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

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Mugabe blames Western sanctions for Zimbabwe's crisis
Thu 15 September 2005
  UNITED NATIONS - President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday blamed "unilateral
sanctions by countries that do not wish Zimbabwe well" for the country's
deepening economic crisis.

      Mugabe was addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

      "Our efforts have been seriously affected by recurring droughts and
floods, HIV and Aids and of course unilateral sanctions imposed on us by
countries that do not wish us well," he said.

      The United States, European Union, Australia and New Zealand three
years ago imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his top lieutenants for
stealing elections and human rights violations.

      Zimbabwe is going through a severe five-year economic crisis critics
blame on Mugabe's skewed economic policies. The country is battling to
contain spiraling inflation which currently stands at 265.1 percent. Fuel,
essential medical drugs, electricity and basic foodstuffs are also all in
short supply.

      Mugabe denies ruining Zimbabwe's economy blaming the crisis on
sabotage by Western governments for seizing large farms from the white
commercial farmers for redistribution to landless blacks.

      "We have also committed ourselves to addressing extreme poverty and
hunger by distributing land to the majority of our citizens who had been
condemned to conditions of squalor by years of colonialism and its
 vestiges," said Mugabe.

      "We must have the courage to go beyond the mere posturing that is
characterised by name-calling, finger-pointing and false accusations," he

      The Zimbabwean leader also called for the reform of the UN and
attacked major Western powers for unilaterally abusing their power at the
expense of developing nations.

      "Organs of the United Nations including the Security Council must be
restructured to reflect the full will of nations great or small," Mugabe

      The Zimbabwean leader also took a swipe at the United States-led war
in Iraq calling it a "coalition of evil."

      Mugabe has in the past used international forums to attack the US and
Britain who have been in the forefront in criticising his policies. -

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Zim Online

FEATURE: Rubble convinces residents of the government's "ulterior motives"
Thu 15 September 2005

      HARARE - Three months after their shanty homes and backyard cottages
were razed down in a ruthless government urban clean-up campaign, residents
of Harare are still battling to come to terms with the sheer amount of
rubble left behind by the military-style operation.

      Walking through many of the capital's low-income suburbs, hardest hit
by the controversial urban renewal exercise, one would be forgiven for
thinking they were walking through America's New Orleans city after
Hurricane Katrina.

      For example, at one spot in Harare's oldest suburb of Mbare an
assortment of grey cement bricks and pieces of broken furniture rises to as
high as two metres.

      But one's eye is quickly drawn away from the brick and broken wood
"monument" to a "mountain" of rotten garbage of what used to be an informal
vegetable market that was knocked down by government bulldozers.

      To many here, the rubble and rubbish rotting in the open is a constant
reminder of how in one stroke the government wrecked apart their lives when
it destroyed their homes and informal business kiosks in a campaign that the
United Nations says cast at least 700 000 people onto the streets without
shelter, food or income.

      But to many others, the rubble is also a reminder that the objective
of the government exercise was never really to clean up cities and towns.

      "Otherwise if the government and municipality were serious about
cleaning up, then we would not be having all this rubbish piled up for over
three months now," an elderly-looking Esnath Phiri from Mbare's Beatrice
Cottages section said with a sweeping wave at the garbage heap.

      Phiri is not alone in seeing an "unholy ulterior motive" in the
clean-up exercise that was condemned by the UN, Western governments, local
and international human rights groups as a gross violation of poor people's

      President Robert Mugabe has defended the clean-up exercise as
necessary to smash crime and an illegal black market that was thriving among
informal traders. The campaign was also critical to restoring the beauty of
Zimbabwe's cities and towns, the veteran leader insists.

      But ask the next man or woman on the streets of Harare or any of
Zimbabwe's cities and with all the conviction they can muster, they will
tell you that the clean-up exercise was merely a pretext to punish urban
residents for rejecting Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party in last March's
disputed general election.

      This strongly held perception is by no small measure also because the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which enjoys
more support in urban areas, has publicly claimed the government exercise
was a vengeful campaign against its supporters.

      Mugabe's ZANU PF party won a landslide victory in the election,
garnering 78 out of the 120 contested parliamentary seats against the MDC's

      The ruling party however dismally lost in Harare and other major
cities such as Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Chitungwiza and Masvingo where the
MDC virtually swept all the seats in the six cities where the government's
clean-up campaign was harshest.

      The government rejects claims it destroyed homes in urban areas to
punish residents for voting for the MDC.

      To prove the campaign was not selective, government officials often
cite the case of Whitecliff Farm settlement on Harare's south-western border
where police bulldozers razed down homes belonging to veterans of Zimbabwe's
1970s independence war who are known to support Mugabe and ZANU PF.

      And more important, according to a massive propaganda campaign
directed by the mandarins at the state information desk, the government has
a fresh campaign cynically code-named "Operation Garikai" (Stay well) to
build homes for all who were left without shelter by Operation Murambatsvina

      This is despite the fact that the government is virtually broke and
does not have enough money to build houses for the 700 000 homeless people.

      At Harare's Town House administrative headquarters, one is however
quickly disabused of any notion that the authorities out of remorse will
somehow find the resources to clean up the rubble and even do more by
building houses for people whose homes they destroyed.

      Here one comes face to face with that same cold arrogance that
characterised the home demolition campaign.

      For example, this is how Harare city council spokesman Leslie Gwindi
curtly explained the municipality's solution to the rubble problem: "Where
we find that people have not been creative in removing rubble, we have

      Tell this to Boniface Mangwiro, another Mbare resident, and he is left
even more convinced there was more to Murambatsvina than merely cleaning up
the neighbourhood.

      He explains: "The city council should have removed the rubble as
quickly as they ordered the destruction of the buildings. They cannot expect
us poor property owners to hire trucks to remove this especially with the
current fuel shortages. We cannot afford it." - ZimOnline
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Zimbabwean President Satisfied with Official Visit to Cuba / 15-09-2005
       Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe expressed his satisfaction over
his official visit to Cuba which finished on Tuesday.

      Minutes before boarding the plane, President Mugabe told the press
that his visit allowed an exchange of ideas with his comrade President Fidel
Castro and expressed his gratitude for the Cuban medical personnel working
in his country.

      After praising the work of almost 200 Cuban medical personnel in
Zimbabwe, the African leader ratified his country's solidarity with the
island's Revolution and its leaders and condemned Washington's blockade
against Cuba.

      The distinguished visitor ended a tight program which included
official talks with President Fidel Castro.

      The Zimbabwean leader also praised the island's ophthalmologic program
during his visit to the specialized hospital 'Pando Ferrer' in the Cuban
capital. "I am really amazed and I will take that feeling back to my
country, as well as the idea of improving our system of medical assistance
in order to imitate what Cuba has already achieved," said Mugabe.

      The 'Pando Ferrer' hospital, created in 1957 under the name "Liga
contra la Ceguera" (League against Blindness), has been enlarged and
modernized several times in the past years. Currently it is the national
reference center in the Cuban system of ophthalmologic care, which includes
another 23 institutions across the country.

      After its total redesign last year, the institute became the general
headquarters for the Misión Milagro (Miracle Mission), through which Cuba
attends low income Latin American and Caribbean patients needing
ophthalmologic care, basically surgery.

      President Robert Mugabe left Havana on his way to New York to
participate in the Summit of Heads of States and Government underway in the
United Nations.

      (From Prensa Latina)

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      September 15, 2005

      Heartless, Hopeless Africa

      By Alan Caruba

      (AXcess News) South Orange NJ - For as long as I can remember in my
nearly seven decades of life, the most enduring image of Africa was of a
starving black child. Not only has this not changed, there is little hope
this will improve.

      I was thinking about Africa when the G-8 meeting in Scotland was
rudely interrupted by a bombing in London on July 7. It was testimony to the
fact that Islam remains intent on spreading its "peaceful" religion to the
world and the way Islam has been one of the major causes for the genocides
and the rape of Africa since it first swept out of Arabia in the 600s AD.
Islam fairly swiftly took control of the whole of the northern part
bordering the Mediterranean, moving south against the tide of Christian
missionaries who later would convert a large portion of the continent's

      The Arab Muslims discovered wealth in the form of slavery, a trade
still practiced to this day, as had many of the indigenous tribes. Every one
of the most vile aspects of human behavior can be found in Africa, including
some of the most awful diseases known to man.

      All of this is carefully documented and told in a remarkable book by
Martin Meredith called "The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the
Heart of Despair." ($35.00, Public Affairs) This litany of murder, rape,
torture, greed, and megalomania is told in just over 680 pages and, if it
were not for the fact that the author has a most agreeable writing style,
the process of moving from beginning to end of this history would prove
daunting. Ultimately, like some horror film, one reads simply to reach the
end. Almost every page is splashed with the blood of murdered Africans.

      The purpose of the G-8 meeting was to propose yet another series of
financial bailouts to the various nations of Africa while forgiving debts
that cannot be paid. In short, it was about throwing good money after bad.
The history of Western help to Africa is one of seeing most aid stolen by
whoever was in charge of the particular nation receiving it.

      Of course, preceding that history was one of European colonialism
wherein vast chunks of Africa were simply declared to be the property of
England, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The people in those
colonial possessions were not consulted and, in many cases, cruelly treated.
They would, after World War II and the independence granted to one African
nation after another, discover their new masters had learned well how to
enrich themselves, often bringing with them a new plague called Marxism or
simply exploiting the old one of Islam.

      Africans have proved immune to democracy, i.e., self-governance,
preferring loyalty to their immediate families, then to their tribe, then to
their religion, and vaguely to whatever passed for a nation. Throw into that
mix, Islam, Marxism, and some of the most rapacious dictators to ever walk
the Earth, and you have a litany of starvation, murder, and theft that even
the many pages of Meredith's thick volume could not adequately record.

      One is reminded of former President Bill Clinton's visit to six
African nations in March 1998. "Within three months of Clinton's visit,"
Meredith relates, "Ethiopia and Eritrea embarked on a futile border war in
which 100,000 people died." Then, "two months after the start of their war,
Rwanda and Uganda plunged headlong into another round of war in Congo and
then began fighting among themselves over the spoils of their occupation
there. The much-heralded "African renaissance" descended into a host of
conflicts in Angola, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Central African

      Two years later in 2000, "there were more than ten major conflicts
underway in Africa. One-fifth of all Africans lived in countries battered by
war. Some 12 million were classified as refugees-40 percent of the world's

      If constant war on the continent wasn't enough to discourage one from
holding out any hope after fifty years of independence, then there is the
scourge of AIDS. "Sub-Saharan Africa is home to just 10 percent of the
world's population but bears more than 70 percent of the world's HIV/AIDS
cases. With the pandemic still in its infancy, by 2004," wrote Meredith,
"some 20 million people had died from Aids; 30 million were infected by the
HIV virus and their number was rising by an estimated 3 million new cases
each year."

      The next time you hear our President or other Western world leader
talk about foreign aid for Africa, keep in mind that "Africa has received
more foreign aid than any other region in the world. More than $300 billion
of Western aid has been sunk into Africa, but with little discernible

      Aside from economic growth, what Africa needs most and, after fifty
years of independence has shown the least possibility of achieving, is good
government. Routinely, the educated population of any African nation was the
first to be slaughtered by dictators, leaving few to administer the
governance required to address the needs of the millions within their

      As Americans were responding to the needs of the victims of Hurricane
Katrina, busing them to safety and taking other steps to help, in Zimbabwe,
largely unreported by the world's media, Robert Mugabe, the Marxist
dictator, was evicting 700,000 of its most vulnerable people from their
meager shelters in that nation's cities. This is a microcosm of the way most
of Africa's nations have behaved since gaining independence.

      As anyone who has ever received the email scams to transfer huge sums
of money from Nigeria, Benin, or South Africa, the other predominant factor
at work in Africa is the total culture of criminality that exists there.
Between the poverty and the looting at the state level estimated to cost
Africa $148 billion annually-more than a quarter of the continent's entire
gross domestic product-Africa is a virtual continent of criminals.

      "After decades of mismanagement and corruption, most African states
have become hollowed out. They are no longer instruments capable of serving
the public good," concludes Meredith.

      Is there any hope for Africa? Not in the foreseeable future. Like much
of the Middle East, it is a pestilent sinkhole of disease, war, famine, and
death. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are quite at home in Africa.

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'Increase Production, Exports to Generate Foreign Currency'

The Herald (Harare)

September 15, 2005
Posted to the web September 15, 2005


GOVERNMENT and industry need to come up with strategies to increase
production and exports to generate foreign currency to settle the
International Monetary Fund debt, analysts have said.

Although there has been significant foreign direct investment (FDI)
emanating from the Look East policy, to achieve fully economic turnaround
Zimbabwe will still need to open the closed lines of credit with the global
lending institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

Analysts said it was also imperative to address the supply side of the
economy, which was, at the moment, performing below expectations.

After surviving the IMF chop last week, Zimbabwean authorities have pledged
to settle the country's obligations to the Bretton Woods institution by
November 2006.

The last time Zimbabwe received any funding from the IMF was in August 1999
after the global lender approved a US$193 million standby credit facility in
support of the nation's economic reform programme.

Since then Zimbabwe has only received FDI from Asia, particularly China, in
the mining and energy sectors.

Economic commentator Mr Jonathan Kadzura said the US$175 million owed to IMF
was not a lot of money and could be settled if all the stakeholders pulled
in one direction.

"Basically, what we should understand is that the supply side is not
functioning and we only have six months to address this before the next IMF
review. "We have the capacity to pay the debt if all the gold and platinum
produced were to be accounted for and all the proceeds go to the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe.

"There is need also to make sure that the private sector starts to produce
and export because there are some exporters who are failing to do so because
they do not have foreign currency," said Mr Kadzura.

Agriculture, too, was overdue for an overhaul, as it feeds into the
manufacturing sector, but in the short term it was imperative that foreign
currency be mobilised from mining and tourism.

Mr Kadzura added that it was necessary for Government to limit its
expenditure in foreign currency terms and channel such savings to the
private sector to earn more hard currency.

The IMF withdrew balance of payments support to Zimbabwe in 1999 after
disagreements with the Government over fiscal and monetary policy issues.

Zimbabwe has been in continuous arrears to the IMF since February 2001. As
of September 8, 2005, Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF amounted to US$175
million, or about 34 percent of its quota in the IMF.

Of this amount, US$54 million is owed to the General Resources Account and
US$121 million to the PRGF trust.

Stakeholders should work together before panicking again as was the case
last week when there were fears that the country would be expelled.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Mr Luckson Zembe concurred
with Mr Kadzura saying there was need to conserve foreign currency. "We need
to avoid expenditure on the consumptive sector and make sure that the
foreign currency we have is used for productive purposes.

"RBZ should mobilise foreign currency for production and we need to move
away from importing luxuries such as vehicles, and rely on local industries
such as Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries. "A time will come when the
country will be producing at full strength and that is when such luxuries
can be imported," added Mr Zembe.

Zimbabwe had established a good reputation since independence as it had no
problems honouring its obligations, but foreign currency constraints have
somewhat tainted its image in recent years.

"As a nation, we need to pay up our debt and this is important in restoring
our creditworthiness, which is good for other business transactions.

"As business we need to boost exports so that we will be able to pay up the
debt even before the date of the next review.

"This would give a signal that we are serious about liquidating our debt and
show that even though we have gone through a bad patch we are serious about
settling our debts," added Mr Zembe.

Mobilisation of foreign currency can even be extended to all Zimbabweans
living abroad and make sure that they also help in the generation of foreign
currency to help the country pay off its debts. Zimbabweans last week heaved
a huge collective sigh of relief after the IMF postponed expulsion of the
country from the international financial institution.

IMF postponed a recommendation for the country's compulsory withdrawal after
taking into account Zimbabwe's increased payments to the fund and its
far-reaching policy changes since the last review.

The stay of execution gives Zimbabwe more room to strengthen its
co-operation with the IMF in terms of economic policies and payments.

In terms of policy changes, Zimbabwe has so far made regular adjustments to
the exchange rate, rates, scrapping price controls and doing away with
blanket subsidies.

Zimbabwe made a total payment of US$131 million to the IMF since the last
review, which resulted in a significant decline in the country's arrears to
the IMF.

The IMF executive board urged Zimbabwe to adopt and implement a
comprehensive and coherent adjustment programme as a matter of urgency in
the areas of fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies and structural

Compulsory withdrawal is the last step in a series of escalating measures
that the IMF applies to members that fail to meet their obligations under
the articles of agreement.
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Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project carried out a survey on the issues affecting Zimbabweans in South Africa by interviewing 236 people in Gauteng province. The report that emerged is called,‘Between a rock and a hard place.’ Piers Pigou the Director of ZTVP talks to Lance Guma in the programme, Behind the Headlines, about the results that many find shocking. He explains how South African refugee law is implemented and the negative attitude of the SA government to refugees from Zimbabwe.


Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa
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The Zimbabwean

Tough life for Zim exiles in SA

JOHANNESBURG - A sample survey of Zimbabweans living in Gauteng provides a
worrying picture of people mostly without legal status, who have suffered
violence or torture at home, who now support others from meagre incomes, and
who are nervous about being interviewed.
The Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project (ZTVP) which carried out the survey of
236 Zimbabweans during July and early August, emphasised in a report that
the findings could not be judged as representative of all Zimbabweans in
Gauteng, but were 'indicative of particular trends and conditions'.

It is estimated that more than one million Zimbabweans are now in South
Africa, having fled political persecution or the dire economic conditions in
their homeland. The ZTVP was set up in January this year because of concerns
that many Zimbabweans who had fled were victims of organised violence and
torture and thus needed medical and other help.

The survey, titled 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place', was also a project of
the Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa. Just over 50% of the
Zimbabweans interviewed for the survey came from Matabeleland, the heartland
of political opposition to Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF), and only 3% from
Mashonaland. Most were men (141), 156 said they had one or more children,
and almost all were young - 29 was the average age of the men and 27 for the
women respondents.

Most (85%) had come to South Africa since 2000, which marked the start of
the critical decline in the economy and in human rights in Zimbabwe, and 20%
had arrived in the Johannesburg area this year. A massive 80% of those
interviewed did not have legal permits to be in South Africa. Most of those
who did have legal status had either asylum applications or refugee status.

The report said that, overall, an estimated 10 000 Zimbabweans have managed
to get on to South Africa's asylum process, but thousands more have failed
although probably eligible in terms of the country's international

Of those interviewed, the majority - 73% - cited their lack of legal status
as their major concern. The other big worries were jobs and accommodation.
Of those willing to divulge their income, were making less than R1 500 a
month, including those supporting dependents in South Africa and at home.

Asked why they had left, the single biggest number - 131 - cited economic
reasons, including unemployment and lack of food. Just over one-third of the
respondents said they left for political reasons, and 30% said they had been
directly subjected to torture in Zimbabwe. Forty-four percent also said they
had been refused access to food.

Of those tortured, nearly half were suffering from psychological disorder,
said the report. The authors noted that this was a relatively low figure
compared with other recent Zimbabwean studies, but was still significant in
determining the kind of help needed by refugees.

The interviewees, 62% of whom said they had been working in Zimbabwe, were
from varied backgrounds - skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled. They included
four former members of the military, seven police officers, 14 teachers and
five nurses.

"There is a pressing need to understand better the position and plight of
Zimbabweans that have come to South Africa in search of refuge, and to
ensure that those who legitimately can be called refugees as opposed to
economic migrants receive the treatment and care expected under South
African and international law," the report concluded.

The ZTVP suggested extending its small survey so the national picture is
more clearly understood. "The way forward is neither rhetoric nor denial,"
it said. "Better data leads to better policy. Certainly, the suffering
indicated in this small survey deserves more attention than it is currently
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The Zimbabwean

Amendment bill beyond party men
HARARE - THE ruling party was at it the whole of last week with its
supporters taking to the streets celebrating the constitutional amendment
bill that was bulldozed through parliament in a vain attempt to put an end
to the land reform squabbles.
Zanu (PF) took advantage of its numbers in the august house and the bill was
passed effortlessly. However, in a survey carried out by this paper it came
out clear that the ruling party supporters do not know the basic tenets of
the bill and are only following in the shadow of their masters.

Speaking in Masvingo the beleaguered former Minister of Industry and
International Trade, Samuel Mumbengegwi, indicated that the bill would
uplift the lives of people on the farms. What he failed to see was that
there are no inputs for the crops and the resettled people have no real
knowledge of farming on a commercial scale.

"You are going to be empowered as a people," thundered Mumbengegwi at
'victory' celebrations in Masvingo. "Zviya zvokuenda kuCourt zvaiitwa
nevarungu zvapera mogara zvakanaka paminda yenyu yatakakupai. (The
government will no longer be dragged to the courts by the whites and you can
now settle comfortably at your farms)", added Mumbengegwi, to much applause
from the supporters.

It was the same across the whole country as the issue of empowerment through
the bill was played as the ruling party's trump card. What the politicians
failed to address, however, was exactly what the bill curtails and entails
for the people themselves.

"We were just told that there were some celebrations going on about a bill
that has been passed in parliament but I really don't know what it is all
about. We were just taken here by the lorries to be addressed and to
celebrate this as a victory against Tony Blair and the MDC. But we don't
even know what we are celebrating about," said a party supporter in

Such situations indicate the fact that ruling party supporters are a bunch
of ignorant people who just fall in with whatever has been said by their
party superiors. At the rallies one could actually tell that the peasants
who had been bussed in did not know why they were there - except that it was
a rally held by the ruling party.

Zanu (PF) has always used to its advantage the ignorance of its supporters
to spearhead what it terms 'garnering support from the common people' and to
make their totalitarian rule appear people-oriented.

Analysts have indicated that ruling party supporters will wake up and find
that all is not as rosy as the party chefs tell them.

"The bill provides for all land-dispute court cases to be thrown out and
people will settle on any designated farms - but the painful truth is that
they will do so without any inputs or capital to make the country a bread
basket again," said one commentator.
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The Zimbabwean

Well done Ward 9 in Mangwe
We congratulate the people of Ward 9 Mangwe district in Plumtree for
liberating their ward from years of ZANU PF domination. The victory by
Elliot Ncube the MDC candidate in the just concluded local government
by-election, is an indication of what is possible when people decide to
banish fear and take their liberation in their own hands.
ZANU PF has held Ward 9 since independence. The ZANU PF candidate who was
defeated is a war veteran; a group that ZANU PF claims represents all of
ZANU PF 's ideological purity. This indicates that ZANU PF 's propaganda is
not working. The people of ward 9 have demonstrated their desire for change.
Above all, they have indicated their desire for a New Beginning that will
lead to a New Zimbabwe.

We congratulate them for a job well done.

Paul Themba Nyathi
Secretary for Information and Publicity
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The Zimbabwean

Travel ban ideas include families
The EU may expand the current travel ban on Zimbabwe's top officials. MEP
for the South West of England, Neil Parish, was one of those putting forward
an emergency resolution at last week's session of the European Parliament.
It looks at new ways of keeping up the pressure on the Zimbabwean regime in
the wake of the Murambatsvina calamity.
The EU first introduced the travel ban along with an arms embargo and a
freeze of financial assets in the EU for those on the list in February 2003
in a bid to put pressure on the government, without affecting the Zimbabwean

The ban has proven largely ineffective, as the government's reign of terror
hit new heights this May, with its "clean-out" of high-density urban areas.
Not even the travel ban has been fully enforced, most notably when President
entered the EU twice, once for a Franco-African summit in Paris, and once to
attend the Pope's funeral this April, where he shook hands with a rather
baffled Prince Charles who was sitting just a seat away from him.

"This is not acceptable," insists MEP Neil Parish who is adamant that the
pressure must be maintained. As the current ban is largely ineffectual, he
wants to see measures stepped up. One option is to include the family
members of those on the list. This would ensure that when it comes to
educating their offspring, their options will be severely reduced after
having seen the local education sector go to the dogs.

Mr Parish emphasises, "We don't want to sanction the whole of Zimbabwe,
because it will hit the wrong people instead of the members of the regime,"
but something must be done that is going to be effectual.

After having met South African President Thabo Mbeki in London, he came away
thinking he had achieved something. "Thabo Mbeki is a very polite man. He
listened to me attentively, but nothing happened. He is not one for action,"
Mr Parish laments. He confirms that he finds Mbeki's stance on Zimbabwe as
confusing as most other people.
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The Zimbabwean

We have been silent for too long
LONDON - It would appear from many reports that the regime in Harare is in
its last death throes. That would be good news for most us, who are longing
to be back home.
If indeed these are the last days of Zanu (PF), it is the good Lord who
makes it all possible. But we Zimbabweans are to blame for suffering so long
in silence. Our punishment could be explained by the fact that when the
government terrorised and massacred our fellow Zimbabweans, we kept quiet,
to the point of complicity with the Gukurahundi in the mid 1980's. If we had
condemned it, it would have been a sign that we cared.

Do you not see that countries around us, as well as those far off, have
looked on whilst the present disasters unfolded, particularly, the recent
demolitions? What we are suffering is akin to punishment for our lack of
love for others.

Although a few donor agencies have come to help, the rest of the world has
pretended that it is all just not happening. The powerful clique members, as
usual, keep their distance, and echo a few words of condemnation when
something tragic like Murambatsvina happens. We must now feel so ashamed and
sorry that we did not even pray for the victims of the Matabeleland
massacres in the 1980's.

We must ask our Creator to forgive us. Never again will we sing chimurenga
songs while others are dying. And why do we still hang on to the idea that
we have our dead ancestors, 'vadzimu', who look after us, while this is just
a hoax by the devil to enslave us? Where are the 'vadzimu' now? How
effective have they been in helping us in our hour of need? Do you not see,
fellow Zimbabweans, that we suffered when our so-called liberators turned
out to be demagogues, who believe in the power of dead ancestors and
witchdoctors, whom they worshipped, even during the 'liberation war'.

They coined the term liberators for themselves, so that we could call them
heroes. But they actually taught us idol worship, which Christianity had
removed from our land. Only God can liberate a human being from bondage.
Today, we do not need the power of the gun to liberate us, because we have
learnt a good lesson, that "those who live by the sword, perish by the
sword". This is often misunderstood by many people to mean they die through
violence. No it means, they always live, until they die, by the sword.

Zanu having been born out of violence, its leadership worked hard to
eliminate competitors from within. It also worked hard to obtain ascendancy
in Zimbabwe from the Rhodesians, through violence. Violence begets violence,
and so they used it again and again when challenged. And they are still
using it today. We have since moved away from hero-worshipping anyone and we
must organise ourselves in a manner that will remove our shame, once and for
all. We must remain united in loving and giving due regard to our fellowmen.
Let us not label anyone, or perhaps think others owe Zimbabwe more than
anyone else.

Let us not try to profit from an advantaged position but act as everyone's
servant and look for a servant's reward. We must learn from the mistakes of
those among us, who sought quick gain and advantages at the expense of
everyone else. The misery that we endure came from pure selfishness by those
who had gained advantages, some fairly, we may presume but most by using
others and sweeping others aside. I am sure our Lord and maker would like to
know that we have grasped these lessons and have turned over a new leaf in
our attitudes to our fellow men. Gone must be the days when we laugh at the
misfortunes of others, like Zambians or Malawians.

In many ways we earned our present miseries. We laughed when others were
crying for help. May the Lord please forgive us all, for our unkind
attitudes to Malawians, and Zambians - some of whom still suffer in Zimbabwe

God is good to us. He has forgiven us. He has kept us alive, when others
sought our total destruction. We were going to be destroyed, to the last
person, through an untold genocide, which was always kept a secret, as all
evil secrets never see the light of day (we grasp words spoken here and
there on these matters). Furthermore, let us also not forget that those in
developed countries may not be our true friends, but those around us in
Africa may actually be the friends we need.

The Lord Jesus Christ himself took pity on us and saved us from a sorry
demise. However, let us not forget to remember Him and to thank him. He as
our God would let us learn our lesson, and we have learnt it I am sure. Let
us pray for Zimbabwe.
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The Zimbabwean

IMF conditions could spell end

IMF conditions require that the Mugabe regime provides adequate social
safety nets and food security for vulnerable groups, including those
affected by 'Operation Restore Order'.
WASHINGTON - Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) hordes are ecstatic that the
IMF granted them a six-month relief from a possible expulsion from the
international financial institution. They issued a statement praising the
IMF action. In their inflated exuberance Mugabe and his gang conveniently
forgot the pitfalls that lie ahead in trying to implement the harsh IMF
Zimbabwe owes the IMF nearly US$5 billion. And Zimbabwe has been behind in
its payments on interest that had accumulated to nearly US$300 million.
Zimbabwe recently paid US$131 million, leaving an outstanding balance of
about $170 million.

The IMF imposed stringent conditions that must be met during the six months.
These range from immediate implementation of strong macroeconomic policies
and a comprehensive and coherent adjustment program as a matter of urgency,
in the areas of fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies and structural
reforms. They also require that the Mugabe regime provides adequate social
safety nets and food security for vulnerable groups, including those
affected by 'Operation Restore Order' and HIV/AIDS.

What this boils down to is that in the next six months Mugabe and his party
must show significant progress in meeting the conditions. But they started
on a slippery slope when, in order to pay the IMF, they stole badly needed
foreign currency from accounts that are supposed to promote economic growth
in the country.

The economic conditions in the country are nowhere near the starting point
for economic recovery that is being demanded by the IMF. The Zimbabwe dollar
is in a tailspin. The economy has contracted by about 40 percent.
Unemployment is at an all- time high of 80 percent.

Mugabe himself, as he was being granted a reprieve, had some harsh words to
say about the IMF during his recent visit to Cuba. He is surely well aware
that in many countries where the IMF structural adjustment programs have
been implemented there have been widespread mass protests - some of which
have succeeded in overthrowing governments.

To follow the IMF conditions or not to follow is the question that Mugabe
will have to address. Judging by his speech from Cuba it appears he will
continue to hold out - but this go against the grain of some of his top
officials, who feel IMF conditions are a painful but necessary way to go.
This could exacerbate the feud within Zanu (PF).

Now where do civic society and the MDC leadership stand in this situation?
The problem with the opposition movement in Zimbabwe is that it is too
splintered and has yet to adopt a common platform to fight Mugabe. It is
almost like the opposition movement in Kenya during the Daniel arap Moi and
Kanu era. Time and again, the people of Kenya voted against the ruling Kanu.
But because the opposition movement was splintered they split the anti-KANU
vote. It took a revolt by 14 members of the ruling party to bring about the
downfall of Moi.

Thus it will take a large chunk of Zanu (PF) MPs defecting to the opposition
to bring about the downfall of Mugabe. The opposition movement in Zimbabwe
must get its act together. Previous attempts at forging such common position
and strategy do not seem to have been successful. There was once talk of a
broad alliance, yet nothing seems to have come of it.

There are rumours that some top Zanu officials have started clandestine
talks with the MDC leadership. We hear that those who support Mujuru for
president after Mugabe is gone know the uphill struggle that will face them
from within and outside the party. This is why they are seeking an
accommodation with MDC. Indeed some of them hope to stage a quiet revolution
within Zanu (PF) by teaming up with MDC and civic society to form what some
people call the third way or third force.

Zimbabweans should not just sit and fold their arms in the hope that Mugabe
will fall like a rotten apple. We must all play a proactive role in the
process of removing him in order to restore democracy, the rule of law and
basic human rights.The starting point would be for the leaders of the
opposition movement to meet and plan a common strategy. They need to review
the way the opposition movement has so far responded to the humanitarian
crisis that has been created by bad governance.

The new coalition must establish the root cause of all the problems in the
country and focus their strategies on confronting that root cause. Too much
time and energy are spent on implementing strategies that are

Band aid strategies do not contribute meaningfully to the eradication of the
root cause of the problems in Zimbabwe. Instead of spending time and energy
campaigning against some crazy act by Mugabe, e.g. constitutional
amendments, withholding of passports from anti-Mugabe individuals,
establishment of the senate, etc. the opposition movement in Zimbabwe should
go to the root cause of all this madness and deal with the root causes of
repression and bad governance in Zimbabwe.
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The Zimbabwean

Letter from Bulawayo
BULAWAYO - Our thoughts and prayers go to the folk in Mississippi during
their trials but one cannot help thinking longingly that it would be rather
nice to have a Government that supports one through thick and thin. Instead
our government does its best to make life more difficult for us whichever
way we turn.
The beginning of a new school term in Zimbabwe always makes me sad.

I watch as halfway through the first morning, a steady flow of young
scholars starts to trickle past our house on their way home. Trying not to
look embarrassed, these young people who have as much right to a decent
education as anyone else, have been turned away from their schools for non
payment of fees.

There must be stigma attached when you are turned away from school for non
payment, how awfully crushing it must be for parents and children alike.

Fortunately there is comfort in numbers, and the numbers grow with each and
every year. They are good kids, well dressed, their parents probably made
huge sacrifices to kit them out in their exorbitantly expensive school
uniforms, but if your fees are not paid in full on day one, out you go.

School fees at the Government school have risen by over 1000% in the last
term and many students have been turned away from their respective schools.
Primary school fees are Zim$600,000 per child plus a $200,000 school levy. A
pair of school shoes costs about $500,000. The average salaried man cannot
possibly afford to pay fees of this nature.

Some of these youngsters are writing public exams for which their parents
have paid huge sums of money, some of the exams have to be paid in foreign
currency too, how can they even hope to pass their O and A Levels when they
are prevented from attending classes.

Why does that bold statement "free education for everyone" stick in my
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The Zimbabwean

Mugabe going nowhere, slowly
JOHANNESBURG - This week I got an email from a friend containing the
interview of Robert Mugabe with an internationally-renowned interviewer.
Daphne Barak is said to have had the 'rare' interview on August 22, 2005.
She then decided to sell the rights to broadcast the video to Channel Five
News in the United Kingdom.
The video broadcast was conducted last weekend amid high publicity. Some of
the leading papers, including the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph,
carried the print version of the interview.

It contains some remarkable excerpts - such as Mugabe's cordial view of
Prince Charles, their meeting in Rome for the papal funeral, his distaste
for Tony Blair, the handshake incident with Jack Straw and his views over
the controversial land reform process in Zimbabwe.

However, it is the claim by Mugabe that he is now ready to leave office that
has stolen the limelight here. Barak asks Mugabe whether his current term
would indeed be his very last in power. In reply, Mugabe says yes, it is
indeed his very last since he now wants to a rest.

Barak asks whether he might change his mind. Mugabe firmly replies: "No,
I've no thought of changing my mind. I think I want to retire and the party
will choose someone else. I'll be in the background and remain in the

My first reaction upon reading the excerpts of the interview was shocked
disbelief. I have never believed any suggestion that Mugabe is capable of
stepping down from office, willingly for that matter, anytime soon! Granted,
it would be unfair for me to dismiss his remarks as an outright act of
desperate political deception and chicanery. But Mugabe is certainly the
last person I would take at his word.

Curiously, this is not the first time he has suggested in some interview
that he is at last realising that his time to go has come. Last year, he
also gave that impression in an interview with the East African Standard. He
is also said to have given similar hints in a press briefing in Malaysia
earlier this year.

My problem with Mugabe is that he has yet to make such telling remarks on
his home soil. Up to now, he has yet to inform both party members and the
rest of us his fellow countrymen. To that end I dare Mugabe to announce his
retirement plans to such a body as Parliament or the central committee. We
might then believe him. Because he certainly shows no signs of loosening his
iron grip on the helm back at home.

I am not the only Zimbabwean who would be happy to hear him say that. I am
certain that the two million or so of my countrymen based here in South
Africa cannot wait for that day. But until he does so, he should not expect
any Zimbabwean worth their salt to take his retirement hints seriously. I
guarantee him that no-one takes him seriously at all. In fact most of us
honestly believe that Mugabe is busy going nowhere, slowly. He is even
prepared to rule until he dies in office.
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The Zimbabwean

Are we learning anything?
GRAHAMSTOWN - What a refreshing experience for me and my fellow Zimbos who
are here at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa to attend an
information technology conference known as the Highway Africa Conference.
This is a gathering of media professionals, authors and other experts from
Africa - the cream of African journalists.
You know, all of us attending this conference agree that the moment you
leave home and get into another country, you heave a big sigh of relief. The
moment you arrive at Johannesburg International Airport, you can rent or buy
a temporary mobile phone line to use during your stay. You can't get this at
home where mobile lines are sold on the black market. Here at Rhodes, all
the students have mobile phone lines.

South Africa is so advanced economically and technologically that we feel as
though we come from a rural background - despite the fact that many
Zimbabwean professionals have contributed to South Africa's success story.

There are quite a number of Zimbos from both Harare and Bulawayo who hold
good positions at this university. They are well respected by their hosts -
but they should be contributing to the development of our country, had it
not been for the destruction of the economy by Zanu (PF).

In this country whites and blacks have come together to develop their
beautiful country and all of them are proud to be South Africans. In
Zimbabwe, the only proud Zimbos are the Zanu chefs and their thousands of
blind followers.

Everyone I have been meeting here asks 'How is Mugabe?' The man has become
so popular around Africa - for all the wrong reasons.

On a flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth I sat next to a businessman
who told me he was a guerrilla with Umkhonto We Sizwe MK, the former armed
wing of the African National Congress.

He is white but he joined a black nationalist guerrilla army to fight
against apartheid and he told me he was proud to see his country prosperous
because of the unity of both black and white. Are Zimbabweans learning
anything from South Africa?
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The Zimbabwean

Farmers didn't all paid to stay
EDITOR - I wish first to thank you for a paper that is passionately behind
justice and righteousness for our nation. However, in the previous three
issues, much has been said about white farmers paying government officials
in order to be allowed to stay on the land. Of course this must be brought
to public attention. The trouble is that, as the wife of an ex-farmer, I
feel that we are all being tarred with the same brush!
I want to tell you that our farm is in the hands of our children and still
producing much produce for this nation, along with those of many other
remaining farmers who have never even thought of paying anybody for
'protection'. Most of them manage to stay on their farms only at great
personal discomfort and having to put up with the most appalling
ill-treatment and harassment at the hands of invaders, war vets and
government officials.

Many of us have been through much suffering, together with our workers,
simply to stay on the land and try to rebuild the "ancient ruins". We love
our land and the people of our land and all of us don't really know why we
remain. As a committed Christian I believe that Almighty God is keeping us
there and provided we remain faithful His hand is upon us. Only He knows
and, as in times past, we have to put our hand to the plough and not look
back. Our nation will again become the breadbasket of Africa, you watch!

There are also many good things that are happening in our land which never
seem to get published. For instance, last night at a seminar at our Church,
true repentance came about between black and white brothers and sisters in
Christ an earnest desire to recognise one another's differences and together
link hands in praying and seeing healing come into our land. It will come,
it is a heart affair but has to start with the head and the hand stretched dear Zimbabweans in the diaspora look up for your salvation is nigh!
Thank you for hearing our heart!

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The Zimbabwean

Lecturers on strike over conditions
HARARE - BUSINESS has ground to a halt at state-run institutions of higher
learning in the country as lecturers have gone on strike demanding an
increase in their salaries and an improvement in working conditions.
The strike comes in the wake of increases in prices of basic commodities
triggered by the increase in Value Added Tax and other taxes that became
effective beginning this month.

After increasing the taxes the Minister of Finance, Dr Herbert Murerwa,
indicated that there would be no pay rise for civil servants. This initiated
the ongoing stand-off between the two parties. The association representing
lecturers at state-run institutions has indicated that there is no way they
can keep coming to work given the fact that their salaries have been
overtaken by events.

"The government decided not to increases salaries for civil servants until
January, but for us this is not feasible, given that our salaries have been
eroded by inflation and the recent hikes in basic commodities. Unless the
government addresses this issue no-one will report for duty," said a member
in the committee who refused to be named.

He indicated that the cost of living should be adjusted by about 300 percent
so that everyone was cushioned against the price increases.

Institutions of higher learning, including the Midlands State University,
University of Zimbabwe, National University of Science and Technology (NUST)
and most of the Polytechnics in the country, have not been offering lectures
for the past two weeks.

Students could be seen milling around campuses with nothing to do.

Late last week government decided to offer the lecturers a 20 percent cost
of living adjustment - well below the rates demanded by the lecturers.

A lecturer at MSU indicated that they were "on a go slow" and if the
government did not adjust their salaries properly by the end of the week
they would have no choice but to go back to a fully-fledged strike next

The strike came soon after Vice President Joyce Mujuru warned civil servants
against taking collective job action. "Civil servants should be contented
with their salaries as they work for the nation and hence have to respect
the status quo no matter what it takes. They should respect the fact that
they work for the government and hence are expected to make sacrifices in
this regard," she said.

"Action will be taken on any civil servant who is caught on the wrong side
of the law no matter what position they have in government," threatened
Mujuru last week at a workshop held in Harare for civil servants.

It seems the threats have fallen on deaf ears. Efforts to get comment from
the Ministry of Higher Education proved fruitless at the time of going to

In a related development the Minister of Education and Culture, Aenas
Chigwedere, has come under fire for giving out conflicting statements on the
issue of backdating school fees to January. His statement caused confusion
at all government schools until he was forced to backtrack.

A number of parents have called for his dismissal or resignation. "He has
been using his energy on silly things such as changing school names and
having one uniform other than looking at the real issues affecting the
education system such as the Macheke rape saga," said a parent.
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The Zimbabwean

MIC shared Mugabe's mail bag
HARARE - Zimbabwe's media watchdog praised the private media for exposing
the grave assault on human rights contained in the latest constitutional
amendments, but also expressed concern that repressive anti-press laws mean
that increasingly the media fails to cover newsworthy developments.
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), in its weekly report covering
August 29-September 4, cited the lack of any follow-up to the highly
significant acquittal at the end of July of banned Daily News journalist
Kelvin Jakachira on charges of practicing without a licence.

There was no coverage of the reasons for the acquittal, nor of evidence
during the trial that effectively debunked claims by the state-appointed
Media and Information Commission (MIC) to be independent. Evidence at the
trial showed that the MIC's old Causeway mail bag, P. Bag 7700, to which
journalists' apply for accreditation, belonged to the Office of the

"The government-controlled print and electronic media's failure to report
the outcome of the trial at all amounts to another blatant case of
censorship," said the MMPZ. "But it is regrettable that the private media
can no longer be relied upon to provide details of newsworthy developments,
particularly those that belie official claims of the Commission's

Another fall down in the week reviewed was the media's failure to report
that 2 ½ months after bringing an urgent application to the High Court, the
Combined Harare Residents' Association was turned down by a judge, Lavender
Makoni, who refused to give any reasons. The residents had challenged the
extension of the term of office of the state-appointed commission running
Harare City Council. The association will now have to pursue its case as a
non-urgent matter.

Only The Standard picked up on the case, which showed how far justice has
been compromised, and none of the media tried to analyse how the ruling
affects the democratic governing of the capital - a stronghold of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The MMPZ said the state-run media's coverage of the constitutional
amendments - which undermine property rights and enable the regime to refuse
passports to critics - underlined its role 'as supine messengers of the

With the exception of The Sunday Mail, the state-run media merely
regurgitated remarks by officials such as Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
defending the repressive laws. The Sunday Mail showed a measure of
professionalism by reporting criticisms from the MDC, retired High Court
Judge George Smith and Australian Ambassador Jon Sheppard. The private
media, however, balanced official views with criticisms.

In similar fashion, the state-run media simplistically covered the regime's
US$120 million payment to the IMF. It made no attempt to discover the source
of the money but was, the MMPZ said, drowned in Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono's 'florid, evasive and officious explanations'. Among the private
media, the MMPZ singled out Studio 7 and The Independent reporting that Gono
got the money 'through liquidating foreign accounts owned by corporate
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The Zimbabwean

Zanu (PF) 'won' with iron grip, not ballot stuffing: HR Forum
HARARE - Zanu (PF)'s victory in the March 31 elections was due to the ruling
party's total control of everything from electoral procedures and the police
to information and food aid, rather than stuffing ballot boxes, the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Forum concludes in an extensive final report.
"An analysis of voting figures by polling station suggests that if there was
any stuffing of ballot boxes, it was not significant enough to affect the
result," the Forum said in the report titled Of Stuffed Ballots and Empty
Stomachs. "More people turned out to vote for Zanu (PF) than the MDC."

The result, which appeared to defy logic in view of the country's massive
economic decline under Robert Mugabe's rule, was achieved by a combination
of factors including gerrymandering, secretive voters' roll, bought off
tribal leaders, manipulation of postal voters, and threats of withdrawal of
food aid and evictions - all implemented after the election.

In its analysis of the first 100 days after the election the Forum, a
coalition of 17 organisations, gave detailed accounts of revenge against
people perceived to have voted for the opposition, including evictions,
violence and denial of food aid.

"Zanu (PF) won the election in a manner which was neither free nor fair, not
due to stuffed ballot boxes, but by creating a captive electorate dependent
upon the favours of the ruling party and one which was starved of
information, free choice and food," the Forum concluded.
The Forum's trenchant account of Mugabe's grip on the election processes
marks another important chapter in the examination of this African dictator's
tactics in stamping out opposition and clinging to power while inflicting
great human suffering.

In the March elections, Zanu (PF)'s blanket control was as vital to ensuring
victory as brutality, murders and general physical violence were in the two
previous elections. All three elections are regarded by most of the
international community, apart from a majority of African states, as rigged
and illegitimate.

The declared tally in the March vote was 78 seats for Zanu (PF), 41 Movement
for Democratic Change, and one independent. With 30 members in the 150-seat
chamber appointed by Mugabe, he achieved the two thirds majority he sought
to amend the constitution and further entrench Zanu (PF) despite reducing
the nation to a parlous state.

Of the general set up for the election and the personnel running it, many
from the military or the intelligence services, the report said: "Voters who
had been placed on the roll (perhaps) by the Registrar General (a Zanu (PF)
stalwart) were set to vote in constituencies delimited by a Commission
(staffed by Zanu (PF) stalwarts) at polling stations administered by persons
(seconded by Zanu (PF) stalwarts) who would hand the results to Constituency
Election Officers (seconded by Zanu (PF) stalwarts). The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission Act and Electoral Act thus create a situation where it is
possible that the only actors in this process unfettered by Zanu (PF) might
be the candidates and their election agents."

This arrangement reflected what the Forum argued is the virtual
disappearance of the distinction between the State and Zanu (PF)-meaning
that the election was not a contest between two political parties, but
between the "ruling elite and the governed." Zanu (PF) presented itself as
being the sole party with the power to deliver to an electorate where many
depend on government food handouts.

"A show of fealty is a matter of basic survival," said the report. "In
short, a gun was held to the head of the electorate and it was made clear
that it was a Zanu (PF) finger on the trigger."

The Forum cited hundreds of reports of Zanu (PF) cadres having implemented
pre-election threats of reprisals against MDC voters, including physical
violence, denying food aid and expulsions from villages.

For example, in Gwanda the Zanu (PF) Member of Parliament, Abednico Ncube,
reportedly ordered headmen to compile lists of MDC voters, and vowed to stop
the Grain Marketing Board, which issues cheaper priced maize, distributing
in the area until he had the lists. Or as Bulawayo Catholic Archbishop Pius
Ncube put it, "He (Mugabe) wants to use food to reward his supporters and
starve to death opposition members. Anyone in his right senses would not
refuse to have his people fed especially when he can't feed them himself."
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The Zimbabwean
Mavuradonha wilderness destroyed
The beautiful Wilderness - now under threat from platinum mining.
Credit: Tich Mabunhu
MAVURADONHA - I have been going to Mavuradonha Wilderness Area for most of my life, spending a lot of family time walking, camping and swimming in the numerous beautiful waterfalls and streams. My family and I explored quite a lot of the area, especially the part of this huge protected area that bordered onto our farm.
My father played a key role in helping to make this massive 550 sq km of Zambezi escarpment into a designated protected area, to be run jointly and fairly by the Muzarabani District Council and the Musengezi Wildlife Society. Victoria Chitepo was the Minister of Wildlife and Environment at the time, and she was the honorary member who officially opened the Area in 1988. She was fully supportive of this project and without her dedication, as well as that of my father and the other commercial farmers in the farming areas bordering the wilderness, the project may never have become a reality.

Many years followed during which a beautiful, safe, wonderful natural heritage for all Zimbabweans was created. It was a successful CAMPFIRE (Communal Areas Management Program For Indigenous Resources). As well as these two organizations managing the area, numerous others supported it for no reward except to be able to enjoy the Mavuradonha and know that they were doing their bit to protect it. They were dedicated, selfless and their love of the bush surpassed all else. A few major contributors were WWF, The Zambezi Society, the Embassy of the Netherlands, and a few others.

This is one of the few wild areas one can walk in without a guide, where you could come across herds of elephant carefully treading their time-worn paths along razor sharp cliff tops, or swim in natural crystal clear pools with a waterfall thundering behind you. This natural rockslide encounter is one that children remember for the rest of their lives as a dreamlike adventure, as I do.

Apart from people coming to visit and simply enjoying the area, the Mavuradonha Wilderness also provided money to the surrounding communal areas through tourism, hunting as well as the less obvious, but by no means less important, protection of the entire area’s life-giving water sources which all originate in the high plateaus and radiate down through the valleys to water the crops.

So, with all that in mind it is no wonder I encountered a total feeling of dismay and anger when I went to Mavuradonha the other day, and after walking for a couple of hours through unchanged bush, with signs of recent elephant activity as well as kudu, waterbuck and small nocturnal carnivores, I looked over the edge of Eagles Crag cliff at the indescribable view, and saw a scar across the wildest part of this wilderness.

A brand new road crossing the Musengezi Bridge with a brand new bridge, to a part of this escarpment that is being surveyed for platinum. Tears filled my eyes - because I knew in my heart that this was the end of the line. Where there are mines, areas become built up, roads are built, people move in, trees are destroyed and the animals are killed. The environment always comes out second best. The government has approved this new mine with no thought to the wildlife and the people of Zimbabwe’s natural heritage.

Nothing will be able to stop this atrocity, because, as we know, in our country, these kind of things are happening on a daily basis. Indeed, when compared to the other disgusting things happening in Zimbabwe, this could be considered a minor incident - that such a stunning area is going to be destroyed.

I wrote this article because I believe the people of this country have the right to know what is going on in areas like Mavuradonha, which are seldom seen now due to the lack of fuel for weekend jaunts and the lack of foreign tourists, who used to support this area.

The only way of looking at these losses is to remember that our time on this planet is so very short in comparison to the age of the Earth, and that these areas will be here long after we have gone. Hopefully our descendants in a century or so will find that these areas – destroyed through greed and selfishness in our time – have been healed by nature. I hope and pray that the people also will have evolved and will know how important these places are - unlike the stupid, narrow mindedness we seem to have today, where everyone takes whatever they want when they want it - and never put anything back.
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The Zimbabwean

Time for a reality check
BULAWAYO - Things were, at one stage, moving pretty fast back here at home,
but now it seems to have all gone quiet again. Our economy was going to grow
by 5%, agriculture alone was to expand by 14%, and inflation was going to be
down to 80%. I wonder now why it's gone so quiet? Perhaps the reality has
hit at last? A real inflation rate in excess of 400%? Agriculture set to
grow by just 1% (if we are lucky).
Perhaps the grind has finally begun to register, perhaps some of our
'leaders' in parliament, recently so high on their 17th achievement, have
seen a glimmer of the real world? Our world, not theirs. Perhaps they have
asked themselves why the whole of sub- Saharan Africa is benefiting from the
G8's US$50 billion debt relief, cancellation of previous debts, free anti
retro-viral drugs and a welcoming into the new world order?

In order to save ourselves from being removed from the IMF for gross
misconduct, we scrape together a measly US$120 million (or is it 170
million, a bit conflicting here) to gasps of disbelief and amazement. What's
real here? Who's in charge here please?

Reality check. There are now four million people in need of food aid.
Please, who's in charge here? Please, whoever you are, stand up, and if you
have a single inch of humanity in you, say something, do something, stop
playing with our lives.

The disaster that you started in 2000 needs to be rectified. The reality is
that this country has been looted and the people brutalized, the arrogance
of believing your own lies has smashed this country to the very bottom,
where we, the people of Zimbabwe, will have to rebuild and pick up the
pieces you have discarded. So enough, we the people of Zimbabwe by the
majority, couldn't have cared less about politics, and the proof of this is
the fact that, pre-1999, we never worried about parliament, the M P's, who's
who in the cabinet, etc.

We trusted you, all of you who's job it was to protect us. Politics was,
then, for politicians, not for us. We were farmers, workers, doctors and
nurses, teachers and businessmen, ordinary people going about our ordinary
lives and we want our lives back. You have dragged us through your sordid
world of lies for too long now. So get real! How much longer is it going to
take? How much longer will we suffer this foolishness? Did you really
believe yourselves when you drove out your own people, destroyed your own
country? Mortgaged your grandchildren to the Zhing Zhong's, all in the name
of the few who have so much blood on their hands that they will never be
able to stand beside us.

This is a reality check, the facts are for all to see, and not what
manipulating politicians show us on the eight o'clock news, or what the
deputy minister of comedy likes us to believe in The Herald. Zimbabweans are
a peaceful bunch, so when free lunch is offered at some Chef's inauguration
party we come, we clap, we cheer. But cheering crowds of grannies and
grinning youths doesn't mean that we, the people of Zimbabwe, have forgotten
your crimes! It was Mao who came up with that great party trick of taking
everything away, and then the scraps thrown back will be gratefully

Reality here is, that the farms have been looted and destroyed, and adverts
in The Herald where 'new farmers' are trying to sell Center Pivot irrigation
schemes for billions of dollars, speaks volumes about what's going on out
there! Zimbabwe was an agricultural based economy and now that base has been
removed. Not replaced with new, equally capable players but wiped out,

Reality is that we did suffer a drought last year, but this country has
always had droughts, and we always pulled through. With hundreds of
thousands of new farmers why is Windmill on the verge of closure? Don't they
buy fertilizer?

Reality check. The Governor of Mashonaland West commissioned, with much fan
fare, an irrigation scheme at Between Rivers Farm in Banket. This scheme
consisted of one single pump (second hand by the looks of it) and about 10ha
of very poor wheat. I know for a fact that, pre-2000, that very farm used to
double crop 300ha every year. So that's 300ha of winter wheat and 300ha of
summer crops. Did no-one inform the Governor that his much-heralded new
irrigation scheme of 10-odd hectares had replaced 600ha of food for our

Reality check. Farming is for farmers, and bankers should stick to what they
know best, and so should lawyers and so should judges, and so should
Archbishops! I wonder what God would make of our Bishop here in Harare? But
one thing is for sure, and that is He won't ever make a farmer of him!

Reality check. We cannot afford another farming season like the last one -
but that's exactly what this Government is going to do. Their new lands
committees, their endless complaints, their parliamentary commissions on
agriculture, none of these forums will feed this nation. Farmers will feed
this nation, not just white, or black commercial farmers, or new farmers, or
old farmers, or peasant farmers, but just, plainly farmers. The real sons of
the soil.
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The Zimbabwean

It's time for intervention
BULAWAYO - An overview of the history of southern Africa clearly shows how
integrated the economies of the region are and how interdependent we have
always been. This is not altogether supported by the statistics - but they
do not take into account informal sector activity or transport and
Increasingly now we are also connected by politics. The new world order,
within which we all have to operate and live, demands that individual States
must conform to certain standards that are increasingly being accepted as
international norms. We are required to follow democratic principles in how
we choose our leadership. We are expected to limit our budget deficit to
somewhere around three per cent of GDP. We must accept the new rules for
trade within the global village. We are expected to observe and respect all
basic human and political rights.

Fail in any of these areas and countries immediately face sanctions of one
kind or the other. Not mandatory UN sanctions such as were imposed on the
Rhodesian government after 1965, but more subtle forms of sanctions.
Zimbabwe is a prime example of the latter - when we started to really break
the rules in the mid 90's we were faced with restricted access to the
world's multilateral banking system. The ADB, the World Bank and the IMF all
gradually suspended any activity to support what they saw as a delinquent
system of fiscal and political governance.

The international community (the rich members that is) also gradually froze
us out of their system of recognition and support. Foreign aid declined and
in many cases was simply suspended until defined problems were corrected.

As these early sanctions took effect and did not work, the international
community increased the pressure. Delegations were made unwelcome at
international meetings. This can be quite subtle - no invitations to
dinners, no formal recognition and even denial of visa's and other forms of
political sanction. We are well into this phase - our representatives have
disrupted relations between the EU and the ACP States and are also proving
to be problematical in other forums.

When South Africa was the 'Apartheid State' and a polecat in its own league,
we were always glad to have access to the Beira and Maputo harbors and for
the barrier provided by the Limpopo River and its crocodiles. These things
protected us from the side effects of having a neighbor who was persona non
grata in the global community. That position is now reversed and with a
vengeance. We do not have the economy or the regional status that South
Africa had when it was grappling with the question of its status and in some
ways we are almost more isolated today, than South Africa was in those
days - sure we are still in the UN system, but only just.

But we are small - just 3 per cent of the GDP of South Africa, a real minnow
in the regional and global picture. Does this question of our political and
economic status matter? Sure it does because like it or not we sink or swim
together. That is exactly what President Mbeki said after the recent SADC
summit in Gaborone. Every country in the SADC except Zimbabwe is recording
rapid economic and social progress, even the strife- torn ones like the
Congo. We are really the rotten apple in this barrel and we are holding back
the entire region. Why?

Perhaps the key is in South Africa itself - where the coalition that brought
South Africa through the turbulent days of the post apartheid transition to
democracy is falling apart. Mbeki, who looked so good a few months ago,
faces an open revolt over his decision to prosecute his previous deputy for
corruption and abuse of power. This struggle for power inside the ANC is
tearing it apart and if it is not addressed and resolved it could weaken
Mbeki precisely at the time when he has to deal with the rogue State on his
border. Mugabe knows this and like any mischief-maker, he will exploit this
conflict and thereby make things that much worse.

This is a delicate moment and it is no time for brinkmanship. The global
community has a stake in southern Africa and indeed in Africa itself. South
Africa is just too important an element in that equation to allow a minnow
like Zimbabwe to threaten the stability of South Africa. It really is time
that this pipsqueak country called Zimbabwe was sorted out - and fast, so
that instead of being part of the problem we can help strengthen regional
stability and growth.

It is not possible for the local political opposition to effect change by
itself. If change is going to happen it requires a catalyst - some factor
inserted from the outside. Such a catalyst was agreed at the G8 summit and
both China and India committed themselves to the deal. Mbeki was given the
responsibility of following it through on the ground - the powers that be
must revise their thinking in that respect and ask if he is any longer in a
position to exercise that role. Perhaps he has his hands full and it is time
for someone like Nigeria to step up to the plate. I learned back in the
immediate post independence era in Zimbabwe that the super powers have huge
interventionist capacity. Perhaps it is time to use a little on this corner
of the world for the sake of the region as a whole.
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The Zimbabwean

What does the IMF decision mean?
HARARE - In all its history the IMF has only expelled from its ranks one
country and that was in the mid 50's.
To get expulsion through, the Board has to first make the recommendation for
expulsion and then has to secure 85 per cent of its membership votes to
endorse the recommendation before expulsion becomes a reality.

Zimbabwe owes everybody money. It has an official external debt of over US$5
thousand million - none of this is being serviced and no payments have been
made to other key multilateral institutions. Zimbabwe owes the World Bank
money, the African Development Bank is owed money - perhaps more than the
IMF in arrears. So why is the IMF debt so important?

The reality is that it is not that important. Paying our arrears to the Fund
would not change our status one iota - we could not expect IMF support for
any sort of stabilization programme for some considerable time after the
issue of the arrears has been dealt with and a workable recovery programme
put in place.

No, the reason why the IMF threat was finally treated with such deference is
mainly political. African leaders - struggling with their image abroad and
with economic and financial problems at home, did not want to see an African
State expelled for misbehavior. South Africa gave impetus to this view when
they offered to settle the arrears themselves to avoid our expulsion.

To some extent the issue is also all about the fact that the Fund is the
ultimate Banker's Banker. A decision to expel Zimbabwe would have formally
confirmed our status across the world as a pariah State. It would have
closed doors to us in virtually every corner of the world when it came to
commercial lines of credit and other forms of financial assistance. It would
have damaged NEPAD and struck a blow against the reputation of other African
States whose position is only marginally better than that of Zimbabwe. Who
would be next, many countries would ask?

In fact the arrears were not the major issue on the IMF agenda in terms of
its relationship with Zimbabwe. What was the real issue was quite simply the
failure by the Zimbabwe leadership to get to grips with the problems that
had resulted in the almost total isolation of the country diplomatically and
the near-total collapse of the economy. During successive visits to the
country, the IMF team has asked local Zimbabweans "how do you carry on under
these circumstances?" It is amazing that anybody does.

The IMF decision keeps the pressure on for reform, it gives South Africa
time to exercise its responsibilities in the region and it does not make our
situation any worse. I guess that is a lot to achieve under these

What are the chances of Zimbabwe meeting the IMF on all key issues? - zero,
under this management. They, like the rest of us will have to wait for
management changes before we can expect any changes for the better. Mugabe
and his sorry crew only offer more of the same debilitating inertia and
Soviet style controls and corruption.
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