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

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'Rule of law under attack in Zimbabwe'
          October 13 2004 at 03:50PM

      Zimbabwean courts that will rule on Friday in the treason trial of the
country's main opposition leader are part of a corrupt legal system that has
become a tyrannical instrument of repression which favours government,
critics say.

      Independent judges and lawyers who represent government opponents have
been attacked and threatened, while judges have been driven from the bench,
some fleeing the country for their lives, critics and analysts say.

      "There is no doubt that the government has manipulated the legal
structure to keep its iron grip on power," said Gugulethu Moyo, a Zimbabwean
lawyer now working for the International Bar Association in London.
"Actually what we are seeing is the rule of law itself is under attack."

      The treason trial of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is often cited as an
example of government attempts to use the cover of law to crush opponents.

      Both the International Bar Association and Human Rights First, a New
York-based organisation formerly known as The Lawyers Committee on Human
Rights, have said the procedure raises fair trial concerns. But both groups,
trying to avoid any impression of trying to exert undue influence, will not
comment specifically before the verdict is handed down on Friday.

      President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party ignore court
rulings they don't like.

      "If judges are not objective, don't blame us when we defy them,"
Mugabe said in speech two years ago.

      To strengthen its hold on power and its control of the legal system,
critics charge the government has packed the benches with pro-government
judges, including many who have openly accepted inducements such as some of
the best farms seized by the government in a controversial land reform

      "The government has done a great job of co-opting the legal system.
There is no separation of power, everything answers to the executive," said
Raj Purhoit, a Human Rights First spokesperson in Washington.

      Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who implemented changes to the
judiciary, said judges had to be politically correct. He said that
"Eurocentric" judges who were regarded as being in conflict with other arms
of government and perceived as constituting "the main opposition to the
ruling party" would have to go.

      If judges behaved like "unguided missiles, I wish to emphatically
state that we will push them out," he said.

      But Chinamasa has consistently denied that Zimbabwe has intimidated
judges. He says the government is committed to the rule of law and an
independent judiciary. Criticism to the contrary, he says, comes from groups
and countries with a bias against Zimbabwe.

      Chinamasa said that changes in the judiciary were needed to make its
composition conform to the racial balance of the country.

      "The systematic reform was really a politicalisation of the
judiciary," said Moyo, the spokesperson for the International Bar

      Anthony Gubbay, the former Supreme Court chief justice, was driven
from the bench by ruling party militants who threatened his life for ruling
against the government. He resigned after the government refused to offer
him protection.

      Some judges or magistrates had to flee their courtrooms after they
were stormed by militants. One magistrate was severely injured when he was
dragged from the bench by ruling party militants and later beaten after
ruling against the government.

      Purhoit said that to strengthen its grip on power, the government also
has passed laws that arm it with sweeping powers to intimidate opponents and
silence dissent. Through draconian new security and media laws, it has
effectively killed constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech and a
free press.

      The American state department, in its latest annual human rights
report on Zimbabwe, noted the government had closed down the only
independent daily newspaper and had beaten, intimidated, arrested and
prosecuted journalists who published anti-government articles.

      It said Zimbabwe's government has continued a "systemic,
government-sanctioned campaign of violence targeting supporters and
potential supporters of the opposition."

      The report said there had been extrajudicial killings by security
forces, and that ruling party and youth militias, tightly controlled by
senior government and ruling party officials, had killed, abducted,
tortured, beaten, abused and raped government opponents.

      The state department also described conditions in Zimbabwe's prison
system as "harsh and life threatening."

      Purhoit, the Human Rights First spokesperson, said the legal system
has been completely corrupted and that every element of it now is used as an
instrument of repression.

      "It is getting worse, and worse and worse," he said. - Sapa-AP
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Sunday Times (SA)

Mugabe's sister accused of exploitation

Wednesday October 13, 2004 14:28 - (SA)

HARARE - Hundreds of families made homeless by a police raid in which their
huts were burnt down on a farm in Zimbabwe's Mashonaland West Province have
accused President Robert Mugabe's sister Sabina of exploitation.

In recent weeks police have begun evicting "new peasant farmers" from farms
in a move the settlers say is designed to clear land for senior members of
the ruling Zanu-PF party.

The evicted farmers say the ruling party ordered them onto the farms in
early 2000.

"The Zimbabwe Landless Farmers Association (ZLFA) is urging the minister of
state for land reform, John Nkomo, to stop the processing of 99-year leases
with immediate effect because the leases were being given to undeserving
people who came through the back door," read a statement from the newly
formed ZLFA's chairman Moses Mazhande.

"Our organisation is calling for the immediate disbanding of the eviction
board headed by deputy police commissioner Godwin Matanga which has embarked
on a violent and disorderly eviction of the poor and landless people of
Zimbabwe to accommodate the rich and politically powerful," Mazhande added,
saying the ZLFA would "lead a fresh wave of farm invasions if the corruption
and disorderly distribution of land is not stopped".

The landless farmers say that farm invasions to evict white farmers were
ordered by President Robert Mugabe and then cabinet secretary Charles Utete
in February 2000.

Soon after the eviction of white farmers began, Zimbabwe's state-controlled
press published the names of thousands of peasant farmers who had been
allocated land under the country's "land reform programme".

"In our view the ministry of lands and agriculture used our names to mislead
the people into believing the programme was transparent," said Mazhande.

Meanwhile former residents of a farm acquired by senior Zanu-PF officials
are living in makeshift shelters on the side of the road. Many say their
food stores were destroyed during their evictions.

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Mail and Guardian

Zim opposition claims voters' roll cut

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      13 October 2004 10:32

Zimbabwe's main opposition party on Tuesday told Parliament that authorities
have reduced the number of registered voters in urban centres, the party's
traditional stronghold, ahead of next year's parliamentary polls.

David Coltart, the secretary for legal affairs for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), told Parliament his party believes the number of
voters in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo has been cut by 15% since
elections in 2002.

"In urban areas there has been a reduction of registered voters, compared to
2002," Coltart said.

The MDC claims it lost parliamentary polls in 2000 and presidential polls
two years later because of intimidation and electoral fraud.

The party has threatened to boycott polls scheduled for next March if
President Robert Mugabe does not implement electoral reforms.

"On our analysis, for example in Bulawayo province there is a 15% reduction
of voters on the voters' roll compared to the voters' roll we had in 2002,"
Coltart said.

After being cautioned by the Speaker of Parliament not to make allegations
against government officials who were not present to defend themselves, the
legislator said his claims were based on a "preliminary analysis" of the
voters' roll and were not "an assertion of absolute fact".

Most ruling-party members were not present in Parliament and debate was
adjourned until Wednesday. -- Sapa-AFP
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Zim govt accuses UN of 'ambush tactics'

October 13, 2004, 10:45

The Zimbabwean government has accused the United Nations Economic Commission
for Africa (ECA) of "ambushing" it by releasing a report citing bad
governance in the country.

The ECA report was released at the Fourth African Development Forum of the
Africa Union conference in Addis Ababa. Zimbabwe's outspoken Jonathan Moyo,
the information minister, criticised the UN for releasing the report before
his delegation had been given the opportunity to read it.

"The Zimbabwean delegation reiterates that it was unprocedural, unfair and
unacceptable for the ECA to circulate this report as it was being presented.
Because this was not done, the report ended up assuming the character of an
ambush," Moyo said. Details of the report were not immediately available,
but the UN has repeatedly raised concerns of the breakdown of the rule of
law in Zimbabwe. - Sapa
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Angola Press

Zambia taps into expertise of Zimbabwean farmers

Lusaka, Zambia, 10/13 - Zambia has continued to reap benefits from the
presence of experienced white farmers from neighbouring Zimbabwe with the
price of wheat suddenly nose-diving on the local market, while tobacco
harvest has spiralled in recent times.

The price of wheat has gone down from US$320 to US$280 per tonne, according
to the Agricultural Marketing Information Center at the Ministry of
Agriculture and Co-operatives.

Government has not provided full statistics on amount of wheat harvested
this year as the process has just begun and would end after October.

But with the expertise of the white Zimbabwean farmers most commercial
farmers in Zambia this year took up wheat production in May, and their
harvests are already finding their way to the millers, who in the past dealt
only with imported grain.

Earlier this year, white farmers from Zimbabwe, who were uprooted under the
country`s controversial land reform policy, were also credited with the rise
in the volume of tobacco leaf harvested on Zambian commercial farms.

Since the arrival of the white Zimbabwe farmers, Zambia`s tobacco output has
jumped from about four million to 22 million kilograms.

White farmers from Zimbabwe have settled in the central and southern
provinces, with some working on Zambian farms as supervisors and managers of
already existing establishments.
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Daily News online edition

      Book explores the land issue in Zimbabwe, South Africa

      Date:13-Oct, 2004

      Blood and Soil - Land, politics and conflict prevention in Zimbabwe
and South Africa.

      Published by the International Crisis Group, Brussels, Belgium;
September 2004; 221 pages;

      THIS is a well-researched book, the result of collective effort by a
number of people under the umbrella of the International Crisis Group that
relied a lot on field work and consultation with specialists.

      In the foreword, Gareth Evans, the president of the ICG says the
stakes involved in Zimbabwe and South Africa on the land issue are of
tremendous economic and social consequence.

      "As the situation in Zimbabwe has painfully demonstrated, if land
issues are handled poorly, conflict of one kind or another is almost
inevitable," said Evans.

      The book examines and explains the historical context of land, from a
legal perspective, taking into consideration the fact that colonisation did
not take into account the need for justice and fairness in land acquisition
in both South Africa and Zimbabwe.

      In the case of Zimbabwe, the book highlights the fact that land was
the raison d'etre of the 16-year armed struggle that left thousands of
people dead.

      It is clear that land remains as emotive an issue as it was during
colonial days in both Zimbabwe and South Africa.

      In the case of Zimbabwe, the book takes a swipe at the British South
Africa Company, which under the direction and funding of Cecil John Rhodes
of Britain, was granted a charter by the British government to take over the
land that was later named Rhodesia but renamed Zimbabwe in 1980.

      The British asserted sovereignty over all land in the country in 1884
under the Matabeleland Order in Council. The book advocates the just and
equitable redistribution of land in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia,
countries whose colonial masters continued to own large tracts of fertile
land even after black majority rule, yet the blacks remained crowded on
small tracts of unproductive land.

      The book notes that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his ruling
Zanu PF party "have increasingly relied on selective enforcement of the law
and political violence to maintain their hold on power. Zimbabwe's economy
has been in virtual freefall, with inflation climbing over 600 percent at
the end of 2003 before dipping down to around 500 per cent in April 2004."

      It adds that the poor manner in which land redistribution is being
done in Zimbabwe has worsened racial and ethnic polarisation, posing the
danger of the country failing to move toward an equitable and racially
non-discriminatory society.

      The researchers highlight the adverse effect of HIV/AIDS and
persistent drought in Zimbabwe, which have seen life expectancy dropping to
37 years from a high of 67 years, according to World Health Organisation

      The book traces the land issue in Zimbabwe from 1980 when the country
attained independence until the early 1990s when the redistribution of land
was temporarily abandoned by the government partly because of lack of funds
and also because of the disorderly manner in which early resettlement had
been done.

      Chapters five and six of the book look at the land invasions
instigated by former freedom fighters led by Chenjerai Hunzvi, the emergence
of a strong opposition party in the form of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), the defeat of the government's constitutional referendum and
the fast-track land reform programme.

      It is clear, from the book, that Mugabe used the land issue as an
election tool in both the 2000 and 2002 elections which his party won amid
amid great controversy, violence and international condemnation.

      The Zimbabwean case is concluded aptly: "Vandalisation of the economy
by President Mugbe and Zanu PF has ensured that the land issue will need to
be revisited in a comprehensive fashion."

      The authors looked at the South African scenario critically and warned
that something needs to be done now to avert what is happening in Zimbabwe.

      The wrote: "Effectively addressing land reform requires a level of
political openness and inclusiveness that has often proved challenging for
governments in the region and donors alike. Because of its sensitivity and
complexity, land tenure reform is by nature a time-consuming process that
requires significant institutional development."

      This absorbing book is a must read for any serious scholar,
journalist, politician or layman who wishes to come to grips with the real
issues of land within the sub region.

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Daily News online edition

      Maize seed crisis mirrors government's clear lack of foresight

      Date:13-Oct, 2004

      Most farmers know that one doesn't fatten a beast at the sale pen.
Surprisingly, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resources seems
not to be aware of this important fact.

      The rainy season is on us yet there is not enough maize seed for the
farmers. At this late hour, major seed producers are frantically running
around neighbouring countries to source maize seed.

      The current shortage of 19 000 tonnes of maize seed will be met by
imports from South Africa, Malawi, Botswana and Zambia.

      It is clear that the responsible authorities did not do enough to
ensure that maize seed is made available to farmers nationwide at the onset
of the rains.

      The nine-member parliamentary committee on Lands, Agriculture and
Rural Resources chaired by Zhombe Member of Parliament Daniel Ncube is as
blameworthy as the ministry itself for the shortage of maize seed.

      They should have advised the government earlier on that the levels of
maize seed could not meet demand. The members must have been embarrassed
when they heard representatives of the major seed producers tell them that
the available maize seed was inadequate.

      Yet the irony is that maize is the country's staple food and
agriculture is the backbone of the economy. During the last five years,
Zimbabwe has depended a lot on food aid from the donor community, most of it
from the World Food Programme (WFP).

      In May this year, the WFP estimated that at least five million
Zimbabweans were in dire need of food and starvation was only averted
through the hand outs.

      But the government, covering up for its lack of planning and poor
management continues shamelessly to deny that there is a food crisis.

      Yet the same government is quick to convert the very food aid to its
political advantage by giving it only to members of the ruling Zanu PF

      That criterion will be used again in the allocation of agricultural
inputs as the ruling party goes into high gear, determined to remain in
power at the next polls in March. - Editorial

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Global Aids Fund Accused of Political Bias

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

October 13, 2004
Posted to the web October 13, 2004


Zimbabwe's Health Minister, David Parirenyatwa, has again accused the Global
AIDS Fund of political bias following rejection of his country's appeal for

Zimbabwe recently appealed an earlier rejection of its HIV/AIDS and TB grant
proposals, which were turned down by the Fund in July "for technical

Fund spokesman Tim Clark told the UN news service, PlusNews, that "sadly,
neither of the Zimbabwe appeals was successful".

However, Mary Sandasi, the director of a local support group, Women and AIDS
Support Network, said she believed the Global Fund was "mixing issues" and
had "a hidden agenda".
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In this issue:

 o Hectic time o Help a friend o Collect certificates o Terrific news
 o 3 months left
 o Those damn dogs o Contact us


There have been 100 more requests to be entered on the Valuation Consortium
(Valcon) data base since our August newsletter. The response from
Matabeleland has been particularly enthusiastic and our thanks go to
individuals who have encouraged others to sign up in their own best
interests. Our special thanks go to Rob Rosenfels and Charlie Pienaar who
have put in a tremendous amount of effort in this regard.

As a result, one of our team who enters the information into the computer
described the last month as "A really hectic time - we have been very
busy." To date 1 900 properties have been registered with 150 pending.


Would clients please make a plan to help their absent or recently
dispossessed friends and neighbours. The problem? As mentioned last month,
a number of land owners' postal and email addresses are no longer correct.
As a result essential mail is being returned to us. What seems to be
happening is this:

1. Although off their properties some land owners initially retained their
postal addresses in rural towns e.g. Chinhoyi. They have since relinquished
these but forgotten to advise business contacts of their new address OR the
post master/mistress in the relevant post office is not forwarding mail.

2. Some email addresses are also not functioning although we know the
person is still in Zimbabwe. For instance one of our clients, recently
forced off his farm and now living in a small town cannot be contacted -
perhaps the "settlers" took his computer when they took the farm.

Why we are appealing to readers for their help is because we don't want to
publish the list of out-of-touch land owners and prefer to use the bush
telegraph. So please liaise with anyone who you think might be affected and
ask them to contact us with their new addresses. Recent developments (read
Martin Redfern's Down the Line) means it is now vital for Valcon to be in
touch with clients. Email: or phone Harare (04) 746926.


Don't forget to come to our offices to collect your registration
certificate. If this is difficult email us and we can discuss a plan. Due
to astronomical increases in stamps we are no longer able to post the
certificates. Again would readers please help their absent friends and
advise them that they need to arrange for someone to collect.


Sceptics, cynics and fence sitters will be surprised - but hopefully
encouraged - by the news of the coalition between organisations
representing dispossessed farmers. Read more about it in Down the Line with
Martin Redfern.


Valcon plans to conclude the registration and verification exercise by 1
December this year. This means landowners still have time to register but
need to do so as soon as possible. Email us at: or else
take a look at our web site:

with Martin Redfern

The pressure is on in Manicaland with farmers being pushed off or about to
be, and interest in registering with the Consortium increasing. C K Holland
tells me from Mutare that he has some 10 farms to complete on behalf of
clients and that will be a happy task for him, although certainly I
encourage farmers to complete their own forms with the benefit of their
intimate knowledge of what they might have expected to describe as their
own farms. In the Valuation Consortium's early days, Manicaland was under
very little pressure and hence registrations slow in coming. That has all
changed now and Manicaland farmers in particular - together with those from
other areas - should please take heed of the proposed cut off date for
registrations being the end of December. All participating firms will give
every assistance to those who, like me, tend to file forms in the bottom
drawer with a mental note to do something about it tomorrow, and don't.
This is truly an important exercise towards the compensation exercise and
readers are seriously urged to get on and register if you haven't already.
Another very meaningful step is the agreement to form a compensation task
force to comprise representatives of ALL farming organisations working in
tandem and without rancour with a view to hastening the compensation
process or restitution of farms.  The initiative is basically a joint one,
with a totally non-political and non-confrontational outlook and can only
be good news for all interested parties, in particular you the farmers
awaiting compensation, or a genuine move towards it. And finally, having
moved to Bulawayo about six weeks ago to open the auction business, I have
experienced an extreme change of lifestyle, and this is the damned dogs
fault.  When we moved off the farm three years ago, to 1 1/2 acres in
Mutare, they were astonished to learn that they were not the only dogs in
existence. We are now on 1/2 acre in Ilanda, and they need walking on the
racecourse nearby - good for them and good for me, no doubt, but no more
popping into the clubs or boozer for a refreshing tipple before facing Mrs
Redfern of an evening after dark. However, this new regime was disturbed by
C K Holland who arrived from Mutare to assist with the first sale with a
decided thirst. Suffice to say the Brass Monkey did a brisk trade during
his two day stay and I am now on the road to recovery albeit with a
querulous liver. Don't forget - don't leave it too late before you


The Valuation Consortium: Harare (04) 746926,
Redfern Mullett & Co: Harare (04) 746654,,
Holland & Redfern: Byo.:(09-882944/5/6),
GRL Farm Sales: Harare (04) 776255,
Burgoyne Estate Agents: Marondera (079) 24133,
J.Pocock & Co.: Byo. (09) 70753,
Purkis & Co.: Harare (04) 570203,
Holland & Redfern: Mutare (020) 64303,
CC Sales Harare: (04) 252253,
CC Sales Gweru:



JAG Hotlines:
(091) 261 862 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 205 374
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
(011) 431 068
                                we're here to help!
263 4 799 410 Office Lines
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JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM 11th October 2004

Email: ;

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


"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

                                              --- Mahatma Gandhi


Letter 1.  Subject: Open Letter Forum

Dear John

I wrote this email last year on 26 October 2003 and having seen that
Justice Makarau has reversed the expulsion of the settlers on Little
England farm and the furor going on about ownership of River Ranch and its
diamonds in Beit Bridge, I wonder if the time has come when we will revisit
the property rights issue? Dear Fellow Zimbabwean Farmers

You may well who cares about property rights?

Its a strange thing, life......

All those people who so gaily have "taken up their rights to land" are
going to find that they have a very transient right to the land. When a
bigger chef comes along or a stronger war vet, or a bigger group of green
bombers who suddenly fancy the piece of land that the "new" farmer has
spent so much money on....he is going to start looking around for a means
to secure his ownership of his piece of land. He is going to find that his
nebulous piece of paper from the lands office or the rural council or the
governor or his minister or who ever gave him the patronage to use the
piece of land, will be valueless in the face of a bigger force.

He will then have to find a way of securing his title to the property.

And so it is when those very people who have taken the land away from us,
have to try and resort to the law to secure their property that we will
start to revisit a man's right to title to his property.

Yours sincerely
Jean Simon

Letter 2.  Subject: Bushveld

The Bushveld.

Africa has a bug. Its never been identified, has no name but all who have
lived in Africa know it exists and that they might have it. Somehow it
never leaves you once you're infected and no matter where you go - it never
lets you go altogether.

At this time of the year I just love the wild open spaces that are called
the bushveld. It is difficult to describe to someone who has never seen it,
but all who have can instantly recall what it is like. Its October -
yesterday it was 40 degrees Celsius in the shade and everything is dry and
bleached. The tall grass is either burnt or white and the trees are either
carrying a full flush of new leaves or are bare and still. Arriving at the
edge of an escarpment, you crest a rise and there it is - stretching out to
the horizon. Grey, harsh, beautiful.

It is not an easy land - it's full of strong contrasts and it is not
forgiving. The soils are varied and are both rich and poor, rainfall is
limited and then only for about 4 or 5 months a year. Nights are cool,
early mornings fresh and crisp and the days hot with deep blue skies
stretching as far as the eye can see. The long dry winter is followed by
the violent storms of summer, rain on parched ground, that smell of the
first rains on the dry earth, the flights of flying ants.

The nights are very special - the Milky Way blazing across the sky lit by
millions of stars. The yellow moon rising above the earth and the
springtime roar of the frogs, crickets and night birds. The flowering trees
- the Knob Thorn with its mop of dense yellow flowers and thick scent. The
new leaves of the Mountain Acacia and Msasa colored from deep burgundy to
light green, the splash of green as the wild figs and the Pod Mahogany
comes out. The cicada beetles in the Mopani veld.

The anticipation of the rains and with it new life make this landscape very
special as it teems with all sorts of life. Hundreds of different species
of trees and shrubs, birds and animals - not forgetting the insect life.
The spectacles we often see - millions of Rose Beetles coming out at night.
The splashes of red from the many varieties of aloes and the Erythrina. By
comparison, the countryside in more gentle climes may be green and lush,
but they have little of the character and lure of the African Bushveld. The
rivers, raging torrents in the summer, slow hot streams in the winter on
wide beds of sand and stone. The long deep pools that hold all sort of
threats - crocodiles, hippo and disease. The splash of the many varieties
of fish from the famous Tiger to the grey Vundu.

Such country also breeds different kinds of people; perhaps Namibia is the
best example of this with the proud Herero, the tall German/Afrikaners, the
Sen and the people of the Namib. But in Zimbabwe we have the Tonga,
wonderful people who have lived on the flood plains of the Zambesi for
centuries, The Venda of the Limpopo Valley - gentle people with great
wisdom and a penchant for laughter. I have a special place for the older
people in the Bushveld, the deep furrows of time and the wisdom and humor
in their eyes. Somehow the cynicism and shallowness of the modern world has
missed them. They are deeply embedded in their land - unlike many of us who
are just tourists and bystanders. To be among them is to be instantly at
home, welcome and free and respected, always to come away with a small gift
- no matter how poor your hosts might be. Their dignity in rags, the hats
with no crowns, the rough hands callused by years of hard manual work. The
clinking of the cow bells on the oxen and donkeys as they forage for
something to eat.

Some years ago I visited a Zimbabwean, who had reached the pinnacle of
success in Germany, married a German girl and had settled in Munich. He
told me that he had been to see the film "Jock of the Bushveld" and had
felt deep emotions when he had heard the call of the Emeraldspotted Dove
and had seen the dust rising from the feet of the cattle in the film. He
said, after 20 years in Europe he could still smell the Lowveld and many
times longed to feel the hot African sun on his arms and head.

Many look at us and ask why we stay?  No fuel, high prices, corrupt
government, no freedom of speech and a daily diet of racism directed at all
who are not drawn from the ruling elite and the tribe. Why do we battle on
- fighting a cause which many say is not ours? Are we not aliens in a
hostile world? Then we travel to Europe and we discover that that is in
fact where we are alien, to the US and find that we are strangers. We come
home and find that we have more affinity to the people here than anywhere

This is our home in every way and we are right to fight for a better life
for all the people who live here. Africa is only the "hopeless continent"
because of leadership. We can help change that and so we fight on. This
week we see that Blair's "African Commission" is meeting in Ethiopia. I
sigh with despair as I hear them talk about debt relief and aid. These are
not solutions - they may in fact simply make the situation worse.

Do you want to know why we Africans are poorer than we were 25 years ago?
Just look at Zimbabwe. Give us aid - you might as well pour water on the
desert sand. Erase our debt - You achieve little except to secure the
balance sheets of the multilateral institutions that in many respects are
partially responsible for our troubles and then invite a fresh round of
State borrowing for all the wrong things.

No what we need is real democracy. The freedom to vote for who we think
will solve our problems best and if they don't - freedom to throw them out
when they fail. What we need is responsible and accountable leadership - in
our villages, towns and cities and in our State House. We look at the
failure this week of the Asian countries to agree on a plan of action to
force the Military Junta in Burma to give the people their rights and we
sigh with frustration. How long must we wait for the world to wake up to
the real nature of such regimes and the plight of those who live under such

But for those of us who live under Mugabe - we have the Bushveld into which
we flee when the atmosphere in the political jungle becomes just too
oppressive or the problems in our factories cloud our horizons. After a
week on the Zambesi river or the lake, or a few days of hunting or simply a
break away to a national park, we come back refreshed and with a renewed
determination to see that we eventually win this war and see our beloved
country given a fresh start.

Eddie Cross Bulawayo, 9th October 2004

Letter 3.  Subject: Open Letter Forum

Mail for LINDA NAIDOO, Harare

I am trying to get hold of Linda Naidoo of Harare, who is the new employer
of my former maid, Maria Musekiwa. Sorry, Linda, I have lost all your
details on my computer, i.e. phone numbers, e-mail address, etc. Some
hardware was changed on our computer at home and information got lost in
the process. I am sure JAG will work their miracle again. Should you read
this, please contact me on e-mail: Thanks again to JAG
for their good work. Johanna Schermuly UK

Letter 4.  Subject: Mitch and Mathew Edwoods

Dear JAG

Does any one know the present address of Mitch or Matthew Edwards ?  I
believe they are some where in the UK


Ian Brereton
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.


JAG Hotlines:
(091) 261 862 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 205 374
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
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Verdict in Treason Trial of Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Expected Friday
Peta Thornycroft
13 Oct 2004, 16:28 UTC

Zimbabweans are bracing themselves for the verdict Friday in the treason
trial of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. If found guilty Mr. Tsvangirai
could face the death sentence.
Morgan Tsvangirai is accused of hiring Canadian businessman Ari Ben Menashe
to plot the assassination of President Robert Mugabe before presidential
elections in March 2002.

The year-long trial concluded last February and Mr. Tsvangerai been waiting
since then for the verdict.

Political commentator and human rights activist Brian Kagoro said the
charges, coming as they did when the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC,
was only 30-months-old has almost crippled the party.

He said the two top MDC leaders, who had to surrender their passports
because of the trial, were unable to travel in Africa to explain the young
party's policies.

Mr. Kagoro, co-chairman of the Zimbabwe Crises Coalition, said the trial had
also crippled the Movement for Democratic Change financially and forced it
to scale down its political protests to avoid aggravating the treason

The state relied on two pieces of evidence, Mr. Ben Menashe's testimony, and
a tape he secretly recorded when he met Mr. Tsvangirai in Canada in late
2001. The state said the tape recording proved that Mr. Tsvangirai tried to
hire Mr. Menashe for the assassination plot.

Mr. Tsvangirai denies the charge and says the conversation recorded in
Canada was a discussion about possible political scenarios ahead of the
presidential poll, including the possibility of Mr. Mugabe's sudden death
and its constitutional implications.

Mr. Tsvangirai's two colleagues, one of them MDC Secretary-General Welshman
Ncube, were earlier acquitted for lack of evidence.

Mr. Tsvangirai was defended by famed South African advocate George Bizos,
who defended former South African President Nelson Mandela on similar
charges 40 years ago.

Mr. Bizos argued that Mr. Ben Menashe had set out to entrap his client. He
also described Mr. Ben Menashe as an unmitigated liar, and international
crook. Mr. Ben Menashe accused Mr. Bizos of being a well-known racist.

The court established that Mr. Ben Menashe was paid $615,000 by the Zimbabwe
government for securing the tape recording and for publicity work for Mr.
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