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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Saturday, 6 October, 2001, 17:57 GMT 18:57 UK
Judge condemns Zimbabwe 'terror'
Supporters of President Mugabe at a rally in Kadoma, Zimbabwe
Zanu PF members are accused of violence and corruption
A former Zimbabwe High Court judge has accused the government of promoting a campaign of terror and said increasing lawlessness forced him to quit.

Justice Michael Gillespie outlined reasons for his resignation in a review of a criminal case published in Harare on Saturday, weeks after he left the capital to live in England.

In his review of a light sentence handed down to two men convicted of extortion during a wave of so-called company invasions by militant supporters of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, Mr Gillespie accused the government of intimidating the judiciary and putting its supporters above the law.

Growing lawlessness

The company invasions followed the widescale and often violent occupation of white-owned farms by Zanu-PF supporters in support of Mr Mugabe's land redistribution programme.

Mr Gillespie said the men had extorted money from a Harare company in the name of the Zanu-PF, a party which he said was "believed to be controlling similar acts of violence and intimidation throughout the country".

The two men, Mr Gillespie said, "are among those who have sought to take advantage of the increasing breakdown of the rule of law engineered by the executive".

"Your behaviour was a symptom of the breakdown to mob rule... which is the inevitable consequence when the government of the day, by its actions, no matter what words it uses, effectively renounces its commitment to the rule of law."

Zimbabwe's former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay
Gubbay was forced into retirement
Mr Gillespie also said the forced retirement of the country's Chief Justice, Anthony Gubbay, this year, together with the prosecution of government opponents, packing Superior Court benches with government supporters and manipulating the court rolls had forced him to resign.

"I have also reached the conclusion that for as long as there prevails the conditions such as I have described in this judgment, I cannot continue to act as an effective and independent member of this bench," he said.

Statement 'disgusting'

The government dismissed Mr Gillespie's charges as "racist rubbish" and said his resignation was "good riddance to bad rubbish".

Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the statement was "disgusting".

"Any judge who makes such pertinently political and racist statements which have nothing to do with the case before him is not worth the honour and dignity of the office," he said.

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Rungudzi Estate
P O Box 59

Cell : 091 239 410

26 September 2001



I am now feeling completely terrorised, desperate, helpless and tired beyond belief. My employees I am sure feel the same, compounded by insecurity of employment and pending starvation.

  1. I was the Movement for Democratic Change candidate for Guruve North and am a commercial farmer in the same area. I purchased the farm in 1989 from an indigenous farmer who had gone bankrupt and have spent the last 12 years developing it.
  2. My farm was first occupied on 1 March 2000 but the occupiers moved off after the parliamentary elections. The farm was reoccupied in September 2000 by approximately 15 ZANU(PF) activists, of which only six remain. Recently the numbers have built up to about 20. I believe that the farm is to be resettled by 43 families. I employ 63 permanent and peak at 90 seasonal employees.
  3. During the last 18 months I have had to evacuate the farm several times due to political disturbances. I have had to telephone the police, or drive the 35km to them, more than 100 times. I have had several attempts on my life. I have slept armed every night anticipating an assassination attempt, waking up several times most nights. My employees have been subject to constant threats of violence and have been intimidated for working for me. In the main, they have been extremely steadfast in their determination to resist succumbing to this violence. They have never even so much as threatened to retaliate. We are all very aware that to defend ourselves would lead to our being arrested, yet the occupiers can and do anything with total immunity.
  4. The occupiers were given seed and fertilizer by the Government and grew beans on about 10ha of pasture but reaped close to nothing.
  5. The occupiers are now led by one war veteran, who gets his instructions from the District chairman of the war veterans association, and is employed by the Central Intelligence Organisation.
  6. On Monday 27 August 2001, I, together with some key employees, was summoned by this war veteran to a meeting and received instructions that three of my key employees had one weeks notice to leave the farm, with the rest of the employees being given two weeks notice. We were further told to stop any further land preparation.
  7. On Saturday night 1 September the occupiers together with several war veterans forced my employees to attend a "meeting" which lasted some three hours before I managed to get police to stop it. I had to drive 400km that night to resolve the issue, as I was in Harare and it was not safe to stay on the farm and had to return to Harare. Early Sunday morning 2 September the workers were forced out of their houses and told to vacate the farm immediately. The police again reacted and resolved this.
  8. I spoke to the Member in Charge of Guruve police station and was told that my issue was "too political" for him to handle. I approached his immediate superiors and was given the same reason why they could not react to my predicament. In desperation I wrote to the Minister of Home Affairs, John Nkomo, on 4 and 5 September 2001 seeking his intervention as minister responsible for police and Chairman of ZANU(PF). Instead of getting any assistance my farm was designated on 7 September.
  9. The legal procedure is that I have one month to object and then the Government must take me to the Administrative Court within three months. Until such time no-one can occupy the farm. On Tuesday 11 September Agritex officials started identifying and allocating plots on the farm. As the government had signed the Abuja Agreement, I asked the police to remove illegal occupiers to reduce the numbers of antagonists on the farm, so that I might continue farming and thus provide employment for the workers.
  10. Since the designation on 7 September we have had confirmed poaching incidents on 10th, 21st, 22nd and 24th. We have had numerous cases of theft including telephone substation equipment.
  11. On Saturday 22nd the police, with an army NCO in attendance, impounded my weapons that are essential for general farm protection. The grounds given are totally unfounded, being based on reports that I had threatened violence against the occupiers. I believe that the action was politically motivated to further terrorise my employees and myself, the intention being to force us off the farm. I further believe that the Member in Charge was looking for an excuse to detain me in prison over the weekend.
  12. Since Saturday we have had daily reports of pending violence on the farm targeting the manager, myself and now the workers again. On Sunday night the manager was told that he had to be off the farm by Monday morning. On Tuesday evening the occupiers called the workers together and informed them that they should pack and go by Friday. The police arrived on the farm on Wednesday and told the workers the same, they also said that the farm was not to be settled under the current fast track programme but was to be resettled "politically" before the Presidential elections.
  13. A war veteran’s wife, also a war veteran, who is very sick is, unbeknown to me, living with a relative in one of my workers’ houses. I was looking for the relative and after calling out entered the open door. I saw a bundle of blankets on the floor and nudged it with my foot to see if anyone was hiding in them. An obviously sick woman appeared from within, I apologized and left. Her husband is now charging me with assault. I believe that the Government is trying everything and anything to get me into jail.

I attach statements and letters to further illustrate the plight of myself, and my employees. Even these are a tip of the iceberg of terror that we have been subjected to over the last 18 months. I feel most despondent now, as the Government does not appear to be taking any notice of the attempts by the international community to resolve the crisis of violence. The world community seems helpless to stop this terrorism being unleashed by the Government on the people of Zimbabwe. However, I believe that it is incumbent on the world community to ensure that all inhabitants of this planet are freed from oppression in whatever form. I have been particularly horrified at the stories of atrocities by the Taliban government against the Afghanistan people. The United Nations must have known some of this and has not come to the rescue of the Afghans. There is no excuse for this type of human suffering.

As an MDC activist, I am well aware of the intimidation of all Zimbabweans and particularly MDC supporters and their exclusion from employment and any Aid programmes of drought relief, poverty alleviation, etc.



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Daily News - Leader Page

This is clear evidence that government has abdicated

10/6/01 6:09:10 AM (GMT +2)

IN the remote Matabeleland North communal area of Umguza is clear evidence
that this government has possibly abdicated its responsibility to the

The Umguza Rural District Council was shut down by people claiming to be
veterans of the war of liberation which brought independence to this country
in 1980.

We use “claiming” because it is inconceivable that people who sacrificed so
much to free this country from colonialism could be such bullies.

The council offices were shut down in February this year. The minister
responsible for local government, Ignatius Chombo, told Parliament this week
there was a “makeshift arrangement” in operation at the council offices,
whose officials were sent scurrying out of their offices by the so-called
war veterans.

One week after the closure of the offices, the council had reportedly lost
$2 million. Much more money has been lost by now. Chombo says the officials
will return to their offices only after they have been cleared of the
allegations made against them. These include gross financial mismanagement,
non-transparency in the recruitment of council workers and misuse of council

They are also accused of supporting the MDC, misappropriation of donor funds
and stifling the fast-track land resettlement programme.

The rest of the allegations would appear to be a smokescreen for the real
reason for the officials’ persecution ­ that they support the MDC.

To equate support for or even membership of a political party to
mismanagement and misappropriation of funds must be something of a “first”
in Zimbabwean jurisprudence.
Not even under the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act, under which every act of
dissent against the government can be a crime against the State, is
membership of a legal political party classified as a crime.

Chombo did not bother to explain this distinction in his response to the
question by the MP for Bubi-Umguza.

His only footnote was that the offices had been closed, not by the so-called
war veterans, but by what he called “concerned stakeholders”, as amorphous a
group as “the general public”.

We do not deny that the other allegations against the officials would
constitute crimes under the laws of Zimbabwe and that they ought to have the
book thrown at them for mismanagement or misappropriating public funds.

But once you throw in “supporting” a political party, the entire edifice of
charges against the officials must crumble like a deck of cards. Chombo, in
his reply, illustrated how willingly the government has ceded its authority
to the so-called war veterans. These people have no official status,
certainly not to close down rural council offices, or any other government
or local authority offices, except their own offices. In accepting that they
can legitimately order officials to stop work, the government is virtually
telling the whole world that it is not entirely in charge of this country.

The people who agreed to the Abuja Agreement ought to know this, as should
the five heads of state of the Southern African Development Community who
met President Mugabe a few weeks ago.

Even the presidents and prime ministers who have been talking investment
with Mugabe and his delegation in Vietnam, Thailand or Malaysia, ought to
know that this is the reality of Zimbabwe: that people with no official
status in the country can bring the entire administration of government to a
standstill at the snap of a finger.

This is not the way a civilised country is run anywhere in the world, unless
it has plunged into lawlessness and anarchy, which is the reality of
Zimbabwe today.
The rule of law is in comatose.
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From the Daily News

Why I quit: judge

10/6/01 7:17:09 AM (GMT +2)

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

FORMER High Court judge, Justice Michael Gillespie, says he resigned last
month because of the breakdown of law and order, constant attacks on judges
and selective application of justice spearheaded by the Executive, Zanu PF
supporters and war veterans.

Gillespie, now living in England, made the remarks in a criminal review case
in which two former employees of a Harare company were convicted of
extorting more than $15 000 from their workplace during the company
invasions led by Zanu PF supporters and war veterans in May. The judge said
that the 420 hours’ community service sentence imposed on Tapfuma Hombarume
and Ask Ndoro by the magistrates’ court was too lenient, given the
seriousness of their offence.

Gillespie attacked the manner in which the government was trampling on the
rule of law and spearheading lawlessness in the country.
He said: “The accused have been charged with, and convicted of, extortion.
They are among those who have sought to take advantage of the increasing
breakdown of the rule of law engineered by the Executive.’’
He said the two went to the company singing Zanu PF songs, “a party believed
to be controlling similar acts of violence and intimidation throughout the

Gillespie said the behaviour of Hombarume and Ndoro “was a symptom of the
breakdown to mob rule that the rule of law seeks to avoid but which is the
inevitable consequence when the government of the day, by its actions, no
matter what words it uses, effectively renounces its commitment to the rule
of law”.

He said one could not sit on the High Court Bench for the last two years and
more and not have become increasingly concerned at the manner in which the
Executive had attempted to compromise the independence of the Judiciary and
bend the rule of law. Gillespie accused the government of defying court
orders and attacking the integrity of High Court and Supreme Court judges
who show some degree of judicial independence while others were attacked

“The judges have been threatened publicly by war veterans with attacks upon,
and occupation of, their homes,’’ he said.
He said the campaign of threats reached its climax with the unlawful
pressure on Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, compelling him to resign.
Gillespie said there were reports of police inaction in the face of unlawful
conduct against political opponents of the government, in stark contrast to
the zealous police response to allegations of wrongful conduct by the
supposed opponents of the government.

“By this means the Executive has contrived to politicise the Bench, if not
in fact, then at least in the perception of many ordinary people,’’ he said.
The judge said manipulation of court rolls, selective prosecution and the
packing of the Bench of the superior courts were some techniques which
provided a government determined to do so with the opportunity to subvert
the law, at the same time appearing to respect its institutions.

“A judge, finally, who finds himself in the position where he is called upon
to administer the law only as against political opponents of the government
and not against government supporters, faces the challenge to his
conscience: that is whether he can still consider himself to sit as an
independent judge in an impartial court.”

In an apparent reference to Joseph Chinotimba, the municipal security guard
who is in the war veterans’ and Zanu PF leadership of Harare province,
Gillespie said: “I have read of a person calling himself a leader of war
veterans, on remand out of custody for charges of attempted murder, whose
photograph has appeared regularly in the Press in connection with acts of
violence and intimidation on farms and in businesses.’’

Gillespie said it makes a mockery of the law that such a person facing such
charges could nevertheless continue to act with such freedom and not have
his liberty revoked pending his trial and not arrested for the continuing
acts of violence.

“It leaves it impossible for me to conclude that this person and his actions
do not enjoy the full backing of the Executive.
“It also causes me to question why such a person should not be prosecuted,
whereas the accused does face the rigour of the criminal law for his act of
emulating his untouchable mentor,’’ the judge said.

Chinotimba is facing trial for attempting to kill Anna Maenzanise, an MDC
supporter in Glen Norah. Gillespie said because of the selective application
of justice he decided to withhold his certificate.
“I have, finally, also reached the conclusion that for as long as there
prevails the conditions such as I have described in this judgment, I cannot
sit as an effective and independent member of this Bench.
“I have considered it necessary to resign my office and to allow this
judgment to illustrate my reasons for doing so,’’ Gillespie said.

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From The Daily News

Prison service suspends 16 alleged MDC supporters

10/6/01 7:00:58 AM (GMT +2)

By Collin Chiwanza

SIXTEEN prison officers have been suspended indefinitely from the Zimbabwe
Prison Service on allegations they are active members of the MDC.

The officers were stationed at the Chikurubi Prisons Headquarters complex,
comprising the maximum security prison facility, training depot and farm in
Harare. The suspended officers include Vengai Chiminya, Peter Makumbirofa,
Martin Matore, Clever Govanai, Jethro Mudyanadzo, Shelton Chikombero, Hudson
Munyuki, Shepherd Yuda, Alois Chisvo, Tapiwa Mubwanda and Munjodzi Jaravani.

The other four identified only by their surnames are Masarakufa,
Bvunzawabaya, Nyashanu and Mupesa. Part of the letter, dated 27 September,
written to each officer, reads: “The above named member is to be placed on
interdiction from duty on half pay with effect from 27 September 2001 in
terms of Section 6 (1) of the Prisons (Staff) (Appointment and Discharge)
Regulations, 1984 for allegations of being an active member of the
opposition political party MDC.”

The suspension letters were written by Superintendent Didymus Chimvura and
copied to the Salary Service Bureau, the Commissioner of Prisons and the
officer-in-charge at Chikurubi farm prison. Some of the officers are
challenging the suspension through their lawyers, as unconstitutional.

Harare lawyer Felix Muzawazi confirmed he was acting on behalf of some of
the suspended officers and has written to the prison headquarters for
details of the allegations. The officers said they were summoned to the
prison headquarters on 8 August to appear before Assistant Commissioner
Stanley Matunhira. He told them the prison service authorities had enough
evidence that they were participating in politics.

They were subsequently asked to resign or face dismissal but they did not
opt to resign. On 27 September, when the suspension was effected, there was
a telephone call from the chief prison officer (Mashonaland Region),
identified as Kawara, which notified them they had to stop work.

“We asked for letters, but we were told the chief prison officer had
telephoned to advise us to stop working immediately.
“A letter then came from the prison authorities and we were called to read
the letter and sign to show that we complied with the order, but we all
refused to sign it,” said one of the officers.

The senior officers then withheld the letters after the prison officers had
refused to sign, arguing that the allegations were unfounded. But some
officers later got hold of the letters after convincing the authorities that
their lawyers wanted to use the letters as the basis for opposing the
suspension. Contacted for comment, Frank Meki, the public relations officer
for the prison service, while admitting the suspensions and the grounds for
them, said the matter had to be cleared with the Ministry of Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs and the Department of Information and Publicity in
the President's Office because it was politically sensitive.

Meanwhile some of the suspended officers said yesterday they had been
visited by Police Internal Security Intelligence, (PISI) officers. They said
they were now living in constant fear for their lives. They are denying they
are active members of the MDC, insisting they do not belong to any political

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The Daily News

Judge orders Chihuri to probe base commander

10/6/01 7:02:15 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

HIGH Court judge, Justice George Smith has ordered Augustine Chihuri, the
Police Commissioner, to investigate the commander of a war veterans’ base at
Beaconhill Farm near Bindura.

The commander is alleged to have directed 10 Zanu PF youths to assault nine
teachers, suspected to be MDC supporters, at Uronga South Primary School
last June. The teachers were beaten up in front of their pupils. The base
commander had allegedly promised land to the unemployed youths, aged between
18 and 23 years.

“It seems highly probable that the accused were acting on the instructions
of the base commander,” Smith said.
“If that was, in fact, the case, then the moral blameworthiness of the
commander is far greater than that of the youths.
“He should not be allowed to go scot-free if he was the one who ordered the
“The use of young men who want land as pawns in the political struggle and
to make them go out and assault and intimidate innocent members of the
public who are going about their own business, in order to qualify for land
cannot be condoned.”

The youths all pleaded guilty to public violence. Smith was reviewing the
trial of the 10 youths at the Bindura Magistrates’ Courts. The magistrates’
court sentenced each of the youths to three years’ imprisonment, of which
nine months were suspended for five years on condition they do not, within
that period, commit an offence involving assault, arson or malicious injury
to property. Smith said the sentence was appropriate.

He said: “Public violence committed by the youths on the teachers, in front
of their pupils, on the scale that was done in this case, merely because the
teachers were suspected to belong to an opposition political party, cannot
be condoned.
“The police are to be commended for having the accused brought before the
court, but they must not stop half-way.”
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Affretair Sells Assets to Offset Debt

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 5, 2001
Posted to the web October 5, 2001

Forward Maisokwadzo

THE national cargo carrier, Affretair, currently under liquidation, is
selling its assets to raise money to offset its mounting $800 million debt
owed to several creditors.

A spokesperson for KPMG, the liquidator for the beleaguered parastatal,
confirmed they held an auction in August to dispose of part of the assets
which were not in use.

The balance of the assets would be disposed of by tender. The prospectus was
under preparation after which the sale would be advertised.

Asked whether proceeds from the disposal of assets would repay the
outstanding debt, the spokesperson said: "We never expect a 100% payment but
we will be able to pay something."

Most of the money is owed to foreign airlines and air service companies.
Some of the debts date back to 1991.

The biggest creditor is DHL Aviation, owed about $400 million.

The schedule of debts also indicates that the perennial loss-making carrier
owes the Department of Taxes over $15 million in unremitted deductions.

The spokesperson said a preferential criteria would be followed when
repaying creditors.

The aviation company was placed in provisional liquidation on March 29, 2000
and the provisional order was confirmed in April this year. Although an
appeal was noted against the final order, it was withdrawn.

The spokesperson said since the provisional liquidation, the ground handling
operation has been operated by DHL under a management agreement with the

Currently DHL Aviation planes fly horticultural produce to European markets
after rehabilitating the ground handling equipment.

Sources said DHL wanted to have its debt converted into equity as it
realised there was lucrative business in the sector.
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Opposition Scores Diplomatic Breakthrough

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 5, 2001
Posted to the web October 5, 2001

Dumisani Muleya

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has made diplomatic
breakthroughs in France and Belgium, countries touted by President Robert
Mugabe earlier this year as Harare's new European allies.

MDC foreign affairs spokesman Tendai Biti returned last week from a trip to
Paris, Brussels and London where he met senior government officials. He said
his mission was to discuss with stakeholders the Zimbabwe crisis and ways of
resolving the problems.

The Harare East MP is set to return to Europe later this month with MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai to further consolidate links with key nations.

The opposition has already established connections with African countries,
especially South Africa, a regional economic powerhouse. MDC officials have
on several occasions met ruling African National Congress officials
including President Thabo Mbeki.

Biti said his European tour was a crucial diplomatic advance. "I met the
Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon and his deputy at the
Commonwealth headquarters in London on September 14," he said. "I also held
talks with officials at the British Foreign Office."

Between September 17-18, Biti was in Brussels. Belgium is the current
president of the European Union (EU).

"There I met permanent representatives to the EU of France, Finland, Sweden,
Denmark, Nigeria and Botswana," he said. "The meetings were important
because it was a chance to explain issues to both the European and African

On September 19, Biti met Belgian deputy Prime Minister Louis Michel who is
also foreign affairs minister.

"My meeting with Michel was significant because he is an excellent diplomat
well-versed in international relations and developments in different parts
of the world," Biti said.

"We discussed the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) conflict and other
issues. I told him our position as a party is that in the economic interests
of the country we should move out of the Congo."

Biti said he was of the view that it was time for all foreign troops to
withdraw and the United Nations to take over the implementation of the
Lusaka peace accord.

Tsvangirai is set to meet Michel this month. The Belgian minister has
travelled widely in African countries, including Zimbabwe, over the Congo

While in Brussels - where the European Commission, which governs the
15-member economic bloc, is based - Biti also met EU officials to discuss
events in Zimbabwe. On July 2 MDC officials met three EU commissioners.

From Belgium Biti went to Paris. He met Quai d'Orsay officials including the
deputy director of the African Desk.

"I also held talks with the president of the Senate and several MPs," said
Biti. "I had meetings with officials from the Socialist Party, which is the
majority party in government."

After the meetings, he addressed a press conference.

"My mission was to explain a lot of issues surrounding the Zimbabwe crisis,"
Biti said.

"This covered the issue of elections and the electoral process. I emphasised
the need for free and fair elections and for Zimbabweans to resolve their
political matters internally through the ballot box."
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OK Enlists Brokers to Sell Its Shares

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 5, 2001
Posted to the web October 5, 2001

Forward Maisokwadzo

OK Zimbabwe has made last-minute arrangements allowing brokerage firms to
sell its shares before the initial public offer closes today. This follows
projections by analysts that the IPO could be undersubscribed and that the
underwriters, Century Bank, would be forced to bear the full liability for
the IPO.

The IPO opened last week. "In order to facilitate investors wishing to
purchase shares in OK Zimbabwe...investors wishing to subscribe for OK
Zimbabwe shares may now do so at the offices of all registered members of
the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and all branches of Century Bank Ltd," said a
statement from the company.

Analysts said short queues in retail outlets such as Bon Marché, OK
Supermarkets and Century Holdings who were receiving applications was a
signal that few individuals were subscribing while the company was expecting
92 000 individuals to do so.

"It was destined for a massive failure," a stock-broking analyst said. They
predicted that as stockbroking firms received a lot of enquiries as of
yesterday, chances were that the expected figure would be fulfilled.

"It's likely that it is going to gain support as they only need 92 000
people," said one analyst.

Analysts said the offer failed to stir the market as did recent offers by
Trust Bank, First Bank, and Century Bank among others, which shocked the
market at their debut on the ZSE.

Analysts said the environment also worked against the issue, as it came at a
time when the market was heavily subdued.

OK Zimbabwe came on the market with a huge placement of 224,9 million
ordinary shares with a nominal value of $0,01 each in authorised share
capital of the company at an offer price of $1 per share. There are
restrictions - a fixed subscription of 3 000 shares at a cost of $3 000 is

"Only one application form per applicant will be accepted. Applicants who
submit more than one application will have all their applications rejected,"
states part of the terms and conditions of the IPO.

The restriction on the number of shares any investor can apply for had
effectively sealed-off any potential interest from institutional buyers, by
far the biggest investors on the ZSE.

If the issue is not fully subscribed, the underwriter to the IPO will bear
the full contingent liability.

Sources said the underwriters were expected to dispose of the parcel they
have underwritten within a month of listing.

But then, analysts pointed out, this depended largely on the issue creating
enough interest from institutional investors who had been cast out of the
initial offer.

If no interest is generated from institutions, as individual investors are
expected to flood the market as sellers, the underwriter is expected to bear
the cost of the contingency liability.

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Government Needs $1,2 Billion for 2002 Census

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 5, 2001
Posted to the web October 5, 2001

Authur Rutendo

GOVERNMENT requires $1,2 billion to conduct the August 2002 national census
and the Central Statistical Office (CSO) has asked its parent ministry,
Finance, to provide funds for the exercise.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will provide technical
assistance, but will not be providing any funds for the exercise, which
comes 10 years after the last national head count.

CSO census manager Washington Mapeta said the total amount needed for the
project was around $1,2 billion, which he said was not a lot of money
because it was for a project that has taken almost 10 years to complete.
Planning for next year's census started just after the 1992 exercise.

"The money will have to be catered for in next year's budget and we have to
talk to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development about it," he said.

However, given rising costs of goods in Zimbabwe, it is certain that the
figure will rise.

The census will be held in a year when another big costly undertaking, the
presidential election, will take place in the first quarter. But Mapeta's
deputy Sifiso Ndlovu believes the election will not affect the census.

"If the date of the election comes close to August then we might have a
problem, but if it is held early then we will not have to deal with anything
out of the ordinary."

Mapeta said 36 140 people are expected to take part in the enumeration, with
29 000 doing the actual counting.

Expenses for these people will take up the bulk of the budget.

UNFPA will provide training and consultancy services. So far the CSO has
only used one member of the UNFPA staff as a consultant in the mapping.

The census manager said the UN agency funded the country's first census in
1982. UNFPA also provided assistance for the 1992 exercise, giving the CSO
vehicles and computers.

Information from verification of district and ward boundaries will be used
to demarcate wards into small units whose population can be counted in 10
days. This exercise was completed in October 2000.

Drafts of the documentation to be used in the exercise are expected to be
finalised by the end of November, Mapeta said.

He said for the first time next year's census would be used to collect
figures on disability to help compile credible statistics to replace the
current data based on estimates.

The enumerators will also collect information on living conditions and
tenure status. The collated data will be used to track the country's trends
in fertility and mortality.

The country's last census found that Zimbabwe's population was 10,4 million.
It has since risen to an estimated 12,6 million.

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PATRICK Chinamasa should pause and think before he makes another misleading statement to parliament which undermines the integrity of judges.
Last week he attempted to boost Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s qualifications by diminishing those of other members of the Supreme Court bench. He was reported to have said it was “racist” to suggest that Chidyausiku was “less intelligent” than other Supreme Court judges.
He was replying to points made by David Coltart that Chidyausiku was not as qualified as others for the post of Chief Justice.

Coltart’s suggestion that Justices Wilson Sandura and Simbarashe Muchechetere were more experienced was “false and mischievous”, Chinamasa retorted. Chidyausiku was a more senior lawyer by date of registration and achieved “a high judicial post” much earlier than the others, he claimed.

Muchechetere worked as a legal officer under Chidyausiku when he was attorney-general while Sandura was “a mere regional magistrate” at the time, Chinamasa told the House.

He said he was unaware that Coltart had conducted an IQ test on “their lordships”.

Evidently we don’t need to conduct one on Chinamasa. Here is a Minister of Justice who doesn’t know that the office of attorney-general is not “a high judicial post”. It is a political post. And it is not very intelligent to characterise criticism of Chidyausiku as “racist” when the comparisons being made are mostly with other senior black judges.

Justice Muchechetere was this week obliged to defend himself against Chinamasa’s imputations by writing directly to the media. His letter speaks for itself. It is clear that Chinamasa — once again — got his facts wrong. Earlier this year other judges were compelled to correct his mischievous inaccuracies when he attempted to rewrite their CVs.

The fact is Chidyausiku was promoted over the heads of more qualified judges because he was seen as pliant by the ruling party.

In its recent affidavit the CFU said there was an unavoidable implication he was made Chief Justice “because of his acceptability to those invading land who are being allowed and encouraged to do so by the government of the day”.

The constitutional commission which he chaired published advertisements which said: “White settlers, with the help of the British government and their international friends, are funding sellout Zimbabweans to buy your votes by urging you to say ‘No’.”

The perception that Chidyausiku is in the pocket of ruling-party politicians is damaging to the judiciary as a whole and ministers should stop promoting it. In the final analysis, Chidyausiku will be judged on his ability to apply an independent mind to the matters before him. Let’s hope he does better in the future than he has in the past.

A final tip for Chinamasa. If you are trying to portray Chidyausiku as a product of the post-Independence order, untarnished by the colonial past, it is not such a good idea to remind us when he first registered as a lawyer. Next you will be telling us when he was sworn in as an MP and that could let a number of cats out of the colonial bag!

In the same session of parliament last week, deputy Home Affairs minister Rugare Gumbo said the Public Order and Security Bill would be brought before parliament after it failed to secure the president’s assent.

He said his ministry had worked on a number of ways of “refining” the Bill.

But he also contended that MPs were familiar with the Bill because they had already debated and passed it.

This is thoroughly disingenuous. If Gumbo’s ministry has made changes to the Bill then it is not the same Bill that was passed by parliament.

Why did the president refuse to assent to a Bill that parliament had approved? Why was that question not put to Gumbo?

Did previous Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa not say in 1999 that the Bill was deficient in not including those aspects of the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act that enabled the state to prosecute journalists? Isn’t that why Mugabe refused to sign it — because it did not criminalise the “spreading of alarm and despondency” and other colonial offences to which this regime remains so attached?

When the new Bill appears, it will very soon be clear that, like the Media Ethics Committee, it is part of an agenda of state repression.

Opposition MPs should make sure the country and the international community are aware of that. President Mugabe tells international leaders that Zimbabwe has a free press and then as soon as they are not looking hammers it.

Readers of the Sunday Mail will be aware that a number of Jonathan Moyo’s parrots have been given considerable space to squawk on behalf of their owner. Munyaradzi Huni’s brief, for example, is to trash the MDC every week and claim that Zanu PF still enjoys a measure of popularity.

Last week he produced a table of by-election results to show that Zanu PF won a total of 62 413 votes in the five by-elections held since last year’s poll whereas the MDC got 31 871. This shows a net gain by Zanu PF of 5 864 votes and a net loss by the MDC of 5 814 when compared to last year’s general election where Zanu PF won 56 549 against the MDC’s 37 685.

“Zanu PF has managed to maintain its grip in the rural areas because it has structures that stretch to the grassroots,” Huni claimed.

Is that the explanation? Or did Zanu PF increase its share because it used explicit intimidation and violence? Because it violated the Electoral Act by bribing voters with funds for “projects”? Because headmen recorded the names of those who voted so as to identify those who didn’t? Because top officials said they had ways of knowing how people voted? Because ZBC supplied blanket coverage and other state agencies placed their resources at the disposal of the ruling party?

Then there was the late registration of land occupiers on the supplementary roll.

The only “structures that stretched to the grassroots” were the structures of coercion and fear! But at the end of the day, after beating the living daylights out of opponents, threatening them with death, and burning down their homes, all Zanu PF could manage was an extra 5 864 votes!

That is not a figure we would want to advertise. How many people are there registered in a constituency? What is remarkable is that in the middle of Robert Mugabe’s political heartland and in the teeth of such vicious intimidation the MDC managed to hold on to such a solid presence.

Huni gave us another interesting figure, no doubt unwittingly provided by his master: “During the parliamentary elections the ruling party got 1 202 884 votes while the MDC managed to get 1 171 067.”

From this calculation it would look as if the MDC came very close to capturing what is called the popular vote — the total of votes cast. But Huni has omitted something: the figure for other parties such as Zanu (Ndonga). When they are added to the total it will be seen that Zanu PF actually lost the popular vote to the combined opposition.

Huni concludes by asking why so many people declined to vote in the Bulawayo municipal poll. Strangely, he appears not to have asked Moyo the same question. After all, it was Moyo who treated the exercise as a test of his own popularity and of Zanu PF’s ability to turn the electoral tide.

A sad commentary on political manipulation at the Sunday Mail came this week from an interview with former editor Pascal Mukondiwa who was unceremoniously booted out just over a year ago after having served Zimpapers faithfully for 20 years. He is now trying his hand as a businessman in Muzarabani which is described as being in “the woods”.

A Sunday Mail crew, “on assignment to the area”, appears to have stumbled across him at his service station, which we were told was the latest addition to his “growing empire of businesses”.

“The crew soon realised Muzarabani’s newest and majestic building belonged to their former and much-loved boss.”

Exactly what alerted these investigative sleuths to the story is not clear although the large presence of Mukondiwa on the forecourt could have provided a clue. His staff could be seen sitting around reading what looked suspiciously like copies of the Daily News.

Mukondiwa misses the media.

“I am still a journalist. What I am doing now is some sort of retirement job,” he commented wistfully. “Journalists never die.”

Leaving the newspaper was the last thing Mukondiwa would have done “had he been given a choice”, the Sunday Mail reporter related in what some officials in the Information department may regard as distinctly subversive remarks.

But Mukondiwa was not shy in lamenting his fate.

“I was not yet ready to leave the post and I am still to be told why they made that decision,” he observed.

He believes some outsiders, “out to serve personal interests”, have invaded the profession.

“These outsiders seem to be using journalists to safeguard their own personal interests, which is not healthy at all,” he said.
Sounds like a story for Huni!

Does anybody ever look at tenders invited by the Zimbabwe Government Tender Board? They can be revealing. The ZRP for instance is seeking the supply and delivery of three-tier mukwa foil coffins. You have until October 26 to apply!

What’s happened to Wayne Bvudzijena, Zanu PF’s garrulous police spokesman? He seems to have gone very quiet since foisting a scurrilous article on the Herald a few weeks ago (September 14) which referred to “desperate white farmers intent on keeping a hold on the land”.

Bvudzijena accused the Independent of conjuring up images of what happened in Kosovo and Rwanda when it referred to the ethnic cleansing of Malawians and Mozambicans in Hwedza.

“This would inevitably lead to increased hatred for the government, particularly by Zimbabwe’s neighbours who on the whole have been supportive of Zimbabwe’s resettlement process,” Bvudzijena claimed.

This is exactly the same line trotted out by detectives from the CID law and order section who harassed the Independent’s chief reporter Dumisani Muleya a few weeks ago. Clearly, it is a view originating in the propaganda department of the President’s Office. But by getting senior policemen to repeat it, the politicians are implicating the police in the government’s campaign of deceit.

Embarrassing the government in the eyes of neighbouring states is not an offence. If it was, Zanu PF could be prosecuted for disgracing this country by pursuing an agenda of violence and lawlessness which the police have done absolutely nothing to contain.

Instead of penning pathetic bleatings about the police being “seen as incapable of protecting life and property”, Bvudzijena should concentrate on restoring public confidence in a force badly compromised by political manipulation. That includes placing partisan articles in the government press!

Ruzvidzo Mupfudza, now described as an “analyst”, had an article in the Herald this week which enabled him to comment on the western media’s “blitzkrieg” on terrorism. At the same time he took a few pot shots at this paper.

There is no objection to the criticisms he made of us. They fall within the realm of fair comment. Claims by governments to be defending freedom and democracy need to be questioned. But what we found unpalatable was the fact that Mupfudza knows perfectly well he will never be allowed to venture beyond cryptic criticism of this government’s record from his new platform.

“I pray too that the world does not forget Zimbabwe and its pressing problems,” he said, “many of which have been occasioned by a very specific brand of terrorism directed, as terrorism by its very nature always is, at mostly innocent and defenceless people.”

That’s as good as it gets. Criticism of America is healthy even if reference to the Crusades is far-fetched. And the Independent is happy to take on fundamentalists of all hues. But what do we say of an “analyst” whose only reference to the terror in our midst is a single sentence with no prospect of being allowed anything more?

That’s an accommodation any self-respecting writer needs to avoid.

Tim Chigodo, writing in the same columns, says President Mugabe had been due to address Australia’s indigenous people during his visit to the now postponed Commonwealth summit in Brisbane.

“In their letter to Cde Mugabe the aborigines asked him to voice his support for their land rights.”

Which aborigines? The Herald report at the time did not mention which organisation they represented. Nor did it give any of their names or tell us what part of Australia they came from.

We presume that Chigodo still subscribes to some elementary rules of journalism. He will therefore understand that if Mugabe is claiming he received a letter from a group of Australian aborigines it would be useful to tell readers who they were so as to authenticate the communication.

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