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

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Western Catholic Reporter, Canada

Zimbabwe dying under Mugabe

Archbishop risks death by speaking out against government atrocities, killings

WCR Staff Writer

The rains came to Zimbabwe this year, relief for a country only now recovering from a devastating drought a decade ago.

Yet most of the large, fertile tracts of land lay fallow following the government's refusal to provide timely seed and fertilizer to reap a harvest.

Converting the southern African nation of 13 million people from prosperous grain exporters to starving dependants of foreign aid is by design, says Archbishop Pius Ncube, archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city.

"Any serious threat to President Robert Mugabe's power and the army is called in to shoot people, like that," said Ncube, snapping his fingers. "It is very difficult in my country."

Keep quiet

"I have repeatedly requested the president address starvation, inflation, the violence and to talk with opposition leaders for peace and a future for our children," he said. "Mugabe was very cordial serving me tea and cake. But there is no change. And now he wants to meet me to keep me quiet.

"I will only keep quiet when justice has been done to the people of Zimbabwe."

Ncube recently accepted an invitation by local Zimbabweans to come to Edmonton to help expose the atrocious conditions endured by the people since Mugabe came to power in 1980 with the transition from white to black rule.

Ncube has spent much of the last two years travelling throughout Europe, the United States and neighbouring African countries hoping they might pressure Mugabe to address human rights abuses in the country.

His efforts to raise awareness of the problems in Zimbabwe has not gone unnoticed by the international community, or by Mugabe.

Returning from a trip to England, Ncube was vilified in the government-controlled media as a satanic betrayer of Zimbabwe, inviting its former colonial power to invade. He has been branded as a homosexual and a rapist and has received death threats.

"The media has encouraged violence against me. I have almost been arrested twice by the police," he said.

"I pray and trust in God, but I can never say I am safe. There has been a lot that has happened because I am talking the truth against the evil things that are happening."

To be silent and do nothing is exactly what Mugabe wants, Ncube said. If no one is complaining or taking action, then the international community might perceive that all is well in Zimbabwe.

"I have to speak out. He wants the whole world to believe the pretense that his people are happy, and that is totally untrue."

Coming to power after years of military strife in the former Rhodesia, Mugabe was considered a social reformer and statesman. But when a constitution he drafted to give him more power was rejected in a referendum in 1999 and, with his largely disputed victory in a 2002 election, the "devout Catholic" has escalated his campaign for support.

It came as quite a shock to him and now he is forcing people to trade food for votes, Ncube said.

"We have only one-third of the food supplies we need this year and Mugabe refuses to accept foreign aid. He is saying we have enough supplies. He is deliberately starving people until they give him their support," he said.

"Zimbabwe has always had a strong person who has been critical of the former colonial government of Ian Smith and now the government of Robert Mugabe. The Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace has always been critical of the human rights abuses of those governments.

"And now we see that Mugabe is a megalomaniac, intolerant of any opposition. He is driving for a one-party state. He maintains a fa‡ade of a multi-party situation as a courtesy to international interests. But he is not one who allows opposition."

Five years ago, the labour-based Movement for Democratic Change party was formed. It was the first serious challenge Mugabe faced. He began to feel his power waning.

So what happened? MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was jailed for treason for allegedly plotting to "eliminate" Mugabe, charges which Ncube says are absolutely without merit.

"It is just an attempt to put fear into the opposition. Mugabe is trying to scare people to death. The spirit of the population of Zimbabwe is very depressed.

"How can we survive when the unemployment rate is 80 per cent? Inflation is up around 700 per cent. AIDS is killing 5,000 Zimbabweans every week.

"More than two million people have left for South Africa thinking their lives would improve. But they have no money, no food and no medicine. They sleep on the streets and they are arrested by the police. And Mugabe does nothing but make the people starve until they show support for his party."

White-owned farms

The backbone of the Zimbabwean economy and its food security were the "white-owned" farms. Under the guise of giving the country back to its people, Mugabe forced the owners from their property. He then supplanted ownership with his friends, mostly bureaucrats with no understanding of farming. Some 300,000 workers lost their jobs as a result. And production has ground to a halt.

Ncube says this was done only because the owners and the workers supported the MDC.

"It is really sad because it was done without any plan other than to break the opposition, which was going to vote him out," he said. "At that time, he began taking youth into militia training camps to politicize them. There are now more than 50,000 of these trained youth who use force and intimidation. They go around Zimbabwe beating the opposition and destroying their property," he said.

"Teachers are chased from their schools and replaced with educators who support Mugabe. The judicial system is full of partisan old cronies. Our civil society has been destroyed."

Ncube was raised by a Protestant mother and a pagan father until he attended a Catholic school and became a Christian at 14. He attended minor seminar school in Gweru for four years, followed by seven years of training under the Jesuit fathers in Salisbury (now Harare). He was ordained a priest in 1973 and installed as archbishop in 1998.

He devoted his life to prayer, evangelization and to service.

"I believe the essence of my task as a bishop must be spent in prayer. Secondly, I must preach the good news. I must also serve the poor and the disadvantaged; those deprived of their human rights, as Jesus did."

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Zimbabwe journalists arrested over treason story

September 23, 2004, 19:44

Zimbabwe police briefly detained two journalists today because of a report
on a treason case in which the main opposition leader is charged with
plotting to kill president Robert Mugabe, their lawyer said. Linda Cook, the
lawyer, said Vincent Kahiya, the editor of private weekly newspaper the
Zimbabwe Independent, Augustine Mukaro, a reporter, and also Raphael
Khumalo, the newspaper's general manager, had been cautioned on charges of
breaching tough media laws.

The Zimbabwe Independent in July reported Paddington Garwe, the High Court
Judge, was forced to postpone a ruling on the case against Morgan
Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, after the assessors - civilians who
assist the judge in a manner not similar to a jury - demanded to first see a
transcript of the proceedings.

"The police are claiming that the story is false, malicious and injurious to
the state, which we dispute of course. We will be going to court next week,"
Cook told Reuters. She said police released her clients after nearly seven
hours in detention. Wayne Bvudzijena, a police spokesperson, could not
immediately confirm the arrest.

The High Court is now expected to deliver judgment on October 15 on the case
in which Movement for Democratic Change leader Tsvangirai could face the
death penalty if convicted of trying to kill Mugabe ahead of 2002
presidential elections.

The state's case against Tsvangirai hinges mainly on a videotape of a
meeting he held with key state witness, Canadian based consultant Ari Ben
Menashe, in Montreal where prosecutors say Mugabe's "elimination" was
discussed. Tsvangirai - who disputes his defeat in the 2002 vote - denies
the charges. Mugabe (80) in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
insists he won fairly and calls Tsvangirai a puppet of Western powers out to
overthrow him over his seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to
landless blacks.

Mugabe says local private and Western media have championed the campaign
against his government and defends tough media laws enacted soon after his
re-election as necessary to restore professionalism in journalism. Critics
argue the legislation is meant to muzzle opponents of the government as the
country battles an economic crisis widely blamed on its mismanagement. -
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The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States

The Zimbabwean government is now evicting thousands of black squatters from
land that they were told to occupy when the land was expropriated from some
of the country's white farmers. Since 2000, the government of President
Robert Mugabe illegally seized more than five-thousand privately-owned
According to news reports, perhaps several thousand of the original
squatters are now homeless in the Trelawney district, north of Harare,
Zimbabwe's capital. The squatters were evicted by riot police and their
homes were set on fire. Reportedly, insiders from the ruling ZANU-P-F party
are behind these evictions and are planning to take the land for themselves.

One of those evicted is Reuben Mashanda. He had settled on land that had
been part of the "Little England" cattle farm. A backer of Mr. Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party, Mr. Mashanda told reporters that the squatters originally
"were told this would be your land forever":

"I should think the best thing you could do [for us here] is to get in touch
with the president [Mugabe], and talk to him through the phone. Tell him
people in "Little England" farm have been told to evacuate from there. Their
homes were burned, and they are now along the road."

This latest abuse of power by the Zimbabwean government confirms what U.S.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State J. Scott Carpenter said earlier this
year: "By riding roughshod over the political and human rights. . .by
demonstrating total disregard for human rights and democracy. . .a once
promising nation with a bright future [has been reduced] to a state of ruin,
desolation, and isolation."

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Police evict new farmers, burn houses

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 23 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe government has offered to assist
hundreds of families evicted by the police last week from a farm they had
occupied under the land reform programme, just outside the capital, Harare.

Minister of Social Welfare Paul Mangwana told IRIN that those in need of
government aid should visit their nearest social welfare offices for

Armed soldiers and police had last week ordered more than 600 families to
leave Little England farm and set fire to some of their homes, because the
land had reportedly been earmarked for a large-scale commercial farming
venture. Many of the displaced, who claimed they had been awarded
six-hectare plots on the farm by the government in 2000, were this week
still camped by the roadside.

Political commentator and sociologist Gordon Chavhunduka alleged the
incident at Little England farm was symptomatic of wider problems associated
with the government's controversial land reform programme.

"People are still hungry for land. The issue of land still causes tension,
whether between blacks and whites or among blacks. It looks like land reform
was never meant to benefit the ordinary person, and that is why the ordinary
people are having their houses set on fire. The land reform was only meant
to benefit a few special individuals, and that may lay the ground for future
conflicts," Chavhunduka told IRIN.

When the land invasions began in 2000, the government warned people against
building permanent structures, saying that the possibility of being moved to
other farms was high. While many occupants have remained on the land they
originally settled, others, who took over farms in Export Processing Zones,
or those reportedly eyed by influential Zimbabweans, have allegedly been

One of the people displaced from Little England, an elderly woman who
identified herself as Ambuya Tinarwo, told IRIN she was the sole custodian
of eight orphaned grandchildren. She had moved to the farm from Harare in
2000 because she could not afford to pay her rent.

"I have nowhere else to go with my grandchildren and we will remain by the
roadside until the government provides us with an alternative place to
settle," she said. "We had prepared our fields for planting, but our
eviction means we will not have food next year and, if the rains start
falling, then we will be exposed to extreme wet weather."

Mangwana said none of the evictees would be allowed to suffer. "My ministry
is responsible for dealing with all cases of destitution, regardless of
circumstances leading to their position. I cannot say to you what plans we
have in place, but all those who were affected at Little England should go
to the Zvimba district social welfare offices, where they will receive the
necessary assistance."

However, Chavhunduka questioned the capacity of the authorities to assist:
"They don't have enough money to look after those people. Where will they
get the money?"

The evicted settlers find themselves with few organisations willing to
assist them. The secretary general of the General Agricultural and
Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe, Gertrude Hambira, said her union could
not offer assistance, as the settlers were not union members.

The NGO, the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe, said they could not help -
their target group was farm workers, the vast majority of whom lost their
jobs in the land reform process.

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labournet, uk

Zimbabwe: countdown to the 2005 elections
Report by: Action for Southern Africa
Published: 23/09/04

      Zimbabwe: countdown to the 2005 elections
      Free public meeting organised by
      Action for Southern Africa

      The Royal African Society and Centre for African Studies, University
of London

      Tuesday 28 September 6.30- 8 pm

      Brunei Gallery
      School of Oriental and African Studies,
      London WC1H.
      (Nearest tube: Russell Square or Goodge Street)

      Join us to discuss the current situation with leading civil society
representatives from Zimbabwe.

      Speakers include:

      Brian Kagoro
      Chair, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

      28 Penton Street
      N1 9SA
      Tel: 020 7833 3133
      Fax: 020 7837 3001

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Police chase 200 families out of Zimbabwe farm

September 23, 2004, 16:58

Over 200 families who are recent beneficiaries of Zimbabwe's land grabs are
stranded outside Harare after police and the army chased them away from
their homes to pave way for new unidentified owners.

It is a new twist to the country's four-year land reform programme, where
the government is evicting people that had settled themselves during the
height of invasions. They were removed from 21 farms in Zimbabwe's
Mashonaland West province.

The only signs of life at Inkomo farm are torched huts, broken pots and
empty cattle pens. The settlers had to abandon everything when the army and
police forced them off the ranch and torched their homes. They had led the
invasion of the farm in 2000 with the blessings of the political leadership.
They say they were never forewarned or given time to pack their goods.

Wilbert Chimbudzi, a settler at Inkomo farm, says he was the first to invade
the farm and now he does not understand why this is happening or how the
government could treat them like this. Police say they are doing what they
were told to do by their superiors
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Pacific News Service

Africans to Help Monitor U.S. Elections
News Report, Kenneth Walker,
Black America, Sep 23, 2004

PRETORIA, South Africa - Following the chaotic finish to the last U.S.
presidential election, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe suggested that
African governments send observers to monitor future U.S. presidential

The suggestion was met with universal derision then, but no one is laughing

A world that has watched with growing alarm as a unilateralist U.S.
administration of debatable legitimacy proclaims the right to throw its
military and economic weight around however it chooses is beating a path to
America's door to observe this presidential election.

Officials from four African nations joined observers from 24 other countries
in Washington, D.C. late last week to begin the unprecedented monitoring of
an American presidential election.

South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission chairman, Brigalia Bam, and
the IEC's Chief Electoral Officer, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, are part of the
African contingent of an observer team drawn from countries in Asia, Europe,
South America and Africa.

If comments from some observers are anything to go by, all American
presidential elections in the foreseeable future will have international
observers. Gone are the days when the United States was the gold standard
and the highest arbiter of what constitutes free and fair elections.

The movement for international scrutiny of this election began earlier this
year, when loud but small number of Democratic members of the U.S. Congress
began calling for it.  Thirteen of them wrote Secretary of State Colin
Powell to insist that the United Nations be invited to send its own

The letter also pointed out the "dangers" of paperless, electronic voting
machines, saying that they "could become a standard to be exported and
emulated [and] should be of concern to the United Nations and the
international community as a whole."

The debate in the House became extremely heated when U.S. Rep. Corrine
Brown, D-Fla., accused Republicans of stealing the 2000 election from
presidential candidate Al Gore. "I come from Florida, where you and others
participated in what I call the United States coup d'etat," Brown said. "We
need to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Following a vote in the House barring U.N. observers, for the first time
ever, Europe's Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
voted to send observers for a U.S. presidential election. And Global
Exchange began organizing its international team of observers, who form
highly respected election officials of leaders of NGOs around the world.

Denis Kadima, executive director of the Electoral Institute of Southern
Africa, based in Johannesburg, is one of the observers of a team organized
by The Fair Election Project of Human Rights organization Global Exchange.

Kadima originally was scheduled to go to Indonesia to monitor presidential
elections there. "I had to choose," he told in a
telephone interview from Washington. "I realized that what is happening here
is much bigger and has far greater impact on my life as an African, and the
lives of people around the world. Democracy in America is in crisis. The
reports I have been reading about the last election are really scary. We
need to see to what extent the election is transparent and fair. We know
people in Florida were disenfranchised. Up to one third of African-Americans
and Hispanic Americans may have been disenfranchised there."

Kadima, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, said he can't imagine
that the world will ever return to its traditional hands-off approach to
U.S. presidential elections.

"What happens in America has a great impact in countries all over the
 world," said Kadima.

Professor Francis Kornegay, an American expatriate, is the program
coordinator for the Center for African International Relations in
Johannesburg. He said: "Much of the world is feeling very insecure about
U.S. foreign policy. Most countries would prefer to see Bush not re-elected.
I think it indicates that much of the rest of the world feels a real stake
in the election. And that has exploded the myth of American exceptionalism."

Fair Election organizers say they created the team of international monitors
because of the "growing unease about the basic mechanics of U.S. democracy
that is undermining civic trust."

Officials warn that a repeat of the 2000 fiasco would "damage the ideal of
democracy.  And that, by any measure, would be a grievous blow to the global
hope in government of, by and for the people."

It may be tempting for many supporters of President George W. Bush to insist
that the presence of international monitors is meaningless symbolism. But at
the end, said Dennis Kadima, "The observers have to come up with a
conclusion about whether this election is free and fair."
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I'll fly to Zimbabwe daily, says Mbeki
          September 23 2004 at 12:21PM

      By Angela Quintal

      South Africa is willing to step up contact with President Robert
Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), even daily
if necessary, President Thabo Mbeki said on Wednesday.

      In an interview with the Cape Argus in New York, Mbeki confirmed that
the MDC had asked him at the weekend to appoint an envoy to help spur on
dialogue between the two sides.

      The MDC also briefed Mbeki on its decision to boycott next year's
parliamentary election until the ruling Zanu-PF abided by a regional
election protocol.

            'The MDC is of the view that we need to become a bit more
directly involved'
      On Monday, Mbeki met Mugabe on the sidelines of the United Nations
General Assembly in New York, two days after his meeting with the MDC.

      On whether he would appoint a special envoy, Mbeki said the MDC had
said a long time ago that South Africa should act as a formal facilitator.
"Our own view was that it was not really necessary."

      This was because South Africa was in regular contact with both sides.
"We are able to discuss with both sides, fully, freely, everything. They
have been able to engage each other. And when they thought it was necessary
for us to convey a message, we have done so with both sides."

      South Africa had not believed there was a need for the type of formal
engagement requested by the MDC.

      "It is true that the MDC is of the view that we need to become a bit
more directly involved. Not so much as a facilitator, but in a sense asking
both of them every day how far have they have gone, rather than doing so
once a week."

            'We will engage them with greater regularity if they think that
is necessary'
      Mbeki said that could be done. "Certainly we would be able to interact
with them daily. There would not be any problem from our point of view with
regards to that. That's essentially what they were requesting.

      "We said, 'Fine'. We will engage them with greater regularity if they
think that is necessary."

      Mbeki was at pains to point out that South Africa would not fulfil a
mediator or facilitator role. "It's a role that we have been playing up to

      On whether Mugabe had agreed, Mbeki said: "He has no problem. There
has never been any problem. If necessary I can phone him every day, I can
travel to Harare every day. It's not a problem if there is a need for that
kind of engagement."

      Earlier in the day, Mugabe was applauded in the General Assembly when
he again attacked the United States and Britain and said they had no moral
authority to lecture anyone, let alone be the torch-bearers of human rights.

      He said the world was being coerced to accept and believe a new
political-cum-religious doctrine, "that there is but one political god,
namely George W Bush, and Tony Blair is his prophet".

      Mugabe again accused Blair and the MDC of orchestrating a regime
change, when it was the people of Zimbabwe who had the right through the
ballot to make and break governments.

      He said next year's elections would be held in accordance with
Zimbabwe's laws and the recently adopted Southern African Development
Community election protocol.

      Zimbabwe would welcome observers whose "sole and undivided" purpose
was to observe the process and
      not meddle in Zimbabwe's politics.

      "We do not need any lessons from the European Union president and its
imperialist allies in the EU," he said.

      While Mugabe was being applauded, several anti-Mugabe protesters
gathered outside the UN headquarters for a demonstration.

      The Zimbabwean issue was also discussed when Mbeki met British Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw, as well as Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Santana
Lopes on Wednesday.

      Portugal wants the EU-AU summit to finally take place. It was scrapped
last year, after a row over Mugabe's participation. Mugabe is under EU smart
sanctions, but Portugal believes the Zimbabwean leader should be allowed to
attend the summit.

      Mbeki left New York for South Africa on Wednesday night.

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Zim cops deny tear gas deaths
23/09/2004 20:24  - (SA)

Harare - Police denied on Thursday they used excessive force and
indiscriminately fired tear gas to evict residents from a shantytown outside
the Zimbabwe capital.

Human rights groups have reported 10 people died from the effects of tear
gas fired at the Porta Farm settlement about 30kg west of Harare.

Authorities want the town's 10 000 people to relocate, partly to make way
for an extension to a nearby municipal water treatment plant.

The shanty dwellers say they have nowhere to go and have clashed with police
trying to remove them.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena described the allegations of fatalities in
the clashes as "surprising".

"In the event of unnatural deaths, police are notified and reports are made.
We are not aware of any such reports," he said.

He said there were no officially reported deaths in clashes that began on
September 2, though there were some injuries not related to the firing of
tear gas.

"We are challenging the authors of these reports to come up with names and
more information so it can be investigated," he said.

The human rights group Amnesty International on Wednesday called for an
independent inquiry into the clashes it alleged left 10 people dead.

Among the dead were a mother and her five-month-old son who were in their
home when police fired tear gas into the building, Amnesty said.

Amnesty said most of the dead were believed to have succumbed to respiratory
failure caused by tear gas. Many were already suffering from "pre-existing
illnesses" including the respiratory ailment tuberculosis, Amnesty said.

Felt sick after clashes

It said hundreds of residents of Porta Farm complained of chest and stomach
pains, nose bleeding, nausea and other ill effects after clashes.

"Firing tear gas into a confined space is completely contrary to
international human rights standards on the use of force," Amnesty said.

Tuberculosis is a common illness brought on by HIV/Aids. About 25 percent of
adults in Zimbabwe's 12.5 million population are estimated to be infected
with the virus that causes Aids.

In squatter and shanty camps, with poor nutrition and sanitation and high
rates of prostitution and crime, HIV infection, tuberculosis and
Aids-related illness is estimated to be more than 40%.

Porta Farm was settled by the government in 1991 when it cleared slums and
shanty shelters near central Harare ahead of a summit of the Commonwealth of
Britain and its former territories in 1992.

The slums were on a route to be used by British Queen Elizabeth II and
Commonwealth leaders on their way to the summit and social events organized
alongside the meeting.

President Robert Mugabe's government, which pulled out of the Commonwealth
last year over criticism of human and democratic rights abuses in Zimbabwe,
claimed it cleared the slums as part of a general clean up campaign of the
capital ahead of the Harare summit.
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Norwell Mariner

Making a world of difference
By Matthew J. Gill/ MGILL@CNC.COM
Thursday, September 23, 2004

Jerusalem Road in Cohasset is arguably one of the most beautiful drives in
Massachusetts, a windy road that weaves along the Atlantic Coast, while
serving as home to some of the area's most beautiful - and expensive -
homes. On one end of the road, seemingly out of place amongst its
residential neighbors, is Holly Hill Farm. Similarly, on the farm and a long
way from home, is Zimbabwe farmer Tim Ashton.

     For the past five years Ashton, who serves as Holly Hill's manager, has
been studying and working in the field of organic farming in the United
States, first on the West Coast, and now on the South Shore. Later this
year, he plans to return to Africa, and bring with him the knowledge and
methods he's learned here in the States. In Zimbabwe he plans to establish a
training center where his fellow countrymen can be shown how to produce
stronger harvests without overtaxing their land.

     South Shore residents can learn more about Ashton and his organization,
Gomango Trust, during a benefit that will be held at Norwell's Mount Blue
Restaurant on Sunday, Oct. 3 from 5-9 p.m.

     The event will feature a number of elements with an African theme
including African music, a drum circle, and a menu that will include South
African appetizers and wines. There will also be silent and live auctions
featuring paintings, pottery and jewelry that have been donated to help
bolster the fundraising, from South Shore artisans.

     Ashton will present a slide show of images from Africa, and the work
Gomango is doing there, and he will give a brief discussion on the crises
facing Zimbabwean farmers.

     As recently as five years ago, Ashton said Zimbabwe was considered "the
breadbasket of Southern Africa," but because of political instability which
has included some destructive land reform policies, today 70 percent of the
nation's workers are unemployed, and inflation is out of control.

     The average farmer in Zimbabwe today has approximately two acres of
arable land, said Ashton, but because of a shortage of fertilizer, their
harvests decrease each year.

     Add to this the region's minimal amount of annual rainfall, and
numerous additional problems including the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS
throughout the country, and the outlook for Zimbabwe and its farmers looks

     But Ashton sees hope for his homeland.

     "It's all about water there," said Ashton. "You can grow anything if
you can get enough water."

     If the farmers can be taught to employ water conservation methods
including drip irrigation, foot-powered pumps, or even the use of solar
energy, their harvests will grow.

     By using more natural compost, and other farming methods that rely less
on the use of fertilizers, including crop rotation and saving seeds, he
added that farmers working on a plot of 100 square meters can feed a family
of six for an entire year.

     "The basic idea is to get the community to feed itself," said Ashton.
"There's a lot of hungry folk out there."

     Gomango has already established a handful of "demonstration gardens" in
Africa, where local farmers can view first-hand how the alternative methods
work, but they are also planning to establish the Gomango Agroecology and
Sustainable Living Center in Mutorashanga, Zimbabwe.

     Ashton is planning to return to Zimbabwe after Thanksgiving.

     "I've worked on a farm all my life," he said. "I feel a strong drawing
to go back there."

     The organizer of the Mt. Blue fundraiser, Scituate resident Debbie
Roffo, met Ashton on the day she showed up to volunteer at Holly Hill.

     After meeting Ashton and learning about his background and goal, Roffo
said she was inspired to get involved on his behalf, and for the people of

     "They need the basics, food, the necessities of life," said Roffo.

     The following day, Roffo introduced Ashton to Jayne Bowe, co-owner of
Mt. Blue.

     Bowe, who's also a member of the North River Gardener's Club, said she
was happy to get involved.

     "I was really amazed at his story, and he's here on the South Shore,"
she said.

     "It happened easily so it was meant to be," added Roffo.

     Tickets for the event are $40 and can be purchased at the door, or
reserved by calling Mount Blue at (781) 659-0050.

     For more information about Gomango's work, c heck out its Web site:

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New Zimbabwe

Why World must say no to Zimbabwe NGO Bill

By Scott Morgan
Last updated: 09/24/2004 01:25:54
IT IS apparent that the recently introduced NGO Bill that is in the
Parliament of Zimbabwe and is expected to pass in early October is coming
under increasing scrutiny from within and outside that troubled African

Earlier this month at a hearing of the Parliament Committee discussing the
law over 20 Churches and Civil Liberties Groups testified that "In its
current form this law should not be passed." A Zimbabwe Student leader said
that this is "a satanic Piece of legislation designed to stifle Democracy."

Some of the concerns addressed by the civic leaders were the potential
powers granted to the Minister for Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare.
Provisions call for the Minister to appoint ten members to a oversight
committee while the Civil Service groups will elect 5. An AIDS Activist
testified that this makes the body a Government Council not an NGO Council.

There are other provisions that limit the ability of Human Rights Groups to
function. NGOs will not be allowed to receive any foreign funding. This will
effectively force the majority of them to close down as they lose the major
source of revenue they have. The Limitations are similar to the provisions
of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).This law
set up a Media and Information Commission which effectively silenced a Major
critic of Government Abuses the Daily News. It is felt that AIPPA is used to
"perpetuate President Mugabe's Dictatorial Rule." The timing of the law is
unique. The head of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network stated at the
hearing "the timing of the NGO Bill defeats the good intentions and
developments set out by the SADC principles and guidelines concerning
democratic elections."

The concern over the NGO Bill has reached into the Civil Society Group in
neighboring states like Botswana. That country has seen an increase in
illegal immigration and the government of Zimbabwe sought the assistance of
Botswana in suppressing what it deemed to be illegal broadcasts. Civic
Society Groups in Malawi, South Africa and Namibia have expressed concern
over this bill and if this bill passes in Zimbabwe a similar bill can be
expected in Namibia. This will be another serious blow to Human Rights.

Finally the rich western nations are noticing this horrendous bill. The
International Bar Association review the legislation and in a report stated
that "it is clear that the scope of the Government assault on sources of
Opposition and Information has gone into the civil service. Specifically
those groups that work on Human Rights issues are targeted. The Zimbabwe
Reference Group a coalition of Canadian Civil Service groups toured South
Africa and Zimbabwe earlier this year. Not only did they recommend a greater
role by Canada in this crisis by supporting civil society groups also a
proposal for a Africa wide diplomatic Initiative was called for. It also
called for the Prime Minister of Canada to appoint a special envoy to work
with its fellow states in the commonwealth and in Africa to attempt to solve
the crisis. Also increased diplomatic pressure on South Africa was called
for. Let us hope that other Nations including the United States get involved
in crafting a peaceful solution.

In Conclusion the words used by President Mugabe to address Parliament in
July of this year need to be heard. " Non-Governmental Organizations must be
instruments of betterment for the country and not against it. We cannot
allow them to be conduits of foreign influence in National Affairs. And this
statement from the Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare" the
mischief which the government wants to rid is that of foreign donors
employing foreign puppets or others to champion foreign values much to the
detriment of national security. The next pertinent question is what are they
afraid of?

The author is a contributing editor to and a
contributing writer to the Richmond Peace Education Center in Virginia. He
maintains a webpage at and used information from
the International Bar Association the Zimbwe Reference Group and the
Botswana Center for Human Rights for this article

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Police Battle to Clear Fraud Cases

The Herald (Harare)

September 23, 2004
Posted to the web September 23, 2004

Tsitsi Matope

POLICE are battling to clear a backlog of fraud cases committed between
January and July this year.

During the period, the Fraud Squad recorded 1 487 cases in Harare alone, a
figure significantly higher than that recorded in the corresponding period
last year.

The unit - one of the police's busiest departments - has been flooded with
cases of embezzlement by some asset management firms, misappropriation in
Government ministries and the fraudulent sale of properties mainly by

Last year, the Fraud Squad dealt with only 890 cases in Harare between
January and July.

May recorded the highest number with 157 reports.

This year, most fraud cases were reported during the month of March (265
cases) when police cracked down on asset management and investment

Several arrests were made.

However, the Fraud Squad is still to make a breakthrough in fraud cases
involving the issuing of tenders in several Government ministries and at the
Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council, where they are still to locate an
administrator suspected to have been behind a results scam.

Bulawayo, which recorded 381 cases of fraud in 2003, saw an increase to 758
between January and July this year.

Rape cases have also been on the rise this year compared to last year.

Between January and July last year, 173 juveniles were raped in Harare
alone, but the number almost doubled to 300 in the corresponding period this

At least 396 adult women were raped in Harare between January and July this
year, while 363 cases were recorded last year.

In Bulawayo, cases involving rape of adults increased from 86 to 128 between
January and July this year, while 148 juveniles were raped in the city this
year compared to 84 cases last year.
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Zim Online

Mugabe draws applause at UN
Thurs 23 September 2004
  Mugabe said sadistic scenes in Iraq's Abu Gharib prison and Guantanamo Bay
had provided "useful examples of the Western concept of respect for human
The difference between the USA's 'sadism' and our own home-grown version is
that the American maltreatment is exposed and investigated and the
perpetrators are prosecuted and jailed. In Zimbabwe, no such accountability
is possible: conditions in Chikurubi and elsewhere are outrageous and
inhumane yet no exposure is permitted. The chronicles of abuse, assaults and
torture in Zimbabwe's dungeons would suggest that anyone incarcerated in our
prisons would jump at a chance to transfer to Abu Gharib or Guantanamo Bay.
For the tyrant to cry foul may leave one speechless at his brazen audacity
but not surprised at his hypocrisy.

PS: read the account by Dulini-Ncube in last week's Standard for a
description of the sordid conditions which he described as "filthy and
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