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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

A Message to the MDC Leadership
Sokwanele Opinion: 20 April 2005

First a word of hearty congratulations to the MDC on winning so big in the parliamentary elections. 94 seats or thereabouts out of a possible 120 represents a huge victory, and we salute the leadership who ran an effective campaign against daunting odds. We also salute the people, the vast majority of the Zimbabwean electorate, who, despite the most brazen intimidation from ZANU-PF, had the courage to vote according to their consciences rather than as fear might have dictated. It was a spectacular victory.

Only as we all know, ZANU-PF, which was decisively rejected by the people, is claiming the victory as theirs. They claim 78 seats for themselves and have only conceded 41 for the opposition. Taking account of the appalling constitutional anomaly that gives Robert Mugabe 30 seats to dispense to his cronies, this gives ZANU-PF the two-thirds parliamentary majority they crave in order to amend the constitution and do exactly as they please, in order to maintain themselves in power forever.

Of course no one should have been surprised at the electoral fraud, least of all the MDC, who have suffered the same fate twice before, in 2000 and 2002. Perhaps some were shocked at ZANU-PF’s seemingly endless ability to conjure up new methods of rigging as they plumb the depths of desperation; others at the sheer scale of the theft – but that, come what may, ZANU-PF would award themselves the victory, was never in doubt.

Therefore we are entitled to ask, as most Zimbabweans are asking – what strategy has MDC devised to counter the theft ? Given that there is no prospect whatsoever of any opposition ever being permitted to win an election under this dispensation, what does the true winning party, the MDC, now propose ? Do they intend to note their protest and then get on with business as usual or do they have an alternative strategy ? And if they do have another plan we ask, when are they going to take the huge majority who voted for change into their confidence, and tell them what they have in mind ? Perhaps for security reasons not in detail, but an outline anyway of what to expect and where their help will be required. The MDC’s supporters who defied the intimidation and risked all manner of harm in voting, surely have a right to know. Indeed we are surprised the leadership have taken this long in communicating anything of their intentions to the nation. Time is not on their side. Every day that passes the dictatorship entrenches itself more deeply in power.

For our part we seriously question the wisdom of the decision of the MDC leadership that those MP’s who managed to overcome all the odds and secure their seats, should take their places in the new parliament. The spectacle of these MPs attending and participating in the opening of parliament has undoubtedly strengthened greatly Mugabe’s and his party’s pretensions to legitimacy; and what, we ask, has it done to advance the pro-democracy and pro-freedom cause? How do these MPs intend to use their position in parliament to challenge and confront ZANU-PF? How will their presence help to promote the kind of radical political, social and economic change the nation yearns for – and voted for on March 31? Indeed haven’t Mugabe’s massive and repeated electoral frauds demonstrated all too clearly that henceforth the nation’s destiny will be shaped more by what happens outside parliament than by what happens within parliament?

Nor are we advocating a violent solution – though we must take serious note that any delay in advancing a strong and realistic alternative will only make it more likely that sooner or later some desperate elements will resort to violence, possibly sparking off a major conflagration in our beloved country. No, there are other non-violent options, some of which have been tried before and others not, and we believe this is the time to deploy them. What is needed is a well-coordinated national campaign of civil disobedience. Such a campaign would surely make the point far more effectively than the most eloquent speeches in parliament, that those who rule Zimbabwe do so without the consent of the majority. It would amount to a total withdrawal of support from the structures that are perpetuating tyranny, and it would send a message to the world that Zimbabwe’s suffering people will no longer cooperate in their own oppression.

In an excellent article contributed to The Standard (*) that veteran writer Pius Wakatama, asks the fundamental question, who and what is the MDC? He answers his own question well:

“To the majority of suffering Zimbabweans it is just as its name says. It is a people’s movement whose aim is to bring about democratic change in Zimbabwe. It is not an ordinary political party, in the vein of many African opposition parties whose sole goal is to place as many of its members as possible into parliament with the hope that one day they can assume power and be able to enjoy the fruits of power as the incumbent rulers will be doing.”

That is well said, and we hope the entire MDC leadership is listening. Because from this premise it follows (again in Wakatama’s wise words) that “as a people’s movement, the MDC should forget the orthodox niceties of professional political conduct with its feigned diplomacy, tactics, gimmicks and meaningless political correctness. Its actions should only be shaped in response to the cries of those in bondage.”

The message was underlined by an editorial in the same paper in which, after arguing strongly for a policy of total non-engagement and non-cooperation with both ZANU-PF and the government, the editor concludes:

“It would be the greatest betrayal of modern times, if the MDC fails to find a way to claim what is rightly theirs and what the majority believe to be the mandate they were handed by the electorate on 31 March 2005. The most effective and non-violent confrontational approach the MDC can take is total refusal to engage or cooperate until its concerns are fully addressed. To play along as it did since 2005 … would be to sign its death warrant”.

And what might actions “shaped in response to the cries of those in bondage” look like? In our view they might include any of the following:

These are just a few examples of the direction that a bold and imaginative programme might take us. The first objective would be to empower the people, and to this end it would be necessary for those leading the action to be well grounded in the philosophy and principles of non-violent civil disobedience. However this need not imply a lengthy period of training or significant delays in getting the action out onto the streets. We believe the people are ready and waiting to follow bold leadership.

In any event Zimbabwe and the world are awaiting the MDC’s response. If the party leadership shows that it understands the dynamics of the situation and is willing to change tack in order effectively to challenge and confront the tyrannical regime at every twist and turn, it will deserve (and we believe will still receive) the solid support of the huge majority it now represents. If on the other hand it refuses to change its tactics or delays too long in effecting that change, it will risk seeing its support base melt away very quickly, and then the centre of resistance to the Mugabe regime will undoubtedly shift elsewhere. In short the party of change must now show itself flexible enough to change its own central strategy. If it fails to do so, and rapidly, we believe it will become irrelevant to the new form of political contest that is taking shape in Zimbabwe.

In other words, the MDC must adapt or die.

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Zim Online

MDC quits Mbeki-driven 'charade'
Thur 21 April 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party last night accused the South African government of dishonesty
and dismissed as "a charade" attempts by President Thabo Mbeki to resolve
Zimbabwe's crisis.

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said Pretoria had taken sides on the
dispute between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition party when Mbeki
last week endorsed Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party's controversial
landslide victory in Zimbabwe's parliamentary election last month.

      "We do not believe South Africa should position itself as an honest
broker, they have taken sides," Nyathi told ZimOnline.

      Nyathi said his party will no longer participate in a Mbeki-driven
process to find a negotiated settlement to the Zimbabwe crisis because it
had been reduced to a façade after what he said was Pretoria's siding with
Mugabe and ZANU PF.

      He said: "We are not interested in participating in a charade . . .
the same (South African) government declared the election as having been
free and fair, how can they now turn around and want to be a broker in a
dispute over the same election?"

      Responding to a question in Parliament last week, Mbeki refrained from
outrightly declaring Zimbabwe's March 31 poll as having been free and fair
but said the election truly reflected the will of Zimbabweans.

      But the South African leader also said his government was looking at
reports on the poll submitted by the MDC and some Zimbabwean
non-governmental organisations and would treat issues raised in the reports
with seriousness.

      The MDC, which has filed petitions in court to challenge results in a
selected 13 constituencies which it says it wants to use to demonstrate how
the ballot was rigged, insists Mugabe and ZANU PF cheated their way to

      Designated by President George W Bush and other key Western leaders as
the point-man in dealing with Zimbabwe, Mbeki is often accused by political
analysts of not doing enough to push Mugabe to the negotiating table or to
abandon some of his controversial policies.

      The MDC says Mbeki is not only guilty of not doing enough but of also
shoring up Mugabe's vice grip on power in Zimbabwe. Pretoria denies the

      Nyathi said it was now up to Mbeki and his government to prove they
mean well and are not biased in their approach to Zimbabwe.

      It was not possible to immediately get comment on the matter from
Mbeki's office or the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs. -ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Mugabe's bloated Cabinet to fuel inflation: analysts
Thur 21 April 2005
  HARARE - A bloated Cabinet appointed by President Robert Mugabe and a new
House of Senate he has proposed, all to ensure "jobs for the boys" will
exert more pressure on the budget and scuttle efforts to tame inflation, the
opposition and analysts said on Wednesday.

      Mugabe expanded his Cabinet by four new ministries to bring the total
number to 31. None of the new ministries of Women's Affairs, Gender and
Community Development, Rural Housing and Social Amenities, Economic
Development and Public and Interactive Affairs nor the new senate to be
introduced later this year were budgeted.

      In the absence of external financial support to fund the expanded
government, the state will have to resort to domestic borrowing and in the
process crowding out the productive sector, economic analysts said.

      The increase in domestic borrowing puts pressure on interest rates as
the government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) puts a lead on
rate increases for it to access cheaper funds.

      A budget deficit of Z$4.5 trillion recorded when there were 27
government ministries can only rise higher in tandem with the expansion of
government, they said.

      As well as financing a bloated bureaucracy, the hard cash-strapped
government must also find foreign currency to pay for food imports for four
million Zimbabweans or a quarter of the country' population will starve.

      "It's not only about the addition of four new ministries, but also the
presence of 20 deputy ministers who constitutionally cannot act in the
absence of substantive ministers. This shows that he (Mugabe) is simply
creating jobs for the boys. The senate is also coming, this will further
drain the fiscus," lamented main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
party shadow economic affairs minister, Tendai Biti.

      He added: "It is a reflection of the attitude Mugabe has about the
economy and it shows that the government lacks fiscal discipline."

      A huge budget deficit will also help fuel inflation beyond the 75-85
percent forecast by RBZ governor Gideon Gono by year-end.

      Gono last week revised upwards inflation targets from the 20-30
percent he had forecast for December 2005. Zimbabwe's inflation is currently
pegged at 123.7 percent, one of the highest in the world.

      Independent economic analyst John Robertson said the government did
not have money to fund its activities even when it was relatively smaller as
evidenced by the diversion of Z$5 trillion earmarked for capital expenditure
to fund food imports and increasing expenditure was hardly the way to go. -

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Zim Online

Editor charged with inciting violence
Thur 21 April 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe police yesterday charged editor of the independent
Standard newspaper Davison Maruziva with trying to incite violence over a
story published by his paper claiming that ballot papers and boxes were
found hidden at a senior government official's house.

      Maruziva was also slapped with another alternative charge of abusing
journalistic privilege through publication of the story barely a week after
Zimbabwe's disputed March 31 parliamentary election. The journalist could be
sent to jail if convicted on one or both charges.

      In the story in question, Maruziva's paper reported that the election
material was found at the house of Zaka district administrator John
Dzinoruma Mubako, ays after the poll.

      The weekly paper followed up the story last Sunday with details of
Mubako's appearance in court to answer to charges of breaching the Electoral
Act which requires all voting materials to be in the custody of a designated
election officer at the end of polling.

      The police do not dispute the substance of the story but are still
adamant Maruziva published the story purely in a bid to incite public

      The Standard is one of a few remaining non-government controlled
newspapers after at least five independent papers were shut down by the
government for breaching its harsh Press laws.

      The country's biggest and only non-government controlled daily paper,
the Daily News, is expected to resume publication in the coming months, two
years after armed police forcibly shut it down and seized its equipment
because it was not registered with the state's Media and Information
Commission as required under draconian state Press law.

      Hundreds of journalists have been arrested by the police in the last
three years for breaching state security and Press laws. - ZimOnline
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Press Gazette

Sunday Telegraph's Harden 'surprised' at prison release
Published: Thursday, April 21, 2005

By Dominic Ponsford

Sunday Telegraph chief foreign correspondent Toby Harnden has told Press
Gazette of his surprise at being released along with photographer Julian
Simmonds from a Zimbabwean jail this week.

The pair spent ten days behind bars after being arrested in the southern
constituency of Manyame outside a polling station.

They were charged with "practising journalism without accreditation" but
successfully argued that they were in the country as tourists.

Harnden, 39, and Simmonds, 45, faced up to two years in prison but were
freed last Friday and deported after the prosecution failed to prove its

Harnden said he greeted his release with: "A feeling of great relief and I
have to say some surprise.

"We were very grateful that although the Zimbabwe justice system is
completely rotten...the magistrate judged the case on its legal merits and I
think very courageously found us not guilty because the prosecution was

He went on to explain: "We never hid the fact that our profession was
journalism and the magistrate must have wondered for what possible reason
two journalists from the Sunday Telegraph could have been at a polling
station in a rural part of Zimbabwe apart from reporting on an election.

"But thankfully he judged the case strictly on its merits rather than taking
it as read that we were guilty."

The prosecution were unable to find the necessary notes and pictures to
prove that the pair had been practising as journalists.

However, their deportation still means they will be unable to enter Zimbabwe
again while the Mugabe regime stays in power.

Harnden said: "I really hope what happened to us won't prevent other people
reporting on what is happening there because the Zimbabwean people are
really suffering and are at the mercy of this liberator turned dictator, and
it is important that people reveal to the world what is happening in
Zimbabwe."Harnden revealed in the Sunday Telegraph this week that members of
the ruling Zanu-PF party had been outside polling stations on election day
beating drums and warning voters that the way they had cast their ballot
would be discovered.

Harnden and Simmonds were this week back in London recovering from their
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Alleged kingpin in Guinea coup plot feared killed

Giles Tremlett in Madrid
Thursday April 21, 2005
The Guardian

Fears were growing last night about the fate of the man at the centre of
last year's murky coup plot in Equatorial Guinea, after reports that he had
been assasinated.
Investigators in three European countries are looking for Severo Moto, the
exiled opposition leader whom the British mercenary Simon Mann and his
friend Sir Mark Thatcher last year allegedly planned to make president of
the oil-rich west African country.

Mr Moto, who met Mann in the Canary Islands shortly before the botched
attempt to overthrow the President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, has not been seen
for at least 10 days.
Spain's intelligence services were leading the hunt for him, according to
Spanish media, amid fears that he had been killed in either Croatia or
Italy. Mr Moto's mobile phone was not answered yesterday and its message box
was full.

Spain's El País newspaper reported that the Spanish government had said the
opposition leader had travelled to Zagreb twice last month and might have
gone back there. El País quoted a foreign ministry source as saying the
Spanish government was "increasingly convinced that [Mr Moto] has been
killed". El Mundo also said government officials believed he might have been

Mr Moto had been making trips to Zagreb "on business", El País said.
Observers speculated yesterday, however, that he had been buying arms or
hiring mercenaries for another coup attempt. Mr Moto had called a fellow
opposition leader eight days ago, saying he was in Rome, the paper said.

Yesterday a close aide of the opposition leader, who did not wish to be
named, told Reuters that Mr Moto was always under threat. "We've been
denouncing for a long time the threats posed not only to the Guinean people
but also to exiles by the Obiang regime. Anything we say can put us in

A Spanish foreign ministry spokesman in Madrid, where Mr Moto has lived in
exile since the mid-80s, said yesterday that it had "begun making contacts
to verify the reports, but so far had no evidence to back the rumours".

Spain has kept a close eye on Mr Moto since he was accused by prosecutors in
Zimbabwe of sponsoring the coup attempt led by Mann last year. He was given
political asylum by Spain, although the foreign minister, Miguel Angel
Moratinos, says Spain will not allow itself to be used as a base for coup

Mr Moto allegedly offered a total of $1.8m (£940,000) and oil rights to
Mann - a former SAS officer - and arms dealers if they toppled Guinea's

"We believe Moto would just be another autocrat," Adolfo Marugan, director
of Spain's Association for Democratic Solidarity with Equatorial Guinea,
said yesterday.

Sir Mark pleaded guilty this year to charges that he helped to bankroll the
coup plot. He received a four-year suspended jail sentence and a £265,000
fine in South Africa, where he was living at the time.

Mr Moto has long accused Mr Obiang's regime of maintaining power through
murder, of robbery, embezzling state funds and trafficking drugs and arms.

Equatorial Guinea, a country of 500,000 inhabitants, gained independence
from Spain in 1968 and is now the third biggest oil producer in sub-Saharan
Africa. Mr Obiang, widely accused of human rights violations, came to power
in 1979 after overthrowing and executing his uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema.

Guinea has jailed a dozen mercenaries involved in the coup attempt for up to
34 years; they include Nick du Toit, the Afrikaner mercenary and arms dealer
who retracted a confession, alleging torture. Four other South Africans and
six Armenians received terms of up to 24 years each.

Mr Moto was sentenced in absentia to 63 years, while eight other opposition
exiles received sentences of up to 52 years each.

Amnesty International last week warned that conditions inside the Black
Beach prison in the Equatorial Guinean capital Malabo, where the mercenaries
are held, had deteriorated so seriously that some 70 prisoners were at
imminent risk of death from starvation.

Mann is serving a four-year jail term in Zimbabwe, where many of the
mercenaries were caught as they prepared to fly to Equatorial Guinea.

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The Times

            Streak plays defensively to Flower's onslaught
            By Owen Slot
            The fast bowler has no regrets about playing for Zimbabwe again

            WOULD you sacrifice ideals for personal gain? Would you lead
your troops on an ethical crusade and then desert them? Would you enjoy
facing any such accusation when it comes from Andy Flower, whose famous
black armband revolt seemed to invest him with moral authority?

            Speeding in to the crease to open the bowling for Warwickshire
against Kent at Canterbury yesterday, Heath Streak did not seem remotely
weighed down. Neither did he when he discussed the subject over lunch. There
are ways and means of going in to bat for your country and when that country
is Zimbabwe, Streak and Flower interpret the concept in different ways.

            The background: Streak has renounced his war with Zimbabwe
Cricket, the governing body, bolted from the rebel pack and signed a new
contract. Then, in the May issue of The Wisden Cricketer, Flower loaded his
guns and let fly. "That Heath Streak led them into it (the boycott) and is
now back playing is poor form," he said. "There have not been the wholesale
changes they were demanding. You don't make a big stand then, when nothing
changes, go back and say, 'Actually, I do want a contract.' Now there are
half a dozen or so young white players out of a job."

            When Streak led the 15 Zimbabwe white rebels out of work, the
idea that he was some kind of hardline shop steward always seemed wide of
the mark. That he is a spineless opportunist is unfair, too. Streak was
always closer than most to Zimbabwe Cricket and was more prepared to endure
maltreatment from its administrators as well. The quid pro quo was, of
course, that he also continued to draw a decent income, but his unerring
commitment to the leadership of a team in a depressing sequence of results
had a quality of its own. Nothing became Flower like his leaving of
Zimbabwe; Streak revealed himself by his refusal to go.

            In padding up to Flower, Streak explained that his former
team-mate must be out of touch. This seems unlikely, given that Flower has
been joined at Essex by his brother, Grant, who endured the year of the
boycott at Streak's side. Grant chuckles at the suggestion. "When I left
Zimbabwe, it was on the understanding that none of us would play in the
series against South Africa," he said. "Then Heath and Andy Blignaut
suddenly materialised. They must have been offered good contracts."

            In accepting these contracts, the unity and bargaining power of
the rebels evaporated. One accusation thrown at Streak - a familiar one - is
that he acted to save his family's farm. Streak's explanation is twofold:
first, that the demands of the rebels were finally beginning to be fulfilled
and, second, that because of the real doubts hanging over the future of
Zimbabwe's Test status, he acted to save his country.

            "The fear was that if we lost Test status, then it might be lost
forever," he said. "Part of the thinking was that if we held on for too
long, there might not be anything to go back to. That would be sad not just
for this generation but for future generations."

            But the fact is, Zimbabwe Cricket does finally appear to be
implementing change. Why? Because of the Teststatus issue, because sponsors
were threatening to jump ship, too, and because the Zimbabwe Sports
Commission, a body with leverage, started applying pressure. This resulted
in the formation of an ad hoc committee, the rebel players were persuaded to
buy into the concept, suddenly their demands were being addressed and a very
long, dark tunnel had glimmers of light.

            It may not surprise some that Streak was then so quick in the
door to renegotiate. However, the criticism of his fellow rebels, with whom
he has never enjoyed universal popularity, is reserved not for him but for
Blignaut, who re-signed even before the ad hoc committee had completed its

            The rebellion is thus at an end. Others have followed the path
back to the contract table, although their acquiescence comes with caveats.
Some of the reforms of the Zimbabwe Cricket are on paper, some are verbal -
no one can be confident that any will materialise.

            The new accord may thus be shortlived because the players have
only re-signed for six months. "It's simple for us," one player said. "If
things don't change, there could be another 'situation' come August or

            Zimbabwe do not play between now and then, when New Zealand
arrive on tour, so no one feels that their compromises are too great. If you
do not know who to believe, it is hard to know where to locate the moral
high ground.

            In New Zealand, meanwhile, a similar search is on: should we
tour Zimbabwe or boycott? Sounds familiar? The case continues.

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20th April 2005
Despite all our efforts to prevent the Bumi elephants from being shot, we could not have predicted that the guardians of the wildlife, National Parks, would go in and shoot them.
We have just received a report that National Parks were instructed to shoot elephants in the Omay hunting area the day before Independence to provide meat for the celebrations. The elephants in the Omay are wild, unlike the Bumi elephants, which means it would have taken some time to track down and shoot them. The National Parks scouts were running out of time so they went to the Bumi foreshore to shoot four of the Bumi elephants which were much easier targets.
The first to be shot was a young cow and immediately, a long tusked female, the matriarch, charged and was also shot. The herd left but returned later to visit their fallen herd members, especially the matriarch as they had been left without a leader. Another cow was then shot at the end of the Bumi airstrip. We have not yet received details about the fourth elephant.
Normally, it is quite common to see up to 50 elephants on a game drive in Bumi and it is possible for a vehicle to get as close as 3 metres to them but the day after the killings, there was not a single elephant in sight. A guide climbed to the top of a high kopje and saw all the elephants heading for the Border River where they will fall prey to the professional hunters in the Omay.
It is a great shame and embarrassment for Zimbabwe that 2 foreign tourists witnessed the killings.
We received another report about elephants being shot to supply meat for the Independence Celebrations.
In Urungwe, 5 elephants were seen close to a farming area so the Urungwe Rural Council instructed a farmer to shoot them. He obliged and the meat was used for the Independence Celebrations.
These are two cases we have heard about - we wonder how many animals were killed in the name of Zimbabwean Independence Day that we haven't heard about.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Phone       263 4 336710
Fax           263 4 339065
Mobile       263 11 603 213
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Zim Online

Top police officers accused of looting fund
Fri 22 April 2005
  BULAWAYO - Disgruntled junior police officers have accused some top
officers, including police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, of looting a Z$1
billion fund meant for their allowances during last month's controversial
parliamentary election won by ZANU PF.

      The junior police officers who spoke to ZimOnline in Bulawayo
yesterday, said they had initially been promised Z$7 million each as part of
their allowances during the election but were shocked to receive about $1.3
million each.

      "We were only given $1.3 million and were promised that we would get
the remainder when we arrive back here in Bulawayo. But four weeks after the
election, our bosses are now quiet and we don't even know whether we will
get the money," said a sergeant who refused to be named.


      But sources at the Police General Headquarters in Harare said more
than $1 billion was meant to pay members of the force during the March 31
election. They said the money was diverted under the guise of financing the
police boarding school and sponsoring a lower division police soccer team
Black Mambas.

      "It is true that some people did not get their money. The most
affected were those who were deployed in the rural areas and those who
remained at stations. What makes the whole thing bad is that some people on
the ground did not get what they worked for," said an officer within the
finance section of the police headquarters.

      Deputy police national spokesman, Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka,
refused to comment on the issue, saying those with complaints should direct
them through the "proper" channels.

      "Whatever grievances those juniors have, they should know how to
channel them. I don't know of anybody who was not paid," he said.

      Chihuri, who has publicly declared his support for President Mugabe
and his ruling ZANU PF party in the past, could not be reached for comment
on the allegations that he abused the fund.

      Zimbabwe's police are notoriously pro-ZANU PF and the police force
have been accused of bias against the main opposition political party. -

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Zim Online

New information boss calls for meeting with newspaper editors
Fri 22 April 2005
  HARARE - Newly appointed Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya has
summoned all editors from the state and private media to a no-holds barred
meeting in a bid to mend relations in Zimbabwe's highly polarised media

      The meeting is set for today at the government's offices at
Munhumutapa Building.

      "He is inviting only senior staff, editors in particular, to introduce
himself as well as normalise relations," said an official from Jokonya's
office who refused to be named.

      Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary general Foster Dongozi
welcomed the new minister's approach and said his union would push for the
repeal of the tough Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA), blamed for causing so much pain in the media industry.

      Jokonya's predecessor at the information ministry, Jonathan Moyo, had
a frosty relationship with journalists from the small but vibrant private
media whom he branded "enemies of the state."

      Moyo is also blamed for shutting down four private newspapers in a
space of three years that he deemed too critical of government policies. He
was fired from government early this year after seeking to block the rise of
Joyce Mujuru to the country's vice-presidency.

      Pressed to outline the agenda for today's meeting, Jokonya said: "You
are now failing in your job, be patient and wait for the meeting." -

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Zim Online

Journalist charged over election story
Fri 22 April 2005
  HARARE - The police yesterday charged Standard weekly newspaper reporter
Savious Kwinika with breaching the country's tough media and security
legislation over a story alleging that some missing ballot papers were found
hidden at a senior government official's homestead.

      On Wednesday, Kwinika's boss at the Standard, Davison Maruziva, was
also charged with abusing journalistic privilege and attempting to incite
violence over the same story.

      Kwinika faces charges of breaching the tough Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA). He is denying the charges.

      Earlier this month, the weekly Sunday paper reported that Zaka
district administrator John Dzinoruma Mubako was found with ballot papers
and boxes, days after the disputed poll won by ZANU PF. The case is at the

      The police are however insisting that the two journalists published
the story with the intention of inciting violence against the government.

      More than a hundred journalists have been arrested in the past three
years for breaching the country's tough media legislation. The Standard is
among the few private newspapers still operating in Zimbabwe after the
government shut down The Daily News and three other publications in the last
three years. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

SA central bank expresses fears over Zimbabwe economic meltdown
Fri 22 April 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - Neighbouring Zimbabwe's economic woes could in the long run
affect South Africa, the South African Reserve Bank said yesterday.

      In a financial stability report published on its website, the central
bank however noted that Zimbabwe's crisis did not pose an immediate threat
saying exposure of South Africa's financial sector to Zimbabwean banks was
fairly low and was also conservatively managed.

      But prolonged economic meltdown in Zimbabwe, which is Pretoria's
biggest trading partner on the continent, could have wider economic
implications, the bank said.

      Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by more than a third in the past
five years with unemployment estimated at about 70 percent while inflation
is pegged at 123.7 percent, one of the highest in the world. South African
exports to Zimbabwe declined by 5.6 percent in 2004.

      More than seven banks and other financial institutions in Zimbabwe
collapsed since last year because of mismanagement and corruption. -
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Zim Online

Zimbabwean tennis thrown into turmoil
Fri 22 April 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe tennis is in turmoil and development of the once
promising game has been crippled after the International Tennis Federation
(ITF) suspended financial support to Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) following
allegations of massive financial abuse, ZimOnline has gathered.

      The world tennis association gives grants to tennis associations for
the development of the sport from grassroots level. The funds are used to
develop the sport by constructing tennis courts and buying equipment.

      The ITF has since stopped funding Zimbabwe projects pending an
investigation into the scandal.

      Former TZ president Paul Chingoka, together with treasurer Bash
Mahomed were suspended on Tuesday from all tennis activity by the Sports and
Recreation Commission which is probing the allegation of serious financial
irregularities at the association.

      A TZ official who refused to be named told ZimOnline yesterday that
the lack of funding was seriously hampering their operations.

      "It has been a difficult period for us because of the funds that
disappeared from the coffers of TZ. The money which was abused came from ITF
and that is why they want an investigation first before they start giving us
money again.

      "As we speak, tennis development is moving at zero pace because we
rely on funding from ITF to survive. Plans are underway to write to ITF
informing them that the suspects have been suspended and that investigations
are continuing. This could open the way for further funding," said the
source at TZ.

      Meanwhile, Chingoka could be ousted from his post at the Zimbabwe
Olympic Committee (ZOC) following allegations that he misappropriated funds
during his stint as Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) boss.

      Sources said Chingoka, who assumed the reins at the ZOC last year,
faces a revolt at the association's annual general meeting scheduled for
Sunday in Harare. He was last year nominated unopposed for the post and was
set to be endorsed as the substantive head at the meeting on Sunday.

      "This could be the end of Chingoka's dominance in sports
administration. The allegations of financial impropriety and suspension from
all tennis activity came at a bad time for him.

      The veteran sports administrator was at the helm of Tennis Zimbabwe
for 13 years before he moved to the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee. - ZimOnline

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Minister assaults mayor

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Apr-22

THE Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Andrew Langa, on Sunday
allegedly assaulted Gwanda mayor Thandeko Mkandla, saying he had belittled

In an interview with The Daily Mirror yesterday, Mkandla confirmed that he
was assaulted after he called the deputy minister jaha (young man).
Mkandla, the former Gwanda Government Secondary School headmaster who beat
Zanu PF's Rido Mpofu for the mayorship on an MDC ticket, alleged that the
incident occurred on Sunday at the provincial governor's hall.

He said Matabeleland South Governor and Resident Minister Angeline Masuku
could have heard the "altercation" as she was chairing a committee meeting
on Zimbabwe's Silver Jubilee festivities when the incident happened.
He said he was taken aback by Langa's alleged "hooliganism" after he greeted
The mayor said he suspected that the deputy minister, who is also the Member
of Parliament for Insiza, felt offended by his greeting him as "jaha",
isiNdebele for "young man".
"He (Langa) was in the company of the provincial administrator, David Mpofu,
and district administrator Adam Mbango Dube. I greeted him in
Ndebele -Unjani Jaha (How are you young man?) but he was angry because I had
called him young man. In full view of everyone who was at the hall, he held
me by my upper left hand and shoved me away," narrated Mkandla.
The mayor questioned Langa's credibility as a public figure since the deputy
minister had behaved "like a bull in a China's shop, bulldozing and paying
no due regard to society".
The mayor of the provincial capital of Matabeleland South called for justice
to take its course against the deputy minister for the alleged assault.
"As the mayor of Gwanda and a patriotic citizen of this country who took an
oath under the constitution of Zimbabwe, I had to attend the preparation for
the Independence and the Silver Jubilee celebrations held at Pelandaba
Stadium," Mkandla said.
He added: "The people of Gwanda and I are disappointed by this kind of
hooliganism from a minister and I will soon meet Governor Masuku over the
matter, and I believe he is aware of the incident. I am still waiting to
talk to the governor.
"I am also contemplating taking legal action against Langa, but I have to
talk to Masuku first."
The mayor said he visited the governor's office on Tuesday but she was not
Langa, however, dismissed Mkandla's charges as cheap lies.
The deputy minister also allegedly threatened Gwanda Town Clerk who was
inside the hall with unspecified action.
"Inside the hall he threatened the town clerk - Wena lo mayor wakho
lizangibona (I will deal with you and your mayor)," Mkandla alleged.
After the incident, Mkandla said he immediately left the meeting.
"I went away without attending the meeting and there was no need to go back.
I, however, attended the Independence celebrations the following day at
Pelandaba Stadium. Langa was not there," Mkandla explained.
Mkandla said he did not report the matter to the police.
Langa, who confirmed attending the Independence celebrations preparatory
meeting, denied assaulting Mkandla.
"He is lying. There is nothing like that which happened. We met, we talked
and we parted ways and those who were there can tell you that. There was
never such an incident. He knows the law and should have gone to the
 police," Langa said.
Efforts to reach Masuku were fruitless yesterday.  She was unreachable on
her mobile phone, while a woman in her office said the governor was not in
"She is not in Gwanda. She is out of the office and you can reach her on her
mobile phone," she said.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Takeover negotiations over city water to resume

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Apr-22

NEGOTIATIONS for the transfer of management of bulk water supply to the city
of Harare and its environs to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa)
were delayed by the March 31 parliamentary elections and the issue is now
scheduled for completion in the next two months.
Government, through the Ministry of Water and Infrastructural Development,
ordered the take over of the city's water system by Zinwa after the failure
by Harare City Council to provide regular and clean water supply to its
residents and dormitory towns of Chitungwiza, Norton and Ruwa. Zinwa Board
chairman, Willie Muringani told The Daily Mirror on Wednesday that the
elections had delayed the progress of the takeover negotiations.
"The negotiations were held up by the elections. The last time we met, we
were discussing the operational modalities of the project once the takeover
is completed," Muringani said.
He, however, could not be drawn to comment how the new system would operate
saying he needed to be updated by his officials on the latest developments.
In a commission meeting held last month, town clerk Nomutsa Chideya said
Zinwa had not been clear on how they intended to implement the takeover.
Water problems have continued to dog most residential areas in the city with
some going for weeks without the precious liquid. Under the government
proposal, the water authority would be in charge of the water sources and
the purification of the water, while the local authority would be
responsible for the distribution of the precious commodity to households and
other individual customers.
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Mail and Guardian

      Zim crisis could affect South Africa

      Johannesburg, South Africa

      21 April 2005 05:41

            The economic crisis in Zimbabwe could affect South Africa as the
country's major trading partner on the continent, the South African Reserve
Bank cautioned on Thursday.

            In its latest Financial Stability Review, the central bank
stated: "The continued economic meltdown in Zimbabwe may have wider economic
implications. Although constituting a modest 2,4% of South Africa's exports,
Zimbabwe remains South Africa's largest trading partner on the continent."

            It added that South African exports to Zimbabwe declined by 5,6%
in 2004.

            However, the Reserve Bank said that the direct exposure of the
South African financial sector to Zimbabwean banks remains fairly low and
conservatively managed, thus posing no immediate threat.

            It added that Zimbabwe's banking sector has been in a crisis for
more than a year. By the end of 2004, eight financial institutions were
under curatorship and two were under provisional liquidation.

            A plan to merge and recapitalise most of the failed institutions
into a new state-owned bank is still contending with legal, regulatory and
operational issues, as well as funding problems.

            "The banking crisis in Zimbabwe is a reflection of the
deteriorating macroeconomic environment: hyper-inflation, negative real
interest rates, high and rising unemployment, lack of foreign currency and
overvalued exchange rates.

            "Although authorities project positive growth rates in 2005, the
economy has been in recession over the past five years and the cumulative
decline in real GDP [gross domestic product] is estimated at 40%," it

            "In such an environment, the banking sector seems overtraded.
Currently the country still has 40 banks. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has
introduced some measures to restore stability in the financial sector. These
address licensing, capital adequacy, independence of management and credit
ratings by reputable agencies.

            "However, the direct exposure of the South African financial
sector to Zimbabwean banks remains fairly low and conservatively managed,
thus posing no immediate threat," it added. -- I-Net Bridge
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Mugabe's Land Grab Cuts Anglo Harvest

Business Day (Johannesburg)

April 21, 2005
Posted to the web April 21, 2005

Dumisani Muleya

Anglo American's showcase of agri-industrialisation in Zimbabwe has seen a
massive decline in sugar production because of illegal farm occupations.

Hippo Valley Estates sugar cane and sugar output have dramatically fallen
due to the continued occupation of 2063ha of estate cane land by illegal
settlers claiming to be the new landowners, said Anglo Zimbabwe chairman
Godfrey Gomwe.

In his 2004 year-end report, Gomwe said the land takeovers that started in
2000 had sabotaged the country's leading sugar producer, hurting its
viability and future prospects.

He said the situation was worsened by "inclement weather conditions" and
poor husbandry practices by the newly resettled farmers, who displaced white
commercial farmers.

Hippo Valley had an overall cane yield of 86,45 tons per hectare last year,
a decrease of 18,7% from the 2003 yield of 106,28 tons per hectare.

Its total cane production, inclusive of seed cane, was 1-million tons,
compared with 1,2-million tons in 2003.

Mkwasine, another of the company's key estates, was forced to harvest unripe
cane in a bid to minimise the effect of disruptions by squatters.

"Hippo mill group out-growers delivered a total of 314000 tons of cane,
which was a decrease of 10,3% from last year's deliveries of 350787 tons,"
Gomwe said.

Although the company's profitability has not yet been affected, Gomwe said
the effects of illegal occupation of the estates could be serious.

Hippo's problems could end up worsening local sugar shortages and reducing
exports to the region. They could also affect Zimbabwe's ability to meet its
European Union and US sugar export quotas.

Vast tracts of Anglo's estates were listed by government for seizure but the
company has challenged this in court. The case has not yet been finalised.
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      SAF Opposition Party Says Government's Failed Policy In Zimbabwe Due
To 'Arrogance of Power'
      By Joe De Capua
      21 April 2005

South Africa's main opposition party is reacting to Zimbabwe's MDC criticism
of the South African government.

 The Democratic Alliance says the breakdown in relations between Zimbabwe's
leading opposition party, MDC, and South Africa's ruling party, ANC, is a
result of the "arrogance of power."

Before the March parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe, South African
president Thabo Mbeki said he expected the vote to be free and fair. The MDC
has now accused the ANC of being clearly aligned with Zimbabwe's ruling
ZANU-PF Party.

Joe Seremane is the federal chairperson of the Democratic Alliance Party.
From Cape Town, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about
the criticism of the South African government.

Mr. Seremane says, "It doesn't come to us as a surprise. This is exactly
what we've been trying to say."  Mr. Seremane, who led a failed attempt to
send a DA delegation to observe the March Parliamentary elections in
Zimbabwe, says, "You don't take sides. The actions of the ANC.indicate they
are four square behind ZANU-PF in spite of whatever they're doing."

The DA Member of Parliament says, "Our government is very, very - one would
say - proud.the Greeks call it hubris, you know, excessive pride."  He says
Mr. Mbeki and the ANC are "too proud to come down to us and say, yes, our
policy has failed." Regarding South Africa's "quiet diplomacy" toward
Zimbabwe, he says, "They want to save face, they are proud. It doesn't
matter they are going in the wrong direction."
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      South Africa Leaves Door Open to Zimbabwe Opposition
      By Delia Robertson
      21 April 2005

The South African government has responded cautiously to reports that
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change no longer wants South
Africa to facilitate talks with the ruling ZANU-PF party.

The South African government says it was surprised to learn that the MDC
wanted another facilitator for negotiations with Zimbabwe's ruling party.
The MDC was reacting to a South African cabinet statement last week which
concluded that the result in last month's parliamentary election was
credible in reflecting the will of the country's voters.

South African presidency communications director Murphy Morobe told VOA that
the government had not concluded that there were no problems at all with the
election in Zimbabwe. He said President Thabo Mbeki had made that clear to
South Africa's parliament last week.

Mr. Morobe said the Pretoria government was always willing to hear what the
Movement for Democratic Change had to say.

"I think that the statement was surprising, especially in the light of the
fact that the president has made the point that to the extent that there are
issues relating to the elections we will hear from the MDC the extent to
which those things are of such a nature that they would warrant the
conclusion other than the one that our government has arrived at," he said.

Mr. Morobe says the government has not yet received any reports from the
Movement for Democratic Change or from independent organizations such as the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network and hopes that these will soon be

Earlier MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told VOA the Movement for
Democratic Change had not issued a statement saying it would end dealings
with South Africa. He said the Movement for Democratic Change has responded
to direct questions stating that party leaders are angry with the manner in
which South Africa dealt with the elections in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Themba Nyathi said the Mbeki government's statements and actions created
the perception that the South African government and its ruling party, the
African National Congress, were aligned with the government and ruling
ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe. He said the opposition party would prefer a facilitator
who was clearly independent.

Mr. Morobe told VOA his government has always been clear that its role was
not to prescribe but to facilitate, as requested by Zimbabweans themselves.

"And in any case, the government has a very clear and principled position on
Zimbabwe," he said, " which is that we would defer and let the Zimbabweans
take the lead in attending to their problems, and our role is to help and
facilitate where possible."

Mr. Morobe says South Africa stands ready to talk to the MDC whenever they
indicate a desire to do so. Mr. Themba Nyathi told VOA they would be willing
to once again view South Africa as an honest broker if it recognizes that
there is an urgent crises in Zimbabwe.

He said his country has an unemployment rate of 80 percent. At least three
million Zimbabweans have sought refuge outside the country, mainly in South
Africa, and seven million people, more than half the population, require
food aid to survive.
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New Zimbabwe

Zim asylum seeker in UK deportation drama

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 04/22/2005 02:34:08
A ZIMBABWEAN asylum seeker and political activist, Tafara Nhengu, was saved
from being deported at the very last minute at Heathrow airport Tuesday
night, reports said.

As the drama of this widely publicised asylum case reached a climax at
Terminal 4, campaigner, Reverend Dr. Martine Stemerick was forced to leave
airport grounds by security who did not want her handing out fliers about
Nhengu, SW Radio Africa reported.

But one flier had already landed in the hands of a stewardess on the Kenya
airlines plane that was to transport Nhengu. She eventually became the key
to saving him from going back to face the Zimbabwean authorities he claims
tortured and assaulted him and his family last year.

Tafara told SW Radio Africa the immigration guards who escorted him squeezed
the handcuffs so tight they hurt his wrist so much that he screamed out
loud. The guards then shoved his face into the seat in front of him to
muffle the noise, hurting him even more.

"They abused me verbally, saying I would waste tax payers' money in the UK
if I stayed. The drama was witnessed by the Kenya hostess, who then refused
to take off with me on board," he said.

Nhengu believes he will be victimised if he goes back to Zimbabwe. He is so
afraid to go back that he had tried to hang himself in his detention cell on
Monday. He now has a new lawyer.

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      Forex shortages, debt threaten Zimbabwe recovery

      Thu April 21, 2005 4:06 PM GMT+02:00
      By MacDonald Dzirutwe

      HARARE (Reuters) - Deepening foreign currency shortages in Zimbabwe
and spiralling domestic debt threaten President Robert Mugabe's plans to
halt a long-running economic crisis, analysts said.

      The Zimbabwe government has increasingly relied on domestic credit to
fund gaping deficits in the national budget, as foreign currency shortages
take their toll on the a economy which has shrunk by more than a third over
the last 6 years.

      Mugabe set up a "development" cabinet after the March 31 parliamentary
polls that he said would tackle the problems, but analysts said rising
domestic debt and the critical foreign exchange crunch cast doubt on an
expected recovery in 2005.

      "There is a financial crunch and the government does not have enough
to pay for its needs ... this has repercussions for economic recovery and
inflation," said Rongai Chizema, economist at financial services firm
Intermarket Holdings.

      Zimbabwe says the economy has turned the corner after 6 years of
recession and is set to grow by up to 5.0 percent this year, on a rebound in
agriculture and mining set to boost forex inflows to $3.7 billion from $1.8
billion last year.

      But analysts doubt those forecasts, as they do an official aim of
reducing the annual rate of inflation to 20-25 percent by the end of 2005
from 127.2 percent in February. Inflation has fallen from a record peak
above 600 percent early in 2004.

      "The government forecasts on the economy look unattainable because
industrial and agriculture production are lower than forecasts, which should
see another GDP decline this year," University of Zimbabwe business
professor Tony Hawkins said.

      "I believe the government is already revising its GDP and inflation
forecasts... but of course they will not a admit it," he told Reuters.
Officials were not available to comment.


      A big part of the problem is rocketing debt.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says government domestic debt
jumped to Z$7.9 trillion on April 15 from Z$2.3 trillion as of February 18.
In mid-January 2004, domestic debt stood at just 576 billion Zimbabwe

      Analysts say the trend is being driven by government borrowing to plug
gaps in its budget and fund state enterprises, as revenues subside on
plunging company and individual taxes -- the result of waning industrial

      Foreign donors led by the International Monetary Fund have halted
support over differences with Harare's policies, including the seizure of
large tracts of commercial land from whites to resettle blacks, worsening
the economic crisis.

      As a result, Zimbabwe has defaulted on arrears on its foreign debt,
which rose to $4.5 billion in 2003. Updated figures are not available.

      Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party used upbeat economic projections for its
campaign ahead of March 31 parliamentary elections, where it secured a
constitution-changing two-thirds majority in parliament.

      But a drought which has hit most parts of Zimbabwe means the
government will now have to import 1.2 million tonnes of grain this year,
putting more strain on scant foreign currency inflows.

      Foreign currency shortages have seen the re-emergence of a black
market in the aftermath of the polls, pushing the value of the Zimbabwe
dollar against the greenback to 18,000 compared with an official rate of

      A year ago, the official rate was 4,300 to the dollar while the black
market rate was just 5,000.

      This has put pressure on the central bank to devalue the local unit
again. But analysts said while this would keep some exporters afloat, a
devaluation would also make imports more expensive, fanning inflation and
pushing black market rates up.

      "It (devaluation) is a very tight judgement call ... the one obvious
point is that you need a foreign big brother standing behind you and we
don't have that," Hawkins said.

      While the economy sinks, Mugabe, isolated by the West, has turned to
mostly Asian and Muslim nations to help pull the economy out of the doldrums
but analysts say this has yielded little success.

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New Zimbabwe


      Where power lies

      ONE of the major characteristics of President Robert Mugabe's rule has
never been sheer thuggery and looting such as witnessed in Mobutu's Zaire
nor savagery such as deployed by the deceased veteran Ugandan dictator, Idi
Amin in the 1960s.

      The main problem with the Zimbabwean ruler has been his near limitless
capacity to hide dictatorial tendencies behind a facade of democracy. It has
been the fear to share power and the ability to deploy doses of tyranny in
brilliantly masterminded fashion and pace, leaving room enough to deny the
act and claim sainthood.

      Nowhere is this apparent than in the manner in which he chose his
current cabinet. The whole exercise from the Zanu PF party primary
elections, to parliamentary elections and the appointment of the cabinet
ministers militated against consultative practices and points to a master
dictator clad in borrowed robs.

      Prior to the appointment of the cabinet there were a number of
incidents and utterances worth discussing. The most telling was the purging
of all those who are known to be politically ambitious and are capable of
independent political ascendancy with little help from the President.

      The idea being that such people could easily influence the flow of
events outside of Mugabe's own plan of directing the pace of change and
rewarding obsequious boys. Tsholotsho showed all that with clearly competent
politicians being barred from competing and the redundant and lousy ones
being pushed upfront.

      In a graveyard speech President Robert Mugabe praised the late
governor of Harare, Witnesses Mangwende for having served him well, being a
totally obedient and pliant politician with no ambition to rise up the
greasy pole.

      Here was a man being praised for being an incompetent and lily-livered
politician. Another incident followed in Tsholotsho where the president
blamed the fired information minister for having held a meeting with an army

      According to this thinking, two government officials are not supposed
to meet to discuss issues of governance. They must all go through the
President to get approval for a braii meeting in another's house.

      Resultantly, the composition of the cabinet reflects exactly this
flawed and dangerous thinking. This is why it is composed of intelligence
officers called back from the embassies around the globe and those who have
always operated from within. They include Olivia Muchena, Amos Midzi, Obert
Mpofu, Bright Matonga, Savious Kasukuwere, Samuel Undenge, Major General
Mike Nyambuya, Simbabrashe Mumbengegwi, Tichaona Jokonya, Nicholas Goche,
Sydney Sekeramayi, Elliot Manyika and Josiah Tungamirai.

      Since the department of intelligence falls under the President's
Office, this means power has been accumulated in his hands. Generally Mugabe
has always run both Zanu PF and government as personal fiefdoms but this
time he achieved a quantum enhancement of his power thanks to this line up.

      The reasons for mobilizing the intelligence officers and soldiers
together to run the government vary but there is one which is most telling.
In a period of paranoia and ultra-nationalism where the mantra of
neo-colonialism and imperialist retribution are holding sway, one must cover
his back. Mugabe knows that.

      This means that all the government departments will be filled with
spies such as in the USSR, Yugoslavia and China leaving Mugabe with space to
deny ever deploying spies.

      The hand of an intelligence officer is evidently required in the
advent of Tsholotsho and other incidents hence the rewarding of Mpofu and
company. Their duty will be to serve Mugabe directly identifying his
detractors and supposed enemies as he tries to work out an exit strategy
that will protect him when out of power.

      Just because their evil acts have been born out of the master's grand
political project ,they are bound to serve him well knowing that if his
plans collapse their future is doomed too. Those who are competent should be
competent in serving the president directly in his machinations and not in
setting a positive national agenda.

      That is why Mpofu, who is known for attending meetings with fellow
politicians in Bulawayo and then go on to brief Mugabe, is in that

      Another interesting aspect of the composition of President Mugabe's
cabinet is the appointment of die-hard and totally navigable servants such
as Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, governor David Karimanzira, Joseph Made
and Ministers Hebert Murerwa and Flora Buka. Given the fact that Mutasa is a
weak politician given to servile self-seeking flattery, it may not be wrong
to say that Mugabe and the director general of the CIO will be in command in
that department with Mutasa just earning free money and benefits from
pretending on behalf of his master.

      Like Mangwende, Mutasa is a horribly navigable old man who would even
want to run just a meter as long as the master has said so. Mugabe's cabinet
is set within the ethnic premise as opposed to political competence and
satisfactory delivery in the government service. Those who are competent
should be competent in serving the president directly in his machinations
and not in setting a positive national agenda.

      There is virtually nobody who belongs to any meaningful political
faction in the current government. They all are either navigable people or
members of a tribal cabal working towards the enhancement of the supposed
Zezuru supremacy.
      Mthulisi is a Zimbabwean journalist and writes from Zimbabwe. CONTACT
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Zim opposition goes to court
21/04/2005 13:32  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party has filed petitions in the
electoral court contesting results from 13 constituencies it lost to
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party in last month's polls, a spokesperson
said on Thursday.

The Movement for Democratic Change said the March 31 parliamentary elections
in which Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF)
won an overwhelming majority were "a massive fraud," alleging ballot
stuffing on polling day and intimidation in the run-up to the polls.

"We have filed 13 petitions since last week," MDC spokesperson Paul
Themba-Nyathi said.

The elections were endorsed as "reflecting the will of the people" by
observer missions from the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
region and South Africa.

"The 13 constituencies are part of the ones in which in our view the
irregularities are extremely evident," Themba-Nyathi said.

"We could have submitted more but we are pressed both for time and
resources. We believe the 13 are enough to make the statement we seek to
make - that the elections were rigged."

The elections were closely watched to gauge Zimbabwe's commitment to adhere
to SADC principles on the conduct of democratic polls.

The MDC released a 56-page dossier last week to back claims that the
elections were rigged to hand victory to Zanu-PF.

The party resolved to contest the poll results in court and engage in
unspecified political action to have them nullified.
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      War crimes - have we learned anything?

             By John Simpson
            BBC world affairs editor

      You can't seem to turn the television news on at present without
seeing black-and-white pictures of past horrors - Buchenwald last week,
Belsen this, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki still to come in August.

      There was a time when we thought that killing on an industrial scale
might be a thing of the past; but, depressingly, the pictures are no longer
just in black and white nowadays.

      It may be 32 years since General Augusto Pinochet's men began killing
left-wingers in Chile, and 30 since the Khmer Rouge arrived in Phnom Penh to
force the entire population out into the killing fields.

      But it's only 11 years since Rwanda, and 10 since the Bosnian Serb
general, Ratko Mladic, ordered the murder of every male Muslim in

      Read John Simpson's previous columns
      And in Darfur people are dying right now.

      Learning lessons

      Haven't we learned anything? Are we no further forward than we were 60
years ago?

      We have learned some things. We even have some valuable case law, from
the Nuremberg trials to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South

      But we haven't yet managed to persuade those who think they can
slaughter people as a matter of policy that they will inevitably pay a price
for doing so.

      True, there is justice sometimes. Killers from the Bosnian war are now
serving long sentences.

      Click here if you want to comment
      Gen Pinochet may not be in jail, but he has not been able to live
untouched by the consequences of what he did.

      The Argentine military leaders who ordered the deaths of 15,000 young
people in Argentina between 1976 and 1982 have rarely been free of problems.

      Some form of tribunal is expected to get under way in Cambodia this

      Many of those who took part in the Rwandan genocide have been

      No real consensus

      Yet Gen Mladic and his political master, Radovan Karadzic, the
president of the Bosnian Serbs in the early 1990s, are still at liberty, in
territory where Nato troops operate freely.

      No-one has yet convinced President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe that he
will be held to account for destroying his country and ruining the lives of
his fellow citizens.

      He has been a welcome guest in France, and was at the funeral of Pope
John Paul II in the Vatican last week, even though tens of thousands of
Zimbabwean Catholics are being oppressed.

      Part of the problem is that there is still no real consensus about
what constitutes a crime against humanity.

      Some people think Argentina and Chile are better off without the
generation of left-wingers who disappeared in the 1970s.

      There are those who think that people like Gen Mladic and President
Mugabe and those behind the Janjaweed in Darfur have merely had a bad press.

      The United Nations has been pretty feeble at dealing with crimes
against humanity, because few subjects have more political resonance.

      World court

      An organisation which is so subject to national political
considerations is scarcely the best place to deal with such crimes.

      But we do now have the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The
Hague, which can investigate and prosecute people for genocide and war

      It was set up in 2002, and has its own judges and its own chief
prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, who took part in the trials of Argentina's
former military junta.

      When the Court was established by an international conference in Rome,
only seven countries voted against. They included China, Israel, the United
States, and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

      American hostility towards the ICC, which is based on fears of
politically motivated (in other words, anti-American) prosecutions, has
lessened slightly as a result of the Darfur crisis.

      It eventually agreed to let those accused of atrocities in Darfur be
tried at The Hague, as long as Americans and people from other countries
which have not ratified the Court would only be tried in their home
countries if they too were accused of war crimes.

      But the result is that only three years after the ICC came into being,
it is already subject to the same kind of national pressures which have
stopped the UN dealing effectively with crimes against humanity.

      Painful memories

      The other week I went to the première in London of Hotel Rwanda, a
film about one man's efforts to save people from the genocide there in 1994.

      It was beautifully acted, well written, cleverly filmed, and it
brought back so many memories of my time in Rwanda.

      Of wandering through an empty nunnery whose inhabitants had been raped
and murdered. Of trying to find a place to sleep in rooms where the floor
was covered with recent blood. Of the terror in people's faces. And of the
heroism of a few, like the manager of the hotel, who saved many lives.

      But has Hotel Rwanda been a success at the box-office? Guess.

      It takes more than shaking our heads over old television pictures of
piles of bodies to make sure that these terrible crimes aren't repeated.

      Governments will never take enthusiastic action unless they think we
really care about these things.

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The Star

The Weimar Republic revisited

This land of illusions...


In this land of illusions it is only the ruling elite who find life rosy

By Allister Sparks

The young Zimbabwean looked at me with troubled eyes. "I earn a lot of
money," he said, "but this is a country of poor millionaires." As I review a
week of intense interviews and conversations that I have just undertaken to
gain some insight into where Zimbabwe may go in the wake of its rigged
election, the bizarre truth of that throwaway remark stands out as the one
thing that best captures the essence of the national condition. The
prescribed wage for a domestic worker in Zimbabwe is a million dollars a
month. The same for a floor sweeper in a factory. Yet both are poor, for
this is Weimar Republic money. President Mugabe babbles on about how the
economy is turning the corner, and his Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono,
boasts that inflation has come down to a mere 127%. Golden days lie ahead,
Mugabe says, as he buys six Chinese jet fighters in a deal which supposedly
illustrates the success of his "look East policy". Yet in this land of
illusions it is only the ruling elite who find life rosy and future
prospects encouraging, because they have access to foreign exchange, which
they can change at privileged rates. Down on the ground the rural people are
starving and the middle class is being forced into exile by a collapsed
economy and worthless money.

All rational notions of prudent financial management are turned upside down.
You are crazy if you save, it is wise to be spendthrift. If you have money,
buy something, and buy it now, even if you don't need it, for it may hold
its value while your money certainly won't. By next week your Zim dollars
will be worth a fraction of what they are today. "When I left school at age
17 my father told me the prudent thing to do was to take out insurance
policies," a businessman told me. "So I took out five annuities. I have been
paying the premiums for 48 years, starting when the currency was hard and I
battled to afford them. But when those policies mature as I turn 65 this
year, I'll be lucky if what I get will buy a week's groceries." I spoke to a
retired woman who gets a pension of Z$ 8 000 a month - enough to buy a Coca
Cola. My friend the poor millionaire - "actually I'm a multi-millionaire",
he confessed - explained that he had bought a house eight years ago for Z$10
000. He added a double-storeyed wing and made some interior alterations. He
has been told it is now worth Z$5-billion. But he can't insure it. He can't
afford the premiums, and even if he could, like the businessman's annuity
policies any future payout would be laughable compared with the market value
of the house. "So if my house burns down I'll just have to go and live in a
squatter camp," he said.

As we drove away from his home, down an avenue of pleasant suburban houses
set in neat gardens, my friend gestured towards them. "You are looking at
billions and billion of dollars worth of real estate," he said, "but it's
all dead capital. The banks won't give mortgages and the only people who can
afford to buy these houses are those who have enough cash, through their
access to foreign exchange." In which case the money is paid into an
overseas account and is lost to the Zimbabwe economy. To even the untrained
economic mind it must be obvious that Zimbabwe cannot extricate itself from
this Weimar mire without international help. And realistically that help can
come only from the West. Mugabe's notion of "looking East" is simply part of
the great illusion. China is an emerging superpower with a hunger for
mineral resources, of which Zimbabwe has a modest amount. But China is not
in the business of granting aid to developing countries. So how can the
Mugabe government engage the Western nations and donor agencies and persuade
them to pour aid money into this declining country to help it recover?

Only if it can persuade them that it is able and willing to introduce much-
needed political and economic reforms. President Thabo Mbeki's long-held
hope has been that he could persuade Mugabe to institute a constitutional
reform that would elevate him to the role of ceremonial president while
appointing a prime minister to head a government of national unity that
would include the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). However,
as MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai made clear in an interview at his Harare
home, the MDC will not consider joining a coalition of any sort with
Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF. "That's out," he said emphatically. The MDC is too
mistrustful of Mugabe, and too mindful of the fate of the old Zapu leader,
Joshua Nkomo, who was bullied into accepting such a deal in 1987 only to
find himself neutered in a powerless vice-presidential role and his party
discredited and destroyed. But Tsvangirai also made it clear the MDC would
be willing to join in negotiations with Zanu PF to draft a new constitution
for Zimbabwe. "Anything that will open up some democratic space for the
people will be acceptable to us," he said.

But that would be a tightrope for him. Mugabe could use it, together with a
few token concessions, such as his refusal to sign a bill that would cripple
NGOs and an offer of puny concessions to a handful of dispossessed white
farmers, to project a reformist image without actually conceding anything
substantive. That could be political death for the MDC, whose young radicals
are already angry that MDC candidates did not refuse to take up their
parliamentary seats as a protest against the rigged election. To avoid that
trap Tsvangirai would have to set demanding conditions for such
negotiations, broadening them to take in the dismantling of the many
authoritarian institutions Mugabe has established and the direct powers of
decree he has vested in himself. The MDC would also demand that the
negotiations be more inclusive than just a cosy discussion between a handful
of parliamentarians from the two parties. It would insist on a
constitutional commission including a range of civil society bodies as well
as the political parties with the finished product being put to a
referendum. A constitution, after all, is for the whole country, not just
its politicians. It is hard to see Mugabe agreeing to this. He must know
through his own intelligence services that he does not have majority support
in the country and he would be fearful of any process he could not control
within the parameters of the parliamentary system. So what is in prospect is
a long haggle of talks about talks. While that goes on Mugabe will doubtless
use his two-thirds to introduce his new constitution unilaterally, while the
economy continues to wind down and the angry young radicals drift ever
closer to violent confrontation. It is not a pretty prospect and it could
turn Zimbabwe into a vector for instability in this otherwise promising
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Poetry International

Poets’ diaries:
John Eppel

March 29-April 4, 2005

"Two days to the elections. I wonder if I’m still on the voters’ roll." Zimbabwean poet John Eppel queues up at the polling station, and worries about cooking supper. "ZTV is full of smug, smirking ZANU PF faces, interspersed with tossing tits and bouncing bums. When in doubt, dance. I wish my video machine wasn’t broken."

Tuesday, March 29

I’ve given up on Green Valley wine, which should help cut down my aspirin intake. I said I’d stop when it passed the $20 000 mark, went without it for a day and then gave it another chance. I hesitated when it passed the $25 000 mark, but a habit is a habit, and Green Valley and I have been companions for many years; so I bought a bottle. It went down sweetly with the lamb stew I had prepared from the ribs of a communal goat. When it passed the $30 000 mark, I wrestled briefly with my conscience, defeated that wavering inward monitor, and bought a bottle. I drink it on the rocks.

Today, while visiting the local supermarket to purchase bread, milk, and meaty bones, I thought I’d take a little time to browse the liquor shelves. Why not? Ogling is free. My eyes happened to light on a bottle of Green Valley: price, $35 000! That’s it I said – out aloud – no more! Bottles to the left of me (Nikolai Vodka, only $28 000); bottles to the right of me (Chateau Brandy, only $20 000). No more, I hollered and blundered, until a pretty assistant with the name PRETTY attached to her green SPAR uniform, came to my assistance. She recommended the brandy since it was cheaper and since it produced less babbelaas than the vodka. So, as of today, my tipple is Chateau, extra fine (five golden stars), strong suggestion of vanilla essence, and a kick like a mule! I drink it with tap water.

Two days to the elections. I wonder if I’m still on the voters’ roll. Welshman Ncube and Joshua Malinga are representing our constituency. I guess I’ll vote for the better looking of the two. The nearest polling station is Hillside Primary School, just down the road from us, where children of my generation once learned all about eating cake, burning the toast, and singeing the King of Spain’s beard.

At last an excuse to get my record player repaired. My daughter, Ruth, is studying American History for her A-level exams, and she has become interested in the Civil Rights Movement. She ain’t heard nothin’ yet. Wait till I play her my Paul Robeson LP.

Darn it, I have to get to the bank tomorrow. My rates and water bill this month is just under $1 000 000 (last month it was just over $1 500 000). The city council won’t allow me to pay by cheque because, seventeen years ago, I sent them one that bounced. They will not forgive me. They make no exception for poets, lovers, and madmen. Consequently I have to join the Treasury queue (never shorter than forty strong) with an enticingly bulging pocket of brownbacks.

Wednesday, March 30

What makes me fume, standing in the bank queue, is the way people keep places for each other. Today there were five or six slightly abashed looking youngsters bunched at the head of the queue, waiting for moms or dads or uncles or aunts or employers to relieve them. As soon as I joined the queue (the indoors queue, that is), the man in front of me muttered something about "being back", and off he went. He returned an hour later, when I was three from the head of the queue, gave me a brief look of recognition, and pushed in front of me. To make matters worse, the bank seems to be on a perpetual go-slow. I counted fifteen teller booths, yet only four at any given time were in operation. This ‘international’ bank is getting more and more like a government department! There, that’s off my chest!

While I was standing in the rates queue reading Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters (seeing how it pans out against Sylvia Plath’s Journals and secretly wanting it to pan out favourably) a security guard came over to me and said I could join the Senior Citizens’ queue. How mortifying! I am only 58 years old. Politely I declined, and waited my turn with the other youngsters.

Pishon’s Electrical phoned to say that my record player was ready. I set it up and called my children to listen to the massive bass voice of Paul Robeson, one of my very few icons (Billy Connolly is another). Before playing the record I read them an extract from the eulogy for Robeson, which appears on the record cover:

For more than 20 years, he was a famous international and American Celebrity, the most honoured black man in the country. Yet when he spoke out against racism and repression he became the most ostracized black man in America’s history. The door was shut on Robeson’s public career. "The persecution of Paul Robeson by the government and people of the United States has been one of the most contemptible happenings in modern history." [W.E.B. Du Bois]

After we had listened to several songs including ‘Deep River’, ‘Water Boy’, and ‘Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child’, my little boy, Joe said he thought that must be how God sounds, if God exists.

Why is there so much vanilla essence in this brandy? It makes me feel a little nauseous. Or is it the tap water?

Last week I put my neck out watching the ‘Mai Chisamba (eat your heart out Oprah Winfrey) Show’ on ZTV. I must make an appointment with the chiropractor – if there are any chiropractors left in Bulawayo. If not, I’ll lie down on the lounge floor and ask my children to walk – not jump! on me. It sometimes works.

Election day tomorrow. I must get there early. Bound to be long queues. I’ll take a hat, sun block ointment (it’s not all roses being a white man), and my shooting stick for umpiring cricket matches. I’ll also take something to read – not Ted Hughes – I’m tired of domestic squabbles.

Bed time, I guess. There’s a pot of soup on the stove, for the kids, in case I have to queue all day.

Thursday, March 31

I arrived at the polling station a good hour before it was due to open. I took up my position in queue number one (A to L), which turned out to be queue number three (S to Z). There were no more than a dozen people ahead of me – the other queues were equally short – consisting mainly of elderly white pensioners and elderly black domestic workers. My own domestic worker, Soneni, gave me a cheerful wave. She and her husband Christopher, also a domestic worker, were in the very front of their queue. Soneni has been with our family for over twenty years. Her rural home is in Esigodeni.

I didn’t need my hat nor my sun block nor my shooting stick nor my The Falsification of Afrikan [sic] Consciousness: Eurocentric History, Psychiatry and the Politics of White Supremacy by Amos N. Wilson – the voting procedure was that quick and efficient. Once the doors opened, at ten past seven, the queue turned into a stream, and flowed. I voted for the more handsome of the two.

Not much white supremacy left in this gathering of the regularly burgled, regularly cheated, regularly excoriated makiwas. My people. The Rhodesian pout still lingers on the countenances of madams who have spent a lifetime scolding maids; the Rhodesian flout still lingers on the countenances of masters who have spent a working lifetime intimidating labourers. The pout and the flout. I’m a poet and didn’t know it! But, by and large, we are a broken people, staying on, for what? The static white community of Bulawayo can now be measured not in its thousands but it hundreds. And after this farcical election, within a very short while, they will be counted in their dozens, and I shall be there to witness it. The Last of the Rhodesians by John ‘Fennimor’ Eppel. A colleague of mine arrives, Tunie, the librarian at Christian Brothers College where I teach. Last Thursday her car was stolen at gunpoint, by three neatly dressed, well spoken young men. Tunie is in her sixties and lives alone because her husband has to work in Botswana in order for them to make ends meet. Her car was used in at least two heists – one at the home of Bucky Buchanan, erstwhile Rhodesian rugby star, who was severely beaten up, along with his guests, the Calders – and then was found abandoned on a quiet suburban road. So lucky Tunie got her car back! People break queue to listen to Tunie’s story. Who’s next? We hear about the armed robbery, which took place at Jaggers Wholesale, just down the road from where we now stand. A security guard was shot dead and one comma four billion dollars was stolen. Who’s next?

I got home so early that the children were still asleep – it’s school holidays. I checked my emails: one from Fred who now lives in New Zealand; one from Liz who now lives in England; one from my sister, Pat, who now lives in the United States; one from my oldest child, Ben who now lives in South Africa; and one from my nephew, John, who now lives in Poland.

The children thoroughly enjoyed the soup. I must get down the recipe before I forget it.

Vanilla essence is fine in ice cream and coconut ice, but it should have no place in a five-star brandy!

Friday, April 1

I can be fooled any day of the year; why wait for today?

I took my stiff neck to the chiropractor and came home with a stiff back, so stiff, indeed, that I can hardly walk. I certainly can’t sit for very long, which makes for shorter paragraphs.

This is an ideal opportunity for me to re-read my very favourite novelist, Charles John Huffam Dickens. I’ll star with Little Dorrit, which, in the Penguin edition, is 900 pages long.

But before I begin, here is my soup recipe:

250g dhal (split pulses)
250g white beans
1 onion
3 carrots
I packet mushroom soup powder
1 bay leaf
sprig of parsley
sprig of thyme
one clove
salt and pepper
6 strips of belly pork marinaded for a whole day in soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard seeds, rosemary, pepper, dry white wine (if you can afford it!)

I’ll continue after I’ve had a bit of a lie-down.

This Chateau brandy is a jolly good pain killer. Now where was I? Oh yes, Method:

Slow cook all ingredients except the pork until they homogenize. If you use a blender, remember to take out the bay leaf. Add the marinaded pork and cook until the meat falls away from any bone. Serve with lightly ‘buttered’ fingers of toast. For the real gourmet, who wishes to "Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite", I recommend liberal applications of Ranch House Curry Sauce, available at a supermarket near you.

The Pope is dying. I admire him for the concern he has always shown for those marginalised people Christ talks of in his Sermon on the Mount. I teach at a Catholic school and although I am not a believer, I respect and support the ethos that "Faith without works is dead". By contrast I have absolutely no respect for those Born Again Christians who preach the Doctrine of Prosperity. "Woe unto the rich, for they have had their consolation". Ouch, my back!

I don’t admire him, however, for his ultra-conservative stand against women priests, birth-control, and the use of condoms in an AIDS ravaged world.

Results of the polls started coming in early. My son decided to record them. At first it all went MDC’s way. They won about 25 of the first 30 results announced. Then the rural areas kicked in, and a slow reversal took place. Beautifully orchestrated. How is it, I ask, that such nasty people like Ignatius Chombo, Sydney Sekeramayi, Joseph Made, Jonathan Moyo, Didymus Mutasa, and Webster Shamu can be so popular as to win by such huge majorities?

I’ll just add a little more tap water to my drink, and then return to Little Dorrit. I’m on page 147 – ‘The Circumlocution Office’. Dickens is one of the few authors who makes me laugh out aloud.

My children are a little glum. I guess I am too.

Saturday, April 2

The children are with their mother for the weekend, so I’ve got the place to myself . . . well, not quite. There’s Harriet our pet hen who bosses us all around; Louis and Matilda, the dogs; and Puff, the cat. When I’m on my own they all gather around me and watch me. Right now, for instance, Harriet is on my bed laying her daily egg; Puff’s whiskers are pointing out from under the bed, and the dogs are lying in the doorway of the adjacent room, with their muzzles pointed at me.

Predictably, ZANU PF have won the results – with a large enough majority to change the constitution at will. A beautifully stage-managed affair.

The Pope is getting worse; so are Mrs Flintwinch’s dreams as the plot of Little Dorrit thickens. I am on page 387. My back is easing a little.

I hobbled out into the garden to check on my bulbs. Most of the freesias have germinated; and the ranunculi. No sign yet of the daffodils and the anemones, but two Cape hyacinths are peeping out of the ground. The garden is clamorous with birds, the most clamorous of all being the Heuglin’s robin, which shouts at me: "Can’t you read . . . can’t you read . . . can’t you read . . .". Of course I can, stupid, I’m a schoolteacher!

Ruth takes her driving test on Monday. I wonder how many times they’ll make her fail? My older son, Ben, failed six times. I remember when I took my test in Colleen Bawn. I knocked over one of the gate posts at the police station, yet the inspector passed me! There wasn’t much traffic to negotiate in those days: circa 1963.

Page 528 of Little Dorrit. This conversation tickles me. Mr Dorrit and Mrs General, typical Dickensian hypocrites, are trying to improve Little Dorrit’s ‘surface’, now that the Dorrit family have become nouveau riche:

"Amy," said Mr Dorrit, "you have just now been the subject of some conversation between myself and Mrs General. We agree that you scarcely seem at home here. Ha – how is this?"

A pause.

"I think, father, I require a little time."

"Papa is a preferable mode of address," observed Mrs General. "Father is rather vulgar, my dear. The word Papa, besides, gives a pretty form to the lips. Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism are all very good words for the lips: especially prunes and prism. You will find it serviceable, in the formation of a demeanour, if you sometimes say to yourself in company – on entering a room, for instance – Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism, prunes and prism."

"Pray, my child," said Mr Dorrit, "attend to the-hum-precepts of Mrs General"

My hot water bottle needs to be re-charged. So does my glass; but how I hate vanilla essence!

Sunday, April 3

Pope John Paul died last night. Requiescat in pace. He was the only non-Italian Pope in 400 years. I wonder when the cardinals will choose an African Pope? We do religion a lot more successfully than we do commerce and industry.

ZTV is full of smug, smirking ZANU PF faces, interspersed with tossing tits and bouncing bums. When in doubt, dance. I wish my video machine wasn’t broken.

I listened to Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. It made me a bit weepy. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison. I’ve got the Von Karajan recording, with the Berlin Philharmonic. Gundula Janowitz is sublime.

Last night I carried my bed outside to sleep under the stars, but the weather turned, and I went back inside. Today is overcast and windy, the ‘objective correlative’ of my mood.

In a masochistic fit I bought a copy of the Bulawayo Sunday News. Under the headline, ‘ZANU-PF Garners Two Thirds Majority’, the acting News Editor, Herbert Zharare, has this to say:

Analysts argued that Zanu-PF’s victory has proved to the world that Zimbabwe’s electoral system has never been flawed and that the people have always been accorded the opportunity to choose their leaders without fear.

The ‘analysts’ are not named. Ho hum! I find the archaic metaphor ‘garners’ interesting, since it derives from the word ‘granary’. Will everybody get fed this winter?

At last I know how to make cooked cabbage palatable to my children. I got the idea from a very useful paperback, purchased at a flea market, entitled Penguin Cordon Bleu Cookery by Rosemary Hume and Muriel Downes.

Boil the shredded cabbage for only a minute! Dry it out and put it in a well-buttered casserole dish. Add freshly ground black pepper, salt, and a pinch of sugar. Add one small onion stuck with a clove! Cook with the lid on in the bottom of a moderate oven (180 C). The cabbage becomes tender and delicious after about one hour.

This book also gave me a very good tip on mashing potatoes. Never add cold milk: it makes the mash go tacky. Heat the milk, add a pinch of bicarb, and you’ll get a fluffy surprise!

My children are back, unexpectedly. Hooray! What shall we have for supper? Omelettes! There are enough of Harriet’s fresh eggs in the fridge for a feast

Monday, April 4

Ruth failed her driving test. She hit the drum trying to reverse. She was going too fast because she was so nervous she couldn’t stop her foot jiggling the accelerator. The crowd of onlookers found it hilarious. Now we have to wait a week before she can apply for another test, which means returning to that dreadful Vehicle Inspection Department where you have to queue for an entire morning to make your booking. The last time Ruth booked, she paid her $16 000 and got a receipt for $700! O the mysteries of the clerical world.

The Pope’s illness and death has had unprecedented coverage on the BBC World Service. I’m starting to get listener burn-out. I’m convinced that England’s greatest poet, Shakespeare, like his contemporary, John Donne, was a Catholic at heart. He certainly didn’t like the Puritans, who threatened his livelihood by wanting to shut down public theatres. Puritans like Malvolio in Twelfth Night, who calls Feste (surely Shakespeare’s spokesperson?) a "barren rascal". This stings Feste, and he gets his revenge. But the reign of Oliver Cromwell was not that far off in English history. Off-stage Malvolio also gets his revenge. Indeed, his last words, before he exits for good, are "I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you".

Just completed a private lesson with some Convent students. A-Level Literature in English. We discussed the significance of the title of their poetry anthology: Touched with Fire, which is a quotation from Stephen Spender’s poem: ‘The Truly Great’. Spender’s icon in this poem is the British airforce pilot, barely out of his teens, who goes to his death heroically:

Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

Fire is the creative imagination, which can so quickly become the inflamed imagination. The fire of St Augustine’s lust was purified by the fire of his faith. Fire is born on earth but its destiny is heavenwards. I like to think of myself, the poet in me, as being ‘touched’ (slightly penga) with fire.

I went to the supermarket to purchase bread, milk, and bony meat; and while I was there – you guessed it – I bought a bottle of Green Valley. No more vanilla essence for this Son of the Soiled.

Goodness, look at the time: 7:30. I’m off to bed.

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Daily News online edition

      African leaders' anti-people conspiracy

      Date: 21-Apr, 2005

      IN Togo, a small country now in the grip of pre-election tension, the
government has banned private broadcasters from carrying out "any media
coverage of the candidates' campaigns".

      The Togolese people, ruled by the dictator Gnassingbe Eyadema for 38
of their 45 years of independence, should be thankful for small mercies: at
least, they have private broadcasters. Zimbabwe had private broadcasters for
a woefully brief period, until Jonathan Moyo came on the scene, rampaging
through the media landscape like a hurricane.

      Togo enjoyed only a few years of independence under their first
president, Sylvanus Olympio, who was later assassinated - some say by
Eyadema. Eyadema, like many other African leaders of that early period,
received little censure from his fellow leaders, through their
organisations, the Organisation of African Unity and the African Union.

      But after his death, both the African Union and the Economic Community
of West African States (ECOWAS) stood firmly against an attempt to foist
Eyadema's son on the people. This was one of the most important victories of
the African leaders against dictatorship on the continent.

      They displayed the sort of courage their predecessors had lacked
during the days of such odious rulers as Macias Nguema of Equatorial Guinea,
Idi Amin of Uganda, Jean-Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic, Sani
Abacha of Nigeria and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire.

      But what some critics have called the African leaders' conspiracy
against the people seems to be continuing, particularly in the case of
Zimbabwe. In their reaction to the 31 March elections, both the AU and the
Southern African Development Community (Sadc) have endorsed Zanu PF's

      The main opposition, the MDC, is challenging Zanu PF's victory in many
constituencies and did take part in the independence celebrations in
protest. Most indigenous non-governmental organizations involved in matters
of good governance, have condemned

      the elections as having been fatally flawed. They have conceded that
the elections were held in a peaceful atmosphere, but still say they were
not free and fair.

      Most critics have linked the peaceful atmosphere to the rigging of the
elections. Zanu PF, they allege, did not have to kill anyone, as they did in
2000, because they had "fixed" the elections in advance. Neither the AU nor
Sadc have even conceded that, at the very least, Zanu PF won an election
that the government handled with the suspicion that it would not allow the
opposition a chance to win.

      So the conspiracy theory must persist: African leaders tend to rally
behind their colleagues, even against the people of those countries. Eyadema's
long reign is a perfect example.of how this cronyism has plagued the

      If it continues in the case of Zimbabwe and Providence again
intervenes, the consequences could be similar - a period of tension during
which there may be casualties, as there have already been in Togo.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Vandalism costs Bulawayo millions

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Apr-22

BULAWAYO City Council is spending millions repairing vandalised
infrastructure, a situation that has compromised the development of the
Speaking at the launch of the "Keep Bulawayo Clean Campaign" ahead of the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) next week, Mayor Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube said the rampant vandalism of council property was a cause for
concern to the local authority.
"Residents are encouraged to make efforts to minimise waste and protect
their infrastructure. We are constantly jeopardising our progress in
developing the city, through failing to repair and restore existing
infrastructure," he said.
"There is need to unite and police the city's infrastructure to protect it
from vandalism," the mayor added.
Ndabeni-Ncube also mourned deteriorating hygienic standards in the city,
which he attributed to depletion of refuse trucks due to financial woes
bedevilling the municipality.
The mayor revealed that of the city's 22 refuse collection vehicles, only 12
were on the road.
This was impacting negatively on the health of residents, as the weekly
refuse collections from residential areas and commercial business premises
(daily) could not be done.
The clean-up campaign started yesterday and will cover areas such as the
city's main bus terminus, Renkini, Avenue extension and the city's sanitary
lanes, which are an eyesore.
The first phase will involve the sprucing up of the city's Central Business
District and major roads before the
After that, the campaign will extend to suburban areas and will continue
after ZITF.
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