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

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Government Develops Cold Feet Over Another Fuel Price Hike

The Daily News (Harare)

April 28, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003

Hama Saburi Business Editor

THE government is developing cold feet over another fuel price increase that
could push the price of leaded petrol from $450 a litre to around $650.

The Business Daily has it on good authority that government and some members
of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) are now thinking twice about a
third round of fuel price increases, fearing ugly protests.

Government, in particular, is concerned about the impact of further mass
actions on the economy and its political future.

Industry and commerce has been weakened already by the ZCTU-organised
three-day job stayaway, which ended on Friday and cannot take more pain.

The increases would put the price of diesel at around $310 from $200 a

Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, ducked questions
by The Business Tribune yesterday saying he has addressed the issues before.

Sources, however, said another fuel price increase can only come after the
implementation of a cocktail of measures agreed by members of the TNF.

ZCTU has pulled out of the TNF, throwing into doubt the future of the New
Economic Recovery Programme.

Government is being accused of making unilateral decisions violating the
principles of the TNF to which it is part.

"The issue of another fuel price increase is a hot potato at the moment,
given the resistance put up by the ZCTU.

"If the issue is to be considered at all, it would be after taking into
consideration views from other members of the TNF," a senior government
official said.

As government dithers on the way forward, the situation at the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) is getting desperate. As long as the fuel
prices remain at current levels, Noczim will continue to incur loses.

The fuel procurer is said to have run out of the cash to purchase foreign
currency required to import fuel resulting in the appointment of Syfrets
Merchant Bank (Sybank) to head a team of financial advisors to raise $60
billion on behalf of Noczim.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Time to do away with traditional leaders

      4/28/03 7:22:24 AM (GMT +2)

      By Vote Musa

      Recently a gathering of traditional leaders surprised the nation by
foolishly declaring that President Mugabe must rule Zimbabwe until the end
of time. This statement was very alarming and bizarre because our President
is a few months from becoming an octogenarian and is a step closer to his

      The truth is, our President has a few years left in politics because
of the unavoidable drift towards advanced old age. It boggles the mind why
these chiefs, whose subjects are impoverished and destitute because of
Mugabe's rule, must insist on him ruling until eternity. This utterance is
inconsistent with common reason and can only emanate from of uninformed,
misguided demagogues of warped mental dispositions.

      Over the years traditional leaders have openly advertised their blind
loyalty to the ruling party. This slavish reverence for the ruling party is
very wrong.

      The sanctity and dignity of the institution of the traditional leader
demands political neutrality. Chiefs, sub-chiefs and village heads who in
their official capacity take sides in the political game, not only embarrass
their office, but degrade and tarnish their personal images as well. If the
Queen of England is apolitical, there is no reason why our own traditional
leaders cannot exercise neutrality.

      Since the advent of colonialism, chiefs and their kindred have never
played any meaningful role in real terms of governance. The modern-day
governments usurped their powers. Over the years they have been wandering in
the political wilderness groping for openings to give them political power
without any success.

      Their role has remained ceremonial and only on few instances have they
been rewarded with meaningless, trivial judicial and local government roles.

      The reason why traditional leaders have been sidelined to peripheral
matters is because they are essentially useless. Due to modern day
constitutionalism and democracy, the institution of traditional leadership
has been consequently rendered redundant. Chiefs have been victims of time
and the dynamics of modern politics. No apologies must be given for this

      Despite our government's attempts to recognise chiefs through the
Customary Law and Local Courts Act, their role has been next to nothing.
This recognition of chiefs has only been done for political expediency
because traditional leaders have been hoodwinked by the ruling party and
have become part and parcel of its bootlickers.

      Chiefs are a remnant of feudalism and they belong more to the past
than the present. Any attempt to recognise them and reconcile their office
with modern systems is untenable and retrogressive. The loud noises made by
our chiefs signify the last kicks of a dying horse.

      In Europe the fight to wipe out traditional leaders as represented by
monarchs started with the French Revolution of 1789.

      In Russia the Communists deposed the cruel and arrogant Tsar in 1917.
Throughout Europe and many other progressive parts of the world traditional
leaders have been blown away by winds of change.

      Only England and Swaziland still hang on to this archaic institution
of government. Despite having the Queen, England has pruned her powers and
she no longer enjoys absolutism as other monarchs of the past. Traditional
leaders the world over have lost their power because they are ineffective,
despotic and unpopular.

      Modern day civilised politics has dictated that power must now belong
to the people and not the aristocracy. Power that is centralised in a few
breeds autocracy, corruption, docility and sadism, and suffocates progress.

      In our country these vestiges of feudalism have intruded into
government because of their vigorous political activism. They have taken
advantage and now imposed the full will of the ruling party on the majority
of the rural people.

      Some chiefs have, through political ignorance and shear zeal, boldly
dictated to their subjects that their territories are exclusively Zanu PF
areas and those who support the opposition do so at their own peril.

      The ruling party has discovered the gullibility of traditional leaders
and is exploiting them to full advantage. They have been converted into Zanu
PF bigots who when asked to jump, don't ask why but how high.

      Traditional leaders have been willing accomplices to the wanton
violence that has pervaded the rural areas. They have deliberately turned
their heads when their subjects have been victims of systematic rape,
assault, torture, murder, arson and other brutal atrocities in the name of
Zanu PF. Traditional leaders have blood of the murdered rural folk on their

      Rural people are in the main half-illiterate and unsophisticated. That
is why they have become victims of the ruling party's political game. For
the love of money and political glory, traditional leaders have betrayed
their people. They force them to support an organisation that is not
concerned about their welfare and only remembers them towards election time.

      The ruling party has blinkered traditional leaders. They fail to see
the general lack of progress in their areas. Treated water remains elusive
while most rural areas lack electricity, accessible roads, bridges and
telephones. The schools and clinics remain poorly equipped because of apathy
by the government.

      Traditional leaders lack political wit and integrity. That is why they
allow themselves to be puppets of the ruling party.

      In Parliament, chiefs have found seats as direct political appointees.
The President appoints 10 of their representative's on the advice of the
Council of Chiefs.

      Resultantly they have found it worthwhile to fully support the ruling
party when in Parliament. None of these traditional leaders has been seen to
initiate and participate in meaningful debates. Their prominent role has
been to warm the benches and wait to raise their hands when told to do so in
support of oppressive pro-government legislation.

      An reflection back into history shows that our chiefs once made a
satanic partnership with the colonialists. They vigorously complied with
directives that oppressed their own people. Thus, they have a history of
aligning with oppressors against the interests of their own people. An
exception is the late Rekayi Tangwena who unflinchingly and with
unparalleled dedication defended the rights of his people against the
machinations of the white settlers. Chief Chirau from our Presidents'
birthplace was the most infamous bootlicker of the colonialists.

      Chiefs and their sub-chiefs collected taxes and were the eyes and ears
of colonialists to detect and suppress revolt.

      The juxtaposition of chiefs and district administrators and their
councillors is an undesirable duplication of duties. Besides, there are
governors to oversee the implementation of government policy in the
provinces. Chiefs are mostly illiterate, lack training on matters of
governance and are, thus, irrelevant. They are only there because of the
ruling party's propensity to bloat the civil service with useless

      In the past few years, the government has unwisely raised the salaries
of chiefs, sub-chiefs and provided allowances for village heads.

      All this has been done to consolidate Zanu PF support in the rural
areas through this political gimmick. Not every taxpayer supports Zanu PF
and it becomes a bitter insult to reward partisan chiefs with tax from
anti-Zanu PF contributors.

      In view of the harsh economic climate it is financially unwise to
continue rewarding these faceless ruling party apologists. There is no
meaningful role they play that warrants them to be on the government's

      The loud political support chiefs are rendering to the Zanu PF sinking
ship is regrettable. Their unwise actions are facilitating in the
entrenchment of poverty, destitution, oppression, corruption and other
countless ills associated with Zanu PF rule.

      Chiefs are an irrelevant anachronism only serving the selfish needs of
the government. Now is the time for them to strictly remain non-partisan or
they must, without delay, pack their bags and go.

      Vote Muza is a political commentator
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Traders Continue to Flout Pricing Regulations Despite Raids

The Herald (Harare)

April 25, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003

Tandayi Motsi

The police crackdown on the sale of basic commodities on the black market
and overcharging is being intensified, albeit amid defiance by the traders.

Thousands of the black market traders and business people selling basic
commodities at exorbitant prices are being arrested every week countrywide.

They seem not to be deterred by the police raids.

Recently at least 80 business people were arrested and fined $5 000 each for
overpricing basic commodities in Masvingo province.

Police spokesman Inspector Andrew Phiri said those selling basic commodities
at exorbitant prices were making huge profit.

"It appears the fines they are paying are of little significance when
compared to the profit they are amassing," he said.

"In our raids we are occasionally arresting the same people."

He said repeated offenders were being sent to courts for prosecution and
they could be sentenced to a maximum of three months.

What is surprising is that basic commodities that are in short supply in
retail outlets are readily available on the black market.

This lends credence to the Government's assertion that some manufacturers
are conniving with the black market traders with the view of sabotaging the

How else can one explain why basic commodities such as sugar, salt and
cooking are not available in the shops yet they are in plenty supply on the
black market.

It appears some leading wholesalers have established their own outlets,
which they supply with products to sell on the black market.

For instance, a packet of 15kg sugar is being sold for as much as $4 000 on
the black market compared to gazetted price of at least $1 500.

Recently management at one of the leading wholesalers, Mohammed Mussa, were
summoned by Industry and International Trade Minister, Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi
and ordered not to sell the sugar to their vendors who in turn sold the
commodity on the black market.

However, the wholesaler at first did not take heed of the warning until the
minister ordered sugar distributors to stop delivering the commodity to the

Consumers throughout the county are suffering because basic commodities such
as bread, sugar, cooking oil, fresh milk, salt and flour cannot be found in
retail outlets.

If available, they will be in small quantities such that consumers have to
scramble for them.

Some consumers have been calling for stiffer penalties to be imposed on
business-people flouting the pricing regulations.

"There is a need for the Government to deal with manufactures who are
supplying the black market with the basic commodities," said Mrs Susan
Runesu (46) of New Mabvuku.

"For how long are we going to endure these shortages of commodities?"

However, some manufacturers have attributed the shortage of basic
commodities such as bread to viability problems.

Bakers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Mr Armitage Chikwavira said it cost
at least $140 to produce a single loaf of bread while the gazetted selling
price was $54,95.

"There is a huge difference between the production costs and the returns and
as a result this has impacted negatively on the baking industry," he said.

The baking sector, Mr Chikwavira said, was sourcing flour from millers who
would have procured the essential raw material from the Grain Marketing

Zimbabwe is facing an acute flour shortage owing to poor harvests emanating
from last year's drought, a situation that has seen some bakeries importing
the commodity.

The average cost of bread on the black market is $250.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe chairman Mr Philip Bvumbe said manufacturers
and retailers were flouting price control regulations on basic commodities
because the penalty for doing so was insignificant.

There was a need, he said, for the Government and the private sector to work
together to ensure that products are made available to the people.

"Let us not under-estimate what is happening. The consumer has been hit bad
and I can rest assure you that if nothing is done towards alleviating that,
we are in a situation where there would be no consumer at all," he said.

Cross-border traders, he said, were worsening the scarcity of commodities in
the country.

Dr Mumbengegwi recently said the Government would soon review fines for
those caught violating the price controls.

National Economic Consultative Forum spokesman Mr Nhlanhla Masuku said
manufacturers were off-loading the basic commodities on the black market
because of the "artificial" pricing system.

"The manufacturers are aware that they earn more profit by supplying the
black market rather than selling the commodities through the formal system,"
he said.

Mr Masuku echoed Mr Bvumbe's sentiments, saying cross-border traders who
were selling basic commodities such as sugar and cooking oil in neighbouring
countries like in Zambia and Mozambique were compounding the situation.

"The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is still issuing
export licenses on commodities such as sugar in spite of the shortages being
experience in the county," he said.

"We have to be serious if the situation is to be resolved, because how can
the sugar distributors satisfy the local market when hundreds of tonnes are
being exported by the cross-border traders?"

Mr Masuku said there were indications that the situation would improve
following the recent signing of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum agreement
on prices and salaries freeze.

This, he said, coupled with the newly National Economic Revival Programme,
was set to put the economy back on track.

The TNF agreement that was signed by the three social partners, Government
labour and employers, mandated the Tripartite Price Monitoring and
Surveillance sub-committee to negotiate with producers on viable prices for
all basic commodities.

The sub-committee, in its negotiations with the producers, would take into
consideration issues like affordability and business viability.

The National Economic Revival Programme, that was launched recently, has
been hailed by some economists as a comprehensive policy that reflects the
Government's commitment to revive the ailing economy.

It envisages putting in place measures such as the standardisation of export
support scheme to $800 for US$1, the introduction of a $100 billion
revolving fund for the export and productive sectors and other initiatives
for critical sectors such as agriculture.

Zimbabwean companies, particularly the manufacturing sector, rely heavily on
the importation of capital equipment and other raw materials, a situation
that has affected national foreign currency reserves.

The major thrust now was to ensure that all sectors with the potential to
earn foreign currency, particularly agriculture, were adequately supported.
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State Slams Economic Saboteurs

The Herald (Harare)

April 25, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003


THE Government yesterday said it was dismayed to see some elements in labour
and business working with external interests hostile to Zimbabwe to
undermine national sovereignty by seeking to cripple the economy and cause
chaos using an illegal stayaway and lock-outs.

This comes in the wake of an illegal three-day stayaway called by the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions ostensibly to protest against recent fuel
price increases.

Most workers who reported for duty yesterday found their workplaces closed
and had to go back home.

"Consequently and in the interests of the rule of law, relevant authorities
in Government are compiling data on those industries that have illegally
locked out workers for reasons that are manifestly political and have done
so at great cost to many other third parties," said the Minister of State
for Information and Publicity, Professor Jona-than Moyo.

He said criminal and civil liabilities would have to be sought against the
culprits in terms of section 28, Part IV of the Public Order and Security
Act, which imposes civil liability on people who organise illegal actions
that impose costs on the public.

Those elements in labour who have called and encouraged the illegal stayaway
which has resulted in costs on third parties would have to be criminally
prosecuted and held liable in terms of section 109 of the Labour Relations
Amendment Act for failure to comply with section 104 of the same Act.

Under the section, no employees, workers committee, trade union, employer,
employer organisation or federation shall resort to collective job action
unless they give 14 days written notice of intent to such action specifying
the grounds for the intended action.

It also specifies that no collective job action may be recommended or
engaged in by any workers committee or trade union except with the agreement
of the majority of the employees voting by secret ballot.

According to section 109 of the Act, if a workers committee, trade union,
employers organisation or federation of trade unions or any individual
employer or employee group recommends, advises, encourages, threatened,
incites, commands, aids, procures, organises or engages in any collective
job action which is prohibited in terms of section 104, he/she shall be
guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not
exceeding five years, or both fine and imprisonment.

The ZCTU strike comes less than 14 days after the fuel price increases
announced on April 16.

Prof Moyo said the sections of POSA and the Labour Relations Act would be
applied vigorously on the leaders and organisations of the illegal stayaway
without fear or favour.

"Consequently the Government is calling on all members of the public who
have been affected either by illegal lock-outs, by industry assisting the
illegal action or by the illegal stayaway to approach relevant authorities
in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare or the police.

"Government meanwhile is compiling its own independent data on all those who
have done this."

The Government's first and foremost commitment was to ensure that
Zimbabweans had the peace, stability and order necessary for them to go
about their lives freely and peacefully, not just to revive the economy, but
to better their own lives and develop the country.

"That is the primary commitment of Government. And in the context of the
National Economic Recovery Programme, Government is determined and will do
everything possible to ensure that the agreed principles and parameters of
the programme are implemented and that the details are negotiated and agreed
on without giving up or compromising its constitutional obligation, duty and
responsibility to discharge the mandate of the people."

Some shops, banks, departmental stores and supermarkets opened in the
morning but closed around midday after allegedly receiving telephone calls
threatening to bomb them if they remained open.

In Harare's central business district, long and winding queues could be seen
outside banks and at automated teller machines.

Food outlets, flea markets and most informal sector traders were operating
as usual although they said business was low.

Some people who had come for shopping in town deplored the stayaway and
criticised supermarkets that closed their businesses.

Elsewhere, it was business as usual in most towns with banking halls, shops
and supermarkets remaining open since Wednesday.

Commuter omnibus operators who defied new fares approved by the Government
risk losing their permits.

The Government warned once again that it would withdraw licences and permits
from operators who were assisting the illegal strike called by the ZCTU
through charging high fares or withdrawing their buses.

"Submissions have been made which Government is considering. Those minibus
operators who do not want to observe the law and want to become a law unto
themselves have no business in the transport section and must leave and
enter politics," said the Minister of State for Information and Publicity,
Professor Jonathan Moyo.

He criticised operators who were allegedly paid by the ZCTU and the MDC to
keep their buses off the roads saying they should realise that they were
accepting trinkets without taking into consideration their long term
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      Human Rights Watch criticises lack of action on Zimbabwe
      IRINnews Africa, Mon 28 Apr 2003
 JOHANNESBURG, - Human Rights Watch has criticised the lack of action
by the UN Commission on Human Rights regarding alleged abuses in Zimbabwe.

      The rights group issued a statement at the end of the commission's
meeting in Geneva last week.

      The Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Project reported that the official The
Herald newspaper "celebrated Zimbabwe's escape from criticism" at the
meeting which ended on Friday 25 April, while reports in the private press
"indicated that human rights abuses in the country were as bad as ever".

      Human Rights Watch criticised the United States and the European Union
for not being firm enough about resolutions concerning the situation in

      "Resolutions on Russia, Zimbabwe and Sudan were all less critical than
in previous years and ultimately were defeated," Human Rights Watch said.

      The rights group added that "a powerful grouping of hostile
governments [which had] joined the commission in recent years, including
Algeria, Libya ... and Zimbabwe, joined with China, Cuba and Russia to
oppose several important country initiatives".

      While "African governments, led by South Africa, worked as a bloc to
oppose scrutiny of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe".

      The Media Monitoring Project said "the success in Geneva of the South
African-sponsored 'no-action' resolution that saved Zimbabwe from a United
States and European Union motion condemning the country's human rights
record, had given the state-controlled media an excuse to ignore the
evidence of on-going strife suffered by the country's civilian population".

      "But it did not explain why the privately owned press all ignored
South Africa's defence of the indefensible and the discreditable outcome of
the commission's vote," the media watchdog added.

      Meanwhile, with elections for commission membership set to be held
this week in New York, Human Rights Watch has argued that, as a prerequisite
for membership of the commission, governments should have: ratified core
human rights treaties; complied with their reporting obligations; issued
open invitations to UN human rights experts to visit their countries; and
not have been condemned recently by the commission for human rights
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GMB Eases Restrictions On Grain Sales

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

April 28, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003


The Zimbabwe government will allow individuals to sell limited quantities of
grain throughout the country, relaxing restrictions that make its Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) the sole buyer and seller of grain, state media

Permits obtainable from GMB depots will allow the movement of from 150 kg to
10 mt of grain countrywide, acting chief executive officer of the GMB,
retired lieutenant-colonel Samuel Muvhuti said.

In addition, up to 150 kg of grain can be sold throughout the country
without a permit and communal farmers can sell small quantities of grain in
rural areas.

"There has been an outcry that the GMB could be overdoing its grain
monitoring exercise, particularly at roadblocks," Muvhuti said. "People with
just a bucket or a maximum of three bags of maize can move their grain
without the approval from our Loss Control Department."

The police would be informed of the changes and farmers were encouraged to
report policemen who confiscate the smaller quantities, or larger quantities
moved with a permit. He said the government was more concerned with the
illegal export of its heavily subsided grain than its movement within the

Zimbabwe is in the throes of critical food shortages due to a combination of
drought, economic crisis and a land reform programme that severely disrupted
commercial production, leaving almost half the population in need of food

NGO's have repeatedly urged the GMB to relax its controls on the national
grain supply and allow free movement of grain, also from outside the
country, to alleviate shortages.

"We are doing this in an effort to make sure that the little we have is
equitably distributed amongst our people. We also want to build our
strategic reserve," Muvhuti said.

A Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) spokesman told IRIN on Monday that allowing
the free movement of less than 150 kg of grain would allow people like urban
dwellers harvesting a few bags from a small vacant plot to send food to
family in another area. Communal farmers would also benefit by being able to
move small amounts of their surplus for selling, instead of taking it to the
GMB as required.

However, for commercial farmers it would mean a tightening of control.

"[commercial] Farmers are still not allowed to sell freely. They are
contracted to grow large quantities for stock feed or other purposes and now
have to deliver directly to the company they have the contract with, instead
of going via the GMB.

"If farmers produce extra grain above the contracted amount, they are still
forced to take it to the GMB and cannot sell it privately," the CFU
spokesman said. "The GMB will monitor the contract deliveries and farmers
will still only be paid the government stipulated price."

A recently released report, "Relief and Recovery in Zimbabwe", by the
Training and Research Support Centre (TARSC), analysed GMB deliveries in
January 2003. It noted that national deliveries of price-controlled food by
the GMB had run into difficulties in 49 percent of districts.

The problems facing the GMB's inability to maintain supplies were reportedly
due to fuel and transport problems, and the government's lack of access to
foreign currency - all factors compounding the GMB's low reserves.

Quoting December figures from the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment
Committee, the TARSC report noted that only 14 percent of households said
they were able to afford the uncontrolled "parallel" market rates for grain.

"Importing adequate supplies and making national food imports accessible to
poor households at community level are thus the most important immediate and
urgent gaps to address in food security," the TARSC report said.

Timothy Neill, a spokesman for the National NGO Food Security Network
(FOSENET) told IRIN that the decision to allow freer movement of grain was a
step in the right direction.

"The more things are freed the better. There should be no restrictions, as
these create artificial shortages, particularly in urban areas where people
have had food confiscated, and where the government has used food as a
political weapon.

"The whole control of grain is very much a smokescreen for corrupt
practices, and increasing freedom means reducing the levels of corruption,"
he said.
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Book Review

     'Into Africa' - the search for a 'lost' explorer

            By Paul Taylor
            Special To The Sun
            Originally published April 27, 2003

            Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone, By
Martin Dugard. Doubleday. 288 pages. $24.95.

            Just off the main lobby of the grand old Victoria Falls Hotel in
Zimbabwe there is a wood-paneled sitting room with an unusual name: the "I
Presume Room."

            I passed through there a decade ago and was captivated not just
by the mellifluous sound of that room's name, but by the sharp, evocative
power of the allusion. How many other short-hand phrases conjure up so much
wonder and awe about the continent of Africa?

            I was struck, too, by how little I remembered about the story
behind it. Hmm, there was a famous explorer named Livingstone who set out to
discover the source of the Nile, right? When he vanished, someone named
Stanley went searching for him. And when the two finally met, Stanley
uttered the phrase that grade-school geography students have been repeating
ever since: "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?"

            That's the dimly remembered outline. But what was the story
behind it? And why are fancy hotels still naming rooms for their fateful
rendezvous more than 130 years after the fact?

            Into Africa is a workman-like narrative history that supplies
the answers. In the 19th century, the continent of Africa held a far firmer
grip on the world's imagination than it does today. Its dense interior was
still uncharted and steeped in mystery. It was bisected by the Nile - the
world's longest river and a sort of holy grail for explorers.

            It was to the 19th century what Mount Everest and the moon were
to the 20th. It flowed south to north, from the continent's midsection to
the Mediterranean Sea. Moses, Cleopatra and Alexander had all drank its
waters. But despite centuries of expeditions, no one had been able to
determine where the river began.

            Finding the source became a particular obsession in England, and
the most legendary of that country's explorers was a missionary named David
Livingstone. He'd spent a lifetime in Africa - battling lions, cannibals,
malaria, slave traders, swamp fever, dysentery and pagans. Well past his
50th birthday, he determined that finding the source of the Nile would be
his crowning achievement. So off he went.

            In due time, he disappeared and was feared dead, "swallowed by
the continent." But a brash American newspaper publisher, eager to
capitalize on the world's fascination with Livingstone, played a hunch and
sent an intrepid young reporter on an expedition to find him.

            Henry Morton Stanley endured at least as many misadventures as
did Livingstone. Finally, the two met and formed a short-lived father-son
bond, despite the fact that the old explorer was a gentle soul and the young
reporter a brute. Did either ever find the source of the Nile? Hey, read the

            Both men did keep copious journals, so Dugard has ample material
to work with. Perhaps too ample. There are only so many bouts with diarrhea
a reader can absorb in 300-plus pages. The adventures are indeed epic, but
they come in such detail and profusion that the effect is often numbing.
This is a book I'd recommend for Africanists and action-adventure
aficionados. More casual readers may well find it a heavy slog.

            Paul Taylor, president and founder of the Alliance for Better
Campaigns, was southern Africa bureau chief for The Washington Post in the
mid-1990s. His book See How They Run was published by Knopf in 1990.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Victor Frankl (Written whilst prisoner in a concentration camp)

" Let us live for every second of our present lives...give of ourselves
completely and totally in the moment and the results will take care of
themselves. Refuse absolutely to accept despair...of all the emotions this
is the killer - a man in despair is one of the living dead. We have
everything to live for...everything to justify why we are right here, right
now in our lifetime. Seize this day - the why is already apparent - we
stand for peace, for love and for a better future in our chosen community -
the how is what you are doing right now - the fight for freedom has never
been easy...."


Letter 2: W Breytenbach

With the tobacco-selling season about to begin, I, as a farmer who lost
everything that we worked for during the past 40 years, would like to ask
Mr. Jim van Heerden and other tobacco merchants a simple question.

Is the tobacco industry in Zimbabwe going to follow the example of the
international horticultural market and refuse to buy from producers who do
not hold title deeds or even a lease to show that they are official owners
of the land they occupy, or does the Industry look upon the scenario as the
long awaited for opportunity to finally control the production of tobacco
in Zimbabwe the same way as they do in several other countries?

Keep in mind that sooner or later, legality will return to Zimbabwe and
then litigation against all those who are deemed to have supported the
present madness will commence with a vengeance.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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      28 Apr 2003 12:12:26 GMT
      S.Africa meeting to refine "blood diamond" pact


By Andrew Quinn

JOHANNESBURG, April 28 (Reuters) - Diamond-producing nations are trying this
week to refine a pact to stem trade in "blood diamonds", blamed for funding
wars and political violence across Africa.

Representatives of some 70 countries are meeting in Johannesburg to assess
the first months of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, an agreement
reached in November to track one of the world's most prized -- and
misused -- commodities.

"We are here to check the effectiveness of the system," Abbey Chikane, the
South African chairman of the group, said at the start of the three-day
meeting on Monday.

"Even though we still have a lot to do in improving the system, we have a
very solid basis."

While the Kimberley pact has been hailed by diamond importing and exporting
countries as well as the diamond industry and the United Nations, human
rights groups say it lacks mechanisms to deal with violators.

Specifically, groups have accused Zimbabwe, the Congo Republic and the
Central African Republic of acting as conduits for uncut gems from the
Democratic Republic of Congo, which rebels in countries such as Sierra
Leone, Angola and Congo have then used to finance wars and commit human
rights abuses.

"There has to be some process for evaluating all of the countries, to assess
the extent of their compliance," said Corinna Gilfillan of Global Witness, a
British-based non-governmental group which monitors the diamond trade.

"This is a real credibility test. If they don't take action, it will call
into question the credibility of the whole system."


Chikane said most signatories were eager to follow Kimberley guidelines, but
some lacked the legal or administrative mechanisms to do so.

He cited the United States, which only last week approved legal measures to

follow the Kimberley process and begin tracking diamonds from Africa's mines
to the shops where they are eventually sold.

Despite calls for a closer look at diamond sales in Zimbabwe and other
African countries, Chikane said the Johannesburg meeting would focus on ways
to determine compliance rather than on individual cases.

He added that South Africa -- a major force in reaching the Kimberley
agreement -- did not explicitly support calls for an independent monitoring
system, preferring to work for better national monitoring and control

But Chikane said that once compliance terms have been set, countries could
expect to come under close scrutiny.

"We will have to decide how to deal with those countries that have not
complied," he said. "We were looking at the forest. We are now going to look
at the trees, and we will begin looking at the leaves."

Some non-government observers said the Johannesburg meeting should address
doubts about the Kimberley agreement -- noting that some major signatories
such as Australia and Canada had received certification documentation from
only a handful of participating countries.

"We find that shocking," said Ian Smillie of Partnership Africa Canada. "It
goes to the heart of the effectiveness of the Kimberley process."
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Does Iraq seem likely place for democracy?
N.Y. Times News Service

THE FUTURE OF FREEDOM: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad

By Fareed Zakaria. W.W. Norton. 236 pages. $24.95.

The triumph of democracy in Central Europe after the collapse of the Soviet
empire led to the fatuous assumption that democracy would succeed everywhere
else. Many intellectuals brushed aside the advantages that Central Europe
had that other regions lacked: high literacy rates, a long bourgeois
tradition and exposure to the Western Enlightenment.

Thus policy-makers were not prepared for elections that helped pave the way
to mass killings in the Balkans, to new dictatorships in Central Asia and to
chaos in Africa. As Fareed Zakaria explains in "The Future of Freedom:
Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad," elections are not necessarily
synonymous with constitutional liberalism: "Democracy is flourishing;
liberty is not."

Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International, defines constitutional
liberalism as the "bundle of freedoms" that include the rule of law, the
rights of free speech and religion and the protection of minorities. Such
freedoms, he writes, require the limitation of power, although democracy can
sometimes mean the accumulation of it by an electorate that is little more
than a mob. An example is his native India, where Hindu politicians pursue
the "rhetoric of hatred," which has led to "the ethnic cleansing of tens of
thousands" simply because it appeals to so many anti-Muslim voters.

Zakaria's complex argument is particularly relevant today, as the United
States is at the apex of its power in the Middle East, facing the decision
of whether to democratize Iraq quickly and whether to push for change
elsewhere in the region.

He provides this cautionary note: "The Arab rulers of the Middle East are
autocratic, corrupt and heavy-handed. But they are still more liberal,
tolerant and pluralistic than what would likely replace them. Elections in
many Arab countries would produce politicians who espouse views that are
closer to Osama bin Laden's than those of Jordan's liberal monarch, King

Nevertheless, elections in Iraq, particularly in the Shiite areas, might
show the world that the United States is bent on the Iraqis' liberation
rather than on their subjugation. Elections would also pressure the Shiite
regime in neighboring Iran to liberalize. But it is the circumstances of
each Middle Eastern country that should dictate how far and how fast we push
for democratization, and not our ideological hubris.

Elections often constitute the culmination of liberalization rather than its
beginning. The United States will surely be at its best in the Middle East
when it promotes the general principles of a free society, rather than when
it seeks to interpret those principles too narrowly and legalistically by
demanding elections when it is dangerous to do so. In a post-Saddam Hussein
Middle East, Zakaria implies, our truest allies will be patience and
endurance. His book, whose target is zealotry and not democracy, could not
have been published at a more appropriate time.

Democracy's mixed record in producing liberty is Zakaria's theme. He writes
about Karl Lueger, the rabid anti-Semite who in 1895 was elected mayor of
Vienna. The unelected Habsburg emperor, Franz Joseph I, refused to honor the
election, an anti-democratic measure that furthered the cause of historic
liberalism rather than impeded it. As the author shows, the rise of fascism
in the first half of the 20th century was inextricable from the expansion of
the democratic franchise: Hitler rose to power through a free and fair
democratic election.

Because social and economic conditions in much of the non-Western world now
approximate those of Europe between the wars, Zakaria is able to catalog a
vast array of instances in which the electorate's will led to the
retrenchment of liberty. In 1994 voters in Belarus overwhelmingly elected
the extreme nationalist Alexander Lukashenko as their president. The recent
crackdown on independent news media by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia
was sanctioned by the electorate in opinion polls. In 1998 Venezuelans
elected as their president Hugo Chavez, the angry populist and cashiered
army colonel who then eviscerated the legislature and the judiciary.

And while Americans and Israelis justly despise the misrule of the
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the author points out that Arafat "is the
only leader in the entire Arab world who has been chosen through reasonably
free elections."

"The Future of Freedom," however, is no polemic against elections. Rather,
it is a calm antidote to the fervency of those who want to force elections
down the throat of every society, no matter what its particular
circumstances and historical experience. As any foreign correspondent knows,
there are all kinds and gradations of dictators. Saddam cannot be compared
with Gen. Pervez Musharraf, whose coup in Pakistan in 1999 led to an attempt
at "radical political, social, educational and economic reform" that no
elected politician would have dared. Nor can Lee Kuan Yew, who wrought an
economic miracle in Singapore, be compared with another dictator, Robert
Mugabe, whose thuggery and incompetency have brought Zimbabwe to the brink
of famine and bankruptcy. Zakaria, far from extolling dictatorship, usefully
reminds us of a complicated world that cannot be depicted as a Manichaean
divide between democratic and authoritarian.

"It should surely puzzle these scholars and intellectuals," Zakaria writes,
"that the best-consolidated democracies in Latin America and East Asia --
Chile, South Korea and Taiwan -- were for a long while ruled by military
juntas. In almost every case the dictatorships opened the economy slowly and
partially, but this process made government more and more liberal."

Nor did our own democracy spring from completely exalted ground. Zakaria
notes that Western liberty was born of naked struggles for power. The
Vatican, though itself reactionary, furthered the cause of individual
liberty by competing with the power of the state so that the state lost its
monopoly on ideas. There was also the dumb luck of geography: Europe's many
rivers, mountains and navigable bays allowed for the growth of feisty,
independent countries, in contrast to the flatlands of Asia, easily overrun
and thus friendly to despotism. Earned wealth also helped the West. The rise
of a bourgeoisie and private businesses weakened the state's centralizing

The author nowhere denies moral will as a factor in liberty but writes that
people of strong moral will exist in many places that are still not liberal,
often because history, geography and economic conditions have not been

As for Iraq, Mesopotamia's flat geography, so friendly to conquest, as well
as its ethnic splits and absence of public opinion (at least as we know it),
would not make it seem fertile ground for democracy. Nevertheless, the
nation's high level of education and relatively secular tradition should
give us some cause for optimism. Who knows? Iraqis may turn out to be wise
in the way of Eastern Europeans, who had experienced a similar despotism.


Robert D. Kaplan, a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, is the author of
"Balkan Ghosts," "The Coming Anarchy" and other books.
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The Times

            Zimbabwe prepare for departure after visit from the vet
            By Owen Slot, Chief Sports Reporter

            FACING the prospect of protests and counter-publicity, the
Zimbabwe cricket team will leave Harare today for the two-Test tour of
England, having completed the process of being "politically vetted".

            "Politically vetted" is the expression of the leaders of the
gathering Stop the Tour campaign, but it is endorsed by Alistair Campbell,
the former Zimbabwe captain who retired last month. "That's what the team
are," he said, "a bunch of 'yes' men. And Heath Streak (the captain) couldn'
t say a bad word about anything. If you could pick your best Zimbabwean
side, not many of these guys would be in it."

            The team, says Campbell, will have been passed by Zimbabwe's
Sports Commission and the players will have been told that if they are going
to open their mouths while in England, then it is only the right sort of
words that are permitted to come out. "I used to have a clause in my
contract that said that if anything from me appeared in the press that was
politically orientated, then I'd be suspended without pay, pending
investigation," Campbell said.

            "So all you'll hear from these players is: 'we're here to play
cricket'. That's it."

            After the experiences of Andy Flower and, particularly, Henry
Olonga during the World Cup, the consequences of speaking out against the
Zimbabwean Government are well established. That is one reason, explains
Campbell, why the touring team is so young. Tatenda Taibu, the wicketkeeper,
is only 19, yet has been appointed vicecaptain.

            "These are young guys who still want to make their way in the
game, so they're not likely to do anything wrong," Campbell said. "It's a
lot of untried youth. I actually feel sorry for them. It's unfair to thrust
them into the international arena so early."

            It is hardly surprising, then, that Alan Wilkinson, the leader
of Stop the Tour, has described the touring party as "ambassadors for Robert
Mugabe", and is galvanising support in order to carry out a campaign of
disruption.Wilkinson does not envisage a "mass following" and he concedes
that there will probably be more people watching the cricket than protesting
against it, but he promises that there will be "activity" at every game.

            "Stopping the tour is clearly what we'd ultimately like to
achieve," he said, "but we want to make sure that when every game is being
played, people realise that there are others back home whose lives and
freedom are under threat."

            Among those joining the protests at Lord's and
Chester-le-Street, the two Test match venues, will be Kate Hoey, Labour's
former Sports Minister, whose protest will be contrary to party line.

            On March 24, Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture,
Media and Sport, wrote a letter to Tim Lamb, the chief executive of the
England and Wales Cricket Board, in which she gave the Zimbabwe tour the
green light. "Whilst we did not support the England team going to Zimbabwe
during the World Cup because of the propaganda opportunities that could have
afforded the Mugabe regime," she wrote, "we do not wish to stand in the way
of Zimbabwean teams competing here."

            However, it is strange that the Government should be so happy to
endorse the tour when the agreement between the two cricket unions was made
on the understanding that England would return to Zimbabwe in 2004.

            Perhaps this was why Hoey was so forceful in a parliamentary
debate on Zimbabwe on April 1. "No one who watches the two Test matches and
the other matches will enjoy them, knowing that the lives of some of the
Zimbabwean players have been threatened," she said. "The Government should
say that they do not want Zimbabwe to tour."

            Zimbabwe's Test tour squad

            H H Streak, captain (age 29, Tests 51)
            T Taibu, vice-captain (20, 6)
            G W Flower (32, 63)
            D D Ebrahim (22, 14)
            M A Vermeulen (24, 1)
            B G Rogers (20, 0)
            S M Ervine (20, 0)
            A M Blignaut (24, 8)
            M L Nkala (22, 7)
            S V Carlisle (30, 27)
            R W Price (26, 10)
            T J Friend (22, 10)
            V Sibanda (19, 0)
            D T Hondo (23, 1)

            ITINERARY: May 3-6: v British Universities, Edgbaston. 9-12: v
Worcestershire, Worcester. 15-18: v Sussex, Hove. 22-26: 1st Test, Lord's.
May 30-June 2: v Middlesex, Shenley. June 5-9: 2nd Test, Riverside.
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The Herald

President not leaving office

Herald Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe has not indicated a wish to leave office now or at any
other time before the expiry of his term, the Department of Information and
Publicity said yesterday.

"All the President did in the recent interview marking the 23rd anniversary
of independence, was to invite national debate on a range of national
questions including that of succession.

"But sadly, so far, there has been no debate or debaters, serve for flippant
speculations and crazy scenario building," the Department said in a

It said of late there has been a bombardment of sensational media reports
that have been drawing up uninformed and uninforming hypothetical political
scenarios which seem to imply a constitutional/legal, institutional and
personnel vacuum in the country.

"The Zimbabwean people know only too well that the highest office is
occupied, and is only available to aspirants strictly on the basis of
democratic processes, procedures and practices provided for by the

"Consequently and against these basic constitutional realities, any
speculative reports on 'transitional government', 'transitional arrangements
', 'exit plan' or 'exile' are best wishful, and at worst an undemocratic
insult to the people of Zimbabwe based on a desire to subvert and usurp
their sovereign will cynically in their name and in the name of democracy,"
the Department said.

It said such reports have largely been inspired and originated by the
British-linked newsmen and newspapers in defence of white interests in
Zimbabwe and southern Africa.

"This patently mistaken and self-serving reportage is meant to create an
atmosphere of uncertainty and division, in order to detract the Zimba-bwean
people from focussing on and addressing real issues.

"The Zimbabwe Government restates that Zimbabwe has a living constitution,
which has consistently shaped and guided its politics since the end of
British colonial rule in 1980."

The Department dismissed reports that Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi would visit
the country to work out President Mugabe's "exit plan".

It said the three leaders had expressed an interest to visit the country to
update themselves on "our situation in the context of their protracted
mediation efforts between Zimbabwe and Britain".

"This proposed visit is predicated on a firm understanding that the people
of Zimbabwe held elections that were recognised by the whole of Africa as a
legitimate expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people.

"It is based on a firm recognition that the people of Zimbabwe desire and
deserve full sovereignty and to that end are supported by Africa.

"Indeed, the Presidents are aware that the land question has been the core
issue at the heart of Zimbabwe's politics and that everything else depends
on the resolution of this question in favour of the previously landless
black majority.

"The three Presidents are clear that Zimbabweans have no wish to see their
gains reversed through backdoor deals meant to either entrench or perpetuate
colonial interests in Zimbabwe," the Department said.

It said Zimbabwe had a legitimate and functional Government in office whose
mandate derives from the June 2000 parliamentary elections.

The ruling Zanu-PF won 57 of the country's 58 districts in the 2002 rural
district elections and above all the country had a sitting President elected
by Zimbabweans in March 2002 whose six-year term expires in 2008.

"For all the self-serving biased coverage, the people of Zimbabwe have not
expressed a wish to withdraw the mandate they gave to the present

"Nor have they indicated a wish to transit to another dispensation, whether
constitutional or political, shaped and defined by processes which exclude
them and are largely called by foreign interests," the Department said.

It said what was disturbing about the reports was the clear contempt of the
Zimbabwean people who are treated as if they have no say in their political
future, but have to count on foreign political processes, actions and actors
with no legitimate role or authority in shaping the country's political

"Zimbabweans are accustomed to directing and expressing their political
wishes and choices through their own well-established electoral calendar and

"They know the office of presidency to be elective; they know the office of
Member of Parliament to be elective. Indeed, they know that the institution
that governs them comes from them through the ballot, and never to them
through phoney negotiations that undermine the national interest and seek to
suspend their rights of suffrage, even for a single day."

The Government thus read with utter dismay reports that seem to suggest that
the verdict of the people of Zimbabwe as expressed through elections has to
be side stepped, circumvented and altogether set aside for the sake of a
"transitional Government" or some so-called government of national unity
that pleases certain foreign powers with colonial interests here and that
seek a political accommodation of the opposition MDC which lost local
government, parliamentary and presidential elections.

"Government is also dismayed by opportunistic and downright mischievous
attempts to draw comparison between Morgan Tsvangirai and the late
Vice-President Joshua Nkomo; between PF-Zapu and the MDC, or to make a case
for dialogue between Zanu-PF and MDC on the basis of principles of the
historic Unity Accord of 1987.

"The late Vice-President Nkomo, PF-Zapu and the Unity Accord were products
of nationalist and liberation politics, as opposed to the British-directed
quisling politics of Tsvangirai and his MDC."

The Department said there was no agenda for talks with the MDC with a view
to overturning the people's electoral verdict and no negotiation committee
has been set up for that stillborn purpose.

"Zanu-PF and its Government will not dabble in any political misadventures
whose outcome seeks to temper and attenuate, let alone overthrow the will of
the people of Zimbabwe, as expressed through a popular vote."

On the basis of its 2000 and 2002 election manifesto, the Zanu-PF Government
defines the real issues facing Zimbabwe as resolving the long standing land
question, reviving the economy, particularly safeguarding the interests of
workers and consumers, and defending Zimbabwe's sovereignty, which stands
threatened by neo-colonially minded Western governments and interests.

"While much ground has been covered in respect of the land question, a lot
remains to be accomplished, particularly in respect of adjusting the
constitutional and legal framework of the country to confirm the de facto
land tenure situation arising from land reforms, as well as mopping up areas
of persisting landlessness in a number of congested communal areas.

"This, coupled with the urgent question of making the new farmer productive,
is a major pre-occupation of the Party and Government."

The Department said since the commencement of the land reform programme,
Zimbabwe's sovereignty has been under a British-led attack both directly
through sanctions and downright interference in its internal affairs and
indirectly through the use of surrogate forces, principally the MDC.

"A people, especially peasants in the countryside, who have in the past paid
the ultimate price for their freedom and sovereignty, cannot be expected to
embrace forces and processes designed to undermine that very sovereignty."
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UK working with MDC to topple Government: Donnelly

Herald Reporter
BRITISH High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Donnelly has conceded that
his government is working with opposition parties and civic groups to
install a new government in Zimbabwe.

Mr Donnelly said there was nothing wrong with supporting civic groups whose
aims are to promote democratic policies in the country.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a workshop on elections in
Zimbabwe in Vumba last week.

The British High Commission has in the past denied interfering in the
domestic affairs of Zimbabwe and supporting the MDC.

But the latest revelations by Mr Donnelly have vindicated the Government's
stance that Britain is involved in covert activities aimed at undermining
the country's independence and sovereignty.

Mr Donnelly said Britain had a tradition of supporting democratic processes
worldwide and Zimbabwe was no exception.

"What's wrong with supporting the opposition and civic groups that promote
democracy?" asked Mr Donnelly.

When asked whether it was not the responsibility of Zimbabweans to elect a
government of their own choice, Mr Donnelly said under international law, it
was acceptable for a foreign power to advocate for a change of government in
another country.

He said before the outlawing of foreign funding of opposition political
parties, opposition parties and some civic groups in the country used to
receive funds from the Westminster Foundation, which is directly funded by
the British government.

He, however, said that the High Commission was still supporting civic groups
in the country and was undertaking various developmental projects mainly in
rural areas.

The High Commissioner said his Government did not recognise the Government
and President Mugabe as Head of State.

"We don't deal with the Government, we deal with the country. We deal with
the people and we have various projects that we are doing with the people,"
he said.

Asked to elaborate, Mr Donnelly said this was so because of the sour
relations existing between Harare and London.

The relations soured after the Government embarked on the land reform
programme aimed at correcting historical imbalances that had seen the
majority blacks eking out a living on poor soils while a tiny minority of
whites, most of whom are of British origin, owned vast tracts of the
country's arable land.

Mr Donnelly said Britain was campaigning for the isolation of Zimbabwe from
various multilateral organisations and the imposition of sanctions because
he believed the country was not following internationally accepted
democratic principles.

"When you see your friend not following the same laws that he is signatory
to and is not following internationally accepted laws and norms of
governance then that friend does not deserve to be your friend," said Mr

He, however, conceded that there was no total collapse and breakdown of law
in Zimbabwe as portrayed by most Western media.

"Of course there is no total collapse and that is why I am still here. Our
commission is still operating in Zimbabwe because of the relations that
exist between Britain and Zimbabwe," he said.

Despite frosty relations between the two countries, Britain and Zimbabwe
have had long and strong historical relations and that his country has a lot
of economic interests in Zimbabwe.

Britain was one of the major consumers of Zimbabwe's tobacco and had a
number of economic ventures in the country.

As a way to reinforce his point, Mr Donnelly said Zimbabweans were so much
attached to British culture as seen in their interests in English soccer.

Mr Donnelly said his country was open to dialogue with the Zimbabwean
Government as the current stalemate was not benefiting the two countries.

He, however, could not explain who was stalling the dialogue.

On the silence of the British and other Western nations in condemning the
recent violent MDC stayaway, Mr Donnelly said the European Union had issued
a statement in which it disapproved of the violence that characterised the

Mr Donnelly denied reports that the British government had changed its
strategy of demonising the country because of the land reform programme and
was now focusing on issues of human rights.

"That's nonsense, we have always emphasised that Britain wants to see a
peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe. We have not shifted from that stance," he

The British High Commissioner castigated the public media for what he
alleged was unfair reporting.

He alleged that the unfair reporting recently forced him to turn down an
invitation by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation to share his views on
its current affairs programme on the invasion of Iraq.

He said the public media always criticised the British government for
alleged double standards in its definition of democracy but the same public
media did not tolerate divergent views.
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