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

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The Star

      MDC wins, but who wants to vote on an empty tummy?
      September 2, 2003

      By Brian Latham

      Harare - Elections held at the weekend in Zimbabwe were marked by poor
voter turnout, violence and intimidation.

      In the Harare Central parliamentary by-election, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change clung to its important inner-city seat.

      But only 11% of voters bothered to go to the polls that saw MDC
candidate Murisi Zvizvai beat the Zanu-PF hopeful.

      The by-election, which was held at the same time as several town
council polls across Zimbabwe, was one of the few not marred by violence and
allegations of intimidation.

      Zvizvai polled 2 307 votes against Zanu-PF's 1 304 in a by-election
held to replace MDC lawmaker Mike Auret, who retired earlier this year on
health grounds.

      Results for council elections were trickling in at the time of going
to press, but MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi told the Independent
Foreign Service that his party had done well in Harare's sister city of
Chitungwiza as well as in some Matabeleland towns.

      Incidents of vote-buying, promises of food for votes, as well as
violence and intimidation had been reported to the government-appointed
Electoral Supervisory Commission. However, ESC officials said they had "seen
nothing amiss".

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai blamed the low turnout on the country's
economic crisis.

      "People are busy looking for money and food," he said, referring to
huge queues that snake around the capital as desperate Zimbabweans try to
draw money from banks.

      The Southern African Development Community-funded Fewsnet
organisation, which monitors food security in Southern Africa, said hunger
had spread to Zimbabwe's urban centres.

      "Price controls have failed to arrest increases and protect the poor
from ever-escalating prices," said a Fewsnet report. - Independent Foreign

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Zimbabwe Parties Split Parliamentary By-Election Results
VOA News
02 Sep 2003, 00:46 UTC

Zimbabwe's ruling and main opposition parties have split two parliamentary
by-elections after a vote marked by low voter turnout and reports of voter

State media said early Tuesday the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
retained its seat in Central Harare, the capital in Saturday's and Sunday's
election. Harare and other major cities are considered MDC strongholds.

Meanwhile, the ruling ZANU-PF successfully defended its seat in rural
Makonde district, northwest of the capital.

Final results are still expected Tuesday for mayoral and local council
results in 16 municipalities across the country, including Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second-largest city.

But election officials said voter turnout was low nationwide, and only 11
percent in Harare.

MDC officials have accused government supporters of voter intimidation and
vote-buying. Opposition spokesmen also said unidentified assailants had
pelted the car of an MDC official with stones on Saturday.

But state election officials said the allegations were exaggerated.

The council voting and parliamentary by-elections come as Zimbabwe suffers
its worst economic and political crisis since independence in 1980.

Inflation has soared to record highs and residents face daily shortages of
food, fuel and cash.

The opposition has blamed President Mugabe's policies for the economic
crisis, a charge the president has denied.

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The Herald

State directs schools to accept travellers’ cheques

Herald Reporter
THE Government yesterday directed all schools to accept travellers’ cheques
as a legal tender for payment of school fees and levies.

In a statement yesterday, the secretary for Education, Sport and Culture, Dr
Thompson Tsodzo, said schools should accept travellers’ cheques because of
the shortage of cash.

"Travellers’ cheques are legal tender and can be used for all payments
within Zimbabwe including school fees. The Ministry of Education, Sport and
Culture is requesting all schools to accept Zimbabwe Local Travellers
Cheques for payment of fees and other related expenses," Dr Tsodzo said in
the statement.

He said travellers’ cheque holders should countersign the cheques in the
presence of a school agent and the signatures should match.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced local travellers’ cheques last month
to mitigate the acute cash shortages that hit the country in the last three

The cheques are in denominations of $1 000, $5 000, $10 000, $20 000, $50
000 and $100 000.

To distinguish genuine cheques from counterfeits, one must check the
security features, which include the embedded bird watermark, the embedded
vertical security thread and the fluorescent ink which is visible when
viewed under ultraviolet light.
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The Herald

RBZ unveils new notes

Herald Reporter
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday unveiled the new $500 and $1 000 bank
notes to be introduced at the end of this month and the beginning of next
month respectively.

The new $500 notes will be in circulation on September 26 while the $1 000
note would be available on October 1.

Central bank officials said the introduction of the new notes would see $2,5
billion of each denomination being injected into the market daily.

"Technology to print the notes locally is available, and the whole supply of
the $500 note will be met through local production. However, for purely
logistical reasons, part of the quantity of the $1 000 note needed is being
printed outside the country to ensure speedy availability of the note," the
official said.

The official said daily injections of $2,5 billion would continue until
December when it is hoped that the situation would have improved.

Once the situation improves, the official said, all the money would be
printed locally.

"The reasons that we are printing money outside is because we want to
increase our capacity ahead of the introduction of the notes and when
everything is stable then we will review the situation," he said.

Changes in the bank note situation in the market were expected to start
showing towards the end of November.

"We hope that by then the situation would have normalised but if not, then
other measures would be taken to try and arrest the situation," he said.

The new measures were expected to assist the central bank monitor the cash
situation in the country.

"Close observation of cash movements will allow the bank to respond quickly
and provide solutions that are in line with national expectations," he said.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been battling to contain the bank note
shortages in the country which started about three months ago.

The bank has introduced several measures to help solve the cash problems in
the country.

Some of the measures introduced include the injection of $24 billion in $500
notes and the introduction of local travellers’ cheques which come in
denominations of $1 000, $5 000, $20 000 and $100 000.

The central bank has also been encouraging people to use plastic money and

The use of cheques, debit and credit cards and point of sale points in
retail outlets has increased significantly in recent weeks due to the bank
note crisis.

Point of Sale operations have increased from 5 000 transactions valued at
$20 million daily to 17 000 transactions valued at $110 million daily.

In respect of cheques, a total of 144 838 328 cheques worth $2 390 trillion
were issued in the year 2000 before declining 17 410 927 cheques worth $6
015 trillion in 2001 and 17 322 712 worth $14 080 trillion in 2002.

This year alone 12 605 794 cheques amounting to $24,8 billion were issued
between January and August 14. The Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, Dr Herbert Murerwa, recently announced that the old $500 bill
would be phased out within 60 days.

This resulted in billions of dollars in $500 notes which are being held
outside the country, being repatriated back to the country, although some
traders outside the country have adopted a wait and see attitude and
continued to hold on to their notes.
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The Herald

Cash crisis continues to worsen

Herald Reporter
THE cash crisis continues to worsen in Harare with queues at banks getting
longer and some people failing to report for work owing to lack of funds.

As early as 7am on Saturday and yesterday morning, long queues could be seen
winding around buildings housing banks in the city and industrial areas.

To while up time, some people could be seen reading books and knitting while
mothers breastfed their babies.

People who spoke to The Herald said they had no choice but to queue at the
banks everyday to get cash for everyday use.

Mr Tichaona Mbasi of Kambuzuma said even his employer understood that he
needed some hours to go to the bank everyday.

"My boss knows that I have to queue for a number of days for me to get
enough money to meet my bills and buy groceries for my family.

"I feel sorry for those who are not able to get time off from work to queue
for their money because it means they will starve while their money is in
the bank," he said.

Banks are giving amounts ranging from $5 000 to $20 000 a day.

A teller with a local building society said the situation was getting more
and more desperate as people ran out of cash.

"When the bank notes shortage first surfaced, the queues used to be very
long only at the end of the month but nowadays there is a long queue every
single day of the month.

"Sometimes people cry after failing to get money after spending the whole
day in queues and it breaks our hearts but there is nothing we can do," said
the teller.

Some people said they had since stopped reporting for work owing to the cash

They said they had run out of bus fare and wanted time to queue for cash at
the bank.

Bank cheques and travellers’ cheques, which members of the public have been
using as an alternative to cash in past months were not readily available at
some building societies yesterday while people had to queue for them at

A check at shops that offer credit terms showed that people were settling
their accounts late, which resulted in many of them having to pay interests.

"People are failing to pay their installments on time as a result of the
cash crisis and as a result end up paying interests, which is sad
considering that their situation is a desperate one already," said a
salesperson with one furniture shop.

Efforts to get a comment from the president of the Bankers Association of
Zimbabwe, Mr Gerry Tsodzai, on what steps were being taken to address the
deteriorating situation were fruitless as he was said to be in a meeting.

While the cash shortages persist, prices for most basic commodities went up
by as much as 200 percent in the last two weeks.
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Queuing to get out of Zim
01/09/2003 22:15  - (SA)

Kodzevu Sithole, Media24 Africa Service

Harare - People who are desperate for visas for Britain spend the night on
the pavement in front of the British High Commission's office - a sign of
the gravity of the situation in Zimbabwe.

More than 17 000 people applied for visas since the beginning of the year,
Sophie Honey, spokesperson for the High Commissioner, said.

"About 70% of these applications are successful," she said.

Last week, the High Commissioner ordered a security guard to remove the
people from the pavement, as he didn't want them sleeping there.

Riot police were called in when the applicants refused to budge.

"When police arrived, some people ran away in fear, but they later
returned," said John Maarombwe, a security guard.

People apparently start queuing at 19:00 with their bags and blankets.

Godknows Mbiriri of Rusape said he has been sleeping in front of the High
Commission offices for nearly a week because he wants to escape the poverty
and hardship in Zimbabwe.

"The first time I made it to the front of the queue, they sent me away
because I did not have the correct documents. The next two days, the queue
was simply too long, but hopefully tomorrow will be my lucky day," Mbiriri
said on Sunday.

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Daily News

      MDC routs ZANU PF

        THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party yesterday
took a strong lead in urban council elections winning 96 seats while the
ruling ZANU PF had won 70 seats by the time of going to print last night.

      The MDC, which has its strongholds in urban centres that have borne
the brunt of Zimbabwe’s worst economic crisis since independence in 1980,
had also grabbed three of the four mayoral seats in poll results out last

      The opposition party also retained the Harare Central parliamentary
seat with its candidate, Murisi Zwizwai, polling 2 707 against 1 304 votes
for ZANU PF’s William Nhara.

      Votes were still being counted in the remaining 54 council wards but
Daily News crews at counting centres reported that indications were that the
MDC would win most of the outstanding seats to consolidate its foothold in
urban areas.

      Results were also still pending for the parliamentary by-election in
rural Makonde constituency where ZANU PF’s candidate, Kindness Paradza, was
expected to romp to an easy victory to keep the seat for President Robert
Mugabe’s party.

      The 30 and 31 August urban council and mayoral elections were marked
by poor voter turn-out which political analysts had said could work to the
advantage of ZANU PF which has a smaller but more loyalist support base.

      The ruling party’s spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, last night could not
be reached for comment on his party’s early performance.

      MDC elections director Remus Makuwaza said the impressive showing by
his party in the local government elections was an indication urban voters
approved of the party’s management in the five towns, including Harare, that
it already controlled before last weekend’s election.

      Makuwaza said: "The people have shown that they have confidence in the
MDC’s ability to govern. The results must send a clear warning to (Local
Government Minister Ignatius) Chombo that the people are quite clear on
which party they want to govern them."

      Chombo has clashed with the MDC-dominated Harare City Council over
control of the politically important capital city. Formed in 1999 by
Zimbabwe’s workers disgruntled by plummeting living conditions, the MDC has
defeated ZANU PF in most urban elections.

      In Zimbabwe’s second largest city of Bulawayo the MDC romped home to
victory yesterday, sweeping all the 27 council seats that were up for grabs.
The MDC also took control of Zimbabwe’s oldest city of Masvingo, winning
eight of the 10 seats that were contested. The remaining two seats went to
ZANU PF in Masvingo.

      The opposition party maintained its strong showing in the southern
Matabeleland region, winning the Gwanda mayorship and six out of the town’s
nine wards.

      The MDC’s Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla polled 1 609 votes to beat ZANU PF’s
Rido Mpofu who got 1 034 votes in the race for Gwanda’s top job.

      In the resort town of Victoria Falls, MDC mayoral candidate Wesley
Sansole polled 1 657 while Cynthia Khumalo of ZANU PF received 1 027 votes.
The opposition party also won eight wards while ZANU PF took three.

      In Hwange, the MDC won five wards to the ruling party’s two. In the
mining town of Zvishavane, the two parties shared five wards each.

      In Kariba, John Rolland Houghton of the MDC became Zimbabwe’s first
white executive mayor after defeating ZANU PF’s Petros Maya by 1 999 votes
to 1 666.

      By the time of going to print last night, the MDC had won seven of the
nine wards in Redcliff to ZANU PF’s one, while in Mutare it had won nine
seats compared to ZANU PF’s two. Counting of votes in seven wards was still
in progress in Mutare and Redcliff.

      In Gweru counting was still going on, but early reports showed the
opposition party had won seven seats while ZANU PF had taken one. Nine more
wards were still to be counted in Gweru.

      The MDC had won 19 wards in Chitungwiza city while ZANU PF had won
five seats. Counting was still in progress in the remaining four wards.

      The ruling party won all the 12 wards in Shurugwi at stake and took
all the contested six seats in Marondera where five MDC candidates were
barred from filing papers to the nomination court in July. In Ruwa, the
ruling party won five wards and the MDC won two while in Norton ZANU PF
grabbed nine wards to the MDC’s three.

      In Kwekwe, ZANU PF’s Stanford Bonyongwa polled 9 490 votes and the MDC
’s Henry Madzorera received 7 414. The ruling party grabbed 14 wards in the
city while the opposition won two. Kwekwe becomes the only major town with a
ZANU PF executive mayor. Staff Reporters

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Daily News

      Houghton is Zimbabwe’s first white executive mayor

        THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party’s John
Rolland Houghton became Zimbabwe’s first ever white executive mayor
yesterday after he defeated the ruling ZANU PF’s Petros Maya to become the
mayor of the resort town of Kariba.

      Kariba, 365 kilometres north-west of Harare, is located in President
Robert Mugabe’s Mashonaland West home province. Mugabe is accused of
orchestrating an anti-white campaign to sway Zimbabweans’ attention away
from an acute economic and food crisis blamed on his policies.

      Houghton, 57, defied the odds to poll 1 999 votes against Maya’s 1

      Kariba, a major international tourist destination before Mugabe’s
seizure of white-owned private farms scared away visitors from the country,
will also be run by an MDC-dominated council after the opposition party’s
candidates won six out of the town’s nine wards.

      An electrician by profession, Houghton said he would work towards the
revival of Kariba as a prime international tourist destination.

      "I know that there will be problems to expect from a certain
government official but I am a Christian and I know that my God is more
powerful than any force," he said.

      However, while Kariba overwhelmingly voted for the opposition, the
rest of Mashonaland West stood solidly behind Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.

      In Norton, just 40 km west of Harare, Zanu PF maintained its grip on
power after it won nine wards against the MDC’s three.

      In Kadoma, also in Mashonaland West, ZANU PF had won 10 out of 15
wards by last night. Counting in the remaining five wards was still in
progress by the time of going to print.

      In Chegutu, not far from Kadoma, elections did not even take place
after suspected ZANU PF militias prevented MDC candidates from submitting
their nomination papers to the nomination court.

      And in Karoi town, about 200 km south of Kariba, all the five MDC
candidates lost the elections.

      From Foster Dongozi in Mashonaland West

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Daily News

      Lawsuit threat forces police to return seized cash

        THE government last week agreed to return nearly $10 million it had
seized from five Harare residents, while the High Court in Bulawayo
yesterday gave the state up to Thursday to reach a settlement with foreign
currency dealers suing it after their money was seized by the police.

      The government, grappling with an unprecedented shortage of bank
notes, has launched a crackdown against people suspected of hoarding cash.

      But legal experts, human rights groups and ordinary Zimbabweans have
complained against what they say are high-handed and arbitrary arrests by
police and state officials who are seizing cash from people, even those
holding less than the $5 million maximum Zimbabweans are permitted to hold
in cash under a controversial new law gazetted last month.

      The state backtracked to reach an out of court settlement under which
it agreed to return the about $10 million to Precious Nyakujara, Ivy
Gwishiri, John Mukorera and two others on condition that the Harare informal
traders withdrew an urgent application the had filed with the High Court to
recover their money.

      In the application filed last week, the traders had cited Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and a Chief Superintendent Murwira, who is in
charge of police in Harare, as the respondents.

      Harare lawyer Charles Selemani, who was representing the five traders,
yesterday told the Daily News: "The matter had been set for hearing on 27
August but AG (Attorney-General)’s Office negotiated that we withdraw the
case and get the money back."

      Selemani had argued in papers submitted to the court that the police’s
action in arresting his clients, some who were carrying amounts of money
much less than $5 million was arbitrary and malicious.

      "The police operation was arbitrary, unreasonable and not in
accordance with due process, activated by malice and not pursuant to any
known law that prohibits the carrying of large sums of cash," Selemani wrote
in papers filed with the court.

      The police have gone on a blitz since storming business and conducting
spot-searches in a bid that economists, however, say will fail to stop the
hoarding of cash or restore confidence in the country’s troubled banking

      In an affidavit to the court, one of Harare informal traders,
Nyakujara, recounted how she was at a public bus terminus where she intended
to board a bus to Chinhoyi.

      Nyakujara, a self-employed dressmaker, said the police seized from her
$2.2 million which she had wanted to use to buy cloth for her business.

      But the police, in a surprise turn of events instead charged under a
by-law which forbids obstructing pavements and sidewalks.

      Gwishiri, who runs a commodity broking, knitting and sewing
enterprise, said she was stopped at the intersection of Harare’s Enterprise
and Robert Mugabe roads by police officers who searched her bag and found $1
274 500.

      The police took her to Harare Central Police Station where they
charged her for obstructing pavements and sidewalks and confiscated her

      Mukorera, a trucker, said he was stopped by five police officers along
George Silundika Avenue in the capital city.

      The police officers seized $2.3 million which he said he wanted to use
to buy truck tyres.

      In Zimbabwe’s second largest city of Bulawayo, lawyers representing
informal foreign currency dealers yesterday filed an urgent chamber appeal
in the Bulawayo High Court seeking the court to order the police to return
money seized from their clients.

      But the court deferred hearing the matter to Thursday to give both
parties a chance to reach an out-of-court settlement.

      Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Chihuri and another senior police
official, were cited as respondents.

      Although only four foreign currency dealers have so far challenged the
seizure of their money by the police, several hundreds more have lost their
money to the law enforcement agency and more are expected to come forward to
sue for compensation.

      Meanwhile, the police on Friday raided the Harare offices of the
country’s biggest fast-food chain, Innscor Africa Limited, and confiscated
about $30 million. Innscor’s marketing director, Mayor Mangeya, yesterday
denied any knowledge of the raid. "I am not aware of any money which was
confiscated by the police," he said. But police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena
confirmed the law enforcement agency had raided the fast-food chain, warning
that the crackdown against foreign currency dealers would be intensified in
the weeks ahead. Bvudzijena said: "The money is now at the Reserve Bank and
police will soon prosecute all defaulters. It is not limited to Innscor
only. We will be intensifying the raids on these traders to make sure that
they deposit their money with banks as required by the law. It is an ongoing
exercise and we have already have our targets." Zimbabwe has been
experiencing severe shortages of bank notes that have been blamed on the
lack of foreign currency to import special ink and paper needed to print
money. Staff Reporters

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Daily News

      ‘Ex-GMB chief in furniture scandal’

        A PROPERTY manager at the troubled Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
yesterday told the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday that former GMB chief
executive officer, Martin Muchero, connived with a local furniture supplier
to flout company procurement rules, when he allegedly bought furniture for
his office and home on a GMB account.

      Muchero is accused of conniving with Lastworth Kadirire of furniture
firm Harare Global Systems (HGS) to charge on a GMB invoice for furniture
supplied by HGS for Muchero’s office at the parastatal and to his home.

      The GMB lost $115 000 because of the fraudulent transaction five years

      Herbert Mutsotso, who has since been suspended as property manager for
the GMB, said under the parastatal’s procurement procedures, a goods
received voucher (GRV) should have been raised for the furniture in

      The GRV would show name of the supplier, serial numbers for the
furniture, date when the furniture was received and the name of the person
who received the goods at the GMB.

      No GRV was raised for the furniture supplied to the GMB by Kadirire,
according to Mutsotso.

      He further alleged Kadirire approached him and told him that he was
the one who was going to supply the furniture for Muchero’s office, although
the GMB had already selected someone else to supply the same office

      Mutsotso told the court that under the GMB’s procurement rules, before
the furniture could be supplied an order for the goods had to be made and
copied to the parastatal’s accounts department, asset controller, area
manager and the supplier for approval.

      He said: "I was surprised when Kadirire approached me and told me that
he was going to supply us with furniture when all the relevant departments
were not aware of this.

      "What even surprised me also is that the parastatal had identified its
own supplier who is not Kadirire, but I do not know what transpired

      Mutsotso said Muchero knew very well that he was flouting procurement
procedures because he approached him and asked him not to make two separate
invoices for his household furniture and the boardroom furniture.

      "Muchero actually told me that Kadirire would supply the boardroom
furniture as well as his household furniture, but this had to be recorded on
one invoice.

      "This means GMB had to pay for Muchero’s household furniture and the
boardroom furniture," Mutsotso said.

      However, Muchero’s lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, dismissed Mutsotso’s
claims as false, saying that his client was away in Europe during the time
the alleged offence was committed.

      The trial continues today.

      Court Reporter

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Daily News

      Matopos’ heritage status under threat

        BULAWAYO – The Matopos National Park’s world heritage status is in
jeopardy because

      of increased poaching, it was learnt this week, as it emerged that
funding for the world heritage site could be delayed because of failure to
submit a management plan to the United Nations’ Education, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

      The park was awarded world heritage status earlier this year by
UNESCO, which provides funding to world heritage sites, but only after
receiving management plans.

      Park officials told the Daily News that poaching had risen
significantly in the past seven months, with poachers tearing down a large
section of the perimeter game fence and snaring animals.

      They said officials from the Matopos National Park had last Friday
held an emergency meeting in Bulawayo with representatives of the tourism
industry, the police and members of the Bulawayo Publicity Association to
map out strategies for combating increased poaching.

      The officials said the Matopos, located south-west of Bulawayo, could
lose its world heritage status because of the poaching.

      It also emerged that the Rhodes-Matopo Park Committee had failed to
submit a management plan for the Matopo Hills, which is crucial for the
release of funding from UNESCO.

      It could not be established yesterday how much funding the park
requires because the management plan is not yet availableDescribing the
situation at the park as "hectic", Matopos National Park game warden Moses
Gomwe said poaching activities had been on the rise since February, with
scouts unable to adequately patrol the park.

      The UNESCO funding would enable the Matopos, which has been hit by
staff deaths and resignations, to recruit more scouts to patrol the park and
reduce poaching. Gomwe said the poaching crisis had been worsened by the
relatively lenient penalties and jail terms imposed on poachers.

      "The crisis at the park needs the assistance of all stakeholders
because National Parks alone cannot combat or correct the situation. The
statistics indicate a sharp rise in poaching activities, as the game fence
is virtually non-existent along stretches of the perimeter," Gomwe told the
Daily News.

      "The penalties against poachers and trespassers are not deterrent
enough, and the magistrates can only work within the limits of the law."

      Senior tourism officials said the Matopos game fence had "totally
collapsed", enabling gangs of poachers and trespassers to easily enter large
sections of the park to hunt, mostly for commercial purposes.

      Tourism operators have set up a fund to provide incentives to game
scouts to capture poachers and reward villagers for information about

      Figures made available during the Friday meeting indicate that in
January, park officials apprehended two poachers hunting with dogs, who
killed two kudus. In the same month, two juveniles were caught with wire
snares within the park.

      In February, seven people were arrested while poaching with dogs or
trespassing within the park, while in April, five were caught illegally
chopping down trees.

      The illegal activities intensified last month, when two people were
caught snaring animals, two were apprehended fishing illegally and nine were
caught cutting wood.

      Another two people were caught illegally cutting grass.

      The increase in poaching is partly attributed to drought, which has
led to the death of more than 100 000 cattle in Matabeleland province,
worsening food insecurity. A large number of villagers are already dependent
on food aid for survival.

      Own Correspondent

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Daily News

      Voter turnout a national disgrace

        ZIMBABWEANS should be deeply ashamed of the apathy that affected
voter turnout for the urban council polls and parliamentary by-elections
held during the weekend.

      In many areas, voter turnout was lower than 30 percent on both
Saturday and Sunday. This despite daily complaints from the people of this
country about their miserable lives, which they believe can only improve if
there is political change in Zimbabwe.

      But given the chance to participate in improving their lot – even if
it was only at council level – Zimbabweans once again proved that they can
talk the talk, but they are incapable or cannot be bothered to walk their

      No doubt many potential voters will argue that they could not take
time out to cast their ballots because they were too engrossed in
"bread-and-butter issues".

      Chief among these "bread-and-butter" concerns were no doubt the severe
shortages of food, cash and fuel that are affecting individuals and
businesses alike.

      It is certainly likely that many potential voters around the country
spent most of Saturday hunting for scarce foodstuffs and queueing for cash
at banks, where people are lining up as early as 1 am so that they can be
given a measly $5 000 each that does not even begin to meet a fraction of
their needs.

      But it is disturbing that on Sunday, when all banks and most shops
were closed, voter turnout at most polling stations around the country was
lower than it was on Saturday.

      No one can argue that Zimbabweans are enduring unprecedented suffering
because of the country’s worsening economic crisis. Basic commodities are in
short supply, and where they are available, they are unaffordable for most

      The survival of many companies is precarious at best and unemployment
and poverty levels are at their highest in the history of this country.
Wages have not kept pace with inflation in the past four years and most
people cannot even access their money anyway because of shortages of
Zimbabwe dollar bank notes of all things.

      No one living in this country is a stranger to these facts. But it
would seem that a large number of Zimbabweans cannot or are unwilling to
appreciate that it is specifically when things are so bad that they need to
come out in their millions to exercise their right to vote.

      Choosing the people they want to represent them, be it at municipality
or parliamentary level, is one sure way of ensuring that something is done
about the bread-and-butter issues that have become such a weight around
their necks.

      Clearly, short of an armed rebellion or a spontaneous mass uprising,
voting is the only way to bring about political change without plunging the
country into even more chaos and anarchy.

      It is unacceptable that so many people still seem to believe that they
can go about their normal business in an increasingly abnormal environment,
while others go to the trouble and take the risk of trying to change things
for the rest of us.

      Zimbabweans need to realise that no one – not the MDC, the African
Union, South Africa or George W Bush – can do for us what we are not willing
to do for ourselves. The MDC, which so many people seem to be banking on,
cannot single-handedly bring change to this country.

      Zimbabweans have to be ready and willing to help themselves. Part of
this readiness means being willing to sacrifice just one day of queueing for
cash or searching for their next meal to go to the polling stations and wait
for however long it takes to cast their votes.

      Sitting at home and complaining behind closed doors will make a
difference to no one, but a single vote is priceless.

      It is time Zimbabweans began to exercise this right, a right that so
many of this nation’s fallen heroes died to win for them.

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      Neighbours to blame for refugee influx

        I HAVE not yet met Michael Gaborone, although I legally spent about
25 days in his constituency. If I had known, I would have walked across to
visit and to talk a little since I lived less than a kilometre away.

      Gaborone is a traditional leader in Botswana and he is one angry man.
According to a local government daily, Michael, a chief, has a seat in the
House of Chiefs which would be equivalent to our ludicrous Chiefs’ Council
that boasts the likes of Chief Mangwende, Fortune Charumbira and others. But
Michael is in Botswana and he is virulent. That got my attention.

      Chief Gaborone declared he had a mandate to protect his people from

      He charged that because of Zimbabweans, Tswanas can no longer travel
freely at night.

      He alleged that because of Zimbabweans, Tswana children cannot go to
school (I don’t know why). He asserted that Tswana parents could no longer
send their children on errands because they fear Zimbabweans.

      When I checked my thesaurus word finder, I discovered that a more
diplomatic word for "stupid" is not "brainless" or "half-witted" but
"naive". Chief Gaborone is naive. He is naive enough to blame Zimbabweans in
Botswana for the frequent outbreaks of the bovine foot-and-mouth disease. He
revealed that Zimbabweans are responsible for the rising crime rate in his

      He declared that Zimbabweans were to blame for Botswana’s high
HIV/AIDS rate.

      These unfortunate outbursts are really not Chief Gaborone’s fault.
They are not even his problem as he appears to think. But he has an
advantage because he sits in the House of Chiefs, which I believe offers him
a platform in Botswana to contribute to the shaping of important
legislation. He must use that avenue.

      The heart of the matter is that Botswana is now being affected and is
about to be overpowered by world events. Botswana is awakening, albeit
slowly, to the pressures that African leaders inflict upon the continent. We
were there ourselves and I do remember how scornful people used to be
towards Mozambicans, Zambians, Malawians and others. We thought we were a
better country than most of our neighbours. But Botswana has now entered the
relay race, which they do not know has always been run backwards. It is a
new experience for them and xenophobia is a road marker along this route.

      But if President Festus Mogae looks the other way while Zimbabweans
are being chased across the border into Botswana, then the Tswana should not
complain. Chief Gaborone should protect his compatriots by making his
government tighten its attitude towards a misbehaving neighbour.

      Our neighbours will not be able to enjoy their freedom, economic or
otherwise, as long as Zimbabwe or any other neighbour is not free.

      For years, we in Zimbabwe could hardly enjoy our independence because
South Africans next door to us were not free. Not long ago, we were hosts to
refugees from neighbouring countries. When these refugees found it conducive
to return to their countries, we followed them there to become refugees

      I appreciate Mogae’s conduct because he does not willingly hinder our
efforts to normalise the situation in our country like the infamous
President Thabo Mbeki. True, Mogae could do a little more for us if he
wanted, but like other African leaders, he hesitates and then turns away as
if the problem will solve itself.

      In my previous writings, I bemoan that President Mugabe’s wayward
presidency, his penchant for violence, economic mismanagement and human
rights violations affect not only us Zimbabweans but also the entire region.
The presidents from Southern African Development Community countries,
including Botswana, choose to pamper and stick with a man who has ruined the
economy and whose government continues to abuse its own people.

      Earlier on, when I said it is not Gaborone’s problem, I meant that it
is a regional problem. The regional leaders allowed Mugabe to destroy this
country and now the people have nowhere to go except to seek refuge in
neighbouring countries.

      What Botswana is experiencing are the ripple effects of Mugabe’s
failures, which continue to be protected by the same people who are now
complaining. The instability in Zimbabwe is affecting the whole region; this
is what people like Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Howard and President
George W Bush have been point outing.

      Now our neighbours are complaining but, at the same time, they stick
together in support of despots in an injurious, unrewarding and destructive
solidarity. If our regional leaders had taken a preventive stand, we would
never have been in this position.

      Why should Howard or Blair champion our causes when our local leaders
ignore the suffering of the people in the region? The entire situation could
change instantly if African leaders wanted it to change. For example, how
many minutes could Mugabe and his violent and scheming comedians last if
Mbeki closed the Beitbridge border?

      Yet they invoke racism, colonialism and anti-African sentiments
whenever non-Africans try to help us.

      If real and proper sanctions had been imposed, this situation could
have been remedied a long time ago. But now, our self-inflicted wounds are
worse than sanctions and the region, which could have been spared, is paying
heavily. We continue to suffer.

      The country continues to deteriorate. Mugabe and associates continue
to thumb their noses at the international community and us while they enjoy
the precious few morsels and crumbs left on the Zimbabwean plate. And as for
our Tswana colleagues like Gaborone, they must simply wake up and realise
their country is no longer a protectorate, that they are part of the region
and the international community. They should accept that when someone bangs
the door next door to them, they too will feel the tremors, however slight.
They must accept that the rise in crime, AIDS and other ills are the
responsibility of the region, especially when we consider that Tswanas and
South Africans have freer movement between themselves than we have between
either one of them. Malcontents are found in every society. There are South
African prisoners in Botswana jails. One of them was actually hanged there a
couple of years ago. There are Zimbabwean and Zambian prisoners there too.
Botswana should give credit to the many Zimbabweans who are legally resident
there and who are helping to run Botswana instead of their Zimbabwe. We have
such Zimbabweans in South Africa, the United Kingdom and in many countries
and institutions, including the World Bank and the United Nations. Chief
Gaborone may need to be reminded that those illegals in Botswana are
illegally employed by the Tswanas themselves. Botswana authorities may whip
Zimbabwean illegals, deport them, jail them or berate them. That will not
help. What will help is to deal with the cause of the problem and that is
Mugabe and his obstinate government. I would have thought that living next
door to a despot would cause Botswana to take a solid stand and make a bold
and positive move. However, thank you Botswana, for taking care of our sons
and daughters. They are only running away from Mugabe, who is being
protected by fellow African presidents. If you look closely, you will notice
that Zimbabweans, legal or illegal, are not the cause of your ills. We need
your help, Chief Gaborone. We are in a Babel of our own and you as a
traditional African chief who has his government’s ear have a perfect
opportunity and the means to do something more for us Zimbabweans. Please
do. By Tanonoka Joseph Whande Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Zvishavane-based

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Daily News

      It’s time to mend bridges, not egos

        Zimbabwe was the only country in southern Africa that was vibrant
and independent from South Africa.

      But the dependence on South Africa for everything is on the increase,
hence the soft diplomatic negotiations adopted by President Thabo Mbeki, who
knows that his country will eventually be controlling Zimbabwe’s economy.

      Once Zimbabwe’s economy cannot stand on its own, it is inevitable that
that the gap is filled by somebody and South Africa will be the one to do
it. It does not take a genius to know that. Just look around and see which
economy is growing fast, whilst the Zimbabwean one is shrinking.

      Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia and Angola are already
dominated by South African products. Thus, the South African industry is
growing and taking over the once traditional Zimbabwean export markets.

      The political game is more complex than what the ruling ZANU PF
thinks. Mbeki has his own interests and as long as those interests are not
connected to President Robert Mugabe’s, he won’t put his neck on the
chopping block to assist.

      Everyone is jostling for power and positions, no wonder the ZANU PF
bigwigs are not interested in returning the country to normality.

      The gains will be lost, and that will affect their lifestyles. It all
about status quo. Questions that cannot be forgotten are:

      - For how long will this free-fall last?

      - Who will eventually pay for the mistakes made by this present

      - Will Zimbabwe continue to be ruled by one man with all decisions
coming from Harare?

      - Will Zimbabweans continue to be peace-loving people?

      - Will Mugabe, his ministers and ZANU PF continue to treat Zimbabwe’s
common people like their personal property?

      - Will Zimbabwe ever be independent or will Pretoria be the main
decision-maker for this country?

      - Will politics remain the main source of employment?

      - Will graduates continue to leave the country?

      - Will Zimbabwe remain as one country or will there be a civil war

      - Will Mugabe remain the Life President of Zimbabwe, ZANU PF, and the
ultimate owner of everyone and everything that is in this country?

      Those are just a few questions that cannot just go away as long they
remain unanswered.

      It is known that corruption and greed are the breeding grounds of ZANU
PF. To remove and change the present political system is the only way
forward for Zimbabwe.

      New checks and balances are needed to avoid another corruption cycle
of the same civil service in another administration. A facelift does not
change the person, just the wrinkles.

      Demolition of the entire structure to foundation level, not changing
of faces or names of management, not an overhaul but taking it to the scrap
yard, crushing it down and starting afresh with new players, not a recycle
of the same old dead beats, is what is needed.

      Prosperity is not stolen or earned, one is born with it. No matter how
jealous of others Mugabe gets, one thing he should know is that a person’s
talents are not transferable. To be marginalised does not mean inability or
incapability; it’s just not being given the opportunity to participate in
your own country’s affairs according to your ability.

      ZANU PF and Mugabe do not believe or want anyone else to prosper as
long as it is not one of their own.

      ZANU PF and Mugabe do not mind seeing foreigners prosper as long as
they will benefit from it and are the only ones who will show off to the
rest of us.

      Printing more money does not change or bring money to everyone. Roads,
water systems, housing and businesses are all on a downturn for everyone,
except those that are connected to ZANU PF.

      The success of a country is based on the quality of life being led by
everybody, not just a few chosen, loyal ZANU PF supporters. Success is for
everybody, not according to where one originates from, who is your father,
how are you related to me, did your father fight on our side, which tribe do
you belong to? Those things will never build a prosperous nation, no wonder
Africa is always caught up in endless wars. Everyone is jostling for power
and position. It’s time to mend the bridges and not your egos. N Kainga

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Daily News

      Zimcents no longer make much sense

        Herewith a bit of useless information worked out in a moment of

      A Zimbabwe one-cent coin weighs just on three grammes. So, a British
£1 coin (weighing approximately 20 grammes) will buy, at the parallel market
rate, over two tonnes of Zimcents. How’s that for punching above your

      Further to that, should you wish to go to an average Harare restaurant
and buy a beer, you will need 450 kg of Zimcents to pay for it.

      Of interest to (do-it-yourself) DIY enthusiasts, a Zimcent coin,
suitably drilled, is one five-hundredth of the price of a 6 mm copper

      Can you imagine!

      This naturally leads to the delightful thought of paying your taxes in

      Working out the length of a column of lorries carrying these cents is
a straightforward, if astronomical, mathematical exercise.

      However, when I tried to factor in the cost of the diesel and tyres
used by these lorries, and the resulting excise duties payable to the
government, my normally reliable calculator decided that its batteries had
been tortured enough for one day.

      Maybe the next generation of computers will be able to work this one

      As my daughter dryly remarked, I really must have been bored.

      Sandy Douglas


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Daily News

      Mbeki’s bizarre collective punishment

        MANY Zimbabweans seem puzzled by President Thabo Mbeki’s
softly-softly approach to the Zimbabwean political crisis and the economic
decay accompanying it.

      Pius Wakatama, my dear friend, made this observation last week, which
made me reflect. Thanks, Pius!

      The only way I have come to understand the Mbeki inaction is that we
have to look at the history of the two political parties: ZANU PF and
African National Congress (ANC).

      In the early eighties, soon after Zimbabwe’s independence, I met Mbeki
several times in Harare. He was then the ANC chief for international
relations. He always looked tense but always gave you his well-rehearsed
diplomatic smile.

      In Lusaka he was more relaxed when he talked to writers and cultural
workers visiting there.

      Mbeki’s mission to Zimbabwe was an attempt to persuade the Mugabe
government to recognise the ANC officially in order for them to open offices
in Harare. Mugabe, as I understand it, was refusing.

      The reason for this refusal was that the Mugabe government had already
recognised the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) soon after 1980.

      The Organisation of African Unity had made a resolution years before
that obliged African countries to recognise only one liberation movement.
The Mugabe regime chose the PAC.

      The history of this recognition was based on the common histories of
the two parties: ZANU PF and the PAC. ZANU, without the PF, broke away from
the then Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU). And, of course, they staged
a coup against their leader Ndabaningi Sithole later, which was also another

      The PAC, on the other hand, had also broken away from the ANC.

      PAC and ZANU PF became allies, and the ANC became an ally of ZAPU. PAC
and ZANU had their fighters trained in China under the communistic
philosophy of Comrade Mao.

      ANC and ZAPU had their fighters trained in the Soviet Union, under the
ideology of Marxist-Leninism as practised by Moscow and its allies.

      It was only later, and after hard political diplomacy, that the ANC
was recognised in Zimbabwe.

      And Mbeki, I suppose, was rather happy about it, but inside him I
think he had this deep sense of being betrayed by the Zimbabwean political
leadership as well as the ordinary Zimbabweans.

      The Shona people have a proverb for this situation: chinokangamwa
idemo, as muti wakatemwa haukangamwi (the axe forgets, but the tree which
was cut by the axe never forgets).

      For ordinary Zimbabweans and civil society did not raise a finger
about their government’s behaviour.

      There was no pressure from the trade unions, teachers’ organisations,
intellectuals and students on Mugabe to change his position towards the ANC.

      The South African elections came, and it was hoped the PAC would
achieve a huge surprise victory just as ZANU PF had done in Zimbabwe against

      All of a sudden, Mbeki, the former beggar, was Deputy President of
Africa’s most powerful country. The wisdom of Nelson Mandela was that if any
foreign government leaders came to see him, he always told them to "talk to

      My gut feeling is that the inaction of Mbeki towards the Zimbabwean
crisis is based on this deep-seated bitterness. This might sound like some
kind of bizarre punishment to the people of Zimbabwe, but I wonder why Mbeki
does not do anything in the deepening crisis of political decay and economic

      Mbeki definitely knows about the political murders, torture,
imprisonment of Mugabe’s critics, human rights abuses, destruction of the
properties of political opponents, and the number of political and economic
exiles flooding his country every day. He even closes the border and tells
Zimbabweans to go through all sorts of complicated procedures before going
to South Africa. In the face of all that, he does not do anything. His is a
bizarre form of collective punishment. "Let them learn to fight their own
struggles like we did ourselves," Mbeki seems to say, wining and dining with
United States President George W Bush. Of course, I believe he also thinks
if he is seen to be harsh on a man (Mugabe) who projects himself as fighting
to give the land back to the people, his own people might betray him in the
coming elections. The bizarre punishment meted out to ordinary Zimbabweans
is costly in human terms. But Mbeki looks the other way even when he is
equipped with the political and economic muscle that can force Mugabe to
give up power for the sake of the nation’s survival. Or does he expect to
abuse the South African constitution if he is cornered in elections just as
Mugabe has been doing all these years? Maybe he is, like Presidents Bakili
Muluzi, Sam Nujoma and Frederick Chiluba, taking notes and learning from
Mugabe’s guide to dictatorship! I cannot claim to know, but for sure he is
passive while our country wastes away economically, with immense human
suffering inflicted on the people by Mugabe’s harsh and cruel dictatorship.
To Mr Mbeki, we can only say:look, our flowers of hope die every day and
night, but you have the watering can to give them life again. By Chenjerai
Hove Chenjerai Hove is a Zimbabwean writer in self-exile in Europe.

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Daily News

      Corrupt leaders will pay for using others as pawns

        The notorious Beitbridge war veteran henchman "Mandebvu" Mlaudzi,
who has reportedly been responsible for the destruction of commercial farms
in the Beitbridge district has been abandoned in court by his ZANU PF peers.

      He has been sentenced to two years’ confinement after being found
guilty of assaulting a farm manager who was investigating the theft of
livestock from his employer’s ranch.

      As more pressure is being brought to bear against the unpopular
political leadership in Zimbabwe, so do they ensure that they will be
untouched by any witch-hunting when law and order is finally returned to
this tyrannised nation.

      It has been said right from the beginning of the assault against
Zimbabwe, some three-and-a-half years ago, that the leadership will use the
people as pawns to do their dirty work so they can remain "clean" whilst
they ensure that they can hold on to power.

      This observation is now inevitably coming true.

      Once it is all over, the leaders do not seem to be concerned about the
fate of their followers who have so fanatically assisted them in their
nefarious schemes. So many dreams, so many promises.

      Yet in the end, justice will prevail, and even they will not be able
to hide from their vicarious liability.

      When the truth finally comes out, thugs will face charges and
investigations for many more assaults, murders, attempted murders, theft,
extortion, malicious injury to property and stocktheft.

      They will be made to pay for the damages, loss of income and theft
which they will be accused of committing against their fellow Zimbabwean

      How is it that Zimbabweans have been so corrupted, turned against each
other and turned a blind eye to the lawlessness and self-destruction of
their once beautiful and peaceful nation?

      M A Clark


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2 September 2003


Message to the people of Zimbabwe


Fellow Zimbabweans,


I am aware that uncertainty, despair and despondency are causing havoc to personal lives, personal safety and personal security for the majority of Zimbabweans. I am aware of the anxiety and disquiet among most of you arising from this seemingly unending political and economic crisis that has befallen our nation and society.


When the MDC entered the political stage three years ago, many weary and drained people in this country, then suffering from 19 years of violent misrule and lost opportunities, thought their struggle was going to be sharp and swift.


Now that the struggle for a better life for all is dragging on, and given the worsening poverty at all levels, we are witnessing points of desperation among some sections of our community. The people’s welfare and basic needs have been sacrificed for personal greed and ambition. If anything, the condition of the majority has worsened since 1999 – thus making the call for change even more urgent.


Our feelings depended on the electoral system as a vehicle for achieving change. We have since realized over the years that elections, and elections alone, do not always guarantee freedom and change.


Zimbabwe needs a completely new political culture which allows for broader participation and inclusion, working together with a genuinely free and fair electoral system, to entrench a deeper form of democracy and good governance.


Events of the past weekend in which a significantly reduced number of people turned out to vote show that the majority seem to have begun to lose faith in elections. They realize that as long as the national quest for an all inclusive democratic culture and for comprehensive political change remain an unfinished agenda the benefits from participating in these elections can always be soiled by our opponents. An ideal situation is one in which voting results in a total and meaningful resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.


However, may I urge you to raise your heads high and soldier on. Apathy, in spite of all the odds and the nasty experiences we have gone through, is not an option. All the little steps we take in our quest to build a new society will add a fresh entry to our record of victories since February 2000. We are moving fast towards the establishment of a democratic dispensation in which justice, freedom, solidarity and development become a life-long goal.


Your national determination to see change in your towns and cities has become a reality. I thank you.


In 1980, we won our independence. But we never got our freedom. Those who assumed political power personalized our struggle. They believe they have a monopoly over patriotism and therefore own this nation as their private property. They created a ruling elite in direct contrast to the ideals which guided the liberation struggle. They continue to claim, wrongly, that only those with direct liberation war credentials have a right to run and manage public affairs on behalf of the state.  


The tiny layer of opportunists in our midst was groomed and nursed through a system of political patronage, and has never been interested in a speedy resolution of the current crisis. The reason is simple. They are benefiting from the chaos. They have a class interest to see politics as war, to subvert public institutions, to muzzle the media, to tamper with the judiciary and to attack, often violently, any form of legitimate dissent. Their plan is to loot as much as they can.


We face a regime that is completely frozen in its tracks. The regime has no cash, no food, no friends, no fuel and no idea of how to get out the mess it created for itself.


Against local and international advice, the regime continues to shamble along hoping that some miracle could win it the hearts and minds of a beleaguered nation. Only dialogue can provide the intransigent regime with a window for redemption.


The majority have their strength in numbers. Use that power. Continue to exert pressure on this regime to listen to you. Fight for your rights and push Zanu PF to the negotiating table. And make sure that party remains on that table until the issues haunting this country are ironed out.


On our part, we are not prepared to recognize the electoral fraud that took place in March 2002. We are not withdrawing legal challenge. We will fight to the bitter end until we realize our goals. We need change. We have never sought to take over power for the sake of merely replacing Zanu PF. We need to put a stop, once and for all, the practice of personalising a nation and a people in order to suit a selfish agenda.


We seek to create a society where national values belong to all, where national dreams and aspirations are realised, independently from the partisan interests of a group in government or in politics at any given time. We seek a society where our national diversity and differences are acknowledged as assets. We value a society where all forms of intolerance are discouraged and a nation where every person is equal before the law, regardless of his or her social station. We must accept that democratic tolerance and good governance have no substitutes if the country is going to position itself for sustainable development.


The MDC has always been committed to a smooth transition to a democratic order. I am convinced that the transition to a new order cannot be far away as the as the current situation has become totally unsustainable.


The challenges facing the party and indeed any new order are obviously going to be immense. The country will need a comprehensive reconstruction and development agenda, which would need to be underwritten by the international community. We shall require significant amounts of humanitarian aid to address current emergencies, including food and fuel shortages that have overwhelmed us for some time now.


Once again, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your resolve to realise change in Zimbabwe.





Morgan Tsvangirai

President: Movement for Democratic Change

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When I woke up this morning and thought of the thousands of Zimbabweans who confronted tyranny with their votes this weekend I was reminded of Robert Browning’s words:


"One who never turned his back but marched breast forward;

Never doubted clouds would break;

Never dreamed though right were worsted wrong would triumph;

Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better;

Sleep to wake."


In my mind these words epitomize the spirit of the MDC and its courageous supporters countrywide which has been demonstrated in the stunning urban council results. “Stunning?” some may ask. After all the MDC lost Kwe Kwe and Kadoma and lost a few small towns in Mashonaland. Kwe Kwe and Kadoma were both Parliamentary seats we won in 2000 and were of course seats we should have won. That, some may argue, is hardly stunning.


But I am elated and the events of the past few days are indeed highly significant. If one needed any confirmation of the significance of the results one only had to watch ZTV last night, as I did, to appreciate how crushing these results are to ZANU (PF). The results, some of them (!), were only announced, almost in passing, twenty minutes into the news bulletin. Believe you me had ZANU (PF) been happy with the results they would have been first up.


Why then is ZANU (PF) devastated and why are these results stunning? It is because:


  1. The MDC has finally gained effective control of the urban areas.

Last Friday ZANU (PF) controlled every single municipality in the country save for Harare. Today they have woken up to the reality that the MDC now controls the municipalities of  Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo, Victoria Falls, Kariba, Gwanda, Ruwa and Hwange and shares power in Chegutu (where we still have an MDC mayor even if all our candidates were prevented from filling their nomination papers) and Zvishavane. In other words the MDC now controls the budgets and general operations of Zimbabwe’s five largest cities, its two premier tourist resorts and several strategically important towns. Some 40% of Zimbabwe’s population live in these centres which are now liberated from ZANU (PF)’s power and corruption. These same centres generate over 50% of our GDP. Whilst the MDC won Parliamentary seats in all these cities and towns in 2000 that never translated into control because MDC MPs have always been in a minority in Parliament and were powerless to prevent ZANU (PF) from passing laws and budgets to their liking. For the first time the MDC has gained almost total control over the areas it first won largely symbolically in 2000.


  1. The MDC has in reality gained ground.

For all the focus in regime’s media (and to a certain extent on the SABC) on the MDC losing ground in Kwe Kwe and Kadoma the reality is far different. It is in fact ZANU (PF) that has lost ground. Kwe Kwe and Kadoma were only lost (narrowly at that in terms of votes cast) because of massive doses of violence and intimidation perpetrated by the regime. Let us not forget that the MDC MP for Kadoma, Austin Mupandawana, died only a few weeks ago, his death a direct result of his unlawful detention and torture by the regime in March, which severely undermined our capacity in that town. The election in Kwe Kwe was a total farce – even more so than the rest of the country. Our Kwe Kwe MP, Blessing Chebundo, had his car smashed by ZANU (PF) hooligans on the first day of the election, the voter turn out was way over the national average (suggesting that ZANU (PF) went to extra lengths to truck people in) and suspected MDC supporters were dragged out of voter queues by ZANU (PF) thugs. ZANU (PF) was only able to win in Chegutu and Bindura by violently preventing our candidates from even filling their nomination papers. In towns like Marondera and Norton they only won through overwhelmingly pervasive intimidation.  In areas where ZANU (PF) leaders were complacent and took their eyes off the ball they lost ground. It is pertinent to remember that both Kariba and Zvishavane were won by ZANU (PF) MPs in the 2000 Parliamentary elections. Kariba is now controlled outright by the MDC and, horror of horrors, has a white MDC mayor! Zvishavane is now jointly controlled by the MDC and ZANU (PF) who won 5 seats each. The result in Kariba is particularly remarkable because it is in Mashonaland West Province which has been a no go area for the MDC since the 2002 presidential election.


  1. The MDC won despite apathy.

Low voter turn out created by apathy traditionally favours ZANU (PF) because it is guaranteed of being able to get a hard core out to vote come what may. In this election ZANU (PF) used war veterans and youth militia to do its campaigning in Bulawayo and I suspect that the same was the case countrywide. These people who are paid all voted and guaranteed that ZANU (PF) would get a basic minimum percentage of the vote. The regime encouraged apathy – for example the location of polling stations was not advertised and very little effort was made to get out the vote. The elections were largely treated as a non event on radio and TV. In Bulawayo and, I think, other areas ZANU (PF) candidates did not hold campaign rallies. The focus of their campaigns was to go house by house and to concentrate on their known supporters rather than the general voting public. All of this was premised on the hope that only a few people would turn out to vote and that they would be able to win by default. This strategy was supplemented by two diametrically opposed attitudes I discerned in the voting public in Bulawayo which I suspect prevailed countrywide. The (negative) one was that there was simply no point in voting – people had voted for change in 2002 but ZANU (PF) had rigged and stolen the result and would just do the same again. The other (positive) one was that the MDC had won by such overwhelming margins in urban areas in the 2000 and 2002 elections that there was no need to vote especially when one had such difficulty in securing basic necessities such as cash, food and fuel. Added to that of course were the threats to withhold food which created a huge moral dilemma in the minds of most voters who were torn between voting in large numbers for the party of their choice and as a result possibly denying their children food.  Given these obstacles it is astonishing that the MDC did as well as it did and whilst we clearly have work to do in getting people to turn out in greater numbers it is ZANU (PF) that has to confront the harsh reality that in a city the size of Bulawayo with over 800,000 inhabitants despite all the tactics they used, they can only rely on a total of some 9000 core supporters. The same applies in virtually every single city and town in the country.


  1. The MDC won despite a totally subverted electoral process.

It is important to remember that as bad as the electoral process was in the 2000 Parliamentary elections the process was a cakewalk then compared to now. In 2000 we did not have the Public Order and Security Act, youth brigades, a subverted police force and judiciary, a thoroughly manipulated voters’ roll and food shortages. In 2000 we did have international observers, far more money to campaign with, and a relative absence of fear. Since the 2000 elections the MDC has been subjected to an unrelenting assault – virtually every single leader has been detained, many have faced spurious prosecutions and other forms of harassment. Hundreds of thousands of MDC supporters have been intimidated through killings, beatings, threats and denial of access to food. The party has been drained of resources through having to protect the thousands of its leaders and supporters who have had to be provided with medical care and legal representation. Thousands of Zimbabweans who voted for the MDC in 2000 have been disenfranchised through unconstitutional means. Thousands of “ghost” voters have been introduced to urban constituencies to supplement the votes ZANU (PF) receives. Whilst we were able to field candidates in every single constituency in 2000 we were unable to do so this year through the combination of ZANU (PF) thugs preventing candidates from getting their nomination papers in and partisan judges subverting the legal process brazenly in favour of ZANU (PF). In other words the regime has done everything in its power to crush the MDC and to subvert totally the electoral process in the last three years. Despite all of that the MDC now controls every major city and town in the country bar two!


It is for all of these reasons that yesterday’s results are truly amazing and why I thought Robert Browning’s words so apt. The regime has thrown everything at us. The regime has done unspeakable things to our friends and relatives – it has murdered, raped, tortured, assaulted, detained, spuriously prosecuted thousands of brave Zimbabweans but it has failed. We have indeed fallen only to rise; we have indeed slept only to wake.


I have but one final thought which is for those responsible for perpetrating all the horror that has befallen our beautiful nation. It comes from Edmund Burke who wrote the following words in 1775:

“The use of force alone is temporary. It may subdue for a moment: but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered.”

Zimbabwe is only held by ZANU (PF) through force not by popular will of the people. These results demonstrate that force has only subdued the people of Zimbabwe for a moment. In reality ZANU (PF) no longer enjoys the respect and support of the people and as such no longer governs Zimbabwe. It enjoys a mere façade of support of people in rural areas but that is only because the regime is able to subdue rural people more easily.


The desire of Zimbabweans for liberty is a tidal wave that cannot be stopped. The events of this past weekend will soon swamp this brutal regime and force it to yield. Freedom is now just around the corner.


Makorokoto, Umhlope, Congratulations Zimbabwe!


David Coltart MP

Bulawayo South

2nd September 2003


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U.S. Sees Improvement in Zimbabwe Elections
Tue September 2, 2003 02:54 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday it saw "a degree of
improvement" in the way Zimbabwean authorities ran council elections in
which the main opposition party narrowly defeated the ruling party.
"We are somewhat encouraged that the election showed a degree of improvement
over the March 2003 parliamentary by-elections and the September 2002 rural
council elections," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Figures announced on state radio and given by the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change showed the opposition took about 130 of the council seats
compared to 100 for the ruling ZANU-PF party in the weekend polls.

The MDC also won six out of seven mayoral seats, including northern Kariba,
where its candidate was set to become Zimbabwe's first post-independence
white mayor.

Boucher said U.S. diplomats had monitored the elections and the United
States was concerned about reports of violence, intimidation, vote-buying
and the use of government corn supplies for political ends, mainly by the
ruling party.

"We are also concerned about flaws in the run-up to the elections, with
opposition candidates in at least three areas prevented from filing
paperwork. Electoral authorities did not provide all voter lists to the
opposition, as it had requested, and lists were provided at very late
dates," he added.

"So there were significant flaws, but somewhat improved over previous
elections," he said.

After President Robert Mugabe won re-election in March 2002, President Bush
said the United States did not recognize him as legitimate leader.

The MDC has emerged as the biggest threat to Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe
since independence from Britain in 1980.
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ZIMBABWE: UN forced to close provincial field offices


Field offices coordinate and monitor humanitarian assistance

JOHANNESBURG, 2 Sep 2003 (IRIN) - The United Nations Relief and Recovery Unit (RRU) in Zimbabwe has been forced to close its provincial field offices, which coordinate and monitor the use of donor-funded humanitarian aid.

In the latest Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report released this week, the RRU said the government had requested that its "field offices be closed from mid-August".

"The government of Zimbabwe's position is that not all procedures for the establishment of this field presence had been properly followed. All RRU field staff have been recalled to Harare while negotiations proceed," the situation report said.

It noted that "the provincial field units are mandated to provide support to provincial and district-level coordination structures in the humanitarian fields. They are also supposed to monitor, from an independent perspective, assistance provided with donor resources".

A UN official told IRIN that while the situation was not ideal, "field staff are being allowed to go out into the field from Harare".

"Two teams left yesterday [Monday], one to Matabeland South and the other to Midlands province. So, although it would be better to have the staff based in the provinces, and that is still the desire of the UN [Humanitarian] Coordinator, their work will still be going on as planned," the official added.

Zimbabwe will have about 5.5 million people in need of food aid by January 2004. Last month the government released a new policy directive that withdrew responsibility from the World Food Programme (WFP) for the selection of beneficiaries and the distribution of food aid, and replaced the agency with local government structures and village authorities. NGOs would perform only a monitoring role.

Although the government later gave an assurance to WFP country representative Kevin Farrell and UN Humanitarain Coordinator Victor Angelo that WFP would remain in control of food distributions, the directive has not been withdrawn. Critics have protested that it opens the door to the potential politicisation of food aid.

In the case of the RRU, which falls under the office of the humanitarian coordinator, the situation report noted that "at all stages the RRU and its field officers have worked in collaboration with the appropriate government of Zimbabwe authorities at field level".

"The governors' and provincial administrators' offices have been kept informed of all activities, and have also invited RRU to participate in some of their activities and programmes where appropriate."

It was therefore hoped that the closures "are only a temporary measure while the protocols and procedures needed to carry out field activities are regularised," the RRU said.

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Cash Shortage Sees Many Change Lifestyles

The Herald (Harare)

August 30, 2003
Posted to the web September 2, 2003


CASH shortages coupled with the ever-rising cost of living have forced many
people to change their lifestyles with some luxuries having to be foregone
in place of the basic necessities.

While the shortage of cash has negatively affected most people, the
imaginative and enterprising have managed to make the quick switch to the
world of plastic money, cheques and travellers' cheques.

"I don't need to carry cash to survive. My life is now much simpler and I
only use money when there is something that I really want to buy," says
22-year-old graphics designer, Lorraine Madzinga.

She says her spending habits have drastically changed from the days when she
used to carry cash. "Gone are the impulsive buying tendencies such as fast
food lunches, snacks and drinks because I now carry a packed lunch."

However, most Zimbabweans still operate in the environment of a peasant
economy where cash is king and vital for food, transport, paying bills and

Most urbanites in the high density suburbs have to buy their basic
necessities daily such as bread, milk, relish, among other things using cash
as they cannot afford to buy or store perishables in bulk.

By contrast, the well-to-do can buy their groceries in bulk and have
adequate storage facilities for perishables such as meat, milk, bread and so
on using cheques or plastic money as most of the upmarket supermarkets have
point of sale swipe machines and readily accept cheques.

Although most building societies, which handle most low income workers'
banking, now have plastic money cards, there still is a big mismatch between
facilities offering payment by card and the amount of plastic cards owned by
these workers. As a result most of these workers simply use their cards for
cash withdrawals at Automated Teller Machines instead of point of sale

The plastic card revolution is still to have any real meaningful effect on
this social sector.

The result of bank notes shortage has been such that in certain instances
some families have had to forego things such as little toilet paper,
newspapers and other things that require cash which they now preserve for

"We have to choose between buying toilet paper or food, the cash we get from
the banks is not enough for both," said a Highfield woman.

Parents have become strict with such commodities like toothpaste and lecture
their children on how to save.

People wait for hours on end at banks and at other cash dispensing points
and production hours in industries have been cut by almost half as people
wait for cash.

"But you are not guaranteed to get the cash and at times you wait for up to
eight hours to get five thousand dollars which is not enough to cover your
needs," said Mr James Mufore.

A barman with a city nightclub said clubbing was slowly dying as most people
now kept their cash for essential things or other emergencies that might
occur in the home.

"Once in a while, yes, you get crowds in the bar but they start moving out
at around eight and by 10pm it is just me and the waiters without any
customers," said the barman.

Many people that had abandoned opaque beer have now gone back to their roots
and the "cabinets" of yesteryear when people used to gather around mugs of
beer are around again.

In the beer-drinking circles, cash shortages have transformed drinking into
"co-operatives" and sharing of alcoholic beverages is now common.

People have also changed from beer to spirits in a new drinking revolution.

The motorists have been the worst hit by the shortage of cash since most
fuel dealers do not respect travellers' cheques introduced to mitigate cash

Almost at every service station there are three or four "dumped" vehicles
whose owners failed to get either cash or fuel to drive their cars home.

The Freedom Trains that were mostly for those without cars were reported to
be filling up with motorists that could no longer get fuel.

And the "typing brigade" - a phrase used for pedestrians - had increased
owing to cash shortages as many people went to and from work on foot.

For the young and outgoing, cash shortages have affected lunch dates that
have become few and far apart.

"My boyfriend no longer invites me for lunch as frequently as he used to
when cash was readily available and this has also been compounded by the
fact that food now has just gone up in take-aways," said a University of
Zimbabwe student.

Another young woman said her boyfriend was of late pretending to be busy
when it was about lunch.

A snap survey at the popular food outlets showed that business was not as
active while those down-town cafes were beginning to register more clientele
owing to their low pricing of their food.

But some women smiled as they said the cash shortgae kept their husbands at

"He comes home early and watches television with the rest of us. We see him
early these days, its bad there is no cash but it has its own advantages,"
said a Warren Park woman.

Medical experts said cash shortages could result in stress especially to
those with sick relatives who fail to take them to institutions that demand

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South African Daily News

      Mugabe builds on the ruins
      September 2, 2003

      By the Editor

      It takes a particularly indurate political leader to spend R72 million
on a 25-bedroom retirement mansion when most of his people are struggling to
put food on the table.

      But then Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has never been persuaded
that his despotic rule and prodigal lifestyle are any concern of anyone
other than himself and his closest henchmen.

      It must be particularly galling to his critics who, over the years,
have built up an ever-expanding dossier of his excesses, only for their
evidence to be sacrificed to the whims of political expediency.

      It must seem to them that the stronger the case they present to the
international community in the hope that it will act decisively against
Mugabe, the more he thumbs his nose at them and continues on his ruinous

      President Thabo Mbeki's policy of constructive engagement with Mugabe
is hardly likely to change simply because he is building a luxury mansion
which his impoverished country can ill-afford. But South Africa should take
note of reports that a number of Mugabe's sycophants have claimed the Hwange
Wildlife Estate as their private hunting ground. It is further feared that
their next target will be the world-renowned Hwange National Park.

      Wildlife experts estimate that poaching has cost the country almost R3
billion in recent years. That may appear to be Zimbabwe's problem, but with
the Gonarezhou Park scheduled to be incorporated into the ambitious Limpopo
Transfrontier Park, South Africa and Mozambique, as joint partners, have
every right to be concerned at the prospect of the venture imploding because
of the blatantly undemocratic excesses of Mugabe and his freeloading

      If Mbeki is not prepared to act directly against Mugabe he should at
least feel obligated to ensure that his profligacy is not paid for by South

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      Botswana-Zimbabwe fence row

      Botswana's relations with Zimbabwe are becoming strained after
Botswana began erecting a security fence along its north-eastern border with
      Zimbabwean high commissioner to Botswana, Phelekezela Mphoko, is
reported by South Africa's state broadcaster to have branded the move as

      Earlier this year the government decided to erect a four metre-high
electric fence along the 500km border shortly after an outbreak of foot and
mouth disease in that area.

      But the government has also been coming under growing pressure within
Botswana to stem the flow of illegal immigrants crossing the border to flee
the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

      Prof Malima, a journalist for South Africa's Business Day newspaper in
the capital, Gabarone, says that the Botswana Government is repatriating
about 2,500 Zimbabweans each month.

      "It is costing the government quite a lot of money," he told the BBC's
Network Africa.


      Botswana's beef industry, which is the country's second highest earner
after diamonds, was hit badly by the foot and mouth crisis.

      "Last year they had to put down thousands of animals and it affected
exports badly,"

      He said the perception in Botswana was that Zimbabwe's Government was
unable to prevent the influx of cattle or people.

      Apart from food shortages affecting millions of Zimbabweans, the
country is struggling with a widespread cash shortage, inflation of almost
400%, unemployment of about 70% and fuel shortages.

      Zimbabwe's main opposition party blames President Robert Mugabe for
the mismanagement of the economy during his 23-year rule.

      But Mr Mugabe blames international opponents for sabotaging the
economy because of his controversial policy of seizing white-owned farms.

      Regional efforts to halt the flow of Zimbabweans leaving the country
and to resolve the political crisis have made little progress so far.

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