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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Zimbabwe Police Arrest Some 200 Trade Union Protesters
Copyright © 2003, Dow Jones Newswires
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)--At least 200 trade union
arrested Wednesday for participating in protests against soaring prices and
high taxes in the latest crackdown on dissent.
Police blamed white factory owners for supporting the protests called
for by the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions, the country's 100,000 member
umbrella body of trade union organizations.
In the capital Harare, leaders of the ZCTU were arrested along with 49
supporters marching through the downtown area.
Scores of riot police in combat fatigues patrolled the capital
wielding batons, tear gas and riot guns and were seen loading those arrested
Elsewhere in the country, at least 41 trade unionists were arrested in
Zimbabwe's second-largest city of Bulawayo, and 100 were arrested in the
eastern border city of Mutare.
Several others were arrested in the towns of Chinhoyi, Gweru and
Masvingo, said John Mawire, a lawyer for the ZCTU.
Those arrested had violated the sweeping Public Order and Security
Act, said police Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena.
Mawire said he expected they would be held in police cells overnight
and brought to court Thursday.
Under the Public Order and Security Act, all public gatherings must be
approved in advance by authorities, and Bvudzijena said the trade
union -which represents some 100,000 workers -didn't seek permission for the
The charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in jail under the
new security laws, which critics say are the latest example of President
Robert Mugabe's efforts to hold onto power.
Meanwhile, Bvudzijena blamed some white factory owners for
facilitating the protest action.
"Investigations have revealed some white factory owners have closed
their work places and urged their employees to go and demonstrate," he told
One trade unionist was injured when riot police suppressed a protest
in Gweru, said Mlamleli Sibanda, a union spokesperson.
The extent of the protester's injury was not immediately known.
In Harare, despite the trade union's call for workers to take to the
streets to protest the country's crumbling economy, only several dozen
turned out, all of whom were promptly arrested.
In June, opposition-led street protests were crushed before they
started by a massive show of military and police force.
"There will come a time when people have to react," ZTCU President
Lovemore Matombo told the Associated Press, speaking from his cellular phone
while being arrested. "People are saying enough is enough."
The opposition-alligned trade unions blame Mugabe for plunging the
economy into its worst crisis, with 70% unemployment and acute shortages of
food, gasoline and medicine.
A state program to seize thousands of white-owned farms for
redistribution to blacks has crippled the agriculture-based economy in the
past three years.
Inflation has soared to 420%.
Mugabe's government has in recent years stepped up its crackdown on
the opposition. The opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been charged
with treason, and last month the country's only independent daily newspaper,
The Daily News, was shut down by the government.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
Letter 1: Who Is The Weakest Link?
YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK**.GOODBYE!
( To be read to the uniquely sarcastic tones of Anne Robinson)
What a miserable bunch you are! It seems you all want to achieve an
ultimate goal, yet when the going gets tough, some of you lose the plot and
seek naïve and simplistic answers to complex questions, thus ducking the
best interests of the team effort. The result, team, is that you have
failed to bank even one tangible asset that will stand you in good stead
for the final round - not even your pride!
What a pathetic excuse you are; allowing a minority of malcontents, self
serving tycoons and bought puppets to erode your values, and, in their own
interests, pass over on vital questions, which inevitably have to be
answered if the whole team is to enjoy success. What is it that makes some
of you desert the values that made you successful in the first place? Have
you been so successful and comfortable, that your perception of what is
right and wrong has become a factor of compromise, and not, of what is
morally and legally correct? For those team members who are copulating with
the axis of evil, do you really believe a "conditional" return to
normality; will auger well for long-term peace and stability? It is your
naivety or complicity that will destroy the efforts of your team, and not
the questions that will be asked.
What a bunch we are, team;
We have leaders who believe that the rights of all commercial farmers must
upheld, we have others who have already `forgotten' that there are 4000
commercial farmers in the country, and not, `less than a 1000'.
The same leaders ask only that law and order be restored and the
constitutional rights of all Zimbabweans be upheld; the others have
concluded that both people and their rights are expendable if a `deal' is
to be reached;
Some leaders have nothing to offer other than to represent their community,
the others, shower themselves with praise, for their ability to negotiate
with murderers and extortionists;
Whilst the majority bonds together in times of distress, others deal with
the murderers and extortionists and profit from the demise of their fellow
Two sportsmen give up their international careers and wear black armbands
to mourn the death of democracy in their country, the others, line up for
their pay, wearing black armbands to mourn the passing of a perpetrator of
the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.
Where will it all end, team? It seems there are three types of players in
this game. Those that make things happen, those that wait for things to
happen, and those that do not know what has happened! Who of you are real
players? Who of you are rotten to the core; who of you should be shown the
In the next critical round, the stakes will be tripled and the total added
to final victory. You should now select your team to maximize the moral
high ground that you hold, stand resolutely on the line between good and
evil, and above all, cast off the pimps and messenger boys that have
weakened you throughout. THEY ARE THE WEAKEST LINKS - Make sure it is they,
THAT LEAVE ****.WITH NOTHING!.
6th October , 2003
I find is refreshingly constructive that so many people are voicing their
opinions on John Kinnaird's letters. I seems the general consensus is that
Zimbabweans have brought about their own downfall by being individuals and
not standing up for themselves or each other.
There is an important lesson here which is calling out loud - yet remaining
There was one contribution over the past few days, submitted by "Black
Zimbabwean" who continued to beat the Black vs White drum - Get over it!
Until we unite as ONE nation, there will always be a divide. Prior to
Independence I seldom recall someone stating they were a White Rhodesian or
a Black Rhodesian - they were Rhodesian! - and trust me I know many black
skinned people who were proud to call themselves Rhodesians!! Those days
are gone we can learn from our past - but not just the mistakes, the
achievements and successes as well - unite as One Nation and move forward,
forget the chip on your shoulder, get over it - and it doesn't matter
whether you live in Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, Australia, the UK or Zambia - there
will be laws and rules which you agree with and disagree with - but they
must be just and the Rule of Law must be upheld!
Well done John - you have displayed yourself as a leader, with the courage
of your convictions and the guts to stand tall - call and they will follow!
Letter 3: Re Open Letter Forum No. 155 dated 01 October 2003
I have just read letter no 4 from the OPEN LETTER FORUM dated Wednesday 1st
There was no name attached to the letter, what a cheek to call us farmers
apathetic and accepting of our situation, when, whoever he is, sits back
somewhere, safe and sound - gleaning information of his homeland.
What are you doing outside the borders of this country, criticizing us who
have stayed, and lost almost everything? Let me just point out to you that
all the farmers I know, that have been chased off their farms, some having
been beaten and suffered untold humiliation, have made a plan, and are
doing something about their plight, going into all kinds of different
spheres to make ends meet and send their children to Private Schools to
give to them the best they can.
You mention that the laws of the Country must be upheld to protect the
Nations citizens - what laws, which citizens? Get real and come out of your
Letter 4: Re Open Letters Forum No. 157 dated 04 September
Each time I read the Open Letters Forum, something contained in in makes my
blood boil, and I find I am too angry to write a coherent letter in reply.
I am a so-called "townie", and for some farmers (ex-farmers, whatever..) to
ask me (collectively) 'what have YOU lost in this mess we are in?' shows
just how narrow minded and selfish we have become! We used to have a small,
successful, family-run, agriculture-based company in a small farming town.
As long back as 1999, when at least 80% of the farmers were still on their
land, still farming, and still making a living, we were left with no choice
but to close up shop - the money just wasn't coming in anymore; which
farmer in their right mind would be buying capital items (the nature of our
business) at this time? So we very quietly closed shop. It may not have
been violent, we did not have rabid militia screaming at our windows, we
did not get beaten up; but we lost EVERYTHING (or does it only count if
these things DO happen to you?). Did we blame the farmers for this (after
all, it was directly due to their non-support of our business which
'forced' us to close)? No! We got on with our lives, and made a plan. We
are not the only ones, there are thousands of us who have had to do this;
maybe even more than the number of farmers who have lost their livelihoods,
too. Who knows? Who cares? So what? Why doesn't everyone on the Blaming
Bandwagon realise who the real Baddies are in this situation?
Letter 5: Re Open Letters Forum No. 157 dated 04 September
By far the most coherent and sensible contribution to this forum in a long
time has been that from Michael Chingoka. He has hit the nail right on the
head! Print it out and read it each time you want to start ripping out each
other's throats - the only people really happy when they read this forum
are ZANU (PF)!
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
Zimbabwe union plans protest over taxes, prices
HARARE, Oct. 7 — Zimbabwe's main labour union on Tuesday called for a march
to protest against high taxes and rising prices of basic commodities as the
country grapples with its worst political and economic crisis since
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change have over the past year led a number of
strikes against President Robert Mugabe's government, which they say has
mismanaged the country since independence from Britain in 1980.
Mugabe denies the charges and accuses opponents of trying to destroy
the country's economy.
''We are holding a protest (march) tomorrow (Wednesday) against high
taxation and the high cost of basic commodities,'' ZCTU secretary-general
Wellington Chibebe said. ''We are demanding that the government reduces
taxes and we are also saying there has to be sanity in the level of
prices,'' he added.
Chibebe said workers should report to work on Wednesday and then
assemble for the march in the capital Harare.
Zimbabwe is grappling with acute shortages of foreign currency, food
and fuel. Unemployment currently stands at over 70 percent and inflation is
nearly 430 percent, one of the highest in the world.
Prices of basic food stuffs have soared since the government relaxed
price controls earlier this year to snuffle out a thriving black market.
Mugabe, 79, has accused local and international opponents of
sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy to punish his government for its seizure of
white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
Zimbabweans favour change
HARARE - A majority of Zimbabweans favour a change in the country's
political scene and think that talks between the country's two main
political parties would be the solution to the country's woes, according to
a new poll.
Eighty percent of the respondents said the ruling Zanu-PF of President
Robert Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) should
resume talks that stalled last year.
"High on the list of people's expectations is successful dialogue between
the two major political parties," said the independent Mass Public Opinion
Institute which conducted the poll of 1,351 people.
Talks between the two parties broke down in May last year after a draft
agenda had been drawn up.
In recent months, regional political leaders and local clergy have been
trying to get the two sides back to the negotiating table, but formal talks
have not resumed yet.
The poll also showed that nearly 70 percent of people favour a transitional
government that could organise a re-run of last year's disputed presidential
elections, while just over half said Mugabe should retire immediately.
Those polled were in both urban areas and the countryside, which is a
traditional ruling party stronghold.
Slightly more than half of the respondents were of the opinion that a
government of national unity might help the country out of its economic and
"The thinking among the respondents appears to be that a government of
national unity will bring genuine peace, law and order as well as social and
economic development," said the institute.
Zimbabwe is in an economic and political crisis which has seen inflation
rising to a walloping 427 percent in August, and unemployment levels of
around 70 percent.
The opposition has rejected Mugabe's re-election in last year's presidential
elections alleging fraud.
Zimbabwe slips into 'Zairisation'
October 8, 2003
By Allister Sparks
Zimbabwe today presents the visitor with a surreal picture. Here is a
country where the filling stations have no fuel but the traffic keeps
moving; where the banks have no money but people are carrying bags of it to
the supermarkets; where the economy has collapsed but the stock market is
booming; and where millions are starving while a few grow filthy rich.
At first glance things still look surprisingly normal. There are more
potholes in the roads but few other visible signs of disintegration since my
last visit here six months ago. However, scratch beneath that facade and you
find that the formal economy has collapsed. Zimbabwe has become one big
To the extent that the country is still functioning, it is doing so by
consuming itself. It is asset-stripping itself and feeding off the
proceeds - a process one diplomatic observer describes as "Zairisation", a
reference to the plunder and descent into ruin of Mobutu Sese Seko's Zaire.
The statistics beggar the mind - 700% inflation, an official exchange
rate of Zim$55 to the US dollar compared with Zim$6 000 on the parallel
market. A trip to the supermarket for everyday groceries will cost you
around Zim$30 000 (about R250), and a restaurant bill Zim$75 000 (R630),
while a loaf of bread is Zim$1 000 (R8,40).
All of which has to be paid for in Zim$500 bills or the newly printed
1 000-dollar note, which is worth just R2 at black market rates. This is why
shoppers have to carry huge bags of money with them, like Germans in the
days of the Weimar Republic.
It is also why the banks have run out of money. Prices have increased
fourfold in the past year, so there is not enough money in circulation and
the Reserve Bank does not have enough foreign exchange to print more.
Going to your bank can mean standing in a queue all day and then
perhaps being able to withdraw only Zim$5 000 - enough for five loaves of
bread. So people are not banking their money and retailers won't accept
cheques or credit cards. Everyone is hoarding cash, which has been declared
illegal but continues nonetheless because there is no alternative.
All this has made Zimbabwe a huckster's paradise. Senior members of
the ruling Zanu-PF party can get permission to buy hard currency from the
Reserve Bank at the official exchange rate of Zim$55 to the US dollar -
which they can then exchange on the black market for Zim$6 000.
They can fly to South Africa, buy a luxury car for R500 000, pay
import duty at the official rate of Zim$55 to the US dollar, and sell the
car in Harare for Zim$200-million - making a cool R2-million profit.
Nor is it only the ruling elite who are making these fortunes. Anyone
with access to foreign exchange, including some white businessmen, can do
Their only problem is what to do with the money. It's no good banking
it at 15% interest in the face of 700% inflation. Which is why there is a
stock market boom. And a building boom. The hucksters are buying businesses
and building luxury mansions like Mugabe's own retirement palace.
The impact of all this on the ruling elite is varied. Some would like
the pork-barrel days to continue for ever. Others know they cannot and would
like to legitimise their ill-gotten gains while they still can. This is
causing tensions within Zanu-PF.
Part of the problem is that no one knows whether President Mugabe
intends to retire or not. He has indicated that he does and has called for
Zanu-PF to discuss the succession - but last week he disbanded a party
subcommittee formed to do just that, saying it was causing dissension.
Those who think he will announce his retirement at
conference in December say he is unwell (there are rumours of prostate
cancer), that he is feeling the years of pressure and that he would like to
retire with dignity and be remembered as a great African liberator who freed
his people and gave them back their land.
But he is also fearful of losing the immunity from prosecution that
goes with the presidency and finding himself before the International Court
of Justice one day charged, like Slobodan Milosovic, with crimes against
Ideally, Mugabe would like Zanu-PF to continue governing Zimbabwe with
someone he trusts succeeding him as president. The speaker, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, would be his preferred choice. But Mnangagwa is unpopular and
other challengers are emerging.
Meanwhile, there can be no automatic succession to the presidency
without a constitutional amendment. That would require the agreement of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has a blocking third
in parliament and will agree to nothing without the promise of an early
To this end informal "talks about talks" are taking place between
Zanu-PF and the MDC, though no secret agreement has been reached as some SA
newspapers have said.
These informal talks are at two levels. One involves bishops
representing the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Evangelical Commission of
Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, who are shuttling
between the leaders of the two parties trying to put together an agenda for
One-on-one talks are also taking place between Zanu-PF's Minister of
Justice, Patrick Chinamaso, and the MDC's secretary-general, Professor
Welshman Ncube. They are discussing possible common ground on a new
constitution, and I understand they have made considerable progress.
But the two toughest issues have not yet been raised - amnesty for
Mugabe, and a set of transitional arrangements to ensure that a future
election is free and fair.
This is the MDC's bottom line, without which it will not endorse any
agreement. It wants iron-clad guarantees that there will be a new and clean
voters roll to replace the existing rigged one; that the police and military
will be replaced by genuinely independent electoral officers; that free
electioneering is ensured countrywide; that an independent media commission
ensures fair access to all branches of the media; that political
intimidation will cease; and that the notorious War Veterans Association and
Youth Militia are disbanded.
The MDC will not participate in a government of national unity, which
Zanu-PF wants and Pretoria apparently favours.
The MDC is adamant that it will not risk losing credibility among its
own supporters by accepting a minority role in a Zanu-PF government and
having to share responsibility for disastrous policies which it cannot
It wants Zanu-PF to remain in power in the run-up to a new election,
but with a joint Transitional National Council to ensure that the
transitional arrangements are strictly adhered to during a campaign of no
more than six months.
Formal talks may begin within weeks, but they will be difficult and
the outcome uncertain. If they fail and Mugabe remains in power, then
Zimbabwe will continue on the "Zairisation" road.
If Mugabe goes, then however cleverly he may try to arrange his exit,
I believe Zanu-PF will split and disintegrate and real transformation will
come. But that, too, will be difficult because so much damage has already
Zimbabwe homes sell in US dollars
October 8, 2003
Harare: A glance through advertisements in Zimbabwe's state-run daily
newspaper The Herald shows it is now common for prices of houses and flats
for sale or lease to be quoted in US dollars.
Cars are similarly being sold in US dollars or British pounds.
Firms changing hands are also being sold for foreign currency, while
petrol and diesel, which are in short supply, are also bought with US
Although it is illegal to trade goods or services in a foreign
currency, unofficial dollarisation is becoming the trend as people seek
stability for their investments in a volatile economy, economists say.
"It comes about because of lack of stability of our exchange rate,
lack of stability in our own economy," said economist John Robertson.
While the government has fixed the exchange rate of the Zimbabwe
dollar at 800 to the greenback, the US currency is not available on the
official market. On the parallel market, one US dollar fetches up to 6 000
An economist with a leading insurance
firm in Harare said asset prices
had been distorted by the hyperinflation environment in which the country
Zimbabwe's annual inflation, which stood at 31.7% five years ago, had
galloped to 426.6% by last month. By asking for payment in a foreign
currency, people were trying to "get more value" in a currency that was
stable, said a financial expert from a Harare discount house.
A real estate agent said most buyers of properties with foreign
currency were Zimbabweans who were now working in Britain, the US, South
Africa and Botswana.
Economists forecast that unless the rate of inflation and the foreign
exchange market stabilised, unofficial dollarisation would grow. - Sapa-AP
Comment from ZWNEWS, 8 October
By Michael Hartnack
Getting by each day in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe means
learning to cope in a
strange country. It is a land where people have lost all faith in financial
institutions, where ordinary citizens are constantly exposed to arrest while
the powerful may commit grand larceny, where shortages are a way of life,
and where a new valuable skill is making a tank of fuel last three weeks. It
can be done. It is just another of the coping mechanisms for one daily
problem after another – and carrying on as if all these hardships were
natural everyday events.
As Zimbabweans, we
just accept things, as soldiers do at a war front,
however weird they seem to people arriving for the first time - as we accept
the continual deaths of our workmates and friends from AIDS, and the
continual emigration. Somehow or other children are got to school, despite
the transport crisis. At 5 a.m. men may be seen cycling or walking to work
in far-off industrial sites. A shop assistant said to me recently that his
children's generation will grow up hardly knowing the taste of meat - many
if not most parents can only afford vegetables. Previous generations took
for granted this was a country where protein was as plentiful as sunshine,
and they would have some form of beef stew twice a day - lunch and supper.
Ideally, a home needs an
electric hot plate, a gas burner and a
wood/charcoal braai so there is always a means of cooking whatever source of
domestic energy suddenly gets cut off. When it was possible to buy fresh
milk my family saved the 2 litre containers, washed them out, and filled
them with water, so week-long dry taps would not leave us without means of
flushing and washing (while we drank the bathroom geysers). Preparing for a
hoped-for rainy season, we had a painter repair our rusting gates and
gutters – and saved a great deal by purchasing the materials in January,
since when they have more than quadrupled in price. The painter was,
however, extremely unhappy to be paid by cheque. Like most ordinary people,
he no longer believes in the financial institutions and the system of
exchange on which national economies are founded. Many families survive only
on remittances received from the three million expatriates, which they
change on the black market at seven times the official rate. We are fast
coming to the point where some underground form of currency will be
invented - match boxes or cowrie shells, or perhaps bottles of liquor.
We resign ourselves to carrying risks without insurance.
sky-high and any paper value put on possessions will be obsolete within
weeks, because inflation tops 426 percent on the most conservative estimate.
Many routine things expose citizens to arrest and prosecution - such as
buying bread and other staples on the black market, even though there is no
alternative. It is an offence, for example, to carry petrol in a container
but with most trade taking place "under the counter", and vehicles
constantly running on empty, it is impossible to avoid doing so. Journalists
from The Daily News, the independent newspaper silenced in September by the
regime, were charged last week for merely for carrying on their profession.
At the same time the industrious, ordinary citizen has no redress for wrongs
which an outsider would think were a punishable crime. Yet people with
influence may commit grand larceny, assault, demanding money with menaces,
robbery, and even murder, and police say, "It is a political matter. There
are sensitive (i.e. politically powerful) personalities involved. We cannot
Zimbabweans have factored this and much else
into their thinking, such as
the danger of getting the more virulent forms of skin cancer from the
tropical sun, or malaria. It goes with the new style of economy motoring:
getting the engine revolutions gently up to 1500 then keeping steadily at
that, driving at 50-60 kph at the side of the road like the proverbial old
lady in a 1950 Morris Minor. It makes a tankful of petrol last three weeks.
The Mercedes Benzes roar past on the crown of the road while the commuter
minibuses overtake inside, on the verge. A citizen may be stopped at any
time by persons in uniform, subjected to a search and told there is a fee
for this "service" - unfortunately there is no receipt book, so he must just
hand over the money. Anything he is carrying, from a copy of an
"unpatriotic" newspaper to sugar and cooking oil, may be confiscated. The
citizen either gives it up or submits to being detained indefinitely. In an
age of sky-scrapers and dazzling technology, ploughing with oxen no longer
seems archaic, but a "sensible application of intermediate technology". Rich
and poor are wider apart than before. It is a narrow little society, and a
hazardous one, but many of us believe it is still possible to rescue it. In
the final analysis, we belong here. It's home.
Globe and Mail, Canada
Ottawa asked to back indictment of Mugabe
By OLIVER MOORE
Globe and Mail Update
The federal government was asked Wednesday to approve a genocide indictment
against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, a case that could be the first
real test of Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
A team of lawyers has used the act to craft a wide-ranging indictment that
accuses Mr. Mugabe of committing genocide through the deprivation of food.
But it will come into force only if Justice Minister Martin Cauchon approves
Alliance MP Keith Martin, who has made several trips to Zimbabwe among 20 to
Africa, said that he is optimistic that the federal government will give the
indictment the legal force it needs, pointing to a recent statement by
Foreign Minister Bill Graham that such an indictment is “a option to
“In order for it to work, the Minister of Justice has to simply say that
this indictment, or one like it, will be used against Mr. Mugabe if he sets
foot in Canada or if he's extradited to Canada,” Mr. Martin told
globeandmail.com, adding: “We'll see whether or not our foreign policy has
some muscle or whether its just a lot of hot air. We've given the government
the path, the question is whether they choose to take it or not.”
Mr. Martin said that the former guerrilla leader, who took power in 1980,
has a vicious track record dating back through most of his long rule. The
indictment cites “not only the use of food as a weapon, but the abduction of
children into the paramilitary training programs, use of children to commit
atrocities, including torture, rape and murder, the use of rape as a tool of
terror, gang rape. The murder of civilians.”
“Here you have one leader, one regime, committing genocide in his own
country,” he said. “If we don't do anything, a lot of people are going to
die ... If we don't do something about Zimbabwe, then our law is just a
piece of paper.”
Zimbabwe teetered to the point of collapse after Mr. Mugabe dispatched his
youth brigades to take over white farms in the name of decolonization and
black emancipation. Mr. Mugabe appeared blind to the widespread problems
this caused, even as the economy crashed and the nation had to import food.
He insists that external opponents are racists and that internal opponents
are the puppets left over from British imperialism. His actions have split
the Commonwealth and led to sanctions by the United States and the European
Mr. Martin said Wednesday that the point of the indictment is to hamper Mr.
Mugabe's ability to move internationally, and hopefully to break the logjam
the issue has caused at the Commonwealth.
“The hope is that other countries will do the same thing so he becomes boxed
in,” he said. “So if he wants to go on his shopping sprees to Paris or
London, they will have a similar indictment and that they will serve it to
him if he winds up on their shores. On the other hand, they could arrest him
and deport him if they chose to do, along the lines of what happened to
The target should be Mr Mugabe
08 October 2003
News that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe does not favour former New
Zealand foreign affairs minister Don McKinnon having a second term as
Commonwealth secretary-general should be seen as a significant endorsement
of Mr McKinnon's leadership of the 54-nation body, The Dominion Post writes
in an editorial.
This is one of those cases where if Mr Mugabe approved of
Mr McKinnon, then
other Commonwealth countries would really have to worry about whether the
secretary-general was up to the task.
The Commonwealth is often accused of being nothing more than a toothless
anachronism, a colonial hangover and an excuse for former British colonies
to host a sports extravaganza every four years at which Australia sweeps up
a new set of gold medals. When the Commonwealth takes on the role of
sanctioning countries, as it has by suspending both Pakistan and Zimbabwe,
there is sometimes a feeling that it is a meaningless gesture. But as Mr
Mugabe's wrath reveals, far from being meaningless, his country's suspension
and his own exclusion from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, are
punishments that are hurting.
The next Chogm is due to be held in Abuja, Nigeria, in early December. It
had been expected that at that meeting Mr McKinnon's second four-year term
in the top role would be approved. But it seems that Mr Mugabe, with the
support of 16 other African nations, is trying to put up an alternate
As yet, none has emerged and Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff is
expressing confidence that even if someone should put their hand up, and
there is a suggestion that a former Sri Lankan foreign minister might be
interested in the job, he would not win majority support. Mr McKinnon's
proposed second term was backed by Pacific states at the recent Pacific
Islands Forum in Auckland and it is hard to see why Caribbean nations would
not support him ahead of a Mugabe candidate.
It would certainly be a shocking reflection on the Commonwealth if someone
who was effectively a Mugabe candidate could oust Mr McKinnon. It is not Mr
McKinnon's fault that Zimbabwe is suspended. The blame lies firmly with Mr
Mugabe and his henchmen who have left the world aghast as Zimbabwe continues
to become a deeper and deeper basket case, plagued by human rights abuses,
food shortages, high unemployment and the shameful expulsion of white
farmers from their land. Far from criticising Mr McKinnon for extending
Zimbabwe's suspension, the Commonwealth and other international forums could
stand accused of not doing enough to support the regime change in Harare
that many Zimbabweans desperately seek, and which could end up being their
It will be unfortunate if the Commonwealth splits along ethnic lines,
pitting African countries against the rest. Loyalty is a worthy concept and,
as an early independence leader, Mr Mugabe once inspired loyalty. He
deserves it no longer. African nations' best interests do not lie in
protecting a failing and abusive regime, out of some misguided historical
loyalty to Mr Mugabe. The issue is not Mr McKinnon's ability to manage the
Commonwealth, it is Mr Mugabe's ability to manage Zimbabwe. The wrong man is
being targeted here.
Mugabe's would-be successor waits in wings
October 08 2003 at 04:46AM
By Basildon Peta
The race to
succeed President Robert Mugabe is gathering momentum, with
Zimbabwe's military supremo, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, set to quit his
post in two months' time. He will possibly line himself up to succeed Mugabe
if the 79-year-old leader decides to retire.
Politicians in Zimbabwe's largest political province, Masvingo, from where
Zvinavashe hails, say that although he is being coy about his plans, his
main wish is to fill the void created by the recent death of vice-president
Muzenda also hailed from Masvingo, and was the kingmaker in the province.
By taking over Muzenda's role, Zvinavashe sees himself being able to achieve
greater things - even having a go at the presidency, Masvingo politicians
Zvinavashe, who has been head of both the Zimbabwe National Army and the air
force, unsettled Zimbabwe's body politics earlier this year when he declared
that Zimbabwe was in crisis and politicians needed to do something urgently
to reverse the slide. His statements fuelled speculation that the army might
be contemplating a takeover.
Zvinavashe, who rarely gives interviews, has not publicly made his plans
known after quitting the army.
Political analyst Lovemore Madhuku said Zvinavashe might see his position in
the army as a springboard for an effective role in politics.
.. This article was
originally published on page 3 of The Star on October
Friends of the Daily News
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd
October 9, 2003
The Daily News has found a new home on the world-wide -web.
The web edition
of the Daily News formerly published from a Zimbabwean domain
www.dailynews.co.zw will be re-launched in the next two weeks on the new
has been inspired by our unwavering commitment to serve the
millions of people who read The Daily News every day. Our core commitment is
to keeping the people of Zimbabwe informed about important national issues
and also provide entertaining as well as educational material on a variety
of issues that may be of interest to our readers.
We have had to accept
that Zimbabwean laws do not permit us to base this
operation in our country of origin but we are also open to the opportunities
that other countries whose laws are less hostile to a free press provide. We
have therefore taken the decision to externalize our publishing operation
and operate from where it is legal for us to do so whilst we await the
conclusion of our case in the Zimbabwean courts.
The internet is a media which is almost impossible
for the nation state to
control through legal instruments because in order to exercise jurisdiction
over publishers there must be the co-operation of the host country. Quite
clearly when the Zimbabwean government enacted the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act which has been used to stop the
publication of the
Zimbabwean print edition of The Daily News they did not fully consider the
technological advancements that enable publishers to reach their audiences
from beyond the physical boundaries of Zimbabwe.
There is a general consensus amongst democratic nations
that few, if any
obstacles should be placed in the path of free expression and the internet
has emerged as one of the most effective vehicles for free expression.
Democratic governments only interfere with Internet usage
interference is clearly in the public interest as has been the case with
crimes committed through the net such as pedophilia and terrorism. This will
challenge governments like are own which have laws that are hostile to free
expression to remove these laws from their statute books.
We will continue the fight to get the Daily News back on the
Zimbabwe where we can serve the greater portion of our established
readership. This is because access to the internet in Zimbabwe remains the
preserve of a privileged few who constitute less than one percent of the
Currently, although our readers can
access the new site, only the
interactive features on the site are operative. Since our operation in
Zimbabwe was shut down our readers continue to submit letters to the editor
and humorous anecdotes on Zimbabwean issues. Readers are also participating
on key Zimbabwean issues, the results of which are published on the web. The
readers, or ‘Friends of The Daily News' are the ones who have kept the site
going whilst our editorial team prepares to re-launch what we believe will
become the premier site for news and information on Zimbabwe. The enthusiasm
of our readers has been remarkable. We have counted an impressive total of
90,000 hits since the new site was etsablished and our promise to readers is
that we will soon be back to continue telling the Zimbabwean story “Like it
Friends of the Daily News
Mugabe's reign of terror
On the 18th April 1980 Zimbabwe gained its independence under what
some would call reasonably free and fair elections with promises of
International recognition and support, ending an era as the west proclaimed
of racial discrimination.
The reality was that over the next 23 years
Robert Mugabe's grip on
power along with his calculated and systematic presidential decrees,
political instability, incompetence, nepotism and corruption. All
ingredients to the political, economic and social disastrous state, Zimbabwe
finds it self in today. With increased indignation towards all, along with
tribal and insidious racial-prejudice never far from Mugabe's mind or lips.
As his warnings in his rhetoric have consistently attested to both locally
and internationally. The mass genocide against the predominantly black
population escalates without sufficient condemnation or action from African
countries, The European Union and the United Nations. The notorious North
Korean trained 5th Brigade, under Mugabe's orders, and led by Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Perence Shiri, massacred over 20,000 of innocent men, women
and children in 1982 under the pretext of crushing a coup by former forces
of Joshua Nkomo.
The methodical imprisonment,
abduction, torture or eliminated of those
perceived to be opponents of the repressive state continues unabated.
Bishops, pastors and judges are beaten and thrown into prisons on an
arbitrary basis as the police deny them their civil rights and liberties.
Yet as defiant as Zimbabwe's brave cricketers Henry Olonga and Andy Flower
the cry for freedom rings out across a hostile land, gathering support and
momentum. The formation of the Movement for Democratic (MDC) on 11th
September 1999 under the leadership of President Morgan Tsvangirai former
Secretary General of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) heralded in a
desperate desire for change supported by the majority Zimbabweans. For a
newly formed political party, the MDC won 57 of the 120 elected seats on
24th & 25th June 2001 in Parliamentary elections where at least 35 people
were murdered, mostly from MDC. Whilst Mugabe dithered and finally set a
long awaited date for presidential elections due on 9th & 10th March 2002.
The reality was he needed time to
reduce polling stations in urban
areas and increase them in rural areas where the state had greater control.
Villages were forced to stand behind their chiefs or headman during
balloting watched by the armed forces. With so-called youth militia or
(green bombers) as they are referred to, akin to Hitler's (brown shirts),
armed forces and the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
distributed to the four corners of Zimbabwe along with Mugabe's all
important pre-prepared ''ghost vote''. The scene was set for a one sided
brutal campaign, disenfranchising most of the population, the result an
illegitimate and antagonistic president. The sword of Damocles constantly
hanging over the heads of agricultural sector. Farmers and farm workers
alike tortured, illegally imprisoned and killed. Where demands were once
meet for local consumption along with increased exports to other African
countries and abroad. Where once fenced wildlife reserves with abundant
herds, which brought in the much-needed tourism industry along with foreign
currency creating jobs for the local people. The instability and the
death-knell to the economy was inevitable, as Mugabe became increasingly
desperate. The deadline for 4500 commercial farmers to leave their land was
8th August 2002 by no coincidence the 8th August 1963 was the formation of
It is beyond comprehension that Mugabe's
failed land scheme has left
thousands of productive farms now desolate, used as torture camps or taken
over by his cronies. Farm workers persecuted and forced off the land too,
leaving tens of thousands homeless starving and denied food or assistance
from the government. With mass poverty and deprivation the humanitarian
crises continues to spiral out of control with a third of the adult
population having aids. The credibility and values of President Thabo
Mbeki's inspirational promotion of the New Partnership for African
Development (NEPAD) must be called into serious contention. On the 26th
March 2002, 15 African heads of State meet in Nigeria purporting to endorse
a draft document. Committing their countries to uphold principles of
democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, a transparent
government and eradication of corruption to list but a few. Why than have so
many African countries signed up to NEPAD endorsed the Mugabe regime.
By Albert Weidemann
UN warns of deepening Zimbabwe food crisis
HARARE - The food crisis in Zimbabwe is worsening, with a majority of the
country's districts having exhausted their food stocks, according to a UN
"According to reports from 58 districts in August 2003, food is becoming
scarce, harvest stocks have been exhausted in a majority of districts and
over half report a deteriorating food situation," the report said.
The report comes a week after the UN's food agency warned that only a
quarter of its appeal for funds to feed millions of starving people in
southern Africa, most of them in Zimbabwe, had been met.
An estimated 5.5 million Zimbabweans will require emergency food aid by
early next year, out of a regional total of 6.5 million.
According to the UN humanitarian situation report families in several
districts of Zimbabwe have taken to selling household goods to make ends
meet, while others have resorted to eating wild fruit usually given to
There are also reports of critical water shortages in the drought-ravaged
southern Matabeland province.
It said that in the Matabeland district of Gwanda "80 percent of the
families visited have lost their livestock through deaths related to lack of
pastures, water scarcity or foot and mouth disease."
According to the report the state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB) does not
have enough food to feed people in the country's most populous province of
Manicaland, in eastern Zimbabwe.
"The province requires about 27,000 metric tonnes per month, but GMB is
expecting to receive about 10,500 metric tonnes for the entire year."
The famine in Zimbabwe has been blamed on a combination of drought and what
critics say is a poorly managed land reform programme launched by President
Robert Mugabe, which has seen former white-owned commercial farms seized and
handed over to new black farmers.
New Zealand Herald
Editorial: McKinnon will survive Africa clique
Over the past couple of years, Africa's
leaders have demonstrated a new
resolve to act collectively on the international stage. The African Union,
in large part a product of South Africa's emergence from apartheid-induced
isolation, has been developed as a vehicle for joint action. Hand in hand
has come the New Partnership for Africa's Development, which seeks to
extricate the continent from crippling underdevelopment by cultivating
relationships with highly industrialised countries. Such initiatives mean
that the Commonwealth occupies a less significant place in the scheme of
things for Africa's 16 member countries. Not worthy, perhaps, of meriting
sober attention unless it dances to the African beat.
The Commonwealth's downgraded status, and the creed of collectivity, surely
underpin African support for a Zimbabwean-inspired bid to unseat Don
McKinnon, the Commonwealth Secretary-General. Mr McKinnon is accused of
being biased against the regime of President Robert Mugabe. In particular,
he is said to have taken it upon himself to extend the one-year suspension
of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth until at least the heads of government
meeting in Nigeria in December.
The suspension had been due to expire in March. At that time, a troika of
Commonwealth leaders could not decide how to proceed. Australia's John
Howard argued that nothing had happened to justify a change, while South
Africa's Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria's Olusequn Obasanjo urged an immediate end
to the suspension. The appropriate compromise, and one broadly supported
throughout the Commonwealth, was that the status quo apply until the
That gathering should, at the very least, maintain the suspension. The
sanction was the minimum credible response to the situation in Zimbabwe.
Indeed, the Commonwealth should have delivered more, given Mr Mugabe's abuse
of fundamental tenets of human rights and democracy. His fraudulent
re-election, the trigger for suspension, has been accompanied by the
Government-backed eviction of white farmers from their land, the silencing
of the independent media, and control of the Judiciary. Added to that is
gross economic mismanagement. Zimbabwe was once Africa's breadbasket; now
millions face famine, inflation is rampant, and unemployment is more than 60
It is nonsense for Nigeria and South Africa to claim that matters in
Zimbabwe have improved sufficiently to warrant the suspension being lifted.
In fact, according to Britain's Foreign Office, the situation has
deteriorated this year. Land invasions and intimidation are continuing, as
is an almost certainly trumped-up treason case against Opposition leader
African leaders clearly feel the collectivist impulse demands that they
stand shoulder to shoulder with Mr Mugabe. Disagreement would dilute their
ability to advance the continent's cause. In reality, they are opening
themselves to ridicule. The essential values of the Commonwealth, which they
are so willing to spurn, are shared by the vast majority of the
industrialised nations they see as their saviours. Indeed, the United States
and the European Union have taken stronger stands against Mr Mugabe's
despotic rule than the Commonwealth.
Mr McKinnon deserves a second term as Commonwealth Secretary-General. He has
helped to restore democracy to Fiji. And if there has been no progress in
Zimbabwe, his hands have been tied by the African leaders' foolish throwing
down of the gauntlet. Their bid to unseat him will surely come to nought.
The damage they are inflicting on the Commonwealth is, however, less easy to
Government Reportedly Investigating 'The Standard' And 'Zimbabwe
International Press Institute
October 6, 2003
Posted to the web October 8, 2003
The following is an IPI letter to President Robert Mugabe:
His Excellency President Robert Mugabe Office of the President Causeway,
Harare Zimbabwe Fax: (+ 263 4) 728 799 / 708 820 / 734 644
The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors,
leading journalists and media executives, condemns the latest attempts by
the Zimbabwean government to intimidate and harass the independent media.
According to reports in the British Independent newspaper and the electronic
news agency AllAfrica Global Media, the Zimbabwean government is now
investigating the Sunday newspaper The Standard as well as the Zimbabwe
Independent with a view to possibly closing them in the future.
On 5 October, an article by Caiphas Chimhete in The Standard quoted
Tafataona Mahoso, the head of the state Media and Information Commission, at
an official launch, as saying, "Oh, you are from The Standard. We will be
coming for you; we will be writing to you soon." In a reference to a gossip
column in the newspaper, which has upset the government on a number of
occasions, Mahoso said, "You are writing lies, carrying stories with
initials as by-lines."
At the same venue, Junior Information Minister Jonathan Moyo described the
two newspapers as "the running dogs of capitalism". In a further reference,
he said, "Really, we should shut these papers down because they are trash,
they injure our national interest". Moyo then went on to state that the
VOA's news broadcasting station, which is beamed into Zimbabwe from outside
the country, "faces death".
The attacks on the two newspapers come only weeks after the 11 September
closure of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday for apparently
breaching the procedures of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA).
In relation to this incident, five Daily News directors and 15 journalists
have apparently been charged with breaking Zimbabwe's media laws.
In addition to the aggressive comments of members of the government, the
officially sanctioned Sunday Mail has also accused The Standard of planning
to publish a daily edition of the newspaper by employing members of the
closed Daily News.
IPI is deeply concerned by the statements of Mahoso and Moyo because they
once again show the government's deep seated resentment of the independent
media in Zimbabwe. Moreover, it also reveals the government's continuing
desire to close all newspapers which offer criticism and to stifle all forms
of legitimate dissent in the country.
Furthermore, IPI also wishes to point out that government comments which
raise "the national interest" as a justification for the repression of the
media are little more than a self-serving pretence. By claiming to act in
the "national interest" the government is actually guilty of seeking to
protect its own narrow self-interests rather than those of the country as a
IPI believes that the independent media have an absolute right to comment on
the events in Zimbabwe. Through its failure to allow the dissemination of
information in all its various forms, including comment and opinion, the
present government is reinforcing the overwhelming impression that it is
deeply intolerant of criticism and is prepared to contort the rule of law in
order to close down media organisations and persecute journalists.
In view of the above, IPI calls on the Zimbabwean government to refrain from
harassing and intimidating the media and to introduce a media policy in
Zimbabwe which is in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which gives everyone the right to
"hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas through any media. ."
We thank you for your attention.
Johann P. Fritz Director
Zimbabwe was placed on the IPI Watch List on 20 October 2001. In its press
release IPI said, "[It] is deeply concerned at attempts to extinguish press
freedom in the country against a background of government support for this
activity and reluctance to prosecute offenders, restrictions imposed, or
contemplated, by the government on the media, and the breakdown of the rule
Similar appeals can be sent to:
His Excellency President Robert Mugabe Office of the President Causeway,
Harare Zimbabwe Fax: + 263 4 728 799 / 708 820 / 734 644
Corruption Increasing, Says Transparency International
Integrated Regional Information Networks
October 8, 2003
Posted to the web October 8, 2003
Angola and Zimbabwe are the two Southern African countries that faired the
worst in Transparency International's (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI)
The CPI charts the level of corruption in 133 countries and ranks them
according to a CPI score based on perceptions of the degree of corruption,
ranging from 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt), by business people,
academics and risk analysts.
Angola and Zimbabwe faired worst in the rankings, with CPI scores of 1.8 and
2.3 respectively, followed by Zambia (2.5), Madagascar (2.6), Mozambique
(2.7) and Malawi (2.8).
Botswana was the best-performing country in the region, with a CPI score of
5.7 out of 10. Namibia followed with a score of 4.7, while South Africa
Globally, TI said, "seven out of 10 countries score less than 5 out of a
clean score of 10, while five out of 10 developing countries score less than
3 out of 10".
Angola joined countries such as Nigeria and Indonesia, where "corruption is
perceived to be pervasive", said the report, which was released on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe joined countries such as Argentina and Israel as "noteworthy
examples of a worsening" situation with regard to corruption.
The 2003 CPI "demonstrates that it is not only poor countries where
corruption thrives," said Laurence Cockcroft, a member of TI's international
board, in a statement. "Levels of corruption are worryingly high in European
countries such as Greece and Italy, and in potentially wealthy oil-rich
countries such as ... Angola."
"To turn around this situation, so that ordinary people share in the oil
wealth of their country, TI is campaigning, along with other NGOs, for
international oil companies to publish what they pay to governments and
state oil companies. This will enable citizens and civil society
organisations in countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Iraq, Indonesia and
Kazakhstan to have a clearer picture of state revenues," said Cockcroft.
Citizens of countries like Angola could then "call their governments to
account where the state budget is not used to improve scarce public
resources, but instead disappears on expensive vanity projects or into the
secret offshore bank accounts of politicians and public officials".
conservatives.com (see paragraph 5)
Ancram vows battle for referendum on EU Constitition
Conservatives will fight "tooth
and nail" to halt the new EU
constitution, Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram has vowed. As
negotiations continued over the text of the new document, he accused the
Government of "throwing in the towel".
Mr Ancram appealed to Conservative Party activists to work to protect
British national "pride" which had been undermined by Labour. Addressing the
annual conference in Blackpool, he renewed calls for a referendum on the
constitution and announced a petition campaign. He explained, "we will fight
this damaging constitution with everything we've got. For a start the
British people have the right to say yes or no in a referendum. Other EU
countries are having referendums to decide. What is wrong with the British
people that we cannot be trusted to decide. We will promote a petition to
Parliament requiring a referendum because even this Prime Minister cannot
ignore forever the collective voice of the British people."
Mr Blair had already "thrown in the towel" in the negotiations and
would not protect British interests, he said. The Swedes, by voting against
the single currency, had proved that nothing was inevitable in Europe. "We
believe in Britain and that means fighting for Britain and that means
opposing the European constitution", he said. "I don't know about you but I
am tired of this Government trying to make me ashamed of being British. I am
fed up with seeing our history rewritten, of Labour ministers apologising
for our past. I have one burning ambition. I want to be proud of my country
The foreign policy of a future Conservative government would "give
Britain back its pride. I am sick and tired of a government that mocks our
traditions, our culture, our currency and even our very Britishness." The
Government was "capitulating" to those who wanted to build a "single
European state", he said. "We want to make the European Union work. We don't
want a tired old Europe, a prisoner of its own bureaucracy, living in a haze
of ingrained anti-Americanism. We want a new Europe of democracies, ready to
serve the ideals of a new generation, working together in a spirit of new
enterprise. A Europe where power flows upwards from nation states and their
peoples and not downwards from Brussels and its remote elites."
Labour's foreign policy had been "a shameful catalogue of abandonment,
betrayal, sell-out, dishonesty and total breach of trust". The people of
Zimbabwe and Burma had been "abandoned" despite promises of action and the
people of Gibraltar betrayed" over "a secret deal to share sovereignty with
Spain". He added, "I have seen the horrors of Mugabe's Zimbabwe. We will not
go down the appeasement road of 'quiet diplomacy'. We will not let up until
Mugabe, his financial backers and his whole brutal regime are gone and gone
A Conservative Government would put national interest at the heart of
its policy and would be "true to our friends and true to our word", he said.
Stronger ties would be built with the Commonwealth and the relationship with
the US made "healthier", Mr Ancram said, attacking "the anti-American
machinations" of the French to undermine NATO.