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

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MDC wants Zim out of C'wealth
30/09/2003 23:01  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), on Tuesday said the country should remain suspended from the

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in March last year over its
poor human rights record and President Robert Mugabe's re-election in a vote
that was widely condemned as rigged.

When the initial 12-month suspension ended in March this year, the
Commonwealth announced the southern African country's suspension would be
extended until December when the 54 Commonwealth countries hold their annual
meeting in Nigeria.

"Because there has not been any improvement on any of the benchmarks set by
the Commonwealth, we don't see any reason why Zimbabwe's suspension should
be lifted," said opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

He said the government had violated the Harare declaration on good

He urged that the Commonwealth "position must be enforced until there is
meaningful change in the behaviour of the regime".

"The crisis in Zimbabwe is not about land, not about Britain, it is about
governance," he told a news conference.

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun
Obasanjo, sit on a troika chaired by Australian Prime Minister John Howard
tasked with overseeing the Commonwealth's response to alleged human rights
violations in Zimbabwe.

'Sons of the soil'

Mbeki has been pushing for the lifting of Zimbabwe's suspension from the
grouping of mainly former British colonies.

The MDC leader welcomed overtures by Mugabe calling on the opposition to
consider settling political differences with his government internally "as
sons of the soil" without seeking foreign help.

"The public statement by President Mugabe that he would like to talk to the
MDC, is welcome, but is only welcome if that speech can only be translated
into action," he said.

"Let's see the Daily News ban lifted... and all the restrictions that are
being imposed lifted, so that we can demonstrate that there is seriousness,"
he said.

The forced closure of the Daily News earlier this month was politically
motivated, he said.

"We view the closure of the Daily News as an attack, as an attack on the
MDC. The paper has just become a victim of the whole strategy to emasculate
the independent communication channels.

He said his party did not own the Daily News, neither was the paper a
mouthpiece of the opposition, "but we believe in the spirit of freedom of

"Any closure of any newspaper is an affront to democracy," he said. -

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The Star

      The making of Zimbabwe's crisis
      October 1, 2003

      By Brendan Seery

      The tale of Eric Roberts is one that South Africans, and particularly
white South Africans, should hear.

      Eric Roberts was a simple, honest, hard-working cop. In the 1970s, he
worked for Ian Smith's police as a detective, investigating "terrorism"
cases. After the country became an independent Zimbabwe in 1980, Eric
Roberts carried on with his trade, rising to the rank of detective chief

      As he had done for Ian Smith, so he did for Robert Mugabe - tracking
and investigating those embarking on terrorism. His loyalty was to the
government of the day: Zimbabwe was his home and he had no other masters .

      One night in the early 1980s, Roberts opened the front door of his
modest suburban home in Bulawayo. A volley of 9mm parabellum bullets tore
into his body, probably fired from a silenced Uzi submachinegun. One or two
would have done the trick. The rest were a public message in much the same
way as were the 27 9mm slugs which mutilated the body of the ANC's
then-representative in Harare, Joe Gqabi, in mid-1981.

      I knew Eric Roberts. He was a nice, ordinary guy. He didn't deserve to

      But why is the tale of Eric Roberts relevant 20 years later?

      Simply because his story is in danger of disappearing, along with
everything else that has happened in the past 23 years in Zimbabwe, as
Robert Mugabe goes about destroying one of Africa's gems. By his conduct,
the Zimbabwean president has succeeded in focusing all eyes on the present,
while the past is forgotten or ignored.

      Eric Roberts was, in all probability, murdered by his own former
countrymen, white Zimbabweans paid by the South African "dirty tricks"
departments to run underground subversive networks - groups whose job was to
eliminate ANC members and to do as much as possible to "destabilise" the
newly-independent country.

      There's that word "destabilisation". Haven't heard that in a while,
have we? Let me recount a bit of that rapidly evaporating history.

      From about 1981 onwards, the National Party government and its
military and intelligence organs - as part of their "Total Strategy"
policy - set in motion a campaign to put the uppity Mugabe in his place.

      His speeches at the time made no bones of his support for the
liberation movements in South Africa, although he never allowed the ANC or
PAC to establish military bases on Zimbabwean soil. A small number of groups
of guerrillas did infiltrate into SA via Zimbabwe, but the vast majority who
came back to this country did so via Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana. Those
countries did not attract anything like the attention Zimbabwe did from the
apartheid machinery.

      Among some (but not all) of the incidents which were either carried
out directly by SA forces or by Zimbabwean whites and blacks being paid by
Pretoria were the following:

      nThe blowing up of the Zimbabwe National Army's main armoury in Harare
in 1981.

      nThe bombing of the Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare in 1981, in which
more than 20 people were killed.

      nThe assassination of Eric Roberts.

      nThe assassination of Joe Gqabi.

      nThe attack on an ANC house in Bulawayo, in which an innocent
Zimbabwean died after he was paid to drive a bomb-laden car up to the house.

      nThe bombing of a car park outside a cinema in Harare, in which
anti-apartheid activist Jeremy Brickhill was badly wounded.

      nThe booby-trapping of a TV which exploded and severely injured and
disfigured Anglican priest Father Michael Lapsley.

      nThe destruction of the fighter strength of the Air Force of Zimbabwe.
In the wake of that sabotage, a number of white Zimbabwean air force
officers were tried and acquitted but later re-detained by the Mugabe

      nThe repeated sabotage of the pipeline carrying petrol from the
Mozambican port of Beira to Zimbabwe. Eventually, Mugabe had to commit
hundreds of his troops for almost 10 years to defend the pipeline.

      nThe sabotage, and attempted sabotage, of the railway line between
Zimbabwe and Mozambique. With this and the pipeline often out of order,
Zimbabwe was, at
      stages, dependent solely on the good offices of SA for the import of
petroleum products - something the South Africans used on a number of
occasions for diplomatic blackmail.

      nThe funding and arming of diverse opposition groups in Zimbabwe. The
biggest of these was a group of Ndebele dissidents initially loyal to Joshua
Nkomo's Zapu, who took to the bush in the early 1980s. These dissidents
murdered white farmers with weapons obtained from the SA military. A group
of foreign tourists was also kidnapped by these "dissident" bands. All six
were later found dead - and the incident devastated the country's tourism
industry, which was at the time the second biggest earner of foreign
exchange, after tobacco.

      In a heavy-handed reaction, Mugabe deployed the notorious North
Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, which went on a bloody rampage some have
likened to ethnic cleansing and which left thousands of people dead and
caused many more to flee to South Africa and Botswana.

      nThe attempted rescue of white former Rhodesians, who were convicted
of treason for their involvement in South African-funded acts of terror. A
9-year-old girl was shot in the stomach during this "operation".

      Not much of this is ever likely to be debated publicly: this was not
within the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commision (which dealt
only with acts committed within SA's borders) and former military and other
operatives in SA have held their tongues. In any event, they were acting on
orders from politicians, who have demonstrated their talent at hiding behind
the cloak of "plausible deniability".

      But many of those acts of destabilisation involved white
ex-Rhodesians, including those now languishing in Chikurubi prison in Harare
and on whose behalf President Thabo Mbeki has been asked to intercede, on
the basis that they are South African citizens. Mbeki pointed out earlier
last week that he cannot interfere in the case because at the time the acts
of terrorism were carried out, the men were citizens of Zimbabwe.

      Is it any wonder, then, that over the years of destabilisation, the
attitude of Mugabe towards whites hardened markedly?

      How many remember that, in addition to the constant attempts by the
Rhodesians to kill him and others in the Zanu leadership during the war, at
least two attempts were made on his life in the run-up to elections in 1980?
Perhaps one can understand why Mugabe has felt himself pushed into a corner.

      The commitment of troops to securing Mozambique and the pipeline
proved such a drain on finances, that the economy quickly got into trouble.
The Mozambique excursion also provided the precursor for the later
involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire.

      When the economy began showing signs of faltering, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank came on to the scene. Their
prescription for economic health (subtext: do this or there will be no more
loans) was Esap - the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme.

      There are those who argue that Esap, with its strict commitment to
capitalist principles, was the international community's way of putting an
uppity would-be socialist in his place.

      Whatever its motives, Esap was certainly one of the factors in the
start of the current tailspin of the Zimbabwean economy.

      Few remember now that it was Esap's "harsh medicine" which saw the
scrapping of a number of subsidies and controls on prices which had made
life liveable for the majority of the country's citizens.

      By the time Mugabe tried to reintroduce controls later, they were
ineffective and the economy had degenerated into its current dog-eat-dog

      With his Esap-hit economy in trouble, Mugabe had to look around for a
scapegoat. And that scapegoat was white-owned land. The British government
never came through with its Lancaster House promises of vast donations to
enable the Zimbabwe government to acquire land from white farmers on a
"willing buyer, willing seller" basis for resettlement. Not many farmers
offered up their land either.

      Then there was the fact that the majority of whites had done little to
endear themselves to the new, black majority order in the country. After
independence, they mixed little, withdrawing to their enclaves of privilege,
many making far more money than they could have dreamed of in the times of
Ian Smith.

      What really got up Mugabe's nose, though, was that whites remained
aloof from blacks until it became obvious there was a burgeoning black
opposition to Zanu-PF. Rightly or wrongly, he felt that whites suddenly felt
able to engage in a marriage of convenience when he (Mugabe) was the common

      Today, the architects of the policy of destabilisation can look back
with pride on a job well done. Pretoria's securocrats started the process
which has made Zimbabwe so unstable that it is a threat to the whole of
southern Africa.

      None of this excuses what Mugabe has done to the economy, to democracy
and to the people of his country. It doesn't justify the murder of thousands
of Ndebeles; the dispossession of white farmers; or that the povo (the
people) fight a daily battle for mere survival.

      But nothing happens in isolation. Mugabe didn't wake up one day and
shout: "I hate whites! Take their land away!"
      That is something that very few whites in Southern Africa want to hear
these days.

      Mired in their own self-absorption, they cannot conceive they did
anything but right. They cannot conceive that evil lurks within their race
as in any other. They perceive themselves as victims, but never as

      And, unless we, as whites, accept that we weren't saints, then true
healing and reconciliation cannot being to start.

      So, listen to the story of Eric Roberts. Absorb a bit of that history
that everybody seems to be forgetting these days.

      Because, as the saying goes: those who don't learn from the mistakes
of history are doomed to repeat them.

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The Star

      Let's see progress or stay home, Mugabe told
      October 1, 2003

      By Brian Latham and Basildon Peta

      Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has ruled out inviting President
Robert Mugabe to the Commonwealth summit in Abuja unless there are big
changes in Zimbabwe.

      Meanwhile, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has denied President
Thabo Mbeki's claims that there have been talks between the Movement for
Democratic Change and the ruling Zanu-PF.

      Obasanjo's first-ever public remarks on the issue differ sharply from
those of Mbeki, who has said he wants Mugabe invited to the summit -
although adding that it was up to Obasanjo, as leader of the host country,
to decide.

      In an interview published on the website, Obasanjo said
the decision was not his alone, and had been made in consultation with other

      "Well, it's a decision for me but not really a decision for me alone.
For now, after appropriate consultation, I believe that there should be a
big change in Zimbabwe for an invitation to be sent."

      Obasanjo and Mbeki have reportedly been pressuring Mugabe to agree on
a power-sharing deal with the opposition.

      But for the moment, Obasanjo seems to have all but given up any hope
of achieving one before hosting the summit in December.

      a.. The MDC said yesterday that Zimbabwe should remain suspended from
the Commonwealth. Leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the government had violated
the Harare declaration on good governance. - Independent Foreign Service

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From ZWNEWS, 1 October

Friends of The Daily News

A group formed in London has joined the battle to overturn the silencing of
Zimbabwe’s only independent daily newspaper, The Daily News, using two
weapons: trying to shame the supreme court judges who shut down the paper
two weeks ago, and encouraging protests, particularly in the 19 other
African members of the 54-nation Commonwealth. "Whether it will work we don’
t know. But we are looking at how you put pressure on a government that is
not open to peer pressure," said Lindsay Ross, executive director of the
Commonwealth Press Union, and an organiser of the Friends of The Daily News.
The group was set up after a meeting at the House of Commons attended by a
cross-section of sympathisers, including representatives of international
bodies concerned with constitutional law, human rights, the media, trade
unions and commerce. The group is banking partly on the fact that the
supreme court judges in Zimbabwe are sensitive to their international image.
"The supreme court judiciary is still very conscious of its position, and
likes to be seen as working in the best interests of the profession," said
Ross. "We are seeking international support from high-ranking judges and
judicial bodies to put pressure on their colleagues in Zimbabwe." It is a
moot point whether the judges, who include long-standing supporters of
Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, and recipients of farms seized from white owners,
will be open to reversing their judgement - despite international
condemnation and legal opinion that they contravened Zimbabwe’s
constitution. But there are signs that the latest crackdown in Zimbabwe has
aroused serious alarm in fellow African countries on whose support Mugabe
relies, in depicting himself as an African liberator whose country’s woes
are the fault of the West, particularly Britain.

Following the Daily News ban, even South African President Thabo Mbeki
dropped his campaign to get Mugabe invited to the Commonwealth summit in
Nigeria in December. Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth after
Mugabe claimed victory in the 2002 presidential elections, generally
regarded as flawed, including by Commonwealth observers. Nigerian President
Obasanjo, the Commonwealth summit host, said in an interview Monday with that only a sea change in Zimbabwe would get Mugabe an
invitation. Of the ban on The Daily News, he added, "I will say that if it
qualifies as a sea change at all, its a negative sea change." In addition,
newspapers in South Africa and other African countries have condemned the
ban. After meeting South African editors and the Media Institute of Southern
Africa on Monday, a government spokesman said the authorities would take up
the ban with Mugabe. "I think the case of the Daily News has focussed
concern," said Ross. "They expect in Africa that governments can be hard on
the press. But you could say almost that the closing of the Daily News has
been one step too far. Many newspapers are concerned that they could be next
if this is allowed to happen in a country that purports to be a democracy."
Ross added: "It will take a little time. But the interesting fact is that
the Daily News has become such a cause celebre that people feel they can
speak out with a certain degree of impunity." Meanwhile, the Daily News
publishers have said they will keep paying staff salaries, and hope some
reporters will get temporary placings with other newspapers in Africa.

[The Friends of the Daily News have a new website which has not yet got new content but should be updated shortly.]

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From News24 (SA), 30 September

Moz, Zim re-demarcate border

Maputo - Mozambique and Zimbabwe have agreed to re-demarcate their border in
the wake of reports of illegal land occupations on both sides, a senior
Mozambique official said on Tuesday. "We have agreed to re-demarcate the
entire border in order to end border violations, mostly by farmers and
prevent any major land conflicts," said Elias Mucombo, head of Mozambique's
land management directorate DINAGECA. Mucombo said technical teams from both
countries would start "reconnaissance missions" in early October so that
work can begin in November on the 1 134km-long border. Land disputes have
been reported in parts of central Manica province which borders Zimbabwe's
eastern Manicaland province. Zimbabweans, whose government has in recent
years embarked on a massive and controversial land reform, are reported to
be farming or raising cattle on the Mozambican side of the border. The
Zimbabwe land reform exercise involves forcibly taking land from a minority
population of whites and giving it to the majority blacks.

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Zimbabwe: Judge Rejects Daily News Request for Return of Seized Equipment
VOA News
01 Oct 2003, 17:45 UTC

A judge has rejected a request by Zimbabwe's only independent daily
newspaper for the return of equipment seized by police.
A lawyer for the Daily News said Wednesday that Zimbabwean High Court Judge
Tendai Uchena turned down the request without giving a reason. The court
session was closed to the media.

Police raided the offices of the Daily News several times last month as they
moved to close the paper for operating without a license. The newspaper has
been shut for three weeks.

The licensing requirement was part of strict media laws introduced last year
by the government of President Robert Mugabe.

The Daily News had been challenging the requirement in the courts. After its
closure it filed an application to register, but was denied.

The paper regularly criticizes the government and President Robert Mugabe as
the country tries to deal with a deep political and economic crisis.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.

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Zimbabwe bus crash, second in two days, kills 16

HARARE, Oct. 1 — Sixteen people died and 28 were injured in southwestern
Zimbabwe on Wednesday when the bus they were travelling in rammed into a
tree after a tyre burst, state television reported.
       The accident happened a day after a bus collided with a haulage truck
60 km (45 miles) south of the capital Harare, killing 21 people. Earlier in
September, 12 people were burnt to death and 19 others injured in another
bus accident.

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The Times

            October 01, 2003

            Mugabe raises petrol prices by 70 per cent

            President Mugabe ordered a 70 per cent increase in the price of
petrol in Zimbabwe today, deepening the country's already acute economic

            This latest increase, which comes just five weeks after a 160
per cent overnight hike in fuel costs, was ordered in response to a plunge
in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar on currency markets.

            Diesel, which used to cost Z$1,060 (£1.44) a litre, rose to
Z$1,850. Petrol rose from Z$1,170 to $1,980.

            Price controls, which lag behind the chronic depreciation of the
dollar, have contributed to a severe shortage of petrol.

            Most petrol pumps have been closed for weeks, forcing motorists
to pay exorbitant prices on the black market and to queue for days in the
hope of filling their tanks.

            Few believe that the increase in the price of petrol will
alleviate the chronic shortage of fuel available on the open market. The
state-owned petrol company is effectively bankrupt.

            "We will have some trickling in," said Simba Kambarame, chairman
of the Petroleum Marketers' Association. "It's not what we wanted. These
products are politically sensitive."

            The combination of price controls, shortages, huge demand and a
hungry population have created a black market for fuel where anything goes.

            Mike Benson has a licence to sell fuel at his garage in Harare
to funeral parties, at an official price of Z$470 a litre, a quarter of the
new commercial price.

            He knew that something was wrong last week when he saw three
young men on the forecourt with a coffin on the back of a pick-up truck,
proffering a burial order. But when Mr Benson ordered them to open the
coffin he discovered it contained a man pretending to be dead.

            It was the 10th such incident in three weeks, according to Mr
Benson, including a crowd of wailing women with a coffin containing an
enormous doll.

            Last week the Air Zimbabwe flight from Harare to the western
city of Bulawayo was held up for two hours. "Sorry about the delay, but
we're waiting for our London flight to come in, so we can siphon from its
tank," a flight attendant explained to waiting passengers.

            However, public transport companies and government departments
are running normally, with fuel acquired on the black market.

            There are still traffic jams in the capital every day. Dealers
import fuel from abroad, and sell it on the black market.

            The fuel shortage is compounded by the even more severe shortage
of banknotes. A new Z$1,000 bank note was issued by Zimbabwe's central bank
today, the highest denomination bank note available in the country.

            Yet the bank note is still not enough to buy a standard loaf of
bread. Zimbabwe's annual inflation is now 426 per cent, with unemployment at
75 per cent.

            One Harare trader has learnt to profit out of fuel, cash and
hard currency shortages simultaneously. "He buys fuel on the black market
with a cheque and then sells it for cash, at a loss," said a colleague.

            "Then he takes the cash to Beitbridge [on the border with South
Africa] and buys South African Rand on the street at Z$350 for R1, which is
cheap because it is on the border," he said.

            "Then he comes back to Harare and sells the Rand at Z$700 to
one. So he loses 20 per cent on buying the fuel, but doubles his money when
he sells the Rand."

            There is usually a confused mass of about 1,000 people trying to
get visas outside the South African High Commission every weekday.

            All adult applicants have to produce bank statements of a
balance of up to Z$102,000, travellers' cheques worth Z$100,000 and proof of
travel bookings.

            It all amounts to just £30, but it is a vast sum of money for
any poor Zimbabwean trying to reach South Africa.

            Last weekend the High Commission unexpectedly announced that it
would drop all requirements except a passport and photographs.

            The next day there was a mob of about 5,000 people trying to
force their way into the gates. Riot police came and beat them into order.
After two days with its doors shut the High Commission reinstated all

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Radio Netherlands

Searching for Fuel in Zimbabwe

by our Internet desk, 29 September 2003

Commuter vans
Commuter vans often have to queue for weeks for petrol

In today's Zimbabwe, petrol, food, cash, and even hope are in short supply. Queues have become a feature of daily life. The sheer drudgery of life is causing many middle class Zimbabweans to despair.

"Life was easy until about 5 years ago," says Elizabeth, a teacher in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second biggest city. "We had everything we needed and I could afford to send my kids to private schools. But now I'm struggling." School fees have risen repeatedly in recent years, even in the middle of the term. But Elizabeth's biggest problem is transport. "My youngest daughter attends school outside of town, so she has to be driven to school and then back home. Now there is no fuel. I don't know what to do. When I talk about pulling her out, she tells me: 'But mommy, you say there are no books at your school.'"



Listen to the documentary 'Searching for Fuel and other Tales from Zimbabwe' (29'22")

Most petrol stations in Zimbabwe are deserted. Drivers don't even bother trying to fill up their cars because they know the stations have no gasoline. The only petrol available to ordinary people is on the black market. But the prices are prohibitive, so Zimbabweans who own a car only use it in emergencies. Black gold is still supplied, albeit very irregularly, to petrol stations that sell to commuter vans. But drivers often have to wait for weeks.

Three-quarters of Zimbabweans live under the poverty line, but food aid is only distributed to supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party
Three-quarters of Zimbabweans live under the poverty line, but food aid is only distributed to supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party

The fuel shortages mean that hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have to walk long distances to work or to school. Jack, a 45-year-old fireman, walks 13 kilometres to work every day. "I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and arrive at the fire station around 7:45. We finish at 6 p.m., and then I walk back home. I get there around 8. These days, it's not surprising to see a chain of people walking. Along the way, people often talk about the hardships of life today. Even total strangers will tell you: 'Ah, life is so difficult!'"

Inflation is now over 500 percent, and economists predict it may double by the end of the year. The Zimbabwe dollar has become virtually worthless. In September, the US dollar was worth 2500 Zim dollars in Bulawayo. A month later, the rate was 3500, and in the capital Harare, one US dollar buys 6000 Zim dollars. When Jack was first employed in 1982, he earned 190 Zim dollars. "I could afford to eat four or five times a day and buy all the luxuries I wanted", he says. "Now I'm earning 102,000 Zim dollars, but I can only afford one meal a day. In the morning, we only have some tea without bread. Just tea. We can't even afford to buy sugar. Besides it's not available any more. Sometimes we go to bed without eating anything."

Inflation is now over 500 percent a year
Inflation is now over 500 percent a year

Even people who do have a job have trouble getting money because of the country's cash crisis. Cash dispensers are empty, and people have to queue up to four days to withdraw 5000 Zim dollars.

"We have to queue for everything nowadays," says John, a retired school headmaster. "There are queues everywhere. If you see a queue, you have to ask what the queue is for. Otherwise you might stand for hours for something you don't need."

"At times you don't really know what to think," says Elizabeth. "This is no longer the Zimbabwe I knew. It's a prison. If you tell the truth, you live in fear of reprisals from the ZANU-PF government."

Child in a middle class neighbourhood in western Zimbabwe
Child in a middle class neighbourhood in western Zimbabwe

Some Zimbabweans fear that the country's economic collapse and political problems could lead to violence. "If it got worse," says John, "there could be a terrible explosion. People are angry. It's like a volcano. It's simmering now, but it could erupt."

A quarter of Zimbabwe's 11 million people are believed to have fled their country in search of a better future. Many others, like Elizabeth, would like to join the exodus. "Honestly I'm fed up. If I had a way, I would fly out of this country. Just get my children under my wings and go anywhere. I don't mind where, as long as I don't have to see the economical and political problems facing this country."

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Mail and Guardian

Zimbabwe crisis not about land, it's about governance


      01 October 2003 08:15

Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
on Tuesday said the country should remain suspended from the Commonwealth.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in March last year over its
poor human rights record and President Robert Mugabe's re-election in a vote
that was widely condemned as rigged.

When the initial 12-month suspension ended in March this year, the
Commonwealth announced the southern African country's suspension would be
extended until December when the 54 Commonwealth countries hold their annual
meeting in Nigeria.

"Because there has not been any improvement on any of the benchmarks set by
the Commonwealth, we don't see any reason why Zimbabwe's suspension should
be lifted," said opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

He said the government had violated the Harare declaration on good

He urged that the Commonwealth "position must be enforced until there is
meaningful change in the behaviour of the regime".

"The crisis in Zimbabwe is not about land, not about Britain, it is about
governance," he told a news conference.

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun
Obasanjo, sit on a troika chaired by Australian Prime Minister John Howard
tasked with overseeing the Commonwealth's response to alleged human rights
violations in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki has been pushing for the lifting of Zimbabwe's suspension from the
grouping of mainly former British colonies.

The MDC leader welcomed overtures by Mugabe calling on the opposition to
consider settling political differences with his government internally "as
sons of the soil" without seeking foreign help.

"The public statement by President Mugabe that he would like to talk to the
MDC, is welcome, but is only welcome if that speech can only be translated
into action," he said.

"Let's see The Daily News ban lifted ... and all the restrictions that are
being imposed lifted, so that we can demonstrate that there is seriousness,"
he said.

The forced closure of The Daily News earlier this month was politically
motivated, he said.

"We view the closure of The Daily News as an attack, as an attack on the
MDC. The paper has just become a victim of the whole strategy to emasculate
the independent communication channels.

He said his party did not own the Daily News, neither was the paper a
mouthpiece of the opposition, "but we believe in the spirit of freedom of

"Any closure of any newspaper is an affront to democracy," he said. -

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Zim gets $1000 bills
01/10/2003 19:29  - (SA)

Harare - Cash-strapped Zimbabwe on Wednesday launched a new high
denomination 1 000-dollar (US$1.25) note in a fresh bid to ease a critical
cash shortage that has rocked the country since April.

The largest denomination note available so far had been one of Z$500(about
62 US cents) introduced in August 2001.

Before that Zimbabwe's highest denomination note had been a Z$100 (about 12
US cents) note, which was launched in 1995, when it was then worth US$1.81.

Economists have blamed the shortage of cash on hyperinflation which has
increased the demand for cash.

Zimbabwe's rate of inflation which stood at 64.4% in June 2001, shot to an
astronomical 426.6% in July this year.

The introduction of a Z$1 000 note was preceded by myriad of other measures
to stem cash shortages.

On Friday authorities released new-look Z$500 notes, three days after bearer
cheques had been launched.

At the end of August, local travellers cheques were released to banks for
issuing to the public.

Economists also attributed the shortage of cash on a growing foreign
exchange parallel market and lack of confidence in the system that have led
to higher demand for cash and hoarding.

A new law banning the holding of more than five million Zimbabwean dollars
(US$6 250) in local bank notes by institutions and individuals came into
effect last month.

The acute shortage of cash, the first of its kind in the history of the
country, has at one time forced banks to limit maximum withdrawals to
amounts which are so little they suffice to buy just five loaves of bread,
while it created a black market for local currency. - Sapa-AFP

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Mbeki accepts Mugabe decision
01/10/2003 15:54  - (SA)

Pretoria - President Thabo Mbeki accepts Nigeria's decision not to invite
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to this year's Commonwealth summit, the
presidency said on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Bheki Khumalo said Mbeki was among those consulted by Nigeria's
President Olusegun Obasanjo before he opted to exclude Mugabe.

Khumalo would not reveal whether or not Mbeki supported the move, but said:
"The president accepts Mr Obasanjo's decision."

Reports that Mbeki had insisted on Mugabe's presence at the summit in Abuja
were unfounded, Khumalo said.

"It is up to Nigeria to decide whether or not to invite Mr Mugabe. We have
all along been saying that this was their prerogative."

Obasanjo reportedly confirmed this week Mugabe would be excluded.

He was quoted as saying: "I believe there should be a big change in Zimbabwe
for an invitation to be sent."

This followed an announcement last month by Australia's prime minister, John
Howard, and Commonwealth secretary general Don McKinnon that Mugabe would
not be invited.

Howard is current chairman of the organisation that consists mostly of
former British colonies.

A Commonwealth troika - comprising Howard, Obasanjo and Mbeki - suspended
Zimbabwe last year from the 54-nation body's councils for 12 months.

This was prompted by a damning Commonwealth report on the controversial
Zimbabwean presidential elections that returned Mugabe to power.

When the initial 12-month period ended in March this year, the organisation
announced Zimbabwe's suspension would remain in place until December.

Mbeki and Obasanjo opposed the move, arguing that the political, economic
and social climate in Zimbabwe was improving.

Last month, Khumalo said South Africa did not regard the extension of
further sanctions against Zimbabwe as valid.

"Our view is that the Commonwealth imposed the maximum penalty on Zimbabwe
by suspending it for one year in March last year," he said.

"There is no reason for the continued exclusion of Zimbabwe from the

On Wednesday, Khumalo said Mugabe's absence from the December summit would
not affect Mbeki's plans to attend.

"There is no question of the president boycotting the event. That notion is
a dead duck. He will be there with the other Commonwealth leaders to engage
the issues," Khumalo said.

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Zim media NGO seeks ANC help
01/10/2003 13:28  - (SA)

Cape Town - A non-governmental organisation threatened with closure under
Zimbabwe's media laws says it is sending delegations to six southern African
countries to plead for a tougher stand against its government.

A three-person delegation from the Zimbabwean chapter of the Media Institute
of Southern Africa (Misa) which arrived in South Africa this week, said it
would seek meetings here with key figures in the African National Congress.

The NGO is threatened by Zimbabwe's Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, used earlier this month to shut down the country's only
independent daily newspaper.

The chair of Misa Zimbabwe, Reyhana Masters-Smith, told a media conference
in Cape Town on Wednesday that the Zimbabwean government was using both
legal and extra-legal means, including harassment and detentions, to curb
the media.

It's about silencing

"It's about silencing alternative opinion and expression. It goes far beyond
regulating the media," she said.

She said if Misa was closed, any NGO in the country would be under threat,
whether it was working in the area of HIV/Aids, gender violence or food

She said Misa delegations were visiting six countries in the region in a bid
to get their leaders to take more decisive action on Zimbabwe, and to use
the instruments of the African Union to resolve issues in that country.

Regional pressure

"We are hoping that if we tackle it on a regional level it will create a bit
more pressure," she said.

Masters-Smith said the delegation to South Africa, made up of herself,
lawyer Tawanda Hondora and Bornwell Chakaodza, editor of the Harare Sunday
newspaper the Standard, would seek meetings with the chairman of
Parliament's foreign affairs portfolio committee, ANC member Pallo Jordan.

It also hoped to meet ANC secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe.

Quiet diplomacy has failed

"We are here to tell it like it is," said Chakaodza. "The quiet diplomacy by
Mbeki and other leaders within the region has completely failed."

He said Misa was trying to persuade Southern African Development Community
leaders, and South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki in particular, to engage
Mugabe and his government in a "stronger, more robust way".

Hondora said the delegations would be pressing for diplomatic letters of
protest from individual countries either directly to the Zimbabwean
government or to Zimbabwean embassies.

Last week representatives of Misa South Africa joined delegations of the
South African National Editors' Forum and the African Editors Forum in a
meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad to express their concern
over media freedom in Zimbabwe.

Misa Zimbabwe was ordered in June to seek registration with the state's
Media and Information Commission on the grounds that it was "involved in
public information and communication with mass audiences through its

It has since filed a court challenge to the legality of the commission.

a.. Misa, which has chapters in ten SADC countries, says it focuses
primarily on the need to promote free, independent and pluralistic media.
Its secretariat is in Windhoek.

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      Cricket-Lord's honour for Flower and Olonga

      10-01-2003 , 11:02© 2003 AFP

      LONDON (AFP) - Andy Flower and Henry Olonga have been made honorary
life members of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in recognition of their World
Cup protest against Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

      The Zimbabwe duo wore black armbands during their country's opening
World Cup match in February, against Namibia in Harare, and issued a
statement mourning the 'death of democracy' in Zimbabwe under Mugabe.

      It was a move that effectively signalled the beginning of the end of
both players' international careers.

      After the World Cup the pair arrived in England with
batsman/wicket-keeper Flower playing county cricket for Essex and pace
bowler Olonga turning out for celebrity club side Lashings.

      In a statement, new MCC president Charles Fry said: "Both the
Membership committee and the main MCC committee were unanimous in wanting to
honour Andy Flower and Henry Olonga.

      "They sacrificed their international careers, earlier this year, to
take a brave and principled stand against an appalling regime."

      Honorary life membership of MCC is normally granted only to cricketers
whose first-class careers have ended.

      However, the club's statement added that "MCC hopes that changes
within Zimbabwe may enable both players to resume their international
careers - ideally in the near future".

      Once responsible for running English cricket, MCC - which owns
London's Lord's Cricket Ground - is still in charge of drafting the laws of
the game which apply worldwide.

      MCC membership remains highly sought after with an average 20-year
waiting list for 'ordinary' applicants

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Daily News Closure Has Crippled Zimbabwe's Democracy - MISA

The Post (Lusaka)

October 1, 2003
Posted to the web October 1, 2003

Bivan Saluseki

THE closure of the Daily News has crippled democracy in Zimbabwe, Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe national governing council
member Thomas Deve has said.

Briefing journalists in Lusaka over the state of media in his country and
the closure of the nation's only independent daily, Deve said it was only
with the development of the Daily News that Zimbabwe had a competitive

Deve, who is the newspaper's former senior editor, said Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe's credibility had depleted and he has been put in the world of
despots because of the current state of the media.

"In the past two weeks, developments have taken place at a legal level and
one newspaper has been denied a licence," he said.

Deve said the Zimbabwean media, together with the country's Ministry of
Information, had from 1992 been discussing the punitive legislation and the
discourse of the media commission that dealt with ethics.

He said two pieces of legislation passed by government, the Broadcasting Act
and the Access to Information and Protection Act, were infringing on
journalists' rights.

Deve said the media Acts were draconian and had been used selectively to
target journalists from the independent media.

He said Zimbabwe had started targeting MISA Zimbabwe.

"We have been labelled as an outlaw organisation. We are currently being
investigated for operating illegally," he said.

Deve criticised the confiscation of equipment at the Daily News when the
paper was pursuing a court process.

"Its like you have been given a death sentence and then they say go, hang
yourself first and then come and challenge the death sentence," he said.

Deve said MISA would continue to challenge the draconian media Acts in the
courts and the ministry of information before getting to the office of the

Deve said President Mugabe would be responsible when people questioned
certain Bills he signed.

He said MISA wanted the media legislation appealed.

Deve said the group that was in the country wanted to explain issues to
counterparts in Zambia about the state of the media in Zimbabwe.

"We know you have your battles but comparatively, the Zambian situation is
better than the Zimbabwean situation," said Deve.

And Jacob Mafume, who is MISA Zimbabwe legal consultant, said the pieces of
media legislation do not help the media in the country.

Mafume said the minister who largely controls the media wholly appointed the
media commission in Zimbabwe.

He said journalists were required to get practicing licences to report and
even to move from one medium to another.

"Concerning the Daily News, they did not deal with the merits of the case,"
he said.

Mafume said the media Acts were a legislative landmine for journalists who
would want to work in Zimbabwe.

Another member, Mirriam Madziwa, said most journalists arrested under the
media laws in Zimbabwe were those from independent media.

Madziwa said it was difficult to get licences in Zimbabwe because the
authorities needed too much information from the journalists.

"The overall impact is that you may have another opportunity to work
elsewhere but you are not sure whether you would be incensed. It has really
made life difficult," said Madziwa.

MISA Zambia chairman Kellys Kaunda said what had befallen journalists might
be Zambian journalists' experience some day hence the need to hear from

But Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Zambia Cain Mathema dismissed MISA as
just a front for the US' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

He said MISA was a foreign funded organisation and a front for the CIA.

"They shout a lot because they know that they are funded by foreign
intelligence organisations," High Commissioner Mathema said. "I don't know
what better law they talk about."

High Commissioner Mathema said all people were being subjected to the same
laws that were made by Parliament and not Mugabe.

"Let them tell us which law is better. Changing of laws in Zimbabwe is the
right of any Zimbabweans," he said.

High Commissioner Mathema said changing of laws involved lobbying and it was
not anything that MISA said which should be law.

He said he had never seen any organisation in Britain lobby for support from
President Mwanawasa or DRC's Joseph Kabila if there was something wrong they
did not like with Prime Minister Blair.

"Now MISA has too much money to lobby other heads of state. That law was not
created by Robert Mugabe. The law was passed by Parliament," he said.

But when reminded that the ruling ZANU PF enjoyed the advantage of numbers
hence the passing of the media bills, High Commissioner Mathema said that
was what democracy was all about.

He said people had voted for ZANU PF during elections.

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Police Seize Contraband Sugar

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

October 1, 2003
Posted to the web October 1, 2003


Mozambican police in the central province of Manica have seized about four
tonnes of contraband sugar, smuggled into the country from Zimbabwe, reports
Wednesday's issue of the Beira daily "Diario de Mocambique".

According to Pedro Jemusse, head of public relation in the Manica provincial
police command, the sugar was seized in areas of Sussundenga and Mossurize
districts, near the border with Zimbabwe. It had been stored in huts,
preparatory to distribution and sale.

The smuggling of sugar from Zimbabwe, made artificially cheap by the
Zimbabwean government's exchange rate policy, is a major threat to
Mozambique's own sugar producers. Vast sums have been spent on
rehabilitating the Mozambican sugar industry, particularly the mill at
Marromeu on the south bank of the Zambezi, which had been thoroughly
sabotaged by the apartheid- backed Renamo rebels in 1986. This investment
could all be wasted if the Mozambican producers are unable to sell on the
domestic market because of unfair competition from contraband.

Jemusse claimed that the smuggling of sugar, cigarettes and alcoholic drinks
from Zimbabwe has been on the decline in recent months. He attributed this
to joint Mozambican/Zimbabwean police patrols along the border.

Further south, police sources say smuggling is getting worse along the
border with Swaziland. Anibal Bachir, police commander in Namaacha district,
said the smugglers are breaking through the border fence, and carrying
quantities of sugar, meat, maize flour, potatoes and drinks, amongst other
produce, for sale on the informal markets in Maputo.

Last week alone the Namaacha police caught 50 smugglers who had violated the
border fence.

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Mathema Accuses British Investors of Plotting to Destroy Zimbabwe's Economy

The Post (Lusaka)

October 1, 2003
Posted to the web October 1, 2003

Mwila Nkonge

ZIMBABWEAN High Commissioner to Zambia Cain Mathema yesterday accused
British foreign investors of scheming to destroy his country's economy.

Addressing trainee journalists at The Post, High Commissioner Mathema
accused British foreign investors of inciting Zimbabweans to rise against
the government.

" Zimbabweans are not to blame for the current economic crisis in the
country. Our economic problems are not due to mismanagement by the
government," High Commissioner Mathema said. "The problems have arisen
because the people who control the economy do not like our government's land
redistribution programme."

However, High Commissioner Mathema said the problem was temporary.

"We are working very hard to bring the economy back to its feet," he said.

Dismissing claims that Zimbabwe's land redistribution would disrupt
agriculture, the country's economic backbone, High Commissioner Mathema said
the white farmers stopped producing maize in the mid 1980s.

"Since the mid 1980s, when the white farmers started producing only enough
maize for their cattle, 80 per cent of maize production has been from black
farmers and with the redistribution of land, even more people will be able
to grow their own food," High Commissioner Mathema said. "Therefore, the
issue of starvation is just a lie that [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair,
[US President George] Bush and their media have been peddling that because
of land redistribution, people will starve," he said.

High Commissioner Mathema explained that currently Southern Africa, as a
region, was facing a food crisis and wondered why Zimbabwe was singled out.

He said his government's land reform was a stepping stone to economic
freedom and warned that any forces bent on frustrating that mission would

High Commissioner Mathema said indigenous investment was a pre-requisite to
sustainable development which no country could afford to ignore.

"Any country that allows foreigners to control its economy will remain a
slave country; its people will always be employees of somebody else and not
employers," High Commissioner Mathema said. "This is why we have embarked on
this programme of empowering our people with land, which is a key factor in
our economic life."

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The Herald

Authority probes safari operators for abusing hunting licences

From Bulawayo Bureau
THE National Parks and Wildlife Management Autho-rity is investigating
safari operators in Matabeleland for abusing hunting licences, a development
which has prejudiced the country millions of dollars, it has been learnt.

The operators are reportedly allowing foreign hunters to kill animals that
were not on the pre-hunting forms.

The authority has since transferred five officers (names supplied) from
their stations for allegedly teaming up with safari operators and foreign
hunters in abusing the facility.

Of the five transferred, two are from Hwange National Park, the other two
from Nicholson while the fifth is based in Beitbridge.

The five officers allegedly helped foreign hunters to shoot and export
trophies without following proper clearing procedures from the Zimba-bwe
Revenue Authority.

The National Parks and Wildlife Management Autho-rity director general, Dr
Morris Mtsambiwa, confirmed the latest developments.

"When the issue was brought up, we quickly asked for the transfer of the
officials and launched our own investigations. We have removed them from
their stations to allow for proper investigations," he said.

Dr Mtsambiwa said the issue of the illegal hunting activities aided by some
of his officers was raised in Parliament, hence his organisation’s quick
reaction to transfer the officials. Dr Mtsambiwa, however, said his
organisation was still facing serious problems pertaining to the abuse of
hunting operations on private land where there were ownership wrangles of
the properties.

"As far as I am concerned, the problems are stemming from the privately
owned land where we have serious ownership wrangles. As a result the animals
are suffering, while some hunters are conniving with foreign hunters to kill
the animals," he said.

He said it was the duty of his organisation to make sure that there was
sanity in the hunting industry.

"But we have been caught up in these land wrangles where we should come in
and control and bring in sanity. The Parks estates and Campfire hunting
concessions are quite safe as we are on top of the situation," he said.

The Government, through the National Parks and Wildlife Management
Autho-rity, regulates sport hunting by setting local quotas based on annual
wildlife surveys.

A professional hunter licensed by the Government after completing a rigorous
apprenticeship and passing State examinations must accompany all foreign
hunters. A National Parks game scout or official accompanies all hunters to
ensure that quotas are observed.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce has also compiled a list of local and
South African hunters engaged in illegal hunting activities.

The list implicates some National Parks Authority officials in Matabeleland
North of organising hunting permits and licences to foreign and
unprofessional hunters.

"One such area that has been affected is the Gwayi Valley Conservancy which
borders Hwange National Park. This area has fallen prey to unscrupulous
hunting and safari operators from neighbouring South Africa and Botswana,"
said the Trust’s director Mr Johnny Rodrigues.

The authority is facing a poaching crisis in the Parks Estates and on
private farmland where foreign hunters are decimating wildlife and illegally
exporting trophies and in some cases wild animals to South Africa.

"We have serious problems in Gwayi conservancy at the moment where a lot of
underhand deals are going on, but our net is closing in on the culprits,"
said Dr Mtsambiwa.

Early this year the Economic intelligence Unit of the National Economic
Con-sultative Forum was set up to investigate operations of Safari operators
and professional hunters.

Six companies were handed over to Zimra for allegedly externalising foreign
currency as well as failing to declare the value of their trophies exported
outside the country.
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The Herald

Police recover cattle valued at over $35m

Herald Reporter
A joint operation between the Zimbabwe Republic Police and their Zambian
counterparts, code-named Operation Clean Borders 2, has resulted in the
recovery of 45 herd of cattle valued at over $35 million.

All the cattle were stolen from Zimbabwe and were recovered at different
places in Zambia barely a week after the operation was launched.

The operation was launched last Friday.

Police spokesman superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said Matabeleland North
province recorded 437 cases of stock theft this year alone.

The province borders with Zambia and chances that the cattle were stolen
from there are very high.

He said 15 people have been arrested for various offences ranging from drug
peddling, cattle rustling and illegal cross-border activities.

Sup Mandipaka said 15 kgs of mbanje were also recovered.

The operation, he said, was launched as a result of complaints by citizens
of both countries over the increase in thefts and other illegal activities.

"The operation is aimed at fighting criminal syndicates operating across the
two countries’ borders. We are targeting crimes like stock theft, illegal
possession of firearms, robberies, dagga cultivation and illegal border
crossings," said Sup Mandipaka.

A total of 151 officers drawn from the two countries are involved in the

On September 28, four Zambians were arrested after being found in possession
of 35 herd of cattle, three radios, one solar panel, two garden chairs and 5
kgs of mbanje.

Another group was arrested at London Farm in Zambia after it was found with
10 herd of stolen cattle and 11 donkeys.

Sup Mandipaka said three Zimba-bweans were arrested for illegally entering
Zambia through Bimbi Fishing Camp.

The three suspects Joyce Zulu, Job Mangoshi and Liban Ngwenya are from

On the same day, a Zambian Pickson Siyangali was arrested for contravening
the Dangerous Drugs Act. He was found with 5 kgs of mbanje.

Siyangali was also arrested for contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act for
being in possession of two bushbuck skins.

Another two Zambians were arrested on the same day at a different venue for
possessing 5 kgs of mbanje.

Sup Mandipaka said another five Zambians were arrested in Siyanzongwe and
Kalomo districts for illegal possession of firearms suspected to have been
used in a spate of violent activities within the border areas.

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and his Zambian counterpart Inspector
General Zunga Siakhalima launched the operation at Jambezi Police Station in
Victoria Falls.
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The Herald

President briefs Annan on progress in land reform

Herald Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday met United Nations secretary-general Mr Kofi
Annan at the world body’s headquarters in New York, according to ZBC’s

President Mugabe briefed Mr Annan on the progress of the land reform
programme and efforts being made by the Government to combat the HIV/Aids

Mr Annan congratulated Zimbabwe for reducing the rate of HIV/Aids infection
in the 15-49 age groups.

The Government has declared HIV/Aids a national emergency and awareness
campaigns have led to the reduction in the infection rate in the sexually
active 15 to 49 age group from 35 percent to 24 percent.

Cde Mugabe also met groups of African Americans that have solidly stood
behind Zimbabwe in its fight against British-led international isolation.

The groups that called on the President included the December 12 Movement.

The groups expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe and commended Cde Mugabe’s
revolutionary stance over the land issue.

They also extended their condolences to President Mugabe over the death of
Vice President Muzenda who died last month and was declared a national hero.

President Mugabe was in New York to attend the 58th session of the UN
General Assembly, which he addressed last Friday.

In his address, which was well-received by diplomats and representatives of
African, Asian, Latin American and some European countries, Cde Mugabe said
Zimbabwe did not criticise Britain and the United States for the sake of it
but its criticism was based on fundamental principles.

President Mugabe attacked the emergence of unipolarism in world affairs in
which powerful nations such as Britain and the US sought to dominate the
world and dictate to other countries how they should govern themselves.

He lamented the invasion of Iraq by the US and Britain without the mandate
of the UN.

"Let it not be said that Zimbabwe enjoys criticising the US and Britain for
the sake of criticism, our criticisms are founded on sound, fundamental

"Let it not be forgotten that Zimbabwe was in the chair when the Security
Council authorised the first Gulf War. We stood firmly by the US, Britain
and many other nations that removed Iraq from Kuwait," said President

He said this was done on the basis that expansionism and occupation of a
sovereign country and people could not be right, just and warranted under
any circumstances.

The President was expected to leave New York for the Egyptian capital Cairo
yesterday evening on his way back home.

He is being accompanied by the First Lady Cde Grace Mugabe, the Minister of
Foreign Affairs Cde Stan Mudenge, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare
Dr David Parirenyatwa and senior Government officials.
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IFJ Condemns Mugabe's 'Flagrant Disregard' for Press Freedom After Manhunt
Begins for Independent Journalists

International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto)

September 30, 2003
Posted to the web October 1, 2003


The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the draconian
drive by the Zimbabwean authorities to target and intimidate journalists
from the Daily News.

"Mugabe's flagrant disregard for democratic rights and freedom of the press
cannot continue without some clear response from the international
community," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ, after 45
journalists were targeted by police in a new campaign against the paper.

On September 12, the Daily News, the country's only independent daily was
closed following a Supreme Court ruling and a subsequent police raid.

The paper has not been able to resume publication for over two weeks now. On
September 25, police forces in Zimbabwe called 45 of the paper's journalists
to Harare police station, based on a list allegedly provided by the
state-run Media Information Commission (MIC). Eleven journalists were
charged and released and a police manhunt has been launched to trace the
remaining journalists who have fled the capital.

"This militant manhunt only serves to highlight a desperate situation for
press freedom in which the voice of independent journalism is being
stifled," said White. "The brutal tactics of the regime must bring about a
tough and uncompromising international response", he said.

The IFJ has strongly opposed the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA), which imposes a stringent registration and licensing
process for all newspapers and journalists in the country. The Daily News
challenged the law as unconstitutional, but a High Court ruling warned the
paper could not operate outside the law. However, before the paper's owners
could register police closed it down.

A further High Court decision had authorised the temporary use of the
newspaper's premises by staff, although still preventing the publication of
articles. However, police entered by force and closed down the Newspaper
premises, seizing materials including 127 computers. On September 19, the
Media and Information Commission rejected the Newspaper's application for

Journalists can go to their office and are still being paid but they are not
allowed to work. The Daily News management is due to hold a board meeting
later this week. The company has challenged the MIC decision in the
Administrative Court and is seeking a ruling ordering the police to return
seized materials.

The IFJ is meanwhile seeking fresh initiatives from the member states of the
Africa Union, the European Union and the United Nations to challenge the
attacks on Zimbabwean journalists. "The democratic world should be heard
loud and clear in its condemnation of the intimidation and bullying of the
regime of Robert Mugabe," said White. "It is an affront to democracy both
within Africa and around the world."

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