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Mbeki-Mugabe military pact

The Zimbabwean

LONDON - Presidents Robert Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki have made a secret pact to
train black pilots for South Africa while easing whites out of the SA Air
Force (SAAF). An informed source with the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ),
speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed this week that 14 experienced
instructors, led by Group Captain Chasakara, would leave shortly for South
It is understood that they have been seconded to the SAAF to undertake a
comprehensive two-year training programme aimed at beefing up the numbers of
black pilots.

"Mbeki is unhappy with the slow pace of integration of blacks into the
 SAAF," said the source. "He feels he is being resisted by the whites, who
still have a stranglehold over the air force down south."

By putting the highly experienced senior officers of the AFZ at Mbeki's
disposal to further black empowerment in the SA military, Mugabe has
undoubtedly secured further influence with his already friendly southern
neighbour. In addition, he is earning his bankrupt country hard currency for
their services, according to the source.

He said the group of instructors would be accompanied by 30 experienced
aircraft engineers, led by Squadron Leader Mudenge, severely depleting the
ranks of the AFZ's technical staff. However, due to the economic collapse of
the past decade and the international arms embargo, most air force
technicians and pilots in Zimbabwe have done nothing but twiddle their
thumbs for some time now. In addition, Zimbabwe lost several aircraft in the
DRC campaign and about two dozen aircraft are currently grounded for lack of

"There's nothing for them to do here, so they might as well go down south,"
said the source. "At least that way the pilots will be able to keep up their
flying hours and the technicians will get some experience in servicing
various different types of aircraft."

The SAAF recently joined the AFZ in staging an air show in Harare, where the
motley collection of aircraft, many of them still from the Rhodesian days 25
years ago, were put through their faltering paces in the skies over Harare.
Fancy jets were brought in by the South Africans to beef up the display.

Zimbabwean pilots still use Second World War-era Dakotas as the backbone of
their transport fleet, as well as the Cassa C212 and Islander workhorses.
Nowhere does east meet west more noticeably than in the force's fleet of
helicopters, which includes French Alouettes, Italian Agustas, American
Bells, Russian Hind gunships, British Lynxes and Cougars. (see picture p3)

The air force recently acquired a dozen Chinese-made K8 jet trainers to
replace the British Aerospace Hawk trainers - grounded because of lack of
spares, as a result of the EU arms embargo. The jets augmented the squadrons
of Chengdu F7 and Guizhou FT7 jet fighters - also from China. Aged but
sturdy Hawker Hunter jet bombers from the Rhodesian era are still
operational, as are Cessnas and SF260 trainers used for training beginner

The pact is seen by observers as further evidence of the two leaders' close
relationship, which even the stalled US$1 billion loan negotiations does not
seem to have affected much.

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Senate elections 'rigged already'

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - The forthcoming senatorial elections have already been rigged, Dr
Reginald Matshaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
has said Zanu (PF).
'Anyone contesting elections against Zanu (PF) will not break the balance of
power in terms of representation. Besides the President nominating 10 chiefs
and six others to make it 16, they have also neutralised all MDC strongholds
by combining them with strong Zanu (PF) constituencies. The whole process
smacks of chicanery,' he said.

Matshaba-Hove said no delimitation commission had sat. "They had not even
pretended to sit down and work out constituencies. No procedures were
followed in demarcating boundaries for the election. Patrick Chinamasa
simply came up with the amalgamation of various constituencies.quite often
three constituencies combined into one. More often than not urban
constituencies were diluted by rural constituencies,' he said.

Each province is represented by five senate seats. In the two Matebeleland
provinces, Dr Matshaba-Hove gave an example of Hwange West (MDC) and
Tsholotsho (Independent) being combined into one constituency. Two other MDC
constituencies Nkayi and Lupane were combined into one. Surprisingly
Bubi-Mguza constituency in the same province was left intact because it
voted Zanu (PF). In Matabeleland South, the Beitbridge constituency has also
been left intact because it belongs to Zanu (PF). Whereas the Masvingo
central constituency, which was won by a small margin by the MDC has been
combined with two rural Zanu (PF) constituencies, both won by an
overwhelming majority.

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Confusion as MDC rebels register

The Zimbabwean
politics or mdc
Police guard the entrance to the nomination court in Harare earlier this week.
HARARE – The champagne corks must be popping at shake-shake house, the headquarters of Zanu (PF) over the crisis in the MDC. President Mugabe himself has come out on the side of the pro-Senate group and accused Morgan Tsvangirai of behaving unconstitutionally. Even senior civil servants like George Charamba, the permanent secretary for information, have joined the Tsvangirai-bashing orgy and accused the MDC leadership of ‘flaunting its greed’ and ‘selfish interests’.
Minister in charge of the CIO, Didymus Mutasa, has openly boasted that the Zimbabwe spy agency has been involved in aiding and abetting the crisis. What is surprising is that some of the MDC leaders, who have been quiet for the past five years, have ferociously attached Tsvangirai in the past few weeks. Not even Mugabe himself has been so viciously attacked by these rebels.

For a party that has defied murder, threats, harassment, intimidation, rape and abuse of the judicial process to fall apart over an issue like the senate defies belief. Certainly, Mugabe knows that, in a country where the majority of the people are hungry and jobless, he only has to throw a few crumbs to get his opponents to tear themselves apart and get their snouts into the trough.

Zimbabweans are surprised to find that Mugabe is now actively encouraging MDC’s participation in the Senate, when, during past elections, he has denounced them as traitors and agents of imperialism. Why is he now welcoming ‘Blair’s Boys’ to participate, when in the past he has sent hordes of his thugs to intimidate opposition supports? Why does he want them to participate now?

Another interesting development has been the invitation to the gang of six MDC rebels to visit Pretoria by South African President Thabo Mbeki. The spectacular failure of his quiet diplomacy in bringing Zanu (PF) and the MDC to the conference table to thrash out their differences is well documented. Yet now he puts himself out to speak to one group in the senatorial dispute. In the past he has always told the world to mind its own business, as the Zimbabwe crisis was an internal matter. On more than on occasion he has said it was up to Zimbabweans to solve their own problems. Why is he now getting involved in an internal dispute within the MDC?

Another confusing dimension has been the announcement by MDC MP Job Sikhala that the party received some money from Ghana and Nigeria and control over these funds is the real reason for the in-fighting. Although this has been vehemently denied by the leadership, it raises questions that need to be answered.

One of the leading rebels, Paul Themba Nyathi, issued a very clear statement soon after parliament had passed the constitutional amendment no 17. “The creation of a Senate is in no way a move to improve legislative oversight. It has simply been created as an extension of presidential patronage, aimed at soothing bruised egos within the ruling party. The new constitutional provisions represent a serious assault on citizens’ basic rights and freedoms,” said his statement.

During the debate on the Bill, Welshman Ncube, another rebel, said it was ‘a systematic retrogressive move for the country. It will exacerbate the crisis of governance’. It is remarkable that these two gentlemen have departed in so short a time from their statements. Such political somersaults surely deserve some explanation. What has changed?

All these things contribute to the suspicion that money has changed hands. Some reports say Mugabe allocated as much as $15 billion to the CIO for the purposes of destabilizing the MDC.

The alleged emergence of an ethnic fault line deep within the party is perhaps the most disturbing of all. Tribal politics are dangerous and some commentators have already portrayed the split as ‘having taken a clearly ethnic line’, with ‘mainly southern provinces populated by Ndebele-speaking people rooting for Ndebele-born secretary general Welshman Ncube’s pro-participation position’. But this oversimplifies the issue. The divide is not that straightforward at all. For example, two of the six rebels, Gift Chimanikire and Isaac Matongo, are both Shona-speakers

Tsvangirai’s handling of the senate dispute has been clumsy to say the least. The bottom line is that the MDC national council voted to participate in the election and he subsequently tried to nullify that vote. The whole thing was messy – but he opened himself to accusations of acting undemocratically. Despite the fact that most Zimbabweans agree with his position that the MDC should not participate, and therefore legitimise, the Senate elections, he has not come out of the tussle at all well.

How he manages the crisis over the next few weeks will be the toughest test of his leadership skills to date. He has the majority of ordinary Zimbabweans behind him. That fact must surely give him confidence to adhere to the high principles, which have brought him this far.

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Hill calls for post-Mugabe plan

The Zimbabwean


LONDON - Author and journalist, Geoff Hill, has hit out at Western
governments, who, he said, "are making the same mistakes about Zimbabwe as
they did in Iraq."
Hill, who has been in Britain the past three weeks promoting his new book,
What Happens After Mugabe? gave a series of media interviews and was invited
to speak at various forums including the prestigious International Policy
Network (ITN) in Covent Garden.

"There are no real plans for Zimbabwe's future and nothing is being done now
to look at life after Mugabe," he told the ITN gathering whose audience
included the BBC's Julian Marshall (Newshour) and former British high
commissioner to South Africa, Ann Grant.

"The US, Canada, Britain, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and a good
number of government people in South Africa, all believe that Mugabe should
go, and you can't fault that," he said. "But they have done little or no
planning for the needs of a new Zimbabwe."

In Hill's view, the main challenge will be to encourage three-to-four
million exiles to return home and he called for action now in compiling an
extensive list of skilled Zimbabweans around the world so that, come change,
they could be lured back to fill positions in a free country.

"Some private efforts are being made to compile this information, but they
are underfunded and need more human resources," he said. "I worry that we
will have the same problem as Central America. When dictators ruled
Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, millions fled to the USA; but when
democracy came to those countries, few people returned because they had
built up new lives in America."

Other projects he believed could be undertaken immediately include the
training of broadcasters to replace the ZBC propaganda chiefs; the use of
police skills throughout the democratic nations of the Commonwealth to draw
up a training system which could be used to depoliticize the force;
developing a plan to restart commercial agriculture; setting up models for a
justice commission and training social workers to deprogram Mugabe's Youth
Brigade who have been accused of torture, rape and murder.

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Properties seized

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - The government of Zimbabwe continues to disregard the Bilateral
Investment Protection Agreements (BIPA) it signed with a number of
countries. The latest casualties are German-owned Border Timbers and South
Africa's Hippo Valley and Mkwasine sugar estates in the lowveld.
Despite contesting forced acquisition the two estates have been nationalised
under constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill No 17, which vests land in the
State without compensation other than for improvements. Border has its
timber plantations in the Eastern highlands listed and scores of landless
peasants are moving onto its properties.

Apart from battling the property seizures, Hippo is also grieving over its
US$2.68 million seized by the central bank. The RBZ, which is desperate to
raise hard currency for critical imports, alleges the sugar growing company
violated the Exchange Control Act by failing to declare the foreign earnings
within the prescribed period. Under Zimbabwe's archaic foreign currency
regulations, exporters should liquidate their hard currency earnings within
30 days of receipt. Hippo says the seizure of the much-needed funds would
adversely impact the company's ability to import critical inputs and thus
seriously undermine production.

Recently the government released a document titled Investing in Zimbabwe -
signed by Mugabe himself - which promised that government was 'committed to
protecting the sanctity of international agreements'.

Both Anglo and Border say they are not in possession of the facts of

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Magistrate bribed in Mugabe case

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - Officials in the justice ministry have revealed that the judge
dealing with Robert Mugabe's nephew Leo, arrested last week on allegations
of smuggling scarce flour to neighbouring Mozambique, received a Z$100
million bribe to alter the charges. The deal is said to have been brokered
by deputy Police Commissioner Innocent Matibiri, another nephew of Mugabe's.
The money allegedly changed hands via a marriage officer at the courts known
only as Mboko. Matibiri also allegedly brokered Leo's secret release from
As a result Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, the beneficiary, has also
consented to Leo and his wife Veronica arriving in court from the comfort of
their home. To try and hide the preferential treatment authorities drove
them to court in a police land-rover and made it look as if they had just
been whisked to court from remand prison. The charge sheet initially made
reference to 'illegal exportation' and left room for an alternative charge
of 'dealing in controlled products'. This has allegedly been whittled down
to just fraud.

Leo Mugabe, his brother Patrick Zhuwawo and their mother Sabina (Mugabe's
sister) are all sitting MPs.

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A call to action

The Zimbabwean

A new Africa and a reborn Zimbabwe that we all hope for will not come down
from heaven miraculously. It will be a struggle requiring sacrifice, both at
home and abroad. It is not good enough for those in exile to say, "I will
come back when things are better" if they do not actively work to make
things better.
Narrow nationalism is incompatible with faith in God, the creator of the
universe and father of all peoples and nations. Christ embraces friend and
foe, and a stranger in need is my neighbour (see the parable of the Good
Samaritan, Luke 10). The people of God are admonished "When a stranger stays
with you in your land, do him no wrong. He shall be to you as the native
among you. Love him as yourself for you have been strangers in the land of
Egypt" (Lev. 19: 34).

That three million Zimbabweans, among them many members of the Church, live
in exile must be taken into account in the pastoral outreach of the Church.
Zimbabwean priests who spend time as students in Europe are much in demand
as pastors of exiled church members. A delegation of Zimbabwean pastors went
to South Africa to investigate allegations that Zimbabweans are being
harassed by police and immigration officials without respect for their basic
human rights. Archbishop Pius Ncube met Zimbabweans both in South Africa and
in the UK. There is a church in exile, which we need to build strong links
to. There is need for cooperation with the Church worldwide in reaching out
to our scattered brothers and sisters.

Citizens of the Global Village claim the right of free movement. No "exit
visas" must stop them. For a Christian nobody can ever be a complete
stranger without any rights. At the same time citizens have a right to live
in peace in the country of their birth. Africa needs good governance. It is
good governance and the prosperity following from it that will make the
barbed wire fences around "Fortress Europe" unnecessary. The Church must
double her efforts in civic education and prepare a new generation to accept
political responsibility and leadership free from tyranny.

- Comment, Jesuit Communications.

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Quiet diplomacy a clever disguise?

The Zimbabwean

As each day brings new disasters for Zimbabwe, all of them entirely expected
but, paradoxically, still surprising, nothing but a malevolent glare has
remained embedded in my imagination as I scour it for words of hope. The
country's self-destructive madness has gone on and on, paralysing watchers
and victims alike.
When every other avenue of protest was ruthlessly closed, we looked South
for our salvation but until this month, nothing moved. Only 'quiet diplomacy'
emanated from that direction. But wait a minute! Could the quietness have
been a clever disguise for time buying while a successful strategy for
Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF)'s survival could be worked out?

When reports like "Mbeki has been working to bring the Zimbabwean leader and
the opposition to the table to cobble up a settlement to end the country's
political and economic crisis" are repeated, all sorts of contradictions
come to mind.

True, there has, most recently been the conditionality of the ruling party
talking to the MDC before any money bale out for the IMF could be delivered.
There has been the Mnangagwa as emissary moment, the Tsholtsho/Moyo
turnaround - things like that. But the most significant move was last
Thursday's command performance of the MDC's Sibanda/Ncube faction in the
Tshwane office of President Mbeki. They were there, it seems, because they
are willing to go along with next month's elections to a new Senate. (at the
time of writing, the outcome of the meeting is not known).

The conventional wisdom among Zanu (PF)'s critics is that the Senate is a
kind of bribe - a blatant splitting and weakening of the opposition. Looked
at another way, It could just possibly be a part of a different, far more
subtle plan. Try this:

*Fact: Morgan Tsvangirai has openly declared his hostility to South Africa
as an honest broker and will not countenance any alliance with ZANU (PF);

*fact: Mbeki has expressed the wish that the MDC should be drawn into such
an alliance with ZANU (PF) to break the political logjam in Zimbabwe and its
damaging consequences for South Africa;

*fact: exhausted MDC leaders have both good and bad reasons for blindly
endorsing a Senate.

*fact: the ground for ensuring that only a few opposition members enter the
upper house (at the behest of Mugabe's officials) has been well-prepared -
Murambatsvina, the powers of the nomination court to 'pick and choose' who
(outside of the ruling party) shall be allowed to contest for Senate seats,
the delimitation exercise (Dr Reginald Matshaba-Hove, chairman of the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, has stated that Zanu PF has already
rigged the upcoming senate poll, making any MDC participation meaningless)..
and so on'

From President Mbeki's point of view, one can only speculate:

*He would welcome the success of the alliance he has been seeking.

*He would not welcome any electoral success of a former Trade Union (ZCTU)
leader (Tsvangirai) which might lead to unseating Mugabe. His country's
COSATU is in sympathy with the suffering of its counterparts in Zimbabwe and
the pattern (remember Zambia) might be repeated in SA (There was no official
protest from SA's government at COSATU's rude treatment by Zimbabwe's border
officials when the organization attempted to enter the country).

*He must be seen to be in solidarity with Africa's hero of liberation
(Mugabe) and a Zanu (PF)/MDC alliance would provide an excellent face saver
for Mbeki and the continent's African brotherhood.

*NEPAD, too long delayed in delivery might at last become viable. His
African 'renaissance' plans (whatever they are) might recommence.

*He would remain firmly (and indefinitely) in power in South Africa.

The claim, by unnamed sources that "Mbeki now fears his project to broker a
negotiated solution that could bring Zimbabwe out of isolation could be
derailed if the MDC continues bickering or even splits deserves very close

How many years is it since our powerful southern neighbour, Mbeki, stood
square shouldered before Zimbabweans, assembled in an orderly, admiring
crowd at Harare's show grounds? His words then made us feel that somehow,
some day, we would get a helping hand from him. Perhaps we will. But maybe
it will not be the kind of help we need. How exhilarating, how liberating if
I were to be proved wrong.

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Letter from home

The Zimbabwean

Dear Family and Friends,

For six months we have not had a drop of rain in Zimbabwe and now, as we
wait for the first thunderstorm, the atmosphere is exceedingly strained.
Daytime temperatures are way up in the thirties Centigrade and the skies are
mostly clear and still. During the day we battle with flies and at night the
mosquitoes whine and wheedle incessantly. The mozzies, as we call them, are
very bad already, even before the rains have started, and they are going
mostly unchecked as even a simple tin of insecticide is now over quarter a
million of dollars and a luxury that few people can afford.

We've gone two days without water this week, one day without electricity and
every day without petrol. I have found it almost unbearable to follow
Zimbabwe's politics this week as it seems the opposition have lost their
way, forgotten their reason for being and become intent on squabbling over
the chance to get a seat in a Senate which they themselves said was not
wanted and an unacceptable financial burden on a population stretched way
beyond the limits.

Night after night state owned television have announced with growing glee
that that "the rift in the MDC is widening" and have shown opposition party
officials issuing opposing statements and publicly contradicting each other.

For six years we have seen almost no coverage of the opposition party on
national television but this week the film footage has been incessant as the
ruling party have gloated, crowed and chortled at what Mugabe calls "that
irrelevant party."

I pray that by the time you read this letter, the MDC will have come to
their senses. I cannot believe that any one of them has forgotten the rapes,
arson, torture, beating, brutality and murder that have littered our lives
for the past five and a half years. I cannot believe that any of them are
happy and contented that their families are spread out all over the world,
in political and financial exile.

I cannot believe that any one of them will be able to look at themselves in
the mirror and feel good about earning a living as a Senator. It will be a
living that ordinary people are dying, literally, to give them. I cannot
believe that any of the MDC leaders, even one of them, think that these
elections will be different - clean, unrigged, free, fair and transparent.

Hundreds of thousands of people are already disenfranchised, either through
forced removal from their homes and constituencies through one government
policy or another or by having been declared aliens in the country of their

On Friday Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede announced on ZBC TV that people
displaced by Operation Murambatsvina would not be eligible to vote unless
they had re-registered in their new constituencies. This announcement was
followed shortly afterwards by an advert advising that voter registration
would close just 48 hours later. Until next week, Ndini shamwari yenyu

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The Zimbabwean

The story headlined "Faith in Prison", P4 The Zimbabwean 21-27 October 2005,
states that MDC MP Roy Bennett spent a year in prison in Zimbabwe. This is
incorrect. Bennett was sentenced to a year but served only nine months of
his time as three months were given off because of good behaviour. The error
is regretted.

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Editorial comment - MDC fundamentally flawed

The Zimbabwean

The fact that the MDC, the biggest challenge to Mugabe's leadership since
Zimbabwe came into being in 1980, could split over whether or not to
participate in the senatorial elections is a tragedy.
The majority of Zimbabweans, who have suffered so much during the past 10
years, are desolate at the prospect of this undignified scramble for power
and money in the highest echelons of the opposition. The fact that the
people who seek to replace the Mugabe tyranny cannot resolve a relatively
minor crisis like this, signifies fundamental flaws.

Not least among these is the lack of tactical leadership skills demonstrated
by Morgan Tsvangirai. In politics, it is not enough to be right. One must be
seen to do the right thing in the right way. Sadly, he was not seen to
behave in a democratic manner.

These are the people to whom the country has been looking for its
salvation - and there they are fighting for the crumbs that fall from Mugabe's
table. The Senate is not going to help solve our problems, it is going to
make them worse. It will be nothing but a hot-air chamber, filled with
failed geriatrics. One only has to look at the calibre of candidates put
forward by Zanu (PF) - they are all failed and retired politicians who have
nothing to contribute to a modern Zimbabwe. They have all been rejected by
the people during the last few elections. Some of them have even been sacked
by Mugabe himself in the past.

Why are some leaders in MDC dying to get into it? Dr Reginald Matshaba-Hove,
chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network has spelt it out very
clearly - this election has already been rigged.

MDC strongholds have been neutralised by combining several of them,
sometimes as many as three, into one constituency, whereas the Zanu
(PF)-controlled constituencies have been left intact. No delimitation
commission sat down to draw up the boundaries. The whole thing was
arbitrarily done by legal minister Patrick Chinamasa.

If these misguided leaders in MDC think they are going to change the balance
of power by participating in the Senate, they had better think again. They
will be lucky to get 10 seats.

A disturbing feature about the selection of some of the candidates is that
the minister in charge of the CIO, Didymus Mutasa, has admitted working
through some elements in the MDC to cause this split. We all know that it
suits Mugabe to have a token representation from the opposition to give
credence to his election.

It is disastrous, to say the least, to see people whom we've all believed
were men of high principle, wittingly or unwittingly falling into the trap.

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WOZA steps out of the office

The Zimbabwean

LONDON - 'Our office is in the street' WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) told
Londoners in a packed meeting last week. And it is at street level, amongst
those who bear the brunt of Zimbabwe's collapse, that WOZA has, over the
last three years, organised dozens of demonstrations and mobilised as many
as 20,000 women across Zimbabwe to stand up for their rights. During the
month of October, however, three WOZA women, Siphewi Maseko, Magadonga
Mahlangu and Jenni Williams, have stepped out of the office to address
meetings all over Europe on a speaking tour organised by Amnesty
Last Thursday they were in London addressing a large crowd at the Amnesty
Offices. What they had to say was both poignant and powerful. 'Our work',
they told the audience, is 'telling the truth in a climate of fear' and
'mobilising a spirit of resistance against an undisclosed civil war'. They
were talking about Mugabe's civil war against the ordinary people of
Zimbabwe. They believe that the only way to resist it is by voting with your
feet - toyi-toying - jambanja - street action and peaceful civil
disobedience. WOZA have done plenty of that over the last few years.

Over 700 WOZA women have been arrested since their first action on
Valentines day 2003 and many have suffered beatings. When asked about the
impact of WOZA involvement on her personal life, Maseko said quite simply 'I
don't have a personal life'. 'If you are Zimbabwean,' she explained 'you
have no choice, I have no choice and my family has no choice'. WOZA members
are forever looking out for the navy blue and white police vehicles known as
defenders and Maseko's eight-year-old son often runs in to say 'Mum you must
hide! The defenders are coming.' Survival, adds Williams is often a case of
who sees who first on the roads - WOZA organisers are constantly on the run.

'Most of our work is door to door in the communities,' Williams said,
'discussing issues like how to hold Mugabe accountable, whether to
participate in the elections or not and planning actions on bread and butter
issues.' They are the normal activities of civic-minded women in any
society - but Zimbabwe's is not a normal society.

Mahlangu told of a WOZA jam-making meeting interrupted by armed riot police.
She and 45 others had been arrested and held overnight in police cells. 'Our
crime was discussing making jam,' she said with a laugh, 'and when we got to
court the police were just embarrassed.'

Williams has been arrested twice for praying in public and once,
demonstrating along side the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions, for handing
out sweets. 'As Zimbabweans, we need to stand up for ourselves,' says
Siphewi who is also well acquainted with the inside of Zimbabwe's prison
cells. Each time a case against the women is thrown out of court a small but
important victory is won for justice in Zimbabwe.

When asked what they wanted the government to do WOZA said they wanted the
repeal of POSA, the public order act under which most arrests are made and
AIPPA the government's means of silencing the voices of dissent. They also
want a 'people driven' constitution that fosters a spirit of tolerance. 'In
Zimbabwe today any one who holds alternative views to the government is seen
as an enemy of the state' they told us 'we want our government to take
responsibility for the man made crisis in Zimbabwe and to stop blaming
others for their misdeeds'.

Murambatsvina, the governments devastating campaign to drive people from
their homes and livelihoods has hit WOZA members hard. Mahlangu told the
meeting how many of the WOZA women had not only lost their homes but had
also had their market goods confiscated and then were expected to pay fines
as well. She also told us about the harrowing events that have been taking
place at Port Farm where intimidation has continued since September last
year when riot police, youth militia and war vets descended to evict
thousands of people from the farm killing eleven people including five

In answer to the question of what supporters can do, Mahlangu emphasised the
value of the work done by Amnesty International. Their letters and lobbying
have made a difference. 'Our struggle is your struggle. The world over,
rights are closing down - Mugabe has called me a terrorist,' concluded
Williams. 'But one woman's terrorist is another woman's freedom fighter.'

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Coming home, leaving home

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - I've been away three months and for the first time in my life I
didn't want to come home. But it was a perfect October day when I arrived
and I was seduced by the jacarandas in full bloom. My garden is beautiful
and peaceful and the house seemed so spacious, clean and civilised. I was
reading my e-mail a couple of hours later when the power went off - for 36
The transformer had blown so I gave my housekeeper the meat and fish that
was in the freezer and suggested that she dry it in the traditional manner.
Later she said that she might as well go to town to pay the bills while I
started to put aside the things I want to take back to the UK with me.

What do you take when packing up your life for an indefinite time?
Photographs in case rampaging mobs are encouraged to attack the homes of the
various groups of perceived enemies of the state. A few more hangers, my
CD's, a torch and the Dalai Lama's Advice on Dying?

Then Agnes returned, righteously indignant about the latest horror inflicted
upon the unfortunate citizens of Harare.

"If your car is even one minute past the time on the disc they are putting
something on your car. I don't know what it is, that thing, but you must pay
millions before you can move your car."

The corruption possibilities of clamping are too alarming to contemplate.
Civil servants are already paid as bounty hunters. Municipal policemen
haven't all yet done as well as Joseph Chinotimba!

I'd looked around Harare Airport when I left and saw how worn down we are.
Passengers sucked cigarette smoke deep into their lungs, gulped tea or
coffee, gabbled on cell phones or stuffed nondescript food into faces that
are lined and drawn. We had a hangdog look and everyone seemed so shabbily

There someone I know suggested that armed robbery, rape, shootings and
torture happen in other countries. 'After all it wasn't as if we're unique.'
To try to make such things acceptable is almost more frightening than the
acts themselves. Except that I've just heard on the BBC that the government
can't feed the army, and that is frightening.

I've spent two months cleaning and furnishing the minute flat I've rented in
the UK. It's wonderful to feel safe, have no responsibilities of garden or
staff, bills paid by direct debit, broadband and a postal address!

I'll try to rent out my Harare house but my plans change every day. Members
of my family were involved in an armed robbery recently and there were 48
'incidents' in Borrowdale in two weeks.

I can't think too much about how I'll miss my friends. And I'm swamped with
nostalgia if I think about lying in bed watching the sunrise.

But there are wonderful walks near my flat and a canal to walk along on
moonlit nights when owls and foxes call. I've introduced myself to the local
gamekeeper's wife so I can get pheasant and venison and don't have to eat
that appalling stuff they call meat.

"We're lucky," said Agnes when the power came back on. "In the High Density
you can wait even one and a half months to fix a transformer." She'd been
talking to the Zesa man on Cork Road and he'd told her our speedy recovery
was due to the embassies around here. (They all have generators.)

I ventured out to Msasa deal with a flat battery. Fuel is available in 14
days' time, minimum quantity 2,000 litres (US$2,000.00.) The garage man has
kindly lent me his battery and on the way home I went to Honeydew to buy
some vegetables and fruit. There I met a friend who lives around the corner
and she invited me home for a two and a half-hour coffee. It's not like that
in England!

At the till a woman said she'd been away for a week and prices had doubled.
I did an illegal currency conversion in my head and said, "They may have,
but by world standards it's still cheap here."

This truth prompted the usual angry tirade. I'd forgotten that to be
realistic it's interpreted as being callous and unconcerned for others.

A teacher in a private school told me that an alarming number of pupils are
living at home alone or with the maid as their parents are working abroad.
In two extreme cases, a junior schoolboy was knocked off his bike and found
to be living alone in a room behind a Harare hotel. And an 11-year old girl
was responsible for two siblings, a baby and a four-year old. These
unfortunate children have the latest cell phones etc.

The St John's School Fair had the usual sacred cows on sale plus a
smattering of ma zjing zjong. I'm so sick of railway sleepers, wrought iron
and pottery! Why do we need so many oven gloves and tablemats? The only
thing I really liked was proper unwrapped candyfloss on a stick with
splinters. But I resisted. It was a great white gathering. Cars were parked
for a kilometre back along the road in every direction. I saw about 10
people I know.

One of them said it was the best day of the year as it was so nice to see so
many white faces. One of my friends whose husband is black found the comment
distasteful. But I think the woman honestly meant that she found an annual
comfort in the realisation that, although endangered, we're not an entirely
extinct species!

The only thing I bought was a bit of Chinese ma zjing zjong that a street
child was offering outside.

Right now I'm wondering if I should take it with me. It has a green octopus
inside with bits of seaweed and multicoloured glittering stars, moons and
hearts. It also has a string and behaves like the yo-yos of my childhood.
I'm not sure that I'll need much else.

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Why on earth are we still here? (2)

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - So, my dear friends and countrymen, our verrrry junk food depleted
daily diet (due to being too expensive or not available), our lack of
super-duper-high-speed-high-performance technology which means that we have
to actually get off our butts and DO something with muscles somewhat larger
than those in our index fingers, our problem of kids having half of most
days doing school sports, our awful transport system so we walk, cycle or
run from A to B - all means that we don't run the risk of our kids hanging
out at malls at every free moment .... there aren't any at which to hang
Most of our kids don't get access to TV games, to the latest cell phones and
ipods .... because we simply can't afford them. Even DSTV is a treat in
increasingly more households .... so what's a poor, deprived Zim kid to do?
Well, they swim, run, cycle, play - all manner of school and social
activities - our challenge is not to stop them eating, but to ensure that
they eat enough for their needs!!!

Ok, I am biased. But do me a favour and compare the average one-way hour
commute in Jo'burg / Cape Town / Durbs traffic with the six minute trip we
have to make all the way from front door to work/school. Cycling in Durbs or
Jozi is like having your dearest death wish come true. Doing what you love,
whilst playing with the grim reaper every time a vehicle passes .. which is
around five million a minute. In Zim, the driving's not too great but hey,
not too much of a hassle considering that 20 minutes on a bike in any
direction out of town gets you into some exquisite countryside and all the
wide open space in the world and a fraction of the traffic with which to

No trip to Jozi is complete without a trip to Pick n' Pay supermarket. I
tried not to let the morbid, stressed, depressed local shoppers get me down
as they went about their daily million-choice-product shopping burdensome
routine. I skipped out of there with my bag of treasures (sunlight soap,
Charlie Gold deo, meusli, oats and a whole bottle of chocolate sauce for
kids' ice-cream treat) and went back to the lectures on averting the biggest
ever, world lifestyle disease disaster - smiling secretly to myself as more
and more 'evidence' was given by some of the best experts in the world as to
why we are still here!

In conclusion, I don't dispute the fact that we are being faced with a
mountain of struggles, but from the bottom of my heart I want you to
consider the daily effect on our own health, sense of community spirit, and
most importantly, the impact on that of our children! Every day that we are
here, someone out there is being admitted to coronary care, another child is
diagnosed with type II diabetes, billions is being spent on drugs to treat
obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression.

While the angels in our midst are desperately fighting to treat, uplift and
feed the starving and fatally ill, in the first world there are
incomprehensible measures and expenses taken to prevent the over-fed from
self destruction!

We get to spend daylight hours with those we love in many an impromptu
gathering - each one an opportunity to laugh, really laugh. To cry, really
cry. And to know the caring and genuine bonds that nourish our souls, feed
our resolve to lift our chin and square our shoulders. These are the things
worth struggling for, this is why we're still here.

Let us look to our challenges always with the knowledge that the flip side
of that hardship coin holds many, many personal and nation-building
attributes!! By the grace of God we will look back on this time and feel the
warmth of all those in our lives who held our hand and walked with us
physically, mentally and spiritually.

Every day that we are here is a blessing not a curse, and don't ever think
that it's a breeze outside of these borders. Enough said, I just wanted to
share these thoughts with you and to tell you that we are in this together
and we will make it together .... our attitude and direction is the same ...
'Our Zimbabwe'. Let's do it ..... together.

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'Enkosini - The Place of Kings'

The Zimbabwean

With the catastrophe currently befalling Zimbabwe's wildlife heritage, one
may be forgiven for thinking that there is no hope for wildlife at all in
the region. We are inundated with horror stories about indiscriminate
hunting, mainly due to a few greedy South African hunters. And indeed in
South Africa itself, there is the 'canned lion fiasco'which has prompted
widespread outrage at home and abroad.
The world famous CAMPFIRE project in Zimbabwe had phenomenal success, during
the 1980s and '90s, giving substance to the idea that people and wildlife do
not have to be in competition for both to survive. Sadly, with all of the
political disturbances in Zimbabwe, CAMPFIRE and many other projects have
fallen by the wayside. There are neither the funds nor the political will to
continue making progress.

This summer, I spent a month on a lion sanctuary in South Africa and the
visited the famous Kruger National Park to do some photography. I found a
society which is being transformed, shocked by the realisation that the
survival of its wildlife demands rapid action.

I decided to volunteer at Enkosini, a lion sanctuary in Mpumalanga, run by
Greg Mitchell (Mitch) and American, Kelcey Grimm. Mitch and Kelcey met while
managing a game lodge and lion breeding project in the Free State Province -
the Camorhi Game Lodge, where they first saw the horrors of the captive lion
breeding industry. This included tame lions being sold for canned hunts,
cubs ripped away at birth from their mothers, lionesses forced into estrus
for speed breeding. In reaction to these horrors and in an attempt to save
some of the lions they had personally raised, Mitch and Kelcey founded the
Enkosini Wildlife Sanctuary in 2001. (

You can imagine my disappointment when, on arrival, I found there were no
lions currently on the reserve. The lions raised by Mitch and Kelcey had
been sold, as they could not bare the thought of seeing 'their' lions
slaughtered for sport.

The 5000-hectare reserve is set in the Mpumalanga mountains, which is mostly
middle veld country (around 800 ft above sea level). There are endless
vistas, innumerable mountains, fresh springs and waterfalls as well as the
raw hard bush we all know so well in Zimbabwe. During my time there, the
reserve was very much 'a work in progress'. The last two chalets were still
under construction, bringing the number to five, the main bridge was just
undergoing its finishing touches, the stables were nearly finished and the
river in front of the main house had just been dammed.

August saw the start of the perimeter fencing, which will replace the old
cattle fencing currently surrounding the reserve and allow the
reintroduction of the numerous wildlife species which once roamed there. The
lions' fenced area is due to be expanded to a roughly 100 hectares once the
perimeter fencing is up. Black-backed jackals, meerkats and caracals,
currently housed in enclosures, are also due to be released on the property.
The problem with nocturnal animals such as these, is that they have such a
large range that it has been known for them to roam onto neighbouring farms
and get shot as 'vermin'.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, especially as I have not been home to
for a couple of years now. I was volunteering with like-minded individuals
from countries as far flung as Australia and Canada, the US and Tasmania,
England and France. I was the only Zimbabwean, in fact the only African, who
had ever volunteered for the programme, making me feel somewhat less foreign
than my compatriots! But we were all at Enkosini for the same purpose - love
of wildlife and the African bushveld.

Though I am no stranger to the bush, six years in Europe tends to blunt one's
ability to do what once came as naturally as catching the tube in London or
drinking beer in Germany. Of this fact I was soon to become painfully aware.
On my second day at Enkosini, I decided to go on a hike with my new-found
English buddy through the dry winter veld. Strapping on my Courtney's, I was
just getting back into the swing of things, inhaling the crisp air,
revelling in the quietness of the bush and jumping nimbly from rock to rock
like a young dassie. I find there is just something phenomenal about the
simple rawness of Africa that has the unique ability to set one's pulse
racing at the very thought of it.

Enkosini has a fantastic website, with details of the canned lion industry
in South Africa, giving information on all aspects of the project, including
volunteer opportunities. Every fortnight there will be an addition to the
series, including stunning photographs from the Kruger National Park and
from Enkosini, 'The place of Kings'.

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Food appeal for aged

The Zimbabwean

The situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated significantly during the last few
weeks. Hyper - inflation is now a fact of life and food prices have doubled
in the last month causing a financial crisis for all sectors of society not
least the elderly. There are now also chronic shortages of basic foodstuffs
such as sugar, salt, cooking oil and mealie meal. Petrol and diesel supplies
are worse than ever and unless foreign currency is available for purchasing
fuel it is simply not obtainable.
As a result of this, Major Gordon Howard of the Salvation Army who runs the
Athol Evans Old People's Home in Harare has appealed to us for money to
enable essential dry food stocks to be purchased in South Africa for
distribution to four Homes in Harare - Athol Evans, Fairways, Waterfalls and
the BS Leon Retirement home.

Although Homes in Zimbabwe normally provides funding for equipment and
refurbishment and has previously donated money to all of these homes we have
decided that as the food situation is so serious we should urgently seek to
raise as much money as we can over the next few weeks to help feed our old
age pensioners.

I do realise that you may have generously donated before but the situation
is so bad that I must ask for your help yet again if you possibly can.

Please be as generous as you can. Cheques should be made payable to Homes in
Zimbabwe and if you would be kind enough to complete the Gift Aid/Donation
Slip below and send it with your remittance we can raise another 28p for
each £ you send us from the UK Government.

Nigel Kay - Chairman of Trustees, Homes in Zimbabwe, Reg. Charity No 1104512

Please send with you cheque to N Hargreaves, Hon Treasurer, Homes in
77, Oxford St. Manchester M1 6EG
Tel 0161 236 4177

I enclose my cheque for £ __________________ payable to Homes in Zimbabwe.
Name________________________________ E -mail address________________

I confirm that I am a UK tax payer - please reclaim tax on this donation
from the Inland Revenue.

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Always feed your Guinea pigs

The Zimbabwean

Have you ever watched guinea pigs? It's fun, and can be rather relaxing.
They run around, eat, squeal, eat more, run around more, sniff each other,
all totally oblivious to the real world out side their cage. In fact their
cage is their world. They know nothing else. Nothing matters outside their
boundaries, and as long as their little boat never gets rocked, life goes
Big problems don't affect them. They don't think anything's wrong with their
fellows getting eaten by the cat, "Just as long it isn't me, mate!" They
don't notice when three babies disappear for a school friend, and they don't
mind old night guard, Jack, lifting a few every now again. You just can
never keep count of all those revolving numbers! Only thing that bothers
them, however, is the lack of food, or water. It's not a perfect world you
know, and sometimes things do go wrong.

We, as the owners of our cage, can do anything we like with our guinea pigs,
catch them, hold them, sell them, just as long as we feed our inmates,
they're happy. They don't complain, they never get restless, and are very
obedient, even when our old bush cat Tiger snacks on them. We do try to keep
him out, but then it's the inmates fault, because they don't follow the law,
and the law is "don't leave the cage", so if they fall foul of the law and
get eaten....well, the rest don't complain, so it's not really our fault!

You see, this is easy stuff to follow, and Mao worked it out a long time
ago: "Don't let the inmates know that they are actually in a cage, and if
some find out, well, you purge those that know the truth so that they can't
tell the rest." Then you will have a perfectly happy cage, the guinea pigs
won't know there's an outside, so they'll never complain.

By the way, selling them is a good idea because then you can get rich. Back
to the facts, The best method of control, if your cage is murmuring due to
mismanagement, such as food shortages or no sugar, is to promote some
inmates and then let them tell the rest that, I quote: "We will all get
rich, but some of us have to get rich first!" Then those who have new cars
and farms will not want the rest to get above themselves, so they will do
the controlling for you, and your cage purrs along very happy indeed

But just remember the one rule. Always feed your guinea pigs, because a
hungry guinea pig does make the most awful racket! You have to feed your
inmates no matter what. In fact, if things get really bad, you will find the
Big Bosses in your cage will turn and make the most noise of all, and that
is the last thing you want! Beware if your cage turns ugly.

Sometimes things do go wrong - the cost of pellets quadruples or the council
doesn't bother about water anymore so your cabbages die, so there is trouble
in the land and your guinea pigs have to go hungry. You could ask your
neighbours for credit, but you have borrowed once to often from them, and
they still haven't forgotten your behavior last Saturday night, so that's
out. What to do, what to do? The squealing!

They just won't keep quiet, they don't seem to understand that you have
looked after them for 26 years and have many other problems besides them.
Maybe we could reduce the population, we only really wanted half in the
first place - six million. Perhaps we could throw them a few scraps and buy
the big ones bigger cars - but they still squeal. A hungry guinea pig is a
fearsome thing!

So what to do? We could ignore them, they will eventually stop that racket,
but then our cash cow will die. We could chase them out, get rid of them,
throw them into the neighbour's yard, keep just a few, but then that won't
work, they always get sent back! If we break their boxes and destroy their
homes they won't have homes to go to so they will leave, that's a good idea!

Or maybe, hang on, just an idea, we could actually save them! How's about
that for a novel approach? They have served us loyally for 26 years after
all, made us fabulously rich, provided us with many years of enjoyment. We
could grant them their freedom, repair their happy society. Swallow our
pride, and hand them over to a younger man, or it could be a woman, someone
who loves guinea pigs.

Someone who is not too tired. Then they could put things right, pay the
council so they switch the water on, buy them a bag of pellets. We could say
sorry, it was a mistake, and pick up their nesting boxes, rebuild their
cage. A much happier ending. Letting them waste away, die a slow death, bit
by bit, a slow lingering death is no way to go. Just what shall we do, what
to do?

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Cricket - Politics crisis

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket was heading towards another crisis after the
provincial associations passed a vote of no confidence on the Peter
Chingoka-led Zimbabwe Cricket board at an emergency meeting in Harare on
Friday night. The meeting at the Old Hararians club was attended by chairmen
of Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland, Midlands, Matabelaland Country
Districts, Mashonaland Country Districts and Mashonaland, as well as
players' representatives. However, Mashonaland, the most influential single
province, who are themselves embroiled in an internal power struggle, were
represented by Cyprian Mandenge, who leads the pro-ZC board faction, and
Elvis Sembezeya who heads the anti-ZC board faction. As a result, the two
did not have a say in the proceedings. The other six provincial associations
passed a vote of no-confidence in the national board, and demanded the
appointment of a forensic auditor to investigate the board's finances amid
growing reports of irregularities.
In a bid to stave off utter collapse, ZC has announced the creation of five
new provinces - Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East,
Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North - despite the fact that critics
claim there is precious little cricket played in these regions. The new
provinces are likely to vote in favour of the existing regime. One,
Mashonaland West, already have an executive - Themba Mliswa. He is a
well-known figure and was described as a pro-Mugabe activist who has been
involved in activities close to the ruling Zanu (PF) party. According to a
source at the club on Friday, Mliswa interrupted proceedings and claimed
that he had been sent by the state security department to call it off as it
was an illegally convened meeting of the opposition MDC party. It seems that
word of his likely disruption was leaked in advance and local police were on
site to remove him. - Cricinfo

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Cricket: Disruption of provincial chairmans meeting

Sent: 24 October 2005 10:46



 Dear Mr Bvute,

We which to draw to your attention to an orchestrated incident that occurred
 on Friday 21st October 2005 at approximately 10:30am, to which you may be
 aware!  This incident happened at Old Hararians Sports Club, where the
 Provincial Chairmen from all the provinces were having an organised meeting
 to discuss various issues concerning the state of the game in Zimbabwe.

 All those present were as follows:

 Mr C Robertson     -    M.C.D.W.A.    -    Chairman
 Mr A Kemp            -    Matebeleland Districts    -    Chairmen
 Mr A Essat            -    Matebeleland         -     Chairman
 Mr M Ebrahim       -    Masvingo        -    Chairman
 Mr T Savory        -    Midlands        -    Chairman
Mr A Walsh        -    Manicaland        -    Chairman
 Mrs D Savory        -    Secretary    -    Minute Taker

 Invited People:

 Mr E Dube    -    National Selector and Matabeleland Board Member
 Mr P Simmons    -    National Coach
 Mr C Mandenge    -    1 Mashonaland Chairman
 Mr E Sembeseya    -    1 Mashonaland Chairman
 Mr D Hondo        -        Players Representative
 Mr A Blignaut    -    Players Representative

 The meeting was scheduled to start at 9:30am, but due to the late arrival
 the Air Zimbabwe flight from Bulawayo we only started at 10:00am.
 At approximately 10:30am a Mr Themba Mliswa (who incidentally flew in from
 Bulawayo on the same flight as Mr Kemp, Mr Essat and Mr Dube), Dr T
 Mukuhlani (board member and ex Mashonaland Chairman) and an unidentified
 young lady from Redcliffe Cricket Club, who said she was here to represent
 Midlands,arrived late.

 They banged on the door and demanded entry and when Mr Kemp opened the
 Mr Themba Mliswa barged in and said to Mr Kemp and I quote "You fucking
 white Rhodesian.... this is a Rhodesian meeting.  Do you know who I am? - I
from the office of State Security from the office of Mr Mutasa." - he
 this several times.  He stated and again I quote "We have taken the farms,
 now we are going to take cricket."  He then stated that the army was now
 going to run cricket and stated again quote "we are here to destroy
 He also stated that he was now Chairman of Mashonaland West cricket and
 there was no more Mashonaland Country Districts.  Mr T Mukuhlani was
 standing next to him throughout and was shouting, " What was this meeting
being held for, and why were certain people  at the meeting?."

 Mr Mliswa then turned to Mr E Sembeseya and said to him and again I quote
 "You are just a fucking white arse licker".

 This shouting and screaming carried on for about 15 minutes and was
 witnessed by Mr Hondo and A Blignaut, National Players and Mr P Simmons
the West Indian Zimbabwe Cricket coach.

 We telephoned  the Police, C.I.D., who sent some men to Old Hararians ,
but by the time they arrived these men had disappeared.  They stated that we
 were free to carry on with our properly organised meeting which we did

 We are sending a copy of this report to Senior Superintendent Erasmus at
 C.I.D. headquarters, to the I.C.C., the Chairman of Z.C and the entire
 board, Mr Alwyn Pichanic and his selection panel and Players representative
 Mr Clive Field, to show what level Zim cricket has sunk to .

 On behalf of all those present.


 C A ROBERTSON(Chairman of Mashonaland Country Districts)

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