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

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"Our Common Humanity Transcends The Oceans And All National Boundaries. Let It Never Be Asked Of Any Of Us - What We Did When We Knew Another Was Oppressed?" - Nelson Mandela
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Zim inflation spirals to 228%
15/04/2003 21:31  - (SA)

Harare - The average annual inflation rate in Zimbabwe continued its
dizzying upward trend, hitting 228% in March, the government's statistics
office said Tuesday.

The March figure marked a 7.1 percentage point gain from February, which was
attributed to hikes in the prices of fruits, vegetables, meat, clothing and
public transport, according the Central Statistical Office (CSO).

"This means that prices as measured by all the items (in the) consumer price
index increased by an average 228% between March 2002 and March 2003," the
CSO said in its latest prices bulletin issued on Tuesday.

It said food inflation was highest, at 247.9%.

Famine, price controls and a chaotic government land reform scheme have been
blamed for critical food shortages which have led to skyrocketting prices in
the southern African country, once a regional breadbasket.

Economists say the official inflation figure is an understatement because it
is measured according to state-controlled prices while food is sold on the
parallel market at several times the official price.

"I think the real inflation figure should be about 260%," said economist
Eric Bloch, who forecast that it will probably reach the 300% mark by year

Zimbabwe's average annual inflation was 22.6% in 1995.
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The Times of India

      Zimbabweans ponder images of the fall of Saddam

      AP[ TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 2003 10:05:39 PM ]

      HARARE: Kenny Kwaramba sells mobile phone accessories at a flea market
in Zimbabwe, but Iraq - and the ouster of its dictator Saddam Hussein- is on
his mind.

      "When is Bush coming to save us?" he asks, echoing the sentiment of
many others during a brutal crackdown here by the government of President
Robert Mugabe on dissent and the opposition.

      Kwaramba, 28, catches glimpses of US President George W. Bush on the
satellite television in a nearby electronics store. Coverage of the war in
Iraq on the state media here mainly vilifies the coalition, speaking of
invaders with imperialist designs.

      The state media have also called for the body of one black Zimbabwean
serving in the British army who was killed in Basra, not to be allowed home
for burial. He has been denounced as a traitor working for the former
colonial power.

      But Kwaramba says the images of jubilation among Iraqis at the fall of
Saddam's regime have not been lost on his impoverished, hungry and
demoralized friends and neighbors in this troubled southern African country.

      There are no palaces or statues of Mugabe to wreck, his face is not on
the money. His ubiquitous portrait, though, must be displayed in banks, main
offices and public buildings.

      Those would go first, says Kwaramba, and then there would probably be
looting, too, of shops and businesses and the luxury cars and mansions of
government leaders.

      "Ordinary people are poor. People are impatient. It is coming," he

      Analysts say most Zimbabweans don't think US military intervention
would ever happen here, but rather see the US-led coalition action as a
powerful symbol of new world distaste for dictatorships.

      "Dictators can no longer hide behind the smoke screen of sovereignty
to commit all kinds of atrocities," said Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, a political
scientist at Zimbabwe University in Harare.

      Mugabe, who led the nation to independence from Britain in 1980,
narrowly won another six-year term in presidential elections last year that
independent observers said were swayed by political violence, intimidation
and vote rigging.

      Zimbabwe has been wracked by a deepening political and economic crisis
since Mugabe ordered the often violent confiscation of thousands of
white-owned farms three years ago.

      Independent human rights groups say at least 200 people have been
killed since then and thousands of others, mostly opposition supporters,
have been arrested, tortured and hounded from their homes.

      Most recently, police arrested more than 500 opposition officials and
activists after last month's massive anti-government strike.

      Independent human rights monitors said at least 250 people were
treated for injuries from assaults and beatings in the days following the
strike. The crackdown was strongly condemned by the US State Department for
what it called unprecedented violence sponsored by the Zimbabwe government
against domestic opponents.

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Zanu-PF Skewing Food Aid, Clergy Say

Cape Argus (Cape Town)

April 15, 2003
Posted to the web April 15, 2003

Brian Latham

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference has hit out at the politicisation
of food aid, saying that starving villagers are being forced to produce
Zanu-PF cards before being given food.

About seven million Zimbabweans, over half the 11.6 million population, are
facing starvation.

The ZCBC said the "skewed" food distribution was immoral and alleged that a
Zanu-PF membership card was now often needed to get access to mealie meal,
cooking oil and other basic commodities in Zimbabwe.

"The demand for citizens to produce a party card before receiving food
should be stopped forthwith. The government is not only for the ruling
party, but must protect all its citizens, their rights and their welfare,"
said the ZCBC in a pastoral letter signed by several Roman Catholic bishops.

Reports of food aid being denied to non-Zanu-PF members have surfaced
throughout Zimbabwe since the crisis began.

The bishops went on to slate state-sponsored political violence and
"frightening levels of corruption" among Zanu-PF leaders and ordinary

"From the standpoint of moral concern, we call upon the government,
especially the individuals who represent the government at ground level, to
deal urgently with those elements in our society who have placed themselves
above the law and are constantly harassing other citizens," said the
pastoral letter.

The bishops' statement comes in the wake of an MDC newspaper advertisement
last month publishing the names of alleged torturers in the police and
Mugabe's notorious Central Intelligence Organisation.

In Sunday's state-controlled Sunday Mail, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
hit out at papers carrying the advertisement, saying it was "highly illegal"
and that the papers should know better.

The ZCBC criticised senior government officials for getting sucked into "the
maze of corruption" spreading through the economically embattled country.

"Current shortages of basic commodities have provided an opportunity for
corruption by people in strategic positions, including government ministers
and other top government officials," the bishops claimed.

The allegations coincide with a statement from World Vision Zimbabwe
claiming that the country's food crisis is set to continue into 2004.

"Prospects for the upcoming agricultural season are very unfavourable. The
situation is further complicated by the rapid economic decline, high
prevalence of HIV/Aids, political instability and issues of governance,"
says World Vision's March report.

While Zimbabwe suffered a mid-season drought in 2002/03, critics point out
that settlers placed on farms seized from whites were provided with no
inputs by the Mugabe regime.

"Given the existing and residual strain on coping capacities from the
current crisis, anticipated further economic and agricultural decline, the
government and humanitarian aid agencies were advised to prepare for
widespread food insecurity for the 2003/04 period," said a World Vision

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe government is optimistically predicting a maize
harvest of about 1.2 million tons, almost enough to meet human requirements.

Last year Zimbabwe's Agriculture Minister Joseph Made repeatedly assured
Zimbabwe and foreign donors that food aid would not be needed as the country
had sufficient stores of maize, the staple diet of most Zimbabweans.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: From Kerry Kay

O God, who am I now?
Once, I was secure in familiar territory
in my sense of belonging
unquestioning of
the norms of my culture
the assumptions built into my language
the values shared by my society.
But now you have called me out and away from home
and I do not know where you are leading.
I am empty, unsure, uncomfortable.
I have only a beckoning star to follow.
Journeying God,
pitch your tent with mine
so that I may not become deterred
by hardship, strangeness, doubt.
Show me the movement I must take
toward a wealth not dependent on possession
toward a wisdom not based on books
toward a strength not bolstered by might
toward a God not confined to heaven
but scandalously earthed, poor, unrecognized*
help me to find myself
as I walk in others' shoes.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
To subscribe/unsubscribe: Please write to
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ZIMBABWE: Mugabe leaves door open for churches

JOHANNESBURG, 15 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - Recent comments by President Robert
Mugabe had opened the door for the church to constructively engage
government on democracy and governance issues, the general-secretary of the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) told IRIN.

The official Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday that Mugabe had urged the
clergy to seek dialogue with the government if they had any grievances they
felt needed to be addressed.

"Let's continue working together, the state and the church. If there are any
problems, come forward and we [can] discuss them," Mugabe was quoted as
saying at the memorial service for the late Archbishop Patrick Chakaipa.

Mugabe also said some sections of the clergy were campaigning against the
government internationally.

ZCC general-secretary Densen Mafinyani told IRIN on Tuesday that Mugabe's
statement should be viewed as an opening for churches in Zimbabwe. "If we
can help good governance to be there, that can be a positive contribution,"
he said.

"He [Mugabe] said churches have moral authority and we invite you to come
sit with us and highlight and identify where we are making mistakes and
bring some alternatives of how we can do it differently. The churches are
saying that if that is the case, if the doors are opening like that then
surely the onus is on us to say, 'your excellence, we need to discuss with
you x,y, and z ...' I think on that basis we need to seize the opportunity,
because he [Mugabe] has opened the door," Mafinyani added.

The ZCC has in the past said "it has a duty to speak out against oppression
and injustice" and in 2001 issued a statement urging "the president to put
an end to the recent violence" as political tensions increased.

Dialogue was critical to finding a solution to the current political
intolerance in Zimbabwe, Mafinyani said.
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Sunday Times (SA)

'It's time to change Zimbabwe policy'

It was imperative to continue to seek alternative, constructive ways of
resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe, the national chairman of the South African
Institute of International Affairs, Fred Phaswana, said at the institute's
annual national council meeting on Tuesday.

He said existing policy had clearly not brought about a change or halted the
accelerating downward political and economic spiral in Zimbabwe.

Said Phaswana: "One of the greatest factors of Africa's current problems
lies in too little effective and constructive criticism of its leaders, not
too much."

Phaswana said that a positive development in a world that had changed since
911 was that the "dual imperatives of security and development have been
broadly recognised as immutably linked."

The New Partnership for Africa's Development "offers not only a vision but
also a path to African development.

"The need for African societies to foster good governance regimes, greater
accountability of the leaders to the governed, and more effective
socio-economic development for all citizens -- goals of both the AU and
Nepad -- can only be achieved by a more vibrant debate across the continent
by all elements of the population."

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Wear black on 18 April


We are a few Zimbabweans who are deeply saddened and angered by what has happened, and is still happening to our beloved country Zimbabwe.


We are campaigning for people to show their disapproval of what is happening.


We are asking all Zimbabweans at home and abroad to wear black on 18 April as a sign of mourning for the death of democracy in Zimbabwe. We are asking everyone who reads this letter to spread the message.


Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean Patriots in the UK (and all over the world)


(Let’s all do this to make it work—diarise the date and WEAR BLACK)

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Letters to ZimGateway :

Mugabe must be given 48 hours or less to leave office

This letter is a special tribute to B & B (George W Bush and Tony Blair), the two bravest leaders in the world.
Congratulations, Sirs, on your sweet success in Iraq. Now the people of Iraq are finally going to experience true democracy and freedom.
It is my humblest pleasure to address this note to you.
I would like you to show the world that you are not in Iraq for their oil but to restore good governance and democracy, by carrying out similar operations in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular.
The people of Zimbabwe are in a similar, if not worse situation, than the people of Iraq were before the fall of Saddam Hussein.
People are being maimed, murdered, raped and tortured every day for their political affiliations.
Every member of the opposition has officially been labelled “an enemy of the State”.
People despise President Mugabe, not the State. Mugabe can never be the State. Honourable Members of Parliament are being arrested and beaten up for no reason.
Please, Sirs, show the world and the United Nations that where democracy is at stake there can be no compromise.
Mugabe must be given 48 hours or less to leave office.

Kidman Maroto - South Africa

What are we going to find in Bob and Grace's bedroom?

The TV coverage from Iraq streams in apparently on the assumption that we want to know all about how the Iraqi dictator and his henchmen lived. Do we care or is it that we would rather see what Grace has spent all that taxpayers money on in Paris and other exotic shopping destinations?
One thing is for sure that we are going to be appalled at the sheer waste of money and total lack of regard for the current suffering of those on the receiving end of Bob's failed policies not to mention that the source of the finance was corruption and theft.
There is no foreigner who can come to liberate us
I call upon every Zimbabwean to come together and heed the call by the MDC on the need to intensify mass action across the country, in particular the “march to State House” which is on the cards.
There is no foreigner who can come to liberate us – South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo are a concrete case study to support this.
There is, however, need to educate those citizens in Gweru, and other towns who ignored the stayaway call. These people might not know that it is their democratic right to express their anger over the prevailing lawlessness and economic disaster being spearheaded by the Zanu PF government which is in power by virtue of its vast experience in electoral manipulation.
By ignoring the stayaway call, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and some players in the banking sector in Gweru should be left to wallow in their ignorance.
Funny enough, their leaders in Harare “surprised and surpassed” all and sundry when they (together with NAGG’s Shakespeare Maya) breathed fire and brimstone on television, charging that the stayaway had killed business and affected their members’ profits.
These have benefited from the skewed economic policies of the ruling regime, for example, the foreign currency exchange rate which has resulted in massive “abnormal profits” from “nowhere” as the industrial base and general incomes have been eroded by the regime’s induced inflation.
That is why these business leaders thronged State House to congratulate “President” Mugabe just after the disputed poll last year.
With well-known disastrous management styles of some of these “captains of industry”, especially those in the banking sector, the departure of this disgraced regime will see an abrupt collapse of their organisations and institutions since they will no longer be patronage beneficiaries of treasury bonds and bills by this overspending regime.
This regime will continue to limp from one bank to the other, borrowing to raise funds for its survival as well as to purchase weapons of coercion against its peace- loving citizens.
However, all those people who support this regime will be exposed after the inevitable fall of this government.
Therefore, let’s rally behind Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC as they are the only ones with the capacity and sincerity to take Zimbabwe where it belongs.

Victory is certain
Anderson A Mutongi - Shurugwi

Mugabe, get your war cabinet out of Harare

Wouldn’t it be appropriate for President Mugabe and his so-called war cabinet to move to their strongholds of Mutawatawa and Uzumba- Maramba-Pfungwe as they have no stake in Harare?
Well done, MDC, for retaining Highfield and Kuwadzana. .

P G Banzai - UK

Iraq: focus on the lessons for Zimbabwe not on the merits of US actions

Zimbabweans have more life-threatening issues to waste valuable time on Iraq.
Instead, we should have been drawing parallels between the Iraq situation and ours.
It’s unfortunate we don’t have oil or a strategic position to lure the superpowers to save our own desperate situation.
Zimbabweans should debate and act now. Look at Eddison Zvobgo, educated at Harvard – he cannot even put up an academic/political challenge to the disgraced Mugabe regime!
We can’t have our intellectuals spending valuable time on national TV debating the Iraq war. People are dying every day from hunger, Aids and abuses. Adults are being massacred daily by Zanu PF thugs.
Zimbabwe is a country full of lawyers, but its society is unaware of its constitutional rights, and human rights are violated each and every minute.
Why are there no demonstrations against these blatant violations?
Action is needed against this cruel regime, not stupid debates on Iraq.

Innocent Suffering - Harare

Jocelyn Chiwenga soon to rue gloating about Gukurahundi

It is not only disheartening, but also soul-breaking and painful to hear the wife of the commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Jocelyn Chiwenga, openly straining the fragile fabric of the purported “national unity and integrity”.
As a victim of Gukurahundi, I did not expect such insults and mockery to epitomise the post-genocide era, especially from the wife of the army commander.
One wonders why nothing is done to prevent this unbecoming behaviour of the commander’s wife. Maybe it’s because she is not “an enemy of the State” – they are of the same mind and idea with the State.
No arrests under the Public Order and Security Act are being made when Jocelyn violates some sections of it. The hour shall come, Jocelyn.
In his book, Matigan, Ngugi wa Thiongo said: “There is no night so long that will not end up with dawn.” In Ndebele, sothi, ubukhisi ngamozolo, njalo zobohla manyosi.
It was not only chickens, dogs and donkeys’ blood that was spilt during those ugly days which Jocelyn seems to be celebrating, but it was pure human blood.
Her sentiments per se speak volumes on the purpose, aims and goals that were achieved during Gukurahundi. This is evidenced by the quiet stance that Zanu PF has taken towards the strings of misbehaviour of the boastful commander’s wife.
Some people are languishing in cells and prisons for only holding meetings, while ironically some people claim to be above the rule of law. What kind of governance is this?
Anyway, it reminds me of what Joshua Nkomo once wrote, when he was in exile (1983). In his letter to Robert Mugabe, he said: “. . . this is not governance, but the abuse of governance in which the rule of law is being turned into the law of rule” – as if the late Nyongolo was a prophet, that one day in the same government there will be a certain lady who would boast that there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe!
To Jocelyn, I say that the blood was never spilt in vain, and at no time will it be a mere joke and a threatening weapon to silence us.
God is for everyone and He is a God of justice and peace. One day a leader will arise in Zimbabwe and ride above tribal and racial politics, and unite the people of Zimbabwe.
There shall be no more Shona or Ndebele divisions, but Zimbabweans – absolutely no more supremacists, but equal Zimbabweans.
The vision of the great sons of the soil like Josiah Tongogara and Nkomo shall surely come to fruition.
The tribal and racial intonations that seem to be inherent in Jocelyn’s threatening speeches will one day become a thing of the past when power finally exchanges hands.
Selidumela emansupeni, mthwakazi. Zvichapera. (The day of reckoning is fast approaching.)

Nduna Yamabutho - Harare
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Zimbabwe hikes fuel prices amid shortages, crisis 

Tuesday April 15, 4:18 PM EDT

HARARE, April 15 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is raising fuel prices for the second time in as many months, more than trebling the price of some fuel as the country grapples with chronic shortages, a government minister said on Tuesday.
In remarks broadcast on state television, Energy and Power Development Minister Amos Midzi said the retail price of leaded petrol would go up 209.9 percent to Z$450 ($0) a litre, while diesel would rise to Z$200 from Z$119.43 per litre.
The increases would be effective from Tuesday midnight, he said just hours after Zimbabwe's Central Statistics Office announced inflation raced to another record high in March.
Consumer prices jumped by an annual 228 percent, up from 220.9 percent in February, sparking speculation among analysts that inflation could hit 350 percent before the end of the year thanks to a thriving black market for basic foodstuffs.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis in more than 20 years, with record high inflation and unemployment coupled with acute shortages of foreign currency and fuel.
In late February, President Robert Mugabe's government raised fuel prices by almost 100 percent in a bid to lure private companies into importing badly needed supplies, as the foreign currency squeeze hampered government imports.
Long queues have become commonplace outside services stations, and even after the latest increases, official fuel prices are still well below prices on the black market.
Fuel supplies have been erratic since 1999, but the crisis intensified late last year when Libya halted shipments because of a failed barter arrangement.
Last year the government ordered foreign oil companies with retail outlets in Zimbabwe to import their own products for resale, effectively ending a monopoly held by the state National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM).
The fuel crisis has led to daily fuel queues for beleaguered Zimbabweans already grappling with shortages of many basic consumer goods, including staples such as maize meal, bread, milk and sugar.
Nearly half of the country's 14 million people are threatened by severe food shortages, which aid agencies blame partly on disruptions to agriculture linked to the government's seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
Mugabe, 79, accuses Western powers opposed to his land distribution of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy.
($1 = 824 Zimbabwe dollars at official rate, or 1,400 on the black market)

©2003 Reuters Limited.
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