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

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Police Shut Down Zimbabwe Newspaper, Arrest 18
VOA News
25 Oct 2003, 17:00 UTC

Police in Zimbabwe have shut down the country's only independent daily
newspaper on the first day it published an issue after a month-long
government ban.
Police raided the offices of The Daily News Saturday and arrested 18
journalists, just hours after the paper reappeared on the streets. Officers
are refusing to let staffers re-enter the building.

The newspaper had hurriedly issued eight pages headlined "We Are Back" after
a court ruled Friday the government must grant the paper a new operating
license. Harare residents scrambled to buy copies as they went on sale and
quickly sold out.

The Harare Administrative court ruled that Zimbabwe's media commission was
biased in its decision to shut down the paper last month. It said the
government must issue The Daily News a license by the end of next month.

Staff at the newspaper say they believe the ruling allows them to
immediately start publishing again. Police were not immediately available to
comment on the raid.

The independent daily often criticizes the government of President Robert
Mugabe. In an editorial in Saturday's edition, the newspaper called on the
government to repeal strict media laws requiring newspapers to register with
the government and apply for a license.

The Daily News initially refused to register to protest the law. At the time
of its closure, the paper was challenging the legal requirement in court.

After the government raided the newspaper's offices and shut them down, the
paper applied for a license, but it was denied. The Daily News then appealed
the denial in an administrative court.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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The Scotsman

                  Sat 25 Oct 2003

     2:45am (UK)
      Zimbabwe Rights March

      By Rachel Williams, PA News

    Zimbabweans were due to march through central London today in what
organisers hoped would be the biggest British demonstration against human
rights abuses in the African country.

      The protest is timed to coincide with a speech by South African
foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at a conference marking the 10th
anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa.

      The demonstrators will call for the minister to make a statement
publicly condemning the human rights abuses of the Zimbabwean regime.

      They will assemble outside the conference venue, the QEII Centre,
opposite Westminster Abbey, at noon and march to Trafalgar Square.

      A spokesman said he could not estimate how many people would join in
the demo.

      The conference was being attended by representatives of governments
around the world.

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New York Times

Zimbabwe's Woes Are Bringing Grief to Its Wildlife, Too

Elephants compete for water pumped into a water hole at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Much of the country's wildlife is being wiped out.
Lori Waselchuk for The New York Times
Elephants compete for water pumped into a water hole at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Much of the country's wildlife is being wiped out.


Published: October 25, 2003

HWANGE NATIONAL PARK, Zimbabwe — Once this 5,700-square-mile expanse of wilderness, Zimbabwe's largest, was one of Africa's grandest showcases of wild animals. These days, it is exhibit A in the unfolding story of their destruction.

On a recent steamy morning, perhaps 60 elephants staged a scrum at the Nyamandlovu watering hole here, jockeying frantically to get a drink of water — not from the watering hole, a porridge of mud and flopping, dying fish, but from a trickling pipe at the hole's edge.

During Hwange's long, bone-dry winter, more than two dozen pumps supply almost all the water to thousands of animals. But Zimbabwe's government had neither enough fuel to run them nor spare parts to repair the many that were broken.

The scene was but a small element in what Colin Gillies, a wildlife expert with a private group here, calls "an unholy slaughter" of one of southern Africa's most varied stocks of wildlife. It is the product of three years of economic collapse, corruption and decaying civil order in a nation where the government is encouraging squatters and political allies to seize commercial farms and game preserves.

Hunting and tourism once pumped millions of dollars into Zimbabwe's economy each year, sustaining wildlife management programs on millions of acres of private scrubland too arid or rocky for commercial farming, but ideal for photographic safaris and big-game hunts. Zimbabwe's decision to confiscate most of that land from its white owners, and then to redistribute it to peasants and political supporters, has had an unexpected result: thousands of hungry families on land too poor to support crops have turned to poaching as their prime source of food and income. Private wildlife programs have been all but destroyed.

Precise figures do not exist. But by estimates from several conservationists, former landowners and opposition politicians, as many as two-thirds of the animals on Zimbabwe's game farms and wildlife conservancies have been wiped out.

The situation in parks is less dire, according to activists. Some charge that in a few parks, as many as 40 percent of the big-game animals have been poached or illegally hunted down, but other local conservationists say the damage has been mostly confined to scattered species like impala trapped for their meat.

No one disputes that thousands of animals have been lost, including significant numbers of species like rhinos and wild dogs that were already severely endangered. No one disagrees that the losses are continuing, despite the first belated efforts by Zimbabwe's government this month to rein in profiteering in wildlife by some of its own officials.

"There were 4,000, 5,000 buffalo as of three months ago, when we got run off," H. A. de Vries, 69, said of the 400,000-acre wildlife conservancy he partly owned in eastern Zimbabwe, bordering Hwange National Park. "Impala — thousands and thousands. Kudu, thousands. Elephants, 500 or 600. There was lion research going on there, wild dog research."

"I'd be surprised if there are 20 percent of the animals left," he said.

Mr. de Vries said he had been told that antelope in the preserve, known as the Gwayi Valley Conservancy, were being slaughtered to feed thousands of members of the Green Bombers, a much feared government paramilitary force, at a camp at an abandoned tin mine in central Zimbabwe. Similar charges were leveled by members in Zimbabwe's Parliament in August.

There is no easy way to verify such claims. Former farmers and owners of conservancies like Mr. de Vries are largely barred from their old lands, and the settlers who replaced them are hostile to outsiders.

But a Zimbabwe representative of the Washington-based World Wildlife Federation and a top official of Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe, a private conservation group here, both said that reports of wildlife losses on conservancies like Gwayi Valley were credible.

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The Herald

Inflation wipes out pensioners income

By Ruth Butaumocho
AS the nation tries to come to grips with economic hardships, many
pensioners are destitute.

Inflation has eroded the value of their pensions so much that most now rely
on handouts. Some pensioners have even stopped collecting their payouts. The
bus fare to collect the money is more than what is paid.

Most of those in destitution have pensions ranging from $900 to a maximum
$90 000 a month. These pensions cannot match escalating prices, being pushed
by inflation, which has reached a staggering 455 percent.

Mrs Lillian Matangaidze (60) a widow receives a $2 450 monthly pension from
her late husbands’ scheme managed by National Social Security Authority.

She cannot even buy a bottle of cooking oil or, worse still, buy her monthly
supply of antibiotics for her arthritis, which continues to worsen by day.

She has since stopped collecting the cheques, as the money she has to use
for bus fare is much more than her pension. "Its no use, the money is too
little," she says resignedly.

Mrs Matangaidze considers herself lucky because she lives in the rural
areas, unlike thousands of pensioners in the cities today who, are living
from hand to mouth.

Mr Poison Ngorovhani of Rugare, Harare, gets a monthly pension of $1 745
after having worked for the National Railways of Zimbabwe, for 36 years.
"When I retired in the late 1990s I got a retirement package of $9 000, for
all these years that I worked for the company.

"The money that I am currently getting is not even enough to meet city
council's monthly rent of over $5 000. Ndirikutambudzika (I am suffering),"
he said dejectedly.

The plight of his friend, Mr Gibson Mavai, who also worked for the NRZ for
more that 20 years, is more desperate. "NRZ deposits my monthly pension of
$1 745 in my bank account, but part of the money is swallowed up by the
ledger fees and other bank costs, leaving me with $1 000. I usually go back
home by foot after drawing the money, so that I can save something."

Another pensioner, who retired after working for 20 years for a plastic
manufacturing company, Mr Douglas Dumba, regrets taking early retirement.
His pension is a paltry $1 500 from NSSA, which he says is a mockery, as he
cannot even afford to pay rent for his four roomed house in Kuwadzana 4.

He cannot meet his medical expenses and dietary needs after being diagnosed
with ulcers.

Faced with a bleak future, pensioners in urban areas now survive by
subletting their rooms, engaging in urban agriculture and vending, while
those in rural areas have turned to gold panning and subsistence farming.

Most pensioners are irked by the fact although prices are increasing
rapidly, pension firms have done nothing to increase penions.

NSSA general manager Mr Amond Takawira said inflation had smashed purchasing
powers of most pensions and and those from his organisation were no

But the benefits from NSSA were favourable compared to most other schemes.

Benefits are affected by the contributory period, which at the moment is
still low. "While employee contribution rates to other pension schemes range
from 7,5 percent to 15 percent of the employee’s salary, in NSSA the rate is
fixed at 3 percent of the insurable earnings with a ceiling that is reviewed
periodically but set very low. Currently it is pegged at only $48 000 per

NSSA retirement pensions ranged from $777 to $34 380 whilst invalide
pensions ranged from $337,50 to a maximum of $6 715. Survivors' pensions,
based on retirement pensions, ranged from $337,50 to $13 752.

NSSA pensions were being reviewed with an increase expected once the
actuarial valuation had been completed.

An economist, Mr David Mupamhadzi, said the surging inflation had had a
serious impact to people with fixed incomes. "Most pensions and other forms
of fixed incomes have lost value and will continue to do so owing to

"As a result most employees are now reluctant to rely on pensions, as was
the case a few years back, where one would stay with one company for 10
years in view of accumulating a sizeable pension," he said.

Because of the high levels of uncertainty surrounding pensions, many
employees no longer stayed in the same employment for too long.

"Pension is no longer an incentive to any employee who is serious about
life," says Nesbert Siriro a stores controller with a company which
specialises in irrigation equipment.

One of the many ways that the Government could assist pensioners and other
people with fixed incomes would be to come up with policies that ensured
companies reviewed pensions in line with inflation..

The Government could implement a policy similar to that of insurance
companies where premiums were constantly increased to match inflation.

Insurance companies, after realising the danger of having people’s earnings
being eroded by inflation have put in measures to add a certain percentage
of the monthly contributions as an escalator to guard against such a

Although the percentage might not be high enough to beat the inflation, it
could cushion the contributors.

Mr Mupamhadzi urged companies to invest pension funds so they could realise
attractive profits, which in turn would be paid to pensioners.

"Some pension firms are failing to make proper payments to pensioners
because the money was not properly invested. There is need for policy makers
to scrutinise operations of some pension firms in the country," he said.

For several decades pension funds have been forced to invest significant
percentages of their income in Government bonds. These provide absolute
security, but the returns are traditionally lower than shares or property.

Although the living conditions of pensioners were deplorable in Zimbabwe,
this was not the case some countries.

The United Kingdom has a number of programmes for pensioners that ensured a
decent and secure income in retirement.

It had set up successful partnerships between central and local governments
and the voluntary sector to improve lives of pensioners through provision of
heavily subsided accommodation, food and entertainment allowances.

Pensioners in the UK have free access to health care facilities. With the
money they get as monthly payouts they can actually afford to go on a
holiday, something that Zimbabwean pensioners cannot afford.

A situation closer home is that of Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, where
they have in place a non-contributory social pension for their elderly

A report by the UK based Institute of Development Studies compiled this year
showed South Africa had over 1,6 million social pensioners, each receiving
R600 (US $60) per month.

Namibian pensioners had 85 000 pensioners each receiving a much lower figure
at N$ 250 (US $24), compared to Botswana's 110 pula (US $17), which is paid
to 80 000 individual social pensioners each month. In both South Africa and
Namibia, the social pension is funded directly from the national budget and
financed through tax revenues. It is a state guaranteed social security
payment that is not funded from workers' contributions.

Apart from pensioners themselves, the social pension supports unemployed
adults, young grandchildren and other relatives.

It had also contributed to high numbers of 'missing middle generation'
households in rural communities. Zimbabwe would need to implement similar
programmes to ensure that pensioners do not suffer in retirement.
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The Herald

New laws to consolidate land reform gains on cards

From Bulawayo Bureau
GOVERNMENT is in the process of crafting legislation that will consolidate
gains made during the fast-track land reform programme, the Minister of
State for Information and Publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo said yesterday.

Officiating at the Esigodini Agricultural College graduation ceremony, Prof
Moyo said a legal instrument that would, among other things, invalidate
tittle deeds still being held by former white commercial was necessary
before the agrarian reform programme is concluded.

He said some unrepentant former white commercial farmers were trying to
stage a come back even through corrupt means while others refused to
surrender title deeds for the farms that were compulsorily acquired by the
Government to resettle the landless.

"We have to secure the gains of the Third Chimurenga in legal terms and
Government is considering a number of options.

"The so-called successful white farmers were made by successive colonial
governments. But given the level of the support they enjoyed and the vast
tracts of land they commanded, an inescapable conclusion is that they were
an inefficient lot. Much of commercial farmland was under-utilised.

"Moving forward means crafting legislation that consolidates and puts a
final seal of legality to the gains we have made through the fast-track
programme. We are aware that white commercial farmers who used to be on the
land have refused to surrender title deeds to Government."

Prof Moyo said the Government was aware that a number of former commercial
farmers had fled the country with title deeds for properties that were
acquired in the vain hope that they would resuscitate their claim to the

"We need a legal instrument that makes those title deeds a little lower than
toilet paper, forever a nullity that invites ridicule in any decent court of

"The same farmers have even refused to come forward to collect monies that
are due to them as compensation for developments on acquired farms as
provided in our law.

"If their calculation is for a return in the future, then they are set for
another outcome."

Prof Moyo said despite persistent British and United States hostility
towards Zimbabwe over the land reform programme, the Government would never
give land back to commercial farmers.

He said recent media claims that the recently released report by the
Presidential Land Review Committee headed by Dr Charles Utete recommended
that land should be returned to previous owners were products of individuals
still bonded to colonial interests.

"In the past two weeks, we have even read some fictitious articles in some
sections of the media claiming that the recently released report of the land
review committee led by the former Chief Secretary to the President and
Cabinet, Dr Charles Utete, recommends that acquired land be returned to the
previous owners, the white commercial farmers.

"It is a crushing indictment that as a people, we have a small fraction of
us still servile and beholden to white interests, a stance that motivates
them to work against their own interests as sons of the soil, sons and
daughters of the soil which until now was occupied."

The minister said since the graduands chose agriculture as a profession,
they had been equipped with skills that potentially made cadres of that
land-based struggle.

"But let me warn you. Skills are like a weapon. Depending on purpose and
use, skills can kill or cure, destroy or defend, undermine or augment."
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Extract from Noseweek Investigative magazine.  -  Issue 50, October 2003.

When Zimbabwe gets a truly democratic government, one of the hardest jobs
will be tracking down the millions - some say billions - embezzled by the
current regime. In February 2002, the London Financial Times estimated that
Mugabe alone could be worth R700m. However much the presi-dent has pocketed,
his ruling Zanu-PF party and his colleagues in the party have taken more,
according to documents now in the hands of the United Nations (UN).
In a UN report that documents the plunder of resources in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, it is claimed that more than R35bn has slipped into
well connected pockets in both Harare and Kinshasa. The documents reveal an
elaborate network of companies and trusts set up by Zanu-PF men in order to
siphon off and hide their share of the loot. So, where did the money come
from and where is it now?
When the first Mugabe government came to power in 1980, it was not overtly
corrupt though there were some noticeable changes to the way things had been
done before.
A system of patronage developed. Major contracts were awarded to friends or
to companies in which ministers and party chiefs held shares and government
funds were siphoned into Zanu-PF to help build the party office block which
stands next to the Harare Sheraton hotel. But, once the press had been
nation-alised in 1982 and there was no one to monitor those in power, it
rapidly turned into a free-for-all. In no time Zanu-PF had an inter-est in
more than 100 local compa-nies. But the Zimbabwe economy was small pickings
compared with the wealth locked up in the region. In 1982 Mugabe sent troops
to Mozambique to prevent the rul-ing Frelimo party - led by his close friend
President Samora Machel - from being toppled by South African backed Renamo
The next year, the government in Harare set up a company called Zim-babwe
Defence Industries (ZDI) whose purpose would be to procure supplies for the
army. Through ZDI, goods could be purchased from companies owned by
ministers and their families. By 1955 the war in Mozambique was costing
Zimbabwe R7m a day, and was eating into funds that should have been used to
build infrastructure, create jobs and pay for land redistri-bution. Instead
the money was spent on rifles, bullets, landmines and jet fuel - sourced
largely through ZDI. But when war ended in 1992 and investment dollars
poured into Mozam-bique, it was South African and Portu-guese firms that
snapped up the deals in tourism, construction and farming. The Zimbabweans
learned from their mistake and, in 1996, when a request for help came from
Congo's rebel leader Laurent Kabila, they were prepared. The Cold War and US
support for Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko had ended and Kabila saw his
chance. With luck and some good backers, it would be possi-ble to take the
capital, Kinshasa. Mugabe allegedly provided R35m towards the assault, and
military intelligence in Harare helped plan it. In May 1997 what was left of
Mobutu's army deserted, the aging dictator went into exile, and
Laurent-Desire Kabila was sworn in as president. In the same month Zimbabwe
Defence Industries was given a contract to supply R350m-worth of dried fish.
corn meal, uniforms and boots to the new government. Zvinavashe Transport,
owned by Mugabe's army chief. General Vitalis Zvinavashe. was commissioned
to carry the goods from Harare to Kinshasa. It was the start of a
multi-billion rand venture that would bankrupt Zimbabwe and enrich the
ruling elite to a degree even they had never thought possible. In 1995 a new
company, Congo-Duka was formed in Harare and established a joint venture
with ZDI and a Con-golese firm to supply consumer goods to Kinshasa. The
directors of the new enterprise included Charles Kuwasa, permanent secretary
in Mugabe's ministry of finance. Zvinavashe, and Air Marshall Perence Shiri.
Shin was already notorious for lead-ing the massacres in the southern
province of Matabeleland in the mid-1980s when Mugabe dispatched the Fifth
Brigade to stamp out political and military opposition in the region.
In the Congo deal, the main liaison between Kinshasa and Harare was the then
minister of justice [and Tony Yengeni friend] Emerson Mnangagwa. The
government underwrote guar-antees of Z$1.6 billion (then R630m) against
political risk, and Zimbabwe became the Congo's major sup-plier with the
majority of goods being sourced from companies in Harare that were owned by
well-placed busi-ness people, ministers or the military.
In 1999, when the Congo slipped back into civil war, Mugabe sent more than
10,000 troops and military advisors to shore up Kabila's position and
protect Zanu-PF's investments. Kabila agreed to pay the bill, but the DRC
was bankrupt so, instead, he offered an equivalent value in farms and
concessions to exploit timber, cobalt and the Congo's extensive diamond
reserves. Within three years of Kabila taking power, the Belgian Diamond
Office which monitors international trade in the stones estimated nearly 85%
of the Congo's annual diamond produc-tion - worth more than a R7bn - was
being smuggled out of the country with some of the gems going via Harare. In
Zimbabwe, another company, Osleg Pvt Ltd, was formed with a board that
included Zvinavashe, Job Whabara (who was permanent secretary in the defence
ministry) and Onesimo Moto, director of the Minerals Marketing Corporation
of Zimbabwe.
Osleg proposed a joint venture with Comiex-Congo, a company in which Laurent
Kabila was the majority shareholder. According to the docu-ments in which
the Zimbabwean firm made the offer. Osleg would "protect and defend, support
logistically. and assist generally in the devel-opment of commercial
ventures to explore, research, exploit and mar-ket the mineral, timber, and
other resources held by the state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo".
The bonding of Osleg and Comiex-Congo produced a firm called Cosleg which
was granted mining rights to a state-owned diamond deposit in Kabila's s
home region of Katanga. A forestry arm of Cosleg was estab-lished on 6
January, 2000 and named Socebo, an abbreviation for Societe Congolaise
d'exploitation du bois with its headquarters in Kinshasa. In January 2000
Zimbabwe's finance minister, Dr Simba Makoni, admitted in parliament that
the country's mili-tary costs in the Congo had exceeded Z$lObn (then about
R1.7bn). But Michael Quintana of the Africa Defence Journal disputed
Makoni's figures and estimated that a further Z$14 billion (R2bn) had been
poured into maintaining a virtual airbridge to ferry supplies between Harare
and Kinshasa, pushing the total figure to more than R3.5bn. This at a time
when Zimbabwe's health budget had been slashed to the point where hospitals
and clinics had run out of all but the most basic drugs. On 16 January 2001
Laurent Kabila was assassinated and his 30-year-old son. Joseph, took over.
The change did not stop the rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda, who
redoubled their efforts to take the country. As a result the new president
found himself hostage to military help from Zimbabwe. Kabila asked South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki broker a peace deal with the rebels and,
after repeated attempts, an agreement was ham-mered out in which all foreign
troops would withdraw from the Congo. And, as efforts to build lasting peace
intensified, international agencies began to unravel the activities of
Osleg, Cosleg, Socebo and a dozen other companies that had been set up to
cover the money trail. At the end of 2002, the United Nations pub-lished a
report on the looting that had taken place in the DRC. The document alleges
that, between them, politi-cians and their cohorts in Uganda, Rwanda,
Zimbabwe and the DRC itself had stolen billions worth of diamonds. minerals
and timber. The UN report claims that, on the Zimbabwe side alone, ministers
and their allies in Harare and Kinshasa, had set up a string of companies
that virtually controlled the extraction of diamonds, cobalt, copper and
According to the report; "This net-work has transferred ownership of at
least US$5bn [R35bn] of assets from the state mining sector to private
com-panies under its control in the past three years with no compensation or
benefit for the state treasury of the Democratic Republic of the Congo." The
UN claims, the key strategist in the network is Zimbabwe's speaker of
parliament. Emerson Mnangagwa - the man widely tipped to take over as
president when Mugabe retires. His partners in the venture include General
Vitalis Zvinavashe, executive chairman of Cosleg; Air Marshal Perence Shiri;
and, on the mining side, prominent businessman John Bredenkamp. The UN
dossier alleges that Tremalt Ltd (see noses9, 13 & 30), a company
represented by Bredenkamp, holds the rights to exploit six mining
conces-sions containing over 2.7 million tons of copper and 325,000 tons of
cobalt. Tremalt paid the Congo government about R3bn, but the estimated
worth of the six concessions exceeds R7bn.
Bredenkamp insists that Tremalt's operations are not linked to the
gov-ernment of Zimbabwe, but the authors of the UN report say they hold a
copy of a confidential profit-sharing agree-ment under which Tremalt retains
32% of net profits, and undertakes to pay 34% to the Democratic Republic of
the Congo and 34"?o to Zimbabwe. The plunder of the Congo extends beyond its
mineral wealth. According to the British-based NGO, Global Wit-ness. Cosleg
and Socebo now control "the world's largest logging concession by gaining
rights to exploit 33 million hectares of forests in the DRC".
The UN and Global Witness reports also claim that Harare International
Airport has become a transit zone for smuggled loot, creating a potential
conduit for the movement of other goods from sources beyond the DRC. In
November 2002, South African police discovered a racket in which perlemoen,
poached off the coast near Cape Town, was trucked to Manzini in Swaziland
and then flown to Harare from where the seafood was freighted to clients in
the Far East. The racket was exposed when a light plane en-route from
Manzini to Harare crashed on the South African side of the Limpopo River.
The aircraft had been overloaded with SOOkg of the shellfish, worth close to
R1.5 million.
Further investigations led to a spate of arrests in South Africa, but some
analysts believe the movement of perlemoen is only one part of a regional
smuggling racket that operates out of Harare.
The ultimate question: where are the Zimbabwean elite banking their
ill-gotten fortunes?
Last year, the European Union imposed financial sanctions on leading members
of Zanu-PF and British banks located and froze a total of 28 accounts held
by named leaders of the Zimbabwe govern-ment. but the total sum identified
comes to less than a million pounds. Mugabe is a regular visitor to
Malay-sia and there have been rumours that both he and other senior members
of Zanu-PF keep their wealth in government's owned banks in Kuala Lumpur.
Senior party figures make regular shopping trips to Johannesburg and some
pay their bills with money trans-ferred from accounts in Windhoek. (Namibian
President Sam Nujoma is Mugabe's staunchest ally in the region.)
The UN and other agencies have collected substantial evidence and a new
Zimbabwean government will have a lot to go on if they decide to investigate
the crimes, prosecute the culprits and recover the money. Just one more
reason why Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party [and their friends in SA?] are
determined not to risk a free election that could see them toppled from
 Geoff Hill is southern Africa correspondent for The Washington Times.

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Hindustan Times

      Striking doctors demand 1,000% pay hike in Zimbabwe
      Associated Press
      Harare, October 24

      Hospital doctors went on strike on Friday to demand 1,000 per cent pay
hikes to keep pace with runaway inflation in this troubled southern African

      Long lines formed at the two main state hospitals in capital Harare
and second city Bulawayo. The only doctors providing services were
foreigners brought in to assist under longstanding agreements with Cuba and
other countries.

      Health Minister David Parirenyatwa urged doctors to return to work in
the interests of their patients.

      But doctors say they are unable to survive on yearly salaries of 5
million Zimbabwean dollars to 7 million Zimbabwean dollars, equivalent to
$60,000 to $75,000 at the official exchange rate, but only about $1,000 at
the more realistic black market rate. This is the second time they have gone
on strike this year. Doctors interrupted services at state hospitals
intermittently in June.

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of economic crisis, with 70 per cent
unemployment and acute shortages of food, gasoline and medicine. Official
inflation is running at 455.6 per cent.

      A state programme to seize thousands of white-owned farms for
redistribution to blacks has crippled its agriculture-based economy.
President Robert Mugabe's government has also stepped up its crackdown on
dissent, charging opposition leaders with treason and shutting down the
country's only independent daily newspaper.

      On Wednesday, police used batons and dogs to disperse protesters
demanding political reform. Some 300 people were arrested, the last of whom
were released late Thursday.

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South Bend Tribune

October 25, 2003

      Mugabe must go

      The nation of Zimbabwe is collapsing in despair and corruption. And no
one is doing much about it. That must change if the humanitarian disaster
that is unfolding in the once prosperous nation is to be halted.

      There would be a complete news blackout in Zimbabwe, if it were not
for a few courageous reporters who continue to defy an eight-month ban on
foreign journalists. One of those is Michael Wines of The New York Times,
whose account of life in the once-prosperous nation appeared in the Oct. 19
edition of The Times.

      President Robert Mugabe in September shut down Zimbabwe's last
independent newspaper. He is continuing his systematic plunder of the
country he has ruled for 23 years. There isn't much left to steal.

      Hyperinflation has replaced a once-healthy agrarian economy. Last
week, chicken feed cost $91,500 Zimbabwean dollars for a 110-pound bag. The
week before, the price was half that. A Zimbabwean $500 note is worth 8
American cents. In 1998, it was worth 9 American dollars. Disease and
starvation are accelerated by a nearly 90-percent unemployment rate.

      And it is of Mugabe's making. Last year, he moved ahead with his
"populist" plan to confiscate white-owned farms and redistribute the land to
his supporters. He has claimed 25,000 square miles of farmland, much of it
last August before the winter wheat harvest. The seizure uprooted 300,000
black workers and added them to the unemployment rolls. A year-long drought
has exacerbated the effect of Mugabe's policies. Wheat production is down by
90 percent this year and corn production is at half its previous level.

      The irony is that Zimbabwe once produced enough food to feed its own
people and export wheat and beef to neighboring countries. Now, 4 million
people -- a third of the population -- depend on foreign food donations. The
United Nations reports that 40 percent of Zimbabwe's children are stunted or
wasting away from malnutrition.

      But not Mugabe. He continues to squeeze the last of the fat from the
land as he oversees the completion of a $9 million, 130,000-square-foot,
25-bedroom "retreat" near the capital.

      Unless Mugabe's retreat is to exile, there can be no hope for
Zimbabwe's recovery. The United States and the European Union have attempted
to pressure the dictator into resigning by freezing assets. The United
States has encouraged neighboring southern Africa democracies to exercise
their influence. This country, together with the EU and the United Nations,
must redouble efforts to pressure Mugabe from power.

      President Thabo Mbeke of the Republic of South Africa in particular
can make a difference. His friendship with Mugabe dates to a time when
Mugabe aided South Africans in throwing off racist repression. But the time
for solidarity is past. This country is starving. The survival of Zimbabwe,
and its restoration as a democracy, is in the interest of the entire region.
For that to happen, Mugabe and his henchmen must go.

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Tsvangirai's treason trial delayed once more

      October 25 2003 at 04:00PM

Harare - The trial of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, set to
resume next week, has been postponed for the second time.

The marathon trial, which started in February this year, was supposed to see
Tsvangirai being cross-examined by state lawyers on his role in allegedly
plotting the assassination of President Robert Mugabe.

The trial, first supposed to resume in September, was then postponed to

But Innocent Chagonda, one of Tsvangirai's lawyers, said the trial may only
resume "some time next year" after it was discovered that the judge and one
of his assessors had other engagements that might interrupt proceedings.

He added however that the court might still resume during the current term,
which ends in early December, so that the state can amend its case against

State lawyers have argued that Tsvangirai, who attended a meeting in Canada
in December 2001 with political consultant Ari Ben Menashe, allegedly
requested Mugabe's elimination ahead of 2002 presidential elections.

The videotaped evidence of that meeting produced in the Harare High Court
has been grainy, and only partially audible.

Reports say state lawyers now want to produce evidence that Tsvangirai
discussed the alleged plot at two meetings prior to the Canadian one.

Tsvangirai denies the charges against him, which carry the death penalty on
conviction. He says he was set up by government agents ahead of last year's
presidential poll, which he lost to Mugabe.

Two other senior officials from his Movement for Democratic Change who had
stood trial alongside him had charges against them dropped in August due to
lack of evidence.

Tsvangirai faces a second charge of treason for allegedly inciting his
supporters to overthrow the government in June this year. That trial is due
to start next year. - Sapa-AFP

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ABC Australia

Congo militia resume plunder from foreign forces

A United Nations report on the plunder of gems and minerals in the Congo
proposes the break up of large state-owned mining firms, transparent
accounting and a "name and shame" list of arms buyers and traffickers.

The report, obtained by Reuters, said however there was some reduction in
the volume of illegally exploited minerals after Uganda and Rwanda reduced
their forces and left pillaging to militia they helped create in the eastern
region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"Overall, this transition of control from foreign forces to the armed groups
has led to a temporary reduction in the volume of illegally exploited
resources," said the independent panel, headed by Mahmoud Kassem, a former
Egyptian ambassador to several African nations.

The panel, whose mandate expires this month at the insistence of the United
States, also issued a still-embargoed report on arms flows, which proposed a
"monitoring mechanism" on who bought and sold weapons to fuel the Central
African country's five-year-old civil war that is subsiding.

"Without arms, the ability to continue the conflict, and hence creating the
conditions for illegal exploitation of resources, cannot be sustained," the
panel said.

The report, the fourth of its kind, commissioned by the UN Security Council,
had previously blamed Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe, aided by Congolese
officials and criminal networks for exploiting Congo's riches and thereby
extending the war.

Among the resources in the Congo are gold, diamonds, niobium, cassiterite,
medicinal barks, cobalt, copper and coltan, used in cell phones and nuclear
reactor parts.

The panel said pillaged minerals likely were still passing through Burundi,
Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe as well as Angola, the Central African Republic,
Kenya, Mozambique, the Congo Republic Tanzania and Zambia.

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Farmers hold on to title deeds
25/10/2003 17:16  - (SA)

Harare - The Zimbabwean government wants to bring in laws that will mean
former white farmers cannot go back to farms seized under a controversial
land reform programme, a newspaper said on Saturday.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo hit out at dispossessed white farmers who
were holding on to title deeds for their properties, the official Herald
newspaper said.

"We need a legal instrument that makes those title deeds a little lower than
toilet paper, forever a nullity that invites ridicule in any decent court of
law," Moyo was quoted as saying.

According to an official audit of the three-year-old land reform programme
made public this week more than 4 300 previously white-owned farms have been
taken over by the government.

But many farmers have not handed over their title deeds to the properties,
claiming they had not received payment for them.

"We are aware that white commercial farmers who used to be on the land have
refused to surrender title deeds to government," Moyo said.

"If their calculation is for a return in the future, then they are set for
another outcome," he added.

The paper said President Robert Mugabe's government would never give land
back to white farmers.

In a news release this week farming pressure group Justice for Agriculture
(JAG) quoted the example of a former white farmer who had been offered $Zim
29m ($35 000) for his farm in compensation.

An average house in the capital Harare sells for about $Zim 200m.

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The Scotsman

      Zimbabwe Protesters Urge S Africa Support

      By Lisa Davies, PA News

      A small but passionate group of Zimbabweans today marched through
central London calling on their neighbours, South Africa, to speak out
against human rights abuses in their country.

      The protest coincided with a speech by South African Foreign Minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the
end of apartheid in South Africa.

      Ralph Mguni, spokesman for the End The Silence campaign, said the
group were calling on the South African government to speak out against the
violent regime of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

      “This has been a quiet side issue for too long,” he said.

      Mr Mguni said the timing was right for South Africa to make the
declaration condemning the situation in Zimbabwe and prompting an
international movement for change in the African country.

      “South Africa should now be able to come in support of the suffering
of the people in Zimbabwe and stand up and be counted, and say what’s
happening in Zimbabwe is completely against human rights. South Africa is
the most powerful neighbour Zimbabwe has, it really holds the lifeline to

      “We believe that if South Africa really stood up and said what Mugabe
is doing is completely wrong he would not last. Most of the time South
Africa has said what’s happening in Zimbabwe is an African affair – we’re
saying it’s a human affair.”

      The group of about 50 protesters chanted “stop the violence, end the
silence” and carried placards emblazoned with “quiet diplomacy is quite
unacceptable” and “end murder, rape and torture in Zimbabwe”.

      The group, which assembled outside the Queen Elizabeth Conference
Centre in Westminster, marched to Trafalgar Square to spread their message.

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