit his popular national appeal.

The survey results also reflect a drop in Tsvangirai’s popularity rating. In
March last year, Tsvangirai secured 42 percent of the national vote in a
presidential election that generated heated controversy over its freeness or
fairness. The drop could be explained by the electorate’s growing
disillusionment with politics as the debilitating economic crisis continues
to deepen. Also, the failure of the MDC’s ambitious “final push” strategy in
June, which was intended to stampede Zanu PF out of power, had the negative
effect of stripping the party and Tsvangirai of their aura as the harbinger
of imminent change. The “final push” to a large extent served to pre-empt
hope among MDC followers and also confirmed that the ruling party’s real
power base – the state’s coercive apparatus – was still very much

Significantly, therefore, the survey found an overwhelming 80 percent in
favour of dialogue as the most pragmatic option out of the current political

But the dominant sentiment among respondents is that both parties were not
genuinely committed to dialogue.

“While a significant percentage points to Zanu PF as the stumbling block to
negotiations, it must be noted that the MDC is not completely absolved from
blame. It appears therefore that the people expect both parties to climb
down from their positions even if it is by different degrees,” the report

Meanwhile, maverick Zanu PF luminary, Zvobgo, whose prospects of succeeding
Mugabe have virtually set, could be a decisive factor in the ethnic dynamics
that underpin the succession race. According to the survey, he remains by
far the most popular ruling party political figure in Masvingo province.
This may yet prove a major asset or liability for any Karanga aspiring for
the presidency. Popular assumptions in the ruling party write off candidates
from the greater Mashonaland region, home to the Zezuru/Korekore ethnic
group, as serious contenders for the national throne. In the rationale of
ethnic rotation of national leadership, the Zezuru/Korekore have already had
their turn at the helm of the state through Mugabe. The current crop of
politicians from the greater Mashonaland region is also perceived as weak
and lacking in national stature. Manicaland, too, has not been able to
present a provincial luminary on the national political stage since the era
of Maurice Nyagumbo and Edgar Tekere. The province has been joked about as
having only produced district leaders like Didymus Mutasa of Mutasa
district, Kumbirai Kangai of Buhera district, and the late Ndabaningi
Sithole of Chipinge district. Politburo members Mutasa and Kangai still
remain the most senior Zanu PF politicians from Manicaland, although their
control of, and influence over the province has drastically waned.

While these ethnic dynamics favour the Karanga in the race for State House,
protracted factional feuds have proved to be Masvingo province’s Achilles’

Zvobgo’s appearance before the ruling party’s disciplinary committee on
charges that he refused to campaign for Mugabe in last year’s presidential
election has been successively postponed in recent weeks.

Zanu PF politburo member and alleged Zvobgo ally, retired Air Marshal Josiah
Tungamirai, strongly warned that expelling Zvobgo from the party would bode
ill for the factionalism-riddled province, which faces an imminent
parliamentary by-election in Gutu North constituency. The seat fell vacant
after the death on September 20 of Vice President Simon Muzenda, himself a
leading son of the province aligned to a faction opposed to Zvobgo. “It’s
very dangerous to expel Zvobgo as this may divide the province,” Tungamirai
was recently quoted by a local weekly as having said. Although Makoni enjoys
a national appeal that none of his competitors have, he is however a
political weakling. He has no political power base of his own and owes all
the positions he has held in public life to appointments by Mugabe. In the
late 1990s he appeared to take an active interest in the affairs of his home
constituency in Makoni district, but was hounded out by Mutasa who saw him
as a competitor for his provincial mantle. Makoni appears to be the
reluctant politician who lets fate direct his ship rather than take an
active role himself. Conversely, Mnangagwa, who has long been perceived as
the frontrunner to succeed Mugabe, does not believe in sitting on his
laurels and waiting upon Lady Fortune’s providence. Stung by his defeat at
the hands of Nkomo for the party chairmanship in 1999 and later by an MDC
minnow in the 2000 parliamentary elections, Mnangagwa has marshalled a
strong campaign to win back the town of Kwekwe to Zanu PF. In the recently
held local government elections, the same electorate that snubbed Mnangagwa
retained the mayoral seat for the ruling party. His position as secretary
for administration gives him the latitude to influence the composition of
the ruling party’s provincial structures, which will ultimately decide on
who succeeds Mugabe at Zanu PF’s congress next year.
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