|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Mail & Guardian
September 26, 2003
Posted to the web September 26, 2003
At this newspaper we do not, as some in the ruling
echelons of this region
seem to believe, take the view that when the rape of free speech happens
somewhere else it does not concern us. Freedom is indivisible, particularly
when it is under attack in a near-neighbour whose fate is so closely
intertwined with ours.
Thus we are outraged at Robert Mugabe's dictatorial government's decision to
close down The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday.
Southern Africans should be clear
about what has happened. The paper did not
defy an ordinary law, forcing Mugabe to act against it. The infamous Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) violates international
human rights norms and Zimbabwe's own Constitution by imposing a "prior
restraint" on publication - unless papers register with the state and have
their journalists accredited, they may not publish. The Zimbabwean state
appoints all six members of the registering authority. It was this law that,
on grounds of principle, The Daily News refused to obey. The fact that
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court upheld the crackdown means little. The court ducked
the real issue by refusing to rule on Aippa's constitutionality. And while
it rejected the newspaper's case, it did not order its closure - that was a
The South African government's stand on this ominous development boggles the
mind, as it has throughout the years of Zimbabwe's political meltdown.
President Thabo Mbeki has openly acknowledged the undemocratic nature of
Aippa; in fact he has repeatedly pledged its repeal as part of the political
normalisation he has convinced himself, and has tried to persuade the world,
Mugabe is undertaking. This, we were led to believe, was one of the fruits
of South Africa's quiet diplomacy. Yet when Aippa is used to destroy a
newspaper, neither the presidency, the government, nor the African National
Congress issues a clear and strong condemnation. All our Department of
Foreign Affairs can bring itself to say is that in South Africa we do things
Worse, Mbeki said in Parliament last week that he could see no reason why
Mugabe should not attend the Commonwealth summit in Nigeria in December,
because Zimbabwe's 12-month suspension from the organisation has expired.
Given that the Nigerians have clearly stated they will not admit Mugabe -
implying they believe the suspension remains in force - South Africa has
outdone even its closest African ally on this issue.
No mention is made of Zimbabwe's failure to meet a single Commonwealth
condition for re-admission, including electoral reform and engagement with
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). No account is taken of
the ongoing intimidation of the MDC, many of whose candidates were barred
from registering in the recent municipal elections. Nothing is said about
the media crackdown; nothing about the continuing use of rape as a political
There is also a deafening silence from the Southern African Develepment
Community, whose leaders (with the exception of the boy-king with an
excessive libido) have pledged to deepen the culture of human rights and
democracy in their countries. Yet not only do they maintain silence but
regularly pledge open support for the despot.
The enigma deepens. Why are Southern African governments so determined to
excuse the Zimbabwean government its every abuse? What needs to happen to
open their eyes to the human rights crisis in that tortured country?
Our eyes are not shut to that crisis. We therefore commit ourselves to
letting those silenced voices be heard and will from this week make
available our humble space to The Daily News writers to tell the world about
Mugabe's destruction of a beautiful land.
That Ngcuka briefing
One of the time-tested traditions of the journalistic profession is the
off-the record briefing. It is used by practitioners to glean information,
understand events and equip themselves to make rational judgements.
National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka conducted such a
briefing for newspaper editors a few weeks ago. But urban legend now has it
that Ngcuka used the briefing to solicit support from black editors in his
investigation of Deputy President Jacob Zuma. Commentators have alleged that
some editors who attended have taken sides in the ongoing war between Ngcuka
and those he is investigating for corruption, and have suppressed stories
about spy claims against Ngcuka.
This is completely false.
The Mail & Guardian, whose editor attended the briefing in question, has
received no appeals for support from any quarter, and has pledged no support
to any party in the ongoing row tearing the nation apart. For the record, no
member of the M&G staff has seen documentation indicating that Ngcuka was an
apartheid spy. There was, in short, no story to suppress. We regard it as
our duty to ensure that all information we publish is accurate, fair,
credible and in the public interest. On these principles we will not
compromise, no matter who is affected.
What we can say without shame is that we are loyal to, and will uphold our
Constitution, as well as the ideals of clean governance, truthfulness and
service to the people of our country and our region.
Scotland on Sunday
West backs 'butcher' of Zimbabwe
THE man being groomed as the natural successor to
Robert Mugabe will pave the way for reconciliation with western governments
despite being one of the most hated and feared men in the country.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, known as ‘the butcher of Matabeleland’ because of
the role he played in helping wipe out more than 25,000 civilians in the
1980s, is now seen as an acceptable replacement for the widely discredited
Mugabe by the US and Britain, according to political sources.
Mugabe is set to seize his chance to install Mnangagwa following the
death of vice-president Simon Muzenda last week.
Mnangagwa is also favoured by South African President Thabo Mbeki as
the man who can bring Zimbabwe back into the Commonwealth fold.
But exiles living outside Zimbabwe are calling for a commission for
truth and justice to bring people like Mnangagwa to book for the crimes
committed over the past 20 years, and warn he will not be welcomed as a
prospective president by millions of people.
Mugabe is expected to announce Mnangagwa’s appointment as
"Public relations people in Harare, Johannesburg and London will soon
start ‘selling’ Mnangagwa to the rest of the world," said a Commonwealth
source in London.
Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta has said that the Americans are
particularly keen to support the ‘new’ Zimbabwe once Mugabe steps down.
According to Peta, the administration of President George W Bush has
earmarked $10bn to help reconstruct Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa, presently speaker of the parliament, is a 60-year-old
Mugabe loyalist. Millions of people refer to him as ‘the butcher of
Matabeleland’ because of the role he played in helping wipe out thousands of
black civilians in Zimbabwe’s anti-Mugabe Western Province between 1982 and
Political analysts in Harare and London interpret the appointment as a
signal Mugabe is at last taking steps to retire after his 80th birthday on
February 23 next year.
"That way, he will leave with full dignity and no one will be able to
say he was pushed out of office," said Dr Patrick Musami, a leading
Zimbabwean analyst presently living in self-imposed exile in London.
But he added: "We Zimbabweans will not accept Mnangagwa with open
hearts because of the man’s appalling record in Matabeleland. We demand that
the post-Mugabe government appoints a commission of truth and justice so
that those guilty of those terrible slaughters over 20 years face trial."
Known as Gukuruhundu - ‘the storm that cleanses’ - Mugabe let his
North Korean trained Fifth Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army off the
leash in 1982 following the discovery of several arms caches in the Western
Province. He claimed that opposition leader Joshua Nkomo was trying to
organise a coup.
‘They will soon start selling
Mnangagwa to the rest of the world
Mnangagwa - then head
of the dreaded secret police, the CIO -
masterminded the hunt for so-called ‘dissidents’. Leaders of the Catholic
Church still insist that anything from 25,000 to 35,000 civilians were
slaughtered. A commission of inquiry was launched in 1984 by a Zimbabwean
judge, but its findings have never been released to the public.
"There must be justice before Mnangagwa takes over," says Musami, one
of the 500,000 Zimbabweans who have made Britain their home over the past 23
years. "There are two million Zimbabweans living in South Africa. Some are
economic refugees, but the majority of them are people terrified of living
in Matabeleland because of their fear that Mugabe or Mnangagwa will do a
part two of Gukuruhundu."
Mnangagwa is a strong government loyalist, a former police boss, a
ruthless campaigner and inquisitor when it comes to identifying the
opposition, and a member of the ruling ethnic group, the Shonas.
Mnangagwa is also a Karanga which is a strong clan within the Shonas
who hold power in central Zimbabwe.
Mugabe also appointed Mnangagwa as controller of his
multi-million-pound financial empire in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
where Zimbabwe maintains thousands of full-time soldiers to prop up the
vulnerable regime of President Joseph Kabilla.
Meanwhile, black Zimbabweans have mounted a campaign in London to
publicise Mugabe’s abuse of human rights prior to the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting (CHOGM) which will be held in Abuja, Nigeria in December.
Arnold Tsunga, director of Zimbabwean lawyers for human rights, said:
"Mugabe promised the Commonwealth that he would allow the opposition to take
part in normal life, unmolested. The situation is worse than it was in 2000.
We know what’s happening and we will tell the world - whatever happens to
us - when we get home."
Albert Musarurwa, chairman of the Zimbabwean Human Rights Forum,
added: "The situation is so bad. The Commonwealth must continue to suspend
Zimbabwe from its councils - perhaps expel it altogether."
Last week, a spokesperson for the South African government made it
clear that Mbeki would not press for his friend Mugabe to attend CHOGM. He
had been pushing to allow Mugabe to attend, despite warnings of a boycott
from Prime Minister Tony Blair and several other Commonwealth leaders.
ROBERT Mugabe has been showing renewed confidence over the past week,
despite the death of his slavishly loyal vice president.
He arrived in New York for the 58th United Nations General Assembly
with his wife and no fewer than 100 relatives, much to the consternation of
Zimbabwean exiles and political opponents.
Then his response to a plea from church leaders to start talks with
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe was to close down
the Daily News newspaper and round up many of its journalists.
Rumours also surfaced that 79-year-old Mugabe, right, was planning to
meet other African leaders in Rome next month during the African Caribbean
Pacific-EU meeting planned for October 11.
This caused Conservative foreign affairs spokesman Michael Ancram MP
to demand that the government use its influence to ensure Mugabe would be
barred from the meeting, which is organised by the Italians, who are holders
of the presidency of the EU.
Commonwealth Upholds Pakistan Suspension
Sunday September 28, 2003 2:19 AM
NEW YORK (AP) - Foreign ministers of the
Commonwealth nations decided
Saturday to maintain Pakistan's suspension from the 54-nation group's
Repeated deadlocks between the government and opposition in Pakistan made it
clear more needed to be done toward restoring democracy, the Commonwealth
ministers said in a statement after their two-day meeting in New York.
The grouping of Britain and its former colonies suspended Pakistan from its
decision-making councils following the military coup in 1999 led by Gen.
Pervez Musharraf, now the country's president.
In a press conference at the United Nations on Wednesday, Musharraf stressed
that Pakistan was taking steps toward full democracy. Pakistan has spent
half of its history under military rule since gaining independence from
Britain in 1947.
The Ministerial Action Group, composed of foreign ministers from Australia,
the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Botswana, India, Malta, Nigeria and Samoa, was
meeting Friday and Saturday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's
annual ministerial meeting.
The ministers said they would discuss Zimbabwe, which has also been
suspended from the councils, at the next heads of government meeting in
Abuja, Nigeria in December.
Formerly known as the British Commonwealth, the Commonwealth's member states
include Britain, India, Pakistan, Canada, Australia, many Pacific and
Caribbean Island nations and several African states.
Sunday Times (SA)
Mugabe blamed for drop in aid
as political situation in Zimbabwe leads to donors withholding
funds for famine relief
6.5 million people in Southern Africa stand to have their food
supplies rationed next month because international donors are reluctant to
give aid to Zimbabwe.
The World Food Programme announced this week that it was short of about
$243 -million needed to feed citizens of drought-stricken Zimbabwe,
Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho and Swaziland after donors failed to
stump up the $308-million that it had appealed for.
World Food Programme spokesman Mike Huggins said he could not
say why donors
were not forthcoming.
But a political analyst in
South Africa said the political situation in
Zimbabwe - which will receive two-thirds of the food aid - was seen as one
of the reasons international donors were withholding funding.
Ross Herbert, of the South African
Institute of International Affairs, said:
"Governments have politicised the food-aid process. In the case of Zimbabwe,
they have driven off their commercial farmers so their food problems are
more than just about drought. The political situation has an effect on the
response donors will have to the food crisis."
But Kuseni Dlamini, a Wits University international
relations lecturer, said
donors who were not paying attention to the needs of the region were using
Zimbabwe as a scapegoat.
"Donors are not
driven by charity but by national strategic interests.
Africa does not matter when it comes to strategic issues," he said.
Donor agencies and
countries said they could not comment on whether Zimbabwe
was a sticking point as they would need to investigate.
Huggins said the
organisation would have to reduce rations from Wednesday
unless it received cash urgently.
He said the World Food Programme had in June appealed
for 308-million to
feed millions in Southern Africa until next July, but had received just over
$65-million from the US, the European Union, Denmark, Italy and Ireland .
"We urgently need cash to buy food on the local
market. If we don't get
enough, we will have to reduce rations," Huggins said.
Years of severe drought have pushed food shortages to crisis
levels in the
In June this year, the programme reported
that it had fed 10.2 million
The organisation said that
while the region had produced enough food to meet
two-thirds of its needs, Zimbabwe and Mozambique continued to face serious
The World Food Programme estimates that 5.5 million people
in Zimbabwe are
in need of emergency food aid.
Huggins said the
programme was feeding 1.3 million people but aiming to
reach 3.3 million if it received enough money.
In Mozambique, almost a million people need
emergency food aid. The
programme was already feeding 523 000, but aimed to reach about 855 000 by
The organisation said food
production had improved in the north of
Mozambique, but serious food shortages were experienced in 40 districts in
the south and central regions.
Millions set to face food shortages next month
September 28, 2003
Johannesburg - By as early as next month, millions of people in
southern Africa would face massive food shortages owing to what could only
be described as a funding crisis in the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN
agency warned on Friday.
"The situation is incredibly serious," said James Morris, the food
relief organisation's executive director and a special envoy for southern
"In Mozambique, rations for hundreds of thousands of people may have
to be cut, or they may get nothing at all unless our appeal receives an
immediate cash injection. It's already too late for food aid to arrive from
abroad to meet needs in October and November."
In July, the WFP appealed for $308 million to fund about 540 000 tons
of food, enough to feed 6.5 million people in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia,
Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi until June next year.
It has received less than a quarter of that amount. Today the
organisation's unmet needs in the region stand at $235 million.
According to Johannesburg-based Mike Huggins, an agency spokesperson
for southern Africa, the funding crisis has been compounded by conditions in
countries like Zimbabwe, which account for two thirds of the WFP's appeal
for the region.
"The WFP's appeal for southern Africa is based on an assumption that
governments will meet commercial import targets. However, in Zimbabwe's
case, a severe lack of foreign exchange is clearly affecting the country's
ability to import food.
"This means that food aid needs may further increase between now and
the harvest in April 2004," Huggins said.
He said a memorandum of understanding signed on Thursday by the
Zimbabwean government and the WFP's country director in Harare was expected
to help facilitate the flow of food aid to millions of needy beneficiaries.
However, given the current funding level, the entire region is
expected to experience food pipeline breaks by early next year, which will
coincide with the lean season when the general food deficit is the greatest.
Of course, southern Africa's HIV/Aids epidemic is compounding all of
the region's food shortage problems.
"HIV/Aids and food shortages go hand in hand in this region," said
Mike Sackett, the programme's regional director for southern Africa.
"The best way of supporting people affected by the virus is to ensure
they are well nourished, but clearly this will not be the case for many
people over the coming months unless there's an immediate and sustained
response from donors."
The WFP, the world's largest humanitarian agency, has been carrying
out emergency feeding in the subcontinent since 2001. It reaching its peak
of operations last year when 10.2 million people received food aid.
Globally, the agency fed 72 million people in 82 countries in 2002,
including most of the world's refugees and internally displaced people.
Sunday Times (SA)
Zimbabwean parties agree on way forward
Zanu-PF and MDC both want new constitution for troubled
Sunday Times Foreign Desk
Zimbabwe's governing Zanu-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic
Change have agreed that the country needs a new constitution.
The parties have been meeting in secret since March, poring over a wide
range of issues that need to be dealt with before formal talks can begin.
Confirmation of the agreement came late this week,
shortly after Zimbabwe's
political crisis took another turn for the worse when police charged nine
journalists from what had been the country's only independent daily, the
Daily News, with practising without licences.
The nine, who deny the charges, were the first on a list of
45 Daily News
journalists whom police want to question over their association with the
embattled daily, which was closed two weeks ago.
According to Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena,
were "keen to investigate the remaining journalists of the Daily News on the
A new constitution has emerged as the
most practicable way of unscrambling
constitution would automatically lead to new elections, which should
be the main focus of the [official] talks anyway," a source close to the
talks told the Sunday Times.
"[A new constitution] will give the MDC what it
wants, that is fresh polls;
and it will offer President Robert Mugabe what he wants as well, a dignified
exit from power."
Mugabe has vowed not
to accept accusations that he stole last year's
presidential election, or be pushed out because of his leadership failures.
A new constitution
would allow him to retire while retaining the mantle of
Although the MDC said this week no official agreement
had been reached with
Zanu-PF on the issue, senior opposition officials admitted that the two
parties were agreed on the need to move with speed towards either amending
the existing constitution or drawing up a new one.
But differences still remain on the issue. Zanu-PF wants a
constitution to be agreed before new elections are held, while the MDC wants
an interim one. The ruling party thinks a signed-and-sealed deal is the best
way forward but the opposition believes that should be left to a
legitimately elected government.
The head of the Zanu-PF
delegation to the talks, Patrick Chinamasa, and the
MDC team leader, Welshman Ncube, met to break the ice before formal talks
resume in earnest. Talks were brokered by South Africa and Nigeria but they
collapsed in May last year.
The Zanu-PF delegation includes State Security Minister
Nicholas Goche and
Youth, Gender and Employment Creation Minister Elliot Manyika.
Its other members are Transport Minister Witness Mangwende
director of administration Frederick Shava.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who was initially
involved, is now
The MDC group includes party spokesman
Paul Nyathi, deputy secretary-general
Gift Chimanikire, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, Lucia Mativenga, Paulina Gwanyanya,
Yvonne Mahlunge, Ian Makone and Gandi Mudzingwa.
The opposition team met veterans of the
Convention for a Democratic South
Africa, including ANC stalwart Cyril Ramaphosa and former National Party
chief negotiator Roelf Meyer, in Pretoria in June to sharpen their
bargaining skills in preparation for the talks.
But mostly Chinamasa and Ncube meet on their own. So far they
to clear several obstacles to dialogue, including Mugabe's disputed
legitimacy and an attempt by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to challenge the
election results in court.
However, the pace of
dialogue has slowed down recently. The parties last met
on July 31 and there has been no communication since.
This has dampened hopes that formal dialogue could resume soon.
Although Mugabe has lately urged a unity
of purpose with the MDC, his party
officials have said they are not in a hurry for talks.
This has created the impression that they need the
dialogue to buy time
until 2005's parliamentary elections, and even the 2008 presidential polls,
can be held.
An MDC road map proposed that the first phase of talks last for two months.
This period should have been completed three months ago.
This phase was supposed to have dealt
with the structure and framework of
talks. It was expected to produce an agenda and ensure confidence-building
measures such as the repealing of repressive laws and ending political
The second phase of
formal negotiations was expected to last two months,
dealing with transitional issues including constitutional reform, issues of
political legitimacy and governance, elections, security matters and the
The concrete outcomes of the second phase were
expected to be the guiding
principles of an interim constitution and legal arrangements to facilitate
The third phase was to have
dealt with transitional arrangements over three
months. This phase would focus on the parliamentary process of transition,
implementation of an interim constitution, providing for a transitional
executive authority, an economic council, and defining the authority of the
Zanu-PF government if it remained in place.
The fourth stage would comprise setting up
institutions of transition
established under the interim constitution, and arrangements for free and
fair elections after three months.
fifth and last phase would have been the adoption of a final
constitution by a newly elected parliament.
Zanu-PF's plan, if it exists, remains under wraps.
Church leaders have been trying to facilitate the talks.
They are expected
to meet Zanu-PF tomorrow to continue this process.
Desperate Zimbabweans spark unofficial dollarisation
Sun Sep 28,12:06 AM ET !
HARARE (AFP) - Flipping through the
classified advertisements of Zimbabwe's
state-run daily paper The Herald, it is now common to see prices of houses
and apartments for sale or lease being quoted in US dollars.
Cars are similarly being sold in US dollars or British pounds.
Firms changing hands are also being sold for foreign
currency, while petrol
and diesel which are in short supply are also bought with dollars.
Although it is illegal to trade goods or services in a
unofficial dollarisation is increasingly becoming the trend as people seek
stability for their investments in a volatile economy, economists say.
"It comes about because of lack of stability of our
exchange rate, lack of
stability in our own economy," said independent economist John Robertson.
While the government has fixed the exchange
rate of the Zimbabwe dollar at
800 to the greenback, the US currency is not available on the official
market. On the parallel market, one US dollar fetches up to 6,000 Zimbabwe
An economist with a leading
insurance firm here said the hyperinflation
environment the country is now operating in, "has distorted asset prices".
"Because inflation erodes
the value of one's currency, people are now
willing to find alternative arrangements that preserve the value of their
assets," he said.
Zimbabwe's annual inflation, which stood at 31.7 percent five
years ago has
now galloped to 426.6 percent as of last month.
asking for payment in a foreign currency people are trying to "get more
value which is stable" said a financial expert from a Harare discount house.
Some sellers prefer to give a discount in transactions
conducted in foreign
A real estate agent said people
prefer to sell or lease their properties in
a foreign currency to "hedge against inflation" fearing that by the time the
sale is concluded the money could have lost value.
To illustrate the levels to which inflation
has affected prices in real
estate, the agent cited an example of a three-bedroom house in Harare's
upmarket suburb of Borrowdale, that five years ago would have cost two
million Zimbabwe dollars (2,500 US dollars), but is now worth up to 350
million Zimbabwe dollars (437,500 US dollars at the official exchange rate).
It is mainly properties in upmarket
northern suburbs of the capital Harare
that are being advertised in US dollars.
Most buyers of properties with foreign currency are
Zimbabweans who fled
economic misery at home and are now working overseas, often in Britain, the
United States of America and neighbouring South Africa and Botswana.
Economists forecast that unless the rate of inflation
and the foreign
exchange market stabilise, unofficial dollarisation will grow.
There are practical restraints on using foreign exchange to
trade for good
and services in Zimbabwe, however.
only is it illegal, there are not many US dollars floating around.
The lack of foreign exchange on the official market has seriously affected
the country's balance of payment.
The government has failed to service foreign debt on time, and it is now
forecast to reach up to 5.3 billion US dollars by the end of the year.
It has been hamstrung by the acute shortage of foreign exchange which is a
result of declining exports and a lack of balance of payment support which
was frozen by international donors around five years ago.
Arrears on foreign debt have reached unprecedented levels and are projected
to soar to 1.9 billion US dollars by December according to bankers.
"It's a reflection of the chaos around us," Robertson said.
Minister meets Zimbabwean official
Tehran, Sept 28 - Iran will export technical and engineering services
to Zimbabwe under a protocol signed earlier between the two sides, said
Minister of Cooperatives Ali Soufi here on Saturday.
In a meeting with the new Ambassador of Zimbabwe, Soufi said Iran will
also provide Zimbabwean traders with a credit of dlrs 15 million to help
expand mutual trade.
Soufi hoped that problems about providing health and medicare services
to Zimbabwe would be removed.
He said there are ample grounds for Tehran-Harare cooperation,
including those in the health, commerce, industries, mines, oil and
Zimbabwean diplomat in turn urged Tehran to provide Zimbabwe with
medical equipment, medicine and physicians in view of the ongoing economic
sanctions against his country.
He called on Iran to extend its experience in the field of gas to his
country given the discovery of huge gas reserves there.
England mount pressure on Zimbabwe
LONDON: British government has stepped back into the debate surrounding
England’s sporting relations with Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe, and is
putting pressure on England Cricket Board to cancel their proposed tour in
The government voiced its concern in wake of comments by Lord MacLaurin,
former ECB chairman, and current chief of England’s main sponsors, Vodafone.
He warned in interview with Guardian newspaper, Vodafone might be forced to
withdraw its support, worth roughly 3 million per year, if tour goes ahead.
In February, 2003, a huge furore surrounded and overshadowed England’s World
Cup campaign, with England pulling out of Pool A match in Harare. It was a
decision that ultimately cost ECB close to 1 million in compensation. With
exactly a year to go until England’s next tour, various parties concerned
are determined not to make same mistake again, and are airing their views
well in advance.
"Our position has not changed," a spokesman for Department of Culture, &
Sport said. "Ministers made it clear before World Cup they did not want
England to play in Zimbabwe and nothing has changed on ground to alter that
view. The tour is still a long way away but if things remain same in
Zimbabwe we will suggest that team does not tour."
ECB had originally set itself a spring deadline to decide on the trip, but
it now seems likely that a decision will be made in early 2004.
Despite Vodafone’s concerns, Des Wilson, head of ECB’s corporate affairs
committee, insisted all evidence will be assessed and any decision reached
would not be motivated by money alone.
"We fully accept this decision must be taken early," said Wilson. "We
frequently monitor situation in Zimbabwe. It is under review and early in
new year we will look at all evidence."