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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's tribal warlords, your shouts!

Writing for New this week, Ndaba Mabhena argues that "as
different tribal groupings, we should acknowledge that our separate futures
are intertwined" adding that "any tribalist formation can rest assured that
it will fail. Zanu PF sponsored tribalism is responsible for the mess that
the country finds itself in. With that recognition, we should then proceed
and fashion our future." Below are some of your reactions.

Last updated: 04/15/2005 10:38:38
Editor - Does your correspondent, Ndaba Mabhena know the ethnic composition
of Zimbabwe. His latest article to your web site does not suggest that. To
suggest that Zezurus in Zimbabwe are a myth, is ridiculous. Harare itself is
in the Zezuru heartland. Mashonaland Central, East and West as well as parts
of Manicaland (Buhera), Masvingo and Midlands (Chivu and Gokwe ) are the
domain of Zezurus.
Perhaps your contributor could inform us where he got his ridiculuous facts

As for PF-ZAPU, its leadership composition has changed tremendously since
it was formed. If you have heard of Ndabaningi Sithole, Herbert Chitepo,
Leopold Takawira, Edgar Tekere, Simon Muzenda, Maurice Nyagumbo, Enos Nkala,
you will find that these gentlemen came from various regions and districts
of the country. What united them was the national cause.

Just for curiosity's sake, I wonder what the Zezurus in your party the MDC,
think when you publish such an article.
Dixon Muzavazi

Editor - People with the kind of thoughts that this man has should be locked
up or hanged. Zimbabwe as a nation cannot afford such ill-minded people who
always think they are being marginalised because of their tribe. Why don't
you go back where you came from Mr Mabhena and leave us true Zimbabwean in
peace. Your ideas are very dangerous and detrimental to Zimbabwe. You should
YOU make me SICK.
V Mamhende

Editor - It is with intrigue and amusement to read Ndaba Mabhena's self
contradictory assertions in his article on tribalism.

In one throw he bemoans Zezuru domination of Zimbabwe and in another makes a
rallying call to all Zimbabweans to shun tribalism. For him to have singled
out the Zezuru and openly lie that they are a small minority of Malawian
origin is ludicrous. Mabhena exposes his tribalistic views by just this
asertion. What if the Zezurus in Zanu PF were of Malawian origin? Would that
make them less Zimbabwean? Come off it Ndaba! You are spreading poison.
After all how are your pronounciations going to help Zimbabweans move
forward in thier quest for oneness and towards the greater picture of
prosperity? Don't be stuck in self wallowing pity over things that you know
well you do not have the depth to contribute to. Zimbabwe needs real man not
your dangerous sheep clothed wolves with blood dripping tribalistic vernom.
This is nothing personal but a caution for your lot to stop your day-dreamed
solutions to a relatively undeserving tranquil Zimbabwe. Where do you live
and when last did you go to Zimbabwe? Ask me, I was there just yesterday and
the truth is that what you believe to have been a flawed election was by and
large what the people wished.

Sorry Ndaba, self search yourself and you will turn around and work hard for
less tribalistic solutions for your motherland.

Long live Zimbabwe and solution seeking patriots!
Matanzima Nkomo

Editor - Tell your Ndaba Mabhena that in SA we have a party called the ANC
which is non racial, non sexist, non tribalist and democratic, in which
leaders are elected/selected on merit and or their leadership qualities. If
he wants to bring forth the issue of tribalism let him do so, but there is
not a single individual in South Africa who does not belong to one tribe or
the other. Therefore we will always have a leader who comes from a
particular tribe, and it does not bother us who leads the organisation or
the country, as long as they have leadership qualities.

Narrowing the debate to tribalism is dangerous and very problematic. What
Mabhena wants to see is a country where today you have a leader from a
different tribe irrespective of whether those people have the qualities
needed. By so doing you are going to drag our countries into chaos. What he
needs to do is to look at politics as they are. The ANC is a democratic
organisation, where leadership is contested by those who believe they have
what it takes to lead such an organisation. If he wants to revive tribalism
let him form his own tribal organisation and deal with matters "tribalistic"
and not delve into politics. Or is he suggesting that all the non-Xhosa
speaking people in the ANC, who vote for their leaders, are just dumb and do
not understand politics or they are forced to do so because the Xhosa people
have some mystic power over them. I hate tribal politics and the division of
people into tribes.
Proudly South African

Editor - Let us not give political parties tribal gowns. It just leads to
unnecessary tention. Not every Zezuru is benefiting from Zanu PF just like
not every Ndebele or Karanga has not benefited from Zanu PF. Let us suggest
ways in which we would want to be led. In our own areas of influence let us
lead the same way we would want to be led. Leadership is a collective
exercise. Bad leadership is also a collective responsibility. I see it
everyday around me. I have seen bad leaders in Zanu PF, MDC, Zanu PF
suppoters and MDC suppoters. It is high time that we should start praising
good leadership when done by a person wether from Zanu PF or MDC and
criticise bad leadership whether done by a person from Zanu PF or MDC.
Leadership is a reflection of the people being led. If our leadership is bad
it shows how bad we are as Zimbabweans.

Let us improve.
Alexander Mhizha

Editor - Imagine the Scots ruling Britain. They are the minority, and there
are 50 million English, it just cant happen. How are you going to sell a
Scottish party leader to the electorate, likewise a Ndebele. Food for
Mukamba Ranel

Editor - This was the best and most accurate assessment I have ever read.
Good job Ndaba.
Dr Kwangwari

Editor - I find myself having to reluctantly disagree with Ndaba Mabhena
while at the same time embracing some of the broader strokes of his
argument. I agree that a tribal clique cannot hope to hold on to power in
the long term or even have a real shot at power in a multi-ethnic society
such as ours. However, I think that the only way such societies can achieve
real democracy and social justice is by having strong so-called tribal
organisations that exercise a certain measure of political control of their
respective regions in open democratic systems.

Tribalim is a charged word in itself in the African experience but it is
better known as nationalism in Europe and has helped establish some of that
tiny continent's modern states, such as the Chech Republic, Slovakia,
Croatia and others. There is nothing evil about organising along so-called
tribal lines as long as it democratically done.

For how long are we Africans going to be held to ransom by the exigencies of
British colonial administration which necessited the carving up of a single
country out of many different nationalities, something which they had failed
to do even on their tiny British isles?

Zimbabwe needs a constitution which recognises our ethnic diversity. People
should not have to live in fear of identifying themselves as belonging to a
certain nation on pain of victimisation.

Only strong regional groupings can negotiate effectively for their share of
the national cake. Such groups can negotate with other regional groupings
and form national alliances if they hope to exercise political control at
national level. Such an environment is conducive to a lot of give and take
and would vastly increase the accountabilty of the central government.

Matebeleland has been subjected to divide and rule for way too long, which
is why we see that there is very little to show for 25 years of independence
there. Right now we see the same divide and rule tactics being used to
weaken the Karanga.

I think that provincial governors should be elected by the people and should
have real power in their provinces. More power should devolve away from the
central government towards the provinces.

I think we all need to get over this idea that there is something dirty
about being Karanga, Zezuru, Ndebele, Tonga, Ndau or Manyika. After all,
given the failure of national governance in the recent history of Zimbabwe,
where would we turn to at a time like this? Central governments wield way
too much power without giving anything back. More and more people feel like
they are being subjected to rule by a tribal clique from northern Zimbabwe.

Nationalism has worked wonders in Europe in recent years and only those who
want to stifle democratic discourse seem to think that it is a dangerous

We can still remain a united Zimbabwe while ensuring that our various ethnic
identities are not exploited by power hungry politicians.
William Masekera

Editor - For lack of anything constructive to offer the Zimbabwe nation,
Ndaba Mabhena substitutes tribalism and lies for political analysis.
Tribalism as a political platform has long been discredited. As for lies
substituting for political analysis, the best I can say is that it is a
shame that we still have people who still pride themselves in peddling this
discredited trade.
Eng. D. Mbonjani

Editor - My fellow friend, your article doesn't make it better. As I can see
and feel
in your expressions. You want the Ndebeles and the Karangas to rise against
the Shona people. You are a hypocrite of your own words and works. I am from
Bulawayo and I don't agree with you a bit. Zimbabwe is in a state to unite
the people while you and your New Zimbabwe are on the verge of causing
violence and mental tribal war.

I can read between the lines, I am Zimbabwean. I don't hate any tribe. With
your articles you going to see that you are a fool, uneducated and self
centred Ndebele who doesn't speak for all of us. The British and The
Americans got to you. If you have ever heard of " Divide and Rule ". The
British can't get that wish, the cheque you get for the article is not worth
what you put on paper. Americans and the British they " Destroy And
Rebuild". Sorry my friend your article is cheaper than Chinese products.
Only people of your calibre will do as you say. Zimbabwe is still the land
the British want to put their hands on. And that ain't happenning any time

Never in a million years will Zimbabwe be a Colony again!
Bulawayo Resident

Editor - I am not sure of the accuracy of your assertion that Karangas and
Ndebeles are the brains behind the MDC.

As a Karanga myself, I detest the Ndebele habit of viewing the white man's
methodology and ideas as the best for Zimbabwe. And for that reason, given
an option, I will rather align myself with the Zezuru kana the Ndebele.

Think within first, then you will get acceptability - Gone are the days of

Masvingo Netara................
Carpet Wezhira

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Men jailed over 'Thatcher plot' are being starved to death in jail, claims
By Christopher Munnion in Johannesburg
(Filed: 15/04/2005)

Foreigners alleged to be part of a coup plot linked to Sir Mark Thatcher are
among dozens of inmates facing death by starvation in Equatorial Guinea,
Amnesty International said yesterday.

Authorities in the notorious Black Beach prison reduced the daily food
ration in December from a cup of rice to one or two bread rolls. But since
February prisoners have been without food for up to six days at a time.

"Many are extremely weak because of torture or ill-treatment and because of
chronic illnesses," said Kolawole Olaniyan, the director of Amnesty's Africa
programme. "Unless immediate action is taken, many of those detained there
will die."

Some receive food only from relatives who hand it to the prison guards. In
the past six weeks, however, relatives, lawyers and consular officials have
been denied access to the alleged mercenaries.

The men are Armenians and South Africans alleged to have been the advance
party of a group of mercenaries led by Simon Mann, a former British SAS
officer. The group of 70 was arrested in Zimbabwe as its aircraft landed to
pick up arms. Mann was jailed for seven years, reduced to four, and the
rest, mostly apartheid-era special forces, to lesser terms.

Nick du Toit, a former South African special forces soldier and allegedly
the leader of the Equatorial Guinea advance party, at first admitted taking
part in the coup attempt but withdrew his statement claiming it was
extracted under torture.

He was jailed for 34 years after what Amnesty and other international
observers condemned as a grotesquely unfair trial. Thatcher was arrested at
his Cape Town home in connection with the Equatorial Guinea plot which was
uncovered and reported to the governments involved by the South African
intelligence service.

Lady Thatcher's son denied any knowledge of the coup attempt, saying he had
agreed to purchase a helicopter for the group. He later pleaded guilty to
helping to finance the mission and was fined £265,000 and given a four-year
suspended jail term by a South African court. He has left South Africa
having agreed to co-operate with investigators "in any way I can".

Ricardo Nfube, Equatorial Guinea's second deputy prime minister, accused
Amnesty of tarnishing his country's image. "Prisoners are not going hungry,"
he said. "We have assured their basic rights."
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'President of Rural Poverty'

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

April 14, 2005
Posted to the web April 14, 2005

Godwin Gandu

President Robert Mugabe's refusal to sign into law the controversial NGO
Bill and his pledge to compensate farmers for assets and improvements to
seized land are the result of international pressure, say observers. They
add that he is pandering to his rural constituency, whose votes handed
Zanu-PF a two-thirds majority in the March 31 parliamentary elections.

During his election sortie into rural areas, chiefs and headmen frequently
complained to the 81-year-old leader that NGOs had "deserted" them and that
hunger was stalking the hinterland.

Mugabe himself, albeit belatedly in the election campaign, acknowledged that
his country was experiencing food shortages. Several foreign relief agencies
operating in the country scaled back operations or withdrew completely,
depriving particularly rural people of humanitarian aid because of the
contentious NGO Bill.

The Bill sought to regulate NGOs which the state accused of meddling in
politics and, in its current form, bars groups from receiving foreign
funding for governance programmes.

The Standard newspaper in Zimbabwe reports that Mugabe has refused to sign
the NGO Bill because it is "too obnoxious" and has referred it back for
further consultation.

Labour Minister Paul Mangwana and Zanu-PF publicity chief Nathan Shamuyarira
have reportedly been given the task of engaging civic bodies on the Bill -- 
a move it is hoped will pave the way for NGOs to resume humanitarian work.

"Our nation has once again successfully mobilised the ballot box to repulse
imperialism and safeguard the gains of our hard-won struggle. And as always,
our rural voters were the vanguard in the sweet defence of our sovereignty,"
Mugabe told his Zanu-PF central committee last Sunday. "The rural
communities remain the most consistent, reliable and decisive pillar of
support for the party.

"Today we salute them for a battle well fought."

Mugabe's glowing tribute to his rural supporters solicited a stinging
rebuttal from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). "He should be
ashamed of himself, he is a president of rural poverty," responded MDC
spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi. "Zanu-PF has used poverty as an instrument
of coercion."

World Food Programme officials in Zimbabwe have repeatedly stated that
hunger and poverty have been compounded by the land reforms that economists
have described as "hurried and haphazard".

Now the government has indicated, through former lands minister John Nkomo,
who was this week appointed Speaker of Parliament, that it intends
compensating about 822 white farmers for assets and improvements made to
farms, but not for the land itself. A figure of £12-million (about
R139-million) has reportedly been allocated for this purpose.

Government evaluators have been appointed to determine the value of the

Economist Eric Bloch told the Mail & Guardian: "We don't know whether the
compensation is based on value when the farms were taken, or value that
includes interest to date. Would there be inflation adjusted figures for
crops that were on the ground, immovable property destroyed during the
course of the invasions and farm implements that disappeared without trace?"

The bone of contention is how government evaluators arrived at their
compensation figures.

Under the 1990 Land Acquisition Act, farmers can lodge formal complaints
with the administrative courts.

Meanwhile, former Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, who lost his
Kwekwe constituency to the MDC, was thrown a lifeline when he landed one of
the 30 parliamentary seats the Zimbabwean president is entitled to fill.
Mnangagwa, regarded as Mugabe's preferred choice as successor, fell out of
favour with the Zanu-PF old guard, who backed Joyce Mujuru as

Six Zanu-PF provincial chairpersons were suspended for attending a meeting
at Tsholotsho to aid Mnangagwa's bid for the post.

When the former speaker of Parliament, affectionately known as "Ngwena"
(crocodile), took his oath, the MDC shouted: "You are our vice-president,
Ngwena, you got six chairpersons out of 10. You were cheated and I feel
sorry for you."

When Mujuru stepped up to take her oath, the raucous opposition chided: "You
cheated mama, give it back to Mnangagwa."

Former information minister Jonathan Moyo, who won the Tsholotsho
constituency as an independent, sparked a chorus of "Tsholotsho, Tsholotsho,
Tsholotsho" chants at the swearing-in ceremony. He was allowed to take up a
prominent place on the opposition benches.

Then the opposition taunted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made -- Moyo's erstwhile allies in the Mnangagwa
camp: "Do us a favour, come and greet your friend Jonathan here among us."
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What Others Say: the Tears Never Dry Up for Africa

The Nation (Nairobi)

April 14, 2005
Posted to the web April 14, 2005


Documentary maker Hubert Sauper's latest release, Darwin's Nightmare is
leaving buckets of tears in its trail. An associate who watched a screening
at a Belgian university on Tuesday night wrote to say he was the only one in
the room who didn't cry. He's an African, and has seen worse.

The story, as told on the documentary's Web site, is that some time in the
1960s, a new animal was introduced into Lake Victoria as a little scientific
experiment - it was the Nile Perch.

The Nile Perch, a greedy predator, extinguished almost the entire stock of
the native fish species. Many East Africans know that. The Nile Perch
multiplies so fast, its white fillets are today exported all around the

However, Darwin's Nightmare mainly reveals what most of us didn't know; that
every day, vast Russian planes arrive in Mwanza airport in the north-west of

The planes bring kalashnikovs and ammunition, to feed the numerous armed
conflicts in the Great Lakes Region. The fish are simply a bonus that fill
up the planes on the flight back to Europe.

The documentary, most of it filmed secretly, makes the point that most of
the local people involved with the Nile perch have no idea about the
hardware passing through their country.

Many are grateful to the industry for the employment it provides, even as
the large number of men with a little cash in their pockets and nothing to
spend it on allows prostitution - and Aids - to flourish.

The cruelest irony is that while so much fish is exported to Europe,
Tanzania itself is struggling to avoid famine, so a secondary industry has
grown up - drying and roasting the decayed, discarded fish heads and bones.
It's these that are then sold to the locals!

You can't beat Africa in these contradictions. The Sunday Monitor in Uganda
(a sister paper of the Sunday Nation) had an article by its political
editor, Andrew Mwenda, on the belt-tightening ways of the Rwanda government.

The Kigali Government has withdrawn all luxury four-wheel drive cars from
ministers, army and other security chiefs and, unusually, foreign experts.
Cars were even taken away from State House. Now they are being sold off to
the highest bidders.

President Paul Kagame has also issued further directives to cut costs - a
ceiling on mobile phone expenses for all Government officials, and MTN
Rwanda has been ordered to cut off all their international roaming access.
The directive further puts a halt to holding workshops and seminars on
poverty reduction in posh hotels.

Meantime in Uganda, Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi appeared in Parliament on
Tuesday to reveal a new government policy on official cars.

He announced that the Cabinet had met and decided that, given the bad state
of roads, and because Toyota Prados are not very comfortable, ministers are
to get new, more expensive cars - 3,800cc Toyota Land Cruisers!

These are the things that drive anti-poverty and debt relief campaigners
like Prof Jeffrey Sachs to despair.

Kenyans will remember Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at the
University of Columbia and Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan, from a visit he made to Nairobi recently, during which he made
statements in support of Health minister Charity Ngilu's troubled health

Increasingly, the Jeffrey Sachs of this world find themselves caught between
corrupt and cynical aid agencies on one hand, and corrupt, incompetent
governments on the other.

In early March, according to the London Observer, Sachs was in Senegal,
personally distributing 3,000 anti-malarial bed nets around villages. In a
single day, he managed to distribute six times more nets than a major US aid
organisation with a budget in millions of dollars had done in three years!

Not surprisingly, people are running around even more desperately trying to
find solutions to the seemingly intractable problems of the "Dark

Madeleine Bunting, a columnist inThe Guardian, argues that religion has
occupied the vacuum left behind by dysfunctional governments, and that this
is good for Africa, because faith-based Islamic and Christian organisations
are providing services such as health, conflict resolution and education Ð
and succeeding where states have failed.

Not everyone agrees. Ebenezer Obadare, writing in The Guardian, thinks
Bunting is misguided. He argues that the sad evidence from across Africa is
that rather than encourage participation in common causes, increased
recourse to (especially muddled) spirituality is "fostering a kind of
intellectual surrender that interprets the continent's woes as part of a
providential design that helpless humans are best advised not to meddle
in -."

If an increasing number of Africans . . . are convinced that they were are
in the 'last days', where is the incentive to confront pressing [practical]
challenges, like rebuilding failed state institutions?

It gets better, when it comes to that big African embarrassment, Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe. Writes Prof Derek Brewer of the Emmanuel Master
College, in The Times of London:

Mugabe's achievements in destroying his country. . . are full of ironies.
Twenty-odd years ago, I was a member of the committee in the University of
Cambridge whose task was to suggest names for the award of an honorary
degree. I thought that it was it was high time that an important African
leader should be recognised by the university, but as I had no special
knowledge of Africa, I discreetly consulted a number of experts.

The day on which I was going to suggest Mr Kenneth Kaunda, he [threw] all
the leading members of his opposition party into jail, so that didn't work.
After more discreet consultation, a number of people of knowledge and
experience suggested with the highest encomiums Mr Robert Mugabe.

As it turned out, my proposal was rejected, but had Mr Mugabe been chosen,
might his present attitudes have been modified by such a small but not
insignificant recognition?

To which a Sandy Pritt had a reply a few days later: Since the honorary
knighthood conferred on Robert Mugabe in 1994 does not appear to have
affected his present attitude, it's unlikely than an honorary degree would
have done. Thank you.

Mr Onyango-Obbo is Nation Media Group's managing editor for Convergence and
New Products.
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Business Report

Zimbabwe unions seek solidarity as harassment mounts
April 8, 2005

By Terry Bell

Zimbabwe's government and the ruling Zanu-PF, flush with their controversial
success in last week's obviously flawed parliamentary election, have started
to focus their attention on the trade union movement.

"Rather than use this victory of circumstances to build bridges to the
unions, civil society groups and opposition parties, they are going to use
it to tighten repression," says Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Leading trade unionists, including Lovemore Matombo, the president of the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and Wellington Chibebe, its
secretary-general, have received threatening telephone calls
      "If they cannot co-opt us they intend to try to smash us"

They seem specifically to be targeted, along with Tapitha Khumalo, the
secretary of the ZCTU women's advisory council.

"They phone and say, 'Now we are going to get you'," says an official of one
of the ZCTU's 35 affiliated unions.

He adds: "The atmosphere is not so safe for us." Cosatu and the ZCTU feel
that this, in itself, justifies the pre-election protest action taken by
Cosatu and the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions at Beit Bridge.

At the time, the ZCTU predicted that the Zimbabwe government would launch
another assault on the labour movement immediately after the election. The
assessment appears to have been borne out.

That the government and ruling party should act in this way is

Although the ZCTU has been badly battered by repression and huge job losses,
the federation, with 300 000 members organised into 35 unions, remains
perhaps the largest and most cohesive organisation in the country broadly
opposed to the government.

However, it includes in its ranks members of the ruling party. As Matombo
explained recently: "We organise workers as workers; we do not discriminate
on the grounds of race, gender or religious or political belief."

It was not always so. The federation was set up in 1981 with the help of the
government and remained allied to the parliamentary powers that be until

It was then that Zanu-PF embarked on a structural adjustment programme
deemed by the unions to be "anti-worker". The tie was broken.

In a vain attempt to undermine the ZCTU, the government subsequently
established a rival body, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU).
This still exists, but mainly in name only.

When the ZFTU failed to mount a viable challenge to the ZCTU, Zanu-PF
members were not instructed to leave the ZCTU for the new federation.

The leadership of three ZCTU affiliates therefore remains in the hands of
government supporters, although the membership of these unions is divided.

Nicolas Mazarura of the construction workers' union, Langton Mugeji (leather
workers) and Farai Makanda (transport) and their supporters managed to
disrupt the two most recent monthly meetings of the ZCTU general council.

On March 18 they turned up at the meeting in Harare's Quality International
hotel with 50 chanting protesters, whom they claimed were union members
angry with the ZCTU leadership.

"They were bogus union members. None of us recognised them," says a ZCTU
official who, like all the Zimbabwe trade unionists interviewed this week,
asks not to be named.

This Wednesday a scheduled four-hour council meeting had to be abandoned
after less than an hour.

The object of the disruptions is to try to force a vote of no confidence in
the ZCTU leadership and to get next year's scheduled congress moved forward
to June this year.

This would make it impossible for the ZCTU leadership to attend the annual
meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva.

The ILO meeting would provide the Zimbabwe unionists with a powerful
platform from which to give evidence about the difficulties of trade union
organisation in Zimbabwe and about general human rights abuses.

The government also clearly does not want the bad publicity that would
result from seizing the passports of trade union leaders or otherwise
prohibiting them from going to Geneva.

"But with only three of the 44-member council in favour of this June
congress, they are not going to win," says a ZCTU official.

Which is why the tension, and the concern among trade unionists, has

"If they cannot co-opt us, they intend to try to smash us," notes a member
of the general council, who says he applauded the "solidarity action" taken
by Swazi and South African unionists as showing "we are not alone".

"That is solidarity," says Gwede Mantashe, the general secretary of the
National Union of Mineworkers, explaining that Cosatu's action was to
protest against abuses of human rights and "a revolution
gone wrong".

It was also designed to help Zanu-PF "rediscover itself".

Mantashe also dismisses yesterday's bitter attack on the picket by ANC Youth
League president Fikile Mbalula, who described Cosatu as "the West's

"He is young and ignorant," says Mantashe.
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The Zimbabwean
British journalists’ trial continues
British journalists Julian Simmons and Toby Harnden, arrested in Zimbabwe for covering the elections without government accreditation.
Credit: IWPR.
NORTON - Zimbabwean government prosecutors are pushing ahead with a criminal trial of two journalists from the London-based Sunday Telegraph on accreditation charges that could condemn the pair to two years in prison.
Toby Harnden, the newspaper’s chief foreign correspondent, and photographer Julian Simmonds who have been jailed since their arrest on March 31 at a polling station in Norton, appeared in court there on Wednesday.

Harnden and Simmonds have been charged with working without accreditation under Zimbabwe’s draconian media law, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which requires all journalists in Zimbabwe to register with the government-controlled Media and Information Commission (MIC).

The court was due to hear evidence from an immigration official who stamped their passports at Victoria Falls airport. Their lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa in a telephone interview from Harare told The Zimbabwean that the code stamped in the journalists’ passports was not clear to anyone who is not an immigration official. “They had applied for 14 days and believed they had been granted 14 days,” she said.

During the hearing last week, an immigration official conceded that the coding could be confusing to a lay person.

George Charamba, Zimbabwe’s secretary for information and publicity, told the state-run Herald newspaper last week that the two journalists would be deported. But the trial went ahead and prosecutors invoked their authority to override a magistrate’s decision granting bail to the journalists, Mtetwa said. Commentators believe the government wants to score a point and get the pair convicted before deporting them.

According to state media in Zimbabwe, hundreds of foreign journalists were accredited to cover the elections. However, dozens were also refused accreditation and accused of political bias, including all journalists from the BBC and from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The arrest has been condemned by human rights bodies.
Meanwhile the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the April 1 arrest and deportation of a correspondent for Sweden’s public broadcaster, Sveriges Television (STV). Fredrik Sperling, who is based in South Africa, was arrested in central Harare and deported, despite having been accredited to cover the elections.

Sperling told CPJ that he was brought to a police station outside Harare on March 30, after filming a large farm expropriated several years ago by the Zimbabwean government and now occupied by a relative of President Robert Mugabe. Initially released, Sperling said, he was later arrested and deported by signed order of MIC Chairman Tafataona Mahoso.

The editors-in-chief of two STV news programs sent a letter protesting Sperling’s deportation to Zimbabwe’s ambassador in Sweden. Sperling is also appealing the government’s decision to brand him a “prohibited immigrant,” which bars his re-entry into Zimbabwe.  
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The Zimbabwean

Economic crisis hits judiciary
BULAWAYO - A cheerless, elderly woman struggles on an antiquated manual
type-writer. The ribbon on the machine frequently loosens and comes off, or
the rusty keys simply stick and will not respond to any punching.
On one of the shabby walls hangs an old Victorian clock. Covered in a haze
of dust, it rests so dead that it is difficult to imagine it ever worked.

"All these files on my desk contain documents that need retyping," said
Nohlahla Sithole (not her real name), with a sweeping wave of the hand over
the old and torn files scattered on her desk.

She continued: "We are supposed to be five people doing this work, but we
are only two, and our typewriters are old and virtually useless."

Zimbabwe's five-year old economic crisis, which has forced the government to
cut spending on all public sectors - except defence, of course - is exacting
a heavy toll on the judiciary process across the country.

Magistrates and staff like Sithole must not only make do with lack of
resources, they must also contend with poor salaries - a situation that has
led to a huge brain drain from the justice system, as state prosecutors and
magistrates resign and take up better-paying jobs in the private sector or

The backlog of cases continues to rise because there are not enough
magistrates to hear cases and, more worrying, corruption is fast creeping
into the system as rich criminals offer cash to sway cases in their favour.

"There is a shortage of staff in all departments here, and that is impacting
negatively on the justice system," said one magistrate, speaking anonymously
for professional reasons.

"The real problem is that we are poorly paid. Prosecutors are also resigning
each and every day. Currently, there are five instead of eight of them," he

He gave as example a case where a fellow magistrate was two weeks ago unable
to hand down judgment in the inquest into the death of the late national
heroine, Joanna Mafuyane Nkomo, because the judgment had not been

"There was simply no one to transcribe the judgment," he said. "We are
supposed to have 10 transcribers but we only have two. So my brother
magistrate had to postpone the matter."

Opening the legal year in Bulawayo, High Court Judge President Paddington
Garwe called on the Ministry of Justice to urgently address the situation -
or the wheels of justice would grind to a halt, he warned.

Garwe said, "Magistrates and judges in both Bulawayo and Harare continue to
abandon their jobs because they are unhappy with their salaries. This has
resulted in the country losing some of the best legal brains crucial to our
justice system, and I think it is time the government acted to stop this

For Sithole, a higher salary would obviously be most welcome - but the
typist would also no doubt be very grateful for a new electric typewriter.
It would certainly make her life a lot easier.
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The Zimbabwean
Humanitarian crisis looms
The 'land reform' has seen the collapse of the agricultural industry.
Credit K Kay
It is now slowly dawning on people in Zimbabwe (and hopefully our leaders) that we are in the midst of a new storm in the form of a serious food and humanitarian crisis, perhaps the worst since our independence in 1980.
The shortages of all basic foods we highlighted a few weeks ago are gathering momentum and have now reached serious proportions. Panic buying is not helping but it must be emphasized that this is not the cause of the present situation. At its heart are three main factors – a very poor season in the south of the country (some areas have crops), the critical shortage of foreign exchange to import from alternative sources and the very reduced capacities of our transport systems.

To these main factors you could add the total absence of stocks and reserves of any kind and the poor state of support mechanisms through the NGO and multilateral aid systems. The latter is mainly due to the decision by the state, for political reasons, to clamp down on all such humanitarian aid and organisations so as to force the rural population to vote for the ruling party in the recent election. Even child feeding schemes have been stopped by state intervention in some areas.

So we face a year (the crop marketing season runs from the 1st of April to the 31st March) with an estimated maize crop of barely 400 000 tonnes – half of last year’s estimated crop. We also expect soybean production to be sharply down - this is a crucial source of vegetable oils and protein. Milk and meat production is down and all forms of food for human consumption, including vegetables, are in short supply and very expensive.

We are faced with the need to import about 2 million tonnes of basic foods at a total cost of US$1 billion. This import bill can barely be covered by total exports, which are still falling and are not expected to exceed US$1,1 billion this year.

Just as big a hurdle will be getting the stuff here and the transport system will have to handle about 36 000 tonnes of food a week to meet demand. This is equal to 30 trains a week or 1000 road trucks a week – an ambitious target for a transport network that is not even coping with present demands.

In 1992, when we had the last serious food shortages due to the complete failure of the rains that year, we had a very competent team at the GMB and a railway network that was running up to 60 trains a day on the Zimbabwe system.

Rensen Gasela (then the Manager of the GMB and now the MDC shadow Minister of Agriculture) and his Chairman (now governor of the Midlands Province) were able to secure adequate supplies of food from abroad with a little help from our friends and the use of strategic reserves of foreign exchange. No such comfort exists today.

The GMB is in the hands of political management – much of it drawn from the armed forces who know little about what they are supposed to be doing. We have no friends abroad anymore and we have no reserves of anything.

So it is difficult to see how the state is going to cope with this new crisis. There are no signs of a plan in place and they are unlikely to find much succor in the arms of the US and the United Kingdom - who were the major donors the last time we had such shortages.
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The Zimbabwean

Zim propaganda targets SA
LONDON - Worried about the impact of The Zimbabwean on communities in the
Diaspora, the Zimbabwe government has hastily dispatched the editor of The
Herald, Pikirayi Deketeke, scurrying to South Africa to negotiate printing
and distribution contacts for state-owned mouthpiece.
This move comes in the wake of the increasing popularity of The Zimbabwean
throughout Zimbabwe - where demand exceeds supply every Friday, despite an
increase in the number of copies being sent in from 10 000 to 15 000, as
well as its successful penetration of the South African and Botswana

Only two months old this week, The Zimbabwean has been acclaimed
internationally as a 'professionally-produced' newspaper of record and a
'decent read', which makes a vital stand for press freedom among
information-hungry Zimbabweans in the diaspora as well as at home.

The launch of the paper's website two weeks ago has attracted widespread
attention with the number of readers mushrooming from 10 000 in the first
week to nearly 80 000 last week. The site is easily and quickly accessible
from Zimbabwe, thanks to the specialized technical solutions provided by The
Guardian Foundation and Kitsite.

We are planning to launch a North American edition soon for Zimbabweans in
Canada and the United States in response to increasing enquiries from that

The paper has been denounced in Zimbabwe several times since its launch by
the government of the day and its agencies, including the Media and
Information Commission (which licenses journalists and newspapers) and the
ZimPapers group.

The Deketeke trip denotes a second attempt by the Zimbabwean government to
set up a newspaper in the neighbouring country. The first - a joint
initiative with the Namibian Government spearheaded by Jonathan Moyo late
last year - was an unmitigated disaster which left many unpaid bills and
irate businessmen in South Africa.

Despite the fact that the government has disenfranchised its sizeable
population in the diaspora, the latest move would seem to indicate that it
is still keen to win their hearts and minds.
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The Zimbabwean

Zim group meets US policy makers
WASHINGTON, DC - A group of Zimbabweans in the United States yesterday met
with House of Representatives officials and Congressmen on Capitol Hill.
A spokesman for the group told The Zimbabwe that they had been working for
several months to schedule the top-level meetings with American decision

"Our objective is to tell them loudly and clearly that a leopard does not
change its spots - and that Mugabe will never abandon his lust for power,"
said the spokesman.

"The elections have come and gone. Opinions are flying left, right and
center on whether or not these elections were free and fair."

At the time of going to press, the group was scheduled to meet with members
of the House of Representatives at 1:00pm and with Congressman Hensarling in
his office at 3:00pm. The Zimbabwean will carry a full report of these
meetings in next week's issue.
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The Zimbabwean

Forward to people power
POLITICS loves a vacuum; if you don't fill it with hope, it will be filled
with fear. What a pity that the MDC and civil society have not used this
philosophy as a guiding light.
Perhaps the reality is that we must build a base outside of political
parties, and create a powerful people's movement where zvido zvevanhu (not
politicians' ambitions) direct our activities.

In many different countries around the world, it has been organised 'people
power' that has eventually removed dictatorships.

We have often spoken of the need to look further than the symbol on the
ballot paper and to engage more personal responsibility in selecting our MPs
or representatives, based on their integrity, insight and commitment to
community, as well as broader areas of concern.

At this time we as individuals need to dig deep and find our own inspiration
and motivation for challenging injustice and intolerance. This often means
that we have to become our own leaders. We need to lead by personal example,
whether by organising small house meetings to discuss challenging the
regime, or making and distributing our own leaflets, or standing up to
institutional repression by refusing to pay taxes in any form (income tax,
levies, licences, and so on).

We cannot go face-to-face with an enemy that has all the State machinery at
its disposal, so we must work with stealth, like a thief at night. Jambanja
is not an option, but we have an obligation to neutralise the machinery that
is used to enslave and impoverish us. Any institution that doesn't work for
the people is against the people.

The MDC made a big effort to demonstrate that it was consulting both its
members and 'the people' on whether they wanted the party to participate in
the election. If they could do such broad consulting then, we expect them to
be doing the same at this crucial time. They must put in the effort to find
out what their members really want, instead of just assuming kuti vanoziva
zvido zvedu! Having our vote stolen for the third time is no joke, Mr
Tsvangirai. We deserve better.
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The Zimbabwean

Pope chastised Mugabe for abuses
LONDON - POPE John Paul II officially protested against President Robert
Mugabe's human rights abuses in a forthright message two years ago, The
Zimbabwean can reveal.
In May 2003 the Pope welcomed Zimbabwe's new ambassador, H E Kelebert
Nkomani, to the Holy See. Usually marked by diplomatic niceties and general
observations the Holy Father on this occasion was more sparing of such

He made a scathing attack on Mugabe's land redistribution programme pointing
out such measures was fraught with complexity. ".It is an error to think
that any real benefit or success will come simply by expropriating large
landholdings, dividing them into smaller production units and distributing
them to others."

In his message, the Pope appears to have questioned Mugabe's Christian
values and leadership, and made reference to the Gukurahundi massacres
committed by his North Korean-trained shock troops a few years after

The Pontiff openly chastised Mugabe for corruption, violent land
redistribution and gross human rights violations.

Although somewhat shrouded in ecclesiastical diplomacy, the still-striking
message, sent via Nkomani, said in part: "The key questions no longer
concern territorial sovereignty - borders and jurisdiction over certain land
areas - even if in some parts of the world this remains a problem. By and
large, the threats to stability and peace in the world today are extreme
poverty, social inequalities, political corruption and abuse of authority,
ethnic tensions, the absence of democracy, the failure to respect human

Pope John Paul II, credited for championing the demise of communism, warned
Mugabe against segregation and corruption, warning him these were
ingredients for poor governance. Mugabe has favoured rabid war veterans and
supporters at the expense of the general populace.

The Pope warned: "Utmost vigilance is therefore called for in safeguarding
the rights and protecting the welfare of all citizens. Public authorities
must refrain from exercising partiality, preferential treatment or selective
justice in favour of certain individuals or groups; this ultimately
undermines the credibility of those charged with governing."

The Pope also used the opportunity to lecture Mugabe on land redistribution.
War veterans and Zanu (PF) supporters murdered at least eight white
commercial farmers and displaced thousands of farm workers in 2000/2001 in a
violent campaign that enjoyed Mugabe's tacit support. The new farmers have
failed to sustain agricultural production, plunging the once-productive
country into famine.

Pope John Paul II told Mugabe: "There are, first of all, matters of justice
to be considered, with due weight being given to the various claims of land
ownership, the right to land use and the common good. Moreover, if land
redistribution is to offer a practical and sustainable response to serious
economic and social problems in a given country, the process must continue
to develop over time and must ensure that the necessary infrastructures are
in place. Finally, and no less important, indispensable for the success of
an agrarian reform is that it should be in full accord with national
policies and those of international bodies."

The Pontiff also cautioned Mugabe against denying his people the right to
vote. About 3,4 million Zimbabweans have left Zimbabwe over the past years
but have been denied the right to vote.

The Pope said: "Feelings of disenfranchisement or of being unjustly treated
only serve to foment tension and discord." And in apparent reference to the
Gukurahundi massacres, the Pope advised Mugabe: "Justice must be made
available to all if the injuries of the past are to be left behind and a
brighter future built. Insofar as the authentic common good prevails, the
fundamental causes of civil strife will disappear."
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The Zimbabwean

What now, MDC?
Post elections - what now? Zanu (PF)'s proclaimed election victory served to
expose a fundamental weakness - achieving legitimacy with the international
This was one of the points put forward by Albert Musarurwa, chairman of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, speaking at the regular Monday night
Zimbabwe Forum in London last week.

To achieve such legitimacy, Zanu (PF) would be seeking re-admittance to the
Commonwealth and re-opening dialogue with the British government, he said.
Achieving legitimacy would also open the way to Zanu (PF) receiving
essential funding for their land programme.

Zanu (PF) would also try to win the MDC's co-operation by offering seats in
the newly created Senate. Mr Musarurwa felt this might cause friction in MDC

He was concerned that the election results had left MDC in disarray, with no
plan for the way forward. However, the MDC had strengths they could call on,
including strong urban support. He said the ruling party now had a poor
support base, as demonstrated by the low voter turnout, high number of
spoilt papers and the disenfranchisement of the diaspora.

MDC should refuse to take part in the parliamentary process until essential
conditions on democracy and human rights were met.

Mr Musarurwa felt that SADC and South African approval of the election
process would leave the region with serious difficulties, particularly in
regard to economic recovery and human-rights issues.

The MDC Zimbabwe Forum, run by MDC Central London Branch, is open to all:
Mondays 7.30 pm at the George, Fleet Street, London (opp. Royal Courts of
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The Zimbabwean

Taking the next step
The MDC faces many challenges when considering their next step. We can
suggest a few things:
Mass action does not need to be violent - always refer to 'non-violent
collective action'. Mass action does not need to be a protest. It could be a
prayer vigil, a rally, a public meeting, or a music concert. For example,
Morgan Tsvangirai could light a candle for peace post-election, or pay his
respects to the Pope at the Cathedral. He could encourage MDC supporters to
join him at the Cathedral in prayer. These are statesman-like acts that will
enhance his stature, while at the same time building confidence so that
Zimbabweans will turn out.

Consider using 'disarming' tactics. So (to take further the previous example
of lighting a candle) this could include an invitation to Robert Mugabe.

Organise a big "come meet your MP after election" gathering (defy Posa!) .

Boycotts are another form of non-violent collective actions.

People need to hear more from the MDC. MPs should organise meetings to
re-connect with the people in their constituencies and ask for ideas and
suggestions, and the party should put out Press statements.

Be consultative, not kudzvinyirira - welcome constructive criticism

We suggest a step-by-step escalation in a non-violent campaign, always
bearing in mind the following:

. Investigation and research: checking facts and allegations, building an
airtight case against opponents and preparing for counter charges.

. Public forums: letters to editor, etc. Basic public education on issues.

. Picketing, leafleting, etc: public contact with both supporters and

. Demonstrations, rallies, marches: show of strength by maximizing numbers.

. Limited strike: involving those immediately affected (teachers, for

. Boycott: against any relevant company or product

. Limited non-cooperation: by those most immediately affected (makombi
drivers, for example).

. Mass actions: non-cooperation, civil disobedience, direct action.

. General national strike: countrywide stay away to shut down the economy
(longer than one day).

. Establish a parallel government so that we are no longer controlled by the
small dictator.
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The Zimbabwean

How the results were rigged
The following comprehensive report on wide-scale rigging of the 2005
election was compiled using information provided by the very people who were
polling officers, but who fear for their lives if their identities are made
public. They are teachers and civil servants who were paid and asked to
leave their polling stations immediately after the count had been done. This
is their first hand account.
At 7.00 pm the polls closed and the presiding officers of each polling
station were required to advise the total numbers of people who voted and of
would-be voters turned away. This information was conveyed by radio or
telephone to the constituency office and then to the National Logistics
Committee (NLC) in Harare. By 7.30 pm most presiding officers around the
country were ready and waiting to begin the count.

The counting procedures continued across the country once the presiding
officers were authorised to proceed. In most cases the count did not take
long, because on average there were only a few hundred ballots to count at
each polling station. The results were conveyed by radio or phone to
constituency offices, and thereafter to the NLC.

Once results started trickling in, alarm bells began ringing for Zanu (PF).
The MDC was set for a comprehensive victory. The ruling party had never
anticipated the possibility of an upset, particularly in its traditional
rural strongholds. When it was suddenly was confronted with this reality,
its problem became one of how to turn an embarrassing defeat into fraudulent

A quick solution had to be found fast. The first move was to stop further
counting and announcement of results. It is known that around 3 or 4 am on
Friday a message was relayed nationally over police radio instructing all
presiding officers to stop the count and announcement of the voting figures.
They were to await specific authorisation from their superiors within the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) before proceeding.

Presiding officers in the majority of polling stations across the country,
and those waiting with them to confirm the count, could do nothing except
await further instructions. In some cases that further instruction from the
command centre only came many hours later - in at least one instance as late
as 2.00 am the following morning. The delays were in fact a breach of the
Electoral law. Failure to post the results of the count in each polling
station on public view was also a blatant violation of Section 64 (2) of the
Electoral Act.

The regime had a very good reason for delaying the count in most stations.
During this time they were conducting a sample survey of the voting patterns
from selected polling stations where results had come in. With these
figures, they knew roughly how many additional ballots were required to turn
each defeat into victory for their candidates. Where the sample results
indicated a deficiency of Zanu (PF) votes - which, it transpired, was the
case in the great majority of constituencies, the matter could be easily
remedied. A simple calculation would indicate how many additional ballots
were required for the losing Zanu (PF) candidate - one phone call or radio
message to the constituency centre or ZEC command centre was sufficient.

This worked in all areas except those urban constituencies in which the MDC
had an effective communication network with its agents on the ground and the
MDC had such a massive lead and ability to prevent ballot stuffing that it
would have been impossible to stage a Zanu (PF) win without stretching
credibility well beyond breaking point.

To understand how Zanu (PF) could get away with this fraud one must
appreciate how much the MDC election agents were disadvantaged. At every
polling station they were in a tiny minority, either having been barred by
Zanu (PF) activists from getting to the polling stations or prevented from
monitoring by ZEC officials who insisted that MDC agents should bring a copy
of the newspaper printout listing their names as agents. In many instances
they were locked up, locked out and prevented from using their cell phones.

The only daily with a national circulation, the Herald, had, prior to the
election, refused to publish the list of MDC agents. As result of this
setback, the MDC was forced to publish the names of its 24 000 agents in the
Daily Mirror and the weekly Financial Gazette, papers whose circulation is
limited to the main urban centres of Harare and Bulawayo and whose print run
is very limited. A significant number of rural polling stations, therefore,
had no MDC election agents.

Reports from around the country indicate that time and again the opposition
representatives were hassled, restricted and frequently shut out of the
polling stations altogether for significant periods of time. Quite enough
time for the Zanu (PF) team to take instructions from central command, write
out additional ballots and slip them into the box. And at no time was the
exclusion of MDC election agents from the polling stations more rigorously
enforced than when the early "sample surveys" were being done. Some
candidates themselves were excluded from participating in the count! In many
instances MDC agents were locked up after the count for several hours, and
they were banned from using cell phones and all other means of

Added to this was the poor means of communication from the polling stations,
particularly in remote parts of the country, where the only means of
communication was through radios. There were times when MDC agents were
effectively cut off from the outside world altogether. What this meant was
that in most cases, they had no means of verifying if the figures reaching
the constituency centres were the same figures they had signed for at the
polling stations.

One would also ask where the additional Zanu (PF) ballots appeared from. The
answer is quite simple. Presiding officers had access to spare ballot
papers. The voter turnout has been so low and there were plenty of names
left that could be crossed off. A ballot could be completed, a "ghost" name
struck off the register, and when the MDC polling agent was either looking
the other way or physically removed from the station, a whole bunch of Zanu
(PF) ballots dropped in the box. There were, it is true, a number of irate
MDC polling agents, and complaints of irregularities were sure to follow -
but these could be dealt with in the courts in due course.

There was one unforeseen glitch, which gave the whole game away. On state
television and radio the Chief Electoral Officer, who was probably not put
into the picture about the unfolding plot soon enough, had started to read
out the initial results about total votes cast on Friday 2 am, nine hours
after voting had ended. The CEO, Lovemore Sekeramayi, announced, for each
constituency, the number of votes cast and the number turned away. At one
point the senior ZEC representative said that the results given represented
the position at 7.30 p.m. - that is 30 minutes after the close of the polls.
He got as far as reading out the results for 72 of the 120 constituencies
when, inexplicably, he stopped - almost in midsentence. No further results
were ever again announced of votes cast.

This single serious blunder provided clear and irrefutable evidence of Zanu
(PF)'s perfidy. Once the ZEC had completed their reading of all the results,
giving the "official" numbers of votes for both main parties, the MDC could
ascertain, by a simple calculation, the true number of votes cast for each
candidate and the number of Zanu (PF) votes stuffed in the ballot boxes in
each one of the 72 constituencies.

MDC had the following information for these constituencies (all ZEC's own
(1) The total number of votes cast;
(2) The number of votes for their candidate (working on the safe assumption
that ZEC would not increase the number of ballots cast in favour of the
(3) The number of votes said to belong to Zanu (PF).

Accepting (1) and (2) as true figures, subtract (2) from (1) and you have
the true number of votes for Zanu (PF) - which in most cases was
considerably lower than (3). The difference between this (true) Zanu (PF)
number of votes and (3) represents the number of bogus votes stuffed in the
ballot boxes by compliant presiding officers. The fraud is out, and for all
to see. There can be no denying that Zanu (PF) have been caught red-handed.

To which we can add that, using this windfall information and the results
declared for MDC, it is possible to calculate by a simple matter of
arithmetic, that the absolute minimum of seats actually won by the
opposition is 62. Again we would emphasise that this is the most careful and
conservative figure and represents the absolute minimum of seats secured by
the MDC. Yet even the figure of 62 seats proves two simple facts of enormous

(1) Zanu (PF) did not obtain the two thirds majority in parliament they
crave and worked so hard - and so dishonestly - to obtain, and;
(2) MDC secured the majority of the popular vote which was their target -
62seats(minimum) out of 120 contested seats.

The problem for Zanu (PF) this time around is that whilst some of the ZEC
officials were hand-picked by the regime from the military and the civil
service for their known loyalty to and compliance with Zanu (PF), some of
them it seems were not in on the full plot. We await with interest Zanu (PF)'s
response to this exposure as well as comment from the SADC and South African
government observer teams, which have already pronounced the elections as
free and fair.
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The Zimbabwean

Musarurwa addresses Zim Forum
Post elections - what now? Zanu (PF)'s proclaimed election victory served to
expose a fundamental weakness - achieving legitimacy with the international
community. This was one of the points put forward by Albert Musarurwa,
chairman of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, speaking at the regular
Monday night Zimbabwe Forum in London.
To achieve this legitimacy, Zanu (PF) would be seeking re-admittance to the
Commonwealth and reopening dialogue with the British Government. Achieving
legitimacy would also open the way to Zanu (PF) receiving essential funding
for their land programme. The ruling party would try to entice the MDC's
co-operation by offering seats in the newly created senate. Mr Musarurwa
felt this might cause severe dissension in MDC ranks.

He was concerned that the election results had left MDC in disarray with no
plan on the way forward. However the MDC had strengths they could call on.
They should refuse to take part in the parliamentary process until essential
conditions on democracy and human rights were met. The international
community would insist on similar conditions before agreeing to any
legitimacy of the regime. He listed other MDC strengths including strong
urban support and the poor support base for Zanu (PF) following the low
voter turnout, spoilt papers and the disenfranchisement of the diaspora.

Mr Musarurwa also felt that SADC and South Africa's approval of the
Zimbabwean election process would leave the region with serious
difficulties, particularly economic recovery and human rights issues.

It was essential the MDC found strategies to mobilise people and raise
levels of consciousness.

*The MDC Zimbabwe Forum is run by MDC Central London Branch. It is open to
all and covers all Zimbabwean issues. Mondays, 7.30 pm, at the George, Fleet
Street, London (opposite the Royal Courts of Justice).
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The Zimbabwean

One Zanuman, one vote
WARD 12, PARIRENYATWA HOSPITAL, HARARE - Like I predicted, and I'm always
right, the new Chinese pills have disappeared already. They came to an end
together with the end of the voting process.
When I tried to vote, they said my name did not appear on the voters' roll
so I wasn't allowed to choose who should govern Zimbabwe for the next five
years. I tried to tell the young man who was in charge of the rolls that
everybody knows Magaisa Ibenzi. I even showed my ID. I even showed him a
copy of last week's newspaper with my name in it. But he just said:
"Usandinetse mdara. Ibva pano." (Don't bother me old man. Go away.)

I told the young man that long before he was even born, in the days when Ian
Smith was running this country and Mai Boy was very much in love with me, we
used to fight for one man one vote. Now with Mugabe in power, thanks to that
very same one man one vote, things have changed. It seems it is now one
Zanuman, one vote - the rest haven't got a chance.

When I came back to the hospital, I sat outside watching the cars speeding
along Second Street and I started to think hard - which is what I always do
when I'm upset by these little upstarts, who think they know everything
because they were born yesterday.

I remember things that this young man doesn't even know. I remember the days
when this country used to import labour from Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and
even as far as Tanzania. They used to come here by foot, by bicycle, by
train. But now Zimbabwe is the biggest exporter of labour in the region.

I remember the days when this country used to export food. Now we are
starving. We are a net importer of the most basic foodstuffs.

One thing that young man might remember is that this country used to lead
democracies in the early eighties. In fact I remember very well, almost like
yesterday, when Mugabe's government drafted the Harare Declaration - and I
remember very well that it was Stan Mudenge as minister of foreign affairs
who presided over the suspension of Nigeria because the military were
running things there, just the way they are now doing here.

The irony does not escape Magaisa (actually, very little escapes Magaisa -
even without the Chinese medicine) that it was in Nigeria where Zimbabwe was
suspended from the Commonwealth. Mugabe's ego was so badly dented by this
turning of the tables that he then went one step further than even Nigeria
had been - and he withdrew our country from the Commonwealth, further into
isolation as a pariah state bereft of any friends - except of course for
Mbeki. And with friends like him . who needs enemies?

I also remember the days when world leaders used to visit our country
regularly. It became quite a nuisance because traffic was disrupted by this
or that head of state on a state visit.

And if it wasn't a state visit here it was our president going on a state
visit to somewhere - or to collect another honorary doctorate (via London of
course so that Mai Chatunga could do her grocery at Harrods). The policemen
were always standing at the roadside to clear traffic for the convoy to

How times have changed. Now he has to gatecrash a funeral in order to travel
abroad and force himself into a seat among the world leaders who don't want
to see him - where once he was welcomed with open arms for his skillful
statesmanship and eloquent promises of reconciliation.

Now he is reviled as the head of a thievocracy and a master election
fraudster. And that young thug has the nerve to tell me, the one with white
hair, "ibva pano". What kind of education are we giving our young people
that he doesn't even know me - chiramba kusakara? (Forever young.)
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The Zimbabwean

The way things once worked
Continuing our occasional series, recalling the way things once worked in
A couple of weeks ago, the subject of this column was our formerly
apolitical civil service. I well remember also how the police, the military
and the judiciary were once believed to be the servants of the people, not
of the political party that happened to be in power. Never mind that before
Independence there was a lot of aggravation about the fact that 'the people'
were, in the main, white people and they had the power. They voted their
people into the legislative assembly and the winning party chose its prime
minister, who in turn appointed his cabinet. All very tidy.

This system of governance was adopted more or less intact by the new rulers
after Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) took their seats in Parliament. There
was no immediate rush to push the top men in the police, the military or the
judiciary out of office, even though they were not, at the start anyway, the
chosen nominees of a party of nationalists and former freedom fighters.

Change came slowly, but surely - as this week's ZWNews article by 'Benedict
Unendoro' shows - to the people of the Zezuru clan, to which Robert Mugabe
belongs. It is a matter of totems. Even so, the hierarchies - top men,
deputies, subordinates - of all ranks have remained structurally intact. The
trouble is, now they owe their jobs to their party affiliation, and even
more to their loyalty to the party leader.

If you call a policeman when your car is being ripped out of your garage on
a dark night, he is expected to arrest the thief, not beat and bully the
victim because of the victim's willingness to defend an opposition-party
member in a court of law. Ask the brave and entirely proper lawyer, Beatrice

When the military arm themselves expensively with all manner of weaponry,
transport, aircraft - you name it - this is supposed to make you feel safe
from attack by your country's enemies. Only in dire circumstances of public
disorder is the army brought out to restore order. Certainly, it is not the
job of soldiers to punish newspaper editors or their reporters. Recompense
has come too late for ..?? Mark Chavunduka, but .???Ray Choto will remember
the torture chamber for the rest of his life. This sentence is not really
clear to a new comer - are they journalists tortured? Perhaps take out?

As for the judiciary. Ah! The judiciary. the last hope for justice, even
after the police or the army have acted ultra vires the Constitution. Once
upon a time, you could look to the judges to exercise their wisdom, sitting
on those High Court benches. If the worst came to the worst, you might even
appeal to the Supreme Court. Those people knew the law; they knew the

When the late Enoch Dumbutshena was on the bench (and long before he became
Zimbabwe's Chief Justice, renowned throughout the continent and in the
civilized world as a man of absolute integrity), he was not afraid of the
political party whose leader had appointed him. That became his problem. He
was not given a farm as a reward for loyalty to political bosses. In fact,
he lost his farm because, on his retirement, he was cast out for the sin of
leading an opposition political party, the Forum for Democratic Reform.

Today's judges are given farms and they are not always in a position to make
proper judgments as a result. Think of the case of Mr Nicholson whose farm
was taken away, quite without reason he believed; illegally, in fact. He
appealed to the courts. No hope there. I quote from the Telegraph of
February 12: "Mr Nicholson's defence was to cite the Constitution, which
guarantees a fair trial. His lawyer, Rodney Makavsi, argued that several
judges had been 'beneficiaries' of Mr Mugabe's largesse. Judge Matema threw
out the argument, saying it was 'frivolous, vexatious and bordering on

Although not 'frivolous' for the dispossessed farmer, I suppose it was
pretty contemptuous. That is the trouble. Party-political judges open
themselves to contempt.

Things certainly worked better when policemen, soldiers and judges were
allowed to get on with the job without fear of joining the unemployed,
penniless dwellers of shacks in liberated Zimbabwe.
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The Zimbabwean

Nothing to celebrate
Next Monday is Zimbabwe's 25th Independence anniversary. Normally this would
have been an occasion of great joy and celebration.
Certainly, 25 years ago, when Zimbabwe was born, there was great
excitement - and great hope. We all expected that Robert Mugabe would take
good care of new baby Zimbabwe. Certainly he made all the right noises -
talking of reconciliation and forgiveness - and took the right steps -
forming a government of national until with representatives from Zapu and
the Rhodesian Front in his cabinet.

He even had weekly meetings with Ian Smith. Zimbabwe was seen as a beacon of
hope for the oppressed peoples of southern Africa in particular. Zimbabweans
who had left the country in search of freedom and opportunities unshackled
by racism, returned home in their thousands. We held our heads high in those
days. The shiny new green passport was a treasure to be coveted.

Other presidents in the region, such as Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, were
envious of the jewel Mugabe had inherited. "Look after it," Nyerere told
him. Twenty-five years later - where is that jewel.

Zimbabwe is a land where hospitals have no drugs, schools have no books,
grinding mills have no maize. The economy has been wrecked. Factories have
closed down. Unemployment is rife. Power cuts, shortages of all staples,
including water, are the order of the day. Worst of all, the people live in
constant fear - fear of their own government and its agencies.

But the government blames everybody except themselves - the British, the
drought, imaginary sanctions. There have always been droughts - but in the
past these have been managed. There was always a plan. We never starved
before. This time there is no plan, no hope, no future.

The exodus is of a magnitude that has never been seen before - even during
the war. The green passport, once such a source of pride, is now an
embarrassment - worse, it is a handicap.

As April 18 looms, only a very small circle of the well-connected who have
grown fat on 25 years of Independence - are planning a celebration. The rest
of us have nothing to celebrate.
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The Zimbabwean

Despair and disbelief as prices soar
Dear Family and Friends,

Feelings of despair and disbelief persist a week after Zimbabwe's elections.
I still have a faint pink stain on the sides and under the nail of the
little finger of my left hand. This is a remnant of the ink which was used
to mark me as having voted and when I look at the stain now, I can hardly
believe how quickly elation and hope were replaced with anger and betrayal
as the results were announced.

Every day since the elections the state media has crowed about peace,
democracy and political maturity but they have said nothing about 3 million
Zimbabweans living outside the country who were not allowed to vote or a
tenth of the voters inside the country who were turned away when they got to
polling stations on March 31.

Every news bulletin begins with a countdown of how many days are left before
the 25th anniversary of independence and democracy in the country. But the
reports that follow do not tell of the 257 unarmed women of WOZA who were
arrested for praying nor why such an act was indicative of, in their words,
"a mature democracy".

In the week that followed the election result, the huge sense of
disappointment has been almost too much to bear. The MDC took many days to
find their voice and when they did it was to say they had evidence showing
massive electoral fraud and figures, which displayed huge numerical
discrepancies in more than 30 constituencies.

The government of course disputed the claims and the bulk of the South
African observers had already made their claims of peace and freedom and so
nothing has changed.

We have heard all this before, been there, done that and got the T shirt.
None of this gives ordinary Zimbabweans hope. Neither the outrage of the MDC
nor the arrogant crowing of Zanu (PF) has done a thing to actually help
ordinary Zimbabweans this week.

It hasn't put medicines back in hospitals, kids back in schools, food on our
tables or clothes on our backs. Since the elections the prices of basic
goods have increased by between 50 and 100%. Margarine, sugar and cooking
oil have disappeared from the shelves and petrol queues have started again.

Across the country many thousands of people made so many sacrifices this
last fortnight, giving so much and showing such courage as they worked for
democracy and now the feeling of betrayal is palpable. Along with millions
of others, I watched the funeral of Pope John Paul the second this week and
his life-long call to oppressed people to not be afraid is most apt for
Zimbabweans struggling to see hope and light this week.

Until next time with love, Ndini Shamwari Yenyu.
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The Zimbabwean

400 000 on the brink of starvation
This week's section of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in
Zimbabwe report on violence in the 1980s, focuses on the activity of 5
Brigade which was deployed in Matabeleland North in January 1983 and in
Matabeleland South in January 1984.
By the end of April 1983 the curfew had been lifted. 5 Brigade also changed
their behaviour and the mass killings stopped. Random killings and beatings
on a small scale continued throughout the year, except for a month midyear
when 5 Brigade was withdrawn for retraining.

In January 1984, 5 Brigade was deployed in Matabeleland South. Once more
this coincided with a strict curfew. However, this time the curfew was
strictly applied to food supplies, in addition to restrictions on transport
and movement around the region. It was the third successive year of drought
and people had no food apart from drought relief from donors and what they
could buy in stores. All drought relief food was stopped and all stores were

The government's reasoning was that if there was no food the dissidents
would starve. However, there were no more than 200 dissidents in the curfew
region and it was the 400 000 civilians who suffered most. They were brought
to the brink of complete starvation.

5 Brigade used a more sophisticated strategy to intimidate the civilian
population in 1984. In addition to the food curfew, thousands of civilians
were detained and transported to large detention centres where they were
then tortured. This meant that beatings and killings in the village setting
were less common than before. In these big camps people did not know each
other, which makes it hard to work out how many people were affected at this

At Bhalagwe camp in Matobo District several thousand civilians were detained
at any one time and there were daily deaths in this camp. The dead were
thrown down Antelope Mine and, in 1992, bones were taken out of the
mineshaft. People in the region claim there are many other mines with bones
in them.

Late in 1984, 5 Brigade was withdrawn for intensive retraining. When it was
redeployed the soldiers seemed to behave much better. The proof of this is
that there are few complaints against 5 Brigade on record after 1984. This
makes it difficult to say where the soldiers were deployed in 1985 and what
they were doing. The last recorded complaint against 5 Brigade is that
soldiers tortured several groups of young men at Dhlamini Rest Camp in late

In 1986, 5 Brigade was finally withdrawn and had conventional military
training under the British Military Advisory Team. The Brigade was then
disbanded and its members attached to other brigades.

Not every member of 5 Brigade took part in the atrocities. There was a
commander in Lupane who refused to commit atrocities, and others who on rare
occasions apologised for bad deeds by the men under their command. There are
also several reports of ex-members of 5 Brigade who are now severely
troubled by the deeds they committed. Some have tried to approach
communities they harmed to seek forgiveness. However, victims have so far
not felt in a position to forgive what happened.

People who support the government's use of 5 Brigade against civilians say
that this strategy 'brought peace very, very quickly' (Lt Col Lionel Dyke,
commander of Paratroopers, 1983-1984). This implies that without the massive
killings and beatings of civilians the dissidents would not have been
brought under control. This argument is not supported by events. There were
actually more murders by dissidents after 5 Brigade was withdrawn than
before. 5 Brigade made the situation worse in every way. It was not 5
Brigade, but the signing of a political agreement, the Unity Accord, that
brought an end to the violence.

One of the saddest outcomes of the 1980s violence is that people in
Matabeleland believe themselves to have been the target of a war not against
dissidents, but against the Ndebele and Zapu. This was the result of the 5
Brigade being Shona-speaking, and targeting any Ndebele-speakers, including
women and children. The members of the 5 Brigade would say things like 'all
Ndebeles are dissidents'. Rapes were seen as an attempt to create a
generation of Shona babies.

While 5 Brigade failed to change people's support for Zapu, which was
re-elected in 1985 in Matabeleland, people were very clear that they were
also being targeted for political reasons. People who talk about 5 Brigade
now will often say: 'You can never have another political party in Zimbabwe
or you will be punished'. This is the message they have learnt.

People also remain afraid that the violence of the 1980s can be repeated at
anytime in Matabeleland. Having once experienced violence that was totally
unexpected, which to this day cannot be explained, and having never had an
apology or a guarantee that it will not happen again, it is not surprising
that people remain afraid.

5 Brigade used different strategies in Matabeleland North and South. In
Matabeleland North in 1983 there were widespread public beatings and
executions. In Matabeleland South in 1984 there were beatings, widespread
detentions and a cruel food curfew that caused great hardship to thousands.
In both provinces the violence was sudden and intense and caused massive
suffering among civilians which has not been forgotten to this day.

Next week - the report continues, looking at what else was happening in
Zimbabwe at this time.
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The Zimbabwean

Letter to Chief Justice Chidyausiku
Sir - I write to you in my personal capacity as a citizen of Zimbabwe
expressing grave concern at the way in which the Judiciary is handling
electoral cases brought by political activists. Forgive me for using the
open letter avenue to express my concerns - but the only other option at my
disposal was to make a court application using the same courts that I am
complaining against. This obviously would not have yielded any results - as
you were going to judge yourself, thereby contradicting the basic principles
of natural justice.
I am not the only one complaining of the sluggish way the judiciary handles
electoral complaints. Many people, national, regional and international
institutions and governments share my concerns.

To substantiate my well-founded allegation, I respectfully refer to High
Court petitions brought by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the
Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu PF) soon after the
announcement of the 2000 Parliamentary and 2002 Presidential elections.
Candidates belonging to the MDC filed 37 petitions and Zanu (PF) filed at
least one known election petition. The opposition MDC also filed an election
petition seeking nullification of the 2002 presidential election
controversially won by President Mugabe.

Regardless of you and me agreeing that justice delayed is justice denied, we
do not seem to see any progress being made by the Judiciary to finalise the
2002 Presidential election challenge. I do not want to think that you are
unaware that the forthcoming Presidential election is scheduled for 2007/8.

While I stand to be corrected, my opinion is that the Judiciary has failed
to execute its duties efficiently and effectively by disallowing all the
cases under review to go into 2005 unresolved. In light of the scenario
under review, individuals like me will be made to think that the Judiciary
is not organized, managed well or that it is scared of presiding over cases
in which the ruling party is being sued, in fear of reprisals from the
Executive arm of the government. Maybe, this explains why some of the judges
resigned from the Bench.

The behaviour of the Judiciary is a serious violation of human rights and
fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, regional and
international human rights instruments.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines the principle of
equality before the law and the right to a fair and public hearing by a
competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights further guarantees the right to
be tried without undue delay. I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt
that the Zimbabwean Judiciary needs to improve the speed with which it deals
with electoral disputes.

I anxiously await your response to this letter.

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The Zimbabwean

Beggars head for Egoli to survive
JOHANNESBURG - For 48-year-old widow Lucia Muponde, the day begins at five
in the morning when her teenage daughter Shingirai marshals her through
Johannesburg's crime-infested Hillbrow suburb to a begging spot in the city
With a placard in hand, Muponde, who is blind, spends the day begging for
donations from passersby.

"I left the Jairos Jiri compound because of hunger," she said in an
interview. "Many left to beg on the streets, but money is hard to come by in
Zimbabwe, and the people are no longer generous."

Started in the '60s by the late Zimbabwean philanthropist Jairos Jiri, after
whom it was named, it is a centre for the disabled and disadvantaged in the
country's second-largest city of Bulawayo.

Over generations, the centre has been an oasis of hope, feeding and
sheltering the blind, crippled, deaf and more. But over the years, Zimbabwe's
social and economic crisis has taken its toll on Jairos Jiri, just as it has
on everything else in the country.

According to Muponde, she and scores of other disabled people left Jairos
Jiri when the government's Department of Social Welfare stopped supplying
food and other services to the centre, saying it no longer had money to do

Muponde said some of her former colleagues at Jairos Jiri remained, trying
to eke out a living begging on Zimbabwe's streets, but she decided to trek
down to South Africa to join the roughly two million Zimbabweans based here
after fleeing their home country because of economic hardship and political

"The government's department of social welfare said it could no longer
assist us because it had no money. I have a family of six, so I decided to
bring one girl with me here to try a new life," Muponde said.

Muponde says she can make as much as R100 (£10 or Z$200 000) a day and can
get R150 at month-ends. The money is good compared to the streets of
Bulawayo or Harare.

But Muponde is quick to point out that life is not a bed of roses in Egoli,
'the city of gold', as Johannesburg is affectionately called among locals.

Ever since their arrival in October, she has lived in fear that one day
Johannesburg's infamous rapists might choose her shabbily-dressed but still
beautiful daughter, or even herself, as their next victim.

"That thought alone has made me wonder on several occasions whether coming
here was the right decision," she said.

As if having to be wary of potential rapists every day was not enough,
Muponde says she must now also be constantly on the alert for Johannesburg
Metro police, whose 'clean-up' exercise of the streets has seen many beggars
arrested and deported to their home countries.

Like the hundreds of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe one sees along
Hillbrow's Quartz Street selling various wares, Muponde says she wants to
return home - but only if she can be assured she will not starve there.

As another blind Zimbabwean, Miriam Mambo - whom ZimOnline met begging along
Johannesburg's Beyers Naude Avenue - put it, "Who would not want to go home?
These people deporting us forget that home is only home if there is
something to eat."
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