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

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Zim Online

Tue 5 October 2004

††††† PRETORIA - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party has shunned a conference to
discuss minimum standards for free and fair elections in the country which
opened here yesterday.

††††† The two-day conference was organised by the South African Council of
Churches (SACC) in partnership with the Southern African Catholic Bishops
Conference (SACBC), the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), the Institute for
Democratic Alternatives in South Africa
††††† (Idasa) and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR).

††††† Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and ZANU PF secretary for
information and publicity Nathan Shamuyarira had confirmed participation but
cancelled at the last minute, according to conference organisers.

††††† However, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) deployed a
high-powered delegation led by its deputy president Gibson Sibanda and party
secretary-general Welshman Ncube.

††††† Various civic groups including the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Human Rights Forum, Crisis
Coalition Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions and many others were also in attendance.

††††† SACC general secretary Molefe Tsele described the absence of
Shamuyarira and Chinamasa as regrettable but refused to acknowledge that
they had in fact shunned the conference.

††††† "It (their absence) limits the circumstances in which we wanted the
debate here to take place," said Tsele. "But I cannot say they have shunned
the conference since they acknowledged its importance and had expressed
their commitment to attend."

††††† He said the two had cited scheduling and diary problems as their
reasons for not attending. Shamuyarira had promised to nominate another
person to attend the conference but failed to fulfill the promise.

††††† MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said ZANU PF's absence was hardly
surprising as it was consistent with the ruling party's unilateral approach
to issues.

††††† "They (ZANU PF) always know it all, they always want to dictate, they
despise dialogue, they despise consensus building, they don't consider
themselves accountable to anyone," said Ncube.

††††† "So it doesn't surprise us that they are running away from debate and
they are running away from dialogue in terms of important conferences such
as this one."

††††† Respected South African civic society groups had hoped to use the
conference to foster consensus on what Zimbabwe needs to do to hold free and
fair elections. Because of the excellent reputation of the organisers of the
conference, particularly the churches, many had
††††† hoped that ZANU PF would indeed attend. However, this was not to be.

††††† South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad opened the conference
with a call for Zimbabweans to ensure that the elections are held in line
with the new norms and standards agreed to by SADC leaders at their last
summit in Mauritius.

††††† He said free and fair elections were in the interests of all
Zimbabweans. Pahad said it was heartening that President Robert Mugabe had
promised to hold the elections in line with the SADC protocol.

††††† But delegates at the conference said ZANU PF's failure to send
representatives to this important meeting proved that it had no such bona
fide intentions.

††††† Chris Landsberg of South Africa's Centre for Policy Studies summed a
popular view at the conference when he said the electoral reforms so far
proposed by President Mugabe seemed to have more to do with technical
compliance with the SADC norms rather than
††††† the substance of the issues involved.

††††† The government has proposed to set up an "independent" electoral
commission to run the elections, reducing polling from two to one day,
counting ballots at polling stations and using translucent ballot boxes.

††††† Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa tore through the proposed reforms saying they
do not go far enough in fostering free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. She
said the proposed electoral commission would not be free and fair at all as
it would be appointed by President
††††† Mugabe.

††††† She said a proposed provision for Mugabe to appoint the electoral
commission in consultation with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) was
not a peremptory one and so the President was not legally bound to consult
the judicial commission.

††††† Even if a firm provision had been made, Mtetwa noted that the
commission was already stuffed with government loyalists who would only
serve to help Mugabe in appointing "yes men" to the electoral commission.

††††† MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi detailed to the conference the
continuing harassment of the opposition, the lack of access to public media,
the draconian security and media laws, among other problems he said would
render the elections not free
††††† and fair. - ZimOnline.

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Zim Online

Chamber of Mines seeks clarification on Mugabe threats
Tues 5 October 2004

††††† HARARE - Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines president Ian Saunders has met
government officials and sought clarification on President Robert Mugabe's
recent statements that he intends to take over 50 percent equity in major
mining houses in the country.

††††† "We sought clarity on the statement and we were told that although 50
percent was not a definite number, the government and President Mugabe want
to see the industry moving to that number," Saunders said.

††††† "We were also told that the government would be coming up with an
indigenisation policy which would address some of their concerns. We do not
know when the policy would be completed," he said.

††††† Saunders would not elaborate what the indigenisation policy would
entail. He said although government intends to increase the stake for
locals, it was still to indicate the size of the stake to be allocated to
indigenous players in the mining sector.

††††† Zimbabwe's mining sector is still heavily dominated by foreigners.

††††† Mugabe's announcement to seize 50 percent equity in major mines and
allocate them to marginalised† blacks caused a stir in the international
community with jittery investors expressing fears that they stood to lose
their investments in the country.

††††† Mugabe is not new to courting controversy.

††††† In 2000, he sanctioned the seizure of vast farmland from the largely
white commercial farmers in what he said was a correction of historical
injustices in land allocation.

††††† The often violent farm seizures caused an international outcry with
critics of his land reforms bemoaning the trashing of property rights in the

††††† Saunders said the chamber expressed fears that the proposed move would
scare away foreign investors. He said they suggested that 25 percent local
ownership within 10 years would be more feasible.

††††† "There are a number of on-going projects from the international
community but there are six projects, which are at an advanced stage.
Investors are seeking clarification from authorities," he said.

††††† The mining sector, like all sectors of Zimbabwe's economy is on a
free-fall blamed on government mismanagement. Mining sector contribution to
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which stood at 8,8 percent in 1980, has
declined to an all-time low of 1.4 percent. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Riot police descend on evicted settlers
Tues 5 October 2004

††††† BULAWAYO - Riot police descended on evicted farm invaders, mostly
women and children, at Mfazimithi Farm in Bubi/Umguza district at the
weekend and severely assaulted them after accusing them of trying to
re-occupy the farm.

††††† The villagers were evicted from the farm in a fresh wave of evictions
that hit the country two weeks ago. They have been staying on the roadside
for the past two weeks. More than 160 families were evicted from the farm
which lies on the 40km peg along the
††††† Bulawayo-Nkayi road.

††††† The latest farm evictions are targeting peasants who were used to
occupy white farms when the often violent land seizures and occupations
began in 2000. The peasants are now being evicted to pave way for
influential government officials to occupy vast tracts
††††† of land.

††††† According to villagers who spoke to ZimOnline, an armoured police
vehicle arrived at the place at about 11am on Sunday and ordered the
villagers to leave the farm.

††††† "Police officers ordered us to leave the area and go to where we came
from. But most of us used to stay on this farm working for the former white
owner. We have nowhere to go.

††††† "When we told them that, they accused us of trying to defy a lawful
order. They then started beating us up until we had to flee into the bush,
leaving our belongings behind," said 43-year-old Fortune Dube, showing
ZimOnline reporters bruises she allegedly
††††† sustained from the assault.

††††† She said the police took away some of their belongings.

††††† Contacted for comment, police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena said: "We do not just beat up people who are not violent, maybe
they tried to confront officers carrying out a lawful order," he said.

††††† The evicted families say they occupied the farm at the height of the
country's fast-track land reform programme in 2000. The families have now
been pushed off the land to pave way for top government and ZANU PF
officials under the A2 model scheme. Government
††††† says the new occupiers hold the key to reviving the agricultural
sector as they have access to government loans.

††††† The often violent farm seizures, largely blamed for disrupting the
once-vibrant agricultural sector, were spearheaded by veterans of Zimbabwe's
liberation war since 2000. Top ZANU PF officials are accused of parceling
out land seized from the settlers who
††††† occupied the properties four years ago. - ZimOnline

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Business Report

††††† SADC urged to set up grain reserves
††††† October 5, 2004

††††† Lilongwe - Southern African nations were discussing setting up
strategic grain reserves to tackle food shortages that, according to
experts, were becoming endemic in the region, officials said yesterday.

††††† At a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
officials in Malawi's capital said the lack of a strategic reserve prevented
countries with food shortages from benefiting from surpluses nearby.

††††† "The potential for development in southern Africa is enormous. The
SADC region can be the storehouse ... for food-deficit regions to turn to,"
said Susan Sikaneta, the executive secretary of an African Union (AU)
regional office.

††††† The UN World Food Programme said almost 2 million people in Lesotho,
Malawi and Swaziland would need food in the first half of 2005.

††††† In 2002, 14 million across the area faced hunger after poor rains. Now
aid agencies say shortages mean many people are finding it difficult to

††††† Countries in southern Africa have some of the highest occurrence rates
of HIV/Aids in the world, and experts say the pandemic has been killing farm
workers, preventing them from passing on agricultural knowledge to the next

††††† Despite its recent history of severe food shortages, southern Africa
has several grain exporting countries, including Zambia and South Africa.

††††† Zimbabwe's government has said it expected a bumper crop this year,
although farmers and international grain analysts doubt that projection.

††††† Sikaneta said the AU and its partners had been stimulating
agricultural production through irrigation farming, among other measures,
and these were starting to have an effect.

††††† "We know for sure that our region is not poor. The region is
potentially rich," she said.

††††† "We have every reason to feel confident that the region will sooner
than later start experiencing good harvests, with surplus for sale."

††††† The Lilongwe meeting follows the Sirte declaration in February, which
called on Africa's leaders to ensure food security and to eliminate hunger
and poverty by 2015.

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Were PAP delegates in harness or on holiday?

††††† By Beauregard Tromp

When the Pan African Parliament (PAP) drew to a close last week after its
first session, South Africans joined other ordinary Africans across the
continent asking whether it showed any signs that it would one day make the
continent a better place. Will it accomplish anything? Or will it remain
just a talk shop and an excuse for African parliamentarians to spend a few
weeks a year shopping in South Africa?

Cynics remain suspicious that these 255 MPs were basically on a paid
holiday. In the two weeks that the parliament was in session the question
which most often came up was what difference a parliament that has no powers
to enforce its decisions can make to the governance of the continent.

Under the protocol which established it, the PAP will only have "advisory"
powers for five years after which it may acquire real legislative powers.
Many observers regard that as an optimistic timetable.

PAP President Gertrude Mongella was repeatedly called on to defend the
organ. She said that in the first phase it would be fruitless to have
legislative powers when the PAP was still being established.

"And most of the work of a parliament has to do with advising anyway,"
Mongella insisted.

Therefore, the main order of business was adopting the rules of procedure,
discussing the vision, mission and strategy for the African Union, as well
as poverty alleviation, gender equality, peace and security on the
continent, and possible ways of funding the AU and its organs.

And the MPs did go about this work, albeit in a stop-start fashion which
revealed as much as anything their inexperience. Long rambling debates often
exposed the failure of the MPs to do their homework, such as reading the
basic documents on which PAP is grounded, the AU Constitutive Act and the
PAP Protocol.

There were lots of teething problems as President Thabo Mbeki had warned
there would be when he addressed the opening session.

When it was asked during one session how many parliamentarians had the
incorrect copy of a draft in front of them, nearly half the house raised
their hands. And that was already the sixth draft.

Some members asked that the PAP guarantee their five-year terms, for the
sake of continuity.

As things stand in the PAP Protocol, members are mandated to serve in the
house unless they are recalled by their parliament, resign, die or cease
being members of their own parliament.

This continuity was a point of concern for many parliamentarians. But the
idea was rejected as impractical, as an MP cannot continue to serve if he or
she loses their own national seat.

Some MPs suggested that the house split up into four language groupings,
English, Arabic, French and Portuguese, in order to expediently move through
the issues under discussion.

This idea too was rejected by Mongella, who said such a division would only
lead to regionalism and defeat the objective of pan-Africanism enshrined in
the very title of the organisation.

Despite these arguments, the decisions to lay the foundation for PAP were
agreed to without too much delay - in fact a week ahead of schedule.

The early finish was in part due to the fact that the organ ran out of money
for translation costs, which were said to be the greatest expenditure. One
of the more vibrant debates was on the crisis in Darfur with agreement being
reached to send a fact-finding mission to the area. But Zimbabwe was not
discussed, to the disappointment of some, but not all, observers.

One important achievement was to confirm that PAP representatives be given
immunity from arrest or prosecution in any country in Africa.
During this last session, the MPs confirmed this and gave the assembly the
right to vote to waive this immunity if an application is received from a
member state to do so.

But whether or not this immunity will be respected remains to be seen. By
the end of the deliberations it was still unclear exactly how representative
this parliament is of the diversity of political interests on the
continent - and mainly for administrative reasons.

PAP officials were unable to provide a sufficiently comprehensive list of
parliamentarians to enable observers to ascertain whether opposition parties
are truly represented at Gallagher Estate.

And of course in some countries in Africa, there is no real opposition while
in others the parliament is but a rubber stamp for the decision of a

But the hope remains that the experience will infect national parliaments
until it reverberates throughout the continent and inculcates a truly
pan-African culture of democracy.

To return to the question of whether PAP is but another talk-shop or will
actually create real change, it is probably too early to tell. But on the
face of it there was enough energy and commitment present at Gallagher
Estate these past few weeks to keep the hope alive that it will one day
achieve its ambitious goals. - Independent Foreign Service

† .. This article was originally published on page 13 of The Star on
October 05, 2004

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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe 'grope' doctor is minister's son

By Mduduzi Mathuthu
Last updated: 10/05/2004 08:53:06
A ZIMBABWEAN doctor facing SIX sexual assault charges in New Westminister,
Canada, is Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi's son, New can
reveal today.

Floyd Sekeramayi, 33, is due before a Canadian court Tuesday for the
beginning of his trial.

A source close to him said last night: "He is really scared that if his
relationship with the Minister is disclosed in court or outside, the jury
may be swayed to find against him."

We left him several messages on his mobile phone and e-mail. No reply had
been received by the time of going to press. Officials at Zimbabwe's
Ministry of Defence refused to talk to New, or make the
minister available for an interview.

Sekeramayi worked at the Royal Columbian Hospital in Canada but was
suspended in November last year after hospital authorities received
complaints from female workers who said they had been "groped".

Although his father cannot travel to Canada due to travel restrictions
placed on him and several lieutenants of Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe, he
was allowed into the country in 1999 before the sanctions were introduced.

Sekeramayi, a former St Ignatius student graduated from the UZ's medical
school in 1995. In order to qualify to practise medicine at Royal Columbian
starting in July 2001, he passed the necessary examinations at the
University of B.C to ensure his qualifications were equivalent to those of a
B.C. graduate medical student.

One of his former classmates at St Ignatius told New this week:
"He was a very quiet boy....very reclusive. Up to this day I can never
really describe his character because he didn't reveal much.

"Although his father was a minister, I remember him being bullied at the
swimming pool, and he never really made much of it. He was just a quiet

Sekeramayi was originally charged with three counts of sexual assault on
December 15 last year, but more women came forward to complain about being
"groped" by the doctor while at work.

Police spokesman Staff Seargeant Casey Dehaas confirmed to New
that Sekeramayi will appear in court today.

The alleged assaults occurred between July and November 2003, and all the
alleged victims are hospital employees, according to New Westminster police.

One of the alleged victims is a nurse with nearly 20 years' experience at
the hospital. Another is a nurse's aide and a third is an orderly. No
details were immediately available on the other three 'victims'.
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Jenni Williams"
Subject: WOZA update 4 Oct 2004

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
Press Statement

At 1:30 pm, on Wednesday 29 September, 9 members of WOZA walked into Africa
Unity Square in Harare Zimbabwe. Ten days earlier 35 women had begun a
440-kilometer sponsored walk from Bulawayo to Harare. They were joined for
60-kilometer stints by up to 120 women from Bulawayo and Harare. The walk
objectives were to raise funds for women's rights activists due to be
affected if the NGO Bill becomes law and to protest against the passing of
the Bill.

On Tuesday 28th September, just 60 km from Harare, Police arrested 52
activists as they walked towards their lunchtime base just 15 km from
Norton. They were arrested by Norton Police and taken to Selous Police
Station. Some of them were moved to Chegutu and Kadoma where they were held
in custody for 3 days before a magistrate ruled that they had no case to
answer and ordered their release. The fifty-two, comprising 48 women and 4
men who had volunteered to drive and guard the women were harassed,
intimidated, threatened by Police officers. They had money stolen from them
and Police even looted their supplies. A bowser carrying water for the group
was drained of water and searched for any hidden documentation - none was
located. Most of the 52 had their homes searched as Police attempted to find
'inflammatory or subversive material prejudicial to the security of the

On a positive note many Police officers whispered their admiration for the
work of WOZA with one recommending the opening of a WOZA branch in Chegutu
for his wife to attend. Many Police officers said they listen to the
independent radio stations and that they had been monitoring our progress.

After the arrest of the 52, only 2 WOZA women remained out of custody, Jenni
Williams and Siphiwe Maseko. Later that evening when Siphiwe went to deliver
food for the prisoners, she too was arrested leaving just Jenni Williams.
Siphiwe was assaulted by Police officers but was released on Thursday
without being charged. She was assaulted by a plain-clothes officer called
Dhliwayo, PISI Norton. He stooped so low as to use vulgar swear words to the

As Wednesday morning dawned, Jenni Williams began to complete the walk to
Harare. WOZA women had agreed that no matter what, the walk was to be
completed. She walked alone for 25 km before she was joined by Harare women
in Kuwadzana and Warren Park. One woman had her 4-month daughter Tafadzwa
Trish with her. As the group arrived in the outskirts of Harare to women
living with HIV/Aids joined the walk. Unfortunately, one lady only managed
half a city block before fainting. The other would spend 3 days in custody
with the WOZA women.

When the group arrived at Africa Unity Square they thanked the almighty for
the work and sacrifice of the WOZA women and they prayer for those arrested
in Chegutu to be quickly released. After singing a religious song, they
dispersed only to be arrested less than a block away. They would be charged
under Section 19 of the Public Order Security Act (POSA) and are due to
appear in a Harare magistrates court on 13 October 2004. Police said they
had committed an offence by 'praying in public'. Three of the women were
allegedly beaten during interrogation by a plain-clothes officer called
Mhondoro. Affidavits are being prepared for legal recourses.

WOZA wish to declare that the sponsored walk was a victory for freedom
loving Zimbabweans. We wish the walk to be entered into the Guinness Book of
Records as the longest protest walk conducted under draconian legislation
like POSA. We wish to announce that there were two undeclared objectives of
the walk. One was to set an examples to Zimbabweans that they must be
prepared to sacrifice if they want freedom, this is explained well by Nelson
Mandela in his Rivonia speech - he described the freedom fighters as
'Amadelakufa' - those willing to sacrifice. The second objective was to
demonstrate to Zimbabweans that democratic space must be fought for. Many a
demonstration in Zimbabwe has been measured in terms of meters; WOZA just
set a new standard - kilometers. Administrators of the Guinness Book of
Records will shortly be receiving correspondence from us.

Meanwhile the women of WOZA are in the final stages of planning the visit to
Parliament to lobby legislators. Women will walk to Parliament in silence
and request to see the Speaker to hand over their petition. They will risk
further arrest to do so.

WOZA thank members of the press for their reportage of the Walk and arrest
of activists.

Form more information, please contact
Jenni Williams - (+263) 11 213 885 (+263) 91 300 456
Magodonga Mahlangu (+263) 91 362 668
Email us / /

The Bill That Kills

I will not tell you about The Bill
The Bill that will kill the will
Of the free spirits of this land
Encouraged to till the land
Till the silos burst in abundance.

I will not tell you about the folly
Of many who today can still fill a trolley
With basic necessities using their taxed takings
Woodwinked, Blindfold, they still hope to receive earnings
When the Bill comes to kill.

I will not tell you about the Bill
That will deem your family gathering or burial society illegal
That will kill the spirit of togetherness
That forbids elevation of living standards
And smiles when professionals are turned to peasants

I will not tell you about the pig-headed Bill, which
Puts pride ahead and rejects foreign aid
The Bill, which will send hunger to raid
Your peasant hut, Zvobgo khaya, boys khaya and yes your mansion
As you get fast -tracked to join the peasantry.

Kill Bill was a trained brilliant sniper
I will tell you about the movie
She was ruthlessly cold-blooded
To Kill Bill, I liken the killer Bill
For many a people will die

The hit list is endless:
Human rights

I will not tell you about the moron
The brilliantly stupid author of the Bill
I will not tell you there are potential morons
Who will fuel Kill Bill and give him
Ammunition to eliminate those on the hit list.

By Francesca Mandeya
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From: "Jenni Williams"
Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 4:08 PM
Subject: petition

(A registered Trust)
P.O. Box FM 701 Famona Bulawayo Mobile 011 213 885

By Women for Women and with Women, across Race, Colour, Creed, Class or
Political Persuasion.† Empowering Women to be Courageous, Caring, Committed
and in Communication with their Communities.


Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) is a registered Trust.
Our objectives are: To develop the capacity of Zimbabwean women to:
Y express their views on issues relating to their upliftment;
Y develop strategies for economic survival;
Y network with women internationally;
Y participate and take leadership roles in public life;

Further objectives detailed in the Trust Deed and directly related to the
just ended Sponsored Walk from Bulawayo to Harare are:
v to administer funds received from donors on behalf of women who are to
benefit under approved development schemes;
v to establish an organisation that promotes a positive image of women in
v to receive gifts and donations for the Trust, providing that all donations
accepted by the Trust shall be irrevocable and the Trust shall not accept or
be party to any agreement or arrangements for any donation which directly or
indirectly may be revocable by the donor or any person, and to undertake
activities designed to raise funds to be utilised for the purposes of the

The women of WOZA heard about the proposed Non Governmental Organisation
Bill due to come before parliament on the 5th October 2004. We looked
through the proposed bill and we realised that if the Bill is passed in it
current form it will strike at the very existence of us and our families.
Most of the members of WOZA are widows, informal traders; some are 'living
positively' with the virus. We do try to survive independently but without
help from NGO's our families and those of us who are ill shall surely fade
away and die.

We have walked 440 kilometers to deliver this petition to parliament and
hope and pray that you will hear our cries and not pass this Bill. Over 60
of us were arrested along the way but we have decided to risk another arrest
just to deliver this message into your hands. Please hear our cries!!!

There is a Zulu saying - Uthinte Umfazi Uthinte Imbokodo - 'You strike a
woman and you have struck a rock'! We regard the NGO Bill in its current
format, as an attempt to strike women through WOZA. The women of WOZA are
saying we will not be struck in this way!

The Women of WOZA - Defending Women's Rights!

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† Xinhua

††††† Uganda, Zimbabwe patch up differences in DRC

††††† 2004-10-05 15:17:21

††††††††† HARARE, Oct. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- Uganda and Zimbabwe have patched up
their differences over the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),where they
support opposite sides, and re-established old ties, local media reported

††††††††† Speaking at a banquet hosted for him by Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe at State House on Monday evening, Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni said Zimbabwe and Uganda enjoy good relations despite being on
opposite sides in the Congolese conflict.

††††††††† "In spite of this little misunderstanding, we have always worked
together. I come here to show to you that we are brothers. Historically
speaking, we are on the same side, we must work together," he said.

††††††††† Museveni noted that Zimbabwe was among some of the Southern
African Development Community member states that have understood and
supported Uganda's concern at Sudan's policies in the southernpart of that
vast country.

††††††††† Speaking at the same occasion, Mugabe said with the Congolese
conflict now behind, the challenge was now to have a stronger bondin the
region to promote economic integration and co-operation.

††††††††† Mugabe said although at present there was little trade between
Uganda and Zimbabwe, there was huge potential for economic co-operation
between the two countries. He said co-operation could also be extended to
the health sector, including the fight againstHIV/AIDS. Enditem

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The Star

††††† Pahad chides critics of SA policy regarding Zimbabwe
††††† October 5, 2004

††††† By Basildon Peta

††††† Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad has chided detractors of the
government's quiet-diplomacy approach for failing to come up with
alternative strategies in resolving the Zimbabwe crisis.

††††† Pahad was commenting after the opening of a conference in Pretoria
yesterday on electoral standards in Zimbabwe.

††††† The conference was organised by various South African organisations
and attended by the who's who of Zimbabwean opposition political and civic-
society circles, but the delegation supposed to represent President Robert
Mugabe's government were absent.

††††† Pahad said that all the detractors were good at was criticising the
government's policy, without proffering a single piece of advice on what
they thought the magic formula was to end the crisis.

††††† "If somebody can give us an alternative of what they think will work,
then we will listen and accept it, if it is indeed workable. But nobody has
come forward and given us any suggestion that goes contrary to what we are
already doing."

††††† Pahad defended the government's approach, saying diplomacy, by its
very nature, was quiet. But he emphasised that such diplomacy did not mean
that those engaged in it did not raise their concerns about issues.

††††† He said a free and fair parliamentary poll in March was in the
interests of all Zimbabweans and that South Africa had stepped up efforts to
help its neighbour achieve this.

††††† President Thabo Mbeki was prepared to go to Zimbabwe "every day", if
necessary, to help Zimbabweans find a solution to their problems, Pahad

††††† "President Mbeki has already said he is willing to spend all his time
in helping Zimbabweans find a solution. We can help, but in the end
Zimbabweans must resolve the Zimbabwean problems themselves."

††††† The two-day conference opens at a time when Mugabe's government has
declared that it is not bound by the new Southern African Development
Community (SADC) standards and norms on free and fair elections, claiming
that they are merely guidelines.

††††† But Pahad said Mugabe had stated publicly in New York last week that
Zimbabwe would hold elections in line with the SADC protocol adopted in
Mauritius last month. Pahad said Zimbabweans should thus be helped to ensure
that Mugabe's statement was implemented. - Independent Foreign Service
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Wake up Zimbabwe!! - More Passion. More Fire
Amanda Atwood

If the leaders of this struggle have lost their passion, is it any wonder
that the rest of the population does not engage?† Passion is like a fire.† A
match in isolation is easily blown out by the wind.† But when a hundred
matches together light a patch of dry grass, the earth combusts, and the
wind just blows the flames higher.† Our NGO leaders need to rekindle their
passion, activate their outrage and inspire one another.† And if they are
too comfortable or too afraid to do that then they need to make way for a
new generation of fiery activists to lead the charge.

For the past 10 days, 50 women have been walking from Bulawayo to Harare, a
440 km journey, participating in a sponsored walk to raise awareness about
the looming NGO Bill.

They left Bulawayo on Sunday 19 September, and expected to arrive in Harare
on Wednesday 29 September.† As they neared Harare, the women were ebullient.
They had never expected to make it as far as they did, and they were in
Selous, just one days walk from Harare, when 48 of them were arrested.† Two
had gone ahead to buy food for the group, and when they returned, the other
women had already been arrested and taken to Selous and Chegutu police
stations. The next morning, one of the women went to bring food to the
others, and she was also arrested.

And so, in the pre-dawn darkness of Wednesday 29 September, Jenni Williams
began a solitary walk from Lake Chivero to Harare.† She carried a small
torch to light her way, and doubtless was seriously questioning the purpose
of her journey.† However, she gathered her conviction and decided to
complete what she had set out to do.† As she came into Harare, she was
joined by a few other women, and eventually made it to Africa Unity Square,
where the group of 10, including one baby strapped to her motherís back,
said a prayer of thanks and concluded the march.† But as they left Unity
Square, these women were also arrested and taken to Harare Central.

Obviously, the arrest of these women violates both the spirit and the letter
of the SADC Protocol on Free and Fair Elections.† And of course, their
arrest is just one more example of the paranoid, repressive, dictatorial
nature of the Zimbabwean ruling regime.† But in many ways, it is consistent
with the over-enthusiastic policing we have come to expect in this country.
While this behaviour is brutal, absurd, and undemocratic, I do not want to
waste space here and now restating the obvious: that we live in a police
state where the ruling party will use its machinery in whatever way
necessary to crush dissent and stifle individual opinion.

And I do not want to use this space to detail the hideous implications of
the NGO Bill for the ordinary Zimbabwean, for Zimbabwean society, or for the
NGO sector itself because a great deal of attention has already been paid to
these very serious concerns.

I am angry that this Bill can even be proposed.† It is a senseless,
disgusting, repressive piece of legislation that will do as much if not more
damage to our society than POSA and AIPPA are already doing.

I am angry with a dictator who has lost any respect for human rights or the
rule of law, and who governs Zimbabwe as his personal fiefdom, regardless of
the needs or wishes of the rest of the population.

But most of all, I am angry with myself, with the 12 million other
Zimbabweans, and particularly with those in NGOís, and in civil society,
whom this walk was most directly, benefiting, and yet were [with a few
notable exceptions] nowhere to be seen on the walk, or even in the few final
kilometres into Harare.

The women who walked from Bulawayo to Harare are not NGO leaders, or even
NGO employees.† Their organisation, Women of Zimbabwe Arise [WoZA], already
operates semi-covertly, and is subject to routine harassment and
intimidation by the authoritarian authorities.† They have no salaries, no
offices, no company cars and none of the trappings so often associated with
the NGO sector.† Out of all the NGOs who stand to lose so much of their own
comforts, much less their programme activities when [not, I despair, if] the
NGO Bill is passed, WoZA is probably the best prepared.† And yet, they alone
decided to organise and participate in the exhausting, painful walk to
Harare from Bulawayo in protest of this Bill.

Admittedly, the event was largely cloaked in the beginning†† .Perhapsinan
effort to forestall their inevitable arrest the organisers were vague about
their departure date, and their expected arrival date.† Some may argue that
this diminished their purpose.† Perhaps with greater outreach or publicity
or organisation, the participation might have been greater, the outcome
might have been different, and the arrival into Harare would have been a
victory celebration, not a shadowed, lonely trip to Africa Unity Square
followed by a ride in the back of a police vehicle.

I am not in a position to critique the organisation of the event, or to know
what communications did or did not occur between WoZA and other NGOs or
within the NGO sector about this event.† There are always many sides to a
story, and no doubt many individuals and organisations who are much more in
the know about this whole event will come forward to defend themselves.

But what I do know is that, on Jenniís arrival in Harare, the hundreds of
people who had, supposedly, been mobilised for this event, and who did,
supposedly, know enough about it to understand that their participation was
crucial, were nowhere to be found.† Perhaps all of them had watched the Dead
BC coverage the night before, announcing that the walkers had been arrested.
Perhaps they were put off by the hate speech of our national broadcaster and
feared for their own safety too much to be willing to make even a small
sacrifice of their time.

In the meantime, 50 women sacrificed their homes, their families, their
security and their health and WALKED from Bulawayo to Harare.† Why?† For all
of us.† They represent all of us.† But particularly, they represent the
board members, leaders, staff persons and members of NGOs who stand to be
closed when the NGO Bill is effected into law.† And when they arrived at the
end of their journey? There was next to no one there to welcome them.† Sure,
a few cars drove past and hooted in encouragement.† Yes, a few people phoned
in regularly to check on the progress and find out how they were doing.
But, in theory at least, these organisations do not consist only of
chairpersons and secretariats.† Many of them have members.† Members whom
they exist to assist.† Members whom they supposedly inform, educate and
mobilise.† Where were these members?† Where were these staff members?† And
where were these chairpersons?

After the remaining women had been arrested, the cell phone activists went
wild - a call went out for people to come to Harare Central to bring food
and show support.† And when we arrived for jail solidarity?† Only 11 people
were there.

Where were the hundreds of people who had been, I was told, prepared to meet
the walkers and join the victory procession into town?† Perhaps there was
confusion as to the timing or status of the walk.† But there was no
confusion as to the status of the women in detention, their location -
Harare Central, or the time to bring them food - 5:30.† I was told that many
of the organisations were busy trying to co-ordinate donations of bail money
from their own funds.† This is a worthy and commendable effort. But does it
take the entire board, secretariat and membership of the hundreds of NGOs
who are about to have their lives turned upside down by this Bill?† I was
also told that there was no time to organise people for jail solidarity as
hundreds of women were already being organised to take buses to Soweto for a
prayer service this Sunday.† Again, this activity is admirable.† And
certainly prayer is a valuable first step for many people involved in the
struggle.† But it implies to me a sorry misunderstanding of priorities if an
organisation can go through the mammoth effort involved in transporting
hundreds of people to Johannesburg and back, surely they can organise even a
few dozen to go to the police station in Harare, if not Chegutu, for even
one hour?

Where is the passion, the drive, and the commitment in the rest of civil
society?† The story of these womenís bravery, dedication and resolve is
deeply, personally moving.† It is a story not of statistics or petitions or
politics but a story of individual humanity, and a courage that transcends
articulation or understanding.† And yet, when it came time for the
individuals who both stand to lose the most and who know the most about
their story to step forward in solidarity, support, and conviction, they did
not step forward.† Is this what Zimbabwe has become?† A nation where even
the so-called leaders of the pro-democracy movement are so tired, so jaded,
or so disillusioned that they are not moved by these inspirational act of
singular determination.† A nation where these leaders place more emphasis on
international activities or securing their own narrow minded vision of the
future than they do on our own united resistance at home.† Where is our
conscious?† Where is our humanity?

Looking out from the gates of Harare Central onto the Charge Office commuter
rank, we watched thousands of people waiting for transport.† It was easy to
feel frustrated. What are we missing in explaining the struggle?† What would
it take to bring even a fraction of these thousands away from their queues
for just an hour to demonstrate in front of the police station?† What shift
in consciousness do we need to better inform, outreach and mobilise?†† What
is missing in the explanation of the struggle that makes it so much easier
for people to ignore, get by, and avoid confrontation?

Yes it is hard to confront.† It is frightening and lonely and difficult.
Someone once said, people will only change the way they do things if the
existing reality becomes too difficult and so they are desperate for
something new, or if the new reality you are proposing is so powerfully
compelling they cannot resist it.† Iím sure there is truth in that. But is
the solution to just sit back and wait for things to get even worse in
Zimbabwe so that we finally feel the burn enough to want to do something
about it? Perhaps.† But that is too depressing and disempowering a strategy
for me.† Surely the solution lies in articulating a clear, powerful, and
convincing vision of the Zimbabwe we deserve, the Zimbabwe we can all have,
the Zimbabwe that we all know can exist.

And maybe that is exactly the problem.† Because the people who are supposed
to be articulating that vision - the pro-democracy civil society
organisations, do not seem to believe in it themselves.† With few
exceptions, they do not practise the ideals of participation, collective
action, or solidarity.† They cannot explain, and perhaps do not even see how
each of their own activities fit into a larger picture of a new Zimbabwe.
They have no unified understanding of the broader struggle, and the critical
importance of not only each of their individual programmes, but the
desperate need for unity.† They have no vision of the Zimbabwe they are
fighting for, or the new reality they are trying to achieve.† They have no
creativity, no innovation.† They are too tired, or too afraid of trying new
things to find new ways of communicating with and inspiring people.† They
are bureaucrats, not activists. They are as comfortable with their salaried
jobs, their leave days and company benefits, as any corporate officer is
with hers.† And they have lost the ideals, the vision, the passion for the
struggle that they are supposed to be not just fighting, but also leading.

If the leaders of this struggle have lost their passion, is it any wonder
that the rest of the population does not engage?† Passion is like a fire.† A
match in isolation is easily blown out by the wind.† But when a hundred
matches together light a patch of dry grass, the earth combusts, and the
wind just blows the flames higher.† Our NGO leaders need to rekindle their
passion, activate their outrage and inspire one another.† And if they are
too comfortable or too afraid to do that then they need to make way for a
new generation of fiery activists to lead the charge.

Amanda Atwood is an activist for a new Zimbabwe and a new world order.† She
welcomes any comments or responses on†

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