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

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Zim Online

Mon 6 September 2004

      BINGA - Villagers in this mainly opposition-supporting remote district
lying more than 300 kilometres west of Harare say ruling ZANU PF party
militants are forcing them to join their party.

      Several villagers as well as local business-people and civil servants
interviewed by ZimOnline said the militants were forcing them to buy ZANU PF
membership cards. Those who refused had been beaten up or had their property
destroyed and burnt down.

      A teacher at a local secondary school, Susan Ndou, said two of her
colleagues had been forcibly expelled from the district by militants who
accused them of influencing students to support the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

      She said: "This place is no longer safe especially for teachers like
us. My two colleagues were expelled from the school after being accused of
teaching opposition politics to their students."

      Local businessman Silas Siwela said his grocery shop was burnt down by
suspected ZANU PF militias and self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s
liberation war, who accused him of selling food to MDC officials.

      Both ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira and party chairman John
Nkomo could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday. ZANU PF has
in the past strongly rejected claims its supporters commit violence saying
such claims were mere opposition propaganda intended to demonise the ruling
party and President Robert Mugabe.

      But local war veterans leader, Pius Nsingo alias Zvabhenda-Zvabhenda,
told ZimOnline that they were working to cleanse the area of all MDC

      He said: "The MDC is like a disease, once it enters your body you have
to go to the hospital or consult a traditional healer to drive it out. If
you don't fight a disease it kills you."

      Most of Zimbabwe's rural voters have in previous elections voted for
ZANU PF with Binga one of only a few rural areas that have backed the MDC.
The MDC has however said it will not participate in elections including next
year's crucial parliamentary ballot unless Zimbabwe's electoral laws were
sufficiently democratised. ZimOnline

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Zim Online

MDC election boycott plan worsens uncertainty in business sector
Mon 6 September 2004

      HARARE - The decision by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party to pull out of next year's parliamentary election has triggered
fresh uncertainty in the business sector, according to analysts.

      They said failure to hold a credible election next year would put paid
efforts to attract back foreign aid, which is critical to any attempts to
resuscitate Zimbabwe's collapsing economy.

      The International Monetary Fund (IMF), used as a yardstick for a
country's credit worthiness, will most certainly not resume aid to Zimbabwe.
And local companies will find it even harder to regain their foothold on the
international market.

      An official with one of the country's largest hotel groups, ZimSun
Leisure Group, said the leisure and tourism industry would, "suffer shocks
of the sanctions that might ensue if the MDC boycotts the elections."

      The official said ZimSun suffered a decline of more than 20 percent in
both domestic and international arrivals due to the general loss of
confidence in the industry in the 12 months to March 31 2004. He said next
year's results were likely to be worse.

      Chairman of industrial conglomerate TA Holdings, Shingai Mutasa, said:
"Our destiny as a nation and a company is intricately woven to the political

      "It is my hope that the country's leaders will initiate meaningful
dialogue with each other so that they find an urgent solution to the current
economic malaise."

      The MDC two weeks ago said it was suspending participation in
elections until the country's electoral laws were brought in line with
Southern African Development Community (SADC) norms and standards for

      Under the regional norms elections must be run by independent
commissions while the electoral process must be sufficiently fair and

      President Robert Mugabe has promised to set up an independent
electoral commission that will be tasked with ensuring truly free and fair
elections in the country.

      The MDC says Mugabe is insincere pointing out that the proposed
commission will lack independence because its chairman will be answerable to
the President. ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Non-Governmental Organisations street protests put on hold
Mon 6 September 2004

      HARARE - Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) will tomorrow submit
their objections to a proposed new law to govern NGOs in the country to
Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social

      The committee will bring civic society's objections before the House
when it debates the draft NGO Bill that civic activists say will virtually
force 90 percent of NGOs in the country to shut down.

      Nationwide street demonstrations to protest against the Bill that had
been penciled in for tomorrow will now be put on hold while NGOs attempt to
lobby Parliament.

      Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe chairman Brian Kagoro told ZimOnline:
"Members of the National Association of NGOs agreed in Harare to make their
submissions known to the Parliamentary committee.

      "There would be no demonstrations but all civic society would gather
and make submissions."

      Executive director of the NGOs' association Jonah Mudehwe said: "We
have been requested by NGOs to make use of the opportunities that are being
created by Parliament for engagement. We are rigorously pursuing
negotiations for now and not demonstrations." ZimOnline
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Business Report

        Victims of the whims of corrupt officials

      Florentina Tsongarero (not her real name) is a Zimbabwean national
from Bulawayo. She is just over 50 years old, has eight children, her
husband is dead and she earns between R540 and R1 500 a month.

      She is a domestic worker who, like most migrant workers, sends money
home. Her desperation to put food on the table for her kids in her home town
has driven her south to find employment.

      Tsongarero is working illegally in South Africa. She doesn't have a
work permit and every day when she goes to her little room in Fourways, she
spends up to R20 on taxis and buses to and from the leafy suburbs where she
is employed by Johannesburg's middle classes.

      Her statelessness prevents her from opening a bank account, from
unemployment benefits and from all the labour legislation the state claims
to have put in place to assist workers. She is, therefore, at the complete
mercy of her employers and the authorities.

      She has been in the city for a year. She goes about her business with
a hearty sense of humour, an unmistakeable humility and a consistency that
are mostly written about in books.

      Apart from having to merely stay alive in the Zola Budd taxis that
scream along our highways and byways, Tsongarero has a constant fear
      . At least once a month, she finds herself travelling in a taxi that
is stopped by the metro police.

      All passengers are ordered to disembark and relevant papers are asked
for. On every occasion that she's been stopped, she's had to fork out
between R20 and R100 to the officer who simply threatens to take her to
Lindelani repatriation camp for the monthly exodus of foreign nationals.

      Tsongarero is part of the growing group of people on the subcontinent
who are constantly on the move to find work. Apart from having carried the
burden of the mining industry, particularly gold mining, migrants continue
to be victims of the whims of corrupt officials.

      Instead of trying to make her stay legal, and show the kind of
generosity of spirit that Zimbabweans gave former Azanian People's
Liberation Army and MK soldiers in the anti-apartheid struggle, our cops
degenerate into thuggish behaviour, giving limited passage to vulnerable
people for a sliver of silver.

      But then again, the police are only following the example of their
political bosses who cannot keep their fingers out of the tills when flying
around the country.

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Britain dragged into coup plot as rumours swirl over London meeting

Thatcher's business partner turns state witness as diplomatic row builds
over alleged west African putsch

Antony Barnett, Martin Bright and Patrick Smith
Sunday August 29, 2004
The Observer

One of Sir Mark Thatcher's key business partners has turned 'state witness'
and is alleged to have given dramatic new evidence to South African police
investigating Thatcher's role in the alleged coup to overthrow the President
of Equatorial Guinea.
The revelation comes as speculation mounts over what British and US
officials knew about the alleged plot and when. Insiders claim that
officials in both countries were aware of a planned attempt to topple the
leader of the oil-rich west African state, although both governments have
denied this claim.

Thatcher's business partner, former crack mercenary pilot Crause Steyl, is
believed to have handed over details of Thatcher's investment in an aviation
firm that had contracts with Simon Mann, the old Etonian and former SAS
officer in jail in Zimbabwe.

The former Prime Minister's son was arrested in Cape Town last week over
accusations that he helped finance the alleged coup that aimed to overthrow
President Obiang and replace him with the exiled Opposition leader Severo

The Observer, which first revealed details of Thatcher's alleged involvement
in the coup last month, has been told by South African sources that Steyl
accompanied Moto to the Canary Islands on the eve of the day the alleged
putsch was to happen.

They were flown from Madrid to the islands in a South African-registered
King Air 200 by a stunt pilot and landed in the morning of 7 March. The
plane is then reported to have flown on to the Malian capital of Bamako
where Moto awaited news from the mercenary leaders. The next day, the Boeing
727 carrying Mann and his crew of more than 60 mercenaries was impounded in
Harare and those on board arrested.

Steyl's evidence could be highly damaging to Thatcher, who faces 15 years in
jail after being charged last week with helping to finance the mercenary
plot to topple the President. The government of Equatorial Guinea is
requesting an interview with Thatcher in South Africa and is hoping to
having him extradited to face trial there.
Thatcher's defence team in Cape Town - which insists he is innocent of all
charges - believes Steyl is emerging as central to the prosecution and say
they have been told to stay away from him. The lawyers suspect that Steyl
has given the South African police a detailed affidavit containing several
statements. Steyl was unavailable for comment.

The Observer has obtained details of the contract signed by Steyl and Mann
on 16 January to provide aircraft and aviation services. Steyl is alleged to
have persuaded Thatcher to invest $250,000 (£139, 586) in a joint venture
between a company called Triple A and Mann's Guernsey firm Logo Ltd to
provide aircraft and aviation services.

Thatcher's friends insist the investment was a 'peripheral one' in a flying
doctor service and that the initials Triple A stand for Air Ambulance
Africa. Similar cover stories have been used in mercenary operations, South
African intelligence sources say, but Thatcher's friends say that his
relationship with Steyl may be 'exaggerated and misinterpreted'.

Mann's associates say he relied increasingly on Steyl's experience in
running air operations as plans for the coup plot played out this year. The
two first met when Mann established Executive Outcomes in South Africa in
the early Nineties and won a contract to run military operations in support
of the Angolan government's operations against Unita rebels.

Steyl worked on several other private military operations such as the
Executive Outcomes contract in Sierra Leone. It was Steyl and another former
mercenary who arranged the leasing from US Dodson Aviation of the Boeing
727-100 which was seized in Zimbabwe with 70 former South African soldiers
on board last 7 March. Steyl's brother Neil was piloting it, and has been
held in Harare since March.

One of Steyl's associates suggested that it was concern for his brother's
fate that prompted Crause Steyl to start co-operating with the Zimbabwean
and South African investigations.

As further details emerge of the extraordinary coup plot, speculation is
mounting over the role played by western intelligence agencies in the
alleged plot to oust Obiang. An individual intimately involved in the
alleged coup has claimed that British officials were aware of the plot to
replace Obiang with Moto.

South African sources claim the rumours of the coup were circulating among
diplomatic circles in Pretoria ear lier this year - although the Foreign
Office denies any 'prior knowledge'.

The allegation that British officials knew about the potential illegal coup
comes amid claims from British and Spanish intelligence agencies that French
spies helped to scupper the plot.

It is also claimed that the US and Spanish security services were involved
in the plot to replace the dictator of the tiny West African state, which
has vast oil reserves.

Although it is not suggested that British intelligence was complicit in any
coup plot, the claim that some officials might have had advance knowledge of
the attempted putsch has prompted opposition politicians to demand a
statement from the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. Menzies Campbell, the
Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, last night called on the
government to come clean about its knowledge of the operations.

Last night the Foreign Office categorically denied that it had any 'prior
knowledge of the alleged plot'.

The Observer has learnt that in February this year there was a meeting at
the London headquarters of the Royal Institute of International Affairs on
the future of Equatorial Guinea. It is known that there was at least one
government official present as well as representatives of the oil industry.
According to sources present, there were active discussions about rumours of
coup plots there.

Mann is accused of being the mercenary leader hired by mysterious business
and political figures involved in an old-fashioned battle to control the oil
reserves. Up for grabs was a huge multi-million pound bounty of cash plus a
share of lucrative oil concessions.

Many in the intelligence community are asking whether a hidden hand was
played by Western powers. Some suggest American, Spanish and British
interests offered their backing to exiled Moto. On the other side were the
French, who believed a successful coup would have cemented US domination in
the country, where US oil giant Exxon Mobil already enjoys the most
important drilling concessions. British intelligence sources have suggested
that the French learned of the plot and helped to sabotage it.

Spanish intelligence sources have made similar claims. Former Spanish Prime
Minister José María Aznar was a close ally of the exiled Moto, who lived in

Mann, who was found guilty on Friday in a Zimbabwean court of attempting to
buy arms for the botched coup, confessed to Spanish involvement in plot.

The Spanish government has denied this claim. But it has emerged that
earlier this year two Spanish warships left the Nato naval base based near
Cádiz. One of the frigates had on board 500 elite troops and the soldiers
are reported to have been told they were heading for Equatorial Guinea.

Nick du Toit, one of Mann's alleged accomplices arrested in Equatorial
Guinea, told the country's court last week: 'The Spanish government would
recognise the Moto government and it had the blessing of some American
higher-up politicians.' Moto has dismissed the coup plot as 'complete

It was Du Toit who named Thatcher in a statement last week that led to his
arrest. Thatcher's alleged involvement first emerged when The Observer
obtained details of two letters written by Mann from prison referring to the
former Prime Minister's son as 'Scratcher'.

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SA police 'as cruel as Mugabe's militia'    Basildon Peta
          September 05 2004 at 08:02PM

      Young Memory Moyo witnessed the horror of her village being burnt and
destroyed by President Robert Mugabe's notorious youth militias.

      She witnessed her young friends being raped and tortured by the youths
known as Green Bombers. She decided to flee Zimbabwe after fighting off
several attempts to rape her. She says she never expected a life of milk and
honey on coming to Johannesburg.

      After home affairs authorities issued her with an Asylum Seeker's
Temporary Permit which allows her to stay and work in South Africa, she had
hoped the income earned from plaiting women's hair would allow her the
basics of survival.

      But now the 19-year-old Moyo says her life in Johannesburg has become
"hell on earth" thanks to the South Africa Police Service (SAPS).

      "We (Zimbabwean refugees) seem to have become a lucrative industry for
the SA police," said an angry Moyo shortly after her recent release from the
Lindela refugee holding centre near Johannesburg.

      "They (SA police) are just as cruel as Mugabe's notorious militia.
They arrest us and demand bribes or sexual favours in exchange for not being

      Moyo has been arrested several times even though she holds the
temporary asylum permit, the most recent arrest was following yet another
police swoop on illegal immigrants in and around Hillbrow.

      She claims police officers tore up her permit and loaded her into the
back of a police truck bound for Lindela, where arrested immigrants are held
pending deportation.

      She was told she could avoid deportation if she had sex with each of
the four police officers and paid a R400 bribe.

      "I refused both options and they offloaded me at Lindela and urged my
deportation. They did not even mention that they had torn up my temporary
refugee permit and I was not an illegal immigrant."

      She was held for four days and her deportation papers were ready when
a sympathetic immigration official finally listened to her story. Her name
was checked against the department's computer files which confirmed that she
had been granted the temporary asylum permit. She was released.

      Several Zimbabwean political refugees who have been returned to
Zimbabwe have allegedly disappeared after being accused of "treachery".

      Despite the risks Moyo says she has decided to go public with her
story to expose "the sadistic" ways of the South African police with
desperate young Zimbabwean girls.

      She says many of her friends who have fled to Johannesburg have become
"unofficial wives" of policemen here. She claims they are arrested, driven
to dark areas where they are forced to have sex with several officers at a
time to avoid deportation.

      While some have legitimate refugee permits, many others don't and the
wait to get them is often a long one.

      "The police don't differentiate between who holds an official permit
and who does not. They harass everyone," says Moyo. "While it is their
legitimate duty to fish out and deport illegal immigrants, it's high time
they were stopped from abusing their powers and victimising hapless girls
and women.

      "They (the police) say it's them who have the power to decide who
should live in South Africa and who should not and don't care about Home
Affairs permits," says Moyo.

      "In the end, it's either you pay them or submit to sex or both. This
has become a nightmare world for us," says Memory.

      Another victim, Valentine Mpofu says she offered the police her
cellphone in exchange for her freedom when they arrested her over a week
ago. She did not have the bribery money and also resisted sex.

      "They refused the cellphone saying it would give them more work in
trying to find a buyer. So they took me to Lindela for deportation," she

      "They had also asked me if I was a virgin or not, saying they
preferred to sleep with refugees who were virgins. I told them I wasn't and
resisted their advances. Luckily I was not raped."

      At Lindela, Mpofu, 21, was also lucky to find a sympathetic
immigration official who checked her name against official records and found
her to be a legitimate refugee. She gave her a permit to go back to
Rosettenville or Pretoria to replace the temporary asylum seeker's permit
destroyed by the police.

      It's not always easy to find sympathetic immigration officials at
Lindela says Mayibongwi Nkosi, 22, another Zimbabwean.

      "Most (immigration officials) don't listen to the cries of refugees
and will simply process papers and deport you," says Nkosi.

      Nkosi says the refugees deported back to Zimbabwe are accused of
betraying Mugabe while in South Africa. They are taken to militia torture
camps where many are raped and some are killed.

      "While we are here, it's difficult to maintain regular contact with
home because we don't have resources. So our families think we are safe
here," she says.

      Nkosi said the third time she was arrested, she was one among 20 other
people. By the time they reached Lindela, only nine remained; the others had
paid bribes to the officers and were dropped along the way.

      The Zimbabwean interviewees claimed a lot of abuses also took place on
the train transporting deportees to the Zimbabwe border. They said women and
girls are sexually abused in one of the coaches in the train reserved for

      The situation was even worse for Zimbabwean men who were accused of
being "thieves who are killing South African policemen and committing

      Apart from paying bribes, the men often endure heavy beatings and

      Two young Zimbabwean male refugees who did not want to be named said
the police often told them that Zimbabwe was not at war and that they should
go back.

      "We tell them that what's happening in Zimbabwe amounts to war. They
hardly listen," said one of the men. He said he saw no point in SA
authorities issuing temporary asylum permits if the police trashed them.

      Only 12 Zimbabweans have reportedly been given full asylum despite
hundreds of thousands of applications. An estimated three million
Zimbabweans are now living either legally or illegally in South Africa.

      What all these refugees now want is for President Thabo Mbeki to
institute an inquiry into the abuse of refugees and temporary asylum seekers
by SA authorities including probing the "inhospitable and horrible"
conditions at Lindela where they say inmates are fed at most one or no meals
per day.

      They say they did not flee to South Africa out of choice but because
of political hardships which South Africans should understand. They said the
behaviour of SA authorities flies in the face of international conventions
for refugees.

      Lungelo Dlamini, the spokesperson for the SAPS in Gauteng, said the
police had dealt with cases of alleged corruption involving the police and
immigrants but emphasised that there was little the SAPS could do unless the
victims came forward to report their grievances and backed them with

      He said if they were afraid to report to the police stations in person
but felt they had compelling evidence, the victims could write letters to
the Commissioner of Police detailing their cases or to station commanders at
various police stations and these would receive due attention.

      "We do have complaints of police corruption and we deal with them from
time to time. Although the complaints are of a general nature, we have
indeed received corruption complaints relating to police and illegal
immigrants," said Dlamini.

      He said the SAPS would prosecute officers caught soliciting bribes or
abusing immigrants if the allegations were backed with evidence.

      Dlamini also encouraged refugees to report any forms of abuse to their
respective embassies in Pretoria, an option that seems totally out for
Zimbabwean political refugees here. - Independent Foreign Service
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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's foreign banks post vulgar profits

By Agencies
Last updated: 09/06/2004 04:00:24
ZIMBABWE'S three foreign banks are wallowing in unprecedented profits. The
three multinationals made nearly US$100 million (R650 million) in after-tax
profits in the six months to June, an overall increase of nearly 2 000
percent on the previous comparable period.

The profits, described as "excessive" by some analysts, arose because banks
paid depositors almost zero interest and threw these cheap funds into the
money market, which was yielding as much as 320 percent.

Cumulatively, the banks, South Africa's Stanbic and British banks Standard
Chartered and Barclays, reported an after-tax historical cost profit of
Z$501.4 billion (R624 million) in the six months to June, compared with
Z$24.961 billion in the same period last year.

Standard Chartered's Zimbabwe profit of Z$190 billion was triple that of
retail banking in the rest of Africa and up by 1 908 percent on a year ago.

Stanbic Bank's after-tax profits soared by 2 055 percent to Z$114.9 billion,
which was about a half of what it made out of the rest of its African

Barclays Bank reveals that it made Z$196.5 billion out of Zimbabwe or a
third of what it made in the rest of its African and Middle East operations.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe decided that last year's cheap borrowing was
one reason for inflation, which peaked in January at 622 percent year on

Over the past three years, banks paid interest of zero to 10 percent while
rates on the market were around 30 to 50 percent.

To discourage speculative borrowing, the central bank governor Gideon Gono
introduced financial bills, short-term paper with interest rates of 320
percent. Analysts say the financial bills, intended as a deflationary
measure, are going to prove the reverse.

The government still has to pay interest that is accumulating. More than
Z$1.3 trillion matured on one day in June.

Analysts say last year's high interest rates pushed several "indigenous"
banks into financial difficulties. Several quality indigenous banks were
infected by depositors' fears, which led to a flight to the "safety" of the

As the central bank tightened liquidity and borrowing became more expensive,
rewards to depositors remained static.
Minimum lending rates are still around 200 percent while deposits get 10
percent at most.

Mast Stockbrokers economist Jonathan Waters this week rapped "excessive"
bank profits.

"Banks had swathes of cheap cash this year, which they either lent out at
200 to 300 percent or put into financial bills.

"In essence, they stole their depositors' funds as they paid them next to
nothing, and then lent it out at massive margins to the productive sector,
who they squeezed in order to make these excessive profits."

The staggering riches of multinational banks will not cheer their foreign
shareholders as analysts say Zimbabwe cannot afford to allow them to remit
Business Report

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