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

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The Scotsman

Zimbabwe Defies Order to Free British Journalists


Zimbabwean officials late yesterday defied a judge's order to release two
British journalists on bail, two weeks after they were detained near a
polling station during Zimbabwe's parliamentary election.

Toby Harnden, 35, and Julian Simmonds, 45, of the Sunday Telegraph, have
pleaded not guilty to charges of violating Zimbabwe's draconian Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act by working as journalists without
government accreditation during the March 31 election.

A court in the rural centre of Norton, 30 miles from Harare, ruled earlier
yesterday that the journalists should be released on bail pending judgment
expected today.

But senior immigration officer Evans Siziba arrived at Harare's central
remand prison and forbade warders to free them into the custody of British
diplomat David Ashford, who was waiting outside the gates after being
present in court.

Previous efforts to get the journalists released on bail were barred by a
special government order, which expired yesterday.

Siziba told warders to ignore the judge's ruling, the journalists' lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa said.

"The court order had been overruled by the Department of Immigration, and it
is illegal," Mtetwa said.

The British journalists were arrested near a polling station in Norton
during the parliamentary elections. They have been held longer than any
other journalists in Zimbabwe since the country gained independence in 1980.

Judge Never Diza is due to give a ruling on the case this afternoon on the
charges of violating media and immigration laws, which carry a maximum
penalty of two years imprisonment.

The media laws, passed in 2002, have been used to control the media by
shutting down the country's only independent daily newspaper, the Daily
News, jail independent Zimbabwean journalists and expel or bar foreign

Mtetwa has accused the authorities of calculated vindictiveness in the case
of Harnden and Simmonds.

The immigration official, Siziba, was a key figure in the 2003 abduction and
expulsion from Zimbabwe of American journalist Andrew Meldrum, correspondent
for The Guardian.

Meldrum, who had permanent residence status after 23 years in Zimbabwe, was
forced by Siziba onto on a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, in defiance
of court orders after he was acquitted of charges of filing a false report.
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The Star

      Cabinet dances round 'free and fair' issue in elections
      April 14, 2005

      By Jeremy Michaels

      The South African government has stopped short of giving its full
blessing to the recent Zimbabwean elections, steering clear of describing
the poll as free and fair.

      Instead President Thabo Mbeki's cabinet has described the March 31
poll as "a credible reflection of the will of the people of Zimbabwe".

      Speaking after its fortnightly meeting in Cape Town, chief government
spokesperson Joel Netshitenzhe said the cabinet had noted that various
missions which had observed the Zimbabwean elections "were at one that the
conduct of these elections was much, much better than those in 2000 and
2002" .

      This included the various delegations representing the South African
government, parliament, the Southern African Development Community and the
African Union, as well as the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Zimbabwe
Electoral Support Network.

      However, Netshitenzhe said that while the government welcomed the
improvements, the cabinet had also noted that there were a number of
concerns raised by other role-players.

      Responding to questions about whether this meant the government had
not concluded that the poll was free and fair, Netshitenzhe said: "The issue
of whether it was free and fair did not arise."

      The government's concerns included discrepancies in counted votes and
the number of people who, for various reasons, had been turned away from
polling stations.

      Netshitenzhe said the government believed that the Zimbabwean people
and authorities should deal with these concerns.

      Pointing to remarks made after the election by President Robert Mugabe
as well as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Netshitenzhe said
the government was encouraged by "a convergence among Zimbabwean parties"
that the time had come for a new constitutional dispensation.

      The Democratic Alliance said the government was dodging the issue of
whether or not the elections had been free and fair.

      "Perhaps realising that declaring the elections free and fair would
expose it to deserved ridicule, Joel Netshitenzhe has put forward the absurd
formulation that the elections reflected credibly the will of the Zimbabwean
people," said DA spokesperson Joe Seremane.

      "Clearly he is trying to obscure the fact that there was not free
campaigning, there was effectively no free media, that there was widespread
intimidation and that tallies of votes in some areas were, to put it mildly,

      Mbeki would be asked in parliament today to state clearly whether his
government believed the Zimbabwean elections were free and fair, Seremane
added. "The credibility of his government, the credibility of South Africa,
the credibility of our struggle for human rights and democracy, and the
credibility of Nepad depend on his answer." - Political Bureau.
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      Lawyer says Zimbabwe should drop case of UK newsmen

      Thu April 14, 2005 8:15 AM GMT+02:00
      By Stella Mapenzauswa

      NORTON, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - A defence lawyer for two British
journalists charged in Zimbabwe with illegally covering last month's
elections told the court on Wednesday the case should be dropped for lack of

      The judge in the case reinstated bail for the pair, who have been in
jail for almost two weeks. They were expected to spend the night at a
British diplomat's residence.

      The Sunday Telegraph's chief foreign correspondent Toby Harnden and
photographer Julian Simmonds, who could face two years in jail and a fine if
convicted, were arrested in Norton near Zimbabwe's capital Harare on March
31, the day of the parliamentary elections.

      Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said the government had failed to
produce "sufficiently credible evidence that would make this court put the
accused on their defence".

      "They must of necessity be acquitted at this stage."

      Magistrate Never Diza said he would make a ruling on Thursday

      The pair, who are also charged with outstaying their visas, deny they
were gathering information without the temporary permit required under tough
media laws that critics say are aimed at muzzling dissent against President
Robert Mugabe.

      The men say they were on a tourist trip to Zimbabwe which took them to
the northern resort town of Victoria Falls, Matobo National Park and the
southern city of Bulawayo, and that they believed they had been granted two
weeks' stay in the country, rather than the seven days immigration officers
said they had.

      "The state did not seek to investigate whether ... they did anything
other than tourism. In my respectful submission there is no evidence
whatsoever showing that they were practising as journalists," Mtetwa said.

      On Monday the investigating officer in the case said he could not
decipher most of the material in a notebook confiscated from the men and
that a camera they had contained no images. On Wednesday Mtetwa took state
lawyers to task for failing to produce the camera as evidence in court.

      Prosecutor Albert Masamha opposed the defence application saying state
witnesses had given sufficient evidence to convict the men and that the
accused should take the stand to give their version of events.

      Magistrate Diza, who granted the journalists bail last week before
prosecutors blocked the move, ordered that bail be reinstated on Wednesday
after the state failed to defend its opposition to it within the stipulated
seven days.

      Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF won the election amid charges of fraud from
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which also disputed the
party's victory in 2000 and 2002 polls.

      Zimbabwe has arrested, deported or denied entry to dozens of
journalists under media laws forbidding foreigners from working permanently
as journalists in Zimbabwe.
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      Opposition Supporters Face Violence in Wake of Zimbabwe Election
      By  Peta Thornycroft
      13 April 2005

Arrests and beatings of opposition supporters in the wake of Zimbabwe's
March 31 general election continue. Some opposition supporters have been so
badly beaten by police, they have had to be hospitalized.

Sukoluhle Ncube, 48 and the mother of four, has been in the hospital since
the day after Zimbabwe's election. She was among the more than 250 women
arrested after Zimbabwe police broke up a peaceful post-election prayer
gathering in Harare by the grassroots group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise.

According to opposition reports, police beat several of the women during and
after their arrest.

In her hospital bed, Mrs. Ncube says she is still sore from the multiple
beatings and subsequent bruising from police batons. Medical staff at the
private clinic say her skull is cracked, her blood pressure fluctuates
wildly, and her condition is not improving.

Of the more than 250 women arrested and detained, eight were hospitalized.
All but Mrs. Ncube have since been released from the hospital.

In her hometown of Bulawayo, Mrs. Ncube normally earns money to pay school
fees for her two youngest children by knitting jerseys. But she is worried
because she says her hands are not working. She said her husband has a job
in a textile factory which only operates one day a week, so money is tight.

Mrs. Ncube said she joined Women of Zimbabwe Arise because of the results of
Zimbabwe's economic crisis on children.

When the group decided to gather in Harare after the elections, she traveled
from Bulawayo for the prayer meeting in solidarity with all of Zimbabwe's
women, she said.

When they approached a small park in Central Harare policemen asked them
what they were doing in Harare.

"We want to pray. You do not know how to pray?.... they said why did you
come here? We said we wanted to come. Lie down. Then they started beating us
with sticks kicking us, stepping on our spines, jumping, jumping, jumping
saying you are WOZA woman. You are from Bulawayo. You are WOZA here. We do
not want to see WOZA here. You are mothers of Bulawayo WOZA.

We know you ....some of you told us.. ..So we laid down there. Then we said,
'Why are you beating us?" Harare does not want people to pray.......? So
when we crowded, carrying our traveling bags, kicking us. When those cars
come, ..beating us. huh..then we went to Central Police Station. When we
reached Central Police station we found too much mothers, huh. Where did
they get this women? They were crying some. Some this and that. Some were
coming by foot. They were taken from the main station," she said.

Along the corridor in the same hospital west of the center of Harare is
Joseph Mukaganise, who hospital staff estimate is in his mid 40's. He also
has brain injuries and is largely incoherent. Medical staff say he was
wearing an MDC T-shirt when he was taken to the hospital.

His family says he had been to an MDC rally the day before the election, and
that eye witnesses say he was knocked over by a small bus filled with
ZANU-PF supporters. No one knows whether it was deliberate or an accident.

MDC legislator Nelson Chamisa was arrested last week, kept in leg irons, and
says he was tortured in a Harare police station. He has since been released
on bail.

About 18 people under the age of 18 said they were beaten severely while in
police custody before being released on bail. Police said these arrests were
made in connection with a demonstration in central Harare following the
announcement of election results that said the MDC had lost to the ruling
ZANU-PF, which now has a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he was not aware of anyone having
been hurt by police during post election arrests.
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Comment: Zimbabwe Poll Augurs Ill for Africa

In the wake of the election, some African leaders will feel they no longer
have any obligation to increase democratic space.

By Fred Bridgland in Johannesburg (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 30,

Africa passed through a major historic and developmental threshold, replete
with huge dangers for the continent as a whole, following Zimbabwe's recent
parliamentary election.

It has become increasingly clear that yet again Zimbabwe president Robert
Mugabe managed to rig massively, with huge cunning and ruthlessness, the
outcome of an election that has given him a two-thirds majority - which, in
turn, permits him to change the constitution in any way he wishes.

He won 78 of the 120 directly elected seats - and appointed another 30
directly - in spite of having engineered an economy that is shrinking faster
than any other on earth, accompanied by the world's top inflation rate,
which for a while topped 600 per cent.

It could be described as something of a miracle that he managed to secure a
democratic landslide despite having given his people eighty per cent
unemployment; food shortages that are causing deaths by starvation; and a
collapsed health service that has seen life expectancy fall to 33 from 58 at
independence and which is unable to help a population so widely infected
with HIV that 500 Zimbabweans die each day of AIDS.

The fraudulent poll spells more disaster for ordinary Zimbabweans while
enhancing the riches of the avaricious military men, corrupt civil servants
and bent judges Mugabe has gathered into his inner circle.

However, analysts, journalists and a wide range of other people who care
about Africa know that Zimbabwe's election was less a test of Mugabe's
credibility and reputation - which are already beyond repair - than the
standing of other leaders on the continent, and most particularly that of
Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki, president of Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour, South Africa, stunned the
international community when a few days before the March 31 poll in Zimbabwe
he proclaimed from the steps of parliament in Cape Town, "I have no reason
to think that anybody in Zimbabwe will act in any way that will militate
against the elections being free and fair."

That paved the way for Mbeki's labour minister, Membathisi Mdladlana, leader
of the official South African government election observer mission, to
declare the poll, which had yet to take place, free and fair within 30
minutes of his arrival in Zimbabwe.

Mdladlana told reporters in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, including local
journalists who had been detained and beaten up by Zimbabwe's police, that
too many people had concluded in advance, unlike himself and his president,
that the poll would not be free and fair. "Those people are a problem and a
nuisance," he said. "But nobody attacks them. Some of us are fed with their

Welshman Ncube, secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change,
MDC, the country's main opposition party, accused Mbeki and Mdladlana of
taking partisan stances that are "an affront to the ideals that guided
liberation struggles across Africa".

Ncube added, "The South Africans have let us down. History will judge them
very harshly indeed. They have sanitised the illegitimate regime of Robert
Mugabe and ZANU PF. The South African government continues to go out of its
way to act as the servant of ZANU PF repression against the Zimbabwean
people's struggle for democracy and freedom."

What is extraordinary and puzzling about Mbeki's stand, apart from the
long-term damage it will cause South Africa, now shorn of its historic
romantic gloss following the departure from the political scene of Nelson
Mandela, is that he and other heads of state of the 14-member Southern
African Development Community,SADC, southern Africa's most important
regional grouping, spent a huge amount of energy seven months ago drafting
guidelines for free and fair elections at a summit in Mauritius.

The document was even signed by Mugabe, and it won worldwide acclaim.

Yet it is now clear it was all a charade. Mugabe had no intention of
applying the guidelines. It is equally clear that neither Mbeki nor the
other SADC leaders intended calling him to account. Cynical SADC governments
can now exploit the gaping holes that Mugabe has driven through the

In the end, however, South Africa and the SADC are already paying the price
in terms of lost credibility in the developed world, where they should have
important roles to play in negotiating a better deal for the struggling
nations of Africa and particularly for the legions of the poor.

The immediate obvious damage, following the rigged election, will be the
collapse of enthusiasm for helping Africa at the G8 summit in Scotland in
July and for British prime minister Tony Blair's Commission for Africa. Few
of these powerful governments will dare ask their electorates to take
seriously all Mbeki's rhetoric about an African renaissance. Far from having
moved forward, Africa seems to have moved back a decade after Mugabe's
victory. A clutch of African leaders will read the signs and feel they no
longer have any obligation to increase democratic space.

First in the queue will be Angola's president Eduardo dos Santos who must
hold parliamentary elections next year. It is a safe bet that he and his
ruling MPLA party have watched events in Zimbabwe with interest and Mugabe's
box of tricks will look attractive to a party wanting to stay in power,
especially knowing no one of any power in the region will ask difficult

And the prime victim of this disaster - and it is a major disaster - will be
Mbeki's much touted doctrine of delivering good squeaky clean governance in
Africa in return for better terms of trade with the developed world, debt
relief and increased aid. Investment in South Africa - already slack because
of the country's bewilderingly complex ownership and licensing rules and the
accompanying mountain of bureaucracy, together with Mbeki's perplexing
denial of the scale of his country's AIDS crisis - will not accelerate.

Pius Ncube, the outspoken Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
nearest equivalent to South Africa's renowned Nobel Peace Prize winner
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has observed that Mbeki "would be booed in the
streets" if he was ever to ask ordinary Zimbabweans what they thought about
his views on their country. "The people of Zimbabwe have no respect for
Mbeki. They don't know why he is supporting Mugabe. They don't understand
it," he said.

Asked what he thinks of Mugabe, the Archbishop said just before the
election, "He's a very, very evil man. The sooner he dies, the better."

The assault on Mbeki, who is as prickly about criticism as Mugabe, does not
only come from without. His South African Communist Party and Congress of
South African Trade Unions, Cosatu, partners in the so-called tripartite
governing alliance with the African National Congress are furious with the
president. Both were refused permission by Mugabe to send observers to the
election, and when a Cosatu delegation was manhandled and turned back from
Harare after trying to meet fellow Zimbabwe trade unionists, the Cosatu
leadership was condemned by the South African government for not respecting
Zimbabwe law.

One South African newspaper columnist agreed with Archbishop Ncube. "I'm
afraid the only thing we can do is wait for the Grim Reaper to take Mad
 Bob," David Bullard wrote in Johannesburg's Sunday Times. "Why He hasn't
done so already is anyone's guess, but my informants tell me that not even
Hell itself is in a hurry to receive Mugabe."

And in a searing editorial, the Mail and Guardian newspaper, the ANC's most
valiant media defender in the heyday of apartheid, said, "South Africa has
lost the high moral ground. Democracy has been sacrificed by both the South
African and Zimbabwean governments. In its place, there is a slavish
adherence to democratic form without its substance.

"Mbeki's support for Mugabe has hurt his international reputation. The new
Africa - represented by Mbeki's New Partnership for Africa's Development and
a revitalised African Union - is another loser."

Fred Bridgland is IWPR's Zimbabwe project editor in Johannesburg.
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Zim Online

ZANU PF steps up bid to seize urban councils
Thur 14 April 2005
  HARARE - The government has ordered urban councils to slash down rates to
2004 levels in a move insiders said was calculated to precipitate the
collapse of opposition-led councils and pave way for the state to take over
control of the politically vital urban areas.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
controls five of Zimbabwe's biggest cities excluding Harare where the
opposition party lost control after the government controversially dismissed
an MDC-led council that was running the capital and appointed a commission
in its place.

      The MDC also swept nearly all urban constituencies during last month's
disputed parliamentary election to maintain its dominance in cities and

      Insiders said the ruling ZANU PF party's key politburo committee,
stung by the part's heavy loses in urban centres, tasked Local Government
Minister, Ignatius Chombo, during its regular Wednesday meeting last week to
ensure that all major towns and cities were wrestled away from the MDC.

      The order to freeze rate hikes and revert to last year's levels is
hoped to destabilise urban councils and cripple local governance and
eventually provide a pretext for the government to fire MDC council
executives for non-performance and appoint commissions in their places, ZANU
PF insiders said.

      Urban councils were already facing severe financial difficulties
because of poor revenue inflows after the government again clamped down on
rates last year.

      "The government plans to fire the councils on the basis of poor
service delivery and appoint ministerial commissions as what happened in
Harare. There is desperation to have back the control of urban centres in
ZANU PF," said a senior ZANU PF official, who did not want to be named.

      For example, in Zimbabwe's fourth largest city of Mutare, opposition
executive mayor, Misheck Kagurabadza said his council will certainly
collapse if they reverse rates to last year's levels.

      He said: "In December, we collected $3.5 billion and if we revert to
that, then we won't be able to pay half our workforce because our salary
bill is $7.2 billion, never mind service delivery. We will just collapse,"
he said.

      A government committee appointed to investigate the Mutare city
council last year has already recommended that the entire council be fired
and replaced by a government commission.

      Chombo however dismissed allegations that the instruction to revert to
the old rates was meant to seize the opposition-controlled councils.

      He said: "Our interest is not in seeing the councils collapse but they
have to follow procedures when increasing tariffs. We are safeguarding the
residents. As for towns that fail to cope, well, we will take over as
government if there are signs of failure."

      The Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe vice president Japhet
Ndabeni Ncube has constantly accused the government of sabotaging
opposition-run municipalities by freezing rate hikes. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

ZANU PF dismisses calls to clip Mugabe's powers
Thur 14 April 2005
  HARARE - The ruling ZANU PF party, buoyed by last month's thumping
election victory, has rejected opposition suggestions to clip President
Robert Mugabe's executive powers saying the wide-ranging powers are
necessary to drive the government forward.

      Speaking to ZimOnline yesterday, ZANU PF secretary for information and
publicity Nathan Shamuyarira said the party had no intention of reducing
Mugabe's powers.

      Shamuyarira said: "Why should we reduce the executive powers necessary
to get the government to move? The powers are necessary for the maintenance
of peace and to direct the economic recovery. There is therefore no reason
to reduce them when all this has to be done."

      In his election manifesto for last month's general elections, Mugabe's
former propaganda chief Jonathan Moyo said he would push for the trimming of
his former boss' wide-ranging executive powers if elected into office.

      But Shamuyarira's statement dashed any hopes that ZANU PF might yield
to the proposal from its former propaganda supremo.

      The former propaganda chief fell out of favour in the ruling party
after seeking to block the rise of Joyce Mujuru to the vice-presidency seen
as a major stepping stone to the top job. He won the Tsholotsho seat on an
independent ticket.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party have
also called on parliament in the past to reduce Mugabe's executive powers.
The MDC accuses Mugabe of abusing his powers which they say are too
wide-ranging and excessive as to render the other arms of government,
parliament and the judiciary, impotent.

      With a two-thirds majority in Parliament, ZANU PF is expected to
unilaterally amend the constitution to entrench its grip on power and shield
Mugabe from possible prosecution for human rights abuses when he quits
office in 2008. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

National hero status for ZANU PF stalwart
Thur 14 April 2005
  HARARE - Ruling ZANU PF stalwart Enos Chikowore who committed suicide at
his Harare home two days ago will be buried on Friday at the national hero's
acre shrine after the party's inner politburo cabinet unanimously agreed he
be accorded national hero status.

      A veteran of Zimbabwe's freedom struggle Chikowore, who had left the
government in 2000, reportedly took his own life after President Robert
Mugabe broke a promise to appoint him a non-constituency Member of
Parliament to pave way for his return to government.

      Last night, Mugabe spoke glowingly of Chikowore describing him as
"committed and brave" freedom fighter. The President did not allude to the
cause of Chikowore's death and the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings'
Newsnet television said on its
      prime news bulletin that post mortem results were not yet out.

      Unfairly blamed of being responsible for Zimbabwe's ongoing fuel
crisis, which then was just beginning, Chikowore resigned as minister of
energy in 2000. The fuel crisis was mainly the result of a shortage of hard
cash to pay foreign oil suppliers after the
      International Monetary Fund had cut balance-of-payments support to

      Chikowore is said to have met Mugabe sometime last week to tell him he
had fallen on hard times. Mugabe is said to have promised to do something to
help Chikowore suggesting he would appoint him to Parliament as one of the
12 unelected MPS he is entitled to nominate to the legislature.

      Chikowore decided he had had enough when Mugabe omitted him from the
list of non-constituency MPs, ZANU PF insiders say. - ZimOnline
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The outcome of the recent parliamentary elections, have left Zimbabweans back home in a state of shock and confusion.  We, in the diaspora, need to act to help those back home.  Reflecting this, the Vigil has been approached by Zimbabweans in the UK wanting to become more active.  Plans are underway for a demonstration outside the Embassy from 1400 – 1800 on 30th April to protest against the stolen elections and to launch a campaign for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to work together to take a more active role in helping our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe.  Before that, we will mark Zimbabwe's 25th anniversary of independence (April 18th) by having a wake at our next Vigil (16th April) - draping our 4 maples with black ribbons and wearing black armbands to symbolise the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.


What you can do

·         Come and join us

·         Spread the word

·         Make banners and placards


Some suggestions for banners, placards etc.


1.        Each day of Mugabe's regime is a day too long.  Every 24 hours 96 Zimbabwean children die of AIDS.  Zimbabwe has highest child death rate in the world. (Unicef Report)*

* reported by BBC, 17th March 2005


2.        Zimbabwe's Stolen Elections




Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
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Trading Post or Outpost of Tyranny.
By Ralph Black
8th of April 2005

The American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, described Zimbabwe amongst
other nations as an outpost of tyranny during her confirmation hearing
earlier this year. Her outpost of tyranny remark is an echo of President
Bush ' s position on Zimbabwe. President Bush, in typical Bush style, went
further to describe Zimbabwe  an extraordinary and unusual threat to US
foreign policy. ' Senator Russell Feingold, this week, condemned the result
of the March 2005 election and called upon the US Government to assist
Zimbabweans to build the capacity to rebuild the Southern African country in
the period after Mugabe. American policy on Zimbabwe is pregnant with
political rhetoric yet short in practicality.

If political rhetoric was the antidote to tyranny and dictatorship, the
world would be a very different place. However, for the Zimbabwean people,
the time has come to bridge political rhetoric with reality.

Despite the utterances of the political heavy weights in Washington DC and
around the US capitol regarding the situation in Zimbabwe, very little has
been achieved, in reversing the devastation wrought by the tyrannical rule
of Robert Mugabe and his ruling party Zanu-PF.

America ' s support for the Mbeki ' s ANC government ' s quite diplomacy
initiative comes into question. It is clear now  post 31 March 2005, that
quite diplomacy has failed to establish a more civil and tolerant
environment in Zimbabwe. In fact Zimbabwe ' s tyrant is firmly in place and
in a position of greater authority for the foreseeable future. The United
States assets freeze and travel ban has been more effective in the breach.
Its foundation, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery act passed into
law in 2002 has been rendered irrelevant  given the outcome of the March
2005 election, in turning the fortunes of the forces of democracy in
Zimbabwe. Further, in April of 2004, Zimbabweans petitioned the US
Government to grant Temporary Protection Status for Zimbabwe, citing
Zimbabwe ' s political and social meltdown as posing a threat to the safety
of returning residents. To date Temporary Protection Status has not been
granted despite indications that the Zimbabwean government is incapable of
handling the return of its citizens, and continues to perpetuate a culture
of intolerance and impunity.

Despite American rhetoric and display of megaphone condemnations of Mugabe,
American companies continue to trade with the described outpost of tyranny.
According to statistics published by the American Census board, American
imports from Zimbabwe of Green Coffee, Cane and Beet sugar, paper and paper
products, leather and furs, stone, sand, cement and lime, Nickel,
steelmaking and Ferro alloying materials, iron and steel, sulfur and
nonmetallic minerals have increased in dollar terms, over the past four
years. American importers accounted for 4.1%, of Zimbabwe ' s export
earnings in 2002, placing America as one of Zimbabwe ' s major export
destinations. In developed nations, economic terms, this trade volume is
insignificant, however, in developing countries economic terms, every dime
counts, and could mean the difference in deciding whether to yield to the
people ' s demand for democratic reform or purchasing, military hardware to
equip its mechanisms of repression.

America is not without peers, in trading with the outpost of tyranny.
According to trade statistics tabulated by the Indigenous Business
Development Centre of Zimbabwe, a creation of Zanu-Pf, to champion its
indigenization policy, European Union member states accounted for 14.6% of
Zimbabwe ' s export earnings in 2002. The reality of trade agreements
between America, the European Union and Zimbabwe- the outpost of tyranny,
severely undermines the effectiveness of their collective calls for Mugabe
to adopt democratic reform. A Western diplomat revealed that, Zimbabwe has
signed an asset protection agreement with France. This could explain the
French government ' s invitation of Mugabe to Afro- French summit in 2003,
and the French shopping spree of the Zimbabwean first lady, Grace Mugabe and
her relatives. A broader interpretation of these facts leaves one to wonder
if the love of money and the desire for wealth displayed by America and her
allies is not the root of Mugabe ' s evil.

For the impoverished people of Zimbabwe, who often go without fuel,
electricity, health care, food and freedom, this apparent duplicity, is
tantamount to betrayal, and is viewed as aiding and abetting the Mugabe
government, in its murderous agenda.
Without the preparedness on the part of America and her European allies to
move beyond rhetorical postures, to in real terms isolate the Mugabe
Government, in response to the holding of elections in March 2005, in the
absence of tangible reforms, the prospects of the country ' s return to
democracy are greatly reduced.

It follows then, that the international community ' s policy on Zimbabwe
must be revised. It is recommended that;

The US together with its European partners agrees to a set of measures that
would effectively isolate the Mugabe regime.
a) Widen the scope of the travel ban to include parastatal executives,
b) Include measures that restrict the ability of the Zimbabwean government
to participate in international financial and economic transactions, by
designating or specifying certain banking institutions from engaging with
European and American banking institutions.
c) Support the expulsion of Zimbabwe from the World Bank and IMF.
d) Impose an imports/exports embargo to include all Zimbabwean commodities.
e) Indicate to Zimbabwe ' s Southern African neighbors that the quiet
diplomacy initiative has failed. Further, that the Failure on the part of
SADC to meticulously, hold Zimbabwe accountable to the SADC election
protocols, will result in withdrawal of aid, trade deals and other U.S. and
European largesse.[1]
f) Develop a policy to mitigate the effects of the pending refugee crisis
facing the countries that share borders with Zimbabwe.

Increase support for civil society organizations engaged in humanitarian
efforts and matters of politics and governance.
Directly promote a regional response [complimentary to the western and
European measures] to the Zimbabwean crisis; chiefly, engaging select
African States to lead calls for reform, hence, countering South Africa ' s
unproductive influence in this matter.

The adoption of these measures would signal a no tolerance for dictatorship
policy, similar to the policy the African Union assumed in response to the
Togolese crisis. The time has come and the time is now for the international
community to cease talking the talk and begin to walk the walk, abandoning
the display of politeness ' toward a dictator and assuming the higher
ground. Herein lies a lesson for Zimbabweans too. There no free lunch
somebody's got to pay.

Ralph Black is a Director of the Association of Zimbabweans Based Abroad. He
writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted by e-mail at or
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      Sanctions cost Makoni

      Njabulo Ncube
      4/14/2005 7:36:16 AM (GMT +2)

      US throws spanners in bid for top ADB job
      ZIMBABWE'S continued international isolation is emerging as the
biggest impediment to former finance minister Simba Makoni's bid to land the
African Development Bank (ADB) presidency.

      The articulate former Southern African Development Community (SADC)
secretary, who was at one time the rising star in Zimbabwe's political
firmament, was the front-runner at the time the race for the prestigious ADB
post started, but he might rue politics for soiling his chances of landing
the big one. As the SADC chief, Makoni served the regional grouping with
      An impeccable ZANU PF source told The Financial Gazette yesterday that
foreign powers opposed to Harare are pulling the strings in favour of
Kingsley Y. Amoako of Ghana and Olabisi Ogunjobi of Nigeria, who are also
vying for the same post. The source, who this week was appointed a
non-constituent Member of Parliament sparking speculation that he would be
appointed to the Cabinet, said although preliminary indications were that
Makoni was a clear favourite, Zimbabwe no longer had any high hopes for it.
      This comes as it emerged that the race to replace Omar Kabbaj of
Tunisia, who led the continental institution for a decade, has sucked in the
United States and other Western powers that are now rooting for candidates
from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
      Zimbabwe has become an outcast in the international community for
alleged human rights abuses and bad governance, charges vehemently denied by
Harare. In the forefront of ostracising Zimbabwe are Britain and the USA,
both of whom have taken a hardline stance on Zimbabwe for an alleged serious
democratic deficit.
      This could cost Makoni the ADB job as he comes face to face with the
ugly face of American bullying and arm-twisting foreign policy tactics.
Diplomatic sources said while powerful economies opposed to the former SADC
secretary had no direct influence in ADB, they are using their financial
muscle - a carrot-and-stick approach - to thwart Zimbabwe's bid and
influence the outcome of the race.
      President Robert Mugabe has accused the west of clandestinely working
with the opposition parties to topple his government, which has been in
power since independence in 1980 as punishment for taking land from the
minority whites and redistributing it to the landless blacks. While
President Mugabe argues that he received a popular mandate to rule Zimbabwe
in the 2002 presidential election, the Americans and their British
counterparts, who have never made secret of their dislike of the Zimbabwean
leader, insist the crucial poll was rigged.
      The Zimbabwe government has also found itself on the receiving end for
allegedly "stealing" the March 31 parliamentary elections which were
endorsed by SADC and the African Union, but described by the United States
and Britain as not free and fair.
      "Americans have thrown their weight behind the Ghanaian but they are
some who want the Nigerian. SADC's unclear position on Zimbabwe is swaying
the votes away from Makoni. The Americans would want to reward ECOWAS for
the manner in which they dealt with the Togo crisis. The handling of the
crisis has endeared ECOWAS member states with the West," said the diplomatic
      Apart from Makoni, Ghanaian Amoako and Nigerian Ogunjobi, four other
candidates vying for the post whose election is set for May 19 in Abuja,
Nigeria, include Donald Kaberuka of Rwanda, Theodore Nkondo of Cameroon,
Ismael Hassan of Egypt and Casimir Oye-Mba of Gabon.
      It is also understood Nigeria, which is fielding Ogunjobi, a vice
president of the ADB for the past few years with 27 years experience in
banking, had argued that Makoni's candidature should be ignored because he
was on the European Union and US sanctions list.
      "The race is turning out to be between Nigeria and Ghana. The
Nigerians, in refusing to support Zimbabwe's candidate, are saying Makoni
cannot transgress the entire world as he is banned from travelling," added
another impeccable source.
      Makoni was yesterday not available for comment although those close to
him said he had put up a spirited campaign in and around the continent as
the race entered the final lap.
      The Nigerian candidate Ogunjobi was in Harare last week canvassing for
support in the crunch elections next month.
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      MDC threatens street protests

      Njabulo Ncube
      4/14/2005 7:36:55 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Movement for Democratic (MDC), smarting from a widely-predicted
electoral licking from ZANU PF, which it accuses of stealing the just-ended
parliamentary elections, has resolved to lodge 13 test cases with the
Electoral Court tomorrow and threatened mass action to protest against the
alleged rigging.

      The MDC won 41 of the 120 contested seats.
      The increasingly desperate MDC claims it was cheated in at least 72
constituencies, citing voter intimidation and manipulation of the ballots by
the George Chiweshe-headed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
      Welshman Ncube, the party's secretary-general, yesterday disclosed
that the MDC had already lodged its first application at the Electoral Court
in Bulawayo challenging the Gweru Rural result where its candidate Renson
Gasela lost to Josphat Madubeko of ZANU PF.
      By the close of business tomorrow, the opposition party which many
independent observers fear is fast losing its relevance in the country's
politics, would have lodged 12 other court applications contesting the
results in Manyame, Chegutu, Marondera East, Murehwa South, Bindura, Gwanda,
Insiza, Bubi-Umguza, Gutu South, Chimanimani and Mutasa South.
      In Manyame Hilda Mafudze of the MDC lost to Patrick Zhuwawo of ZANU
PF, Jacqueline Zwambila lost to Webster Shamu of ZANU PF in Chegutu while in
Marondera East Sydney Sekeramayi beat Ian Kay of the MDC and in Murehwa
South Biggie Matiza beat Alaska Kumirai of the MDC.
      The MDC is challenging Elliot Manyika's victory in Bindura against its
candidate Joel Mugariri while in Gwanda it is contesting Abednico Ncube's
victory over Paul Themba-Nyathi, the party's spokesman, among others.
      Ncube said the party's legal committee headed by David Coltart had
been mandated by the MDC's national executive council (NEC) to handle the
litigation and had opted to pick out the 13 constituencies as text cases to
prove to locals, the region and the international community how ZANU PF
allegedly stole the election.
      "The party's NEC resolved last week this time around the legal opinion
will not be in a formal form but will be used as a subsidiary method of
democratic resistance.
      "The legal committee has been mandated to review constituency by
constituency the breaches of the law that took place and the electoral
malpractices that the ruling party engaged in in the polls. With the advice
of the legal committee we have decided to challenge 13 selected
constituencies in court simply as a case study to see how the election was
stolen," said Ncube.
      "The legal committee has com-
      To Page 19
      pleted the task and instructed a team of lawyers across the country to
file the applications with the Electoral Court. The first, for Gweru Rural,
was filed in Bulawayo this Tuesday. The remainder will be filed before the
14-day period expires on Friday (tomorrow)," he added.
      "Going to court does not mean that we have suddenly found new
confidence in the compromised judiciary. We want to use the legal option as
a public fora so that the public will be presented with evidence on how ZANU
PF cheated to deny the Zimbabwean people the right to elect leaders of their
choice," Ncube said.
      According to the MDC secretary-general, the party had also resolved to
engage in political action to protest what he constantly referred to as the
stolen election.
      "The NEC also empowered the organising department of the party to
engage in wide ranging consultations and this is still going on. This means
as and when specific action has been decided upon and its form, content, and
timing, the public will be advised appropriately. We have not reached that
stage yet," he said.
      Commenting on the wisdom of street protests in the face of restrictive
legislation, Ncube said; "It (state repression) does not present any
problems for us at all. The organising department is consulting on what
course of action to take. Whatever the NEC agrees upon will be implemented.
We are not afraid of ZANU PF, we have taken them head-on for the past five
years, why not now when it is clear they stole the vote?"
      Ncube said the NEC had crushed a suggestion that newly elected
legislators boycott the Sixth Parliament.
      "The issue of a parliamentary boycott was raised by one member but we
realised that we should defend and occupy the democratic space that we won
in Parliament."

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      Mnangagwa blocked from Speaker's post

      Felix Njini
      4/14/2005 7:37:35 AM (GMT +2)

      NON-CONSTITUENCY Member of Parliament and ZANU PF Politburo member
Emmerson Mnangagwa's bid to seek re-election as Speaker of Parliament was
thwarted at last week's central committee meeting in yet another intriguing
power struggle within the ruling party.

      Mnangagwa, who had openly coveted the office, was in the running along
with ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo who, according to sources, didn't
look too happy to replace the former ruling party secretary for
      The outgoing Speaker, who still commands a lot of respect in ZANU PF,
appeared to have an upper hand over Nkomo at last week's meeting, but the
tables turned when the policy-making organ could not reach a conclusion over
the contentious issue.
      They said giving the top job to Mnangagwa, once seen as President
Robert Mugabe's heir apparent, would have thrust him back in the running to
succeed the Zimbabwe leader, who has hinted of a distant departure date.
      It was after President Mugabe had unveiled the list of
non-constituency Members of Parliament (MPs), that it became clear the
presidium had made up its mind on the choice of Speaker of Parliament.
      The list, which left out Nkomo, included Mnangagwa, who had lost the
Kwekwe constituency to the Movement for Democratic Change.
      "The fact that the central committee did not make a decision on the
issue was indicative enough of the forces that were at play. It was thus not
surprising that President Mugabe moved quickly to placate Mnangagwa with a
parliamentary post as non-constituency MP and laid the carpet for Nkomo,"
said a ZANU PF insider.
      "It was a perpetuation of the internal feuds within ZANU PF along the
two opposing camps, one belonging to retired army general Solomon Mujuru and
the other headed by Mnangagwa," the sources said.
      Nkomo was unanimously elected Speaker of Parliament yesterday, while
Edna Madzongwe will deputise him. As expected, the election proceeded
smoothly, given the ruling ZANU PF now commands the bulk of the seats in the
      Mnangagwa, who stands accused of being the ultimate beneficiary of the
Tsholotsho meeting held last year allegedly to topple ZANU PF's old guard,
got a major reprieve when President Mugabe appointed him a non-constituency
MP. In the run-up to the appointments, there was an orgy of speculation
about his political future amid fears that after losing out to Blessing
Chebundo of the Movement for Democratic Change in the parliamentary
elections, the former Speaker would fade into political oblivion.
      His political fortunes had nose-dived after he came into the spotlight
following investigations into the plunder of mineral resources in the
diamond-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo and the probe into a swathe of
ZANU PF companies.
      He was later last year elbowed out of the race to fill in the late
Vice-President Simon Muzenda's post after the ruling party supreme
decision-making body - the Politburo - took the controversial decision to
reserve the powerful post for a woman.
      Joyce Mujuru, wife of the ZANU PF kingpin, retired army general
Solomon Tapfumaneyi Mujuru emerged the winner and now stands a better chance
of succeeding President Mugabe at the expiry of his current term of office
in 2008.

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      Post-poll monetary statement

      Staff Reporter
      4/14/2005 7:38:08 AM (GMT +2)

      RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono is likely to issue
a post-election monetary policy statement next week, impeccable sources told
The Financial Gazette yesterday.

      The governor's latest statement will reveal fresh measures to put down
a resurgent foreign currency parallel market, the sources said yesterday. He
will also focus on additional policies to maintain the current slowdown in
inflation, against rising pressures on prices.
      New inflation data released on Tuesday showed annual inflation had
slowed to 123.7 percent in March, down from 127 percent in February, but
central bank has prepared new strategies it hopes will bring inflation down
to its 20-35 percent year-end target.
      The governor will make key policy statements on the issue of dual
interest rates, which he wants to converge this year, and also make an
announcement on the distressed asset management industry. There will also be
an announcement of new export incentives, measures to mitigate the effects
of the drought and a policy to boost industrial productivity.
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      ZESA pressing for massive 150 percent tariff increment

      Felix Njini
      4/14/2005 7:38:59 AM (GMT +2)

      NATIONAL power utility, ZESA Holdings, is pressing for a massive 150
percent, phased tariff hike, a move likely to scupper industry and mining
sector recovery efforts, while at the same time fuelling inflation.

      The increases are in line with recommendations made by Sad-Elec, a
consultant hired to conduct a pricing review mechanism for Zimbabwe's
electricity industry.
      ZESA Holdings, which has failed over the years to shake of its
financial encumbrance, blamed the government for dithering on the
implementation of the Sad-Elec recommendations. The heavily indebted power
utility has previously attributed its poor balance sheet to sub-economic
      Obert Nyatanga, ZESA Holdings general manager corporate affairs said
the power utility was annoyed by delays in implementing the new tariffs and
hinted that the government might settle for tariff subsidies to cushion
consumers of electricity.
      "The independent study has already been approved by Cabinet, and we
want those results implemented but we have to do it on a phased basis,"
Nyatanga said.
      He, however, downplayed the figure saying increases would only go up
as far as 50 percent.
      Patison Sithole, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president
expressed dismay on the intended move saying it would have a major impact on
      "One can never do without tariff increases in an inflationary
environment and we hope they are not doing this to recover their
inefficiency through tariff increases," Sithole said.
      "We understand they need to recover cost increases but the tariff
increases need to be kept within reasonable levels," Sithole said.
      ZESA, which ran a whopping $163 billion loss in 2003 was forced to
back down on a 400 percent tariff hike it had sought that year owes ESKOM of
South Africa, Zimbabwe's main power supplier, in excess of R30 million.
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      ANZ case to be sealed month-end

      Staff Reporter
      4/14/2005 7:40:02 AM (GMT +2)

      THE fate of The Daily News and its sister paper, The Daily News on
Sunday, will be concluded on April 27 when the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) meets to resolve the long-standing dispute.

      The Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), which owns the two
titles, has re-applied to the state-aligned MIC for a licence following last
month's Supreme Court ruling that the publishing house should launch a fresh
      ANZ had its two newspapers shut in September 2003 for operating
unlawfully. Sources, however, said the newspapers would get licences after a
protracted 18-month struggle, as it also emerged that pressure was mounting
on the MIC.
      "Registration is not based on pressure from the press or politicians .
. . it is based on the merits of the application," quipped MIC chairman
Tafataona Mahoso.
      Asked why it had taken long for the MIC to process the ANZ
application, the former journalists trainer said the commission had several
other applications to look at.
      "Why do you want to ask on their behalf? What is so special about
their application when we have so many of them from churches, NGOs
(non-governmental organisations) and all applications should be treated
equally?" he quipped.
      Four newspapers, namely The Daily News, The Daily News on Sunday, The
Tribune and The Weekly Times have closed shop since September 2003 for
various reasons under the draconian Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act.
      President Robert Mugabe has, however, hinted in an interview with the
South African Broadcasting Corporation two weeks ago that no newspaper would
be denied a licence, "unless of course they are rabidly anti-government".
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      Grain shortage threatens jobs

      Audrey Chitsika
      4/14/2005 7:41:08 AM (GMT +2)

      AGAINST a background of a statistical haze regarding Zimbabwe's food
security situation, millers have been battling to satisfy demand for
mealie-meal, amid reports that some companies are going for weeks without
grain supplies.

      Industry sources yesterday said job losses could be in the offing if
the grain shortage continued.
      Contacted for comment this week, Mike Manga, chairman of the Millers
Association, an affiliate of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries,
referred The Financial Gazette to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
      The GMB is mandated by the government to ensure food security in the
country through the management of the national strategic grain reserves.
      Manga said: "Please be advised that the GMB has the responsibility for
the procurement and marketing of maize. Your questions will best be answered
by the GMB."
      But GMB boss Samuel Muvuti also declined to comment, referring all
questions to Nicholas Goche, the Minister for State Security.
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      MDC to reshuffle cabinet

      Staff Reporter
      4/14/2005 7:41:37 AM (GMT +2)

      MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set
to reshuffle his 18-member shadow cabinet to reflect changes in the
composition of its legislators in Parliament, The Financial Gazette can

      Out of the 16 seats lost to the ruling ZANU PF by the main opposition
party, six were in the hands of MDC shadow ministers.
      A shadow minister, say of finance, belongs to the main opposition
party in Parliament and is the person most likely to be the Minister of
Finance if that political party forms the next government. This concept is
mostly based on the British system.
      "The party is due for a mini-reshuffle in light of the changes
resulting from the elections. However, there are some people that are likely
to be protected, such as spokesman (Paul Themba-Nyathi) and (Renson)
 Gasela," said a senior MDC official.
      Themba-Nyathi (MDC shadow minister of information and publicity) lost
the Gwanda seat to Abednico Ncube of ZANU PF, while Gasela (shadow minister
for agriculture and natural resources) lost Gweru Rural to the ruling party.
      The other members who fell by the wayside and might be replaced are
Hilda Mafudze (transport), Gabriel Chaibva (local government and national
affairs), Evelyn Masaiti (gender, youth and culture) and Silas Mangono
(transport and communications).
      Mafudze, formerly legislator for Mhondoro, lost to Patrick Zhuwawo in
Manyame. Chaibva, previously Member of Parliament for Harare South, lost the
right to represent the MDC to James Mushonga in the primaries. Mushonga
subsequently surrendered the constituency to Herbert Nyanhongo of ZANU PF
while Masaiti lost in Mutasa South to retired army general Mike Nyambuya of
the ruling party.
      Mangono, the former MDC legislator for Masvingo Central, expelled
himself from the party after opting to contest the parliamentary elections
as an independent candidate. He had lost in the party's internal polls.

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      Governors get more authority

      Staff Reporter
      4/14/2005 7:42:57 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will hand greater powers to provincial
governors, giving them wider authority over the controversial land reform
and making them directly accountable to his office.

      Sources said the government is likely to introduce new regulations,
giving governors stronger administrative powers and seeking amendments to
the Provincial Districts Act, which restricts a governor's term to two
      The amendments seek to have the governors' terms running in tandem
with that of parliament.
      Giving governors authority over land reforms is an attempt by
President Mugabe to speed up the clean-up of the exercise, which among other
factors is blamed for plunging the economy into crisis.
      Controversy over multiple farm ownership by senior ZANU PF officials
has discredited the land reform, while attempts to withdraw excess land from
prominent figures have opened rifts within the ruling party ZANU PF.
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      Failed promises disillusion new tobacco farmers

      Rangarirai Mberi
      4/14/2005 7:43:51 AM (GMT +2)

      RAGGED, grouchy and worn out after days of sleeping rough waiting to
get a good price for their tobacco, George Nherera and his wife were
quarrelling bitterly after George tore a ticket for a US90-cent offer for
their crop, a farmer's signal of protest at a price.

      Elsewhere on the floors of the Tobacco Sales Floors (TSF), Zimbabwe's
largest tobacco auctioneers, conversation last Wednesday swung between
conspiracy theories explaining the weak opening prices and mirth over a
mischievous message on the pricing board the previous day: "Vote MDC for a
brighter future".
      But the top subject, on this small area of the vast TSF floors, was
about discontent over feeble government support for these rural black
farmers who are replacing wealthy white commercial farmers as the dominant
producers of Zimbabwe's most prized crop.
      "Looking at us, would you Harare people ever know that it is us who
are buying fuel for you, paying for your electricity and everything you
people can't live without?" asks Nherera, proudly stroking one of nine bales
he reaped from his Hurungwe farm, throwing a glance at his wife.
      She agrees: "What hurts most is that we have not had any real support
(from government). Nobody helped us get what we got."
      For this couple, as it is for many of the farmers on the floors, being
able to bring a crop to auction at all is a miracle. The Nhereras missed the
October-November deadline to transplant seedlings. They then had to contend
with fertiliser scarcity, labour shortages and other production costs - all
without the promised support from either the government or banks.
      "Like most of the late planted crop, ours was affected by aphids. This
should usually be easy to deal with, but were the pesticides ever
 available?" he asks his wife, who shakes her head in reply.
      Industry experts say small-scale farmers numbered 7 000 before the
land reforms began in 2000, saying their ranks have swelled an estimated
three-fold since then.
      In 2002, small-scale producers - many of them newly resettled and
untrained - accounted for six percent of that season's 165 million kg
output. The expectation has been to increase that six percent, but
smallholder producers themselves fear their numbers might well shrink in the
continued absence of substantive state aid.
      Last year, government pledged increased backing for new farmers in the
form of inputs such as farm implements, fertiliser and even finance. Farmers
however say they have seen little of this support, if at all. As for
commercial banks, none of the big banks want to touch smallholder farmers
like the Nhereras - not even with a ten-foot pole.
      With Zimbabwe's rainfall increasingly becoming unreliable, farmers had
been anticipating a stronger government push to rebuild an irrigation
infrastructure badly damaged in the often violent fast-track land reform.
      However, the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) reports that
there was a significant decrease in the irrigated crop last year compared to
previous years, "due to lack of (irrigation) facilities and slow
rehabilitation where facilities exist".
      "Other constraints with a significant impact on production were the
slow delivery of coal, barn rehabilitation challenges and chemicals packed
in less appropriate packages for smallholder producers," the TIMB says.
      Zimbabwe has seen five years of steady decline in tobacco output from
the 2000 peak of 237 million kg. The TIMB has forecast a crop of 100 million
kg this season, but output has been widely seen lower at 85 million kg.
      Tobacco's contribution to Zimbabwe's export earnings was 20 percent
last year, down from around 30 percent in 2000. This has worried the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which is leading a campaign to shore up the country's
depleted foreign currency reserves.
      But away from the fancy economic city talk about how to get the
foreign exchange flowing in again, the talk among these rugged rural farmers
betrays rising disillusionment at failed promises. The farmers have
repeatedly been told they are the backbone of this economy, but the scant
support they get seems to suggest authorities believe otherwise.
      With the prices low after the early auction days, the desperation was
already telling. One grower said he would push his luck; he would deceive
buyers by slipping poor quality leaf into the middle of the bale and try to
profit from better quality tobacco on the outsides.
      In the absence of any real government support for important but
impoverished tobacco producers, few would begrudge the farmer for using a
bit of street guile to survive.

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      Mugabe acts to heal wounded party

      Hama Saburi
      4/14/2005 7:44:44 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe this week performed another healing act on his
fractious ruling party as the nationalist, seen as the stabilising influence
behind ZANU PF, moved to avert disruptive fights that nearly cost the party
victory in the March 31 polls.

      In a tacit admission, President Mugabe told the party faithful at a
central committee meeting held in Harare at the weekend that ZANU PF, which
had split into two formidable factions, went into the just ended elections a
divided party.
      Although it romped to a disputed two-thirds majority victory, a trail
of wounds inflicted by the intense jockeying for positions ahead of the ZANU
PF congress and in the party primary elections, was there for all to see.
      That the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) could gain votes in
rural areas - long seen as ZANU PF's bastion - confirmed the divisive nature
of the fissures. More so, considering the main opposition party started
campaigning late and had technically been shut out of the rural areas
      ZANU PF bagged 78 of the 120 contested seats, while the MDC garnered
41. The remaining seat went to an independent candidate.
      President Mugabe was quoted saying: "Not withstanding promises made to
the leadership, we went to the polls a divided party, most of the divisions
traceable to unhealed wounds from both the frustrations of those ambitions,
which showed themselves at congress and the party primary election defeat."
      As part of the healing process, analysts said the 81-year-old
Zimbabwean leader has put a stop to the purge targeting participants and
beneficiaries of the infamous Tsholotsho indaba, which resulted in the
five-year suspension of six provincial chairmen.
      They said President Mugabe had also performed the balancing act
through his appointment of non-constituency Members of Parliament (MPs),
while bringing back sanity to faction-ridden provinces through the
appointment of new provincial governors and resident ministers.
      "He (President Mugabe) is aware that the presidential election, which
is fundamental, is just around the corner and it would be disastrous for
ZANU PF to go into that election in sixes and sevens, hence current efforts
to thaw the frozen internal relations in the party," said a ZANU PF insider.
      Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who attended the Tsholotsho
meeting, allegedly intended at scuttling Vice-President Joyce Mujuru's
ascendancy to the presidium, but later apologised, was appointed a
non-constituency MP.
      Paul Mangwana, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare, who sensationally lost the right to represent ZANU PF in the
primaries to former Zimbabwe United Passenger Company boss Bright Matonga
was also saved from political oblivion.
      The alleged would-be main beneficiary of the Tsholotsho indaba and
former Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has also been let off the
hook and has been retained in the supreme decision making body the Politburo
and in Parliament as a non-constituency MP.
      Mnangagwa, Mangwana and Chinamasa are key to the constitutional
amendments that are expected to be pushed through parliament by the ruling
party as part of plans to create a senate, while at the same time scrapping
the holding of dual elections.
      ZANU PF is not spoilt for choice when it comes to legal mindsand it
relies heavily on the trio.
      "In the case of Mnangagwa, it was also important for President Mugabe
to keep him inside rather than to push him outside. It is always better to
manage such serious politicians at close range," said a political analyst
who declined to be named.
      Other non-constituency MPs are Vice-President Joseph Msika, Amos
Midzi, Munacho Mutezo, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.
      Infighting had almost split ZANU PF right through the middle following
a tight race to occupy posts in the presidium ahead of the party congress
held in December last year.
      The jostling for the positions gave rise to two camps - one led by
Mnangagwa and the other by retired army general and ZANU PF kingpin Solomon
Mujuru, who had thrown his weight behind his wife Joyce.
      It is the political gamesmanship between these two rival factions that
culminated in the "Tsholosho Declaration".
      The situation took an interesting turn after the ruling party old
guard, credited for freeing the country from the yolk of colonialism,
started sidelining the Young Turks for allegedly disrespecting senior ZANU
PF members and for defying party directives.
      Fissures within the party, which has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980,
worsened after the divisive primary elections held in January this year
where accusations of imposition of candidates and rigging took centre stage.
      At the same time, the ZANU PF top brass was accused of ostracising
trailblazing politicians from the Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland and
co-opting unpopular politicians from Matabelelend who had lost the support
of the people and were now surviving at the mercy of the 1987 Unity Accord
forged between ZANU PF and PF ZAPU.
      President Mugabe has also sought to bring stability in the provinces,
they said, by bringing faces untainted by the in-house squabbles in the
appointment of provincial governors for the fractious provinces of
Manicaland and Masvingo.
      Former Mines and Mining Development secretary Tinanye Chigudu comes in
as the Governor and Resident Minister for Manicaland, while former Foreign
Affairs secretary Willard Chiwewe was appointed Governor and Resident
Minister for Masvingo

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      MDC leaders act like spoilt brats!

      Denford Magora
      4/14/2005 8:23:58 AM (GMT +2)

      Yet again, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has failed
dismally to read the mood of the public.

      It is characteristic of the MDC's lazy style of leadership that they
have not bothered to take the political temperature in the country,
including the urban areas that the party won. Like latter-day dictators,
Tsvangirai and his band of merry men still believe that leading the people
means telling them what to think.
      Of course, we all know that the MDC has never listened to constructive
      The opposition party's "Jesus" complex has led it to believe that it
is above all criticism. Friends who point out faults are alienated, much
like President Mugabe thinks those who disagree with some of his policies
are not only his enemies but also of the state.
      The media in this country and abroad is misleading the opposition
party into believing that their position has grassroots support.
      It does not and a quick snap survey by any objective organisation can
show this. The MDC is now being seen as a cry-baby. The party is viewed by
the majority of the people I speak to as simply spoilers.
      More dangerously for the movement, though, is the fact that people are
now beginning to blame their suffering on the opposition party. Even I could
not believe it when people I have known to be die-hard MDC supporters
started telling me that the opposition party was refusing to accept the
election results simply because they just wanted ordinary people to continue
      I put this down to the fact that the people, first of all, do not
believe that the election was rigged. In addition, they know very well how
the current will play out: MDC says "rigged", so Britain, the EU and the USA
also say "rigged".
      The upshot is that the current economic problems will continue to
persist. The USA will continue issuing travel warnings to its citizens so
that they do not come over as tourists. Britain, where Tony Blair is a
shoo-in for the May 5 elections in that country, will also press the EU and
no aid will be released.
      It is particularly unacceptable for the MDC to be designing the
people's suffering this way.
      Opposition supporters know that should the MDC accept the results,
then the West will have no leg to stand on regarding the continued covert
sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe.
      These sanctions include the moving of the goalposts by the IMF and the
World Bank, who are quite willing to bankroll brutal dictatorships like that
of Museveni in Uganda, while at the same time refusing to give any support
to Zimbabwe until "good governance" is respected in the Southern African
      To understand this, just consider the following: Last year, GQ
magazine in South Africa published a glowing article on Victoria Falls by
one of their editors. The man had been to Elephant Hills and had thoroughly
enjoyed himself. His article prompted an avalanche of responses from white
South Africans scolding GQ for daring to promote travel to Zimbabwe.
      The fear was that this article would prompt people in South Africa to
travel to Zimbabwe on holiday, thereby giving the country much-needed
foreign currency. This is not acceptable to Zimbabwe's foreign detractors.
Without a collapsing economy, it becomes that much more difficult to make a
case for President Mugabe's exit.
      Getaway, South Africa's brilliant travel magazine also got an earful
when they decided to publish an article on Zimbabwe last year.
      They subsequently published a letter from a reader who was taking them
to task for glorifying Zimbabwe and asking them to "be very careful how you
treat this country". I liked the magazine's response, which told the reader
that despite the politics, there are Zimbabweans who make a living from
tourism. But this argument is lost on those who want to make Zimbabwean
people suffer so hard that they then rebel against the dictatorship of ZANU
      It is instructive to note that the objections to both these articles
had nothing to do with the security situation in the country. Instead, the
writers were opposed in "principle" to anything that portrayed anything
about Zimbabwe in a positive light.
      The MDC, therefore, by acting like spoilt brats who will spoil the
party for everyone if they do not get their way, are providing our foreign
detractors with a fig leaf to hide the real motive behind their aggressive
      It all begs the question: whose interests are the MDC serving this
time around? I challenge any research company from anywhere in the world to
do a transparent survey in Harare and Bulawayo asking people what they think
of the MDC's current stance. My position, I am absolutely sure, will be

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      The Silver Jubilee

      4/14/2005 7:32:53 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE celebrates 25 years of independence on Monday, April 18,
2005. This is a special day for all Zimbabweans in their enormous diversity.

      It transcends parochial political party affiliation and ethnic
      It is a day that marks the country's decisive rupture with its
colonial past following a brutal war of liberation. A war that saw tens of
thousands of freedom fighters sacrificing life and limb; a war that widowed
wives, orphaned children and maimed hundreds of thousands of the country's
civilian population; a war that was meant to ensure that all the isms
associated with the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) era during
which, "to speak of trees was treason"-was swept away with the rubble of
that regime.
      It is clear from the foregoing, that Zimbabwe's was a hard-won
independence, which is why - like we have said before about the equally
important Heroes Day - this should be a day of national reflection,
soul-searching and stock-taking. Indeed it should be a time for, among other
things, careful examination of the journey that Zimbabwe has travelled since
1980, the people's thoughts and feelings, what could have been but never
was, why and where the wheels came off.
      Much as we successfully waged a war for self-determination and are
proud of it, the National Independence Day celebrations should not, as has
been the tradition, be turned into an orgy of self-congratulation. We have
already done enough of that. As we said in our comment of August 5, 2005,
entitled Lest We Forget, the powers-that-be should not try to erect an
edifice of philosophy on a wasteland of sterile dogma.
      It is our modest and humble submission that this is rather the time to
be pragmatic in trying to come up with solutions to Zimbabwe's economic
woes. This is the day to declare an all-out war on the accelerating economic
decline in line with the concerted efforts of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
whose austerity measures have forced the erstwhile stubborn runaway
inflation into retreat.
      This is the time the authorities should spell out the alphabet of the
ills besetting Zimbabwe and elaborate to the public their formula for a way
out of the country's deep-seated crisis that has spawned unprecedented
socio-economic difficulties. The people are expecting a new economic
blueprint to bring back life to the sickly economy and peace back to their
souls. And we couldn't agree more. There is a fork ahead though. It is
either deeper and far-reaching economic reforms or deeper conservatism,
which would be an absolute disaster for the economy, which to all intents
and purposes, is caving in.
      From an economic point of view, the centre no longer holds for
Zimbabwe. There is no reason to pretend otherwise. Joblessness is on the
rise in sympathy with corporate failures and falling productivity. Foreign
investor confidence has reached rock bottom in the face of isolation as the
country continues to lose its friends, prestige and credibility. The health
delivery system is itself in intensive care; the public transport system is
not yet back to its pre-crisis levels while the education system, once the
envy of many a country, has lost it glitter.
      Not only that but it is also an open secret that with the drought
experienced this agricultural season, hunger stalks the country. This is
partly because of the drought and partly because the country is now
suffering from the consequences of ineptitude in the key Ministry of
Agriculture where Dr Joseph Made is well known for dangerously misleading
the nation by just plucking figures on the country's food security situation
from the air and presenting them as facts.
      We have nothing personal against the Honourable Made but it is a fact
that drought or no drought, Zimbabwe should not have been reduced into a
perennial grain deficit country alongside Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi, if
the responsible ministry had ensured that the country maintained, at all
times, the bridging stock of 500 000 tonnes of maize under the strategic
grain reserve. Instead, it chose to lead the nation down the garden path on
the food security situation, claiming that last year Zimbabwe realised 2.4
million tonnes of maize. The annual national requirement for the staple
maize is 1.8 million tonnes. If we were to believe the ministry's figures,
the question is: what happened to the 600 000 tonnes which should have gone
towards the National Strategic Grain Reserve?
      More than anything else, the foregoing underlines the fact that things
have fallen apart. It is therefore our considered view that it is on these
issues cited above that the authorities should, on this particular day,
convince and reassure the nation that they are addressing and urgently by
way of undertaking to consistently implement well-thought-out, comprehensive
and cohesive policies to bring back the crisis-hit economy to the longed-for
era of surplus, self-sufficiency and security.
      Restoring local economic pride and promise with a sense of national
purpose and social cohesion, is also the best way Zimbabwe could honour the
fallen heroes whose invaluable sacrifice to the liberation struggle of the
country is the ultimate price any one can pay for their country. These men
and women of exceptional personal responsibility never intended for Zimbabwe
to be a case for arrested development - frozen at the point of liberation,
but to move with the rest of the global village that has become the world.
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      And now to the Notebook . . .

      4/14/2005 7:04:41 AM (GMT +2)

      Hard workers
      WHEN he appointed non-constituency Members of Parliament, President
Robert Mugabe seemed to have left out some names that seriously deserved
recognition and reward for their hard work.

      It would not be a bad idea after all to appoint Cde Obadiah Musindo a
non-constituency MP and subsequently make him Minister of State in the
Office of the President and Cabinet Responsible for Religious Affairs. Cde
Augustine "Expert" Timbe as a non-constituency MP and then appoint him even
a deputy minister in the so-called Policy Implementation portfolio. Cde
William "Analyst" Nhara as non-constituency MP and then fix him somewhere in
the Cabinet since he is a celebrated know-it-all!
      These three people work very hard for ZANU PF and merely putting them
in the proposed senate won't be enough. We all know that the temptation of
sitting in this proposed chamber is riveting - more so when we are told that
it is meant for the cream of Zimbabwean patriots - but this will still not
be enough. We all know that this senate creation will be a junk-pile for
unrecycleable ZANU PF spent forces.
      Anyway, we will wait and see.

      Zimboz should gird themselves for a real tough time. The hard times of
2002/3 are back. Back with a bang!
      Never listen to reassuring lies of our electioneering politicians, the
truth is that we are in for yet another torrid time. And this time the
mother of all torrid times.
      This country has no more food to feed its people. Both the rural and
the urban. Both ruling ZANU PF supporters and opposition supporters. Unlike
before when there was food to distribute selectively along political lines,
this time there is no food for anyone.
      Where could the food come from when there is hardly any harvest to
talk about? It is unheard of that as early as January, villagers - most of
whom are full-time farmers - start buying maize meal from shops. Like this
year. All signs were there for those who cared to notice to see.
      But the government wants us to buy the cheap story that it has the
capacity to ensure that no one dies from hunger as if we are new to it. In
the past the same government has told us that the country was in for a
bumper harvest when there was hardly enough to last one moon. Donors were
told that they could not "choke us" with more food when we had nothing.
      And now someone wants us to believe that the shortages and price
increases have something to do with opposition saboteurs. So if opposition
saboteurs can hold the country to ransom like this, then whoever thinks he
is in control is fooling himself. For how can a "dead and buried" opposition
pull such a surprise?
      Still on saboteurs, CZ recently went into Gumbas supermarket in
Harare - this supermarket chain run by losing ZANU PF candidate for Zengeza
Christopher Chigumba.
      Maize meal had just been delivered there and, to CZ's shock, Chigumba,
who was there himself, was demanding that the product be made available only
to people who were buying other groceries as well. Could this have anything
to do with his recent defeat in the elections? It's now time to "fix" the
urbanites for voting "unwisely"?
      So can we also classify Chigumba as one of the saboteurs? He is hiding
the basic commodity so that he can blackmail the hungry poor to buy what
they don't need from his shop?
      Empty shop shelves aside, even where some individual food items are
still available, the prices are usurious . . . they are again threatening to
go through the roof.
      Maybe those of us with relatives and friends in the diaspora . . . we
might get some little fall-offs to scavenge on. But for how long, especially
with the exchange rate being so tight? Unless obviously if one were to make
Nicodemus forays to the patriotic offices of the Media and Information
      And by the way, how much is the US dollar fetching at the MIC? $18
000? $20 000? $22 000?

      Trust nobody!

      One day a young man went to his father to tell him that he wanted to
get married.
      His father was happy for him. Cheerfully, he asked his son who the
lucky girl was, and the young man told him that it was so and so, a girl
from the neighbourhood.
      With a sad face, the old man said to his son: "I'm sorry to say this,
son, but I have to. The girl you want to marry is your sister, but please
don't tell your mother."
      The young man again brought three more names to his old man, but ended
up more frustrated because the response was still the same.
      So he decided to go to his mother. "Mama I want to get married but all
the girls that I love, Dad said they are my sisters and I mustn't tell you."
      His smiling mother said to him: "Don't worry my son, you can marry any
of those girls. You're not his son anyway, but please don't tell your
      Have a wonderful day!!!
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      Fuel price hike looms

      Staff Reporter
      4/14/2005 7:25:55 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWEANS should brace for sharp fuel hikes any time soon as the
local industry, heavily reliant on imports, reacts to upward movement of the
international prices of crude oil, industry players have said.

      Local fuel importers who spoke to The Financial Gazette yesterday said
the price of fuel could be going up any time soon following the
International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s upward revision of its estimates for the
average costs of a barrel of oil in 2005 to US$51.90 from US$46.50.
      Analysts project the international price of crude oil to shoot up to
US$105 per barrel in the next two to three years.
      The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), the government's fuel
procurement agent, and other independent importers are importing fuel at
international prices and any movement in international prices is likely to
affect the local supply.
      Industry players this week said the government, which heavily
subsidised NOCZIM's imports, would reluctantly be forced to raise the price
of fuel.
      The market has started reacting to the speculation of an impending
price hike and shortages. Fuel queues, which had become a thing of the past,
have re-surfaced with some service stations running dry.
      "The product that we have at the moment will not be affected by a
price increase but fuel, which is likely to be imported in the coming days
might come with a different price tag because of the price fluctuations on
the international market," said a local industry player.
      The current pump price is about Z$3 600 per litre of petrol and Z$3
800 per litre of diesel.
      IMF chief Rodrigo Rato this week stated that high oil prices pose an
increasing downward risk in economic development.
      "This year, the high oil price will again reduce global economic
growth by at least 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent," Rato said.
      A fuel price hike on the backdrop of high electricity tariffs could
dash the government's hopes of taming inflation, analysts say.
      The central bank has projected a fall in inflation from 620 percent in
2004 to between 20 and 35 percent at the end of the year. The bank has also
projected a five percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) from a 30
percent fall since 1999.
      Food imports, estimated to gobble over US$250 million, are also likely
to leave the treasury in trouble, analysts say.

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      Tsvangirai restaurant incident offers serious food for thought

      Mavis Makuni
      4/14/2005 7:03:10 AM (GMT +2)

      A story published in this paper last week underscored the dangers of
allowing the four horsemen of calumny - fear, bigotry, ignorance and smear -
to gallop wildly for the sake of political expediency.

      The story was about an incident involving the leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, which occurred last
      Tsvangirai was reported to have sparked a row between war veterans and
Karoi farmer and businessman Temba Mliswa by doing one of the most natural
and routine things in the modern world.
      And what might that be? you will ask. Well, Tsvangirai and his
entourage decided to take a break during a long drive to a campaign rally in
the Zambezi Valley to have lunch in Karoi. Naturally, they chose one of the
restaurants in the small town and settled down for their meal. But oh, what
a hornet's nest they unwittingly stirred!
      Little did Tsvangirai and his team (and, I would wager, most ordinary
Zimbabweans) know that there now exists an unspoken rule about where to eat
and where not to eat on the basis of one's political affiliation.
      The War Veterans' Association chairman in Karoi, Cde A Manyere, is
reported to have taken umbrage over the fact that a supposed ZANU PF cadre
had allowed the leader of the opposition to be served lunch in his
restaurant. This, Manyere roared, proved that Mliswa covertly supported the
opposition party while publicly posing as a ZANU PF cadre.
      Manyere decreed that as punishment after finally " showing his true
political colours", Mliswa should be evicted from a farm he was allocated
under the government's land reform programme.
      My, oh my, what is this country coming to? Are we now expected to
accept the lowest common denominator of unreasonable and abhorrent behaviour
from anyone who chooses to invoke his or her liberation war credentials to
flex his or her muscles?
      A view seems to have coalesced over the years that it is alright for
anyone to do something totally morally indefensible and politically
unacceptable as long as they can claim to be doing it in the name of the
ruling party.
      Tacit official approval of such a questionable approach has enabled
many misguided characters to set themselves up as paragons of virtue. From
this shaky posture they have proceeded to assume absolute authority to issue
arbitrary decrees on any issue under the sun.
      As can be expected, ordinary Zimbabweans are sick and tired of this
absurd and retrogressive "look at me" brand of patriotism and heroism. It
would seem that the only way some people can authenticate and flaunt their
liberation war credentials is by being callous and engaging in ridiculous
smear campaigns against fellow Zimbabweans. It is my humble submission that
genuine ex-combatants who joined the liberation war for the right reasons do
not need to prop up their profiles by resorting to such irrational antics.
      The retribution being suggested by Manyere against Mliswa implies a
return after 25 years of independence to a form of segregation that calls
for separate facilities on the basis of political affiliation.
      When racial discrimination was practised in Rhodesia and apartheid was
in force in South Africa, it was at least easy to tell who was black and who
was white. The new forms of segregation being promoted today are more
insidious and reprehensible in that they involve witchhunting and the making
of unsubstantiated accusations against fellow citizens. It is a throwback to
periods such as the McCarthy era in the United States when the careers and
lives of innocent people falsely accused of disloyalty or communist leanings
were ruined. Why are we in Zimbabwe prepared to repeat the same mistakes
from which other countries have learnt bitter lessons?
      The rabid political intolerance that is rampant in this country has
had the effect of setting the clock back by many decades on different facets
of national development. As an example, the country has suffered and will
continue to suffer stunted civic and political growth as a result of the
shameless promotion of the dangerous notion that holding views that are at
variance with those of officialdom is, per se, a cardinal sin. Manyere's
head-in-the-sand philosophy about the need for ZANU PF proprietors of
commercial businesses to shun Tsvangirai's patronage and custom is equally
self-defeating. What kind of economic environment would prevail if this
absurd pettiness were, for example, extended to the urban areas where the
majority of consumers are supporters of the MDC?
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