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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

      The Star

      Zimbabwe's torture adverts hit a nerve
      April 16, 2003

      Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change has
found a new way of embarrassing the Zanu-PF government - it is publishing
full-page pictures of wounded and beaten torture victims.

      And underneath the pictures there's a stark message in its "Action for
National Survival" campaign: Change demands action.

      The MDC hasn't said what form that action will take, or when it will
happen, but insiders have hinted it will resemble the ANC-United Democratic
Front struggle against apartheid in the 1980s. They say the problems they
face are almost identical, save for the colour of their oppressor.

      The tightly government-controlled press responded to the advertising
campaign by claiming the MDC had recruited army deserters to beat township

      The MDC hit back with scathing attacks in its adverts. "Are we
expected to believe that the MDC sponsors army deserters, hires trucks ...
all to attack its own members?" it shouted in a full-page advert yesterday.

      The adverts featured two photos of the MDC's Chitungwiza secretary for
information, Paul Shambira, his torso showing the lacerations caused by

      "Mr Shambira was brutally attacked by armed men in uniform in
Chitungwiza last week. The men were moving around the area in army trucks,"
said the MDC.

      The opposition stops short of accusing the Zimbabwe National Army of
carrying out the reign of terror that has engulfed Harare's townships.

      Instead it refers to "men in military uniform", because the MDC
believes the attackers and torturers who conduct the raids are actually
members of Zimbabwe's notorious Border Gezi Youth Brigades, the so-called
Green Bombers, who owe their allegiance and continued survival to Zanu-PF.

      The campaign comes amid growing international pressure - especially
from the United States, which on Monday called on Zimbabwe's neighbours to
step up pressure on President Robert Mugabe to hand over power to a
transitional government in order to pave the way for new elections.

      Zanu-PF yesterday told the US to "go to hell", saying it was the US
itself which had hold new elections because George W Bush "was not elected".

      He was referring to Bush's 2001 appointment as president after the
outcome of the decisive Florida campaign had to be decided by a court,
instead of by the votes counted.

      "Instead of shouting instructions for Mugabe to step down, it's the
Americans themselves who need a transitional government to hold fresh
elections and replace the unelected Bush," said Zanu-PF secretary for
information Nathan Shamuyarira.

      He said anyone who wanted a new election in Zimbabwe was daydreaming.

      A senior unnamed US State Department official said: "What we're
telling them is there has to be a transitional government in Zimbabwe that
leads to a free and fair, internationally supervised election. That is the
goal. Mugabe stole the last one; we can't let that happen again," the
official said, referring to the widely condemned election in March last year
that Mugabe won.

      The situation in Zimbabwe was hurting the economies of other countries
in the region as potential investors steered clear because of fears about
the spread of the crisis, the official added.

      "The neighbourhood is starting to realise that there is a downside to
giving aid and protection to Comrade Bob," the official said, using a
derogatory nickname for Mugabe.

      Shamuyarira said the only way to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis was for
the US and Europe to accept the results of last year's presidential election
and "work with President Mugabe's elected government".

      The MDC's national survival campaign started last month with a
full-page advert detailing the names of policemen and state agents the MDC
said were known torturers.

      The opposition appealed to the families of the torturers to "pressure"
them into changing their ways and to think about a future, democratic

      Information Minister Jonathan Moyo responded with a scathing attack on
newspapers "that should know better", saying the adverts were illegal.

      But, buoyed by the fall of Iraq's Saddam Hussein, the MDC published
another advert, listing the demise of dictators around the world.

      "If you are supporting the dictatorship in Zimbabwe today," it said,
"remember that you will be alone, facing millions of angry people. The
dictator is certainly on his way out. Look at yourself."

      The campaign, which is clearly upsetting Zanu-PF leaders, is the first
open defiance the MDC has shown since its stayaway action last month.

      But the campaign of defiance has not come without a cost. Police have
arrested at least 500 township residents since the stayaway, while more than
250 suspected MDC supporters were treated in hospital after being beaten,
raped or tortured. - Independent Foreign Service, Sapa
Back to the Top
Back to Index


        When will Bush save us, Zimbabweans wonder

            April 16 2003 at 06:02AM

      Harare - Kenny Kwaramba sells cellphone accessories at a fleamarket in
Zimbabwe - but Iraq, and the ousting of its dictator Saddam Hussein - has
been on his mind lately.

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

      War coverage in the state media mainly vilifies the coalition,
speaking of invaders with imperialist designs.

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

      But Kwaramba says the images of jubilation among Iraqis at the fall of
Saddam's regime have not been lost on his hungry and demoralised friends in
his troubled country. "Ordinary people are poor. People are impatient. It is
coming," he said.

      Analysts say most Zimbabweans don't think United States military
intervention would ever happen in Zimbabwe, but see the coalition action as
a symbol of distaste for dictatorships.

      "Dictators can no longer hide behind the smokescreen of sovereignty to
commit atrocities," said Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, a political scientist at
Zimbabwe University. - Sapa-AP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Letter to The Times

            April 16, 2003

            Need for action on Zimbabwe
            From Mrs Glenys Kinnock, MEP for Wales (Labour)

            Sir, Although this Thursday, April 17, marks 23 years of
Zimbabwean independence, the people of Zimbabwe have no reason to celebrate.
            Mugabe's corruption, kleptocracy, intimidation and
state-sponsored violence are barely noticed as all eyes are trained on Iraq.
In the last couple of weeks, at least 500 people who took part in a day of
peaceful mass action have been treated for the effects of the beatings which
they received at the hands of Mugabe's security agents (T2, April 14).
Millions are starving, inflation is running at 220 per cent and there are a
million Aids orphans struggling to survive. Zimbabwe is a failed state if
ever there was one. There is, however, hope of progress.

            Tomorrow (Wednesday) the UN Human Rights Commission will have
the opportunity to vote on a resolution which could, at last, lead to the
serious response which the situation in Zimbabwe demands. If a majority is
secured a UN special rapporteur could be appointed and an assessment made of
the situation in the country.

            I trust that full suspension from the Commonwealth will continue
as long as Zimbabwe continues to flout the principles of the Harare
declaration. Similarly, the Commonwealth Secretary-General's report on
Zimbabwe does, it appears, take a strong position. The EU should also extend
the list of those targeted by sanctions to include the family members of
those on the list, as well as business people in Zimbabwe responsible for
financing the Zanu (PF) regime.

            The crisis in Zimbabwe is, I believe, entering a new and
probably final stage. Mugabe has embarked on a course of economic and
political suicide and no one should stand aside as the pitiful drama
unfolds. Africa's leaders in particular should acknowledge that liberation
has been converted into tyranny in Zimbabwe, and that all of Africa suffers
if there isn't a clear condemnation of leaders who behave as if political
office is their personal right.

            Zanu (PF) should be counselled to step aside so that a genuinely
representative government can take office. Only then can the rule of law and
political legitimacy be restored. Africa, international donors, the EU and
the UN must join together in the interests of the people of Zimbabwe and
press for the solutions likely to stave off a complete meltdown.

            Yours faithfully,
            GLENYS KINNOCK
            (Group of the Party of European Socialists),
            European Parliament,
            Rue Wiertz, 1047 Brussels.
            April 15.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Fuel price increase shocker

      4/16/2003 7:02:05 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE price of fuel went up by over 300 percent last night - barely five
weeks after the government announced another hefty increase.

      The price of diesel rose from $119,43 to $250 (70 percent) a litre;
leaded petrol jumped from $145 to $450 (320 percent) a litre, while unleaded
petrol leapt from $176,53 to $500 (350 percent) a litre.

      Fuel prices last went up on 25 February.

      Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, announced
the latest increases last night, according to a report on the State radio.

      Despite the February increases, the country has continued to face
severe fuel shortages which have had a crippling effect on the ailing

      The latest increase is likely to have a multiplier effect on commuter
fares, as well as goods and services for workers whose incomes continue to
shrink under a 228 percent inflation rate.

      After the February fuel price increase, fares were increased by more
than 100 percent for many urban dwellers.

      A commuter from Chitungwiza, for example, was now paying an average of
$500 a day.

      Tapiwa Mashakada, the MDC's shadow minister for finance, said: "We
note with surprise that the increases come hardly two months after the first
round of increases which left the poor and workers more marginalised."

      He said the government was insensitive to the plight of the poor who
are going to bear the brunt of a new wave of price spirals which inevitably
follow fuel price increases.

      "This shows the government cannot be trusted because these increases
subvert the whole idea of the Incomes and Price Stabilisation Protocol,"
Mashakada said.

      The Tripartite Negotiating Forum in January signed the protocol in
which the social partners agreed to manage all wage and salary rises in line
with price increases in a bid to address the current shortages of basic
commodities and relentless price increases.

      "But this," Mashakada said, "is the second time the government has
violated the so-called protocol."

      In any case, the price hike would not improve the availability of fuel
at filling stations because it would not help make foreign currency
available, he said.

      "The fuel supply is inelastic to the price increase in Zimbabwean
dollars, because the question here is that of the supply of foreign
currency, not of the local currency equivalent."

      The increases, Mashakada said, were likely to scuttle the government's
10-point National Economic Recovery Programme which hinged on price
stability in order to reduce inflation to 96 percent by December.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Sadc addressing violence, repression in Zimbabwe: Mbeki

      4/16/2003 7:09:23 AM (GMT +2)

      By John Gambanga Daily News Editor

      President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa says the African Union does not
have a position on the crisis in Zimbabwe, but the Southern African
Development Community leadership is doing something to address the

      In a question-and-answer session with delegates to the recent All
Africa Editors' Conference in Johannesburg, Mbeki, who is the current
chairman of the AU, the successor to the Organisation of African Unity,
said: "There have been several meetings at various levels between the Sadc
task force and the Zimbabwean government following the violence before and
after the latest stayaway."

      He said the Sadc leadership had registered its concern about the issue
of violence and repressive laws in Zimbabwe.

      "Right now, the Sadc task force is looking at the proposed amendments
to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act," Mbeki said.

      The South African leader, however, sidestepped a question from this
reporter on why he had not taken a strong position against his Zimbabwen
counterpart, Robert Mugabe, for the breakdown of the rule of law and the
collapsing economy in the country.

      Instead he said the solution to the crisis lay with the Zimbabweans

      Outside intervention would resolve African problems, he said.

      "The Sadc task force has tried to engage the MDC and Zanu PF in
dialogue but the MDC has insisted in going to court over President Mugabe's
victory in the June 2002 presidential elections," Mbeki said.

      He said the MDC wanted to assert its right of recourse to court while
Zanu PF had agreed to let the courts settle the matter.

      "The courts must make a determination on this matter. But what will
happen next, I don't know," said Mbeki.

      Mbeki, who was the guest of honour at the three-day conference
attended by more than 150 African editors, urged the media managers to have
a good knowledge and understanding of what was going on in Africa for them
to project the continent objectively and accurately.

      Urging the editors to be Africans first before they became
journalists, Mbeki said they should form an effective Press association to
propagate African opinions.

      "We have, as Africans, a very good opportunity to do something about
good governance, democracy, war and conflict. I think the Africans have a
responsibility to address some of these issues," he said.

      Mbeki's position is different from that of Australia whose Foreign
Minister, Alexander Downer, last week said African nations must put more
energy into resolving the problems in Zimbabwe.

      Downer said although the Commonwealth had put pressure on Mugabe to
end his chaotic rule, African leaders had done nothing at all to reprimand

      The conference, organised by the South African National Editors'
Forum, attracted more than 150 editors from the continent.

      Zimbabwe was represented by four editors from The Daily News, The
Standard, The Chronicle and The Manica Post, respectively.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      250 treated for trauma say NGOs

      4/16/2003 7:10:26 AM (GMT +2)

      By Fanuel Jongwe

      AT least 250 people were treated in emergency rooms at various
hospitals in Harare for trauma and injuries suffered at the hands of
suspected State security agents and Zanu PF militants following last month's
mass action, according to a coalition of local NGOs.

      More than 30 of the victims had to be admitted to undergo surgery.

      Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said in its report titled: Organised
Violence and Torture in Zimbabwe - From 20 to 24 March, the violence
allegedly perpetrated by uniformed police and soldiers, was "more organised
than we have seen in the past".

      Crisis in Zimbabwe comprises more than 350 non-governmental
organisations including trade unions and human rights organisations.

      "The lives of many Zimbabwe citizens are at serious risk if this level
of State-organised violence and torture is maintained or increased," the
report said.

      "The methods of torture and interrogation were systematic. These
attacks are indicative of a systematic trend of brutal retaliation against

      The report said the majority of the perpetrators were dressed in army
and police uniform and were driven in military vehicles to the homes of
their victims.

      "The victims taken by the police for questioning were handed over to
Zanu PF youth for further assault."

      The Zimbabwe National Army has exonerated its members from the alleged
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Journalists worried about judgment delays

      4/16/2003 7:13:11 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe (Misa) and the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) have expressed concern over the
prolonged delay by the Supreme Court to deliver judgments on cases affecting
its members.

      In a statement yesterday, Misa appealed to the Supreme Court to
deliver judgements in cases in which Capital Radio is challenging the
constitutionality of the ZBC's monopoly in broadcasting.

      Misa also appealed to the court to deliver judgment on the Independent
Journalists' Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ) challenging some sections of the
notorious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

      The statement said: "Capital Radio and IJAZ have gone to the
Constitutional Court crying that freedom of expression is under siege in
this country. The Constitutional Court reserved judgment in the Capital
Radio matter in June 2002 and the IJAZ matter in October 2002.

      "It is a fact that justice delayed is justice denied. We, the members
of the Media Defence Fund and the Media Lawyers Network, eagerly await the

      Luke Tamborinyoka, the ZUJ secretary-general, said while his
organisation believed in judicial independence, it was concerned about the
delay of the judgments.

      "We are obviously concerned by the slow delivery of the judgments.
While the cases are pending, the media continues to remain in its unenviable
position under the boots of an over excited junior minister who has made it
a personal project to create the Zimbabwean media in his own image.

      "In the meantime, the journalists continue to be barred from certain
functions, harassed and beaten-up when in fact they have done the proper
thing to contest some of the laughable clauses in AIPPA, especially the
registration of journalists.

      "The more the judgment is withheld and delayed, the more the media wil
l continue to squeak under the boots of the junior minister."

      Professor Jonathan Moyo is the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity in the office of the President and Cabinet.

      Last year, IJAZ, through their lawyer Sternford Moyo, challenged the
constitutionality of many clauses of AIPPA, among them the registration of

      The Supreme Court is yet to deliver judgment.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Tsvangirai calls on nation to disobey oppressive laws

      4/16/2003 7:15:48 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      MORGAN Tsvangirai, the MDC president, yesterday said the Easter and
Independence holidays signified the importance of pain in the search for
change in the lives of oppressed Zimbabweans.

      In a statement to mark the two events, which this year fall on the
same weekend, Tsvangirai said throughout history, unjust laws had to be
defied in order to achieve freedom.

      He appealed to Zimbabweans to "stand ready for the final call to
reclaim our dignity and freedom" because they were the agents of change.

      "We have now realised that change demands action," Tsvangirai said.

      He said both occasions signified hope and renewal of life.

      Such repressive pieces of legislation like the Public Order and
Security Act would never stop the people's determination to create changed
circumstances in their lives because there was no force in Zimbabwe stronger
than the people's peaceful resolve to bring about positive change,
Tsvangirai said.

      "It is a time to remember our freedom from colonial bondage," he said.
"A time to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for people's
eternal freedom.

      "From both epochal events, we learn one lesson: if you want change
expect pain. There is gain at the end of pain. Meaningful life is littered
with periods of suffering," he said.

      Tsvangirai said Zimbabweans have been through difficult times which
the country's neighbours cannot imagine.

      He said people have daily confronted death but "we shall never lose
hope or surrender".

      Life had become meaningless to the majority of Zimbabweans and the
cherished freedom and liberty associated with Zimbabwe's independence have
been destroyed through State-sponsored violence.

      Tsvangirai said democratic space had been effectively abolished and
peaceful protests were answered with bullets, teargas and bayonets.

      He said: "It is precisely this suffering, with its inherent cleansing
value, that will give birth to a country and a nation that we all yearn
for - peaceful, compassionate, caring and prosperous.

      "The bond between the MDC and the nation has been strengthened in the
face of adversity. With our programmes of peaceful protests through mass
action, we shall prevail and we shall overcome."

      Tsvangirai said the scarcity of baby foods threatened to starve
children to death with young men expecting nothing from President Mugabe's
illegitimate regime but violence and death.

      The MDC president bemoaned the acute shortages of food, drugs in
hospitals, sanitary wear and the spiralling costs of children's clothing.

      He said Zimbabwe's million vulnerable HIV/Aids orphans and thousands
of child-headed households have been totally ignored by Mugabe's regime.

      Tsvangirai said unemployment has deprived people of the dignity to
provide for their families where the majority has been forced to accept a
new culture of poverty.

      This year's 23rd independence anniversary comes at a time when Mugabe'
s government has increased its repression against real and suspected
political opponents.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Police assault MDC activists

      4/16/2003 7:16:19 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      OFFICERS from St Mary's Police Station on Sunday arrested four MDC
activists and severely tortured them for allegedly assaulting a policeman in
Chitungwiza and resisting lawful arrest last month.

      Immediately after their arrest, the four opposition members were taken
to Chitungwiza General Hospital for treatment under tight police guard.

      The activists' lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, yesterday confirmed the
torture of Tonderai Richard Machiridza, David Chipunza, John Mazhambe and
Lisbon Mutandwa.

      Muchadehama said the police denied him and fellow lawyer, Godfrey
Sibanda, permission to interview their clients who were bandaged all over
their bodies and visibly in pain.

      "The police arrested and tortured these men before chaining them to
their hospital beds," he said. "On Monday, there was a policeman guarding
each of the four men. At the time of our visit to hospital, Machiridza's
head was covered in bandages.

      Muchadehama said an Inspector Mbedzi, the officer-in-charge at St Mary
's Police Station, told him yesterday that Chipunza and Mutandwa would be
transferred to Harare Central Police Station's CID law and order section.

      Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, refused
to comment on the arrest of the MDC activists and allegations being levelled
against the police.

      Muchadehama said when he was eventually allowed to see the two, who
were being held at St Mary's Police Station yesterday, they had difficulty
in speaking and walking.

      The reasons for the arrest of the four activists remained unclear
because they had not been charged by yesterday.

      But Muchadehama had gathered that the police wanted them in connection
with the alleged assault of a policeman and resisting arrest.

      He said Machiridza and Mazhambe were still being held at the hospital
where they remain chained to their beds.

      Tariro Shumba, the MDC spokesman in Chitungwiza, said the two were
severely tortured immediately after their arrest before they were taken to
Chitungwiza General Hospital for treatment.

      Yesterday, the police guarding the two hospitalised activists denied
The Daily News crew access to them.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Government designs another bridge at Birchenough

      4/16/2003 7:10:52 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sam Munyavi

      The government is designing another bridge across the Save River at
Birchenough Bridge that can sustain heavier loads than the present
suspension bridge.

      Birchenough Bridge was opened to traffic on 20 December 1935. Vehicles
weighing more than 25 tonnes are prohibited from using the bridge.

      Responding to questions from The Daily News, Christian Katsande, the
permanent secretary for Transport and Communications, said: "There are plans
for another bridge that can carry loads to present-day requirements and this
is at design stage.

      "There are no estimated costs since the preliminary designs are in

      Birchenough Bridge vibrates each time a vehicle passes through it.

      However, Katsande said: "The shaking of the Birchenough Bridge is
expected of a suspension bridge of this type and size.

      "The nature and amount of load and the speed at which the load
traverses the bridge affect the magnitude of shaking."

      Katsande said the government had first imposed a weight restriction of
40 tonnes in the 1980s, and this had later been further lowered to 25

      He said: "The reasons for the reduction are that some rivets
connecting the main structural members are failing due to the present-day
traffic loading which exceeds the design loading of the bridge .

      "The strength of the rivets and any steel in general is affected by
corrosion and degree of loading."

      Katsande dismissed reports that the last major inspection of the
bridge was carried out
      in the mid-1980s.

      He said: "Consultants carried out two independent inspections.

      "One was done by BKS International Consulting Engineers of South
Africa in November 1992 and the last by Civil Consult of Zimbabwe in 1996.

      "Inspections are also held by my Department of Roads engineers every
six months."

      The bridge was named after Sir Henry Birchenough, who was the
president of the British South Africa Company.

      He was was born in England in 1853 and died in 1937. His and his wife's
ashes are interred in one of the pillars of the bridge.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      UN agency to assess food aid

      4/16/2003 7:11:20 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE World Food Programme (WFP), is now assessing whether or not
Zimbabwe will still require food aid when the international organisation's
humanitarian assistance programme ends by mid-year.

      Luis Clemens, the WFP public affairs officer, said an assessment
mission would measure the level of last season's agriculture production and
come up with a report on food aid requirements.

      Clemens said: "We hope to complete the crop and food supply assessment
mission by the end of the month.

      "The assessment will show whether the country needed more food aid
than we have previously been providing."

      Clemens said more than six million Zimbabweans had benefited from the
WFP humanitarian assistance since the programme started at the beginning of
last year.

      Working with other 12 food aid agencies, the WFP distributed 28 0000
metric tonnes of food valued at US$250 million (Z$1,375 billion) in

      "We managed to save a lot of lives during the last 13 months because
other donors responded swiftly to the crisis," he said.

      Clemens said WFP mainly focused on providing food aid to rural

      He, however, said early this year they had started pilot projects in
Harare and Bulawayo to assess the shortage of food in urban areas.

      Clemens said serious food shortages would have been averted had the
government allowed other stakeholders to import maize grain.

      "Although the government has been importing maize during the current
food crisis it should also have allowed other players to import maize to
lessen the impact," he said.

      Kenzo Oshima, the United Nations under secretary-general, during a
visit to Zimbabwe last year, said the only way the country could have
avoided the non-availability of food would have been to allow the private
sector to import grain through a foreign currency facility created by the
United Nations Development Programme.

      However, this arrangement had not be followed through.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Green Bombers turn Kamativi into garrison town

      4/16/2003 7:12:20 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkalain Bulawayo

      MEMBERS of the National Youth Service, derisively known as Green
Bombers, have transformed Kamativi into a garrison town complete with
checkpoints manned round the clock to regulate the entry of visitors into
the former mine compound.

      The majority of the 350 families, including those of MDC MPs Jealous
Sansole (Hwange East), Peter Nyoni (Hwange West) and Gabbuza Joel Gabuza
(Binga) were forced out of the mine compound between November last year and
last month.

      The Youth, Gender and Employment Creation Ministry has since last year
been denying that it wanted to convert the compound into a provincial
training centre and garrison for Zanu PF youths under the discredited
national youth service programme.

      A Daily News crew which visited the centre on Saturday was subjected
to rigorous identity checks at a checkpoint which is the only entry point
into the compound.

      The checkpoint, adjacent to a police post, was manned by four youths,
two of whom were clad in green fatigues of the national youth service and
the other two were in plain clothes.

      Visitors were also required to supply names and residential addresses
of the people they were visiting, the purpose of the visits, the duration of
the visit and their own residential addresses.

      "This place is no longer an ordinary residential area. It is now a
military camp and, as you know, you don't enter and leave such places at
will. We have to find information we want because there are some MDC
elements who come here to disrupt peace.

      "We also have a number of people undergoing training here. We carry
out these to prevent sabotage of our installations," said one of the youths.

      A few residents who managed to speak to The Daily News said the
situation was tense.

      Efforts to get a comment from Joshua Muzamba, the provincial officer
responsible for the national youth service, were fruitless
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Matombo raps government

      4/16/2003 7:12:45 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      Lovemore Matombo, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
secretary-general, has accused the government of using the National Railways
of Zimbabwe "for political expediency".

      He said this had led to the deterioration of the railway system.
Addressing a meeting of the Railway Association of Enginemen in Bulawayo on
Sunday, Matombo said the so-called "Freedom Trains" introduced by the
government in Harare and Bulawayo last year were a vote-getting ploy.

      He said: "Workers need transport, but it must not be provided at the
expense of the parastatal. We might rejoice that we are having a cheaper
means of transport, but we are crippling the railway system and it is us who
will cry in future when it collapses."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

      So little to celebrate, so much to regret

      4/16/2003 7:03:21 AM (GMT +2)

      IF THE government's past contemptuous dismissal of threats from
various organisations and special interest groups unhappy with its
stewardship of State affairs is anything to go by, chances are that it will
not take seriously threats by the little-known Zimbabwe Liberation Peace
Forum (ZLPF) to violently disrupt Independence Day celebrations this week.
But that would a big mistake.

      In the past, the government, in its trademark arrogant fashion, has
ignored threats by teachers, nurses, doctors, the National Constitutional
Assembly and even the country's umbrella labour body, the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions, as well as the mighty MDC whose latest 15 demands President
Mugabe has scoffed at.

      Although it has always survived the resultant industrial action more
or less unscathed as government, the country has not been so lucky. It is as
a direct result of that unresponsiveness to people's grievances that the
country now lies in ruins, with everything from education, health, commerce,
agriculture and mining, to tourism and the manufacturing industry, on its

      However, it is one thing to ignore threats from civic groups, as
government will always be safe in the knowledge that its anti-people,
heavily politicised and totally partisan police force and army will always
be on top of the situation, ruthlessly crushing protesters in the event of
those threats being carried out. But threats from war veterans are a
different proposition altogether.

      And Mugabe will be the first to acknowledge that because he will
forever be painfully aware that his continued hold on power is virtually at
the pleasure of ex-guerrillas.

      Power was rapidly slipping out of his grip when, in 1987, the late
Chenjerai Hunzvi and his restive followers in the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA) threatened to pull the rug
from under his feet.

      To retain their support, without which his political career would have
been finished, Mugabe capitulated to their outrageous demands which included
hefty lump-sum payments, monthly pensions and free health care - never mind
that the dollar crashed instantly as a direct result of that ill-advised and
unplanned expenditure.

      There is no basis for Mugabe to believe that today, 15 years later,
the war veterans are not serious in their threats, considering that the
country's economic situation is far worse than it was back in 1987 in that
it is now affecting not just ex-combats, but the entire population.

      Of particular worry to him must be the fact that these threats are
coming at a time when he has lost the free and voluntary political support
of the people. He can therefore ill-afford to allow his erstwhile allies to
take the lead in showing disaffection for him.

      It would be like knowingly drinking from a poisoned chalice.

      There can be no doubt at all that an overwhelming majority of the
people in this country harbour sentiments similar to thoseexpressed by war
veterans in the ZLPF, though most probably for very different reasons from
those advanced by the group. But, that difference notwhistanding, theirs is
all the same a microcosm of Zimbabweans' disillusionment with Zanu PF and
its government.

      Zimbabweans are generally agreed that there is little, if anything at
all, to celebrate on Independence Day and that, on the other hand, if police
brutality, lack of freedom, erosion of human rights and the economic
hardships we are experiencing are what independence is all about, there is
everything to regret for ever having been granted it.

      Mugabe might not want to hear it, but it is a fact that, over the past
three years, many people have been heard to openly wish for a return to Ian
Smith's Rhodesia Front government era. They say Smith was far better than
Mugabe. This is a serious indictment of the Mugabe regime.

      And when you consider that the people saying this are the same people
who gave Mugabe a tumultuous welcome, thronging Highfield's Zimbabwe Grounds
in their millions to dance and ululate in a show of affection that no other
leader had ever been accorded before, then it is safe to say that life under
his regime has become a nightmare to which everyone would want to see an
end. It is not normal for people to celebrate misery.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

      The truth about Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe

      4/16/2003 7:04:25 AM (GMT +2)

      By A Special Correspondent

      I have long wished to enlighten people who associate
Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe with President Mugabe. I happen to come from an area
in Murewa close to the so-called Mugabe stronghold.

      Let us remember that the presidential elections were clearly rigged.
Those people could never have voted for Mugabe, who has not done anything
for them. Even Mugabe himself had run away, only to be told by Tobaiwa
Mudede that he had successfully done the "right arithmetic". No wonder the
court case challenging the presidency has been the last to be heard of all

      This remote part of Zimbabwe is so underdeveloped that people just
live their lives the way they lived soon after Rhodes came to Rhodesia.
There is not one school that was built by Mugabe. Oh yes, some schools were
built after the war, but by the locals. These poor people cannot afford
books for their children and teachers are underpaid.

      Very little learning goes on there. Most pupils come to school on an
empty stomach and dressed in rags. Those who fall ill are left to recover
naturally - no clinics, no medicine. Not a single doctor reaches there in

      The roads are so poor, most places are inaccessible. There is so
little one can buy from the hut-like shops. The people there are so backward
that at one time I bought salt very cheaply in one of the shops. It was
because the shopkeeper had not yet learnt that the commodity was causing
winding queues in towns.

      Most locals only read those newspapers which are wrapped around
foodstuffs should a relative decide to surprise their folk on a month-end.
These torn newspapers are the perfect gift for the elderly, who guard them
like treasure since they use them to roll traditional cigarettes.

      The village headmen were told they would be paid to mobilise their
people and make sure they voted for Mugabe or they would be subjected to a
war far worse than the struggle for independence. To reinforce this belief,
some thugs from faraway Masvingo or Gwanda would be given AK rifles to
brandish in order to strike fear into the hearts of these peace-loving, poor

      During the voting days, every village head was asked to line up with
his people and account for every person. Everyone was told to vote for
Mugabe because Tsvangirai's party was British-sponsored.

      These places were no-go areas for the MDC. Many people wished to know
who Tsvangirai was and what his message was. But this was impossible. Many
did not even know of the existence of an opposition political party. Mugabe
and supporters made sure roadblocks were mounted. Even those who travelled
from these areas were censored. Those who would travel to Harare were often
labelled traitors. Horrendous crimes were committed in these areas.

      Pungwe (all-night vigil) camps, where perceived opponents were
tortured and left for dead, mushroomed almost everywhere.

      These strange "comrades" often asked villagers to give money and
donate food to them. There is a lot of evil Zanu PF and its supporters
inflicted on the poor people of Murewa and Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe.

      But today the latter remains one of the poorest areas in Zimbabwe. The
story of the rigged elections remains fully untold yet people associate
Mugabe with these areas. He did not even visit the people to thank them for
their decisive vote. He knew they were forced to vote for him. He knows he
is illegitimate and is afraid of even the people of Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe.

      His blind supporters, the likes of Alexander Kanengoni, whose minds
were puffed away together with marijuana smoke, may tell their sad stories
and continue to idolise Mugabe, but the man has certainly changed. We all
supported this man and many died for him to be our leader.

      For 21 years this man was busy amassing wealth for himself. Only the
war veterans fought hard to get a share of that wealth. Kanengoni should
remember that the first war veterans who invaded farms in Bora were
imprisoned. Those were the days when Mugabe did not want to associate
himself with "less educated" war veterans.

      Even the late Chenjerai Hunzvi struggled under Mugabe's rule, trying
to get a piece of Zimbabwe's wealth which was being spent at will by this
same Mugabe. Today Mugabe is not ashamed to cast a vote in support of Joseph
Chinotimba. Are there no Kanengonis whose genuine struggle is still on, who
could have been chosen to represent Zanu PF? Is this the same Zanu of the

      Regardless of how bad the British are, people today need freedom. They
want genuine land distribution. None of the Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe people
have been relocated to fertile land. The Kunzvi Dam project which hit the
headlines is still on the drawing board, despite Joyce Mujuru's remarks and
joy after she was allocated enough funds to start the project. Many
commissions have been appointed and none of their recommendations have been
taken seriously by Mugabe.

      People should know that some of us are prepared to come forward during
the presidential election case to testify on all the atrocities committed by
Zanu PF. We, from Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe and Murewa, will stand up and tell
the courts what exactly happened. We will not care about the final outcome,
which is so obvious, given that Mugabe himself has clearly said that those
judgments which are against him will be ignored and the judges fired.

      But a correct record of what transpired should be maintained.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      GMB turns to State to clear $50bn arrears

      4/16/2003 6:53:10 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Editor

      THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB), is turning to government to clear
arrears estimated at $50 billion that accrued from the rolling over of grain
bills since 1998.

      Pressure has intensified on the parastatal to clear the arrears before
it can raise new money needed to finance the current crop.

      GMB has been rolling over grain bills on maturity since 1998, instead
of clearing the government-backed paper issued to raise money from the

      The parastatal is now faced with a situation where it cannot continue
to roll over the bills.

      GMB chairman, Enoch Kamushinda, could not be contacted for comment

      Senior officials in the Agriculture Ministry said they were aware of
GMB's position.

      "We expect the issue to be tabled before Cabinet soon," a senior
official said.

      GMB needs to clear the arrears to win the support of pension funds and
other institutional investors who subscribe to the grain bills.

      New money is desperately needed to finance the current crop at a
reasonable price welcomed by the farming community.

      The producer price of maize has been increased by 364 percent to $130
000 per tonne, while the pre-planting price of wheat has risen by 144
percent to $150 000 a tonne.

      GMB will, however, continue to sell maize and wheat to millers at $9
600 and $29 500
      a tonne to curb increases in the cost of mealie-meal, flour and bread.

      "This signals an urgent need for government to clear the arrears so
that GMB will proceed with the purchase of the current crop," a source said.

      A local economist, Tapuwa Muchenje, said the strategic nature of GMB
is such that it has to remain under government control.

      A way should be found however, to deal with the inefficiency and
bureaucracy that has weakened parastatals.

      Muchenje said: "They should commission a private organisation in which
government has a stake to manage GMB. This would ensure proper management
and at the same time avoid bureaucracy."

      The Cabinet could also consider making the grain bills a form of
security that would be accepted by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

      At the moment, the RBZ does not accept grain bills as security.

      There is also some consensus among banks that the RBZ should accept
security they get from lending to institutions such as parastatals.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News


      After Saddam, others quake in their Gucci shoes

      4/16/2003 6:50:15 AM (GMT +2)

      billsaidi on wednesday

      PUBLIC EYE, the weekly column Masipula Sithole wrote for The Financial
Gazette, would have tackled Saddam Hussein's ignominious fall with the verve
and humour he always brought to his contribution.

      Sithole would have dwelt on the certainty that all world leaders of
the ilk of Saddam Hussein, including President Mugabe, must have quaked in
their Gucci shoes as the statue of the Iraqi dictator was toppled and

      "Am I next?" must be the question they asked their spouses, or their
confidants or their children - or the inanimate TV screen in their sanctum
sanctorum, to which I hear some of them occasionally retire to meditate, or
to decide on who next they want to consign to the Hereafter.

      Masipula's death was woefully untimely. His brother, Ndabaningi
Sithole, died after what most would have called a good innings, compared
with Masipula's 56 years.

      But both brothers had fought the good fight. It would be unfair to say
they lost both the battle and the war, although neither lived long enough to
see the realisation of their dream - a Zimbabwe brimming with true freedom,
the freedom of which Ndabaningi wrote in his classic book, African

      But both bequeathed to posterity, in their writings, their incisive
thoughts on their country and its future. Ndabaningi's party, Zanu, may
never muster enough electoral clout outside Chipinge and Chimanimani to be
entitled to the funds available under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.

      But the memory of his almost single-handed challenge to the hegemony
of Zanu PF in the early days of independence will inspire many to emulate
his gutsy example.

      Masipula might have commented wryly of Saddam Hussein's fall that he
fell the way he lived - with a bang.

      That description is most appropriate, of course, for the end of
Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania. He and his wife, Elena, were shot in cold
blood in 1989 by the same soldiers who might have, a few days earlier, sung
their praises.

      I remember a statue of Vladimir Lenin being similarly savaged in the
aftermath of the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union.

      If the upheaval on Tienanmen Square on 4 May 1989 in Beijing had not
been put down so brutally by the Communist regime, the chances are high that
the statues of The Great Helmsman himself, Mao Ze Dong, might have suffered
the same fate.

      As some people have said apropos of the demise of Communism: "All it
needed was a human face." But then some of the proponents of the ideology in
the Soviet Union and China would have disowned it. For them, Communism was
faceless, merciless and ruthless.

      Mugabe remains a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist-Leninist, hence the mess he
has made of a once-gemlike economy. But his recent gushing praise of Adolf
Hitler must send chills of terror down everybody's spine. That man would not
face his enemies at the end of their combat. Like a cur, he slunk to his
lair in the Berlin bunker and persuaded his woman to commit suicide with

      Saddam Hussein is no suicide bomber, strapping hand grenades around
his waist, then driving a car straight at a group of British soldiers in
Basra or US Marines in Baghdad.

      Neither was Saddam a communist, but what he demanded from the people
was almost the same: blind acquiescence to his every whim. So, it is not
difficult to imagine why some of the people who had ostensibly adored him -
or gave that impression to the world - went wild with joy at his fall.

      The knowledge that he would never again impose his will on them must
have had an intoxicating effect on their psyche. It's not difficult to
imagine the Green Bombers being overwhelmed by the same sensation of utter
release at the spectacular end of Mugabe's reign.

      I can see them smashing portrait after portrait of the President in
the First Street Mall. Mugabe has had the good sense not to have any statues
erected in his honour. This modesty is not compatible with what some people
have described as his extreme self-absorption with the Mugabe myth of

      The reign of terror of the dictatorship in Zimbabwe has altered people
's lives. To conform with the weird and outrageous requirements of loyalty,
husbands will buy this expensive clothing material with Mugabe's portrait on
it. Then they will pay through the nose to have a politically correct tailor
sew the dresses for them. Then, they will cheer the wife hysterically as she
leaves for the airport or Shake Shake building, resplendent in her new
costume, to see off the President, or just to see him - dancing and
ululating wildly.

      The sight is enough to make one want to throw up with shame, unless
you have managed to camouflage your true feelings as successfully as some
people in Zanu PF have done.

      Neither wife nor husband can believe Mugabe has attained the spiritual
status of the Buddha, that he is infallible. No.

      Their reasons for prostrating themselves before him are entirely
materialistic: he can open doors for them, can make the impossible possible
for them. If they want a house in the posh suburbs but cannot afford to buy
one, he could snap his fingers and Hey, Presto! they can suddenly afford the

      At work, if the manager keeps docking the husband's pay because he is
always two hours late, the husband could one day replace the manager. This
is called patronage: many Zimbabweans have attained the status of chief
executive officers of large corporations simply by sucking up to the
President, or his representative.

      On 18 April, such people will celebrate Independence as lavishly as it
is possible to splash in these hard times. While others will be gathered
around a small fire outside their huts in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, the
President's favourites will be dining on lobster and caviar at the five-star
hotels of Harare with the entire family, their reward for wiping the leader'
s feet - and other parts of his anatomy - and singing songs from the Hondo
Yeminda album until they develop laryngitis.

      But come the day of reckoning, and these same stooges could be the
ones to rip the President's portrait from top to bottom in front of
Munhumutapa Building. They are a sick and sickening breed: they could betray
their mother if the price was right. They are the looters whose footage we
saw on TV, carting off goods from Uday Hussein's palace in Baghdad. They are
as worthless as the Iraqis who helped prop up Saddam's reign with murder,
rape, lies and theft.

      On the Day of Reckoning you need people of Masipula Sithole's
integrity, whose clarity is not blurred by the glitter of trinkets being
waved before their eyes. People who will not flinch - whether the catalyst
for change are the alien warriors on a "regime change" mission, or the youth
of the nation marching to State House armed with only their determination to
triumph over evil.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News


      The ordeal of queuing for a Zimbabwean passport

      4/16/2003 7:00:36 AM (GMT +2)

      By John Mokwetsi

      TALES of success by those who have left the country to seek the
proverbial greener pastures abroad inspire many to endure long hours queuing
for what might rank as the most sought-after document in this country: a

      Forget the maize-meal, milk, bread or elusive fuel - a passport out of
their own country remains the thing that nearly every Zimbabwean wants to

      On a sun-drenched afternoon I decided to visit Makombe Building, home
of Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede's Office in where I was greeted by a
long, winding queue that could easily be a contender for the Guiness Book of

      The queue snaked from the government complex entrance along Harare
Street, into Herbert Chitepo Avenue (that freedom fighter would probably
turn in his grave at the sight of the queue) and then into Leopold Takawira
Street (another nationalist who would probably be overwhelmed with fury at
the same sight), past the Girls' High School entrance, before finding its
way through Park Lane and back to Harare Street.

      There was a disturbing presence of excitable baton-wielding policemen
who occasionally used their weapons to thump people who would have had
enough of the waiting and decided to jostle for front positions.

      There was foul language; there was exhaustion; there was frustration,
shoving and pushing in the queue, but you could see the fierce determination
written on the people's faces as they waited patiently to get a number with
a date to indicate when they would come and submit their passport
application forms.

      It was the stolid determination by these people, some of whom had been
in the queue since the crack of dawn, that prompted me to ask why passports
were literally more in demand than fuel and bread.

      While this happens, Mudede remains as tight-lipped and arrogant as
ever, whenever he is asked to explain what is going on at his offices.

      "You are the ones who spread wrong information," he once retorted when
asked why the long queues persisted. "I don't want talk to you," he declared
with finality.

      Mudede has blamed the long queues on the people themselves, saying
these were the result of impatient applicants from outside the capital who
wrongly assume that they should come to Harare for their travel documents.
The registrar-general has provincial offices which provide the same services
but applicants choose to travel all the way to Harare, he said.

      "We do not have the foreign currency to import materials, hence the
delays in producing passports," Mudede recently told a Press briefing.

      Besides the hassles, business is booming for vendors selling fruit and
other foods to people in the queues. Sections of Harare's First Street have
been taken over by photo studios which are doing brisk business taking
passport photos at $1 500 a set.

      Clad in denim jeans and a white T-shirt, a young man described his
frustration with the country once described as the "Jewel of Africa".

      "Blazo (My brother), mine is a tale of horror. After successfully
passing my 'O' levels in 1995 I worked temporarily for a supermarket, but
seeing the wages I was getting I decided to go to college in the hope of
getting better employment.

      "After completing my diploma in business studies, work remained
elusive so I decided to embark on a chicken-rearing project. It worked for a
while until the chicken feed prices skyrocketed in 2000," he said.

      "I remained unemployed but have decided to relocate to Botswana where
I gather there is easy money and I see it as the only option for survival."

      His case is only one in many as the unemployed and the employed leave
in droves for the diaspora.

      Last year about 500 teachers, nurses and doctors were reportedly
leaving the country every month for better fortunes, mostly to destinations
such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

      Among those in the tortuous queue was Kudzanayi Muringani of Highfield
who said he was fleeing from Zanu PF youths who had threatened to beat him
up for campaigning for the MDC which recently walloped the ruling party in
the Kuwadzana and Highfield by-elections.

      Other reasons cited for the passport rush range from visiting
relatives in the UK to studying abroad .

      The demand for passports, without a corresponding increase in manpower
at the passport offices has, spawned huge backlogs. Another major concern
has been that the demand has unleashed a wave of passport forgery and

      Harare Magistrates' Courts, Court 5, which deals with statutory
offences, has since January this year handled more than 60 forgery cases of
Zimbabwean passports by both locals and foreigners.

      Among the cases is that of a Chitungwiza man who was found in
possession of 71 fake passports.

      An official at Makombe Building said Nigerians and Cameroonians were
offering passports to desperate people at unbelievable prices - $70 000, for

      "Instead of waiting in long queues to submit application forms and
then wait for eight months to get a passport many have resorted to
short-cuts," said the official.

      But what is disturbing is that some officials at the government
complex are allegedly involved in the racket for prices ranging from $15 000
to $30 000.

      Even the police, the law enforcers, have been roped in as accomplices
in such scams.

      Last September two policemen in Bulawayo were arrested after it
emerged they were part of a syndicate involving government registry
officers, hospital clerks and police officers.

      In the scam, hospital clerks and government registry officers
solicited thousands of dollars from people in need of birth confirmation
records that they use to obtain long birth certificates needed to acquire a
travel document. Beneficiaries of the scam were believed to be locals
deported from the UK and other European countries.

      They, too, know the value of a passport - it opens up the world for
them, as it does for the men and women in the queue outside Makombe
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Go-it-alone US wants new poll in Zimbabwe

WASHINGTON In an apparent attempt to cut through regional inaction on the
growing crisis in Zimbabwe, a top US administration official will visit the
region shortly to urge President Robert Mugabe to submit to an interim
government and new elections.

The proposed visit to Botswana and SA by US Undersecretary of State for
African Affairs, Walter Kansteiner, appears to be a departure from the US'
stated policy of working through multilateral groups such as the European
Union, the G-8 and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in
seeking a new approach to Zimbabwe.

Yesterday, an unnamed US state department official was quoted as saying the
US wanted a new election in Zimbabwe.

"What we're telling them is there has to be a transitional government in
Zimbabwe that leads to a free and fair, internationally supervised
election," he said.

It remains unclear what SA's response to a US call for fresh elections will
Back to the Top
Back to Index