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

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Dear Family and Friends,
Ever since the closure three weeks ago of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper, it has become harder and harder to find credible news about our country. The majority of Zimbabweans now have no option but to turn to the state owned television and radio for information. Day after day we plough through the propaganda and sift through the rhetoric. We gulp at the unbelievably long words and even longer sentences used by state reporters and desperately search for quotation marks so that in between the propaganda we can†see what some government minister actually said and then decide just exactly what is going on in the country. This week the talk is all about the latest attempt to resolve our money woes through the governments issuing of "bearers cheques." These cheques which are printed on ordinary paper look like money on one side only and have expiry dates. Less than two weeks after entering the system, even the state owned media are reporting that fake bearer cheques are already in circulation. They say that this week several banks and shops reported that they had been handed forged bearer cheques. They are copies of the originals and economists say that they can be reproduced by something†as simple as a colour†photocopier or home computer with a†laser printer. The joke on the streets is that everyone is so suspicious of the new money that they†have nick named them "burial orders."†Even funnier though is†our government's desperate attempts to persuade us all to trade with bearer cheques. For months and months state owned TV and radio have been playing propaganda jingles about†how they have taken all the land back. Suddenly these jingles, which†were played religiously every fifteen minutes, day and night, are gone. They have been replaced with a song†which begins "Bearer's cheques, they are just for you."††
So, with bearers cheques, also known as burial orders, Zimbabwe amazingly staggers on from day to day in a country where we can't even afford to die anymore. This morning I phoned the local Funeral parlour to find out a few facts. The cheapest coffin that you can buy is now seventy eight thousand dollars, if you collect it yourself from their warehouse. They told me that they have an all inclusive rate, which involves the cheapest coffin, and includes collecting the deceased, preparing it and taking it to the cemetery. This costs a little over one hundred and twenty thousand dollars and is dependant on their ability to obtain fuel for the hearse and the price is only applicable if it is within the same town. If they cannot find fuel, the grieving relations can either provide the fuel or the transport themselves. The problems get far worse if you want your loved one to be buried in another part of the country and worse still if you want a cremation. There is a huge shortage of gas which is used to fuel the incinerators in Harare. Now you may have to wait for three weeks for a cremation in Harare as they have to wait until there are enough corpses to warrant using precious gas. The option is to pay another hundred thousand dollars and†fly the deceased to Bulawayo and try for a cremation†there where the delays are not so long. Isn't this all just too obscene for words? For the majority of Zimbabweans we can now no longer even afford to die.
Recently a friend's mother died. He is a garden worker and earns the government stipulated minimum wage of twelve thousand dollars a month. Burying his mother was a nightmare. Collecting her body from the hospital and moving it his rural home cost twenty thousand dollars, the coffin cost eighty thousand dollars and then there was the question of feeding all the mourners. He told me that many hundreds of people attended his mother's funeral. Many of them were strangers and he said they came to the funeral in order to have a good meal. To feed them all he had no choice but to slaughter one of his†two ploughing oxen and borrow fifty thousand dollars from friends to buy maize meal, bread and vegetables. His mother is dead, that was bad enough but now he has a debt equivalent to†over a year's wage and can no longer plough his land and grow food for his family this year. For my friend whose mother just died, the cycle of debt, poverty and dependence gets deeper and deeper. For him and others suffering such awful deprivations and indignities, I continue to wear my raggedy little yellow ribbon in silent protest. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle, 4th October 2003.
My books about Zimbabwe's turmoil, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in the UK through: ; in Australia and New Zealand through: and in Africa from and

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1. The Flame Lily Foundation (FLF) is providing a UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY for certain Zimbabwe pensioners living in South Africa to receive their pensions, or other funds, that are being withheld in Zimbabwe. The project, nicknamed 142 (one for two), aims to bring some financial relief to destitute pensioners in both Zimbabwe and South Africa simultaneously.

2. In recent weeks, several emotional appeals have gone out via the Internet for funds to assist pensioners in Zimbabwe. These appeals highlight the extreme hardship and suffering of elderly people having to survive on a small pension, caused by a disintegrating economy and escalating inflation in Zimbabwe.

3. The plight of non-resident Zimbabwe pensioners is perhaps equally devastating. National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) pensioners have not received a pension payment outside Zimbabwe since January 2001. Members of other pension funds are in a similar position, to a lesser or greater degree. Some Zimbabwe Government pensioners in South Africa have not yet received their March 2003 pensions, and none has received a payment for April or later. The main reason for this is a serious shortage of forex, the allocation of which is prioritised by the Minister of Finance.

4. We want you to†HELP US SPREAD THE WORD to as many Zimbabwe pensioners as possible so that the FLF is able to assist them, if they are willing to help their fellow pensioners in Zimbabwe. Although this is not an appeal for funds, we are grateful for any donation that enables us to keep the project going.

5. The FLF will grant an amount in SA rand equal to the donation made by a Zimbabwe pensioner in Zim dollars, at the parallel exchange rate applicable on the day the charity receives the donation (about Z$700 to R1 at time of writing)..

6. Any Zimbabwe pensioner living in South Africa who would like to donate their blocked funds to a nominated charity† (eg. Rotary Club, Harare Central), providing financial support to destitute pensioners marooned in Zimbabwe, is invited to contact the FLF. The donation MUST come through the FLF for the donor to receive a grant.

7. We need your NAME and†POSTAL ADDRESS so that we can provide you with the necessary documentation. Please write, phone or email†John or Mary Redfern of the FLF at one of the following:

PO Box 95474, Waterkloof, 0145

or Telephone and Fax: 012 4602066

or Email:

This project will continue for as long as there is a requirement, and the FLF has funds available to make grants to the donors.


Anyone wishing to know more about the FLF is asked to visit our web site at†or to contact us as indicated above.

John Redfern
Honorary National Secretary
Flame Lily Foundation

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Patronage

The Chairman,

Dear Sir,

John Kinnaird's letter is like a blast from the past - most refreshing.
Good boy!

Please could you send a copy to Mr. Freeme, and also to Mr. Hawgood who has
a mentor who acts as his political/legal/security consultant which is
somewhat at variance with John Kinnaird's approach - some people would
Kinnaird call 'old fashioned,' confrontational or making a political stand
(the Matabeles have been accused of this - ho! ho! ho!)

Old Fashioned.


Letter 2:

This comment is addressed to "Disappointed Farmers Wife" and many others
that have added to this debate.

We have been reading, with great interest and sometimes outrage, at the
many comments made during this debate and would like to add our comment to

In my opinion the average Zimbabwean, whether a farmer or townie, is
basically very selfish and very opinionated and tends to think that there
opinion is the right one and everyone else is wrong. Farmers are of the
opinion that they did the most for their country and that townies owe them
a debt of gratitude. Whilst it is true that farmers did do a lot for our
country, they reaped a good return for their hard work and a lot of this
return came either directly or indirectly from the townies. Townies also
work hard, provide employment, build schools etc, and pay their share of
levies and taxes. It is unfair to say that the middle class whites just got
on with their lives.

We for one had many farming friends and our hearts go out to all of you for
the trauma and losses you have suffered and continue to suffer, we do not
judge the decision you have made in order to survive or carry on but would
like to say that our lives have not been plain sailing either.

At the beginning of the farm invasions, we personally contacted the CFU and
showed our willingness to house or help in any way we could any farmer that
needed assistance. We said the same to any farmer we spoke to and offered
storage space etc. Not one farmer took up the offer!!!!!

We have suffered our own losses due to the declining situation in most
fields and our lives have most certainly not carried on as usual. Inflation
is beating us, security threats are an every day problem, and we lost 90%
of our electrical items from a power surge caused by theft of Zesa

We are all hurting at the moment and we all have big decisions to make
about our future, those decisions are different for everyone, depending on
their circumstances, and no-one has the right to criticise another's
decision. It is easy to look back and see the mistakes each and every one
of us has made and to lay blame on someone - but surely it would be more
productive to look forward? We cannot change the past but we can improve
the future and should rather look to that.

Zimbabweans, though selfish, are collectively a great group of people, we
make an alternative plan for every hurdle that is put before us and we have
all contributed in a positive way over the last 22 years. We will
personally look to that as we move on to what we hope will be a better
future and will not blame either the farmers or townies for the situation
that brought this all about.

Soon to be Ex-Zimbabwean Townie!!


Letter 3: From a Black Zimbabwean

It flabbergasts me the in fighting amongst White Zimbabweans regarding the
letter from John Kinnaird. However, if anyone wanted to kick a community
when it was down, Mr Kinnaird has gone in with all guns blazing. Shame on
you Mr Kinnaird! White Zimbabweans should at this time be consolidating
their support amongst themselves, and the MDC, and not fighting amongst

Mugabe is looking constantly at ways to justify his total shambles that he
calls his land resettlement program. Corruption has been rife throughout,
while it has been carried out with only his political future in thought
(The economic ramifications were of no concern to him). Fighting amongst
yourselves, as well as any aggression towards Mugabe's government, would be
like a breath of fresh air to him

White Zimbabweans must understand that it was imperative that there was a
land resettlement program as the percentages of white to black land
ownership was unacceptable, and reflected the old Rhodesian governments and
their colonial past.

However, enough land was offered up by the white farming community to
resettle the many of us black people that needed to be resettled, without
disrupting the production of the important farming industry.

I have received a copy of Mr Kinnaird's second letter, and he has put
little thought into much of what he has said.

Statements like: "They fought tooth and nail over decades to create a
modern democratic state." (There was never a democratic state until
Rhodesia became Zimbabwe) and "That state was not perfect but when the
present regime took over it was a system that was working very well." -
(yes, it was working wonderfully well for white Rhodesians) will go down
wonderfully with any black Zimbabweans that read this, won't it Mr Kinnaird?
For much of the rest of the second letter, your encouragement for your own
community is anything but that.

Perhaps in the future, if you have anything you would like to say without
offending both the white and black communities here in Zimbabwe, you should
perhaps take your begging bowl to someone who has a better literary idea on
how one could best encourage the shattered white farming community, while
also not colonialising what you have to say.

Michael Chingoka


Letter 4: Re: TSL Tobacco Contract Growers Scheme

"Old Growers" are being offered incentives to grow tobacco and maize. "Old
and New growers will be required to work together and impart knowledge and
expertise... the Ministry authorises the grower to produce tobacco free of
interference for a year."

Hmmm? Then what?

The thoughts coming into Christian minds are that, there has to be a
'death' of everything before 'new growth' and 'rebuilding' can effectively
transform the nation.

Partially quoting: Steffen, (The_FFJ_ Forum) Interesting word. 9-29-03

{While contemplating events, I sense that God is permitting a death to take
place - a death to all the traditional institutions and norms that we have
known in Zimbabwe. I know for many that means a terrible turmoil and a
dying inside, but God is speaking along the lines of 2 Cor. 1 vs 8-11. Note
especially vs 9 ..."we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order
that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead..."

Every attempt by man to change things for the better in Zimbabwe is
failing, and the net result is that ALL men will realise that only the
Almighty can help. However, although the corn of wheat is dying, it will
not remain alone - it will bear much fruit! John 12 vs 24.............}


Luke 6: 29b. "If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your

It is unfair to ask us to share our ploughs and expertise with the very
individuals who we recognise as being the ones who terrorised our families.
It's not so difficult to help someone who wants to learn in a humble and
respectful way. After all we have been trying to do that for years!

Chances are that it won't work anyway, until the 'arrogant' humble
themselves, and admit that there may be some gaps in their knowledge of
farming and say "Sorry" for the pain they have caused, and mean it.

A Better way?

James 1: 26 - 27 says, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does
not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion
is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as true and faultless is
this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself
from being polluted by the world."

This might be the approach to adopt? Start at the bottom by helping the
poor, the orphans and widows. We don't have to look far to find them. A
little help to someone who has nothing is a quantum leap for him!

We don't need to worry about the politicians or get involved in deals and

Psalm 37: 1 - "Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who
do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they
will soon die away."

When our forefathers came here, they were meant to come with a humble
'servant's heart'. It probably started out that way, but we lost the plot!

The proof is in the pudding. One only has to look at the mess the country
is in. Do you notice that things of the past are being revisited on us?
E.g. Press censorship, citizenship and voting rights.

Is. 58: 9b - 11. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the
pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf
of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will
rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord
will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails."

R. MacIlwaine.

I have selected a few points in TSL's proposal, for those who haven't seen
†† * The TSL scheme to grow and purchase 30m kg of tobacco has received
approval from the Ministry of Agriculture.

† * TSL will apply to have your application approved by the relevant

† * You will need to apply to your bank for finance if necessary.

† * The banks will consider lending to you on the basis that the Government
has approved the TSL scheme and that part of the collateral will be the
tobacco, which must be sold to TSL.

† * TSL will assist with provision of inputs, technical services and
logistical support to contract growers, which will include existing and new
A1 and A2 farmers.† Old and new growers will be required to work together
and impart knowledge and expertise to new growers in the interest of
promoting tobacco production.

†* It is anticipated that the Ministry will be able to provide an authority
(Similar to other support schemes) that authorises the grower to produce
tobacco, free of interference for the next year.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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Comment from ZWNEWS, 30 September

Fine words

By Michael Hartnack

Robert Mugabe commandeered an Air Zimbabwe flight to go to New York, via
Casablanca, to address the United Nations General Assembly last week.
Sources say the French government refused him transit via Paris. Perhaps the
silencing of Zimbabwe's only independent daily, The Daily News, was a step
too far for even President Jacques Chirac, who had welcomed Mugabe to a
French-African summit this year despite a European Union ban. Mugabe's New
York appearance was reminiscent of how corrupt regimes have long learned to
work the system, posturing before the world while dirty work went on at
home. Many well-meaning people have failed to realise the threat these
regimes posed until it was too late. Despite the bankruptcy of Zimbabwe's
treasury, and the threat of famine hanging over eight million people, Mugabe
has indulged himself with, on average, two long-distance foreign trips each
month since he addressed the assembly a year ago. On each, he was
accompanied by his wife and a large delegation. In 2002 he demanded
democratisation of the Security Council and said land redistribution was
winning the war against poverty back home. We have seen no sign of this
victory these past 12 months, only worse misgovernment.

In his speech, Mugabe denounced the US and British action against Iraq as
"an unjust and illegitimate war" - as if oblivious of his own declaration of
a Third Chimurenga or civil war against 5 000 white farmers, 500 000
farmworkers, and millions of suspected opposition voters. He was appalled by
Israel targeting Palestinian militants, but coyly omitted to mention his own
Operation Tsuro death squads. Human rights groups allege these squads get
blood money for murders of opposition activists. Peace, he said - apparently
unaware how his words might be applied to successful land reform - was not
gained by violence and proclamations but by "just settlements". Having
shouted for years that Zimbabwe's minorities were second-class citizens (he
said just before flying out that whites "must be led to the gate" -
expelled), Mugabe is now anguish-ridden for the rights of small nations in
the UN Security Council and world financial system. "Citizens everywhere,"
Mugabe informed the world body, "were pressing for a greater say in national
governance," so governments must demand "democratisation'' of global
institutions such as the UN and the International Monetary Fund. This from a
man illegitimately kept in power by rigged polls.

At home, there is nothing his supporters do not have the right to do, but at
the UN "all nations, big or small, (must) have equal say in the way we
govern world affairs." Mugabe was heartened, he said, to hear public opinion
in the United States and Britain opposing military action in Iraq. And that
from a man who will do anything in Zimbabwe to silence journalists reporting
about his own adventures in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or about the
deployment of security forces against peaceful demonstrators in townships.
Mugabe said the allied action against Saddam Hussein had been "based on
falsehoods", yet told the UN his devastation of commercial agriculture in
Zimbabwe "is yielding tangible benefits to the majority of our people -
there is a new sense of empowerment yielding a happy sense of ownership
which has brought thousands upon thousands of marginalised families back
into the economic mainstream." Anyone going out into the Zimbabwean
countryside and seeing the derelict farms knows it is just not like that.

Churchmen last week, when they were able to get their statement published by
the remaining independent news media, accused Mugabe of unleashing the Beast
of Anarchy. His rule, they said, was like his land redistribution:
"irresponsible, inhuman, violent, partisan, and non-transparent". The 109
ministers and laymen from 59 denominations said by negating fundamental
moral laws, Mugabe's regime had "forfeited its God-given mandate to rule."
The principle of collective security is a noble one. Statesmen contemplating
the devastation of past wars cannot have been wrong to try to prevent their
recurrence through establishing regular consultative machinery such as the
UN, or its predecessor the League of Nations. The League was doomed when the
ideals of internationalism became a mask behind which tyrannies consolidated
themselves, each professing it was progressive. Mugabe's harangue, indeed,
brought back memories.

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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 3 October

The unstoppable tide

Sean O'Toole

ĎIím tired of this," remarked a South African National Defence Force (SANDF)
soldier offloading a small group of glum-looking immigrants at the Musina
police station, a ramshackle collection of squat buildings in South Africaís
most northerly outpost. It was not yet mid-morning and the soldierís company
had arrested yet another batch of desperate Zimbabweans illegally crossing
the nearby Limpopo river. "Night and day, all the time, every day the same,"
he sighed, leading the men to the stationís cells. "I havenít eaten for two
days," said 24-year-old Phillip Chikumbo, his dark eyes bloodshot with
fatigue. There was no hint of outrage or bitterness in his comment; he was
simply hungry. "They do not have food for us here because we are unexpected
visitors." Dressed in a blue-and-white check shirt, his hair closely
cropped, Chikumbo is one of about 20 young men - all Zimbabwean - patiently
awaiting deportation to a place he no longer wants to call home.

"My father is not very happy," he said, squatting on his haunches among a
tangle of roots belonging to a wild fig that prospered in the middle of the
prison courtyard. "He is angry that I left; he says itís running away. But
there is nothing to do [in Zimbabwe] as far as a job. Itís hard to raise
money." A qualified mechanic, Chikumbo was born and raised in Chiredzi, in
Zimbabweís central Mashonaland district. Long disheartened by the lack of
opportunity in the country, he is an old hand at crossing the border
illegally. Chikumbo works as a junior mechanic at a private trucking company
on the road to Thohoyandou. It is not an uncommon story told in the prison
courtyard. Maxwell (33), "caught in an ambush along the river", has been a
mall security guard in Johannesburg for nine years. Morris (18), from
Masvingo, earns R750 as a tractor driver on a Mpumalanga farm. "I get paid
R600 a month," said Chikumbo. Exploitation wages to be sure, but he is happy
with the opportunity to work. The income allows him to visit his girlfriend
Sara every three to four months in Chiredzi. Chikumbo said his arrest is a
minor inconvenience, his words echoing the sentiments of many of the
detainees. Take, for example, Freedom Kulalelo (23). Arrested two weeks ago
in the Johannesburg suburb of Berea, he spent 10 days at Lindela
repatriation centre near Krugersdorp. After his return to Zimbabwe he headed
straight back to South Africa.

It used to be, a policeman told us, that Zimbabweans detained illegally
crossing into South Africa were fined upon repatriation. They were even sent
away to Harare. But occurrences of illegal crossings are so frequent along
this border (26 742 in 2000, 19 932 in 2001, and 18 033 recorded last year)
that the Zimbabwean authorities have stopped imposing punitive sanctions. At
worst, one border-jumper told us, they might be told to clean the Beit
Bridge police station before being released. "I have been disturbed from my
programme," commented Maxwell, who had been following our conversation
intently. Tinged with a suggestion of humour, Maxwellís comment nonetheless
articulated the thoughts of many of those in the Musina prison. "I am late
for work now," he quipped, adding: "Itís very obvious. I canít live in that
place of [President Robert] Mugabe anymore. Iím coming back - today."
Chikumbo smiled: "Me too." We arranged to meet Chikumbo in Beit Bridge with
the aim of accompanying him on his illegal border crossing. Having
previously visited this Zimbabwean town perched on the periphery of Mugabeís
politically besieged country, we knew it to be relatively docile, which is
not to say it is a benign, sleepy hollow. Stern Zanu PF banners in the towní
s centre offered a reminder of the larger context: "Land Reform for Economic
Empowerment," one of them read. A necessary pit stop for migrants travelling
south, the town of Beit Bridge presents many obstacles. Aside from the
obdurate plainclothes policeman from the criminal investigations department,
there are also exploitative taxi drivers, dissolute gangs of robbers
(otherwise known as the guma guma), rapacious crocodiles and the SANDF. "You
have to be clever," Kulalelo told us, particularly when it comes to the guma
guma. "They donít have guns, but they carry spears, screwdrivers, axes,
knives." While crossing the Limpopo, Kulalelo saw a woman being raped by
eight of them, an allegation later confirmed by a SANDF patrol.

By all accounts the guma guma are motivated by economic expediency alone, a
fact emphasised by the Shona meaning of the word. Loosely translated, guma
guma means to get something by no effort. One migrant we spoke to said the
word was actually onomatopoeic, deriving from the sound of pigs eating. This
aptly pegs the guma guma for what they are, scavengers who prey on naive,
often cash-rich border-jumpers. Operating in banded groups along the Beit
Bridge border area, the guma guma ostensibly offer guided walks and/or taxi
journeys to various points along the South Africa/Zimbabwe border. They
charge a minimum of R50 for leading migrants to purpose-cut holes in the
South African border fence, a 180km tangle of electric wires delineating the
political boundary between the two countries. Chikumboís protracted ritual
breaching of this patchwork fence, a toothless beast that is a throwback to
apartheid times, merely highlights the ease with which border-jumpers cross
the border with impunity. With the cost of processing undocumented migrants
said to be R16 000 a person, the implications of these crossings are by no
means inconsequential. Last year the SANDF arrested 50 852 immigrants along
South Africaís borders with Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana.

After being offloaded by a Department of Home Affairs truck at the Beit
Bridge police station Chikumbo immediately headed for the township of
Dulibadzimo, on the outskirts of town. At the central market he chartered a
sky-blue Datsun taxi, at a cost of Z$35 000 (R90). "Itís not a good
business," the lanky taxi-driver confided as he drove us an hour or so east
of Beit Bridge. "Fuel is too expensive." The scenery on our drive was
revealing. Drought and profligate overgrazing have destroyed the landscape.
Only the baobabs prosper. We passed four men walking. Chikumbo waved. "They
were with me in prison this morning," he chuckled. "Theyíre also going
back." The taxi ride came to an end at a dusty soccer field 20km east of
Beit Bridge. From there we had to walk, the mass of small rural paths
finally congregating into one well-worn (smugglerís) path that led us to the
river. I asked Chikumbo about the crocodiles, which have been known to take
migrants. "Itís a matter of starvation," he said. "You canít worry about
those things." We eventually forded the Limpopo by moonlight, darting around
slimy pools of stagnant water. When there was no way around these, we waded
knee-deep through the river. On the South African side a bedraggled series
of farm fences hinted that we were not the first visitors to crawl under the
first, then hop over the second. It is really that simple gaining entry into
South Africa, though the reality for many border-jumpers is that they will
be detained by the SANDF in Musina. But this is nothing compared with the
disastrous situation in Zimbabwe. "Itís true! Itís real!" said Chikumbo.
"People from the opposition are being killed; even job applications are
turned down. People are angry." As long as this anger is unattended to, it
seems that Musinaís prison courtyard will continue to be a congregation
point for the youths who gather there like the collected flotsam of some
invisible shipwreck: Zimbabwe.

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Govt moves to save SA property in Zim

GOVERNMENT is crafting an investment protection agreement with Zimbabwe in a
bid to protect South African investments in that country.

This follows concern among SA investors that some of their property in
Zimbabwe has been earmarked for seizure under Mugabe's land reform

Government officials are hurriedly finalising the agreement while hoping top
level secret talks between ruling Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) don't fail.

There are growing fears in government circles that if the talks fail,
Zimbabwe's woes will worsen.

There are also fears that as Zimbabwe's economy consistently declines many
other investments, aside from farms, are at risk of being confiscated by the

Department of trade and industry spokesperson, Gaynor Kast, confirmed a
bilateral agreement with Harare was being finalised. But she could not
divulge details or say when it would be signed. It is understood that
foreign affairs wants it signed soon.

Although SA was hoping for a breakthrough sooner, it is understood the only
threat to the talks are increasing leadership problems and divisions both
within Zanu-PF and the MDC.

The secret deal includes constitutional reforms allowing for a transitional
government made up of both parties before democratic elections are held. The
talks also cover how a cabinet of the government of national unity would be
President Thabo Mbeki has been pressing Mugabe and the MDC to take this

Government officials are now putting pressure on both Zanu and the MDC to
speedily conclude the talks in an attempt to alleviate the economic collapse
of the country.

SA has indicated it was not prepared to abandon its "quiet diplomacy" on

SA bid to save its farmers' property through a bilateral agreement comes
after reports that Zimbabwe reneged on a promise not to seize the farms of
Southern African Development Community citizens.

In August this year SA sent a list of properties, accompanied by a request
for immunity from seizure, but the Zimbabwean government wanted a bilateral
protection agreement signed.

The SA government also put pressure on Mugabe's government to investigate
reports properties owned by South Africans were already attached. Zimbabwe's
justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who leads the investigation, is yet to
report on it.

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Financial Times

††††† UN warns of big food shortfall
††††† By John Reed
††††† Published: October 4 2003 5:00 | Last Updated: October 4 2003 5:00

††††† The United Nations has warned that a large shortfall of donor funds
could spark a food crisis in southern Africa. In July it appealed for $530m
(Ä480m, £317m) for food and humanitarian relief to six countries in the
region. The world body said yesterday it had received just 20 per cent of
the sum, and warned it might cut rations to some of the 6.5m people it is
trying to feed.

††††† James Morris, UN special envoy for humanitarian needs in the region,
called donors' response "alarmingly slow". Two thirds of the amount the UN
is seeking is earmarked for Zimbabwe, in the middle of a political and
economic crisis. John Reed, Johannesburg

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The Herald

Transport woes persist

By Beatrice Tonhodzayi
HARAREíS transport problems persist as some commuter omnibus operators
withdraw their services to push the Govern-ment for a fare increase.

This has seen some commuters taking hours to travel to and from work.

The Government, which is continuing to supply highly-subsidised fuel through
Noczim, is not eager to see fares hiked, and more so to the levels demanded
by operators.

The commuters are the ones caught in this war.

At peak hours, all roads leading out of the city centre to different suburbs
are crowded with people jostling for transport to get home.

In many cases large sections of roads are blocked by people standing far
from the pavement in desperate attempts to wave down lifts.

Long winding queues characterise all bus stops and commuter omnibus ranks
during peak hours while some people leave work late when the throngs of
people have dissipated.

Some people who knock off from work at 5pm take up to five hours to get home
while in some cases it has taken others even up to midnight.

Most affected were women who could not manage the jostling and "pressure"
that has become the norm when trying to get lifts home.

The crisis has seen people use all types of vehicles ó even huge lorries and
women are usually left behind because they cannot easily get on such types
of vehicles.

"It has been particularly difficult for mothers carrying babies. Everyone
ignores us under these circumstances," said one woman.

Unlike past transport problems caused by fuel shortages, this time, commuter
omnibus operators have withdrawn their vehicles saying every trip they make
increases their losses.

Although operators get their fuel from Noczim at subsidised costs of $200 a
litre for diesel and $450 a litre for petrol, commuter omnibus operators say
other operational costs have gone up.

The operators cite the rising costs of oils, tyres, labour and other vehicle
spares they say were not being controlled by the Government as their reason
for wanting a fare increase.

"Itís not only petrol that makes a car move. There is the human input and
minimum wages have gone up, the ever-rising cost of spares, oil and many
other factors," said a commuter omnibus operator.

The operators said they were running at a loss if they continued to operate
under such conditions and resolved to withdraw their services. The operators
are however, still buying their cheap fuel.

Some are storing it, ready for a resumption of services but others are
selling it on the black market at a huge profit although at less than what
fuel costs at service stations.

Those offering transport have aggravated the plight of commuters by charging
at least 10 times more than the gazetted fares because, so they say, they
source their fuel at higher prices.

"I buy my fuel at five times what the commuter omnibus operators pay and I
cannot be seen to be charging the same as them," said a Chitungwiza man.

Private motorists, including those driving company cars, are cashing in on
the crisis.

Motorists charge between $1 000 and $2 000 for a single trip to Chitungwiza
while the fare ranges from $500 to a $1 000 for shorter trips to Highfield,
Glen View, Kuwadzana and other suburbs.

In Mabvuku, commuters were sometimes forced to fork out as much as $2 000
for a trip into town.

Commuters accused commuter omnibus operators of holding them to ransom and
creating an artificial shortage of transport to increase fares.

Some operators have also been accused of cutting their trips to make two or
more legs to maximise profits.

People living in areas serviced by commuter trains were better off, although
the numbers wanting to use the trains is rocketing and the trains cannot
meet the demand.

According to the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the urban commuter trains
carry about 16 000 commuters every day.

A single trip on a commuter train costs $150.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Commuter Operators Services president Mr Felix
Papaya confirmed the withdrawal of services by some commuter operators.

He said the operators were forced to ground their vehicles due to the high
cost of spare parts.

"Operators are failing to repair their vehicles because of the low fares
that they charge. What we are charging as fares at the moment is too low to
sustain our operations," he said.
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The Herald

Daily News a victim of rule of law: Moyo

Herald Reporter
GOVERNMENT did not shut down The Daily News, it was a victim of the rule of
law that the paper had been preaching about since its inception in 1999, the
Minister of State for Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo,
said yesterday.

Speaking at the launch of the New Ziana in Harare, Prof Moyo said The Daily
News believed itself to be above the law, and a law unto itself, so it
decided not to register with the Media and Information Commission as
stipulated by the law.

"The Daily News is a victim of the rule of law which it had been preaching
since 1999," said Prof Moyo.

The Minister said The Daily News operated for eight mon-ths and 12 days
without being registered but it was not shut down because the Government
wanted the law to take its course.

He said the relevant arm of the Government ó the police had to stop The
Daily News from publishing after the Supreme Court declared that it was
operating outside the law.

Prof Moyo said the ANZ issue would continue to be dealt with according to
the law and no amount of pressure or political interference would be

"We will not entertain any pressure from anybody because we respect the
law," he said.

He said the Government makes polices on fundamental issues like the media
and information according to the aspirations of the people and not those of
British Prime Minister Tony Blair or the US president, George W. Bush.

The aspirations of the masses of Zimbabwe come first when making any
policies. There were many governments and many countries in the world but
they could not all be expected to have the same policies.

The minister said information affected everyone and the Government was
cognisant of the fact that it was not possible for any organisation, let
alone any nation, to exist without being concerned about how to manage

Given the current unipolar world, the management of information has become
decisive to the survival of nations.

The media, he said, had become the battleground to win the hearts and minds
of the people.

He gave the example of the Iraq invasion, where there was a deliberate
attempt by the media to invent weapons of mass destruction that were said to
be in Saddam Husseinís possession.

He said the BBC and CNN, which he described as weapons of mass deception,
and other pro-Western news organisations attempted to give an impression
that American and British values and points of view were good for everyone.

The exercise of imparting information and lies using deceitful means had
become institutionalised in a very dangerous way for nations like Zimbabwe.

The information comes to the country disguised as issues of democracy and
the rule of law.

Prof Moyo said a lot of the media organisations that were now presenting
themselves as champions of democracy and the rule of law were the ones that
were against the countryís liberation struggle, launched to achieve
democracy and the rule of law by freedom fighters.

As a historical challenge, the people of Zimbabwe defeated colonialism and
UDI interests to give birth to a new democratic Zimbabwe.

The BBC and CNN were not part of that democratic struggle but instead were
used to frustrate and derail the liberation struggle.

He said the impression that BBC, CNN, the British and the Americans wanted
to give was that the struggle for democracy started with the emergence of
the so-called NCA and The Daily News in 1999.

"Is that the historical orientation that we want for ourselves?" asked Prof

In pursuit of democratic values, the Media and Information Commission
registered some of the papers that are now churning out trash, which was
even worse than those they try to emulate, using all sorts of insults to
describe the countryís leadership.

Freedom of the Press was not synonymous with worshipping the US, he said.

The Minister castigated the so-called Studio 7 operated from the US using
some locals like Ray Choto, saying that its days were numbered.

He said it was surprising that some people had taken it upon themselves to
continuously write stories that undermined the countryís national interests
and their own existence as citizens of Zimbabwe.

Prof Moyo said the media should not be used to pollute the countryís
historical heritage and blur peopleís vision.

"We differ with those who think that the media should be used to create

The Governmentís view was that the media should be used to develop the
countryís national viewpoint and the New Ziana would play a critical role in
advancing Zimbabweís national interests.

Money was not going to make the New Ziana but the commitment and vision of
the people who are part of the institution, Prof Moyo said.

He said New Ziana had a bright future, especially when all the strategic
business units become fully operational.

The New Ziana will have a News Agency, Electronic Business unit involving
newsgathering, radio and television and a newspaper publishing business

The minister said New Ziana was just a few weeks from having its own radio
news through the full use of an existing frequency on shortwave.

New Ziana chief executive Mr Munyaradzi Matanyaire said the launch of the
institution came at a time when the Community Newspaper Group (CNG), a
donor-funded project under the now defunct Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust, had
been successfully transformed into a viable business unit.

"The launch comes also at a time when the transformation of the News Agency
from a Government-funded service into a profit-making unit is firmly
underway," said Mr Matanyaire.

He said apart from refocusing its operations in line with the new
information order, which had rendered some of its traditional functions
irrelevant, the unit was being equipped to meet technological demands of the
news information era.

Mr Matanyaire said the operations of New Ziana were being diversified to
enhance its income- generating capacity by meeting the needs of a broader
client base.

The Electronic Services Strategic Business Unit had commenced television
productions and its products were ready for marketing locally, regionally
and internationally.

"Outstanding capital development projects include the purchase of a printing
press, broadcasting equipment, computers and vehicles," said Mr Mata-nyaire.

New Ziana board chairman Mr Munamato Mutezo said the Governmentís injection
of $510 million had laid a solid base upon which a vibrant New Ziana could
be built.

"Community newspapers create a platform for communities to express
themselves, their values and points of view at the same time exposing and
interpreting the national agenda at community level," he said.

The launch was attended by media organisations, journalists and board
members of media- related bodies.
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The Herald

Fake bearer cheques in circulation

By Freeman Razemba
FAKE bearer cheques are in circulation barely two weeks after the cheques
were issued, but they can be detected in seconds since they do not have the
security thread and watermark features.

The fake $20 000 cheques have been photocopied or scanned into a computer
and printed on a laser printer.

The colours are a fairly good match, although a little deeper, but the fine
line printing on the cheques is much thicker on the fakes.

Copying techniques cannot pick up internal features such as the security
thread and the watermark, and will always tend to widen fine lines.

Precise colour matching is notoriously difficult using a photocopier or
laser printer.

Several banks said yesterday they had come across fake bearer cheques as had
some shops and food outlets.

"We suspect the culprits bringing the counterfeit money into circulation
came last night (Thursday) when our shop was busy and took advantage of
that," said a shopkeeper from one of the fast food shops in First Street.

As news of the fake cheques has spread, cashiers are now checking for the
thread and the watermark, a simple test that takes a couple of seconds.

The cheques are printed on the special paper used for the $50 note, and such
paper is produced by only one company in Europe and is obtainable only by
the Reserve Bank.

Forgers are using quality bond, but that will not have the security features
of the special banknote paper.

Once anyone is aware that fakes are in circulation, it is fairly easy to see
the differences in printing with the security features giving a surefire

Sources at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe confirmed having received reports of
fake bearer cheques circulating although they could not give further

The Government introduced the bearer cheques last month in an effort to deal
with the current cash crisis.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said they had so far not
received any reports of the fake cheques but warned the public and
businesses to be on the lookout.

He said people should check the security features that are on the cheques.

"Of late RBZ had been educating members of the public about the security
features on these cheques. Members of the public should therefore check on
those features," said Supt Mandipaka.

Police would work hard to bring to book anyone engaged in this criminal
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Washington Times

Moral myopia

By Arnold Beichman

††† I'll tell you what is disgusting and disgraceful: The fact that all
those African leaders, especially Nelson Mandela, who are so busy moralizing
about America's faults and Europe's faults and yet cannot find a moment in
which to repudiate the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe over the starving,
dying people of Zimbabwe.
††† And I'll tell you what else is disgusting and disgraceful. Why isn't the
so-called Court of Criminal Justice or some busybody prosecutor in Spain or
somewhere indicting Mr. Mugabe for his crimes? And where is the U.N. Human
Rights Commission, always so preoccupied with human rights in the Gaza?
††† The most shameful behavior is that of Nelson Mandela and his successor,
South Africa President Thabo Mbeki who, ignoring Mr. Mugabe's atrocities,
has appealed to the West to drop its sanctions against the Mugabe regime.
And most recently, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) gave
Mr. Mugabe - would you believe? - a standing ovation.
††† Of all people, they and especially Mr. Mandela himself, who once aroused
the world's conscience about the infamy of apartheid, sit by and legitimize
the rule of one of the worst dictators since Pol Pot, Mao Tse-tung, Josef
Stalin and Adolf Hitler.
††† Exaggerated? Here is the detailed indictment by a Canadian member of
Parliament, Dr. Keith Martin, the conservative Alliance Party expert on
††† c† In two years, between 1983 and 1985, Mr. Mugabe ordered the killing
of more than 15,000 people of the Matabele tribe. Africa, let alone the
international community, ignored this savagery
††† c† The people of Zimbabwe, except for the thugs who bodyguard Mr.
Mugabe, are starving.
††† c† He ignores the AIDS pandemic that afflicts a quarter of the country's
12 million people.
††† c† He has created the "Green Bombers," a youth militia who hound and
murder his opponents.
††† c† Children as young as 11 are forced to join his militia.
††† . Mr. Mugabe has destroyed an independent judiciary and his cronies are
now judges.
††† c† He rigged the last presidential election by using state-sponsored
violence and intimidation.
††† c† He has used his thugs to beat up journalists and his police and
military to shut down newspapers and thus has destroyed freedom of speech.
††† . He has destroyed Zimbabwe's agriculture that once employed
three-quarters of its labor force and supplied almost 40 percent of its
††† Mr. Mugabe has taken a once relatively prosperous country, where most
people had jobs, ate three meals a day, enjoyed some amenities - where there
were decent relations between farmers, many of them white, and their
employees - and turned this potentially rich country into a wasteland. And
Nelson Mandela and President Mbeki, who benefited mightily from arousing
white guilt in the West, today protect a man whose actions are as bad if not
worse because this is the 21st century, as anything that happened in the
days of apartheid.
††† Zimbabwe is just another episode in the sad and tragic story of
postcolonial Africa. Think of what has happened in Burundi, in Liberia, in
Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, in the Congo Republic, in Nigeria and the war in
Biafra, in Ghana, site of the first African dictatorship under Kwame
Nkrumah; the second African dictatorship under Sekou Toure in Guinea; of Idi
Amin and Milton Obote in Uganda; the murderous Dergue in Ethiopia; the
30-year civil war in Sudan; the cannibal Emperor Bokassa of the once Central
African Republic. How reminiscent of the poem of William Blake:
††† The hand of Vengeance sought the bed
††† To which the purple tyrant fled;
††† The iron hand crush'd the tyrant's head,
††† And became a tyrant in his stead.
††† And now we have the tyranny of Robert Mugabe and there is a great
silence among Africa's conscience idols such as Nelson Mandela and Thabo
Mbeki. They and their cohorts who fought so hard for so long for freedom for
the people of South Africa, who endured such trials and tribulations for
decades and who finally achieved victory - how can they lead Africa in a
guilty stillness?
††† Nelson Mandela, President Mbeki, have you no shame?

††† Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist
for The Washington Times.

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