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

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September 23, 2003


~~~ Newsletter 041 ~~~
Counterpunch

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NO to media censorship

One of the many peaceful Zvakwana street demos protesting the closure of the Daily News.


"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?"
~ Frank Scully

Zimbabwe vice president simon muzenda dies aged 81
Vice president simon muzenda long a loyal aide to mugabe died Sept. 20, state radio reported. He was 81.The report said muzenda died at the main Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare. It gave no cause of death. Local media had reported in recent months that muzenda was ill, but earlier this month the official Herald newspaper said he was making ''remarkable progress'' and dismissed reports that his condition was serious.

Freedom of Expression is a human right! Just as the report above indicates, the Herald has been pulling the wool over our eyes. It is important to be aware of how information can be manipulated. Don't believe everything you read in The Herald. In fact, why even buy it?

The Herald spins muzenda's death
Of course it is not so nice to be pleased with another's demise but Zvakwana must reject the junior minister moyo's assertion that muzenda is a startling loss to the nation (Herald 22/9). It is true he has some longstanding involvement in political affairs and that he might be a loss to the top heavy geriatric zanu pf but muzenda's contempt of the people of Zimbabwe was shown very clearly in 2000. He stated at a rally in Masvingo that "even if zanu pf put a baboon as a parliamentary candidate then that is who the people should vote for".


Ten things to do this summer!
1) Get healthy. You need to be fit to run from the riot at the next demo.
2) Make your work place more beautiful! Take down the presidential portrait in your office, bank or building society.
3) Support street vendors wherever you can. Times are hard.
4) Switch off state-controlled propaganda: listen to cassettes instead.
5) Write poetry. Find ways and means to express yourself. Exercise your vocal chords.
6) Question the behaviour of your elected leaders, as well as your own.
7) Get to know your councillor.
8) Make love, don't hate.
9) Be the change you want to see in Zimbabwe.
10) Reduce how much you take, increase how much you give.


mugabe uses muzenda church service for cheap politicking
He is such a predictable old dictator that we have to stifle our yawns. mugabe was saying on Sunday 21 September that puppets will never rule Zimbabwe. Zvakwana is in agreement with this. But we also do not want jokers offering up cockeye policies ruling our nation. mugabe goes on to say "rule by remote control will not be tolerated". Meanwhile he has destroyed our agricultural base by installing weekend farmers who dictate what and what by cell phone to their impoverished and under resourced slave farm managers. Never mind now we have an even newer brand of agricultural worker: firewood farmers. This is another example of Zimbabweans blind eyed view of the future.

Crocodile tears from Zimbabwe's cricketers
Zvakwana activists moving around on Sunday had their eyes pop out when witnessing Mashonaland playing Matabeleland in the Logan Cup at Harare Sports Club. Every man on the field was putting on a black armband in so-called "sorrow" at mzee's passing to the next life. Here we have this fawning collective behaviour when no team mates could be seen to be supporting Olonga and Flower during their black armband protest during the world cup cricket. Whilst marking the death of a person is important surely standing up for issues like democracy and justice as done by Olonga and Flower are worth supporting? Zimbabwean cricket cannot reach further murky depths. Email the Zimbabwe Cricket Union zcu@mweb.co.zw and ask them to explain how this mzee armband gesture is in keeping with their pathetic squeaking that politics and sport don't mix.

I must be frank here. We have become so self-centred that we are not concerned about the welfare of the nation as a whole but our own self-preservation. "Siyana nezvepolitics unangane nehupenyu hwako chete" is the common wisdom because politics is dangerous. The truth is that politics affects your life whether you are involved directly or indirectly and by not actively participating you are actually participating. The difference is that if you are not actively involved you are surrendering your destiny and that of your wife or husband and your children to others.
Read the full contribution later in this email . . .


Moyo's mouthpiece not worth a cent
C'mon people! Everywhere Zimbabweans are saying that they are too scared to do this or that because of this brutal regime. Stopping buying the Herald is a small sacrifice in the face of the trampling of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe. If newspapers register with the regime's media commission, the commission can then interfere in the content of the said registered paper. This is not acceptable. The Daily News should be congratulated for saying No! to registration whilst all around others scurry to obey an illegitimate government. It is our duty to reject unjust and unconstitutional laws. Today's Herald is but 14 pages in length and most of that is taken up by advertising. Are you so bored that you must pick up and read this stinking propaganda? And then the advertisers, what of them? Must business always come before principles? Advertisers in the Herald are giving the junior minister moyo extra cash to spend on clear beer. Zvakwana! Sokwanele! Enough!

You can decide to either email or boycott some of these companies advertising in the Herald yesterday:

Of course the regime is just making life even harder for itself. When you act unreasonably like this illegitimate government is by shutting down the Daily News, then you make your people find new and crafty ways as to how to continue to communicate with each other. If they had many brain cells they would just leave the traditional press alone. Look what the underground did to Hitler.
Hokoyo zanu - we're everywhere.


Only in Zimbabwe


Did you know?
Don't let them take advantage of you.. use your voice!On Monday 25 August Tsvangirai gave zanu pf the deadline of October 1st over dialogue. "Let's talk or else" he said. We're asking for some clarity on this talking situation. It is our right to be kept informed. And what does "or else" mean? We are hearing that there is a possibility of an "elite deal" being struck between zanu pf and the MDC. While many Zimbabweans being on their knees through hardship might like to see any kind of deal being struck there are still some important non-negotiable elements to be recognising. For example, on the point of amnesty for the old dictator and his elite band of thieves. How is the MDC gathering feedback from its constituencies on key points involved in transition? Are we the people just going to be left out in the passage ways? As fighters for freedom we must keep up the pressure so that both political parties recognise the collective voice of Zimbabweans, that we have a place at the table too. As a regular Zvakwana subscriber writes:

"Talks". They should only be concerned with removing the corrupt and brutal regime that is directly and deliberately responsible for bringing Zimbabwe to its knees - and they should not be relied upon to achieve that objective without the direct action that the MDC and others have shown themselves capable of. Without pressure Zanu PF will concede nothing.
Roy, Harare


Zimbabwe to keep old bank notes
The Zimbabwe government, faced with a chronic shortage of bank notes, has said it will keep old notes in circulation until the end of the year, reversing an earlier decision, state-run media said today. Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said last July that Zimbabwe's most common 500-dollar note (worth around 60 US cents, 50 euro cents) would be withdrawn at the end of September and replaced with a new banknote. The Herald said the decision to extend the deadline "was reached after consultation with various stakeholders." Zimbabwe is four months into its cash crisis, and government measures have not alleviated the long waits for people queuing to withdraw money from banks. Independent economists blame Zimbabwe's soaring inflation rate, now standing at 426%, for the note shortages.


*#@*#@%*&#
what's a dirty word with a C in it?

Patience

We Zimbabweans feel extremely flattered when we receive compliments. Because of the political, social and economic turmoil we were led into by Mukoma Jerry and Company, we have almost achieved a defacto award for resilience, patience and peacefulness. Even among ourselves we get so carried away about our being peaceful, resilient and all those feel good stimulants as if such compliments will solve the catastrophic problems that we have. In fact we have played the greater part in destroying our own country by creating an environment in which Mukoma Jerry & Company have managed to run riot, systematically infecting and killing every vital organ of our nation.

It is well known that too much of anything is no good. What is good is the right amount of a thing to suit a particular situation. If you have a disease, a doctor will assess the severity of the sickness and recommend the right amount of medicine that you should take to cure that disease. Medicine is good in that it cures, but if you take more than what you are supposed to take, that medicine kill you. Extremes are no good. In our case too much patience in excess of what our situation requires is a poison. Therefore we continue to be partners to Mukoma J and Company in destroying our country. Actually, by being over patient we ourselves are patients who need a cure from this disease afflicting us.

And until we cure ourselves from this disease we cannot cure our nation.

We are peace loving? Seka nhamo yerugare mwana waBere iwe! We are not at peace. The truth is that we don't know the colour of true peace. True peace is a state of the mind and experience. Does struggling every second to get food, money and fuel bring a feeling of peace in your mind? Is going to the bank to get your money and being told you cannot get it, peace? Does being forced to listen to what you don't want bring you a state of peace? Does being tortured and murdered bring you a feeling of peace? Is living in the fear of expressing what you think and honestly criticising what is wrong, unjust and brutal, peace?

I must be frank here. We have become so self-centred that we are not concerned about the welfare of the nation as a whole but our own self-preservation. "Siyana nezvepolitics unangane nehupenyu hwako chete" is the common wisdom because politics is dangerous. The truth is that politics affects your life whether you are involved directly or indirectly and by not actively participating you are actually participating. The difference is that if you are not actively involved you are surrendering your destiny and that of your wife or husband and your children to others. So when your child does not get food and faces hardships because those you have surrendered your fate to have fooled you, first blame yourself for being irresponsible by not actively participating in the first place. Then ask yourself if you want to continue being irresponsible or you want to repent and take part in steering the nation back on course so that you will be able to make the best for children and your spouse.
Simon, a Zvakwana subscriber


Boycott goods manufactured in a repressive regime - like The Herald

Right of reply: Q Tees management responds to criticism
Firstly we thank Mr Christen for the compliment regarding our longstanding record of 'scrumptious' foods and we thank him for his custom. It was with sadness that we read his letter, sadness not at his comments but that his letter so eloquently expresses the frustration of many Zimbabweans trying to live normal lives in these hard and trying times. The greatest challenge, we as business people face, is to find a way to have heart for our customers whilst safeguarding the survival of our business enterprise. Q Tees management has always had a policy of not accepting cheque payments unless they were from large wholesale customers. However of late customers appealed for assistance with several making the suggestion of a levy to offset the long delays in cheque clearing being experienced. It is this customer driven initiative that was communicated to Mr Christen, a suggestion he declined to take up. Q Tees management remain committed to the preparation of tasty foods with minimal inconvenience to our customers, and only ask that our customers meet us half way in ensuring continuity and standards of our service. For our part we will continue to strive to have balance between the business and social environment.



Zvakwana, Sokwanele, Enough!!

Your Action, Your Country, Your Decision, Things are on the move

Please remember Zvakwana welcomes feedback, ideas and support for actions.



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Visit the Zvakwana website at www.zvakwana.org
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Enough is enough, Zvakwana, Sokwanele.

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International Herlad Tribune

Robert Mugabe must go
NYT Tuesday, September 23, 2003



In The Daily News of Zimbabwe readers could follow the long, cheerless saga
of President Robert Mugabe's slide into dictatorship. But the most telling
illustration of Zimbabwe's decline is the case of the newspaper itself. The
four-year-old daily, the only one not controlled by the government, was
bombed twice, its staff and distributors beaten and harassed, its founding
editor driven into exile. Now the government has closed the paper, using
undemocratic laws to extinguish one of the last embers of free speech in
Zimbabwe.
.
Mugabe's current assault on Zimbabwe's most popular newspaper is built
around a 2002 law that compels media to register. The government has used
the law to bring charges against or deny accreditation to critical
journalists. The Daily News argued that the requirement was unconstitutional
and refused to register. On Sept. 11, the Supreme Court ruled that if the
newspaper wanted to challenge the media law, it must register first. Last
week the paper did - and it was promptly denied a license to operate. It is
now appealing to the courts, but it is unlikely to be successful in a
justice system controlled by Mugabe.
.
In 23 years as president, Mugabe has gone from independence hero to tyrant.
Zimbabweans now go hungry, in part because his policy of confiscating
white-owned farms has led to food shortages. The once-strong economy is near
collapse. Mugabe rigged his own re-election last year, and courts are now
prosecuting Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the democratic opposition, for
treason - a charge that can carry the death penalty.
.
So far, the near-united opposition of the outside world has had no effect.
But one reason is that the nation with the most influence has not joined in.
Although South Africa has leverage - it controls Zimbabwe's electric power,
for one thing - President Thabo Mbeki argues that diplomacy is more
effective than sanctions. Mbeki, who refuses to criticize a fellow hero of
Africa's liberation struggles, should reconsider. The collapse of Zimbabwe
is affecting all southern Africa. For the good of the entire region, Mugabe
must step down.
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ABC Australia

Last Update: Tuesday, September 23, 2003. 8:15am (AEST)
Zimbabwe civic groups seek media alternative
Zimbabwean civic groups said they plan to meet this week to find alternative
means of publishing information following the closure of the country's sole
independent daily paper, threatening a boycott of one of the state-run
newspapers.

President Robert Mugabe's government shut down the Daily News last week on
grounds that it was operating without a licence, provoking major
international condemnation.

The paper's subsequent application to register was rejected.

The head of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Brian Raftopoulous told a news
conference the group would discuss this week how to go forward from here,
with one possibility the boycott of the state-run Herald.

"If you are in a situation where your so-called government prevents you
having the right to seek alternative sources of information, then we have
the right to call for the boycott of the existing monopoly of information
sources," he said.

The Herald is the only mass circulation daily paper remaining in Zimbabwe,
along with its sister paper, the Chronicle, published in the country's
second city of Bulawayo.

There are, however, five independent weeklies.

The coalition said the banning of the Daily News "deprives large numbers of
Zimbabweans of a daily source of information and an alternative to the
virulent propaganda disseminated by the state-controlled media."

"There is no doubt that the primary objective of the Mugabe regime in
banning the Daily News is to ensure that Zimbabweans, and indeed the
international community, do not receive information about the regime's
continued abuse of power, repression, violence and grave abuse of human
rights," said the coalition.

Civic organisations deploring the closure of the paper expressed fears that
they might be the next target in the crackdown on dissent.

"The next likely target of the ongoing campaign to snuff out alternative
voices will be civil society organisations," said the group.

More than 100 pro-democracy demonstrators were last week arrested and
charged for taking to the streets to protest against the closure of the
Daily News.

The government is working on a new law which non-governmental organisations
say is aimed at increasing state control of civic groups.

Last year the government enacted a strict new law, the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), aimed at governing the operations of
media organisations.

"AIPPA was intended to strangle the private press by subjecting it to
stifling controls and restrictions and by creating various serious criminal
offences that can be committed by media houses and journalists," the
coalition charged.

Publishers of the Daily News were on Monday questioned and charged with
operating a media house without licence, as police again raided the paper's
offices.

The paper was closed after the Supreme Court ruled that it was operating
illegally.

An application for registration was submitted immediately after the closure,
but it was turned down straightaway.

Officials at the Daily News said they will appeal against the decision to
deny them a licence.

"Without an independent daily newspaper to comment on and expose ...
injustices, attacks on human rights and constitutional freedoms are likely
to intensify," said the Crisis Coalition.

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News24

Zim Daily News raided again
22/09/2003 21:35 - (SA)


Harare - Police in Zimbabwe on Monday made a fresh raid on the offices of
Zimbabwe's only private daily, while four of the paper's publishers were
charged for illegally operating a media business, an official said.

Gugulethu Moyo, legal advisor of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
(ANZ) - the publishers of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday - said
police had returned to the offices armed with a search warrant and were
seizing more equipment.

Hours earlier, four of the paper's nine directors had been questioned and
charged with publishing a paper without a licence as is required by strict
media laws passed last year in the southern African country.

"Four directors of ANZ were called in (by the police) for questioning...
(and) charged for running a mass media service without a licence," Gugulethu
Moyo told a news conference.

Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),
signed into law by President Robert Mugabe soon after his re-election last
year, all newspapers and journalists must be registered with a
state-appointed media commission.

Last week police closed the Daily News and confiscated its equipment after
the Supreme Court ruled it was operating illegally because it had not
applied for a licence.

The Daily News promptly applied for a licence - but was turned down straight
away.

The High Court had last week ruled that the paper could continue publishing
and that the seized equipment be returned.

Some of the equipment was returned to the paper's offices in central Harare,
according to officials.

Meanwhile the state, which had filed an appeal against the High Court order,
did not show up at the appeal hearing on Monday morning.

The shutdown of the Daily News has sparked international and local outrage
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New York Times

A Bleak Ride Home for Zimbabwe Deportees
By MICHAEL WINES


N ROUTE TO ZIMBABWE, in South Africa, Sept. 18 Every time this clanking
14-car train slows to a crawl which is often the policeman in Car 6
barks an order and 50 men bend over in their seats, heads between knees,
until the pace picks up again. Back in Car 10, the luggage racks are
festooned with the occupants' belts, dangling above them like snakes. "Their
trousers are too big," one officer said. "They won't try to escape without
their belts."




The police say they have any number of ways to keep the 952 passengers on
the train to Zimbabwe in their seats. But as the engine lumbers out of one
station at 9:15 p.m., two shadows tumble from a window near the center of
the train, then sprint into the inky bush.

A half-hour later, at another stop, 10 more plunge onto the rocky railbed,
then another 5, then 4 or 5 more. A few cars away, a policeman cranes his
neck out the window and guffaws. "They'd rather die than go home," he said.

Indeed, one of the train's coughing passengers did just that, not an hour
before.

This is the overnight train from Johannesburg to Messina, which twice a
month hauls about 1,000 illegal migrants from South Africa's Lindela
detention camp back to the Zimbabwe border or tries to. What the policeman
says is very nearly true: life in Zimbabwe these days is so hard, and
sometimes so terrifying, that the passengers say death is almost preferable
to returning to hunger, oppression, disease and hopelessness. "It's like to
die," a despairing Xolani Masuko, 18, being deported for the second time in
less than a year, said of his homeland. "I don't have money. I don't have
food. I don't have everything. The whole family died of H.I.V."

South African officials say that the country deports at least 2,500
Zimbabweans each month, on the train and in trucks.

But the true number of illegal immigrants is far higher, experts say. They
work in menial jobs, as street vendors, in tenement-style sewing factories
and elsewhere, sending their paychecks back to destitute relatives.

Zimbabwe has been plummeting into economic and political purgatory for at
least three years, since its president, Robert Mugabe, now 79, started a
nationalistic, race-driven campaign to purge the country of white influence
and black political opposition. Both targets have been gravely wounded.

But in a night of conversations with Zimbabweans loaded onto the train back
home, the recurring theme was that ordinary people have been hit hardest.

Mr. Masuko said he vastly preferred sharing a plastic-and-mud shack in the
Diepsloot squatter's camp north of Johannesburg to subsisting in Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second-largest city and once a major economic center.

In Johannesburg, he earned about $30 a week working as a security guard in a
well-heeled suburb. Life in Bulawayo consisted of cleaning auto windshields,
collecting less than a dollar a day in the country's wildly inflated
currency. Some days, he said, there was not enough even to buy mealie-meal,
the ground-up corn that, boiled into a paste, feeds much of that
malnourished country.

The first time he was deported, Mr. Masuko was back inside South Africa
within a day, so determined to return that he missed his mother's funeral.
This time, he said, he will return too. Everyone interviewed during the
train's 15-hour trek to the border had the same intention.

"Tomorrow, we are in Zimbabwe," Bitwe Sikhola, 24, a delivery boy until
Johannesburg police caught him, said as he slouched late Wednesday on the
train's bench seat. "Friday, we are back here."

Mr. Mugabe won global fame 20 years ago by freeing Zimbabwe from oppressive
white-minority rule. Since 2000, his government has seized and redistributed
to landless peasants sometimes violently most of the remaining
white-owned farms.

But the fallout has been grievous. By United Nations estimates, production
on large-scale commercial farms has shriveled to 10 percent of its 1990's
level, and as many as 900,000 of the nation's 15 million people have lost
their jobs or homes. Unemployment now exceeds 70 percent. Production of
tobacco, the major cash crop, has collapsed.

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The Star

MDC denies breakthrough deal with Zanu-PF
September 23, 2003

By Brian Latham and Basildon Peta

Opposition politicians in Zimbabwe have been quick to deny a South
African press report that they had reached an agreement with the ruling
Zanu-PF on a draft transitional constitution.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) suggested
yesterday that the SA government might have put out the report to help
secure an invitation for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to attend the
Commonwealth summit in Nigeria in December. He is currently barred.

The Sapa report said Zanu-PF and the MDC were "headed for a
breakthrough following an agreement by the two parties to draft a new
constitution that would make way for a transitional government".

It quoted MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi as a source.

Nyathi insisted "most categorically that no such agreement has been
reached". In fact, there wasn't even dialogue taking place between Zanu-PF
and the MDC at the moment.


"Consequently, the alleged agreement is a complete fabrication without
any foundation in facts or truth. At no time did I indicate that there was
any such agreement. There isn't even an agreement on what is to be on the
agenda of the proposed dialogue."

A senior MDC official said there were "people in Zanu-PF" who wanted
to end the crisis in Zimbabwe.

"When these people informally meet with the MDC and discuss ways of
resolving the crisis, including revising the constitution as the first step
towards any transitional process, such informal discussions don't amount to
a breakthrough."

No one from Zanu-PF was available for comment at the time of going to
press. - Independent Foreign Service

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No News is bad news

Britain has quietly de-escalated its war of words with Robert Mugabe's
regime in Zimbabwe

Leader
Tuesday September 23, 2003
The Guardian

Former foreign office minister Peter Hain, the hard man of King Charles
Street, has moved on to higher things. Former foreign secretary Robin Cook
is busy selling his memoirs. Mr Mugabe characterised London's criticism as
the racist ranting of a thwarted colonial power and used it at home to
justify his numerous abuses. Abroad, he tried to outflank Britain by
exploiting old Anglo-French rivalries in Africa.
The fiercer Britain's condemnation of Mr Mugabe's excesses, the more
impotent it appeared when its strictures were contemptuously tossed back in
its face. Since 9/11, Britain has in any case been focused on changing
international priorities.

In this sense, civil and democratic rights in Zimbabwe are Afghan and Iraqi
collateral war damage. These days, the government tends to express its
concerns under cover of the EU or the Commonwealth.

Foreign secretary Jack Straw's restrained statement on the disgraceful
weekend banning of Zimbabwe's last independent newspaper, the Daily News,
largely reiterated a position already adopted by Brussels.

This approach may mean the government is less directly exposed to withering
fire from Mr Mugabe. But it does not mean that anything more meaningful or
forceful will be done to revive press freedom, or end the persecution of the
opposition and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, or curb human rights
violations, or fortify the much traduced judiciary, or finally secure Mr
Mugabe's long-overdue retirement.

It just means that the opprobrium arising from Zimbabwe's accelerating
failure is more widely spread and less keenly felt. It sometimes seems that
the country will have to descend into Liberian or Sierra Leone-style anarchy
before anything is done.

Is this collapse inevitable? No. If a fraction of the willpower, resources
and incentives directed at Iraq were used to underwrite a strong regional
initiative led by South Africa, and if its blinkered leader, Thabo Mbeki,
could only see where his nation's and Africa's true interest lies, Mr Mugabe
might soon be writing his memoirs, too.
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