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

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Zimbabwe's vice president dies after illness

HARARE, Sept. 20 — Zimbabwe's Vice President Simon Muzenda, a close ally of
President Robert Mugabe who has served in government since independence from
Britain in 1980, has died after a long illness, Mugabe said on Saturday.
       How Mugabe fills the vacancy left by his second-in-command, one of
the veteran leader's most loyal aides, could be a key indicator of who he
wants as his own successor after he hinted earlier this year he might be
ready to retire.
       ''Fellow Zimbabweans, it is with a very heavy heart that I announce
the death of Vice President Simon Vengai Muzenda. He is no more,'' a
sombre-looking Mugabe said in a live broadcast on state television.
       ''Vice President and shall always remain a great
revolutionary leader... He took it upon himself to join the struggle for the
freedom of this country from British settler colonialism,'' Mugabe added. He
did not disclose the nature of Muzenda's illness.
       A founding member of the ruling ZANU-PF party, Muzenda had been
Mugabe's deputy for the past 23 years, first as deputy prime minister and
later as vice president when the southern African country adopted the
executive presidency system in 1987.
       Muzenda, who would have turned 81 next month, backed Mugabe's
controversial land redistribution programme and said he had held off his
planned retirement to see the first phase of the programme to a successful
       He was at the centre of a controversy last year when the mainly white
Commercial Farmers Union accused him of leading a group which forcibly
ejected a farmer in his southern home province of Masvingo.
       Mugabe's government is accused of plunging what could be one of
Africa's richest countries into a political and economic crisis through
controversial policies including the compulsory transfer of white-owned
farms to landless blacks.
       Mugabe says the programme aims to correct colonial imbalances since
the former Rhodesia gained independence.
       Local media had reported in recent months that Muzenda was ill, but
earlier this month the official Herald newspaper said he was making
''remarkable progress'' and dismissed reports that his condition was
       The government has also repeatedly dismissed reports of Mugabe's own
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From News24 (SA), 19 September

Zim cops ignore court order

Harare - Zimbabwe's embattled independent daily, the Daily News, on Friday
filed contempt of court charges against police after they refused to allow
staff to re-enter their offices, defying a High Court order, a company
official told AFP. Police on Friday barred staff members at the Daily News
from returning to their offices despite a High Court ruling the day before
allowing the paper to reopen. The Daily News, a fierce critic of President
Robert Mugabe, was shut down a week ago for operating illegally. "We filed
our papers before lunch. We're waiting for the registrar to set the matter
down for hearing," said Gugulethu Moyo, the paper's legal adviser. Police
shut down the Daily News after the country's top court, the Supreme Court,
ruled last week that the paper was operating illegally as it was not
registered with a government media commission. The paper subsequently
applied to register with the commission, and on Thursday the High Court
ruled that the paper should be reopened until its application had been dealt
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe to keep old bank notes: report

Saturday September 20, 2003 16:48 - (SA)

HARARE - The Zimbabwe government, faced with a chronic shortage of bank
notes, has said it will keep old notes in circulation until the end of the
year, reversing an earlier decision, state-run media said today.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said last July that Zimbabwe's most common
500-dollar note (worth around 60 US cents, 50 euro cents) would be withdrawn
at the end of September and replaced with a new banknote.

The Zimbabwe government blamed hoarders of the note for the shortages, which
have led to long queues outside banks and building societies around the

The Herald said the decision to extend the deadline "was reached after
consultation with various stakeholders."

"The withdrawal of the old 500-dollar notes will be managed to minimise
hardships to the public and business and avoid the resurgence of queues for
cash," acting Finance Minister John Nkomo said.

Zimbabwe is four months into its cash crisis, and government measures have
not alleviated the long waits for people queuing to withdraw money from

The measures have included introducing a local form of travellers' cheque
and, this week, a "bearers' cheque" which will be available from cash

Independent economists blame Zimbabwe's soaring inflation rate, now standing
at 426%, for the note shortages.

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From SAPA, 19 September

Zim insists it wasn't barred from summit

Zimbabwe insisted on Friday it has not been barred from the Commonwealth
summit later this year and dismissed as racist Australian demands that
President Robert Mugabe should not be invited. Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge
said only the host of the December summit, Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo, could bar Mugabe and that he has not done so. On Tuesday,
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said his nation was firmly opposed to
Zimbabwe attending the summit of leaders from the Commonwealth of Britain
and its former territories in Abuja, the Nigerian administrative capital. He
cited human rights violations and Zimbabwe's economic ruin under Mugabe.
Mudenge said invitations to the two-yearly summit were routinely sent out by
the host country. "Howard has been abundantly racist" in his criticism of
Zimbabwe, Mudenge told the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. "I think it is
clear to anybody that Mr. Howard has abandoned his senses. It is not for him
to decide whether Zimbabwe should attend the Commonwealth," he said.

Howard last month described Mugabe as "an unelected despot." Zimbabwe was
suspended from all decision-making councils of the 54-nation Commonwealth
group after Mugabe's government was accused of intimidation and vote rigging
in the March 2002 presidential elections, narrowly won by Mugabe. Earlier
this week, an official of the London-based Commonwealth secretariat,
conveners of the summit, said 52 invitations to the summit in Nigeria have
been sent, indicating that Zimbabwe and Pakistan would not attend. Pakistan
was suspended from the grouping in 1999 after a military coup. Howard is a
member of a three-member Commonwealth panel on Zimbabwe, along with Obasanjo
and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. The two African presidents have
been trying to bring Mugabe's ruling party and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change to the negotiating table on the country's deepening
political and economic crisis. South Africa opposes Zimbabwe's exclusion
from the Abuja summit, saying it favors diplomatic efforts in the group's
handling of the Zimbabwe crisis.
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Daily News Publishers Vow to Challenge Zimbabwe Government License Decision
Tendai Maphosa
20 Sep 2003, 15:50 UTC

The publishers of Zimbabwe's only independent Daily News paper say they will
challenge the government's refusal to give them a license to publish.
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, owners of the Daily News said Saturday
the decision by the Media and Information Commission denies the fundamental
right to freedom of expression.

Chief Executive Officer Sam Sipepa Nkomo told a news conference Saturday
that he considers the commission not democratically accountable. He promised
that his paper will eventually start publishing again.

"When the Daily News is back, we will know that an important corner has been
turned," he said. "Democracy in Zimbabwe can then start its fragile, but
essential and long overdue journey back to recovery."

The Daily News had operated in defiance of a provision of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which requires publishers and
journalists to register with the commission. The company had applied to the
Supreme Court to have certain sections of the act declared unconstitutional.

But the Supreme Court ruled on September 11 that the newspaper was operating
illegally, and could not challenge the media law, unless it registered

Before this could happen, however, the police stormed the company's premises
last Friday, ordered the staff out and removed office equipment.

The publisher has since complied with the Supreme Court ruling, and has
obtained permission to resume publishing from a lower court. But police
continue to deny the staff access to their offices and equipment.

The Daily News was established in 1999, and became the most widely read
newspaper in Zimbabwe. It has frequently published articles critical of the
government and the ruling Zanu PF party.
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Britain slams Daily's ban
20/09/2003 17:36  - (SA)

London - The British government on Saturday condemned Zimbabwe's decision to
ban the country's only independent daily newspaper, saying it was an attempt
to silence critics of Robert Mugabe's regime.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the ban "is further illustration of the
government of Zimbabwe's flagrant disregard for the rule of law and basic
rights, particularly freedom of expression".

Zimbabwe's government-appointed media commission on Saturday formally banned
the Daily News, denying it registration to publish under strict new media
laws. The newspaper, which has a a daily readership of more than 940 000,
said it would take legal action to challenge the media rules imposed by
Mugabe's government.

In a statement, Straw said the media commission's decision was "another
attempt to silence critical voices" in Zimbabwe.

"We will continue to support all those in Zimbabwe working for a return to a
democratically elected and accountable government which respects human
rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law," he said.
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From The Herald, 20 September

Daily News denied registration

Herald Reporter

The Media and Information Commission yesterday unanimously agreed not to
register the Associated News-papers of Zimbabwe, publishers of The Daily
News, as a mass media service. The commission’s six members unanimously
agreed that the ANZ’s application for registration failed to meet the
requirements of the law and as result refused to grant it. Firstly, the
commission noted that the ANZ filed its application for registration eight
and a half months after expiry of the transitional period to register which
ended on December 31, 2002. In terms of Section 93 of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the initial transitional period
ended on June 15, 2002 and since registration regulations had not been put
in place by then, the Minister of Information and Publicity, acting in terms
of Section 91 of the Act, extended both the transitional period, and the
period within which to consider the applications, to December 31, 2002 and
two months respectively. All media service providers were allowed in terms
of the law to lawfully continue operating while the commission processed
their applications for registration.

The commission noted that the ANZ did not take the opportunity given by law
to file its application. "Instead, the applicant (ANZ) openly announced that
it would not register because it considered the provisions of the Act
requiring registration to be unconstitutional," the commission said in its
determination. It added that the constitutional challenge was made 13 days
after the expiry of the transitional period, which was December 31 2002. The
commission said it viewed the operations of the ANZ as being in
contravention of the law and in particular in violation of Section 66 of
AIPPA. It said it asked the Supreme Court to refuse to hear the ANZ
constitutional challenge because the company had approached the court with
dirty hands as it was not registered. And in its ruling, the Supreme Court
said the ANZ was operating outside of the law. "In the same judgment, the
Supreme Court pointed out that ‘compliance with the law does not necessarily
mean submission of an application for registration to carry on the
activities of a mass media service. It certainly means desisting from
carrying on the activities of a mass media service illegally’," said the

It said at the time of the judgment, the ANZ had operated illegally for
eight months and 12 days. "The commission noted that, not withstanding the
Supreme Court judgment, the applicant continued to publish its newspaper
until the police, reacting to the clarification of the legal status of the
applicant’s operations by the Supreme Court in the aforementioned judgment,
moved in and stopped the illegal operations." The commission noted that the
ANZ application, which was filed on Monday this week, came as a result of
the closure of its offices by the police and not out of the newspaper group’
s voluntary wish to subject itself to the law requiring it to register.
"Against this background, the commission found that for eight months and 12
days, the applicant did actually violate Section 66 of the Act which
requires mass media service providers to operate only after being

The commission also noted that the ANZ employed Chengetai Zvauya who could
not be accredited because he has a previous conviction. This was found in
addition to the fact that none of the ANZ journalists were actually
accredited. "The employment of unaccredited journalists is made unlawful by
Section 79(6) of the Act. The commission accordingly noted that the
applicant, until the date of the closure by the police, also contravened
section 79(6) of the Act." The commission said to enable it to properly
carry out one of its duties, that is, to monitor the mass media and raise
user awareness of the mass media (Section 39 (1) (0), Section 76 of the Act
requires mass media service providers to send a free copy of every
publication to the commission. But the ANZ did not serve the commission with
any such free copy for the eight months 12 days that it persisted to operate

The commission said in terms of Section 65 (1) (b) of the Act, a person may
not be a mass media owner if the activities of such a person are prohibited
by law. "Section 66 prohibits the carrying on of activities of a mass media
service before receiving a certificate of registration. For purposes of the
applicant, this position is made clearer by the Supreme Court judgment.
Further in terms of section 69(1)(a) the commission may not register an
applicant who fails to comply with the provisions of the Act." The
commission said at the time it applied to register, the ANZ still employed
unaccredited journalists including an unaccreditable one. It also noted that
the ANZ was facing criminal charges for breaching section 72 Chapter 10:27
of AIPPA. "The commission accordingly finds that, as a matter of fact,
applicant continued to violate section 66 of the Act even after being
advised by the Supreme Court of the illegality of its operations. "The above
is compounded by the fact during the eight months and 12 days of applicant’s
operations outside the law, it also violated Sections 76 and 79 of the Act.
"The commission accordingly unanimously agree that the applicant’s
application fails to meet the requirements of the law and in the result
refuse to grant it."
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Sunday Times (SA)

Mbeki's softly, softly stance on Zimbabwe in SA's best interests


John Stremlau says there is more to quiet diplomacy than meets the eye

Our media buzzed this week with claims that President Thabo Mbeki's apparent
opposition to barring Zimbabwe from December's Commonwealth summit in
Nigeria risked damaging SA's relations with Britain and Australia, and
splitting the organisation.

Fears that Mbeki's consistent policy of quiet diplomacy will have dire
international consequences were, once again, exaggerated. SA will defer to
host Nigeria, whose President Olusegun Obasanjo has reportedly told Mugabe
he can attend only if he takes significant steps towards sharing power with
the opposition. Mbeki is diplomatically correct to say no additional
sanction barring Zimbabwe from attending had been implemented, but his
political message to Harare is the same as Obasanjo's.

Last week's closure of Zimbabwe's leading independent newspaper makes an
invitation to the Commonwealth summit virtually impossible, a situation
which SA will not challenge.

So how damaging has Mbeki's handling of Mugabe really been to SA's national
interests and values?

For starters, no one, not even Mbeki, claims SA policy has so far succeeded
in reversing lawlessness, restoring democracy or halting Zimbabwe's
cascading economic catastrophe. But SA military intervention or the
imposition of punitive economic sanctions have never been realistic options.

Might a tougher stand against Mugabe advance SA's international relations in
other ways?

When the rand was at 14 to the dollar, some pointed to quiet diplomacy as
contributing to the currency's weakness. Now, however, with the Zimbabwe
crisis worse than ever and SA policy unchanged, the rand is nearly twice as
strong. The Zimbabwe factor is never mentioned.

Similar fears that SA' s handling of Harare would discredit the New
Partnership for Africa's Development were belied by the G8' s praise for Mbe
ki at its summit in Evian, France. And later concerns that not being tough
would taint relations with the US proved baseless when President George W
Bush met Mbeki in Pretoria and declared his support for SA's policy.

Business leaders rightly remind us of the skittishness of foreign investors.
But the extent to which funds may have been withheld from SA because of
fears about a Zimbabwean contagion, is difficult to discern. Sound domestic
economic policies, world economic trends and access to markets are what
really matter when deciding major new investments.

But surely Mbeki's quiet diplomacy is at odds with his campaigning for human
rights and democracy as preconditions for Africa's economic advancement?
Yes, but mainly in the short term.

There are issues fundamental to SA's future which his critics mostly ignore.

First, we must never forget that Zimbabwe's history of hardship approximates
our own. Mbeki must represent all South Africans, and the primary objective
of his policy must be to unify the nation. Today we debate what to do about
Zimbabwe, but no one disagrees that Mugabe's misrule is the immediate
problem. In the absence of a national consensus on other matters, such as SA
land reform, Mbeki deserves credit for minimising domestic damage to SA's
own nation-building project.

Second, quiet diplomacy supports a broader strategy of dealing with the
paradox of SA's huge relative power in Southern Africa. Any state stronger
than its neighbours risks causing the others to form an alliance of
self-defence, much as the so-called frontline states did to counter
apartheid SA. The ANC government must deal with the natural tendency of
smaller states to try to counter SA's influence.

Since 1994, Mugabe has been the only Southern African Development Community
leader capable of forging an anti-SA coalition, and appeared to have been
moving in that direction during earlier stages of the Congo crisis. Today,
he is a spent force, nationally and regionally.

If South Africa wants to lead a voluntary regional order conducive to its
own best interests, demonstrating self-restraint in the use of superior
power will be necessary to reassure weaker states that they will be neither
dominated nor ignored. Signs of selfrestraint become critical to developing
a durable and mutually acceptable regional order. SA's intervention in
Lesotho may have been legally ambiguous but was seen in the region as
legitimate. Independent action against Zimbabwe would have been seen by
others as a much greater threat.

Since the crisis in Zimbabwe began three years ago, SA has made huge
advances across Africa. It is now the largest source of foreign direct
investment into Africa.

In dealing with the world's major powers and at global gatherings, SA is
almost always accorded the prestige of Africa's leading state. Success risks
rising resentment, especially when SA companies dominate the continent's

SA needs politically capable partners to prosper in Africa and globally.
Zimbabwe is a political disaster, one SA was powerless to prevent or

By casting his realism as selfrestraint, Mbeki reassures our neighbours
while reminding South Africans of the dangers in ignoring popular demands
for greater equity at home.

a.. Professor Stremlau is head of international relations at Wits University
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Sunday Times (SA)

MDC on diplomatic offensive

Sunday Times Foreign Desk

Leaders of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change this week
widened their diplomatic offensive to neighbouring Mozambique after visiting
East Africa two weeks ago.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube and his team met Mozambican President
Joaquim Chissano in Maputo on Thursday for talks on the political and
economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Last week Ncube met Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, the sitting South
African Development Community chairman, in Dar es Salaam to brief him.

The MDC delegation met Malawian President Bakili Muluzi and ANC
secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe two weeks ago.

Another MDC team was in Kenya recently to meet its leadership.
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Zimbabwe Mirror

Mugabe was last to join Zanu—Tekere
Tawanda Majoni News Editor

THE charismatic but controversial former secretary general of Zanu PF, Edgar
Tekere wants the ruling party to give him back his membership
unconditionally, charging that he was unfairly dismissed by the party’s
president and first secretary, Robert Mugabe.

Tekere made known his position in a wide ranging interview last week.

He revealed that there are renewed efforts by the party leadership to woo
him back into Zanu PF, ostensibly in a ploy meant to use his charisma to win
back the ruling party’s waning support base.

He named the Justice and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Patrick Chinamasa
and former Zanu PF national chairman, Didymus Mutasa as having recently
approached him to sound him out on whether he still wanted to rejoin the
party or not.

Mutasa confirmed in June that he had approached Tekere but declined to give
details about what transpired when he talked to Tekere. Charles Pemhenayi,
the Zanu PF spokesman for Manicaland is on record as saying Tekere’s
readmission to the party would be “homecoming if it happens”.

“There are very recent moves to woo me back. Chinamasa and Mutasa visited me
and asked me whether I was still interested in rejoining the party or not,”
said Tekere. He said besides the two, Ray Kaukonde, the Zanu PF provincial
chairman for Manicaland province and the widow of the late national hero,
Victoria Chitepo, have also been talking to him, adding that in the past
month, “quite a number of other party stalwarts” had begged him to go back
to Zanu PF.

“I said to them: ‘So, you want me to come back? You should know what to do
because it is you and your president who sacked me. What do you expect me to
do? Apply for a new card? No! I won’t do that. I want my membership back
unconditionally because Mugabe, for whatever reasons, threw me out of the
party very unprocedurally. Go back and put your house in order and then come
back to me’.” He said he had low regard for Mugabe and most of the top
leadership in Zanu PF because “they have rendered my party filthy”.

“I told the guys who are making overtures for me to come back that Zanu PF
is my kid. Do you know that at the formation of Zanu in 1963, Mugabe was the
last person to join it from Zapu? I was already there.” He said he often
scoffed at the people who wanted to have him back in the party. “They think
I can set off a reversal of their sad fortunes. Yes I want to reverse the
fortunes but I should not be used as an instrument. All the time they come
to me, I tell them that the Two Boy they want back is different from the Two
Boy of yonder. I still have the ideas but I might be running low on energy,”
he said.

“Two Boy” is the nickname that Tekere earned because of his popular stance
when, in the late 1980s, he criticised the ruling party even when he was
still an executive member.

He said he was disturbed by the fact that most of the people who were
approaching him were from Manicaland, his province, adding that he urged
them to assume a more national approach so that the overtures should not
seem like an ethnic process.

When he was initially approached by Chinamasa and Mutasa, Tekere wrote a
long letter to the party leadership, outlining his expectations and
conditions for readmission to the party. However, the executive leadership
has not yet responded to his concerns, a thing that Tekere says riles him.

Tekere was sacked from the ruling party in 1989 when he openly resisted the
ruling party’s move to turn Zimbabwe into a one party state. He was also
accused of publicly criticising the ruling party for harbouring corrupt

Tekere, in the late 1980s, used to address college students, enumerating the
corrupt practices by high-ranking party officials. This did not go down well
with Mugabe and other party officials who thought the controversial but
well-spoken “maverick” was exposing party dirty linen.

His concerns over rising corruption in the party were vindicated by the
findings of a commission that was set up to look into an alleged vehicle
scam now popularly known as the Willowgate scandal. The commission was
presided over by Justice Wilson Sandura and implicated the likes of Maurice
Nyagumbo, who allegedly committed suicide over the issue, and the current
Zanu PF national director, Frederick Shava.

The scam, named after the American Watergate scandal, involved government
and party officials who abused a vehicle scheme in which they bought cars at
subsidised prices and sold them at exorbitant prices.

“Immediately after I was sacked from the party I went into the streets—I
remember it was a Friday—and bought a copy of the Chronicle. The main story
was on Willowgate. I immediately went back to those who had said I had
incorrectly applied myself and showed them the two copies I had bought. They
would not listen to me,” said Tekere.

After his expulsion form the ruling party, Tekere formed the Zimbabwe Unity
Movement (ZUM) and challenged Mugabe in the 1990 elections, earning
respectable approval from the electorate.

Tekere claims that when he was charged, Mugabe fast tracked his disciplinary
trial because he no longer liked him, despite the fact that “Two Boy” helped
him, with the assistance of the late Chief Rekayi Tangwena, also interred at
the national shrine, to get into Mozambique to wage the armed struggle
against colonial rule.

Contacted for comment, a high ranking Zanu PF politburo member dismissed
Tekere’s claims as nonsense. “Tekere thought he could challenge Mugabe in
1990 but he lost. He might have the party at heart but he is no longer
relevant. No one takes him seriously now,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from Mutasa or the party publicity department were
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Sunday Herald (UK)

Where freedom is paper-thin

As Zimbabwe cracks down on its last free paper, South Africa stands idly by.
Why? Fred Bridgland in Johannesburg explains

When South Africa’s whites-only government shut down the office of the
bravest and most professional media opponent of apartheid, The Weekly Mail,
15 years ago, it was visited by Britain’s ambassador, Sir Robin Renwick, who
arrived at the newspaper’s scruffy Johannesburg premises carrying a bag
stuffed with banknotes.
“Use it well,” the Saville Row-suited Renwick told the Weekly Mail’s editor,
Anton Harber. “I want no receipts, no thanks, no mention of this at all.”

Harber, feeling free last week to tell how British taxpayers’ money helped
his newspaper survive a month-long ban , said Her Majesty’s envoy also
signed a cheque on behalf of 10 Downing Street for a subscription to the
banned newspaper. It would help, said Sir Robin, if the South African
government could be told the newspaper was delivered each week to Margaret
Thatcher and she would not be pleased if she failed to receive it.

Harber, now professor of journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand,
said he was breaking his secrecy pledge about the covert British payments
for two reasons.

First, such help recognised press freedom in South Africa as “a litmus test,
a freedom that could help protect other freedoms, one that could give hope
and succour to many who lacked other freedoms. We would not have survived
without such support.”

Second, said Harber, press freedom is now under assault in neighbouring
Zimbabwe with the closure last week by President Robert Mugabe of the
country’s lone independent daily newspaper, the Daily News. And, Harber went
on, it is ironic that, amid the international outcry, the voice of South
Africa’s current African National Congress (ANC) government was conspicuous
by its silence.

But South Africa’s state president, Thabo Mbeki, also head of the ANC, was
not totally silent . As armed police stormed the Harare-based Daily News,
ripping out computers and forcing journalists from the building, Mbeki was
demanding international sanctions be lifted against Zimbabwe and that Mugabe
be permitted to attend the commonwealth conference in Nigeria in December
because of the “improved” situation in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, despite Daily News chief executive Sam Sipepa Nkomo winning a
high court ruling on Thursday allowing the paper to reopen, armed police
this weekend reoccupied the building. In defiance of Judge Yunus Omerjee’s
order that they allow journalists back in and return 120 computers, riot
police and officers of the much-feared Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) were barring editor Nqobile Nyathi and her journalists.

Mugabe’s police acted against the Daily News under the ruthless and
ironically named Access to Information and Privacy Act (AIPPA). The act
criminalises the publication of “falsehoods” – as defined by Mugabe and his
information minister Jonathan Moyo – and gives the government the right to
decide who may or may not work as a journalist in Zimbabwe.

The Guardian’s veteran Zimbabwe correspondent Andrew Meldrum was forcibly
deported in May this year after writing: “I watched how the regime
transformed a functioning democracy into a police state.” Meldrum, an
American, was imprisoned under one of AIPPA’s clauses, tried and then
acquitted – but nevertheless expelled .

Several black Zimbabwean journalists have been held and tortured under AIPPA
and other acts . The late Mark Chavunduka, former editor of independent
weekly The Standard, and his reporter Ray Choto, were abducted and tortured
so viciously they needed physical and mental treatment . The Daily News’s
printing press was blown up by Mugabe’s CIO spooks, leading Moyo to gloat:
“The days of trash journalism in Zimbabwe are numbered.”

The opposition press, facing daily harassment, is truly heroic. The
Paris-based Committee To Protect Journalists ranks Zimbabwe as one of the 10
worst countries in which to work as a journalist.

Mugabe ordered the closure of the Daily News under an AIPPA clause that
compels all newspapers to register with a one-man Media Commission – Moyo –
for permission to operate.

AIPPA requires all journalists to apply for licences, which can be easily
revoked and are only issued to citizens . It is an offence to “spread
rumours or falsehoods that cause alarm and despondency under the guise of
authentic reports”. Moyo, dubbed Zimbabwe’s Joseph Goebbels by opposition
journalists, decides what constitutes a “falsehood” . Editors and reporters
can also be jailed for “abuse of journalistic privilege”.

The Daily News refused to register under AIPPA. When Mugabe closed the
newspaper, Judge Omerjee, in a remarkable decision given the widespread
subversion of the judiciary by Mugabe, said it could not be closed under
AIPPA until it had been convicted in a court of law.

The Daily News then decided to register under the act . But as journalists
prepared to resume operations, armed police moved in again. This weekend
Daily News lawyers were preparing a contempt of court action against the
police, which will again severely test the independence of the frail

Meanwhile, in South Africa, which could end Mugabe’s regime in weeks by
cutting off electricity and rail links, President Mbeki maintained his
silence except to condemn the many voices around the world accusing Mugabe
of “megaphone diplomacy”.

Harber, recalling how international support saved the Weekly Mail and
promoted South African freedom, lamented: “Our government has chosen the
path of diplomacy so quiet no-one, least of all Zim babweans, can hear it.”

21 September 2003
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Sunday Herald (UK)

Call to end ‘cover-up’ of food sources

By Rob Edwards, Environment Editor

Food companies around the world are being allowed to get away with a massive
“cover-up” of the environmental and social injustices that their products
cause, one of the government’s leading advisors on food will warn this week.
Richard Wakeford, the food and farming commissioner on the government’s UK
sustainable development commission, will call for the scrapping of the world
trade rules which enable companies to conceal how they produce food.

At a major food conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday, he will highlight the
dangers of the increasing amount of food being imported into Britain from
all over the globe.

“We are simply importing pollution and production practise the government
has ruled to be unethical,” he will say.

As an example, Wakeford points out that as European Union standards for
battery hens have become stricter, eggs have been sourced from countries
outside the EU, such as the Ukraine. Net imports of eggs into the UK were
zero in 1980 but accounted for 13% of supply by 2002.

Although some supermarkets, including Tesco, only stock whole eggs from UK
producers, there is no such guarantee for the many food products that
include eggs. There is no way for consumers to know where the eggs used in
quiches, sandwiches or salads come from.

“All too often we may buy food here, either in shops or in restaurants, that
was produced in ways that do not meet even the most basic standards we
expect of UK food producers,” Wakeford argues.

Increasing amounts of chicken and other poultry are imported from Brazil and
Thailand, because the cost of producing the meat in those countries is half
of that in the UK. This could be because workers in those countries are
poorly paid, or animals are badly treated, or the production processes cause

Shrimps served in British restaurants could come from Vietnam, where
evidence suggests the mangrove swamps in which they are farmed are being
damaged. In Kenya, coffee-pickers are paid a pittance, but barred by trade
rules from processing their beans, which would enable them to make more

“There is a real problem here with the rules on international trade,”
Wakeford says. “World Trade Organisation rules don’t permit discrimination
between goods on the basis of production and processing methods. Nor can we
even oblige importing producers to provide information about production

He will call for urgent action by governments “to get rid of the rules that
allow firms to cover up production details”. This would not penalise
developing countries, just enable trade to become ethical.

“If you want consumers to act responsibly, you have to give them
information. Then they can choose whether or not to exploit people in other
countries, or whether to destroy the environment.”

Food is the largest sector of the UK economy, with consumers spending over
£130 billion a year. The UK imports over £18bn worth of food every year,
while it exports around £9bn.

Many imports can be easily grown in the UK. Supermarkets import strawberries
from the US, cucumbers and tomatoes from Spain and mangetout peas from
Zimbabwe. In 2002, the UK imported 270,000 tonnes of onions and 11,000
tonnes of cauliflower and broccoli.

The conference is organised by the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, in
association with the Sunday Herald and the Co-op retail chain. Entitled Food
For Thought – Food Policy For Scotland, it will debate how the Scottish
Executive should respond to the issues raised.

21 September 2003
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Dear Family and Friends, 
Zimbabwe is gripped in a feverish state of indecision and panic and no one has any answers to the question we are all asking: what do we do about our money?  The banks, building societies and ATM's continue to have no bank notes to give to their customers and the queues of people waiting for money are still crowding  the pavements and spilling out into the streets. When a rumour circulates that a bank has received a delivery of cash, hundreds of people run to the doors in huge crowds hoping that they will be able to draw out a few thousand dollars to survive for another day. This has been going on for two months and the cash flow situation has not improved at all even though our Minister of Finance has told us that our present red 500 dollar note will cease to be legal tender at the end of September. The Minister also assures us that a new 500 dollar note of another colour will be issued but it has not been released less than 10 days before the end of the month and we are all wondering what on earth to do now.
If people pay wages on the last day of the month using red five hundred dollar notes how will their workers be able to spend them if they are no longer legal tender? There is no way of changing the red notes either for the new colour note or for money in smaller denominations because there is a chronic shortage of that as well. The option is for employers to pay their wages a few days before the end of the month but this doesn't solve anything either because then employees have the same problem. Do they spend their entire monthly wage on things that they don't actually need just to get rid of the money or do they keep the notes hoping that the Minister of Finance will extend the life of the red note? It is confusing, chaotic and we are all pathetically asking each other what to do with our remaining notes instead of demanding a solution from our government. The Minister seems to be completely unaware of the massive crisis now facing every man and woman in the country who is struggling to survive an official inflation rate which this week hit 426%. A month ago the Minister told us we were to use internal travellers cheques but this failed dismally and now he tells us we are to use something called "bearers cheques" which are like money, but aren't money and have been printed on something he called "notepaper" at huge cost to the nation. This notepaper "bearers cheque" will only be valid until January 2004 and has exactly the same problems attached to it that travellers cheques had. Why on earth our government have wasted so many billions of dollars printing travellers and bearers cheques when they should have been printing money is a mystery, almost as much of a mystery as why they are removing the red 500 dollar note and wasting billions more dollars printing another colour 500 dollar note. If you are confused after reading this then join the club !
This huge money crisis is just one of the things that should have been reported and debated in the media but there has been no information at all. The State run newspaper continues to flight full page and very colourful adverts telling us about the impending arrival of new 500 dollar note but says nothing about the expiry of the present red note. The week began and ended without our only independent daily newspaper The Daily News. Despite a High Court order handed down on Thursday which gave the Daily News permission to continue operating for another 60 days, the police refused to comply with the order. Earlier in the week they had seized over 100 computers and other equipment from the Daily News but when it came time to obey the court order and give the equipment back, they said they had no transport to do so. The High Court Order further instructed police to let Daily News owners and employees back into their offices but this also didn't happen. Police refused them entry to their own offices saying that they had not received a copy of the High Court Order. Frankly it all stinks and I'm not really sure why we are surprised. Police have consistently refused to obey court rulings relating to farmers and then to members of the opposition and now they are doing the same when it comes to the independent media and freedom of speech. They have again shown to the world that they only represent people's legal rights if those people belong to the ruling Zanu PF party. Bit by agonising bit Zimbabwe's government have stripped us of our constitutional, legal and human rights. For me losing the right to be able to buy, read and write for the newspaper of my choice is the worst. For the last three and a half years at least we knew what was happening in our country. We knew which Ministers were grabbing multiple farms, which people were perpetrating violence on opposition supporters and just exactly how our government were stealing, mortgaging and selling our national heritage and assets, now we are alone and in the dark.
I would like to end with the quote I use at the beginning of my book Beyond Tears. For me this says it all about our lives today in Zimbabwe:
"First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me." (Pastor Niemoller, Nazi victim.) Until next week, with love, cathy.
My books about Zimbabwe's turmoil, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in the UK and USA through: ; in Australia and New Zealand through and in Africa through and
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Mugabe seals fate of free press

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Sunday September 21, 2003
The Observer

Zimbabwe's largest daily newspaper was closed down yesterday when President Robert Mugabe's government refused to issue the licence needed to publish. By shutting down the country's only privately owned daily publication, the Mugabe regime has struck a blow at the country's struggling free press, which is left with just a couple of independent weekly papers.

The Daily News has been shut for the past week and police seized the paper's computers and other equipment in defiance of a high court order that the paper should be allowed to publish.

News editors and reporters had been trying desperately to print a paper by alternative means, but by denying the paper a licence the Government yesterday finally and firmly closed every door. Under Zimbabwe's severe press restrictions it would be illegal for any business to give assistance to an unregistered paper.

The paper's closure will make it even more difficult for Mugabe supporters to argue that Zimbabwe should be readmitted to the Commonwealth. When Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in March 2002 the Mugabe government was warned specifically to improve freedom of the press before the country could be readmitted.

'This is obviously a very big blow to democracy, freedom of expression and press freedom in our country,' said Trevor Ncube publisher of the Zimbabwe Independent, one of the remaining privately-owned weekly newspapers.

'It shows the world, once again, that the regime of Robert Mugabe will stop at nothing to hold on to power, even when it is clear that it is politically bankrupt.'

Ncube is also owner of the Mail and Guardian in South Africa.

Mugabe was put under further pressure yesterday with the reported death of Vice President Simon Muzenda. Muzenda, 81, who had been in failing health for some time, was one of Zimbabwe's two Vice Presidents. The Government had recently denied that Muzenda was in a coma and in declining health.

One of Mugabe's most trusted allies, Muzenda's death highlights a dilemma for the President: that he is surrounded by an ageing leadership.

Muzenda was a long-time African Nationalist and a veteran of the war to end white minority Rhodesian rule. But yesterday Zimbabweans showed little sympathy at his death because of their antipathy to the Mugabe Government.

'Maybe we will get a public holiday because of his death,' said one Zimbabwean worker.

'In other times we would have had a braai "barbecue" but now we can't even do that because we can't afford the meat. Without the Daily News we won't get the truth about Muzenda's death or anything else. We will just get propaganda from our own Pravda, the Herald .'

In the four years it was published the Daily News became Zimbabwe's largest circulation paper. It uncovered numerous corruption scandals and regularly exposed state violence and human rights abuses. The paper continued publishing despite two bombings, including one which destroyed its printing press.

Daily News editors and reporters have been jailed and beaten by Mugabe's supporters. In one incident a rural schoolteacher found with a copy of the Daily News was beaten to death by Mugabe's youth militia.

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