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

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Zimbabwe police arrest over 100 protesters

HARARE, Sept. 17 — Zimbabwe riot police arrested more than 100 demonstrators
on Wednesday during a protest against a constitution critics say has
entrenched President Robert Mugabe's rule.
       A spokesman for the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) -- a
coalition of political parties and student, church and rights groups -- said
police arrested over 140 people who were also protesting the closure last
week of Zimbabwe's sole privately-owned daily newspaper.
       Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said 104 NCA
activists were in police custody. ''They are going to be charged under the
Miscellaneous Offences Act for conduct likely to breach the peace,'' he told
       The NCA has led several protests in the last three years against a
constitution that critics say Mugabe has manipulated to tighten his 23-year
grip on power.
       ''Police have arrested our members including NCA chairman Lovemore
Madhuku. The people wanted to demonstrate at parliament about the
constitution issue, which we are linking to the closure of the Daily News,''
NCA official Ernest Mudzengi said.
       Those arrested included three photojournalists working for private
media who were covering the protest which involved about 500 people,
witnesses said. One of the newsmen told Reuters by telephone that the three
were likely to be detained overnight.
       Police shut down the Daily News last week after Zimbabwe's Supreme
Court ruled that its publisher Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) was
operating illegally as it had not registered under media laws introduced by
Mugabe's government.
       On Tuesday, police briefly detained two photojournalists working for
international news agencies Reuters and Associated Press as they waited
outside the offices of the Daily News, where police were seizing the paper's
       The paper's closure prompted an outcry from media groups, opposition
politicians and former colonial power, Britain, which branded it an attempt
to stifle democratic voices in Zimbabwe.
       Critics say Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
has mismanaged the economy, leading to acute shortages of food and fuel, and
unemployment of over 70 percent. Inflation is running at 426.5 percent.
       Mugabe argues that the economy has been sabotaged by his local and
foreign opponents seeking to punish his government over its controversial
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
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Mail and Guardian

Mugabe's bank has a new kind of money


      17 September 2003 14:13

President Robert Mugabe's government broke new economic ground on Wednesday
by introducing a form of money that financial experts said had been hitherto
unknown -- the bearer cheque.

A spokesperson for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was quoted in the daily
Herald newspaper as saying that next week it would introduce "bearer
cheques" in an attempt to alleviate the desperate shortage of cash in the

The cheques were printed on banknote paper, looked like banknotes and were
as "good as cash", the central bank said.

The cheques, which would be dispensed through automated teller machines,
would come in denominations of Z$5 000, Z$10 000 and Z$20 000.

Banking executives said the only difference between a bearer cheque and a
banknote was that the central bank would not call them banknotes, and that
they expired on January 31 next year.

"This is being done for the convenience of the public while long-term
measures are being put in place," Information Minister Jonathan Moyo assured

It was not explained why they were not called banknotes.

A senior Harare bank executive who asked not to be named said: "It's an
invention ... I have never heard of it before. For a central bank to issue
something called a bearer cheque is probably unique.

"It can only be so they can tell Mugabe they haven't had to issue a bigger
banknote. He seems to need to reassuring that Zimbabwe is not really a
banana republic. I can't think of any other reason."

The Reserve Bank warned since the beginning of the year that it was facing a
shortage of cash and that the current highest banknote denomination of Z$500
was insufficient in the country's current hyper-inflation environment.

However, it had refused to print higher value banknotes.

Thousands of Zimbabweans can be seen every weekday queuing at banks in the
hope of drawing a small amount of cash, while cash itself has joined the
long list of commodities available only on the illegal black market,
attracting a premium of up to 50%.

Economists said the cause was the central bank's failure to print enough
money. They pointed out in a Third World society only a tiny minority of
people have chequebooks and credit cards, and most people use cash.

"With inflation now at 427%, it means that five times as much cash is needed
now than a year ago," said the bank executive.

The government claimed the shortage was caused by "hoarding" and last month
published regulations that made it a crime to carry more than Z$5-million at
a time.

Zimbabwe has been classified by the United Nations as having the fastest
shrinking economy in the world -- with gross domestic product forecast to
tumble 12% this year. -- Sapa

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Radio Netherlands

On the rampage

by our Internet desk, 17 September 2003

Father Barnabas Nqindi
"I must do my part as a priest. If that does cost me my earthly life, than so be it."
- Father Barnabas Nqindi

In today's Zimbabwe, to speak the truth is to risk beatings, imprisonment, torture or even death. Yet growing numbers of churchmen and women are denouncing the human rights abuses being committed by President Robert Mugabe's government. Because of the government's severe restrictions on the media, a Radio Netherlands' reporter travelled undercover to Zimbabwe and spoke to an archbishop, a priest and a minister.

"We're living under a totalitarian regime," says Reverend Graham Shaw, a Methodist minister in Zimbabwe's second biggest city, Bulawayo. "This is a police state." Human rights organisations concur. The man who led Zimbabwe to independence over two decades ago, Robert Mugabe, and his party, the ZANU-PF, are determined to suppress the Movement for Democratic Change or MDC. In the process, the government is violating the most basic rights of its own citizens.



Listen to the documentary 'Under siege' (29'18")

The crisis began in 1999 with the emergence of the MDC. It was the first serious political opposition to the ruling party in recent years. The government's initial annoyance turned to antipathy and later to anger. The authorities have made it clear that anyone who does not support them is against them. Human rights groups have documented how MDC supporters are being denied medical treatment and even food aid. Zimbabwe used to be southern Africa's grain basket. Today, half the population of 11 million depends on foreign food aid.

Archbishop Pius
"People tell me you'd better get some organisation to feed us. Otherwise the next time you come, you might find us dead."
- Archbishop Pius

The criticism of growing numbers of churchmen has not gone unnoticed by the government. "I had one of them sitting here on my sofa, trying to convert me," says the Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube. "I was offered a piece of land. I refused. I said if this land is being acquired in this evil manner – where farmers have been killed, where property is taken overnight, where the facilities that were producing enough food for the country are being destroyed, all for the sake of keeping power – then I reject it."

Pressure on religious leaders is gradually increasing, even though 80% of Zimbabweans describe themselves as Christian. It's all part of a careful calculation on the part of the government, believes Reverend Shaw. "When they feel that they are threatened by the outspoken views expressed by individual churchmen, they can and will act decisively. It's relatively easy for them to pick off one or two individuals."

Reverend Shaw
"The church is the one small democratic space that is left."
 - Reverend Shaw

Secret police
The Central Intelligence Organisation or CIO – Zimbabwe's secret police – regularly monitors church services. Reverend Shaw knows that the CIO even receives reports from some of his own parishioners. "The state operates in a sinister way, not with any open or direct threats, but it certainly gives those who are proclaiming truth and justice cause to pause. We have to think before we make any statements because we know that the state, at the appropriate point, will take further action."

That doesn't stop him or Barnabus Nqindi, a Catholic priest, from speaking. "If Mr. Mugabe doesn't like it, then tough luck," says Father Nqindi. "I'm first a priest and I am answerable to God. I can be found on the wrong side of Mr. Mugabe. That's no problem. But not on the wrong side of God."

Click to see the video
A group of concerned religious leaders, calling themselves Christians Together for Justice and Peace, regularly organise services where victims of government repression and torture can speak. Watch an excerpt from "Songs in the Night", filmed in Bulawayo Cathedral in February 2003.

Slow response
Like much of the rest of Zimbabwean society, Christian leaders have been slow to respond to President Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian rule. "For too long," says Reverend Shaw, "the churches have tried to close their eyes to the gross human rights abuses and injustices." It has been difficult for Christians to come up with a common position. "Unfortunately," says Archbishop Pius, "there are some clergy, even in the Catholic Church, who are siding with the government".

Does God exist?
The desperation has become so great that many Zimbabweans wonder whether even God has abandoned them. They themselves are partly to blame, says Archbishop Pius. "They put Mugabe on a pedestal and spoiled him." Reverend Shaw believes it's up to the church to make Zimbabweans aware that "the real cause of their hunger, homelessness and suffering is a small clique of power-hungry politicians. They are sacrificing the lives of their people for their own political ambitions. We need to give people the assurance that the god of justice and truth will prevail."

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Zim cops clean out paper
17/09/2003 16:56  - (SA)

Harare - Police in Zimbabwe seized more equipment on Wednesday from the
country's only independent daily paper, the Daily News, which was shut down
last week for operating illegally.

Meanwhile, Daily News lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu said the High Court would
hear an urgent application to reopen the paper on Thursday. The application
had been filed on Tuesday.

"The hearing has been set down for tomorrow," said Mahlangu.

At the hearing, the Daily News will also seek to obtain the return of the
equipment confiscated by police form its central Harare offices.

On Friday, the authorities shut down the four-year-old paper, which is
highly critical of President Robert Mugabe's government, accusing it of
operating illegally because it has not registered with a state-appointed
media commission.

Under Zimbabwe's tough media laws all news organisations, newspapers and
journalists have to be registered with the commission. But the Daily News
had refused to do so, saying mandatory registration with the state-appointed
commission was unconstitutional.

After raiding the Daily News's premises on Tuesday and taking away some
equipment, police were Wednesday seizing more of the paper's equipment from
its city centre offices, and were threatening to break into offices that
were locked, a company official said.

Gugulethu Moyo, director and legal advisor for the paper said police had on
Tuesday managed only to strip computers from the newsroom and other
open-plan offices.

"The police are still down there and they're still collecting our property,"
said Moyo in an interview.

"And now they are saying they are going to break down the enclosed offices,"
she said.

"Why can't they wait until tomorrow for a court ruling?" she asked.

Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the chief executive of the paper's parent company,
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), and Moyo said Tuesday police had
produced no warrant or court order authorising them to seize the property.

The police have said they required no court order to remove the equipment
which they said would be used as exhibits in a court case against Nkomo,
accused of illegally operating a newspaper.

Chief executive Nkomo said he did not understand the rationale of the police
taking away all the paper's equipment if it was just for use as evidence.

"I really find it strange. They could have taken a copy of the Daily news to
say 'this is what they produced'," Nkomo said.

The Daily News was forcibly closed last week after the Supreme Court ruled
the paper was operating illegally because it had failed to register with the
state-appointed media commission.

The paper has since applied to register with the commission, but is still
awaiting a response.

Mugabe's government accuses the Daily News of being a mouthpiece of the main
opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The paper has been the target of two bomb attacks and several of its
journalists, including the former editor-in-chief Geoffrey Nyarota, have
been arrested repeatedly since the paper was launched in 1999.

If the Daily News is permanently closed, 340 full-time workers plus 900
newspaper vendors will be out of work in a country where unemployment tops
70 percent, and around 80 percent of the population live in poverty.

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ABC Australia

Last Update: Wednesday, September 17, 2003. 11:45am (AEST)
Howard rejects racist accusation from Zimbabwe
Criticism from the Zimbabwean Government over Australia's opposition to it
returning to the Commonwealth has been rejected by the Prime Minister John

A Zimbabwean Government spokesman has described Australia's attitude to
African nations as racist and condescending.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth last year after international
observers reported violence and rorting during national elections.

Mr Howard says Zimbabwe can only return to the Commonwealth after President
Robert Mugabe has left power.

"Zimbabwe is a disaster, a human disaster," he said.

"A 425 per cent inflation rate, five or six million people depending on food
aid, it is quite unacceptable that Zimbabwe continue to participate, or be
allowed to resume participation in Commonwealth affairs until there's a
complete change of approach, and that can only happen with the disappearance
of the Mugabe Government."
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Mugabe throws cloud over summit

Commonwealth threatened with racial split over Zimbabwe ban

Rory Carroll in Johannesburg
Wednesday September 17, 2003
The Guardian

South Africa and Australia clashed yesterday over barring Zimbabwe's
president, Robert Mugabe, from a Commonwealth summit. The row threatens to
split the group along racial lines.
Australia's prime minister, John Howard, angered Pretoria by announcing that
Mr Mugabe would not be invited to the Commonwealth heads of government
meeting in Nigeria in December because Zimbabwe's record on human rights had
not improved.
In a thinly veiled appeal for solidarity among African members, South Africa
accused Mr Howard of megaphone diplomacy and called on the Commonwealth to
reverse the ban.
The row flared as Zimbabwe intensified a crackdown on the Daily News, the
country's only independent daily newspaper and one of the regime's strongest
critics. Police raided the newspaper's office in Harare and seized
equipment, despite apparently having no warrant to do so.
Gugulethu Moyo, the newspaper's legal adviser, said: "This is just brute
force. The whole thing is horrendous, it's purely illegal."
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth's decision-making councils
after the government rigged the presidential election in March last year
which Mr Mugabe won.
South Africa wants the 18-month-old suspension lifted in time for December's
summit in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, arguing that the isolation has failed to
solve Zimbabwe's economic and political problems.
Mr Howard seemed to surprise the South African government when he said that
Don McKinnon, the Commonwealth's secretary general, and Nigeria's president,
Olusegun Obasanjo, had assured him that Mr Mugabe would be barred.
He described the lack of progress in Zimbabwe as a "veritable tragedy", and
said: "Its people are starving. Their choice of government has been denied
to them. Their economy is in ruins. In these circumstances it would be a
travesty if Zimbabwe were to be represented at the Abuja meeting. I welcome
the decision that has been taken by Nigeria not to extend an invitation to
President Mugabe."
The Zimbabwean president has blamed soaring inflation, food shortages and
opposition to his 23-year rule on attempts by Britain, the former colonial
power, to sabotage his policy of seizing land from white farmers and giving
it to landless black citizens.
South Africa favours engaging Harare through quiet diplomacy, rather than
punishing it through sanctions.
Bheki Khumalo, a spokesman for South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, told
Australian radio that Pretoria was "very disappointed" with Mr Howard's
"We don't think that using megaphone diplomacy will work and we hope that
the Australians, in particular the Australian government, will understand
this," he said.
Later he told reporters in South Africa: "If President Mugabe does not
attend the meeting, it will be because he has not been invited by the
Nigerian president, not because of the actions of John Howard."
Undeterred, the Australian prime minister repeated his statements to the
parliament in Canberra. Australia has become more critical of Zimbabwe as
Britain has cooled its rhetoric against Mr Mugabe to stop him from playing
the colonial card.
Nigeria shares South Africa's distaste for punishing another African
government and there was no public confirmation from Abuja to match Mr
Howard's announcement.
With two Commonwealth heavyweights pulling in opposite directions, Nigeria,
which has the final say over who to invite, faces a dilemma. One diplomat
predicted that it was likely to bar Mr Mugabe. "It's not an easy decision
for them but they know that, according to the rule, he should not be
invited," he said.
Yesterday's raid on the Daily News was not unexpected, but staff were
shocked when riot police in two lorries sealed off the road in front of
their office and seized equipment. Two freelance photographers outside the
office were detained for questioning.
The paper was forcibly shut last week on the grounds of operating illegally
because it has not registered with a state-appointed media commission.
Under a strict new media law, which critics say is unconstitutional, all
news organisations must register with the commission, something the Daily
News had refused to do until this week. But the information minister,
Jonathan Moyo, said its application was incomplete.
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The Star

      Mugabe scores own goal by closing Zim paper
      September 17, 2003

      By Peter Fabricius and Basildon Peta

      The South African government has backed off from earlier attempts to
seek Zimbabwe's participation in the Commonwealth heads of government summit
in Nigeria.

      This followed further severe action yesterday by President Robert
Mugabe's government against the country's main independent newspaper, the
Daily News.

      Police stopped publication of the paper on Friday and yesterday raided
it again, seizing equipment, and briefly detaining two freelance

      According to some official sources, Nigeria was expected to announce
soon that Mugabe would not be invited to the December meeting. But the
Nigerian government said yesterday that no decision had been taken. If its
wavering indicated that it might still seek a back door for Mugabe to enter,
Mugabe himself helped to dash such hopes by effectively banning the Daily

      Some Commonwealth countries indicated yesterday their leaders would
not attend the summit if Mugabe was there. This would have caused a serious
split along racial lines in the organisation.

      Australian Prime Minister John Howard, current Commonwealth
chairperson, said Mugabe would not be invited to the summit because Zimbabwe
remained under suspension from Commonwealth activities.

      He told parliament he understood Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo
had agreed not to invite Mugabe, and welcomed the decision.

      But President Mbeki's spokesperson, Bheki Khumalo, told SABC radio
news and the Agence France Presse news agency yesterday that the SA
government saw no reason why Mugabe should not be invited and it would ask
Obasanjo to invite him.

      "No doubt we will engage with the Nigerian government and President
Obasanjo so that an invitation is extended to Zimbabwe," he told the SABC.

      The statement appeared to be a direct challenge to Howard and to
Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon who had also insisted through
his spokesperson Joel Kibazo that Mugabe could not attend the summit.

      However, later yesterday, Khumalo backtracked, denying the SA
government had said it would ask Nigeria to invite Mugabe.

      Khumalo told Sapa in Pretoria the presidency would engage with Nigeria
to seek common ground on the matter, but accepted the host country had the
final say.

      The Daily News has lodged an urgent application in the Harare High
Court to be allowed to reopen. - Independent Foreign Service

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Impact of Economic Crisis On Agriculture Threatens Recovery

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

September 17, 2003
Posted to the web September 17, 2003


Zimbabwe's major fertiliser companies say they may not be able to supply the
country with desperately needed agricultural inputs, unless government
addresses problems such as the shortage of foreign currency.

Production in Zimbabwe's agricultural sector hit an all-time low this year
and the slump in output of Southern Africa's former bread-basket - which has
been blamed on the government's fast-track land resettlement programme,
erratic weather and the impact of HIV/AIDS - could worsen, fertiliser
producers of have warned.

The major national seed supplier, Seedco, had a more positive outlook,
saying it had 1.9 million mt of seed, 91 percent of the country's annual
seed needs of 2,1 million mt. But the company warned that the critical
shortage of fertiliser may scuttle attempts at an agricultural revival, in a
country where 80 percent of farming activities depend on availability of the
inputs required for various types of soil conditions.

The Zimbabwe Farmers Union had previously warned that inflationary pressures
were having an extremely negative impact on the ability of farmers to access
agricultural inputs.

The fertiliser companies, Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries (Zimphos), Zimbabwe
Fertiliser Company and Windmill (Pvt) Limited, said the industry has been
operating at low capacity for the last eight months, managing to supply only
240,000 mt of fertiliser to the agricultural sector - compared with a normal
capacity of 370,000 mt over the same period.

The companies made the statement in a joint report, "Fertiliser Industry
Situation Report: September 2003", submitted last week to the parliamentary
portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water Development, Rural
Resources and Resettlement.

They said the fertiliser industry would require at least US $2.45 million a
month for the next four months, beginning in September, to reach maximum
production capacity and satisfy the country's fertiliser needs for the
farming season that has just begun.

Their report also called for increased speed in the transportation of raw
materials by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) in order to reduce
crippling road haulage costs.

"NRZ should move a total of 27,000 mt of raw materials per month if the
industry is to avoid excessive road haulage costs. The industry's capacity
... will depend entirely on the extent to which these requirements are
fulfilled," the report said.

Problems at the financially strapped NRZ have affected the industry, as the
parastatal was able to transport only 58 percent of the raw material needs
for the entire fertiliser industry between January and August this year.

The NRZ is facing a critical shortage of goods wagons, with many in a state
of disrepair. It has also lost four of its diesel locomotives in head-on
accidents, blamed on the lack of signal and communications equipment along
the major lines.

"Inadequate deliveries of phosphate rock, pyrites, sulphur and coal by rail
remain a serious problem. Road haulage is having to be used, although it is
15 times the cost of moving the same commodities by rail. For the past three
months, 50 percent of the phosphate rock and sulphur had to be moved by road
and this is likely to worsen with more tonnage moved by road," the industry
pointed out.

Foreign currency shortages over the past eight months had affected the
industry's ability to import essential raw materials such as sulphur,
ammonia, potash and industrial chemicals, as well as plant maintenance
spares and accessories.

Failure by creditors, including the Tobacco Growers Trust (TGT), to service
their debts had also worsened the position of the industry since January.

"In the first eight months, the industry managed to get only 32 percent of
its monthly operational requirement of US $2.45 million in foreign currency.
The industry is owed US $4 million by the Tobacco Growers Trust.
Preferential fertiliser prices were given in 2002, on the understanding that
TGT will provide this forex. However, failure by the TGT to do this has
prejudiced the industry of huge cash reserves and reduced its capacity to
fund forex purchases from the market," the companies said in their report.

Load-shedding by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA),
introduced throughout Zimbabwe early this year when the country experienced
a power crisis, still continues to affect both domestic and industrial

Government-imposed price controls were also identified as contributing to
the viability problems facing the industry.

Seedco also submitted a 10-point seed crop growers stimulation plan, calling
on government to promote, among others: "twinning" arrangements between new
and established growers to enable an exchange of ideas at farmer level;
intensive training for seed growers; and the setting of competitive producer
prices to sustain grower viability.

"There is a need to maximise farmer productivity to raise the average
national yield from 0.7 mt per hectare to 1 mt per hectare. There is also a
need for an extensive extension/agronomy drive at farmer level to promote
the use of drought avoidance measures like irrigation and water
conservation. Government should also provide farmers with price incentives
to encourage them to grow a surplus," read part of the Seedco submission.

Agro-input industries have not been spared the various shortages that make
up the country's economic and social crisis. The report showed that Zimbabwe
could face a deepening food security crisis due to a lack of inputs.

Efforts to obtain comment from McKenzie Ncube, chairman of the parliamentary
portfolio committee on lands, were unsuccessful. Lands, agriculture and
rural resettlement minister Dr Joseph Made was also not available.

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Fuel Still Scarce Despite Deregulation of Industry

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

September 17, 2003
Posted to the web September 17, 2003

The recent deregulation of the fuel industry was supposed to ease acute fuel
shortages in Zimbabwe but there has been little discernable benefit arising
from the new policy, say industry officials.

For years the procurement of fuel has been the sole preserve of the state,
through the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) utility.

However, the government's failure to access sufficient foreign currency to
pay international suppliers has led to the cancellation of deals, resulting
in the country experiencing serious fuel shortages over the past three

On 27 August 2003 Energy and Power Development Minister Amos Midzi
deregulated the procurement of petroleum products.

In effect, registered oil companies would be expected to source their own
foreign currency, import oil and sell directly to members of the public
through approved outlets. Under the new arrangement a two-tier pricing
system came into being.

Noczim is now expected to distribute fuel to government departments,
quasi-government institutions, public transport operators and the
agricultural sector at the gazetted price of Zim $450 a litre for petrol and
Zim $200 for diesel. The national oil utility is also required to build up
national reserves of petroleum.

While private companies should sell diesel at Zim $1,170 and petrol at Zim
$1,060, in reality, most companies are selling both diesel and petrol at Zim

Despite these measures, the fuel crisis continues and most service station
pumps remain dry. John Mauto, a service station manager, said since
deregulation they were receiving fuel twice a week, at best.

"The situation has remained largely the same. We are hardly getting any fuel
for sale and I don't think things will improve in a long time. Recently, my
company had to cancel accounts that individual motorists had with us because
we are failing to perform according to their expectations," said Mauto.

He said the management of his company had indicated that it was proving
uneconomical to source fuel from outside the country and then sell it at the
new prices stipulated by the government.

Fanuel Kangondo, public relations manager at a local oil company, Comoil,
echoed Mauto's sentiments. "It is economically unwise for fuel companies to
stick to the prices stipulated by the government. What our policy-makers
forgot is that we source the foreign currency that we use to import fuel on
the black market at exorbitant prices, and the prices they marked for us are
way below what we should charge if we have to remain in business," he said.

"It is contradictory that the government says it has liberalised the oil
industry, yet still wants to have a say in pricing. It is indeed difficult
to have a uniform pricing structure for private importers, because we source
the forex in different ways," Kangondo added.

He said a substantial number of fuel companies had managed to source fuel,
which they were holding onto because they feared making losses if they sold
at the current prices. Companies selling fuel outside the stipulated prices
risked prosecution and the cancellation of their licences.

Several private companies have struck deals with Independent Petroleum Group
(IPG) of Kuwait, while others are seeking to source their oil from South

Local companies recently joined ranks in rejecting the new prices announced
by the government, arguing that it cost them US $0.39 to land a litre of
fuel in the country which, at the average unofficial exchange rate of Zim
$5,000 to US $1, meant the companies paid a landing price of Zim $1,950 -
more than the stipulated retail price for petrol and diesel. The official
exchange rate is Zim $824 to US $1.

Economist John Robertson said the government had not liberalised the fuel
industry, it had merely managed to "liberate itself from the futility of
trying to source fuel for the country".

"The oil industry is, in fact, still controlled. All the government did was
to free itself from the procurement of fuel - a task in which it has proven
to be a dismal failure. Because of this simplistic approach, the fuel
situation will remain in a mess," he told IRIN.

Robertson argued that it could be considered illegal for the government to
limit the operations of Noczim to supplying government departments only, as
the oil utility was set up and is sustained by money contributed by

He expressed the fear that private procurers and distributors of fuel might
have no choice but to sell their products on the black market in order to
remain economically viable.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which in the past organised a
series of mass protests over massive fuel price hikes, says the government
"should have widely consulted with other stakeholders such as oil companies,
labour, and commuter operators" before instituting its new fuel policy.

"That way, you create a win-win situation ... [but] there is no blueprint
for the energy sector and everything is being done on an ad hoc basis," said
Godfrey Kanyenze, chief economist with the ZCTU.

As a way of resolving the foreign currency crisis Kanyenze suggested that
the ban on bureaux de change, which came into effect late last year, should
be lifted. The government outlawed bureaux de change, saying they were
fuelling the foreign currency black market. However, since their closure,
the scarcity of foreign currency has worsened.

In a move that commentators say could worsen the foreign currency shortage,
state security agencies have launched a crackdown on commercial banks buying
and selling money at unofficial rates. The National Merchant Bank of
Zimbabwe has already lost its licence for dealing in foreign currency.

Labour economist Kanyenze noted, however, that should the pricing wrangle be
resolved, private fuel companies still lack adequate fuel storage
facilities. He suggested that there was an urgent need for them to negotiate
with the government for use of the existing Noczim oil storage facilities.

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Zimbabwe Economic Crisis Worries EU

The Post (Lusaka)

September 17, 2003
Posted to the web September 17, 2003

Larry Moonze

THE European Union (EU) is deeply concerned with the economic and
humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, Italian Ambassador to Zambia and Zimbabwe
Dr. Tullio Guma said yesterday.

Ambassador Guma said the EU was not imposing economic or trade sanctions
against Zimbabwe but merely shared the opinion expressed by a number of
international organisations that the serious social and economic crisis
Zimbabwe faced was due to inappropriate economic policies, execution of land
reforms, the drought and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

"The measures adopted by the EU as a result of the break down of the rule of
law and human rights abuses are the freezing of personal assets of senior
members of government and other high ranking officials, the prevention of
the same to travel to EU member states and the embargo on the sale of arms,"
he said.

Ambassador Guma said none of these measures could affect or cause any
hardship to the Zimbabwean population let alone accelerate the economic
crisis and bring about suffering for the population.

"The suspension or re-orientation of certain financial and development
co-operation programmes with the government of Zimbabwe is mainly due to the
fact that it has not complied with provisions of the pertinent bilateral
agreements and to the political and economic environment which is not
conducive to development co-operation with government structures," he said.
"The EU and its member states are deeply concerned with the economic and
humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. Consequently, the humanitarian assistance
given to the people of Zimbabwe by the EU and its member states has
continued and has in the last two years amounted to Euro 300 million."

Ambassador Guma said the EU and member states funded programmes in direct
support of the people of Zimbabwe in poverty alleviation, education, health,
infrastructure, human rights and democratisation.

He said the EU remained committed to engaging the Zimbabwean government in a
comprehensive dialogue on the present difficulties being experienced in the
country with the aim of restoring political, social and economic stability.

But Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Zambia Cain Mathema said the EU
statement was nonsensical and a lie based on fiction.

He said the American and British led sanctions on Zimbabwe which the EU had
adopted were not merely targeted at ZANU-PF leaders or government but the
whole economy.

"The suffering of people of Zimbabwe is due to sanctions imposed by the EU
and its allies - the US and the British governments," he said.

High Commissioner Mathema said the US Secretary of State Collin Powell and
his British counterpart were on record as having instructed the World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stop assistance to Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe court says judge's arrest unconstitutional

HARARE, Sept. 17 — Zimbabwe's Supreme Court has decided the arrest and
detention of a High Court judge earlier this year was unconstitutional and
has overruled corruption charges against him.
       In a judgment made on Tuesday and made available on Wednesday, the
country's highest court said government lawyers had conceded that police
acted unlawfully by detaining Benjamin Paradza instead of taking him to
court to answer the charges.
       Paradza is suing President Robert Mugabe's government for wrongful
arrest over a ''humiliating'' night spent in a lice-infested jail, which he
said was an assault on judicial independence.
       Paradza was detained overnight in February over allegations he
interfered in the case of a business partner, which was being handled by
another judge. Paradza was later freed on bail.
       Half of Zimbabwe's High Court judges condemned Paradza's detention
and said the state failed to follow procedures laid down in the constitution
to handle allegations of misconduct against a judge, including the
appointment of a tribunal to investigate.
       Paradza stands accused of trying to influence a fellow judge to
release the passport of French national Russel Wayne Labuschagne, his
partner in a safari hunting business venture.
       Labuschagne was sentenced to 15 years in prison in April on charges
of murdering a fisherman he had allegedly caught poaching fish in a river in
northern Zimbabwe in November 2000.
       Paradza's lawyers say the charges were designed to punish him for
embarrassing Mugabe's government the previous month when he freed Harare's
mayor, a member of the main opposition party, who was arrested for holding
an illegal political meeting.
       The police deny the corruption charges against Paradza were
politically motivated.
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From The Times (UK), 17 September

War of words over Mugabe summit ban

By Michael Dynes in Johannesburg and Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor

The Commonwealth was divided yesterday by a blistering row over Zimbabwe
after South Africa bluntly told Australia to stop trying to prevent
President Mugabe attending its December 5 summit meeting in Nigeria. South
Africa accused John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister, of using
"mega-phone diplomacy" after he announced that he had received assurances
from Nigeria that Mr Mugabe would not be invited to the biannual meeting of
54 mostly former British colonies. Australia has been in the forefront of
attempts to block South Africa and other African countries from lifting
Zimbabwe’s 18-month-old suspension from the Commonwealth, which was imposed
after its flawed 2002 presidential elections. However, Bheki Khumalo,
President Mbeki’s spokesman, insisted that there was nothing to be gained
from barring Mr Mugabe from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
(Chogm) in Abuja. "We want to appeal to the Australians to understand that
megaphone diplomacy will not produce results," Mr Khumalo said. "Sanctions
have been imposed against Zimbabwe now for a number of months with no result
at all, and we don’t think that using megaphone diplomacy will work."

Commonwealth officials are adamant that Zimbabwe’s leader will not be
invited to the meeting. Under the Commonwealth’s rules, Zimbabwe’s
suspension can be lifted at the very earliest by the other heads of
government when they meet in Abuja. Nevertheless, President Obasanjo of
Nigeria has told Mr Mugabe that he could still be invited if he formed a
national unity government with the Opposition - a move that seems highly
unlikely, given that the crackdown against dissent is continuing in Zimbabwe
and Morgan Tsvangirai, the main opposition leader, is being tried for
treason. It has been made clear to Mr Obasanjo that Britain, Australia and
several other key Commonwealth members would boycott Abuja if Mr Mugabe were
present. There are real fears that the organisation is being split along
racial lines by the row over Zimbabwe, with African governments supporting
Harare and Western nations strongly opposed. A taste of that acrimony was
evident yesterday when Mr Howard dismissed South Africa’s criticisms and
insisted that most Commonwealth leaders supported extending the Zimbabwe’s
suspension. "Everything Australia has said about Zimbabwe in the time I’ve
been Prime Minister, far from being megaphone diplomacy, has been a plain
statement of truth," Mr Howard told Parliament.

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Comment from The Star (SA), 17 September

SA must heed Mugabe logic

By the Editor

Those pinning their hopes on Pretoria playing an active role in resolving
the political crisis in Zimbabwe will be disappointed by the statement -
released by Bheki Khumalo, President Thabo Mbeki's spokesperson - opposing
further punishment of Harare. According to Khumalo, the South African
government is against the continued sanctions and further suspension of
Zimbabwe. Khumalo was quoted as saying that "sanctions have been imposed
against Zimbabwe now for a number of months with no result at all". This
assessment is correct, but the fact that they have not worked is hardly a
reason for ceasing to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe to end the
political and economic crises in his country. In fact, logic should dictate
that since the suspension by the Commonwealth and the targeted sanctions
have failed to produce the desired results, tougher measures should be
imposed on the Zanu PF regime to effect change.

The assault on democracy is continuing and the closure of the Daily News
newspaper is just the latest example in the litany of intimidation and
harassment tactics on those seeking political change in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has
shown that he cares little about his people. Recently, there were reports
that he had commissioned the construction of a R72-million mansion amid the
deepening poverty and hunger faced by millions of his people. He has become
a liability to his country and there is no sign that the economic
catastrophe will end soon. The so-called secret talks between Zanu PF and
the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, has so far come to
naught. There are constant reports of harassment and the use of food as a
weapon to weaken the opposition. Given all these problems, it is difficult
to understand the approach of our government on Zimbabwe. Mugabe has not
honoured a range of agreements, even the ones he pledged to Mbeki. Pretoria
must accept that quiet diplomacy is applicable to honourable leaders. Mugabe
has lost his honour and needs to be engaged differently.

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As a result of the well-intended e-mail sent out by Gerry Davidson and the
reaction by farmers to that message it has become apparent that there is a
lot of confusion on this subject.

According to Dave Drury a senior lawyer involved in land cases:
- Compensation is part of a legal process.
- Damages generally arise out of illegal action.

The conflict exists where at present the state is claiming that the whole
Land Redistribution Exercise is legal, transparent and irreversible, and
that the proper procedures have been followed.

The State further claims that the farmer will only be compensated for the

We agree that under present circumstances not only do we have very few
rights, but we also have very little chance of those few rights being

However we also believe that as farmers we do have a future in this country
and that we are part of the solution and not the cause of the problem.

The legal actions at present being pursued in our courts by farmers and
Justice for Agriculture, intend to address the following issues related to
The constitutional rights of the property owner specifically dealing with
ownership of, and responsibility for compensation for:
The Land
Other Losses.

The legal aspect is receiving attention and should resolve the issues
relating to the procedures for claiming Compensation and Damages.

The Loss Claim Document is a tool that will be utilized once the procedures
have been finalized.

The Loss Claim Document should contain a full description valuation and
verification of all losses incurred by the farmer.

While we concur that a lawyer on behalf of the farmer must handle the legal
component of the process, we wish to point out that there are other
professional bodies equally involved in the process.

Farmers must understand that it is their responsibility to ensure that his
or her Loss Claim Document is indeed a Comprehensive Valid and Verified
Claim, that is in an acceptable format and that it is the contention of the
professional bodies involved that will probably be the most important
document a farmer will ever compile.

The format must be of such a standard that the farmer will be proud of the
document in whatever legal or negotiation forum it might serve to represent

The JAG Loss Claim Document has been compiled after full consultation and
participation by:
- Lawyers
- Valuators
- Loss Assessors
- Chartered Accountants
- And Farmers.

This process has ensured that the document contains all the relevant
information to resolve the issues that form part of the compensation

Justice for Agriculture has compiled a document using a standardized format
and containing accepted formulae. The document is available to all farmers
in a printed format or an electronic format.

The final document will contain a:
- Copy of the Title deeds;
- Copy of a Valuation certificate from the valuators that will contain a
valuation of the land and improvements only;
- List of all moveable Assets;
- List of all consequential losses;
- List of all consequential costs;
- Diary of events;

To assist farmers in the compilation of their documents we have trained 25
facilitators from around the country. For a list of the facilitators please
contact the JAG office.

If a farmer has got access to a computer and is confident of his/her
computer skills he/she may contact JAG directly for the relevant software.

With the cooperation of various businesses we were also able to compile an
Asset Values list that one can use as a guideline to determine the values
of your moveable assets.

By becoming part of the exercise you will have a professionally compiled
comprehensive loss claim document that will be your own private property,
and have your information stored on a central database that can be used in
any negotiation process or legal initiative to bring about fair

In an effort to conserve fuel we are willing to address farmers meetings on
any aspect of the compensation process or could facilitate training for
individuals. For further details you may contact the JAG office at 04
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:

- Farming Today???
I have been reading with some interest the various viewpoints being
expressed by many farmers. There is a wide diversity of opinions being
expressed on the whole CFU vs JAG Question.

I am not a farmer but I feel that the great pity is that the farming
community has been torn apart by the whole messy business. It undoubtedly
has been the intention of ZANU-PF all along to break the close knit farming
community apart.

- Why was this done?
The thousands of close knit commercial farms with their gainfully employed,
well regulated, fed, educated and housed communities were difficult for the
cadres of ZANU-PF bully boys to penetrate. To all intents they were closed
to communist / socialist style intimidation that the communal residents are
vulnerable to.

One must never forget that every one of the hundreds of thousands adults
resident on the commercial farms is a voter.  The commercial farmer had to
be removed from the equation in order for the political commissars and
party activists to gain access to the farm workers. Many of our commercial
farmers have thought that it was about land, it never has been!

It was vital that there was not a free and fair vote on the commercial
farms. The farmers had to be stopped from influencing the way that their
employees voted. If this did not happen, ZANU-PF would have taken a severe
beating in both the 2000 general elections and the 2002 Presidential

- How did ZANU-PF achieve his?
There had to be a deliberate breakdown of Law & Order created. The most
obvious manifestation of this was the barbaric, deliberate and sanctioned
murder of David Stevens, Martin Olds, Alan Dunn and the many others. These
fine people were killed as a test to see whether the farmers would react as
one voice and take decisive and unanimous action. They did not!

Once ZANU-PF saw that selfishness would prevail, the remaining farmers
were, and are being picked off one at a time and their possessions and land
deliberately stolen by the Chefs.

- Why have some farmers been untouched?
The only white commercial farmers who have been left alone are those
influential members who may have had the personality, wealth and influence
to cause the other farmers to act as one. Many of them have stood by whilst
their friends and neighbors were forced off their farms and their property
robbed. Had all farmers acted in a concerted and selfless manner, we as a
country would today be in a very different situation.

- What are some of those farmers who are still farming thinking?
§ Perhaps they think that by saying "I am not the one" they will be ignored
§ If they turn a blind eye to the plight of their friends maybe they will
be left alone.
§ Maybe they feel that if they do not rock the boat they will be one of the
favored ones.
§ Do they think that if they allow themselves to be blackmailed, bribe the
D.A's and ply the greedy chefs with food and money, they will be allowed to
stay on their farms
§ If they send their tractors to plow the land and sow the fields that
they know has been stolen from their neighbors, by a Judge, Bank manager or
Foreign Office diplomat they can continue farming?
§ If they give maize and slaughter a cow for the party at heroes day, they
will become invisible.

They will not! Just ask any of the displaced farmers who have spent
millions in desperation trying to feed the bloodsuckers and were still
kicked off their farms.

- Where do we go from here?
Robert Mugabe has stated that he intends to drive every white farmer off
the land and I see nothing to indicate that he has diverted from his path
in any way. He has to do this because if he were to allow the farmers to
return, he will lose face and influence. In addition, the farm workers will
once again be removed from his influence. There will be no return to the
farms as long as ZANU-PF is in power in Zimbabwe.

- It has nothing to do with the land.
It has everything to do with sowing terror into the hearts and minds of the
rural population. One has only to look at the unwillingness of the
government to allow the World Food Program to feed the rural people without
ensuring that only the loyal party members are being fed.

- The Liberation War leaders cannot admit failure.
These people are battling for their own survival, they have to apportion
blame to someone else for the starvation that is ravaging the Zimbabwe
people. The survival of ZANU-PF depends on them having to constantly remind
the populace that they liberated the country. There is a constant barrage
of propaganda emanating from ZBC. "Rambayi Makashinga" has been played
every 30 minutes for the last 6 months over the radio to persuade the
people that the land is the basis of their liberation.

- The Ruling party have not achieved anything else in the 22 years that
they have been in power.
They may claim that ZANU-PF has educated two generations of students to
grade 7 or better.
What they have not done is to give this partially educated mass of people
anything else to look forward to for the rest of their lives. There are no
jobs and the price of higher education is so high that only the politically
connected or the children of the war veterans are able to afford it.

They have to convince every Man, Woman & Child in this country that they
must go and work the land.

- Nearly two generations of people from the communal lands have been trying
to get off the land.
All they want is to give themselves and their children a brighter future
than that offered by subsistence agriculture. ZANU-PF are now trying to
convince the whole populace that it is their duty to pick up their Badzas,
Yoke up their Oxen and till the nearest piece of arable land. It is
expected of the peasant that he be able to feed the nation with no inputs,
no money and no agricultural experience. The rural resettled A2 farmer has
seen complete crop failure in the last two seasons and his heart is sore
and almost broken and his family is slowly starving to death. If Mugabe is
unable to convince these subsistence farmers to stay on the land, it means
that he would have to admit the failure of his whole party policy.

- Mugabe in his heart knows that he has failed his people.
No civilized person is able to comprehend that leaders can be so desperate
to hold on to power that they will allow innocent people to starve to death
rather than admit the failure of the communist ideology.

ZANU-PF and the Coterie of people around Mugabe will not allow him to admit
failure because to do so would be to sign their own death warrant. They do
not have a clue what to do about the disaster that now faces this country.

- What do the White commercial Farmers now do?
I urge the couple of hundred still farming to look at their conscience. If
your conscience is clear and you know that you have not aided and abetted
the suffering of your friends then fine! If your conscience is not clear
then beware, you will be judged at some future time, whether in this world
or the next.

- What about the hundreds of farmers staying in town?
§ Fill in your loss claim documents, make a plan to survive this madness,
your skills will be desperately needed in the future.
§ If you want to stay and your children want to continue farming, keep
your Title Deeds secure.
§ Mugabe is breaking his own Laws. He has not convinced any of the
international community that he is morally or legally correct to do what he
is doing. Zimbabwe is desperate for recognition, he needs the west more
than the west needs him. Nobody except dictators in their own countries
have yet to come out in support. We can wait it out!
§ Mugabe, Muzenda and Msipa are sick old men, and the next generation of
ZANU-PF leaders are unable to get elected in any urban constituency.
§ The Zimbabwe people have had enough and will one way or another get rid
of this Leech.

John Kinnaird


Letter 2: Farmer Power.

Food producing communities have a more settled existence (Zimbabwe excluded
at present) than hunter-gatherers which permits them to store food. Since
storage would be pointless if one did not remain nearby to guard it, the
niche for specialists developed - and food is essential for feeding these
non-food-producing specialists. Apart from your basic guarding niche -like
Fawcetts Security- there are two types of specialists -
- Kings
- Bureaucrats

Once food can be stockpiled, a political elite can gain control of food
produced by others, assert the right of taxation, escape the need to feed
itself, and engage in full-time political activities.
A stored food surplus built up by taxation can support other full time
specialists - - Professional soldiers.

*Are there enough food producers to build up a surplus to feed these
specialists - the professional soldiers, the political elite and the

*Failing that, are the professional soldiers (now new farmers) going to
create that surplus?

*Failing that, will the political elite gain control of the imported
(donated?) surplus, if their equation does not work out as planned?

Powerless Farmer.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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PR COMMUNIQUE - September 16, 2003



15 September 2003

The CPU is "deeply concerned" about The Daily News in Zimbabwe

The Commonwealth Press Union is deeply concerned over the recent closure of
The Daily News - Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper.

According to recent reports, journalists remain barred from entering the
offices of the top-selling national paper since the Supreme Court of
Zimbabwe ruled that it was "operating illegally" and ordered it to close on
Friday 12 September.

Regional reports say 20 riot police armed with AK-47 rifles entered the
newspaper offices that evening, ordering staff to leave the premises and
halting production, reports ZimNews (a Zimbabwe online watchdog).

Authorities were acting on the Supreme Court order stating that the
newspaper must now register with state Media and Information Commission
(MIC) as required under the controversial media law called the "Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act" (AIPPA).

Only executive staff members have been allowed back into the office in
order to retrieve the necessary documentation to register to the MIC.  The
ANZ submitted its registration today, Monday 15 September.

Under the AIPPA, Section 8(2)(a), the newspaper should legally be allowed
to continue to publish while its registration is being processed:

"An applicant shall, during the consideration of his application, be
permitted to continue to carry on the activities of the mass media service
until his application is determined," states the AIPPA clause 8(2)(a).

The implications

In May The Daily News filed a legal challenge to the Supreme Court
criticising the AIPPA - passed by the Mugabe government this year - as
being "unconstitutional" and, at the time, the newspaper defied the act by
refusing to register.  The Supreme Court quashed the challenge, ordering
the newspaper to now comply.

Editor Mr Francis Mdlongwa says registering means the paper will be subject
to various parts of the Act that the newspaper previously fought against.

Mr Mdlongwa and the newspaper's lawyer told BBC News that the law would
require reporters to submit their home addresses and would make them
criminally libel for reporting inaccurate information.

"They require our profit and loss balance sheet and cash flow projections
for the next five years," Gugulethu Moyo, a lawyer at Associated Newspapers
of Zimbabwe told local reporters.

"In addition, we must submit the curriculum vitas of all ANZ managers and
disclose the political affiliations of ANZ directors," she adds.

The CPU urges the Zimbabwe authorities to allow The Daily News to resume
publication under section 8(2)(a) of AIPPA, and supports local independent
journalists in their continued struggle for freedom of expression in

Commonwealth Press Union
tel: +44 (0)20 7583 7733
fax: +44 (0)20 7583 6868

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The Australian

Editorial: Mugabe ban must remain

September 18, 2003
Zimbabwe's dictatorial President Robert Mugabe has called John Howard a
racist over the Prime Minister's role in enforcing Zimbabwe's suspension
from the Commonwealth. He hasn't used his favourite term of abuse –
"homosexual" – against Mr Howard yet, but he may be saving that until the
coming Commonwealth summit in Nigeria draws nearer.

Against considerable pressure from African members, Canberra is holding the
line against Mr Mugabe's attendance at the summit. This is the right stance.
But the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth has become more than an
exercise in isolating an imperious dictator who stole his country's election
last year. It has also become a test of the depth of the commitment among
all the Commonwealth's members to the principles of democracy and human
rights that run deep in the organisation's traditions.

The return of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth before the Mugabe Government is
ousted would make a mockery of those principles. Mr Mugabe calls Mr Howard
and British Prime Minister Tony Blair racists, while he decides who owns
land in his country explicitly on the basis of race. He talks about
countries like Britain as exploiters, while he steals UN food aid, intended
for his country's 5 million starving, and uses it to pay off his hired

Thanks to Australia's hard line, Mr Mugabe has not been able to use the
Commonwealth to prop up his legitimacy in the way he has managed to use the
Non-Aligned Movement, which recently passed a resolution banning all talk of
repressive regimes as "psychological terrorism". If anybody knows about
psychological terrorism it is the citizens of Zimbabwe, where any open
support for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is likely to lead
to torture. Only by such means can Mr Mugabe – whose Marxist economic
policies have led to 400 per cent inflation, a shortage of banknotes and
basic commodities and the collapse of the agricultural sector – cling to

There is no doubt Zimbabwe's neighbours are in a much more difficult
situation than Australia. South African President Thabo Mbeki wants the
Commonwealth's symbolic sanctions against Mr Mugabe lifted in the hope that
talking can bring change. Complete chaos in Zimbabwe would be a disaster for
South Africa, which continues to supply much of Zimbabwe's electricity
despite an unpaid bill to the amount of $191 million. Unfortunately,
however, it is no longer talk that is called for, but the change of
government that Zimbabweans themselves voted for last year.
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Zimbabwe Judge Prepares to Sue Government
Tendai Maphosa
17 Sep 2003, 16:21 UTC

A Zimbabwe High Court judge whose arrest and detention was found
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court says he will sue the government.
The judge, Benjamin Paradza, was dragged by police from his chambers last
February and hauled to jail on charges of obstructing justice and
corruption. He had fought his arrest, detention, and remand in the Supreme
Court, and on Tuesday the state conceded he was treated unlawfully. The
Supreme Court ruled accordingly.

Mr. Paradza is the first sitting judge in Zimbabwe's history to be arrested
and charged with corruption.

The state had alleged Judge Paradza intervened with a colleague at another
court to help a business partner recover his passport that had been
confiscated pending his prosecution on murder charges. Judge Paradza spent
the night in a cell with more than a dozen common criminals before he was
released on bail.

The month before his arrest, Judge Paradza angered the government and its
supporters by ordering the release of the opposition mayor of Harare, Elias
Mudzuri, who had been arrested for holding a political meeting without
police permission.

Several Zimbabwean High Court judges took the unprecedented step of signing
a petition condemning Mr. Paradza's treatment. They said the procedures for
dealing with a judge suspected of having committed a crime is clearly
spelled out in the constitution, and it was violated in Mr. Paradza's case.

International legal bodies also criticized the treatment of the judge.

Mr. Paradza's lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, told VOA that the judge intends to
sue the police, chief prosecutor, and the Minister of Justice for wrongful
arrest and detention.

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Zimbabwe Alert Update

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

September 17, 2003
Posted to the web September 17, 2003

* The following are updates of MISA Alerts issued on September 15, 16 and
17, 2003. Some of the information may be dated. We will however continue to
post relevant information for documentation purposes. See for
more information.

On Tuesday, September 16 2003, police confiscated computers and other
equipment from the offices of the privately owned Daily News newspaper,
saying that the equipment would be used as exhibits in court.

Police spokesperson Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said that
the police have taken the equipment to use as exhibits. The Daily News is
being charged under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) for allegedly operating a mass media service without a license.

Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Chief Executive Officer of the Daily News, told the
media that the confiscation of equipment by the police was illegal as no
court order had been granted allowing the seizure. The police however said
they did not need a court order to seize exhibits. Nkomo said that the
police could have taken copies of the paper and not computers.

The Daily News has applied to the High court to have the seizure of its
equipment stopped. The matter is set to be heard today, September 17, 2003.


The Zimbabwean Government closed the country's leading and most popular
newspaper, the privately owned Daily News, on Friday, September 12, 2003,
for failing to register with the country's Media and Information Commission
(MIC) under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Section 66 of AIPPA says that all media houses must register with the MIC.

The ban follows a Supreme Court ruling on Thursday, September 11, 2003, that
the paper was operating illegally.

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