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US Blasts UN Rights Vote on Zimbabwe, Sudan
VOA News
18 Apr 2003, 00:56 UTC

The United States has denounced the U.N. Human Rights Commission for
refusing to condemn Zimbabwe and Sudan for, what it called, serious human
rights abuses.

A European Union-sponsored resolution against Zimbabwe was defeated
Wednesday after 28 - mainly African and Asian - countries voted in favor of
a "no-action motion." Another EU-backed motion condemning Sudan was rejected
by a vote of 26 to 24. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher condemned
the "no-action motion" device to block motions for discussion. He called for
an overhaul of the 53-member commission's voting procedure.

Mr. Boucher said a "no-action motion" in effect says the commission has no
right to discuss the egregious human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

He said the United States is disappointed with some influential members of
the African group in the commission who voted against the resolutions. The
E.U. resolutions accused both Zimbabwe and Sudan of violating the human
rights of their citizens using arbitrary arrests and torture.

Sudanese Justice Minister Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin is quoted by the Sudan
News Agency as saying the decision by the U.N. commission "constitutes
Sudan's innocence." But he also said that the government will work hard to
keep its record clean.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.
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Natal Witness

SA's proposal on Zim draws strong criticism

CAPE TOWN - A government proposal that succeeded in blocking an examination
of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe by the United Nations Human Rights
Commission (UNHRC) has drawn strong criticism both at home and abroad.

Zimbabwe escaped international scrutiny on Wednesday after 28 mainly African
and Asian countries in the 53-member UNHRC supported a South African "no
action" motion on a European Union resolution calling for debate on the

Yesterday, the Democratic Alliance said it is "deeply disturbed and shocked"
to learn South Africa has led such a proposal.

"Why would the South African government propose that the UNHRC not take a
firmer stand on Zimbabwe? It boggles the mind," DA MP Colin Eglin said.

The DA has repeatedly called on the government to intervene in the
Zimbabwean crisis, he said.

Meanwhile, European Parliament MP Michael Gahler, a member of the
parliament's largest political group, said the South African government has
turned its back on Zimbabweans who are suffering under a "despotic leader".

"The more the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorates, the more the Mugabe regime
apparently can count on the unconditional support from the 'old boys'
network' existing between the ANC and Zanu-PF," he said in a statement.

He added that the SA government's silent diplomacy towards Mugabe has
obviously failed, "but open support of an oppressive regime prevails".
Publish Date: 18 April 2003
Source: SAPA
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Zim Independent

Tsvangirai poll petition stalled
Dumisani Muleya/Vincent Kahiya

A DISPUTE has erupted between Movement for Democratic Change president
Morgan Tsvangirai's lawyers and the High Court over the opening of a
landmark court hearing into the opposition leader's election petition
against President Robert Mugabe's disputed re-election last year.

Documents at hand show that Tsvangirai's attorneys, Gill, Godlonton &
Gerrans, are resisting suggestions that Judge President Paddington Garwe
preside over the hearing. Garwe is currently sitting in Tsvangirai's treason

Writing on behalf of High Court registrar Jacob Manzunzu on February 26,
Garwe's clerk, Punish Murumbi, said dates for the petition could not be set
now because Garwe - who "will in all probability" preside over the case -
was still engaged in Tsvangirai's treason trial.

"The petition will in all probability be presided over by the Judge
President who, as you are aware, is currently presiding over a lengthy
treason trial,"Murumbi wrote to Tsvangirai's lawyer, Bryant Elliot.

"As it is not possible for both matters to be heard at the same time, the
date of set down will only be advised once it becomes apparent when the
criminal trial is likely to be concluded," he said.

But Elliot on March 25 said it was "not appropriate" in the first place for
Garwe to hear the petition because he has been involved in the treason
trial. He also said delaying the election case would prejudice Tsvangirai.

MDC lawyers have of late been quarrelling with the High Court registrar's
office over set down dates for the start of the unprecedented electoral

The lawyers have been demanding the fixing of the dates in a series of
letters since January 15.

However, the registrar's office has refused to do so claiming that it was
not possible at present due to the treason case.

Tsvangirai and two other senior MDC officials are facing allegations of
plotting to assassinate Mugabe in late 2001. The accusations surfaced in the
run-up to the controversial March 2002 presidential poll which Tsvangirai
says was rigged.

Murumbi said there were other issues before the court such as further
discovery (disclosure of further documentary evidence) and verification of
ballots that needed to be sorted out first.

But Tsvangirai's lawyers wrote to Murumbi again on March 25 saying the
issues he had raised should not prevent the case from proceeding.

As the row intensified, Murumbi on March 27 replied insisting that his
initial explanations were valid.

"Tsvangirai is the petitioner in the above case (electoral challenge) as he
is also the first accused in the treason trial," Murumbi said. "Both cases
are lengthy ones and obviously they cannot proceed at the same time. Put
differently, Tsvangirai cannot appear in two courts at the same time."

However, the MDC attorneys yesterday held firm, arguing the problem was not
Tsvangirai having to appear before two courts at the same time but Garwe
having to preside over the two cases simultaneously.

They said they could not see the reason why another judge, besides Garwe who
is committed indefinitely, could not deal with the election petition.

"In a criminal trial, in terms of Section 194 of the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act the presence of the accused at the trial is required at all
times," the MDC lawyers said.

"However, in a civil trial, there is no legal requirement in terms of the
Civil Evidence Act for a litigant to be present at all times of his trial."

The treason trial is a criminal case while the election challenge is a civil
action. Neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai have to attend the election hearing.
MDC attorneys say the election petition should be heard "as a matter of

"In the circumstances, we respectfully do not agree that the election
petition cannot be set down until the criminal trial is completed. This will
delay the hearing of the election petition indefinitely and will therefore
severely prejudice our client's legal rights," Tsvangirai's lawyers said.

This comes amid reports that the country's justice system is creaking to a
halt due to bureaucratic bottlenecks and allegations of abuse of the system
used to allocate cases to judges.

There have been serious delays in the processing of appeal cases coming from
lower courts to the Supreme Court. Before the cases are set down for appeal
documents used in the lower courts have to be bound into records which are
then used by the Supreme Court.

Judgements have also not been produced on time.

Law Society of Zimbabwe President Sternford Moyo in his report last week
noted concern over the delay in the production of judgements.

"Initially we were advised that the delay in the production of judgements
was due to the fact that the duplicating machine was too old," said Moyo.

"We have established that there is a brand new machine and all that it
requires are consumables," he said.

He said there were currently at least 180 records awaiting production due to
insufficient manpower resources.

Moyo said a number of practitioners would like the courts to revive the
system whereby urgent matters are allocated to the duty judge irrespective
of the subject matter.

Cases pending include constitutional challenges to the Broadcasting Services
Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
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Zim Independent

US turns heat on Mugabe
Dumisani Muleya

IN the aftermath of the Iraq war in which former dictator Saddam Hussein was
toppled by a sweeping American military strike, the United States appears
ready for a major confrontation with Zimbabwe over mounting repression.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent from Washington, a State
Department African Bureau spokesperson who asked not to be named said
reports that the US had renewed its demand for another presidential election
in Zimbabwe were true.

"What the official quoted in the press (this week) was saying is that the
past Zimbabwe presidential election was flawed and obviously there has to be
another free and fair poll held under international supervision," she said.

"It's the same prescription that we offer all over the world and it also
applies to us."

An official was quoted as saying on Tuesday Zimbabwe's neighbours were
beginning to realise that President Robert Mugabe's political repression and
economic mismanagement were now untenable.

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

"That is the goal. He (Mugabe) stole the last one, we cannot let that happen

Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira was yesterday quoted in the South
African press fuming over these remarks.

Shamuyaraira said the US, and not Zimbabwe, needed a transitional government
and a new election because George W Bush "was not elected".

"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," Shamuyarira said. "If the
Americans don't want to accept our legitimacy, it is their own problem. They
can go to hell. There will be no new elections here."

Shamuyarira said Mugabe's hotly-disputed re-election was recognisedas free
and fair by African and South-ern African Development Community observers.

"The only group that flatly refu-sed to acknowledge the electionwas the
European Union. We refuse to be bound by the EU's racist position," he said.

"If the Americans want to follow the EU, then it's their problem."

Mugabe has been widely accused of rigging last year's presidential poll. The
Sadc Parliamentary Forum, the US, EU, Japan, and Ghana said the election was
not free and fair.

The US spokesperson who spoke to the Independent yesterday said Zimbabwe was
discussed at a State Department briefing in the context of African trouble

Asked if the US would consider attacking Zimbabwe as government apologists
feared, she said that was "strange and silly".

"The Mugabe regime has been saying a lot of strange things of late and that
is one such sort of thing," she said. "It's very silly. But why are they so

The spokesperson, however, warned the US was ratcheting up pressure
consistently as shown by recent targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his

She said the current political and economic situation was "terrible and
shocking" and warned Mugabe was under growing threat not necessarily from
the US but "from the crisis in Zimbabwe".
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Zim Independent

Maize sellers shun GMB
Blessing Zulu

DESPITE a huge increase in the producer price of maize, trade on the
parallel market is alive and well as the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) remains
an unattractive buyer, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

The National NGO Food Security Network (Fosnet) involving 24
non-governmental organisations monitoring food distribution said officials
from the parastatal were also contributing to the parallel market.

Out of 58 districts assessed Fosnet said the GMB was contributing to 41% of
food on the parallel market.

"Relief food was reported to be filtering into the parallel market in four
districts," the network said.

The GMB last month raised the producer price of maize from $28 000 to $130
000 a tonne. The GMB is however still selling to millers at $9 600 a tonne.

There are allegations that senior government officials and commodity brokers
are buying maize from the GMB at $9 600 a tonne using millers' certificates
and re-selling it at almost $400 000 a tonne.

Police spokesman Inspector Andrew Phiri said police were investigating cases
of illegal trade.

"There are officials from the GMB who have been arrested and other cases are
still pending," said Phiri.

"These officials were buying maize cheaply at the GMB and selling it in the
streets with a huge mark up," he said.

Government officials such as Gender and Youth deputy minister Shuvai Mahofa
and Matabeleland South governor Obert Mpofu have been implicated in the
illegal sale of maize.

There are fears that the recent increases are likely to exacerbate the
parallel market.

"The profit margin of selling GMB grain in parallel markets has widened from
$490/10kg in July 2002 to $4 200/10kg in March this year, the highest in
urban areas. GMB grain sales in parallel markets undermines subsidies to
control prices and turns public funds into private profits," said Fosnet.

The GMB is struggling to attract farmers to sell their maize despite hiking
the producer price of maize and increasing the number of monitors to force
producers to deliver their crop to the parastatal.

The government has invoked statutory instruments declaring illegal the sale
of maize without a valid movement permit. Farmers are compelled to deliver
their maize to the GMB 14 days after harvesting.

The increase in the producer price of maize has not managed to stem illegal
trade as some individuals were offering farmers between $200 000 and $300
000 a tonne.

Mike Ngwenya, a farmer from Chiweshe in Mashonaland Central who spoke to the
Independent, said the GMB must transform if it is to attract sellers.

"Individuals are paying cash on the spot and the GMB pays after about three
weeks," he said.

"The private individuals bring their own trucks to collect maize but for the
GMB you have to organise your own transport," said Ngwenya.
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Zim Independent

Bishops block Zanu PF's bid to declare Chakaipa a hero
Mthulisi Mathuthu

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe suffered an embarrassment this week when Catholic
bishops rejected his party's bid to have his late friend, Archbishop Patrick
Chakaipa, buried at Heroes Acre.

It emerged this week that Mugabe and his Zanu PF stalwarts, who include
secretary for information and publicity Nathan Shamuyarira, were pushing for
Chakaipa's proclamation as a hero through the Mashonaland West provincial

Provincial chairman Philip Chi-yangwa applied to the politburo to have the
late primate buried at the national shrine but the bishops and the Chakaipa
family turned down the idea arguing that it was improper to politicise
Chakaipa's funeral.

A source said neither the bishops nor the family were enthusiastic about the
proposal, leading to its abandonment.

The bishops argued that burying Chakaipa at the national shrine would have
suggested that he was a Zanu PF party member.

Archbishop Pius Ncube said it would have been improper to equate a man of
the cloth with politicians.

"It was just a joke. Some people wanted to score cheap political mileage
because the whole issue is irrelevant and even Mugabe himself never raised
it at the funeral," said Ncube.

"Even Chiyangwa who proposed it never came to the funeral and so you can see
that it was totally out of the question."

Chiyangwa yesterday said he had applied to the politburo because Chakaipa
was "a success story" whose service went beyond religion. He wondered why
the clergy had not lobbied to honour their colleague.

"The issue of the heroes' status is beyond politics and the church has the
right to push for the honour of one of their own. Chakaipa, as you know is a
success from my province and so I am right (in petitioning the politburo),"
he said.

Chiyangwa said there was still a chance for Chakaipa to be accorded the
status even though he would not be buried at the shrine.

"If they could bring the remains of that white man Guy Clutton-Brock for
burial here what will stop them from doing the same with Chakaipa?" he
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Zim Independent

Donor doubts could scuttle land summit
Mthulisi Mathuthu

A REGIONAL land summit planned by political parties for June this year could
be scuttled by lack of funds, an official organising the event told the
Zimbabwe Independent this week.

The summit was designed to bring together the South African opposition Pan
Africanist Congress (PAC), Namibia's Swapo, Zanu PF and local pro-Zanu PF

PAC secretary-general and sum-mit organiser Thami ka Platjie said the summit
would seek to "discuss regional land problems and to review the Zimbabwe
exercise and avoid its pitfalls".

But this week he said the summit could be postponed because there were "a
few problems" to be tackled and that there were insufficient funds to host
the event.

"We are still looking for funding and we could postpone this summit but it's
certainly coming," said Platjie.

Although he refused to say how much has been raised so far it is understood
that the organisers have approached Hivos, Sida and Norad - all of whom have
a history of supporting revolutionary movements during the colonial era.

It is understood that this time they are dragging their feet because of fear
that they would appear to be endorsing President Robert Mugabe's violent and
much criticised land grab.

Intended for Pretoria in South Africa, the summit is seen as an effort by
Zanu PF to sell its controversial acquisition programme with a view to
sparking similar seizures across the continent and boosting support for

Sources said the South African government was already concerned with the way
Zimbabwe's land reform programme is being conducted.

Zimbabwe has been encouraging the landless lobby in South Africa to emulate
Mugabe's agrarian reform which differs immensely from President Thabo
Mbeki's consensus-driven agenda.

The PAC, close supporters of Mugabe, have repeatedly rapped the Mbeki
government for its slow land reform programme while officers at the Zimbabwe
High Commission in Pretoria are suspected of assisting local players to push
for a land grab there.

Platjie has made several trips to Harare mobilising local NGOs to support
the summit. Other organisations linked to the regional land redistribution
exercise are the officially-promoted Inyika Trust, Institute for Public
Policy and Research in Namibia, Landless People's Movement of South Africa,
Ibbo Mandaza's Sapes Trust, and David Nyekorach-Matsanga's Africa Strategy.
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Zim Independent

Assembly deadlocked over Zim
Mthulisi Mathuthu

THE European Union/African Caribbean and Pacific Joint Parliamentary
Assembly meeting in Brazzaville recently was unable to agree to a joint
resolution on Zimbabwe.

Three separate motions, including Zimbabwe's, were reportedly rejected.

Zimbabwe had hoped to convince the assembly to buy into its allegations that
the United Kingdom was at the centre of its current economic and political
chaos because it was opposed to land reform.

"The only issue obstructing the return to normalcy in the country is the
sustained hostility of the UK government which is engendering polarisation
in Zimbabwean society and blocking cooperation between Zimbabwe and the
international community," said the motion rejected by the EU and several ACP
nations which included Botswana, Senegal and Ghana.

In keeping with JPA rules which stress consensus the motion was deemed not
to have been approved. From the European side, the assembly voted in a
secret ballot on a joint motion tabled by the socialists and Liberal groups
strongly condemning human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

The motion was approved by 23 votes to 3 with one abstention, but was
rejected by 29 votes to 12 on the ACP side with one abstention.

Despite the failure to agree some members of the JPA who include
co-President Glenys Kinnock urged President Mugabe's government to allow a
fact-finding mission from the assembly into the country. ACP vice-president
Angelo Beda of Sudan told a press conference that he detected a "wind of
change" in attitudes towards Zimbabwe, a view reportedly shared by Kinnock.

In November the JPA meeting was abandoned in Brussels after the ACP nations
boycotted it protesting the exclusion of Zimbabwe's representatives, Paul
Mangwana and Chris Kuruneri.

South Africa's Rob Davis called for a "new international initiative to
tackle the deteriorating economic crisis and political problems" bedevilling

MDC spokesman Moses Mzila Ndlovu appealed to the JPA to tighten screws on
Harare for continued violation of human rights. He detailed the harassment,
arbitrary arrests and torture of the MDC MPs by the state security agents.
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Zim Independent

Tafadzwa Musekiwa coming back - Sikhala
Blessing Zulu

ZENGEZA MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa, who is living in Britain, will soon be
returning to the country. A colleague and close friend, Job Sikhala, MP for
St Mary's, revealed this yesterday.

Sikhala was recently in London on his way to Copenhagen where he had gone
for medical treatment following his torture at the hands of the police.

"Musekiwa is definitely coming back soon," Sikhala said.

"He is just wrapping up his business in the UK. I told him that it is better
to come back home and die for the people and he agreed to this," said

The Zimbabwe Independent last week revealed that Musekiwa had not formally
resigned as an MP.

Musekiwa has been in Britain since November where he sought political
asylum. He said the government wanted to eliminate him.

Sikhala accused the government of trying to drive him (Sikhala) into exile
using "terror tactics".

"Police officers led by Garnett Sikova came to my house and terrorised my
wife and two children," said Sikhala.

"They told my wife that I will be killed if I come back. They said she
should phone me and convey this message.

"Yesterday I was briefly detained for merely going to visit the sick at
Chitungwiza General Hospital. Today about 50 thugs in two trucks attacked my
home, they ransacked everything," said Sikhala.

Sikhala said he would not be forced to quit politics by these threats.

"The use of torture and terror will not scare me. I am more than prepared to
die fighting this regime," Sikhala said.

He dismissed a report in a government weekly which said he had gone into
exile fearing that he would be required to testify in the treason trial of
the leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, secretary-general Welshman Ncube
and agriculture spokesman Renson Gasela. Sikhala described the report as
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Zim Independent

Load-shedding cripples manufacturers
Augustine Mukaro

SOUTHERTON industrial area has been badly hit by Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (Zesa) load-shedding which has crippled the operations of many
large manufacturers.

The load-shedding was introduced two weeks ago following Zimbabwe's failure
to mobilise funds to provide a credible payment plan demanded by Hydro
Cahora Bassa of Mozambique last month. Zesa's failure to meet HCB's March 22
deadline has resulted in the Mozambican power utility reducing its supply to
Zimbabwe by two-thirds.

An HCB spokesperson this week however said the supply of power from the
Cahora Bassa dam had been reduced to the power company's two main customers,
South Africa and Zimbabwe, due to technical and not financial reasons.

"Work began in March on rehabilitating the Cahora Bassa power station," a
spokesman for HCB, the dam operating company, told AIM last Friday.

"Inevitably, this means a reduction in the amount of power generated and
that rehabilitation is scheduled to last for 15 months," he said.

He said that currently two of Cahora Bassa's five giant turbines have been
taken out of service. Since each can generate 415 megawatts, this means that
the generating capacity of the power station has been reduced by 830

The HCB spokesman conceded that Zesa has been classified as an
"interruptible customer" because of its delays in making payments, but that
did not mean that HCB was cutting supplies on financial grounds.

"Zesa could be cut off for non-payment, but it hasn't been", he said.

Industrialists in Southerton experienced daily power cuts this week which
crippled production. Companies in the area include Colcom Foods, National
Breweries, Caps, BAT, Chibuku Breweries and steel fabricators Enfield
Engineering, which have been affected by the power cuts.

Management at Saltrama and Mukundi Plastics has been forced to slash one of
their working shifts retrenching some of its workers.

"We used to have three working shifts," an official at Saltrama said.

"The overnight shift has been scrapped rendering over 50 workers jobless.

"We are also running serious losses as all the material that cools in the
system during power cuts can no longer be used," he said.

Other companies, such as printers, have been working night shifts.

While some smaller firms have continued to function due to use of back-up
generators, larger companies have lost many working hours as they cannot use

"It has become a norm that every morning when we report for work there won't
be electricity until about midday," a senior manager at BOC told the

"The power cuts have immensely reduced our production. We can't use
generators for our production because we use 24-hour heavy machinery."

According to Zesa's proposed load-shedding programme there should be power
cuts between 0600 hrs and 1000hrs during the day and between 1700hrs and 20
00hrs in the evening to selected areas.

"The surprising thing is that only the industrial areas are experiencing the
blackouts over the past two weeks. Specifically, it has been the Southerton
industrial area with the proposed programme varied without any explanation,"
industrialists said.

Sovereign Printers, the printers of the Independent and Standard, said they
were resorting to using generators to meet the deadlines of their printing

"We had to use a generator this morning so that we could progress with our
printing business," a Sovereign official said yesterday.

Other industrial areas affected by load-shedding include Workington,
Graniteside and Willowvale.

Despite HCB's statement that cuts were related to rehabilitation work,
officials at Zesa said HCB agreed to supply the Zimbabwean power utility
with reduced energy for only a month while it fulfils the conditions in the
March 22 ultimatum.

"The reprieve would apply for a month only and if their demands are not met
HCB will switch us off," Zesa officials said.
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Zim Independent

Zim rated highest risk economy after Iraq
Conrad Dube

ZIMBABAWE has been rated the second worst and highest risk economy, ahead
only of Iraq, by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)'s risk assessment for
100 mainly developing and highly indebted countries.

The Country Risk Ser-vice produces monthly interna-tionally comparable risk
assessments for developing and highly indebted countries.

Each country is rated by category, ranging from "A", the lowest risk, to
"E", the highest risk, and assigned a grade for political risk,
economic-structure risk and liquidity risk.

Overall scores can range from 0 ("A" category) to a maximum of 100 points
("E" category) for the highest risk countries.

In its April report titled Zimbabwe at a glance: 2003-04, the report says
Zimbabwe, with an "E" rating and an overall score of 86, has been
increasingly adrift in the risk rankings within the sub-Saharan Africa
region where the overall average rating score is 56.

The next two worst-rated countries in sub-Saharan Africa are both "D"-rated,
Angola with an overall risk rating score of 74 and Malawi with a score of

Zimbabwe's overall rating is a reflection of the poor ratings for three of
the four risk categories, political risk, economic-policy risk and liquidity
risk, all of which are "E"-rated.

This reflects the ongoing political crisis within the country and the
potential for the eruption of politically motivated unrest as President
Robert Mugabe continues to cling to power, the report says.

"The root cause of Zimbabwe's economic crisis is the government's
unwillingness to reduce the country's unsustainable fiscal deficit," the
report said.

"The government is also likely to continue with its current economic
policies for as long as possible, even though these have caused massive
economic decline since 1999."

Political uncertainty, poorly thought out land reform and macroeconomic
instability will drive further contractions in the agricultural and
industrial sectors and a fall in real GDP of 8,8% in 2003, the report says.

Economists say despite the introduction of the National Economic Revival
Programme (Nerp) the budget deficit will push average inflation, currently
228%, up to 304,5% by the end of 2003.

The EIU has forecast that inflation will remain in triple digits, at 176,8%,
in 2004.

The central elements of Nerp is the agreement reached at the tripartite
negotiating forum under which the government would try to reduce the budget
deficit to 11% of GDP by the end of 2003 and partly devalue the exchange

Although the official rate of US$1: $55 remains in place, Finance minister
Herbert Murerwa managed to get Mugabe to agree to allow the RBZ to offer a
rate of US$1: $824 to all businesses needing foreign currency. It remains
unclear who will meet the cost of the difference as the central bank will
buy at US$1: $824, only to sell to government at US$1: $55.

The report said it was probably safe to assume that the official rate would
be used for food, fuel and electricity, but no doubt official foreign travel
and the operational costs of diplomatic missions would be catered for in the
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Zim Independent

Efforts to end Zim crisis thwarted - McKinnon
Dumisani Muleya

COMMONWEALTH secretary-general Don McKinnon says President Robert Mugabe has
thwarted his efforts to resolve the Zimbabwe political and economic crisis
over the past two years.

In his report on Zimbabwe, published in the Zimbabwe Independent last week,
McKinnon explained how Mugabe has been blocking his endeavours since May

"From the very outset, the government of Zimbabwe rejected the Marlborough
House decisions, as well as the report of the Commonwealth election observer
group," McKinnon says.

"All my efforts to engage with the government in fulfilment of the mandates
given to me by the troika have been rebuffed. Indeed, my efforts to engage
with President Mugabe predate the troika's establishment and Marlborough
House statement."

McKinnon says trying to contact Mugabe has been a frustrating business.

"In May 2000, I proposed sending Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Commonwealth
secretary-general and a friend of President Mugabe, as a special envoy to
help facilitate dialogue with the Zimbabwe government but without success,"
he said.

"Sir Shridath's telephone calls to President Mugabe were not returned."

In May 2001, McKinnon says he sent his deputy, Florence Mugashu, to Windhoek
to brief Namibian President Sam Nujoma, "as a senior regional leader and a
friend of Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth", in a bid to secure a meeting with
Mugabe but that initiative also failed.

Nujoma told McKinnon that Mugabe had refused to deal with the Commonwealth

In subsequent contacts with Mugabe's office McKinnon was told to deal with
Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge.
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Zim Independent

      Justice system eroded by state non-compliance
      Vincent Kahiya

      IT is trite to say in any constitutional democracy the judiciary
should lead from the front in ensuring that the rights of an individual are
upheld. Failure to do so has resulted in the emergence of police states
where individual rights are superseded by the whims of an overbearing

      Zimbabwe, which has provoked international censure because of its
ever-increasing human rights and good governance deficit, has over the past
three years witnessed the waning of judicial independence. The respect
enjoyed by the bench has been compromised as judges have been accused of
timidity when dealing with matters involving the executive.

      Former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay put it aptly in a paper delivered
in 1998 at the Latimer House Conference:

      "Examples of such conduct are collaboration between judges and public
authorities; making statements which give the impression of bias; serving in
politically sensitive capacities; and, particularly in small jurisdictions
like my own, tardiness in adjudicating on matters which involve the

      The erosion of judicial independence has opened opportunities for arms
of the government to ride roughshod over the judiciary. Senior politicians
from the ruling Zanu PF party have made extra-judicial comments bordering on

      Last July President Mugabe said it was acceptable to defy a judgement
of any court in Zimbabwe where the affected party considered the outcome to
have been the result of bias by the judicial officer. The president's
comments stemmed from contempt of court charges which had been brought
against Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa who was accused of disregarding
court processes.

      Some of the most egregious exa-mples of non-enforcement of judi-cial
rulings include the case of journalists Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto who
were abducted and tortured by the army. A Supreme Court-ordered police
investigation in 2000 failed to proceed beyond the KGVI barracks.

      In 2001 the High Court ordered the prosecution of CIO officer Joseph
Mwale accused of burning to death two MDC activists in the run-up to the
2000 general election. Nothing transpired.

      Within the judicial system itself there appear to be disagreements on
enforcement of court orders. In early 2002 Justice Chiweshe defied a
directive from the Supreme Court to grant bail to 15 MDC youths arrested in

      The police have in several cases refused to execute orders granted by
the courts. And to add to the growing list of woes, the bench is now divided
over the arrest of Justice Benjamin Paradza on corruption charges two months

      Dato' Param Cumaraswamy, special rapporteur of the UN Commission on
Human Rights on the independence of judges and lawyers, in February
expressed grave concern over the arrest and detention of Justice Paradza.

      "When judges can be set against one another, then intimidated with
arrest, detention and criminal prosecution, there is no hope for the ruleof
law which is the cornerstone of de-mocracy. It paves the way for
governmental lawlessness," he concluded.

      Governmental delinquency has started to show in the way accused
persons have been illegally detained and tortured in police custody.
Officers of the court, mainly lawyers and magistrates, have also been
physically attacked by suspected ruling-party hoodlums who have not been
brought to book.

      On August 16 last year Chipinge district magistrate Walter Chikwanha
was reportedly dragged from his courtroom by suspected war veterans and
assaulted at the government complex. No one has been arrested in connection
with that attack. It was alleged the attack was in response to Chikwanha's
dismissal of an application by the state to remand in custody five MDC
officials who, along with two others, were accused of burning two government
tractors in the district.

      Just over a week after the attack on Chikwanha, Godfrey Gwaka, the
magistrate for Zaka district, Masvingo, was stabbed on August 26 at Zaka
service centre. It was suspected that the attack was related to judgements
Gwaka had made on political parties. He was hospitalised after the attack.

      Human rights activists have observed that there is a correlation
between Zimbabwe's poor human rights record and a slide into the repressive
practice of detaining suspects and ignoring judicial decisions with

      This has become common in the arrests of members of the opposition and
civic activists.

      Last week police ignored High Court judge Justice Kamocha's order to
bring to court arrested MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi. He was only
released after his lawyer made a further application for his release.

      Lawyers have also observed a trend whereby the courts have been quick
to place suspects on remand without taking into cognisance the gravity of
the allegation.

      Law Society of Zimbabwe president Sternford Moyo in his annual report
delivered in Bulawayo last week highlighted the need for the judiciary to
consider the quality of suspicion before detaining suspects.

      "The judiciary in Zimbabwe, in matters involving lawfulness or
otherwise of arrests, had always considered the necessity for detention and
the quality of the suspicion that an offence has been committed to be
important factors." said Moyo.

      "I can only hope that this approach will gain wider acceptance within
the judiciary. It is only when judges emphasise the importance of individual
liberty that a degeneration into a police state, with its obviously negative
impact on human rights, is prevented," he said.

      The High Court has generally accepted this to be the right practice.
Judge President, Justice Paddington Garwe, emphasised aspects of this
approach when opening the High Court in Bulawayo as did Justice Benjamin
Paradza when dealing with the arrest of the mayor of Harare.

      Despite this the police have chosen to ignore High Court rulings and
have continued to detain suspects despite court orders to release suspects
or bring them to court. The courts in turn have not moved to stamp their
authority by charging errant officers with contempt of court.

      There has also been an upsurge of statements from the executive
suggesting that some judicial decisions will not be observed. The complete
disregard of court rulings in setting the date for the Harare mayoral and
municipal elections last year are the most obvious example of this. Also,
court rulings ordering the police to evict illegal settlers have been

      Moyo in his report said disregard of court orders was the highest form
of contempt of court. It is an assault on the authority of the court, he

      "If left uncontrolled, it leads to an inevitable conclusion by members
of the public that resort to court proceedings to enforce their rights is
not an option open to them, particularly in situations where their rights
are violated by central government," said Moyo.

      "Such a perception is damaging to the due administration of justice.
When members of the public cannot be confident of enforcement of their
rights through the court system, they inevitably get tempted to resort to
self-help and lawlessness which are unacceptable in a civilised society."

      Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has documented at least 12
cases since 2000 in which the state has ignored court rulings. In a
statement to the Zimbabwe Independent the lawyers said failure by the state
to enforce court orders would lead to a breakdown of the rule of law.

      "The state has systematically abrogated its responsibility to enforce
or comply with court orders whether favourable to the state or not," said
ZLHR director Arnold Tsunga.

      The current assault on the bench under the guise putting in place a
relevant judiciary requires civic groups to educate the public on the
importance of judicial independence. In his Latimer House paper Chief
Justice Gubbay said basic tenets of judicial independence must be

      "It must be emphasised that it is not enough merely to lay down
principles for the independence of the judiciary. These principles have to
be implemented," he said.

      "Society must be made aware of their importance and any violation of
them exposed. In this way public opinion can be created in defence of the
independence of the judiciary and so ensure by necessary outcry that the
maintenance of judicial independence is not eroded by the executive."
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Zim Independent


Zim on the edge: what went wrong?

WHERE did it all start to go wrong? As Zimbabweans mark 23 years of
Independence, the inevitable question must be asked. Never has the country
been so impoverished and isolated. Never have its rulers been so reviled by
those they govern.

Commentators suggest that if President Mugabe had retired in 1990,
Mandela-style, he would have gone with his reputation intact. The architect
of reconciliation, he presided over nation-building, the expansion of
education and social services, and played an important role on the world

The future seemed bright at the dawn of the second decade of Independence.
The one-party-state project was about to be abandoned, the state of
emergency lifted and the economy opened up to investment.

But by 1990 evidence of the rot was already discernible. A brutal campaign
of suppression in Matabeleland had revealed a totalitarian agenda that held
lives cheap. A captive media was unable to enforce political accountability
or provide the vigorous debate on economic policy all healthy democracies
need. And far too much of GDP was going towards the upkeep of a bloated
public sector that provided little more than sheltered employment for the
party faithful. So did the armed forces despite the end of the war in
Mozambique and the emergence of a democratic South Africa.

Despite economic liberalisation after 1990 the state was still in everybody'
s face. And in marked contrast to the new dispensation south of the Limpopo,
Zimbabwe remained an exclusivist and intolerant society whose rulers
manipulated the constitution according to their immediate needs.

Here then were the seeds of disaster. Living off the fat of a hitherto
successful economy Zimbabwe's rulers failed to understand the basics of
productivity and growth. While paying lip-service to economic reform they
believed they could safely maintain macro-economic distortions that were
eating away at the country's fabric.

Compounding this pattern of mismanagement were two fatal decisions by
President Mugabe. In 1997 he attempted to solve an insurrection by war
veterans by throwing money at them - money he didn't have. The decision to
spend over $4 billion on gratuities and pensions was a blow to an already
staggering economy. He then proclaimed a land-seizure agenda that was
calculated to send alarm bells ringing in financial capitals.

This was followed the next year by a military adventure in the DRC that was
both unnecessary and unpopular. It cost the nation dearly in scarce foreign
exchange at a time when health services and infrastructure were collapsing
at home.

Undaunted by these demands on the fiscus, Mugabe in 2000 launched his bid
for political survival by authorising war veterans to seize commercial
farms. It was a death blow to the economy which ended 20 years of
self-sufficiency in food production and choked off forex earnings.

From that there has been no recovery. The Congo intervention and the farm
invasions had much in common. They were both responses to challenges to
Mugabe's ego: the first to his authority as a regional leader; the second to
his electoral clout.

That is why, 23 years after Uhuru, Zimbabwe is tied to the ambitions of an
increasingly unbalanced and delusional leader who has failed to understand
that successful societies exist on the basis of consultation and consensus,
not obduracy and retribution.

For 23 years we have been hostage to this intellectually brilliant but
deeply flawed leader. Exposing the frailties of a state unconstrained by
constitutional safeguards, our fate is tied up with his. His malevolent writ
extends into every corner of the land. He is the reason nobody will be
celebrating Independence Day tomorrow.

But thankfully, as events in Baghdad illustrated last week, no regime lasts
forever. Sooner or later tyrants who abuse their people face an inevitable
reckoning. Those who have betrayed the promise of 1980 by encouraging,
promoting, and excusing the brutal dictatorship that so blights our lives
would do well to ponder the fate of other self-proclaimed leaders who are
now discovering that no army can resist an idea whose time has come.

It would not be far-fetched to describe the period since 1980 as "the locust
years" because of the systematic way Mugabe's followers have asset-stripped
the country.

How to deal with this locust class and the wealth it has appropriated as a
result of its ties to the ruling party is one of the challenges a democratic
government will face.

In the meantime the post-liberation aristocracy should be put on notice: The
fruits of Independence were intended for all Zimbabweans. What you have now
are stolen goods.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Forex quick-fix an unreal expectation

THE Reserve Bank has expressed great dismay that the exchange rate
adjustment on February 27 has not resulted in a massive inflow of foreign
exchange. In tandem with its expressions of concern, those economists who
have steadfastly opposed any devaluation of Zimbabwe's currency have drawn
attention to the fact that despite the mid-rate of exchange having been
moved from US$1: $55, to US$1: $824, the generation of foreign exchange has
been minimal, and Zimbabwe continues to suffer a chronic lack of vitally
needed forex.

That there is concern at the scarcity of the foreign currency which is
Zimbabwe's lifeblood is not surprising. Evidence of the devastating
consequences impacting upon all Zimbabweans abounds. The lengths of the
queues of motor vehicles for fuel that stretch for kilometres become ever
greater. Those queues represent hundreds of thousands of unproductive
man-hours. The insufficiency of foreign exchange is causing great declines
in production due to recurrent non-availability of manufacturing inputs and
of essential machine spares, and those declines are compounded by extensive
energy load-shedding as the Zimbabwe Electricity SupplyAuthority (Zesa)
shudders under the curtailment of supplies by neig-hbouring territories due
to Zimbabwe's ongoing default in payments.

And Zimbabweans have become near prisoners in their country, for foreign
exchange is virtually not available to fund travels beyond Zimbabwe's
borders, irrespective of whether the travels are necessary for purposes of
business, attendance at international conferences, holidays or health care.
Within Zimbabwe there is also a marked decline in health care as a result of
the non-availability of necessary foreign exchange. Public sector and
private sector alike cannot source sufficient foreign currency required to
assure adequate supplies of medications and drugs, and for the maintenance
and repair of medical equipment.

Statistics suggest that Zimbabwe's foreign exchange resource has fallen from
a level of two months of import cover in February to five days of import
cover. Those figures are deceptive (supporting Disraeli's contention that
there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics").

In practice, two months' cover did not exist last February because the
non-availability of foreign currency had reduced import levels to below
those required for the continuance of the economy and the wellbeing of the
populace. Moreover, other foreign exchange commitments were not being
serviced, be they the servicing of government foreign debt, the funding of
interest and capital payments due by parastatals and by private sector
enterprise, the remittance of dividends to foreign investors, or the myriad
other foreign currency payment obligations. If all these obligations and
requirements are brought into account, then the harsh fact is that Zimbabwe
had zero import cover.

As a result, government and the Reserve Bank convinced themselves that the
much overdue "exchange rate adjustment" would stimulate the desperately
needed inflows of foreign currency and, in disregard for realities, expected
the inflows to be immediate. Then, when this was not the case, they and
others began questioning the merits of having adjusted the exchange rates,
and of any further adjustments in the future. Such questioning and doubt is
misplaced, ill-conceived and unwise. The inadequate improvement in foreign
exchange receipts is not due to the exchange rate adjustment being
ineffectual, but to other factors.

The first of these is that a movement in exchange rates does not represent a
magic wand to achieve an overnight restoration of export performance. Once
the rates were adjusted, enabling reinstatement of operational viability for
exporters, a time-lag until export revenue flows increased was inevitable.
First of all, the intending exporters had to satisfy themselves that the
rate adjustment was sufficient to restore profitability to exports,
notwithstanding the continuing upward surge in inflation. Concurrently, they
needed to satisfy themselves that those exports would generate sufficient
foreign exchange for their continuing operations, and particularly so in the
light of the increase in the mandatory, immediate surrender of foreign
currency to the Reserve Bank from 40% of export proceeds to 50%. Having done
so, they then had to re-establish their presence in the export markets and
obtain orders, whereafter the goods had to be manufactured and shipped.

Moreover, once the flow of exports had been reactivated, it was and is
invariably necessary to extend 60 to 90 days credit to the export customers.
Thus, an expectation of any significant increase in foreign exchange
receipts at any time before, at the very earliest, May 2003, and more likely
by June or July, is an expression of utmost naivety. The same holds good for
the boost given to the mining industry (not including gold mines who are
driven by the gold support price), for those mines on a care and maintenance
basis could not resume production overnight.

The critics should also bear in mind that if the rates had not been
adjusted, many of those as were then engaged in exports and were perilously
poised on the edge of the precipice due to inflation of 221% drastically
escalating their production costs, would have toppled over the precipice.
Had that occurred, the already relatively minimal foreign exchange resources
of Zimbabwe would fast have become even more limited, and therefore the
economy even more devastated. Condemnation of the long overdue adjustment in
exchange rates is, therefore, not only a foolhardy non-recognition of the
facts of export operation characteristics, but is also potentially harmful,
for it could motivate a return to the prolonged reluctance and resistance to
align exchange rates with purchasing power parities with Zimbabwe's
principal trading partners, and can herald a vastly more accelerated
economic decline. In contradistinction, realistic exchange rate management
(until market forces are once again permitted to drive them) can slow down
economic collapse and, in time, be one of the catalysts to economic recovery
and growth (if, of course, other forces such as mismanagement of electricity
supplies do not frustrate that recovery and growth).

Because Zimbabwe has a desperate need for foreign exchange, the authorities
are casting covetous eyes at the vast foreign currency earnings of
Zimbabweans employed beyond the country's borders. Although exact statistics
are not available, it has been estimated that up to three million
Zimbabweans are in employment in South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom,
other countries in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and
elsewhere. It is also estimated that, on average, each of those Zimbabweans
is making available to their families and relatives in Zimbabwe at least
US$500 per month. If that is so, there is a resource available for the
Zimbabwean economy of approximately US$1,5 billion per month.

However, for so long as Zimbabwe's need for foreign currency exceeds
available supply, there will always be a thriving black market, operating at
rates considerably higher than those applied within the official market.
And, for as long as that is the case, Zimbabweans abroad will trade those of
their earnings which they wish to repatriate to Zimbabwe through the black
market in order to maximise the funds then available in Zimbabwe to
themselves, their families and dependants.

Unfortunately to a very great extent those who purchase the foreign exchange
on the black market do not do so in order to fund Zimbabwean imports and to
service commitments, but in effect to externalise their Zimbabwean assets.
They do so either as a hedge against inflation or because of a deep-seated
sense of insecurity and a lack of confidence as to a future in Zimbabwe.
Therefore, they purchase the foreign currency to hold overseas, effecting
payment in Zimbabwean dollars, and do not assist towards meeting Zimbabwe's
foreign exchange needs.

At the end of the day, the forex crisis can only be resolved by achieving a
total transformation of the economy, including stabilisation of inflation at
tenable rates, incentivisation of exports in a meaningful way, facilitation
of investment, and a resurrection of viable agriculture. And all of that
must be achieved hand in hand with a restoration of law and order and of
democracy, so that the international community is willing to assist
Zimbabwe, inclusive of assistance by the provision of foreign exchange to
bridge the period until Zimbabwe can generate all its needs. In the
meanwhile, circumstances can only deteriorate further unless exchange rates
are regularly revised to ensure export viability, notwithstanding that the
speedy inflows that were wrongly anticipated when the rates were adjusted
did not, and could not yet, materialise.
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Zim Independent


Fall of Baghdad gives Saddamites sleepless nights

THE war in Iraq has produced some contrasting reactions among Zimbabweans.
Opponents of the Zanu PF regime have enjoyed watching on satellite stations
the toppling of the tyrant in Baghdad. However, the sight of celebrating
crowds jumping up and down on statues of the fallen dictator has not gone
down well with our own Saddamites.

State television has suppressed coverage of the Iraq war, and most
Zimbabweans - except for those with satellite television - were denied the
extraordinary footage of thousands of Iraqis joyously toppling statues and
taking off their shoes to beat portraits of their erstwhile leader.

While Zimbabwe Terror-Visionmay be mourning the over-throw of their hero,
people elsewhere have been having a little fun. A 19-year old Norwegian,
passing himself off as his country's prime minister, telephoned the United
States ambassador in Oslo to express his support for the war on Iraq.

"A young man called the ambassador and said he was the prime minister,"
embassy spokeswoman Kathy Perez told AFP.

The caller, Richard Ringheim, said: "I introduced myself as (Prime Minister)
Kjell Magne Bondevik and I asked to speak to the ambassador. I said it was
most urgent."

Thirty seconds later the ambassador, John Doyle Ong, came on the line.
"Hello, Mr Prime Minister," he greeted the caller, according to Ringheim's

In the subsequent conversation, which Ringheim said lasted 10 to 15 minutes,
he expressed his support for the US-led military operations in Iraq.

"I told him I couldn't say this in public because of the lack of support for
the war in my government and the party. He was delighted with this message,
and said he would pass it on to the highest level," Ringheim said.

But it seems that the US ambassador, who had recently warned of
repercussions due to the lack of Norwegian support for the Iraq war,
suspected that the sudden mood change was too good to be true.

"The ambassador got pretty suspicious so he wrapped up the call. Then,
someone from the embassy called the prime minister's office to check it
out," Perez said.

The ambassador has no plans to file charges, said the spokeswoman.

"We can take a joke," she said.

Which is more than can be said of Ibbo Mandaza who is demanding a retraction
from Muckraker for calling him "Five Farms". We apologise unreservedly for
the error. We meant to say six.

We enjoyed the Herald's "Baghdad falls" special last Friday. Even if it did
appear two days late, it contained some revealing material. In remarks that
will come as a rude shock to many in the Zimbabwe establishment, Tunisian
history teacher Semari Ahmed was quoted as saying the way in which Saddam's
regime "crumbled like a biscuit" was a logical conclusion to a regime that
was rooted in a culture of hypocrisy, not conviction.

Arabs seemed mostly annoyed that the Iraqis, after parading and posturing
for so long, gave up their capital without a fight.

Hussein Taher, a private-sector employee in Saudi Arabia, was quoted as
saying: "What happened in Baghdad must be taken into consideration by Arab
rulers because the people are the ones who defend a country, and if they are
tortured and their honour is violated then they will be the first to abandon

Ignoring the obvious parallels with its own masters, the Herald ran an
editorial trying to link the MDC to "puppets" of the sort who had been
"discarded" in Baghdad. It was not immediately clear who had been discarded
in Baghdad, apart of course from the Minister of Information, but reference
was made to the fate of Mobutu Sese Seko and Jonas Savimbi.

"A common trait that has characterised most of these puppet leaders has been
their propensity for committing heinous crimes against their own people with
impunity." the Herald commented without the slightest hint of irony.

But what seems to have got the Herald's, and therefore presumably the
Department of Information's, goat was the fact that absolutely nobody is
taking their silly MDC-violence stories seriously. Tales of torched buses,
offices and shops petrol-bombed, and bridges dynamited continue to pour
forth from official mouthpieces with about as much credibility as reports of
rogue soldiers whose presence in the army wasn't spotted until last week!

And wouldn't this be a good time for the media to interview certain
ex-ministers who rose to prominence in their party because of their skill as
petrol bombers in the capital's townships in the mid-1960s? How could we
forget them so quickly and the striking suitability of the portfolios they
were assigned to?

The following letter appeared in last week's edition of the Mail & Guardian:

"Rumour has it that two foreign ministers in the region are bonking. If this
is true, it represents a serious misunderstanding of the diplomatic meaning
of the term 'foreign affairs'. Was the liaison entered into in a spirit of
true love, or more cynically as a means of influencing foreign policy
between the two countries concerned?"

It was signed "Conduct Unbecoming".

This is a shocking allegation which, despite persistent rumours circulating
in the region, can't possibly be true. It would mean that the blind support
given by one country to another irrespective of human rights abuses and
blatant misrule is not the product of a well-considered policy but the
result of ministerial ministration.

Muckraker wants to see an end to this tittle-tattle. In a sincere attempt to
put the whole sordid matter to bed, we call on readers to submit to us any
further information they may glean instead of spreading it among themselves.
It will then remain a strictly confidential matter between Muckraker and
several thousand readers of this column.

Retiring chief secretary to the president and cabinet Charles Utete has
become "a central figure in the government's system", President Mugabe said
in his tribute last Thursday night. He acted as the hub of the government
and thus "became the face and embodiment of the establishment", Mugabe said.

He therefore has a great deal to answer for, one can legitimately conclude.
But what a piercing analysis by the president to describe somebody who is at
the hub of the system of government as being, well, at the hub of the system
of government. It's like reading out their job description.

But the party did liven up. Utete "left guests in stitches", we are told,
when he related how he had received a letter from a 19-year-old claiming to
have good "O" Level grades and seeking to be appointed as an MP.

Why should that be so funny? Just a few weeks ago Zanu PF was seeking to
have an illiterate thug elected as MP for Highfield. And Irene Zindi, we
learnt last week, went to university with three "O" Levels.

But a party whose leader boasts his degrees in violence may have a distorted
view of education.

Anyhow, we were delighted to hear that retirement will give Utete more time
to read the works of Chinua Achebe and Dambudzo Marechera, among other
authors recommended by Mugabe at the farewell bash last week.

But what can the president be trying to tell us? Achebe's most noted work is
called Things Fall Apart while Marechera argued revolutions ultimately
devour their instigators.

Muckraker's advice: Stick to Sir Walter Scott. Much less disturbing at

Muckraker was intrigued by a story in the Daily Mirror this week claiming
that unhinged Mugabe publicist David Matsanga-Nyekorach had been attacked in
his London home by what he suspected were enemies of the Zimbabwe

Police confirmed the attack but were unable to shed any light on it. The
Mirror claimed Matsanga had "escaped death by a whisker". But it is not
clear if this was an "assassination" attempt as the paper melodramatically
proclaimed or just an old-fashioned robbery.

What was much more interesting was the disclosure that the previous day
British police had raided Matsanga's house, seized documents concerning
Zimbabwe and closed his bank accounts in Britain.

It is not normally the role of the police to close bank accounts. Why weren'
t they asked by the Mirror to comment on the reasons for this "raid"? The
paper described Matsanga as Mugabe's "British henchman", which is a rather
curious description for one of their columnists!

Matsanga blamed the attack on "gay gangsters who are tracking me down with
the intention of killing me". He offered no evidence. Killing him with a
look is the furthest they seem to have got so far!

But this latest incident would not stop him "telling the world the truth as
far as President Mugabe's government and its policies are concerned".

That would be a welcome start.

Isn't it time United Nations officials started to call a spade a spade? The
Daily News on Tuesday reported remarks by UN resident representative Victor
Angelo who was presenting four cars to the government for the monitoring of
food aid distribution.

He said Zimbabwe was facing a profound and complex crisis.

"Erratic rainfall, drought and cyclones over the past three years are
identified as contributing factors to acute vulnerability," he was reported
as saying.

"Their impact has been further compounded by other factors, both social and

Leaving aside whether it is appropriate for the UN to make gifts of vehicles
to a government with a shocking record of managing its transport fleet not
to mention dishonesty on the subject of food distribution, why is Angelo
dancing around the real cause of the crisis in Zimbabwe?

The "acute vulnerability" of Zimbabweans is the direct product of political
policies. These include land seizures which the UNDP itself has called
"chaotic" and "the cause of much political, economic and social
instability". Then there is the matter of a ban on private-sector food

Still with less-than-honest statements, we had a funny little spin piece in
the Herald this week attempting to make it look as if the Catholic bishops
in their pastoral letter had targeted the MDC and let Zanu PF off the hook.

As well as slipping in a sentence of his own about the MDC being "arguably
the most violent opposition party in Zimbabwe", the author of this piece,
Moses Magadza, told us the following: "The clerics acknowledged that, in
addition to teething problems bedevilling the government's land reform
programme such as 'poor' planning, drought was to blame for the country's
precarious food situation."

Aren't we missing something here Moses? Didn't the pastoral letter refer to
the "frightening" corruption, lawlessness and abuse of power by government?
Didn't it say President Mugabe had "failed to provide leadership that
enables the creation of an environment that enhances truth, justice, love
and freedom"? Didn't it say most Zimbabweans were "drowning in abject
poverty", still "suffering social and political violence", and being
harassed by officials who "have placed themselves above the law"?

Didn't it say: "People's lives are at stake and the nation cannot afford to
entertain the politicisation of food while people are starving"?

Far from simply referring to poor planning as part of "teething problems" in
land reform, it referred to "corrupt practices, poor planning and

Not quite the same thing is it? Unless of course Moses got his hands on a
different pastoral letter to the rest of us!
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Zim Independent

Reduced deliveries cripple Wankie operations
Ngoni Chanakira

THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is supplying Wankie Colliery Company
(Wankie) with only 66 wagons instead of the promised 150 per day, further
crippling operations at the financially-troubled mining concern.

Wankie has complained to the NRZ but the situation remains gloomy because
the railways is seriously in the red, has worn out wagons, spare parts
shortages, and is basically operating under severe strain.

Analysts contacted this week said the problems bedeviling the NRZ, Wankie,
and the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) were a cause for concern and
would continue as long as political heavyweights continued to meddle in the
operations of the three organisations.

An analyst said: "There is too much political interference in the three
firms and management has to adjust to politician's wishes. Managers and
chief executives just come and go and there seems to be no end in sight to
the problems."

The NRZ, Wankie and Zisco are interdependent in their operations and among
them owe each other more than $3 billion.

Zisco owes Wankie about $1,8 billion. Wankie owed the NRZ about $2 billion
which has since been cleared.

Wankie chairman Ngoni Kudenga last week highlighted the seriousness of the
issue, saying "inadequate supply of empty wagons" by the NRZ was adversely
affecting the supply of coal to the market.

Kudenga said: "Inadequate supply of empty wagons by the National Railways of
Zimbabwe adversely affected the supply of WCC coal to the market. Under
normal circumstances NRZ should supply 150 railway wagons per day. However a
daily average of 66 wagons was supplied, which is only 44% of normal
requirements. Consequently, customers continued to use road transport
resulting in 45% of WCC coal being moved by this mode of transport."

For the period ending December 31 2002, Wankie made an operating loss
amounting to $7,9 billion, which was marginally higher when compared to $7,8
billion, recorded in the previous year.

Kudenga said coke sales for the year at 3 448 600 tonnes, were 302 818
tonnes or 8% lower than the 3 751 418 tonnes achieved in the previous year.

"Demand for coal and coke remained firm throughout the year in both the
domestic and export markets," Kudenga said. "However, the company failed to
meet demand because of major challenges."

He cited the major challenges as foreign currency shortages, unprecedented
high inflation, price controls, transport constraints and loss of critical

Wankie shares have continued to trade firm at between 1900 cents and 2000
cents on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) due to a US$5,3 million rescue
package from an international banking organisation.
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Zim Independent

Uncertainty drives Anglo away
Ngoni Chanakira

DIVERSIFIED conglomerate Anglo American Corporation Zimbabwe Ltd (Anglo)
continues to downscale its Zimbabwe operations in what analysts say are
clear signs of the country's risky macroeconomic environment.

Once the largest investor in Zimbabwe closely followed by Lonrho Africa Ltd
(Lonrho), Anglo has off-loaded huge stakes in key subsidiaries, the majority
of which have been loss-making.

The conglomerate has had a few brushes with government over land, with large
tracts being taken over for the fast track land resettlement programme.

Anglo has had Hippo Valley North and Mkwasine Estate listed for compulsory
acquisition yet they are agro-industrial operations, falling outside the
scope of the programme.

Management says the move to reduce subsidiaries is to enable the
conglomerate to focus on its core business.

The subsidiaries include National Foods Holdings Ltd (Natfoods) and, until
this week, Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC).

Natfoods' income has been decreasing steadily ever since the introduction of
price controls by government.

The company reduced its losses from $836,8 million to $43,4 million during
the year ended December 31 2002.

Anglo sold 21% of Natfoods to Takepart Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a company
owned by a consortium of indigenous businessmen. This will leave Anglo with
21% of Natfoods, which was considered non-core but was subject to
pre-emptive rights in favour of another company known as Tiger Brands Ltd.

BNC, on the other hand, reported a $4,4 billion loss after taxation, sending
shock waves through the country's troubled mining sector.

In its audited results for the year ended December 31 2002 company chairman
Godfrey Gomwe confirmed that his group had made an inflation-adjusted loss
after tax of $4 419,4 million, compared to $3 023,4 million profit

Anglo this week said it had sold its 52,9% stake in BNC to Mwana Africa
Holdings (Pty) Ltd for US$8 million.

A consortium of indigenous businessmen also owns the company.

Dr Ezra Kanganga, the Anglo spokesman yesterday said the figure was subject
to obtaining the "necessary regulatory approvals".

He said the jobs of all 2 583 BNC employees were secure and unaffected by
this new development.

Mwana Africa Holdings is incorporated in South Africa the location of
Anglo's headquarters.

The move comes less than a month after the mining giant disposed of huge
chunks of shares worth $3,2 billion (US$3,9 million) in its gold subsidiary,
the company's pyrite operation, Iron Duke Pyrites, and Natfoods.

Anglo said the transactions excluded its earlier equity empowerment
transactions totalling the equivalent of US$34 million undertaken since

On Tuesday Anglo advised shareholders to exercise caution in their share
dealings, and to consult with professional advisors where necessary. BNC
shares went for $155 at the close of trade on the bourse yesterday.

Anglo said: "This transaction involves an inflow of new investment capital
into Zimbabwe and the proceeds will be retained in the country, available to
fund future industrial and mining projects including, but not limited to,
Unki Platinum Mine."

Over the past six years, the Amzim group has pursued a restructuring
programme, which has aligned its investment portfolio with that of its
parent company in pursuit of being a natural resources business of
international scale.

"With this in mind, and after a recent strategic review, the focus in the
Anglo Base Metals Division is on fewer, larger, long life, low cost
operations," Anglo said.

The company said the shareholders and directors of Mwana were all Africans
and represented a broad spectrum of experience and expertise from Angola,
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and
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Zim Independent


Parallels between Zim and Iraq

I THINK there are many parallels between the Iraq and the Zimbabwean crises.

Firstly, the Arab alliance with the Iraqi leadership is paralleled by the
unity between our leaders here and the Mbeki coalition. The Arabs were
clamouring for Iraq's sovereignty, but the jubilation seen on the streets of
Baghdad after its fall shows these were real sovereignty lies.

In the not-so-distant future we will see what will happen to our leader's
pictures which we see in every state building. This is a natural response to
dictators when they fall.

Iraqis were thought to be patriotic when they did not take to the streets to
demonstrate against their leader. In Zimbabwe today the masses appear not to
be willing to engage in an all out campaign against the regime.

It is an accurate assessment that like the Iraqis, Zimbabweans fear the iron
fist whirled against any dissenting voice.

It is therefore up to Zimbabweans to liberate themselves or wait for a
"Bush" to be their Messiah. However, as we have learnt "zizi harina nyanga"
(an owl has no horns). The regime is definitely bound to fall. But remember
that change demands action.

President Bush was called names worldwide but today Iraq is free.

Somebody has to take the risk.


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Zim Independent


State terrorism shows time is up for Mugabe

IN any argument, when one of the two people involved resorts to a fight or
violence, that is a clear sign of intellectual defeat. However, when a
democratic government has run out of ideas and subsequently lost the
argument, it will accept blame.

If a government is, however, dictatorial and illegitimate such as the Zanu
PF government in Zimbabwe, the tendency is to resort to state terrorism.

There is no doubt that the writing is on the wall for the Mugabe regime that
it has lost not only the argument but legitimacy as well. The recent arrest
of MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda, spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi, the MP
for Kadoma and 500 other opposition activists is state terrorism.

No amount of violence will silence the voices of freedom and democracy.

Paul Themba Nyathi is party spokeman. As such the words he speaks represent
the party's position, not his personal line of thought.

For the first time Mugabe admitted that his government is full of recycled
chaff when he spoke at the Research Institute headed by Professor
Christopher Chetsanga.

Mugabe is the problem. He must not blame his useless ministers, for they did
not appoint themselves. Some were promoted for being top "Kongonya" dancers,
others for calling Mugabe a messiah.

Yesterday we said it was Slobodan Milosovic, today it's Saddam Hussein,
tomorrow it's a moot point. State terrorism shows time is up.

Jennings Rukani,

United Kingdom.
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Zim Independent


Mbeki perhaps sees a genius in Mugabe

I DON'T agree with a friend who suggested that Edmund Burke, the renowned
Irish writer and politician, meant the likes of Thabo Mbeki when he said:
"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do

I don't believe Mbeki can be said to be either a good or evil man. He is in
a grey area, ready to develop either way. Something in President Mugabe
seems to intrigue Mbeki. What is it? I hope it is not his style of

Mbeki isn't such a bad chap (so we try to believe). He's maintained
reasonable economic stability and growth in South Africa.

His governance has been conventional and unambitious. It's only his foreign
policy on Zimbabwe that is suspect. He's carved himself a niche as an
avante-garde African leader through his Nepad project, African Renaissance
and relative democracy. A free press flourishes unhindered. Opposition
parties are not just tolerated, they are respected.

Mbongeni Ngema's single Amandiya, a song deemed racist and xenophobic by the
Asian community, was banned by his administration. He seems a good, honest

So why is he quiet on Mugabe who does not just have henchmen who sing
xenophobic songs, but also denies the starving masses food (because they
don't like him), and trains militia to terrorise the opposition? Above all,
Mugabe has created and encouraged a semi-anarchic state in Zimbabwe.

No one is immune to the reach of his power from the rural poor to the urban
sophisticated. So why does Mbeki condone all this? Did Mugabe promise him a
farm? No.

The bottom line is that Mugabe has got some firm hold on Mbeki and our only
hope is that it's not something personal. Noone believes all the African
solidarity nonsense. The other junior Sadc presidents are willing to isolate
Mugabe if Mbeki leads the way. I really hate him now he is insensitive to
our feelings and suffering.

This man is just another African loser caught in the wrong system. He seems
to envy Mugabe's extra-constitutional liberties. He hates Nelson Mandela for
setting such a difficult precedence for him to match.

Mbeki to me is a Mugabe in the 80s. Remember Steve Tshwete's claims about
Cyril Ramaphosa and Tokyo Sexwale!

The bottom line is that Mbeki sees his own political instincts being
actually exercised by Mugabe. He, on the other hand, doesn't have enough
power or room to do the same.

Will James, an African American scholar once said: "Genius...means little
more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way."

Maybe Mbeki in his own eccentric way sees a genius in Mugabe. God forbid for
South African's sake.

Vincent Mushonga,

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Zim Independent


Timely lesson for Moyo and his cohorts

HAS the recent experience of the fallen Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein taught
Zanu PF anything about planning their own future survival?

The answer is probably not because their Saddam-oriented minds are still
deluded to think they will outlive the difficulties they have created for us
and for which they will inevitably be held accountable.

It is understandable that the typical Zanu PF mental derelicts will not be
able to comprehend the unleashed forces of the newly-liberated Iraqis driven
by their quest to regain their natural rights. As well exposed by
international TV transmissions, the Iraqi Information minister Mohammed
Saeed al-Sahhaf (who rapidly became known by journalists as "Comical Ali")
held yet another unbelievable Moyo-styled press conference on the roof of
the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad just prior to his exit.

Via global satellite communications many images of the real life situation
in Iraq showed that the coalition forces were in downtown Baghdad, and in
occupation of the already renamed Baghdad International Airport. "Joker Ali"
claimed that these views of reality were fabricated lies. The deluded Ali,
to the wholesome mirth and disbelief of the journalists, further asserted
that Saddam Hussein's forces were vanquishing his enemies all over the

Ali apparently had not looked over his shoulder to see what everyone else
had already seen - no less than the torn down and falling statues of the
terror regime's self-anointed hero. Saddam Hussein's supporters, assets,
weaponry and symbols were being exposed, looted and destroyed by the
previously suppressed masses who were now in sight of an overdue democracy.
Saddam's self-serving criminal followers were being captured or eliminated,
with some survivors on a desperate run. In their haste, they left their loot

Local Iraqi citizens were celebrating their liberation for a good reason.
The time for an overdue regime change was at hand. From pent up rage and
with appropriate symbolism, the embassies of "old (pro-Saddam) Europe" -
those of France and Germany - were looted. The very next day Ali and his
entourage of media censors and supervisors had evaporated - they were
nowhere to be seen. Probably they had hastily retreated to their predestined
safe havens such as in the pariah states of Syria, Libya, or Lebanon in the
vain hope that they would not be tracked down and held accountable for their
multiple crimes against humanity.

President Mbeki was also reportedly concerned that his terror friend Saddam
had not been seen for some time. His Foreign Affairs ministers Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma and her deputy Aziz Pahad seem to have suddenly lost their
vocal organs of support for Saddam. South Africa had yet again been exposed
to be a nation led by delusional misfits out of time with the need to
improve worldly order.

They are clearly unable to understand sanity and democracy, let alone
promote the same. Mbeki is now alleged to be considering giving safe
protection and sustenance to previously resident pro-Saddam diplomats - at
his own taxpayers' expense.

Clown Ali has presented to Jonathan Moyo a major and serious challenge for
being the biggest delusional idiot of the century. At his expected trial, he
may even be able to creditably plea insanity in his defence.

Zimbabweans should rejoice in the fact that Zanu PF's delusions and denial
of reality exceed those of Saddam Hussein and his henchmen, thus their fall
from power will be more spectacular. Even with the short-term protection and
sponsorship granted by Mbeki and Zuma to the likes of Moyo, his haven at a
known Saxonwold Johannesburg address cannot guarantee his future security.

Naturally, ZTV chose not (as usual) to broadcast the truthful realities, as
did the Islamic Qatar-based Al Jazeera television station, which station
also has a serious delusional difficulty in dealing with truth, terror
regimes, human rights issues and democracy.

Civilised humanity must all look forward to the time of Zanu PF coming to
terms with accountability.

Walter Hurley,

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Zim Independent


Mugabe versus the people

THE international community has the Zimbabwe situation misappraised.
Negotiations between Zanu PF and the MDC are irrelevant at this point in
time. The struggle is not between these two parties but between the dictator
Robert Mugabe and all the people of Zimbabwe, including 90%+ of
high-ranking, middle- and low-ranking Zanu PF followers.

There is no point in anyone negotiating with Zanu PF while Mugabe is in
place. It would be just like "negotiating" with the Baathist Party in Iraq
while Saddam Hussein was in power - a pointless exercise.

Mugabe's cabinet and politburo are like cowering sheep - incapable of saying
boo to a goose.

After their success in Iraq, the international community (including
moderates like Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany) must
simply insist that Mugabe vacate without conditions.

If they make it clear to Mugabe that he has no alternative to immediate
exile, then he will do what he is at present too fearful to do. The only
alternative to an immediate forced exile is some kind of medical emergency,
which may require evacuation to some friendly country which has a
functioning healthcare system.

Alex Weir,

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