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Daily News  - Feature

Unchecked power, hate speech widen gap in unity talks

4/16/02 9:09:13 AM (GMT +2)

THE published agenda for talks between Zanu PF and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) has thrown the already confused inter-Zimbabwe
dialogue into an amateur political show skirting around the main concerns of
ordinary citizens.

With the guidance and direction of South Africa and Nigeria, Patrick
Chinamasa and Welshman Ncube agreed on a 10-point plan to debate theories
about multi-party politics, elections, violence, economics, the making of
constitutions, agrarian reform and Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.

For two sides to meet under the watchful eye of a mediator, facilitator or
arbitrator, there is a conflict somewhere that calls for outside

But what is the nature of the conflict here?

In normal societies, warring parties call on outsiders to facilitate

The Zimbabwe story is strange in that none of the parties called on South
Africa and Nigeria to intervene. That clouds the issues.

The two parties are being asked to unpack their biases, prejudices,
differences and experiences to foreigners whose interest in our affairs has
hardly been explained.

After the disputed election, Zanu PF appeared to be more concerned about
beating up opponents in the rural areas than to woo them to its side.

Many died and the campaign is still on. We don’t need an outsider to tell us
that the government must stop such a campaign.

The MDC says it is pursuing other ideas to correct what it termed a
defective political process. Not endless debates and lectures on
sovereignty, the rule of law or how to buy time until 2008.

Clinging to historical impulses on the wickedness of colonialism just to
remain afloat in a storm of protest against everything that a political
party represents will never wash.

Democracy is an uncomfortable option, much as it is a source of power,
influence, command and comfort.

Those who aspire to enjoy life and political careers in a democratic society
must always remember that success and set-backs exist side by side.

The distorted media messages about the ongoing talks are serving no purpose.

They drive supporters of the two parties further apart and interfere with
genuine debate for change.

Zimbabwe has, for sometime, been sinking deeper into a major economic
crisis. The root causes require no foreign intervention as they can be dealt
with easily through a transparent, honest and open behavioural audit. We
simply have to change our way of life, listen to each other and refrain from
the use of force to settle our differences.

For more than two decades, Zanu PF has refused to embrace change, ignored
pleas to hear other voices and talks tough on assumed dissent.

The party believes it shall rule Zimbabwe forever and it relies on
commandist, military style tactics to fulfil its goals. It has been in power
for too long to dread the prospect of being in opposition as that could
result in the loss of entrenched benefits and political power.

Nobody needs a foreign mediator to explain such a glaring position.

The MDC as a new coalition of mainly young people says the nation needs a
new culture that is in line with the demands of today’s changing world.

It believes the Zanu PF leadership, especially President Mugabe and his two
deputies, have long passed their retirement age. Neither Professor Adebayo
Adedeji of Nigeria nor Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa should waste time
and money to make us understand that point.

Unless the two parties are discussing something completely different from
the items on their so called agenda, there is nothing Zimbabweans can look
forward to from the highly acclaimed meetings.

There is a serious need for a clarification of the conflict, whose
resolution seems elusive. Without that clarity, what is the point in getting
into negotiations with a party that classifies certain critical points as

Zanu PF has the public media power, administers the law and enjoys a
superior political position sufficient to scuttle the talks. Is that power
legitimate? That party often prefers to apply direct force to achieve its
aims because it now lacks the necessary political mandate needed to run a
country effectively.

Chinamasa’s team risks adopting a selfish and inflexible approach that could
easily sabotage a desire from the MDC to debate and resolve deep-rooted
problems and unmet needs.

The use of power in conflict resolution always fails to provide a lasting
solution within warring communities. It is a win-lose approach.

In 1987, the former opposition PF-Zapu party was swallowed using that

Apart from the absence of violence, nothing has changed in Matabeleland and
the Midlands since then.

Zanu PF says the law and the Constitution allow Mugabe to remain in office
for another six years.

On paper, yes. But in a conflict situation, no.

For Mugabe to enjoy any rights, ordinary people must say so. If he won a
legitimate vote, what is Adedeji and Motlanthe now doing in Harare?

Why is Mugabe talking to the puppets of the British Prime Minister, Tony

By agreeing to meet the MDC, Zanu PF has lost a significant chip on its
claim to Mugabe’s assumed victory.

It is a strange admission that his legitimacy is in question, despite
accolades from the likes of Libya, China and other places without a history
of free and fair elections.

The talks mean that Zanu PF is highly dependent on the MDC. Relationships
among the ordinary voters can never be restored by a winner-loser approach
in such delicate talks.

If there are deep perceptions about the unjustness of laws and the
Constitution, as is the case in Zimbabwe today, merely claiming your rights
will take you nowhere.

The two parties, if they are serious enough to take the nation forward, must
see Zimbabwe as the main focus area.

They must adopt a win-win approach; they must be highly amenable to
conciliation; they must consider their strategic interests; they must remain
flexible; and stay away from hate speech and media manipulation.

Genuine patriots, for the sake of their people, give way to save their
nations, even if they believe they may be right.
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Daily News

High inflation erodes Zimdollar value to 2c

4/16/02 9:13:33 AM (GMT +2)

By Ngoni Chanakira Business Editor

Zimbabwe’s high inflation rate has resulted in the country’s dollar now
being worth a mere two cents when measured against what it was worth in

The country’s dollar, which is struggling against the region’s currencies
such as the South African rand, the Botswana pula, and the Namibian dollar,
has been pegged at $55 against the United States dollar in an arrangement
between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and commercial banks.

The arrangement has, however, been criticised by the business sector which
says it is further undermining the economy - already on its knees.

Stanbic Bank of Zimbabwe Limited (Stanbic) this week said between 1990 and
February 2002, Zimbabwe’s consumer prices rose by a shocking 4 303,4
percent, reducing a dollar to a “trifling two cents”, over the same period.

Stanbic said: “The deleterious implications of this development on poverty,
national savings and investment need no expounding. What should be amply
appreciated is that no progression of economic productivity and social
well-being can ever be conceivable in an environment of 100 percent plus

The bank said inflation, which stands at more than 116 percent, should be
controlled and be the overriding primacy in the country’s macro-economic

“Those who merely advocate for the authorities to bottle interest rates at
negative levels, without articulating concrete measures to tackle the
inflation scourge, are grossly misdirecting policy,” the bank said.

Last year on 10 August, when introducing the country’s $500 note and $5
coin, the RBZ Governor, Dr Leonard Tsumba, said the very high inflation over
the past decade had significantly eroded the value of money in circulation.

Dr Tsumba said then: “For example, a 1990 dollar is only worth six cents
today. This has dramatically increased the cost of supplying notes and
coins. For example, not only is a 1990 dollar worth six cents today, but the
annual budgetary provisions for the supply of notes and coin have increased
markedly over this period - from $176,2 million in 1996 to $846,6 million in

The governor said increased inflation from 15,5 percent in 1990, to 22
percent in 1995 necessitated the introduction of high bank-note
denominations - the $50 note in March 1994 and the $100 note in January

Tsumba said the surge in inflation again in June 2001, to 64,4 percent, had
increased the public’s demand for higher currency denominations and thus, a
notable increase in the usage of the $100 note.
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Daily News - Leader Page

Don’t profess shock when all our food is imported

4/16/02 9:11:44 AM (GMT +2)

JUST a year ago people in towns and cities across Zimbabwe were shocked and
horrified when war veterans, under the guidance of Joseph Chinotimba and the
late Chenjerai Hunzvi, invaded companies, businesses and factories.

In a few weeks war veterans paralysed urban centres and sent people running
for cover in all directions. Very few of the companies that were invaded and
had millions of dollars extorted were prepared to speak to the Press for
fear of retribution and further invasions.

“This can’t go on, something must be done,” people said. Fear was everywhere
and people huddled, whispered and prayed it would not be the turn of their
company next. When Hunzvi went too far and invaded foreign-owned companies
there was an immediate uproar and protests from
diplomatic quarters were loud and forceful.

Zimbabwean High Commissioners and Ambassadors were called in, protests were
lodged and explanations demanded. In response Hunzvi threatened to raid
non-governmental organisation and foreign embassies and there was an even
bigger flurry.

Security at embassies was tightened, diplomats met to discuss their personal
safety and official protests were made at the highest levels. Quickly and
quietly, company invasions died a sudden death and everything in towns and
cities got back to normal. A few token arrests were made and everything was
rapidly hushed up.

Forgive me for boring you with this little bit of history, but with so much
happening in our country we so soon forget the horrors of what came before.
Across Zimbabwe right now, as you read this, hundreds of companies are being

The invasions come at any time of the day. They are led by people who call
themselves a host of different names: war veterans, farm invaders, settlers,
Border Gezi “graduates”, Zanu PF youth brigade or whatever else they choose
on the day.

The companies being invaded are farm offices. The factory floors being
liberated of machinery and tooling are farm workshops. The boardrooms being
stripped of chairs, tables, televisions, videos and computers are farmers’
living rooms in their private homes.

The canteens being raided of food, drink and everything edible are farmers’
kitchens and pantries in their private homes. The company employers and
employees being threatened, beaten and chased out are the farmers and their
workers. The people affected include men, women and children of all ages,
colours and nationalities.

Because these companies being invaded are farms though, no one seems to do
anything. There is no flurry of diplomatic protest. Ambassadors and High
Commissioners are not being called in. Explanations are not being demanded,
urgent whispered meetings are not being held and it would seem that the
urban businessmen and women have forgotten that yesterday they were the ones
being terrorised.

Have they all forgotten? Were they scared when their company was being
invaded? Were they worried about their personal safety? Can they remember
what it felt like? For two years and two months farming companies have been
under invasion. We stand in line for milk, sugar, cooking oil and maize-meal
because of these rural company invasions.

It is now almost a daily occurrence to hear that another farmer has been
evicted - from his company, his property and his home. It is now almost a
daily occurrence to see farmers wandering around dazed, confused and

It is commonplace now to see truckloads of furniture sitting in car parks as
evicted farmers work out where on earth they are going to go. These men and
women have often been given as little as 12 hours’ notice to get out of
their homes and the contents of their lives sit in jumbled heaps under
tarpaulins in parking lots.

People walk past them quickly with embarrassed downward glances. They say
nothing, but probably thank God it wasn’t them. The things these evicted
farmers have seen and survived are beyond belief. Their stories are of
barbaric behaviour not encountered since the dark ages.

Men and women streaming into their living rooms and kitchens. Pulling food
out of cupboards and fridges, stuffing their pockets with tins and packets,
switching on taps and deliberately flooding carpets and furniture. Strange
men in filthy clothes deciding which chairs and tables a farmer can take
when he is thrown out.

Day after day it goes on and war veterans projects secretary Andrew Ndlovu
proudly announced that he had now delivered eviction letters to more than
800 farms. Ndlovu told the farmers to vacate their properties by the end of
the month “regardless of whether their farms have been listed for
acquisition by the government or not”.

Ndlovu said that “if the farmers refuse to go peacefully, we will remove
them violently”. The pronouncements made by Ndlovu were not refuted by Dr
Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture, again leaving us wondering exactly
who is in charge here, war veterans or politicians.

When 80 settlers were evicted from a Marondera farm last week by armed riot
police they demanded to know what was going on as they had been on that land
since March 2000. The Marondera District Administrator told the settlers
that the farm had been given to the Minister of Defence and that their
settlement was “random occupation. This is now land reorganisation”.

While Zimbabwe sits back and watches this happening, the bankers,
businessmen and insurance companies say and do nothing at all. Surely they
have forgotten what it felt like last year when Chinotimba and Hunzvi were
playing God in Harare and Bulawayo.

Their companies were raided and invaded and they faced the horror for two
months. The farming companies have lived it for two years and now arbitrary
people are turning the knife for the last time and forcibly evicting them.

If we choose to keep sitting and watching farmers driving past with
truckloads of furniture, we will have only ourselves to blame when inflation
is at 1 000 percent and all our food is imported. As we lower our gaze and
hurry past yet another evicted farmer, we must think of beef and milk,
chicken and eggs, cabbages and apples, flowers and tobacco. It is our
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Daily News

Increased political violence worsens HIV/Aids pandemic

4/16/02 8:11:40 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

The HIV/Aids pandemic, which is already causing untold suffering among
Zimbabweans, is expected to worsen, amid reports that hundreds of girls and
women were allegedly raped at bases set up by Zanu PF militias in the run-up
to the presidential election.

Blessing Chebundo, the MDC shadow minister of health, said in an interview
yesterday: “With hundreds of torture camps strewn throughout the country
during the elections and most of them still fully operational, we fear that
the rape and sexual harassment will continue.

“This situation is worrisome and is cause for serious concern, especially in
this age of HIV/Aids.”

Just after the elections, a Kwekwe man, Fortune Mahuni, was murdered by
members of the Zanu PF militia after he protested against his two daughters
being forcibly kept at a base in the town as sex slaves.

Sources from areas in which torture camps have been established, said girls
and married women were gang-raped by the youths, exposing them to HIV/Aids.

“In most cases, district or branch officials from the ruling party are given
the first opportunity to rape new arrivals before members of the militia can
have a go at them in a free-for-all,” said a source in Kwekwe.

The source said the women were released as soon as the militia lost interest
in them. More than 2 000 Zimbabweans die every week due to HIV/Aids-related
illnesses, resulting in thousands of children being orphaned.

Said Chebundo: “Going by the statistics on the prevalence of HIV/Aids
hundreds of young people throughout the country could have contracted the
Aids virus as a result of the government-sponsored political violence.

“We have reports of over 50 women and young girls who were either raped or
molested. The number of victims is certainly more than this as some people
have not reported the sexual molestation and rape which they experienced at
the hands of Zanu PF militia.”

Former dissidents resettled in Nkayi and members of the militia, descended
on Kwekwe just before the presidential election, where they went on a
gang-raping spree.

In one incident, they gang-raped an elderly woman and her daughter-in-law in
Mbizo suburb.

Chebundo said: “It is the responsibility of the Zanu PF government to
protect people who are vulnerable and to ensure that the rights of children
are protected and respected.”

Said Amen Mpofu of Bulawayo: “What is going on at the bases is pathetic. It
is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.”

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Daily News

Lawyers attack Supreme Court judgments

4/16/02 8:10:57 AM (GMT +2)

By Lloyd Mudiwa

The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has questioned the competence of some of
the decisions made by the Supreme Court following the appointment of Godfrey
Chidyausiku as the Chief Justice.

Sternford Moyo, the LSZ president, also said the government may have stuffed
the Supreme Court with its sympathisers thereby undermining the independence
of the judiciary.

“We have observed a significant departure from the culture of upholding the
Bill of Rights in the Supreme Court,” he said. “We have seen a number of
judgments which have caused us some anxiety, but we are still monitoring
judgments to see whether a firm trend can be discerned from them.”

The government last year increased the number of judges on the Supreme Court
Bench from five to nine.

However, the number fell back to five, following the retirement of Chief
Justice Anthony Gubbay, and judges Ali Ebrahim and Nicholas McNally and the
death of Justice Simbarashe Muchechetere.

The society attributed the resignations of the judges to the government’s
attacks on the judiciary.

Moyo said: “The allegation that all white judges do not protect the rights
of ordinary Zimbabweans is unfair, defamatory and contemptuous.”

He said conditions of service for judges in Zimbabwe were among the worst in
the southern African region.

Moyo, in a report to the society’s annual general meeting in Harare on
Friday, said the government had assured the International Bar Association, a
body of distinguished judges and lawyers, when it visited Zimbabwe last year
that it would not load the Supreme Court with party loyalists.

“However, a perception of a desire to pack the court has developed among
some of our members as a consequence of the increase in the number of
Supreme Court judges,” Moyo said.

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Daily News

Zanu PF youths terrorise Kuwadzana

4/16/02 8:15:48 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

Suspected Zanu PF youths in Kuwadzana are again on the rampage, beating up
people at night and robbing them of their property.

Biggie Husvu, 40, one of the recent victims, who was assaulted last Tuesday
night by the youths, said he was accused of stealing money from people
during the night.

Husvu said: “I was returning home from a funeral in the company of my
brother when we met about 25 suspected Zanu PF youths wearing T-shirts
written ‘Third Chimurenga’. They asked us to chant Zanu PF slogans.”

He failed to comply and was beaten-up with electric cords after he had
challenged them on their war credentials.

Husvu said the youths robbed him of $2 000 before disappearing into the

He reported the assault to the police in Kuwadzana, who are reportedly
investigating the matter.

In a separate development on the same night, Norman Chidza, 29, another
Kuwadzana resident lost all the money he was carrying on him when some
suspected Zanu PF youths pounced on him.

Chidza said: “I was returning home from work late that night when I was
waylaid by a mob of Zanu PF youths. They accused me of supporting the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

“I was assaulted with feet and clenched fists, because I was not carrying a
Zanu PF membership card.”

He said the youths told him their mission was to punish all the MDC
supporters in the urban areas.

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Daily News

Challenge Mugabe’s questionable victory: EU Parliamentarian

4/16/02 8:13:49 AM (GMT +2)

By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor

PRESIDENT Mugabe’s disputed re-election must be challenged at all costs
because there is overwhelming evidence that the election was neither free
nor fair, United Kingdom’s Conservative Member of the European Parliament
(MEP), Geoffrey Van Orden, said.

He was speaking yesterday in Brussels just before a European Union (EU)
ministers’ meeting to discuss the tightening of screws against Mugabe’s
government which the international community has refused to acknowledge.

The ministers will discuss issues that include examining further measures
against the government, such as an extension of the EU’s blacklist of
leading Mugabe associates. This would be done to include other key figures
in the country who have directly benefited or still benefit from the Zanu PF
government, such as the vice-presidents, all cabinet ministers and senior
military commanders.

Also to be considered for inclusion on the blacklist are secret service
bosses and leading businessmen who have helped bankroll Zanu PF or benefited
from its corrupt activities. Those who play or have played a role in
sustaining the government and its campaign of violence will be affected as
well. This is in line with the United States’ earlier decision to blacklist
businessmen like Mutumwa Mawere, Philip Chiyangwa, Saviour Kasukuwere and
others like the Anglican Church Bishop, Nolbert Kunonga and Chief Justice
Godfrey Chidyausiku.

The blacklisting will include their respective spouses and children, “as
they also spend illegally acquired money abroad”.

“The opposition MDC is right to challenge the result of last month’s
presidential election in the courts because there is overwhelming evidence
that it was neither free nor fair,” said Van Orden. “But we should remember
that Mugabe has packed the Supreme Court with Zanu PF supporters and the
chances of a fair verdict are remote. The judiciary itself will be on

The Brussels meeting will also consider the publication of details
pertaining to assets already identified and frozen as a result of the policy
of the EU and US targeted sanctions, examine Zimbabwe’s debt situation and
drawing rights in international financial institutions.

The meeting will also dispatch a high-level troika to the southern Africa
region as a matter of urgency, in order to “sound out Zimbabwe’s neighbours
about further measures to bring about a return to democracy and the rule of
law there”.

“We must not let Zimbabwe disappear off the international radar screen. The
EU should now consider what further steps it intends to take following the
rigged election and the subsequent campaign of murder and revenge carried
out by Mugabe’s supporters against those that opposed them”, said Van Orden.

He is the deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European
Parliament. Van Orden is the Conservative MEP for East England and the
Conservative spokesman on defence and human rights.

Van Orden initiated the last three emergency resolutions on the situation in
Zimbabwe, passed in September, December and March.

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Daily News

State official says refugees not being ill-treated

4/16/02 8:12:28 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

ISAAC Mukaro, the Commissioner for Refugees in Zimbabwe, has denied that
refugees are being ill-treated when they approach their offices for

Mukaro was responding to allegations by some refugees from Rwanda, Burundi
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo that the United Nations High
Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), was not giving them enough money and food
for their well being.

Mukaro said: “The allegations of ill-treatment have not been brought to our
office. The UNHCR would answer that for you.”

He said that each refugee receives a monthly food voucher worth $1 600.

“Refugees who are professionally or technically qualified apply for work
permits as and when they are offered jobs by employers,” he said.

John Adu, the resident representative of the UNHCR could not be reached for
comment yesterday.

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Daily News

Return to talks must hinge on end to violence

4/16/02 9:10:48 AM (GMT +2)

The MDC’s negotiating team in the recently opened talks between the
opposition and the ruling Zanu PF was clearly caught flat-footed at the
crucial exploratory stage of the talks facilitated by South Africa and
Nigeria, the two countries that have worked so hard for a return to normalcy
they must be just about getting to the end of their tether.

The team lost a golden opportunity to press for an immediate end to the
continuing countrywide violence and a return to the rule of law. Perhaps it
is their first taste of the cunning of their opponents. We cannot be wide
off the mark to suggest that it was everyone’s hope in fact most people were
certain - that the announcement of the presidential election results,
whichever way the vote went, would see an immediate end to the two-year-long
State-sponsored anarchy and lawlessness that has seen so many people
tortured, maimed and killed and virtually brought the economy to its knees.

It was a realistic hope. The assumption was that if Morgan Tsvangirai won,
he would have no option but to move swiftly to restore law and order as per
his campaign promise since his party’s supporters are almost exclusively at
the receiving end of the violence.

And if Robert Mugabe won, whether fairly or fraudulently, he would order the
violence to end forthwith as the belief was that he had sanctioned it only
to ensure his party won both the parliamentary election in June 2000 and the
presidential election last month.

With Zanu PF safely confirmed in power, there would be no need for the
mayhem to continue. We, of course, now know better. Because Zanu PF is
painfully aware that its victory was not genuine, but merely a direct result
of the violence by paid mercenaries masquerading as party militants and war
veterans, the government cannot be sure of hanging on to power if the
merchants of fear were withdrawn from their operational areas and
intimidation and torture brought to an end.

The government can only feel relatively safe if the terror continues as,
among other reasons, a sure way of keeping the entire rural populace from
finding time to entertain any thoughts of making it known that they did not
vote freely but were forced to cast their votes the way they did.

The other reason, as gathered from intelligence sources, is Zanu PF’s strong
but lamentably misguided belief that if the torturers, aided and abetted by
the police, can continue with the campaign long enough, they can obliterate
the MDC in the rural areas completely.

Which is why we continue to get stories of MDC supporters still being
killed, raped, tortured and generally terrorised into fleeing their homes,
often to live in the mountains or, for a lucky few, to seek refuge with
relatives in towns. Sadly, President Mugabe has not issued any messages of
condolence to those losing their loved ones nor has he uttered a single word
of condemnation against these barbaric acts of violence.

It is extremely disturbing that more than a month after he was officially
sworn in for another term, the President has not taken even token steps to
show the world he at least has the will to end the anarchy of the past two

Not only are lawfully employed public officials being “fired”
arbitrarily by so-called war veterans for no other reason than that they are
suspected to be sympathetic to the MDC, but ordinary villagers are now being
denied relief food for the same reason.

And now, as we reported yesterday, the war vets are also going around
ordering villagers suspected of supporting the MDC to return the
agricultural inputs given to them before the presidential poll. How
heartless can we get?

The MDC has a moral duty to do everything in its power to protect its
supporters who now constitute by far the majority of Zimbabweans. Having
failed to make it a condition for entering into the talks in the first
place, the party now has an obligation to tell the facilitators that it will
not return to the negotiating table on 13 May unless all violence will have
completely ceased by then.
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ABC Australia

Labor calls for bans against Zimbabwe
Australia's Opposition has called for targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The Opposition says Australia should follow the United States, the European
Union and New Zealand in banning travel by members of the Mugabe Government
and freezing their personal assets.

Labor's spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, says the diplomacy of
the Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is all talk and no action.

Mr Rudd says five weeks after Zimbabwe's elections, the political situation
continues to deteriorate.

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Daily News

Nyarota arrested

4/16/02 8:43:57 AM (GMT +2)

By Collin Chiwanza

GEOFFREY Nyarota, the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News, was yesterday
arrested by the police in Harare in connection with a story carried in his
newspaper last Wednesday which showed that there were serious discrepancies
between the total number of votes announced by the Registrar-General,
Tobaiwa Mudede, in last month’s presidential election and the actual ballots

Three officers, Detective Inspector Denford Dhliwayo, Assistant Inspector
Jameson Majachani and Detective Inspector Edward Duri, visited Nyarota in
his office and later took him away to Harare Central Police Station, where
he was charged.

Nyarota, who was accompanied by his lawyer, Lawrence Chibwe of Stumbles and
Rowe, was charged for contravening section 80 (1) (a) of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Chapter 10: 27, which deals with
the abuse of journalistic privilege.

Part of the section says: “A journalist shall be deemed to have abused his
journalistic privilege and committed an offence if he falsifies or
fabricates information and publishes falsehoods.”

The Act stipulates that anyone who contravenes that section shall be guilty
of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding $100 000 or to imprisonment
for a period not exceeding two years.

This is the second time that the controversial piece of legislation, crafted
by Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the
President’s Office, has been used since President Mugabe signed it into law
late last month.

Before its eventual passage, the draconian law had been fiercely resisted by
both Zanu PF and MDC legislators who argued that it was specifically
tailored to muzzle the Press and curtail the basic freedoms of expression
and assembly.

After charging Nyarota, the police proceeded to record a statement and to
take his fingerprints before releasing him.

On 10 April, 2002, The Daily News reported that the total number of votes
announced by Mudede in a live broadcast by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) as having been polled by all five contesting candidates
was 700 000 votes less than the figure subsequently published in other

A copy of the ZBC tape obtained by The Daily News shows that the total of
Mudede’s breakdown of the votes polled by the five candidates was
2 998 758 valid ballots - 700 000 votes in excess of the total figure which
he announced to the nation.

Mudede subsequently dismissed the story during a news conference in Harare
last week.

In a statement, Mudede accused The Daily News of ŒŒcooking up figures in
order to justify their allegations against the Registrar-General”.

At the same Press conference, Mudede failed to clear the controversy
pertaining to the conflicting figures and proceeded to announce new
presidential election results.

In the fresh results, Mudede reduced the number of votes cast in favour of
Mugabe by a total of 4 000, while simultaneously increasing Morgan
Tsvangirai’s votes by 4 002 in what he said was the final report.

But Nyarota said The Daily News stood by its story as published on 10 April
and challenged the ZBC-TV to air the report for the benefit of the nation.

This had not been done as of yesterday afternoon.

On Wednesday night after Mudede’s Press conference ZBC-TV featured, not
Mudede, but ZBC newscaster Obriel Mpofu announcing the results.
Nyarota said Mudede’s statement on Wednesday failed to address the
legitimate concerns raised in the Daily News story.

The police admitted yesterday they had not viewed the tape before proceeding
to arrest Nyarota.

The police demanded that Nyarota reveal to them the identity of the
reporters involved in compiling the story.

Nyarota refused to do so, saying, as Editor-in-Chief, he was ultimately
responsible for the content of The Daily News.

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Business Report

Zimbabwean inflation eases to 113% on technical factors
Lucia Mutikani
April 16 2002 at 06:33AM
Harare - Zimbabwe's inflation eased in March, official data showed
yesterday, but with the annual rate still over 100 percent and the black
market thriving, economists see little hope for an end to the severe
economic crisis.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 113.3 percent in the year to March, a
slight slowdown on 116.3 percent in February, the Central Statistical Office

Analysts said the data showed that President Robert Mugabe still faced a
formidable challenge after being re-elected last month.

On a month-on-month basis, CPI rose 6.4 percent compared with 4.7 percent in
February, which analysts said confirmed that inflation was on an upward
trend, targeting 150 percent in the second half of this year.

"This fall overall is just due to technical factors and is reflecting the
price controls that exist on official channels. [An inflation rate of] 113
percent is not real," said Witness Chinyama, a Harare-based economist.

The government reintroduced price controls on basic commodities in October
in a bid to rein in runaway inflation.

Analysts said the introduction of price controls had created artificial
shortages of basic commodities - mealie meal and cooking oil - about 80
percent of which were now being sold on the black market at exorbitant
prices. The US dollar has been fixed at Z$55 since November 2000, but is
fetching between Z$300 and Z$345 on the black market.

"These figures are becoming meaningless because the Central Statistical
Office is not recording real prices. They are recording artificial prices,"
said Tony Hawkins, a business studies professor at the University of

"This is a political issue; we have a government that has been totally
discredited by everybody.

"I cannot believe there will be any recovery economically until there is a
new government," said Hawkins.

Analysts believe the economy will shrink by 12 percent this year after a 7.5
percent contraction last year.

Interest rates have been kept artificially low as the government
restructures its domestic debt, shifting from predominantly short-term to
longer-dated securities. - Reuters
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Business Report

Workers seize assets of Zimbabwean gold mine
Sherilee Bridge
April 16 2002 at 06:37AM
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's land grab had overflowed to the mining industry,
where workers had seized the assets of a gold mine near Mberengwa, the
Associated Mineworkers Union confirmed yesterday.

About 300 workers had taken control of Procter Metals in response to alleged
incitements by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Enoch Sithole, the union's national organisational secretary, said yesterday
that Procter was the only mine to be seized at present. The workers were
said to have claimed the stamp mill.

The union told the Zimbabwe Standard, an independent newspaper, that the
government wanted to take advantage of the problems in the gold sector to
"drive out foreigners", or non-black entrepreneurs.

The Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe said it had heard no official reports.

Doug Verden, the senior executive officer at the chamber, said if the
expropriation of assets proved true it was "sheer politics". He said despite
equipment still being on site, the mine was effectively closed anyway.

The Zimbabwe Standard reported that Mugabe, during his February election
campaign, had claimed gold producers were deliberately closing down to bring
down his beleaguered government through worker revolt.

Last month Falcon Gold said it planned to close three of its gold mines and
fire 300 employees in Zimbabwe. It said its profit had been cut by
Zimbabwe's fixed foreign exchange rate and it had no money left to spend
finding new reserves.

Mine closures by global gold producers like Australia's Aurion Gold and
Canada's First Quantum have reduced the output of Zimbabwe's second-biggest
export earner by a third.

Gold production in Zimbabwe had fallen 35 percent in just two years, from
27.7 tons in 1999 to 18 tons last year, said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The decline was expected to be extended into 2002.

Another Zimbabwean newspaper, National News, reported on Friday that ruling
party Zanu-PF supporters had set up a base at Shamva Gold Mine. Verden said
there were thought to be a number of these "base camps" in that area.

The newspaper said Zanu-PF supporters had "released a reign of terror" at
the mine, where they were accused of victimising workers thought to be
supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The report said 20
workers had been ordered to leave the mine.

The chamber said there were no indications that more mine seizures had been

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Exploitation of grain supplies - the patronage method............
The GMB maize being sold at Rutenga Station depot at a cost of $950 for 50kg, but when bags are weighed they are reported to vary from as low as 34kg upwards.
National Foods, Blue Ribbon and other national millers are hardly receiving any grain at all. These huge commercial mills are capable of supplying the country's milled maize supplies and produce a number of biproducts from their maize milling operations, e.g. cooking oil and stockfeed (both of which are now unobtainable)
The maize is being pushed through Black small-scale millers like the one owned at Rutenga by a Minister's (name known) brother-in-law (an ex railway employee). Here the maize is being milled and reportedly being sold initially at $437 per 20kg; which increased to $500, and now $600. The "after dark" price is reported to be $700 per 20kg for those who are really desperate. The public are however complaining that the weight of the 20kg bag varies around 17kg. The mill owner also runs a fleet of 30-ton transport rigs which are being used by government to transport the maize from RSA. The trucks are regularly seen unloading at the mill.
Both maize and its milled product are being sold on a patronage system with all sales outlets and mills being controlled by "war veterans". Maize is mainly being denied to commercial farm workers and suspected members of the MDC opposition party.
Due to the lack of stockfeeds two of the largest poultry producers in Masvingo are selling off stocks in preparation of closing down. Most of the day-old chicks normally went to small-scale farmers in the communal areas. One of these businesses belonged to a successful Black businessman who owns the biggest poultry slaughter house in the province. He had been exporting his product all over Africa.
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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Zimbabwe inflation edges lower
Harare residents queuing for scarce paraffin cooking oil
Food shortages have been blamed on price controls
Inflation in Zimbabwe has fallen slightly, but the annual rate of price increase is still well over 100%.

The inflation rate, or consumer price index (CPI), rose 113.3% in the year to March, a slight slowdown on 116.3% in February, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) said.

A domestic worker or industrial worker will be earning less than Z$10,000 a month. It's very difficult to understand how they pay their living expenses

Professor Rob Davies
University of Zimbabwe
But analysts say the figures do not accurately reflect the true economic situation because of government price controls and the booming black market.

"We don't have inflation rates for low income and high income groups but my impression is income distribution is getting worse, that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer," Professor Rob Davies, chairman of the economics department at the University of Zimbabwe told the BBC's World Business Report.

Month-on-month, inflation increased 6.4% compared with 4.7% in February, indicating an upward trend.

Economic woes

The data shows President Robert Mugabe has a formidable task of turning the economy around after being re-elected in last month's controversial poll.

Zimbabwe is in its fourth year of recession, its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980.

Its economy is expected to shrink by 12% this year, following Mr Mugabe's election victory, after a 7.5% contraction last year.

Devaluation unlikely

The government re-introduced price controls on basic consumer items last October to rein-in soaring inflation.

The controls created artificial shortages of commodities, about 80% of which are now estimated to be sold on the black market at exorbitant prices.

"I'm not sure what solution I'd have (for the inflation rate) but it does require the government to look at their borrowing on the domestic market, look at money supply growth, and bring this down," said Professor Davies.

"Devaluation won't solve the problem, but it is a necessary part of the package," he said.

But with rampant inflation, it is unlikely the government will devalue the currency to bring prices in line with the black market.

The Zimbabwean dollar has been fixed at 55 to the US dollar since November 2000, but is trading at between 300 and 345 on the black market.

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Commonwealth conference avoids condemning Mugabe

CAPE TOWN, April 16 — A Commonwealth conference on democracy and the media
failed on Tuesday to adopt a resolution condemning President Robert Mugabe's
crackdown on the independent media in Zimbabwe.
       Parliamentarians and journalists attending a three-day conference on
securing an effective relationship between legislators and reporters failed
to agree that Mugabe's post-election law curbing freedom of the press and
the arrest and harassment of journalists merited a separate declaration.
       African delegates broadly lined up against a declaration condemning
Zimbabwe's suppression of press freedom that was supported by delegates from
Britain, India and Australia.
       ''We should stick to our own theme of promoting relations between
parliamentarians and the media and enhancing the free press and democracy,''
South African provincial legislator Pule Malefane told the conference,
organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
       ''As to specific situations, I don't think we need to...pronounce on
       Geoff Nyarota, editor of the Daily News, Zimbabwe's only private
daily newspaper, was arrested on Monday and accused of publishing false
information in a story alleging that President Robert Mugabe had won last
month's presidential race by fraud.
       He was charged under a recently passed law which penalises ''abuse of
journalistic privilege'' with heavy fines or jail terms of up to two years,
his lawyer Lawrence Chibwe said.
       Mugabe signed the media law just three days after winning the
election, which his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai and many Western powers say
he rigged.
       Wilf Mbanga, founder of the Daily News, who has been jailed and
harassed in the past for his reporting, said he was stunned by the unanimous
African rejection of the declaration.
       ''I feel let down by my brothers and sisters in Africa in that we are
not honest enough to condemn something that is wrong,'' he said in an
emotional address.
       ''Where we can see that something is definitely wrong we should come
out and condemn it, even if it is our African brothers. We try to find long as we do that, we will never have democracy in Africa.''
       One Kenyan delegate said he feared he would be arrested at Nairobi
airport on his return if he put his name to the declaration, which urged
Mugabe to ''ensure the safety and protection of parliamentarians and those
working in the media who seek to exercise their democratic rights.''
       The division echoed a similar divide within the Commonwealth, which
groups 54 countries that are mostly former British colonies, about whether
to impose sanctions against Mugabe for failing to ensure a free and fair
       ''I'm being asked to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. My
conscience makes it very difficult to account to the people of Zimbabwe as
to who why no action was taken here,'' said British human rights lawyer Mark

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Dearest Sister J.,
 you asked what you could do .................................... The following please:- find out from CFU how many farmers have been illegally evicted (what's not illegal about what they are doing?) from their homes and farms and the cost in terms of lootings etc. and how many of their workers and families have been displaced as a result - and get it to as many organisations (human rights) as possible. 
Today A. and B. went back to the farm again, hoping to do a more detailed assessment of our losses (now over $40 million). They were greeted by two new army details with AK's who were very aggressive.  ( I declined to go home today as I feel emotionally drained, wrung out.....some admission to make!...).  They marched B. and A. up to our house and made them stand outside, in the meantime "clapping" our five workers who were with A. and B..  When A. started walking towards our kitchen door the army guy cocked his weapon and told him not to come a step further.  He then went to B.'s cottage (in the garden) and produced a box of .303 ammo (which they had taken from our gun safe) and demanded to know what "is thet box?", A. said "it is .303 ammo for a licenced weapon we have".  The scene became ugly so B., A. and our workers made their way back to the truck and left the farm.
It is more than apparent that the farmers that are being evicted from their homes and farms, are being moved to make way for senior military officials who have "chosen their new abodes, fully furnished and equipped".  Apart from this, and worse still,  the awful violence is continuing in the rural areas and the high density suburbs of Zimbabwe - the people who do not have a job, money, access to email etc. and there is no recourse to the law. 
The time has come (how often have we said this?) for firstly South Africa to speak out against all the human rights violations taking place daily in Zimbabwe. Why is SA trying to water down their election observer document??  Do they (Mbeki especially) give a damn that their brothers and sisters are being displaced, raped, abused - come on President Mbeki - what was the fight against apartheid about?  Minority oppression - yes and quite rightly so. But if it is white oppression it is wrong, but what about Mugabe's regime of black minority oppression?  Is that okay?  It seems to be by your looking the other way.  The door is already open in SA - perhaps that is what you want?  Don't make the people of your country the sacrificial lambs on the political slab of power, as Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe.
We may have to leave our homes and farms at the barrel of a gun, for a short time,  but we WILL NOT LEAVE ZIMBABWE.  We will wait this out somehow, but WE WILL be around to rebuild our country. 
with great love for our country and our people, Z. 
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