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

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Carte Blanche, SA

Zim Pensioners

Date : 05 October 2003
Producer : Marion Edmunds

When seventy-five year old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe finally
retires, he’s planning a luxurious exit. He’s going to a three-story palace
he’s building on the outskirts of Harare. At a time when many Zimbabweans
are struggling to put food on their table.

Anne Butler (Ex-Zimbabwean): “Ooh that makes my blood boil. I always say
that that’s my money that’s going to build that house.”

Anne Butler is an ex-Zimbabwean living in Fishoek in the Cape. She’s 82 and
is battling to make ends meet. Zimbabwe doesn’t have enough foreign exchange
to pay her pension which she hasn’t received for eight months?

Anne: “You just buy the essentials you don’t look at any luxury things. You
just walk in there and you make a list before you go.”

All Zim pensioners in South Africa are in the same boat. Anne’s friend Jean
saved for retirement but her money in her Zimbabwe account is frozen. They
would both be on the breadline, if it weren’t for charity.

Jean Nottal (Zimbabwean Pensioner): ”There is one lady who anonymously gives
us electricity vouchers so we are very, very lucky.“

Anne: “I mean, I haven’t bought shoes or clothes for years and years and
years now.”

Anne left Ireland for what was then Rhodesia as a young bride just after
war. She worked at the telephone exchange. And was a person of some standing
in her community.

Derek Watts (Carte Blanche presenter): “Do you feel that we have robbed in
our very own savings, pension?”

Jean: ”Of course, we paid in to a pension scheme. My husband paid into his
government’s pension for 36 years. With the charges now, that money in my
blocked account is going to be swallowed up.”

All these two ladies have left now is happy memories. Even Anne’s husband’s
pension from the railways stopped coming three years ago. And she blames
Robert Mugabe for all this.

Anne: “I would love to go up there and put a bullet in him.”

Just think about it. You work for the national railways for 35 years you
retired on a good pension and you think you are secure. Well right now your
monthly payout would be worth roughly 20 loaves of bread. It gets worse. If
you have move to South Africa what reaches your bank account here is exactly

Pensioners Penny and Dennis des Fountaines are in this situation too. They
quit Zimbabwe a year ago because they couldn’t live off their pension there.
Now they are stuck in South Africa without one at all.

Dennis des Fountains (Zimbabwean Pensioner): “I lost my farm. I lost my job.
I lost my pension. I‘ve lost my independence.”

Penny Des Fountains (Zimbabwean Pensioner): “I’ve got to rely on my sister
and I’ve got no home.”

Derek: “Do you know other Zimbabweans, living in South Africa, who are truly

Dennis des Fountains: “Oh yes my friend, the Cape is full of them.”

Over the years, many elderly Zimbabweans have migrated to Fishhoek, a modest
seaside town. Here a network of former Rhodesians led by Anne Bishop has
been trying to raise the alarm.

Derek: “Anne, you must really see some desperate elderly people out there?”

Ann Bishop (Fishoek Association for the Elderly): “Terrible. I had been
asked by a friend, who works for one of the health organisations, to see
this lady and she hadn’t eaten for a week and didn’t have electricity for
two months when I got there and we have had a really cold winter. And we
managed to fix her up and give her some food and stuff and came back here
and bawled my eyes out. We’ve got to do something, we can’t just let them
live like this.”

Dennis: “There’s 34 people that Anne has been nurturing haven’t had a check,
not a rand, not a penny, for four five months.”

Anne takes boxes of donated groceries to pensioners whenever she can. For
the two old ladies at Clifton Parade, she’s an angel of mercy.

Derek: “Does it make a big difference?”

Jean: “It certainly does”

Anne: “ What a difference. What a difference it makes, gee whiz.”

We came to the Zimbabwe High Commission in Pretoria to see what we could be
done about the Zimbabwe pensioners in South Africa. They referred us to the
Minister of Labour in Harare. The Ministry of Labour referred us back to the
Zimbabwean High commissioner but he’s away and there is nobody to speak.

It’s no wonder that some pensioners are losing heart.

Derek: “Anne, have you really known some of these people to take their own

Anne: “Yes. The one couple I have known ages. They took an overdose of
tablets. The one couple gassed themselves in the car. The one chap had shot
his wife and then himself...”

But others are more worried about the pensioners still in Zimbabwe. This
Gauteng woman wants to remain anonymous. She dons disguise and smuggles food
over the border to old age homes in Zimbabwe under the alias of Fred

‘Fred Flintstone’: “The reason that Flintstone was the name we chose, was
when you cross the border at this stage - it is like going back a million

Fred’s house is full of animals and mementos of her past life, spent in
former Rhodesia.
She visited her parents this year and was alarmed to see how Zim’s elderly
were suffering.

Fred: “They are starving, those in the homes. The local churches are trying
to support the homes. The public there are not enough members of the public
left in a position to support those in the homes in a way that we do here in
South Africa.”

Fred has roped in her friends to pack food parcels for the pensioners. She’s
crossed over the border with her hidden groceries three times. Every visit
she is shocked at how much money is needed to buy so little.

Derek: “What does this buy?”

Fred: “You’re looking at, in that case, twenty-thousand dollars, considering
an actual loaf of bread, if these guys manage to get a whole loaf, cost
anything at this stage from about 1000 up to about 1400. That is a genuine
price. Also bear in mind that the 10 000 you have there is several people’s
monthly pension.”

You can’t film freely in Zimbabwe. So we went undercover to Harare this week
to witness galloping inflation first-hand. A Rand now costs Z$600. One of
Zimbabwe’s top economist’s John Robertson says the country’s heading for
economic collapse.

John Robertson (Economist): “It’s become much more serious in the past year,
because prices doubled between June and December last year and doubled again
between January and June this year and they have double already since June
this year.”

The situation has led a world-first – what is called a bearer’s cheque with
an expiry date of January 2004.

Derek: “Is this genuine, it’s half printed?”

Fred: “That is the real thing. As you can see it looks like a half thing,
half printed…”

Derek: “Sure you didn’t print it in a back room here?”

Fred: “Tell you what if I did there would be a pile of them. If I had a
machine, I would organise a few more.“

Fred is used to travelling in Zimbabwe with suitcases of cash in the boot.
She needs big money to pay huge prices. R5 worth of mince costs three
thousand Zim dollars. Two rands worthy of carrots almost a thousand.

William Rutherford (Zim Pensioner): “This inflation you see makes things

William Rutherford is exactly the sort of person Fred wants to help. He was
rescued from a squalid backroom recently, with next to nothing to eat. After
almost seventy years of working as a farmer, his monthly pension was worth
six rand.

William: “ Well, with the pension and trying to get accommodation pretty

William has found a shelter in an old age home. He gets enough food now and
some pocket money for tobacco. His only luxury.

Fay MacKillicon (Former Zimbabwean): “I think that many people are in the
same position, they are living on the savings, living on their gifts from

Fay MacKillicon, a former teacher can’t even afford a typewriter ribbon.

Fay: “This idea that when you are old things are going to be alright, they
are not, because you can’t afford things.”

Derek: “Now these old Rhodesians, as some people call them are known, are
known for their fighting spirit but they must be getting pretty low, running
out of fuel literally?”

Fred: “We’ve noticed a tremendous drop of spirit in the last couple of
months. My previous trip up there has been two and a half years ago. In that
time I saw such a change in people I couldn’t believe it was the same
country. When you drive along the road, not just the pensioners but the
people themselves, the look in their eyes is totally dead.”

We spoke to this old man, ‘Ferai’, in Harare. Penniless, he’s lucky to get a
meal a day.

Ferai (Elderly Zimbabwean): “It’s very difficult at the moment, I stay with
my sister, I only get food. Sometimes I get breakfast or cup of tea, about
once a week. “

Ferai was a cook all his life. He’s now thinking of trying to get another

Ferai: “It’s not a good thing. As old as I am, I am actually looking for
employment, because I just need to get some money. May be I can do cleaning
or gardening but now I am too old to cook.”

John: “It’s a case nowadays of the people getting on in life having to work
really until the day they die because there is no possibility of living on
whatever the pension was. Almost whenever it was granted to them people who
retired only five years ago are living penury now. The people who retired in
the 1980’s are simply a lost cause completely and are living on charity.”

With some exceptions, the elderly of Zimbabwe have been left to fend for

These people who helped to build their country over the last century, for
better or for worse, are paying a heavy price.

Anne: “Well we can always live in hope. That’s what we have been doing for a
long time.'

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: While every attempt has been made to ensure this
transcript or summary is accurate, Carte Blanche or its agents cannot be
held liable for any claims arising out of inaccuracies caused by human error
or electronic fault. This transcript was typed from a transcription
recording unit and not from an original script, so due to the possibility of
mishearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual
speakers, errors cannot be ruled out.
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The Pensioner’s Fund Newsletter (Issue 1 January 2003 – August 2003)







In the past abandoned elderly people and children were a rarity.  Due to the current political and economic uncertainty prevailing throughout Zimbabwe this is no longer the case.  The number of individuals affected is soaring daily.  Many motivated and well subscribed charity organisations focus on the burgeoning street kid population.  International Aid organisations have a longstanding focus on the plight of our rural people.  Many well-respected groups assist the ever-increasing needs required by various orphanages.  More recently elderly people in our community on limited pensions are unable to sustain themselves effectively and a number of horrific situations have come to light.  Some examples of distress cases in this regard are highlighted in this issue.  A group of local businessmen formed an alliance with a view to channelling assistance to these elderly people.  The Pensioner’s Fund was thus formed.




The following is the team responsible for the inception and control of The Pension Fund


Tony Barfoot:                Formerly Chief Executive of the Stock Exchange  (Trustee)


John McPhun                 Formerly Chief Executive of Marsh Ins Brokers    (Trustee)


Clive Midlane                 Managing Director Arrow Insurance Brokers         (Fund Raiser)


Garth Thompson            Managing Director Natureways                            (Fund Raiser)


John Legat:                   Chief Executive Imara Asset Management           (Fund Raiser)


Stewart Cranswick         Managing Director Landela Safaris Group            (Fund Raiser)


Marion Futter                Chairperson Fairways Homes                              (Trustee)



The Immediate committee is responsible for the adequate distribution of funds to local organisations with established infrastructures in place, for example, Meals On Wheels, Senior Citizens Club, Rotary Club and others.  These organisations have expansive communication networks and access to reliable information on priority cases.  The abovementioned would liase with The Pensioner’s Fund in terms of support for fundraisers and specific project donations as well as immediate assistance to cases earmarked “desperate”.  Facilities for receiving donations have been set up locally, regionally and internationally.




As at September 2003


Subscriptions               ZWD     150,000,000.00



Capital Gain                 ZWD     180,000,000.00



Payments To Date         ZWD         500,000.00    (Meals On Wheels)

                                    ZWD     1,200,000.00    (Senior Citizens Club)

                                    ZWD         500,000.00    (Lions Club)

                                    ZWD         500,000.00    (Bezer Ministries)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (R B Driver)

                                    ZWD     1,000,000.00    (BS Leon Trust)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (SOAP) (Bulawayo based “Save Our Old Age Pensioners”)

                                    ZWD     1,000,000.00    (Fairways Homes)

                                    ZWD         500,000.00    (Brocklehurst Trust - Chivhu)

                                    ZWD     3,000,000.00    (Eastern Highlands Trust)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (Atholl Evans)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (Queen Mary’s)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (Dorothy Duncan)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (Malvern Chinhoyi)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (Edith Dooley)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (Barbara Burrell)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (MOTH)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (Bogey)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (Pioneer Masvingo)

                                    ZWD     2,000,000.00    (Malvern Mvurwi)




                                    ZWD     32,200,000.00              TOTAL DONATED TO DATE



Imara Asset Management (formerly Fleming’s Asset Management) manages The Pensioner’s Fund and accounts will be audited by Tony Barfoot.   The Pensioner’s Fund’s initial aim was to raise ZWD 100 million or more prior to making an impact in terms of meaningful, practical donations. In addition this lump sum, invested, would provide income in terms of interest received to allow The Pensioner’s Fund continuity and long-term sustainability. The response to the concept has been very gratifying and The Fund has been able to assist numerous organisations earlier than expected. Marion Futter is putting together a list gleaned from the many distress cases currently being received.  These will be categorised A to D, with D being the more desperate cases.  These cases will be thoroughly investigated and the individuals affected would be found placement in existing homes.  Reports from other charities will be relied upon, in addition to requests from established homes as it is felt that donations from The Pensioners Fund should ideally be channelled through them.




Approximately 30 families and pensioners are currently borderline destitute and living within high density suburbs like Mbare and Chitungwiza


Recently in Strathhaven an elderly couple were faced with medical bills they could not afford and committed suicide.


 An elderly lady resident in Avondale West who relies on a meagre pension is due for eviction as she has no ability to pay rent


An elderly lady residing in J. Tongogara Avenue has discontinued her medication as she can no longer sustain this expense as well as feed herself.


An elderly lady residing in Bath Road has had no electricity for years and lives in what can only be described as squalor


Elderly People are selling their possessions at the senior Citizens Club in order to survive


An elderly couple in Fife Avenue recently had their rent doubled and are existing in dire circumstances


An elderly person residing in the Salvation Army Cottages cooks on a fire of collected twigs and relies on handouts to survive.


These are a few of the multitudes of reports coming in.  The above are facts not rumour and there are many similar heartbreaking stories.  These individual cases are among a number being investigated currently by various organisations assisted by The Pensioners Fund.  The organisation is also looking into assistance required by all the old age homes in Zimbabwe and in turn this alliance allows the fund to secure the placements for those in need within the homes.





A number of ideas have been put forward at the regular meetings held by the committee including the arrangement of Golf Days as well as Polo events.  The approach of franchises such as Spar for food vouchers has been put forward and discussions in this regard are underway.  The Fund Trustees are also looking into the subsidy of medical prescriptions for the elderly.  Any and all ideas will be made use of and suggestions and feedback will be welcomed.  All details of events will be broadcast through the press and via the newsletter.




A number of contacts are available immediately and these are as follows:


Louisa Colquhoun                  (04 706368)

Clive Midlane                          (04 747777)

Stewart Cranswick              (04 734043)

Chris and Debbie Bradshaw                    (Botswana contact)       




Zimbabwe Dollars                       Cheques made out to “Fed nominees”.  Please write on the back “Pensioners Fund”

                                                The cheques can be posted to


                                                            Beaullah Hove

                                                            Imara Asset Management

                                                            First Floor, Block 4

                                                            Tendeseka Office Park

                                                            Samora Machel Avenue East



Pounds Sterling                          “Obelisk International Trust Company  Pensioners Fund”



                                                Post to: Roger Mathews

                                                            Obelisk International

                                                            8 – 10 Devonshire Place

                                                            St Helier


                                                            JE2 3RD



United States Dollars                  “Obelisk International Trust Company  Pensioners Fund”



                                                Post to: Roger Mathews

                                                            Obelisk International

                                                            8 – 10 Devonshire Place

                                                            St Helier


                                                            JE2 3RD



Botswana                                  Chris and Debbie Bradshaw   (




ACCOUNT NUMBER:  62055647344



                                                E Mails for further information to:





In conclusion.  On behalf of those who are benefiting, our sincere gratitude is extended to those who have subscribed to this cause to date.  This is an ongoing and vital lifeline for our elderly and we know we can make a difference with your continued support.

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Date: Mon Oct 6, 2003  7:31:58 PM
Subject: Help for the Pensioners

Dear All,

My name is Paul Wright and am one of the Pastors at Greystone Park Christian
Fellowship.  One of the ladies in our Church, Tracy Houghton, has started a
ministry called "Just Friends" and it is an outreach to help the pensioners
in need.

If you know of any bone fide pensioners who are in dire strates and in need
of help, please can you contact Tracy.  Her details are listed below.

Also, if you would like to help in any way, your assistance will be greatly
appreciated.  We already have some consumer outlets donating items to us,
however, the needs keep growing so any help will do.

Items which are needed:

1.  Groceries.  Anything will be greatly appreciated.  (It has been quite
frightening to see what these old folk to not have and the conditions they
live in.  They are highly embarressed as to their position in life now.)

2.  Fresh fruit or veggies.  If the veggies are not given out immediately,
we then par boil them and freeze them as not to waste anything.

3.   Finances.   If you wish to donate money that would be great too. As in
some cases outstanding bill have to be paid.  All money will be and is
accounted for with our accountants.  We have also opened up an account with
a local pharmacy in order that we can purchase basic medicines for the
elderly and in some cases, those who have vital perscriptions, we can help
out there too. This pharmacey account is carefully monitered and only a few
people have access to it.

We have seen the need in our community and feel we can not turn a blind eye
to it.  So if you want to help please do.

But please, if you do know of any bone fide charity cases (a name we do not
like using but it states the fact), please can you advise us.

This is Traceys contact details

Tracy Houghton

499051 (home)
091 233 072

Best regards and thank you for reading.

God bless

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New Zealand Herald

Africans lining up to oust McKinnon

Don McKinnon faces a Zimbabwe-inspired bid to oust him as Commonwealth
Secretary General, the Times newspaper reported in London today.

African members of the Commonwealth were said to be angry with perceived
bias of Mr McKinnon against the regime of Zimbabwe's President Robert

They were moving to have the former New Zealand foreign minister replaced at
the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, to be held in Abuja, Nigeria,
in December.

The reports raise the prospect the Commonwealth is on the verge of a racial
split, with African nations ranged against those whose roots are in Britain.

Mr McKinnon was in 1999 elected to head the secretariat, an
intergovernmental agency that describes itself as the civil service for the
54-member Commonwealth.

Mr McKinnon confirmed at the Pacific Forum in Auckland two months ago that
he would seek a second four-year term in the London-based job.

It had been assumed that he would automatically be voted in for a second
term, until the reports of African lobbying emerged.

Mr Mugabe and other African leaders are upset with his role in Zimbabwe's
one-year suspension from the Commonwealth being extended this year.

Zimbabwe was suspended for a year in March 2002 following after the
re-election of Mr Mugabe was seen as being rigged.

The suspension was extended to December after no progress was reported on
alleged human rights abuses.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff, who said in August he supported Mr
McKinnon remaining in the job, could not immediately be reached by NZPA.

Australia would defend Mr McKinnon from any Zimbabwe-inspired plot to oust
him over his stand against the rogue regime, Foreign Minister Alexander
Downer said.

Mr Mugabe is furious that he has excluded from the Heads of Government
meeting in Nigeria. He blames Mr McKinnon.

"There was a lot of antagonism towards Mr McKinnon after the suspension was
extended," one source told The Times.

"Mugabe is very angry about not going to Abuja."

Diplomatic sources told The Times that Zimbabwe had the support of most of
the 16 African nations in the Commonwealth.

They were trying to win backing from developing nations for Mr McKinnon to
be replaced by an Asian -- no candidate was named.

Mr McKinnon indicated to NZPA in August he would only seek a second term in
the job if he had majority support.

He regarded the 54-member countries as his employers.

African countries have been reluctant to voice disapproval of Zimbabwe,
which has been hit by an appalling famine.

Mr Mugabe has been accused of threatening his opposition with violence,
unfairly evicting white farmers from their land, silencing the independent
press and controlling the judiciary.

New Zealand has been vocal in its opposition to his regime.

Both the European Union and the United States have imposed trade and travel
bans on Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe has support among poorer forums such as the African Union and the
116-member Non-Aligned Movement, which is chaired by South Africa.

Mr McKinnon has overseen delicate issues such as restoration of democracy in
Fiji and Pakistan.

His term was due to end in April. It is permissible to serve two four-year
terms, and no named competitor for the $300,000 plus job has emerged.

South Africa said last month it would fight any move to bar Mr Mugabe from
the December summit.

Mr McKinnon had to step into the suspension issue in March, after a
Commonwealth troika of leaders failed to reach a resolution.

After Australian Prime Minister John Howard, South African President Thabo
Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusequn Obasanjo were split over what to do,
it was decided Zimbabwe should remain suspended.

Mr McKinnon, who has been snubbed by Mr Mugabe, accused Zimbabwe of
rejecting mediation efforts.

Commonwealth leaders who feared Zimbabwe would dominate the Abuja forum,
preventing progress being made.


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The Star, Malaysia
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
New Zealand warns Mugabe

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - New Zealand and some other Commonwealth
nations will boycott a summit of the group if Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe is invited, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said Tuesday.

Zimbabwe was suspended from all decision-making councils of the 54-nation
Commonwealth group after Mugabe's government was accused of intimidation and
vote rigging in the March 2002 presidential elections, which Mugabe narrowly

The next Commonwealth heads of government meeting, known as CHOGM, is
scheduled for December in Abuja, the administrative capital of Nigeria.

"If he were to be invited there, New Zealand and many other countries most
certainly would not be sending their leaders to CHOGM,'' Goff told National

He did not say which other countries may boycott the summit.

"It would threaten the well-being of the Commonwealth for any move to be
taken to bring his regime back in,'' he said.

Goff said it was his "clear understanding'' that Nigerian President Olusequn
Obasanjo "would not be extending an invitation'' to Mugabe to attend the
Abuja summit.

Goff also threw his support behind Commonwealth Secretary General Don
McKinnon after reports that African nations are seeking to oust the New
Zealander at the end of his four-year term over what they see as his bias
against Mugabe's regime.

McKinnon's term ends next April and he is expected to stand for a second

He is aware of the moves to oust him, Goff said, but as yet no challenger
has emerged.

"I doubt that even were a candidate to emerge that they would have much
credibility, being seen as the Mugabe candidate,'' he told National Radio.

"Both he and I would share the viewpoint that to have Mugabe campaigning
against you would certainly assist your re-election.''

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark recently wrote to all Commonwealth
government leaders encouraging them to support McKinnon's re-election.

Australia has also said it would defend McKinnon from any Zimbabwe-inspired
plot to oust him. Australian Prime Minister John Howard recently described
Mugabe as an "unelected despot.''

Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge fired back that Howard was
"abundantly racist.'' - AP
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Tehran Times

Iran Ready to Expand Ties With Zimbabwe: Majlis Speaker

TEHRAN (IRNA) -- Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi here Monday voiced Tehran's
readiness to expand cooperation with Zimbabwe.

In a meeting with new Zimbabwean ambassador to Tehran, he expressed his
satisfaction with the current level of mutual relations between the two

Referring to pressure being exerted on independent governments and nations
by big powers, Karroubi stressed that such pressures have paved the way for
closer cooperation among those countries in order to resist conspiracies of
the big powers.

He further said that parliaments play key role in strengthening relations
among different countries.

For his part, the Zimbabwean ambassador said that his country is satisfied
with the growing trend of bilateral cooperation with the Islamic Republic of

Briefing the Majlis speaker on the latest economic and political
developments in his country, he invited Karroubi to visit Zimbabwe in the
near future.
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Commonwealth 'boycott' over Mugabe
(Filed: 07/10/2003)

New Zealand and Australia would probably boycott a Commonwealth summit if
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe were invited, according to New Zealand's
foreign minister.

"My understanding is that if Mugabe were to be present, the British prime
minister, the Queen, the Australian prime minister and the New Zealand prime
minister would be unlikely to attend," Phil Goff said.

Zimbabwe was suspended from all decision-making councils of the 54-nation
Commonwealth group of Britain and its former colonies after Mugabe's
government was accused of intimidation and vote rigging in the March 2002
presidential elections, which Mugabe narrowly won.

The next Commonwealth heads of government meeting, known as CHOGM, is
planned for December in Abuja, the administrative capital of Nigeria.

If Zimbabwe was not held to account for breaching the Commonwealth's key
principles of democratic governance it would threaten "the glue that holds
the Commonwealth together", Mr Goff said.

Mr Goff said it was his "clear understanding" that Nigerian president
Olusegun Obasanjo "would not be extending an invitation" to Mugabe to attend
the Abuja summit.

He said New Zealand would only reluctantly skip the summit, but he added,
"It would not be my desire to go to meetings to rub shoulders with somebody
who has blood on their hands in terms of the slaughter of innocent people,
black and white, in Zimbabwe and the suppression of long-held and cherished
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Business Day

Bishops try to get Mugabe, Tsvangirai to talk


Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWEAN church leaders are stepping up pressure for talks between
President Robert Mugabe and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai to resolve the country's crisis.

Bishops Sebastian Bakare, Trevor Manhanga and Patrick Mutume are pushing
hard for the resumption of talks between Zanu (PF) and the MDC.

Church leaders also want to meet Mugabe and Tsvangirai separately to urge
them to restart talks. The clerics said yesterday they believed that if the
two leaders met, relations would thaw, enabling dialogue. After failing to
secure meetings on Monday last week, the church leaders are expected to
resume their shuttle diplomacy this week.

The Zanu (PF) team meeting the bishops includes chairman John Nkomo and
party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira.

The clerics recently met Mugabe, Vice-President Joseph Msika, Nkomo and
Shamuyarira before their initiative collapsed . The church leaders are also
meeting Tsvangirai, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube and party chairman
Isaac Matongo.

The opposition party's position paper lists the restoration of democracy,
political liberties and human rights as some of the key issues, but it has
removed the issue of Mugabe's disputed presidential re-election last year .

Tsvangirai said last week his party was prepared for more compromises if
that was what it would take to resume talks .

Official sources say the church leaders arranged a meeting between the
ruling party's Nkomo and Tsvangirai on September 26.

They have also been able to ensure that Mugabe and Tsvangirai soften their
stances to each other in public. The thaw between the two was displayed
during the recent funeral of vice-president Simon Muzenda.
Oct 07 2003 07:42:25:000AM  Dumisani Muleya Business Day 1st Edition

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