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

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Chimanimani MP Roy Bennet was picked up by police at Harare International Airport this morning. Bennet was on his way to a business meeting in South Africa. He was due back home tomorrow. He is now on his way to the CID headquarters in Harare. He said he is unaware of the charge as of now.
More details will be made available later.
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Zim Online

Thur 28 October 2004
      HARARE - A parliamentary committee yesterday formally requested that
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party legislator Roy Bennet
be jailed for 15 months for assaulting Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
during debate earlier this year.

      The verdict of the ruling ZANU PF party-dominated committee, first
reported by ZimOnline in July, was met with howls and protests from the
opposition benches.

      The committee comprised three ZANU PF parliamentarians and two others
from the MDC.

      Labour Minister Paul Mangwana, who chaired the committee, yesterday
told Parliament: "The majority voted for a custodial sentence of 15 months,
with three months suspended on condition of good behaviour."

      Chinamasa was knocked down to the floor by Bennet after he had called
the white MDC parliamentarian's ancestors thieves who stole land from

      Chinamasa made the remark during debate in May about illegal attempts
by Zimbabwe National Army and government secret service agents to seize
Bennet's farm in Chimanimani constituency.

      Bennet has since said that he attacked Chinamasa in a fit of rage. The
MDC said it regretted the assault on the minister but pointed out that its
legislator had been extremely provoked by the remark.

      If Parliament, which is dominated by ZANU PF, upholds the committee's
verdict Bennet can still challenge it at the courts. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Zimbabwe, Botswana to open new border post
Thur 28 October 2004

      GABORONE - Zimbabwe and Botswana will next year open a new border post
in a bid to ease congestion at the only crossing point between the two
neighbours at Ramokgwebana/Plumtree and also to curb the use of illegal
routes to cross into either country.

      Botswana Home Affairs Minister Thebe Mogami this week told the Press
that Gaborone had provided resources for the construction of the new border
post under its national development plan for next year.

      He did not say how much was set aside for the project or when exactly
it would start next year.

      Mogami said: "This will also go a long way in addressing the problem
of illegal border crossing and bring order in the area.

      "It is our hope that once the border post is established people will
use it instead of jumping the border fence. There is no fee charged for
crossing the border at official points and therefore there is absolutely no
reason to jump the border, especially by the bona fide visitor."

      He said the construction of an additional entry point between the two
countries was evidence that relations between Gaborone and Harare were warm
and cordial.

      But relations between the two southern African nations are strained
chiefly because of Gaborone's open criticism of some of President Robert
Mugabe's controversial policies. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

34 MDC supporters arrested for holding meeting
Thur 28 October 2004

      BULAWAYO - Police arrested 34 supporters of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party attending a meeting here, in what the
opposition party said was yet more evidence of continued harassment of its
members by state security agents.

      Officials of the opposition party said heavily armed police stormed a
community hall in Mpopoma constituency here and force-marched the MDC
members who were meeting there to West Commonage police station nearby.

      Eight of the opposition supporters were still in custody by late
yesterday and are expected to appear in court today to answer charges of
violating the Public Order and Security Act. Their other 28 colleagues were
detained at the police station for several hours but were later released.

      The eight who were still being held by the police are Sihle Ncube,
Daniel Mgundu, Pharaoh Thusu, John Dube, Dumani and Stix.

      Under the security Act Zimbabweans must first seek permission from the
police before they can gather to discuss politics.

      MDC spokesman in Bulawayo, Victor Moyo, said: "Our supporters were
arrested for holding a meeting at Mpopoma Hall. They are expected to appear
in court soon.

      "Our supporters cannot meet and mingle because of the security Act.
The Act is an undesirable law. It makes the political playing field very
uneven. It goes against the grain and spirit of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) norms and standards for
      free and fair elections."

      The SADC electoral norms and standards require among other key issues
member states to uphold human rights during elections and to afford citizens
the opportunity to fully participate in national governance. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Tsvangirai meets Mauritian PM
Thurs 28 Oct 2004

      Johannesburg: MDC  president  Morgan Tsvangirai left Mauritius
yesterday shortly after talks with  Prime Minister and Southern African
Development Community (SADC) chairman Paul Berenger over  Zimbabwe's March
2005 parliamentary elections.

      Tsvangirai's meeting followed similar talks he held with South African
President Thabo Mbeki earlier this week. Details of those talks were not
released but it is reliably understood that Tsvangirai asked Mbeki for help
in ensuring that Mugabe postpones the elections from March to a later date
to create adequate time to implement genuine electoral reforms.

      Tsvangirai told reporters before leaving Mauritius that the main
objective of his visit had been to appraise Berenger of  the electoral
environment in Zimbabwe which he said was not conducive to free and fair

      Tsvangirai said that during his 24-hour visit to Mauritius he had also
met trade union and business leaders to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe.

      He re-iterated his party's position that it would only contest in next
year's elections if the playing field was levelled.

      Tsvangirai said measures that must be implemented  included setting up
an indpendent electoral commission, ending violence and intimidation,
getting opposition access to state media and ensuring freedom of

      Berenger and Mbeki are expected to dicuss Zimbabwe when the Mauritian
premier visits South Africa next month.
      Tsvangirai is due to address a press conference in Johannesburg today
before leaving for Harare. - ZimOnline.

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England lose last exit from Zimbabwe tour

Paul Kelso
Thursday October 28, 2004
The Guardian

England's cricketers may withdraw from next month's tour of Zimbabwe if
assurances on safety and security from the Zimbabwe government and British
Embassy officials are breached.
The final hurdle that might have prevented the team's participation was
removed last night when the England and Wales Cricket Board said it was
satisfied with safety and security arrangements. But Richard Bevan, chief
executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association who is just back from
an inspection of facilities in Zimbabwe, made it clear that the players
could withdraw in the event of trouble.

"We are relying on detailed assurances received from all the relevant
authorities," he said. "Should such undertakings be breached there will be
an immediate review of the players' position."

Despite widespread public and political opposition to the tour, ICC
regulations permit the ECB to withdraw without penalty on safety grounds

An inspection tour last week by John Carr, ECB director of cricket, and
Bevan found no reason not to tour and England's reluctant tourists will
arrive in Harare as planned on November 24.

Carr and Bevan met the minister for home affairs, police chiefs in Bulawayo
and Harare and the British ambassador, and were assured the team, officials,
media and spectators would be safe so long as they adhered to Foreign Office
travel advice.
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The Herald

Boost agric production: CZI

Zimbabwe's largest industrial body, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
(CZI), says Zimbabwe should return to food self-sufficiency as a starting
point towards full economic turnround.

Speaking at the Institute of Marketing Management breakfast meeting in the
capital on Wednesday, CZI president, Mr Pattison Sithole, said it was
imperative that Zimbabwe also increased production of major export crops
such as tobacco, sugar and horticulture.

He said restoration of productivity in the agricultural sector should be
anchored on increased hectrage under irrigation, security and stability on
the farms, full mechanisation, viable pricing of crops, timely adequate
funding, more extension workers and restoration of the beef and dairy

Sithole said Zimbabwe also needed to revamp its infrastructure and invest in
capacity building at some of its critical parastatals.

"There will be no full economic turnround unless we put the National
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) back on rail, we expand capacity at Zesa to cater
for current and future needs, provide adequate water supply to all major
production centres, revamp our air transport system, road network and
complete some outstanding major dams," he said.

He said investment in the areas outlined was a double-advantage, as it would
provide jobs during construction and after the projects had been completed.

The projects, he said, could also be a rallying point for mobilising foreign
investment, thereby generating foreign currency for the country.

"The proposed infrastructure bank would be a useful starting point in
mobilising requisite resources," he said.

The CZI boss said concerted efforts must also be channelled towards growing
exports for the country to build up foreign currency reserves.

The soon-to-be launched export strategy and industrialisation policy should
focus the whole nation towards import substitution, beneficiation of raw
materials, attraction of foreign direct investment and incentives to major
exporters, Sithole said.

He said strategies that have been adopted to fight inflation should be
pursued with vigour in order to reduce the rate to single digit levels.

These measures include the elimination of all forms of speculation,
reduction and close monitoring of money supply, discipline within government
on expenditure and improvement in productivity from all producers.

Sithole said confidence in the banking sector should also be restored while
bold steps had to be taken to deal with the banks under curatorship.

"Some discipline has already been restored and these efforts must continue.
Never again should we experience the same problem of 2003," he said.

Zimbabwe, he said, should also shift from brain drain to brain gain by
employing progressive strategies both in the educational and employment

Sithole also called for more government investment in the health sector,
proposing an increase in funding from the current 12 percent to 20 percent
of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said the economy could never work without a healthy and productive

Meanwhile, Sithole said a progressive and non-inflationary movement of the
exchange rate should also be guaranteed while the foreign currency auction
system needs to be continuously refined. - New Ziana.
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Pretoria News

      ANC embarrassed at Zim ousting of unionists

      Red faces over Cosatu trip
      October 28, 2004

      By Sapa-AFP and Sapa

      The African National Congress is "a bit embarrassed" by the
deportation of a 13-member Congress of SA Trade Unions delegation from
Zimbabwe, Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said yesterday. But he also
implicitly criticised Cosatu for the way in which it handled the incident.

      A member of the delegation has described how they were left without
food for seven hours and how Zimbabwean police tried to beat them.

      He charged that they had to leave Zimbabwe through the "back door",
and the Zimbabwe army, police and intelligence agency had all been used.

      Lekota, who is also the ANC's national chairman, told reporters at
Parliament: "I know why the Press feels very keen on this issue because
clearly it is a bit embarrassing to us as the ANC . We are part of the
tripartite alliance."

      Lekota and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad were briefing
reporters on the government's programme of action on international
relations, peace and security. Cosatu, the SA Communist Party and ANC are
members of South Africa's tripartite alliance.

      Cosatu's 13-member team was on a fact-finding mission when it was
thrown out of Zimbabwe.

      On Tuesday night, Zimbabwean authorities first tried to get the
delegation on a flight back to South Africa from Harare, but there were none

      They then ferried the union representatives to the Beit Bridge border
post by bus, without informing them of their destination, and left them
there. A minibus taxi from Musina in Limpopo fetched the group at the border
and they arrived in Johannesburg yesterday.

      Lekota said the government would work to ensure that the deportation
of Cosatu's delegation did not affect the elections in Zimbabwe next year.

      The minister said although he did not have the facts of what happened,
he believed Cosatu and the Zimbabwean government could have handled the
matter differently.

      Asked what the incident had done to relations between South Africa and
Zimbabwe, he said: "Relations are not necessarily determined by a single

      "There has to be sustained ill will, if one must say that, before we
can say relations will be bedevilled."

      Simon Boshielo, Cosatu's international affairs secretary and a member
of the delegation, said the Zimbabwean government kept them at the airport
for seven hours without food while they expected to be taken to their hotel
in Harare.

      The authorities "decided to take us out of the airport through the
back door", he said. "Whoever was getting us out of the country used the
army, the intelligence services and the police," Boshielo said.

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The Star

      Bring Mugabe to order now
      October 28, 2004

      By the Editor

      When the Zimbabwean government literally drove the 13 members of
Cosatu out of the country, even the most ardent defender of the Mugabe
regime had to stagger in disbelief.

      It's like watching a Monty Python movie where the character falls on
his sword again, and again, and again until he gets it just right.

      Although Cosatu is drifting more towards a political entity than a
pure workers' voice, it still represents the vast majority of the South
African workforce. Their very obvious ports of call would be with the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and to a lesser extent the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

      The worst their visit would have done was to add to the large number
of dissenting voices chastising the Zimbabwean government.

      The decision by the Zimbabwean authorities to expel the group, and in
so doing defy a court order, verifies everything that has become popular
rhetoric in the media.

      For many who have come to the defence of the Mugabe regime, the
argument has never been as clear-cut as the perception of a crazed dictator
who perpetrates gross human rights abuses and shows a total disregard for
basic civil rights.

      Rather, for his apologists it has become a battle between the African
who is still forced to bow and scrape before his Western master for a bone.
For them Mugabe has become a symbol of a defiant African leader who will no
longer play to the tune of the colonialists still lurking in our midst and
the new era of donor-based economies.

      When you come from a continent caught in the mire for so very long,
heroes are in short supply. And in our desperation, Mugabe, who has
systematically destroyed the dreams and hopes of his people, has been given
hero status.

      Our government's response of emphasising that Zimbabwe is a sovereign
state once again just does not cut it anymore. South Africa, the Southern
African Development Community and the African Union must apply harder,
direct pressure on the Zimbabwean government to show that its histrionics
cannot be tolerated anymore.
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Cape Times

      Baiting Bob
      October 28, 2004

      by The Editor

      Whatever fig leaf it was that persuaded Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe's apologists that he is a born-again democrat must surely have been
plucked away by events in the past two days.

      On Tuesday, Mugabe's goons unceremoniously expelled from Zimbabwe a
fact-finding delegation from the Congress of South African Trade Unions
(Cosatu). They were whisked off to the airport by security officials that
night and summarily ordered to return to South Africa. The last plane had
already left for Johannesburg, so police bused them to the South African

      The fact that the delegation had billed itself as a fact-finding
mission ahead of next year's Zimbabwean general election is instructive:
what is it that Mugabe was so concerned about that he was prepared to put
his special relationship with South Africa at risk?

      We suspect it was nothing more than the well-documented reality on the
ground - a reality in which opposition voices are silenced by whatever

      The laughable assertion that the Cosatu delegation was doing the work
of British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also revealing. Anyone with a
passing association with Cosatu will know this is nonsense.

      What then to make of the Zimbabwean government's repeated claims that
the Movement for Democratic Change is also doing Blair's bidding?

      The whole affair has cast a new light on the South African
government's policy of so-called "quiet diplomacy" - suspended, of course,
when it inexplicably and loudly defends the behaviour of the Zanu-PF
government. Yesterday, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie
Mamoepa made the extraordinary assertion that the Zimbabwean government was
acting within its rights in expelling the delegation.

      Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi's response was explosive. As
Cosatu is part of an alliance with the ruling ANC, the whole affair is bound
to have far-reaching repercussions.

      Will these repercussions finally put South Africa on to the front foot
in its dealings with Mugabe?
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The Herald

There is no shortage of chemicals for A-level exams - Chigwedere

Herald Reporter
THE Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Cde Aeneas Chigwedere,
yesterday said reports that some Advanced level students would write this
year's final examinations without adequate equipment and chemicals for
science subjects were false.

Cde Chigwedere was speaking in Parliament after Chitungwiza Member of
Parliament Mr Fidelis Mhashu (MDC) sought to know how the students would sit
the examinations without such basics.

"Such information is not based on fact. There is no shortage of chemicals
and the necessary equipment needed for A-level examinations in the country,"
said Cde Chigwedere.

He said the chemicals used in schools for science subjects were not ordered
by the schools, but by the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec)
through a company called MedTech.

"Zimsec applies for foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to
enable MedTech to order the chemicals and equipment and those have been
secured," said Cde Chigwedere.

Press reports over the weekend had alleged that some schools had not yet
secured chemicals and other materials which are required for practical
examinations, a few days before final A-level examinations begin.
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'S Africans not welcome in Zim'
27/10/2004 22:52  - (SA)

Erika Gibson

Johannesburg - Hot on the heels of a Cosatu fact-finding mission deported
from Zimbabwe earlier this week, eight wives of the alleged mercenaries in
the Chikurubi prison in Harare were prevented from crossing the Beit Bridge
border post on Wednesday morning.

They were on their way to go and visit their husbands.

The women crossed the South African border post without hassles just after
05:00 on Wednesday, but then they were told on the Zimbabwean side that
their husbands are criminals and they would not be allowed into the country
under any circumstances.

'No South Africans welcome in Zimbabwe'

Vernon Tinah Mabuza - whose husband, Paulus, is one of the prisoners - said
the customs officials informed them that "no South Africans are welcome in

The women were accused of being part of the team of "trouble makers" from
Cosatu, who were on their way back to South Africa at that very moment.

"They looked at our passports and claimed that they were fraudulent. They
confiscated them as well as our bus tickets," she recounted.

Passports stamped 'Cancelled'

Almost six hours and lots of arguing later, the officials returned the
passports but stamped them as "cancelled" - because they were apparently

Various women had been to Zimbabwe before with similar passports, first to
attend their husbands' hearings and later to visit them in prison.

The women were given five minutes to leave Zimbabwean soil. According to
Mabuza, the customs officials said they had to wait until their husbands are
released next year and that attempts to enter Zimbabwe before then will be
in vain.

"We saved to pay the R160 for the bus ticket. We don't have money to buy new
tickets, and the officials don't want to return our bus tickets."

The women clubbed together on Wednesday afternoon to try and catch a taxi
back to Johannesburg. According to Mabuza, she is unsure of how and where
she will obtain enough money to return to Nelspruit, from where she hails.

Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for foreign affairs, said on Wednesday
afternoon that the women did not have the required authorisation to visit
their husbands.

His department will take up the issue with the Zimbabwean authorities.

He said this authorisation has to be obtained from the Zimbabwe High

Alwyn Griebenow, the prisoners' attorney, said there have been numerous
problems when families tried to visit the men in prison - even if they had
the authorisation to do so.

"A written request first has to be sent to the South African High Commission
in Harare. From there a whole bureaucratic process follows until the prison
authorities give the Chikurubi prison the order to place the names of
certain people on the prison's visitors' list.

"The families have to have a copy from the prison authorities. Verbal
authorisation is not sufficient. There have been problems with visits, and
many more are expected.

"The women were under the impression that their visit had been authorised."

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