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

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From The Daily News Online Edition, 9 September

Lawyer sues Mugabe over torture

The African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) is set to hear a
case in which a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer alleges he was tortured and
hounded out of the country by the government last year. Gabriel Shumba, a
human rights lawyer forced to flee Zimbabwe last year, filed a complaint to
the ACHPR last April against the Zimbabwean government. Shumba wants the
ACHPR to find President Robert Mugabe guilty of violating several provisions
of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. Shumba, who claims he
was tortured together with opposition MP Job Sikhala and three other
political activists, is being represented by David Padilla, a United States
human rights lawyer. The Zimbabwean government would be called upon to
defend itself against the allegations. Germain Baricako, the secretary to
the ACHPR said in a letter to Shumba that the commission would hear evidence
on the case when it meets for its 36th session in November. "The secretariat
of the African Commission acknowledges receipt of your communication brought
against Zimbabwe. The communication has been registered as communication
288/2004-Gabriel Shumba/Zimbabwe and has been scheduled for consideration on
seizure by the African Commission at its 36th Ordinary Session," wrote

It was not possible to obtain comment from the Minister of Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, or from George Charamba, the
government spokesman yesterday. Shumba wants the ACHPR to probe the
allegations and force the Zimbabwean government to punish the security
agents involved. The human rights lawyer is demanding compensation for
torture and abuse. Padilla said government secret agents had tortured Shumba
in January last year after the human rights lawyer was arrested as he took
instructions from his client, Sikhala. A report by the ACHPR in July which
accused Zimbabwe of human rights abuses cited Shumba and Sikhala's torture
as an example of Mugabe's intolerance to political opponents. Padilla said
Zimbabwe had violated articles 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 14 of the African Charter
by torturing his client as well as denying him legal assistance,
dispossessing him of his property and harassing him on the basis of
political affiliation.

"The complainant submits that the respondent (Zimbabwean government) has
violated his rights to physical integrity, protection against torture,
protection against arbitrary arrest, fair trial, and freedom of association,
property and work," read part of the submissions by Padilla. Zimbabwe
ratified the African Charter in 1986 and was bound by its statutes. Padilla
said his client was unlikely to get a fair hearing in the case in Zimbabwe
hence the decision to approach the ACHPR. Lawyers yesterday said the ACHPR
did not have powers to force governments to respect its findings. It could,
however, take the matter up with African Union heads of governments if the
country failed to implement its ruling and recommendations. "It's more of a
political move than a legal one. Zimbabwe would obviously be very
embarrassed by the whole case and this might deter it from committing
similar offences in future," said the lawyer who cannot be named.
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MDC posterCelebrate the MDC’s anniversary!

Sat 11th Sept
10am - 2pm
Zimbabwe Grounds, Highfields

Sun 12th Sept
10am - 2pm
White City Arena



Zvakwana was pleased to see the MDC’s exciting posters all over the place. A big pom pom! We the people need more of this outreach so that we can join together in the pursuit of democracy. Now instead of whispering your discontent behind closed doors, Get UP and Stand UP and make your way to Zimbabwe Grounds in Harare and White City Stadium in Bulawayo to seal your participation in the struggle for a better future for Zimbabwe.

"We are going to explain our position to the electorate regarding the 2005 election. Our position is that until such a time that Zanu PF implements the letter and spirit of the Sadc protocol on the principles and guidelines on holding democratic elections we will not participate. This is why we did not participate in Seke because the by-election was going to be held under a flawed electoral system."
- Paul Themba Nyathi

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight
It’s the size of the fight in the dog

Women working for YOUR freedom
Women walk for freedom - ‘You strike a woman and you have struck a rock’
All over the show different groups are trying in their own way to engage in democratic activities. Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) will be walking from Bulawayo through to Harare to expose how unfair and undemocratic the NGO Bill is. The walk, over 2 weeks, will be a form of protest. There is a Zulu saying – Uthinte Umfazi Uthinte Imbokodo – ‘You strike a woman and you have struck a rock’! Since WOZA began in 2002, women have spoken out and participated, they have had a taste of the freedom of expression and assembly. The leaders and activists have had their appetites whetted and they want more not less communication and action. WOZA cannot let the Bill kill our spirit of resistance. Whenever an activity like this is undertaken support is needed. WOZA needs your help. The coordinator is Jennifer Williams Magodonga Mahlangu please be emailing her especially media organisations so as to cover the event.

No to queuing for our basicsDrinking slime – the illegitimate government fails us once more
Every time you turn around these days you are reminded how the zanu pf regime is failing to provide a decent way of life for Zimbabweans. Yes, it is a human right to turn on your tap and get some water to wash the baby, cook, drink and flush shit out the toilet systems. To be speaking plainly what needs to be flushed out of our system is zanu pf due to the fact that they are killing us – one time. Now we see that we are consuming water (if we can get it) that is contaminated by sewage. Reports claim that our taps will be running dry by suicide month – October. Already we are not getting water for days on end! Zvakwana! Enough is very much enough. It is completely disgusting that the small dictator can use billions of burials to build a smart mansion and spend millions of dollars to buy some fancy satellite surveillance systems for his rural home when thousands of hardworking Zimbabweans are denied access to clean water. It is high time that you supported that energetic action group Combined Harare Residents Association who are telling us the truth behind council matters in the fading sunshine city: email We are now requesting that CHRA organise a massive civil disobedience campaign that will bring the smell of outrage right under the noses of chombo and the small dictator.


Bye Bye Bobby
Thank you to Zvakwana activists who have been moving up and down the Borrowdale Road painting Z everywhere. This is a resistance reminder to the mugabes as they cruise down the road on their way to one of their new residences in the northern suburbs. While the rest of Harare suffers water shortages, few street lights, potholes and the like, the small dictator is having roads widened and tarred nicely for his kompressor shock absorbers when he wails around the Brooke area. And we read that baba chatunga was washing himself (lucky him that he has some water to clean his armpits) when golden girl Kirsty backstroked to victory. Apparently now he also thinks of himself as a dolphin because he was in the water at that very time. But it is clear that he is struggling to hold his head above water as the young sharks circle him for power. Bye Bye Bobby.

What is your opinion of the MDC decision not to contest elections?
SW Radio Africa is running some poll on their internet site asking you to say what you think of the MDC pulling from elections. There are some choices that include playing a tactical trump card, failing their responsibilities and throwing in the towel. Go and have your say at

Reply requested from the MDC
We send a very big pom pom to the civic leaders who went down to the notorious central police station to give solidarity to the fearless NCA activist Madhuku. We need more of this as the regime kicks out in frustration. But we are asking why the MDC did not show some similar solidarity for Chamisa? What is their strategy like for supporting their activists? Some answers pliz.

Thanks to the subscribers who wrote in . . .
Thanks to the subscribers who were writing in to tell us what Morgan popped his eyes over. You will be receiving your newspaper subscriptions shortly. Please let us know when they land in your place. Our favourite:

Mr. Tsvangirai is watching johnathan moyo singing his new CD
Back2black and expressing both repressed laughter and total disbelief at his complete lack of talent.
- AM, Harare

Meanwhile Zvakwana resistance music CD flies around the countryside
We have been receiving some numerous requests that our very popular Get UP! Stand UP! CD is made to be a cassette tape. If you would like a copy of this cassette please write to us at and give us your postal address. But sorry for that - this is for Zimbabwe only. And if you write be patient because we are so busy here and there.

Zimbabwe imports milk
What a stupid government we have. There needed to be better sharing of land resources but now we have to import milk from those western countries that mugabe dislikes so much. Dairy farmers say that raw milk supplies to the market have declined by over six million litres over the past year. Milk production has fallen by over 52% since the inception of the land reform programme. Production fell from 18,7 million to the current under 9 million litres over the past four years. Maybe mugabe will also be importing water as well from gay gangsta blair.

Join Zvakwana for news, views and ACTION!


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Mercenaries Accused of Plotting to Overthrow Equatorial Guinea Government
Sentenced in Zimbabwe
Peta Thornycroft
10 Sep 2004, 16:46 UTC

Simon Mann, the purported leader of a mercenary group accused of plotting to
overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea, was sentenced to seven years
in prison in Zimbabwe Friday on weapons charges. Most of the rest of the
suspected mercenaries were sentenced to spend a year in prison for breaking
immigration and aviation laws.
Judge Mishrod Guvamombe said Mr. Mann, a former British soldier, was the
mastermind behind the group's alleged mercenary activities, and sentenced
him to seven years, without chance of appeal.

The saga began in March, when an aircraft with 67 South Africans, mostly
former soldiers, touched down in Harare allegedly to pick up weapons bought
from the Zimbabwe government's defense industries. They were arrested, and
Mr. Mann and two colleagues, who were already in Zimbabwe, were detained as
they were inspecting the arms before they were to be loaded onto the plane.

The two pilots who flew the plane to Zimbabwe from South Africa were
sentenced Friday to 16 months in prison.

The suspected mercenaries all claimed they were on their way to guard a mine
in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The governments of Zimbabwe and
Equatorial Guinea say the men were part of a plot to oust the government in

Two men were acquitted of all charges in Zimbabwe and returned to South
Africa two weeks ago, where they are being questioned by prosecutors in
connection with alleged violation of laws, which ban mercenary activity.

The case also pulled in Mark Thatcher, son of Britain's former prime
minister, Margaret Thatcher. Mr. Thatcher, who is living in Cape Town, is
accused by South African prosecutors of helping finance the ill-fated

Most of the group are poor blacks from Angola and Namibia, who had no jobs
after they left the South African Defense Force ahead of democratic
elections in 1994.

After the trial ended, David Coltart, legal secretary for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, said mercenaries are a blight on
Africa. He said the men had been better treated in comparison to what many
Zimbabweans have endured in detention. He also said the trial was concluded
more speedily than most cases.

Another 14 men are on trial in Equatorial Guinea, in connection with the
same case. One of them, Nick du Toit, a business associate of Simon Mann's,
is facing the death sentence there, if found guilty as charged.
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SA men in Zim may be released after 8 months

September 10, 2004, 20:26

The 67 South African passport holders sentenced by a Zimbabwe court to
between 12 and 16 months imprisonment this afternoon may be released after
eight months. The court has ruled that the men be released for good
behaviour after serving two-thirds of their sentence.

They were convicted on lesser charges in connection with a plot to overthrow
the government of Equatorial Guinea. Simon Mann, the alleged plot leader,
was slapped with a seven year sentence. Family members of the convicted
South Africans say they are devastated. Marge Payne's husband, Ken, received
a 12 month sentence. She is currently in Zimbabwe, but says she never got
the opportunity to see her husband today.

The family of Pietermaritzburg man Simon Witherspoon, who is one of the 65
alleged mercenaries also sentenced today, says they are shocked and
disappointed at the sentence. Johan Steyl, the father of 43-year old Niel
Steyl, the pilot of the ill-fated flight that was stopped in Harare, says he
and his wife did not expect this.

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Zim Online

Fri 10 September 2004

      HARARE: British national Simon Mann, the alleged ring leader of a plot
to stage a coup against the government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, was
today (Friday) sentenced to seven years in jail for trying to illegally buy
weapons from the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI).

      Mann was expressionless when magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe pronounced
the sentence as if the alleged mercenary leader knew his fate well before

      Sixty five other suspected mercenaries, who were in the plane
impounded at Harare International Airport on March 7, were sentenced to 12
months in jail. The two flight crew members, who flew the Malabo bound
plane, which had stopped to pick up arms at the airport, were sentenced to
16 month jail for violating immigration laws. Mann, a former member of
Britain's crack Special Air Services (SAS), was convicted two weeks ago on
charges of trying to illegally buy weapons in Zimbabwe without a licence.

      Mann, who built a fortune thorough mercenary activities in African hot
spots including Sierra Leone and Angola, was at the airport awaiting to load
the weapons into the plane and proceed to Equatorial Guinea when he was

      He and all the other co-accused claimed they were on their way to
guard a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But authorities insisted
the men were on their way to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema

      of the oil rich West African state of Equatorial Guinea. "The accused
was the author of the whole transaction. He was caught while trying to take
the firearms out of the country," said magistrate Guvamombe as he read out
the sentences in a makeshift court room at Harare's Chikurubi Maximum
Security Prison. He said the offences "were well planned and well executed
and that must be reflected in the penalty."

      The families of Mann's co-accused, who were all jailed over the
immigration and aviation offences, sat quietly in the court room as
Guvamombe read out the sentences. Many cried and expressed disappointment
that the six months detention period already served by all the men since
their arrests was not counted in the sentences. "I'm devastated. My husband
is not a mercenary, he is just a cockpit man," said Marge Payne, wife of
flight engineer Ken Payne who was sentenced to 12 months in jail.

      "I thought he was going to get a fine. I can't believe this is
happening. I have sold everything we had to be able to buy air tickets to
come to the hearing. I think it's not just at all," she said.

      Dressed in khaki shorts and shirt Mann, who has lost a lot of weight
since his arrest and looked unkempt with unshaven beard and shoulder length
hair, had himself no friends or relatives in the courtroom. He showed no
emotion as the sentence was handed down. Two of Mann's accomplices, Harry
Carlse and Lourens Horn, were acquitted of weapons offences and returned to
South Africa two weeks ago.

      Mann's aircraft, valued at more than US$3 million as well as about
US$100 000 seized from from the plane when it was impounded, are now set to
be forfeited to the State.

      It is believed the money was to be used to complete the payment for
the weapons and the whole mission in Equatorial Guinea. ZDI managing
director Tshinga Dube was reportedly with Mann at the airport to pick the
balance for the weapons he had sold.

      Maps of Equatorial Guinea and operational codes were found in the
impounded aircraft, strengthening authorities' claims that the men were
indeed bound for Equatorial Guinea and not the Congo as they claimed.

      Guvamombe described the sentences as "moderate" but said they would
nonetheless "send a clear message to others who harbour similar intentions."

      The sentences are the first to be handed down in connection with the
alleged coup which has sucked in Mark Thatcher, the son of the former
British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

      Thatcher was arrested about three weeks ago and charged with
bankrolling the coup. He will appear in court in two weeks time to answer
charges related to the coup plot. Thatcher has denied any involvement.

      Another 19 men, including eight South Africans, are on trial in
Malabo, accused of being the advance party for the group that was arrested
in Harare on March 7.

      Nick du Toit, the leader of the advance party, has already admitted
his involvement in the coup plot. He faces the death sentence in Equatorial

      Mann's lawyer Jonathan Samkange described his client's sentence as
excessive adding that "it (the sentence) induces a sense of shock. He
nonetheless said the defence team would not appeal the sentences. Guvamombe
made no reference to the alleged coup plot throughout the sentencing. ENDS.
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A soggy start: the Edgbaston crowd braves the rain © Getty Images


Mirror, UK

FANS SHUN ENGLAND'S JOKE START No-hopers first up for Vaughan

      Mike Walters

      MICHAEL VAUGHAN leads England into the Champions Trophy today in front
of a near empty Edgbaston against a joke team who lost to the United States.

      As a showcase for hosting the mini-World Cup, England could not have
been dealt a more duff hand than an opening fixture against Zimbabwe.

      And despite presiding over an unprecedented clean sweep of seven
consecutive Test victories, Vaughan will be greeted by a sparse 5,000 crowd
this morning when he deserves a tickertape parade in an open-top bus.

      Seldom, if ever, in recent times has the public delivered such a
damning verdict at the box office on the poverty of England's opposition -
and perhaps the political regime who sponsor them.

      Since England boycotted their World Cup tie in Harare 19 months ago,
Zimbabwe's team has been cleansed along largely racial lines.

      And they have become so useless that they even lost by four wickets to
the USA in a warm-up match this week.

      Former players argue that when the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh
become such easy pickings, international cricket becomes a devalued
currency. And instead of filling Edgbaston to capacity for what should be a
walkover, streetwise Brummies have not even been tempted by the hope of a
Freddie Flintoff blitz.

      They are saving their disposable income for a potential semi-final
between favourites Australia and 13-2 second favourites England on Tuesday
week .

      Vaughan admitted: "I think our performances and the entertaining
cricket we have played this summer deserves a decent audience.

      "You certainly don't want to see any mismatches but for the good of
the game, the more countries who play cricket, the better.

      "We are preparing for Zimbabwe in the same way that we would prepare
to face any other side.

      "We have watched video footage of their recent one-day series against
Australia and we won't take them lightly. "These games can be a banana skin,
but if we replicate our performances against India in the NatWest Challenge
we will be fine.

      "It's important to get off to a good start because this is a huge
tournament and we believe we can do well - three good performances and
you're in the final.

      "But I'm not sure we deserve to be ranked among the favourites."

      A game nobody wants to see, against a team nobody thinks England
should even be playing, is hardly a spectacle to set before a worldwide TV

      And it could be a grizzly reminder of the last time England staged a
major one-day tournament. At the 1999 World Cup, the opening ceremony at
Lord's consisted of a few smoke bombs, Tony Blair's welcome speech was
sabotaged by a crackling loudspeaker and England were knocked out before
they had even released the official theme song.

      And as if the event needed any more dark shadows cast across it, the
England and Wales Cricket Board last night announced they had agreed to a
five-match one-day series in Zimbabwe this winter.

      To nationwide groans, the lionhearts of Lord's were too weak to defy
the International Cricket Council and caved in to the remote threat of
suspension from Test cricket.

      But the players' union remain to be convinced and Vaughan's troops
have yet to commit themselves to the trip.

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Don't believe the anti-hype

The Wisden Verdict by Emma John

September 10, 2004

From end of the very first over, it looked like this game was going to live
up to the hype. Or rather, the anti-hype. The crowd was as sparse as the
gloom was thick. Tinashe Panyangara, an 18-year-old playing in his seventh
one-day international, ran in to bowl the first ball of the Zimbabwe
innings, and sprayed it so wide that it barely touched the cut strip.

Thirteen balls later, England were licking their lips. Panyangara's first
nine deliveries had included seven wides; he'd even had to change to round
the wicket in an attempt to bowl a legal ball. He bore it well, and his
team-mates gathered round to lend support, but the crowd were already
crowing. Oh yes, this was the Zimbabwe we'd heard all about.

So you can only imagine the brooding in the England dressing-room when play
was finally called off for the day, with five of their top order out to
ordinary shots and, meaning no disrespect, ordinary bowlers. Sure, England
are still in a decent enough position to win the game tidily, if Steve
Harmison is anything like on form. But in those quiet moments of
introspection, you wonder who's going to feel the most annoyed with

Will it be Marcus Trescothick, who hit 10 off 15 balls, only to bring his
fun to an abrupt end with an unwise cut? Michael Vaughan, caught at second
slip, having just pulled two consecutive balls for six? Perhaps it's Andrew
Flintoff, whose cameo was like a haunting by that other Freddie, the one he
has so happily left behind. He hit one of his trademark drives over cover,
the field dropped back, and a few balls later he spooned his next attempt to
Douglas Hondo - now even better placed to take the catch as he ran back from

England seemed well enough equipped to deal with the damp in the air and on
the pitch, and to put away the worst of the Zimbabwean deliveries with
complete comfort. What they couldn't seem to do was control their own
ambition. Andrew Strauss was a case in point, trying to be a shade too
clever as he attempted an edge to third man, only for Tatenda Taibu to give
a nice demonstration of his springiness as he took it far to his left.

By the halfway stage England were 142 for 4; they had scored with deceptive
ease, but only one batsman, Vikram Solanki, had made the most of the
situation and he too was out before the early close. Zimbabwe - especially
Edward Rainsford and Vusi Sibanda who both claimed their first international
wickets - can be pleased with today's efforts. They have given this
particular script a re-write.

Emma John is features editor of The Wisden Cricketer.

© Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
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From Africa Confidential (UK), 10 September

Don't criticise it, nationalise it

The Zimbabwe government has taken powers to nationalise the assets of people
it regards as enemies of the state. It works like this. A statutory
instrument (part of the trumpeted anti-corruption campaign) allows the
government to arrest, detain and investigate indefinitely anyone suspected
of a crime. On 3 September President Robert Mugabe issued the Presidential
Powers (Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies) Regulations,
2004. This allows the government to appoint administrators to control
companies that owe money to state bodies, including banks. In the last eight
months the Central Bank of Zimbabwe has loaned out Zimbabwe $1.8 trillion
(US$327 million) to both private and public companies.
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Ghana Review

Minority leader mediate in Zimbabwe crisis
Accra (Gh) - 10 September 2004 - The minority leader of Parliament, Alban S.
Bagbin, honoured an invitation by Parliamentarians for Global Action, to
moderate in the parliamentary dialogue among legislators from the United
Kingdom and Zimbabwe which took place in London yesterday.

The dialogue is meant to improve relationship between Britain and Zimbabwe
and at the same time improve good governance in Zimbabwe. PGA is a unique
network of more than 1,350 legislators from 110 parliaments engaged in a
range of action-oriented initiatives in the world as well as their various
countries. In his acceptance letter to the organization, Bagbin said he
deemed it an honour to be given an opportunity to serve the course of
humanity by participating in the dialogue as a moderator. Other Ghanaian
executive members are Ken Dzirasah, who is the president of the executive
committee and Ms. Theresa Ameley Tagoe, who is also a member of the
councillors of the PGA.
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Water shortages force schools to close

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 10 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - Water supplies to huge swathes of Zimbabwe's
capital city, Harare, will be cut to just six hours a day because of severe

Oriel Boys High school in Harare has been without steady water supplies for
several weeks. The school authorities have now decided to start the new
school term but hold classes only until 11 am each day.

Pupils milling around the school entrance, who have put up with daily water
cuts by the city council, said they were worried about the impact the latest
developments would have on the school schedule.

"I hope we will be having normal water supplies by then [next week] because
we cannot afford any disruptions in the third term," a pupil told IRIN.

This is the most important term in the Zimbabwean education year, when final
examinations are written Some schools, however, failed to reopen this week
as a result of water shortages that have left thousands of residents without
constant supplies since last year.

A teacher at one school in the capital said on condition of anonymity that
the situation was desperate. "Toilets here are closed - we cannot use them
because there is no water."

Lake Chivero supplies water to Harare and satellite towns such as Norton,
Chitungwiza and Ruwa. Harare has also reportedly reduced supplies of water
to these areas in an attempt to reduce consumption. The city's water
problems have been blamed on the ageing water reticulation equipment at the
water works.

Former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri told IRIN that residents of the capital
city and satellite towns were consuming contaminated water and claimed that
information he had obtained revealed that Harare could run dry next month.
There was a grave risk to residents' health, he alleged.

"The [water] treatment plants are terribly bad and Lake Chivero is badly
polluted. The water currently being consumed has a bad smell because of the
untreated raw sewage flowing into the lake and I have since stopped drinking
it," he said.

Some residents have called for the intervention of the ministry of health
and child welfare as the situation was deteriorating. Another resident said
it was high time the health ministry intervened if a disease outbreak was to
be avoided.

"Just imagine children being unable to use toilets. We have resorted to
digging pits in our gardens, which we use for relieving ourselves. Can you
imagine the risk we are putting our children under?"

He said residents in his neighbourhood were contemplating holding a peaceful
demonstration to show their frustrations with the way the city council was
conducting its business.

Professor Chris Magadza of the University of Zimbabwe this week warned of
the danger of microcystin levels rising well above World Health Organisation
recommended limits in Lake Chivero. Microcystins cause cancers, intestinal
disorders and damage human male testicular chromosomes, he explained.

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Hunger returns for vulnerable households

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BULAWAYO, 10 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - Some households in drought-prone southern
Zimbabwe are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, despite the
government's insistence that there will be a bumper harvest, aid workers
told IRIN this week.

A tour through the traditionally dry districts of Bulilima in Matabeleland
North province, and Mangwe and Beitbridge in Matabeleland South, found that
although some families were still subsisting on last year's harvest, others
had exhausted their supplies.

"Since non-governmental organisations such as the World Food Programme and
World Vision stopped distributing food aid, the situation has become
increasingly bad for most people here," said the village headman, Tobokani
Tshuma, at Matjinge area in Bulilima.

Some households in Bulilima had resorted to barter, trading earthenware pots
across the border in Botswana for food. Others with few employment
prospects, IRIN was told, were relying on the generosity of their slightly
better off neighbours.

The government's cancellation of an assessment mission by the UN's Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO)/World Food Programme in April means there has
been no independent survey of crop production this year. But the authorities
insist that Zimbabwe will deliver a record harvest and in response,
international food agencies have suspended general feeding.

Despite the government's upbeat production forecast, the provincial
governors of Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South made a
joint appeal for aid in July, warning that people were already facing

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, made up of humanitarian
organisations and government representatives, reported earlier in the year
that about 2.2 million rural people would not be able to meet all their food
needs on their own between July and November, and would require at least
52,000 mt of food assistance.

The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) said in its food security
update for July: "The majority of the food-insecure households have already
started relying on food borrowed from neighbours, friends and relatives, or
by exchanging their labour for food and cutting down on meals."

Beitbridge is a semi-arid district on the border with South Africa. "It is
common knowledge that this area is traditionally dry and, over the years,
people's yields have been complemented by aid food. But, now that
distribution has stopped, hundreds of us are literally starving," said
55-year-old Menart Mazhale, carrying a pumpkin given to him by a neighbour
for his family's evening meal.

According to the Food Security Network (Fosenet), an umbrella body
representing local humanitarian organisations, the food situation in
southern areas like Masvingo, Manicaland, Beitbridge, Bulilima, Buhera,
Mutare and Mangwe was troubling.

"The situation is not good at all. It is quite clear that many households
have already finished the grain from their last harvest. We have done a
broad assessment and the outcome has pointed to a huge deficit that calls
for immediate food aid," Fosenet programme manager, Jonathan Kafesu, told

The government has promised a maize harvest of 2.4 million mt, but Kafesu
said the depots of the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB) were not
brimming with the maize that would be expected from that level of

"Our assessment has revealed that most GMB depots are empty, and since no
one is allowed to buy maize besides GMB, we wonder where all the maize has
gone to? It's a fact that people are starving, and something certainly needs
to be done about it," Kafesu stressed.

An agreed figure for Zimbabwe's cereal output remains unresolved. FAO has
predicted 950,000 mt against a national requirement of 1.8 mt, while FEWSNET
has estimated 1.1 million mt, including urban production.

Parts of southern Zimbabwe are already facing food security problems, but
general countrywide shortages are expected to hit particularly hard during
next year's lean season - the traditional gap between harvests from January
to March. Some analysts suggest that although the crisis would not be as
severe as 2002, it could match the level of hardship experienced in 2003,
when 4.6 million people were in need of food aid.

Agriculture minister Joseph Made said he had no comment when contacted by

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   School drop-outs on the increase

                  IRINnews Africa, Fri 10 Sep 2004

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

©  irin

An increasing number of children are leaving school

BULAWAYO, - Zimbabwe's economic crisis has resulted in a record number of
school dropouts as parents struggle to pay the fees, and the rate of
illiteracy among children could rise even further, the UN Children's Fund
(UNICEF) has warned.

The economic crisis, coupled with HIV/AIDS, is threatening to erode the
gains made in education since independence in 1980.

"Children have difficulties getting fees, uniforms, adequate learning
materials ... this has led to dropouts and, in cases where children
continued to go to school, the environment was not good. Many children share
[the] little resources available, which compromises the quality of
education," said UNICEF spokeswoman Shantha Bloemen.

She told IRIN thousands of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, particularly those
in rural communities, had been the most affected as they lack the resources
needed to meet educational costs.

"The combination of AIDS and economic hardship has meant children have to
fend for themselves and end up on the streets. UNICEF is spearheading the
Harare Taskforce on Street Children and has provided grants to various
community-based groups that are helping these children in both Bulawayo and
Harare," she added.

According to Bloemen, Zimbabwe experienced a net primary school enrolment
ratio of 82 percent in 1984, four years after independence. This figure had
risen to 90 percent by 2000, but because of the economic crisis that has
gripped the country since then, it dropped to 65 percent last year. She also
noted that about 25 percent of those who graduate from primary schools could
not afford to proceed to secondary level because of the current harsh
economic conditions.

In the prevailing political and economic conditions, children begging have
become a common sight in cities and towns. This situation, Bloemen warned,
needed immediate attention, as education was the only conduit through which
they could escape poverty.

Earlier this year UNICEF and the Harare Taskforce on Children Living on the
Streets undertook a survey in the capital, which revealed that a high
percentage of children found on the city's streets were virtually
illiterate, although they had a strong desire for education.

While UNICEF plans to assist dropouts in a programme to be run from 2005 to
2006, Bloemen noted that "it has been difficult to mobilise additional
[donor] resources to assist [children in need of education], since there is
uncertainty over the land issue".

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The War That Might Not Have Been

Wilson Johwa*

BULAWAYO, Sep 10 (IPS) - Two years after Zimbabwean troops returned from the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe's public remains largely
unaware of the activities of the mission.

Government has kept a tight lid on information about the controversial
deployment, which was allegedly carried out to prevent Congolese President
Laurent Kabila from being ousted by rebels. Kabila's son, Joseph, has since
succeeded his father as head of state.

Getting combatants to share their battle stories is also no easy feat. But
in unguarded moments, some of them reveal how it feels to be in the
Congolese rainforest, encircled by Ugandan- and Rwandan-backed rebels.

The conversation lightens when it turns to the subject of Congolese women,
whose neatly-chiseled features are often cited as one of the reasons why so
many Zimbabwean soldiers quickly achieved fluency in Lingala, a language
spoken in the DRC.

Little wonder, the troops note, that scores of Ugandan soldiers are said to
have married Congolese women by the time they were withdrawn in terms of
various peace agreements signed in 2002. DRC government and rebel
representatives are now included in a transitional government.

According to press reports, complaints have been brought to Zimbabwean
Defence Forces Chief Constantine Chiwenga by indignant wives of certain
senior army officers, who have allegedly brought home second and even third
wives from the Congo.

For five years, about 12,000 soldiers from Zimbabwe helped prop up the
fragile Congolese government - along with forces from Angola, Namibia and at
one time even Chad and Sudan. The Zimbabweans arrived in the DRC after
Kabila had fallen out with neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda, his former

Despite the scale of the Zimbabwean deployment, it now receives little
attention in a country besieged by other political and economic woes -
although the government-controlled media sometimes refer to the troops'
alleged triumphs in the DRC. Even the cost of the deployment remains

Initially, the government claimed that Kinshasa was footing all Zimbabwe's
expenses in the Congo. Later, it was said that concessions in the mineral-
and timber-rich DRC would be used to offset the cost of the deployment. At
the time, it was estimated that a million U.S. dollars a day were being
spent on the mission.

Economist John Robertson says it is possible that some money was made
through the exploitation of timber, diamonds and the like: "But the question
is whether the money came back to the country or is lying in Swiss bank

The United Nations has implicated top generals, ruling party politicians and
other members of Zimbabwe's elite in illegal resource exploitation in the
Congo - along with individuals in Uganda and Rwanda.

Robertson puts the cost of the DRC operation at about one billion U.S.
dollars, but adds that this estimate could prove conservative if the loss of
several fighter aircraft was taken into consideration.

An economist with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Tendai Makwavava,
claims that the country's economy has been critically affected by the
unbudgeted spending used to deploy troops.

"We are failing to import electricity, fuel and pay our debts because of a
shortage of foreign currency, because the government siphoned off the forex
in financing the war," she notes.

Authorities have also been reluctant to reveal the number of fatalities the
troops suffered in the DRC, and many remain unaccounted for. Three months
ago, however, 47 were confirmed dead after relatives pushed for an enquiry
in order to finalise the estates of the soldiers.

"People don't have information, they don't know what happened in the Congo,"
says Gorden Moyo of the local pressure group Bulawayo Agenda. And, it's
unlikely that government will give up any more details without a fight.

"It is not to the advantage of the ruling party to make those revelations
considering the elections coming next year," notes political commentator
Eldred Musunungure.

Even if death didn't come in the DRC - it may well be shadowing many of the
troops now back in Zimbabwe: soldiers who had sexual encounters with
Congolese women could have returned home with the HI-virus. "There were
sexual as well as military casualties," says Moyo.

Earlier this year, the Zimbabwe Human Development Report for 2003, produced
with the support of the UN Development Programme, revealed that 75 percent
of soldiers die of AIDS within a year of being discharged from the military.

Despite the unpopularity of their deployment amongst ordinary citizens,
certain soldiers are loath to speak ill of the DRC mission.

A man who identifies himself as Sabelo claims that his unit, which guarded
Kinshasa's airport for four year, showed a local population used to
strong-arm military tactics what "honorable soldiering" was all about.

He also found the hard-currency allowance of 12 U.S. dollars a day
attractive. Converted on a black market that was thriving as the Zimbabwean
dollar declined, this allowance was worth its weight in gold.

"You'd think to yourself, I'll buy a house, and then a car," he told IPS. A
man who goes by the name of Munya was able to buy two houses - one in the
working class suburb of Cowdray Park. Due to the concentration of homes
bought with soldiers' allowances from the Congo, a section of this area is
now informally known as the "DRC".

Sabelo notes that morale took a dive when a decision was made to pay the
soldiers the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent of the allowances - converted at the
official, reduced exchange rate.

Even at this point, however, there were lessons to be learnt from what he
terms the "culture of trading" in the DRC: "In the Congo, even if you see a
doctor, he'll be selling something. Even at a (government) minister's house
there's likely be something on sale."

Ironically, these skills have now been brought back to a country where there
is little to sell - and even fewer people to buy it.

* With additional reporting by Stanley Karombo in Harare. (END/2004)
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ICC sets dates for Zimbabwe racism hearing
Fri 10 September, 2004 17:30

LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - An International Cricket Council (ICC) hearing
into allegations of racism in Zimbabwe cricket will take place in Harare
between September 29 and October 1.

Fifteen white Zimbabwe players were sacked this year after refusing to play
for their country following the removal of Heath Streak as captain. The
rebels have accused the selectors of racially biased selection policies.

An ICC statement released on Friday said India's Solicitor General Goolam
Vahanvati, and South African High Court Judge Steven Majiedt would conduct
the hearing.

"Serious allegations have been made and it is important that these matters
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New Zimbabwe

Mbeki: 'Mugabe using violence to cling to power'

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 09/10/2004 23:13:57
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has no intention of holding free and fair
elections, according to Moeletsi Mbeki, the deputy chairman of the South
African Institute of International Affairs and brother to President Thabo

Mbeki who worked in Zimbabwe for 10 years as a journalist said Mugabe's Zanu
PF had mobilised a "massive" structure of political violence against
opponents in order to win a two thirds majority in parliamentary elections
next March.

"The Zanu PF government, has mobilised a structure of violence against the
opposition and against the population in general, which is massive," Mbeki
told the latest issue of Mineweb, an international mining publication
focusing on mining finance and corporate news.

"I talked to one of my old friends - I was an old supporter of Zanu PF
myself in the old days, and I still talk to them - and I was talking to one
of the bigwigs in Zanu PF a few weeks ago, and he was telling me 'look, what
we are going to do is make sure we win two-thirds of the majority, and then
we will see what happens'. Now, how do you make sure you win two-thirds of
the vote unless you are not planning to have a free and fair election?"

In the past week, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said
violence against its suppoorters was on the increase, also accusing the
police of intimidation.

Nelson Chamisa, an MDC MP and leader of the party's youth wing was arrested
for addressing a meeting in his own house under harsh new security laws.
Police also arrested Lovemore Madhuku, leader of the National Constitutional
Assembly for a breach of the same laws after leading a public demonstration
against a new Bill which seeks to outlaw non-governmental organisations.

Mbeki said: "Zanu PF have also so destroyed the core of their own economy,
which was commercial agriculture and peasant agriculture. They have
destroyed that part of the economy. I was reading that the tobacco crop is
only a quarter of what it was in 2000, so in a way Zimbabwe is finished, it
is almost dead and the people who are in power are determined to stay in

He said President Mbeki was faced with a policy crisis on Zimbabwe because
any criticism of Mugabe's regime could be interpreted as interference in the
running of a sovereign country.

"I think the issue of Zimbabwe for our government, for the ANC government in
particular, is a very complex one. Firstly the ANC never supported Mugabe,
it supported Joshua Nkomo. So Mugabe, what can I say, he twists the arm of
the ANC and says, 'Well, now it's your turn to support me'. So this is one
of the problems we are faced with in Zimbabwe. Secondly, Zimbabwe is a very
tribally-conscious society. Now the Shona, who were the dominant tribe in
Zimbabwe, are very conscious, the ones in Zanu PF are very conscious, of the
Ndebele having conquered their country in the past, and of the whites from
South Africa having conquered their country in the past. So again they are
constantly saying, 'You people, you have designs on our country'. So if we
turn around and say, 'Support democracy in your country", they will say,
;Ah, you're trying to have another conquest of our country and are trying to
dictate to us'.

"So the South African government is in a very, very tricky position from the
historical perspective, but also we always forget we have a new government.
The ANC government is a new government, it is not experienced in foreign
policies. It is still finding its way. If old governments like the British
government and the American government can make big mistakes like in the
Middle East, imagine what a baby government like the ANC government, which
it is, a baby government, might do in issues of international relations," he

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