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

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I know nothing about that
Saturday 18th September 2004

Dear Family and Friends,
This week the latest telephone bills were delivered and they were the stuff
that heart attacks are made of. The price of one unit of local telephone
time has gone from 120 to 585 dollars. Even though I knew it would be a
complete waste of time and money, I phoned the state owned Telephone Company
to complain about the increase and see if there was any sort of logical
explanation for such a massive price rise. A bored and unsympathetic voice
told me that the price had gone up. "Yes, I can see that," I said, "but can
you tell me why?" "I know nothing about that," was the response. "But the
government has just announced that inflation has dropped to 314%," I said
"and yet your increases are 485% - that's over a hundred and fifty percent
higher than inflation." Again, the answer was "I know nothing about that".
In desperation I said "can you at least tell me what exactly the increase is
for?" The answer did not change: "I know nothing about that." I assume that
my telephone bill pays a part of this woman's wage and that alone incenses
me. Another call, by a friend, to the Branch Manager also yielded the same
answer: I know nothing.

Zimbabweans have become trapped in a communication and information prison. A
few months ago the cost of postage stamps increased by almost 500% and we
all stopped posting anything except the most essential letters. The
traditionally long queues in the post office have become a thing of the past
because no one can afford to do business there anymore. The irony of the
telephone charge is that in the same week that most peoples' domestic phone
bills have hit the half million dollar a month mark, President Mugabe has
been touring schools and giving out computers. Almost every night on ZBC
news for the past fortnight, we've seen either President Mugabe or his wife
donating computers to schools and extolling the virtues of Information
Technology. How tragic it is that all these schools now have computers but
will not be able to afford to use them to their full capability. School fees
have remained frozen at unsustainable levels by our government and no
schools are going to be able to afford the massive telephone charges that
are made for email and internet connections. The generosity of the
President's gifts are made a complete mockery of, by the rulings of his
ministers or the excessive greed of his governmental oganizations who are
literally driving themselves out of business as we can no longer afford the
services they provide.

For four and a half years I have been sending this weekly letter for free to
anyone who cares enough about democracy to read it. Without the generosity
of my email server Mango, I would not be able to afford to do so anymore. I
would like to try and keep writing this letter for as long as I can afford
to pay the telephone bills but must again ask people to please not send
photos, pictures or attachments that now cost literally multiple thousands
to download.

Thank you and until next week,

with love,
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Sunday Mail

Pupils study wrong setbooks

By Phyllis Kachere
FOR the second consecutive year, literature students at Mabelreign Girls'
High School in Harare are waiting to sit for their public examinations after
studying the wrong set books.

In what must surely be an unprecedented administrative oversight, 19
Advanced Level candidates are at risk of failing next month's examinations
after they were made to read Caribbean literature instead of African

The Sunday Mail could not establish which textbooks they read for the
Caribbean literature.

The African literature setbooks they were supposed to have read are
Ancestors by Chenjerai Hove, A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong'o and A Man
of the People by Chinua Achebe.

Although some of the affected students and teachers at the school confirmed
to this reporter that they had indeed studied the wrong setbooks, the senior
mistress who was in charge at the school on Friday maintained all was well.

The school's headmistress was said to be away when The Sunday Mail visited
the school on Friday afternoon.

The regional director for Harare, Mr Thomax Dhobha, did not reply to
messages left at his office, while the Ministry of Education, Sport and
Culture's permanent secretary, Dr Stephen Mahere, did not answer calls to
his mobile phone.

Neither did he respond to messages left at his office.

The anomaly was discovered at the beginning of this term and it is believed
that a neighbouring school offered the school the correct textbooks and some
study material.

It is not clear how the students ended up studying the wrong books when a
syllabus is available and the school has a head of department who is
supposed to ensure that the right syllabus is followed.

This is not the first time Mabelreign Girls' High School has been in the
news for making students study the wrong books for literature examinations.

Last year, some 40 Ordinary Level students who were supposed to have read
Waiting for the Rain by Charles Mungoshi and I Will Marry When I Want by
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, ended up studying Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe,
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Twelfth Night by William
Shakespeare. Parents of the concerned students who talked to The Sunday Mail
were angry at the developments.

They complained that their children had been made to study the wrong books
for two years running but were now expected to study the correct books in
less than a month.
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Zim Online

Mon 20 September 2004

      BULAWAYO - Local human rights lawyer, Nicholas Mthonsi, told
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) here last Saturday to register with
the government once a new law requiring them to do so was enacted.

      Mthonsi said Zimbabwe's Supreme Court was likely to refuse to protect
NGOs if the government wanted to shut them down because they were not
registered with the NGO Council to be set up under the proposed new law.

      "The Bill seeks to ensure that nothing moves or flies in Zimbabwe
which is not known in the corridors of state power... NGOs must just toe the
line or else," Mthonsi said.

      Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku last year refused to hear an appeal
by the Daily News newspaper which had refused to register with the state's
Media and Information Commission.

      Under Zimbabwe's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
journalists and newspapers must register with the state-appointed commission
before they can be allowed to operate in the country.

      The Daily News and its sister publication the Daily News on Sunday had
argued that the requirement that they register with the commission for them
to be allowed to publish impinged on their constitutional right to free

      Chidyausiku ruled that the two papers had approached the court "with
dirty hands" because they had not complied with the media law requiring them
to register with the commission. He refused to hear the case and declared
their operations illegal, paving way for Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
to shut down the two publications.

      Mthonsi said: "The Supreme Court will use the precedent of the dirty
hands principle that was set in the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (the
company that published the two papers) case to deny NGOs the right to be

      The government is expected to pass into law the NGO Bill when
Parliament resumes next month.

      About 50 representatives of NGOs operating in the country attended the
Bulawayo meeting organised by a local NGO, the Post Independence Survivors
Trust. ZimOnline

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Zim online

Fired Harare mayor accuses government of political chicanery
Mon 20 September 2004

      HARARE - The decision by the government to take over water supply in
Harare was politically-motivated and meant to portray the opposition-led
city council as inept, the capital city's former executive mayor Elias
Mudzuri told ZimOnline.

      Mudzuri, who won the mayorship on an opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party ticket to become Harare's first ever
non-ruling ZANU PF mayor, was fired last year by the government which
accused him of mismanaging the city.

      Mudzuri, who is challenging his dismissal in court, denies he failed
to run Harare saying instead the government fired him in a bid wrestle
control of the city from the MDC.

      "The increased demand of water was caused by the government when it
encouraged the sprouting up of settlements around the city on the pretext of
providing accommodation to the people," Mudzuri said. He added: "we were
(also) denied borrowing powers to upgrade the obsolete equipment at Morton
Jaffray Water Treatment Plant."

      The water plant has capacity to treat and pump only about half of the
city's water requirements per day.

      Under Zimbabwe's Urban Councils Act, local authorities must seek
approval from central government before borrowing money from banks and other
institutions that fund development projects.

      Local Government minister, Ignatius Chombo, announced last Friday that
government was taking over water treatment and supply in Harare because the
council had failed to provide satisfactory services. He said Harare
residents were set to benefit from cheap and adequate supplies.

      Although Harare's water supply dams are full, the city introduced
18-hour water cuts two weeks ago in an attempt to conserve the little water
being pumped from its aged water plant. ZimOnline
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Zim online

Suspected spy agent takes over the reins at cricket union
Mon 20 September 2004

      HARARE - A suspected member of the country's feared spy agency the
Central Intelligence Organisation has taken over the reins at the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union (ZCU).

      Ozias Bvute, who assumed the position of managing director of the ZCU
is strongly believed to be linked to the dreaded spy agency.

      The position of managing director fell vacant in June when incumbent
Vince Hogg abruptly resigned following a protracted wrangle between the ZCU
and 15 senior white players.

      The players rebelled against the ZCU over the dismissal of former
skipper Heath Streak, who had issued an ultimatum to the ZCU to rectify what
he perceived to be a racially-biased selection policy.

      The rebel players charge that Bvute is strongly linked to the ruling
ZANU PF party and was pivotal in the race row that saw them being ousted.

      The disgruntled white players say Bvute was seconded to the ZCU by the
President's office to "drive them out of the game".

      Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's battle-weary boy soldiers arrived in Lahore
yesterday hoping to face hosts Pakistan and Sri Lanka in a triangle series
with renewed vigour after a spirited stand at the ongoing ICC Champions
League in England.

      The triangular series begins on September 30.

      However, there is likely to be no respite for Zimbabwe's greenhorns,
who have lost 12 one-day internationals since the country's cricket union
fired top white players.

      The ZCU and the rebel players' wrangle compelled the International
Cricket Council to suspend Zimbabwe's Test status until January next year to
"save the integrity of the game". Zimbabwe had been humiliated at home by
Sri Lanka and Australia after failing to field a competitive side.

      Squad: Tatenda Taibu (captain), Brendon Taylor, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Dion
Ebrahim, Mark Vermeulen, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Alestar Maregwede, Mluleki
Nkala, Elton Chigumbura, Edward Rainsford, Tawanda Mupariwa, Prosper Utseya,
Douglas Hondo, Tinashe Panyangara and Alexander Graeme Cremer will join the
team on Friday.

      Phil Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 One-day Internationals, is
the team's coach. Mohamed Meman (manager), Amato Machikicho (physio) and
Macsood Ebrahim (selector on tour). ZimOnline

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Business Day

SA, Zimbabwe warned to hasten land reform


A global think-tank has warned that if SA and Zimbabwe do not take concrete
steps to tackle land reform issues, racial tensions and poverty could rise
in the region.
In its latest report, the International Crisis Group sounded the alarm,
warning that the consequences of SA not dealing with the problem could
potentially hurt southern Africa.

The report said while events in Zimbabwe were unlikely to be replicated in
SA soon, it was clear that countries in the region were burdened with
chronic land problems that were frustrating attempts to promote economic
development and eradicate poverty.

The report, Blood and Soil in Southern Africa, said government's aim to
redistribute about one third of all commercial farmland by 2015 was
ambitious, but feasible if there was commitment from government, farmers,
and other stakeholders.

In SA, many potential small farmers were being excluded from current land
reform efforts, it said, suggesting that lan d reform be heavily
concentrated in areas where poverty is deepest.

The report recommended that government give priority to assisting the
landless and poor, particularly those in the former homelands, so they could
become small farmers.

It said in Zimbabwe land redistribution had benefited few and resulted in
many losers.

"The biggest losers of the land programme have been black Zimbabweans black
farmworkers, black members of the opposition, and all those who were not
part of the ruling party elite," John Norris, a special adviser to the
president of the crisis group , said at the weekend.

The report said it would be impossible to get a land reform policy on track
in Zimbabwe, which would effectively address poverty without a new
government or fundamental changes in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

The report suggested a land commission be established in Zimbabwe, with
technical and nonpartisan expertise to carry out a national survey of land
use and current and past ownership.

The report said such a commission would also adjudicate claims and
counterclaims that had the potential to tie up the legal system for many

Business Day

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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!

Sokwanele comment

19 September 2004

The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) which on April 9th, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and Zimbabwe Defence Industries, invaded the Charleswood Estate of MDC legislator Roy Bennett, is now illegally removing coffee from the estate.  The theft of the coffee came to light when bags bearing the name of Bennett’s farm were spotted being moved by Clan Transport. The MP managed to obtain a court order to reclaim that particular consignment, but since then ARDA have been transporting the coffee to their own Rusitu Farm and mixing it with their own product. To date 150 tons of Bennett’s coffee worth approximately USD 200,000  has been stolen in this fashion by ARDA.  The Manicaland Governor,  Major General Mike Nyambuya, has a personal interest in Mr Bennett’s farm and has said openly on a number of occasions that he is taking it over.  This is despite the fact that Bennett has a number of court orders confirming his ownership of Charleswood Estate and ordering ARDA to vacate the farm and not to interfere with his farming operations.  ARDA’s continual occupation of the land and the Governor’s actions are in clear breach of the High Court Orders.


On top of the continued illegal occupation of his land and the theft of his coffee, Bennett has also suffered the theft of his cattle. In July ARDA stole 152 cattle from Charleswood Estate and relocated them to Charter Estate in Chikomba, where they are believed to have re-branded them with their own name. Each of the Beef Master beasts is conservatively valued at $ 2 million.  At the time Bennett’s lawyer, Arnold Tsunga, pointed out that ARDA’s actions amounted to stock theft – a very serious offence which carries a mandatory prison sentence.  Once again however Zimbabweans are seeing just how unequal is the application of the law in their country.  ZANU  PF  thieves, certainly those with good connections to the party hierarchy, are not called to book.  The police and those charged with enforcing the law conveniently look the other way when the ruling party gives the wink or the nod.


The part played by Clan Transport in this case of daylight robbery is also worth considering. In agreeing to transport for ARDA property which clearly was not their own, and from a farm which ARDA were occupying in breach of a High Court order, they were certainly aiding and abetting the commission of a serious crime.  When questioned about this a representative of Clan Transport said they had been paid in cash for the removal of the coffee. Which surely should have made them more suspicious and only adds to the company’s culpability..


Roy Bennett and his workers have suffered all manner of abuse at the hands of the ZANU PF invaders and illegal occupiers of his property – including assault, rape, arson, theft, torture and murder.  The violent assaults have all the markings of a well-orchestrated campaign, directed from the highest levels of the ruling party and aimed at forcing one of the most popular politicians in the country to leave the property he has developed over many years at huge personal cost – and to the very considerable benefit of thousands in the local community.  The supreme irony of the situation is that for a minor scuffle that broke out in Parliament when Bennett was insulted and goaded almost beyond human endurance, the Parliamentary Committee wants to see him imprisoned for a year.  Reports from Chimanimani, Bennett’s constituency, indicate that the stature and popularity of the MP have, if anything, increased since his altercation with Messrs Chinamasa and Mutasa.


Now if real justice were to be done, think who would be on their way to prison …. And who will be, once the rule of law is established in this country.




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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!

Sokwanele comment

19 September 2004

A visit to Phillip Chiyangwa’s luxurious villa or Robert Mugabe’s mansion on the outskirts of Borrowdale (Harare) might suggest that life in Zimbabwe is very pleasant, and so it is for the few super rich of the ruling party. For ordinary Zimbabwean however it is an altogether different reality, as a visit to one of the high-density areas around Harare will confirm.  The high-density suburb of Mbare, to the south of the central business district of Harare, is a case in point.

Life in Mbare especially at Nenyere, Matapi, Matererini Flats and Mbare hostels is unbearable because of the dilapidated state of the housing units. The residential flats are no longer suitable for human habitation, and more so the Mashonaland Turf Club units. These flats, which were originally built for bachelors during the colonial era, are now grossly over-crowded, stretching the sewerage facilities to the extreme. It is rare to find a unit with complete windows. Most residents have replaced the broken windows with iron sheets, plywood, plastics or cardboard boxes.

To date it is estimated that about 40 000 families stay in these flats, where public toilets are still in use. Human waste and bath water can be seen flowing outside the blocks at any time. The drainage system is non-existent and the public toilets are always dirty, due to over-use and shortage of cleaning chemicals at the City Council.

At Mbare hostels families are forced to share open halls, which have been sub-divided into tiny rooms. Wire and plastic are used to partition these halls, and as a result prostitution is now rife in the area.

During the early ‘90s the then city fathers promised that they would refurbish the old flats, which had already exceeded their normal life span. At one time the government came up with some interesting proposals which would have seen new houses being built for those displaced and a new bus terminus replacing the small and dilapidated one at  Mbare-Musika.  However these plans have proved to be as illusory as any of this government’s election promises.

A frail, elderly man who lives in one of the Matapi Flats told our reporter that ZANU PF  gave him false hope when it said it was going to refurbish the flats. He relied upon that undertaking and waited. Today the dream has faded completely. Having no means of his own, he has given up all hope of ever owning a nice home.

At the other end of the spectrum, and far removed from the misery of the inhabitants of the Matapi Flats, are the likes of Robert Mugabe and Phillip Chiyangwa. These super rich have accumulated their wealth at the expense of the suffering masses. This is evident by the type of houses they build – which are supposed to match their status. For the past five years, Mugabe and young Grace have been building one of the biggest and most luxurious houses in Zimbabwe, mostly with imported materials. The house is so big it could easily accommodate a quarter of the homeless from Mbare.  It is estimated that one half of the cost of the Mugabe mansion would be sufficient to refurbish all the dilapidated flats in Mbare.

Recently during a Sky News interview, Mugabe admitted that he was building a house using imported Malaysian timber which he received as a gift from the former Malaysian president. This was a strange admission to make since it is an indication of corruption at the highest level.  In any democratic system there is a convention that the head of state does not accept any gifts which might compromise his impartiality or integrity, but that obviously does not apply in Zimbabwe under ZANU PF rule.

Two months ago Mugabe bought all his service chiefs in the army the latest Prados for their personal use.  The cost of these luxury items alone could have saved many lives in Mbare.

Mugabe and his underlings claim they don’t have enough foreign currency to buy the materials required to build new housing units in Mbare, Yet Grace Mugabe manages to find sufficient forex to maintain her record as the nation’s number one shopper – and surely Zimbabwe’s most extravagant woman. Over the past two years it is estimated that she has spent nearly 2.1 million pounds sterling during her frequent shopping sprees in South Africa, Paris, London and Malaysia - that is the equivalent of Z$ 21,000,000,000 at the official auction rate..

In March 2004, Mugabe ordered the arrest of one of his own, Chris Kuruneri, for externalization billions of Zimbabwe dollars in forex. Kuruneri was Deputy Minister of Finance when these transanctions took place, and ironically it was the over zealous Dr Gideon Gono, at that time the boss of Jewel Bank, who not only approved the transactions but assisted Kuruneri in his endeavours.

Kuruneri was overseeing the building of a personal mansion in one of Cape Town’s most exclusive suburbs when he was arrested. It was to have been the sort of home that most South Africans can only dream of ever owning.  Such is the wealth which the elite of the ruling party have seized for themselves at the expense of the nation. For the conspicuous wealth of the likes of Chris Kuruneri, Phillip Chiyangwa and Robert Mugabe, only comes at a huge cost.  That cost is the suffering of the millions of Zimbabweans who now eke out a pathetic existence, below the poverty datum line, in a land that has been raped and pillaged by its rulers.  Never has the old saying been demonstrated to such tragic effect: “one man’s greed is another man’s need”.


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From The Sunday Mirror, 19 September

Mujuru on the other presidential hopefuls flounder

Staff Writer

Water Resources and Infrastructural Development Minister Joyce Mujuru seems
to have realistic chances of landing the post of Zanu PF's co-vice
presidency and, by implication, that of the country. Mujuru was proposed at
the Women's League national congress that was held three weeks ago under the
theme "Total Empowerment of Women in Zimbabwe" to claim the vice presidency,
in a move that caught those reportedly eyeing the presidency unawares. After
Zanu PF's Women's League supported her more and more people are coming out
to support her, emphasising the need for her to be given the position.
Former Zanu PF member of Parliament and the first woman to head an
opposition political party in Zimbabwe, Margaret Dongo feels Mujuru makes
the grade. "It is encouraging that there is talk and lobbying for her to
take the position of vice president. There is need to look at Mujuru and
assess her on the basis of her past works and what she has done to improve
the welfare not only of women but the entire nation. If she has the support
of the people, particularly the women, why not give her the position. She
was nominated by her fellow women, which means that she has their support.
But furthermore, she is one lady who is well-respected across the board. She
joined the armed struggle well before most women did, and she participated
in the top hierarchy of the party (Zanu PF). She has done a lot at the
national level for a long time, having experience as a cabinet minister,"
said Dongo.

She added that Mujuru was different from many women who tended to rest on
her laurels, developing herself academically and in other respects. She
said: "This has taken too long to come, but I must underscore the fact that
if she succeeds at the end of the day, she does not have to go in there as a
window dresser. My hope is that once she is there, she will realise the need
to bring in other women, otherwise she will be doomed to fail. In this
regard, her ascendancy becomes an issue of the empowerment of women and more
balance on political participation". The gender factor in the debate on
Mujuru's likely rise to the presidium, as Dongo says, cannot be ignored.
There has been an outcry over a long time that Zimbabwean women are
marginalised from mainstream politics, mostly deliberately, by the men who
control the reigns. As a result, analysts say, the move by the women's
league provides a litmus test for the ruling party and the government as it
is bound to test their sincerity over the need to empower women politically.
The highest a women has gone so far is the position of cabinet minister, but
many feel that even then, they have not been given core portfolios.

Women praised President Robert Mugabe, when at one time he made Mujuru the
acting Minister of Defence, saying that represented a measure of the
realisation that women were as capable as men. That Mujuru has held that
position, albeit in an acting capacity, could emerge as a plus for her ahead
of the Zanu PF congress in December, when the decision on who will fill the
position that was left vacant following the death in September 2003 of
co-vice president, Simon Muzenda. Individuals and groups representing women's
interests charge that not enough is being done to give women a 30 percent
quota in parliament, in line with SADC stipulations, but President Mugabe
has promised to that soon, a development that could also see him agreeing to
Mujuru being made co-vice president. Other influential women like Thenjiwe
Lesabe, who at one time was touted as the first woman who could take the
co-vice presidency, when Joshua Nkomo died, Oppah Muchinguri and the First
Lady, Grace Mugabe - outside the Women's League as a body - have indicated
that they are firmly behind Mujuru. The First Lady was present at the Women's
congress when Mujuru, who was given the podium to address delegates, was
nominated, and she could use her influence to make sure that the nominee is
endorsed in December.

But even men have openly voiced their support for Mujuru. Edgar Tekere, a
former party stalwart who was expelled for his outspokenness, recently
remarked that he would back her. Political analyst Eldred Masunungure spoke
highly of Mujuru whom many say has more friends that enemies in the party:
"All things being equal, Mujuru will triumph over the other contenders when
the time comes. "She meets the set criteria such as liberation war
credentials that retired General Vitalis Zvinavashe stressed in 2002. She is
level-headed, has age to her benefit, and could be accepted across the
political divide even by the MDC." Observers say whoever lands the position
of the vacant co-vice presidency could be a realistic contender to succeed
President Mugabe when he finally quits. This means that Mujuru's ascendancy
could throw in the spanners for other presidential hopefuls, among them
reportedly Speaker To page 2 vice presidency, with people like Didymus
Mutasa of Manicaland likely looking the unfolding events anxiously.
Mnangagwa, who comes from the Midlands province, might have wanted to use
Masvingo as a trump card, considering his closeness to Zanu PF top
politicians in that province. In this regard, Mnangagwa rested on that
perception of a natural successor. The speaker of Parliament featured
prominently when Muzenda died, delivering a graveside eulogy. He is
reportedly close to Vitalis Zvinavashe, the former commander of the armed
forces, who was also a confidante of Muzenda. Even though Mnangagwa was
touted as President Mugabe's protégé, his political profile has been dogged
by claims of graft, a development that could make him slip in the bid to get
the vice presidency. If Mujuru takes over, it might rile Mnangagwa because
he has reportedly been setting up backing structures in most of the
provinces in a bid to prepare himself to take over from President Mugabe.
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