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

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September 14, 2003


Shutdown of The Daily News a Violent Blow To Freedom.


The move by the illegitimate regime Mugabe to shut down The Daily News is not only a violent blow to freedom, but a confirmation of the lawlessness of the regime which has proceeded to use the partisan Zimbabwe Republic Police to shut down the operations of the ANZ without even bothering to obtain a court order authorising the action. The move re-affirms the anti-democratic and dictatorial instincts of the Mugabe regime and provides further evidence of the regime’s disregard for human rights and the rule of law. The Supreme Court ruling that the Daily News application on the constitutionality of AIPPA cannot be heard until The Daily News has first registered with the Media Commission does not empower the state to close down the paper. The procedures provided in the law for dealing with an unregistered newspaper should be complied with. Resort to extra legal self help measures by the regime only serves to underline the regime’s contempt for the rule of law and due process.


Over the last few years, The Daily News has played a crucial role in keeping the flickering flame of democracy alive in Zimbabwe. Its honest and courageous news reports in the face of state persecution, including the bombing of its printing press, the incessant arrest of its journalists and the banning of the paper in many parts of Zimbabwe by militias and rogue war veterans endeared it to the long suffering people of Zimbabwe.


The private press has, in the past three years been forced to operate under exceptionally difficult circumstances. It has faced threats not only from Zanu PF thugs and members of the security forces but also the draconian laws passed by the regime.


The regime continues to trample on all the rights and freedoms of Zimbabweans with impunity. Sadly there are some nations and international organizations that continue to voice support for this violent regime and thus giving it the determination to continue repressing the people.


In light of this anti-democratic move, those calling for Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Commonwealth to be lifted and for other punitive measures to be rescinded must now think again. It is morally reprehensible and woefully misguided to rehabilitate the Mugabe regime into the community of nations. In the light of severe assault on the freedoms of the people to receive information and to express themselves through an independent daily paper, it is time that we all stood up to defend our rights. In these circumstances we call upon the international community to stringently enforce the existing measures against those elements of the rogue regime which are responsible for the anarchy prevailing in the country. We further demand that those who are responsible for this latest attack on our freedoms be included in the list of those targeted for travel bans and related measures. We find it astonishing that the Chairman of the Media Commission, who is supposed to be impartial in the administration of the draconian AIPPA is himself behaving in such a despicably partisan manner. It is clear that, it is impossible for The Daily News to receive fair and impartial treatment from a man  who is displaying crass and vindictive bias against The Daily News.


We the people of Zimbabwe will not sit back and allow the regime to strip us of our freedoms. We will do everything in our power to ensure that the Daily News is allowed to operate again. In the meantime, we call upon all Zimbabweans to defend their freedoms of expression and information by starting a consumer boycott of all state newspapers, such as The Herald, The Sunday Mail, The Chronicle, and The Sunday News. The closure of the Daily News is clearly calculated to protect these state newspapers and to deny the people access to the truth by forcing them to be subjected to the endless propaganda and falsehoods published by the state newspapers.  We appeal to all freedom loving advertisers and readers of newspapers to support the consumer boycott with immediate effect. It is our very freedoms, our right to information, our right to the truth which it is challenged. If we allow this fatal blow on our freedoms to pass, the n we would be surrendering to tyranny and we would thereby lose our sovereignty as a people. God Forbid!




Paul T Nyathi,

Secretary for Information and Publicity.

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Outrage at Zimbabwe paper closure
Guards at the offices of the Daily News
The paper insists part of the media law is unconstitutional
There has been widespread condemnation at Zimbabwe's decision to shut down the country's only independent newspaper.

Media groups criticised the closure of the Daily News, while the Commonwealth warned it could prompt tougher action against President Robert Mugabe's government.

Police closed down the offices of the private publication on Friday, after a court ruled the day before that it was operating illegally.

The closure robs the country of one of the few alternative voices in an increasingly restricted space
Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa

The paper's editor Francis Mdlongwa told the BBC they would comply with the Supreme Court order, but would still challenge media laws.

The ruling was made because the paper had failed to register with the state Media and Information Commission (MIC), under new media laws introduced after Mr Mugabe's re-election last year.

'Major attack'

In Zimbabwe, the National Editors' Forum said the decision was a sign of desperation by the Zimbabwe Government, which is trying to tackle a severe economic crisis.

A London-based spokesman for the 54-nation Commonwealth called the paper's closure "a major attack on the freedom of the press".

The Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said: "The closure robs the country of one of the few alternative voices in an increasingly restricted space where Zimbabweans can freely express themselves."

Staff were ordered out of the newspaper's building in the capital, Harare, on Friday evening.

About 20 police officers - some armed with rifles - arrived at the Daily News' office in central Harare, one of newspaper's reporters told AFP news agency.

Correspondents say it is not clear if the closure is intended to be permanent.

Ruling challenged

The South African news agency, SAPA, reports that the paper's owners are due to appear in court on Monday to face charges of running an illegal newspaper.

But the agency, quoting lawyers, says the paper hopes to be able to reopen through a loophole in the controversial press laws.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe signed the controversial law after his re-election

The BBC's Alistair Leithead, reporting from neighbouring South Africa, said the Daily News was the only independent voice of the people in Zimbabwe.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Saturday that the paper played a crucial role in keeping democracy alive in Zimbabwe.

It called on readers and advertisers to hit back with a boycott of state-owned newspapers


But Media and Information Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso, speaking to Reuters news agency, said there was freedom of the press in Zimbabwe.

"But there is no freedom to act as an outlaw," he said, claiming that almost all other private newspapers which applied to the commission were registered.

In January, Zimbabwe's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo accused the Daily News of deliberately flouting a properly constituted law and therefore being disrespectful to the judiciary and the parliament.

But the publishers of the Daily News - the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) - said the MIC had refused to accredit the journalists working for the newspaper.

More than a dozen journalists have been charged under the media law, which President Mugabe signed soon after his re-election in 2002.

Among them were several Daily News reporters and a correspondent for Britain's Guardian newspaper who was later deported.

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Mugabe has final chance to redeem himself
September 13, 2003, 04:14 PM

Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean President, is under increasing pressure to
crackdown on top government officials that grabbed farms under the
controversial land reform programme.

This comes amidst reports that half the cabinet distributed farms to
themselves, it's a challenge that political analysts say could embarrass the

Many thought Mugabe would use this opportunity to explain what steps will be
taken against the land grabbing officials.

He was laying to rest one of the country's national heroes, as newspapers
reported how the land reform had gone wrong. Some of the accused officials
were there, denying the allegations.

Analysts believe that this could be Mugabe's final opportunity to redeem

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In the mind of Mugabe

Sousa Jamba has mixed feelings about Brothers Under the Skin, Christopher
Hope's attempt to understand tyrants

Saturday September 13, 2003
The Guardian

Brothers Under the Skin: Travels in Tyranny
by Christopher Hope
280pp, Macmillan, £17.99
I was recently with some friends in the bar of the Freedom Hotel in Mwanza,
Tanzania's second-largest city, on the shores of Lake Victoria. The news on
television was that Robert Mugabe had just been given a standing ovation by
delegates at the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference in the
capital, Dar es Salaam. Over their bottles of Kilimanjaro beer, my friends
made clear their admiration for the Zimbabwean president. To them, he was an
African hero, a black man brave enough to stand up to a confederacy of
arrogant muzungus backed by America and Britain.

My friends, like the many supporters of Mugabe throughout Africa, have no
time for arguments suggesting their hero has not only feet of clay but hands
dripping with blood. To them, all those opposed to him, including thousands
of black Zimbabweans, have been duped by the west. In Africa, Zimbabwe is
becoming a highly emotive issue; and Mugabe has managed, by appealing to
crude racial solidarity, to win many hearts and minds.

Brothers Under the Skin is supposed to be a journey and a meditation through
tyrannies around the world - including Mugabe's. The underlying premise here
is that all dictatorships have similar traits. As Hope describes his many
sojourns in Zimbabwe, he recounts his impressions of the Soviet Union, East
Germany, the former Yugoslavia and Vietnam, stressing their similarity to
Mugabe's reign of terror. Sadly, what promises to be highly edifying and
enlightening juxtaposition from an obviously knowledgeable and talented
writer ends up as a mishmash, albeit one with some value. There is a
thinner, more vigorous book trying to get out of this cobbled work, some of
which has already appeared in magazines and newspapers in the west.

Many have wanted to know how Mugabe, the central subject of the book, went
from being a universally acknowledged hero of the liberation struggle in
southern Africa to yet another African dictator. In his efforts to explain
Mug-abe the dictator, Hope compares him with Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect
of apartheid. Hope, who is South African, spent his childhood in
Johannesburg in a suburb where Dr Verwoerd had been his neighbour. I was not
convinced by the comparison. Mugabe has increasingly proved to be ruthless
and thoroughly evil; yet there is so much sui generis about him.

Among the many theories explaining Mugabe's autocracy is that his late
Ghanaian wife, Sally, a significant figure in her own right in
liberation-movement circles, had served as a corrective to her husband's
authoritarian tendencies. After her death, Mugabe married Grace Marufu, many
years his junior, and that is when the rot, it is argued, started. There
were the shopping trips to Paris, the acquisition of expensive properties,
blatant nepotism and corruption. Suddenly, Comrade Mugabe, the staunch
Marxist, had turned into yet another African dictator, accompanied by a
grasping, venal wife. Although Brothers Under the Skin tries to pry into
Mugabe's background, stating that his father abandoned his mother when he
was a child, and that he was then raised as a strict Catholic, it does not
go much further.

In a particularly vivid episode, Hope meets an elderly Ian Smith, the
Rhodesian leader now living next to the Cuban embassy. Smith, predictably,
berates Mugabe and reminisces about the good old days when the country was
under his rule. Hope, quite rightly, dismisses Smith as mendacious and
slightly deluded. Smith's fellow whites do not come out well in this book;
they are shown to be myopic, bigoted, lazy and complacent. While this might
be the case, it is worth noting that ordinary Zimbabweans are not filled
with as much venom against their white compatriots as Mugabe and his
cohorts. Also, many of these whites are being received with open arms by
neighbouring Zambia and Mozambique, which value their skills.

Much has been said about Mugabe's magnanimity in reaching out to the white
community after independence, especially after he had been treated so badly
by the Smith regime. Could it be that, ever the astute politician, he had
read the public's mood and concluded that a reconciliatory stance towards
the whites would help him to consolidate his hold on power? Mugabe needed
first to crush his black opponents who posed a greater threat to him. That
was why he was unforgiving to the Zapu dissident followers of Joshua Nkomo,
who abounded in Matabeleland. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed,
with the help of the notorious North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade.

In a memorable chapter, Hope meets Enos Nkala, the main architect of
Gukurahundi, as the ferocious campaign in Matabeleland came to be known.
Hope finds Nkala dispirited, a born-again Christian, in his house in
Bulawayo. Nkala is scathing about Mugabe and claims, among other things,
that the president had had cancer which has now gone to his brain. As Hope
says, all these stories about Mugabe are difficult to verify because the man
has become increasingly mysterious.

Mugabe has not always been bad, and his achievements, which Brothers Under
the Skin does not mention, were once significant. I can still remember when,
growing up as an Angolan refugee in Zambia, Zimbabweans used to laugh at us
for being an impoverished lot. We had to queue for cooking oil, mealie-meal,
soap and much else. Our brothers to the south never had to suffer these
privations. The Zimbabwean educational system was also highly impressive.
Zimbabwe was producing nurses, doctors, engineers and other professionals.
What is truly sad about Mugabe's eventual misrule is not only the
displacement of the white farmers but the massive migration of black
professionals to South Africa, Britain and America.

Young, bright, black Zimbabweans are fleeing Mugabe's reign of terror
because he is only capable of dealing with an opposition through violent
means. This is, after all, the man who once boasted that he had several
degrees in violence. And intimes of violence there are always men ready to
carry it out - like the late Dr Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi who, before his
death, was the head of the notorious war veterans. Hope has a whole chapter
devoted to the Polish-educated doctor, whose surgery in Harare was at one
point turned into a torture chamber.

Despite its jerkiness, Brothers Under the Skin is worth reading because of
the limpidity of Hope's prose, and the solid insights into aspects of the
Mugabe regime. My friends at the Freedom Hotel will certainly dismiss it as
a tirade from another bitter white man. For many Africans, the Mugabe
phenomenon can be seen only through the crude prism of race. I wish they
were more aware of recent east African history. After all, there was once,
across the lake by which we stood, another black hero. To the delight of
many, he made white men carry him on a palanquin and threw out the Asians.
His name was Idi Amin.

Sousa Jamba's books include Patriots (Viking), an autobiographical novel of
the Angolan civil war.

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Banned Zim paper to fight back
13/09/2003 18:28  - (SA)

Harare - The owners of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper that was
closed down on Friday night are to appear in court on Monday on charges of
"illegally" operating a newspaper.

However, they also said they were hopeful that the critical independent
Daily News would be able to resume business on the same day through a
loophole in the notorious press law under which it was banned.

About 50 paramilitary police armed with automatic rifles stormed into the
offices of the newspaper in central Harare last night and drove out all
staff, telling them that the paper was "banned."

The previous day, the pro-government supreme court declared that the Daily
News was "illegal" because its owner, locally based Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe, had not registered for a licence from the state-run media

'Law is very clear'

"The law is very clear," said ANZ's lawyer, Mordecai Mahlangu. "Once they
have put in their application for registration, they must be allowed to
operate. By Monday or Tuesday they should be back in business."

Simply applying for a licence was enough, he said. The ability to return to
work did not depend on being granted a licence by the the media commission.

Staff at the newspaper were being allowed back into the building to compile
the applications for a licence to work as "a media company," he said.

In discussions this morning, police had given assurance that staff would be
given access to the building and to documents.

The application would be filed "first thing on Monday morning."

Mahlangu also said police told him that the company would be appearing in
court on Monday on "criminal" charges of publishing a newspaper illegally."

It will be the first time since the controversial "Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act" has been used to close down a newspaper and
charge its owners since the law was introduced in March last year.

Sweeping restrictions over the press

The legislation wields sweeping restrictions over the press, allowing the
state-controlled media commission to stop journalists from working and to
close down newspapers and to seize their equipment at will.

It also makes it a crime to publish "a falsehood," even if it is accidental.

It has been condemned internationally as an instrument for Mugabe to stifle
his critics and to prevent exposure of government abuse.

Observers said it had been a matter of time before AIPPA was wielded against
the Daily News. Since it was founded in 1999, it has constantly embarrassed
the regime with its comprehensive coverage of corruption, state-driven
lawlessness and violent repression.

Since then it has been bombed twice, editors and their staff have been
arrested, many of them also assaulted and tortured in police custody and
thousands of copies of the newspaper have been illegally seized and publicly
burnt by ruling party mobs.

ANZ late last year lodged an appeal with the supreme court to strike down
AIPPA, on the grounds that it "blatantly" violated constitutional freedoms
of speech and expression.

The supreme court was expected on Thursday to deliver judgement on the
appeal. However, lawyers and newspaper figures were stunned when the five
judges instead refused to deal with the constitutional issues, and told the
newspaper to go and register first because its "hands are dirty."

"It was a sad reflection of the state of the supreme court," Mahlangu said.

'It's a disgrace'

"When the court refuses to deal with real, constitutional issues, and argues
instead about 'dirty hands,' it's a disgrace."

ANZ faces a maximum penalty of a fine of Zimbabwe dollars 300 000 or three
years in jail for "illegally" publishing the Daily News. To apply for
registration with the media commission, it will have to pay a deposit of
Zimbabwe dollars 20 000 ,and another Zimbabwe dollars 500 000 if its
application is accepted.

"That was a lot of money when the law was passed 18 months ago, but it's not
much now," said Mahlangu. Inflation since March 2002 then has seen the value
of the currency slump to less than a quarter of its value.

Misrule, corruption and the collapse of the rule of law under 79-year-old
Mugabe have reduced one of Africa's most prosperous countries to the fastest
shrinking economy in the world.

The regime is also among 10 governments listed by the International
Committee to Protect Journalists as the most hostile in the world to press

In 1999 Mugabe commended army intelligence offices who illegally arrested
two local journalists, Mark Chavunduka and Rayo Choto and then tortured them
continually for three days.

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Sent: Saturday, September 13, 2003 6:10 PM
Subject: Plastic bag footballs

Dear Family and Friends,
On a dusty siding near the main Marondera Railway station, eight children were playing soccer this morning. On the surface this was a very normal and innocent sight but when I pulled over to watch the game for a couple of minutes I soon saw that, like everything else in Zimbabwe, nothing is ever as it seems. The children ranged in age from about seven to fourteen. All were wearing extremely tattered clothing, ragged trousers falling apart at the seams, vests with huge holes at front and back and none were wearing shoes. The football was not a ball at all but plastic bags wrapped around each other and tied together with bits of raffia and red knitting wool. The children danced and waved at me as I watched, showing off like crazy and I waved back and smiled at their dirty, thin little faces, wishing they were sitting in classrooms where they should have been. The game was taking place when all these children should have been in school but none of them can attend anymore.
The third and final school term of the year started in Zimbabwe this week and it has been utterly chaotic and left thousands of children playing football unattended on dusty road sides. There is still no money in the banks which has meant that parents have been unable to pay school fees. In Zimbabwe, the country which Robert Mugabe promised would provide free education for all by the year 2000, headmasters are instructed  not to admit children whose fees are unpaid. Almost across the board, whether government or private, schools have raised their fees by almost 100% for this term which left even more children not going back to school. Parents who had managed to pay their fees then had the problem of actually getting their children to school. There is still only black market fuel available and two days after  schools had opened, hundreds of children still waited for transport, sitting on their tin trunks in the sun, looking into the dusty horizon, hoping for a bus.
I have learned more lessons in the past three years than in my entire life. One of these lessons is counting my blessings. There is a saying which is: "There but for the grace of God go I." This saying has been going backwards and forwards in my head as I've cycled to school with my eleven year old son and four other children every day this week. I find myself as an unofficial guardian to children whose parents, like me, simply cannot afford black market petrol and so we ride together every day. Often I feel a bit like the pied piper except that I'm never in front and it is quite touching as the kids race ahead until they are almost out of sight and then they all stop and wait for me to catch up.
One day this week we stopped to look at the most exquisite little antelope footprints in the sand, made by a steenbuck in the night. Seeing the spoor of wild animals in the dust used to be taken for granted. Now it is a huge treat as bit by bit Zimbabwe's treasured wildlife heritage is also being destroyed because of politics. In the last fortnight some horrific blows were dealt to Zimbabwe's wildlife and tourism industry. A retired Army Colonel took over the Lion and Cheetah Park outside Harare and forbade the owners from removing any of the animals left abandoned there including 46 lions, monkeys, elephants, giraffe, otters and jackals . Many of the animals are in cages and completely unable to fend for themselves. 3000 school children used to visit the centre a month for educational purposes. The government then announced that all buffalo in wildlife conservancies and on private land must be shot in order to try and stop the spread of foot and mouth disease. It has apparently escaped their notice that across the country literally millions of kilometres of fencing have been removed by government supporters grabbing land.  Culling buffalo has no chance whatsoever of stopping a disease being spread by cattle who wander at will across a country without fences. The other serious blow came with the news that a State farm which borders the world famous Hwange National Park has been given to a Zanu PF governor to be used for hunting. This farm is home to what is called The Presidential Herd of 500 elephants.
Zimbabwe's children are playing in the dust with plastic bag footballs and I cannot help but wondering what if any of Zimbabwe's wild animals will be left for them to see when they grow up. As I finish this letter news has just come in that police have closed down The Daily News newspaper because they have not registered with the Zimbabwean government. The Daily News were challenging the constitutionality of the repressive legislation which dictates freedom of speech. We do not know if the closure will be permanent. The Daily News has been a lone voice of hope for millions in Zimbabwe. With its closure scores more people will be left without an income or the ability to support their families. I am just one of those people and for now am unable to comment further without anger, despair and tears. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 13th September 2003.
My books about Zimbabwe's turmoil: "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in the UK, USA and Canada through: ; in New Zealand and Australia through: and in Africa from: and
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Zimbabwe's Independent Paper CEO Charged
Tendai Maphosa
13 Sep 2003, 19:40 UTC

Authorities in Zimbabwe have charged the chief executive officer of The
Daily News newspaper of operating an illegal company.

One day after the police ordered Zimbabwe's only independent daily to stop
operating, Sam Siphepha Nkomo reported to the police, where he was formally
charged with operating an unregistered publishing house. Mr. Nkomo was
released, after recording a statement, but ordered to appear in court

The charges stem from Thursday's Supreme Court ruling, which said The Daily
News was operating illegally because it had not registered under the
controversial Access to Information and Privacy Act. The company argued that
some sections of the Act violated press freedom and were unconstitutional,
but said it would comply with the court ruling.

However, armed police moved into the paper's offices on Friday, and ordered
all staffers out. Police guarded the building Saturday, allowing staff
members inside only to collect personal belongings. It is not clear when the
paper will be allowed to publish.

The Daily News had the highest circulation of any newspaper in Zimbabwe. As
the country's only independent daily newspaper, it also frequently published
criticisms of President Robert Mugabe. The paper's printing presses were
blown up early in 2001, after the Information Ministry called it "a threat
to national security."

The decision to shut The Daily News down has been widely condemned by media
organizations in Zimbabwe as an attack on press freedom. The local branch of
the Media Institute of Southern Africa said the closing down of the paper
"robs the country of one of its few alternative voices."

But the chairman of the Media Information Commission, Tafataona Mahoso,
dismissed the complaints. He told the Reuters news agency that "there is
freedom of press in Zimbabwe, but no freedom to act as an outlaw."

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