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

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Zim Independent

Botswana blames Mugabe for crisis
Staff writer
BOTSWANA'S ruling party has blasted Zimbabwe's agrarian reform programme
saying the government of President Robert Mugabe has lost control of the
land redistribution process.
A high-powered delegation from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP),
which met Zanu PF officials in Bulawayo last month, said Botswana was
suffering from the contagion effect of the land-induced crisis in Zimbabwe.
Reports from Botswana said the meeting, initiated by the BDP, was called
because of the negative effect on the economy of Botswana of the political
crisis in Zimbabwe.
BDP national chairman Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who headed his party's
delegation, said this week that the Zimbabwean situation was not only a
threat to security in Zimbabwe but to the region as a whole. He said while
most people and governments - including Britain - agreed in principle to
land redistribution, there was a groundswell of opinion that the
implementation process was flawed.
"We indicated to our counterparts in Zimbabwe that we feel their handling of
the situation is not neat enough," Kedikilwe told the Botswana Gazette.
At pains to choose diplomatic language to explain the exchanges at the
meeting, Kedikilwe said the BDP felt that the Zimbabwean government had lost
control of the situation.
"It is important for the state to be in control," he said. "But an
impression has been created that the government in Zimbabwe has lost control
of the situation, which is just as dangerous as the situation of a driver
who has lost control of his vehicle."
Botswana's tourism industry is one of the biggest casualties of the
Zimbabwean crisis. International tourists who used to visit the country via
Victoria Falls no longer come because they fear political violence.
Although President Festus Mogae has warned of the danger of Zimbabwe's
problems spilling into Botswana, the indictment of Mugabe's land policy by a
ruling party in the region where leaders have refused to publicly censure
one another is unprecedented.
The BDP said in their private talks with Zanu PF that they emphasised the
importance of the Zimbabwean government reasserting its authority over land
However, Zanu PF information supremo Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday denied the
BDP registered its disquiet with the land reform programme.
"There was no such dismay registered," said Shamuyarira.
Asked what was discussed at the meeting he said: "That was a confidential
meeting between the two parties. We cannot disclose what was discussed. It
was just an exchange of ideas." National chairman John Nkomo headed the Zanu
PF team
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Subject: from feast to famine
Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2002 7:19 PM

Dear Sir  
I write to you again to update you on the position in our farming area of Raffingora, Zimbabwe. As the dawning realisation of famine slowly reaches into the minds of the farm workers in the district they wonder what will happen to them.
After having been whipped up by a Zanu PF led group calling themselves "the big six" during this last month to demand their termination packages and having barricaded the farmers into their homes, prevented tobacco being delivered for sale and staging work stoppages, the farmers eventually caved into the labour demands and paid out huge packages to the labour. Many had worked for the same farm for over 40 years.
  The payment of these packages has in many instances made farmers lose all their savings and they now face a situation where they are unable to farm using their savings and unable to farm as the banks will not lend money to farmers in these uncertain times. Combine this with the government's eviction of the farmers from their farms during the past three weeks and the labour now face a future with no work, no food and no homes.  
Many of the labourers originate from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. They and their forefathers came to Zimbabwe in the early part of the last century to work on the tobacco farms as there was not enough labour in Zimbabwe to work the land. They did not renounce their foreign nationality or that of their forefathers before 6 January 2002 and so they are stateless aliens. Many have no birth certificates or national identity cards. Many of them have no idea of where their forefathers came from.  
With their self-imposed termination of employment, they are now required to return to their communal homes. Very few farm labourers have been given land to till on the farms that have been taken by government for resettlement and if they are aliens or opposition supporters, the farm labour have no hope of being resettled on any of the farms they worked on for so many years.  
The temptation to buy blankets, pots, bicycles or drink away their terminal benefits has been huge. Many have already lost their money through theft or alcohol consumption. Very few have though about where the next bag of maize meal will come from. This has always traditionally been supplied by the farmer at the beginning of each month. The farmer has always (for up to 60 years) sourced maize for the farm labour and so this problem has never arisen. The Grain Marketing Board Depots are empty and when a delivery of maize does arrive, the members of the ruling party are given maize first...often leaving...nothing for the farm workers. That is, for those farm workers who still have any money left after their happy spending spree at the beginning of September .  
To add fuel to the fire, the local hospital has no drugs and no trained staff. The local war vet who abducted me in 2000, as well as evicted me from my home in August despite a high court order specifically disallowing him from doing so, has been made the local Rural Councilor. He was unopposed in the nomination for Councilors during this month and therefore took up his post without an election. He controls the clinic, hospital, roads, and general well-being of all the people in our community.  
We face a humanitarian crisis in the Raffingora district over the next few months. People will be homeless, jobless and worst of all, foodless. This has never happened before. How can they conceive of something that has never happened before?  Sir, while I accept that you feel that you cannot interfere in the internal affairs of another country, I plead with you to see that this is a form of genocide. Do not allow the world to look back on Zimbabwe in the future and compare it with Rwanda, Burundi or Ethiopia.  Please do whatever you can to prevent this humanitarian crisis and the total removal of our basic human rights to life, food and shelter.
 Yours sincerely Jean Simon
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DFN Hosts Online Chat with Geoffrey Nyarota

Editor of Zimbabwe's Leading Independent Daily Newspaper To Discuss
Press Freedom and Local Elections Results In Zimbabwe

WHEN: Friday, October 4, 2002 from 12:30 to 1:30 PM New York time
(4:30 to 5:30 PM GMT).

WHERE: Digital Freedom Network's Web site at

The Digital Freedom Network (DFN) will host an online meeting with
Geoffrey Nyarota, the Zimbabwe Daily News editor arrested five times
in the last three years for printing articles considered critical of
the Zimbabwe government.

In the past few years, Mr. Nyarota has seen his printing presses
bombed and a number of his staff arrested on charges of defamation.
And on May 3, Mr. Nyarota's work was recognized when he won the
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize for 2002.

The online meeting will take place on Friday, October 4, 2002 from
12:30 to 1:30 PM New York time (4:30 to 5:30 PM GMT) on DFN's Web
site at The meeting will be conducted in English
and is open to the public.

While the crackdown on press freedom has long been a part of
Zimbabwe's political landscape, the parliament's passing of the
Access to Information and Privacy Bill this past January dealt one of
the largest blows to media freedom in the country.

Many believe that the passing of this and other laws were used to
help secure President Robert Mugabe's successful re-election, which
has plunged the country into a precarious state. During the chat, Mr.
Nyarota will discuss the current crisis in Zimbabwe and the current
situation of the country's beleaguered independent press.

The online meeting will be accessible to anyone running a Java-
enabled Web browser. Anyone may attend the moderated forum and post
questions to the guest. The chat will be in English. Those unable to
attend the chats can submit questions in advance to Mr. Nyarota by
using our Web form.

The Digital Freedom Network (DFN) promotes human rights around the
world through the use of Internet technology. DFN's web site is

Amnesty International are running a petition to Mbeki on the Mugabe issue,
 so if you have time please log onto the site at

and fill it out. It takes literally one minute of  your time. It is currently featured on the homepage, so you can't miss it,  but if you can't find it (ie if they move it off the home page) here below is the direct URL

Please pass this on to as many people as you can, even if you don't have
access to Internet, it is rare that we all have an opportunity to do something concrete so easily.
Don't play into his hands
This year alone, 57 people have been deliberately and arbitrarily killed and over a thousand tortured for their political beliefs in Zimbabwe. Violence has become a tool of the government of Robert Mugabe to silence its opponents and maintain its grip on power.

South Africa, with its enormous economic and political importance in the region, is in a unique position to influence Robert Mugabe. President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has been working behind the scenes to establish peace. Despite this, the violence continues.

It's time to change tactics. A strong public signal from South Africa has the power to force change in Zimbabwe.


This year alone, 57 people have been deliberately and arbitrarily killed and over a thousand tortured for their political beliefs in Zimbabwe. Violence has become a tool of the government of Robert Mugabe to silence its opponents and maintain its grip on power.

South Africa, with its enormous economic and political importance in the region, is in a unique position to influence Robert Mugabe. President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has been working behind the scenes to establish peace. Despite this, the violence continues.

It's time to change tactics. A strong public signal from South Africa has the power to force change in Zimbabwe.

Photo: President Robert Mugabe meeting President Thabo Mbeki at Harare airport, 18 March 2002 © Popperfoto/Reuters

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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Friday 27 September 2002

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.



Chimanimani - The CIO visited Charleswood Estates and arrested six people, including one visitor, on 24.09.02. They were arrested but all released in the evening.  It was claimed that the owner of Charleswood was trying to settle the farm with his own people.

The rest of Manicaland is quiet.

No report received.

Beatrice – on 25.09.02, in the early hours of the morning, a couple from Beatrice were tied up and severely assaulted.  The wife has been admitted to hospital and has a broken leg.  The husband was treated for shock and later discharged. The safe was opened and items were stolen.  The Police were notified at 0300 hrs but only arrived on the scene at 0600 hrs.  On 21.09.02 another farmer was also assaulted.  He was treated by the local medics for shock, bruising and abrasions.  One farmer reported that settlers from one farm came and started fires on her farm.  

Harare South - Pressure is increasing on farmers to pay out the full SI6 package.  Farmers are being barricaded into their homes and labour is striking.  One farmer had farm equipment, which included irrigation pipes, impounded by the police and the equipment taken to Chitungwiza.  He was told no equipment was to leave the farm unless it was first valued and offered to the settlers.

Tengwe Estates received a judgement on 07.08.02 declaring the preliminary Notice of Acquisition and all subsequent actions in the acquisition process declared null and void and of no legal effect.  The police attempted to arrest the owner on 18.08.02, but he managed to talk his way out of the arrest. The owner presented himself to Karoi Police Station on 21.08.02 to show them the High Court ruling.  He was released.  On 06.09.02 a police detail gave him a verbal eviction order to be off the farm by 1400 hrs on 06.09.02, threatening anything left on the farm would then become State property, including 70,000 kg of tobacco stored in the sheds. On 07.09.02 the labour went on strike, citing threats of beatings by the police.  On 10.09.02 at 13.30 two vehicles with about 10 people arrived. Their spokesman introduced himself as Major Patrick Maponga and issued the owner with an eviction order giving him until 1800 hrs evening to vacate, stating this was the third and final order and was exceptionally threatening.  From 12-17.09.02 (6 days) the owner and his family were barricaded in and subjected to all types of abuse and attempted extortion. On 16.09.02 at around 13.30 the mob turned off all water and electricity to the house. The barricade ended with the assistance of Tengwe FA chairman, and Member-in-Charge Tengwe, Mutarofa. That afternoon, a police detail from Tengwe, together with a delegation of ZANU-PF personnel arrived and appointed some of the labour to guard the homestead and barn area. The owner has not been allowed to return to the farm and told his return is dependent on paying retrenchment packages. the owner has held only one tobacco sale this season and almost the entire crop is sitting in the shed waiting to be sold. There is a herd of 60 hand reared Sable as well as 25 Wildebeest and 8 zebra on the farm and an unconfirmed report states the "war vets" are starting to slaughter the game.


Chakari: On 22.09.02 at Chevy Chase farm the owner’s lorry collected the month’s maize allocation  - authorised by the authorities - for his pigs and labour from GMB. His lorry was followed back to the farm and at about midnight approx 100 people congregated outside and began dancing etc. The Police were called, who then accused him of hoarding maize.  he produced receipts showing it was bought and collected that day. Later the "war vets" demanded to know why he didn't slaughter the pigs, give them the meat and sell them the maize as there were people dying of hunger.  A member of parliament, Mr. Ziyambi arrived on 24.09.02 and "took" all the maize and sold it to the "war vets".  The farmer is now left with no maize for the pigs. A few of his braver employees joined the queue and got a bag here and there.

 Masvingo East and Central - Nothing to report.

Chiredzi – farmer A reported continued threats and harassment over retrenchment packages.

Mwenezi - Poaching remains excessive.  Farmer B reports they are losing one giraffe daily. Veld fires have also been reported as well as continued wire theft.  Farmer C had 100 cows and 94 weaners stopped from grazing by settlers over the last weekend. Owner contacted the Police who did not want to respond saying the matter was political.  Settlers drove five of Farmer D’s cows off the property on the weekend.  Farmer E has been under continued pressure from settlers who have made demands that he vacate his property. Settlers have also been driving owner’s cattle into his premises.  Farmer F had 5 cows and five calves stolen three weeks ago, which have not been recovered.  Farmer G reports settlers on this property have slaughtered another cow.

Save Conservancy - Poaching and snaring continue.  Farmer H’s manager reports of problems with labour over wage payment.

Gutu / Chatsworth – Farmer L reported that individuals arrived on his property on 24.09.02, making demands he vacate the neighbouring homestead of all its possessions, as they wanted to move in by evening. his wife was threatened and told she should have the keys ready by the evening otherwise she would witness what they would do to her homestead. Police in Masvingo and Police at Chatsworth were informed. They reacted late in the evening and arrested three of the culprits.

A very elderly couple were attacked in their homestead on the night of 22.09.02 in the Shurugwi area. They were tied up and gagged while the house was ransacked for linen, blankets and clothing. They have now recovered from the experience. Stock theft continues unabated. In one case, in the Lower Gweru area, a heifer belonging to an employee was taken and, when the thieves were tracked down, they were very apologetic as they thought the heifer belonged to the white farmer. Poaching also continues on a large scale and gold panners continue to present a major problem.

Nyamandhlovu - On 21.09.02 "war vets" moved the farmer’s cattle, saying the cattle were damaging their properties.  The farmer went to investigate and his vehicle was stoned.  His game scout was hit on the head with a rock.  The pump boys were also chased away. The farmer and game scout went to the police to make a statement and the police refused to take a statement from the farmer, saying they needed permission from the OIC.  They did however take one from the game scout.

Nothing else to report.                                               Visit the CFU Website

Unless specifically stated that this is a Commercial Farmers' Union communique, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private.  Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not directly affiliated to the Union.  The CFU does not accept any legal responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to external addressees.
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Zim to the polls

Harare - A last minute attempt by Zimbabwe's main opposition party to delay
local elections set for this weekend failed Friday when a High Court judge
dismissed their application.

"I make a ruling to the effect that this matter is not urgent," Justice
Benjamin Paradza said.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) filed an urgent petition earlier
this week to postpone the elections citing widespread intimidation of their
candidates, and irregularities in nomination procedures.

The MDC's presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai lost to President Robert
Mugabe in elections held earlier this year, a result the party has rejected.

In dismissing the MDC's application, Paradza said: "To me it smells like a
game of politics is being played, and sadly is being played in the courts of

The MDC claims that 699 of its candidates out of more than 1 400 wards have
either been barred from registering or severely intimidated from standing in
the September 28-29 poll.

Victory has been effectively handed to Zanu-PF in wards where the MDC has
failed to register candidates. - Sapa-AFP

Here is some news that I have just received about pre- council election violence in the Chipinga South constituency.
A business man Meki Makuyana who is a staunch MDC supporter at Chisuma shopping centre was attacked at his store at 1.30 am 27th Sept 2002.
Fortunately the only damage was to all the windows and some of his goods.
The ZANU militia came in a T35 truck owned by a well known business man in that area.
The matter was reported to the police, but Mr Makuyana was told to go and that it was his own fault.
Another business man Biggie Chigadza who is standing as councilor and has a store at Chitepo township was also attacked at about 0215 am on the 27th Sept.2002. This was by the same group in the same vehicle.
He was also fortunate and only windows were broken.
The matter was also reported to the police with the same results.
Three teachers Mr Gwitira, Mr Famire and Mr Muguta who are seen as MDC supporters at Maparadza School were attacked separately during the night of the 26th Sept 2002.
Reports are that it is the same group of thugs.
The police were notified but no docket was opened.

ZIMBABWE: Oppsition cries foul over local elections

JOHANNESBURG, 27 September (IRIN) - Zimbabweans are scheduled to return to the polls this weekend to vote for district councils whose tasks include the delivery of local services and overseeing the distribution of food aid.

However, there were two last minute court challenges by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Friday, aimed at postponing the poll, and protecting ballot papers from the March presidential election from being destroyed.

On Thursday, Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede applied successfully to the High Court to re-use election boxes from the March election on the grounds that the government did not have money to buy new ones.

The ballot papers inside the boxes are the subject of an MDC court application, which resumes in November, challenging President Robert Mugabe's defeat of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

MDC legal affairs director David Coltart told IRIN on Friday that in terms of Mudede's ruling, the MDC was supposed to have witnessed the removal of the ballot papers to secure storage, but had not been informed of the venue or time of the opening of the boxes. A letter to the government setting a Friday noon deadline for the information had not received a response, he said.

"They can't break the seal unless we are present," Coltart said.

He added that it was not necessary to re-use the boxes as there were still enough empty boxes left over from the 5,000 prepared for the March election.

He said the MDC had earlier this month launched an urgent application to protect the old ballot papers after "getting wind that the government wanted to destroy them".

An analyst from the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA)said that the Electoral Act did allow ballot boxes to be destroyed after six months, but in this case it would be "destroying evidence the MDC might need to prove the elections were rigged".

"It won't be in the interests of democracy," Claude Kabemba, a senior policy analyst with the EISA told IRIN.

The second court application by the MDC, to have the election postponed, was because it said almost 700 of its candidates had allegedly been prevented from registering by "spurious bureaucracy".

The MDC has accused the ruling ZANU-PF of using political violence, particularly in the rural areas, to intimidate its candidates from standing.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has rejected the allegations. He reportedly said the MDC was to blame for not finding candidates for the council polls.

The Electoral Supervisory Commission said earlier this week that it had not received an official complaint from the MDC. It said that 1,394 candidates had initially registered, but many had since withdrawn and the exact number of candidates was not immediately known.

The MDC has also demanded a copy of the voters roll, which it should have received under the terms of the Electoral Act. But this case would only be heard on Tuesday, after the election. The party had not yet received a copy for the March election either.




U.S. says Zimbabwe voting unlikely to be free

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 - The United States said on Friday the prospects for
free and fair local elections in Zimbabwe this weekend were dismal because
the government had failed to prevent violence and intimidation.

       U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in a written
statement that Washington condemned ''the environment of fear and
intimidation'' during preparations for the voting.
       He added: ''The Government of Zimbabwe has not taken the necessary
steps to ensure conditions for a credible democratic election. It has failed
to ensure that all parties and candidates are able to participate, to
condemn and punish election-related violence and intimidation, and to follow
timely, transparent, and equitable registration procedures.
       ''Given these circumstances, the outlook for free and fair local
elections in Zimbabwe is dismal.''
       The United States says it does not recognize President Robert Mugabe
as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe because of the conduct of presidential
elections in March.
       The local elections will pit the ruling ZANU-PF party against the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which says 700 of its
candidates have been barred from registering or have been intimidated from
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MDC worried over Zanu PF’s continued onslaught on teachers

We, The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), condemn the continued dismissal of teachers by Mugabe’s regime of unruly war veterans and Zanu PF supporters throughout the country, which clearly demonstrates the kind of intolerance of the regime. Reports just received indicate that 10 teachers have been dismissed from Makwe , Tshoboyi, Connemara, Lushongwe primary schools, and from Lushongwe Secondary School – all of them in Gwanda North Constituency.

War veterans who dismissed teachers at Lushongwe Secondary School on 19 September 2002 were accompanied to the school by the local councilor, Mr. K. Nyathi. The MDC questions the capacityof the Ministry of Education and the regime when it is overrun by war veterans in running the country.

The unlawful dismissal of teachers by anybody is unacceptable, and should be condemned in the strongest terms. While Mugabe misleads the world  into believing that he is a champion of children’s rights, Zanu PF councillors are recruiting war veterans to illegally dismiss teachers. It is ironic that Mugabe purports to protect children’s rights and provide them with a good education, yet he is denying them access to it.

The international community should note that Mugabe, who this year attended a children summit in New York and spoke at length about his commitment to ensuring that children of school going age are all in school, continues to unleash his militias and councillors to dismiss teachers in the rural areas.


Fidelis George Mhashu,
MDC Shadow Minister for Education

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MDC press 

September 26, 2002.
Made’s comments reflect regimes hypocrisy and cruelty.
Joseph Made’s comments in the Herald today that MDC’s bid to bring in food to feed the people of Zimbabwe is an attempt to cause anarchy and confusion reflect the regime’s hypocrisy and cruelty.
A national disaster has been declared and the regime simply is failing to feed the people of Zimbabwe. It is only natural that resources and efforts from everyone should be harnessed to bring in food to feed starving children.
However, Mugabe and his blinkered ministers still does not realize the gravity of the crisis. This not the time for politics. This is the time for action. The nation cannot afford a regime that behaves as if the situation is normal when millions of children, women and men of this country are staring death in the eye because of the shortage of food.
Zimbabweans will remember Made as the blinkered minister who stood on top of roofs, flew round the country and lied to the nation that Zimbabweans had adequate food reserves to last two years. Today, the nation faces a catastrophic famine and he has cruelty to detain 2000 bags of maize while the people are hungry. That hypocrisy and cruelty will damn him and his regime to hell.
The MDC will not be deterred in its efforts to bring food to the people of Zimbabwe. We shall intensify our efforts and hope that sense will prevail on Mugabe and Made that the people of Zimbabwe are starving, they need food now.

Paul Themba Nyathi,
MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity.
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'Zim is Mbeki's acid test'

Cobus Grobler

Cape Town - President Thabo Mbeki's international esteem as chairperson of
the African Union would be improved if he can take on his Zimbabwean
counterpart Robert Mugabe. If not, it could only diminish, said a
spokesperson for Zimbabwean farmers.

At a meeting of business communicators on Friday Jenni Williams,
spokesperson for the movement Justice in Agriculture (Jag), said: "Why does
Mbeki fold his hands while Mugabe systematically destroys his country and
economy to keep his government in power?"

She said Mbeki's much-famed African century should start now in Zimbabwe.

"Mbeki asked for six months when the Commonwealth's troika (Mbeki, Nigerian
president Olesegun Obasanjo and Australia's John Howard) met recently. If
Mbeki cannot achieve something with his northern neighbour in this time, he
will have no credibility left, and large-scale boycotts will then have to be
instituted against Mugabe.

"With Mbeki and Obasanjo's decision not to suspend Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth, the future handling of this thorny issue became a big test for
Mbeki in particular. Zimbabwe is now Mbeki's acid test."

Death threats

Williams related that she had received several death threats since she
started working for the commercial farmers to restore democracy, peace and
pride to Zimbabwe. She can also be arrested at any time and sent to prison
for two years. This did, however, not unsettle her, she said.

"While half of the country's 12 million people are already starving, farmers
are prevented from producing food. Some of them have been apprehended simply
because their crime is farming. Most are white. The "third war for land and
agriculture" started in all earnest in February 2000 when farms were taken
over, and plundered or destroyed. How does one produce food in wartime?

"About 3 000 farmers are now being forced off their land. Their game is
being killed indiscriminately. Hundreds of farmers, several of Afrikaans
descent, are fleeing before government supporters, their workers live in
squalor in camps and the governing elite now live on the land allegedly
expropriated for the ordinary people. The few new farmers who have settled
in, receive no assistance and are struggling."

Williams said draconian laws were often made to further restrict farmers in
her country and to make criminals of them.

"There is no commitment from the Zimbabwean government to solve the problem.
Mugabe disregards agreements with the farmers. The only option is enough
pressure from outside to straighten things out.

"What kind of wind of change is Nepad, the Zimbabwean people want to know.
Would this hold Zimbabwe's leaders accountable?

"If Africa is unable to use its influence regarding the injustice in
Zimbabwe, what hope is there for other countries in the sub-region? Even in
South Africa there is unease about these ominous events which cannot be
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Zim not on SADC summit agenda

Brendan Boyle

Cape Town - Southern African leaders meet in Luanda next week for their
regional body's annual summit, but the political crisis in Zimbabwe is not
on their agenda, a South African official said on Thursday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told reporters the 14-member Southern
African Development Community (SADC) summit next Wednesday and Thursday
would focus on the organisation's restructuring and the regional food

He said Zimbabwe was not up for debate, even though its seizure of
white-owned farms and contested election have split the British Commonwealth
and shattered investor confidence in the region.

"On the agenda they have sent us from the secretariat, it's not there.
(Zimbabwe) is not on our official agenda," he said.

SADC has criticised Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's policies and the
running of the March election, but has opposed sanctions against the

South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo
dashed Western hopes of tougher action against Mugabe on Monday when they
blocked a bid by Australian Prime Minister John Howard at a meeting in Abuja
to formally suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth, which groups 54 mostly former British colonies, had
already partially suspended Zimbabwe in protest against the illegal seizure
of white-owned farms and the alleged rigging of Mugabe's re-election.

Mbeki and Obasanjo insisted on waiting until the end of the one-year
suspension already imposed before assessing Mugabe's response and deciding
whether to extend measures.

Commonwealth divided

South African central bank governor Tito Mboweni cautioned on Wednesday that
investor perceptions of the political crisis in Zimbabwe was undermining the
rand, which fell a record 37%against the dollar in 2001, partly on concern
that the crisis could spread to South Africa.

Pahad said South Africa wanted to continue efforts to get Mugabe to talk to
his opponents and warned advocates of tougher action against dividing the
Commonwealth along racial lines.

"You would need total consensus to get any decision on (Zimbabwe's)
suspension. We have to be very clear that when any move like this takes
place, it does not divide the Commonwealth between the old Commonwealth and
the new Commonwealth," he said.

Pahad said the SADC leaders would assess the regional food crisis which,
according to United Nations analysts, threatens starvation for more than 14
million people in six countries.

South Africa is looking at "rationalising" its transport system to
accommodate food aid for the region organised by the UN World Food
Programme, he said.

The SADC groups South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Lesotho,
Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola,
Tanzania, Seychelles, Mauritius and Malawi.
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Zimbabwe ruling party fights for rural power base

HARARE, Sept. 27 - Zimbabwe holds local government elections this weekend
seen as a test of President Robert Mugabe's control of his traditional rural
power base.
       The polls will pit the ruling ZANU-PF party against the main
opposition which accuses Mugabe of stealing the presidential election in
       The nationwide council polls come amid a deepening economic and food
crisis in the southern African country and opposition charges of
intimidation and violence by ruling party supporters.
       The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says 700 of its candidates
have been barred from registering or intimidated from running in the
September 28-29 polls.
       The High Court threw out on Friday an MDC application seeking to
nullify the election nomination process, which the opposition says has
effectively handed victory to ZANU-PF candidates in hundreds of
       High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza said if the MDC believed it had a
strong case it should have brought the challenge three weeks ago when the
nominations closed, instead of three days before the elections.
       Political analysts say the ZANU-PF campaign is part of a broad
strategy to bar the MDC from rural areas, the government's traditional power
       ''Its strategy is to maintain a strong control there, and that is why
they have been more vicious there,'' said University of Zimbabwe political
scientist Masipula Sithole.
       ''They have lost a number of key urban areas to the MDC during local
government (polls) in the last two years. For ZANU-PF to lose the rural
council elections would be like a confirmation that Mugabe lost the
presidential elections,'' Sithole added.
       Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has rejected opposition
allegations the ruling party was using intimidation and violence in the
run-up to the weekend vote. He also said the MDC was to blame for not
finding candidates for the council polls.
       The MDC nearly defeated ZANU-PF in parliamentary elections in 2000,
saying it could have won if the campaign had been free of political
       But ZANU-PF officials say the MDC is no longer the political force it
was two years ago because Zimbabwe's majority black people see it as a front
for minority white interests.

       MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Wednesday his party would defy
tough restrictions on rallies and urged labour and civic groups to join a
new defiance campaign against Mugabe.
       The opposition call to action came a few days after African leaders
blocked efforts by Australia to toughen Commonwealth sanctions against
Zimbabwe in response to Mugabe's land and political policies.
       Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of stealing the March presidential
elections, which were also condemned by some Western nations as fraudulent.
The government has said the vote was free and fair.
       Zimbabwe has been in crisis since pro-government militants, led by
veterans of the 1970s liberation war, began invading white-owned farms in
early 2000.
       The MDC says the land policies have contributed to a severe food
shortage which is affecting nearly seven million people, or half the
population. The government insists the shortages are solely the result of
       Mugabe, in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from
Britain in 1980, says his land drive is aimed at correcting colonial
injustice, which left 70 percent of the country's best land in the hands of
white farmers.

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EU to shelve Southern Africa talks over Zimbabwe

BRUSSELS, Sept. 27 - The European Union is likely to call off a planned
ministerial meeting with the 14-nation Southern African Development
Community in November due to deteriorating relations with Zimbabwe,
diplomats said on Friday.

       They said EU foreign ministers would decide next Monday the time was
not ripe for the meeting, due to be held in Copenhagen, especially since
under EU sanctions, Zimbabwean ministers and senior officials are barred
from entering the bloc.
       The EU imposed so-called ''smart sanctions'' on Harare, accusing
President Robert Mugabe of rigging elections in March after he refused to
allow European observers to work freely.
       The diplomats said the EU would probably seek a later date and venue,
and possibly hold the talks at a lower level.

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Daily News

      Black leg disease claims 5 000 cattle in Masvingo

      9/27/02 9:24:44 PM (GMT +2)

      From Godfrey Mutimba in Masvingo

      MORE than 5 000 cattle have died in Masvingo province since an
outbreak of the black leg disease last month.

      Ernest Dzimwasha, Masvingo Provincial veterinary officer on Wednesday
confirmed the outbreak of the disease.

      He, however, said there was nothing his department could do to combat
the disease because the veterinary department was facing an acute shortage
of foreign currency to purchase vaccines to cure the disease.

      The disease causes some black spots on the legs of the livestock and
livestock affected by the disease die shortly after infection.

      Said Dzimwasha: "The disease will continue to haunt the province
because the department is facing serious shortages of foreign currency and
has no money to purchase the vaccines."

      Bikita, Zaka, Chivi and Gutu are the hardest hit areas and there are
fears that more cattle will die if vaccines are not made available.

      Veterinary officers are reported to be out in the province to
investigate the cause of the disease and some have blamed the current
drought situation as the cause of the outbreak. The cattle deaths come at a
time when Zimbabwe's beef supplies are dwindling due to massive destockings
in the commercial sector.

      The 2001 cattle census gave the national herd as having been about 6,5
million of which 1,3 million cattle were on the large-scale commercial farms
while about five million were in communal areas.

      It is estimated that the national herd stood at about 5,8 million two
months ago and had been reduced due to the destockings in the commercial
farming sector.

      Commercial farmers, who export the bulk of beef in the country are
down-sizing their cattle herd because of uncertainties caused by the land

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Leader Page

      Zanu PF prepares for council ouster

      9/27/02 9:34:30 PM (GMT +2)

      THE government, using its supporters, so-called war veterans and some
Harare City Council workers, last week signalled its first serious move to
dismiss the entire MDC-dominated council.

      Four years ago, the entire city council, then led by Zanu PF's Solomon
Tawengwa, was fired by John Nkomo, the then Minister of Local Government,
after several suburbs of Harare had gone for several days without water.

      The argument was that this was a gross dereliction of duty, which
posed a serious health hazard to the residents of the entire capital. Last
week the government tried to create the same conditions that led to the
dismissal of Tawengwa's executive, when workers in the Department of Works
and Zanu PF supporters went around cutting off water supplies to several
suburbs of Harare for at least two days.

      Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing, has made clear his determination to reverse the wishes of
the electorate by making spurious allegations of misconduct against the
MDC-led council to find an excuse to sack the council.

      The idea is to appoint a commission, which would run the council for a
period while allowing the ruling party sufficient time to regroup and
campaign so that it stands a good chance of being re-elected and then take
over the running of the council, or so that the outcome of any mayoral and
municipal poll is predetermined in favour of the ruling party.

      This is such a cynical ploy it must bring enormous disgrace to the
party in government. But it is the only way that Zanu PF can regain its
influence over the capital city, without allowing the present executive to
serve its full term.

      The government has never forgiven the residents of Harare for
rejecting the ruling party in the 9-11 March mayoral and municipal
elections, during which Zanu PF could only manage a single seat.

      Since the new council took office, it has made its priority the rescue
of the city of Harare from the abyss into which Zanu PF had plunged it. The
first of these measures involved the sacking of more than 1 000 Zanu PF
supporters, who were hastily and dubiously engaged before the new council
came into office. These supporters included war veteran Joseph Chinotimba,
who spent more time during the past two years spearheading farm invasions
than working as a policeman or a security guard for the city council. The
other was Zanu PF adherent Leslie Gwindi, as the council's chief public
relations officer, even though the post had been abolished.

      Chombo's response to the council's decision to dismiss his party
supporters was swift and decisive: all decisions on finance and personnel
matters must be referred to him first, he directed. That marked the
preparations by the government and Zanu PF to create the basis for decisions
to sack the council.

      Two weeks ago, the Executive Mayor, Elias Mudzuri, and some of his
councillors were hauled before four government ministers - two of them in
charge of security ministries - and threatened with dismissal. Again, this
was such a cynical use of intimidation that Zanu PF ought to be thoroughly
ashamed of itself, using such beerhall tactics to get its way.

      The government had decided to step up its campaign to fire the entire
council. But it needed what looked like a plausible excuse. This came in the
form of a strike during which water supplies to nearly 10 suburbs of Harare
were cut off.

      This dirty campaign may have failed this time, but Zanu PF will try
      The council needs to develop a robust defence mechanism, because this
is just the beginning. The more desperate Zanu PF desires to occupy Town
House becomes, the more the accusations of alleged incompetence will

      The people of Harare need to show Zanu PF they won't stand for this
      If this strategy succeeds, Bulawayo, Chegutu, Chitungwiza and Masvingo
could be next.

      Zanu PF and the government are displaying their traditional and
absolute contempt for the electorate

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Daily News

      Shortage of basic goods reaches alarming levels

      9/27/02 9:25:58 PM (GMT +2)

      By Colleen Gwari

      IT has now become a nightmare to find basic commodities in any shop
both in towns and in the rural areas, making life extremely difficult and
consequently reducing most families to destitutes.

      For many families, it has become the norm to go for days and even
weeks in some cases without a decent meal.

      Most households in high density suburbs around the country are having
bread or buns for super on a normal day.

      When luck is not on their side, some families retire for the night
after only drinking water and praying to the almighty God for intervention.

      In many rural areas there are reports of people living on tree leaves
and wild fruits, a situation that is likely to spread to most districts. It
is most likely that the situation will get worse as the drought continues to

      Regrettably, government and business continue to point fingers at each
other while the ordinary Zimbabweans are in a dilemma and are scratching
their heads as they try to figure out where to get sugar, bread and
mealie-meal or most importantly, whether after a hard day's work there is
going to be food on the table.

      As all these problems worry the worker, the shortage of transport
becomes another headache at the start of the end of each day.

      Commuter omnibus operators have been forced to ground many vehicles in
the wake of shortages of spares.

      This has served to worsen the plight of the poor urban worker who
depends on public transport to get to and from work. Duty on vehicles and
spares was hiked by 500 percent.

      The reality on the ground however remains that affluent persons in the
urban areas would not mind much about prices as long as they get hold of the

      But the situation is the opposite for the majority poor.

      First, the product is not there and secondly, when it is available,
the price is so astronomically high that they cannot afford it.

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Daily News

      MDC officials, supporters reportedly assaulted ahead of weekend

      9/27/02 9:56:58 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      Edwin Dzambara, the MDC spokesman for Muzarabani in Mashonaland
Central said Solomon Mazarire, 40, the MDC chairman for Chadereka Ward, was
detained by a Zanu PF team led by the MP for Muzarabani, Nobbie Dzinzi,
Isaiah Musona and Casma Mushora last week.

      By last night, he was still not certain where Mazarire was being held.
The MDC is contesting the Chadereka and Muringazura Wards in Muzarabani in
this weekend's rural district council elections and is represented by
Aspinas Chihoto and Arthur Gunzvenzve respectively. Dzambara said: "Dzinzi
arrived in the area with five lorries, carrying nearly 300 Zanu PF youths
last Thursday. They beat up suspected MDC supporters within the Chadereka
Ward of Muzarabani. "Several villagers suspected to be MDC supporters are
being held at Chimoio base after they were beaten up severely in front of
officials from the Zimbabwe Election Supervisory Network at Gunduza business
centre," said Dzambara. At least two MDC members, Isaac Karimete and Mwaka
Katsamwa were admitted to hospital in Harare. A third, Paulos Ndoro was
admitted to Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare after sustaining injuries from
attacks by Zanu PF youths, Dzambara said. Dzambara said the political
climate was not conducive to holding free and fair elections. Elliot
Manyika, the acting governor and resident minister for Mashonaland Central,
said he was unaware of the incident. Chimutengwende and Dzinzi could not be
reached for comment yesterday.
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Daily News

      Harare loses $200m to traffic lights thefts

      9/27/02 10:03:21 PM (GMT +2)

      Municipal Reporter

      The theft of aluminium street-light lanterns is now rampant in Harare
and the city estimates that replacing them will cost more than $200 million.
      Aluminium products, especially traffic flashlights and street-light
lanterns, are used as disco lights and the aluminium from the street
name-plates is moulded into coffin handles.

      Some of the moulded aluminium is exported to South Africa where there
is a lucrative market. According to a confidential council memorandum by the
city's acting director of works, Vumisani Sithole, thousands of
street-lights have been vandalised and the cost of repairing each pylon is
$150 000. "In Marimba Park, there is virtually no more street lighting. The
same applies to Lochinvar and Westwood. Waterfalls is also falling in the
same predicament. "If other costs are added, the replacement per unit would
be a staggering $450 000. The total loss to date is estimated to be around
$200 million and restoring of this service would take a long time," Sithole

      He said 4x4 vehicles were being used in the theft to pull down or
smash the concrete pylons. Last week, Elias Mudzuri, said the problem of
vandalism of municipal property was being aggravated by organised sections
who wanted to destroy council property, such as public lighting and water
valves to disrupt services and create problems for all residents.
"Unreported cases of vandalism will ultimately cost all the ratepayers
financially and in terms of the services they enjoy."
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Daily News

      Freight agent cuts ties with MDC

      9/27/02 10:05:24 PM (GMT +2)

      From our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      MANICA Freight, a clearing agent appointed by the MDC's Feed the
People Trust to clear maize consignments sourced from South Africa, has
stopped dealing with the opposition party citing harassment by State
security agents.

      An official from the agents in Beitbridge confirmed that officers from
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) had visited their offices. But
he said this had nothing to do with their refusal to handle the maize
consignments. The official, who asked not to be named, said they had stopped
dealing with the MDC because it did not have the import licence to bring the
maize into the country. Border officials have barred tonnes of maize sourced
by the MDC from entering the country. "We are no longer going to try and
clear the maize because there is no import licence.

      "Yes, we were visited by the CIO, but that has nothing to do with our
stopping to deal with the Feed Zimbabwe Trust," said the official. But
Renson Gasela, the MDC's shadow minister for agriculture said Manica
officials were intimidated by the CIO and as a result stopped dealing with
them. "We have appointed another agent to try and clear our goods as we
expect more maize into the country," he said.

      About 2 000 bags of maize sourced from South Africa by the Trust would
not be allowed into Zimbabwe last weekend. This is the second consignment of
maize refused entry into the country because there is no import licence for
it. All the maize is being detained at a warehouse at the border post. There
is fear the maize will go bad if it is not released in the next few weeks.
The MDC has said it expects the government to allow all the maize entry
without an import licence because the drought has been declared a national
disaster. More than six million people are facing starvation because of a
combination of drought and the chaotic land reform programme.
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Daily News

      Confessed drug courier implicates CID chief

      9/27/02 9:54:47 PM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      Takavadini Katsande, the officer-in-charge of Central Investigation
Department (CID) Drug Section, has been implicated in the smuggling of drugs
retained as police exhibits to London, using a Zambian national married to a
Zimbabwean as a courier.

      Details of the drug smuggling racket are contained in an affidavit
filed before the High Court in a case in which Mercy Banda, a Zambian
national married to one Brighton Munotiyi of Ruwa, was facing deportation
after she was found guilty of contravening the Immigration Act by using
false travel documents. At one time, Banda is said to have "bought" mbanje
(marijuana) worth $300 000 stolen from the police's drugs exhibit room. She
has sought through her lawyer, Edmond Chivinge of Manase and Manase, the
court's intervention to avoid deportation.
      Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and Elasto Mugwadi, the chief
immigration officer, were the respondents in the matter. Banda, who came to
Zimbabwe in 2000 and is being detained at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison,
faces other charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act together with
detective inspector Katsande and sergeant David Tiese.

      Banda is also facing charges under the Dangerous Drugs Act involving
9,150kg of mbanje which was smuggled to London. All these details are
contained in an affidavit submitted by detective inspector Luckson Tangayi
Edward Mukazhi of the Special Investigations Unit at the CID headquarters
who is investigating the matter. Mukazhi said that the police received
information that Banda was a member of a drug smuggling syndicate who
travelled to London using forged documents and she was arrested on 2
September 2002. "Upon her arrest, the accused elected not to be investigated
by detective sergeant Tiese as he was one of the syndicate members dealing
in drugs," Mukazhi said. He said when Banda was searched by the CID
officers, they recovered two passports one of them with Zambian numbers
ZG93803 "in the name Mercy Banda and the other a Zimbabwean passport number
ZA627171 in the name of Pamela Chiwara," Mukazhi said.

      When the police searched Banda's Haig Park house in Mabelreign, they
recovered yet another Zimbabwean passport number ZE447435 in the name of
Theresa Chibikira."A further search was conducted at the premises of the
accused and two dagga (marijuana) plants measuring 64 and 75 centimetres
were recovered. "These plants were uprooted from the flower bed directly
opposite Banda's main door. "The accused was interviewed and she stated that
she deals in drugs, and on several occasions smuggled dagga to London
through the Harare International Airport. "She also confirmed having used
different forged passports to travel to London," Mukazhi said. Banda told
Mukazhi that she bought the dagga from Katsande and Tiese.

      "Katsande assisted Banda to smuggle the dagga into the plane. She went
on to say the dagga in question was stolen from the CID Drugs Exhibit room,"
he said. It is alleged that the stolen dagga was replaced by briquettes with
sand and dry grass. "Investigations have revealed that the accused purchased
300 cobs of dagga for $300 000 from CID Drugs officers. On another occasion
she bought 15 briquettes of dagga for $150 000," Mukazhi said. A police
search at the CID Drugs Exhibit room discovered nine briquettes, four with
dagga which had developed moulds, four with sand and dry grass and one
stuffed with newspaper cuttings.

      It was also established that during Banda's last trip on 30 August
from Harare to London aboard an Air Zimbabwe flight, she was denied entry
into the United Kingdom when the authorities in London discovered that her
passport was forged. She easily abandoned the dagga she was smuggling in
London because the bag containing it did not have an identity tag. The
police also established that the car she was driving at the time of her
arrest had been stolen in an armed robbery in Zambia. The car in question
belonged to Paul Chileshe, a drug peddler, who has since fled to Zambia.
"Banda is also to be deported after finalisation of the above cases to
Zambia where she is to answer charges of the stolen vehicle and the
subsequent murder of the victim of the robbery," Mukazhi said.

      He said Banda and her husband Munotiyi, are on separation pending
divorce.Her deportation was also put on hold until charges against her are
resolved by the court.
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      Mutsekwa blasts government's handling of DRC casualties

      9/27/02 9:54:06 PM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      RETIRED Major Giles Mutsekwa, who is the MDC shadow minister of
defence, says the government's refusal to reveal the number of soldiers who
died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) war is causing anxiety and
distress to the families of the deceased. Mutsekwa, the MP for Mutare North,
said he was shocked to learn through media reports that bodies of soldiers
who died in the DRC conflict had started arriving in the country.

      "The behaviour of this illegitimate regime is unAfrican," he said. "It
is unfortunate that the government deployed its troops into a foreign
country but has never bothered to inform their next of kin, including their
wives and children, about their deaths." He said the recent announcement by
Mbonisi Gatsheni, the army spokesman, that all the details of the DRC
operation would be made public by Sydney Sekeramayi, the Minister of
Defence, on completion of the repatriation exercise, was shocking and
insulting to the affected families. Mutsekwa was reacting, in an interview
with The Daily News, to last week's announcement by Gatsheni that a mass
parade to honour the fallen soldiers would be conducted by President Mugabe,
who is the Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, to mark the
end of the repatriation of the remains of the dead soldiers and the end of
Zimbabwe's DRC military intervention.

      Gatsheni last week announced that bodies of soldiers who fell in the
DRC had begun to arrive in the country for decent burial by their relatives.
      A parade was reportedly held at 1 Commando where relatives collected
bodies for burial. Mutsekwa said under normal circumstances during a
military operation, notification of casualties (Noticas) is done within 24
hours once an injury or death of a soldier occurred. However, some of the
servicemen whose bodies were arriving now for burial could have died in 1998
or 1999 but their relatives had been told all along that they were missing
in action, he said.

      "Why this has taken three years to notify the next of kin only
explains one thing: "This government is not sympathetic to the problems
bedevilling the citizens of this country. We have said this for a long time.
When a regime becomes dictatorial, it takes its citizens for granted." He
said the Zanu PF regime should know that the defence forces are a national
institution which will continue long after they are gone. He said about 500
soldiers or more could have died in the DRC. Mutsekwa said it was the
defence forces' constitutional right to defy illegal and unconstitutional
commands from their political leaders.

      Asked where he thought the soldiers' bodies were kept during the
four-year war, he said he could not imagine a situation or a place where the
bodies could be kept in the DRC. He said: "My only guess is that they
exhumed these bodies from the shallow graves they were buried in in the DRC
for a decent reburial in this country. There is no other way to explain how
they were kept." He said the MDC considered the country's involvement in the
DRC as adventurism where the military top brass has amassed wealth through
mining and timber concessions concluded between Zimbabwe and the DRC

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      MP accuses Mudede of violating Electoral Act to suit Zanu PF

      9/27/02 9:56:00 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      BEN-TUMBARE Mutasa, the MP for Seke yesterday said Tobaiwa Mudede, the
Registrar-General violated the Electoral Act by twisting the provisions of
the Rural District Council's Act to stop 12 MDC aspiring candidates from
nomination. Mutasa, an MDC member, said they were challenging the nomination
of the 12 Zanu PF candidates in the rural district council election to
expose the government's attempted fraud.

      In a letter to Mudede on Tuesday, the MDC's lawyer, Jacob Mafume of
Kantor and Immerman said 12 MDC candidates were disqualified because they
were not registered in the particular wards they wanted to contest for.

      Mafume said the disqualification of the 12 by Mudede's office was in
contravention of the Rural District Councils' Act (Chapter 29:13). He said
for one to qualify as a candidate under Section 103G (1) of the Act, one
must be a citizen of Zimbabwe and have attained the age of 21. He said the
person should be enrolled on the voters' roll for the council area concerned
and should not have been disqualified in terms of Subsection (2) of the Act.
Mafema said it appeared that by a "deliberate" or unfortunate stroke of the
pen Mudede's office altered the "council area" in Sub-section (1)(c) Section
103G to read "ward area" in the circular that he sent out to various offices
in the country on 2 September.

      "The circular resulted in our clients being unlawfully disqualified."
he said. "The reading of the interpretation section of the Act will reveal
why the mistake in the circular had the effect it had on our clients."

      Mafema said they were waiting for Mudede's response within 24 hours
after which they would make an urgent application to the relevant courts. He
said: "We hope this matter can be solved amicably, otherwise we will be
forced to challenge the nomination process in its entirety, seeking its
nullification." The copies of the letter were sent to the 12 Zanu PF
candidates for the respective wards, the District Administrator for Seke and
the district registrar. Mutasa said the letters were handed to all the
concerned people yesterday. However, in a circular to all provincial and
district registrars, Mudede said a person shall be nominated as a councillor
if he was a citizen of Zimbabwe, have attained 21 years and be a registered
voter on the voters' roll of the ward in which he seeks nomination, as a

      Under the Rural District Councils' Act, a council area is defined as
an area for which a council has been established and a ward means a ward
into which a council area is divided or re-divided, in terms of Section 8 or
139 of the Act. Mudede recently announced that Zanu PF had won about 700
wards unopposed because the MDC had failed to field candidates. He could not
be reached for comment yesterday
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