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

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Daily News online edition

      CIO agents move in to finish off hospitalised students* leader

      Date:23-Oct, 2004

      HARARE-based lawyers on Wednesday had to move in to protect Philani
Zamchiya, the president of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
after three suspected members of President Robert Mugabe's Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) forced their way into his hospital ward and
demanded information on their activities.

      Zamchiya was beaten up and left for dead by suspected CIO agents and
policemen last Thurday ahead of the delivery of judgment in the high treason
case of Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

      The attack occurred while he was on his way home from the Zinasu
offices at ZimRights House in Harare. He was admitted at the Avenues Clinic
where he has been recuperating until this week.

      The suspected CIO agents claimed they had come to solicit information
on the circumstances surrounding his attack by suspected policemen from the
law and order section.

      "We suspect the plain clothes officers were members of the CIO who
wanted to further harm Zamchiya," Arnold Tsunga, the director of the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told the The Daily News Online yesterday.

      "When we heard that he had been visited by security agents and
intelligence officers, we advised the hospital staff to closely monitor him
while we made new arrangements for his security," said Tsunga.

      Tsunga said the suspected CIO agents claimed they wanted to
investigate complaints against the police who had assaulted Zamchiya. He
said they allegedly showed him some "reports" that he had allegedly made to
the police against his unidentified assailants.

      The security agents accused Zamchiya of allegedly organising youths to
cause disturbances while Judge President Paddington Garwe delivered his

      The Zinasu president could hardly talk when The Daily News Online
reporter visited him early this week. His body was heavily bandaged and his
face was bruised.

      "He was in a heavy state of drowsiness when the suspected CIO agents
went into his ward because of the drugs that had been administered on him,"
Tsunga said.

      "We are certain the agents were responsible for Zamchiya's assault. I
realised there was danger to his safety and had him transferred to a safe
location. I have a strong belief the State agents were there to further harm
him. They came at an hour when it was most appropriate to have him all on
their own in seclusion.

      "At that time they were also aware that he now had legal
representation. He felt exposed because the security agents had easy access
to him. Zamchiya is now in the hands of capable doctors at a private

      The CIO has a reputation of murdering suspected government opponents
by staged road accidents, severe beatings and torture through electric
shocks, and other crude methods.

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Daily News online edition

      NGO to besiege detention centre in protest

      Date:23-Oct, 2004

      JOHANNESBURG - Members of locally-based non-governmental organisations
plan to march to Lindela detention camp just outside Johannesburg to protest
against the deaths and ill-treatment of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants by
South African authorities.

      The South African Women's Institute for Migration Affairs (SAWIMA)
director, Joyce Dube told the Daily News Online that it was concerned about
the state of affairs and condition of illegal immigrants.

      She said they were living in crowded conditions and had poor diet
which made them susceptible to disease.

      Dube said they would be carrying coffins on the march as a way of
mourning all those who died at Lindela as well as praying for the sick at
the camp.

      "Some of them die but we are not able to ascertain the number because
some of them do not have relevant identification documents but we have
occasionally gone there to collect bodies of the immigrants for repatriation
home," said Dube.

      It is estimated that at least three Zimbabweans die at Lindela every
month but the exact number is not known. A senior official at the centre
this week told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that they also did not
know how many Zimbabwean immigrants were dying at the centre.

      Immigrants without identification papers were given paupers' burials
while those whose bodies could be collected by their relatives were given
the same type of burial.

      Dube said a recent visit to Leratho hospital where sick immigrants
from Lindela were admitted had revealed that most, if not all were suffering
from diseases that are caused by poor hygiene, poor living conditions and
poor diet.

      She said SAWIMA was willing to work with authorities at Lindela to
explore ways of assisting illegal immigrants' access proper treatment and
return to their homes.

      "But one of our major problems is that some of the immigrants do not
want to go back home because they will be arrested. We have some youths who
ran away from National Youth Training Centres and once they get home they
will be arrested," said Dube.

      There are more that two million Zimbabweans living in South Africa,
the majority of them are staying here illegally.

      Lindela is a centre just outside Johannesburg where illegal immigrants
are kept before deportation.

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Zimbabwe denies expats voting rights
          October 22 2004 at 07:48PM

      While Namibia is advertising polling stations for its citizens in
South Africa to vote in the December general elections, President Robert
Mugabe's government continues to deny its expatriate citizens the franchise.

      The Mugabe government has declared that it will never drop its policy
of disenfranchising millions of Zimbabweans based abroad because that might
benefit its opponents.

      More than four million Zimbabweans in South Africa and Britain will
thus not vote in next March's parliamentary elections.

      Answering questions in Parliament on why Zimbabwean citizens abroad
continued being denied their right to vote, Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa said this week that allowing them to vote would unduly benefit the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which he accused of working
in cahoots with Britain to sabotage Zimbabwe's economy.

      The MDC's shadow justice minister David Coltart quizzed Chinamasa on
why Zimbabwe was not following the example of other regional countries that
allowed their citizens abroad to vote.

      For example, Namibia has been taking out press advertisements in the
South African media advising its citizens that external voting for
presidential and national assembly elections would take place on November

      The adverts announce the location of polling centres in South Africa
and explain the procedures that Namibians abroad have to follow to cast
their ballots.

      But while his peers are going out of their way to facilitate voting
for their citizens abroad, Mugabe remains determined to do the opposite.

      Chinamasa insisted that only Zimbabweans based in the country, who
have their names on the voters roll, would be allowed to cast their ballots
      In reality, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans living in Zimbabwe
would still not get a chance to vote because their names do not appear on
the voters roll which has been released to the MDC for the first time in
five years. - Independent Foreign Service
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Zim to free two South African coup suspects
          October 22 2004 at 07:37PM

      Zimbabwe has decided to free two South Africans charged with being
part of a plot to overthrow the government in Equatorial Guinea on
humanitarian grounds, a South African official said on Friday.

      South Africa said the move showed its controversial policy of quiet
diplomacy with Harare was working.

      A South African spokesperson said the two were likely to return home
on Friday, a day after Zimbabwe freed another South African who served 15
years of a 26-year jail term for spying for Pretoria's former apartheid

      "The Zimbabwe authorities have decided to release two more South
African prisoners on humanitarian grounds," foreign ministry spokesperson
Ronnie Mamoepa said.

      "This is a second gesture by the Zimbabwe authorities in a week... It
demonstrates the strong ties between South Africa and Zimbabwe and the
success of quiet diplomacy," he added.

      He named the men - both said to be in ill health - as Pius Kanjawo and
Lenatu Eselemu. They were part of a group of 70 foreigners arrested in
Harare in March and charged with plotting a coup in the West African state
of Equatorial Guinea.

      Last month Zimbabwe jailed British former special services officer
Simon Mann for seven years and 65 suspected mercenaries, all South African
citizens, for 12 months on charges linked to the alleged coup bid in
oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.

      South African President Thabo Mbeki has faced fierce criticism at home
and in the West for refusing to take a hard line against Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe, who is accused of rigging his re-election and of
oppressing opponents.

      Mbeki says his policy of quiet diplomacy is the best approach to
bringing reconciliation between Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

      Although Mbeki has failed so far to broker dialogue in South Africa's
northern neighbour, he told parliament on Thursday he had kept up contacts
with both parties and would meet an MDC delegation next week.

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Zimbabwe government bans Cosatu mission

October 22, 2004, 20:15

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has expressed its
outrage at the Zimbabwe government's banning of a Cosatu fact-finding
mission to Zimbabwe, days before its departure on Sunday, claiming the
mission was "not acceptable".

The mission was meant to hold meetings with representatives of all the
people of Zimbabwe, to get an accurate picture of the situation in the
country and make a contribution to the search for a settlement to the
political, economic and labour crisis, said Patrick Craven, acting Cosatu

Cosatu received a letter yesterday from the Zimbabwe ministry of public
service, labour and social welfare stating that some of the civic society
organisations which Cosatu was to hold meetings with were "critical about
the government of Zimbabwe... and indeed most of these are
quasi-oppositional political organisations".

The letter went on to say that the mission was "predicated in the political
domain" and that some of the organisations were involved in "the political
discourse of Zimbabwe".

The letter lists the Crisis Coalition, the National Constitutional Assembly,
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and
the Zimbabwe Council of Churches. - Sapa
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Poll: Majority of Zimbabweans Want Opposition to Participate in Elections by
Tendai Maphosa
      22 October 2004

A survey by a Zimbabwean pollster indicates a majority of people in the
country want the opposition to participate in elections expected in March,
despite expectations of problems.  The main opposition party has threatened
not to participate in any elections, unless certain electoral reforms are
put in place, a threat that has provoked widespread debate.

The survey, carried out by the Mass Public Opinion Institute, indicates that
two-thirds of Zimbabweans oppose a boycott of the election.  Among
respondents who said they are members of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, slightly more than half are opposed to a boycott.

The MDC is demanding that the government 'level the playing field' by
adopting the Southern African Development Community guidelines on democratic
elections.  The organization, known as SADC, is a grouping of 14 southern
African countries, and Zimbabwe is a signatory to the electoral guidelines.

The government has said it will introduce some changes as required by the
guidelines.  Among these are limiting voting to one day, introducing
transparent ballot boxes and counting ballots at polling stations. The
opposition is, however, unhappy with plans for President Robert Mugabe to
appoint the chairperson of the electoral commission. More than half of those
polled are opposed to the president appointing the chairperson.

Roughly three-quarters of the respondents are not convinced that the
government is able to ensure that the voting can be done in one day. This
probably has to do with the fact that many voters failed to cast their votes
during the 2002 presidential election, which was run over two days.

Of those polled, two-thirds want Zimbabweans living abroad to be allowed a
postal vote. In a bid to raise foreign currency, the government has recently
embarked on an aggressive campaign to get Zimbabweans living and working
abroad to send money to their relatives through the banks, rather than
through the black market, where the exchange rates are more attractive. Some
estimates put the number of those working abroad as high as two million.

While the survey was being conducted, the MDC announced it was suspending
participation in any elections, until the promised reforms are implemented.
The government says it will implement the election reforms.

The survey was carried out in both urban and rural areas, and the intended
sample was 1200 people. Just over 900 were interviewed, because people who
claimed to be veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war and other apparent
government supporters prevented the pollsters from finishing their work.

Opposition spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told VOA that the party consulted
widely before taking its stand. Party President Morgan Tsvangirai said the
rigging of next year's election is already in progress.  In a report by the
independent Zimbabwe weekly newspaper, The Independent, Mr. Tsvangirai
charged that a government committee is re-drawing district lines to favor
the ruling party.
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Zimbabwean Agricultural Recovery Faces Serious Hurdles by Tendai Maphosa
      21 October 2004

Agriculture earned Zimbabwe the bulk of its foreign currency before the
country's land-reform program got underway in 2000. Production has plummeted
since then. With the 2004/2005 planting season a few weeks away, Tendai
Maphosa looks at preparations for Zimbabwe's two major crops - tobacco and

Zimbabwe produced a record 237 million kilograms of tobacco, its leading
cash crop, in the 1999-2000 growing season. It produced less than a third of
that in 2003-2004.

The government is saying plans to raise production to 160 million kilograms
this season are on track. The official government newspaper, The Herald,
recently said the government is making resources and capital available to

Andrew Ferreira the vice-president of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association,
whose members grew the bulk of Zimbabwe's tobacco, says an increase in
production is possible.

"There is definitely positive indications, government have come on side,
they have made finance available, they are ensuring that inputs are
available," he said. "Potentially from seed sales, if we get every seedling
planted, we will get 160-million kilograms; the seed has been bought and
sown to actually achieve that. The trick now is to ensure that every
seedling gets into the field."

At its peak, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association had a membership of 1,800
large-scale and 3,000 small-scale tobacco farmers. Now the membership stands
at 370 large-scale and six-thousand small-scale farmers.

Mr. Ferreira says the more experienced farmers are doing what they can to
impart their knowledge to the new farmers to ensure the target is met. He
said although there is a reduction in land under irrigation from last
season, the new farmers should make up for that.

The other major crop is corn, which is the staple diet of the majority of
Zimbabweans. The country used to be an exporter of the grain, but as a
result of successive droughts and, according to some analysts, the chaotic
nature of the land reform, Zimbabwe now has to import corn to meet its

Zimbabwe cannot meet its seed corn requirements, and with the rainy season
only a few weeks away the country is still to import the bulk of the 100,000
tons it needs. Opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson for
agriculture Renson Gasela says the country is importing some seed from
Zambia, formerly one of Zimbabwe's biggest customers.

Mr. Gasela, who sits on the parliamentary committee on agriculture,
describes the situation as 'ironic' since Zambia is now managing surpluses
because of the Zimbabwean farmers who moved there after losing their land.

The U.S.-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, in its latest report,
lists shortages and the high prices of seed, fertilizer, and fuel as some of
the constraints facing Zimbabwean farmers.

As if this were not enough, the Southern African Development Community
Drought Monitoring Center says the drought-causing el Nino weather
phenomenon may strike again this season.
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Zim Daily


HARARE - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's government has secured secret financial
backing of at least two United States (US) corporations to bankroll food
imports, ZIMDAILY heard this week.

Contrary to claims by government that the country is poised to have a bumper
harvest this season, ZIMDAILY can reveal that Mugabe's government has
started importing food, courtesy of credit lines extended by two US firms,
Sentry Financial International and Dimon Incorporated.

Dimon is the world's second largest industrial leaf tobacco merchant and the
public corporation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Sentry
Financial International is a multi-lateral financial institution based in
Salt Lake City in Utah.

Impeccable sources told ZIMDAILY that Sentry Financial International has
offered credit worth US$700 million to fund Zimbabwe's imports of food and
other goods. The credit line was extended through the Commercial Bank of
Zimbabwe, now The Jewel Bank, formerly headed by the current Reserve Bank
governor, Gideon Gono.

There was confidential correspondence between the Jewel Bank and acting
director of Grain Marketing Board, Colonel Samuel Mubvuti, where the local
bank offered US$80 million to the grain procurement body for the importation
of grain. In that correspondence, a copy of which is in possession of
ZIMDAILY, the Jewel Bank indicated that Sentry International had agreed to
throw the embattled Zimbabwe government a lifeline.

"The Jewel Bank is pleased to extend to you an offer of US$80 million for
the importation of grains," reads a letter sent to Col Mubvuti from Jewel
Bank. "Be advised that Sentry International is arranging (sic) finance, with
security being provided by tobacco merchants as part of the $700 million
credit line."

Sentry Finance International vice president Kirk Heaton was recently quoted
in the UK based The Observer confirming that his company was doing business
in Zimbabwe but said, "the details are confidential."

ZIMDAILY heard that Dimon had entered a secret tobacco-for-maize swap that
would see approximately 900 000 tonnes of maize, an estimate of the
projected maize deficit, being imported into the country in exchange for
tobacco. ZIMDAILY understands that some 70 000 tonnes of grain has already
been imported under the agreement which is understood to be shrouded in
secrecy because of its political sensitivity.

Agriculture minister, Joseph Made yesterday dismissed the reports.
"Its all nonsense. Why would we need financial support when we have
harvested enough? You can get actual details about the projected harvest
from my perm sec," Made said. It was not possible to obtain further comment
from the permanent secretary, Ngoni Masoka as he was said to be locked in a
series of meetings.

The government recently ordered a United Nations crop assessment team to
leave the country as part of a strategy to maintain tight political control
over food supply and also fearing that the UN team would expose the dire

Reports say government is importing maize from Zambia through the Karoi
depot in a desperate bid to lend credence to claims of a bumper harvest and
that the controversial land reform program has been a success. Opposition
politicians claim Mugabe's Zanu PF party will use food to buy votes in the
forthcoming elections and starve opposition areas. //
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Zim Daily


HARARE - Zimbabwe National Army General Constantine Chiwenga says the army
not back any other party apart from Zanu PF, his second such remarks.

Chiwenga said this at a reception he held for the visiting general of the
Malawian army Wednesday night.

"Zanu PF is the only party. Take time to find out on your own that
whatever you have heard about Zimbabwe or Zanu PF are just the
lies of Western detractors bent on derailing our land reform," Chiwenga told
the Malawian army chief .

Weeks ahead of the 2002 presidential election, Chiwenga, Airforce
Comander Perence Shiri, then Defence Forces Commander Vitalis Zvinavashe and
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri told reporters that they would "not
back any president who did not participate in the liberation war".

The remarks drew widespread condemnation, and immediately made plain the
fact that attacks on the electorate by army personnel were being made on the
direct command of the army

Chiwenga has every reason to throw in his weight behind Zanu PF. In 2000
Sainsbury's supermarkets of England sold 500 000 pounds worth of vegetables
from a Zimbabwean farm seized from its owner by Chiwenga's wife Jocelyn.

Sainsbury's admitted that it bought large quantities of sugar-snap
peas and mangetout from Jocelyn Chiwenga between June and September of that

General Chiwenga is on the trade sanctions lists of the European Union and
Bank of England. British companies may not deal with
him, but his wife is not affected by the sanctions.

The vegetable business is now in her name. The couple have
seized Shepherd Hall farm, 40 km outside Harare. The Chiwengas used a band
of soldiers carrying AK-47 rifles to take over the farm.

Controversy has dogged Jocelyn Chiwenga. She once told  a white
farmer, whose farm she intended to seize, that she had "no
intention of shaking hands with a white pig" , before ordering one
of her guards to "kill the white bastards".

In 2003, aided by several bodyguards, she beat up a lawyer representing the
banned Daily News, at a Harare police station, in
full view of police officers. The lawyer had gone to the station after
three journalists from the paper had been arrested.

ZIMDAILY has learnt that Zimbabwe's Army General has declared that he will
not tolerate a change of government, dealing a fresh blow to the opposition
party in the forthcoming legislative poll.

President Robert Mugabe, whose two-decade rule faces a strong challenge from
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the forthcoming
parliamentary election, has already told the nation that the opposition
party was an appendage of the West and was therefore a traitor.

The parliamentary vote is scheduled for March next year.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, General Constantine Chiwenga said the
army would not support any change of government that is "foreign driven."
Chiwenga said the defence forces' mandate was to protect the country's
achievements and would not allow anyone to disturb these.

"I would not hesitate to go on record again on behalf of the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces, to disclose that we would not welcome any change of
government that carries the label 'Made in London' and whose sole aim is to
defeat the gains of the liberation struggle," Chiwenga told thousands of
people at a prize giving day at a rural school in Wedza during the weekend.

The thinly veiled warning to the opposition came as parliament assembled to
push through a controversial package of legislation, which the opposition
says is designed to stifle dissent ahead of the election.

Observers say Chiwenga's utterances are an open threat that voting for the
MDC would mean voting for civil war - a message that officials of the ruling
Zanu-PF party have long been spreading.
Mugabe has repeatedly claimed that the MDC is not "home-grown" and that
British premier Tony Blair funds it. The MDC has dismissed this assertion.

Chiwenga's statement seem to be parroting similar utterances by retired Army
General Vitalis Zvinavashe who two years ago vowed that service chiefs would
not salute a leader with no liberation war credentials, a thinly-veiled
reference to Tsvangirai. The MDC then described the statement as
"treasonous." Zvinavashe, who went on national television flanked by
commanders of the police, the air force and other security organisations,
also warned journalists to stop causing "instability" in the country.

MDC shadow minister for defence Giles Mutsekwa said the party was not
concerned by Chiwenga's utterances as it was aware that several top army
officers did not subscribe to the thought.
"We are not surprised at all by such remarks," Mutsekwa said. "The defence
forces are supposed to be professional and non-partisan. People like
Chiwenga have no place in the army of tomorrow. We know for a fact that the
hierarchy in the defence forces does not share these sentiments."

Mutsekwa said the MDC knew the defence forces' position with regards to the
politics of the country. He said the last time such utterances were made by
Zvinavashe, colonels and majors distanced themselves from the controversial

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Zim Daily


HARARE: The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) is crumbling down as a result of
international arms embargoes, a critical shortage of foreign currency and
"little" spending on new defence equipment, top military sources said this

Sources said the ZDF was struggling to remain solvent and has requested for
a supplementary budget from government to augment logistical supplies.
ZIMDAILY understands that much of the new equipment around the country's
four battalions urgently needs replacement. Transport is a particular
problem with as many as 75 % of the vehicles in the army being unserviceable
due to lack of parts and bad management. Sources said armoured personnel
carriers, vehicles used to ferry soldiers, have been heavily depleted.

But, it is the depletion of the airforce, which has raised concern among
senior officers in the high command. It has been established that the AFZ
has at least 24 planes out of service due to a shortage of spare parts while
some have been lost in operations. These include four SA319 helicopters, two
Mi-35 helicopters, and two Hind helicopter gunships. ZIMDAILY was told that
the AFZ's four British-made Hawk fighter planes are all grounded due to an
acute shortage of spare parts.

The AFZ has been facing problems securing spares due to an arms embargo
imposed by Whitehall five years ago. Information gathered by ZIMDAILY reveal
that as of December last year, the in-service fleet of the AFZ included five
Hawk MK 60 and 60A fighter planes, six MiG 21 fighter ground attack planes,
23 SA319 helicopters, six Mi-35 and 26 Mi-35P helicopters. The AFZ has in
stock eight AB-412 armed helicopters.

There are also two AS-532 UL Cougar helicopters used mainly by President
Mugabe for his tours of the country. Most of the planes in the in-service
fleet consist of planes that have overrun their flying hours and some that
are still fit for the skies. Most of the planes are on the ground, as they
cannot be flown without a service certificate. The servicing is being
hampered by a shortage of spare parts.

ZDF spokesman Ben Ncube said ZIMDAILY was holding priviledged information.
"Having such information is a very big offence," Ncube said. In June
Zimbabwe ordered US$200 million worth of advanced fighter jets from China to
bolster its national armoury. Zimbabwe is understood to have ordered 12
fighter jets and military vehicles to strengthen its arsenal. The country is
understood to be waiting to take delivery of the FC-1s from Chengdu Aircraft
Corporation developed to replace the Chengdu F-7 supersonic jets. The cost
of each plane is estimated at US$20 million. Chinese diplomats in South
Africa and Zimbabwe however denied reports of the military hardware

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Zim to prohibit observers
22/10/2004 20:17  - (SA)

Zimbabwe - The government will ban African observers from monitoring
national parliamentary polls next year if they have close links with Western
countries, state radio reported on Friday.

President Robert Mugabe already has barred Western monitors from observing
the elections scheduled for March.

Foreign minister Stan Mudenge told state radio Zimbabwe had collected
evidence of "maneuvers" by some countries and foreign organisations to
include their allies in African monitoring groups.

Some Western governments had tried to sway the views of observers of the
14-nation Southern African Development Community and the continent-wide
African Union by producing reports with "preconceived opinions" questioning
the fairness of the elections.

He said African diplomats or monitors found co-operating with foreign
governments would be barred from election observer groups, the radio

African ambassadors

"SADC and African ambassadors should not be used to take up agendas of
foreign missions or interests," he said.

The European Union, meanwhile, urged the government to implement the SADC's
regional election standards to enable free and fair elections to take place.

The government has announced some electoral reforms that the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change has dismissed as cosmetic and falling short
of the regional standards.

The opposition, citing intimidation and sweeping media and security laws
that prevent fair campaigning, said it would not contest in the March
election unless biased electoral laws are completely reformed.

In a statement on Friday, the EU said it hoped the acquittal last week of
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on treason charges "would reduce
political tension in the country and help improve the political environment"
before the proposed polls.

Assassination of Mugabe

Tsvangirai was cleared in October 15 on charges that he plotted the
assassination of Mugabe before presidential polls he contested in 2002.

Mugabe narrowly won that election, condemned by independent observers as
flawed by political intimidation and vote rigging.

Tsvangirai still faces a second treason charge alleging that he called for
mass street protests last year to topple Mugabe.

Western nations have been among the harshest critics of the policies of
Mugabe's ruling party, including the often-violent seizures of thousands of
white-owned farms that led to political violence, economic turmoil and
worsening human rights violations.

The Zimbabwe government has repeatedly accused Britain, the former colonial
power, the United States and the EU of backing Mugabe's opponents to bring
about regime change in the southern African country.

Zimbabwe has also accused Nigeria of siding with Britain and Australia in
its dispute with the Commonwealth of Britain and its former territories.
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Catholic World News

Mugabe reassures, warns bishops in Zimbabwe

Harare, Oct. 22 ( - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who has
clashed frequently with the country's Catholic bishops, has issued a
conciliatory message at a meeting of the bishops of southern Africa.

Acknowledging his differences with the hierarchy, Mugabe said that "we must
talk like brothers and sisters." Then he added, "The bishops are our
grandfathers and priests are our fathers." Mugabe flourished a set of rosary
beads as he spoke.

The controversial president partially retracted earlier statements, in which
he had accused the bishops of plotting with the country's former colonial
rulers. But he could not resist pointing out that "early missionaries were
given land by Cecil Rhodes," thus aligning the Church with an icon of
British imperialism.

Mugabe also countered the bishops' criticism of his land-reform policies,
saying that they have achieved "more equitable land redistribution."
Catholic leaders, notably Archbishop Pius Ncube, have charged that the
land-reform campaign has been a pretext for seizing farms, turning them over
to Mugabe's supporters.

And Mugabe's message included one clear warning to the Catholic hierarchy.
Saying that Catholic leaders are not gaining full agricultural benefits from
Church-owned properties, the president said: "If you don't use the land,
Robert Mugabe and the government will claim it back."

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      Africa's big plan 'disappointing'

      One of the architects of Africa's home-grown plan for economic
development has launched a scathing attack on its achievements.
      Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade said a lot of time and money had
been spent on conferences, with few results.

      The New Plan for Africa's Development (Nepad) was launched in October
2001 in a blaze of publicity.

      The idea was that Africa would improve its governance and western
donors would chip in with increased aid.

      But critics say that the refusal of most African leaders to criticise
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe shows that the "peer review mechanism",
which lies at the heard of Nepad, lacks teeth.


      African leaders are supposed to monitor each other to ensure they
uphold human rights and that elections are free and fair.

      They initially set a target of $64m in foreign investment each year
but nothing like this much has appeared.

      Mr Wade was one of the four leaders behind Nepad, along with his
counterparts from Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa.

      Speaking at a conference to review progress after three years, his
comments were in mark contrast to the up-beat speeches of the Nigerian and
South African leaders:

      "I am disappointed. I have great difficulties explaining what we have
achieved when people at home and elsewhere ask me that question," he said,
adding that Nepad had become "confused and a little unfocussed."

      "We're spending a lot of money and, above all, losing time with
repetition and conferences that end and you're not quite sure what they've

      On the streets of South Africa's largest city Johannesburg, few people
asked by the BBC's Alastair Leithead knew what Nepad was.

      "Something to do with Africa's economy?" ventured one man.

      "Nepad? I've heard about it but I can't remember what it is," said a

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Zimsec Still to Release Results

The Herald (Harare)

October 22, 2004
Posted to the web October 22, 2004


WITH less than seven days before the start of the October/November Ordinary
level examinations, the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council is yet to
release the results of the June O-level examinations.

According to Zimsec public relations manager Ms Faith Chasokela, the
results, which are usually released in September, were this year delayed due
to a technical hitch, which has since been rectified.

"However, I am not in a position to reveal the stage we are at right now
because I will only know when the results are out," said Ms Chasokela.

The delay has caused a public outcry among some students who sat for the
June examinations hoping to reduce the pressure of studying for the November

"This delay might mean that we might be forced to sit for the papers that we
would have passed, all our plans have been disrupted by this delay,"
complained a student from a city college.

Many students register for the June exams to avoid writing all their
subjects in one sitting at the end of the year.

The June examinations are also popular with students who are having a second
attempt after failing the previous year.

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Mugabe Told to Stop Blaming the British

The Daily News (Harare)

October 22, 2004
Posted to the web October 22, 2004


Concerned Zimbabwean Citizens (CCZ), a local Non-Governmental Organisation
says Zimbabwe is in a disaster and the only solution to the crisis is for
the electorate to understand issues that caused the disaster.

CCZ chairman, Luke Zunga told the Daily News Online yesterday that President
Robert Mugabe's politics of blaming the British for the chaos in country and
beating those that disagree with him would not solve the country's problems.

He said Mugabe has been telling the world that Britain wanted to re-colonise
Zimbabwe, that they want to change his regime and that this was to blame for
the country's problems.

"Some of the people have believed Mugabe's politics because they are being
paid, benefiting or promised incentives, some because of ignorance resulting
from the propaganda," said Zunga.

He said from the way some Zimbabweans behaved, it was clear that most of
them did not understand that the problems were of their own making and can
only be solved by themselves.

Zunga said contrary to what Mugabe and his Zanu PF party wanted the
electorate to believe, the 2005 parliamentary elections would not be between
the British and Zanu PF.

He said when Zimbabweans go to the polls next year in the election, which
Mugabe has dubbed the "anti-Blair election" they must bear in mind that
"Zimbabwe's problems were caused by Zimbabweans themselves with their
leaders who mislead them, and it is up to them to solve Zimbabwe's problems
using democratic means."

CCZ is a South African based organisation made up of individuals who fled
from state repression and the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe.
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Business in Africa

Do politics and leadership mix

Published: 22-OCT-04

Amidst all the debate about the state of leadership in Africa, one nagging
thought remains: why do we so readily accept politicians as our leaders? How
many politicians actually show leadership qualities? And how do we get our
real leaders involved in plotting our futures?

Politicians are people who, by and large, enter politics as a career rather
than any abiding desire to serve their people. They reach positions of power
within their parties through a combination of jockeying, lobbying and
influence. Then we elect them to parliament, where they evolve into a
blurred grouping of people more interested in themselves than the
collective. They furiously feather their own nests and disappoint the very
people who are looking to them for insight, guidance and a sense of a
greater good.

So we end up with so-called leaders who are arrogant enough to think they
know better. Who (as happened recently in South Africa) fight public
servants down to a 6.2% pay increase, and then promptly vote themselves a 7%
pay rise. Who believe their time is more important than that of the people
who voted for them, and are therefore justified in spending taxpayers' money
on expensive cars and personal police protection.

Look at Malawi's Bakili Muluzi, who took power in 1994 with a fanfare of
expectations and promises. He expanded educational and health services,
opened up the press and the judiciary and looked to improve the country's
shaky economy.

Then the curse of politics struck. Suddenly, there were special deals for
presidential cronies, and the focus had clearly shifted from the people to
the pocket. In 2002, Muluzi realized the end of the gravy train was nigh. He
tried mightily to change the constitution to allow for a third presidential
term. When Malawi's Parliament blocked him, he bulldozed the ruling party's
executive into letting him hand-pick a successor, forced through an
amendment to the party's by-laws to make him permanent chair of the party,
and retained control of its finances. Proof yet again: absolute power
corrupts absolutely.

Muluzi is not alone. Zambia's Frederick Chiluba tried the same move, but was
foiled by Parliament. Namibia's Sam Nujoma was more successful, gleefully
shredding his country's constitution to happily serve a third term. As for
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, he remains Africa's textbook case of how not to

Strange enough, he also started promisingly, but the taste of power soon
turned things pear-shaped. Within a few years of assuming power, he had as
many as 30 000 followers of a key opponent slaughtered. And while he oversaw
many positive changes during the 80s and 90s, he also used the time to build
his personal power base.

He pillaged the country's reserves and resources mercilessly for his
extended family. In 1998, sent 13 000 troops to the Congo in an
ill-concealed bid to grab a slice of the Congo's vast mineral wealth.

For some reason, Mugabe is widely admired for his so-called land reform
programme. Indeed, it would be admirable if the landless people of Zimbabwe
actually benefited from the land grabs. Sadly, most of the farms snatched
without compensation from white commercial farmers are now owned by the
heavy hitters of Zimbabwean politics - with some, like Mugabe's sister and
many cabinet ministers, owning several farms each.

Why do men who begin as democrats evolve so quickly into corrupt dictators?
Why, for every great leader like Nelson Mandela or Seretse Khama, do we have
three or four Mobutu Sese Sekos or Teodoro Obiang Nguemas? Why do we stage
grand leadership conferences, where many clever people say many clever
things, but not actually turn those grand thoughts and visions into reality?
Why do we think it necessary to get packed conference halls to rise to their
feet for people who just happen to do politics as a job?

The answer must lie partly with ourselves. We allow ourselves to be taken in
by the hollow, simplistic blandishments of those seeking public office
without being critical enough. We do too little to encourage our real
leaders to take up the cudgels on our behalf. Ultimately, we get the
leadership we deserve.
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Mugabe: Zim better than most
22/10/2004 14:06  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe is still in better shape than many African countries,
President Robert Mugabe has said.

Mugabe was quoted on state television after meeting Victor Angelo, the head
of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Zimbabwe.

Angelo bade farewell to Mugabe late on Thursday after four years in the
troubled southern African country during which he co-ordinated one of the
largest international humanitarian aid operations to Zimbabwe in a decade.

Zimbabwe experienced acute food shortages between 2001 and last year, blamed
on drought and a controversial land reform exercise that drove away
thousands of large-scale white commercial farmers from their land.

"There are obviously things that we must do, economic problems that confront
us, but when I look at our position via-a-vis the position of other African
countries which have not had sanctions or any problems at all, we are way
ahead of them," Mugabe said.

Meddling in Zim politics

He commended Angelo, who has been accused by the state media of meddling in
Zimbabwe's politics, taking sides with white farmers and exaggerating the
country's humanitarian needs.

"Despite what some people are saying, after all has been said and done, we
look at the totality of the work that has been done, it is quite positive,"
Mugabe said.

The Sunday Mail claimed last month that Angelo had been recalled because the
United Nations was unhappy at the way he had "tarnished" the image of the
world body in Zimbabwe.

Angelo, who has been promoted to UN assistant secretary-general in charge of
peace-keeping in Sierra Leone, said his major achievement during the four
years in Harare was to secure aid at a time Zimbabwe was blacklisted by
major international donors.

"The major achievement is that we managed to mobilise quite a large amount
of financial resources at a time when the resources were not coming in the
direction of Zimbabwe... particularly the response to the humanitarian
situation," Angelo was quoted on state television
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Leonard Karshima Shilgba Friday, October 22, 2004
Yokohama, Japan


looked and the color of my skin with a heavy heart filled with questions about my black race. Everything about my people seems to be as dark (or black is it?) as the color of our skin. I thought about the location of horrid squalor on earth; it dawned on me that poverty can truly be defined as a black man full of remonstrance without action. The black man would easily blame another for their woes; everyone could be culpable but themselves. The white man is more often a convenient scapegoat any day, and their antecedents make them easily a plausible target anyway.

Take a look at Africa, inhabited by both white and black populations. The most undeveloped and backward part of Africa is not white but black (sub-Saharan Africa); and the part of black Africa that has made the most significant progress in development has an equally significant proportion of white population that controls the economy and leads in technology and modern agriculture.

South Africa, with a significant white population that controlled political power for many decades and now wields enormous economic power, has established a strong culture of development. As inappropriate as the reference to South Africa by Nigeria's late dictator Sani Abacha, as a "white country with a black head (then under Nelson Mandela)" was/is, it is indicative of the achievement of the white man in South Africa.

The economy of Zimbabwe was vibrant with a rich agricultural sector facilitated by the managerial skills and capital of the white Zimbabweans until Robert Mugabe decided to put an end to this alien culture. Now, life expectancy in that country is sub-forty with worsening poverty.

There is the myth that the black race came from the lineage of Noah's cursed son Ham (in particular Canaan, one of his four sons) who was cursed by his drunken father. Thus was he cursed by Noah: "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren (the rest of the world-descendants of Shem and Japheth)". Even if this were not true, if a curse visited on a people could fetch worse misfortune, then such must be very grievous indeed.

The black man has demonstrated ludicrous inability to manage effectively their resources (historical accomplishments, material and human) for the common good. Black leaders generally take privileges to serve as ample opportunities to steal. Worse still, their stealing doesn't "profit" the people, for they know not what to do with the loot. If only they had the savvy mind to invest it in Africa there would be fewer hungry mouths and idle hands. Our leaders generally manifest crass indifference to the future of their people when they transfer African wealth to develop the already developed world. They have made white writers have the liberty to write all sorts of nonsense about black people.

The British explorer Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904) said that black history in Africa did not begin until they came into contact with White colonial powers, who built modern civilization for them. Some whites claim that "today, with the withdrawal of the Whites, African Civilization has collapsed as brutal, superstitious and illiterate chiefs, generals, and witch doctors struggle for power and a brief but powerful reign as President for life. There is not one truly freely-elected nation in all of Africa". Some African intellectuals have even suggested, more out of chagrin than sincerity of purpose that the Colonial masters of Africa should return. The summary is that the black man can't govern himself.

No black nation in memory has colonized other races. But the whole of black Africa was colonized by the whites. In fact, it seems that the black race was eclipsed in some geographical locations in the world. Take for instance the etymological discovery that the word "chemistry", which means "the black man's science", was derived from the name "kemet" (meaning "land of the blacks") - which is where present Egypt is. The population there is now generally white. What became of the vase black population there? Although the black race has been at the receiving rather than the giving end of colonialism and distorted history aimed at hiding their historical intellectual contributions to the world, it can yet "colonize" itself-they can assume full control of their destiny. The black man can now make their environment, true history, mind, and energy serve their purpose. The history of the black man has been stolen and concocted to destroy our credit and contribution to the world.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "There is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man (white man, of course) am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race." And one might ask why he felt the white man should take the superior position. Maybe his predecessor, Thomas Jefferson (the 3rd President of the USA) gave him the ammunition when he said in "Notes on the State of Virginia" (1874) about blacks: "Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous. It would be unfair to follow them to Africa for this investigation." We now know that the greatest Mathematician Euclid was born in Africa, studied in Africa, taught in Africa, lived in Africa, and died in Africa without traveling even once out of Africa. If, as Jefferson put it, the white man is superior to the black man because the black man could not understand Euclid's work (The Elements), how then could that be a realistic yardstick since the works he referred to belong to a black African (irrespective of the illustration of Euclid as a white man in circulation today. He was born over 2330 years ago in Africa)?

Why have we lost respect so much and our story seemingly lost? No one can tell your story for you if you don't. Your glory is in your story. Now, we have certain stereotypes slapped on the black man. It should be understood that the black man will never gain the respect of the world with accomplishments by blacks under white-controlled systems or sovereignties. No matter how rich, well-educated, and talented individual black people may be, their collective dignity is tied to the measure of the African continent, nay black Africa on every relevant scale of development. Africa was a Mecca for scholars from other parts of the world, where many Greek scholars, to whom the world now credits the origin of many frontiers of knowledge, studied. But has the world remembered and celebrated that? We now know that the oldest Mathematics texts (over 4000 years old)-The Rhind, Berlin, and Moscow papyri were all excavated from Africa. But do they bear the names of either African cities or persons? No! In fact, the Rhind papyrus was named after a Scottish traveler Alexander Rhind who bought it in Africa; but the author was a black African Mathematician called Ahmes, while Mr. Rhind, after whom the papyrus was named, knew next to nothing about Mathematics.

African sons and daughters are making wonderful contributions to the Western world which is the beneficiary of the scientific groundbreaking of our forefathers, but if we don't learn from our past mistakes, those contributions will be equally lost without due acknowledgement. The black man (In the USA, Europe, Latin America, and Mother Africa) must know that irrespective of the individual accomplishments of blacks all over the world, the situation in Africa is our shameful deformity that cannot be hidden.

Just 53 years ago in 1947, an American Senator from the State of Mississippi Senator Theodore G. Bilbo, in his book titled, "Make Your Choice - Separation or Mongrelization", called for repatriation of the "negroes" back to Africa. He said that race was America's greatest problem. The Asians are respected, not because of their individual accomplishments in Europe and America, but rather because of their accomplishments in Asia. Africans in the Diaspora will know no genuine and enduring respect while the continent is scared by poverty and generic incivility. Why will blacks not be treated as second-class citizens in different parts of the world (including where they claim citizenship) when global television channels show daily the pictures of wily starving black children and their mothers, squalor, dirty environment and the brutal wickedness of blacks against themselves? Why has today's black man chosen the part of being the fan of the white man rather than the confident actor in control of his destiny?

Can today's privileged Blackman see a need and do something about it without asking "what is in there for me?" Have we lost the natural African compassion? We have a wrong concept of "government". For long the average African has blamed the woes of Africa on "bad leadership", echoing the distracting position of his white model and hero. This is true to a point-only to a limited point, and no more; we are the architect of our fate, and we Africans are the ones to do something about it. And if I may be blunt, we the black African elite are to blame. The mind of the average white man asks, "What can I do?"; "why can't it be done?" The mind of the average African today asks, "What are they doing about this?"; "why is no one doing anything?" The white man can stick with a task patiently without minding how long it takes; the average black man lacks the patience that promotes growth and development. Today, we also seem to be losing the basic trust in and compassion for our fellow man.

Where do our seeming ineptitude and social incapacitation in the midst of so much potential flow from? There could be long theses on this theme; but I will address what I consider to be the primary problem-a sick mind. The holy scriptures say succinctly, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he". In other words, you are the product of your thought life. The Founder of the Negro History Week (1926), Carter Woodson said, "When you control a man's thinking, you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his (proper place) and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary." This kind of slavery is what Bob Marley called "Mental slavery" as he informed us, and rightly so that "none but ourselves can free our minds". "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free", says Jesus Christ.

Angry thoughts produce angry actions and an angry character; hopeful thoughts produce a confident lifestyle that solves rather than creates problems; selfish thoughts corrupt our actions as we frequently ask, "What is in there for me?" Thoughts of self-pity reduce a man to a slave; accusatory thoughts produce an "impeccable" and priggish character that sees nothing wrong in them but everything wrong in others. Worst of all, thoughts of inferiority destroy the man-he becomes an ape trying to be, look, and behave like another. The average black African elite looks at the white man as his hero; he wants to be like him; he appreciates awards and honors from the whites- however obscure- above those from their Black Africa; he believes more in the ability of the whites than his; he teaches his children to forget black Africa and claim a white heritage; he values what the whites value and considers everything black African primitive; in fact, he teaches his children to change their identity because he is himself ashamed of his roots. He then turns round to blame the shame on "African leaders". But who are these African leaders?

A society that has the preponderance of people with defective thought life as I attempted to describe above will make little or no progress. If a particular breed or specie consistently produces deformed offspring, then the sensible conclusion should be that there is a serious problem (genetic?) with the stock. If Africa has consistently produced bad leaders, then shouldn't we take a look at the mirror and say, "We black Africans have a serious problem"? All the hackneyed statement "Africa has not developed because we have bad leaders" is a confession of failure of the African. We have had flashes of brilliant leadership in Africa once in a while. But the gross failure is the failure of the African elite who usually turn into accusers; they are the fountain supplying those grotesque leadership styles in Africa for decades.

I maintain that African elite-both at home and in the Diaspora- are the problem of Africa. We have been manipulated and used to destroy our hopes every so often. We have either contributed to an evil propaganda against Africa or caused her deplorable state. All fingers point to the "bad leadership"; but do we know that other races secretly laugh at us, calling us a "confused bunch of Negroes"? We run to them to "help us confront and rein in oppressive African regimes". So, long as they are benefiting from those regimes, they do not oblige. But once they fall out of favor, they use us as tools; they give us publicity in their biased news media and brand us "opposition leaders" or "freedom fighters", or "human rights activists". And how we bask in the attention from the white man! Then, we get to the throne and do worse! Worse still, when they are done with us, they throw us away.

About a fortnight ago, during the "Diplomatic license" program on the CNN, the host Richard Roth, asked Nigerian's Ambassador at the UN why Nigeria should be granted permanent membership of the UN Security Council (SC) given that there are incessant strikes and unrest in Nigeria. This was very unfair, insulting, and misrepresentative of facts. Is there any UN law that requires absence of strikes and unrest in permanent members of the SC? Have there been no incidents of strikes and unrest in the five permanent members (France, USA, Britain, China, and Russia)? These white elite start building a case against black Africa from a seemingly innocuous position before they finally put a damper on our goals. We the black elite then catch this to destroy our black pride when we have not got our selfish gains from the "bad leaders" in power in black Africa. We rob Africa of its rights when we fight for our personal pecuniary interests.

If you watch frequently "Inside Africa" by the CNN anchored by black Africans, you may be disappointed by the kind of activities they cover. Is Africa a continent of only wars and conflicts, wild animals and poverty? This kind of reporting gives a bad impression about the continent. I remember when last year I met a young white American soldier in a train car; when he learnt I was from Africa he excitedly expressed the hope of visiting Africa one day to "see animals". Africa is not correctly reported, or rather under-reported. The young and old from outside Africa have a wrong impression of Africa. We need to tell the true African story. Sometimes, unfortunately, African journalists rely on the misinformation from foreign news media for "correct information" about happenings in Africa.

Nigeria is the biggest black nation on earth, but not the oldest. Haiti, which is the first politically independent black nation on earth in modern history, is a classic example of the failure of the black race in self-governance. In Africa, Liberia and Sierra Leone founded for (not by) freed black slaves by the white man have often needed the intervention countries like Nigeria to remain in one piece.

Since it is estimated that one out of every six black persons on earth is a Nigerian, let me shift focus now to Nigeria. Nigeria bears on her young shoulders great expectations-expectations from blacks both on and outside the African continent. Nigeria is a foreign-made country, created by the British. Different nationalities were put together for the administrative convenience and profit of the British.

With over 300 nationalities that make up Nigeria, many of whom had no recognizable systems of government before 1914, it is inconceivable the political and administrative configuration that would have resulted apart from this British-induced fusion. Irrespective of the reasonableness or otherwise of this joinery, the fact remains that the African cannot seek and emphasize division in this age and at the same time hope to survive. What happens in Nigeria has a great effect on the rest of black world. The gap between the white and black world is too wide; there is need for a bridge. But in seeking to do this, it would be delusive to expect solution in unilateralism rather than multilateralism.

In Nigeria, there is set of necessary reforms being pursued by a team of committed reformers. These reforms, as necessary as they are, have caused enormous suffering on the populace. How can the pain be reduced without doing damage to the soul of the reforms? The natural African compassion is necessary here. I listened in on the internet to a group of discussants on the Africa Independent Television (AIT). Someone could not see any reason why Nigeria's external reserves keep growing while suffering continues. Another does not see any wisdom in increased prices of petroleum products while crude oil is got from "beneath our soil". The more I listened to these learned brethren of mine, the more I became convinced that the Nigerian elite need some re-educating on economic, political, and social issues (This is a subject for another article). We are the ones to explain to the uninitiated those issues about which many have exhibited surprising ignorance.

Well, as necessary as those reforms are, I would like to highlight certain issues which government (local, State, and federal) should consider:

  1. Health: The national health insurance scheme has been in the talk shop for too long. We talk, we set up committees, but nothing has come out of this issue yet. Since Prof. Ishaya Audu was made the Chairman of the national health insurance committee, and I saw him in a new Peugeot car for that office, I have not heard of any cheery news about the scheme. Health insurance schemes are very necessary since the healthy pay for the sick. If a poor Nigerian falls sick and has no money for medical treatment, he is gone. The health of the nation is not cared for today. If the government can put together a health scheme which I believe we are rich enough to do, the unemployed and the poor will have their bills defrayed by the government while those working (both healthy and the sick) pay monthly premiums. The national assembly could pass a bill that a certain percentage of earnings from crude oil should be paid into a National Health Insurance account. Nigerians can have yearly medical check-ups and know that their nation (the government) cares for them. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation. But now, many sick Nigerian brothers and sisters can't pay for their medical treatment and no one cares. You could be dying in the hospital, and there is no compassion on you if you can't pay for treatment. I hope the government officials and our legislators will read this.

  2. Social Security: Is Nigeria not rich enough to have welfare programs for the jobless and weak in the society? We have different funds like those for ecology, emergency etc. But there is no fund for poor Nigerians. Does anyone care? After graduating from the University, I cannot even find a menial job that can fetch me enough to pay for the basic necessities of life. I take to crime, maybe as a protest against society. That is what is happening today. The reforms are nice; we have saved and are saving government tens of billions of naira from our fiscal discipline now. But can't we invest part of what we are saving in welfare programs for Nigerians? We can start somewhere; we can start with college graduates, for instance. These have endured and spent many years to obtain a University degree or college certificate or diploma. Now, they have no jobs. Is it only the white man that is nifty enough to come up with welfare programs? Nigeria, as the biggest black nation on earth can show that blacks care for themselves. We don't have to do it because the white man does it, but because black people deserve the best. What can encourage patriotism more than knowing my country cares for me?

The above are just few examples of areas that governments at the local, state, and federal levels can make Nigerians willing to die for their country because the country can take care of those that will survive them. I expect the NLC, instead of reacting to stimuli, to initiate actions. If the NLC mobilizes Nigerians to force the government (including the legislative arm) to give Nigerians a health insurance and social security, and threaten strike, it would be wonderful. But what I see is government taking the NLC for granted because the NLC puts its foot the wrong way.

Until 1834, the British government through church parishes helped support working people during times when they were out of jobs. This kept many poor folks from starving and allowed them the dignity of returning to work as soon as they found one. But the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 stopped this in government's bid to save money; in its place, unattractive Poorhouses were built for the poor. They were very unattractive and life there was like in a prison-deliberately to keep off people and slough off a responsibility. Suffering, dirt, diseases, and death set it. Many children became orphans. Why would a responsible government do that?

At a time like this, one man, a Prussian preacher, married to an English woman, decided he should do something. George Muller thought it would be a good idea to build an orphanage in Bristol. Many people thought that was a ridiculous idea. In the whole of England then there were only ten or twelve orphanages, all but one of which were private-owned and admitted only "children whose parents had been of some means, but now found themselves without sufficient funds to care entirely for their own needs".

A cynic told Mr. Muller, "If you were an Englishman, Mr. Muller, you would know that this thing is not possible in England. It is not the way we do things here. Perhaps asking God to supply all your needs is the way things are done in Prussia, but not here." Muller got some encouragements too; a lady told him, "I'm not much with book learning, sir. But I know how to cook and clean, and goodness knows, I have mended a thousand socks in my day. If you can use me in your new orphanage, I'm ready to be put to work. And don't worry about paying me. The good Lord's never let me starve yet, and I don't think He's about to now. If you have faith for those thirty girls (Muller had decided to start with this number), I can have faith for myself". George Muller is best known for this work than for any other. Real changes are brought about not by a crowd yelling "move on, move on", but by a focused conviction. There will always be a vase support for a novelty when its initiators refuse to be discouraged no matter the daunting circumstances at the beginning. Compassion is a naturally African.

We know by the huge assets of Nigerian churches and mosques that they control billions of naira. As a Christian, permit me to talk about the church in Nigeria at liberty. What programs have Nigerian churches put in place for the jobless and poor in their midst? What have the church Bishops, Overseers, Superintendents, Pastors and leaders done to make their members feel God never made a mistake making them Nigerians?

Over 90% of Nigerians are said to be worshippers at either church or mosque. Besides, about 50% of Nigerians have some affiliation to a local church in Nigeria. What these statistics indicate is that not less than 70 million Nigerians (that is out of a population of 150 million) are under the leaders of Nigerian churches. Could you imagine the positive difference that would be effected in the standard of living of Nigerians if Nigerian churches had special welfare programs for the poor in their midst? Can you imagine the "revival" that could take place in Nigeria?

Nigerian churches spend millions of naira on crusades and television and radio preaching. There would be no room to take "worshippers" if a huge chunk of that money were used to take care of the poor members. Who would not want to be a member of a local church? The beggars, Area boys, and the Agberos could see active love and join. We advertise "healing for the sick and miracles for the barren", but don't talk of "food for the hungry". Jesus said, "Give them something to eat"; Apostle Paul was told by the elder apostles, "not to forget the poor", about which Paul wrote "something I was prepared and ready to do". We are so spiritual, we just need to pray for the jobless, and homeless, and sick. The bible says, "Bring the tithes into my store house that there will be food in my house". The saying "as poor as the church rat" is unscriptural. The church is a place where there should be food-not just for the priests- but for the worshippers too. Many churches in Nigeria have higher monthly income than our local governments; some of them earn monthly more than what some State governments earn. There are many States in Nigeria that earn less than N2 billion monthly. Could any discerning person fail to observe that many churches scoop in more than that monthly?

If those mega rich churches in Nigeria introduce well-organized welfare schemes for the poor in their midst, it would be an example for other organizations in Nigeria. "The goodness of God leads to repentance", so the holy scriptures say. They don't have to screen members "to be sure they are born again". When millions of naira is spent on television and radio preaching, the messages are targeted at those who are not born-again. So, if those who are not born-again are attracted to the churches in droves because of those welfare programs, such expenses would be cut. God added to the early church so many converts, as the church showed concern for the needs of members. The bible said that none among them lacked since they shared what they had together. We don't need to make members feel guilty because they don't have to give big wads of money as offerings. The opulence of mega churches in Nigeria should translate to improved standard of living of all members, and not only of the Bishops, pastors, Overseers and Superintendent.

The church can even move further and trust God to provide for them to do good works. Love in action is stronger than good wishes and sweet prophecies; this is the teaching of scriptures. May we be the "light of the world" as Jesus urged. We should teach the government that it can be done just like George Muller took upon himself when the English government was sloughing off its responsibility in 1834.

Our mosques can do the same. The amajiris can be organized to desist from begging and be enrolled in formal schools. Part of the money generated by the mosques should be used to take care of the poor and jobless in their midst. Who knows, when both the Mosque and the Church in Nigeria demonstrate the man is more important than domestic animals, then religious leaders can have the moral strength to preach to the government to be compassionate and remember the weak and poor. Both Christianity and Islam teach the practical virtue of doing good deeds to the less privileged. Instead of Christians and Muslims in Nigeria fighting each other and dragging the name of Nigeria into the mud, let them make Nigerians rejoice they are Nigerians after all. As far as I see it, all of us have a stake, and if everyone does their portion, we shall make the black race proud in the world.

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Washington Post

Bishops Lobby for Zimbabwean Democracy

By Nora Boustany
Friday, October 22, 2004; Page A22

Two Zimbabwean bishops working behind the scenes to reduce tensions before
parliamentary elections next year visited Washington this week as part of
what they consider their duty to keep the country on the world's agenda.

"It is not like in Darfur or Iraq, and it could be completely forgotten,"
Bishop Trevor Manhanga of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe said about
his country. "If that happens, Zimbabwe will be in a very bad state."

Manhanga and Bishop Patrick Mutume of the Catholic Diocese of Manicaland,
who met with Hill staffers and a senior State Department official dealing
with African affairs, said they are trying to improve the relationship
between President Robert Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF, and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. The two men of the cloth said they feared that a wave of
violence could engulf the country, similar to the turmoil that followed
general elections in 2000 and a presidential vote in 2002.

"People should be able to exercise their votes freely," Manhanga said, "and
there should be a level playing field."

Opposition leaders have said intimidation and fraud caused their party to
lose the 2000 and 2002 elections. The opposition "felt it was robbed after
the 2000 election and nothing has been settled," Manhanga said.

Although Zimbabwe started out as a success story when Mugabe came to power
in 1980 as the country's first black leader, "when you look back, we did not
establish enough of a democratic tradition," Manhanga said. Zimbabweans did
not know how to deal with an emerging opposition and allegations of official
corruption, he added.

In addition to concerns about the electoral process, unemployment remains a
hot-button issue in Zimbabwe. An ill-planned program to give white-owned
farms to landless blacks has left thousands of people without jobs,
deepening Zimbabwe's economic crisis.

"Inflation, drought and a devalued currency made things even more difficult,
and land reform in the post-colonial era has left a minority of white
farmers in a very uncertain situation," Manhanga said. "Even the farms
seized from black African owners and redistributed to small farmers have led
to the loss of jobs and displaced workers."

Laws that had been applied selectively denied the opposition the right of
assembly, prohibited it from organizing and limited its access to the
official media, heightening an atmosphere of mistrust and hate, Mutume said.

The leading opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was acquitted last week of
plotting to kill Mugabe but still faces unrelated treason charges for
allegedly violating the Public Order and Security Act in 2003. Tsvangirai
and his supporters, who strongly contested the 2002 election that gave
Mugabe another six-year term, have threatened to boycott the vote next year
if the president fails to institute several reforms, including the creation
of an impartial election commission.

Tsvangirai's acquittal has energized religious leaders from a wide range of
denominations to seek a peaceful resolution to the political impasse. They
have met with elected officials from Mugabe's party and the opposition, as
well as with regional leaders.

Manhanga and Mutume said it was the obligation of religious leaders to
participate in politics. "As members of the church, we have to continue
educating our people on what to look for and what to hold elected officials
accountable for. For us it is jobs, health and governance, not to mention
democracy," Mutume said.

Mutume has been watching with interest the religious overtones in the U.S.
presidential campaign during his week so far in the United States. "God is
not a Republican, neither is he a Democrat, and their candidates are
wonderful Christians, but neither of their parties has a direct line to
God," he said.

"It is known that the Bible is very accommodating and respects divergence of
opinion and our ability to choose. People who use their Bible to reach their
own ends do a great disservice to Christianity," he said. The devout are
committed to adhering to their beliefs, he added, "but we should never
remove from society their ability to choose. That is their right."

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Sydney Morning Herald

Mugabe's latest ruthless gambit

Zimbabwe may have faded from the international news in recent months, but
ugly things are still happening in Robert Mugabe's tortured fiefdom. The
latest victims are, ironically, the very people - officially described as
veterans of Zimbabwe's independence struggle - who were lauded by President
Mugabe as pioneering patriots when he mobilised them to seize white-owned
farms by force in 2000, driving away their black labourers. This was done in
the name of a land redistribution to right colonial injustices. Now, in
areas north of Harare, those who dispossessed the whites have been ousted in
turn by marauding teams of police. During September, hundreds of homes are
reported to have been wrecked and fields laid waste.

None of Mr Mugabe's ministers has yet publicly endorsed the raids and, for
what it's worth, a court has ordered that the evictions be halted. The
original motivation is a mystery. There are dark suspicions that the land is
coveted by senior figures in the ruling ZANU-PF party, by members of Mr
Mugabe's family or by senior military officers. A more charitable theory is
that the police action was part of a heavy-handed attempt to impose rural
order as a precursor to restoring commercial viability to the ravaged
agricultural sector.

All this must be seen in the context of parliamentary elections to be held
in March. Whether or not the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
boycotts them, Mr Mugabe's party seems certain to win. One reason - apart
from the deeply flawed electoral system, physical intimidation and rigid
media controls - is Mr Mugabe's demonstrated readiness to use food as a
political weapon. People driven off the land become more dependent on
government food largesse. Analysts predict the regime will maximise its
control of food stocks in the lead-up to the election, enabling it to use
free or subsidised rations to buy votes. It is suspected of secretly
importing grain stocks for the pre-election period, rather than relying on
less easily controlled international food aid.

The moral is that, in Africa, you can't keep a bad man down - not unless you
can win the wholehearted support of his African neighbours for really tough,
as opposed to symbolic, sanctions. That's why last year's decision by the
Commonwealth to continue the suspension of Zimbabwe from membership - in
which John Howard played a leading role - was a proper but futile gesture.
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