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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Washington File

21 April 2005

"Rigged" Zimbabwe Elections Prompt U.S. Sanctions Review
Assistant Secretary Newman hints to Congress of possible further action

By Jim Fisher-Thompson
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's actions leading to -- and
during -- flawed parliamentary elections in March have prompted the U.S.
government to review its sanctions policy toward his regime, Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs Constance Newman told Congress April

In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights
and International Operations, Newman said, "The March 31 elections for
Zimbabwe's Parliament were a travesty of democratic standards.  They were
not free and fair. Instead, they are proof that Robert Mugabe and the
ZANU-PF party continue to trample on Zimbabwe's democratic institutions and
traditions; they continue to rule by fraud and coercion."

She told Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Smith (Republican of New Jersey),
"On election day thousands of voters were turned away from the polls.  The
vote count was almost certainly rigged and credible evidence suggests that
ZANU-PF stole more than a dozen seats from MDC [Movement for Democratic
Change]," the main opposition party.

Generally, "the elections were a sad day for Zimbabwe and for the cause of
democracy in the region," Newman told lawmakers.

In response, she said U.S. government agencies are "reviewing and updating
our sanctions regime to ensure that our targeted sanctions have flexibility
and teeth, and are adequate to the new situation."

When asked by Smith to go into detail, Newman declined, but in her written
statement said, "I can say that the election has reconfirmed the need for
targeted financial and travel sanctions on regime leaders who undermine
democracy.  The individuals who abused democracy and helped to steal this
election must be held accountable."  She added her office might have more
details for the subcommittee "a month from now" or even sooner.

Newman was quick to add, however, that the expanded sanctions, if any, would
not be aimed at the Zimbabwean public.  "The United States has not and does
not intend to impose general sanctions on Zimbabwe that will hurt the people
or economy.  We reject any steps that would cause ordinary Zimbabweans to
suffer for the sins of the ZANU-PF leadership."

U.S. assistance to meet the growing food and health crisis in Zimbabwe
caused by Mugabe's flawed agricultural policies, including forcible land
seizures, would also not be affected, Newman added.  She pointed out that
the U.S. government has provided close to $300 million in humanitarian
assistance since 2002.

Smith commented on Zimbabwe's wrecked economy saying,  "Four hundred
thousand agricultural jobs have been lost.  And, while the continent of
Africa is experiencing the highest economic growth in nearly a decade,
Zimbabwe's economy is contracting."

Declaring, "leadership does matter," Smith mentioned the 25th anniversary of
Zimbabwe's independence celebrated on April 18 and Mugabe's role in
politics.  "Rather than take the success he achieved in 1980 and build on
it, President Mugabe has taken the repressive path and has systematically
violated the fundamental human rights of the people of Zimbabwe.

"Robert Mugabe was a hero to his people and to his fellow Africans for
successfully standing up to racism and oppression," but now, "more than
anyone else, President Mugabe has contributed to a climate of fear, and
heightened even further explosive racial tensions" in Zimbabwe, Smith

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information
Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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Business Report

Zimbabwe's woes no immediate threat
April 22, 2005

Zimbabwe's economic woes might have wider implications for South Africa as
the smaller country was its main trade partner on the continent, the Reserve
Bank said yesterday.

But, the central bank said, Zimbabwe posed no immediate threat to South
Africa's financial sector as its exposure to Zimbabwean banks remained
fairly low and conservatively managed.

"The continued economic meltdown in Zimbabwe may have wider economic
implications. Although constituting a modest 2.4 percent of South Africa's
exports, Zimbabwe remains South Africa's largest trade partner on the
continent," it said.

"South African exports to Zimbabwe declined by 5.6 percent in 2004."

Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by more than a third over the past five
years, unemployment is estimated at about 70 percent and inflation is in
triple digits.

It noted that Zimbabwe's central bank had introduced some measures to
restore stability.
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Beijing makes friends and riches in Africa

Simon Tisdall
Friday April 22, 2005
The Guardian

China's headlong scramble for Africa will gather high-level impetus today
when President Hu Jintao joins dozens of African and Asian leaders at a
celebratory summit in Indonesia.
The meeting marks the 50th anniversary of the Bandung conference - the
moment when developing countries began to join forces. It foreshadowed the
creation of the Non-Aligned Movement six years later.

In Bandung, Zhou Enlai represented communist China alongside national
founding fathers such as India's Nehru and Egypt's Nasser.

Article continues



But Mr Hu will not be advocating revolutionary solidarity in the teeth of
western colonialist oppression. His post-imperial message to Africa is all
business: economic self-interest and development, trade pacts, investment
and bilateral aid.
Increased cooperation with Africa, he said last week, was China's "strategic

China is hoping to accelerate its already spectacularly successful drive to
tap the African natural resources it needs to fuel its rapid economic

And to the gratification of leaders such as Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and
Sudan's Omar Bashir, Chinese deals come with few political strings; at least
for now.

Ignoring human rights abuses, electoral fraud and western sanctions, China
has supplied military equipment and interest-free loans to Mr Mugabe's

It also tiled the roof of his $9m (£4.7m) presidential mansion for free,
made T-shirts for his youth militia and provided a radio jammer to help
silence opposition broadcasts.

China has gained favoured access to Zimbabwe's gold and platinum resources
and new markets for its manufacturing exports.

This pattern is repeated across Africa. China opposed UN oil sanctions over
Darfur because Sudan, where it has invested $4bn, supplies 5% of its oil
imports. It agreed a "strategic partnership" last week with Nigeria, a big
oil exporter, and has oil interests in Angola, Chad and Gabon.

Major trading relationships are developing with South Africa and Egypt,
while Chinese-financed infrastructure, telecoms and tourism projects are
proliferating from Sierra Leone and Rwanda to Madagascar and Lesotho.

In all, China-Africa trade has doubled to more than $20bn since 2000, and is
projected to double again by 2009. At that rate, China will soon surpass the
US, whose trade with Africa in 2004 was valued at $30bn.

"China sees Africa as a source of vital strategic resources," said Andrew
Yang of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies. "But it is also
promoting multilateralism to balance George Bush's unilateralism. It wants
to elevate China's standing in the world."

China is not oblivious to western concerns about rights and democracy, Dr
Yang said. But it puts respect for national sovereignty first.

"It depends on each country's priorities. China thinks it can share its
experience as a developing country which has replaced the old colonialism
and is building a market system."

Beijing does insist that its African partners back its "one China" policy
and shun Taiwan. Support for China in international forums is quietly
encouraged. But its political demands have been limited so far.

Its approach has been compared favourably with that of 19th-century European
empire-builders in the original scramble for Africa, who tried to "civilise"
and convert - and with the depredations of western multinationals.

Zephirin Diabre, of the UN Development Programme, speaking at last month's
launch of the Beijing-based China-Africa Business Council, praised Chinese
assistance for healthcare, education and agriculture in Africa.

Beijing was "a strong supporter of south-south cooperation", he said, and
had set an example by cancelling or reducing $1.2bn of debt owed by 31
states, and agreeing tariff exemptions.

All the same, African complaints are growing about widening trade
imbalances, damage to indigenous industries caused by the dumping of Chinese
textiles and other products, poor labour conditions and Chinese arms sales
in conflict zones.

Western governments also watch China's energetic advance with unease.

"China is sucking in all these resources at the expense of the west and the
developing countries," one diplomat said. "China is an economic black hole."
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The Zimbabwean

Why is the CIO handing out food?
Zimbabwe's feared and dreaded spy agency, the Central Intelligence
Organisation, CIO, has now been put in charge of food distribution. The
agency's spooks have for years been responsible for the torture and
disappearance of opposition supporters.
Now they have a new weapon in their arsenal - food, which is in short supply
throughout the country.

At the helm of the agency is no other than veteran politician Didymus
Mutasa, who during the 2000 elections said it would be good for the country
if all opposition supporters starved to death. It would appear that his
appointment as minister in charge of the CIO is an endorsement of his
views.We can now expect starvation in Zimbabwe to reach unprecedented

Why is the CIO now in charge of food distribution? Surely it would be more
appropriate to have the Ministry of Agriculture, or even the state-owned
Grain Marketing Board, undertake such a responsibility.

Would it not be even more appropriate for food to be distributed through
commercial channels - such as wholesalers and retailers who have an
already-established, nation-wide storage and transport infrastructure that
has worked for years?

Is there no end to this government's madness? Everything they touch turns to
dust. We now have a cabinet with the grandiose title "Development Cabinet".
Why can't they understand that no amount of fancy titles can change

What we need are ideas. Sensible ideas. And clever, well thought-out
strategies. Not fancy titles and a huge cabinet of greedy has-beens, boot
lickers and gravy train riders, who could not even organize a piss-up in a
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The Zimbabwean

Waitrose will not boycott Zim
Zimbabwean beans have appeared on the shelves of Waitrose supermarkets in
the UK from farms seized from commercial farmers and given to Zanu (PF)
supporters under the Mugabe regime's disastrous land reform programme. This
prompted one concerned customer to write to them.
In the days of apartheid many people boycotted South African products, even
though the price was right and quality excellent But the supermarket chain
says it never participates in product boycotts. The following correspondence
has been made available to The Zimbabwean:

"Dear Sirs, While shopping in your Malvern store, I was disturbed to find a
packet of beans from Zimbabwe.
"Are you aware, in spite of what is explained, nearly all the farms in
Zimbabwe have been taken over from the legal owners by the Government of
that country, the legal farmers who have paid for the farms have been thrown
out or killed. The present illegal occupiers of the farms are in the process
of selling off the food that has been planted by the legal owner, in other
words they are stolen goods!!

"The government has stated that they intend to evict all the farmers from
their farms in the near future. Most legal owners of the farms are now
homeless and some destitute because they were not allowed to take anything
from their farms when they were thrown out.

"Some had their livestock killed in an appalling manner, including the pets
of their children. Whatever animals the invaders did not kill are suffering
from neglect and many have starved to death.

"May I suggest that when you send your representatives to Africa to source
your supply you try Zambia, where some of the farmers have relocated and
started again, much to that country's benefit.

"I look forward to your reply, if you need more information I can let you
have graphic details. Incidentally, I am not from Zimbabwe I am British who
happen to have friends
living in that, what was, beautiful country. Eleanor Hill."

The Waitrose customer services department replied:

"Our aim is to offer customers the widest choice of food and drink of the
highest quality and the best value. To achieve this we will buy from
suppliers who meet our exacting criteria, whether they are United Kingdom
based or from further afield.

"We have no plans to remove foreign produce from our shelves. We have never
limited our assortment in support of boycotts.

"Our policy is to trade within the framework of the law, as we are sure you
will appreciate it is difficult for retailers to make political
environmental or ethical decisions on behalf of all their customers.

"We therefore believe it is best to let Waitrose customers to exercise their
own judgment over what they buy in our shops.

"Thank you for taking the time and trouble to bring your views to our
attention and I would like to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to
explain our views on this occasion. Regards, Katy Kelsey."
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The Zimbabwean

Zimbabwe for Edinburgh Festival

Rory Kilalea, well-known Zimbabwean broadcaster, writer and director is
launching Sing! Zimbabwe - a dance and music show featuring the Chitungwiza
Harmony Singers, Tumbuka Dance Company, Ava Rogers, and Marcy Mushore on
Mbira - at the forthcoming Edinburgh Festival.
"It is time for the world to see the strength, resilience and joy of
Zimbabweans through song and dance. The Chitungwiza Harmony Singers have
never been seen abroad. It is a fantastic opportunity to display our
 talent," he told The Zimbabwean.

Edinburgh hosts the largest Festival of Theatre, Song, Dance and Music in
the world. The leading venue for the Festival Fringe is the Assembly Rooms,
managed for 25 years by Zimbabwean, William Burdett Coutts.

Sing! Zimbabwe is spectacular. Featuring Matthias Julius, founder
choreographer of Tumbuka, the show has a memorable selection of traditional,
spiritual, and western songs to appeal to all tastes.

These include Ave Maria, Ishe Komborera, Makishi Dancing, (never seen
abroad) Tula Tula, Comedy, Tuku's Ndiwe Muroyi, Mbira and Tumbuka.

"This is a truly representative show, of our cultures, music and dance.
Above all, it is Zimbabwean," said Elvas Mari of the National Arts Council
of Zimbabwe, "and with Rory's passion and vision, we gave the show our whole
hearted support."

Three shows will be staged at the Harare International School for Zimbabwean
audiences prior to the tour. Details available at

In addition, a CD will be produced in Harare, and will be available in
Edinburgh. Part proceeds are being donated to Orphans and Old Age Relief.

Ava Rogers, musical director, well known as the choir diva in Zimbabwe will
sing two sultry jazz- style solos. At rehearsals she told us: "The
Chitungwiza choir master, Israel Dzangare is a perfectionist. Our show
should achieve international stardom."

Tumbuka has earned world acclaim as the premier dance troupe of Zimbabwe.
"They were the obvious choice," said Diana Anthony, associate producer.
"Their athletic repertoire, both traditional and modern, and sensitive
interpretation of our music is a perfect mix for the show."
Matthias Julius, choreographer, agrees, "An international platform like this
allows us a wide audience. To show that we are still a nation of artistic

Local costs in Zimbabwe have been enthusiastically sponsored by Olivine
Industries, Old Mutual and Innscor, and Kilalea is optimistic of raising the
"We still require sixty thousand pounds to cover accommodation, travel and
CD, but if only one quarter of our Diaspora donated the costs of a couple of
beers, we would be well covered," he said.

The Edinburgh Fringe runs from the 5th to the 29th of August 2005. Sing!
Zimbabwe performs at the St George's West Sanctuary, 58 Shandwick Place,
Edinburgh. Lunch times during the week and afternoons over the weekend.
Ticket enquiries - Assembly@St Georges West, or Box office enquires 0131 226

"A Zimbabwean show of hope and joy!"

Support for Sing! Zimbabwe, however small, should be made out to Rory
Kilalea. Send cheque to: Sing! Zimbabwe, c/o William Burdett Coutts /
Claudia Courtis, Riverside Studios, Crisp Road, London W6 9RL. On the
reverse, please write your name and specify 'Donation - Sing! Zimbabwe'. All
contributions will be acknowledged in the programme. All other enquiries -
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The Zimbabwean

Largest cabinet in Africa
BULAWAYO - Mr Mugabe has wasted no time is appointing a new Cabinet - and it
is very different from the previous one. There are a number of notable exits
and some not so notable additions. We now definitely have the largest
cabinet in Africa with several new cabinet posts being established to look
after people that Mugabe wants either to reward or to have where he can keep
an eye on them.
In his statement Mugabe said this cabinet would be a "development cabinet"
not like the previous one, which was a "war cabinet". In view of the sorry
state of the economy it might be useful to look at the new team and ask
ourselves if they are in any way capable of turning this ship around.

Herbert Murewa is confirmed in the post he has held twice before - the first
time as Minister of Finance and then as acting Minister when Kuruneri was
arrested and thrown into prison for certain financial misdemeanors. His
record is one of steady incompetence. No major reforms have been adopted on
his watch in the past and we can expect little to come out of the Ministry
of Finance while he is at the helm. He certainly is no match for Gideon Gono
who will continue to make the running in this sphere of influence.

Rugare Gumbo comes in at the Ministry of Development - what that is meant to
do I find difficult to imagine. There is little going on in the development
sphere; there is no money for development and all access to global funds
that might help are closed to us. This is a sinecure and is unlikely to
spark any kind of activity.

Obert Mpofu comes back to be Minister of Industry and International Trade.
He was the Deputy to Nathan Shamuyarira when he was Minister and was not a
shining success. He played little or no role in trade negotiations and shown
little understanding of the complexities.

Industrial output has collapsed by nearly 40% and is still shrinking. Until
the economic fundamentals are sorted out and our international relations
normalized, it is difficult to see progress.

Perhaps the worst appointment was the retention of Joseph Made in
Agriculture. He has been at the helm for several years and on his watch we
have seen the output of the farm sector decline by 80%. No recovery in sight
and things can only get worse under his leadership - if you can call a
liquidation that!

At Mines and Energy we have two unknowns - the previous Minister of Mines
was doing quite well until Zanu (PF) put its spanner in the works. Neither
of these appointments will have been welcomed in business circles.

This week Gideon Gono is due to make another "Monetary Statement" and this
is awaited with keen interest. No doubt the new economics team - the
so-called "development cabinet" will turn out to applaud from the gallery -
that is about all they are able to do at this juncture. Nobody expects much
from the new team, and they are probably right.
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The Zimbabwean

Mass starvation or mass action
LONDON - Zimbabweans have two clear options: mass starvation or mass action.
This was the message of Jenni Williams, the national co-ordinator of WOZA
(Women of Zimbabwe Arise) at the Monday Forum of the MDC Central London
Branch this week.
Williams spoke of the brutal treatment to which WOZA activists were
subjected when they held a prayer meeting in Harare's Africa Unity Square on
election night . . . . . how they (including grandmothers) were made to lie
down and walked over by policemen who beat them with batons. None of the
women uttered a cry. "Strike a woman and you strike a rock", said Williams.

She returns to Zimbabwe this week to stand trial for violating POSA, but is
unafraid. "We must go back out into the streets even although we have
suffered. God gave me rights and he gave me children who deserve a future.
When we go out in the streets and express our rights we get empowered by
that, it is so wonderful to feel alive and to know that we are expressing
our rights as women and as human beings," she said.

In a plea for more involvement she said: "Elections no longer give us
democracy and freedom, we need to find another way. Come home and help with
the struggle or tell your friends and relatives and get them out onto the
street. Robert Mugabe came to power through passive resistance and that is
why he is so afraid of us, that is how we are going to get him out of

She said the message had to be sent out that people should know and defend
their rights. Zanu (PF) had perfected the art of mass starvation but
Zimbabweans had to throw away their culture of fear. Williams has been
arrested 19 or 20 times - she has lost count.
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The Zimbabwean

Chinese make a killing in Zim
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao meets President Robert Mugabe
LONDON - The Chinese are set to make a killing (literally) as a result of
President Robert Mugabe's 'Look East' policy. The first load of Chinese-made
armoured personnel carriers arrived in the Zimbabwean capital Harare in
November 2004. Riot gear, mobile water cannons and other equipment followed
soon afterwards.
A few months previously, a consignment of sophisticated internet monitoring
technology was delivered. The arms deal - worth US$240 million - was
concluded in defiance of international sanctions.

The order included 12 fighter planes and thousands of AK-47 assault rifles.
Earlier this month Zimbabwe took delivery of four of the jet fighters - poor
cousin to the sturdy, but aging, British Hawk - which screamed overhead as
the nation 'celebrated' its 25th anniversary of independence in the massive
Chinese-built sports stadium.

Also on the aging dictator's Eastern shopping list are three Chinese-built
aircraft for the down-at-heel national airline, Air Zimbabwe, and a number
of combine harvesters and tractors to bolster the chaotic 'land reform
programme'. It is understood a number of the combines 'disappeared'
en-route, while in South Africa, under dubious circumstances.

Then of course there are the numerous construction project tenders won by
the Chinese for government projects - often amid accusations of tender
'abnormalities' - not to mention the building materials, construction and
fittings at the various presidential (but personal) mansions scattered
around the country. And of course the thousands of Chinese computers dished
out to schools by Mugabe during his recent election campaign.

Even by the most conservative calculations the bill must come to several
trillions of Zimbabwe dollars - at a time when the economy has virtually
collapsed. It is plagued by serious shortages of fuel, foreign exchange and
food. There are no drugs in the hospitals. Millions are starving - and they
are not only MDC supporters.

Putting aside questions about the government's skewed priorities (fighter
jets, water cannons and assault rifles instead of food, fuel and medicines),
thinking Zimbabweans must be wondering how the government plans to pay for
its 'Look East' policy.

Zimbabwe has often resorted to novel forms of payment. In 2000, it paid the
Chinese for a US$ 1 million shipment of AK-47's using ivory from stockpiles
gathered from its national parks.

It has also bartered tobacco, of which commodity China is a voracious
consumer. But the tobacco sales floors are virtually empty now. The crop is
a fraction of what it used to be - thanks to the 'land reform programme' and
farmers are withholding even the little they produced because prices are so

What is left? Land and mineral wealth. It is reported that Chinese firms
have been given contracts to clear huge swathes of bush land for farming in
the Mwenezi area. Is payment going to take the form of title deeds? Who
knows? Given the lack of transparency and accountability now rampant in
government - odds are we won't know until it's too late.

Zimbabweans are afraid of many things. A 'culture of fear' rules our lives.
To the fear of the CIO, the Police, the Green Bombers and the Army we should
add the fear of our country, our sovereignty and our children's future being
mortgaged to the Chinese.

Those in the West who speak so glibly of the axis of terror, should also be
afraid - of a substantial Chinese foothold in Africa.
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The Zimbabwean

SA govt mad, bad or simply dumb?

Credit: IWPR
DURBAN - In South Africa, Zimbabwe has become a dangerously polarising
political issue, one that pits black against white in a land where races are
meant to be reconciling. The 'miracle' is under threat.
Last month's election, which Zimbabwe's opposition, as well as internal
church and electoral monitoring groups, have insisted was rigged in various
ways, and the SA government's uncritical support for the poll as reflecting
"the will of the people" have deepened the divide.

Pitted against SA's government and the bulk of its population are whites,
black Zimbabwean exiles, churches, NGOs, the SA Congress of Trade Unions and
the SA Communist Party - ironically, in the case of the latter two, as they
are the groups that whites used to fear most. So the issue is not only about

And SA's independent media has devoted much space to alleged evidence of
poll fraud, including that presented in SA last week by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe Election Support Network -
and to criticising SA and regional observers' endorsement of the poll.

As Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe celebrated 25 years of independence
from white rule on Monday, and 25 years of his own rule, in SA those pitted
against his government took to the streets of Johannesburg, demonstrating
against repression.

"Zimbabweans are celebrating 25 years of freedom without freedom," said Buti
Manamela, secretary general of the Young Communists League: "Independence
means nothing without basic freedoms."

SA President Thabo Mbeki's pro-Mugabe stance on Zimbabwe might enjoy the
support of most South Africans, but ongoing local and international
opposition to the Zanu (PF) regime is placing pressure on the SA government.

Last week Mbeki appeared shocked by allegations, made in Parliament by the
right-wing Freedom Front Plus, that the SA military gave R1 million to Zanu
(PF)'s election campaign. It claims that the money was handed to Zimbabwe's
military attaché at a function in Pretoria in March.

Mbeki said the SA government had "never yet financed an election campaign in
any country", but promised to follow up the accusation if he was provided
with information to support it. The department of defence is also

In answer to questions in Parliament, Mbeki insisted that SA would stick to
it policy of "quiet diplomacy" on Zimbabwe. But Business Day reported him as
backtracking somewhat on his pre-election declaration that the poll in
Zimbabwe would be free and fair - a position that dealt Mbeki's reputation a
serious blow internationally.

Despite last week's declaration by the SA cabinet that the election was a
credible expression of Zimbabweans' will, Mbeki said there was still space
to find that the poll had not been free or fair, based on reports that the
SA government was studying from the MDC, ZESN and the Zimbabwe Council of

Mbeki is also unlikely to be impressed by any possible request for food aid
from hungry and cash-strapped Zimbabwe.

But those who hope that SA may yet pressurize Zimbabwe into political reform
have been disappointed before - again and again and again - and so
speculation as to why Mbeki and the African National Congress continue to
support a dictatorial Mugabe continues apace.

The latest commentary has been by political scientist Professor Robert
Schrire, published in the Mail & Guardian. He writes that the government's
policy towards its beleaguered neighbour is against SA's national interest.

There are, he argues, only three possible explanations - "government is mad,
bad, or simply dumb". But it is unlikely that an entire government could be
mad, and neither Mbeki nor his government can be classified as dumb or

Thus the only possible explanation is that the SA government approves of
Mugabe's actions against whites: "A government that would love to see its
own privileged and critical white population punished for their historical
role in the creation of poverty and discrimination can applaud a neighbour
that acts in a way it itself would like to."

However horrible such a line of reasoning is to contemplate, writes Schrire,
it is the only one that explains "why a government that professes respect
for democratic values supports a repressive neighbour. It also explains why
a policy is followed despite the damage it does to the broader national
"Let us hope that there is an alternative explanation."
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The Zimbabwean

SA students vow to back Zim fight
JOHANNESBURG - As President Robert Mugabe told thousands of his followers
the old story about the glorious achievements Zimbabwe has made since
attaining independence from Britain 25 years ago, a march mourning 25 years
of widespread suffering and human rights abuses in his country brought
business to a standstill in Johannesburg.
A perfect tale of one country, two opinions, unraveled as hundreds of South
African civil society pro-democracy activists joined a huge crowd of
students from the Congress of South African Secondary School Students
(COSASS) in mourning the slow death of Zimbabwe.

Armed with school bags and banners decrying the death of freedom in
Zimbabwe, students from secondary schools across Gauteng Province marched
from Braamfontein to the city center where they were addressed by
pro-democracy activists and representatives of political parties.

It was an even greater contrast that just as hundreds of school children
were burdened with posters bearing the portrait of what they were told was
their hero, a surprisingly young President Robert Mugabe, hundreds of South
African counterparts raised banners demanding an end to the recruitment of
youths into Zanu (PF) militia training camps for use as paramilitary

Their messages were clear enough: "An injury to one Zimbabwean student is an
injury to one South African student; Send the youth militias back to school;
Independence is nothing without basic liberties."

"What we want is the return of youth militias to productive, not destructive
skills education. Training children into pro-party militia groups is an
abuse of their rights. We want the government of Zimbabwe to stop abusing
youths and stop turning vocational training institutions into militia
training centres," said Phakamile Maphilo, of the COSASS Education Desk.

If the large numbers in attendance were an indication of a change in South
African student opinion about the situation in Zimbabwe, President Thabo
Mbeki could as yet square up against not just the South African Communist
Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, but with an
even younger and more radical public opinion leader that has buttressed the
ANC's popularity among youths in schools.

If South Africa was Zimbabwe, such younger students would have been pressed
into the ranks of the Green Bombers, as the Zanu (PF) youth militia are
popularly known. The solidarity march was the movement's way of sending a
message that Zimbabwe has become more impoverished in the last 25 years than
ever before.

Addressing the marchers, Young Communist League (YCL) secretary-general Buti
Manamela said the attainment of 25 years of independence in Zimbabwe was
hollow and meaningless as long as government denied people their basic
rights and freedoms.

"We are not going to rest until Zimbabwe achieves true freedom. Today the
country is celebrating 25 years of freedom without freedom. Threats are
still being made against civil rights activists, trade unions and women's
groups. The election victory they claimed recently was a clear fraud, a
stolen victory," said Manamela.

Blaring through a public address system curiously pasted up with posters
calling on the people to vote for the African National Congress (ANC),
speaker after speaker recounted the steps Zimbabwe has taken backwards since
the spectacular downfall of Ian Smith's minority government on 18 April

To Brian Kagoro, the chairman of the Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition, the
process of liberating Zimbabwe is not only incomplete. It may also take long
to come unless leaders of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
and the African Union (AU) come out openly in support of the return of
democracy in Zimbabwe as they did in Togo after the recent 'coup'.

"Twenty-five years after independence we still have a government that denies
basic freedoms and rights to its own people. Twenty-five years latter, we
still have a government that presides over an impoverished, hungry nation
and still denies people food aid because they choose to differ with it,"
said Kagoro.

"There are more than three million citizens who cannot vote because they are
trying to earn a living outside the country. We said we had achieved
economic independence through the chaotic land reform exercise, yet we
replaced one set of oppressors with another.

"In Mugabe we now have a black Ian Smith, using the same laws to oppress the
people. But we shall stand up and say no to oppression, violence and terror.
Until all these ills are gone and true democratic order restored, Zimbabwean
independence will forever remain hollow and meaningless, an occasion to
mourn, instead of celebrating," said Kagoro.

Addressing the marchers Zimbabwe Peace and Democracy Project Coordinator
Daniel Molokela called on South Africans students to continue supporting the
pro-democracy lobby in Zimbabwe. With wild chants of the South African
freedom-rallying cry "Amandla! Ngawethu!" the students vowed continued
support to the struggle in Zimbabwe.

South African Council of Non-Governmental Organisation (SANGOCO) executive
director Zanele Twala also pledged her organization's continued support in
the quest of a return to true democratic order in Zimbabwe.
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The Zimbabwean

Death of democracy
LONDON - About 50 people attended a special Vigil outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy here last weekend to mark the death of democracy in their homeland.
The date was chosen as the closest Saturday to Zimbabwe's 25th anniversary
of independence on April 18.
The attention of thousands of passers-by was drawn by the black cloth draped
between the four maple trees outside the Embassy. But, with drumming,
singing and dancing, the Vigil itself could not be gloomy.

"Although we had figured on a wake with people wearing black armbands, we
could not repress the dynamic feeling for change and optimism which swept
the Vigil. The feeling was that we've gone through so much that we have no
alternative but to work even harder for change," said a spokesman.

Many people signed the new Vigil petition targeting the British government
under no circumstances to legitimise the new regime in Zimbabwe.

The petition reads:

"No shaking hands with Mugabe"

The latest elections in Zimbabwe were once again stolen by the Mugabe regime
with the connivance of its neighbours. Retaliation is now being meted out to
people who supported the opposition. We urge the British government to end
Mugabe's reign of terror and halt his drive for legitimacy:

. bring the matter to the UN Security Council,

. make it a priority during term as President of the EU and G8 (group of
leading industrial nations),

. put pressure on South Africa to allow democracy in Zimbabwe,

. extend targeted sanctions against Mugabe's cronies."

Emerging from the Vigil was a drive to forge closer links with other groups
in the world-wide diaspora to share ideas on helping our brothers and
sisters in Zimbabwe survive the last throes of the Mugabe regime and
planning for a democratic future.

Plans are advanced for a big Vigil outside the Embassy on April 30 to
protest at the stolen elections and launch this initiative.
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The Zimbabwean

Letter from home
Dear Family and Friends,

On lamp posts, telephone poles, street signs, walls and trees all around the
town the tattered remnants of Zimbabwe's election have not been cleared away
a fortnight after the event. Ninety nine percent of the posters advertise
the ruling party and say: "We are proud to be Zimbabweans on our land" - but
to the hundreds of unemployed young people who sit on walls and pavements
around the town, the words offer no comfort.

For two days this week large parts of town have had no water, just an
explosive air lock followed by a rusty trickle and it has become common to
see women walking with 20 litre plastic drums on their heads going to find
water so that they can cook food, wash clothes and keep their children

I am sure that these women draw little comfort from the incessant propaganda
about "our land". Urban women suddenly find themselves having to revert to
practices common to their mothers and grandmothers who lived in the rural
areas. It is a sad indictment of a country that celebrated 25 years of
independence last week.

A fortnight after the election there is no maize meal, sugar, salt or eggs
in our shops - so there can't be many housewives getting solace from the
posters about "our land."

For a brief moment there was a little buzz of interest this week at the
opening of parliament. That excitement didn't last long though because even
though some of the Zanu (PF) MP's had lost their constituencies in the
election, they regained their places when they were appointed by the
President using his 30 reserved parliamentary seats.

The House opened, the MP's were sworn in and then, with one swift "The Ayes
have it", Parliament was adjourned to the 28th of June - a long two months

President Mugabe announced his new cabinet this week and that too has almost
no changes, offers no inspiration and promises yet more of the same.

Even the Minister of Agriculture, who hasn't been able to secure food for
the people for the last four years, is still warming the same seat in
Zimbabwe's sixth parliament.

Perhaps the only thing that really caused a stir this week was the news that
six new fighter jets have arrived in the country - in defence of "our land"
no doubt. Until next time, with love, ndini shamwari yenyu.
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April 22, 2005

~~~ Newsletter 061 ~~~
The only way is UP!

Bum rum

The Chinja Cocktail

2oz Captain Morgan Rum
8oz zany spirit
1oz absolut moyo
41 open hand wringers
78 bananas
30 twists of appointed seats
13 compromised contested constituencies
5 years of opposition politics
Crushed hopes

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker until frosty good. Garnish with plenty of apeels to the international community. Strain out strategy and principles. Pour into scud, put your feet up, and sip slowly while watching other revolutions unfold on TV.

Moving this way and that for freedom
You may have come across Zvakwana activists in your HDA in the last month delivering leaflets giving information on the election. Now we would like to extend to you a small competition. If you write a piece being some 800 words or so on how best is the way forward following this stolen election then we will give the 4 best writers a Zvakwana Delivery Bicycle to help you put some get UP into your community. Of course, as is the case with most products in Zimbabwe these days, the bicycles are of the zhing zhong make so they are not as strong as we would like. Please email your stories to along with your cell phone number and your home address so that these gifts of freedom can make it to your side.

The taproot of power lies below the surface. It is obedience, co-operation, and collusion. The social glue that ensures that each day proceeds much like the last. Every single one of us has the power to give or withhold our willing participation. To “reproduce” or reshape society
- Alex Begg

z gear

A little bit of history
One of the reasons why we at Zvakwana started kuita zvatinoita was to put some hope into people’s lives between two elections: the stolen presidential election in 2002 and the just stolen parliamentary election in April 2005. To this end sibusebenzisile both our cyber initiatives (website and email) to communicate with all sorts of people within Zimbabwe and beyond, and street level activists who use innovative ways to inspire and get people thinking about social and political change.

Zvakwana has been very effective in reaching out to people and vachivapa a little bit of inspiration during very hard times. Tens of thousands of people get our email newsletters, hundreds of thousands of people have received our get UP activist materials and around the world social commentators have been discussing the innovative methods that Zvakwana uses. With this election being finished and stolen we at cyber Zvakwana have decided to take a small break and recharge our batteries. In the meantime we draw faith that our street level activists will continue to build the movement and that our North and South collaborations will continue to strengthen.

So for the next while you won’t be seeing us coming rushing into your mailboxes and our web site may be quiet for a while. But this doesn’t mean we won’t be busy in the streets and getting UP the small dictator’s nose.

Takaedza kupa a forum that is non-partisan and where both political parties as well as civil society can be criticised and congratulated. There is too much polarisation in Zimbabwe and we must all work hard to interrogate and expose the motives and behaviour of politicians from all sides.

As Zimbabwe moves into yet another challenging phase, we must all continue to get UP and stand UP for their rights.


Yo! Click here to see who you’ve bin talking to behind all these emails all these monthz

We would like to thank all our subscribers who have supported us over these past years.

A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.
- Tecumseh Shawnee (American-Indian Warrior, 1768 – 1813)

What all is nice?
It’s easy to get caught up in too much bad stuff these days. All you can think about is how times are hard. But it’s important to remember the good things as well. Here are just a few things that some subscribers have mentioned to us in recent letters. You can add to this list by telling us What All Is Nice in your life. Email
- Strangers who greet one another in passing
- Smiles in the shops
- Sistas
- Leaving messages of resistance/defiance in public toilets
- Extended families willing to look after one another
- Blue skies and the warm sun
- Swearing at the small dictators black benz
- Making passions
- Kind handshakes in church
- Rocking the regime at full volume
- A lift when you need one
- Bosso, especially when they win
- The love of a strong family
- Burning the herald
- Friends who cheer us up when we are sad
- The joy of donating to a cause to help those even more in need
- WOZA and NCA's acts of bravery and defiance

did you get more than a tshirt?

We had an election and all I got was a Tshirt. Isn’t it time for us all to think further than the election give-aways? Sure Tshirts are good on our backs but in the long run we need real change.

Food for thought
- It is said that the opposite of repression is resilience: we have University graduates vachitengesa maBuddy cards. Enough! Get UP. We need a better life.
- It is highly unlikely that bobby will be around for the next election (even though he’s taking those zhing zhong herbs). Zvakwana is encouraging the enlightened within zanu pf to begin the “new zanu pf” and throw out vakweguru who are bent on continuing the ruin of Zimbabwe. Sokwanele! Put abantu first!
- With the MDC’s five year term of office for its leadership over (by at least 6 months) the MDC must choose wisely who will lead them into the next election. Kana Morgan Tsvangirai akasarudzwa he will enter the next presidential election as an 8-year-old opposition leader with 3 stolen elections under his belt. And he will most likely meet a new hungry zanu pf lion in the ring the next time round. Enough! New leadership in the opposition NOW.
- Unless the MDC develops the capacity and ability to counter vote rigging as well as to destablise mugabe’s pillars of support (army, police, civil service) it will face yet another electoral defeat. Until the MDC develops this capacity, looking to the ballot for change is like looking to the herald to tell the truth.
- Civil society, except for a few notable exceptions, vakati ziii. Every NGO has a voting constituency; where was the voter education for the elderly, for the youth, for women, for the disabled? It has been suggested that the turnout for this election was lower than 30%. Civil society must take some responsibility for this. And don’t just blame legislation. Mitemo inoitwa nedictatorship are made to be broken. Enough!
- Sake sabuza iMDC and zanu pf to provide a record of the number of times their last troop of MPs attended parliament. This information in not forthcoming and it is very hard to find. It is our belief that parliament is a gravy train; it is time to derail it. Sokwanele!

fat cats - going nowhere fast

- Tinoda strong and clear thinking opposition parties. Instead of kugunun’una about the large % of Zimbabweans turned away at the polls, the MDC should be interrogating their confused approach to the parliamentary election. Namely, entering the game so late and more
importantly, their complete lack of a register to vote campaign. Zvakwana!
- One of the MDC’s most consistent complaints has been the compromised justice system in Zimbabwe. Yet, they are now turning to this very system to challenge the election results. Enough!

The hunter in pursuit of an elephant does not stop to throw stones at birds. - Ugandan proverb (relates to MDC’s legal challenges)

Strategic non-violent conflict
In Bob Helvey’s book Strategic Non-violent Conflict: The Fundamentals, he compared two elections in 2002 in Serbia and Zimbabwe. In regard to the Zimbabwean example Helvey said of the MDC: “Little attention was given to a “Plan B” that would go into effect should the elections be stolen by the incumbent, robert mugabe.” Helvey went on to say: “With no detailed plan or any capacity to enforce the mandate of the people’s vote, the MDC had no alternative but to limit its response to declaring the election neither fair nor free and to call for another election.” That was in 2002. Sound familiar? In the words of Sokwanele in the South, “the MDC needs to adapt or die”.

And if you had any doubt about what abantu are feeling . . .
Here we give you just a little bit of the feedback that Zvakwana has received lately. Thanks for sending us emails, SMS messages and voice mail:

Mugabe goes to Rome unannounced and uninvited even under travel banz to attend Popes funeral. MT has to get some balls to match that man's otherwise he's toast.
- BC

All democratic forces should unite NOW and reject this tyranny. The MDC should have taken advantage of the presence of observers and the international media to stage a sit-in at Africa Unity Square as the results were being announced. That was plan B. But to move forward now, and move quickly too while there is still interest in what is happening in Zimbabwe, all democratic forces must put away their differences and do the final push.
- DK

I certainly share your sentiments that it’s not the time to develop cold feet. I definitely believe the people are in the mood to take on the mugabe regime but in the absence of a spontaneous reaction people are looking to the MDC for leadership and direction. They
have our mandate to do whatever is possible to save ourselves from our own and anything less will confine the party to the political archives. We cannot pin our hopes on 2008 or any other election. To be honest enough is enough its time we translate our anger, frustration into action. Lets walk the talk!
- EM

Boycott boycott is the music that should be playing in their minds.They should take an active stance against the dictator. We cannot allow this fraud to be ordained legitimate. Come on mdc where is the power of 1999 that earned your leader respect. Wake up and rise up against the dictator. We need a Steve Biko or Martin Luther King character for meaningful change to take place. The people are there but they need to be identified. MR TSVANGIRAI START NOW!
- Text message


We, the povo,
have been taught
the crack of a gun
shall not be dreaded:
its echo
is freedom
we are not told
an echo is a distant sound
that dies out soon

~ Julius Chingono

bob's bum wipes

Pictured above is the small dictator on the toilet showing what little respect he has for the ballot.

Too many chefs in the cabinet
Much as you might want to think of something positive about ZANU PF they are always “shooting blanks”! Now the small dictator just announced his new cabinet of 60! One wonders why a tiny country like Zimbabwe would need such a large cabinet that even includes a rural housing ministry. My late gogo MaDube would want to know what mnangagwa can do about her old hut which is falling apart? Will his ministry now provide thatch and brick for this or will they be going around the country making sure that everyone has a “Blair” toilet. Or maybe our rural areas are going to have one design for all new houses like that of the high-density areas in towns? Bakiti mina I am confused. There is a saying that too many cooks spoil the broth - a country like ours does not need too many cooks for sure! The regime has been burning the broth for the past 25 years and we don’t need any more of that. Sokwanele!

Jokes aside - with our post election shortages and rising prices seems like this is too true
While walking down Seventh Street one day an MP is tragically hit by the small dictator's motorcade and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by Pope Benedict XVI at the entrance. "Welcome to heaven," says the Pope. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see an MP around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you." "No problem, just let me in," says the man. "Well, I'd like to but I have orders from the late Pope John Paul II. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity." "But I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the MP.

"I'm sorry but we have our rules." And with that, Pope Benedict XVI takes him to the lift and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a nightclub. There are dancing women and all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and having a good time eating the best meat, chicken and drinking all the booze they want. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that, before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the lift goes up. The lift goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where Pope Benedict XVI is waiting for him.

"Now it's time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the MP joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and the Pope returns. "Well then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity." The MP reflects for a minute, then answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell." So the Pope escorts him to the lift and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the lift open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the rubbish and putting it in black bags.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the MP. "Yesterday I was here and there was a night club and we ate, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now all there is a wasteland full of rubbish and my friends look unhappy. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted.

Zvakwana, Sokwanele, Enough!!

Make sure you SPEAK OUT - keep discussion alive, keep information flowing.

Enough is enough, Zvakwana, Sokwanele.

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