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

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This is to let you know that unless we are able to raise required finances by October 31, the Zimbabwe Connection will have to cease operations. To put it in perspective, we need about AUD$30,000.

Because we are now dealing with such enormous numbers on both sides of the equation, it has become necessary to install a virtual private network to give others access to our database of skills and jobs available. This would enable the work of making connections between Zimbabweans seeking positions and Australians unable to find the skills they need locally, to be spread effectively among the many volunteers who have offered to help.

It is very sad, coming at a time when what this organisation is doing is now being recognised, not only in Southern Africa, but throughout Australia. Over the last two years, we have been able to achieve unprecedented and much needed growth in skills and experience to the regional areas of Australia and find positions for Zimbabwe families which mean they are employed in their area of expertise from the moment they arrive.

Unfortunately the main database and point of entry is through my computer, and unless everything is centralised so that we dont have duplications and inefficiencies, it can at this stage, only be operated on my computer. A virtual private network would grant privileged access to certain people who would be able to download cvs or look for positions on offer.

As a registered charitable organisation, we can only accept donations and we have to be very sure we do not cross the boundaries between migration or employment agency work. Unfortunately the workload has increased to such a point that it is severely affecting my health, finances and, because it is voluntary and takes so much time, my ability to earn a still very necessary living. In addition, and for me perhaps the most frustrating of all, I know that I am unable to respond as effectively as I should to the now hundreds of enquiries and offers of jobs which come in every month.

I would like to thank my committee, in particular Mandy Campbell and her wonderful group of welcoming carers, as well as all those who have tried so hard to help and borne with me during the turmoil of the last few months. I will work doubly hard until October 31st to ensure that anyone on my database at present gets my full attention and I hope you will join me with a few prayers that sufficient funding might come through to allow us to continue.

Jill Lambert

THE ZIMBABWE CONNECTION

MOBILE: +61 414 363 006 (international)

0414 363 006 (within Australia)

EMAIL:jill@zimbabweconnection.com

WEBSITE: www.zimbabweconnection.com

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Zim Standard

Bishop accused of adultery
By Caiphas Chimhete

but says he is being framed by some church leaders unhappy with his
appointment THE incoming Bishop of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Rev Dr
Charles Mugaviri, is enmeshed in an intriguing controversy.

He was nabbed by police last week in the company of gay activists near the
State House and at the same time he is being blamed for the breakdown of the
marriage of a church member in circumstances that threaten to tear the
church apart.

The Bishop, however, regards all this as a plot by senior church leaders,
unhappy with his appointment and age. He is 36.

Investigations by The Standard last week revealed that all has not been well
in the Methodist Church for the past 12 months, with several meetings held
over Mugaviri, who stands accused of being involved in an adulterous
relationship with Deborah Ndebele, the wife of Emmanuel Ndebele, a member of
the church.

However, Church elders kept a series of crucial meetings called to
deliberate on these matters a secret until last week when the Bishop ran
into trouble with the police after he was arrested near President Mugabe's
official residence.

The Bishop was in the company of GALZ director, Keith Goddard, and Nyaradzo
Musasa, a staff member of the organisation.

Assistant Commissioner Crime for Harare Province, Killian Mandisodza,
confirmed police detained the Bishop at around 3 pm together with the gay
activists after they were found parked close to State House on 17 August
this year.

"It's a no-stopping zone that is why they were detained.

"We are not worried whether he is gay or not. Anyone is free to belong to
any organisation or association in the country," Mandisodza said.

The three were detained at Harare Central Police Station and spent a night
in custody. The following day Goddard paid a $25 000 fine for parking at a
security zone and the others were released without a charge.

The Bishop, who denies any association with GALZ, told The Standard that he
found himself in the company of gay activists after Nyaradzo Musasa
indicated to him that they were in "trouble" near State House.

Mugaviri said he assisted them because he also wanted Musasa to help him
explain to church leaders that he was not a member of GALZ as was being
alleged by some church members.

"I think it was a trap to tarnish my name. She (Musasa) said she was beaten
by the police but when I arrived there was nothing like that. Instead, I was
arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station," Mugaviri said.

Musasa denied she was part of any plot to discredit the Bishop.

"Mugaviri asked for my assistance and I was just doing that. I think it was
a coincidence," she said.

In a spirited effort to clear his name, the Bishop went as far as getting a
letter from GALZ, which he took to the church's elders.

In a letter to outgoing Bishop Clever Mukandi dated August 20, Goddard
wrote: "This is to confirm that the Reverend Charles Mugaviri is not a
member of GALZ, has never attempted to join this organisation and has never
visited our premises."

It is not just this accusation that the new bishop is fighting to ward off.

Investigations by this newspaper last week revealed that there are also
divisions in the church over allegations that Mugaviri was involved in an
adulterous relationship with Deborah Ndebele.

While Deborah Ndebele denied being intimate with Mugaviri, she told The
Standard that the Bishop had unsuccessfully tried to force himself on her on
Valentine's Day last year.

She said on 14 February last year, Mugaviri phoned her while she was
attending a Sunningdale Methodist Church Funding Dinner Dance at the
Sheraton in Harare. He invited her out.

"Mugaviri came to the Sheraton but refused to have dinner at the hotel
saying people would see us and I wondered. We drove into town but all places
were occupied, so we proceeded to Cresta Lodge, where he had already booked
a private room without my knowledge," explained Deborah Ndebele, adding that
Mugaviri had made several other advances in the past, which she turned down.

Deborah Ndebele said while they were having dinner at Cresta Lodge, her
husband phoned her and asked Mugaviri to take her home immediately.

Asked why she did not decline Mugaviri's invitation, Deborah Ndebele said:
"I was his secretary, it was difficult for me to refuse."

Her husband, Emmanuel Ndebele, former treasurer of the Church resigned from
his job in March this year in protest against the alleged sex scandal.

On Friday he told The Standard that he was going through very difficult
times because of the Bishop, among other men, whom he alleged were
responsible for the breakdown of his marriage.

"My friend, I am going through a very difficult time. Anyway, the issue of
Mugaviri is part of my divorce proceedings," he said, claiming that his wife
might have other boyfriends, beside the Bishop who infuriated him most
because he was a "church minister and a personal friend".

He claimed three other men, who were going out with his wife, had apologised
but Mugaviri had refused to do so. "Mbavha dzese dzakapinda mumba mangu
dzakapinda neburi rakaboorwa naMugaviri ," said Emmanuel Ndebele. He did not
name the other men whom he said had apologised. His wife denied having any
extra marital affairs.

Emmanuel Ndebele wrote to Mugaviri on August 17 this year notifying him of
his intention to take legal action.

But the Bishop flatly denied ever making advances to Mrs Ndebele saying he
treated her only as a secretary and a family friend. He said there were some
senior ministers in the church who were "cooking up" cases against him in
order to prevent his confirmation as substantive Bishop. Mugaviri said his
problems started when he was appointed Bishop-designate in August last year.

"It is totally unfounded and I have evidence to prove my innocence," said
Mugaviri, who was flanked by his wife, Shingirirai, during an interview with
The Standard on Friday.

Mugaviri also produced a letter, written by Cresta Lodge general manager,
Leonard Chihwai, stating that he never booked at Cresta Lodge on the day in
question.

"This is to confirm that we have checked our Hotel records and the above
mentioned (Mugaviri) was not neither (sic) booked nor stayed at the Hotel on
14 February 2003," says the letter.

Attempts to independently verify this particular assertion were
unsuccessful. The Hotel's deputy general manager, Sekai Sikhosana, said: "If
ever he booked here, it was his private business and it is only him again
whom we can give that record, if he makes a request. People's records here
are private and confidential."

Mugaviri claimed that on February 14 last year, he was home with his family
together with a friend, Pedzisai Mashizha, and a relative, Sikoliwe Mugodhi.

Mugodhi also claimed she was with the Mugaviri family the night in question
and that he did not go out.

Mugaviri claimed that some ministers, who were jealous of his meteoric rise
in the church and subsequent election as Bishop at a conference at Waddilove
High School in Marondera two weeks ago, concocted the issue of infidelity.

Being a young Bishop, Mugaviri, who holds a doctorate in Theology from
Birmingham University, said some older ministers of the church were not
happy with his meteoric rise. He had also worked as Senior Chaplain
(1999-2000) and Acting of Dean of Students at the University of Zimbabwe
between 2000 and 2003.

"It is evident that I am dealing with church politics. The fact that it was
raised a few days after my appointment to the office of Bishop is designed
to tarnish my image."

Several senior church ministers contested for the post of Bishop of the
Methodist Church but Mugaviri was not sure who among them was behind the
whole campaign.

Rev Levee Kadenge, Rev Munetsi Hokonya, and Rev George Mawire are among
those who contested the post of Bishop of the Church.

But the final battle was between Mugaviri, who polled 71 votes against
Kadenge, who received 69 votes.

Kadenge refused to comment saying: "Our head (Bishop Mukandi) has the
mandate to do so. Please do not put our church in shame. Leave us alone."

Bishop Mukandi confirmed that, he, together with other senior church leaders
tried to mediate in the alleged sexual scandal involving Mugaviri and Mrs
Ndebele.

He said the church's Pastoral Committee and other smaller committees had
initially advised Mugaviri to step down as an aspiring candidate for the
post of Bishop but he refused.

"As a democratic institution, we allowed him to contest and he won. A
suspect is innocent until proven guilty," said Mukandi who on Friday placed
an advertorial in The Herald announcing Mugaviri as the new presiding Bishop
with effect from December this year.

Joseph Mafusire, who is the Mugaviri's lawyer, said that people who did not
want to see him confirmed as Bishop were making the accusations against his
client.

"Their accusations could not stand, no wonder he (Mugaviri) was confirmed as
Bishop," said Mafusire yesterday.
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Zim Standard

Govt drive against graft losing steam
By Foster Dongozi

WHEN the government launched its much-publicised crackdown on corruption
towards the end of 2003, Zimbabweans dismissed the initiative as a stunt
designed to win votes ahead of the March 2005 parliamentary election.

Cynics suggested the stunt was designed to settle personal scores with
business people and bankers who had crossed the paths of the Zanu PF top
leadership.

Nine months down the line, the scepticism appears to have been vindicated.
The so-called anti-corruption drive appears to have lost both direction and
momentum.

Most of the suspects who were being investigated have now been cleared of
the charges or were conveniently out of the country when the investigations
started, raising questions about the authenticity of the crackdown on
corruption, spearhead by the Anti-Corruption ministry.

Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena vehemently
denied that they were being used as pawns in a war to settle personal
scores.

"That is a very crude allegation to make. But then in a country such as
ours, people are free to air their opinions. We as the police don't have a
role to play in political issues but should politicians commit crimes then
naturally we will investigate them," Bvudzijena said.

Asked why most suspects were outside the country when investigations were
launched, thus allowing some of them to abscond, Bvudzijena said: "That
might be true, but we don't determine when people can give us leads or
information on corrupt activities."

The head of Intermarket Building Society, Nicholas Vingirai, and the founder
of Barbican Bank, Mthuli Ncube, were outside the country when the
investigation was launched, while the remaining NMB directors found their
way out of the country when investigations started.

Chinhoyi Member of Parliament, Philip Chiyangwa, who was facing charges of
contempt of court, perjury and attempting to obstruct the course of justice
was acquitted on August 26. The magistrate said the State had failed to
establish a case against him.

In acquitting Chiyangwa, Harare provincial magistrate, Judith Tsamba said:
"It appears that initially, there was a reasonable suspicion linking the
accused (Chiyangwa) to the offences. However, in view of the evidence on
record, it is surprising that this case was brought to trial."

He had been linked to operations of the collapsed asset management company,
ENG, after some of the company's vehicles were found on his property.

Four days later, Zanu PF supporter and aspiring Kadoma East Member of
Parliament, Bright Matonga, had charges he was facing under the Prevention
of Corruption dropped.

Matonga, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) chief executive
officer, was arrested in March on corruption charges involving $1,25
billion.

Prosecutor, Venrandah Munyoro told the court that the Attorney General's
Office had decided to drop the charges because it wanted to research on
certain evidence.

After being arrested in a blaze of publicity early this year, Harare
businesswoman and Zanu PF supporter, Jane Mutasa, was fined $8,5 million for
illegally dealing in foreign currency.

The anti-corruption crusade also netted ENG directors, Nyasha Watyoka and
Gilbert Muponda.

Muponda was granted bail and skipped the country, reportedly headed for the
USA.

Ever suspicious, Zimbabweans suggested his connections to powerful people in
the ruling Zanu PF could have facilitated his way to freedom.

But while the anti-corruption drive steam appears to be fizzling out, the
spotlight will remain trained on Finance Minister Christopher Kuruneri, and
Zanu PF central committee member, James Makamba. Kuruneri faces charges of
allegedly externalising funds, while Makamba faces charges of illegally
dealing in foreign currency.

Pastor Goodwill Shana, the chairperson of Transparency International
Zimbabwe, said the haphazard nature of the anti-corruption crusade made it
open to abuse and different interpretations.

"The anti-corruption drive has been very selective and haphazard in
addressing issues of corruption. There is need to be more serious and
vigorous because it looks like the anti-corruption measures are implemented
when it is convenient.

"We could start, for example, with all people in leadership positions
declaring their assets and this would avoid problems such as multiple
ownership of farms."
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Zim Standard

Tungamirai fills power vacuum
By Walter Marwizi

RETIRED Air Marshall Josiah Tungamirai has assumed the role of the ruling
party supremo in Masvingo, following the death of veteran nationalist Dr
Eddison Zvobgo, The Standard can reveal.

Tungamirai has for years been an active player in Masvingo's politics
although playing second fiddle to the late Vice President Simon Muzenda and
Zvobgo, Masvingo's two illustrious sons who are buried at the Heroes' Acre.

Tungamirai's seniority over other politicians such as governor Josiah
Hungwe, Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge, among others, is based on his
contribution and liberation war credentials.

He was a military strategist and guerrilla leader.

All along Tungamirai, who retired from the Air Force of Zimbabwe 1992, had
been overshadowed by both Muzenda and Zvobgo who for years were involved in
a bitter factional war over control of the populous province.

In 1995, however, he hogged the limelight when he rejected calls from senior
Zanu PF officials not to defy party rules barring any election challenge to
ruling party's Vice-Presidents.

Tungamirai, was interested in the Gutu North constituency, where Muzenda,
keen to leave some "landmarks" in his home area, also wanted to stand.

At the height of the political drama that characterised the two politicians'
struggle for the Gutu North tucked in south-eastern Masvingo, Tungamirai
remarked:

"If a parent finds me already in the ring and insists on fighting, I cannot
go out."

He, however, bowed out of the race after President Mugabe asked him to.

Apart from his war exploits, Tungamirai is also member of the Politburo,
which is the ruling's party highest decision-making body.

He also boasts being the only surviving Masvingo politician who witnessed
the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement on 21 December 1979, a deal
that marked the end of the settler regime.

At that conference, he rubbed shoulders with the late Zanla general Josiah
Magama Tongogara, the late Vice President and "Father Zimbabwe", Joshua
Nkomo, among other heroes of the struggle.

Last Saturday, the veteran freedom fighter who was in Mucheke to bid
farewell to his colleague, Zvobgo, did not hide the fact that he was already
in the driving seat of the provincial politics.

"I fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe since 1972 and the objective was to
free the country. Now my focus is to unite people in Masvingo," Tungamirai
said.

"I do not have a new vision for the province, unity is what was cherished by
both the late Vice President Simon Muzenda and Eddison Zvobgo when they were
alive. They wanted to see us united and that is precisely what I want to see
happening," Tungamirai said.

Commenting on the forthcoming Zanu PF primary elections, which are likely to
be marred by divisions, Tungamirai said:

"It's normal for people to be divided when they are campaigning. What is
crucial is that after the primary elections we want the candidates and their
supporters to be united. Everybody should embrace unity."

Hungwe said last week he was not competent to talk about who was the most
senior politician in Masvingo.

"Zveukuru ndezvavakuru izvi. Isu tiri vadiki tinongohwa naPresident kuti
vati mukuru ndiyani. Hatitauri izvozvo isu. Eh Tungamirai mukuru, handiti
imember yePolitburo? Vakuru, isu tiri vadiki," (the issue of who is the most
senior politician is beyond us. We will wait to hear from the President. We
therefore do not discuss the issue. Tungamirai is senior. He is a member of
the politburo and therefore senior) said Hungwe.
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Zim Standard

Mutare buys ambulances
By our own Staff

MUTARE - The city of Mutare last week acquired four new ambulances, boosting
its fleet to six and reviving its health delivery capacity. The new vehicles
cost the council $525 million.

Before the purchase of the ambulances the city, with a population of more
than 300 000 people, solely relied on two ambulances.

In the event that one of the ambulances went in for repairs, it meant the
entire population was serviced by only one ambulance.

Misheck Kagurabadza, the Executive Mayor of Mutare, said he hoped the new
ambulances would normalise health service delivery in the city.

"The ambulances are set to breathe fresh air to many in Mutare since this
will go a long way in ensuring no one dies as a result of the unavailability
of ambulances," Kagurabadza said.

He said for the city to operate normally, it requires at least five
ambulances.

"Now that we have six, we are grateful."

The mayor said he expected the ambulances to be put to use any time from
now.

The purchase of the ambulances met with joy by Mutare residents, many of
whom hired private vehicles after failing to get service from the council.

"Now we will depend on council ambulances which we hope will be used
properly in order to last longer on the roads," said Rudo Sangano of
Sakubva.

Service delivery has remained a problem for many local authorities.

Recently, the United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef, donated nine ox-drawn
"ambulances" for use mostly by rural communities.
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Zim Standard

Land reform displaced 150 000 farm workers, says report
By our own Staff

MORE than 150 000 farm workers have been internally displaced after they
lost their jobs since the beginning of the controversial land reform
programme in 2000, according to findings of an assessment mission by
Refugees International.

Two researchers from the United States-based organization - Sarah Martin and
Andrea Lariec - observed that "economic disruption, political intimidation
and harassment" have resulted in the displacement of thousands of former
farm workers.

They note that, as conditions for the former farm workers deteriorated, the
government was "imposing restrictions and preventing humanitarian agencies
from providing them with assistance, resulting in a hidden crisis of
internal displacement in the country".

Since 2000, when the land occupations began, Zimbabwe's economic situation
has deteriorated and food production has dropped, say the researchers.

"Unemployment has spread rapidly. An estimated 78% of farm workers, who
represented 25% of the national active working force, have lost their jobs.

"This crisis has been caused by the poor implementation of the Fast-Track
Land Reform programme by the government, compounded by regional droughts.

"The government has implemented special political re-education programmes
while impeding humanitarian access to organisations deemed to be part of the
political opposition to consolidate their political strength in anticipation
of upcoming parliamentary elections."

Refugees International says former farm workers who spoke to them, told
horrendous tales of how they were violently removed from farms during the
land reform exercise.

"The war veterans destroyed houses in order to push farm workers off the
land and to ensure that they could not return. In some cases, people were
ferried to communal areas or dumped at road sides," one former farm worker
told Refugees International.

However, Martin and Lariec say not all former farm workers were removed from
farms by violent eviction and explain a different kind of 'displacement'

"Displacement is also due to economic conditions on the former commercial
farms," say Martin and Lariec.

"Some of the new settlers have been unable to farm their allotment of land
due to lack of financial capital or lack of essential agricultural inputs.

"Many of the new settlers refuse to or cannot pay minimum wage to farm
workers."

The assessors say some former farm workers accused new settlers of using
intimidation, hunger, and other methods to get the farm workers to work for
them in "slave labour" conditions.

"In some case, new settlers ban access to NGOs that provide food assistance,
telling farm workers, 'If you are getting food, you will be sent out of the
farm'.

"The majority of former farm workers have opted to stay on the farms or
remain 'trapped' on the land. Those who have remained have few livelihood
options and turn to other activities such as gold panning and hunting of
game for commercial sales."

One farm worker told the researchers: "My wife works for the new settlers to
keep the peace and I pan for gold. Life on the farm is not good but I have
nowhere else to go."

Refugees International also observed that the deplorable living conditions
on the farms are making farm workers "increasingly vulnerable".

"Lack of sufficient food and access to basic services such as water and
sanitation, healthcare and primary education have made the former farm
workers that are trapped on the farms increasingly vulnerable.

"It is estimated that there are 900 000 to 1,2 million orphans in Zimbabwe
and an average of 12 orphans per commercial farm. Both orphans and children
of former farm-workers are particularly impacted by the economic problems.

"Besides insufficient food, children lack money for uniforms, supplies, and
transport to schools. Some children have to work as casual labour on farms,
performing tasks such as picking cotton or weeding crops to help support
their families.

"Orphans are usually the first to drop out of school for lack of funds.
These orphans are vulnerable to exploitation as child labour."

Older orphans drift to nearby cities and towns to make a living on the
streets or as prostitutes.

However, in the face of these rapidly growing levels of vulnerability, the
government, both at national and local levels, is setting barriers to access
for humanitarian agencies, says Refugees International.

"By progressively reducing the operational space of humanitarian agencies,
the government is preventing assistance from reaching those who need it.
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Zim Standard

'Revisit ISP licensing'
By our own Staff

MUTARE - AFRICA University (AU) Vice Chancellor Professor Rukudzo Murapa
last week appealed to the government to revisit its legislation regarding
issuing of licences to Internet Service Providers, (ISPs).

Professor Murapa said the legislation in place prohibited individuals and
institutions such as the AU from running ISPs .

"The current licensing fees are prohibitive. For example, POTRAZ (Post and
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe) requires educational
institutions to pay at least US$70 000 per year as licencing fees.

The AU vice chancellor was speaking during the presentation of 25 computers
valued at US$56 000 which were donated to the institution by First Lady,
Grace Mugabe.

Speaking at the same occasion, the First Lady said she had cut down on some
of her needs in order to raise money to buy the equipment.

"I had to forgo some things to ensure I get these computers for you. I am
ploughing back to the community what I got from it. I did my secondary
education in Rusape," she said.

She said statistics showed that Africa still falls far short in the usage of
computers. "Recent records show that in Africa 1 000 people share a
computer, compared to one computer among 40 people in the world. We are
happy Zimbabwe is doing well in this area."

She said it was time more people became computer literate as the world was
fast changing.
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Zim Standard

Makamba launches appeal
By our own Staff

BUSINESSMAN James Makamba on Friday appealed to the Supreme Court, with his
attorney filing an urgent chamber application against a decision granting
the State an appeal against the businessman's release.

High Court Judge Lawrence Kamocha last week ordered that Makamba be freed
from jail after quashing five charges of externalising foreign currency
levelled against him.

But Supreme Court Judge, Justice Vernada Ziyambi on Monday last week granted
the Attorney-General leave to appeal against Makamba's release.

In the application before the Supreme Court, Makamba's lawyer, George
Chikumbirike, argues that Justice Ziyambi had misdirected herself in
granting the Attorney-General leave to appeal.

"It is respectfully submitted that the learned Judge of appeal (Ziyambi JA
sitting in chambers) misdirected herself (completely) in making the order
granting the Attorney General leave to appeal without giving the appellant
an opportunity to oppose the application orally or in writing," argues
Chikumbirike.

He added that Justice Ziyambi's procedure was unprecedented as it had no
legal basis and moreover, the case was going to be set down before the
Regional Court on September 10 .

"Had it not been for the application seeking leave which was filed by the
respondent, the appellant's trial would have been finalised on the 10th of
September 2004. However, because of the unprocedural order granted by the
Learned Judge of Appeal, the appeal is therefore pending and the matter at
the Regional Court will, in all probability, be postponed," Chikumbirike
says.

He said that it was necessary for the matter to be determined before the
date of the sentencing so that proper guidance is given to the Regional
Court on whether to proceed or not with the ruling.

Chikumbirike wants the order granting leave to appeal put aside and the
application by the Attorney General placed before another judge of appeal,
giving sufficient opportunity to the appellant to make representations
before a decision is made.

Makamba, who is still to be sentenced on six other charges of illegally
dealing in foreign currency that he has already pleaded guilty to, is
fighting for his total freedom.

The businessman, who spent almost seven months in custody, was arrested for
allegedly externalising several millions of pounds and about US$1 million,
and illegally buying properties abroad in contravention of foreign exchange
regulations.

However, the state's case gradually collapsed, with prosecutors unable to
produce evidence to sustain their allegations.

Eventually, Makamba was convicted on his own plea on six charges of
illegally selling US$130 000 to his mobile phone company, Telecel.
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Zim Standard

Rights activists arrested
By our own Staff

TWO human rights activists were last week arrested at Porta Farm, while
assessing the situation of squatters, who are being evicted by the police in
defiance of a High Court order.

An official from the Amnesty International Zimbabwe, Obert Chinhamo, and
another one from the Non Violent Action For Social Change (NOVASC), Masanho
Maruwacha, were arrested on Thursday for allegedly mobilising Porta Farm
residents to resist a government directive to vacate the farm.

The two had gone to the farm following reports that police and members of
the notorious Chipangano group linked to the ruling Zanu PF were evicting
Porta Farm residents, in complete defiance of a High Court order stopping
the government from evicting the squatters.
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Zim Standard

President's farm neglected: workers
By Foster Dongozi

FARM workers at Bineth Farm, outside Kadoma, owned by Malawian President,
Bingu wa Mutharika say poor housing at the farm - dilapidated pole and mud
structures - poses a health hazard.

The workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity also called on the Malawian
President to ensure that electricity was installed at the compound.

"In addition, not all the 22 workers at the farm have been paid their August
wages and this is very demoralising, but we hope that since Mr Wa Mutharika
is now a Head of State, our conditions of service will improve," said one
farm worker.

A spokesperson for the farm, only identified as Mai Nyoni, who is an in-law
to President Wa Mutharika, was not available for comment.

Wa Mutharika reportedly bought the farm in 1994 and named it Bineth. Bin, is
taken from his name, Bingu and eth from the name of his Zimbabwean wife,
Ethel, said to hail from Murehwa, according to some farm workers.

The Malawian leader was in the country to open the 94th edition of the
Harare Agricultural Show nine days ago.

On the same night, Newsnet reported that Wa Mutharika had extended his stay
in Zimbabwe to attend the burial of national hero, Dr Eddison Zvobgo last
Sunday.

It, however, did not mention that, in addition to attending Zvobgo's burial,
the Malawian Head of State intended to take time out to visit his dairy farm
just outside Kadoma, on the Gokwe-Sanyati Road.

The Standard established that after opening the Harare Agricultural Show,
the Malawian leader, in a State motorcade, drove towards the gold-mining
city of Kadoma, where he was booked into Executive Suite of Kadoma Hotel and
Conference Centre whose buildings are owned by the Zvobgo family.

"The Executive Suite costs $800 000 a night and the Malawian Embassy paid
for their president's stay at the hotel," said an employee at the KHCC
hotel.

Security at the hotel on the night was very tight. The security details were
reportedly courteous to hotel guests.

"On Saturday morning, Wa Mutharika and his delegation which included the
Malawian First Lady, Ethel wa Mutharika checked out of the hotel and their
motorcade drove towards the farm on the Gokwe-Sanyati road," a source at the
hotel told The Standard.

Workers at the farm confirmed that the Malawian President visited the farm
last Saturday morning.

"A beast was slaughtered for people of Malawian origin from Patchway Mine
and other surrounding areas who came to meet Wa Mutharika," another farm
worker told The Standard.

The farm worker said the hill next to the farm and surrounding areas were
teeming with armed soldiers and policemen during the visit.

When The Standard drove along the Harare-Kadoma Highway on Saturday, members
of the Police Support Unit were heavily deployed along the route to guard
the Malawian leader, who returned to Harare towards sunset.

Wa Mutharika was said by his workers to have 35 dairy cows, 40 head of beef
cattle and several goats. The Malawi president also runs a small vegetable
garden.

Sam Banda, an official at the Malawian Embassy, confirmed on Friday that the
President visited the farm last week but could not comment further.
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Zim Standard

MDC accuses Manyika of fanning violence in Mutare
By our own Staff

THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the ruling Zanu PF
party is on a warpath in Sakubva, Mutare, where its members are looting and
beating up suspected supporters of the MDC.

Pishayi Muchauraya, MDC spokesperson for Manicaland province, said at least
three people were injured while several others were left nursing bruises
after nocturnal attacks last week.

Muchauraya said the current wave of violence started after Zanu PF political
commissar, Elliot Manyika, allegedly "incited" youths to "deal with all
those who sympathise with the opposition party".

Manyika addressed a meeting in Sakubva last Saturday and allegedly told the
meeting that all Zanu PF supporters arrested for political crimes, related
to the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections, would soon be
freed.

According to Muchauraya, Manyika's statement signalled to the youths that
nothing would happen to them, even if they committed heinous political
crimes against supporters of the opposition party.

Since Saturday, Zanu PF supporters and youth militia patrolled high-density
suburbs in Mutare, during the night, beating up suspected MDC supporters, he
said.

"I can directly link this on-going violence to the meeting because his
(Manyika's) language was inflammatory and instigatory in nature. It is
typical thuggery by Zanu PF, each time we approach an election, they behave
like this," said Muchauraya, who added that it had become extremely
dangerous to conduct any form business during the night.

Manyika, a former Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment
Creation, denied inciting violence but he confirmed "meeting Zanu PF
leadership" in the town the day in question.

"I only met the party leadership. How could I do a thing like that? I know
you, you have been writing rubbish about me for a long time, write what you
want," Manyika shouted before switching off his mobile phone.

The MDC, however, insists those severely beaten up by the youths include MDC
chairperson for ward four in Sakubva, Monica Mangoma, Abigirl Nyamupenza of
ward five, and Susan Mhlanga of ward three.

The three were treated at a private clinic and discharged.

"Mangoma was assaulted on Monday night and she sustained a fracture in the
right arm and two broken fingers," Muchauraya said.

During the attack Mangoma allegedly lost about $50 000, her tuck-shop was
destroyed while Nyamupenza was robbed of $150 000 and her sewing machine
seized by a group of youth militia and Zanu PF supporters.

The group also allegedly looted Mangoma's tuck-shop but The Standard could
not establish the value of the goods taken.

"Zanu PF must abandon this barbarism and adopt civilised means of winning
elections," Muchauraya said.

He said all incidents of violence were reported at Chisamba Police Station
in Mutare but no action has been taken although he gave them some of the
names of the suspects.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he had not received reports of
violence in Mutare.

"Give me the list of names of the people and the dates they reported the
cases so that we can follow that up," Bvudzijena said.
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Zim Standard

NGO bill is what AIPPA is to private media

.BORNWELL Chakaodza, Editor of The Standard analyses the recently introduced
NGOs Bill and argues why legislators should stop it dead in its tracks when
it comes to Parliament.

TWO analytical pieces on the Non-Governmental organizations Bill (NGOs Bill)
by the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) are some of the most insightful, well-written and
in-depth analyses that I have read in recent months.

The two pieces clearly demonstrate the extent to which the Zimbabwean
government is determined to exert full and complete control over
non-governmental organizations in this country. Indeed, the Bill itself
makes very grim reading.

The NGOs Bill is but the latest in a series of draconian laws clearly
designed to control and manipulate public opinion thereby severely limiting
democratic space in Zimbabwe. The similarities between this proposed Bill
and its earlier cousins the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (2002) and the Public Order and Security Act (2002) are so glaring that
one can only describe them as identically different.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) provides for
the compulsory registration of media houses and journalists and the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) is now being used to prosecute journalists for
publishing 'false information'. The proposed NGOs Bill has with it a system
of compulsory registration and a requirement for all NGOs to fully disclose
their activities and funding sources as well as deregistration and other
punitive measures in the event of non-compliance.

With AIPPA, journalists have an albatross around their necks in the form of
the Media and Information Commission (MIC), a controlling organization
appointed by the Minister of information to exert a stranglehold on those
perceived to be in opposition to the government and government policies. The
equivalent of MIC in the NGO Bill is the NGO Council, which will regulate
and monitor functions of NGOs and is charged with the formulation of rules
for the registration or deregistration of non-governmental organizations.

Needless to say, AIPPA together with its controlling body, the MIC, has had
a devastating and chilling effect on the operations of journalists in
Zimbabwe. Not only has this repressive Act introduced a climate of fear in
our media environment but also, worse, it has resulted in the mindless
arrests of journalists and the closure of a number of newspapers notably The
Daily News, The Daily News on Sunday and recently The Tribune.

With the NGO Bill so identical in both form and content with AIPPA, there
are storms ahead for non-governmental organizations in Zimbabwe.

This is hardly surprising. We have an oppressive regime in Zimbabwe at the
moment and it is the independent media and civil society which have taken up
the cudgels to challenge the excesses of this government.

The private media, individuals and a number of non-governmental
organizations have been part and parcel of pressuring for change in Zimbabwe
and it comes as no surprise that they are currently under siege.

The flurry of new legislation and the revival of the old laws under the
Rhodesian Smith regime in recent years must be understood within this
context. Clearly, there is a pattern and 'logic' behind all these draconian
laws. Repressive laws are the hallmarks of totalitarian and oppressive
regimes the world over. The Mugabe regime is firmly in that league.

The late national hero, Dr Eddison Zvobgo, aptly described the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act as the "most determined and
calculated assault on our political and civil liberties". I can hear him
beyond the grave saying exactly the same words about this NGOs Bill.

We appear to have come to a stage in our country where anything the current
government does is wrong. It need not be like that. Zanu PF fought for
freedom and democracy and no one can take this good fight away from them. Pr
esident Mugabe and the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo were much loved
and respected nationally and internationally.

The freedom and democracy they fought for included the right to free speech
and a vibrant and dynamic civil society. But now all the laws that have been
passed in the last four years or so are designed to suppress the free speech
and a strong civil society they fought for. The mind really boggles.

It is indeed an irony that at a time when the whole world is moving in the
direction of universal values of democracy and freedom of expression, the
government of Zimbabwe is setting the clock back. We are living in a
pluralistic world with many voices and these voices must be given expression
and not to stultify them. It is saddening to see this government
passionately wanting to close all democratic space in Zimbabwe.

The NGOs Bill, which seeks to repeal the old Private Voluntary organizations
Act, No 3 of 1966 (PVO Act), prohibits the registration of a foreign
non-governmental organization if its sole or principal objects involve or
include issues of governance. The issue of governance in this case includes
"the promotion and protection of human rights and political governance
issues".

This prohibition is further underscored by a prohibition on foreign funding
in Section 17 of the Bill, which says that "no local non-governmental
organization shall receive any foreign funding or donation to carry out
activities involving or including issues of governance".

The above section clearly spells disaster for all local non-governmental
organizations which receive foreign funding to enable them to carry out
their work. Human rights is everybody's business. Good governance is not an
exclusive matter for governments. NGOs and civil society as a whole have an
important role to play.

The real losers of course will be poor Zimbabweans. Apart from government,
they also depend on the goodwill of donors to keep body and soul together.
They will have much less of everything and their dreams for a better future
for their children will be shattered. How will the government justify the
destitution that millions of Zimbabweans will fall into as a result of NGOs
pulling out of this country?

In a country where poverty alleviation ought to be the prime objective of
the State, it would appear that the government is putting its own survival
ahead of people's own welfare and well being. It does appear that the
government is bent on killing almost everything. First, it was land
takeovers, and then came assaults on various sectors which included
industry, the independent media, education and now the civil society.

Even without this NGOs Bill, Zimbabwe was already a fractured society. It is
bound to get worse. Since the Zimbabwe crisis began four or so years ago,
more than half of the estimated 1 500 NGOs in Zimbabwe were no longer
operating due to funding and the political problems.

Continued next week...
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Zim Standard

Comment

Tobacco target: A tall order

THERE is need to be realistic in setting targets for tobacco production
during the 2004/2005 season.

The Zimbabwe Association of Tobacco Growers (ZATG) and other authorities
have set the target for tobacco production next year at an ambitious 150
million kg. The problem with this estimate is that it ignores the fact that
during the past four years production of the crop has been in a free fall.

In 2000, the year of the start of land invasions, tobacco production stood
at nearly 240 million kg. Last year, production of the crop had fallen by
almost a third, to 80 million kg. That pattern of decline has been
maintained with this year's crop registering a poor 65 million kg, a further
decline in the size of the crop produced.

The proposal put forward is that next season's crop is increased almost
three-fold the size of this year's production.

It is unclear whether the factors responsible for the decline in production
during the past four years have been considered before arriving at the
target for the next tobacco season.

The causes of the free-fall in production have primarily been the invasions,
which have disrupted farming activities on the previously large-scale
commercial farms; inadequate funding for the new farmers delays in accessing
loans; lack of machinery necessary to undertake higher levels of production;
inability to access agricultural inputs such as seed, chemicals and
fertilizers and the workforce to carry out farm production activities.

There is an additional external dimension - the weather, which can have a
decisive bearing on the scale and size of cropping patterns and activities.

The assumption that has been made is that every new farmer allocated land by
the government can perform as well as the previous farm owner.

What this assumption overlooks are the skills and the workforce that are
critical in making a success of farming activities. More than 200 000 of the
estimated 350 000 farm workers who were active in 2000 have lost their jobs,
while the remainder are not all in full-time employment because jobs
available are seasonal, or where jobs are available the workforce has
complained about poor working conditions.

It is difficult to achieve the best results possible with disgruntled
workers. It's harder when the said workers compare their new employers with
the previous ones. The unfortunate impression is that while many of the
displaced commercial farmers did not treat their workers that well, the new
farmers come off as being less sympathetic to the plight of their workforce.
That impacts negatively on productivity.

For the suggested tobacco production targets for next season to have any
meaning there is need to put focus on the graduates of the Farmer
Development Trust (FDT) and graduates from the country's colleges of
agriculture.

If each of the graduates from these institutions is provided the land, the
inputs and the funding, the level of production is likely to take off. There
are also some remaining commercial farmers who have welcomed the idea that
the land reform programme is, in part, about seeking to empower indigenous
Zimbabweans and these commercial farmers have gone out of their way to try
and assist.

If those concerned about increasing levels of production are genuine in
their quest to ensure the country achieves higher levels of productivity,
this is the area they should be focusing their attention on.

Cotton production has moved from the large-scale commercial growers to being
a preserve of the smallholders because the growers continue to receive the
necessary support in funding, in procurement of inputs, in support
(extension) services and, of course, the price paid for their crops have
been critical as an incentive.

Zimbabwe realized US$130 million from the 65 million kg of tobacco sold this
season.

This represents probably a quarter of the potential foreign exchange
earnings Zimbabwe could have realised this season. Unfortunately, the
reduced foreign currency earnings affect the country's ability to import
critical requirements such as fuel necessary to keep the economy on its
feet, and medical drugs for the ailing health sector.

By building on what it already has - FDT and agricultural graduates -
Zimbabwe will have a realistic chance of nearing the set targets and in the
process boosting the country's capacity to earn more foreign currency. Every
time Zimbabwe misses an opportunity, it allows someone to capitalise on its
shortcomings.

Claiming back its share of the market is always going to be harder
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Zim Standard

You just can't bank on the outside world
overthetop By Brian Latham

IT wasn't just the troubled central African nation's opposition More Drink
Coming Party that was banking on help from abroad this week. Troubled
residents were also saying that the Southern African Disaster Community
would spring to their aid. Even western diplomats considered it possible.

Over The Top took a quick look at the Community's membership and concluded,
in seconds, that newly established norms on electoral procedures stand about
much hope of being implemented as a proverbial snowball in hell.

Troubled central Africans might think they've got problems, but these things
are all comparative. Compared with, say, Angola or the Democratic Republic
of Congo, the troubled central African nation is a shining beacon of good
governance.

These aren't the sort of things troubled central Africans want to hear, so
perspective needs to be established. Of course, in the wider, global sense,
the troubled central African country remains a pariah regime. But in the
narrow confines of the Southern African Disaster Community; well, there are
countries that couldn't even spell the word "election."

Being judged by such "peers" should not give hope to anyone, least of all
troubled central Africans looking for what these days seems to be called a
level playing field.

So, if troubled central Africans actually think these electoral norms will
be implemented in their life times, they ought to sit back, pause for
thought, and ask themselves just how likely it is that democracy, even a
semblance of democracy, will ever be brought to countries like Angola and
the DRC where such a thing has never existed?

And if democracy and free elections won't see the light of day elsewhere in
the region, what motive will inspire dictatorships to declare the troubled
central African nation unworthy of membership?

The answer, naturally, is that no such motive exists.

Wonderful, warm and fuzzy words coming out of South Africa and one or two
other countries will remain just that: words. They won't translate into
action because most of the region doesn't want them to translate into
action.

And why should they? Things are very cosy and comfortable for the ruling
elite throughout the region. If anything, those countries that began by
making a passing stab at accountability and transparency and democracy are
starting to inch backwards.

The answer, as always, has to come from within. The only friends that
troubled central Africans will ever have are. troubled central Africans.
There are no friends to be found among the mewling politicians of the west,
still less among the self-serving politicians of this continent. There
really is nothing to be gained by pinning hope on foreigners. They have
their own problems.

If evidence were needed, it can be found in the announcement by the Zany
Party that the electoral norms are not legally binding - and in the
overwhelming silence from the region in response to that statement.

Put simply, if they're not legally binding, they won't be implemented. Why
spend money on something you don't have to do, will inevitably cost you
votes and may even lose you control of the gravy train?

Of course, this makes the More Drink Coming Party's decision to pull back
from elections even more astonishing. Surely they've a reasonable
understanding of the sort of governments that can determine whether
elections are free and fair? Compared with elections in Angola, troubled
central African elections are cleanly fought contests between gentlemanly
brothers.

The problem for troubled central Africans is that they shouldn't be
comparing themselves with the likes of Angola and the DRC. They should be
saying they can do better than that.
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Zim Standard

A day in the life of RBZ's new Governor
By Rangarirai Mberi

THE security man at the RBZ's front switchboard probably sums up the new
work ethic around the central bank.

"It's not cold at all," he says, even as a morning gale rushes in through
the gaping entrance straight at his station. "It's nothing."

It's a whole lot warmer in Gideon Gono's office, where the Governor has been
working since he turned up for work just before 4AM. Still, the same work
ethic that keeps that frontman at work with little respect for the morning
wind, is easy to detect.

Gono and his assistant, lawyer Fortune Chasi, are hunched over a pile of
papers. A meeting has just ended - the last of a series of briefings that
Gono has been holding with his staff since 4AM. Bedtime for the previous day
had been midnight.

Ordinary organisations such as this should be made of ordinary family
people, leading ordinary lives inside ordinary working hours. Not here. We
found a not-so-ordinary staff that has come to expect dead-of-the-night
calls and an occasional SMS from the Governor, demanding progress.

Gono's duo of personal assistants told Standard Bussiness of how they have
had to get used to the long hours, the night calls and a fanatical Governor.

"It's difficult, especially with children at home," said one of Gono's PAs.
"I have to explain to my husband the nature of the job; he understands, but
it's difficult".

Standard Business was recently allowed access to some of central bank's
structures and staff. We heard from the RBZ's top security people, PAs, a
Deputy Governor and drivers, how they have had to adjust their lives since
Gono took office last year.

Working up to as late as 2:30 in the morning takes its toll on an ordinary
human being, but someone has to do it, they say.

"It's national duty," said one security man who has spent 12 years at the
bank. "What makes the burden lighter is that we know that we are working
towards a goal".

Nick Ncube had obviously heard of the eternal hours at the RBZ when he
joined the Bank in May from the Ministry of Finance as Deputy Governor. He
signed up anyway.

"The Governor is a slave driver, but I'm a slave driver in my own right,"
Ncube says.

"There's been a new work ethic here since Governor Gono took over. After
work, as I leave - and its almost always late - I see people still at their
desks, working. Top level, middle level, junior staff; everyone".

Ncube says friends have urged him to slow down for the sake of his health.
The three-hour policy meetings the Governor convenes each afternoon are
tough, but "I'm up for it", the Deputy Governor says.

"Given my weight, friends have said I really shouldn't be doing this. But I'
ve been at it for 15 years. Hard work is in my system," Ncube adds.

Gono uses the economy's dire need for urgent relief to justify his tough
demands on his staff, demands that few employees elsewhere would ever take.

"This is reflective of the magnitude of the challenges that confront us as
an economy. It's in line with what I said in December when I called on the
nation to put in an extra hour beyond the traditional hours," Gono told
Standard Business.

The economy might be in a rut, but long hours are not everybody's hobby. The
ZCTU has been sharply critical of Gono's controversial directive that banks
open for longer.

"I'm not prescribing something that I'm not doing myself," he responds.

What about the rest of the staff, do they share Gono's uncanny obsession
with "turnaround", a term he must have used a hundred times during our
interview?

"The turnaround agenda here just imposes on the different individuals to
want to work late," Gono says.

But he does have other personal interests, surely?

"I enjoy my work," he insists, although he admits the job has brought strain
to his own family.

Gono makes no attempt to conceal his past, that "tea boy" past some of his
many foes love to joke about.

Standard Business spoke to Sam Nyamukutu, who gave Gono his first job at
Kwekwe's Natbrew Maltings in 1977.

"I was struck by his humility and immediately took a liking to him. I'm not
surprised that he's where he is today." Nyamukutu said.

Gono has been put up on a ridiculously high pedestal, with a big badge
reading "saviour" pinned on his sleeve.

Government types claim that Gono is leading a miracle economic recovery, but
it remains a recovery that the average Zimbabwean is yet to see. Gono admits
as much, predicting even more blood and tears before any real recovery.

He acknowledges that he has not been to the world's top universities, but he
shows a pile of books from which he draws much of his guidance.

They are books with curious titles. The 11 Behaviours that can Derail your
Climb to the top, and Lions Don't Need to Roar, are some of the topics.
There is also the inevitable, The Greenspan Effect.

Then Gono whips out a book, Andrew Finan's The Corporate Christ, clearly his
favourite. He reads from it passionately, leaning over it, stroking the
words as if they were some ancient code to long life, lapping the words up
religiously.

Here, we saw Gono on a whole new plane, far removed from the usual monetary
technocrat, closer instead to some zealous, small town church pastor.

The book claims to reveal "the world changing secrets of a management and
marketing genius". "Jesus," Gono gushes. "He knew how to formulate and
execute a strategy."

The book explains much of the policy Gono has followed since he took office.
Finan, the author, says Jesus saw things in black and white - either you
were in with him, or you were out. Once one decided "in", they had to walk
the whole nine yards. Shades of Gono's recent memo to his top officials,
quizzing their commitment and asking whether they were in or out.

Finan talks of how Jesus used the "carrot and stick" in his messages.
Perhaps the same carrot and stick Gono has used on exporters and bankers.

It is hard not to feel for the staff at RBZ, working the phones through the
night, scouring the world for foreign currency or attending to each of the
letters from hopeful whistleblowers that come in by the hundreds each day.
But if there has been any midnight oil burning at other State departments,
it has certainly not been about turning around the economy, and one wonders
whether the backbreaking work at the RBZ may yet be in vain.
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Zim Standard

Zanu PF usurped meaning of Heroes Acre
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

AT Zimbabwe's cherished national Heroes'Acre, in Harare, lie some of the
most illustrious sons and daughters of the soil of our naturally rich
country. They gave their lives for the liberation and betterment of their
people without reservation. They are an inspiration to the present
generation and to generations to come.

Among them, however, lie some, whose heroism is debatable. They were made
heroes, not by their lives and their actions but by the Zanu PF politburo
because it was politically expedient to declare them national heroes. We all
know that.

Veteran freedom fighters, George Nyandoro and James Chikerema used to
heatedly discuss the significance of the Heroes' Acre. Both of them
concluded that the real meaning and importance of the place had been usurped
by Zanu PF for political interests.

Since to them the place had lost its meaning they decided not to be buried
there. Of course, this was not to be. When Nyandoro died, the ruling party
had to put aside its differences with him. He was buried at the national
shrine as befitted him.

Not to accord him hero status would have caused a commotion in the country
because everybody knows the role he played in the liberation of this
country.

James Dambaza Chikerema is still alive. After the burial of his colleague
and friend, Nyandoro, I asked him about what had become of their resolve not
to be buried at the Heroes' Acre. Before he could answer, his cousin said:
"He will be buried there, whether he likes it or not. He will have no say in
it because he will be dead."

Chikerema just threw up his hands in resignation.

As with Chikerema and Nyandoro there is nothing debatable about the late
Eddison Jonas Mudadirwa Zvobgo's heroism. All Zimbabweans from various walks
of life and across the political divide bore testimony to this. The
government and people of Zimbabwe were united in mourning his death and
giving him a resounding farewell from the depths of their hearts.

I said all Zimbabweans united in mourning Dr Zvobgo. This needs to be
qualified for there is a minority who shed crocodile tears.

Their tears were the most profuse and they wailed the loudest. They also
waxed lyrical in narrating and extolling the virtues of Eddison Zvobgo.

But, deep down in their hearts, they were saying, 'good riddance'. To them
Dr Zvobgo was a real thorn in the flesh.

These schemers were irritated by his criticism and refusal to endorse, in
parliament, oppressive bills which flagrantly flouted provisions of the
constitution. They wanted him out of the party either by expulsion or
resignation. They, therefore, ganged up on him when he was sick and accused
him of, among other things, and of all things, refusing to campaign for
Robert Mugabe and, instead, campaigning for Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
opposition MDC. How absurd!

In his condolence message, President Mugabe said in Cde Zvobgo the nation
lost one of its great and sharp legal minds upon whom the government and the
ruling party relied for professional advice.

"His grasp of constitutional matters and excellent communication skills
enabled him to be at the centre of things during the Lancaster House
conference both as a participant and as the Patriotic Front spokesman."

If this is true, one wonders then why the party so blatantly refused to take
his advice on legal matters. We all know that he was strongly opposed to the
nefarious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill as chairman
of the Parliamentary Legal Committee. In fact, he had to go public in his
opposition to it. Isn't it hypocritical to then say that the government and
the ruling party relied on him for professional advice when a bill he was so
strongly opposed to is now law?

To those in my age group and to me, personally, Zvobgo was a real role
model. I had the priviledge to interact with him for a brief period when I
was a student in Wheaton, Illinois in the United States. He is the one who
first informed me that the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) had
deposed the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and elected Robert Mugabe to lead
the party.

What amazed me most about the man was his energy and dedication to his
convictions. In fact, he stuck so strongly to what he believed, that he
found it difficult to listen to someone else's point of view.

One had to insist that he listen. Once he realised that you felt strongly
about your views just as he did about his, he would listen. He did not like
to waste time with people who simply argued without thinking or conviction.

Dr Zvobgo was a good father, a busy political activist and a student at the
same time. How he could juggle these roles successfully was beyond my
comprehension. He was absent from home and school quite a lot but his home
was intact and warm, his school work excellent and his political career is
being lauded by Zimbabweans today.

Having been raised in a Christian home Dr Zvobgo was a God-fearing man. He
believed in God's leading in his life. One of the questions I discussed with
him was how Christianity could ever be compatible with the Marxist/Leninist
communism, which was espoused by Zanu. He was convinced that one could be a
communist or "socialist", as he put it, without compromising his faith in
God.

That Dr Zvobgo had ambitions to be president of Zimbabwe one day is no
secret. Some whose actions clearly indicated that they had presidential
ambitions denied this loudly and vehemently, but not Zvobgo.

He was no hypocrite. He stated plainly and clearly that if he was given the
chance he would gladly accept the challenge to lead Zimbabwe. Maybe this was
part of the reason for his political downfall.

Some of us wonder where the country would be today had Dr Zvobgo been given
the chance to lead Zimbabwe as its president.

Surely, we would not be the pariah and poor nation, which we are today,
where only thieves, robbers, fraudsters and the corrupt can prosper. We
hoped that one day he would lead the nation but the devil somehow
infiltrated Zanu PF and messed up the whole thing.

In its editorial comment of August 27, 2004, The Zimbabwe Independent said:
"So as we mourn the passing of a dedicated freedom fighter in the bush and
at law and a nationalist who faithfully espoused the principles and
objectives of our liberation struggle up to the end, let us not forget those
ideals have not been fulfilled. In fact, most of our 'liberties' are in
great danger from opportunistic mafikizolos."

I concur. However, most of our liberties are in danger not only from
opportunistic mafikizolos, but also from old veterans of the struggle who
like Zvobogo's proverbial lunatic from Ngomahuru Psychiatric Hospital refuse
to hand over their batons to younger team mates. They would like to rule
until they drop dead.

This was recently confirmed by the Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairman,
Mike Madiro, who said: "All sitting legislators, who hold senior party
positions, particularly the most senior ones like Didymus Mutasa and
Kumbirai Kangai, can't be challenged."

Since these old timers refuse to hand over the baton willingly, some Zanu PF
young bloods tried to challenge them according to the party's constitution.
Their fate is not enviable. James Kaunye declared his right to stand for
elections against Mutasa. He was beaten up by party thugs and almost lost
his life.

Under these circumstances can our decent and well-qualified young people be
blamed for giving politics a wide berth? They would rather continue in their
jobs or run their businesses. Others are leaving in droves to seek their
fortunes in foreign countries.

Recently Eddison Zvobgo Jnr announced that he would follow in his father's
footsteps in politics. He should be encouraged because "for evil to triumph
it is enough that good men do nothing."

Unfortunately, instead of encouraging the young man, some party
incorrigibles like Masvingo Zanu PF chairman, Daniel Shumba, see him as a
threat to their political future. Young Zvobgo should not be daunted. As his
father's son, he should meet these die-hards head on. It is fortunate that
he has well-wishers like retired Air Marshall Josiah Tungamirai to advise
and encourage him.

My advice to young Zvobgo is, don't waste time. The people need you. If Zanu
PF gives you a hard time, as they did your father, go in as an independent
or, better still, join the MDC. I am sure you will find a warm welcome
there.

He who has earns to hear, let him hear.
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