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

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Mbeki 'denying' Zim reality
10/04/2003 23:46  - (SA)

Barnie Louw

Cape Town - An African psychosis of misplaced solidarity which leads to a
denial of reality.

That is how Hermann Hanekom of the Africa Institute diagnosed the
unwillingness of President Thabo Mbeki and other African leaders to admit
the extent of problems in Zimbabwe.

Hanekom was responding to a confidential Commonwealth report which stated
the political, economic and social situation in Zimbabwe had noticeably
deteriorated in the past year. The report flies in the face of recent
remarks by Mbeki and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria that matters had

"Denial is a problem in Africa," said Hanekom. "It's the one thing that has
remained unchanged since the Organisation for African Unity was established.
It's threatening Nepad and the African Renaissance - Africa may yet pay the
price in terms of development aid."

He said the report left Mbeki and Obasanjo with egg on their faces. By
contradicting Mbeki's stance on Zimbabwe, the report could tarnish the SA
president's image as Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Reacting to the report, acting DA leader Joe Seremane said Mbeki must
explain why he supported Obasanjo's recommendation in February to rescind
Zimbabwe's Commonwealth expulsion. He should also explain why he opposed
extending Zimbabwe's expulsion until Commonwealth leaders met in December.

"Mbeki and Obasanjo acted unilaterally, without considering the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe," said Seremane.

NNP foreign affairs spokesperson Dr Boy Geldenhuys said Mbeki and Obasanjo's
attempts to portray conditions in Zimbabwe as improving did not tally with
the facts.

"This places the onus squarely on the shoulders of the SADC task team
(currently on a fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe) to offer proposals which
will force President Robert Mugabe to reform," said Geldenhuys.

"The credibility of the SACD is on the line. Simply sweeping human rights
abuses under the carpet, as happened during the presidential elections, will
not serve the interests of the region."
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Financial Times

Nigerian election to test democracy
By David White
Published: April 10 2003 23:43

This is where it all broke down before. On Saturday, Nigeria, Africa's biggest electorate, will choose its legislators and a week later its president. It is only the third time in Nigeria's history that an elected administration has held elections.

The first time was in 1963-64. Barely a year after general elections, the army took power. The next time was 1983 and the army returned three months later. For all the defects and violence of its struggling democracy - and the peculiarity of having two former dictators as the main presidential candidates - Nigeria will be moving into new territory if it gets safely past this election.
Tentatively, unevenly, and belatedly, democracy is gaining ground in Africa. While some countries are still bloodbaths away from it, others now have more political competition, freer media and greater civil liberties than at any time since the first flush of decolonisation.
Apart from Nigeria, 16 of Africa's 54 nations are now considered fully fledged or emerging democracies, compared with around four at the end of the 1980s, according to political analysts. The rest are a mixed bunch of aspiring democracies, pseudo-democracies, semi-authoritarian, authoritarian and collapsed states.
Could the domino effect spread African democracy in the way it once spread military coups? Kenya's change of government last December set an example, in a country that had been widely expected to implode under the weight of old political habits. Its neighbour Uganda is now contemplating a switch to open party competition.
But in Zimbabwe political repression has become worse. Ivory Coast, once envied for its stability, is teetering on the verge of breakdown. And Africa's first military coup in more than three years took place last month in the Central African Republic.
Much of the continent is still mired in the morass it fell into in the 1960s. Indeed, power struggles, ethnic conflict, mismanagement, profiteering and political corruption characterise much of Africa. "
Democracy is viewed as the social, political and economic answer. On the whole, democratic countries tend to be better off financially than non- democratic ones. It is not a coincidence that Botswana, among the countries that have found new mineral wealth, should be the only one to have managed its resources effectively and also one of the most established democracies on the continent.
"It is not a question of resources," says Daniel Bach of the Black Africa Study Centre in Bordeaux. "[Nigeria, the continent's biggest oil producer,] is one country in Africa that has everything going for it. In theory."
Surveys show that satisfaction with elected government in Nigeria has fallen sharply since 2000, but that the idea of democracy still commands support of more than 70 per cent. In contrast to the huge popularity of military takeovers in 1966 and 1983, more than 80 per cent oppose a military comeback. The army lost prestige in the 1990s dictatorship of Gen Sani Abacha, considered Nigeria's most traumatic. Moreover, military regimes are no longer the fashion in Africa or Latin America. Until the latest Central African Republic upset, there was none left south of the Sahara.
In Nigeria political assassinations have become commonplace, politicians run their own militias, and the electoral commission lacks credibility. Despite four years of elected government, the country still battles unemployment, poverty, violence and graft. The country's president, Olusegun Obasanjo, set out to tackle corruption when he took office four years ago but his effort was undermined recently when parliamentarians voted to repeal a bill that would have targeted them.
"The bottom line is nothing," says Mr Bach. "The corruption law has become an example of corruption itself."
"The fundamental flaw in military governance," says a Nigerian diplomat, "is that the soldiers come and say that they're here today so they can leave tomorrow. This means no one looks to them to set up any enduring institutions. The country is going to be on hold. The truth of the matter is that they then stay as long as the fancy for power keeps them."
Before the present government, Nigerians had only one four-year interlude of civilian rule in 33 years. Many now in administrative posts have been conditioned by working under military control. "We need perhaps 20 years of continuous democratic government to genuinely change the culture that has developed through such a long period of military government," says the diplomat.
At independence, open representative government was expected to prevail in African countries. The British, French and Belgians organised elections before handing over their colonies. Constitutions and other democratic trappings were put in place. Many of the new figureheads rejected the western model as an alien imposition, but Africans did not offer an alternative model.
Single-party systems were introduced in the name of national unity and consensus, becoming machines for their leaders to perpetuate their power. The only alternative sources of power were the armies, which toppled governments when they failed to meet expectations. Africa became the home of the coup d'état; there have been more than 70 in the past 40 years.
For western governments, as long as the cold war lasted, democratic virtue mattered less than political alignment. But from the early 1990s western pressure resulted in a broad move towards multi-party elections. The experiment sometimes went sour.
Today there remains a debate about whether multi-party politics fuels tribalism. Africans usually consider allegiances to ethnicity, region or religion more important than ideology. But then many western countries also have to manage strong regional divisions, or have had to do so in the past.
For every sign of advancing democracy, there is some countervailing evidence. Elections, for instance. While almost every country has them - they are even planned in Democratic Republic of Congo, which has not had a free vote since the Belgians left - many are a sham. Zimbabwe's presidential contest last year was condemned widely for vote-rigging and intimidation.
In three years, elected governments in three countries have handed over power peacefully after being voted out: Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. This is a rare occurrence in Africa. In the first and last cases, the elections ousted parties that had been in power for four decades. But there are only a handful of leaders who voluntarily left office, such as South Africa's Nelson Mandela. More usually, African heads of state are removed by natural death, assassination or unconstitutional takeover.
Two-term limits for presidents are gaining currency. Malawi's Bakili Muluzi recently backed away from seeking a third term. Namibia is debating whether to allow President Sam Nujoma, to go for a fourth term. Guinea and Togo have had limits but dropped them. The latter's Gnassingbé Eyadema and Gabon's Omar Bongo have been in place for more than 35 years, and Libya's Muammer Gadaffi for almost 34.
The push for more democratic practices reflects the growth of a more educated urban class, more politically savvy and connected, users of internet cafes and mobile phones. "The trend and the mood is that people are demanding more rights, more participation, more deliverables," says Jennifer Cooke, an Africa expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. But this generational change is also behind recent upheavals in countries where the channels for expressing grievances are insufficient.
International pressure is another factor. In Kenya's case, for instance, the US and others persuaded outgoing President Daniel arap Moi not to try to hold on to power. But the idea of Africans policing their own systems of governance, one of the main principles behind the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), has so far been unsuccessful. It has never been clear how this proposed "peer review" was meant to work. "It can't all be done overnight," Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's prime minister and a strong backer of Nepad, recently told a London audience.
"It's going to take a long time even to agree what the standards should be," warns one African diplomat.
The US is going its own way by exerting pressure through preferential trade treatment and, for a more selective group of countries, through aid from its new Millennium Challenge Account scheme, which is tied to "good governance".
But George Ayittey, an outspoken Ghanaian scholar and president of the Washington-based Free Africa Foundation, is sceptical about its progress. Many incumbent governments are being elected by default, he says. "In Africa we haven't really sat down to think through this process of democracy, to institutionalise it."
"We just think we can hold elections and that's democracy," Mr Ayittey said. "The trouble is, some group may decide that the ballot box is not a credible means of change of regime and may resort to guerrilla insurgency. In other words, more African countries will implode because of the adamant refusal of their leaders to implement real democratic reform."
In 1990, a former African military dictator, distinguished by having stepped down from office, delivered a harsh verdict on the continent's progress since independence: "The bald fact is that in Africa we have squandered almost 30 years of nation-building efforts. Our policies were too removed from social needs and developmental relevance."
That former military dictator was Gen Obasanjo, current and likely continuing president of Nigeria. His observation remains true.
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Washington File

10 April 2003
Human Rights Progress Amid Conflicts in Africa
(Annual State Dept. report cites gains made on child labor, human
trafficking) (890)
By Kelly Machinchick

Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Though conflict and poverty continue to plague Africa,
undercutting respect for human rights, a recent U.S. government report
points to some solid gains in this area on which the region may be
able to build. Several countries have made progress in advancing
political freedoms, and the region as a whole is making a concerted
effort to halt child labor and human trafficking.

The State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices was
released on March 31 and rates 196 nations worldwide using criteria
that include: institutional change; political, press, and religious
freedom; worker rights; corporate/social responsibility; and human

In its introduction the report analyzed a number of human rights
trends, both negative and positive and in Africa cited several
examples of the political progress made on the continent:

In Kenya, the December 2002 free elections and a peaceful transfer of
power "signaled hope for the consolidation of democratic politics";

In Madagascar, legislative elections were held after a political
crisis that divided the island nation was resolved;

In Sierra Leone, the decade-long civil war was officially declared
over in January and the Revolutionary United Front was disarmed,
leading to "remarkably peaceful presidential elections in May,
although there were reports of election irregularities"; and

In Angola, peace was finally achieved after 27 years of fighting, in
large part aided by the death last year of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.
"The former UNITA rebel movement has disarmed and is transitioning
into an unarmed political party," according to the Report, "and the
government -- working with the opposition -- is beginning to move the
country toward new elections."

The "massive human rights violations" of the civil war in Angola "have
come to an end," the report notes. Although, "an increase of abuses in
Cabinda Province is worrisome. The primary focus will now be on the
civil and political rights necessary for the conduct of free and fair
elections as well as the establishment of the rule of law throughout
the country."

While violence in the Horn of Africa region remains subdued, the human
rights report says Eritrea's record "worsened through 2002." In
contrast, however, it added, "all recorded Ethiopian prisoners of war
(POWs) from the former conflict were released. Ethiopia also released
the last of the Eritrean POWs during 2002."

The lot of children in Africa seems to be slowly improving, the
report's introduction noted, as governments take measures to protect
the younger members of their respective societies. For example,
Burundi's government "stated that it would not recruit child soldiers
in its war against rebel forces. However, there are unconfirmed
reports that children continue to serve in armed forces performing
occasional tasks such as carrying weapons and supplies."

Awareness about trafficking in persons throughout Africa grew, the
U.S. Government document reported. "More African countries
participated in time-bound programs designed to eliminate the worst
forms of child labor. In addition, many of these cash-strapped
governments are increasingly working on creative programs to prevent
trafficking and protect trafficking victims."

At the same time, "Public awareness was raised at local government
levels in many African countries, particularly in West Africa, about
traditional practices that are being exploited by traffickers."

On the other side of the continent, in Tanzania, the report noted,
"Children were mobilized to help identify traffickers and other
children particularly vulnerable to being trafficked. In Southern
Africa, some governments began devoting more attention to the
differences between trafficking, smuggling and seasonal labor
On the negative side, in Côte d'Ivoire child labor remained an issue
of concern, and the recruitment of child soldiers in the armed civil
conflict was cause for concern. Rebel groups in particular used child
The report stated that unfortunately, some African nations regressed
in their ability to treat their citizens fairly and with respect.

Zimbabwe was held up as a prime example. Once a democratic model for
Africa, its 11 million citizens have become victims of oppression,
intimidation, and even torture at the hands of the government of
Robert Mugabe.

"Zimbabwe's government has used a systematic campaign of violence and
intimidation against stated and perceived supporters of the
opposition, even to the extent of routinely and publicly denying food
to these individuals. The Government manipulated the composition of
the courts and repeatedly refused to abide by judicial decisions,
which undermined the judiciary."
Western Africa continues to be wracked by conflict that has "continued
to fuel human rights abuses. In Côte d'Ivoire, a coup attempt and
ensuing civil unrest sparked violations by government and rebel
forces. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, major abuses
continued [although] Rwanda withdrew its troops by October, and Uganda
only had 1,000 troops left in the country at year's end."
Also, in Swaziland, said the report, "respect for rights and rule of
law took steps backward with a government declaration that it would
not abide by court decisions."
Although the broad canvas of human rights in Africa painted by the
individual country reports continues to present a grim picture, the
efforts of African citizens and governments to carve out democracy and
freedom have made progress -- however slow and halting -- toward that
ultimate goal.

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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Daily News

      MPs disappear

      4/11/2003 6:30:43 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      The whereabouts of two MDC Members of Parliament arrested by the
police this week were unknown last night, as Paul Themba Nyathi, the party's
spokesman, was released from police custody after the Bulawayo High Court
declared he was being held illegally.

      The two opposition MPs, Jealous Sansole (Hwange East) and David Mpala
(Lupane), were arrested on Wednesday.

      Nyathi was arrested on Monday on allegations of attempting to subvert
the government.

      The police alleged that Nyathi, 57, together with other MDC officials,
including Gibson Sibanda, the party's vice-president, organised last month's
stayaway which they said was accompanied by violence.

      Sibanda was arrested last week and released on Monday on $1 million

      Speaking from Bulawayo yesterday, Nyathi said: "I have been released
and I am at home right now. I must be honest, I was lucky because the police
treated me reasonably well."

      Justice Maphios Cheda ordered Nyathi's immediate release and said
should the police want him prosecuted they should proceed by way of summons.

      After the judgment, the police tried to send Nyathi to the magistrates
' court in an apparent bid to circumvent Cheda's ruling, but the move

      Asked why they had not brought Nyathi to court as ordered by an
earlier provisional order, Herbert Ushewokunze, representing the State, said
he was not sure why.

      Meanwhile, the whereabouts of two other MDC MPs were unknown

      The two were arrested as they drove from Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport.
Nicholas Mathonsi, their lawyer, said last night he was yet to establish
where they were being held.
      Sansole, speaking from police custody after their arrest, said the
police accused him of ordering youths to puncture tyres of cars during last
month's stayaway. He said they had further questioned him about ballot box
seals found in his car.

      It was not clear by last night on what charge Mpala was being held.

      After last month's stayaway, the police arrested more than 200 MDC
supporters and officials for organising the protest and the alleged
accompanying violence.

      The crackdown followed President Mugabe's order to the State security
agents to "crush" the MDC.

      Mugabe gave the directive at Heroes' Acre during the burial of the
Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Swithun Mombeshora, last month.
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Daily News

      Soldiers evict retired cop from police camp

      4/11/2003 6:45:53 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      JOSHUA Hondoma, a retired police inspector, claims the police hired
armed soldiers to evict his family from a house at Chegutu police camp.

      Hondoma, who retired last October, said he suspected he was being
victimised for attending a Christmas party in Chegutu in 2001, hosted by a
losing MDC candidate in the 2000 parliamentary election.

      He was one of eight police officers who attended Philemon Matibe's
Christmas bash. Matibe lost to Webster Shamu of Zanu PF.

      Hondoma said one inspector Chinakidzwa, the officer-in-charge at the
station, told him he had been instructed by his superiors to give Hondoma's
family 24 hours to leave the camp.

      He was thrown out on 28 March this year.

      "I asked if the officer-in-charge could give the order in writing,"
Hondoma said last Wednesday. "But within three hours of that notice, about
20 armed men in army trucks and police vehicles arrived at my house,
accusing me of having refused to vacate the house."

      He said the men refused to identify themselves, saying it was none of
his business.

      Yesterday, Chinakidzwa said in an interview that he would advise
Hondoma to approach the Police General Headquarters if he was disgruntled
with the manner in which he was evicted.

      Chinakidzwa refused to answer further questions on the eviction.

      A policeman at Chegutu said according to police procedures, a retired
officer was entitled to a three-month reprieve before moving out of police

      Hondoma said his property was dumped at a stand he is developing in a
Chegutu suburb.

      "I believe they are victimising me for attending Philemon Matibe's
Christmas party in 2001 because I was a senior police officer then," he

      Hondoma said he was the deputy officer-in-charge at Chegutu Police
Station at the time, before he was transferred to Harare Central Police
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Daily News

      Mudzuri urged to fire insubordinate heads

      4/11/2003 6:46:33 AM (GMT +2)

      Municipal Reporter

      Harare residents have urged Elias Mudzuri, the executive mayor, to
fire council heads of departments not willing to work with him.

      On Wednesday, Mudzuri warned residents the city was facing "a serious
crisis", particularly over water supplies. He said the council owed

      a South African company about US$600 000 (about Z$49,4 million) for
the supply of Ecol 2000, a chemical used to kill algae.

      The council only has about 17 days' supply of the chemical left but
stopped using it on Wednesday after the quality of the water improved
following the recent rains.

      Mudzuri said other severe problems were the increasing number of
potholes on the roads and poor refuse collection services.

      The residents asked why all the directors were absent from a
consultative meeting with the mayor at Town House on Wednesday to discuss
"these crucial issues".

      They asked Cuthbert Rwazemba, the chief public relations officer, to
advise the heads of departments against absenting themselves from next
Wednesday's meeting.

      An elderly man said of the directors: "They should be here. If they
are not listening to you, we as the people who voted you into office give
you the right to fire them, no matter what they say."

      The resident was apparently referring to a mob that demonstrated
against Mudzuri at Town House on 24 March, claiming he was victimising
employees who supported Zanu PF.

      "Next week, if we come here and we don't see them, fire them," said
the resident to applause from a 100-strong crowd.

      At Wednesday's meeting, Mudzuri complained he was receiving many
excuses from "lazy council workers".

      "I am not amused that they are not here because they think it is a

      "They think it is the mayor's business to address these issues and
when I come down on them they say I am being political."

      Over another matter, Mudzuri said: "Vusimusi Sithole, Harare's acting
director of works, suspended 14 workers on allegations of misrepresenting
their qualifications as artisans."

      Rwazemba said the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, and not
Mudzuri, had confirmed the certificates were forged.
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Daily News

      NGOs urge State to spend more on children's welfare

      4/11/2003 6:47:10 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The government should spend more money on children's welfare because
its allocations in previous national budgets were inadequate, says an
association of non-governmental organisations.

      The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango)
says it believes not enough government funds are being spent on children's

      The association has launched consultative workshops to lobby the
government to commit more funds towards children.

      At a provincial workshop held in Marondera on Wednesday, Bob
Muchabaiwa, Nango's research and information officer, said the paltry
allocations to children's needs in previous national budgets had adversely
affected their lives.

      "Serious shortcomings of successive national budgets on resources
allocated to the welfare of children had energised the NGO sector to explore
ways of influencing the government to present a child-friendly national
budget," he said.

      Muchabaiwa said it was imperative for the NGO sector to lobby the
government for a budget with a positive impact on children's lives before
another budget was formulated this year.

      Cuthbert Ndarukwa, the district administrator for Marondera, said
district social services committees had been established in Mashonaland East
province to identify children's needs to be able to influence resource
allocation to children.

      "Children need food, clothes and shelter and these are the issues a
child-friendly national budget must address," Ndarukwa said. "We need to
have well brought-up children because they represent the future generation."

      John Mathe, a Nango consultant, said children bore the brunt of the
harsh economic climate in the country and political commitment was needed to
channel resources towards the revitalisation of the health delivery system.

      "The government needs to know that access to health and education is
central to the well-being of children."

      The organisation estimates that over four million children are reeling
under severe food shortages, partly caused by the government's chaotic
fast-track land reform programme and the drought.
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Daily News

      Lawyers demand protection for judiciary

      4/11/2003 6:48:08 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) yesterday deplored the
upsurge in the harassment of judicial officers and urged the government to
protect legal officers performing their duties.

      The lawyers' body statement comes against a background of mounting
incidents of harassment and intimidation of judicial officers by the police
and pro-Zanu PF militants.

      ZLHR called for the prompt investigation of reports of assault and
harassment of lawyers, judges, magistrates and prosecutors and the
prosecution of the perpetrators.

      "The ZLHR calls upon the government to comply with its
responsibilities to guarantee the independence of the judiciary," the
lawyers said.

      "Official or unofficial extensions of the Executive, such as the
militia, have no right to confront judicial officers to question them on the
exercise of their official functions as part of the Judiciary."

      In the latest in a long catalogue of abuses, seven people calling
themselves war veterans stormed into the private office of Levison Chikafu,
a senior prosecutor at the Mutare Magistrates' Courts.

      They threatened to assault him for "granting bail to MDC supporters
who were supposed to have been remanded in custody".

      On 18 March, Gugulethu Moyo, the legal advisor of Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publishers of The Daily News, was assaulted at Glen
View Police Station.

      She was subsequently arrested and detained while attempting to secure
the release of Daily News photographer, Philimon Bulawayo.

      Alec Muchadehama, a human rights lawyer, who had accompanied Moyo, was
also assaulted.

      On the same day, riot police allegedly chased away human rights lawyer
Andrew Makoni from Glen Norah Police Station where he had gone to represent
detained clients.

      Advocate Charles Selemani was arrested allegedly for representing St
Mary's MP Job Sikhala.

      Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer, was arrested together with
Sikhala, detained and allegedly tortured by State security agents who
implicated the MP in the burning of a Zupco bus in the Willowvale industrial
area. Shumba was cleared of the charges but decided to go into exile.

      On 14 February, police officers, including the officer-in-charge at
Bulawayo Central Police Station, allegedly verbally abused and pushed ZLHR
members Perpetua Dube,

      Ndabezinhle Mazibuko, Thembelani Mkhwananzi and Kucaca Phulu out of
the charge office where they had gone to enquire about their detained
clients. The police allegedly told them the police station belonged to the
police and not to lawyers.
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Daily News

      MDC threatens to veto Sadc talk force

      4/11/2003 6:48:44 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      IN AN unexpected turn of events, Zimbabwe could have muscled itself in
on the Sadc Task Force expected to arrive in the country soon to probe
allegations of escalating political violence and the contravention of basic
human rights.

      According to The Business Day of South Africa, there was confusion
over the exact composition, mandate and timing of the visit - which has
remained shrouded in secrecy - decided on at last Friday's meeting in Harare
of the Sadc Foreign Ministers on the organ of defence and security.

      The newspaper quoted a diplomat in Harare as saying the Zimbabwean
government would be part of the task force.

      The diplomat reportedly said the countries represented would be
Angola, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The MDC immediately said it would not
co-operate with the task force if Zimbabwean government officials were

      Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, said yesterday: "The MDC is
disturbed by reports coming from the media and other sources in the
diplomatic community suggesting that the Sadc task force that will be coming
to Zimbabwe will include as part of the team members of the government.

      "As the MDC, we state that we would reconsider our decision to
co-operate with the task force by appearing before it and giving evidence
and our perspective as well as our vision for the way forward in respect of
the Zimbabwe crisis.

      "We are firmly of the view that if Zimbabwe is part of the task force,
then the findings would be as good as predetermined."

      Ncube said if the move went ahead, it would compromise the search for
the truth about what is taking place in the country. Efforts to get a
comment from the Angolan Embassy proved fruitless yesterday.

      The Business Day said South Africa's foreign affairs department,
however, said South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique would be on the task
force. The task force was first formed in August 2001 when regional leaders
expressed concern about the effects of the Zimbabwe economic situation on
the region.

      On the task force on Zimbabwe, Stan Mudenge, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, said the Sadc fact-finding mission was coming to Zimbabwe at his
behest and not as a matter of their own initiative.
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Daily News

      Suspects say they were beaten up

      4/11/2003 6:49:13 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      TWO Chitungwiza men who allegedly stole a pistol from Wayne
Bvudzijena, the police spokesperson, yesterday said that they were beaten up
before they made statements to the police. Jeffrey Musiiwa and Alexander
Masango said they were severely assaulted while in police cells, and ended
up signing warned and cautioned statements they had not read.

      Their trial opened yesterday at the Harare magistrates' court with
four witnesses testifying. The State alleges that on 30 March, Masango and
Musiiwa smashed the front passenger window of Bvudzijena's car, parked at
Chikwanha shopping centre in Chitungwiza. They allegedly stole a CZ pistol
that was loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition.

      In his defence, Musiiwa said: "I was quite surprised when I was picked
up by the police. Eventually, they took me to St Mary's Police Station where
they continued to force me to admit to the charge I was not aware of."

      He said he was not given any chance to explain himself or to speak to
his co-accused, alleged to have implicated him until he was brought to court
last week.

      Masango too said he was assaulted before he ended up admitting to the
charges. But he said he only came to know about the stolen pistol when he
was approached by a man named Munyaradzi who wanted his help in selling the
pistol. The trial continues today.

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Daily News

The Mole

      Of denials that do more harm than good

      4/11/2003 6:26:05 AM (GMT +2)

      Since the Mugabe regime's humiliating 2000 defeat in the referendum on
the Jonathan Moyo-doctored draft constitution, from which most of the people
's wishes and input had been removed, Zanu PF, through the government, has
been on a sustained mission of brutal revenge.

      As we have all come to realise, the government and Zanu PF are now
indistinguishable. But that is beside the point. The point is that, because
the people have openly and overwhelmingly rejected Zanu PF, the party is
hitting back through the army, with the ferociousness of a wounded tiger.

      We all know how, in the aftermath of each of the many incidents in
which the people have demonstrated they no longer wish to continue being
ruled by the terrorist organisation that Zanu PF has clearly turned into,
soldiers have been let loose on urban populations to inflict on them maximum
physical discomfort.

      We have read with disgust and horror how, acting like people possessed
(being, no doubt, under the influence of powerful intoxicants and/or
hallucinogens), the soldiers have pounded nightclub patrons to pulp, forced
some to roll in mud, urinated on some people and forced others to drink
their own urine and even - horror of horrors! - paired off male and female
nightclub patrons, total strangers, forcing them to have unprotected sex on
the floor of nightclubs.

      These are, no doubt, sadistic acts of extreme barbarism by any
standards. But, knowing Zanu PF's incredible capacity for violence, which is
only matched by the party members' celebrated incapacity for civilised
conduct, The Mole is not at all surprised at the soldiers' savagery.

      As the party's youths "graduating" from the Border Gezi torture
training centres are demonstrating only too well on a daily basis, sadism
runs through the veins of everyone who identifies with Zanu PF. And violence
is what keeps that one big murderous family together - and going.

      Rather, what The Mole finds surprising are the idiotic denials from
the army authorities.

      Each time such brutal incidents of unprovoked attacks on innocent
citizens happily enjoying themselves are reported, with eye-witnesses and
the management at the places they will have taken place insisting the
perpetrators were soldiers, the army has always denied responsibility. They
have always stupidly said: "It wasn't us."

      People say: Fine, it wasn't you, so who did it? They say: Ask the
police. We go to the police and ask: Who did it? And the police reply,
equally stupidly, if they respond at all in the first place: "We don't
 know." It is safe to think that they expect us not just to take them
seriously, but to actually believe them!

      But, with all due respect, this would suggest that there is a
supersaturation of abysmal ignorance, crass stupidity and rank foolishness
among the top brass in our police force and army.

      Alternatively, our gentlemen in uniform are either so dull or so out
of touch with reality that they genuinely believe the entire civilian
population is made up of gullible simpletons who will believe anything.

      Tragically, if the latter is true, instead of being taken as a
mitigating factor, it would, in fact, firmly confirm the first assumption.

      Which is that we have a whole bunch of celebrated fools running the
army and the police force. And their stupid denials which, in essence, are
naked and unintelligent lies, are doing the army more harm than good. The
people no longer trust the army, much less believe whatever those who speak
on its behalf say.

      n Talking about naked and unintelligent lies, it is The Mole's strong
contention that, of all the lies the army has ever told, and the lies are
legion, none has ever been as pathetically unintelligent as the claim that
the young scoundrels - all 23 of them - paraded before the Press with so
much fanfare at the beginning of this week were "army deserters".

      It is, of course, inconceivable that the army's Major Alphios Makotore
could have come up with such a gem of fiction without a little help from the
Department of Information and Publicity in the President's Office. Its
alarmist tone bears the unmistakable stamp of a well-known source,
permanently domicile in that office, whose main brief seems to be to
manufacture crimes for the MDC.

      The whole tale was so incredible and transparent for its falsehood
that even a kindergarten child could easily see through it for the utterly
unconvincing fiction that it was. Predictably, The Herald made it its front
page lead! It's a real pity, though, that its creator did not come up with
that hilarious fiction earlier, because it would have done perfectly for The
Herald on 1 April.

      The fiction was published in The Herald as follows, and I quote:
      "At least 23 Zimbabwe National Army deserters have been arrested for
suspected links with an underground military wing of the MDC that allegedly
planned to bomb all service stations in Harare and other cities (NB - ALL
service stations! This must certainly give you your first chuckle!) during
the two-day mass action organised by the opposition party last month.

      "The deserters, all juniors with the most senior being a female
corporal, are also suspected to have been deployed in high-density suburbs
of Harare and Chitungwiza to beat up people and tarnish the image of the
army in order to spark an uprising.

      "Recently there had been numerous reports of people being beaten up by
people in uniform, prompting the army to investigate. Military police and
the Zimbabwe Republic Police were also following leads that could result in
the arrest of those people in military regalia, who beat up people in
Highfield and Kuwadzana after the results of the by-elections in the two
constituencies were announced."

      And now listen to this trademark Rocket Scientist Motormouth stuff:
"The operation to bomb all service stations was supposed to cause confusion,
shock and awe (now, we can easily substitute that with "fear, alarm and
despondency", can't we?!) throughout the country."

      Now, this is one hell of a cock-and-bull story if ever there was one!

      Not since The Chronicle came up with, in rapid succession, first that
melodramatic fabrication about the MDC planning to bomb all high-rise
buildings in Harare and Bulawayo and then that other laughable fiction about
envelopes containing a deadly powder (anthrax or something like that)
addressed to prominent persons,

      Jonathan Moyo included (naturally), having been intercepted at the
post office, have we ever been treated to such immensely ticklish bull.

      It doesn't take special intelligence to see that this is all a made-up
story hastily - and thus poorly - contrived to rescue the government from
the sticky situation into which it has stuck itself by its ill-conceived
brutal retribution against the MDC following its successful organisation of
the stayaway quickly followed by the party's resounding victories in the
Highfield and Kuwadzana by-elections.

      It is all an amateurishly stage-managed affair to try and clean up the
egg from the government's face by shifting blame onto the MDC in the wake of
the international community's heavy censure of the Mugabe regime for its
shamelessly violent campaign against the people in general and MDC members
in particular.

      The blitz was, of course, in retaliation to the MDC's continuing
humiliation of the Zanu PF regime by staging a hugely successful stay-away
and then proceeding to trounce it in the by-elections.

      Anyone who doubts this analysis needs only look at the faces of the
so-called army deserters to get convinced. They are all hardly out of their
teens. That makes them all Border Gezi Camp products paid to stage-act to
save face for the Mugabe regime.

      But, make no mistake, no one is fooled!
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Beyond the Mountains

      Futile to think Sadc or US can liberate us

      4/11/2003 6:36:06 AM (GMT +2)

      THE workmen, with greased hands and equally greased worksuits and
overalls, are engaged in a spirited discussion the other day at the Green
Market area of Mutare.

      This is an area sandwiched by the sprawling Sakubva suburb to the
south and the city's downtown area to the north, populated by informal
businesses. It's, if you like, akin to Siyaso in Mbare, Harare.

      "Do you really believe these Sadc guys coming up here will make any
difference to the crisis we're facing here?" one of the participants in the
discussion asks.

      "I doubt it," he quickly answers himself without waiting for
contributions from other members in the impromptu discussion group. "These
Sadc guys are the same who said President Mugabe's re-election was free and
fair; the same ones who say there is no breakdown in the rule of law here or
that the torture and arrests of the opposition is all made up."

      The discussion, I quickly gather, was prompted by a visit to Harare of
10 foreign ministers and high commissioners from Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) member states.

      For nine hours, the visitors met with Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge -
apparently talking about State-sponsored violence that has been the order of
the day ever since the opposition MDC entered elective politics three years

      While the visiting dignitaries expressed concern about events here,
promising to dispatch another delegation soon to tackle the issue with the
Zimbabwean leader, the workmen at the Green Market are not holding their
breath over it.

      For starters, these working people in Mutare are convinced that none
among the Sadc leadership has enough guts to stem the atrocities the Zanu
PF-led government is accused of in the name of national sovereignty.

      "What we may need here," volunteers another participant, "is the
Saddam Hussein solution." This, obviously, is a reference to the invasion of
Iraq by forces led by the United States and Britain.

      The US-British forces went into Iraq, with oil reserves believed to be
only second to Saudi Arabia's, to topple President Hussein because of his
repressive regime, free Iraqis of despotism and usher an era of democracy in
the region.

      Of course, the participant offering the "Saddam Hussein solution" is
quickly cut off by colleagues.

      Says one: "Let's not get carried away, please! It is too simple, and
not correct, to say what's going on in Zimbabwe is the same as in Iraq. No,
it's not."

      And, indeed, it is not. Let's revisit Iraq again - three weeks after
the first missile was fired to signal the start of the invasion.

      Saddam, going by 24-hour media reports, is all but incapacitated -
militarily and politically, that is. His fate, at the time of this writing,
is shrouded in uncertainty.

      What is clear is that more than 2 000 Iraq citizens, soldiers and
civilians, have died so far. A considerable number of US and British
soldiers are also dead. And so are journalists from various countries. Much
of the infrastructure, at least in the capital Baghdad, is crumbling.

      US President George W Bush believes it's just a matter of days before
the white flags - representing surrender - go up everywhere in Iraq.

      When that happens, the real reason for the invasion - economic
considerations - will come into full focus. In short, the war in Iraq is a
boon for some and a tragedy for others.

      As I noted previously, this invasion is about securing oilfields,
testing the latest equipment and gadgetry in the US and British war
arsenals, and propping up an ailing American defence industry. It is also
about creating business opportunities, especially in the US, for
conglomerates that specialise in reconstruction work.

      Consider this: the Bechtel Group, the largest contracting company in
the US, is a finalist in a fierce race to win the main contract to help
rebuild pulverised Iraq. I'm willing to bet my bottom dollar this firm will
get the multi-billion-dollar contract.

      Why shouldn't it, given that one of its influential members of the
board is George Schultz, a former secretary of state (foreign minister) in
the US government?

      Schultz also chairs the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an
advisory board set up last year, that has agitated for the Americans to hit

      Then there is the Defence Policy Board, a highly secretive group whose
members are appointed by the government. Its brief is to advise the Pentagon
(US defence ministry) on most military issues.

      It has been reported that at least nine out of the 30 members on this
board have direct links to US companies that benefited to the tune of US$76
billion (Z$4 180 billion) in defence contracts between 2001 and 2002.

      This board boasts James Woosley, a former director of the Central
Intelligence Agency, among its membership. Woosley is also a member of the
Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

      The list goes on and on . . .

      Now, I ask the group at the Green Market: what economic or strategy
interests does Zimbabwe offer Americans to warrant an invasion?

      My question is greeted with blank faces.

      As for the Sadc task force, I doubt much will eventually come out of
it even if they are to have a face-to-face meeting with the current resident
of State House.

      In fact, the current crackdown on members of the opposition and anyone
perceived not to toe the ruling party line is clear testimony that those in
power do not really care about outside opinion as to how they are running
this country.

      To the fellas at the Green Market, I wouldn't hold my breath, if I
were you, waiting for liberation from Sadc or the Americans.
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Leader Page

      Despots should not hide behind cheap slogans

      4/11/2003 6:29:57 AM (GMT +2)

      By Arnold Sibanda

      I must say that I am a very disappointed person because of the circus
on ZTV called US-UK Invasion of Iraq chaired by anti-war apologist Ibbo

      First, it is a shame that ZBC puts up such a programme purporting to
be a debate and installs a moderator or chairperson who blatantly takes one
side and intervenes to badger a participant who adopts a not necessarily
anti-war posture.

      Mandaza should not be a moderator, but a panelist because he is too
biased to play a moderator's role.

      The way Eddison Zvobgo was hounded by other panelists, including the
moderator, reduced the whole exercise to a farce.

      More reasoned and factual arguments came from the panelists who were
not anti-war - Zvobgo, Bruce Wharton and Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube. These
panelists put forward their arguments unemotionally, unlike the likes of
Tafataona Mahoso, who seems to have become an indispensable regular on the

      What we need are arguments based on facts. Shakespeare Maya should not
have come onto the programme as he had no knowledge of basic facts such as,
for example, that Saddam Hussein gassed his own people, that he executes his
opponents, that he tortures opponents and that he has used weapons of mass
destruction even against his neighbours such as Iran.

      As for Mahoso, he has disgraced himself for too long on our television
screens. We are tired of him. We are not zombies who are expected to lap up
his anti-white and anti-American vitriol and support for torture,
intolerance, murder, rape, etc, in the name of sovereignty!

      Shame on these dangerous and reactionary intellectuals who have a lot
to lose and to answer for in the event of Robert Mugabe's autocratic regime
finally getting kicked out!

      Dube faced uncalled-for wrath from an always excited Happison
Muchechetere, who must be keen to rehabilitate himself with State

      There is also this Belgian journalist who is a favourite of the
establishment, for what reason we know not. At the moment he postures as a
genuine anti-war and pro-human life activist. In order to establish such
credentials with some credibility, he chooses to be rabidly anti-American.
But the hollowness of this stance is revealed by his silence on the excesses
of Saddam. The journalist is not pro-human life at all, but simply displays
his ethnic sentimentalism by being irrationally anti-British and

      What are the facts in this war? Let us agree for a fact that after the
Gulf War in which the Iraq sub-imperialists had invaded Kuwait, they agreed
in 1991 to destroy the arsenal of weapons of mass destruction which they
possessed and which they had, without dispute, used against their own people
and neighbours, Iran.

      Kuwait had been invaded and its sovereignty violated. Iraq
demonstrated its disdain for such values as national sovereignty and world

      The United Nations was simply brushed aside by the Iraqis. As the
Iranian ambassador on the panel said: "The Iraqi leadership was foolish and
invited this upon itself!"

      So there you are! Those who live by the sword will fall by the sword!
So when the sword is turned against them they should not cry foul and try to
hide behind cheap slogans such as "national sovereignty" and "territorial

      Iraq has a formidable array of weapons of mass destruction which, by
whatever standards, there is no justification for a country to have. There
is not the slightest benefit to humanity from this production.

      Worse still, more than just moral outrage is required to fight against
this evil. But then our Dr Maya says, and quite rightly, that the US
possesses weapons of mass destruction and has used them, such as Agent
Orange in Vietnam, the hydrogen bomb in Japan's Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and
gassing its own citizens in subways and so on! That hardly justifies anyone
else doing the same!

      Analysts called on to Mandaza's panel tell us that it is all for
strategic interests. If that were so, there should be little moral outrage
against the war. This is a self-defeating argument. War destroys wealth,
resources, infrastructure and people.

      There was no threat of stopping the supply of oil to the world by
Iraq, but the fact that this potential is there, given the sub-imperialism
of Iraq, would justify the jingoism of the Americans and the British.

      In any case, who does not invade other countries when they imagine
their interests are threatened? In the late 1980s a crisis took place in
Mozambique. The Zimbabwean army invaded Mozambique to forestall an imminent
regime change in that country. The reason given was that our Beira Corridor
lifeline had to be protected.

      Suppose Mozambicans, in their sovereignty rights, had effected regime
change to install the MNR in that country, logic has it that Zimbabwe would
intervene for another regime change in defence of our interests. Rwanda and
Uganda were perfectly justified in invading the Democratic Republic of Congo
following this logic.

      The point is that in our dislike of Americans and British for their
imperialism we should not appear supportive of local dictatorships.

      If, as Ngugi wa Mirii likes to argue, there a loya jinga in a country
that can lead to the ousting of a dictatorship, well we would agree.

      But if it means leaving such a loya jinga or armed internal opposition
to be humiliated by destructive biological arsenals and torture chambers
such as are seen to exist and have been used against Iraqi citizens and
their neighbours, then we beg to strongly disagree with the Mandazas,
Mahosos, Mayas and Muchecheteres and all the anti-war campaigners who do not
really care about the threat of Iraq sub-imperialism and have not tasted it.

      We have no moral obligation to support latter-day Hitlers, Mussolinis,
Francos and de Gaulles in this world. Saddam is a threat to human existence
and the Iraqis, just as the rest of this world, has no need of him.

      Nobody, except those benefiting from a dictator's dinner table, would
be against regime change in these circumstances.

      All dictatorships must go in whatever way!

      Arnold Sibanda is a Research Fellow at the University of Zimbabwe's
Institute of Development Studies
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Daily News

Leader Page

      When will Chigwedere stop playing the fool?

      4/11/2003 6:29:05 AM (GMT +2)

      In President Mugabe's current Cabinet, there are ministers who have
failed to earn the respect of their countrymen.

      In fact, mention of some of their names is met with gales of laughter
because their clownish ways make it impossible to take them seriously.

      Mention of others provokes angry curses because they are perceived as
the co-architects of the policies responsible for the untold suffering in
this country today.

      Prominent among the first category are the Minister of Education,
Sport and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, and the Minister of Lands, Agriculture
and Rural Resettlement, Joseph Made.

      In the second category are the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity, Jonathan Moyo, and Elliot Manyika, the Minister of Youth
Development, Gender and Employment Creation.

      Moyo's name triggers disaffection because it is associated with
cunning subversion of the people's will in the final write-up of the draft
constitution whose rejection in the 2000 referendum influenced Mugabe to
virtually suspend the rule of law.

      Moyo's name is also associated with masterminding the two most
repressive and anti-democracy laws ever enacted in this country - the Public
Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act - which have turned life into hell on earth for all Zimbabweans
outside Zanu PF's partisan protection.

      Manyika's name conjures up frightening scenes of wanton aggression and
mindless violence to which innocent, peace-loving Zimbabweans are daily
being subjected by the much-loathed Green Bombers - the hordes of violent
youths trained by his ministry at its infamous Border Gezi training camps.

      Apart from his reprehensible act in misleading the nation with regard
to its maize stocks, Made's buffoonery has in the main been dismissed as
relatively harmless tomfoolery. But Chigwedere's blunders have had dire
consequences for the nation.

      His preoccupation with trivial matters while turning a blind eye to
urgent issues has contributed significantly to the sharp decline in the
quality of education in this country, once one of the best in Africa.

      People will forever find it baffling why, for instance, Chigwedere
thought that it was more important to fret over the ill-conceived issue of
designing one uniform for all schools and wasting his energy on the
pointless exercise of renaming schools while weighty issues such as
hot-seating, unregulated school levies and teachers' long-standing
grievances over paltry salaries and appaling working conditions were crying
out for his attention.

      Now it has emerged that it is not only on the educational front that
he has not been performing to expectations and giving taxpayers good value
for their money.

      As was revealed in an article published in this newspaper on Tuesday
headlined Chigwedere accused of neglecting the arts, the minister has not
been performing according to expectations on the cultural front of his
ministry either.

      For instance, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), which is
supposed to be autonomous, is not so at the moment. Instead, it is operating
under the direct control of the minister because it has no board of
directors as required by its constitution.

      In terms of the National Arts Council Act - never mind its glaring
out-datedness in that it has not been updated since 1985 - the minister is
responsible for appointing the board.

      And yet, it has now been without a board for a whole year. This
constitutes a classic case of dereliction of duty on the part of Chigwedere.

      The board is supposed to be responsible for formulating policies to
guide the council's operations. Needless to say, its absence is a serious
handicap for the NCAZ as it is virtually operating like a rudderless ship.

      The question must be asked: When will Chigwedere stop playing the
fool? Sadly, the answer could be: Not until Mugabe does something about it.

      Which seems most unlikely, for Mugabe seems to have a soft spot for
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Daily News


      Mugabe, beware of the tide rising against your regime

      4/11/2003 6:36:41 AM (GMT +2)

      This is yet another letter to the people of Zimbabwe. It is not about
race, but difficulties all races are going through in Zimbabwe.

      When we started to feel the heat from Zanu PF, some took it for

      President Mugabe tested the people's reaction for long and when he
realised that Zimbabweans were long-suffering in silence, he promoted
himself to a dictator.

      The scientific and political methodologies Mugabe used to turn into a
tyrant, now need smart people to unravel.

      That is the problem with dictatorial strategies, they sometimes get
too complicated to get rid of.

      Although African dictators feel they are larger than life, what they
do not realise is that they will find themselves in hell.

      Personally, I want to praise Zimbabweans for telling Mugabe that he is
worse than Saddam Hussein. As a nation, we need to stand together against
Mugabe's regime and say: "Enough is enough!" Mugabe has pushed us into a
corner for too long.

      Today Mugabe is accusing MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai because he wants
to liberate the suffering Zimbabweans.

      Mr President, you liberated us from racial segregation, but now let
Tsvangirai liberate us from the poverty that you have created together with
your cronies.

      The destruction you are presiding over is ample proof that there is
need for Tsvangirai to take over.

      It is surprising to the whole world to hear Mugabe accusing the white
people of destroying the economy when they are keeping his billions stolen
from our country. Whom does Mugabe think he is fooling? The Zimbabwean
people or his wealth custodians overseas?

      In reality, Mugabe crippled the Zimbabwean economy by swindling
billions of dollars out of the country.

      On top of that, he gave vast farms to his puppet ministers just to
keep them idle. Who is better then - a white man and Mugabe and his cronies
as far as helping the population of the country is concerned?

      The truthful answer according to the suffering majority is that the
white man is far much better.

      Last but not least, Mugabe should take note of the situation in the
country. The rising tide against the Mugabe regime is going to overwhelm the

      Angry Citizen
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Daily News

      Police bar MISA from staging show

      4/11/2003 6:31:43 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      THE police in Masvingo have stopped the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (MISA) from staging a drama in the city, claiming there is a shortage
of manpower to monitor the activity.

      The show was scheduled for this Saturday at the Masvingo civic centre

      Superintendent Thomsen Jangara, the officer commanding Masvingo
district, said if the show goes ahead the police would consider it an
illegal meeting.

      In a letter to MISA's legal officer Wilbert Mandinde, Jangara said:
"Thank you for notifying us of your intended drama show.

      "This office, however does not grant you authority for this drama in
terms of Section 26(1)(3) of the Public Order and Security Act.

      "There are many events lined up on the same day and the police cannot
cover this event because of shortage of manpower."

      Jangara later told The Daily News that some police officers were busy
preparing for the independence holiday while others would be monitoring the
movement of school children at the weekend.

      "There is nothing sinister in advising MISA that we have blocked the
meeting," said Jangara. "MISA can choose any day after two weeks because at
the moment we do not have the manpower."

      Officials at MISA said yesterday they would file an urgent application
in the High court for the meeting to go ahead.

      The drama show was supposed to feature the University of Zimbabwe
drama group. The group has performed on several MISA occasions.

      The drama focuses on the establishment of community radio stations in
the country.

      However legal experts said there was no need for MISA to seek
clearance from the police since the activity is meant for entertainment.
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Why are the MDC trying to kiss a spider?

Why are the MDC through a number of spokesmen falling over backwards to
avoid confronting the army role in the brutal suppression of the will of the
majority of Zimbabweans?

Is it that they do not believe that the army are willing or able to commit
unspeakable atrocities?

Before the brown bombers and 20 year old "war vets" came on the scene we had
Gukurahundi, the atrocities in the DRC and Lameck Chemvura's death after
being thrown from a moving train in 2001. The list just goes on and on.

My guess is that the MDC has decided it needs the support of the uniformed
services when it becomes the government of the day and as such have decided
to abandon principle and get into bed a poisonous spider.

Those with a basic knowledge of biology in relation to spider copulation
with know that only the most nimble male spider will survive this once in a
lifetime experience. On what basis does the MDC believe that its chances of
survival are any better than the majority of male spiders?

How should the MDC handle to uniformed services?

They should look the generals in the face and tell them clearly that without
exception those who have committed crimes will be called to account. That in
terms of a future Accountability Commission every Zimbabwean will be
required to make full disclosure about any role in crimes committed both pre
and post independence.

What is clear to just about every Zimbabwean is that the uniformed services
need to be purged on a radical scale so as to produce the desired result of
non-politicised uniformed services so why is this not clear to the MDC

If the MDC fail to put the military firmly in its place Zimbabwe will end up
as just another sham democracy, like Turkey, where there is a civilian
government which is kept under the ever watchful eye of a powerful military
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Kick of a dying horse

IN 1990 I had the privilege of visiting Malawi. Though I was young, I can
still recall what I saw.

If you ever heard of the "Malawi young pioneers" - it was real and

you will know what I am talking about. Those wishing to attend schools and
colleges were not allowed to do so if they had no Malawi Congress Party
(MCP) card.

To make matters worse everyone was forced to go to the MCP meetings. Even if
they had businesses to run, they were told to close.

Kamuzu was a great man. The word Kamuzu (meaning the lion of Malawi) was one
of the most feared on this continent.

If someone was near you and heard you talking about Kamuzu, they usually
said: "Be careful, the grass will hear you". It was only a matter of saying
somebody can sell you out to the holders of degrees in human rights abuse.

During that time, there was a one-party system, meaning that there was no
democracy at all.

Suddenly, on a sunny afternoon, a miracle happened. It was at Chileka
International Airport in Blantyre when the Moses of Malawi arrived.

As usual, there were passengers coming out of the airport when a man without
any extraordinary weapon of war shouted in a high voice: "Freedom! Freedom!
I have come to introduce the multi- party system".

Before he even finished his words, he was arrested. But what these people
did not know was the words of this brave man had gone miles ahead.

This man is Chakufwa Chihana, leader of the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD).

To cut my story short, after Kamuzu had realised that his days were
numbered, he started what I can call strategic torturing and killing of
innocent souls that had turned away from him.

Many people lost their beloved ones, homes were destroyed, civil servants
lost jobs and students in colleges were butchered for discovering the truth.

It was the last kick of a dying horse. Little did Kamuzu know that his days
were numbered.

As I part with you my friends, where is Kamuzu? Where is Mobutu? Where is
Sani Abacha?

Kamuzu died a disgraceful death after his house arrest. Mobutu died in exile
in Morocco after ruling Zaire as his investment.

So dear citizens, be careful because the kick of the dying horse is
dangerous. Though you might go to the moon, you will still touch down.

For my dear brothers in Zimbabwe, starting from the lower position in
society up to the highest, one day the law will catch up with you.

Steve Mathambo, - Harare.
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Mbeki, Obasanjo must be remembered for their betrayal of the people of

This is the protest of the eloquent peasant. To stand up and demand change.
We have been used and abused, raped and tortured, remembered and forgotten,
discovered and forsaken, and harangued into silence.

Now we are angry, hungry, sick, tired and weak. We have not lost hope yet.
Poverty and deprivation is gnawing at the last sinew in us. We live by the
grace of a malignant leadership.

Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo, we are not interested in your money. We do
not want your sympathy. We only want what is ours. The freedom to associate,
to belong, to think differently, to see differently, to speak differently.
The freedom to differ.

Our rights have been trampled upon and pillaged from us. Many Zimbabweans do
not agree with what you say about the political situation in our country. We
do not agree with you, but we defend to the death your right to say it. Is
that not how it should be in a democracy?

We do not want to purchase this commodity called 'rights'. We do not want to
queue for it. We do not want to purchase it by loss of property, limb or

At the moment it is a luxury for the few. It belongs to the mercenaries and
militias of the regime.

There is an inequitable distribution of the land. After the 'land war', we
want another war : to reclaim this asset called human rights from the few
and distribute it among the masses. There is unfairness in the distribution
of this wealth.

We do not claim to be above the law. We are not fugitives from justice. We
are not docile, we are not satisfied. We are polite. We are patient. We are
peaceful. We are people.

Between the two of you, one has a country with one of the highest murder
rates in the world outside a war zone. The other has a country with one of
the highest ethnic violence in the world.

Perhaps to you that is normal. It is not this side of town! No wonder why
you guys think we are at peace! This regime is at war with its people.

Tell us, in your countries, do you humiliate and arrest honourable members
of Parliament, priests and judges? Does justice belong to the few?

And lastly to quote the historian John Travelyan: "Once on this familiar
piece of earth walked other men, as actual as we are today. Driven by their
own emotions, aspiration and intentions. There will still be others after

Edward Gombedza, - Bulawayo.
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Let's all shun Independence Day celebrations this year

This is an open letter to President Mugabe.

Mr President, we have come a long way in our struggle and it is time to
reflect and take stock of what is happening in our promised land.

The suffering, the shortages, the unemployment, the police brutality, the
raping, the brain drain and all the violence taking place in our land cannot
be allowed to continue.

You are the problem, Mr President. You are now a liability to us as a
nation, Gushungo.

I remember in the 80s when you used to blame Ian Smith for anything negative
in this country. We accepted it because we were still enjoying the euphoria
that came with independence.

We used to throng in our thousands to those popular rallies held at Rufaro,
Gwanzura, Mkoba, Sakubva, Chinhoyi and Rudhaka stadiums. Today if you were
to call for a rally I bet you wouldn't attract many people - only paid Zanu
PF zealots and foolish women and schoolchildren would attend.

So what has gone wrong, Gushungo? I will try to answer this question in
brief with my humble submissions: You are now old, tired and everything that
comes with age is fast catching up with you.

I shudder to imagine how you really look when your hair is not dyed and your
face not massaged. Long ago I watched in horror as Kamuzu Banda fell at our
national shrine because of old age. I think this was also the case with that
famous fall of yours in Kuala Lumpur.

You have surrounded yourself with corrupt people, some of whom are now
filthy rich to the extent that they are dying of obesity. Do you really
trust these people? For the record, Professor Jonathan Moyo was fuming on
Dead BC the other day, saying that it is not a matter of how many farms an
individual has, but the whether these farms are still in white hands.

Remember, Mr President, that it was not British Prime Minister Tony Blair
who redistributed land - it was you. Where is the Land Audit Report? Did
land redistribution benefit the majority of landless people? Remember
Gracelands? Makaruma pamusingagone kutsenga, Gushungo! (You bit more than
you could chew!).

It was going to be a noble thing of you to throw in the towel and accepting
the will of the people, but alas, you have said you want to go "the Mugabe
way". You will go that way and soon, I can assure you.

Just before the 2002 elections some of us were willing to give you a
standing ovation but you betrayed us. We all know what happened in the
presidential election. I do not want to talk about something that is
currently being handled by our "capable courts".

Apa makairasa, Gushungo! (You blew it!) We were willing to defend you to
death had you accepted the will of the people, but now we want every episode
of our struggle to be recorded, every shred of the truth to be told and
those responsible to account for their actions.

Remember that history is very stubborn, you cannot wish it away.

It is an issue of morality, Mr President. It all started in the office, with
that second marriage of yours. Where are your morals?

No wonder the Green Bombers are told to rape their own sisters, kill their
own parents and maim their own brothers! We do not want to include Blair in
our own affairs - unless we are insane.

Mr President, I need to remind you that a plethora of degrees - especially
in violence - are of no use to this country. What we want are jobs for our
children, food on our tables and to be able to support our ageing rural
folk, chete! Are you happy to see your educated children relocating to Blair
's land? Are you happy to see your children waiting in meandering queues,
struggling to get passports so that they can run away from you and your

We need to remind you, Gushungo, that we are not fools. Never make the
mistake of interpreting our peace-loving attitude for docility. We were able
to dislodge Smith from the seat you occupy and history is going to be
repeated on you!

Newton's famous Third Law of Motion states: "To every action, there is an
equal and opposite reaction." What you are doing to us can also be done to
you, Gushungo.

It is my responsibility to remind you that one who lives a cruel life shall
die a cruel death. But I fear it is already too late on your part. Sometimes
we just need to let things go.

I am a chess player and at times in the game it appears as if it is still
alright to make two or three moves when, in fact, the game is already
finished. I feel sorry for you, Gushungo. The writing is on the wall.

I would like to pose this question to you: What happens when the Executive
becomes a liability? Chii chinoitika kana baba vakarwara nepfungwa mumba?
(What happens when the father suffers from mental illness?) Things fall
apart and our country is doing just that.

The outcome of all the commissions of inquiry were never made public and
another one was handed over to you only last week from the National Railways
of Zimbabwe.

Do all the endless queues, the dirt and pollution make you proud? Could you
really say you are an achiever? Please do not start blaming Blair again.

You are to blame for our national crisis, Karigamombe.

Godfrey Vladimir Gadaga - Gokwe
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