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

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I feared the worst, says Tsvangirai
          October 16 2004 at 02:51PM

      Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, has been
acquitted of treason in a long-awaited judgment met with jubilation in
Harare on Friday.

      The ruling surprised Tsvangirai and many others who had believed
Zimbabwe's discredited courts would retain a guilty verdict against the
firebrand opposition leader who faced the death penalty if he had been

      Tsvangirai in an interview: "I am frankly surprised. This whole trial
was political and, although I had hoped for the best, I cannot hide that I
had largely feared the worst."

      The treason charge arose from an alleged 2002 plot by Tsvangirai,
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to kill President Robert

      High Court Judge President Paddington Garwe dismissed the case for
lack of evidence. He said the state had failed to prove high treason beyond
reasonable doubt.

      Tsvangirai's South African lawyer, George Bizos, described the ruling
as "a victory for justice in Zimbabwe". But Tsvangirai is not yet completely
off the hook because he faces a second treason charge over demonstrations he
called early last year to protest against Mugabe's tyranny.

      The Zimbabwe government alleges Tsvangirai called the demonstrations
to remove Mugabe's government from power unconstitutionally.

      The acquittal in the first treason case has nonetheless come as a huge
relief for Tsvangirai and his supporters who had been severely curtailed
from organising any forms of resistance against the Mugabe regime while two
treason charges hung over their leader's head.

      In the courtroom, Tsvangirai's supporters swarmed the smiling
opposition leader soon after the verdict was announced and broke into song
and dance.

      But chaos reigned outside the court complex where more than 20 MDC
supporters were arrested as well as Associated Press journalist Angus Shaw
and two photographers from the local press.

      Hordes of heavily armed riot police fired teargas at groups of MDC
supporters as they celebrated the judgment around Harare.

      Police sealed all streets leading to the court before the judgment and
mounted roadblocks on others. Zimbabwe airforce planes flew around the city
as the judge prepared to announce his verdict.

      The entire Zimbabwe army had also been put on standby in anticipation
of chaos if Tsvangirai was convicted.

      The MDC was quick to warn against regarding the acquittal as the
arrival of a new dawn of independence for Zimbabwe's largely corrupt

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi, said: "The fact remains that this is
a case which should not have gone to court in the first place...

      "Furthermore there was not an iota of evidence on which any judge
could have justified a conviction."

      Tsvangirai's first treason charge came just before the March 2002
presidential election when he was accused of hiring a Canadian-based
political consultant, Ari Ben Menashe, in a "mission" to kill Mugabe and
stage a coup d'etat.

      Evidence against Tsvangirai focused on a grainy video tape secretly
recorded by Ben Menashe at a Montreal meeting at which the opposition leader
allegedly discussed Mugabe's "elimination".

          .. This article was originally published on page 2 of Cape Argus
on October 16, 2004

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Mail and Guardian

Zim govt rejects Tsvangirai acquittal


      16 October 2004 07:05

The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai, was
cleared on Friday of charges of plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe, a
step he said could pave the way for a national reconciliation in the deeply
divided nation.
But the government reacted by saying the verdict had been wrong and said it
might take further legal action.

"After perusing the judgment, the government of Zimbabwe is of the strong
view that the accused, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been wrongly acquitted,"
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in a statement.

The minister said the government "accepts and respects the verdict but
reserves the right to exercise other options available to it in terms of the

Charges of high treason were brought against Tsvangirai based on a secretly
filmed meeting he had in 2001 with Canadian-based political consultant Ari
Ben Menashe in 2001. The government alleged the videotape of the meeting
showed Tsvangirai seeking help to kill Mugabe and stage a coup.

But Tsvangirai, who could have faced the death penalty if found guilty, was
acquitted on Friday by Judge Paddington Garwe of the Harare High Court.

"The state has not been able to prove high treason beyond reasonable doubt,"
the judge said, triggering thunderous applause from onlookers in the packed

A beaming Tsvangirai went over and hugged his lawyers before walking out of
the courthouse hand-in-hand with his wife and driving away.

Judge Garwe said the testimony of Menashe, the government's star witness,
had been suspect and the main evidence -- the grainy videotape of the
meeting with Tsvangirai -- had not proved the latter had asked for help to
"eliminate" the country's long-time head of state.

"What is clear is that this evidence has to be treated with circumspection,"
Garwe said. The videotape did "not give a complete picture of what was
discussed", the picture was "hazy" and the sound was "broken", he said.

"It is common cause that nowhere in the videotape is there a direct request
made by the accused ... to assassinate the president and arrange a coup," he
The justice minister rejected Garwe's verdict.

"There was enough evidence contained in the video and the transcript of the
video to secure and justify a conviction in the case," Chinamasa insisted.

During his marathon trial, which began in February 2003, Tsvangirai's
defence argued Menashe had been hired by the government to frame the
opposition leader ahead of a presidential election in March 2002, which
Tsvangirai lost to Mugabe.

Tsvangirai, a former labour leader, blames the government lead by Mugabe,
who has been in power for 24 years, for the economic and political problems
that are crippling the southern African country.

Addressing reporters during celebrations at his home after the verdict,
Tsvangirai said he had been "prepared for the worst".

"As it turned out, justice has taken its course. I have been vindicated," he
Tsvangirai told reporters his political party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), had yet to decide whether or not to run in the general
election scheduled for next March.

"(The government) have six months. When we come to the elections they cannot
make an excuse that 'we did not get sufficient time to correct the electoral
environment so that it becomes level, so that it becomes free and fair',"
Tsvangirai said.

He said a decision on whether the MDC would contest the ballot would be
taken "when we have made the holistic assessment of the situation then --but
not now".

"The elections I think are going to be an opportunity and a challenge for
the MDC," Tsvangirai added.

He was upbeat about the future prospects of his party, which some observers
said was losing steam ahead of the crucial parliamentary poll.

"Some of the people who have decided to write off the MDC have to think
again," he said. "This party is an alternative. It's an idea whose time has
come. It cannot be wished away."

Security was tight across Harare on Friday. Police and paramilitary forces
patrolled areas around the High Court - which is opposite key government
buildings -- and put up roadblocks on streets leading to the court complex.

After the verdict, police fired teargas and used batons to disperse some 200
supporters who were celebrating outside the court and blocking traffic,
witnesses said.

Three journalists were arrested but later released. Twenty opposition
supporters, mainly women and young men, were also taken in and held for
several hours. Most were released after paying 'admission of guilt' fines,
said an opposition official. - Sapa-AFP
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From Rich Man to Poor Man of Africa

Observers see Zimbabwe's economic decline as a classic case of

By Shakeman Mugari in Harare (AR No. 01, 16-Oct-04)

Despite latest figures showing a halving of the country's rampant inflation
rate from a peak of over 600 per cent in June, Zimbabwe shows no signs of
recovering from its biggest economic crisis since independence. If anything,
given fears of failing banks and a collapse in water pumping stations around
Harare, things could even get worse.

The country's economy is in its fifth year of recession with most analysts
here blaming the current government for the crisis. The economy they say has
crashed due to poor policies and misrule by President Robert Mugabe.
However, he insists the problems have been caused by droughts and western
sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The country's economy has slumped by more than 70 per cent in the last four
years with analysts predicting that the slide is likely to continue if no
new policies are put in place. This year alone, GDP is expected to fall a
further five per cent.

The story of Zimbabwe is both complex and sad. It is the tale of a country
once regarded as a shinning example of a prospering African economy that
failed due to poor governance. Just half a decade ago, the country was the
breadbasket of Southern Africa. Producing on average three million metric
tonnes of maize per year, it was able to feed itself and its neighbours.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, RBZ, in the late 1990s the
economy was growing at an average of five per cent per annum with a thriving
agricultural sector as the anchor of growth. Its currency was relatively
stable against the dollar and the British pound. The manufacturing and
tourism sectors were also flourishing. At their peak, Zimbabwe's exports
were worth more than 3.4 billion US dollars.

Then in 1999 the economy crashed. Suddenly, the country became a classic
example of economic dissolution. For the first time in its 19 years of
independence, Zimbabwe could not feed itself. Production in the
manufacturing sector hit rock bottom while the tourist industry came close
to collapse. The question of what went wrong is still a subject for public
debate and serious discussion in political circles.

Despite the fact that his economic crisis came first, President Mugabe
blames the current malaise on the international community's imposition of
sanctions on Zimbabwe following its land reform, which began in 2000. He
says Britain and the United States wanted to undermine his government for
taking land from white farmers.

But analysts insist that the current problems are a result of the
government's muddled land reform; the breakdown of the rule of law; and poor
fiscal management. The combination of factors helped to scare off potential
investors and cause a massive brain drain.

"It is Mugabe's chaotic land reform, violence against the opposition and
unsustainable expenditure that has caused the meltdown," said independent
Harare-based economist John Robertson.

"We are in the current mess because of poor governance. We have lost many
international friends. Our export capacity is at its lowest and we have a
foreign currency crisis."

As well as the emigration of the brightest and best people, the HIV\AIDS
pandemic has seriously contributed to Zimbabwe's woes. The Zimbabwe Aids
Council reports that a quarter of the country's 13 million people are
infected. More than 1200 deaths are recorded each day.

The remaining pool of professionals is ever shrinking as people continue to
leave for the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States. Some have
also skipped into neigbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana. A
recent brain drain report by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions estimates
more than 4 million Zimbabweans are now living in the diaspora.

The crisis in Zimbabwe's agricultural sector started when the government
began seizing land from commercial white farmers who at that time held more
than 60 per cent of the country's arable land. Ignoring the promises made by
donors to support the land reform at a donor meeting in 1998 in Harare,
Mugabe allowed the war veterans to invade white-owned farms bringing
production to a standstill.

The Commercial Farmers Union, a grouping of mostly white farmers, says the
sector which used to employ a third of the country's workforce has been
completely destroyed. Only a tenth of former commercial farms remain
partially operational. Production of tobacco, once the country's chief
foreign currency earner, has plunged by more than 76 per cent over the last
four years to a paltry 60,000 tonnes in the season just ended.

The last few years have also seen a sharp fall in the production of maize -
the staple food - from about three million tonnes in 1999 to 290,000 tonnes
this year. As a result, Zimbabwe is now expected to survive on maize imports
from Zambia, which has recorded a surplus for the first time in history.
Harare has already started importing maize from South Africa.

Godfrey Kanyenze, Director for Labour at the Economic Development Research
Institute of Zimbabwe, an independent labour institute, says the economy has
been "systematically destroyed" by a combination of two factors.

"Firstly the government borrows for consumption purposes and then puts
reactionary measures that stifle investors and industry," he told IWPR. The
problem has been worsened by the leadership's continued support for its
debt-ridden large state-owned enterprises.

Over the past three months, substantial amounts have been doled out to the
manufacturing sector and other troubled companies - a move which, the
government says, is meant to boast the ailing economy. A further 90 million
dollars has been handed to troubled banks.

Anthony Hawkins, a University of Zimbabwe management graduate school
lecturer, says the leadership is making a huge mistake by dishing out
unbudgeted funds to such state-owned corporations.

But Mugabe insists that it is the West that most contributed to the crisis
when it "tricked" him into taking up an International Monetary Fund, IMF,
programme. In 1990, the government followed the African bandwagon when it
embraced the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, ESAP.

It was the IMF that demanded African countries devalue their currency, cut
public expenditure and open up their markets. Zimbabwe did just that and the
results were disastrous. The programme led to the closure of mines and
industry - throwing thousands of workers onto the streets. The government
finally abandoned the restructuring programme nine years later in 1999 and
relations with the IMF soured. Mugabe told the IMF to "go to hell" and
refused to repay the country's loan.

The fund reacted by cutting off its balance of payment support and Zimbabwe
now owes the IMF more than 280 million dollars with arrears constantly
mounting as Harare battles to service the loan.

The president has continued to blast IMF policies at both local and
international fora despite domestic pressure to re-engage with it. At a
recent United Nations meeting in New York, he again lashed out at the IMF
for "spreading lies" about Zimbabwe.

Yet despite this vitriolic attack, Mugabe appears boxed into a corner and
seems to secretly admit that he cannot go it alone. Last month he sent two
of his most trusted economic advisors to the IMF head office, in what
analysts believe was a last ditch effort to save Zimbabwe from pending
expulsion from the fund.

The two officials, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, RBZ, governor Gideon Gono and
the acting finance minister Hebert Murerwa, left the country at the same
time to meet IMF directors on the sidelines of the fund's annual winter
meetings to plead for more time to put their house in order.

While the IMF states its October 1 decision to close its office in Harare is
not linked to the country's overdue financial obligations to the fund, it is
clear time is fast-running out for the government to cut a deal that will
stop Zimbabwe plunging further into the economic abyss.

Shakeman Mugari is a Business and Financial journalist with the Zimbabwe
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In memory of Dave
Saturday 16th October 2004

Dear Family and Friends,
By all accounts Friday the 15th of October looked like it was going to be an
historic day for Zimbabwe. From as early as 7am radio news bulletins were
heightening the tension and ratcheting up the fear factor with warnings from
the police that unruly behaviour would not be tolerated. This was the day
the verdict would finally be handed down in the treason trial against
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The headlines on one newspaper were:
"Police put on high alert" and the atmosphere was tense with reports of
roadblocks throughout Harare and police standing in pairs or groups at every
intersection in the capital city.

When the not guilty verdict was handed down just before midday, there was a
national, audible sigh of relief. Talking to the press after the acquittal,
Morgan Tsvangirai said the verdict was unexpected and came as a relief.
These were words that were echoed by us all. Although no one could see how
any court would find Tsvangirai guilty with the evidence the way it was, we
don't take anything for granted in Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai voiced all our
thoughts when he said that we were all hoping for the best and preparing for
the worst. The opposition leader also said that the verdict signaled a "good
basis for national reconciliation," and I hope and pray that he is right.

In the four and half years that Zanu PF has been turning itself inside out
in order to stay in power, almost everything has reached the point of
complete collapse and ruin. We have crumbling health and education systems,
collapsing banks, crippling inflation; massively high unemployment and a
life expectancy which has plummeted to just 34 years. We have very dubious
food security and complete and utter chaos on our farms with resettled
people continuing to be thrown off land even now when the rains have started
and everyone should be planting.

Perhaps now that Morgan Tsvangirai has been formally acquitted, regional and
international leaders will put pressure on the Zimbabwean government to hold
free and fair elections in March next year - without them not a thing can or
will change in Zimbabwe.

I end this week with a message of condolence to the families and friends of
the Zimbabweans who were so tragically killed in the air crash in Canada a
few days ago. Happy times from years gone by will never be forgotten and I
write this letter today in memory of Dave Lamb.
Until next week, with love, cathy
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Support Us or Starve

Region suffers for voting for the opposition.

By Miriam Madziwa in Binga (AR No. 01, 16-Oct-04)

For the Tonga people of Matabeleland North province, a stronghold of
political opposition to Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party, drawing water for
the household used to be a job reserved for women and children.

These days, however, elderly men join in the trek to the nearest source of
clean water - a 15 kilometre hike from the town of Binga down to the Zambezi

"I cannot allow my wife to go to the river alone," explained David Mdenda, a
pensioner. "There are vicious crocodiles there and so men have to always be
close by. I end up carrying some containers, and of course, I can't just
walk back empty-handed."

Government investment is notable for its absence in this part of Zimbabwe.
Villagers in nearby Siasundu used to get their water from the Mangani Dam
off the Zambezi, but now it is all silted up, full of algae and livestock

"Water is a big problem here," said Mdenda. "It is dirty at the dam because
cattle and goats drink there and the pump is always out of fuel. So we take
our chances and go to the river."

Upon returning from the river, the women cook porridge made out of sorghum,
a grain grown in the arid fields around Binga. They spend most of their day
preparing it with a pestle and mortar or grinding it between two stones.

"I have to do it myself because I cannot afford to have it done at the
market," said Mary Mwembe from Mangani village. "They charge 5000 [Zimbabwe]
dollars, [about 90 US cents], and I don't have that kind of money."

Mary's monthly income from doing odd jobs for richer villagers is around 2
US dollars and that is quickly spent on such basics as soap, salt and school
fees for her son, News, who is in his first year of secondary education.

"I want my son to go to school so that he can get a good job. I want him to
be a policeman," she beams while seated on a bed made of sturdy poles and
covered with a single blanket.

Above the bed a piece of string runs from one end of the hut to the other.
It serves as Mwembe's wardrobe.

"The [education] ministry's policy of each child walking a maximum of seven
kilometres to school doesn't work here because the nearest school is 15 to
20 kilometres away," said Joel Gabhuza, a local Binga councillor and member
of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
MDC. "As a result, parents delay sending their children to school to make
sure they are able to cover the distances and still have enough energy to

When they do go, children find both textbooks and teachers in short supply
here. The economic crisis in Zimbabwe, whose education system once was the
envy of the continent, coupled with the AIDS pandemic, has led to a severe
shortage of teachers. Like the rest of the country, where an estimated one
in four of the adult population is HIV positive, the people Matabeleland
North province have been deeply affected by this dual crisis.

Outside every house in Mangani there is at least one freshly dug grave.
"People are dying each day. We have no knowledge on how to help them live so
we just watch them die," said village headman Julius Siavhurandu. He says
that while people know about the disease, they have little understanding of
how to protect themselves or how best to live being HIV positive.

The pandemic is highlighting the paucity of local health care services. Only
one assistant nurse works at the local clinic and when she takes time off or
goes home at night, the clinic closes. Most villagers do not have money to
travel to Binga hospital some 80 kilometres away. And, in any case, there
seems little point since it is staffed only by nurses. Patients requiring
doctors must travel to Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, 400
kilometres to the south.

Zimbabwe overall suffers from a shortage of medical staff with many nurses
now taking up jobs in Britain. Those that remain prefer to find work outside
of the region, fearing victimisation and intimidation from ZANU-PF
supporters as they seek to increase the party's influence in this part of
the country.

Matabeleland was the scene of large-scale massacres of civilians by
government troops in the late Eighties as President Mugabe sought to
consolidate his power and neutralise his opponents.

Though not official practise, people here privately complain how they are
often refused free medical treatment unless they can show a ZANU-PF party
membership card. But if people feel ZANU-PF is still victimising the region
for its continuing opposition to the government, they are careful not to say
it out loud. Talking politics is taboo with villagers fearful of

Most women like Pauline Sibanda profess a lack of interest in the subject.
"I don't like politics," she said. "I know we have to vote next year, but I
will wait for the leaders to tell us how to vote."

Others are too afraid to talk about their political views. "Ah, politics is
not a good topic to discuss here," said Ben Ndlovu, not his real name, a
temporary teacher, in hushed tones. "You don't know who is listening and who
they will go and tell."

Miriam Madziwa is a freelance journalist based in Bulawayo.
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Repression Must End

Archbishop Ncube of Bulawayo tells IWPR that Mugabe must stop torturing and
raping Zimbabweans.

By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg (AR No. 01, 16-Oct-04)

Archbishop Pius Ncube is a man of very firm nerves and has over the past few
years emerged as the most convincing opponent of Zimbabwean president Robert
Mugabe's autocratic government. Many describe Ncube, the Roman Catholic
prelate for Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo, as the country's Desmond Tutu,
after the South African cleric who was one of those at the forefront of the
anti-apartheid struggle.

Ncube is one of two most senior ranking Catholic clerics in Zimbabwe. He
refuses to be silenced and his anti-Mugabe rhetoric seems to be getting more
rigorous by the day. Ncube shared his thoughts on the Zimbabwean crisis with
IWPR correspondent Basildon Peta in Johannesburg.

Peta: What is the current state of human rights in Zimbabwe?

Ncube: It is pretty bad. Things keep on getting worse, with no respite in
sight. We have an election next year and I can tell you that I don't hold
any hope for the opposition. There is definitely no chance for a free and
fair election. Mugabe has oiled his rigging machinery. The repressive media
and security laws are firmly in place against the opposition. The youth
militias are at work. He [Mugabe] will manipulate food aid and use it as a
political tool. He is telling the world there is enough food in the country
when everyone knows that this is not the case. His plan is to kick out all
donors and be in charge of food aid distribution himself. He will then use
it as a political weapon to buy votes. The playing field is so uneven that I
don't see anyone other than ZANU-PF winning the election. The opposition
(the Movement for Democratic Change - MDC) will be lucky to walk away with a
dozen seats.

Peta: What would it take to ensure a free and fair election in Zimbabwe?

Ncube: Pressure must be put on Mugabe to reform. Our regional neighbours,
particularly South Africa, are letting us down. They don't seem to realise
that a peaceful and stable Zimbabwe is in the interests of the entire
region. They must insist that Mugabe abides by the SADC (the Southern
African Development Community) norms on free and fair elections.

Peta: What kind of pressure should they consider?

Ncube: They must threaten sanctions against Mugabe. South Africa must
threaten to cut off electricity and fuel supplies if Mugabe does not change.
We surely cannot have this quiet diplomacy (by South Africa) which has
failed. The MDC must also bring pressure to bear on Mugabe. They must
influence change from within the country. They have been a bit passive. A
combination of internal and external pressure is what is needed.

Peta: You have acknowledged the constraints that the opposition faces. The
draconian laws, the militias and other forms of repression used against the
opposition. How can you then accuse them (the MDC) of being passive in light
of all the difficulties they have to endure?

Ncube: Yes the MDC have a difficult time but they have to be more active.
They have to be able to organise civil action to confront Mugabe. The
opposition should sacrifice more. They should be with the people. They could
certainly do more in providing real leadership. I travel to the rural areas
[of Zimbabwe] and I get the feeling that people feel leaderless. They feel
as if they are on their own. There is little to show that the MDC is with
the people.

Peta: What is the challenge therefore for the opposition and for Zimbabwe?

Ncube: I think the challenge for Zimbabwe is to find a new leader who can
inspire the people. Wherever you go, people are grumbling. They say they
have no strong leader who can stand with us. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is
there but he is not punchy enough, not convincing enough. Look at how
Mahatma Gandhi inspired his people to die for their cause. Mahatma was a
great leader who managed to achieve what he did because he was able to
inspire his people. In Zimbabwe, we need to find such a leader. We don't
seem to have one. We have no one inspiring the people; we have no one
telling them to die for their cause.

Peta: Aren't you being unfair on Mr Tsvangirai? He is a man in chains. He
faces two treason charges. Anything he tries to do is labelled treacherous
and he is jailed. He can't really do anything under Mugabe's reign of
terror, can he?

Ncube: He must convince people to be self-sacrificing, even in the face of
trouble. Look at what happened during apartheid. People, including
schoolchildren, were self-sacrificing. They came out in full force to
confront the apartheid police. The problem in Zimbabwe is we want to play it
safe. There is this tendency among Zimbabweans of leaving everything to God.
That is very fatalistic. God works through human beings and thus this
business of deferring everything to God is perilous. I put this challenge to
Tsvangirai. If he organises people well enough to confront Mugabe and tell
him he is no longer wanted, I don't think Mugabe will shoot everyone.

Peta: So if Zimbabweans are not self-sacrificing, as you say, and if there
is no sustained action from them to liberate themselves from the shackles of
this regime, why should you expect South Africa and other foreigners to put
pressure on Mugabe?

Ncube: I say so because Zimbabweans need help from their neighbours. Even
during apartheid, South Africa got a lot of help from us. Zimbabweans are
tired and discouraged. They therefore need all the help they can get from
outside so that they can regain their confidence to confront this regime.
This is a human rights issue after all. The African Union should take a
stand where human rights are abused. Unfortunately, they are not doing that.
They cover up for each other and use their summits to enjoy tea and coffee.

Peta: Are you frustrated that all your efforts in getting the Zimbabwe
crisis resolved and your outspokenness have not helped?

Ncube: No, I have no regrets at all. I feel one man (Mugabe) has no right to
hold to ransom an entire nation. He is killing our young people and
destroying their future. He is an octogenarian who has had the best of life
but is now trying to block everyone else from doing the same. But I will not
keep quiet. I won't be frustrated into silence. For as long as Mugabe
remains an embodiment of evil, I will speak out against him - or anyone else
for that matter.

Peta: What has happened to all the victims of violence in Zimbabwe?

Ncube: Some are suffering in silence... Some are being rehabilitated in some
church-run projects in Zimbabwe and in South Africa. As you know, many have
fled the country. They flee immediately after their experiences. I have met
a lot of them here in South Africa and their plight is very bad. Many are
being housed by churches. Even blind people have left. They are living a
horrible life. Imagine a group of 30 people living in one house.

Peta: What is the challenge for human rights workers? Are they still able to
function normally in Zimbabwe?

Ncube: Mugabe has been restricting the work of NGOs. It is difficult for
anyone who is not a ZANU-PF sympathiser to work in this environment. But the
NGOs have to keep trying. They have to go to the people. They can't give up.

Peta: Have you appealed to the Vatican for help?

Ncube: I personally have not appealed to the Vatican but I know the Pope is
very worried about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. He summoned the
Zimbabwean ambassador to the Vatican to register his concerns about the
abuses in Zimbabwe.

Peta: And why is the church in Zimbabwe not speaking with one voice? It
appears it is only you that is speaking out.

Ncube: There are others who try to speak out. There are church leaders who
have been trying to help resolve the crisis. But there are also others who
have been bought out by Mugabe. So we have cowards as well.

Peta: Has Mugabe tried to buy you out as well?

Ncube: They offered me a farm and I refused to accept it.

Peta: If you meet Mugabe, what would you tell him?

Ncube: That his time is up and he must end the suffering he has visited on
the people of Zimbabwe. His government must stop torturing, raping and
murdering our people.

Basildon Peta is the Zimbabwe correspondent for the London-based Independent
& Independent On Sunday.(AR No. 01, 16-Oct-04)
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Comrades in Arms

Southern African leaders still remain close to Mugabe.

By Nevanji Madanhire in Harare (AR No. 01, 16-Oct-04)

The regional response to the situation in Zimbabwe has been "shameless",
according to a leading Harare-based human rights activist.

Brian Kagoro Chairman of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a steering group
of local NGOs and trade unions, has criticised leaders of the Southern
African Development Community, SADC, for turning their back on his country
and failing to speak out against the government of President Robert Mugabe.

But other independent figures based here believe that the complex nature of
SADC-Zimbabwe relations do not realistically allow for an unequivocal
regional response based on moral grounds.

The crisis in Zimbabwe has manifested itself in government-led acts of
political violence and the general collapse of an economy once the envy of
Africa. According to the coalition, which collectively claims to represent
more than 500 local civil society groups, there have been more than 630,000
cases of serious human rights abuses reported over the last four years. They
include 180 instances of politically-related killings.

Records kept by the coalition date back to February 2000 when President
Mugabe lost the national plebiscite he hoped would endorse a new
constitution that would have further strengthened his 20-year grip on power.

And two years later, organisations observing the presidential election -
from the Commonwealth through to Transparency International - concluded that
Mugabe had effectively stolen it from Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
Movement For Democratic Change, MDC.

But SADC endorsed the result - a move heavily criticised by those who
expected it to tighten the screws on Mugabe, such as introducing a trade
embargo. Zimbabwe sits right at the heart of the southern African
subcontinent and is the nerve centre of regional trade because of its
relatively developed infrastructure.

South Africa is Zimbabwe's biggest trade partner in the region and its trade
routes to countries in the north such as Zambia, the DRC and Angola, pass
through Zimbabwe. South Africa could have then been the bigger loser had it
put in place an embargo.

But to mention sanctions is to misunderstand the mandate of SADC, according
to Heneri Dzinotyiweyi, a political analyst and Professor of Mathematics at
the University of Zimbabwe. "We must understand that SADC is not a
legislative body but simply a facilitator that gives member states general
guidelines aimed to quicken development," he told IWPR.

And Thomas Deve, chairman of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in
Zimbabwe, argues that there was no way SADC leaders would have taken a
stance against Mugabe given they are similarly faced with post-colonial
problems such as land-reform.

"The MDC and the western media underestimated the legitimacy of the land
reform programme which the SADC leadership understood only too well," he

According to Dzinotyiweyi, SADC's response to the situation in Zimbabwe can
only really be understood in the context of the country's fight for
independence. As the Liberation War intensified in the Seventies, the
countries which subsequently formed SADC were known as the Frontline States
and were used as bases to fight the regime of Ian Smith as well as launch
the struggle against apartheid in both South Africa and Namibia.

Given the mindset of any SADC leader says Dzinotyiweyi, to come out against
Mugabe would mean "straying horribly from the line established by luminaries
of pan-African liberation struggle such as [former Tanzanian president]
Julius Nyerere".

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni perhaps summed up the prevailing African
position on Mugabe during a recent visit to Harare when he attacked western
leaders and media for their criticisms of Mugabe, "When I hear these people
I say you can't demonise a leader of the liberation struggle and expect
support from us, you are just stupid," he said.

Mugabe's confrontational response to western criticisms has impressed an
African continent which sees the West through the prism of continuing
interference in the political process, via its support for oppositional
parties and the occasional coup. For the first time, Africans saw a leader
standing up against the old colonial powers. Rightly or wrongly, the western
media too have been criticised for perceived racial overtones in their
reporting -particularly on the suffering of white landowners in Zimbabwe.

"The western media and its allies in South Africa are mostly rightwing and
have the capacity to influence political opinion. Daggers had already been
drawn against other southern African leaders causing them to take a united
stand," said Deve.

Efforts were already being made to deny South African president Thabo Mbeki
a second term in office by amplifying his response to the AIDS epidemic seen
as a great weakness of leadership. Criticism of Namibia's Sam Nujoma was
also increasing because it was thought he could import wholesale Mugabe's
violent land reform model.

Alongside the solidarity sound bites, it is probably true that SADC leaders'
continuing support for the Zimbabwean president is at least in part led by a
fear of who among them might be next were Mugabe to be removed from power.
But there are also the personal relationships to consider: Mozambique
remains highly indebted to Mugabe for helping it win the war against the
insurgent Mozambique National Resistance, Renamo, in the 1980s. Mozambique's
president Joachim Chissano was best man at Mugabe's second wedding in 1996.

The regimes of father and son Laurent and Joseph Kabila in the Democratic
Republic of Congo meantime have been substantially supported by the
Zimbabwean army. The young president still sees Mugabe as his mentor.

But it now seems the SADC may now finally be involved in intensive
behind-the-scenes manoeuvring to bring change to Zimbabwe. Late last month,
Mbeki said he will jump on a plane and "do whatever it takes" to help
resolve the crisis in Harare. The recent heads of state and government
summit held in Mauritius is evidence of this. Realising the contentious
issue in Zimbabwe was the running of elections, the SADC leadership put out
its so-called Protocol on Elections. It sets minimum conditions for the
holding of elections in the region and seems almost tailor-made to put
Mugabe in a fix. Already in full page adverts entitled "SADC Watch", carried
by Zimbabwe's private newspapers, the MDC appears to be taking great delight
in showing readers how the government is so far continuing to break each and
every principle set down in Mauritius.

"While SADC protocols are not binding this one is a positive step forward
and sets a significant basis and terms of reference from which useful
comparisons can be made to drive change," said Dzinotyiweyi.

Nevanji Madanhire is a novelist and editor of The Tribune, a Harare
newspaper shut down in July under Zimbabwe's media laws.
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12 October 2004

Family and Friends

I wonder if Robert Mugabe is aware of the repression and suffering of the
people of Zimbabwe, I heard a listener to the BBC World Service say today.

2 weeks ago I went to support WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) as a woman and
a physiotherapist. They had been walking from Bulawayo to Harare, in an
enormous effort and sacrifice to draw attention to womens issues and how,
the NGO Bill, if passed, would affect them even more severely.

After a triumphant arrival and peaceful prayer holding hands in Unity
Square, 9 of us and baby Trish Tafadzwa (4mths) were arrested.

We were treated like criminals. During the next 2 days and nights I realized
the suffering and sacrifice of these Mothers and Grandmothers and children.
They are used to being abused and to living in appalling conditions. The
intimidation, the filth the lack of respect by many (not all) of the
officers. I was humbled and envigorated by their spirit.

These ladies do not deserve to be abused, ground down and oppressed. They
deserve our admiration and support, they deserve to be listened to, to be
uplifted and to be cherished.

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The Age, Australia

Opposition's challenge crushed
October 17, 2004

Despite the acquittal of its leader, the Harare opposition is crippled,
writes David Blair.
Moments of triumph have been rare for Morgan Tsvangirai during his
tempestuous years in the dangerous occupation of being President Robert
Mugabe's leading opponent, and his acquittal was a desperately needed boost.

But although the shadow of Mr Tsvangirai being jailed or even hanged for
treason has been lifted, at least for now, nothing can disguise the
appalling realities of Zimbabwean politics.

Mr Mugabe has succeeded in crushing the opposition's challenge, and his
regime's mastery of violence, intimidation and outright ballot rigging
almost guarantees that he will never lose an election. Mr Tsvangirai's
acquittal does not change this central fact.

Moreover, the case has already succeeded in inflicting immense damage on his
Movement for Democratic Change. The treason charges were first laid in
February 2002 and legal wrangles have dominated the past 32 months. The cost
of defending its leader in court has financially crippled the MDC.

Mr Tsvangirai has been confined to Zimbabwe, preventing him from putting his
case to African leaders, notably South African President Thabo Mbeki, who
remain publicly supportive of Mr Mugabe.

The opposition leader's bail conditions have limited his ability to campaign
and travel within Zimbabwe. The immense strain of the trial sapped his
morale and consumed his time. The MDC has been paralysed and effectively
rendered leaderless.
The party, which has now lost six seats in byelections, has been driven to
announce that it will not contest parliamentary polls due next March,
although Mr Tsvangirai suggested otherwise after the court verdict.

Zimbabwe's full panoply of repressive legislation, which amounts to a state
of emergency by the back door, continues to make normal political
campaigning almost impossible.

Mr Tsvangirai may have been acquitted simply because the MDC has already
been crippled. Had he been jailed, the opposition would have been handed a
rallying cry.

But Mr Tsvangirai's ordeal is not over. He faces a second charge of treason
in relation to a general strike organised by the MDC in June last year. This
accusation is even more spurious than the one for which he has been cleared.

Friday's verdict will lift the party's morale, but the cards of Zimbabwean
politics remain firmly stacked in Mr Mugabe's favour.

- Telegraph

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ICC could hold key to Zim tour
Saturday October 16 2004
Lahore meeting may prove crucial

England's last realistic hope of avoiding their controversial tour to
Zimbabwe next month rests with the decision-makers of the International
Cricket Council as they meet for their executive board meeting in Lahore
this weekend.

The world's governing body is assembling in Pakistan to discuss a number of
leading issues, but England's interest will be centred on the report into
racism within Zimbabwe cricket which may give them an escape route from a
five-match one-day tour starting at the end of November.

Despite strong reservations about the terrifying regime of president Robert
Mugabe in Zimbabwe, England have been unable to persuade the British
Government to issue a decree forbidding their tour and leaving them open to
possible financial sanctions from the ICC should they withdraw for anything
other than safety and security grounds.

John Carr, the England and Wales Cricket Board's Director of Cricket
Operations, and Professional Cricketers' Association chief executive Richard
Bevan are flying out to Zimbabwe this weekend to inspect the safety and
security measures available prior to the tour.

But their findings are unlikely to be anything but positive with Zimbabwe
desperate for the tour to go ahead, leaving England waiting anxiously for
the outcome of a report into claims of racism which could yet prompt the
cancellation of their visit.

ECB chairman David Morgan is England's representative at this weekend's
meeting when the Board will consider the report from India's solicitor
general, Mr Goolam Vahanvati, and South African High Court Judge, Steven
Majiedt, into the racism allegations.

The report was supposed to be based upon evidence submitted to a hearing in
Harare at the beginning of October, but that had to be abandoned after
witnesses claimed they had been intimidated and discouraged from giving

The 12 remaining rebel cricketers, which include former captains Grant
Flower and Heath Streak and have refused to play for Zimbabwe since first
making allegations of racism last April, have already written a letter of
complaint to the ICC protesting at how the inquiry was conducted.

The rebels claimed that two of the men accused of racism - Zimbabwe Cricket
Union managing director Ozias Bvute and chief selector Max Ebrahim -
attended the hearing and refused to leave despite being asked to do so by
the two-man ICC panel.

Witnesses were unwilling to testify in front of the pair and in a letter to
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, the rebels claimed, "We had 12 witnesses
waiting, some who had travelled great distances. The inquiry could still
have proceeded with certain witnesses giving evidence in front of all the
directors, but they were never given the chance."

Speed, who claims not to have read the report, dismissed the rebels' claims
and criticised the letter from Chris Venturas, the lawyer representing them,
being made public to try and influence the decision of the ICC this weekend.

"These allegations are amongst the gravest claims that can be made against
an individual or an institution," said Speed.

"The process that the ICC put in place has provided you and your clients
with repeated opportunities, beyond a single hearing in Zimbabwe, to provide
this essential evidence to support your claims."
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Globe and Mail, Canada

      The globetrotter, the videotape and the opposition leader

      Saturday, October 16, 2004 - Page A19

      OTTAWA -- For years, Ari Ben Menashe swore up and down that he had
procured definitive -- and videotaped --proof of a bizarre allegation: A
Zimbabwe coup plot was hatched within the confines of his non-descript
Canadian office.

      A Harare judge finally dealt Mr. Ben Menashe's credibility a haymaker
yesterday by tossing out the treason case against the alleged coup plotter,
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

      The court found that the prosecution's star witness from Montreal was
not the least bit credible. That left Mr. Ben Menashe, a former Israeli arms
dealer who has lived a strange and controversial existence in Quebec for the
past decade, with uncharacteristically little to say.

      "I'm just saying I'm not going to second-guess the court," he said in
a telephone interview from Montreal. "We said the truth. We said what was in
the tape. We showed the tape. It was not doctored. It was not touched. And
I'm not going to second-guess the court."

      Mr. Ben Menashe is a 54-year-old globetrotter with vast powers of
persuasion and a deep knowledge of world events. Over the past 20 years he
has always vouched for his own credibility.

      Until yesterday's ruling, it looked as though Zimbabwe might yet
emerge as his masterstroke.

      In December, 2001, Zimbabwe's opposition leader travelled to Montreal
to talk about the impending election with Mr. Ben Menashe and his entourage,
whom Mr. Tsvangirai at the time believed to be friendly Canadian political
consultants intent on polishing his image ahead of the Zimbabwe election.

      Around the boardroom table, Mr. Ben Menashe and his partners kept
steering the discussion toward the odd topic of "eliminating" the Zimbabwe
President, Robert Mugabe.

      Equally odd was the pinhole camera that had been secretly inserted in
the ceiling tiles to catch the Montrealers' exchange with Mr. Tsvangirai.

      In February, 2002, the resulting videotape found its way to an
Australian TV show that presented it as the shocking proof of a secret
Zimbabwe coup plot.

      A day later, Mr. Ben Menashe's firm, Dickens & Madson, sent a press
release titled "Tsvangirai attempts assassination of Mugabe" to The Globe
and Mail and other newspapers.

      "Dickens & Madson felt itself morally compelled to assist the
embattled people of Zimbabwe and their President Robert Mugabe," Mr. Ben
Menashe's statement said, suggesting a certain righteous indignation at the
situation into which Mr. Tsvangirai had placed them.

      Because they "were not in the business of arranging assassinations,"
the statement explained, Dickens & Madson had handed the tape over to Mr.
Mugabe, who would have his rival charged with treason by the end of

      At the time, however, Mr. Ben Menashe had more-than-moral motivations
for making Mr. Mugabe look as good as a dictator possibly can, while making
his rival look like a dangerous criminal.

      The Montrealer was getting hundreds of thousands of dollars to do just

      According to Dickens & Madson, records filed under the U.S. Foreign
Agents Registration Act -- a law that obliges all foreign entities to tell
Washington just what kind of lobbying efforts they are doing -- the
company's press releases and communications activities were paid "political
activity on behalf of Zimbabwe."

      According to the FARA filings, the original contract was for $225,000
(U.S.), but Zimbabwe's payments quickly exceeded $400,000.

      In the U.S. FARA filings, the Montrealer stated he issued pro-Mugabe
news releases with titles such as "Tsvangirai attempts suppression of
evidence." And, yes, the "Tsvangirai attempts assassination of Mugabe"
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Zimbabwe govt may 'exercise other options'
HARARE - Zimbabwe's justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said the government
"is of the strong view the accused, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been wrongly
acquitted" and "reserves the right to exercise other options available to it
in terms of the law".

Chinamasa was reacting to the Harare High Court's verdict yesterday to
acquit the Movement for Democratic Change leader of treason charges.

The charge of high treason was brought against Tsvangirai based on a
secretly filmed meeting he had in 2001 with a Canadian- based political
consultant. The government alleged the videotape of the meeting showed
Tsvangirai seeking help to kill President Robert Mugabe and stage a coup.

But Tsvangirai, who could have faced the death penalty if found guilty, was
acquitted yesterday by Judge Paddington Garwe, who said the state had not
been able to prove its case "beyond reasonable doubt".

There was little reason for cheer as Tsvangirai faced a second set of
treason charges which also carries the death penalty, the Democratic
Alliance said yesterday.

The DA's Joe Seremane said it was clear from the outset that "this was a
political trial, designed to discredit Tsvangirai and to limit his ability
to operate as the leader of the opposition.

Seremane said the charges stemmed from Tsvangirai's role in leading a mass
action campaign against Mugabe's rule.

"It now appears likely that the Mugabe regime will try to use this set of
charges to convict Tsvangirai and ensure he is unable to challenge Mugabe in
the 2008 presidential elections."

Seremane said Tsvangirai's effectiveness as the MDC leader was crippled by
the fact that these charges remain up in the air.

"He is unable to travel overseas to lobby support and to raise funds and his
movement within Zimbabwe is strictly controlled and monitored. Today's
decision does not retract from the fact that democracy has collapsed in
Zimbabwe and that the opposition remains under grave threat."

The Freedom Front Plus said the acquittal will prove a turning point in
Zimbabwe's history.

"The decision is good for Africa, and indicates that Mugabe is slowly losing
his grip on the country ... Everything points to the fact that the final
chess end game has now started in Zimbabwe," FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder
said in a statement.

The United States yesterday welcomed the acquittal and said it hoped the
verdict would mark the end of the authoritarian Mugabe's crackdown on

Even as the government rejected the acquittal and said it might seek further
legal action against Tsvangirai, the State Department said Washington saw
the move as a sign that political reconciliation might be possible but only
if substantial reforms were enacted.

"We would hope that this signals the end of the politically motivated
prosecutions and that it would open the door to constructive dialogue
between Zimbabwe's political parties," spokesman Richard Boucher said.

"This acquittal we see as a positive development and we would hope that it
signals the government of Zimbabwe is ready to approach the upcoming
parliamentary elections in the spirit of election guidelines that are
prevalent in the region," he said.

Boucher said reforms would have to be enacted to ensure the March polls meet
international standards and expressed concern that changes to election
regulations now being considered by the government "fail to address
fundamental flaws in the election environment".

For the elections to be free and fair, Zimbabwe needs an independent
election commission, rules to enforce equal media access for all political
parties, commitments to ensure freedom of speech and assembly during the
campaign, and a halt to all political violence, he said. - Sapa-AFP
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From The Times (UK), 16 October

On the spot: Tsvangirai's acquittal

Jan Raath, The Times Correspondent in Zimbabwe, describes the scenes as
opposition political leader Morgan Tsvangirai was acquitted of treason this

Only a small group of supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change had
been able to get into the courthouse this morning to hear the verdict on
their leader. When he was declared not guilty, they got to their feet and
cheered. It was an emotional moment. George Bizos, Mr Tsvangirai's chief
defence lawyer and a man who defended Nelson Mandela in his treason trial in
South Africa 40 years ago, had tears running down his cheeks. There were
very few people outside the courthouse when the verdict came through,
because they had all been driven away earlier by riot police with dogs and
batons. Three journalists were arrested by the police: two local
photographers and Angus Shaw, the very experienced Associated Press
correspondent, who was dictating a story over his mobile phone when a plain
clothes police officer came up and demanded to know what he was saying about
Zimbabwe. He was bundled into a white Land Rover and driven off. Police are
denying any knowledge of him. This kind of harrassment happens all the time.
He probably will be held in a filthy cell all weekend and released on
Monday, because they have nothing to charge him with.

When Mr Tsvangirai left court, he was stony-faced. All he would say was:
'Not guilty.' Then he got into his car and was driven away. It was only once
he got home that he was able to show the elation he was feeling, after all
the pressure he has been under. People were dancing in the street outside
his home in the suburbs, and Mr Tsvangirai was out on the lawn with his
wife, beaming and smiling as he greeted people. He was altogether in a
happy, expansive mood, such as I have not seen him in for a long time. His
first words at his press conference were: 'What a relief.' This is an
important moment for the MDC and will certainly restore life to the party.
The tactics of Mr Mugabe's Government have so far been all about eliminating
hope for any change, and keeping up constant, heavy and unrelenting pressure
on the opposition. That is why they have banned all newspapers critical of
the Government. I was surprised that he was acquitted because it has not
been in this Government's nature to let people off or to show magnanimity.

Yet all the MDC people I have spoken to, apart from Mr Tsvangirai, say that
they believe the Government made it clear to the judge that he should arrive
at a fair verdict. If this is the case, it may reflect the indirect pressure
that is increasing on Mr Mugabe from other African states. An African Union
report a couple of months ago was very critical of him. He recently had to
sign a regional treaty committing Zimbabwe to hold free and fair
parliamentary elections next March. Mr Mugabe is becoming more and more
isolated and he is aware of it. I think he is becoming an embarrassment to
other African states. I am sure that he intends to use this verdict to
defend himself when people accuse him of ignoring the rule of law. Meanwhile
it was interesting to hear Mr Tsvangirai talk about how this moment could
mark a change in stance by the Government, and if so, it could form the
basis of new, national reconciliation.
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From The Times (UK), 16 October

Hussain in warning to Vaughan over tour of Zimbabwe

By Pat Gibson

Michael Vaughan, the England captain, was last night told by Nasser Hussain
that his name and that of English cricket could be tarnished for a long time
if the forthcoming tour to Zimbabwe provokes violent unrest. In a direct
plea to his successor, Hussain, who was captain when England refused to
travel to Zimbabwe for a World Cup match last year, said: "If something
happens, Michael, and you lead a side out there and someone gets killed, it
will tarnish English cricket and your name for a long while. "Like Michael
Atherton advised me, get as much information on the place and find out if
there are going to be protests, if things are going to happen out there."
Hussain suspects that Vaughan might be feeling compelled to go against his
better judgment through a sense of responsibility towards his players and
pressure from the ECB. "Michael was part of the group which decided last
time he didn't think it was right to go and I don't see what has changed,"
he said on BBC radio. "As Steve Harmison said when he pulled out: 'I had a
difficult week in Cape Town deciding I didn't want to go and nothing has
changed. If anything it has got worse.' I would guess Michael doesn't want
to go and he has been told by his board that he has to go. Basically, the
ECB are his bosses and if you rang up Michael now and said 'you don't have
to go to Zimbabwe', I think he will have a huge sigh of relief." Hussain
described how he was told by the ECB that he was effectively holding the
future of English cricket in his hands in not wanting to play the World Cup
game in Zimbabwe. John Carr, the ECB's director of cricket operations, and
Richard Bevan, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association,
are flying to Zimbabwe this weekend to inspect the safety and security
measures. Ray Jennings, the former South Africa wicketkeeper, was installed
as national coach last night, replacing the sacked Eric Simons. His
appointment comes less than a month before the squad travel to India to play
two Tests, and two months before they begin a five-Test series against
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