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New Zimbabwe

Mugabe should halt moral decadence among his ministers

By Msekiwa Makwanya
Last updated: 08/31/2004 23:18:03
THE political crisis in Zimbabwe today goes beyond the legitimacy of the
current regime. Rather, the crisis is epitomised by the institutionalisation
of political moral decadence and the clarion call to the sitting President
of Zimbabwe is to halt political moral decadence.

The Zimbabwe Independent last week reported that, Anti-Corruption minister
Didymus Mutasa's supporters physically attacked aspiring Zanu PF candidate
for next year's general election in Makoni North Manicaland, James Kaunye.
Mutasa once described as deadwood in the1990s by the late Herbert
Ushewokunze, rose from the political scrap heap to head the newly formed
Anti-corruption ministry and corruption is increasing like never before.

A senior war veterans' leader has accused senior Zanu PF officials and
Cabinet ministers of using criminal methods to retain their parliamentary
seats ahead of next year's legislative polls. Jabulani Sibanda, the national
chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZNLWVA) said war veterans felt betrayed and exposed in the face of
calculated terror campaigns against them by senior Zanu PF politicians. His
comments come in the wake of an orgy of violence perpetrated against war
veterans and Zanu PF supporters by a terror group led by Mutasa and Shadreck
Chipanga, the Makoni East MP. Chipanga is a former director general of the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and also the Deputy Minister of Home
Affairs.

Didymus Mutasa had the temerity to justify the barbaric act saying that, "He
(James Kaunye) was attacked by my supporters. But if he was attacked by Zanu
Pf members and supporters, that makes his membership questionable. Probably
it has to be asked whether he is a true member of the party."

By his own admission Mutasa is clearly suggesting that members of Zanu PF
are justified in attacking non-Zanu PF members and he is a minister OF
CORRUPTION. If Mutasa dislikes fair competition, he should stand down. In
any case he should consider his position as a minister sponsoring violence.
But there is another problem because Mutasa's boss has promised to treat the
NGOs in the same way his party and government was treating the MDC.

At Eddison Zvobgo's burial last Sunday, Mugabe said his government was now
going to treat NGOs the same way it was treating the MDC party. He did not
elaborate. MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said afterwards: "The question
to ask is: How is the MDC being treated. The MDC is being brutalised,
harassed and tortured almost on a daily basis and this is what NGOs can now
expect."

When Bishop Pius Ncube came to the UK, President Mugabe accused him of lying
about the situation in Zimbabwe including violence. The Bishop argues that
he is a shepherd and has a duty to care for his flock.

How good and pleasant it would before God and man to see the President
denouncing violence, and bringing to book those senior members of Zanu PF
like Phillip Chiyangwa who runs a terror gang of the so called, "TOP 6" in
his home town of Chinhoyi.

But the other main problem is scapegoating or serious fundamental
attribution error by the President himself. Social psychologists describe
the fundmental attribution error as the tendency to attribute events to a
person's character rather than to circumstances surrounding the events.
Propagandists exploit tendencies toward the attribution error with a variety
of techniques, including smears, ritual defamations and ad hominem attacks.

President Mugabe sees Tony Blair and George Bush as the main threat to his
hold on power. A longtime ally of Mugabe, the late Dr Zvobgo in recent years
started criticising his autocratic rule. In September 2000, Zvobgo attacked
Mugabe's violent land seizures and the culture of blaming the West for all
the country's ills.

"We have tainted what was a glorious revolution, reducing it to some
agrarian racist enterprise," Zvobgo thundered. "We have behaved as if the
world owes us a living. It does not. We have blamed other people for each
and every ill that befell us. As every peasant, worker, businessman or woman
now stares at the precipice of doom, let us wake up and draw back. We must
clear the slate, bury everything that has divided us, and begin again."

It is a matter of sound judgement by the President himself to choose not
only to reprimand but to fire from his cabinet the "immoral little boys"
like Professor Jonathan Moyo and the useless Joseph Made and Aeneas
Chigwedere for failing the nation at the greatest hour of need. Jonathan
Moyo is sabotaging the economy by illegally acquiring prime state farms
which earn the country foreign currency, only to blame it on the West. Dr
Joseph Made is presiding over an underperforming agricultural sector
misleading the nation on the food security situation and I see no other
reason for his overstay in the ministry apart from his academic
qualification. The minister of Education Chigwedere is failing our schools,
majoring on minor issues like school names and uniforms while neglecting
real issues affecting the system like the funding of education.

The Nziramasanga Education Commission of 1999 had simplified matters for
Chigwedere setting out for him what needed to be done but he ignored it. In
such cases the boss President Mugabe is to blame for failing to appraise his
ministers NOT Tony Blair or George Bush because the voters in the UK and
America will judge their own leaders in their coming elections and there
will be no violence visited on the electorate.

Zimbabwe is clearly suffering from severe state of moral crisis. It is often
said that politics is an amoral realm of power and interest in which moral
judgment is irrelevant.

In his book "The Politics of Moral Capital", by contrast, John Kane (2001)
argues that people's positive moral judgments of political actors and
institutions provide leaders with an important resource, which he christens
'moral capital'. Negative judgments cause a loss of moral capital which
jeopardizes legitimacy and political survival. In the book's final section,
Kane applies his arguments to the American presidency from Kennedy to
Clinton. He argues that a moral crisis has afflicted the nation at its
mythical heart and has been refracted through and enacted within its central
institutions, eroding the moral capital of government and people and
undermining the nation's morale.

The sad thing in Zimbabwe today is that everyone knows what needs to happen
if the country is to survive but no-one has the courage to do it. People who
have gone beyond their sell-by-date need to step down and give way to young
blood with a better vision for the country and a tougher anti-graft stance
adopted. The young and the restless are living in fear because it is a
cardinal political sin in Zimbabwe to openly declare leadership ambitions in
political circles especially when it comes to the highest office as Morgan
Tsvangirai and the late Dr Eddison Zvobgo came to realize. In the same vein,
people have come to realize that it does not matter who is abusing their
rights, whether it is a black or white, former oppressor or liberator, white
farmer or black minister, people do not deserve injustice whatever the
circumstances.

It is worse to be oppressed by your own brother or sister and it the height
of hypocrisy for any African leader to deny injustice only because the
former oppressor has pointed it out. In Zimbabwe we need The Daily News back
on the streets, and the ZBC to give views from all the political divides.
Zimbabweans are intelligent enough to decide who should lead them but unless
and until the people with some semblance moral authority take charge of the
political leadership Zimbabweans will continue to suffer crisis of
confidence and people will continue to stream out of the country.

It is not a secret that not every politician is a farmer yet every
politician wants or owns a farm. It is not a secret that not every current
MP is capable of leading his constituency yet every MP wants to retain their
seat. Unless and until we put Zimbabwe first and not our selfish interests
the country will continue to suffer. What is the point of rewarding a little
immoral minister with a farm that earns the country the precious foreign
currency only because he is black? The land belongs to Zimbabweans and it
helps us better if it is being used appropriately, earning us the necessary
foreign currency. Prof. Jonathan Moyo and other Zanu Pf bigwigs can hang on
to their under utilized farms with their "sharp tongues" but the country
will continue to suffer.

The British and Americans are not our admirers, there is no doubt about that
and the MDC which has been castigated by Mugabe of siding with the west is
too well aware of that. However the American and the British public are not
suffering like Zimbabweans and when their leaders point out our mistakes
there is no point in reducing every issue to racism. There are moral
questions in Zimbabwe still have to be addressed, that is, does the
leadership have people's confidence on the basis of what they have to offer.
The President has to appraise his team and not just dismiss criticism
because it is coming from the opposition, civil society or the Western
world.

Zimbabwe desperately needs some sense of accountability at the top, and our
scarce resources ought to be used efficiently. When thugs drive a state car
to perpetrate violence on political opponents it is not proper use of public
money. When a minister splashes money in a constituency before elections we
demand to know where the money is coming from. Senior government officials
with multiple farms defying calls to surrender farms to the state so that
they can be put to better use are destroying the economy.

When all is said and done our major concern is whether the President is
still in charge of the country or the immoral little boys have taken over.
If there is a chance for the President to do something it is now or never.
It is certainly not Mugabe's interest for leave political brigandage and
cancerous corruption as the fastest growing industry during his last term of
office because whoever takes over will not be able to guarantee his
security. Political unrest is inevitable if the situation continues as it is
today in Zimbabwe.
Makwanya is a social scientist based in London - makwanya@yahoo.com

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New Zimbabwe

When propaganda fails, try scantily-clad women

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 08/31/2004 21:22:16
JOSEPH Goebbels once said that if propaganda is repeated often enough, it
gains the legitimacy of truth.

Not content with repeating propaganda, President Robert Mugabe's spin doctor
Jonathan Moyo is taking a bus load of beauties to rural Tsholotsho district
to blow off the minds of wary voters as he bids for a parliamentary seat in
the area.

Moyo, a former university political science lecturer has meticulously
followed Goebbels' style of information management, but he is seeking to
outdo the man he is thought to privately admire as he pulls all stops to
wrest the Tsholotsho seat from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC).

In the pages of a vernacular newspaper -- uMthunywa --which he reintroduced
after it had folded, comes an advert for a "Miss Rural Matabeleland 2004" to
be held in Tsholotsho, although the district has a run down infrastructure.

The beauties have been carefully hand-picked by a Bulawayo-based
professional model agency, with $1 million prize money promised to the
winner. They come from the two rural Matabeleland provinces and will be
strutting their stuff in Tsholotsho at the finals on 4 September.

"MANTOMBAZANA!!! MANTOMBAZANA!!! (Girls!!! Girls!!!)," the advert screams,
"Sidinga amatshatshazi alejwabu elibutshelezi, angela machatha, angela
manxeba, amade okungaphezu kwe 1.73m, aleminyaka engaphansi kwe 24, avela
kuzozonke indawo zasemakhaya eMatabeleland (We are looking for beautiful
girls with gentle skin, no spots, no injury marks, height over 1.73m, below
24 years of age from all areas of rural Matabeleland)."

It reads like an SOS in an emergency situation, and for good measure, it
adds at the bottom: "Sithinte eStrides ngocingo, Ungavilaphi. (Get in touch
with Strides Model Agency without delay."

Sources close to the beauty contest's organisers say the winners will go on
to take part in the main Miss Zimbabwe pageant.

A coterie of Moyo's associates and businessmen trying to curry favour with
the powerful minister are expected to accompany him to Tsholotsho. The rich
and the powerful shouldn't worry about damage to their luxury cars as they
drive to Tsholotsho -- Moyo recently had the road tarred.

Besides worrying about the opposition, sources indicate that Moyo could be
headed for a mighty clash with Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema, who is a
former Tsholotsho MP himself. Zanu PF national chairman and Lands Minister
John Nkomo is also said to be privately contemplating standing in the
contituency, about 60km west of Bulawayo.

Moyo, a non-elected appointee in President Mugabe's government is said to be
desperate to avoid Zanu PF primaries which could prevent him from
representing Zanu PF.

Moyo is leaving nothing to chance and has displayed a curious streak of
generosity towards the villagers, at one stage dishing out $100 million
inside seven days.

He also donated over 700 blankets worth $90 million to several health
institutions and followed that a day later with a donation of two computers
and a printer worth $22,1 million to Tsholotsho hospital.

A few days later the minister followed with another donation of a computer
and printer all worth $13 million to Tsholotsho police.

Apart from donations made in July, this year alone, Moyo donated medical
equipment worth $28 million before donating 1000 bags of cement worth $40
million to various schools in the constituency.

He donated a further $2 million to cover funeral costs for a chief who died
in Tsholotsho two months ago. The minister has also established what he
termed multi-million dollar scholarship programme for disadvantaged children
in the constituency. He also launched a football tournament in Tsholotsho
sponsored to the tune of $15 million using 'personal funds.'

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New Zimbabwe

Matonga's graft trial collapses

By Paidamoyo Chipunza
Last updated: 08/31/2004 22:22:23
BRIGHT Matonga, the chief executive of the Zimbabwe United Passengers
Company (ZUPCO) was a relieved man Monday after Harare magistrate Virginia
Sithole dropped the corruption charges involving about $1.5 billion against
him.

Matonga could not comment on the latest twist to the saga, and instead
referred all questions to his lawyer James Muzangaza of Harare firm,
Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana.

Muzangaza said his client was acquitted because the State failed to produce
evidence incriminating enough to convict Matonga.

The prosecution, he added, would proceed by way of summons if they managed
to build a credible case against the bus boss.

"The charges were withdrawn before plea because there were no basis of truth
in the allegations. However, the State will further proceed by way of
summons if they still feel that Matonga has a case to answer," Muzangaza
said.

Charges against Matonga arose early this year following ZUPCO's purchase of
48 Scania buses worth $1.5 billion from Hinley Enterprises of South Africa.
The transaction was said to have been carried out without the authority of
the ZUPCO board.

Initially, the deal was meant to have covered the purchase of 70 buses, but
only 48 were bought.

It was alleged that Metropolitan Bank, which financed the deal, paid out
$4.6 billion after Matonga sanctioned the transaction.

Matonga then reportedly instructed that Pioneer Motor Company be paid $100
million while Hinley Enterprises was paid $ 1.5billion without the knowledge
of the ZUPCO board.

The purchase of the buses was done without inviting tenders, raising
suspicion on the legality of the deal between ZUPCO and Scania of South
Africa
Daily Mirror

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From The Daily News Online Edition, 31 August

Zimbabwean illegal immigrants denied treatment in SA

Johannesburg - Sick Zimbabwean illegal immigrants and expectant mothers are
being denied access to medical care, a non-government organisation reported
this week. The deprivation has led diseases such as HIV/Aids and
tuberculosis spreading among thousands of the estimated 2.5 million
Zimbabweans residing here. According to the regional non-governmental
organisation helping some of the immigrants to get medical care, the
situation was "terrible" as Zimbabweans were not going to hospitals and
clinics for fear of being arrested and deported. The director of the
Southern African Women's Institute for Migration Affairs (SAWIMA), Joyce
Dube told Daily News Online that HIV/Aids was spreading unabated among the
immigrants as most of them were ignorant of the disease. She said they could
not get treatment for sexually transmitted infections and other diseases as
they had no proper immigration documents. Immigrants must produce identity
cards or passports with visas or permits before they can obtain medical care
at public health institutions in South Africa.

"Most of the illegal immigrants are ignorant about HIV/Aids and they can't
go to clinics and workshops because they are afraid of being arrested. As a
result most suffer in silence and we would like to assist them with
medication," said Dube. She said it was also disturbing that even expectant
mothers were not being looked after. She said sometimes her organisation has
had to take them to private doctors. "We are grateful to a Zimbabwean doctor
who is assisting these immigrants. We don't have money, otherwise we would
want all of them to have proper medical care," she said. Dube said a group
of doctors based in Zimbabwe would soon be coming to South Africa to treat
the immigrants. Thousands of illegal immigrants stay in crowded shacks
around South Africa where they risk contracting diseases. Some live in the
crime-infested suburb of Hillbrow in Johannesburg
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31 August 2004

PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI'S TUESDAY MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE

As we approach the endgame in our march towards freedom, I am confident that
despite all the obstacles and dangers Zimbabweans are poised for a decisive
victory.

The traditional arrogance of the regime towards any proposals which seek an
open society, freedom for all and an inclusive political culture appears to
be withering fast, paving the way for the will of the people to prevail.

The spirit of the people for change is still high, despite five years of
intense battering. The people are still driving the political agenda, hence
the panicky reaction from the enemies of democracy. The people shall drive
the economic agenda.

In 1995 the ZCTU - through its policy document Beyond ESAP -- called for
land reform as an empowerment tool. This call was ignored until pressure
began to mount in 1998, forcing Zanu PF to react in a disorganised manner,
leading to the present-day fiasco. An opportunity to deal with a national
grievance was lost but the people refused to be cowed into submission.

Our national debates led to the rise of the Constitutional movement in 1997.
Initially, Zanu PF dismissed the calls for constitutional change. When the
heat was on, the regime reacted negatively, taking the people's initiative
and distorting the people's objectives. The country lost another opportunity
to tackle the growing crisis of governance. The people continued to march
on.

When a resolution to form a political movement came out of the National
Working People's Convention, again the Zanu PF poured scorn at our efforts
to put together a credible political alternative. It was only their defeat
in the February 2000 referendum, which gave them a rude wake up call. In
response to that defeat, the regime reacted violently and declared war on
the people. Yet, another opportunity to listen to the people's concerns was
lost. But, the people could not be silenced.

Our presence in Parliament has kept Zanu PF on its toes, often negatively
too. They pushed Zimbabwe into a permanent election campaign period for five
years. The result has been hate speech, senseless propaganda, no
development, no meaningful interaction among politicians and political
parties, lack of respect for the people and all the destruction we are
witnessing today. Despite the setbacks, we remain determined to rid our
society of intolerance.

When we took over 12 towns and cities last year, we inherited a huge debt
and collapsed infrastructure. We put in mechanisms to repair the damage.
Zanu PF reacted in a typical fashion, openly disrupting the people's mandate
and interfering with the people's elected representatives. Whatever it
takes, our presence is still being felt.

We took the lead and published our economic plan, RESTART. Zanu PF reacted
with all kinds of poor experiments - including the so-called Homelink
project -- all designed to skirt around our national crisis. These efforts
have, once again, collapsed. When we called for electoral reform and
published our RESTORE document, Zanu PF reacted with some cosmetic proposals
to counter our plan. Again, this arrangement took them nowhere as it was
overtaken by the SADC Principles and Guidelines on Democratic Elections,
which exposed the totalitarian nature of the present election management
machinery.

Last week, our National Executive decided to suspend participation in all
forms of elections until an election management system that captures the
spirit of the SADC principles is firmly on place, on the ground. The
response, as usual, has been hysterical. The regime could, for fear of
losing power and thwarting the people's long cherished wish for a free and
fair election, inflict untold damage to the spirit of Mauritius.

The political crisis of governance and its infection of the economy were
always at the centre of the Zimbabwean dispute. Over the years, we were
trying to intervene and save whatever still existed, in the face of mounting
evidence pointing to a serious economic meltdown. Today, there is nothing
left. No other country, except for those at war, has had an experience
similar to ours. There are no jobs. There is no food.

A nation's economy thrives in a stable political environment. Examples
abound of several African countries with abundant natural resources
including minerals, oil, year-round rainfall patterns and fertile
agricultural soils which have failed to take off simply because of wrong
politics. An economy needs the insurance and support of the rule of law, a
nation's freedoms and a solid rights culture to take off. The MDC recognises
the significance of these fundamental enclosures.

In our plan, we place special emphasis on stability as a foundation for
economic prosperity. Zimbabwe shall undergo a major transformation and focus
attention away from empty political slogans, blame-games and outdated
nationalistic concepts to a new start.

We desire a new beginning. We are setting the pillars for a new Zimbabwe.
Gone shall be the days when an election set families against their
neighbours, brother against sister, and mother against son. Gone shall be
the days when espousing a different political view attracted state-sponsored
punishment. Nor can anyone selfishly change the rules to suit his party's
needs. There shall be no bullies in any election in a new Zimbabwe. The MDC
shall resist attempts to sacrifice your freedoms for political expediency.

Any election conducted without a new Zimbabwe in mind shall yield a flawed
result and perpetuate our misery for a long time to come. It is far better
to delay such an election until our national poll management structures are
ready to take on such watershed assignment.

We are better off without participating in an election than to endorse a
senseless orgy of violence and murder. You deserve an election during which
nobody fears or even thinks of thugs loitering around your homes with an
intention to rape, to beat you up, to loot your personal possessions and to
force you to attend a political rally.

The SADC protocol on principles and guidelines governing democratic
elections, agreed to in Mauritius, offers us a golden opportunity to deal
decisively with the past and to start afresh. The protocol was a victory for
the MDC for it answered our call for the restoration of essential benchmarks
for measuring a free and fair election in Zimbabwe.

We started our campaign with a call for the consideration of 15 points for a
free and fair election. We then consolidated these points in February into
five thematic standards. We then published our RESTORE document, expressing
our reservations about the status quo, and set out what Zimbabwe needs
before a free and fair election.

We took the challenge to the people, addressing 12 provincial assemblies and
nine district conventions in rural constituencies. At the same time, we were
on the ground with our natural allies in civil society through the broad
alliance and in the SADC region. These efforts took us to Mauritius. We are
happy our campaigns have succeeded.

The only sticky point relates to the placement of the guidelines on the
ground. It is clear we shall, once again, get everything we envisage before
the next Parliamentary election. We are very clear about the success of the
route we have chosen to restore legitimacy to Zimbabwe.

The challenge facing the nation is to prepare for the daunting task of
building a new society, a new Zimbabwe with sufficient jobs and abundant
food. Let us look ahead and turn our country into a haven of peace, a place
where our diversity becomes our strength. A new Zimbabwe shall respect your
rights, your divergent opinions, your freedoms and your creative
initiatives.

As you know, we consulted widely on the future. There is unanimous view that
Zimbabwe needs a new beginning. There can never be short cuts to a lasting
solution, given where we are today. The people are tired of failed
experiments. They now have an answer, buoyed by the spirit of Mauritius and
latest protocol.

Together with the African Union's 'Declaration on the Principles Governing
Democratic Elections in Africa', the new SADC position shall take us to a
new stage of political development, devoid of dictatorships and
post-colonial tyranny.

Our turnaround plan for Zimbabwe remains intact. We know of attempts to
confuse the people, push them further into despair and spawn a despondent
and hopeless electorate.

We are finalising the selection of our candidates, consolidating our
campaign teams and the engaging various community leaders in their
constituencies.

In the spirit of Mauritius, you shall soon be hearing our voices on radio,
on television and other public media. We shall share ideas openly at our
workplaces and in our villages.

The political electric fence that denied you access to the watermelon has
rusted away. A new Zimbabwe is within sight. Together, we have managed to
overcome a main barrier -- a vital part of our struggle for freedom and
choice.

Morgan Tsvangirai
President.

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Peace building NGO could face closure

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

HARARE, 31 Aug 2004 (IRIN) - In Zimbabwe's current political climate, peace
building and conflict management would seem to be two fruitful areas of
work, but most NGOs have shied away from the subject.

Few are publicly linked to activities that recognise the problems associated
with political violence between the ruling ZANU-PF and its opposition, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

One exception is the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET), which has been
working towards the consolidation of peace since January 2000 by
establishing non-partisan local peace committees that spearhead peace
education and conflict management at community level.

Now ZIMCET is uncertain about its future. Impending legislation that seeks
to deny registration to NGOs receiving foreign funding for "promotion and
protection of human rights and political governance issues", could force it
to shut down.

According to the government, the proposed legislation would ensure that NGOs
were governed and administered properly, and used donor and public funds for
the purpose for which they were established, but critics allege the bill
will result in a clampdown on civil society.

ZIMCET director David Chimhini told IRIN that "there is a general sentiment
that ZIMCET's offices might possibly have to close" in the near future, as
their work is financed largely by organisations based overseas.

ZIMCET advisor Terrance Ncube (not his real name) said that although the
government was "generally supportive", it closely monitored the NGO's
operations.

"The communities clearly indicated to us that their main problem was
state-sponsored political violence," said Chimhini, who also insisted that
conflict "never comes from one side only."

Initially, ZIMCET was active in the fields of election monitoring and voter
education, but the focus of its work changed after Zimbabwe's parliamentary
elections were won by ZANU-PF in June 2000, when the NGO recognised a need
for peacekeeping and conflict management.

"With the land reform came the deterioration of the economic situation and,
with that, a polarisation in the society between ZANU-PF and MDC," explained
Ncube. He felt the country's economic problems and the prevalence of
violence were interrelated: "People without jobs are easier to mobilise and
influence politically," he said.

To re-establish a culture of tolerance, transparency and participation,
ZIMCET started forming local peace committees composed of a number of
stakeholders, such as representatives from ZANU-PF, MDC, police, women's
organisations, and traditional, church and youth leaders.

Peace committees are trained in conflict management and go through a
team-building process to foster cooperation among themselves. While ZIMCET
facilitators initially play a crucial role in setting up and guiding a
committee, they eventually retreat to a solely supervisory position. The
committee ultimately "owns" the programme and runs it independently of
ZIMCET.

The committee usually takes preventive as well as corrective measures in
areas of conflict and discusses problems until consensus is reached between
all stakeholders. "It is a long, long process," admitted Ncube.

A ZIMCET-led peace committee intervened successfully in Masvingo, where
political violence broke out in February and March 2004, ahead of the
provincial elections. The committee called on candidates of both ZANU-PF and
MDC to publicly denounce violence, said Chimhini. As a result, pre-election
violence decreased drastically.

In another instance, police tried to shut down peace committee meetings in
Bulawayo, arguing that its members "talked politics". Chimhini said in the
past such an event would have easily led to violence and counter-violence,
but three representatives of the committee - one from ZANU-PF, one from MDC
and a war veteran - met with the head of the local police station to explain
the non-partisan nature of the peace committee and since then, peace
committees in Bulawayo have been allowed to meet without restriction.

The NGO is careful not to force its programme on people. "It is for the
community to decide if they are interested in a peace programme. If they
deny that there is a problem, you cannot force them - you cannot be more
concerned than they are themselves," Ncube explained.

In some communities Ncube preferred not to name, ZIMCET had failed to set up
peace committees - facilitators have had to discontinue their work, although
they still monitored violence and made a fresh approach to the leaders every
few months.

ZIMCET has 44 fully operational peace committees, four regional branches in
Matabeleland, Mashonaland, Midlands region and Manicaland, with its
administrative headquarters in Harare. Chimhini hopes that if ZIMCET's
operations are shut down, the peace committees will be empowered enough to
continue their work.

Ngube estimated it would take another two or three years before all the
committees could work completely independently, but maintained that "the
fact that we managed to establish these committees alone is a success."
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BBC
Zimbabwe tobacco crop falls again
Zimbabwe's tobacco auction floor
The tobacco crop is in steady decline
Zimbabwe's tobacco crop, one of its main sources of hard currency, has fallen for the fourth year in a row.

Official figures show Zimbabwe had sold just over 64 million kilograms of the plant by Monday, the penultimate day of the 2004 tobacco selling season.

The crop, down sharply from 80 million kgs last year, generated revenues of about $130m (71.5m; 104m euros).

The latest tobacco harvest continues a pattern of steady decline that began four years ago.

Production disrupted

The slump partly reflects disruptions caused by the government's policy of redistributing white-owned land.

The latest tobacco crop compares with a harvest of 237 million kgs in 2000, the year land redistribution began.

New black farmers are reported to have had difficulties raising money to invest in machinery and agricultural inputs such as fertiliser.

The agriculture industry has also suffered from rampant inflation and high borrowing costs.

Zimbabwe's dwindling tobacco crop leaves the country with less hard currency to buy vital imported commodities such as fuel and medicine.

The final tally of the 2004 tobacco crop could be slighly higher once 'mop-up' sales, due to take place in September, are taken into account.

The bulk of Zimbabwe's tobacco is exported to Asia and the European Union.

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IOL

It's not like it was in the past, old chaps
August 31 2004 at 11:41AM

By Raymond Whitaker and Paul Lashmar

'Things have changed in Africa," said a friend of Simon Mann, the old
Etonian now awaiting sentence in Zimbabwe for attempting to buy arms
illegally. "The days are gone when you could recruit a bunch of moustaches,
load up some ammunition and take over a country - especially if you are a
white man."

Mann says the weapons were for a mine security operation in the
Democratic Republic of Congo; the Zimbabweans and others say they were for a
coup in the oil-rich state of Equatorial Guinea. But his friend's words ring
true as the 51-year-old former SAS officer sits in Chikurubi prison near
Harare, facing a heavy sentence at his next hearing on 10 September.

In Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Nick du Toit, Mann's
associate, is on trial for his life. And under house arrest behind heavy
iron gates in Constantia, Sir Mark Thatcher, also 51, is contemplating his
future.

There is nothing his mother, Baroness Thatcher, can do to extricate
him from charges under South Africa's Foreign Military Assistance Act. He
faces up to 15 years in jail. Although he is unlikely to be extradited to
Equatorial Guinea, legal officers from there may be allowed to question him
in Cape Town.

According to legal statements by Mann and Du Toit, a force of
mercenaries recruited in South Africa were to fly to Zimbabwe, pick up arms
and ammunition and fly on to Equatorial Guinea.

In return for 1 million and lucrative contracts, they would help to
depose President Teodoro Obiang Nguema and replace him with Severo Moto, an
exiled opposition politician based in Madrid. If he was not killed, Obiang
was to have been flown to Spain.

But how could the politics of a small African state have entangled
such a varied cast of characters? These include not only Lady Thatcher's son
but some of her closest former aides, such as Lord Archer, whose friend, the
Lebanese-born British-based oil trader Ely Calil, is named by Mann as the
chief sponsor of the coup. (Both Archer and Calil have denied any prior
knowledge or involvement.)

Add in ex-special forces operatives from Britain and South Africa, not
to mention two African dictators - President Obiang and Zimbabwe's Robert
Mugabe - and the story begins to resemble a Frederick Forsyth thriller, a
post-modernist Dogs of War in which the "natives" actually win.

And that is exactly the point. Not only does the affair resurrect the
era when white mercenaries attempted to overturn regimes across Africa, it
brings back half-forgotten figures from the 1980s in Britain, when a class
of deal-makers and influence-peddlers operated in the shadow of the Iron
Lady, seeking to turn her grip on the British electorate to profit.

When his mother took power, Mark Thatcher was 26, with an
undistinguished career at school and in business. There was little reason to
expect that 25 years later he would be worth an estimated 60m, with
mansions in South Africa and Texas and a network of business contacts around
the world.

Like others, Sir Mark (who inherited a baronetcy when his father, Sir
Denis, died last year) did well out of his mother's name. But the questions
and controversies arising from his use of the Thatcher name drove him first
to the US and then to South Africa. There he made friends with Mann, who
owns a luxury home in Hout Bay, Du Toit and other former military men using
their expertise to cash in on Africa's instability.

Mann appears to be the only person who really knows where all the
pieces of this jigsaw fit, who was really behind the coup plot and who is on
the mythical "wonga list" of investors. But the whole affair would never
have acquired such international notoriety if it were not for the letter he
smuggled out of prison.

"Please!" read the intercepted note to his advisers. "It is essential
that we get properly organised."

It urges them to make maximum efforts to contact "Smelly" - taken to
refer to Calil - and "Scratcher", a nickname for Sir Mark. It also names
David Hart, the businessman who is presumed to have helped Lady Thatcher
break the 1984-85 miners' strike.

Mann writes: "What will get us out is MAJOR CLOUT... once we get into
a real trial scenario we are f....d." On a page torn from a magazine, he
tells his team to chase up expected "project funds" from investors including
"Scratcher" who has the figure "200" in brackets.

This has been interpreted as meaning that Sir Mark had promised a sum
of $200 000, but gives no indication that it was intended for any illegal
activity and indeed implies that no money was ever actually handed over.

Among the four people to whom the note was addressed are Nigel Morgan,
like Mann a former Guards officer, and James Kershaw, a 24-year-old who has
worked for both men. Kershaw, who is said to have handled money transfers
for Mann's company, Logo, is expected to testify against Sir Mark, according
to the Scorpions.

His evidence may be crucial: despite voluminous paperwork connected
with the coup attempt, there have been no reports of any document that
carries Sir Mark's name.

But whatever their past friendship, "Scratcher" must be ruing the day
he ever met Mann. The former secret soldier is a throwback to the days of
empire, a British public schoolboy adventurer prepared to interfere in Third
World countries.

"He is very English, a romantic, tremendously good company," said the
film director Paul Greengrass. In his first and only role as a professional
actor, Mann played the part of Colonel Derek Wilford, commander of the
paratroopers in Londonderry in Greengrass's gritty television reconstruction
of Bloody Sunday.

After Eton and Sandhurst, the 19-year-old Mann joined the Scots Guards
in 1972, but his daredevil instincts soon drew him to the SAS. A troop
commander in 22 SAS, specialising in intelligence and counter-terrorism, he
served in Cyprus, Germany, Norway, Canada, central America and Northern
Ireland before leaving the Army in 1985.

Although he began by selling supposedly hack-proof computer software,
like many SAS veterans he also operated in the security business, reportedly
providing bodyguards to wealthy Arabs. He remained part of 23 SAS, the
Territorial Army section, and briefly returned to the colours on the staff
of General Sir Peter de la Billiere during the first Gulf War in 1991.

Security consulting in the Gulf followed, but his connection with
Africa predominated. He was hired by Eben Barlow, a South African, to help
run Executive Outcomes, the first of the many private military companies now
operating around the globe.

Both men rapidly became rich, most notably from a series of security
deals in Angola, where Executive Outcomes not only protected oil and diamond
fields, but trained Angolan troops and fought Unita rebels. The company also
helped the Sierra Leone government quash rebels in the '90s.

All this gained Mann not only a mansion in Cape Town but Inchmery, a 8
hectare riverside estate in Hampshire that once belonged to the
Roths-childs.

Mann, now a dual citizen of Britain and South Africa, bought the
estate through a company registered in the offshore tax haven of Guernsey.

But why should a man past 50, who had earned enough to live in style
without ever working again, have become involved in such a hair-raising
caper as the Equatorial Guinea plot?

According to his friends, it was the drug of adventure. One said he
had been warned by the British as well as the South African authorities that
he should "hang up his boots", but the ex-SAS man seems to have ignored the
advice.

What is perhaps most surprising about the attempted coup is its
incompetence. A planeload of obvious mercenaries leaves South Africa, no
longer a country which encourages such activity, then lands in Zimbabwe. If
the receiving officials were supposed to have been bribed, it had not been
done effectively, but in any case the Zimbabweans appeared to have been
warned in advance.

It took little time after that to arrest the alleged advance guard in
Equatorial Guinea, where Du Toit is on trial with seven other South
Africans, six Armenians and four local citizens.

But the greatest folly was the lack of security. Mann's 66 fellow
defendants in Zimbabwe, including the 64 men who were travelling on South
African passports when their plane was seized, were acquitted on the arms
charge, with the magistrate accepting their plea that they did not know
where they were going. But it seemed that half of South Africa did. Rumours
of the coup attempt were circulating in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London
well in advance.

The paper trail linked to the plot was so extensive that some
observers at first believed that they had been faked to make a case.

But Mann, it seems, wanted contracts signed for every part of this
dubious scheme.

Du Toit was even required to sign a company-to-company contract to
perform his part of the coup. Why the former SAS officer might have wanted
such a document is a mystery: it could hardly have been produced in court in
the event of a dispute.

That the plot fell apart so damagingly is hardly surprising, given how
wide knowledge of it went in Britain as well as South Africa.

"What Simon Mann appears not to have realised is that there is much
greater co-ordination among African countries, including intelligence
co-operation, to put a stop to coups," said one source. "Nigeria, the
regional power, stepped in recently to reverse a coup in Sao Tome, and was
ready to do the same in Equatorial Guinea. The fact that the operation was
penetrated by South African intelligence prevented a lot of bloodshed."

Britain and South Africa have changed, but Mann and his friends seemed
oblivious to that. Gone are the days when operators such as Sir James
Goldsmith and John Aspinall, both now dead, sought to convince a
Conservative government that Britain's interests as well as their own would
be served by backing such Africans as Angola's Jonas Savimbi, now dead, and
South Africa's Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The two African leaders were promoted as the Christian, anti-Communist
alternative to the likes of Nelson Mandela, whom Lady Thatcher once
described as a terrorist. But the Conservatives are no longer in power, and
Mandela has been welcomed in Britain on a state visit as president of a
free, democratic South Africa.

The hapless Du Toit, a former South African special officer and member
of Executive Outcomes, stands to come off worst. He confessed to his role
within a day of arrest in Malabo, and has continued to help identify other
plotters since.

Despite President Obiang's claim that he is not seeking the death
penalty, the prosecutor in the Malabo court has called for the execution of
those found guilty. The verdicts are expected by the end of this week.

Unless Zimbabwe goes back on its decision not to extradite him to
Equatorial Guinea, Mann will fare better, even if he receives the maximum
sentence of 10 years. He could well be extradited back to South Africa to
face further charges, but some believe that with his rich and influential
friends, he could receive a discreet pardon in a year or two, once the dust
has settled.

As for Mark Thatcher, his circle is claiming that much disinformation
has been spread to implicate him and distract attention from the real
culprits. But his past is troubled, and the proceedings against him will be
protracted and messy.

Clearing his name could require every ounce of his much-touted
influence. - The London Independent
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Rochdale Observer (UK)

Anguish goes on for gun tragedy family
FOUR weeks after the death of a wealthy Rochdale woman in Zimbabwe, her
family is still anxiously awaiting for a post mortem examination to be
carried out.

Ivy Sutcliffe, who was 61, was found with gunshot wounds to the head at her
luxury home on the outskirts of the capital, Harare. Neighbours raised the
alarm after hearing shooting.

Her husband, former Littleborough taxi driver Michael Bamford, aged 47, was
arrested within hours and charged with her murder later that day.

He made a second court appearance last Wednesday and was further remanded in
custody.

One of Mrs Sutcliffe's three daughters, Rebecca Nash, who lives in
Todmorden, said Mr Bamford's defence lawyers had the first post mortem
halted and now the authorities have not been able to find a pathologist to
carry out a second.

She said: "We have been assured there will be an autopsy, but they are not
quite sure when. The police and authorities are doing their best over there,
but there aren't sufficient professionals to carry out post mortems. It
could be weeks before it is carried out.

"We want our mother's body released as quickly as possible so we can then
make arrangements for her funeral. It is very frustrating."

Three-times married Mrs Sutcliffe had homes in this country, Zimbabwe and
Spain and was a former member of both Tunshill and Rochdale Golf Clubs.

Her first marriage was to accountant Liam Taylor, with whom she had three
daughters. She then married Brian Sutcliffe, the owner of a Littleborough
haulage company and when he died she met Mr Bamford.

His parents, from Littleborough, briefly lived in Zimbabwe, where Mr Bamford
was born. They returned to the Rochdale area when their son was young and
became licensees of a local pub.

Mrs Sutcliffe had known Michael Bamford for 10 years and they moved to
Zimbabwe five years ago. They married in Harare in May this year.
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Farmers Assured of Enough Coal Supplies

The Herald (Harare)

August 31, 2004
Posted to the web August 31, 2004

Harare

THE Coal Merchants of Zimbabwe has assured the farming community that there
will be adequate coal supplies for the coming agricultural season.

President of the association Mr Lovemore Kurotwi said all their reserves
were full and they were now waiting to deliver the coal to various
customers.

"Those who have made the necessary bookings are guaranteed of supplies in
the near future as our buffer stocks for agriculture are full to capacity,"
he added.

Farmers mostly require coal for curing tobacco, which is the country's
largest foreign currency source.

Mr Kurotwi said since they patched up their differences with Wankie Colliery
and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) they have not encountered
problems in supplying to the local industry.

The agriculture and industrial sectors had blamed the two parties for
failing to effectively play their part in the delivery of the coal.

Companies had resorted to importing the commodity from neighbouring
countries due to erratic supplies, a situation that milked the country of
its hard-earned foreign currency.

The coal procurement and distribution network recently commissioned a
multi-billion dollar mobile crusher, which is expected to increase coal
supplies for industrial and agricultural use.

The crusher has a capacity to process about three tonnes of coal per day.
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Prepare for Harvesting of Wheat, Farmers Urged

The Herald (Harare)

August 31, 2004
Posted to the web August 31, 2004

Harare

THE Department of Agricultural Research Extension yesterday urged farmers to
be prepared for the harvesting of the winter wheat crop which is expected to
begin in the next two weeks.

Arex director Dr Shadreck Mlambo told The Herald that farmers should not be
caught unawares and must start approaching the District Development Fund,
Arda and other commercial farmers for combine harvesters.

"We are expecting it to begin in the next two weeks, but these will be few
cases, but it will gain momentum as we progress," Dr Mlambo said.

The Arex chief said 71 000 hectares of land had been put under the winter
wheat crop and around 355 000 tonnes were expected from this year's winter
crop.

Zimbabwe needs between 380 000 and 400 000 tonnes of wheat a year to meet
its flour requirements.

The figure is a significant improvement from last year's 150 000 tonnes
which were delivered to the Grain Marketing Board at the end of the
marketing period.

He said they were expecting an average of five tonnes per hectare.

Dr Mlambo said the farmers must make sure that the wheat is taken off the
fields before the onset of the rainy season as the rains would damage the
crop.

Last year the rains spoiled a significant amount of wheat across the country
after the farmers failed to access combine harvesters whose costs were
prohibitive.

The farmers then resorted to the use of manual labour, which is very slow,
and they lost millions of dollars in the process.

"We urge the farmers to be ready and to make sure that wheat is taken from
the fields before the onset of the rainy season. If this is not done, the
wheat will lose its quality and grade hence the reduction of the returns to
the farmer," he said.

"If the rains start when the wheat is still in the fields, it will also
start to develop various diseases through moulds, and millers will offer low
prices," Dr Mlambo said.

The land reform programme has seen an increase in the number of new players
in wheat production as most of the newly resettled farmers are now growing
the cereal.

However, lack of equipment and funds have threatened the viability of wheat
production among the small-scale farmers.
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