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Zim Standard

DA held in elections scandal
By Savious Kwinika

 Ballot boxes found at home

POLICE last Thursday arrested Zaka District Administrator, Nyashadzashe
Zindove, after he was allegedly found with seven ballot boxes and ballot
papers at his home, The Standard can reveal.

Zindove was by yesterday still being held by the police's Law and Order
section at Masvingo Central Police Station.
He is expected to appear in court tomorrow.

Also last week, Norah T Chisi, a teacher at Bvudzi Primary School, who was a
presiding officer in Zaka West during the 31 March general elections, was
arrested after she allegedly "lost" a ballot box in unclear circumstances.

Sources told The Standard that Chisi was on her way to Zaka district command
centre at Jerera when she allegedly lost the box.

Chisi was presiding officer at Jichidza Council Clinic in Zaka West

Assistant police commissioner, Wayne Bvudzijena, confirmed that police had
arrested two people in connection with election irregularities in Masvingo.

"The accused persons will appear in court soon once the police have
completed their investigations. Currently the Zaka DA is in police custody
and the police are busy investigating the circumstances surrounding the
ballot papers and the ballot boxes," Bvudzijena said.

Asked to explain how those ballot boxes ended up in a government owned
house, Bvudzijena said the issue was "too complicated".

"But from the reports I got, it appears that those ballot papers in the
ballot boxes found at his (DA) residence were not used for voting. They were
leftovers from the ballot papers used in the elections and they were not
counted. Nevertheless, we are weighing what kind of a charge we are going to
lay against him (Zindove). Right now I can't reveal much because it is a
security issue," Bvudzijena said.

Acting Zanu PF Masvingo Provincial Chairman, Isaiah Shumba, said the latest
findings would not change the election results.

"If the Zaka DA is arrested then it is a legal issue. However, as the ruling
party, we are not going to accept any election re-run simply because of one
incident in Zaka. After all, it's not yet clear how these ballot papers got
into this man's house," Shumba said.

The Masvingo provincial chief election officer, Obert Mujuru, refused to
comment on the discovery of the ballot boxes.

Opposition MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba-Nyathi, said discovery of ballot
boxes hidden by a government official was a clear indication that elections
were rigged by the ruling Zanu PF party.

He said he was dismayed by the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), African Union (AU) and other observer missions, which endorsed the
elections despite "overwhelming evidence of rigging".

"We said this again and again that these elections were clearly stolen. The
fraud was comprehensive and deep-rooted, and requires police to investigate.
The observers here betrayed the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe.

"If police had applied their investigative skills professionally and
diligently, they could have unearthed lots of discrepancies. The police
should also investigate the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman, Justice
George Chiweshe," said Themba-Nyathi.

ZEC during a press conference last week explained the figures that
determined the outcome of the general elections arguing that the
discrepancies were made up by stakeholders in political circles who were
using the media to try to discredit the poll.

Chiweshe said: "I explained that the figures quoted in any update that the
Commission may give are not necessarily an accurate reflection of the facts
on the ground and that the figures were given without prejudice and only for
the purpose of giving an indication as to the turnout trends in various
provinces and constituencies.

"The correct position is that there is only one set of figures to be
considered and only one process to be examined. These are the official
figures by which the election result was determined. The question of
inconsistencies does not arise."

But Themba-Nyathi said: "Justice Chiweshe said nothing at a press conference
that made sense in justifying the discrepancies."
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Zim Standard

Mugabe refuses to sign NGOs Bill
By Caiphas Chimhete

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has refused to sign the controversial
Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Bill in its present state and has
referred it back for further consultations, The Standard can reveal.

Sources said Mugabe felt the NGO Bill, which was crafted largely by
vindictive former Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the
President's Office Jonathan Moyo and Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
was "too obnoxious" and would portray government in bad light in the eyes of
the international community.
If signed into law, it will bar NGOs from receiving foreign funding for
governance programmes. Most NGOs depend on foreign funding for most of their

The sources said Mugabe had tasked the Minister of Labour, Public Service
and Social Welfare, Paul Mangwana, and Zanu PF spokesperson, Nathan
Shamuyarira, to hold further consultations with civic organisations.

The Bill will be referred back to Parliament but the Zanu PF duo would be
working on a parallel process, said one source.

"We have met Shamuyarira and Mangwana as civic organisations on a number of
occasions and we have made our submission," said the source.

Constitutionally, a Bill lapses after 21 days of being presented to the
President. The NGO Bill was passed by Parliament on 9 December 2004 and
Mugabe has not signed it.

Shamuyarira confirmed that he met some NGO representatives "some four weeks
ago", but he referred all questions to Mangwana.

"I can't say anything on a bill that is in Mangwana's ministry, talk to
Mangwana. He will give you the story," Shamuyarira said. Magwana said: "What
I know is that the Bill is still under consideration by the President."
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Zim Standard

      Brace up for tough times, says Cross
      By Our Own Correspondent

      BULAWAYO - Zimbabwean businesses need to gear themselves for major
adjustments in the macro-economic environment in the aftermath of last
month's Parliamentary polls, says a Bulawayo economic analyst and
businessman, Eddie Cross.

      Cross told Standard Business that all businesses irregardless of the
sector they operate in would have to contend with soaring inflation, foreign
currency shortages and rising labour costsand instability, among other
challenges in the coming months.
      "Now that elections are over, business has to brace themselves for
some adjustment to relieve pressure on the economy," said Cross who is also
the opposition MDC's economic advisor.

      Cross said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono had no
option but to devalue the dollar to try and increase domestic earnings for
exporters and the mining industry.

      Exporters have been grappling with high production and labour costs
while their earnings have remained static due to a pegged exchange rate. On
the controlled auction market the greenback is pegged at $6 200 but on the
lucrative parallel market - now the source of foreign currency - the US unit
is fetching up to $17 000.

      Last year Zimbabwe earned US$1,34 billion from exports compared to the
1997 peak of US$3,8 billion.

      "Exports are still falling so I don't expect exports to be more than
US$1,1 billion because mining output is going to be stagnant, industrial
exports are in big trouble and agricultural exports will fall again because
tobacco and horticulture output is down and there is little tourism," he

      However, Cross said the foreign currency shortfall would be partially
covered by remittances from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. Zimbabweans living
abroad remit an average of US$76 million a month. Cross said the figure
could rise to US$100 million a month as their numbers increase and they
increase their remittances to help feed starving relatives.

      But, Cross said the consequences of devaluing would be dire to both
industrialists and consumers.

      "Even if he (Gono) devalues by 100 percent, the official exchange rate
would still not catch up with the parallel rate. And, whatever he does will
accelerate inflation," he said

      He noted that the manufacturing industry was finding it extremely
difficult to keep their production lines running because of an acute
shortage of imported raw materials. This week in Bulawayo most supermarket
shelves were out of stock of basic items such as sugar, milk, soap,
mealie-meal and salt as producers failed to match demand among panic
stricken consumers.

      Additionally, demand for luxury goods is down as consumers' spending
patterns shifted in response to dwindling incomes making it difficult for
industries that do not produce basic items to remain viable.

      In addition, Cross said businesses would face greater human resources
shortages as skilled workers continued to leave the country. According to
Cross, an average of 500 000 Zimbabweans left the country last year and the
figure is likely to go up following last week's Parliamentary polls.

      In a desperate attempt to retain the remaining workers, firms would be
forced to increase salaries and wages which in turn would push up production
costs. Furthermore, he said the recent increase in domestic workers' wages
would trigger a fresh wave of salary and wage adjustments by workers in
other sectors.

      Cross said prospects were particularly bleak for factories in Bulawayo
that are highly dependent on the mining and tourism sectors for business.
Mines are not investing in their operations resulting in low demand for
mining products.

      Cross blamed the stagnant mining investment levels on bad policies
that he said scared away potential investors.

      "The whole operating environment for industry is going to be that much
worse and we are likely to see more companies closing down as they fail to
cope," he said.

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Zim Standard

Price clampdown will worsen shortages, economists warn
By Rutendo Mawere and Betha Shoko

THE government's directive to retailers to revert to old prices will further
worsen the scarcity of basic commodities in the country, economists warned

The economists said the current increases, which came soon after the 31
March parliamentary elections, were justified.
Economist John Robertson, said yesterday the prices were long overdue.
"Increases were actually delayed to avoid harsh criticism of the government
in the run up to recent elections, as pricing is determined by the parallel
market prices," said Robertson, adding that importers were getting their
foreign currency on the parallel market at double the official exchange

"For them to make a profit they have to cover their costs hence the price
increases and interference will lead to more serious scarcities and goods
will be found only on the black market," Robertson said.

Tonderai Mukeredzi, the spokesperson for the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe,
said shortages would persist if the government forced retailers to revert to
old prices.

His comments were echoed by economist Witness Chinyama. "If the increments
are economic, reverting to old prices will see goods disappearing from the
shelves only to be found on the parallel market, selling at even higher
prices," he warned.

The National Economic Consultative forum (NECF), however, said the increases
were not justified because they were effected before increases in municipal

NECF spokesperson Nhlanhla Masuku said the closure of companies during the
Easter holidays contributed to the shortages of basic commodities being
experienced in the country.

Prices of basic commodities have shot up beyond the reach of the majority of
ordinary Zimbabweans barely a week after Zanu PF won the recently held
parliamentary elections.

Despite the government's directive, most retailers have not complied with
the order. A snap survey conducted by The Standard in Harare last week
revealed that maize meal, sugar, cooking oil, soap and drinks had
disappeared from supermarket shelves. Where they are available, the prices
have increased drastically.

Meanwhile, barely a fortnight after Zanu PF won the disputed 31 March
parliamentary elections, crippling fuel shortages have resurfaced
countrywide with most service stations saying they have gone without the
commodity for the past week.

Although the Ministry of Energy and Power Development has issued numerous
assurances to the public that there will be no fuel shortages in the
country, the situation on the ground tells a different story.

As a result of the fuel crisis, transport problems have resurfaced in
Harare, with long queues now a common sight. Taking advantage of the
situation, transport operators raised their fares from the gazetted $2 000
while unscrupulous service station owners have increased the fuel pump

The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) last week told The Standard
that the shortages were a result of panic buying.
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Zim Standard

Lupane MDC official's house burnt down
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - Suspected Zanu PF supporters last weekend allegedly torched and
razed to the ground a thatched house belonging to Richmond Zitha, an MDC
campaign manager for the newly elected Lupane MP, Njabuliso Mguni, in post
election retribution, The Standard has learnt.

Mguni said household property, including two bicycles, a wardrobe, school
uniforms, clothes, birth certificates, 21 bags of cement and $2.1 million in
cash were destroyed during the arson attack.
The arson came a few days after Zanu PF activists in the area threatened to
"deal" with all suspected opposition MDC supporters.

Police in Jotsholo confirmed the incident and said investigations into the
arson were still in progress.

"Investigations are still in progress so we can not point fingers at
anyone," said one police officer.

Mguni said the arson, which he believes was carried out by suspected war
veterans and Zanu PF supporters was in retaliation for not voting for the
losing Zanu PF candidate, Martin Khumalo, in the 31 March parliamentary

He said the war veterans had allegedly moved around the constituency
harassing people they suspected of voting for the MDC in last month's

"War veterans called a meeting last week at Dongamuzi Village in Lupane,
where they read out a list of MDC campaign committee members and threatened
to deal with them. Richmond Zitha's name was among them.

"The next day Zitha's house was burnt down, destroying most of his property,
except for a few items which they managed to salvage," Mguni said.

Mguni also said Zitha, a retired social worker, is seen as a threat, by the
war veterans because he is a very influential politician.

"He is a very vocal and influential man, and the war veterans are scared of
him, as he also played a huge part in me garnering 119 votes in Dongamuzi (a
ward that is considered a Zanu-PF stronghold) against Zanu PF' s 194 during
the 31 March poll," Mguni said.
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Zim Standard

Senate introduction condemned
By Our Own Staff

THE reintroduction of the Senate is going to fast track Zimbabwe's economic
collapse, as it is an unwarranted and unbudgeted national expense, analysts
have said.

During his campaign rallies for the recent parliamentary elections President
Robert Mugabe hinted that if Zanu PF won a two-thirds majority in the recent
parliamentary elections, it would effect constitutional changes and
re-introduce the Senate.
Opposition MDC secretary for economic affairs, Tendai Biti, said the Senate
was Mugabe's project designed to accommodate his cronies who were defeated
during last month's parliamentary elections.

He said it was of no economic importance to the country. "Zanu PF is not
even worried about the economy and they are determined to do whatever they
can to please their friends and relatives. The country has survived without
a Senate for more than 15 years; why is it necessary to have it now?" Biti

One economist interviewed said: "There are more important issues to talk
about in the country and the Senate is not going to add any value to our
economy. One would also need to consider instruments of funding the whole
institution and this would mean a drain on the fiscus."

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) director, Arnold Tsunga, said the
reintroduction of the Senate was an attempt by Mugabe to reward Zanu PF
stalwarts who failed to make it into Parliament.

"The other important question people need to know is who is going to be in
that Senate," Tsunga said.

He added: "It, however, depends on how the two Houses are structured and
what power they enjoy and wield. If the two Houses are poorly structured and
filled with people to rubber-stamp laws, then there will be no magic in a
bicameral system."

University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masunungure said a Senate was a very
expensive institution, especially for a small country such as Zimbabwe.

"Unless there is a very comprehensive explanation why we have to reintroduce
the Senate the whole idea is going to be a heavy drain on the fiscus.
Economically, the move is absolutely irrational," he said.

David Coltart, the MDC's legal secretary, said although it was a noble idea
it was not a priority for Zimbabwe.

He said a bicameral system would not work if Parliament remained powerless
compared to other arms of government, especially the Executive.

"There is need for comprehensive constitutional amendments rather than these
piecemeal reforms Zanu PF is proposing such as a bicameral system," Coltart

However, Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, said the
issue of funding the Senate was not a problem.

"Budget is not a problem. Our constitution allows that if government wants
money for certain projects they would get it. The whole issue of the Senate
has not been discussed by the full leadership of the party," Mutasa said.

Austin Zvoma, the Clerk of Parliament, cited space and financial constraints
in establishing offices for use by the Senators.
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Zim Standard

No end in sight to Harare's water woes
By Valentine Maponga

POLITICAL meddling and business rivalry among companies that supply the
Harare City Council with water treatment chemicals has impacted negatively
on water supply situation in Harare, posing serious health hazards to
residents, The Standard has been told.

By the beginning of last week Highdon Investments (Pvt) Limited, the firm
that supplies the council with the chemicals, was reportedly failing to
deliver supplies to the authority.
Psychology Chiwanga, the director of works in the City Council, last week
said the council had run out of oxidising agents because the suppliers had
not delivered.

Mike Davies, chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA),
blamed the crisis on political interference in the affairs of the council by
Zanu PF.

"Most of the commissioners who are running the council right now are well
known Zanu PF supporters and this has affected the service delivery system
of the city. Political interference is the root cause of all the problems
that are bedevilling the city," Davies said.

He said water problems in Harare predate the MDC-dominated council's tenure.
"Over the past years we have seen some people getting city tenders only
because they belong to the ruling party and after a few weeks they
short-change people," Davies said.

Highdon Investments is owned by McDonald Chapfika, a relative of Zanu PF MP
for Mutoko North, David Chapfika, who is also the Deputy Minister of Finance
and Economic Development.

Contacted for comment, Chapfika said they had never failed to supply the
chemicals. "You must know that there are some companies that wanted to get
the tender to supply the council but they failed and these are the same
people who are peddling these falsehoods. We have never failed to supply,"
Chapfika said.

Alex Mashamhanda, the managing director of MT&N, one of the losing
tenderers, said despite his company having stocks of the chemical, the
council can not buy from his firm because they awarded the tender to Highdon

"In the past years, we used to supply the city council together but after
our bid failed, the council gave Highdon the monopoly to supply the
oxidising agents. It is very dangerous especially if that chemical is not
available," he said.

He added: "Council officials should know that they are putting people's
lives at risk. That chemical needs to be applied regularly because if it's
not used a lot of water is going to be lost."

DBR Polymers, another company whose bid was also unsuccessful, claimed that
it had an alternative chemical that could be used for water treatment.

It said the chemical, which they sell in local currency, could help ease the
problems encountered by the council.

Other companies that had their bids turned down include Zimbabwe Phosphate
Industries, Astra Chemicals, Kithra Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd and Consolidated
Engineers and Merchants (Pvt) Ltd.

An oxidising agent is used to destroy algae, which blocks filters at Morton
Jaffray Water Treatment Plant. Algae grows extensively in Lake Chivero,
Harare's main source of water, and if the chemical is not used a lot of
treated water is wasted in cleaning up the sieves.

Harare Council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi, said: "The problem is not about
the chemicals but it's just that we are moving water from our old reservoirs
to new ones. We will experience some problems but they will come to an end.
We are using what (chemicals) we have now until new supplies come."

Asked why there was controversy over how the tender was finally awarded,
Gwindi said: "I don't have anything to do with that and I don't discuss such

Suburbs such as Hatcliffe, Hogerty Hill, Greendale, Msasa Park, Hatfield and
Borrowdale Brook as well eastern areas of Mabvuku and Tafara have had
erratic water supply for several weeks now.
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Zim Standard

Concern over lack of voter education
By Emmanuel Mungoshi

VOTER apathy, piles of spoilt ballots and an unprecedented number of voters
turned away in last month's parliamentary election are a clear indication of
lack of voter education before the polls, civic organisations have said.

The organisations said most people were turned away because they tried to
vote in the wrong constituencies, some did not have relevant identification
documents or their names did not appear on the voters' roll, while others
were not legally Zimbabwean citizens.
Former chairman of Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), retired Anglican
Bishop Peter Hatendi said there was not enough voter education prior to the

"Strictly speaking, the election machinery was in gear only a month before
the elections, which is definitely not good enough. I even queried if the
commission owned the elections," said Hatendi, who resigned from the ESC
citing lack of independence.

The former ESC chairman attributed the low voter turnout to 'credibility
gap" between the voters and contesting candidates. Apart from that most
Zimbabwe has lost faith in the country's electoral process, which is
controlled by civil servants, while other people just assumed they were
still on the voters' roll, having voted in previous elections.

"This can be attributed to ignorance. They took it for granted that since
they voted last time, there names were still on the voters' roll, which is a
sign of lack of voter education," Hatendi said.

His comments were supported by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Humans Rights
(ZLHR), which said the public was not adequately informed about the
delimitation of constituencies before the polling day, which resulted in
many people going to the wrong polling stations.

"One needs to examine the unacceptably high numbers of spoilt papers to
appreciate how the inadequate voter education has affected participation in
these elections," explained the lawyers.

The organisation recorded 60 427 spoilt papers and 133 155 voters who were
turned away in 10 and six provinces respectively in the just ended
parliamentary elections.

"By the time the President promulgated the boundaries there was inadequate
opportunity for voters to check the voters' roll and make themselves aware
of which constituency they fall in," says the human rights watchdog.

It also noted that the late publication of the list of poling stations
generated confusion among the electorate, especially those out of towns and

"The list of polling stations was published on 18 March 2005 - 13 days
before the polling day. This is in conflict with section 51 of the Electoral
Act (chapter 2:13) which requires that information about polling stations
should be provided at least 14 days prior to the polling date," said the

Whilst the inspection of the voters' roll for the March election closed on 4
February 2005, the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), which in terms of the
electoral Act is obliged to supervise the registration and inspection
process, was only established two days before the closing date.

As a result, it said, ZEC would not have been able to provide accurate
information to voters about the time and places of inspection.

"The failure to hold the voter registration exercise handled by a credible
impartial organ in a transparent and accountable manner posed a significant
and serious threat to the overall credibility of the electoral process for
March 2005.

"This view is supported by the unacceptably high numbers of voters who were
turned away in each constituency on the polling day.

"Such a high turn away would not have been experienced if the voter
registration and inspection process had been far reaching and efficient,"
ZLHR said.

Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
(ZESN), said there was need for more time to carry out sufficient voter

"Our voter education programme began a month before the election, because we
were under the cloud of the NGO bill, and that time was not enough to carry
out sufficient voter education," said Matchaba-Hove.

ZEC spokesperson Utoile Silaigwana refused to comment saying he was busy.

The ZLHR said, "The reality is that the electorate approached elections
without having benefited from voter education. This is undesirable given the
one-sided manner in with the public media (both electronic and print) were
used to support the status quo and to vilify the opposition or perceived
opponents of the ruling party."
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Zim Standard

                        Money to fund Mujuru bash stolen in Gweru
                        By our own staff

                        GWERU - About $20 million, which was kept at the
provincial administrator's office at the city's government complex, went
missing last month, a day before celebrations to mark the appointment of
Vice President Joyce Mujuru.

                        Thousands of Zanu PF supporters bused from rural
areas to attend the celebrations at Mkoba Stadium ended up scrambling for
food after the money raised to buy food for the event allegedly went
missing, The Standard was told.
                        Some of the rural Zanu PF supporters, who had their
own money, resorted to boiled and roasted maize from roadside vendors.
Sources said Zanu PF senior officials from the province dug deeper into
their pockets and donated cash to cover up so that the event appeared well

                        But police picked up three officials from the
registry department of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing the same day in connection with the theft.

                        Plaxedes Magodora (35), Gibson Bumhira (24) and
Pedzisai Kanjera appeared before Gweru magistrate Douglas Chikwekwe on
charges of theft.

                        Magodora and Bumhira were acquitted after the state
failed to prove a case against them.

                        Kanjera pleaded guilty to the offence and is out on
bail. The case was remanded to 28 June 2005. She is on $4million bail and is
required to report ton CID Gweru once a week.

                        The prosecution's case is that Kanjera stole the
money and used part of it to buy an air ticket to the United Kingdom. She
converted the remainder to her own use.

                        The trio is alleged to have been assigned to procure
food and other items for use at the Mujuru celebrations. They bought some of
the groceries and remained with cash amounting to slightly more than $19

                        Magodora, who had keys to the office and a safe in
which they kept the money, handed them to Kanjera during a handover-takeover
arrangement, before close of business on the day in question.

                        However, the following morning Kanjera is reported
to have arrived at the offices early in the morning and raised the alarm
saying the keys to the office and safe were missing.

                        The three were subsequently arrested. Bright Nyoka
is prosecuting.
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Zim Standard

Residents ignore polls for Paraffin
By Rutendo Mawere

ON 31 March, Zimbabwe's election day, scores of Harare residents were faced
with a crucial decision: they either queued to vote or for fuel.

For most, the choice was simple - paraffin, a vital energy source for a
majority of urban poor, which has been in short supply since the country
began experiencing intermittent fuel shortages. It had been rumoured the
scarce commodity was available at some of the service stations and those
that could afford it were determined not to miss the opportunity.
Despite the scorching heat, they remained in the long paraffin queue. Their
parched and cracked lips told yet another story - hunger.

Although it was almost mid-day on the date of Zimbabwe's parliamentary
elections, they had stood in the queue since dawn, long before the opening
of the service station, while in some constituencies other people had
already formed queues to vote.

Plastic containers in hand, the people waited in the meandering queue, which
moved at a snail's pace.

Most were residents of Epworth, who had forfeited their right to vote for a
parliamentary candidate of their choice because to them, it was more
important to queue for paraffin as this could mean the difference between a
full stomach or going to bed hungry.

Epworth is one of the poorest suburbs on the outskirts of Harare. There is
no running water or electricity and most of the people use firewood for
cooking and lighting.

Despite being at the tail of the winding queue Admire Gangarabwe, a resident
of this sprawling shanty suburb, was hopeful he would get his share of
scarce liquid for lighting and cooking, and save himself the trouble of
having to find firewood.

"We are hoping for a bright night today if we get the commodity," said

He said he could not go home, some 10 kilometres away, to cast his vote
because he would miss the opportunity to get the paraffin.

"I can not go and vote leaving the paraffin. I have an obligation to feed my
family and its either I get the paraffin first then vote or if voting time
elapses while I am still queuing then I will have missed the opportunity.
Voting does not bring feed to family," Gangarabwe said.

A fuel attendant at the service station said the paraffin, which was being
sold for $3 700 a litre, usually sold out within hours of delivery.

"As soon as it is delivered people queue and in a matter of hours the tanks
will be empty," said the attendant.

The gazetted price of paraffin is $3 450 a litre. At some service stations,
hoever, paraffin sells for $6 000 a litre.

A woman, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, said her
family was leading a pathetic life because of the shortage of paraffin.

"Tirikutamba nhamo tsvuku chaiyo. Izvozvi tareba muromo nekufutidza huni
nyoro nekuti paraffin yacho haisi kuwanikwa. (We are leading miserable lives
because we simply can't get the paraffin)," said the woman.

Another Epworth resident, who only identified himself as Madyira, said
sometimes families went to bed without supper after failing to get paraffin.

Madyira said: "Sometimes we go to bed without supper not because we do not
have food but because we have nothing to use for cooking the food."

At times, said Milton Kandeya, they have to bribe the fuel attendants to
fill up a 20-litre container. "To fill up a 20-litre container you pay them
about $20 000," said Kandeya who resells the paraffin for about $8 000 a
litre in Epworth.

The residents said they could not use firewood because they get arrested by
the police, if they are caught cutting down trees.

"They are just arresting us but they do not offer solutions to our problems.
We have no electricity in Epworth and paraffin has become a scarce commodity
yet we are being arrested for felling trees. Does this mean we do not have
to eat or we should eat our food raw?" asked Madyira.

Some of the Epworth residents said they have resorted to undertaking piece
work in Hatfield, clearing people's yards so that they get firewood from the

Zvinechimwe Churu, the chief executive officer of the National Oil Company
of Zimbabwe (Noczim) had, by the time of going to print, not responded to
questions faxed to him, to explain the causes of the shortages.

Analysts who spoke to The Standard said the sudden appearance of scarce
commodities on the crucial poll days was a political gimmick.

Political commentator Brian Kagoro wondered why the basic commodities were
supplied conveniently on a polling day. "Sometimes the appearance of scarce
commodities on polling days smells of sinister agendas. Supply of these
commodities diverts people from voting. The core concern of people is to
live and acquire the means of living hence the choice to queue for paraffin
on a voting day," Kagoro said.

Independent economic analyst John Robertson said: "This could have been a
devious plan to cause diversions and take people away from the polls. Most
people in Epworth are MDC and this could have been done intentionally to
disrupt voting."

Former University of Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gordon Chavunduka,
said the shortage of paraffin was an indication of government's failure.

"This is indication that government is failing to correct the economic
situation," Chavunduka said.
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Zim Standard


Losing MDC faces tough decisions

FOR the first time since its formation six years ago, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faces the challenge of how to remain
viable and relevant to the politics of Zimbabwe, while guarding against Zanu
PF's booby traps and temptations.

Emboldened by pronouncements from the majority of the observer missions to
the recent parliamentary elections, the ruling party is likely to forge
ahead with its plot to divide and weaken the MDC.
Zanu PF will pursue this route in order, basically to achieve several goals.
The first would be to single out people from the opposition that it can work
with. Secondly, Zanu PF is aware that if it can succeed in getting
opposition members to cooperate with it, the result will fragment the MDC,
precipitating a crisis, which will result in a bitter fight for the soul of
the opposition party. Thirdly, the goal of the ruling party will be to
significantly diminish the extent and influence of the opposition party so
that its support base will be utterly disillusioned at what they will see as
the ultimate betrayal by the MDC.

The real challenge facing the opposition is whether it still has men and
women capable of rebuffing any courtship advances by Zanu PF. Zimbabwe is a
country with a complex mix of people, with a propensity for professing one
thing when, in the majority of cases, they secretly desire the opposite.

Zanu PF has no desire to see the total demise of the MDC. That will not
serve its grand plan, because a semblance of opposition, however, pliant
will come in handy in the scheme of Zanu PF's pretence to democracy. Under
this plan, Zanu PF can, therefore, continue to remind the rest of the world
that Zimbabwe is a democracy with a viable opposition party.

Last year when the government was canvassing for support to proposed changes
to the Electoral Act, it began approaching individual MDC MPs in a bid to
gain their support. We can expect to see more of the same as the government
scales up its bid for legitimacy on the one hand and emasculation of the
opposition on the other.

The greatest threat to the survival of the MDC is in entertaining approaches
from the ruling party. The most realistic way forward for the opposition is
non-engagement and non-cooperation with both Zanu PF and the government -
total boycott of everything until its demands are met. In adopting this
stance, the MDC should demand that all its members close ranks and stand as

In the past the opposition has been presented with such dilemmas as daring
to discipline errant members at the risk of playing right into the hands of
Zanu PF. The test for the opposition will be whether it has the strength and
capacity to put its foot down and demand that all its members present one
united front in the fight against Zanu PF manipulation.

Part of Zanu PF's strategy now is likely to push for a change in the MDC
leadership, with the aim of creating a compliant opposition. Unfortunately,
the fact that its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is seen as having failed in his
bid to run for parliament in 2000 and in 2002 for the presidency and
recently in leading his party to lose 16 seats than it won in 2000 may train
the spotlight on him with questions about whether he should not now make way
for a different, younger person - even though within Zanu PF daring to
entertain such thoughts has been dealt with ruthlessly.

In the following days, the MDC is likely to suggest that it will take the
cue from the people on how next to proceed. It is perhaps time it provided
the leadership instead of agreeing to be led. The same people it will
consult are the very persons who persuaded the MDC to participate in the 31
March 2005 parliamentary poll, but then did not apparently play an active
role in mobilising and educating people to go out in their numbers and not
merely vote, but ensure there were no people turned away or ballots spoilt.

In deciding on the appropriate course of action to take, the leadership of
the MDC will be expected to lead from the front. It is this area where many
believe the opposition lacks the guts. If the leadership of the opposition
fails to address these concerns, rank and file supporters are likely to
begin to doubt their commitment to the struggle against hunger, joblessness,
shortages, corruption, abuse of authority and human rights, as well as
against neglect of the welfare of all citizens.

People in the rural areas braved intimidation of various forms from the
ruling party. They did so in order to turn out for MDC rallies in the hope
that the opposition would deliver them from Zanu PF's bondage. Ordinary
Zimbabweans are familiar with failure by the government to refrain from
partiality, preferential treatment or selective justice in favour of certain
individuals or groups and they have in one form or another seen how this has
helped to undermine the credibility of those who during the last five years
presided over the fate of this nation. It would be the greatest betrayal of
modern times, if the MDC fails to find a way to claim what is rightly theirs
and what the majority believe to be the mandate they were handed by the
electorate on 31 March 2005.

The most effective and non-violent confrontational approach the MDC can take
is total refusal to engage and cooperate until its concerns are fully
addressed. To play along as it did since 2005 - by seeking recourse in the
courts - would be to sign its death warrant. Whatever course of action the
opposition decides on, it must be fully aware that in taking a stand on the
side of justice and fairness, there is a very high price to be paid.
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Zim Standard

Business deserts Harare's CBD
By our own Staff

HARARE CBD and shopping malls in surrounding suburbs have recently
experienced a sharp increase in the amount of vacant commercial space, a
Standard Business survey has established.

The survey found that a significant amount of retail and office space has
been lying unoccupied for long periods of time in the capital city.
Retailers said skyrocketing rentals and a general decline in business was
the main reason behind the empty space.
"Business is generally low this time and retailers are struggling to meet
the high rentals," said one former Westgate tenant who spoke on condition of

"Rentals at Westgate shopping mall, for example, range between $4 million to
$6 million depending on whether the shop is located on the ground or first
floor," said the former tenant.

Standard Business found out that Westgate shopping mall, in one of Harare's
upmarket suburbs, 12 shops previously occupied by Rennies Travel, Imagine
that, The High Tech, City Form, Zimbank, Standard Chartered Bank, CFX Bank,
J&F (two shops), Douglas and Tate and Culiffe Interiors were vacant.

Abraham Sadomba, president of the Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe said the
prevailing situation was short-lived.

"The shops are vacant probably because the tenants have just moved out and
someone will take up the space soon," explained Sadomba.

Apart from the spiralling cost of occupying commercial space, Sadomba said
the recent closure of a number of commercial banks by the Reserve Bank was
another reason why vacant office space had increased in the CBD.

"The financial sector used to occupy a lot space as it was expanding, but
the closure of banks and the downsizing of many companies has led to the
creation of these surplus space," he said.

Looking ahead, Sadomba said the vacant space would be gradually occupied as
indigenous companies grow.

"It is healthy to have surplus space on the market so that the cost of
occupying space will be reduced," said Sadomba.
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Zim Standard

A day in the life of Timothy Mushore

IN this second part of a two-part series, Standard Business Senior Reporter
KUMBIRAI MAFUNDA looks at the trials and tribulations of a typical
Zimbabwean family that depends on a sole breadwinner for its survival during
these difficult times.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a family of four now needs
$1,9 million to buy basic groceries each month.
"Prices are rising almost every month," observes Tonderai Mukeredzi,
spokesperson for the consumer watchdog. Minimum salaries and wages should be
pegged around the family basket, he adds.

But how is Mushore and fellow Zimbabweans soldering on in the crisis-racked
southern African country?

Like his few fellow countrymen, Mushore is lucky to have a job in a country
where formal sector employment can only absorb a fraction of the number of
school leavers who enter the job market each year. Besides formal jobs whose
rewards cannot sustain many for a month, Zimbabweans both ordinary and
professionals who can no longer survive on their official jobs are proving
to be resilient and are showing their resourcefulness by moonlighting in
order to make ends meet.

Many Zimbabweans have turned to moonlighting as a way of supplementing their
meagre incomes. Security guards seem to have mastered this activity. Instead
of resting during the day, security guards who work during the night are
carrying out vending activities in their respective suburbs.

Says Tapera Maruta, a father of five children: "I have set up a stall at the
local shopping centre where I sell tomatoes and vegetables and that has
enabled me to provide for the family. Otherwise I can't just sit down and

The sight of women carrying a basket full of fruits or scones is now a
common sight at most companies. Patience Gura of Chitungwiza says she earns
up to $600 000 a month from moonlighting activities.

"My monthly salary can't meet the day to day needs of my family. So I have
just turned to this business to add to my small salary," says Chisvo.

This is the new survival strategy for many Zimbabweans who now find it
difficult to depend on their salaries for a living.

Then there is another class of workers. Because of poor remuneration, most
civil servants are now in the "game" too. Although most civil servants earn
above a million dollars, Zimbabwe is arguably the only country with
multi-millionaires who are poor.

Transparency International (TI) board member and political scientist John
Makumbe says teachers have resorted to teaching poorly in class so that
parents can send their children for additional lessons during weekends and

"Moonlighting is sadly becoming a national profession," said Makumbe.

And then there are those who have been pushed into the informal sector to
survive and these include those who have been made redundant due to the
faltering economic fortunes.

Street corners have been transformed into vending sites in disregard of
municipal by-laws while home industries have also mushroomed around
residential areas. The furniture and clothing industries have been the
hardest-hit, as customers are now buying from emerging home industries.

While there are no official statistics about informal activities, economic
analysts claim the decline in the formal job market has to a certain extent
been offset by growth in the informal sector. But economists read the growth
in the informal sector as reflection of the desperation caused by the
economic meltdown.

Independent economic consultant Peter Robinson though describes the informal
sector as a potential growth area that could turn around Zimbabwe's waning
economic fortunes.

"Sentiment is that the growth in the informal sector in Zimbabwe is more
driven by unemployment than anything else," says Robinson.

Independent statistics indicate that unemployment has reached over 80%, with
estimates indicating it could leap beyond 85% inside the next two years,
although the government tightly measures it at 9%.

"At the moment, the majority of people operating in the informal sector are
survivalists and not businesspeople," observes Robinson. "These are people
who are ready to leave whatever they are doing if they get formal employment

Turn on costs are also nominal in the informal sector, while the ease to
exist is another major advantage.

However, while the informal sector has absorbed hundreds of thousands of
school-leavers and retrenchees, substantial business has been lost in the
formal market. A considerable chunk of business sustaining the informal
sector is also largely unlawful, such as the illegal trade in foreign

John Robertson, a Harare-based economic consultant says workers have been
exposed to all sorts of injustices because of the growth in the informal
sector. Workers are not adequately protected because they have

no access to medical aid, pension schemes and are generally poorly

"You need producers as well as huge amounts of money in machines, technology
and quality control, among other things. Once we do that, we will be able to
provide something people can trade. Countries get wealthy by producing and
not trading alone. Zimbabwe has a discriminatory, hostile tax environment,
which makes it easy to stay informal," Robertson says.

Workers are taxed between 25 and 40% while companies who are in business to
make profits are charged 30,9%.

However, the informal sector, critics say needs to be nurtured into the
formal sector where it can begin to contribute towards the payment of taxes
and generation of the much-needed foreign currency.

On the other hand players in the informal sector are reluctant to join the
mainstream economy because of huge operational costs involved. They are
content operating in the margins where they escape the tax net and other
contributions to workers and society.
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Zim Standard

Zimbabwe enigma: rural, urban divide
Sundayopinion By Marko Phiri

WITH prices going up, food shortages stalking the nation and deaths being
reported as children and old people succumb to hunger as well as
unemployment chasing 80 percent, Zimbabweans went to the polls on 31 March.

As if to confirm the galloping price increases, the price of drinks went up
a day after the election on 1 April, and people who had imagined this to be
an April fools' joke still had to live with that reality on 2 April. The
government everyone was condemning for these hardships still emerged the
Zanu PF emerged victorious with 78 seats in the parliamentary elections
against the country's main opposition political party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which took 41 seats.

In Bulawayo the country's second largest city, the people's disappointment
and dejection was palpable as residents tried to get to grips with the
reality of having Zanu PF in power for five more years before another
election, when the ruling party will be 30 years in power. By African
standards, this is still nothing.

Until his death in February this year, Togolese president Gnassingbe Eyadema
had been in power for 38 years. In 2008, the year scheduled for the next
presidential election, Mugabe will have 28 years under his belt.

A council employee perhaps summarised the people's mood here. "Only Bush
will save us," he said. He was referring to United States President George W
Bush after his assault on Iraq which toppled strongman Saddam Hussein.
Another Bulawayo resident, a self-employed barber, said he was emigrating as
soon as he could. "And so should everybody," he added.

Others still genuinely wanted Zanu PF to win. In a kombi during the week, a
woman argued fervently that she could not have been expected to vote for the
MDC the party working in cahoots with whites to starve the country.

The MDC lost 16 seats it won in the previous parliament, and some of the
party's top officials fell by the wayside

Paul Themba-Nyathi, the MDC's spokesperson lost his Gwanda seat alongside
the party's shadow minister of agriculture Renson Gasela in Gweru Rural.

Because this was an election billed especially by urban residents as
"independence day" it is anybody's guess what the people's reaction will be.
Zimbabweans have had a history as a peace- loving nation, but observers here
have argued that this is because the ruling Zanu PF has used the police and
the army to browbeat the people and suppress dissent. During the run-up to
the election, some commentators opined that the MDC's loss could trigger
street protests but were still wary not to say this was going to be the
people's automatic response. They noted the people here had been literally
fatigued by the hardships to take to the streets.

Even the Bulawayo Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube a few days before the poll
was of the opinion that perhaps it was time for a popular uprising. Last
week, the Archbishop told me the only way forward was a spontaneous
uprising. "It is a risk but it has to be taken," he said. Only time will
tell, but the brutal history of the treatment of political activists is well
documented here, and very few people are not willing to stand as the
vanguard of street protests.

The irony here that has manifested polarised voting behaviour is that
virtually all urban centres were taken by the MDC with all rural
constituencies going to Zanu PF. The irony is that the rural communities
have been the hardest hit by the food shortages and bad governance but still
turned out in their thousands to vote for the very people being accused of
running the country aground.

Traditionally referred to as Zanu PF's power base, rural constituencies had
the highest turn out as registered voters came out in full force to endorse
Zanu PF. But popular sentiment here since 1980 holds that the rural
populations have been intimidated by the ruling party as it enlisted rural
headmen and chiefs to threaten villagers with all sorts of reprisals. And
there have been allegations that ruling party officials told the rural
people that their vote was not a secret as it would be known who they voted
for. If they voted for the MDC it would be known and they would be dealt
with accordingly. This, observers here say, is what has formed the ruling
Zanu PF's claimed power base. Zanu PF denies this.

During the run up to the elections, a senior ruling party official and
cabinet minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, was accused of threatening to make
redundant workers at a horticulture farm which exports to the UK. He denied
the allegations, and when the election results were announced, he was duly
elected Member of Parliament. Nobody took him to task, and the people of
Zimbabwe will live with the Zanu PF victory indefinitely.

But people in Bulawayo are still trying to come to terms with the election's
outcome. To register his anger with the rural communities who have literally
voted Zanu PF back to power, a security guard in Bulawayo said: "The next
time I go to my rural home, I am not buying those folks any beer." The
future of the country which many believed was poised for the better looks
very bleak. It will take a miracle to save Zimbabwe.
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Zim Standard

MDC in danger of losing direction
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

THE Movement for Democratic Change is in grave danger of losing direction.
The problem seems to be that it does not know or is not sure of its

Knowing one's identity is crucial because it determines one's confidence in
oneself and subsequently behaviour in life. One's actions are then decided
by who one thinks one is and what one's mission in life is. It gives
Who and what is the MDC? To the majority of suffering Zimbabweans it is just
as its name says. It is a people's movement whose aim is to bring about
democratic change in Zimbabwe. It is not an ordinary political party, in the
vein of many African opposition parties whose sole goal is to place as many
of its members as possible into parliament with the hope that one day they
can assume power and be able to enjoy the fruits of that power as the
incumbent rulers will be doing. Such a party has no sense of mission or
sacrifice. The suffering of the people becomes to its leaders only a tool to
be used to gain their votes.

The MDC is not just another political party but a people's movement whose
sole goal is not just to get into parliament but to bring about democratic
change in Zimbabwe. As such its decisions and actions must be determined and
shaped by this identity. It is not just a political party whose members
carry party cards, wear T-shirts and attend rallies. It is a people's
movement born out of the pain of suffering as a result of misgovernance,
corruption and the lack of justice in the land. It is not a political party
organised by professional career politicians who hope to earn salaries as
members of parliament and hopefully be in power one day so that they can
also enjoy the fruits of power. In Shona they say: "Vanoda kutonga kuti

As a people's movement, the MDC should forget the orthodox niceties of
professional political conduct with its feigned diplomacy, tactics, gimmicks
and meaningless political correctness. Its actions should only be shaped in
response to the cries of those in bondage.

It is true that the MDC cannot act in isolation. It needs the support of the
international community, the African Union, SADC and other regional bodies
and countries. However, these cannot be expected to solve Zimbabwe's
problems because we are indeed a sovereign country as President Robert
Mugabe often emphasises.

They may even have their own agendas which may be detrimental to our cause
as is the case with South Africa. The MDC cannot expect any constructive
assistance or advice from that direction. The MDC's actions can and should
be informed by what others say but should never be determined by that but by
how we assess our own situation.

When the MDC announced that it would boycott the March 2005 general
elections because the playing field was uneven, Zimbabweans applauded the
move. The idea of boycotting something "kuramwa" is well understood and
accepted as a way of protest in our society. How can you get into a ball
game with a team which has 15 players when you have the required 11? It also
insists on choosing the referee and you are not even allowed to choose a
linesman. Getting into such a soccer game is sheer folly. You can never win.

For years the National Constitutional Assembly, led by the courageous Dr
Lovemore Madhuku, cautioned the MDC against going into elections under the
present undemocratic constitution, which among other things, allows
President Mugabe to choose 30 unelected members of parliament. We thought
they had seen the point, only to be greatly disappointed. The MDC made a
U-turn at the last moment and decided to take part in the elections "under
protest". Who they were protesting to one cannot really tell.

This confused the electorate, which had not bothered to register or to check
the voters' roll because they had really believed that the MDC was not going
to participate - hence the low voter turn-out.

The inevitable happened. Zanu PF, as predicted rigged the polls neatly and
came out the winner with the two-thirds majority, which allows it to change
the Constitution to its further advantage. Africa has said the polls were
free and fair and we are back to square one for another five years.

Now that what was so obviously predictable has happened, the MDC is crying
foul. However, loudly they may protest, the fact is that their crying alone
will not change anything. They lent credibility to the whole farce by

Those who say that if the MDC had boycotted the elections it would have been
sidelined and become irrelevant are talking rubbish. Actually by taking part
in these fraudulent elections it is now in real danger of becoming
irrelevant. If they, as a recognised opposition, with almost half of the
seats in parliament, had refused to participate a real political crisis
would have developed. It would have put the AU, SADC and South Africa in a
real quandary. They would not have been able to call an election by Zanu PF
alone free and fair.

The damage has been done but we cannot cry over spilt milk. The question is:
Where do we go from here? Most Zimbabweans are of the reasonable opinion
that if the MDC really believes that the Zanu PF win was through rigging and
that they won the elections, which they actually did, then they should
refuse to be sworn in and boycott parliament as a matter of principle and

The tragedy is that the MDC seems to be undecided about what action to take.
It is good and reasonable that they send evidence of the electoral fraud to
the Electoral Court and appeal for redress as well as sending letters of
protest and evidence to relevant regional bodies and the international
community. But what will really matter is their decision not to go to

Some in the MDC leadership have said that those who were elected should go
into parliament to represent those who voted for them. They say that
boycotting parliament would be a betrayal of those voters. How about the
majority whose candidates won but were denied their seats through fraud? Who
is going to represent them? Will they not feel betrayed?

Others say the elected members from the MDC should go into parliament to
make the people's voice heard. How naïve can one get? The MDC has been in
parliament for five years. Has its voice not been heard? What will make the
difference now?

Surely if, as I believe, the MDC represent the voice of the majority it does
not need to convince a fraudulently elected Zanu PF government of anything.
The voice of the people of Zimbabwe does not need to plead to fraudsters. It
is being heard clearly and its reverberations are resonating from the
Chimanimani and the Matusadonha mountains to the whole world.

If the MDC is only interested in getting a few of its leaders into
parliament and not in effecting democratic change through decisive action,
then we are doomed. Lest the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) or CID
come after me again, I must assure them that I am not at all implying
anything unconstitutional or violent. Democratic change should be brought
about by democratic means and there are many options open to the MDC.

In The Standard of 3 April 2005, my good friend, Bornwell Chakaodza, tries
to convince us that democratic change can be brought about by a government
of national unity. He says if President Mugabe can come together with the
MDC in a government of real national unity that government could restore
"all the freedoms and democracy enjoyed by the civilised world". Nice try
Bornwell, but you are wasting your time in wishful thinking.

The MDC should banish all thoughts of ever being able to work together with
Zanu PF to bring about democratic change from its mind. Can a leopard change
its colour? The only way change can be brought about in Zimbabwe is through
a new democratic constitution and fresh elections, which would definitely
see Zanu PF thrown out of power.

He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Today's (Friday 8th April 2005) contains:
- a new listing of section 8 orders for 168 properties under Lot No. 24 and
- a new listing under section 5 notice for one property under Lot No. 166.

This will be sent out on Monday 11th April 2005.

Yesterday's Herald (7th April 2005) contained a notice to 822 property
owners to contact the Ministry URGENTLY in connection with compensation.
This is the fifth notice of this nature since the first one in March 2003.

We strongly advise those farmers who are called and are in a position to do
so to attend a Ministry meeting, but to do so from an informed position as
to the VALUE of their property, and the lack of procedurality prevailing
with this notice and any offer.

JAG is well placed to advise those farmers willing to attend these
meetings. In the past rediculously low verbal offers have been made.

If for no other reason, it is essential that we are able to counter any
possible future claims by Government that farmers were called to
compensation but never came forward.


JAG Hotlines:
(011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need advice,
                                  please don't hesitate to contact us -
                                  we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to: with subject line "For: Open Letter Forum".


Thought of the Day:

"I belong to a generation which brought fundamental revolutionary
changes not through the law or the legal process but through the barrel
of a gun.  The law is only a political concept.  It can be used as a
tool from any political angle."

Current Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa
said when still Zimbabwe's Attorney General


- TESCO and their likes - Cyclops
- Seeking owner of IGAVA farm - Anne Wayne
- What Next Zimbabwe? - Mumwe Wenyu (One of you)
- Election Dilemma - Gerry Whitehead


LETTER 1: TESCO AND THEIR LIKES, received 8.4.2005

by "Cyclops"

Dear JAG

LETTER 1:2005 04 07 - To JAG OLT re TESCO
2005 04 07

Subject: TESCO and their likes


Much interesting recent debate and interchange has been visible in your
forum regarding TESCO.

Some may perceive that they have the core credentials equated to that of a

The typical Brit does not know or care where Zimbabwe is, or is concerned
much about the source of a product they may want to buy off a shelf.

The reality is that in both the retarded and modern worlds, of perhaps
reduced or insolvent morality, it is near normal to fill back-pockets from
any source since this conduct infrequently attracts conscious or
meaningfully accountability.

If anyone actually wanted to get moral or consequential results, they
should institute legal proceedings towards those proven to deal with stolen
goods, derivatives or assets.

Tragically many Zimbabweans are victims of punitive circumstances that may
have reduced balanced focus distanced from more overriding issues.

Well-known is the fact that there are still several 'nuzzlers' who endure
and prosper from aspects of the new culture of "chocolate farming" in

A few decades ago these types were identified as turncoats or quislings.

What TESCO may be doing can only be consequential to inputs from Zimbabwe.

Whilst there are many more serious matters to attend to, those that want to
go the distance with TESCO and their likes initially only need to find and
divulge a few basics.

All that is necessary is to reveal the sources, the exporters, their bases,
and their fronted suppliers.

Not hard to do if determined.

For a start, why not name and shame?



LETTER 2: SEEKING OWNER OF "IGAVA" FARM, received 7.4.2005

by Anne Wayne


I am seeking the previous owners of Igava farm in Macheke. I have important
information for them regarding their farm. Please could they contact me on
the following email address: or text + 27 83 897 8075
and I will call them back immediately. Thank you very much.

Anne Wayne


LETTER 3: WHAT NEXT ZIMBABWE?, received 6.4.2005

by Mumwe Wenyu
(One of You)

Dear Zimbabweans, & My dear countrymen!

Now that the elections are over
And what you wanted was denied
It is not time to take cover
From seeking justice when you have tried
To seek God's wish for Zimbabwe.

It seems the Almighty God, and father
Of our world and our country and provider
Of our land wants us to look for another
State where everyone who is now threatened feels safer

Therefore national democratic leaders, MDC, Sokwanele, NCA,and all peace
loving Zimbabweans,inside and outside
Must work hard for separation of country and never cease
To cry for a separate state inside
Zimbabwe, as God may instruct.

Therefore elections will never give security
from persecution and planned mass starvation
by evil forces in and outside who with impunity
want to half Zimbabwe's honest but hungry population.

God will bless those who seek peace and He
will grant us His peace and a new home if we ask with Speed
to save many lives under threat in Zimbabwe!

God Bless you All!

Mumwe Wenyu
(One of You)

London, UK


LETTER 4: ELECTION DILEMMA, received 7.4.2005

by Gerry Whitehead

Hi All,

There are many who believe that everything has or will come to a stop and
that we will get nothing out of this stolen Election, they are pessimists
and are very wrong. Many whites did not even vote, using the excuse that it
was not their problem, but the black Zimbabwean's problem, now what a lot
of pure undultarated shit, are they saying that they are not true
Zimbabweans or what? I have heard of people flying in from England, driving
from South Africa to vote. Thanks to all those true patriots who voted and
assisted me, despite all those who did not vote, we won 94 seats, this
means that the MDC have the backing of a high majority of the citizens of
our Zimbabwe now.

For those who believe that the MDC are a nothing and are a weak and useless
party, just try to imagine where we would have been by now if they did not
exist, a one party state, a new repressive constitution with disastrous
policies, and with absolutely no solution to our countries problems. Sure
the pessimists would say, that is where we are now, but the fight is not
over, our solution is a new democratic government, and the MDC is our only
contender with the experients and backing of the population to do it..

I said to you all that we may not win this elections but we will win
because of it, I still believe this to be true, and I am sure that you will
start seeing some action towards this goal very soon.

Please don't despair, Mugabe is in serious trouble now, he is aware that at
least 90% of the population is against him. This descent is growing as
prices go up, I was told that the ZANU PF in ZAKA EAST were very angry,
prices had gone up and there was no diesel or petrol. If this is the
feeling there, I am sure that it is the same all over.

When you see this begin to happen PLEASE ASSIST IN EVERY WAY THAT YOU CAN,
and those who did not vote please try to locate your BALLs and assist also,
do not think of leaving it to GOD, GOD helps those who help themselves,
providing of couse we stay within the 10 commandments.

Keep your head up, be proud to be a Zimbabwean whether you are black,
white, or a colored, back the MDC and we will win.



Gerry Whitehead


JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need advice,
                                  please don't hesitate to contact us -
                                  we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines
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COMMUNIQUÉ - 1st April 2005


- Chairman's letter to members
- JAGMA Vision Statement
- JAGMA Mission Statement




To all concerned Parties and Existing Members.

The new Justice for Agriculture Membership Association (JAGMA), under a new
constitution, fully realises that it is critically imperative that we get
financial support for dealing with the issues of Restitution and

The Compensation Coalition recognises and has agreed that the JAG Loss
Claim Document (JAG LCD) is the most comprehensive format for the
presentation of Losses and Claims for Restitution and Compensation under
International Law.

It is urgent that JAG receives the maximum number of Loss Claim Documents
(JAG LCD's) in the near future or there is a danger that the compensation
issue will be lost due to political expediency and true justice could be

The format for the JAG Loss Claim Document (JAG LCD's) is available
electronically from the JAG office.

The new membership fees for the first quarter 2005 will be: Z$ 300 000.00,
due now.

JAG also welcomes ancillary industry participation with membership fees of:
Z$250 000.00. p.a.

Associate membership fees i.e. those wishing to advertise over our network
are: Z$200 000.00. p.a.

It is essential with the impending NGO Bill being imminent that JAG
regularises its membership base as we cannot be seen to be representing
anyone other than members.

Yours sincerely
Alastair Davies
The Justice for Agriculture Membership Association (JAGMA)




The new Justice for Agriculture (JAG) Trust has recently been reconstituted
as a pro-active membership-driven organisation, subscribing to:

1. Returning Zimbabwe to food self-sufficiency;
2. Servicing the needs of Members;
3. Striving for Accountability, Integrity, and Transparency;
4. Promoting National Unity in Zimbabwe's Agriculture
5. Resurrecting Zimbabwe's Agricultural Industry

We Aim to achieve Restitution/Compensation for all sectors of Zimbabwe's
Agricultural Community, through:
· non-selective application of Justice for all;
· the complete restoration of the Rule of Law, and
· the universal respect for Property Rights

through full accountability in Zimbabwe, in participation with Civil
Society and all concerned and sympathetic Stakeholders in Agriculture.

JAG strongly believes that true empowerment and freedom of the people of
in Zimbabwe.




Justice for Agriculture (JAG) MEMBERSHIP:

Aimed at servicing the needs of the Members. Through an extensive
communications network, addressing the issues of:

· restitution, and
· compensation, and
· finance.

JAG is seeking financial support from an expanded membership base and from
concerned and sympathetic Donor Agencies.

The funding will be used for:

1. The JAG Loss Claim Documentation project data base;
2. Legal projects;
3. Public Relations;
4. Advocacy and Lobbying;
5. Human Rights Recording;
6. Efficient Administration.

The inclusion of the above in an Independent National Land Audit.

Our Mission is to unite all parties involved in the Agricultural, Natural
Resources and Wildlife sectors, through communications and negotiation,
pro-actively pursuing the revitalisation of the Agricultural, Natural
Resources and Wildlife sectors in the new Zimbabwe.

The time is now ripe for our full pro-active participation in the future of
Zimbabwe's agriculture.

There can be no meaningful development and progress whilst our
RESTITUTION and COMPENSATION claims remain outstanding.


JAG Hotlines:
(011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need advice,
                                  please don't hesitate to contact us -
                                  we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines
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Issue 7, Sunday 10 April, 2005



We need to stand together as Africans in unity, this means spreading this
newsletter as widely as possible! Whether in South Africa, Zimbabwe, or
abroad, whether by e-mail or as a printed copy. Don't hang on to it! Pass it

But please remember: anyone who wants to receive this newsletter directly
from must subscribe through e-mail in
person! This is to avoid problems with local and international Spam laws and
regulations (More info at the end of this letter).



The Shona and Ndebele translations are available! You can request issue 1,
2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 by sending an email with 'request Shona issue 1-6' in the
subject to Also the Ndebele issue 1-6 can
be requested (email 'request Ndebele issue 1 or 2' to


"A Legitimate Election? A Stolen Election!"




1.                  Editorial Statement

2.                  News Wrap 1 : Zanu Retribution Follows Election

3.                  Voices From SA: Statement By Bishop Rubin Phillip

4.                  Prose Poem: I Miss My Home

5.                  News Wrap 2: MDC Say Preliminary Findings Show Massive
Electoral Fraud

6.                  SA Council Of Churches Observer Mission Statement

7.                  News Wrap 3: Final Observer Mission Report

8.                  Voice Of Regional Journalist Travelling In Zimbabwe

9.                  News Wrap 4 : Calls For New Election As Substantial
Flaws In Election Emerge

10.              Opinion And Analysis: Falling At The First Hurdle

11.              News Wrap 5: SA Parliamentary Mission Divided

12.              Voices from Africa: Observations on the Zimbabwe Elections

13.              News Wrap 6 : COSATU Calls For Probe Of Electoral Fraud

14.              Voices From Zimbabwe: Statement by Archbishop Pius Ncube

15.              News Wrap 7: AU Observer Mission Calls For Probe

16.              Opinion & Analysis: How Is The Region Reacting & How Should
It React To SADC Protocol

17.              News Wrap 8: MDC Youths Demand Mass Action

18.              Editorial Voice Visiting Zimbabwe: The Response To A Stolen
Vote And The Road Ahead

19.              About this newsletter

20.              Distribution details and contact info

21.              New contact information

22.              Important Announcement

23.              Disclaimer


The Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation Forum have noted the fallout from
the recent Zimbabwe election. Solidarity is about people, and the Zimbabwean
people are in the same position they were in before the election. If
anything, the political crisis, which is the basis of the economic and
social struggles faced by people, has deepened. These are daily struggles
about finding enough food for you and your children, and being able to go to
bed at night feeling safe that tomorrow your opinions and your friends are
not going to count against you. Millions of people from and in Zimbabwe are
living under conditions that you and we would not accept for ourselves.

Our own monitors in Zimbabwe have provided clear evidence of a political
climate that is in direct violation of the SADC guidelines and principles.
Guidelines and principles that signatories, South Africa and Zimbabwe both,
vowed to scrupulously apply. A foundation stone of these principles and
guidelines is that the pre-election period is as important as the election
itself. The effect of the POSA and AIPPA legislation that eliminates people's
right to meet, to organise and to speak their minds has been well
articulated. The delimitation of constituencies to favour the ruling party,
the stuffing of the voters role with dead voters, the fear released through
the youth militia, the corruption of traditional leaders and the use of food
as a political tool have all featured as key election highlights. There is
no doubt that long before March 31st this was an election that had already
been pre-decided.

The single fact that no observer missions observed the stipulation, that 90
days before an election, missions should be in place, must surely raise
questions about the elections legitimacy. The fact that only those that were
invited, observed, must surely deepen this questioning. Despite this
observers travelled to Zimbabwe and pronounced their findings. Who did these
observers meet? How far from the urban centres did they travel? The
discrepancies between the number of voters and the number of votes counted,
the turning away of thousands of people, the incidents of violence, the
delay between the close of counting and the announcement of results, the
presence of soldiers in the voting stations and the silencing and absence of
independent monitors at polling booths are explicit examples of neither free
nor fair electoral practice. Surely if the observers observed no
discrepancies, in the face of such clear evidence to the contrary, it
reflects more on the circles in which the observers moved than on the
election itself?

Civil society was entirely excluded from these elections even though it is a
fundamental right for civil society, including trade unions and human rights
organisations to actively take part in events that will affect their
futures. The absence of civil society from all official observer missions
and the silence of governments in Southern Africa in allowing this to happen
is an indictment of the freedoms we claim to have fought for. The crisis in
Zimbabwe has deepened. The solution to this crisis requires all of us to
play a role. Zimbabweans need to look deeper for mechanisms that will
amplify the voice of its people. SADC and the AU have an obligation to
intervene and ensure that their recommendations about freeing up political
space and negotiating an interim solution become a reality.

Solidarity is about the light that remains when the night has come. It is
about remembering that no matter how long the night, the day is sure to
dawn. Ongoing efforts to raise awareness and sharpen a South African
understanding of conditions in Zimbabwe will continue. Mass mobilization and
a principled engagement with our mass based formations will aim at involving
our people in acting against injustice and in support of an African Union
enforced, and SADC facilitated, negotiation that involves all Zimbabweans in
finding solutions to the current crisis.


"Seek Truth From Facts"





Retribution against supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) by ruling party militants is beginning in the wake of the
recently concluded parliamentary elections. At least ten villagers from
Kazangarare rural area in Mashonaland West have sought refuge in the town of
Karoi after fleeing from militia members. In Gwanda, in the Matabeleland
South province, 45 MDC supporters were beaten up and told that they will no
longer be able to buy maize from the state-run Grain Marketing Board, the
only supplier of maize in the region. MDC supporters are also reported to
have fled from threats of violence in Makoni East.

The son of the MDC candidate in Mazowe East, Shepherd Mushonga, was
kidnapped at Bedrock Business Centre and severely beaten by ZANU (PF)
youths. Wilson Mushonga was followed by youths and militia members, beaten
and left for dead near the family shop. He is currently in hospital.

Paul Themba Nyathi, spokesman for the MDC, also reported an unconfirmed
incident in which the winning ZANU (PF) candidate for Insiza and deputy
Transport Minister fired shots in an attempt to scare MDC supporters while
they were being assaulted by ZANU (PF) militants at Avoca rural business

(From ZimOnline, 7 April and SW Radio Africa, 7 April)



I have had occasion to visit Zimbabwe on two separate occasions over the
past five weeks. The first was to Harare in the pre-election period (from 28
February to 2 March) where I had the opportunity to meet with various
representatives of church and civil society formations in Zimbabwe to
discuss the electoral environment and to ascertain the conditions on the
ground for  credible elections to take place on 31 March 2005. The second
was over the election period (from 25 March to 2 April) when I visited
Bulawayo and travelled around Matabeleland observing the immediate build-up
to the elections, the poll and the immediate post-election situation.

These visits confirmed that the electoral process in Zimbabwe was conducted
in a climate of fear and intimidation and against the backdrop of escalating
poverty and food shortages which was largely politically induced. The extent
of the fear and intimidation was palpable, and is reflected in a
conversation I held with a priest who said that he was too fearful of
reprisals to attend a Good Friday service (which incorporated a march in
support of those suffering and oppressed). The freedom of the electoral
process in the pre-election period was also severely compromised by
restrictive and oppressive legislation such as the Public Order and Security
Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) which did not allow for equal access to state media and restricted
and disrupted campaigning for the elections by the opposition MDC up until
two weeks before the elections. It was also evident from my first visit,
that despite complying with some of the SADC Standards and Guidelines for
Elections agreed in Mauritius, that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
lacked independence and that serious discrepancies existed around the
registration process, the voters roll and the process of determining
constituency boundaries - all of which were handled in a secretive and
underhanded manner by agents of the ruling party.

This electoral environment was further undermined by reports of the
manipulation of the distribution of food aid by the ruling party, and I met
an 83 year old widow who confirmed this fact. She cares for five orphans and
told me that because she supports the MDC, her name was on a list of those
who are not allowed to buy food from the Grain Marketing Board and that she
has been told by her local headman that unless she 'converts' to ZANU-PF she
and her children will starve to death. Reports of many other intimidation
tactics were also reported to me and have been well documented by human
rights organisations in Zimbabwe. These include threats of forced removal
from areas if people attended MDC rallies, threats against election
observers and polling agents and in some instances threats of retribution if
people voted for the MDC.

Despite peace and dignity prevailing in the period immediately prior to, and
during the poll, (which is to be commended and recognised), serious
discrepancies emerged on the voting day with high numbers of would-be voters
turned away from polling stations, and unacceptable discrepancies between
the figures released by the ZEC and the official results from some
constituencies. Various aspects of the electoral process were also not fully
observed by domestic or international observers which left the system open
to abuse.

For the above reasons I do not consider the electoral process in Zimbabwe to
be either free or fair and therefore cannot believe that it expresses the
will of the people of Zimbabwe.

Bishop Rubin Phillip, (SACC Envoy To Zimbabwe, Head Of The Zimbabwe Observer
Consortium And Spokesperson For The Zimbabwe Solidarity And Consultation


"Freedom Is More Than A Contested Election"




The forlorn cry of the house sparrow in the freezing Scottish weather
reminds me of the cry of the African sparrow in the scorching sun of the
Zimbabwean summer.

These boyhood days creep into my mind when we used to shoot a variety of

birds during our hot summers. Those African sparrows that couldn't make

the great seasonal trip to the far north were crying for their loved ones;
the very unlucky ones were downed by our catapult.

With our bare bellies and tattered shorts we enjoyed every minute of it,
shooting birds, herding cattle and goats plus frightening baboons, just to

mention a few. Wild fruits especially and African oranges and water

berries made an important part of our diet.

That routine was shattered by gunfire from the east and western bloc.   The

forests where we used to herd our animals and shoot birds were a

battleground for the fighting bulls. Five years down the line the dispute

ended with lots of tombstones and oceans of blood.

We sang in jubilation saying independence was come at last, but we were

totally wrong. Our once beautiful home is now a no-go area. The jaws of

a cruel monster are waiting to devour every piece of our flesh in a

merciless manner. Who can lift a sledge hammer and break the jaws of that

merciless dictator back home?   Those who couldn't make the great trek to

the far north are slaughtered one by one on a daily basis.

I am freezing here and miss that warm weather back home. What can I do?

Courtesy of Thomas Mutangiri and the Scotland Zimbabwe Group, issue 11


"Not Free And Fair Equals Not Legitimate"





The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says that preliminary
investigations and analysis of results from the recent parliamentary
election have revealed "serious and unaccountable gaps" between the official
results reported by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the number
of votes attributed to each candidate. The party says that these
discrepancies indicate "massive electoral fraud by the ruling party."

The opposition party has identified 30 constituencies in the provinces of
Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Matabeleland South.
However, the full extent of the discrepancies cannot be assessed as the ZEC
has refused to release figures on the number of votes cast in a further five
provinces. The MDC has said that, "The ZEC's refusal to release these
figures indicates widespread irregularities."

Very few discrepancies were recorded in the MDC's urban strongholds of
Harare and Bulawayo, where the party regained most of its seats, as was
widely predicted. The party's statement suggests that this was done to
ensure that the election had "a veneer of legitimacy" while ensuring that
the ruling party cemented its hold in the rest of the country. The most
glaring discrepancies occurred in constituencies contested by senior party
officials and government ministers.

The MDC stated that it had submitted its findings to the SADC and South
African observer missions, but regretted that these missions had shown a
"chronic lack of interest" in the findings. The MDC statement further cites
the uneven playing field, the inflated voter's roll, the coercion of the
rural electorate as well as the high proportion of voters turned away from
polling stations as evidence that the election was "stolen".

(From MDC Statement 6 April)


"If People Vote It Doesn't Mean There Is Peace Or Truth Or Justice"




The bravery and demeanour of Zimbabweans who contributed to what was largely
a peaceful election day deserves both acknowledgement and respect.   The
insistence of Zimbabweans, members of SADC and citizens of countries
surrounding Zimbabwe on the application of the SADC Principles and
Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and minimum standards for
elections was admirable.

The drop in violence is welcomed and acknowledged as a significant
improvement on the 2000 and 2002 elections.  In the last weeks before
Election Day there was a marked opening of public space for opposition
voices, voter education and access for the international media. This created
a surge of optimism by the opposition and encouraged all who were observing
the election.

The coalition issuing this statement comprises the South African Council of
Churches, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, SANGOCO, Idasa,
the Centre for Policy Studies and the Institute for Justice and
Reconciliation.  It requested but was not afforded observer status. Members
of the consortium did visit the country prior to and during the elections.
They consulted widely with NGO and political groupings in Zimbabwe,
interviewed a cross-section of Zimbabweans and followed the election process
both from within and outside of the country.

Of particular concern is the realization that:

·                    Zimbabwe has become an authoritarian state and the
election was held within this context. A normal election remains difficult
to contemplate without significant changes in the constitutional, legal,
institutional and cultural environment.

·                    The governing party has at its disposal the resources
and privileges of incumbency, which it employed to its own advantage.
Numerous donations to communities accompanied government ministers as they
campaigned and were used as vote buying.

·                    We consider the politicization of observation missions,
in particular the preferential treatment of invited missions in accordance
with their stated friendship to ZANU PF to be regrettable.  In particular,
conclusions arrived at by the South African Observer Missions failed to
address the critical issues affecting free and fair elections standards and
have thus compromised their role as honest and non partisan observers.

·                    The suspension of excessive violence and the
opportunity to vote do not in themselves constitute a free and fair election
as required by the SADC guidelines. The guidelines require states to adhere
scrupulously to an extensive set of criteria, all of which are underpinned
by the African Union's democratic philosophy.

·                    The election has fallen short of these stringent SADC
standards and the AU commitment to democracy. Delayed and limited
implementation of electoral reforms, remaining restrictions on political
activity, abuse of the resources and privileges of incumbency and serious
allegations of fraud by the MDC which remain to be answered have undermined
confidence in the election outcome.

·                    Indication are that previous violence and intimidation
had cowed voters, that the inequities introduced by early election
arrangements (demarcation and voter registration in particular) and other
forms of alleged electoral bias calls into question the objectivity of the
electoral commission and the outcome of the elections.

Because we are convinced that future elections should not be countenanced
without significant changes in Zimbabwe, we believe that both political
parties and others who wish Zimbabwe well should seize the opportunity to
redouble their efforts to achieve these necessary changes.

The coalition welcomes the fact that Election Day and the weeks immediately
preceding it were largely peaceful. It hopes that this was a prologue to
continued legally sanctioned peace and openness.  In this regard we call on
civil society throughout the region to commit themselves to supporting the
efforts of Zimbabweans to wrest peace, prosperity and the necessary
political reforms from the elections which are now behind them.

Based on the present evidence and analysis of the SADC guidelines, the
coalition cannot pronounce the elections as being free and fair without
qualification.  We particularly regard as morally questionable the
pronouncement by the South African Observer Mission that primarily due to
the peaceful climate that prevailed during the elections; the elections are
necessarily free and fair. As to the credibility and legitimacy of the
outcomes, the coalition believes that this judgment must and will be made by
the people of Zimbabwe, their courts and their political parties.




This article follows the Final Observer Mission Report which can be viewed
on the front page of Idasa's website:


"The Struggle Continues For Peace, Truth And Justice In Zimbabwe"




No blood was spilt on polling day in Zimbabwe, but endorsing Zanu-PF's
victory shows a too narrow definition of 'free and fair', writes a South
African journalist. By the time I set foot on Zimbabwean soil on March 24th
2005 I had sifted for months through NGO reports on torture, abuse of food
aid, brutal repression by the state and did not know what to believe
anymore. What I saw surprised me. The country appeared to be peaceful,
functioning and vibrant. Two weeks later I knew the peace I saw was an
artificial snapshot, fashioned by the devious spin doctors of a despotic
state for the benefit of parachute journalists and part-time election

In my view, Zimbabwe on March 31st 2005 was a ring in which one boxer was
lying face down but fights were still announced. The exhausted boxer was
tied down (by repressive laws such as Aippa, Posa and a slew of statutes
dating from the Ian Smith days), starving (unless he promised to surrender
to his opponent), bruised (the kicking had stopped eight weeks earlier but
scars were fresh and memories of scarring irrepressible), and nearly
anonymous (nobody read about him in the Herald or saw his face on ZTV).

His presence in the ring was announced weeks earlier, controversial among
peers who said the fight would not be fair. They were right. Observers from
South Africa and SADC who said the poll's result "reflects the will of the
Zimbabwean people" were wrong. Relying on an unreasonably narrow definition
of "free and fair", observers across Zimbabwe's ten provinces saw no blood
on polling day and said "peace prevailed". They saw no guns against the
heads of men and women making their crosses in private booths and said "they
expressed their free will". Yet peace is more than the absence of overt
conflict and duress is induced by many things besides the fear of immediate

I spent 12 days in Zimbabwe as a fully accredited journalist. I spoke to
many people who were filled with fear after having faced threats of death,
material loss, starvation and eviction if they voted for the MDC. This fear
was real because the threat of reprisal was credible. This time the duress
that stripped voters of true freedom was not caused by guns and sjamboks,
but by memories of guns and sjamboks from 2000 and 2002. The fear that
headmen and chiefs would make good on their promises to evict supporters of
the MDC from communal land was made more real by the knowledge that ballot
boxes would be translucent. This was reinforced by the inability of
illiterate, rural voters to know that this did not matter. Voting behaviour
is influenced by violence, but also by fear and memories of violence.

When voting ended, doors of polling stations and notebooks of observers
slammed shut simultaneously. Results were not posted at polling stations
before being announced at constituency level (thus impeding independent
verification). No outside observers were present at the National Logistics
Committee which received results first. On the morning of April 1st the
Zimbabwean Election Commission (ZEC) announced the total number of votes
cast by closing time; the huge discrepancy between many of these figures and
the total number of votes earned by each candidate announced later, has not
been explained.

Observers gave the MDC's complaints of fraud to the Electoral Court little
regard as not one of the 39 petitions they lodged in at court after the 2000
election against the Zanu-PF resulted in fraudulently elected MPs vacating

It is important to praise Zimbabweans of all political persuasion for the
peace and quiet of election day. But if Zimbabwe is to become a real
democracy free of fear, outsiders who parachute into this suffering land
with rubber stamps in hand will have to reassess their definitions of "free
and fair", and validate the claims of those who say their vote was stolen in
a bloodless coup.




The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has called for new elections after
serious problems with parliamentary elections held on the 31st of March were
revealed by independent groups.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a group of 35 non-governmental
organisations, stated that while the voting process appeared peaceful, an
average of 25 percent of potential voters was turned away at polling
stations. ZESN chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said, "Of those turned away,
a significant number were either not aware of new constituency boundaries or
were turned away for failing to produce proper identification."

(From New Zimbabwe Online)


"All Shall Be Equal Before The Law!"


OPINION AND ANALYSIS:                                FALLING AT THE FIRST


The Zimbabwe Parliamentary Election is over - at least in the immediate
sense. The question is: what are we to make of it? It seems evident that
some very sober analysis must take place soon, for it has been an
exceptionally cynical event with ramifications for both Zimbabwe and the

It is clear that the views expressed by the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network in their final assessment of the election will have to be given very
serious attention. As ZESN pointed out in their very temperate analysis,
both the pre-election climate and the actual polling process revealed deep
problems with these elections. Most important at this point in time is the
compelling evidence that the integrity of the election cannot be guaranteed,
despite the premature conclusions of the SADC and South African
Parliamentary Observer groups. There were far too many aspects of the
process that were not observed and were suggestive of irregularities for
there to be any preliminary approval of these elections, let alone
conclusions that indicate governmental approval can be given to them.

There remains a number of "black holes" in the electoral process that have
yet to be explained and these are not trivial. As the Idasa preliminary
statement pointed out, the integrity of the electoral process has not been
established and a number of 'yet to be explained' anomalies have led to
Zimbabweans questioning the outcome and as in the case of the MDC, quite
possibly rejecting the outcome. Here, it is relevant to remember the words
of the South African President, who suggested that the final validation of
the elections would be from Zimbabweans themselves and not observer groups.
So Zanu-PF and Robert Mugabe aside, Zimbabweans have not accepted the
outcome and thus it is wholly premature for South Africa and SADC to do so.

Apart from these matters though, is the astounding result of the electorate
voting in a regime which was previously in power when the country and its
citizens witnessed the most dramatic collapse in their economy and their
living standards. In fact, this past Zimbabwean election must have political
scientists across the world searching to find a parallel example of a
country that has returned to power with a massive majority despite the fact
that it not only failed to deliver on its promises but has actually been in
power whilst its citizens have experienced the worst economic downturn in
the contemporary world. It is certainly unique that citizens reward such a
regime with an increased majority as opposed to voting it out!

However, this is normal in Zimbabwean politics it seems and is not to be
questioned by the Southern African region. Zanu-PF runs an election that has
only the barest resemblance to a conventional democratic poll; it declares
itself to be the winner, demands that the opposition accept it and threatens
those Zimbabweans who will not accept it with violent action. This is real
politick, Zimbabwe style. Eddison Zvogbo once pointed out that the task of
politics is the conquest and maintenance of power, nothing more and nothing
less! Clearly ethics, values, principles and transparency have nothing to do
with this process in the Zimbabwean context: the issue is to grab the ball
and run with it and damn the rules.

In regard to the experienced observers of the Zimbabwe crisis we have simply
seen the process of the year 2000 repeated. Win the election by whatever
means and then just keep governing. Zanu-PF have declared themselves the
government and will argue the toss later, but in the meantime Robert Mugabe
is President and Zanu-PF remains the ruling party.

This leads to two immediate problems: one being domestic and the other
regional. The domestic problem is whether the MDC and Zimbabweans will
accept this outcome and clearly they do not. Zimbabwe will remain deeply
divided and the question now is how Zimbabweans will respond. Will the
rejection of these elections be largely rhetorical - as in the past - or
will we now see a cohesive and sustained resistance to an illegitimate

The second problem is in the region. Having laid down the standards for the
holding of democratic elections, the SADC has seemingly fallen at the first
hurdle and instead of adhering to its own standards, it has validated this
election merely because there was very little violence and the polling day
was peaceful. These are criteria far short of the aspirations expressed in
Mauritius last year and once again indicate the gap between African
governmental theory and reality.

This is the gap that must be filled by solidarity. Just as Zimbabweans must
hold the Zanu-PF Regime accountable for flawed elections, so must regional
civil society hold their governments accountable for flawed observation. The
task is the same, but the targets are different and we fail ourselves if the
standards we set as regional citizens are not applicable irrespective of
boundaries. As President Mbeki said, there must be penalties for failure to
reach these regional standards. The question is, who will guard the guards
when they are found wanting? Or do we merely repeat the endless process of
rubber stamping illegitimacy every five years or so?




The South African parliamentary observer mission to the recent Zimbabwe
parliamentary elections is divided over its assessment of the polls. ANC
chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe stated that the mission had "unanimously" found
that "the elections were credible, legitimate, free and fair and conformed
to the SADC elections guidelines." However, the Democratic Alliance (DA),
the Freedom Front and the Independent Democrats (ID) have strongly disagreed
with this assessment, calling the election anything but free and fair.
Goniwe has said he will seek disciplinary action against the observers from
the DA and ID.

Similar concerns have emerged amongst other observer missions, with the
African Union (AU) observer mission refusing to comment on whether or not
the election was free and fair. The head of the AU mission raised concerns
about the failure of the official count to tally with vote count in several

(Cape Times, 4th April)


"One Step Forward Two Steps Backwards"




A View From An African Election Monitor

I have to keep reminding myself that the sun still comes up in the morning
and will do so tomorrow as well, for the arrogance with which the Zanu-PF
state has rigged the 2005 parliamentary elections and pronounced a mind
boggling two thirds win over the MDC, has not only got me down and depressed
but seemingly most Zimbabweans along with me. The mood is sombre and
reserved throughout Harare. Soon the struggle of daily life will resume but
now with a parliament that has again become an extension of the tyrannical
regime bent on changing the constitution. I'm sure we have no illusions
about who this will benefit - not the common people of Zimbabwe - I can
assure you.

Yet the question that is on many peoples' minds is how have they done it
this time around? How have they seemingly managed to get away with rigging
these elections? What were the tools at their disposal to ascertain these
results? In an attempt to give you an answer to these questions I will
glance back at several weeks of election monitoring and describe my personal
observations and analysis. I have been able to tour large parts of Zimbabwe
in order to produce these findings and on the Election Day I made an effort
to visit 6 high density areas. Out of these six areas I visited 21 polling

In the run-up to the elections I encountered many things that do not bode
well for anyone who even considers calling the elections free and fair. Let
us keep in mind that free and fair elections can not be judged based on the
actual Election Day only. More importantly, SADC principles and guidelines
provide the framework along which a pre-election, election and post-election
period, not only election day can be analysed. So with the SADC guidelines
and specifically the 'guidelines for the observation of elections' in mind
the following observations were made:

Constitutional And Legal Guarantees Of Freedom And Rights Of The Citizens:

Restrictive laws such as AIPPA and POSA have been implemented over recent
years that severely impede on the freedom and rights of people. One example
is the possibility of the police to detain suspects without pressing charges
for up to 90 days. Furthermore, the executive and security forces have
repeatedly ignored court orders, even from the High Court and Supreme Court.
One such example is the court order to allow the Daily News to operate
again. Furthermore, the executive has way too much power. He can interfere
in what ever part of life: overrule parliament, change election laws a
fortnight before elections, etc. Also, in general the culprits of political
violence are not prosecuted. Prosecution however did make a showcase out of
the arrest of several Zanu-PF youths who had been accused of political
violence. This was an isolated case however.

Conducive Environment For Free, Fair And Peaceful Elections:

Due to 5 years of intense political violence with the consequences well
reported by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, one can not speak of a
conducive environment for free and fair elections. Fear has settled over the
people of Zimbabwe as a consequence of violence spread by such agencies as
the Youth Brigades (or Green Bombers), the war vets, the CIO, the police and
the army. Even though the three weeks before the elections were relatively
free of physical violence, there was still a lot of psychological violence
in rural and urban areas. We witnessed massive numbers of police spread
throughout Harare, as well as many roadblocks through Matabeleland North.
Also, on Election Day soldiers were driving up and down the main streets of
Highfield, Harare. In the weeks prior to the election, witnesses accounted
of threats by Zanu-PF supporters, youth militias and war vets that anybody
who would vote for the opposition would be taken care of afterwards. The
message was: "we can see what you vote, thanks to the transparent ballot

On Election Day, Zanu-PF youths were witnessed intimidating voters at the
polling station in St-Mary's, Harare. There were also too few ballots in
several polling stations. Also important is that the scarcity of food was
also used to intimidate people. Due to natural drought and the disastrous
land reform policies, people have been starving in large parts of Zimbabwe.
Often, suspected MDC members do not receive access to food provided by the
state run Grain Marketing Board. They are told that if they vote for the
opposition they will not receive food either. In a certain Matabeleland
constituency voters above 45 years of age were forced to vote under guidance
of Zanu-PF. They were told who to vote for under the guise of assisting
illiterate elderly people. Instead of ultra-violet ink (which is invisible),
red ink was used on fingers, which made people recognizable for violence and
intimidation. Importantly as well, the media was not free and fair. Although
overtures were made for the opposition to place ads, and although news
covered some opposition activities and policies, and although some
opposition members were interviewed in interview programs, this was in no
way free and fair. This was specifically due to the way the opposition was
portrayed, the way opposition interviewees were treated, the amount of time
spent on the opposition compared to Zanu-PF/the state, and the fees charged
to the MDC for ads. In general one can state that the time spent on the
opposition was basically a continuation of state/Zanu-PF propaganda. There
was also quick implementation of new laws as a reaction to peaceful protests
planned by the opposition at polling stations.

Non-discrimination In The Voter's Registration:

Many witnesses have reported that during registration process they were
turned away as they could not prove residency or had no proof of residence
elsewhere. This was particularly problematic for residences of high density
area's, where for instance settlers originating from rural areas may not be
able to prove residence. Also youth, who may have left their rural homes or
parental homes, were obliged to receive proof of residence from their
parents or their rural community. It seems as if this was a deliberate
attempt to disenfranchise youth. It is also reported that there was no
effort made to ensure registration of urban areas. This also applies for
most immigrants from neighboring countries. Despite living in Zimbabwe for
years on end, they are not considered Zimbabweans and thus they may not
register to vote, or have to renounce their original citizenship first. This
applies for hundreds of thousands of Mozambicans, Zambians and Malawians.
They are treated as second-rate citizens. Furthermore, it is reported that
the voters roll has been scarcely updated, if at all, thus opening up the
opportunity for fraud with non existent voters.

Existence Of Updated And Accessible Voters Roll:

No access has been provided to the original/digital voters roll for
verification. Access to printed copies has been further frustrated by the
high fees that has to be paid for a copy of the roll. In some constituencies
up to 25% of the aspiring voters were turned away, thus creating suspicion
that all is not well with the voters roll. An estimated 800 000 ghost voters
are on the voters roll, as point 3 indicates. It may seem to some that the
voters roll should be referred to as 'designed chaos'. To add to this there
was also the flying soldier vote and the letter votes which are highly

Where Applicable, Funding Of Political Parties Must Be Transparent And Based
On Agreed Threshold In Accordance With The Laws Of The Land:

Both parties have access to public funding through their respective
representations in parliament. Neither party has very accessible budgets.
Zanu-PF has unlimited access to state funding. This is visible from non-stop
propaganda in the state owned Herald, to the use of army vehicles and buses
to transport party supporters. Furthermore, state agencies seem to be
working towards the agenda of Zanu-PF, more than that of the state, such as
the CIO and the police, thus further pulling state funding away from public
use, towards Zanu-PF's survival.

With Regard To The Polling Stations:

Several polling stations opened an hour late but one the most apparent
discrepancies in this regard was a rather biased polling station at Mugabe's
rural farm. Furthermore, all across the country there were reports of
polling stations at chief's homesteads. Chiefs are widely seen as being on
the pay-roll of Zanu-PF. Also, polling stations have been located in
exclusively Zanu-PF settlements. There were many polling stations, which was
good as it speeded up voting but it also made intimidation possible as
people were told that as a consequence the government would know how people
would have voted and where they had voted what. There was also confiscation
of ID cards at polling stations. Zanu-PF candidates had posters up in open
polling station for at least an hour and were also offering money for votes
at polling stations: 50 000 Zim dollars for a vote

Counting Of The Votes At Polling Stations:

In general the perception is that votes were counted at the polling
stations. However, what is most uncertain is what then happened with the
counted votes. It seems they were then relayed to the Constituency Command
Centre by the head of the polling station. This happened un-observed.
Furthermore, monitors and observers were even locked up in the polling
station and forbidden to make any calls after the head of the station had
left. Once at the constituency command centre, votes were assembled and sent
to the army/police election command centre in the NSSA building in Harare,
where there was no monitoring by election observers. From there the final
result were sent to the Zimbabwe Election Commission offices. In the mean
time there was ample chance to change the results. This is based on witness
accounts of the process and now strengthened with information coming out of
30 constituencies were high discrepancies seems to exist with regards to
initial stated voter attendance, and the figures released the day after the
elections. Also important for this issue is that the opposition party was
not included in observing the casting (with regards to the military and
police for instance) and counting of the postal votes.

Establishment Of the mechanism For Assisting The Planning And Deployment Of
Electoral Observation Missions:

It seems that the Zimbabwe authorities used this mechanism more to exclude
certain observer missions, than to include them. Only missions of 'Zimbabwe
friendly' (read: countries who don't care about Zimbabwe's human rights,
democracy and economic track-record) countries were invited to come.
Strictly speaking this might not be in contravention of the guidelines, but
is certainly not living up to the spirit of them.

SADC Election Observation Missions Should Be Deployed At Least Two Weeks
Before The Voting Day:

From what we have witnessed, the SADC mission was rather small for a 120
constituency election. As opposed to the South African observer missions,
they were not seen in hotel bars and beauty salons, or shopping for soap
stone sculptures too often. Apparently there was a big fight in the observer
mission to get one of the participating country teams to sign the final
agreement. All in all I think any person in a right state of mind would find
it difficult to see these elections as free and fair. It must be well
understood that elections are merely one tool in the democratic framework.
One well run and apparently free Election Day does not make a system
democratic or free. Luckily the SA presidency and the AU seem to be thinking
along these lines as well since the South Africa Government observer mission
called it free but not fair. Let us hope they will not accept the outcome of
this election, as this will not bode well for the future of democracy on
this continent at large.




The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has called for
investigations into allegations of fraud during Zimbabwe's parliamentary
elections. The organisation stated that it believed the elections took place
in "a flawed political and legal context."

Paul Notyhawa, a COSATU spokesperson, said that "These allegations of fraud
should be investigated expeditiously to avoid a slide into anarchy. In our
view the test for fairness and freeness of an election should be holistic
rather than concentrating only on the day of voting." Notyhawa also
highlighted concerns over discrepancies between announced results and the
tally of votes cast and the number of voters turned away from polling

(From M&G 2nd April)


"The Doors Of Learning And Culture Shall Be Opened!"




With only days to go to the Parliamentary elections, food is being used as a
political weapon in parts of rural Matabeleland. Our region of Zimbabwe has
had almost no rain since January, and rural households are facing close to
100% crop failure. Families that were being sustained by World Food
Programme donor food during 2004 no longer have this lifeline. Very few
stores, whether in town centres or elsewhere, have mealie meal for sale, and
in any case the commercial cost of mealie meal is unaffordable for many of
the hundreds of thousands of rural Zimbabweans who live in our
drought-stricken regions.

Since the World Food Programme was requested by our government to cease its
feeding, the only source of mealie meal in many rural communities has become
that sold by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), a government parastatal. This
means that government effectively controls where in the country maize is
available - and to whom.

It is therefore of deep concern that evidence has been brought to my
attention that in some places, GMB maize is being sold on party political
lines. I have spoken to villagers from Insiza District in Matabeleland
South, who report that GMB maize is being systematically denied to those
perceived to be supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). The following are a few examples of the political abuse of food:

Eight villagers recounted that on 19 March 2005, GMB maize was finally
delivered in their ward of Insiza. They had paid Z$ 37,000 in January in
advance for 50kg bags of maize. But when they arrived with other villages to
receive their maize, their names were among those on a long list read out of
supposed MDC supporters. These people were publicly humiliated and sent away
in disgrace by the local ZANU PF chairperson, who was sitting on top of the
bags of maize. They were given their money back and were told they would
never receive GMB maize, because it was only for ZANU PF.

An eighty-three year old woman who looks after five orphans recounted that
because she supports the MDC she is on the list of those who has been denied
the right to buy food from GMB, and has been told by her local headman that
unless she converts to ZANU PF she will die of starvation. Her children have
almost nothing to eat and cry from hunger.

A young man who used to be part of ZANU PF youth structures, but who is now
not strongly politically affiliated, recounted how he went for training as a
local observer for the elections last week - around 15 March 2005. When he
returned, he was accused of being MDC as a result of training as an election
observer, and he too is now being denied the right to buy food from GMB.

This brave and desperate group of villagers believes that in their ward of
Insiza alone, there are 188 families that are on the MDC list and cannot buy
GMB maize. This represents a sizeable proportion of those residents in this

It is reported that similar food abuse is occurring in other wards of

Furthermore, we have received reports from some other parts of Matabeleland,
of widespread threats that if people vote MDC then their area will never see
GMB food again.

One of our staff was at a rally in Gwanda this week, and heard villagers
standing one after another to recount that they had been threatened with
being forcibly disappeared, and had been threatened with starvation, if they
attended any MDC rally. They stated that many more people would have been at
that rally if it was not for such threats.

Informants returning from Tsholotsho and Binga have reported similar threats
being uttered, and that food had become a politicised commodity.

That people are actually having food withheld, or are being threatened with
this outcome if any party other than ZANU PF should win the election at the
local levels, is a serious crime. The right to food is the most primary
right of all human beings. Without food, people die. There is great hunger
in Zimbabwe right now. It is clear that while this government may not wish
people to starve to death, certain elements within government are happy to
have those who do not support ZANU PF to suffer from hunger, anxiety,
insecurity and depression. How can people thus afraid of starvation be free
to vote for the party of their choice?

It is an evil form of coercion to chase men and women away from food selling
points for political reasons. Must parents in some parts of Zimbabwe now
choose between belonging to the party of their choice and then having to
listen to their children crying from hunger, or to join the political party
that is prepared to risk the health of the nation's children for political
gain? What greater violence against the family unit can there be than to
make parents choose between political freedom, and the well being of their

It is the role of the Church to speak on behalf of those who voices are not
being heard, and to amplify the brave voices of those prepared to speak out
on behalf of their communities. In some parts of Zimbabwe, people are being
deliberately denied access to food because they do not support ZANU PF. This
must stop.

The legitimacy of this election must be once more called into question ahead
of voting day. With almost total crop failure looming in our region, to
cynically use hunger as a weapon is to stab at the very heart of democracy.

 Pius A. Ncube, Archbishop of Bulawayo




The head of the African Union Observer Team, Dr Kwadwa Afari-Gyan has called
for an immediate investigation into allegations of electoral fraud during
the recently concluded Zimbabwe parliamentary elections. Addressing concerns
about discrepancies between vote tallies and official results he said, "It
is hoped that both the ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) and ESC
(Electoral Supervisory Commission) will promptly look into the allegations
with a view to assuring Zimbabweans of the authenticity of the results of
the elections."

(From Daily News Online, 5 April)


"The People Shall Know The Truth!"




In light of various public statements made by SADC Leaders during the
pre-election period expressing confidence that a free and fair election
could and would be held, regional endorsement of last week's parliamentary
election in Zimbabwe comes as no surprise. What is surprising is that these
endorsements came despite a wealth of documented evidence indicating
Zimbabwe's failure to adhere to even the most basic democratic standards
outlined in the 2004 SADC Protocol.

Indeed, the Government conspicuously retained repressive laws that deprive
Zimbabweans of fundamental and constitutionally protected rights.
Furthermore, the pre-election climate was marked by intimidation, coercion,
hate speech, political violence and a deeply flawed electoral system that
was overwhelmingly controlled by the Zanu-PF regime. This was a far cry from
the inclusive, tolerant, peaceful, and open election envisioned in the SADC
protocol. Yet the leader of the SADC observer mission boldly asserted, "The
picture that emerged at the close of poll was an election day which was
peaceful. The fact that in the end when a person entered a polling station,
it was one person, one vote and it was in secret which fills the
requirements of the classical international standard to measure the freeness
of any elections. This confirmed the determination of the people of Zimbabwe
to do their best to implement the SADC Principles and guidelines governing
democratic elections in the region." Was it not the responsibility of the
Government and not the people of Zimbabwe, to "implement" the provisions of
the SADC Protocol?

What these endorsements underline is a fundamental and persistent
misunderstanding within regional leadership circles regarding the essence of
democratic elections. A free and open electoral process must be complemented
by legal guarantees that allow ordinary citizens to enjoy basic rights such
as the freedom of assembly, information, association and movement. However,
the regional position during the pre-election period wrongly equated
recently passed electoral reforms as the guarantee for an open and inclusive
election, illustrating a rather dogmatic emphasis on procedure instead of on
substance. As a consequence, continuing human rights abuses, intimidation,
violence and repression during the run up to the election were bypassed or
minimized in regional assessments.

Surely it is clear that the establishment of a new Electoral Commission can
scarcely imply that an electoral process - historically characterized by
violence and intimidation - can now be considered open, peaceful or
inclusive without a full restoration of broad democratic rights. Procedural
electoral reform cannot be substituted for essential democratic and social
reform needed to ensure popular participation in electoral processes. Such
criteria as evidence of large voter turnout, or a peaceful polling day,
cannot be pointed to as the main indicator of an election's legitimacy.

The Zimbabwe election, and the response made by those regional observers
allowed into the country reveals a stark lack of commitment by SADC member
states in adhering to, or promoting basic democratic principles outlined in
SADC's very own protocol. It illustrates a blatant manipulation of
internationally recognized symbols of democracy aimed to discredit political
opposition and deflect international criticism. To the extent that the
Mugabe's own political legitimacy lay in a determination as to whether the
election was free and fair, the political endgame thus moved into the arena
of election monitoring, in which a furious struggle ensued over who could
monitor, from which countries, and using what criteria. That SADC allowed
Zimbabwe to determine those who would evaluate its compliance with the SADC
Protocol flies in the face of the commitments made by the regional group in
August 2004 and underlines its lack of impartiality.

SADC must recognize that democracy cannot be merely understood as an
election. Moreover, it must also recognize that elections are not an
isolated event held on one or more days, but a process. Indeed,
democratization is a long and contested process and must involve the full
participation and input from all stakeholders. Re-gaining confidence in an
electorate that has been subjected to systematic human rights abuses and
repression can neither occur through last minute assurances or reforms, nor
through a process that is both exclusionary and unilateral. The legacy of
violence and intimidation during elections in Zimbabwe must therefore be
acknowledged and urgently addressed.  The protocol's recognition that
democratic elections can only be held through the implementation of multiple
and parallel reform processes that include legal, constitutional, and
electoral avenues is certainly a good first step. But without the
incorporation of an adequate enforcement mechanism, or the threat of
punitive measures, such recognition is meaningless if interpretation and
enforcement is left to politicians.




The offices of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were stormed on the
4th of April by youth supporters of the party who demanded that the party
initiate mass action as a protest against "massive ballot fraud" in the
recently concluded parliamentary elections. The opposition party has so far
focused on less radical options, including boycotting parliament. The party
has dismissed mounting a legal challenge to the results as legal challenges
to previous elections have not been addressed in the judicial system.

The MDC confirmed that some people had to evacuate their offices in the
party's headquarters as a result of the action of the party supporters. The
police did not react and the youths dispersed peacefully.

(From Business Day, 5 April)


"To Rebel Is Justified!"





It's quiet in Harare. A blanket of depression and inertia seems to have
settled over the city. After the fraudulent watershed election the people
seem uncertain of the road ahead. How is this possible after the Zanu-PF
state so blatantly once again stole the vote of the 'povo', a derogatory
term they use to refer to the people? Why are the people not (yet)
protesting the sham results in their masses and demanding justice?

First and foremost it is clear that the past five years of violence have
left the Zimbabwe population largely in a state of fear. A good example of
this was a horrible incident which took place several days ago. A South
African church member invited to Zimbabwe for a church conference by a
Zimbabwean church was harassed in a full bus travelling to Harare. Zanu-PF
youths entered the bus and made everybody chant Zanu slogans. Our South
African comrade was obviously not capable of force-chanting Zanu-PF
propaganda and thus singled out by the youths who proceeded to physically
brutalise her as well as sexually molest her. Bear in mind that this was in
a full bus and nobody did anything to help her, despite her repeated cries
and pleas. Worse still, after the youths had left, taking some of her
personal belongings - such as her wedding ring - nobody said one word of
consolation or comfort to her for the remainder of the trip. I will repeat
that as this may sound unimaginable: nobody in a full bus said anything to
console the just assaulted South African lady, a crime they had all been
witness to. The fear of Zanu-PF and the state (more or less the same thing
in Zimbabwe) has been internalized thanks to five years of lawlessness and
horrific human rights violations by the Green Bombers (the youth militia),
the war vets, the police, the CIO and the army. Not to mention the
Matabeleland genocide in the 80s, where close to 20 000 people were
slaughtered by the Zanu-PF state. One out of ten people in Matabeleland has
been a victim of torture.

The fear is that if people protest, the repression will be harsh, with
indiscriminate beatings by the police being the least of the worries.
Mugabe, speaking to the state-run propaganda tool 'ZTV' and looking rather
confident in his newly strengthened role as the longest-sitting African
despot, threatened violence to those who would protest the outcome of the
elections. "We can also organize mass actions to counter the protest actions
but there will be conflict. We have several weapons." The writing is on the
wall. On election day trucks filled with green bombers were seen entering
Harare. In the week before the elections police trucks were seen ferrying
ammunition into Harare from other parts of the country.

Furthermore, it is often said that Zimbabweans are not inclined to protest.
Judging from the facts above this may be understandable but another reason
that is often cited is that most urban Zimbabweans aren't hurting enough to
hit the streets. I hereby mean that the average urban Zimbabwean seems to
focus more on coping and adapting to the ever-deteriorating realities rather
than tackling the cause of that deterioration: a parasitic and despotic
Zanu-PF state. If there is no water coming out of the taps - as in large
parts of Harare in the week before the elections -citizens will just go to
the shops and buy bottled water, despite the fact that 1 litre of mineral
water costs more than a litre of petrol. If there is no petrol at the petrol
station there is always the black market. Urban Zimbabweans adapt, or so it
seems. Rural Zimbabweans have borne the brunt of political violence.
Furthermore, they are forced to focus on survival more than on political
matters, it is said, due to the drought and the discriminate distribution of
food (Zanu-PF affiliation and sympathy secures food).

What then could be that road ahead in face of the above portrayed realities?
What is the role of the SADC region and South Africa in assisting their
brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe?

First and foremost the region must consider that the people of Zimbabwe have
not spoken out in these elections. Out of an estimated 12 million people in
the country and more than five million Zimbabweans abroad, only 5,3 million
people were registered to vote. Out of this number only an estimated 2,7
million actually went out to vote. Of these people, according to Zimbabwe
state media, 25% were turned away at the polling stations. So even if the
election results were to be true, they can hardly be seen to be
representative of the will of the Zimbabwean people. So if elections don't
provide the means for the people of Zimbabwe to decide their future, what

MDC's appeal to the people not to accept the election results can be seen as
preparing the ground for action. In view of the repressive Zimbabwe state
this may be the only course left for the people. But whatever course of
action they decide to take - the region cannot speculate on what this may
entail as not to feed the corrupted minds of the Zanu-PF repressive
machineries - be it protest or action, the region must stand strong as
brothers and sisters of the region and support their plight and struggle.
The region must and cannot accept such travesties of democracy and human
rights in our midst. The region must let Zimbabweans choose their direction
and then join hands.

Practically this support can consist of both physical and moral support:

-                     Prayer and church gatherings for Zimbabwe;

-                     Vigils;

-                     Protest pickets and marches at Zimbabwean embassies,
inspiration can be found with COSATU;

-                     Letter campaigns: sending letters and emails en masse
to Zimbabwean authorities in protest of the fraudulent elections. This can
also consist of signature lists;

-                     raising funds abroad for the struggle for democracy in
Zimbabwe: inspiration can be found in the Netherlands where the Dutch
Institute for Southern Africa has opened up the Democracy in Zimbabwe Fund;

-                     Going to Zimbabwe to monitor proceedings and assist in
whatever actions Zimbabweans will engage in. This is specifically an appeal
to the youth of southern Africa. It will be harder for the Zanu-PF regime to
repress when you will be present in Zimbabwe to support your Zimbabwean

-                     Pressuring local governments like the South African
government to condemn the election proceedings and outcome, as well as the
Zimbabwean authorities in general;

-                     Spreading information of the realities in Zimbabwe in
order to educate people;

-                     Sending messages of support and solidarity to
indiscriminate individuals in Zimbabwe: a letter and postcard campaign;

-                     Creating relations and networks with partners in
Zimbabwe and much more.

It is only when we stand strong in solidarity, as people of southern
Africa - as Africans - that we will be able to overcome the evil that
persists in the face of the Zanu-PF tyranny in Zimbabwe and like-minded
individuals elsewhere.

A luta continua.



Over the past decades numerous South African progressive civil society
organizations have emerged that work on issues that form an integral part of
the current crisis in Zimbabwe. These range from humanitarian issues such as
food relief, to issues such as human rights and civil liberties, from
democracy to trade union work. But ever since the intensification of the
Zimbabwe crisis in 2000, Zimbabweans have rightly been complaining that
their fellow Africans, and first and foremost their South African
neighbours, have hardly done enough to aid the plight of the people of
Zimbabwe. However, over the past year several South African civil society
organizations of all walks of life have committed themselves to working
together in order to maximize their out-pout with regards to the crisis, as
well as show solidarity in practical sense as well as on a moral level.
COSATU's courageous attempted fact-finding missions to Zimbabwe are only one
example of practical solidarity for the people of that country.

The Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation forum is a network of progressive
South African civil society organizations, including youth, women, labour,
faith-based, human rights and student formations. Over the past months our
network has grown rapidly in size and influence, and we say confidently that
we have contributed to a much greater understanding of the crisis and
challenges in Zimbabwe within our organizations and within the broader South
African debate.



This Newsletter is the plain text version of the email Zimbabwe Solidarity
Newsletter. The main idea behind the Newsletter is that it can be
distributed in Zimbabwe so that people without internet access may receive
it as well. Therefore we also provide a print-easy format of this
Newsletter. The print-easy Newsletter can be printed-out onto three pages
A4, front to back. Please help us distribute the print-friendly copy in
Zimbabwe! The more access to information and solidarity the better! The
print-friendly copy can be requested by sending an e-mail with subject
'request print-friendly' to The
print-friendly Newsletter is distributed via e-mail as an Adobe Reader (PDF)

The below applies for the email Newsletter:

To subscribe or unsubscribe one can contact with the word 'subscribe' or 'unsubscribe'
as subject. Please note that you must subscribe in person (that is; you must
e-mail from the address you wish to receive the newsletter on). The default
format of this Newsletter is Rich Text (HTML), a more graphic layout but
also a larger file. A Plain Text format can be requested by sending us an
e-mail to with 'request plain text' as

Letters, reactions or opinions can be sent to with the words 'Newsletter reaction' in
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Zim Online

Mugabe says MDC boycott of no consequence
Mon 11 April 2005
  HARARE - President Robert Mugabe said his ruling ZANU PF party would
continue to "run the country in the normal way" if the main opposition
boycotted parliament in protest over last month's election.

      The 81-year old Zimbabwean leader was quoted by the Sunday Mail
newspaper, controlled by his office, as having said that he would not be
bothered by an MDC parliamentary boycott.

      According to the paper, Mugabe said: "We don't know what the MDC will
do. Some of them have said they will boycott. We don't care about what they
will do. We will proceed to run the country the normal way."

      Mugabe, whose ZANU PF party won a landslide victory in a parliamentary
election marred by allegations of massive rigging, was speaking at a dinner
at the residence of the Zimbabwean ambassador in Rome, Italy, where he had
gone to attend Pope John Paul II's funeral.

      A new parliament is set to be sworn in tomorrow.

      Certain sections within the MDC and its civic society allies have
called on the party to boycott parliament in protest over the rigged

      But MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube, last week said he did not
see how a boycott of parliament could further the opposition party's fight
for democracy.

      Mugabe secured a crucial two-thirds majority after his ZANU PF party
clinched 78 of the 120 contested seats with the MDC winning a paltry 41
seats. The MDC has since rejected the election as seriously flawed.

      Former government propaganda chief Jonathan Moyo, won the Tsholotsho
seat on an independent ticket after falling out of favour with Mugabe after
he sought to block the rise of Joyce Mujuru to the vice-presidency. -

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Zimbabwe faces food shortages over prices row
          April 10 2005 at 01:52PM

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe

      Harare - Zimbabwe's government and the country's businesses have
clashed over prices of basic commodities, now blamed for widespread
shortages days after disputed polls won by President Robert Mugabe's ruling

      Prices shot up by as much as 100 percent after the March 31
parliamentary elections in which Mugabe's ZANU-PF government defeated the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), but the government swiftly
moved in, ordering businesses to reverse the increases.

      Most businesses have defied the order and essential food stuffs have
disappeared from shops but some have re-emerged on the black market where
prices are higher.

      Mugabe, whom critics accuse of ruining Zimbabwe's once prosperous
economy, has charged on several occasions that local businesses were working
with the MDC to turn voters against Zanu-PF, in power since independence
from Britain in 1980.

      "Increases were actually delayed to avoid harsh criticism of the
government ahead of the elections but now the government is saying you can
not increase prices without consulting us... that's not what we agreed," a
spokesperson for the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said.

      The staple maize-meal, sugar and cooking oil have disappeared from
most shops in Harare's city centre and suburbs while most pumps at fuel
stations have run dry, forcing motorists to brace for long queues.

      Maize-meal supplies were already erratic in the country in recent
months with supermarkets out of stocks for days on end and long queues
quickly form where the commodity is available.

      Industry officials said the shortages were not artificial as charged
by the government, but that production was falling as a result of uneconomic
pricing and shortages of foreign exchange.

      Central bank controlled foreign currency auctions are meeting less
than 10 percent of market needs.

      "There have been serious foreign currency shortages and industry has
found it increasingly difficult and has adjusted by lowering production,"
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Luxon Zembe said.

      "When that happens that leads to panic, and panic leads to hoarding.
So you don't find commodities in shops but you find them on the streets," he

      Analysts have predicted a worsening of economic woes as the country
seeks to import 1,2 million tons of grain at an estimated cost of
$250-million to feed a third of its people.

      A poor harvest due to drought and inadequate seed and fertiliser
support to small rural farmers who benefited from Mugabe's seizures of
white-owned farms has worsened Zimbabwe's food crisis.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chamisa claims torture

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Apr-11

LAWYERS representing Member of Parliament-elect for Kuwadzana, Nelson
Chamisa, have claimed that their client was tortured while in police

The MDC's national youth chairman was arrested last Thursday for allegedly
inciting public violence following demonstrations in Harare by suspected
opposition party supporters.
Chamisa appeared in court on Saturday and was released on $1,5 million bail.
The legislator's lawyers - Atherstone and Cook - who are assisting Alec
Muchadehama of Mbizo, Muchadehama and Makoni, have since written a letter of
complaint to police officers, named only as  Dowa and Ngena and the
Officer-in-Charge, Rhodesville Police Station.
The letter was copied to Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri.
Read part of the letter to Ngena, dated April 8 2005: "What particularly
concerns us at this stage is our apprehension that you may not be in total
control of this case as the Officer-in-Charge. The following events are of
serious concern to us and to our client: Between 1900 hrs and 1945 hrs on 7
April 2005, the Officer-in-Charge at Rhodesville Police Station denied the
writer access to his client, despite our production of valid practicing
certificate. She also refused to make Nelson Chamisa available for supper,
which meal the writer had bought for his client."
The officer who denied the lawyer access to Chamisa to deliver supper is
identified in the letter as Assistant Inspector Gotora.
The complaint lodged went on: "Chamisa was taken from Rhodesville Police
Station very late at night (between 22:00 hrs and 00:00 hrs) on April 7 2005
for reasons still unknown to his lawyers and we believe, without your
knowledge as the investigating officer. Our client was in the process of the
shuttle, tortured by a member(s) of the ZRP. Of all the inmates at
Rhodesville Police Station on the night of 7 April 2005, it was only Nelson
Chamisa who was nicodemously transferred to the notorious Matapi Police
The lawyers said Chamisa should have been released from police custody soon
after a warned and cautioned statement was recorded from him or sent to
"We are contemplating civil proceedings against all members of the force
directly or indirectly linked to the torture of our client," added the
A letter to another investigating officer, Dowa, read: "We understand that
very late at night on the 7th of April 2005 you caused Nelson Chamisa to be
removed from Rhodesville Police Station and be taken to Matapi Police
Station, apparently for no justifiable reason.  We further understand that
when you reached the Coca-Cola factory area (Corner Seke Road and Cripps
Road) you started intimidating and or torturing our client. We are still
taking detailed instructions from our client about the exact nature of the
intimidation and torture that he suffered at the hands of the ZRP.  It is
our intention to sue you in your personal capacity in civil proceedings for
damages suffered by our client from intimidation and torture."
However, chief police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he had not received
Chamisa's letter of complaint.
"We have not received the letter," he said.
Yesterday, Muchadehama, who had filed an urgent chamber application at the
High Court late on Friday seeking the immediate release of Chamisa from
police custody, told The Daily Mirror that his client was force-marched from
the Graniteside industrial area in hand and leg irons to Matapi Police
"From Rhodesville Police Station they drove him towards Chitungwiza, dropped
him near Coca-Cola factory area from where they force-marched him while in
hand and leg irons to Matapi Police Station. He was ordered to move towards
Matapi alongside the police vehicle," Muchadehama said.
Muchadehama said the Harare magistrates' court ordered Chamisa to report
twice a week to CID Law and Order on Saturday and Sunday every week and not
to interfere with witnesses.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Politburo still to decide on new speaker

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Apr-11

ZANU PF's highest decision-making body, the politburo, is consulting on who
to elect as the country's Speaker of the Sixth Parliament of Zimbabwe.
Sources who attended the ruling party's central committee meeting in the
capital yesterday told The Daily Mirror that the politburo would make
consultations on a suitable candidate before the swearing in ceremony of
parliamentarians on Tuesday by clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma.
"We did not elect the Speaker and the deputy speaker during the central
committee meeting. The politburo is to consult on the matter and we expect
to have our candidates by Tuesday morning," said the source.
The ruling party's national chairman John Nkomo and Mutasa South
parliamentary-elect Oppah Muchinguri emerged as front runners for the post,
previously held by former cabinet minister and Zanu PF secretary for legal
affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Other names being touted as having a chance to land the post are former
deputy speaker Edna Madzongwe, the party's secretary for administration
Didymus Mutasa, ex-cabinet minister Dumiso Dabengwa and former Speaker Cyril
The speaker and deputy speaker of Parliament are elected in terms of Section
39 of the Zimbabwe Constitution.
"When Parliament first meets after any dissolution of Parliament and before
it proceeds to the dispatch of any other business, it shall elect a
presiding officer to be known as the Speaker; and whenever the office of the
Speaker becomes vacant Parliament shall not transact any other business
until a person to fill that office has been elected," the supreme law reads.
The Speaker, the constitution states, must be elected in accordance with
parliamentary standing orders from among persons who are or have been
members of parliament and who are not members of the cabinet, ministers or
deputy ministers.
Yesterday's central committee meeting discussed the outcome of the 2005
parliamentary elections and preparations for the Silver Jubilee
"We discussed the report from the national elections directorate on the
results of parliamentary elections. We also talked about throwing victory
celebrations and the Silver Jubilee commemorations," the source added.
Zanu PF deputy secretary for information, Ephraim Masawi was not cooperative
when contacted for comment yesterday.
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From The Sunday Argus (SA), 10 April

Mugabe tightens grip on the helm

With a two-thirds majority, Zimbabwe's president is now free to overhaul the
parliamentary system to suit his own ends, write Basildon Peta and Peter

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe stands all-powerful at home after his
ruling Zanu PF party's landslide election victory last weekend, which gave
him the power to amend the constitution at will. But he appears to remain as
powerless as before to break out of international isolation and salvage the
country's ruined economy. On Friday Mugabe slipped through European Union
sanctions to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II in Rome where he
apparently intended to collar EU leaders to urge them to end Zimbabwe's
economic isolation. None was prepared to meet him, according to reports, and
his only satisfaction was to embarrass Prince Charles by shaking his hand
before the prince realised what he was doing. This short-lived victory will
do nothing to overcome the shortages of basic commodities, including fuel,
which Mugabe had somehow overcome for the elections - reportedly with SA
help - but which returned this week with a vengeance.

Hungry Zimbabweans are now looking to their president for help but Mugabe's
post-election pre-occupation seems to be with consolidating power rather
than feeding his people. By hook or by crook, Zanu PF crushed the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), winning 78 of the 120 contested seats to the
MDC's 41. Mugabe's sacked spindoctor Jonathan Moyo won the remaining seat as
an independent. The MDC shed 16 seats from its high point in the 2000
elections and is now agonising over its role in Zimbabwean politics. This
week it decided in effect on a two-pronged strategy of parliamentary and
extra-parliamentary politics. But the prospects of MDC supporters joining
the sort of popular uprising against Mugabe which Bulawayo Catholic
Archbishop Pius Ncube had called for before the poll, seem remote. Mugabe
has threatened to meet such a mass uprising with the full force of the
brutal security forces he commands. With 78 seats won last week plus the 30
seats he appoints himself, Mugabe now also commands a two-thirds majority in
the 150-seat parliament and therefore the power to change the constitution.

Many Zimbabweans are looking for him to use this power to relieve their
plight - perhaps by handing power to a successor who could lead the country
out of isolation and back to prosperity. This is also the hope of many
regional leaders who think it might be easier to restore international
confidence in Zimbabwe with a new face at the helm. SA government sources
say President Thabo Mbeki will continue to pursue his so-far unproductive
quiet diplomacy by urging Mugabe to scrap the 30 appointed seats in
parliament as well as the draconian media and security legislation which
helped tilt the political playing field against the MDC. He is also expected
to call on Mugabe to revamp the controversial outdated voters roll which the
MDC accused Zanu PF of using to stuff hundreds of thousands of ballots. But
both Zimbabweans and regional leaders seem likely to be disappointed. The
only changes to the constitution which Mugabe has mentioned so far seem
designed to consolidate his power.

Sources in the ruling Zanu PF who attended its first post-election politburo
meeting this week said the party was completely ruling out the option of
Mugabe retiring soon. They said the politburo had not yet decided the full
extent of constitutional changes. But Mugabe already announced last week
that he hoped to re-introduce an upper chamber of parliament, the senate,
which was abolished in 1987. Analysts believe the senate will largely be
used as a sinecure for members of the old guard whom Mugabe wishes to
sideline. Most prominent is Emmerson Mnangangwa who was once touted as
Mugabe's likely successor. He is now heading for political oblivion after
Mugabe suspected him of plotting against his newly-pointed vice president -
and possible successor - Joyce Mujuru. Mugabe also said in an interview with
the SABC last weekend that he intended to change the constitution to hold
parliamentary and presidential elections simultaneously. Zanu PF insiders
say the purpose would be to extend Mugabe's present term - due to expire in
2008 - until the next parliamentary elections in 2010 - when Mugabe will be
86. It is likely Mugabe will at the same time amend the constitution to
allow himself to stand down without calling elections, and instead anoint
his own successor - the manipulable Mujuru. This would be a standby
arrangement in case he falls ill before 2010.

It seems Zanu PF has no clear programme to resuscitate the economy after
winning an election on a platform that contained no remedies for the
country's ills but was instead directed against British prime minister Tony
Blair and his supposed plans to re-colonise Zimbabwe. A new cabinet to be
appointed next week will probably return the old guard who have proved more
reliable than the so called young turks who tried to challenge Mugabe over
Mujuru's appointment. South Africa might as well brace for an influx of new
immigrants - both legal and illegal - in search of greener pastures.
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There's Too Much Short-Term Thinking in Africa - Prof Chan

The Post (Lusaka)

April 10, 2005
Posted to the web April 10, 2005

Webster Malido

A COMBINATION of big brains and martial arts skills does not occur that

To be a professor of international relations at a prestigious institution
and at the same time hold 25 black belt awards in karate is not a common
mixture. But that is the summation of Professor Stephen Chan, the Dean of
Law and Social Sciences at London University's prestigious School of
Oriental and African Studies.

After observing the recent Zimbabwe elections, Prof Chan has been visiting
Lusaka and I caught up with him and discussed, among many other issues, the
current state of Africa in international relations, Tony Blair's Commission
for Africa, including the future of Zambian sport.

As a matter of fact, Prof Chan is one of the world's top professors of
international relations.

And Prof Chan remembers very well his early days as a lecturer at the
University of Zambia more than 20 years ago.

On the need to reform the international system, he supports secretary
general Kofi Annan's efforts to reform the United Nations' Security Council
where too few nations wield too much power. And he wants Africa to be
represented on the Security Council.

"It is important for Africa to have a voice at the highest level. The
governments of both South Africa and Nigeria are looking forward to
representing Africa," he noted.

Asked whether Zambia might ever aspire to a permanent seat on the Security
Council, Prof Chan was more pessimistic.

"I don't think Zambia has yet developed the political maturity to make such
a contribution," Prof Chan said. "Zambia is still developing an
international profile, but must also put its national house in order."

When asked to compare African development with what has been happening in
the Far East where many countries are recording great economic strides, Chan
said China in particular was making huge economic strides.

"But the Chinese need very much to expand into Africa. The US and European
markets will not be able to absorb all the Chinese exports, and China must
continue to sell its exports in order to maintain its level of economic
growth. They will be quite aggressive in the international trade arena, but
are prepared to treat Africa as a loss leader at the present moment, in
order to secure Africa as a profitable market in the longer-term future," he

Without mincing his words, Prof Chan said it is the lack of such long-term
thinking that illustrates the essential difference between China and much of

"There is still too much short-term thinking in Africa, including in Zambia,
and people think only of their personal advantage rather than the longer
term health of the community and the nation," he said.

When asked about Tony Blair's Commission for Africa, Prof Chan said he had
been watching the Commission's work.

"The actual members of the Commission are extremely sincere and the
Commission's recommendations to reduce debt levels are very important," Prof
Chan said.

"At the same time, there is no doubt that Tony Blair is in a competition
with his own Chancellor, Gordon Brown, as to who seems most concerned about
Africa. It is Brown who has the more developed sense of what Africa needs,
but in this day and age any concern from a powerful British prime minister
is welcome."

Having said that, Prof Chan is however sceptical about the New Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which is viewed, especially by the Group
of Eight as Africa's best framework for economic development.

"You can't try to buy democracy," Prof Chan said. "Democracy must come out
of national debate and a national desire on the parts of all citizens for
freeness, fairness, and transparency. It is not for others to order
democracy from Whitehall or Washington, and dangle financial carrots for the
democratically well-behaved."

Much as Prof Chan welcomes the democratisation of Africa, he laments the
idea of treating Africans like children who need to be bribed in order to be

As indicated earlier, Prof Chan was in Zimbabwe for the recent parliamentary
elections. Previously, he had been a staff member of the original
Commonwealth Observer Group that had monitored Zimbabwe's independence 25
years ago.

"These elections were, just as the government of Zimbabwe says, very
peaceful." However, Prof Chan went on to say that he had no doubt that the
years of persecution and harassment of the opposition, and of the
independent press in Zimbabwe had meant that the elections could not be
called truly fair.

"Democracy is much more than just an election. It is about transparency and
fair play at all times. You can't just clean up your act briefly when
observers come to town," Prof Chan said.

Prof Chan, a very youthful-looking 55-year-old, who turns 56 next month, is
also spending some time in Zambia training the local black belt karate

He is a Japanese-trained and graded 8th black belt and has altogether been
awarded 25 black belts.

Prof Chan had some concluding comments about sport being a mirror of

"Both in football and karate, Zambia could do so well. But development is
being held up because of personal rivalries and low-level administration,"
Prof Chan observed.

"The best athletes are not always the ones being selected for the national

His statement is not from without.

"A Senegalese karateka has just become the first African to win a world
karate championship. Now, you look at these people, and you see their
seriousness and dedication. That's why they now win," said Prof Chan.

"You see it in their football and in their karate. When Zambia is able to
conduct its sports administration like the Senegalese, then there will be a
bright future for Zambia at the gold medal level internationally."

Well, agree or disagree, those are the thoughts of Prof Chan.
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Global Politician

      INTERVIEW: Jan Lamprecht Explains African Political Crises
      Ryan Mauro - 4/11/2005
      Jan Lamprecht was born and raised in Zimbabwe during the bush war,
which resulted in Robert Mugabe coming to power. He was educated in Harare,
the capital of the country, before leaving for South Africa, where he spent
some time in the Navy. He wrote a book called "Government by deception"
about African politics related to Zimbabwe and the effects Mugabe's policies
may have on other countries.

      RM: Mr. Lamprecht, first off, explain why Americans concerned about
national security should care about Africa. Is there any strategic

      JL: Well, the Russians seemed to think Africa had tremendous strategic
value because of (a) Its vast mineral riches (b) The Cape Sea Route - which
to this day carries the sea-going vessels which can't pass through the Suez
Canal - so super-tankers containing oil ply the routes around South Africa -
along with much other traffic.

      The Russians once boasted that by controlling the Middle East Oil and
Southern African's Minerals they would defeat the West. Southern Africa,
apart from Botswana is now ruled by their Puppets like the ANC.

      In recent years a lot of Oil is also being discovered in both West and
East Africa. I was told by a geologist that there may be oil fields the size
of the North Sea off the coast of Namibia. So as we discover even more
minerals and oil in Africa... its importance to the West should increase.

      The USA is also now realizing that Africa (because parts of it has
Muslims), could become a major breeding ground for even more Al-Qaeda

      The USA has been training armies in Africa to help in its war on
terror. My suspicion is that like the Iraqi Militia, these "African Armies"
will be less than useless in helping the USA. I suspect that the African
Armies will do very little to actually help the USA in the war on terrorism.

      RM: You've read Robert Mugabe's book, who is the anti-American
dictator of Zimbabwe. According to his book, what are his plans for Africa?

      JL: The future Africa he describes is a very racist one. He is only
interested in Black people and their future. Mugabe wants Africa as a whole
(which is larger than the USA and China put together), to be a Military
Power. He wants a united (black) Africa which (a) Gets aid from the Western
world (b) Tells the Western world where to "get off". He wants blacks as a
whole to be united, while getting rid of all "vestiges of colonialism"
(which means white people and their institutions). Mugabe hates not only the
USA but the Western world as a whole. He wants to see Africa Militarily and
politically united.

      RM: Libya is disarming. They've cut off contact with terrorists,
helped us reveal the network of AQ Khan, and cut off military trade with
rogue states. They are pledging sweeping reforms. Do you feel that Gadhafi
has genuinely understood that he has more security by being pro-American
than anti-American?

      JL: No. I have some military contacts in the Middle East. They tell me
the real reason Gadhafi did this was because he was secretly co-operating
with Iran, Egypt and others on working on a nuclear bomb (for attacking
Israel)... But when the Americans discovered his nuclear program he decided
to come clean rather than face being wiped out as Saddam was. Apparently
Egypt and the other Arabs in on the secret are fuming mad at Gadhafi for
being a tattle tale. Gadhafi helped train the terrorists who now run South
Africa, Zimbabwe, etc. He is firmly an enemy of the West, but he realized in
this case, if he continues to anger the USA... they might put him out of

      This is proof that terror works very effectively against terrorists.

      RM: What is the significance of the growth of radical Islam in South

      JL: I am told that in the Koran, it actually says that black people
can't be Muslims [ed. This is according to some very strict
interpretations]. Nevertheless, in parts of Africa (not all of Africa),
Islam is spreading like wild fire. In Nigeria there is tremendous Black
Christian Vs Black Muslim strife which has killed thousands in recent years.
In South Africa we have more than a million Indians (from India), and
colored people. This is where Islam is spreading the most. The ANC and the
South African Communists are firmly on the side of the radical Muslims. They
want to destroy Israel. The South African government stands firmly on the
side of Israel's enemies. They are also firmly on the side of the radical
Muslims and terrorists. It has been rumored that we have helped to train
Islamic terrorists here, but I've come across no firm proof yet.

      RM: Are you concerned about the rumors that South Africa never fully
disarmed, and that nuclear components, and chemical/biological weapons may
be in dangerous hands? Or is this paranoia?

      JL: No not at all. I believe this is merely a rumor. As silly as De
Klerk was in handing over to the ANC, I can't imagine even him handing them
our nuclear weapons. We apparently had 6 nuclear bombs. De Klerk says all
these were disarmed and destroyed and international monitors actually saw
proof of the process.

      I am not sure what the status of chemical/biological weapons is. My
understanding is that these things can be created easily. So if we created
them before, then theoretically we could make them again any time we want.

      RM: Some have speculated that Egypt, due to the growth of radical
Islam, has decided to use the Saudi tactic to fight terrorism--bribe them
into not attacking them. Is there any reason to believe these accusations?

      JL: My Middle East sources inform me that Egypt and even Saudi Arabia
are actually on the side of the radical terrorists. I am told that Egypt is
working hard to help the Palestinians. Among the things I was told is that
Egypt has been working, in a very cunning manner, to prepare for a future
attack on Israel. Not long ago I read a fascinating book on military
deception which described in detail how excellently, and with tremendous
forethought, the Egyptians planned a surprise attack on Israel in the 1973
October war. The Egyptians caught even the Israelis off guard. My military
sources inform me, that there are new, even more amazing preparations.
Apparently, the Egyptians have been digging huge tunnels under the Suez
Canal through which Tanks, etc can go. Currently, in Gaza the terrorists are
being supplied with Russian weaponry from tunnels. I am trying to get more
details on this process. The Egyptians have also been very friendly with the
Russians, and it appears Russian weaponry is reaching Gaza ....

      Note too, how modern advanced Russian weaponry was responsible for
shooting down many US helicopters in Iraq. The Russians are fully supplying
all the terrorist weaponry. Funny that nobody notices this?

      RM: What is causing the growth of radical Islam in Africa and where is
it the most dangerous?

      JL: I'm told that radical Islam provides a stronger moral base than
"wishy washy Christianity". I don't think radical Islam is a factor in South
Africa. Some think so. I do not. Blacks, en masse, are not falling for
Islam. They are however WILLING ALLIES of radical Islam because the Russians
are behind Radical Islam just as they were behind Black Liberation. Hence
all terrorists are really ideological allies since they (a) Have Russia and
China as friends (b) Hate the West and the USA.

      The situation of Israel today is not unlike Apartheid/Colonial Africa.
The same people who caused so much trouble in Africa are hard at work
causing that same trouble in the Middle East. The Russians said they would
control the Middle East Oil and Southern Africa's minerals. They're got the
minerals... now they need to get the oil...

      RM: What countries in Africa appear to be US allies and which ones are
definitely have the anti-American agenda?

      JL: Uganda and Botswana seem to be the firmest US Allies. The ones who
hate the USA the most (but may at times hide it) are: South Africa, Namibia,
Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola. There is a move by Mugabe, which will
include South Africa and Namibia - to spread this anti-US hatred to the rest
of Africa. With South Africa's tremendous political muscle... in Africa...
this could happen. It may take some time. The ANC has to tread warily...

      RM: Is Algeria making progress in their War on Terror, particularly in
fighting the rebel forces?

      JL: I can't answer this. But I will say this: I think the USA's
emphasis on training African forces to help in the war on terror will
largely turn out to be money wasted. Just as the USA wasted $1 billion
training the Iraqi Police and Militia, so too, do I believe, the Africans
will quietly wimp out and feign stupidity and leave any terrorists in Africa
to grow and strengthen and to operate from here. I also read that Middle
East terrorists are busy in Columbia/Brazil, etc building huge organized
crime syndicates and sending tens of millions of dollars to their pals in
the Middle East to fight Israel and the USA.

      I feel the war on terror is going badly. I would not be surprised if a
terrorist incident(s) bigger than 9/11 were to occur on US soil in the
future. I think the USA is applying the wrong tactics completely, and this
war is far from over. I think many thousands of American soldiers and
civilians will yet die... and this could even grow into a much bigger
conflict. I think the USA will have to patrol the entire planet in an effort
to curb these terrorists... and the terrorists will be everywhere.

      Ryan Mauro is a geopolitical analyst. He began working for Tactical
Defense Concepts (, a maritime-associated security
company in 2002. In 2003, Mr. Mauro joined the Northeast Intelligence
Network (, which specializes in tracking and
assessing terrorist threats. He has appeared on over 20 radio shows and had
articles published in over a dozen publications. His book "Death to America:
The Unreported Battle of Iraq" is scheduled to be published in the coming
months. He publishes his own web site called World Threats.
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New York Times

Tough on Togo, Letting Zimbabwe Slide

Published: April 10, 2005

JOHANNESBURG - Even the heads of state who were its members called the old
Organization for African Unity a dictators' club, one reason why it was
replaced three years ago by a new African Union that was modeled, in name
and purpose, on Europe's own union. The old O.A.U. fulminated about
colonialism and liberation, but was often silent on human rights and the
consent of the governed. The new group, bowing to a democratic breeze
blowing from Mali to Mauritius, stood for the premise that the rule of law
is in, and despotism out.

Take it from Nigeria's president, Olusegun Obasanjo, a thoroughgoing
democrat. "Anybody who comes to power unconstitutionally," he said at the
union's first meeting in 2002, "cannot sit with us."

So when Robert G. Mugabe attends the next meeting of the African Union, will
he have to stand?

Democratic Africa has lately stifled a coup in Togo, sent peacekeepers to
Burundi and Darfur and ended civil war in the Ivory Coast, achievements that
would have been unthinkable only a decade ago. Yet it is curiously
dumbstruck when dealing with Mr. Mugabe's draconian rule in Zimbabwe.

The latest example is Zimbabwe's March 31 parliamentary elections, in which
Mr. Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Party
thrashed its democratic opponents using electoral tactics that were less
Queensbury Rules than those of professional wrestling.

Starving voters were told to support the Mugabe party or lose access to
food. Village leaders warned that opposition supporters could lose their
homes. In 30 races surveyed by the opposition, roughly 180,000 votes
appeared after the polls had closed and the official turnout had been

Nonpartisan election monitors and Western nations called the election
grievously flawed. Not so the African Union: Zimbabwe's election was free
and fair, it said. Far from declaring "This will not stand!," the group
commended Zimbabwe's government for "making efforts towards creating an even
playing field."

Why do African leaders who no longer tolerate a Togo coup blanch at
denouncing Mr. Mugabe's strongman tactics? The question seems almost
nonsensical, given that Zimbabwe's political and social implosion has
flooded its neighbors with unwanted refugees and made the nation a potential
vector for regional instability.

The answer, however, is deceptively complex. It begins with the overriding
fact that Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's crown jewel, is not a backwater
state like Togo. And that Mr. Mugabe, who, at 81, is the surviving patriarch
of Africa's liberation struggle, cannot be criticized or made to submit as
easily as some anonymous colonel behind a military putsch.

Political forces are at work behind the scenes as well. Mr. Mugabe's brand
of race-baiting demagoguery plays well in parts of Africa's vast underclass,
and to challenge him is to risk being branded a pawn of white colonialists.

Foremost, perhaps, African leaders fear that the defeat of a serious ruler
like Mr. Mugabe may help spread the notion that any entrenched leadership
can be unseated by a committed opposition. In Africa, where most democracies
are effectively one-party affairs, such a notion can be dangerous.

Maybe that helps explain why South Africa endorsed the Zimbabwe vote even
more warmly than did the African Union, and why its president, Thabo Mbeki,
has emerged as Mr. Mugabe's most powerful ally.

Coincidentally, perhaps, Mr. Mugabe's opposition, the Movement for
Democratic Change, enjoys strong support from South Africa's labor movement
and from its Communist Party. Both groups are part of Mr. Mbeki's ruling
African National Congress, but are widely expected to split from it before
the 2009 national election.

As Africa's most prominent politician, Mr. Mbeki provides his fellow leaders
with cover to avoid addressing the Mugabe problem. A handful of democracies,
including Nigeria, have been more outspoken in criticizing aspects of Mr.
Mugabe's rule. But none have the gravitas of South Africa, itself the
democratic victor in a liberation struggle not unlike the one that led to
Mr. Mugabe's dictatorship.

If this sounds like a recipe for stalemate, there is an alternative, voiced
in Harare last month by a political activist who demanded anonymity because
he was afraid that his employers would be punished for his views.

The African Union can put down a coup in Togo, he said, because its charter
explicitly permits intervention in a member nation's affairs in the case of
a coup. But the charter is silent on whether the bloodless theft of
political power by, say, stealing an election, is a coup in all but name.

"What could change that is if Zimbabwean groups themselves make the call to
the A.U.," he said. "You could make quite a strong argument that rigging and
manipulating elections is a kind of constitutional coup."

Which is precisely why Zimbabwe is such a thorny problem - and, viewed
another way, an opportunity. The prospect that ordinary Zimbabweans might
press for change is distinctly democratic in spirit. And it would offer a
clear test of whether the continent's new commitment to democratic rule is
more than just rhetorical.
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xtramsn, New Zealand

Pressure To Call Off Zimbabwe Tour
The Black Caps are being urged to pull out of this winter's cricket tour to

Greens co-leader Rod Donald has written to the players, asking them to
walk - before the umpire gives the tour out. He says the players should
withdraw on moral grounds, given the human rights atrocities he says
surrounded last month's election.

Rod Donald insists he is not targeting the players, but rather acknowledging
that neither the government nor New Zealand cricket is prepared to make the
right decision.

Mr Donald says NZ Cricket CEO Martin Snedden should not be ducking for cover
on this issue, and needs to deal with it up front.

He says the Black Caps will be seen as endorsing the Mugabe regime if they

But Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming says he is yet to receive the letter.

He says the players will trust New Zealand Cricket CEO Martin Snedden to
make the call.

Fleming says Snedden will make a decision which is in the best interests of
the team, and a decision on whether the Black Caps will tour Zimbabwe this
winter will be made on safety rather than moral issues.
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Sunday Times (UK)

            April 10, 2005

            Zimbabwe's HIV miracle worker
            Christina Lamb, Harare
            Survivor inspires a sick nation with hope and herbs

            SHE does not like the description but Lynde Francis, who was
privately educated in Britain, is a walking miracle.
            Nineteen years ago she was diagnosed with HIV and given three
years to live. Then three years ago she was bitten by a baby cobra. She
spent eight weeks in a coma, during which her vital organs stopped
functioning. Her daughter was asked for approval to switch off the
life-support machine.

            Yet Francis, 57, survived to become an inspiration for thousands
of fellow HIV carriers in Zimbabwe, which has one of the world's highest
rates of Aids but one of the lowest levels of international assistance.

            The first woman in Zimbabwe to go public with her HIV-positive
status, she was shunned by family and friends and attacked by the church.
She pulled herself back from the verge of suicide, determined to show it was
possible to live with Aids, and set up an organisation called the Centre.

            It is based in a sprawling house in Harare where all the staff
are HIV-positive. A combination of nutrition, traditional herbs and positive
thinking has achieved remarkable survival rates in a country where more than
3,000 people die each week from Aids-related diseases.

            A quarter of Zimbabwe's 12.6m population is infected with the
virus that causes Aids, and life expectancy has fallen to 33. But average
funding per victim is just £2.12 a year, compared with £41.38 in the rest of
southern Africa, because donors are reluctant to give to a country ruled by
a despot.

            The success of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party in
last month's parliamentary elections, which were widely thought to have been
rigged, has left the outlook bleak for Zimbabwe's millions of Aids
sufferers. Although Mugabe is expected to step down in 2008, no end is in
sight to the severe food shortage caused by his land reform programme, which
destroyed commercial farming. Widespread malnutrition has reduced people's
ability to fight disease.

            The economic collapse, combined with the diversion of state
resources to agencies of repression such as the secret police, has left
hospitals that used to be among the best in Africa unable to afford
medicines. For many HIV carriers, projects such as the Centre are the only

            Among those waiting in the shade of avocado trees to see
counsellors at the Centre last week were a polite young couple in their
early thirties. Dressed in their best clothes, they were still in shock from
being diagnosed last month.

            "It was terrible," said Bernard, a caddy at the Royal Harare
golf club, as his wife Anna sat with her hands in her lap and eyes downcast.

            "The doctor told us there's nothing you can do. The state doesn't
provide (anti-retroviral drugs) and we can't afford them. But we have two
children of 13 and 8 and we want to live long enough to help them finish
their schooling."

            Francis, he added, had "shown us it is possible to live".

            Francis, whose sing-song accent is an indicator of her British
mother and Trinidadian father, grew up in London and was educated at - and
expelled from - a succession of girls' schools, including Bedales. She moved
to what was then Rhodesia in 1970 to marry a musician. In 1986 he underwent
one of the country's first Aids tests. The result was positive.

            When Francis was told that she also had Aids, she refused to
believe it. "I can't have. I'm fit and fat!" she replied. She flew to
Britain for another test but the result was the same. Aids was still widely
thought of as something that mainly hit homosexuals and drug users.

            "I started with denial, then anger, then depression," said
Francis, who is a mother of two and also has six foster children. She made a
will and ended up in hospital with depression.

Then her partner in their construction business came to visit. Instead of
being shocked when she blurted out the truth, he replied: "It's just a
virus, let's deal with it." He returned with three books on macrobiotic
foods that she says changed her life.
When her husband committed suicide in 1991 Francis spoke out, much to his
family's fury. An advertisement in a national newspaper telling HIV/Aids
sufferers "there is hope" led to the first support group in her living room.
It grew into a national network.

By 1994 she was unable to cope with the numbers. She handed over her
business to her son and used her savings and a grant to open the Centre to
foster long-term survival skills.

Patients are recommended a diet focusing on local produce such as sweet
potatoes, lentils and sadza (maize) porridge, avoiding processed foods. "The
number one rule is: did your granny eat this? If she didn't, you shouldn't,"
said Francis.

At the Centre people are taught to grow herbs and use traditional remedies
that have been lost over the years. Herbs grown include St John's wort,
basil, parsley, pennyroyal and chives to boost the immune system and relieve
symptoms such as headaches and rashes.

The Centre also helps clients obtain anti-retroviral drugs cheaply, though
Francis herself does not take them, preferring to focus on diet. "We know
nutrition works because we have been doing this since 1991 and had 5,000
registered clients, of which we have lost less than 15%," she said. "That is
far below the national average."

According to Francis, Zimbabwe has grown out of denial. "The very magnitude
of the problem has changed things," she said. "There isn't a family, a
street, a workplace which hasn't been affected."

But she warned that this has not led to behavioural change. "People don't
see any benefit in getting tested because there is no access to care and
support. And they have no hope for the future of this country, so all they
want is instant gratification, which means sex and beer.

"As for the women, they think it's better to die in 10 years' time of Aids
by selling themselves for sex than now of starvation. It's almost as though
the population had a death wish."

Zimbabwe's high proportion of Aids sufferers is seen by some as explaining a
lack of will to protest about successive rigged elections. "You have to
remember this is a sick population," said one diplomat.

The youngest patient at the Centre is four months old: no country on earth
has seen such an increase in child deaths over the past five years.
According to Unicef, the child mortality rate has risen from one in 12 by
the age of five in the 1990s to one in eight. Zimbabwe also has 1m
children - one in five - orphaned by Aids. Yet major Aids donors have
largely shunned the country.

Last week Carol Bellamy, executive director of Unicef, appealed for this to
change. "Look for other ways to make a political point," she said, "but don't
take it out on Zimbabwe's children - they are the ones who are suffering."

The reluctance to give aid to Zimbabwe has hit Francis, who has seen several
donors pull out and now relies on small amounts from Danish, German, French
and Canadian agencies.

The Centre has also been hit by Mugabe's decision to ban foreign food aid,
ending supplies that used to come from the World Food Programme and Britain's
Department for International Development.

"Far more people are dying who don't need to die and children becoming
infected who didn't need to," said Francis. "For example, there is no
formula milk available for mothers, so the virus is being passed on through
breast milk."

Apart from running the Centre Francis holds workshops around the country. It
was during one of these at Lake Kariba that she returned to her hotel for a
nap and awoke to see a smudge on her leg that she thought was a spider bite.
She carried on with the workshop despite increasing pain and the last thing
she remembers is collapsing at her gate in Harare.

By the time she arrived at hospital she was in a coma. She had been bitten
by a Mozambican cobra. Her leg was rotting, her kidneys and lungs had failed
and she suffered a stroke.

After six weeks doctors told her daughter she was brain dead. She persuaded
them to keep her on life-support and a few days later Francis awoke to find
she could not move. It was six months before she could walk and speak again.

"Now they want to write me up as a miracle patient who survived despite
Aids," she said. "I say no, I survived because of Aids. If I hadn't already
been living positively for 17 years, I wouldn't have survived."
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Blair refused to sit beside Mugabe, says daily

HARARE, April 9: A British newspaper said on Saturday that Prime Minister
Tony Blair left his designated seat at the funeral of Pope John Paul after
learning that he would be sitting next to Zimbabwean President Robert

The Herald quoted unnamed sources who said Mr Blair, wife Cherie and
opposition leader Michael Howard all left their seats when they saw Mr
Mugabe coming to take a seat next to Mr Blair.

"Blair is said to have fled his seat, saying he could not sit next to
President Mugabe," the paper reported in its main front page story.

Mr Mugabe and Mr Blair have had frosty relations for years, with the African
leader accusing Mr Blair of backing the opposition party in Zimbabwe. Mr
Mugabe has described the country's main opposition party as the British
prime minister's 'puppet'.

The newspaper story followed an outcry over the handshake between Prince
Charles and Mr Mugabe at the funeral.

The handshake triggered embarrassment in Britain, prompting the royal
household to issue a statement saying the prince was caught by surprise and
was not in a position to avoid shaking Mr Mugabe's hand.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, too, was called to task last year for
inadvertently shaking Mr Mugabe's hand at the United Nations.

The Herald said President Mugabe had a chat with the heir to the British
throne recalling his visit in 1980, when he represented Queen Elizabeth at
Zimbabwe's independence celebrations.

The EU imposed travel sanctions on Zimbabwean government officials after
accusations of vote rigging in Zimbabwe's parliamentary polls in 2000 and in
Mr Mugabe's re-election two years later.

Robert Mugabe, a Roman Catholic, defied the ban to attend the funeral at the
Vatican, which is not part of the EU. -Reuters

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