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

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Zim minister may face violence charges
          September 19 2004 at 05:33PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe police have recommended that one of President Robert
Mugabe's ministers should face charges of political violence for leading
attacks on rivals in the ruling party, a state-owned newspaper reported on

      Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies Programme Minister Didymus Mutasa
would become the first high-profile official to face such charges if the
authorities decide to prosecute him.

      The Sunday Mail said Mutasa had been implicated in a recent wave of
violence against fellow members of the governing Zanu-PF party who are
supporting a rival candidate ahead of party primary elections for next
year's parliamentary poll.

      Neither Mutasa nor police were available for comment.

      Political violence has marred Zimbabwean elections in the past five
years but critics say it has mostly been directed against the opposition.

      Mutasa, a member of parliament since Zimbabwe's independence from
Britain 24 years ago, is regarded as one of Mugabe's most loyal lieutenants.

      He has previously denied charges that he recently led a gang of
militant youth supporters in assaulting members of a rival faction in Makoni
North in eastern Zimbabwe, and that he assaulted a police officer assigned
to investigate the case.

      The Sunday Mail quoted police sources as saying a probe had implicated
Mutasa in string of assaults that wounded scores of people, some with broken

      "Highly placed sources say investigations into the violence that took
place in the constituency last month have shown that the minister has a case
to answer," the newspaper said.

      "The sources say the board of inquiry has recommended that all parties
and persons that were involved... should be dealt with in terms of the law
regardless of status or station in life," it said.

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Daily News online

      Net closes in on Mutasa

      Date:18-Sep, 2004

      THE political fortunes of veteran Manicaland politician Didymus Mutasa
might be waning following damning submissions by traditional leaders, senior
policemen and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officers implicating
the senior politician in a systematic abuse of authority spanning over the

      Authoritative war veterans and Zanu PF officials in Makoni told The
Daily News Online that the seven-member probe team, tasked by President
Robert Mugabe to gather all the relevant facts of the circumstances
surrounding the violence that engulfed Rusape, Mayo and Headlands around
August 21 and 22 was now finalising its final report.

      The officials said an Inspector Tomukai, the officer in charge crime
at Rusape Police Station, who was also beaten up by Mutasa made his
submissions, together with Superintendent Mildred Muza, the District
Criminal Investigating Officer for Rusape District police.

      Some members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) were also
asked to make their submissions.

      The investigating team comprises members of the police, the CIO and
war veterans and reports to President Mugabe. According to well-placed Zanu
PF officials in Manicaland, Mutasa was denounced by some people who had long
been considered his allies.

      "Some of us have been with Mutasa since independence and we know when
things are not going well for him," a senior Zanu PF women's league official

      "When the campaign for the primaries began some time ago, we all
thought the chefs would accept challenges from junior members of the party.

      "But when Cde Kaunye challenged chef Mutasa, we all saw the changes.
The man became hostile and ruthless. Violence was unleashed on us and
several got injured. It was not difficult for us to make detailed
submissions of what we saw and what we knew about the violence that erupted

      The official said she told the team that Mutasa had become a threat to
their security as Zanu PF supporters.

      Another war veteran who also made submissions yesterday said that it
was high time the truth was told without fear because Zanu PF faced collapse
from within if people of the mould of Mutasa remained unpunished.

      The war veteran said the information he gave included how Mutasa
allegedly rewarded some of the terror gang with land previously allocated to
some people, who have since been forcibly evicted.

      "We told the team that Cde Mutasa was now working against the Third
Chimurenga and it was one of the major reasons why he unleashed the
Chinyavada hit squad," the war veteran said.

      "The team was also told of how Mutasa used his power to remove Mrs
Lucia Chitura from the Zanu PF district office where she was Zanu PF's
district co-ordinator although she remains on the party's payroll. She is
barred from going to the office. Her crime was simply to be friends with
former Manicaland governor Oppah Muchinguri."

      But the most critical submissions were made at Chiendambuya and Mayo
where traditional leaders, headmen and kraal heads rallied behind Kaunye to
highlight Mutasa's alleged abuse of power and violent tactics to retain his

      The traditional leaders allegedly outlined how they had been made to
fight against each other following the deliberate spread of falsehoods by
people backing Mutasa.

      Violence broke out in Makoni District after Mutasa, the Member of
Parliament for Makoni North, the Zanu PF secretary for external affairs and
also the Minister of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies led a five-vehicle
convoy to unleash violence on supporters of Retired Major James Kaunye, the
aspiring MP for Makoni North.

      Nathaniel Punish Mhiripiri, the aspiring MP for Makoni East had his
wife Florence beaten up and his property destroyed and looted. Kaunye is the
chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZNLWVA) in Manicaland.

      During the attack, the terror group left a trail of destruction. They
looted and beat up Kaunye, leaving him for dead. The matter is now before
the courts with 31 of Mutasa's supporters facing counts of public violence,
malicious injury to property and causing grievous bodily harm.

      Mutasa yesterday scoffed at suggestions that he was behind the
violence that left 70 Zanu PF supporters injured.

      He lashed out at Kaunye, describing him as a "war veteran of dubious
credentials" working together with the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in Makoni District.

      "The media associates me with violence," he said.

      "That committee came to Makoni at my instigation. I requested the
Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi to set a committee to investigate the
violence. The president knows about it but he is not the one who set it up.

      "They interviewed me and I told them what I know happened. They also
interviewed everyone who they thought was involved in the violence. What
happened is that this young man called Kaunye, who is a dubious war veteran,
started his violence but he was caught in his own trap.

      "He is dubious because real war veterans do not behave like he is
doing in Makoni. We think very strongly that he is working with the MDC in
Makoni. His supporters are mostly former MDC members and therefore, he must
have been told by the MDC to start the violence so that they tarnish my

      Mutasa said on the day of the clashes, Kaunye and his supporters
followed him to a meeting at a church in Headlands and attempted to disrupt
it. However, members of the Zanu PF youth league present were unhappy and
they physically dealt with Kaunye, leaving him and some of his supporters

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Daily News online

      Report offers practical solutions to land crisis

      Date:18-Sep, 2004

      A RECENT Africa Report on Zimbabwe and South Africa concludes that the
two southern African countries share similarities on issues relating to
history and land.

      For all their differences, says the report, one thing Zimbabwe and
South Africa have in common is that land issues, dating back to colonial
times and white settler governments, are highly emotive, evoking difficult
questions of history, race, politics, economic opportunity and international

      Entitled Blood and soil, land, politics and conflict prevention, the
report says successfully defusing tensions over land remains central to
reducing the risk of conflict in both countries, and boosting their
long-term economic prospects.

      Blood and Soil offers a detailed analysis of the different challenges
of land reform in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. It provides a balanced
assessment of the claims and counterclaims made about who bears
responsibility for the current catastrophic situation in Zimbabwe.

      And it also provides practical policy suggestions for ways forward:
identifying the contours of a post-transition land approach in Zimbabwe and
a comprehensive agenda for reinvigorating the land reform process in South

      This report is the product of intensive field research in both
countries. The policy recommendations are the result of widespread
consultations with senior policymakers in Africa and around the globe.

      The report above all attempts to place disputes over land ownership
and use within their overarching social, political, economic and historical

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Daily News online

      Crackdown on prostitutes raises eyebrows in Beitbridge

      Date:18-Sep, 2004

      BEITBRIDGE - Several business people here are up in arms with the
Zimbabwe Republic police over the crackdown on prostitutes which they say is
now negatively affecting their businesses.

      They told Daily News Online that they are now losing their clients
since the crackdown started a few weeks.

      An official at Limpopo Lodge said: "A lot of our clients no longer
come here because officers are harassing our female patrons. You see some of
these guys are coming here to enjoy a drink and talk to ladies but now the
ladies are constantly being arrested or chased away by the officers."

      A barman at the popular Travellers Inn, said sales had gone down and
attributed the decline to the police crackdown on "the ladies of pleasure."

      "At times they don't arrest them. They simply chase them from hotels,
pubs and lodges," said Gibson Ndlovu of Dulibadzimu township. Prostitutes
were now operating underground at places where they are now renting.

      But as business people cry foul over the loss of business, the move
has received mixed reactions from residents in townships. A landlord in
Dulibadzimu told Daily News Online that since the crackdown the prostitutes
were giving her big business.

      "I now rent out my rooms for an average $160 000 per room monthly and
this is really good for me. But some rooms are used hourly and I charge an
average $10 000 per hour," he said.

      But other residents were against the crackdown saying prostitutes
should be left to operate from lodges and hotels.

      Prostitution is rife in the border town where long distance truck
drivers and border jumpers have been largely blamed for the vice.

      Like any other border town in Zimbabwe, HIV/AIDS prevalence is very
high at Beitbridge. At least one in four adult Zimbabweans is believed to be
HIV positive, making the country one of the worst affected by the killer
virus in the region.

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Sporting Life

Steve Harmison today became the first England player to pull out of the
winter tour to Zimbabwe - and others could follow without censure from their

The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed Harmison will face no action
for boycotting the five-match one-day series, starting in the final week of
November, and while it is hoped the majority of the regular limited-overs
party travel, there remains the possibility that more high-profile stars
follow suit.

Harmison, rated the world's number one Test bowler, told captain Michael
Vaughan and coach Duncan Fletcher he would not be part of the one-day
assignments in the African country following yesterday's win over Sri Lanka
in Southampton.

The ECB met with the squad and their representatives only a matter of days
ago to urge them to make themselves available en masse - although assurances
were given to those who opt out - and further talks, designed to allow
others to make clear their intentions, will now take place before the end of
the ICC Champions Trophy.

England are obliged to play in Zimbabwe under the International Cricket
Council's future tours programme - despite reservations from the hierarchy
and players alike - or face fines and possible suspension.

"As the ECB has concluded that the tour must go ahead subject to it being
safe and secure to do so, we have asked all the current England players and
management to make themselves available," said an ECB spokesman.

"Stephen Harmison is the only player to have informed the board that he will
be unavailable for the tour.

"The ECB has previously stated that any player who makes himself unavailable
to tour Zimbabwe for reasons of personal conscience will not be penalised
and this remains our position."

England were hit in the pocket for scratching their World Cup fixture in
Harare last February and Harmison, a member of that squad, says he made up
his mind not to tour Zimbabwe in the future, at that time.

Around half of the 15-man party on duty in early 2003 did not want to travel
to a country gripped by Robert Mugabe's abhorrent regime, guided by their
consciences as much as fear for their well-being.

"Nothing has changed for me," Harmison wrote in his Sunday newspaper column.
"The situation there is worse now - that's what the official reports say -
and Zimbabwe's top players have been sacked.

"I hope nobody questions my commitment. Being part of this team means so
much to me.

"I don't believe my decision will cause any splits or break up this team.

"What we've built is special and strong and 10 days in Zimbabwe isn't going
to damage that."

How many more of a core group, who won a record-equalling seven successive
Tests this summer and face a pre-Ashes encounter with Australia in the
Champions Trophy semi-final this coming Tuesday, decide to back out is yet
to be seen.

In contrast to the last time England were faced with the prospect of playing
in Zimbabwe, though, the ECB and players are discussing matters

An England side will set off to Harare unless an inspection party, including
Professional Cricketers' Association managing director Richard Bevan and an
ECB representative, finds security problems or an International Cricket
Council investigation into racism in Zimbabwean cricket shifts the focus in
the coming two months.

"The players are sympathetic to the ECB's position," said Bevan. "It is not
like Cape Town in as much as the ECB has a contractual obligation so they
must tour at present.

"When the selectors meet we will sit down with the players. If a player does
have an issue then he has been told he does not have to travel.

"That does not mean to say the ECB are ignoring the issues going on and it
is certainly not being treated as a normal tour.

"I think the majority of players will be going and supporting the ECB,
taking into account they have to tour. No other player has come to me and
said he has no intention of travelling.

"Throughout the past year, the PCA has made ongoing representation to the
ECB to ensure that the players' views and concerns around the Zimbabwe issue
are understood fully."

Harmison's objections about playing against a Zimbabwean side shorn of 15
white rebel cricketers, sacked by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union earlier this
year, did not prevent the Durham pace bowler lining up against them last

Neither is the 25-year-old the first foreign cricketer to decline the chance
to tour Zimbabwe as Nottinghamshire's Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill
refused earlier this year and has intriguingly been overlooked by his
country for next month's commitments in India.
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      Olonga backs Harmison move

      Henry Olonga has welcomed England fast bowler Steve Harmison's
decision to boycott the tour to Zimbabwe.
      "I think it's commendable. It's not often sportsmen are willing to
take a strong position on political issues.

      "Zimbabwe at the moment is a hot bed of controversy. I take my hat off
to him," he told BBC Sport.

      Olonga quit international cricket last year after staging a black
armband protest against the Zimbabwe government during the World Cup.

      And he has repeatedly urged teams to stay away from Zimbabwe in
protest at the policies of the Mugabe regime.

      Harmison is not the first cricketer to boycott a tour, with Australian
spinner Stuart MacGIll having taken a similar stand earlier this year.

      "It's unfortunate for the cricket community in Zimbabwe that they miss
out on the opportunity to see these world-class stars, and Harmison is the
in-form bowler for England at this point in time.

      "But there is a bigger picture which people in positions of power are
just not willing to confront. They just don't seem to get the message.

      "There have been enough sportsmen who have taken some kind of stance
about what's going on in Zimbabwe. But people who really count, when it
comes to decision-making about Zimbabwe, aren't following suit."

      Harmison is the only player to have told the England and Wales Cricket
Board he will not tour in November.

      But Olonga refused to criticise those who decide to make the trip.

      "It's a pleasant surprise when someone like Harmison or MacGill says
'We don't agree with what's going on there'.

      "I don't sit in judgment in any way over people who do go. If they
want to focus on their career, that's fine.

      "Most sportsmen don't want to get involved in those things and I don't
have a problem with that," he added.

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The Australian

Africa's descent into nightmare
Cameron Stewart, Ethiopia
September 20, 2004
AS the world debates how to respond to the humanitarian disaster in Sudan's
Darfur region, a larger shadow is creeping across the dark continent.

From the Ivory Coast in the west to Somalia in the east and Zimbabwe in the
south, sub-Saharan Africa is in a crisis unprecedented even by the flimsy
standards of its own troubled history.

In a continent increasingly racked by war, economic stagnation, an AIDS
pandemic, corruption and intractable ethnic and tribal divides, Africans are
struggling to secure their future more than a generation after the end of

This bitter truth was been spelt out in unusually blunt fashion by United
Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, himself a Ghanaian, following his
recent visit to Darfur.

He warned that the Sudan crisis, while shocking, was only one of a host of
new problems in the region that were placing African nations at risk.

"We must not let the achievements of recent years be rubbed out by a return
to an Africa in which millions are plagued by terrible violence," Annan told
a summit of the 53-member African Union.

But the reality is that millions are already being plagued by terrible
violence - one in five Africans now live in a state that is being torn apart
by war.

The most notorious at present is Sudan's western Darfur region, where
government-backed Arab militia, the Janjaweed, are killing, raping,
terrorising and displacing the black African population.

The UN, which calls Darfur the world's worst humanitarian crisis, says at
least 50,000 people have died and more than 1.4 million have been forced
from their homes.

The World Health Organisation warned last week that up to 10,000 people,
many of them children, were dying each month from disease and violence in
the rudimentary refugee camps that house the displaced.

But violence in the region is endemic and spreads far beyond Sudan.

Across the border in northern Uganda, thousands of civilians continue to die
in an 18-year-old conflict between the Government and the bizarre, cult-like
Lord's Resistance Army.

This is a conflict that has seen the kidnapping and forced conscription of
thousands of child soldiers in the name of a rebel movement that wants to
run Uganda according to its own perverse brand of Christianity.

In February, the LRA attacked a village in the north, burning some 200 women
and children in their huts, an atrocity that barely made news in the West.

Further east, border tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea threaten to spill
over into another war, while Somalia remains the only nation in the world
without a functioning government after being abandoned by countries of the
West a decade ago and left to fester in eternal war between rival warlords.

In Congo, the nation's peace process is teetering as the UN scrambles to
approve a major increase in the size of its peacekeeping force to quell
recent outbreaks of violence in the east.

"The war that began in 1998 and cost the lives of at least 300,000 people as
a result of direct fighting and violence and another 2.7 million through
disease and starvation has never really ended," says Gareth Evans, former
Australian foreign minister and now president of the International Crisis

Last month, more than 150 Tutsi Congolese refugees were slaughtered in
western Burundi by suspected Hutu extremists in a haunting reminder of the
racial divide that triggered the Rwandan genocide a decade ago.

Further west, the Ivory Coast is in civil war betwen Muslims in the north
and Christians in the south, while similar religious rivalry in Nigeria has
killed some 10,000 people in the past five years.

And further south, Robert Mugabe continues to destroy Zimbabwe's economy and
rule of government through a system of corrupt, dictatorial patronage, while
the only country with the power to influence Zimbabwe - South Africa - turns
a blind eye.

There are some rare bright spots, notably the 20-year-old war between
Christians and Muslims in southern Sudan - a separate conflict from Darfur -
may finally be ending, while peace has come to Liberia after years of bloody

But the gravest danger to the future of sub-Saharan African countries is not
military conflict but the related issue of economic failure.

A UN Industrial Development Organisation report released last month paints a
devastating portait of poverty, illustrating how the benefits of
globalisation have largely bypassed the continent, leaving Africans poorer
than ever before.

"Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region of the world where extreme poverty
has been spreading steadily for the last 20 years," the report said.

GDP per capita in sub-Saharan Africa is $US1790 ($2557) compared with
$US28,260 in Australia.

The UN report concludes that Africa's decline "is absolute" with the number
of Africans living in poverty rising from 42 per cent to 47 per cent in the
past two decades at a time when the global figure has fallen from 40 per
cent to 21 per cent.

Even the continent's economic powerhouse, South Africa, is afflicted by an
unemployment rate of more than 30 per cent.

So who is to blame for this depressing state of affairs?

African leaders have been quick to point to external factors such as the
legacy of colonialism and the indifference of the rest of the world.

Many African nations were born into instability when colonial powers drew up
arbitrary national borders that ignored ethnic and tribal divides. "Many of
Africa's problems do relate to the colonial legacy and there have been huge
problems transposing the concept of a modern nation state to the
circumstances of Africa," says Phillip Darby of Melbourne University's
Institute of Post-Colonial Studies.

Yet the rest of the world has kept its distance from Africa's troubles and,
with the exception of Darfur, or a similar crisis such as the Ethiopian
famine two decades ago, sub-Saharan Africa is all but ignored by the West.

"Unlike Iraq or the Middle East, there are simply not very many hard
interests in Africa for Western nations," Professor Darby says.

The US has avoided large-scale involvement in sub-Saharan Africa since its
public humiliation in Somalia in the early 1990s, including the famous Black
Hawk Down incident and the subsequent dragging of dead US servicemen through
the streets of Mogadishu.

That experience paralysed the US - and Western - response to Rwanda during
the 1994 genocide that left at least 800,000 people dead.

Western enthusiasm for intervening in Africa will be further diluted by the
experience of Iraq, which has served as a grim reminder of the limits of
nation-building by foreign powers.

Experts warn the Iraqi experience is playing into the hands of the Sudanese
Government, which knows the West will be extremely reluctant to put its own
troops on the ground in Darfur.

But the "blame it on others" argument proffered by African leaders is
growing thin some 40 years after the general end of colonialism.

Rather than colonial legacy, it is poor governance, cronyism and outright
corruption that is sending otherwise resource-rich nations such as Zimbabwe
into bankruptcy. Angola and Nigeria are poorer today than when oil was first
discovered in each. One of the few success stories is Botswana, which has
enjoyed peace, a market economy and good governance for the best part of 40

So when Botswana newspaper The Reporter delivered a report card on Africa
recently it pulled no punches, describing African leaders as being trapped
in a "victim mentality".

"African leaders still blame colonialism for all the continent's ills, most
of which stem from avarice by the ruling class and its cronies - and total
disregard for good governance," the paper said.

"So many years after independence, African leaders still expect the world .
. . to clean their mess - the Darfur crisis is a case in point."

As British author Robert Guest points out in his new book The Shackled
Continent, African leaders have shown a willingness to flout the law for
their own gain largely because they are unrestrained by institutional checks
and balances.

The social and economic cost of such indulgences becomes all the greater
when you consider that the AIDS pandemic is devastating the new, younger
generation of Africans from which future leaders will be drawn. An
astonishing 30 million people living south of the Sahara now have AIDS or
HIV. One African adult in 11 has HIV and last year 2.2 million Africans died
of the disease.

Average life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa has slumped to 46.3 years but
is much lower in AIDS-ravaged nations such as Zambia where the average
newborn can expect to live only 32.7 years.

Although some countries, such an Uganda, have managed to reduce infection
rates due to education programs and condom distribution, others - including
relatively affluent South Africa - have lived in denial.

South Africa has the highest number of HIV cases in the world, yet until
recently President Thabo Mbeki insisted HIV did not cause AIDS.

It is the AIDS crisis and the economic stagnation in an era of globalisation
that distinguishes this current crisis from previous ones in sub-Saharan

The region has long been a witness to horrific bloodshed, from the crimes of
Uganda's Idi Amin and Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko and of course the genocide in
Rwanda. But many Africans remain reluctant to penalise their own, especially
when urged to do so by the West.

The African Union - which is attempting to become an African version of the
European Union - has so far shown little or no stomach for criticising its
member nations.

And in a readers' survey last month for New African magazine, Mugabe - a man
vilified in the West - was voted as the third-greatest African of all time,
behind Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first prime minister and a
father of the pan-African movement.

Yet amid the gloom there are some signs of hope.

Rwanda, a country all but destroyed by genocide a decade ago, has restored
political stability and was the first to volunteer to send troops to restore
order in Sudan.

Rwanda's story shows positive lessons can still be drawn from the darkness.
Such lessons are desperately needed today, not just in Sudan, but across
sub-Saharan Africa.
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Stuff, New Zealand
African nations seek to end black rhino hunting ban
20 September 2004

JOHANNESBURG: Namibia and South Africa want to lift a ban on hunting the
rare black rhino, a move certain to draw protests from conservationists who
say the species is still recovering from decades of rampant poaching.

Both countries have made submissions seeking approval for potentially
lucrative black rhino hunts at next month's meeting of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),
which regulates the global trade in wild animals.

Black rhino populations have been decimated by poaching and fell in the
mid-1990s to around 2400 animals in the wild from 65,000 just two decades

Poachers typically hack off the horns - prized in the Middle East as dagger
handles and in East Asia for medicinal purposes - and leave the great
carcasses to rot in the sun.

The species has since recovered somewhat thanks to anti-poaching measures in
South Africa and Namibia as well as the development of lucrative game
farming. A recent estimate put black rhino numbers at 3600, the vast
majority in South Africa and Namibia.

Namibia is seeking an annual quota of five rhinos for trophy hunters out of
its estimated population of 1134 while South Africa wants to hunt 10 of its
estimated 1200 black rhinos a year.

"Ten males per year out of a total population of approximately 1200 would
have no impact," South Africa said in its submission to the CITES

Black rhinos have been strictly protected by CITES since 1977. The CITES
Secretariat supports the proposals and its more than 160 member states will
decide the issue by consensus at the meeting in Bangkok - though there is no
guarantee they will lift the hunt ban.

Conservationists say there is no reason for complacency.

"It's early days. The black rhino population is still recovering and the
trade in rhino horn continues," said Jason Bell-Leask, the southern Africa
director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Namibia makes the argument that limited hunting would raise valuable
conservation funds. "All revenue from hunting will be re-invested in
conservation programmes," it said in its submission.

Limited hunting of far more numerous white rhinos is allowed in South Africa
and has certainly proved to be lucrative. Hunters pay on average between
$20,000 ($NZ30,665) and $25,000 ($NZ38,331) for a white rhino.

"It goes purely on horn length - it is approximately $1000 an inch and white
rhino horns average 20 to 25 inches," Mike Cameron, a veteran professional
hunting guide, told Reuters.

The black rhino is smaller but also rarer so it would almost certainly cost
tens of thousands of dollars to shoot one.

Both animals are in fact grey in colour.

Underscoring the dangers that the animal still faces, Zimbabwe's black rhino
population is believed to have halved over the past four years to about 200
amid growing lawlessness in the country.

Even some hunters believe the ban should remain in place for now.

"CITES should keep the ban in place until there is a very substantial number
of these animals to ensure their survival. You can kill them in five minutes
but to replace them takes a very long time," said Cameron.
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Zimbabwe Mirror

Farm designations slammed as vindictive
Kuda Chikwanda

A DECISION by government to designate farms belonging to a number of high
profile "fugitive and errant" businessmen implicated in various crimes has
been described as part of a ferocious and highly vindictive process,
targeting individuals perceived to be enemies of the State.

Land experts, legal gurus and political analysts told the Sunday Mirror last
week that there appeared to be ulterior motives veiling the farm
designations, which government has said are for "resettlement purposes".

Ten farms belonging to five high-profile businessmen facing various charges
were marked for compulsory acquisition by government in the past two weeks,
in an Extraordinary Government Gazette under section five of the Land
Acquisition Act.

The businessmen, James Makamba, Julius Makoni, Francis Zimuto, Cecil
Muderede and Nicholas Vingirai, face an array of criminal charges ranging
from externalisation of foreign currency, fraud, theft, corruption and

Makamba has been aquitted on some of the charges he was facing, while he was
also fined more than seven million dollars for dealing on the black market.

The Section Five notice serves as a statement of government's intention to
compulsorily acquire a farm in question, giving the farmowner 30 days to
respond to government's intentions.

Nine of the farms belonging to Makoni, Zimuto, Vingirai and Muderede, were
purchased by the embattled businessmen using personal funds, while the
tenth - Maryvale Estates in Mazoe district, a sub-divided farm was issued to
Makamba under the land reform exercise.

Makamba was issued with a withdrawal letter dated September 8, nullifying
the offer letter he received upon being allocated the farm. He was yet to
sign a long-term lease for 99-years, giving him rights over Maryvale.

Part of the letter to Makamba read: "Please be advised that the Ministry of
Special withdrawing the offer of land made to you in sub-division
of Maryvale Estate in Mazoe District in Mashonaland Central. You are
forthwith required to cease all or any operations that you may have
commenced thereon and immediately vacate the said piece of land." Land
experts, legal gurus and political analysts have however blasted the move to
designate the business moguls' farms, saying there were ulterior motives
behind the designations which government claims are for resettlement

A land expert who declined to be named said the scenario surrounding the
nine farms owned by Makoni, Muderede, Vingirai and Zimuto reflected a
possible government decision to compulsorily acquire the land owing to
multiple farm-ownership and underutilisation.

Of the nine farms in question, Zimuto owns three, while Makoni, Vingirai and
Muderede are on record as owning two farms each.

Makoni, Zimuto and Vingirai fled to the United Kingdom, while Muderede is in
remand prison, awaiting trial for a wide array of crimes. According to the
land expert, a farm can be gazetted for compulsory acquisition under Section
Five where the owner is a multiple farm owner, and where the farm is near
communal areas that need to be decongested.

He added that further designation under section five could only occur where
the farm was over-sized or underutilised.

Withdrawal letters are issued with the discretion of the relevant ministry
in cases where set standards are not met, but can also be issued in cases of
multiple farm ownership, under-utilisation and where possession of a farm is
not effected within 30 days of occupation. "Where a farm has been designated
under Section Five, the farmer is allowed to raise his or her objections
within 30 days. If government goes ahead with a Section Eight notice, and
the farmer is contesting, the matter will have to go before the
administrative court. "If the farmer is not contesting, the administrative
court confirms government acquisition of the property, whereupon the next
step is to establish compensation for the farmer for improvements on the
property and the transfer of title deeds," said the land expert.

Considering the process involved, speculation has been rife that government
is taking advantage of the absence of Makoni, Vingirai and Zimuto who are
therefore unable to contest government's action.

The situation would then lend favourably to the forfeiture of all properties
and all equipment to the state's advantage.

It also invariably raises the question of who would contest government's
intention to compulsory acquire the properties.

Furthermore, no family member or business associate can act on behalf of the
fugitive bankers or Muderede, as they were declared specified persons and
thus had all their properties and accounts frozen pending the outcome of
investigations into the extent of prejudice suffered by government.

Makamba's case has also been a subject of great concern, as he might not be
compensated for improvements at Maryvale Estates for which he borrowed $5
billion from the Jewel Bank.

The improvements include the construction of Blue Ridge Spar supermarket and
the financing of his farming operations, and the debt has since escalated to
$9 billion.

"You cannot receive compensation when you haven't signed a long lease. If a
withdrawal letter was issued and a subsequent withdrawal letter given then
government normally forfeits the improvements to the state," said the land

Likening the designations of the ten farms belonging to the indicted
businessmen to the Mawere saga in which mines connected to him have been
taken over, a legal expert and MDC economic secretary, Tendai Biti also
questioned the wisdom of the move at a time when all targeted individuals
were currently specified and investigations were ongoing.

"While the Land Acquisition Act was used and allows for the designation,
instead of the Prevention of Corruption Act, these indigenous
business-people are still specified. Why the rush in designating their
properties? It just proves the vindictive nature of government," queried
Biti. Another legal guru, Johannes Tomana, said assets belonging to
specified individuals "normally can't be sold or otherwise" until
investigations into their alleged illegal dealings were complete.

Tomana defended the action by government saying: "The designation of the
farms and the specification of the individual might not be related. Maybe
there is another reason why the farms were designated. But then, why should
these individuals run away if they are not guilty?" Political analyst and
prominent academic, Heneri Dzinotyiwei said the manner in which the land
reform exercise was now being administered, as exemplified in the
designation of Makamba's and the other fugitive businessmen's farms, was

He attacked the move to designate farms before investigations into alleged
illegal activities were over, saying it was a travesty of justice.

"When a person has a case to answer, and action is unilaterally taken by the
state without consulting the judiciary, it means the three-tier state as the
anchor of democracy is under threat," said Dzinotyiwei.

Makoni and Zimuto fled to Britain with fellow NMB directors, James Mushore
and Otto Chekeche after they were alleged to have externalised $30 billion
through a UK-registered company, LTB Money Transfers.

Vingirai also fled the country after an incapacitating liquidity crunch
rocked his Intermarket Holdings, while Muderede is facing charges of dealing
illegally in foreign currency, defrauding the Grain Marketing Board,
smuggling and theft.

The investigations into the alleged shady dealings of Makoni, Vingirai,
Zimuto and Muderede apparently seek to establish the extent of prejudice
suffered by government due to the illegal dealings and externalisations.
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