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

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Zim Online

Government steps up recruitment of youth militia
Fri 29 April 2005
  BULAWAYO - The government is stepping up the recruitment of youths from
the opposition stronghold of Matabeleland region for its controversial
national youth militia programme.

      A programme officer at the Ministry of Youth in Matabeleland, Tarisai
Chimutengwende, told ZimOnline yesterday that recruitment was in full swing
at the ministry's youth training camps at Guyu in Matabeleland South and
Kamativi in Matabeleland North province.

      The two camps have an intake of 1 500 youths each.

      "The programme is going ahead . . . we are actually aiming to produce
more graduates than we have managed before," Chimutengwende said.

      Churches and human rights groups have accused the youth militia of
hunting down, torturing, raping and murdering opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party supporters.

      Some of the youths seconded to the government's Grain Marketing Board,
which oversees distribution of state food aid, have been accused of barring
MDC supporters from receiving food relief as punishment for backing the
opposition party. The government denies the charges saying its national
youth service programme is meant to inculcate patriotism and discipline in
young Zimbabweans.

      Chimutengwende said the government was specifically targeting
Matabeleland because fewer youths from the opposition supporting region were
coming up to join the programme. He said only 10 000 youths from
Matabeleland had been trained since the programme began five years ago
compared to the 25 000 youths that the government had hoped to have trained
from the region by now.

      All in all, more than 70 000 have been trained from across the
country, Chimutengwende said.

      Some of the youths who have escaped from the more than 10 training
camps spread across the country have told of how they are taught torture
methods and encouraged to commit human rights abuses against MDC supporters
and all perceived government opponents. Female recruits have also spoke of
how their instructors, most of them retired army officers, rape them at the
camps. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

South African power chief in veiled attack on Mugabe
Fri 29 April 2005
  BULAWAYO - A top South African business executive, Reu Khoza, in a thinly
veiled attack on President Robert Mugabe's style of governance, yesterday
took a swipe at African leaders whom he accused of stalling development on
the continent.

      Addressing business executives and some government ministers at the
ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) 2005, Khoza, who is
chairman of South Africa's Eskom power utility, said Africa needed sound
leadership if it was to develop.

      The fair, which is Zimbabwe's industrial marketing window, has been
snubbed by Western countries and firms protesting Mugabe's poor governance
and human rights record.

      Khoza said: "Africa needs a leadership that is politically and
personally as gracious, honourable and magnanimous in defeat as in success.
We need the leadership that acts as much as for today as it does for the
future as well as the leadership that generates trust, goodwill and

      "Africa needs a leadership that lives by the tenets of consultation,
persuasion, accommodation, and cohabitation."

      Critics accuse Mugabe, who has been at the helm for the past 25 years,
of wreaking what was once one of Africa's economic success stories.

      Five years ago, Mugabe sanctioned the violent seizure of large swathes
of commercial farms from whites for redistribution to landless blacks,
plunging the once vibrant agriculture sector into turmoil. Since then the
country has virtually survived on food handouts from the international

      Mugabe has been the butt of sharp criticism from other prominent South
Africans despite the country's "quiet diplomacy" policy towards Zimbabwe.
Last year, revered Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu attacked Mugabe's style
of governance describing the 81-year old Zimbabwean leader as "a caricature
of an African leader." - ZimOnline

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Garbage collection saga takes new twist

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Apr-29

THE confusion surrounding perennial delays in removing garbage in Harare
took another turn yesterday with a city official denying ever making
statements that refuse was lying uncollected because council had not renewed
contracts awarded to some private players.
Newsnet quoted city spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi on Monday attributing the
non-collection of accumulating rubbish in the capital's streets and
residential areas to a combination of factors including non-renewal of
tenders and lack of technical capacity by tender winners to fully service
the capital.
Companies contracted to collect garbage on behalf of the municipality are
Encore Consolidated, Cleansing and Environment Services and Broadway
Contacted for comment yesterday Gwindi made a surprise U-turn and denied
ever saying tenders were yet to be renewed.
He said: "I never said that (new contracts were yet to be issued). I have
told you before that the private contractors are failing to perform due to a
number of technical problems they are facing. Council has had to
re-introduce its small fleet to supplement what they have."
Besides failing to provide short-changed rate payers with efficient service
which has been complicated further by irregular water supplies, the Harare
City Council also does not collect refuse on time with some areas going for
two months with rubbish uncollected.
Some parts of the capital's central business district (CBD) have become an
eyesore, an embarrassment to a city, which not very long ago prided itself
as the 'Sunshine City' - one of the cleanest cities in the world.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chinese firm demands deposit for wagons

Shame Makoshori
issue date :2005-Apr-29

A CHINESE firm, CNR, that has been contracted by the government of Zimbabwe
to assemble fourteen rail locomotives and several wagons for the National
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has demanded a prompt down-payment before
artisans can start working on the project, The Business Mirror heard on
Wednesday. "CNR has asked us to pay a deposit before they start work on the
project, we are working on that and we will soon make the payment. They have
completed the designs and we have said we are going to honour our side of
the bargain," Transport and Communications Minister Chris Mushohwe said.
He was, however, not at liberty to disclose the amount of money involved but
the figures are understood to run into millions of United States dollars.
Last year, Mushohwe sealed several bilateral deals with Chinese companies
for the assembling of the NRZ engines, aircraft for Air Zimbabwe and
telecommunications components for the fixed telephone operator Tel*One.
While there had been so much hype that the NRZ engines would be delivered by
April 2005,   work on the project is gathering dust on the drawing board as
CNR has just only completed the designs and are now awaiting the payment
from Zimbabwe.
Last week, China delivered two MA60 aircraft valued to the tune of US$22
The bulk of the money have however not been catered for in the 2005 National
Budget and government is likely to divert funds allocated to other sectors
to make the payments as authorities are under pressure from the public to
halt biting transport problems that have been rocking the country.The
government is also facing challenges in the provision of food to the nation
as crop production has been severely affected by low rainfall in the just
ended agricultural season.
      Already, there are reports that at least $5 trillion has already been
diverted from infrastructural development for the procurement of food,
slowing down work on other development projects.
The minister said government had the capacity to settle the amounts and see
through the turnaround of the strategic parastatal, whose operations had
been badly affected by the volatile economic problems.
A $500 billion tranche has already been extended to the NRZ by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe as part of the logistical concern's share of the Productive
Sector Facility (PSF).
Other measures include the taking over of debt from some state companies by
government to take the burden off their shoulders.
"I am pleased by the turnaround at the NRZ so far since last year. For
example the number of accidents have gone down and we will continue helping
the company in order to see it return to profitability," Mushohwe added.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Power cuts to continue

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Apr-29

POWER cuts, which hit Zimbabwe last week, are set to continue as Zesa
Holdings, on Wednesday, failed to beat a self-imposed deadline to normalise
the situation.
The country is experiencing power supply interruptions, blamed on the
breakdown of three generators - at Hwange and two others at Kariba power
stations - as well as transmission failure to access supplies from Snell,
the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) power utility.
Last week, Zesa made a commitment to fully restore power supplies by
Wednesday this week.
Zesa public relations manager, Obert Nyatanga said the power utility had
managed to repair one generator and secured the much-needed DRC imports.
But the two generators at Kariba Power Station remained down, creating a
deficit of 250 megawatts, he added.
"One generator was repaired on Tuesday and I am told that power from the DRC
was restored last night (Wednesday). We expect the other two generators to
be functional by the end of the weekend," said Nyatanga.
He said Zesa was still awaiting spares for the two generators, but pressed
where they would source the inputs, he quipped: "elsewhere outside the
Nyatanga called for efficient and reasonable use of electricity. He also
urged consumers to exercise "demand side management."
Recently, Zesa told The Daily Mirror it needed at least US$7 million monthly
(about Z$5 billion) for the next three months to overcome the spares
Zesa's major setback was the shortage of foreign currency to import spares,
Nyatanga said.
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SA-Zim Trade Shrinks

Financial Gazette (Harare)

April 22, 2005
Posted to the web April 28, 2005

Felix Njini

SOUTH Africa's exports to Zimbabwe have tumbled from R7.3 billion in 2003 to
R6.2 billion in 2004.

Analysts say the fall in imports from the country's largest trading partner
mirrors Zimbabwe's weakening industrial base as local manufacturers buy less
due to capacity constraints.

Industry, now headed by former Matabeleland North governor Obert Mpofu after
a recent Cabinet reshuffle, has been hit by an economic recession that has
been dramatised by crippling shortages of fuel and foreign currency, high
inflation and biting interest rates.

"The fall in imports from South Africa is an indication of weak economic
capacity. Zimbabwean manufacturers are heavily reliant on raw materials from
South Africa and this is an indication of a flat productive sector," said a
local economist, commenting on statistics quoted by the Trade Law Centre for
Southern Africa.

Fourty-six percent of South African firms are said to have reported a drop
in exports to Zimbabwe.

"Demand for South African finished products has also been limited by the
foreign currency shortages. But, overall, this is a barometer (showing) that
the Zimbabwean economy is not performing," added the economist.

Economic growth in Zimbabwe has fallen by 30 percent during the past five
years although inflation, which peaked at an all-time high of 623 percent,
is now running at slightly above 120 percent. Unconfirmed reports say
economic instability in the country has cost the region over US$2.5 billion.

South African analysts predict there will not be many new investments and
expansion projects in Zimbabwe in the short term, except in the fledging
platinum sector.

Some observers say confidence among South African investors is being dented
by Harare's delay in endorsing a long-stalled trade and investment agreement
between the two countries. The terms of the agreement have been concluded
and are only awaiting endorsement by President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet.

"The infringement of property rights and disregard of the rule of law in
Zimbabwe may have made South African manufacturers to be extremely sensitive
about their investments in this country," said the economist.

But despite the jitters, 27 Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed firms have
operations in Zimbabwe, and market watchers estimate that South African
firms control over half of the shares listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

South African firms such as Impala Platinum, Anglo Platinum, Aquarius,
Pretoria Portland Cement, ABSA, Standard Bank and Old Mutual are some of the
largest investors in Zimbabwe.

Implats' total investment in Zimbabwe is around R1.7 billion, while
Angloplat has said it expects to start production at its US$92 million Unki
Platinum Mine soon.

Zimbabwe Platinum Mines, of which Implats is the majority shareholder,
contributed R52 million to Implats' bottom line last year while another
platinum miner, Mimosa Investments, jointly owned by Aquarius and Implats,
remitted R51 million.

Implats has been dithering on its planned phased expansion programme, citing
uncertainties surrounding property rights.

South African sugar and aluminium giant Tongaat-Hullet, which owns 100
percent of Lowveld-based Triangle Sugar Limited, is on record as saying it
had put on hold all its capital expansion programmes and would only be
implementing them "once things settle down politically and economically".
Triangle Sugar contributed R51 million to total group earnings in 2004.
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Brazil Swallows Zim Tobacco Share

Financial Gazette (Harare)

April 22, 2005
Posted to the web April 28, 2005

Rangarirai Mberi

NEWS of a massive tobacco harvest in Brazil has raised fresh worries about
the future of Zimbabwe's tobacco industry, still struggling to return to the
top of world production after five straight years of decline.

And it is not only Brazil's 757 million kilograms of tobacco that have
worried the local tobacco industry. An even greater worry is that Brazil and
other producers have now begun to muscle in on Zimbabwe's remaining trump
card on tobacco's world markets - quality.

Zimbabwe's tobacco which is traditionally geared for the unmanufactured
international leaf market has over the years had a reputation for quality
and is in demand for blending purposes.

Brazil has seen the fastest growth in output among the world's flavour type
flue-cured tobacco producers, through a strategy of lifting its grower
numbers and expand the planted area.

The number of growers in South Brazil, the area which solely produces that
country's crop, rose from 170 830 in the 2002-03 season to 190 270 in the
2003-04 crop, representing an increase of 11.4 percent. The planted area
also kept pace with the number of growers, rising from 353 810 hectares in
the 2002-03 season to 411 290 in 2003-04. Yields per hectare went from 1 697
kilos in 2003 to 2 069 kilos last year.

According to leading US tobacco market researchers and economists, Brown and
Snell, strong world demand allied with the frequent reductions in the US and
Zimbabwe - which are Brazil's main competitors - account for Brazil's 10 to
12 percent increase in the planted area.

Zimbabwe's own statistics compare unfa-vourably with Brazil's huge growth

Production has progressively come down since the 2000 peak of 267 million
kg, sliding to 202 million kg in 2001, 165 million kg in 2002, 80 million kg
in 2003 and a paltry 68 million kg last year. Some 85 million of what was
once the golden leaf kg are expected this year.

And while Zimba-bwe has been losing its share of the world market, Brazil
has been picking up more.

"Zimbabwe's flue-cured production has continued to erode, down from 267
million kg in 2000, with Brazil picking up much of Zimbabwe's lost
production," Brown and Snell said in a recent report.

"Increases in the United States likely would come as merchants shifted some
production from Brazil to the United States and moved future decreases in
Zimbabwe production to the United States."

Brazil, experts say, will remain the dominant producer and exporter of
flavour-type flue-cured tobacco, at least in the foreseeable future.

Executives of Zimbabwe's tobacco industry concede that Zimbabwe is unlikely
to catch up with the kind of quantity that Brazil's is putting out on the
market, but are holding out for an even tougher battle on the quality front.

According to Rodney Ambrose, the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe
Tobacco Association, the local industry should concentrate less on quantity,
and instead look to lead the world market in terms of quality.

"Our strength has always been in flavour-style tobacco. Our production
levels are not that bad, but it's in the quality that we need to continue to
improve," Ambrose said.

"If we can concentrate our efforts on improving quality, then everything
else will follow; we can get better prices for our crop and better foreign
currency earnings for the country."

However, even if Zimbabwe was able to retain its reputation as the leading
producer of the best quality crop in the world - a reputation increasingly
coming under threat - buyers say a key task for Zimbabwe will be to overcome
emerging concerns worldwide that the country may struggle to maintain a
reliable supply to the global market.

"There is no doubting Zimbabwean tobacco. The local leaf is a league ahead
of the crop from other countries that produce this (flue-cured) type of
tobacco. But the question is, will we still get tobacco from Zimbabwe in the
next five years? Buyers need to know that for sure," a buyer told The
Financial Gazette at the Tobacco Sales Floors last week.

Because of the big Brazil crop, and an even larger crop from China, world
prices have been depressed at the start of this marketing year. However,
Zimbabwe's situation has been made worse by the poorer quality crop
delivered to the auction floors, the buyers say.

Because of the constant threat of disruptions to production and supply
blamed on government's alleged mishandling of land reforms, buyers are
likely to look elsewhere for a reliable supply of good quality crop.

The Brazilian integrated tobacco growing system is probably unique in the
world, whereby every grower signs a one-season contract with the buying
company, which then supplies all the inputs, paid on crop delivery, provides
technical assistance, and purchases the entire crop, regardless of quantity
and quality.

It is a controversial plan, but one which has guaranteed supply.
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Re-election to UN Human Rights Commission uproar

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 28 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - Human rights groups have called for the
"immediate reform" of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR)
after Zimbabwe's re-election to the 53-member commission on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe was among 15 countries chosen to sit on the commission for the next
three years, prompting immediate protests from the United States and other
developed nations.

Western governments and rights groups have branded the move as
"inappropriate", pointing to legislation that severely curtails civil
liberties in the southern African country.

"We remain deeply concerned that the government of Zimbabwe maintains
repressive controls on political assembly and the media, harasses civil
society groups, and continues to encourage a climate where the opposition
fears for its safety," William Brencick, deputy US representative to the
Economic and Social Council, said in statement.

Although members of the Human Rights Commission are elected by the UN
Economic and Social Council, seats are allotted to regional groupings, which
put forward most of the candidates without opposition.

Human rights campaigners in Zimbabwe said the decision was a serious blow to
efforts aimed at getting President Robert Mugabe's government to own up to
rights abuses.

"We are disappointed that this august body has allowed Zimbabwe to rejoin
its ranks. This is definitely a slap in the face for human rights groups,
who have been monitoring and documenting serious rights abuses perpetrated
by the Zimbabwean government. We will, however, continue our work in the
face of this adversity," chairman of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum,
Albert Musarurwa, told IRIN.

He criticised the human rights commission for allowing countries with poor
human rights records to use their membership to protect one another from

"The commission must be immediately reformed if it is going to hold onto the
little credibility it has. It is quite obvious that Zimbabwe's re-election
to the body is a direct result of bloc voting by African governments,"
Musarurwa commented.

South African-based political analyst Chris Maroleng noted: "The fact that
Zimbabwe was re-elected is hardly surprising, especially since the African
regional grouping on the commission is the largest. There still is a rift
between what the West expects of Zimbabwe and how African governments view
the current situation in the country."

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed disbanding the Geneva-based
commission and replacing it with a smaller Human Rights Council, and that
members of the council be elected directly by a two-thirds vote in the
191-member General Assembly.

The fate of the commission will be decided when the General Assembly meets
in New York in September to discuss reform of the organisation.

Musarurwa said: "As its stands the commission cannot function when countries
which are well-known for rights abuses such as China, Sudan and Zimbabwe,
are in charge of judging themselves."

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Zimbabwe to import tons of grain - report
          April 28 2005 at 12:25PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's government will import 1,2-million tons of maize
in the coming months to make up for a shortfall in national output as the
country faces food shortages, state media said on Thursday.

      Aid agencies say around four million people, a third of the
population, will need food aid this year after a poor harvest due to drought
and a collapse in commercial farming after a land reform programme that gave
white-owned farms to landless blacks.

      But analysts say the government would require more than $250-million
to import the maize at a time when it faces shortages of foreign exchange.

      Food was a key campaign issue in the run-up to March 31 parliamentary
polls. President Robert Mugabe publicly admitted for the first time during
campaigning that Zimbabwe faced food shortages - but vowed that no-one would

       "We have put in place a package where we are going to have over 1,2
million tons coming into the country over the next few months," Samuel
Muvuti, chief executive of state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB), told the
official Herald newspaper.

      Officials at the GMB, which has a monopoly to import, buy and sell
grain, were not immediately available for comment. The Herald did not say
where Zimbabwe intended to acquire the maize or how it would pay for it.

      On Wednesday the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said
Zimbabwe had virtually run out of maize and urged Mugabe's government to
appeal for foreign aid.

      Renson Gasela, MDC shadow agriculture minister, said the party
estimated maize output from the just ended crop season at about 500 000 tons
against domestic requirements of 1,8-million tons.

      Muvuti denied MDC charges that the country had run out of food, saying
grain imports had already started being delivered to areas ravaged by

      The opposition says the government has no foreign currency for food
imports and that it will be hard to lure back aid agencies after Mugabe
stopped donors from distributing food last year, arguing that the country
could feed itself.

      The United Nations World Food Programme this week said at least 80 000
tons of maize would be needed in six southern African countries including
Zimbabwe between April and June after drought reduced output, but that only
27 000 tons was available.

      Mugabe has repeatedly denied critics' charges that his land seizure
policy has destroyed commercial agriculture, resulting in food shortages.

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Globe and Mail, Canada

Freedom fighter cries out for home

Thomas Mapfumo's music helped fight white rule in Zimbabwe in the 1970s.
Now, GUY DIXON writes, he's a marked man for protesting the iron rule of
Robert Mugabe


Thursday, April 28, 2005 Updated at 8:23 AM EST

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

The man sometimes described as Zimbabwe's Bob Marley answered the telephone
cautiously. A singer whose protest music pushed for independence against the
white minority government of what was then Rhodesia, he has since been
forced into exile by the authoritarian rule of President Robert Mugabe.
"Thomas Mapfumo?" I asked after getting past a call-blocking device.

"Who's this?" Mapfumo responded with a low rasp from his home in Eugene,
Ore., where he now lives.

The interview had been prearranged, but he was careful. Fame isn't his only
reason to be cautious, even though Mapfumo comes as close to legendary
status as anyone in southern African music, specifically chimurenga music.
It's a music he largely created, the deceptively light, polyrhythmic pulse
of political struggle, and based on the cyclical patterns played on the
traditional, metal-pronged mbira.

Mapfumo, who is in his late 50s, is also undoubtedly cautious because of
Mugabe, who swept last month's elections despite widespread accusations by
the West that his ruling ZANU-PF party once again stole the vote.

Whenever he returns to Zimbabwe, Mapfumo is threatened by government thugs.
When he's away, the Mugabe-aligned press attacks him. Yet, Zimbabwe's
economic devastation under the government's tight fist has only strengthened
the protest message in Mapfumo's new album Rise Up, currently available in
North America only as a digital download at

"When you are fighting against oppression, there is no difference. It is the
same thing we were fighting against in colonial days. And now this man is in
power; he is black like me, and he is still doing the same. The message
doesn't change at all," Mapfumo said.

"The first song on the CD is Kunarira Mukati," which Mapfumo said means
"silent suffering." "A lot of people have hate inside, but they are afraid
to stand up and say something. So we are saying to them, you shouldn't just
keep quiet. You have to say something. This has been going on for more than
20 years now. How long are we going to suffer?"

Mapfumo's music is banned from Zimbabwean radio, although some of his old
material is more or less sanctioned. A disc of his liberation songs from the
1970s with his group at the time, the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band, was
recently reissued, harking to an era Mugabe continually celebrates.

It was a time when guerrilla fighters were listening to Mapfumo shift his
music away from heavily Western-influenced rock and incorporate traditional
instruments and lyrics in the language of his Shona people. It became an act
of protest against the Rhodesian government, just as the roots movements in
reggae and rock around the world were similarly laced with politics.

Mugabe would like to pretend that Mapfumo existed only in that era. "I'm in
the history books. Schoolchildren learn about me. They talk about me, what I
did during the liberation struggle, the part my music played," Mapfumo said.
"They tell the people that kind of history. And yet they don't want to play
my music on the radio."

It seems no surprise, then, that Mapfumo has had problems getting his latest
album pressed and sold in his country. To Western listeners, it may be hard
to appreciate how the lilting harmonies, the plink-plonk of mbiras and
skipping beats can cause such opposition. The reason is in Mapfumo's moral
messages. Zimbabwe's Gamma Records has had mechanical problems getting the
CD manufactured, or so Mapfumo was told when he contacted the company. Only
a few thousand copies have been pressed, a tiny fraction of what the singer
believes he could sell if the administration wasn't trying to sabotage his
album anyway it can, Mapfumo said.

Since moving away, he has continued to return to Zimbabwe to perform. He is
allowed in the country, yet he is invariably harassed.

"The last time I was there, I was in the countryside. I went to see my folk
there in the rural area. I went into the shops to by some meat -- from the
butchery. And there was a group of youth. When they saw my car, they were
coming for me. My brother saw that we needed to drive away."

The group followed them and eventually stopped Mapfumo's car. "When they
approached us, they said they wanted to see our membership cards, political
cards for the ZANU-PF party. I said they have no right to ask me about that.
They were just trying to make problems. And then I pulled out my pistol and
they ran away."

Meanwhile, the press attacks continue.

The Herald, a Zimbabwean newspaper, has claimed that Mapfumo exaggerates his
popularity. "Mapfumo . . . now spends much of his time spreading falsehoods
about alleged threats on his life while his music career is on the slide," a
Herald article last December said. This was around the time when the singer
had hoped to visit, but cancelled his trip after being told it was too
dangerous for him during the runup to the election.

Citing a list of allegations, the article also repeated claims that
Mapfumo's cars had been connected to an auto-theft ring.

The singer scoffed at this in a grandfatherly way, his heavily accented
words occasionally rising above his normal baritone. "I don't want to talk
to that paper, because they want to bring me down. Everything they say about
me is suspect. That paper is for the ZANU-PF."

In trying to understand Mapfumo's story from so far away, so utterly removed
from Zimbabwe and his experiences, I mentioned a quote attributed to
Nigeria's late musical-great performer Fela Kuti that "in my society,
there's no music for enjoyment. There's only a struggle for people to
exist." I asked Mapfumo if all music in Zimbabwe under the Mugabe government
is inevitably political.

"No, I don't think so," he answered to my surprise. "It depends on who they
are, what their music is all about. My music is different than the rest of
music in Zimbabwe."

Oliver Mutukudzi, another leading Zimbabwe musician, appears to be striving
for apolitical ground, although this only seems to draw him deeper into
controversy, particularly after performing at a ZANU-PF function shortly
before the election.

"It had nothing to do with politics," Mutukudzi is quoted as saying in a
Zimbabwe Standard article. "I have relatives everywhere, in the [opposition]
MDC and even in ZANU-PF." Still, one of the singer's hits was also used in a
government election ad. His manager described both moves as "business
suicide" for Mutukudzi.

"I'm sure he's trying to be good so that these people won't come after him.
But that's not the way. If you're a freedom fighter, you have to stand with
the poor people, stand with those who are suffering," Mapfumo said.

Then there are other musicians who are berated for blatantly pandering to
Mugabe, such as the singer Tambaoga, who had a sensationalist hit using a
play on words likening Tony Blair to a toilet. Blair has been a regular
target of Mugabe's rhetoric.

These musicians "are not popular with the people," Mapfumo added. "They are
just being used for propaganda purposes." Yet for a sensationalist song like
Tambaoga's to become a hit in a country so musically rich suggests an
artificial vacuum, a hole caused by the absence of stronger cultural forces
such as Mapfumo.

The situation, he said, is only getting worse, although he insists his music
still has an impact on Zimbabweans.

"They go for my music. They are buying my music. And this is why they are
trying to sabotage this CD."
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Angry MDC Turns to Mauritius for Help

Financial Gazette (Harare)

April 22, 2005
Posted to the web April 28, 2005

Njabulo Ncube

THE increasingly desperate Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has turned
to Mauritius President and Southern African Development Community (SADC)
chairman, Paul Berenger, to help broker the political impasse in Zimbabwe.

This development comes after revelations that the MDC, the biggest
opposition party in the history of independent Zimbabwe, has resolved to
sever diplomatic contact with President Thabo Mbeki's government.

Party sources at Harvest House said South Africa, particularly President
Mbeki, had irked the MDC leadership over Pretoria's endorsement of the
just-ended disputed polls in which the opposition won 41 seats against the
ruling ZANU PF's 78.

The MDC accused South African observer missions to the just-ended election
of being partisan and pre-judgemental, causing a damaging rift between the
South Africans and Zimbabwe's main opposition.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube confirmed the opposition party had
problems with the "behaviour and actions" of the South Africans.

"We are not happy with certain issues emanating from South Africa but the
person running with that story is Paul Themba Nyathi, the party spokesman,"
said Ncube in a brief telephone interview.

Nyathi, who of late is sounding increasingly paranoid and hostile to the
media following his thumping in Gwanda in the March parliamentary poll, was
not cooperative, berating this newspaper for allegedly demonising the MDC
every week.

"What makes you think the MDC wants to talk to The Financial Gazette when
you write bad things about us. If you want us to treat you like The Herald
we will do so. Give me two reasons why you think the MDC should talk to
you," said Nyathi, before switching off his mobile phone.

In South Africa, the ANC sounded diplomatic with its spokesman Smut
Ngonyama, saying: "The MDC is still relevant and a key player. It (MDC) is
still a very important player in Zimbabwean politics."

The MDC insiders said the party's national executive felt Mbeki was not an
honest broker and did not take the MDC seriously. "Berenger is the man, he
chairs SADC, he knows our concerns he does not need ZANU PF as much as Mbeki
does," said a senior MDC official speaking anonymously.

Berenger, in whose country the SADC and all regional leadMugabe endorsed
principles and guidelines governing the staging of democratic elections, has
met the MDC leadership several times in the past year.

"Mbeki risks tarnishing his international image as an honesty broker. It
will also put to trouble the NEPAD programme because he has failed to solve
a problem at his backyard," said Brian Kagoro, chairman of Crisis Coalition.

The SADC region bases its economic prosperity on the success of the NEPAD
project and blames Zimbabwe's nagging political problems for stalling the
kick-off of the programme being spearheaded by Mbeki.
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Clamour Rises for New Constitution

Financial Gazette (Harare)

April 22, 2005
Posted to the web April 28, 2005

Njabulo Ncube

AFTER a disputed parliamentary poll last month, all eyes are once again on
Zimbabwe, this time focusing on constitutional reforms that opposition
groups say are imperative.

And the voices calling for a replacement of the country's supreme law, a
compromise ceasefire document with former colonial master Britain crafted at
Lancaster in 1979 to end a bloody liberation war, are rising.

The clamour for a constitution comes at a time a confident President Robert
Mugabe, whose party romped to victory in spite of a deep well of
disenchantment over a harsh economic meltdown, has hinted his ruling ZANU PF
could use its two-thirds majority in Parliament to push through a number of
constitutional amendments.

Leading the call for a new constitution are Zimbabwe's civic groups -
particularly the Lovemore Madhuku-led National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) - and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which
is still licking its wounds following its defeat in the March parliamentary

The NCA has long demanded what it calls a people-driven democratic
constitution. It even advised its ally, the MDC, against participating in
the recent election unless there was a new constitution to replace the
Lancaster document - amended by ZANU PF in the 1980s to give the ruling
party 30 free seats when it established an executive presidency.

The MDC went on to participate "with a heavy heart" because of the uneven
electoral field, conceding a number of seats it won in 2000, soon after its
formation, and handing ZANU PF the two-thirds majority it needs to change
the constitution at will.

The party has since described the election as a "fraud", and is challenging
some of the results in the courts.

Some analysts, however, say the MDC felt extremely confident that it would
win the parliamentary poll by exploiting the general disillusionment of
Zimbabweans as the economy collapsed into a recessionary heap.

In fact, they point out, the issue of a new constitution seemed to have been
put on the back burner as the MDC sensed a victory-that-never-was.

The analysts say it is only probably with the benefit of hindsight that the
MDC is once again at one with the NCA on the issue of a new constitution.

A government-sponsored project to come up with a new constitution under a
commission headed by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku was overwhelmingly
rejected by Zimbabweans at a referendum five years ago on the grounds that
it gave the executive too much power.

However, after the MDC controversially lost this year's parliamentary polls
to President Mugabe's ZANU PF, which garnered 78 seats against the
opposition's 41, the call for a new constitution, involving all stakeholders
in the country, has resurfaced.

The MDC, which alleges ZANU PF stole the March 31 ballot by staffing the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with partisan officers and tampering with the
figures, says the present constitution, which guarantees President Mugabe 30
free non-constituency seats before a single vote is cast, is skewed in
favour of ZANU PF and urgently needs revamping or complete redrafting.

While attributing his party's loss to rigging and other alleged electoral
malpractices, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said the current
constitution needed redrafting so that any future elections in Zimbabwe
would pass the Southern African Development Community Mauritius Protocol
litmus test of democratic polls.

"We demand that it is important and imperative that we revisit the
unfinished business of a new constitution," said Ncube.

"Rather than being unilateral, the process of drafting a new constitution
should be an open, inclusive review project.

"It is our view that there is an urgent need to have a people-driven
constitutional review. It should entrench citizens' basic and fundamental
rights. We also demand that the constitution should guarantee an independent
electoral commission," he added.

Madhuku has openly chided the MDC for contesting the just-ended elections
under the present constitution.

The NCA leader last week said his group, which for the past five years has
had several run-ins with the government, was willing to work with all
stakeholders, including the ruling party, to come up with a people-driven

He said his organisation would resist attempts by ZANU PF to unilaterally
rewrite the country's supreme law.

"All attempts which do not involve the people will be resisted by all forms
available, including peaceful demonstrations. We are appealing to the
government to give us the right that belongs to us - to be involved in the
constitutional reforms," said Madhuku.

President Mugabe hinted recently that ZANU PF planned to amend the
constitution to pave way for the creation of a bicameral Parliament. Apart
from the proposed creation of a senate, an institution abolished in 1987,
President Mugabe said it was the wish of ZANU PF to increase the number of
legislators in the august House from the present 150 to 200.

But civic groups and the MDC fear President Mugabe may use amendments to the
constitution to entrench his rule, especially in the wake of recent
speculation that the 81-year-old leader may want to extend his term up to

President Mugabe's present term officially ends in 2008, but he is on record
as saying he preferred presidential and parliamentary polls to be held

Zimbabwe's next parliamentary election is scheduled for 2010.
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MDC National Executive to Decide On Congress Date

The Herald (Harare)

April 28, 2005
Posted to the web April 28, 2005

Peter Matambanadzo

THE MDC national executive meets next week to decide on a date for the
party's long-awaited congress amid mounting pressure to effect leadership
change in the beleaguered opposition party.

The congress, which had initially been scheduled for last February, is the
party's highest decision-making organ with powers to make constitutional and
leadership changes.

Following the opposition's recent drubbing by Zanu-PF in the March 2005
general elections, Western countries that have been bankrolling the MDC are
said to be pushing for the ouster of party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai whom
they accuse of running out of ideas to dislodge the ruling party.

In an interview yesterday, MDC spokesperson Mr Paul Themba Nyathi confirmed
that the party's national executive had agreed to meet next week and
deliberate on a date.

"We are going to hold our congress but first we are going to meet on May 7
as the national executive of the party and discuss and agree on a date on
which to hold the congress," he said.

Asked about reports that the congress had in the past been shelved because
Mr Tsvangirai was afraid of losing his post as president, Mr Nyathi said the
party had decided to defer the congress because of pressing issues
pertaining to the parliamentary elections.

"It's true that the MDC was supposed to hold its congress earlier, but it is
not correct that we failed because Mr Tsvangirai is afraid of losing his
position as president of the party.

"Those are lies because holding of congress does not have anything to do
with Mr Tsvangirai but congress is held according to the party's
constitution," he said.

Inside sources yesterday said Mr Tsvangirai, who leads a faction of trade
unionists in the party, faces a stiff challenge from secretary-general
Professor Welshman Ncube, who leads a group of intellectuals, mainly from
the University of Zimbabwe.

"The reason why Mr Tsvangirai is reluctant to have the congress done is the
clear sign that Professor Ncube has an upper hand, especially that he has
his former student Job Sikhala on his side.

"It is going to be a real war between the 'uneducated' unionists led by Mr
Tsvangirai and the clique of university graduates led by Prof Ncube," said a

However, Mr Tsvangirai's spokesperson Mr William Bango dismissed the claims
that the MDC leader was against the congress saying even the western world
could not, in any way, decide for the party.

"Mr Tsvangirai cannot stop a process. So there is no way he can be said to
be against a congress whose date has not yet been set.

"As party president, he is the custodian of the constitution of the MDC,
which states that there be a renewal of leadership after every five years.

"Where does the western world come in, he (Tsvangirai) is elected by
Zimbabweans, he has to subject his party to a process of renewal which is
three-phased, structure, constitution and leadership," Mr Bango said.

Stung by its embarrassing defeat in the parliamentary elections, the MDC
embarked on a which-hunt that could see some of the party's top leaders
losing their posts during the party's congress.

Fireworks are also expected at the congress as non-performers could be
dumped or relegated to other less influential posts in the party.

The MDC won 41 seats while Zanu-PF scooped 78 seats with an independent
candidate winning one seat in the elections. The MDC leadership, especially
Mr Tsvangirai, is under pressure from its demoralised European supporters
after the recent defeat.

Sources within the party said there would be fireworks at the congress
"where the unshakable would be shaken".

The party's national chairman, Mr Isaac Matongo is one of those senior
people in the party likely to emerge from the congress scathed after he was
subjected to a barrage of criticism for bungling the Zengeza constituency
by-election in 2003 where he allegedly imposed a candidate.

The party's candidate in Zengeza constituency, Mr James Makore lost a
by-election in 2003 to Cde Christopher Chigumba of Zanu-PF amid allegations
that Mr Matongo imposed Mr Makore, a fellow trade unionist.

There is also likely to be a reshuffle of party structures and the obvious
reshuffle would be that of the party's Manicaland provincial chairman, Mr
Timothy Mubawu who won the Mabvuku constituency in the just-ended poll.

Even Mr Nyathi himself is also likely to lose his post as the party
spokesperson for allegedly failing to handle party information and
articulating party policies in the media.
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New Zimbabwe

Gono, the Zimbabwean Napoleon

New columnist Chido Makunike wrote about overcoming what he
called the "Messiah Syndrome". Ex-banker, Takura Mudekunye writes in
support, but shifts the argument to the financial sector
By Takura Mudekunye
Last updated: 04/29/2005 02:53:10
WHEN Gideon Gono was appointed RBZ Governor, hopes were raised that we had
at last got a hands on solution to our economic problems. Coming directly
from the banking sector, expectation was that someone with practical
experience of the problems facing the banking sector and the economy at
large would make a comparatively positive contribution to the economy than
the PhD theorists so fond of providing "analysis" to the press at every

The President literally gave Gono a blank cheque to do what he felt
appropriate to right the economy and in no time at all, the Reserve Bank
Governor had literally become the Ministers of Finance, Industry, Trade and
Energy, Environment and Tourism rolled into one. As in Animal Farm where
"Comrade Napoleon is always right" Gono with the able assistance of the
state controlled media was projected as the man with all the answers.
Regretably, even the privately owned media tripped over themselves in
efforts to idolise the Governor.

However as Zimbabweans, we would do well to keep in mind the following words
from the great American president Abraham Lincoln: "Most men can overcome
adversity so if you truly wish to test a man's character, give him power."
It soon become clear to those of us familiar with the goings on behind the
scenes in the Banking Sector during the turmoil that beneath the facade of
congenial facial features and media friendly image lay a ruthless,
ambitious, self centred and vindictive individual driven by a quest to
become the unquestioned economic tsar of the country.
There have been cases of all the bank CEO's being summoned to the Central
Bank by Gono only to be kept waiting for up to five hours at the end of
which they have been given copies of various policy announcements which
could easily have been sent to their offices by fax or through messengers.
No apologies, nothing! Where else in the world have you seen the Internal
Desk of the Intelligence Services as well as the CID fraud squad operating
from and being given instructions from the office of a Central Bank
Governor? Only in Zimbabwe!

This strange set of bed fellows has set the stage through which warrants
were issued for the arrests of several bank executives while others were
forced to step down from companies which they ran due to "mismanagement".
While it is a fact that more than ten financial insitutions have suffered
upheavals of varying degress, it is interesting that despite all the talk of
illegal dealings and criminal behaviour in these organisations only the
executives of ENG and Century have criminal charges hanging over them. And
in an economic environment where companies across all sectors have
collapsed, it is highly debatable whether those financial institutions that
did collapse did so because of mismanagement or because of the hostile
economic situations and unworkable economic policies applied by the current

The net result however is that control over these financial insitutions as
well as those unaffected by the turmoil has effectively passed from the
shareholders and management of those banks and institutions into the hands
of the Reserve Bank and effectively Gono himself. In addition, the over
regulation of the foreign currency market and the introduction of the
Productive Sector Facility which is run from the Central Bank has led to
Gono spreading his tentacles even to companies outside the banking sector.
And we have not had anyone even from the usuallly vigilant independent media
question whether it is right and is in the national interest for one man to
have so much of the country's economic activity in the palm of his hand and
subject to his personal whims.

Ultimately as the so called economic turnaround begins to unravel and more
questions are asked, it is clear that only strong and transparent governance
systems that are subjected to checks and balances will deliver economic
prosperity. Just as concentration of power continues to be abused in the
political sphere with disastrous results, having the kind of economic power
that Gono currently yields in the hands of one man leaves the system open to
manipulation and abuse that can only ensure continued economic stagnation.
Takura Mudekunye is a Zimbabwean banker

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New Zimbabwe

Section Eight, the partition of Zimbabwe

Last updated: 04/29/2005 03:09:01
CHRIS Gande, a former Daily News reporter now working for the Voice of
America's Studio Seven has published a thrilling novel based on the land
reform programme entitled Section Eight (of the Land Acquisition Act).

The book, which was printed last month by an American-based publisher,
Authorhouse, is now out on sale in some bookshops in the United States, the
United Kingdom and on the Internet.

Although novelists have already exploited President Mugabe's chaotic land
reform programme to artistically interpret the intricacies of the current
socio-political situation, this is the first time that a novel based on the
event of the period 2000 to 2002, also known as the Third Chimurenga, has
been written in a fictious way.

The plot of the book evolves around a love affair of the daughter of a white
commercial farmer, Jane Bowman, who falls in love with the son of a Cabinet
Minister, Themba Moyo. The story captures a wide spectrum of the Zimbabwean
political situation; the rammifications of the land reform programme;
racism; and contemporary Zimbabwean lifestyle.

The story is written in a very captivating way that proves Gande to be a
master of the game of fiction writing as he cleverly weaves the plot with
enticing imagery and credible characters.

Although not much has been said about commercial farmers after the land
grabs, Gande's novel chronicles their now desperate situation after losing
their farms.

The role played by the farm "invaders" or protesters, does not escape
Gande's attention as he captures their role in this moving 77-page novel.
Gande, who was The Daily News Bulawayo bureau chief, is now based in the US
capital, Washington where he is working for Studio Seven, a Voice of America
radio station that reports on Zimbabwe.

He has written for a number of news media organisations including Reuters
and South Africa's Sunday Times in his 15 years as a journalist.

Gande, who is currently in South Africa promoting the novel, told New that the novel has been received well in several Southern
African countries including Zambia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe
although some book sellers were hesitant to sell it in Zimbabwe.

"The novel has become an instant hit. I am very encouraged by the response
from people. The interest is really tremendous," he said.

He said the story is based on real life situations that he witnessed while
working for The Daily News.

You can buy the book or just view its free preview on the following web

Or you can send Gande an e-mail on

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The International Press Institute (IPI) has announced its decision to honour
SW Radio Africa with its 2005 Free Media Pioneer Award.  Gerry Jackson,
founder and station manager of SW Radio Africa, will receive the prize at an
award ceremony on 24 May, during the forthcoming IPI World Congress in
Nairobi, Kenya (21-24 May).  In Zimbabwe,
where President Robert Mugabe's autocratic regime controls both radio and
television, and the only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News, has
been shut down, the shortwave radio station SW Radio Africa remains a rare
independent voice.

Launched in December 2001, SW Radio Africa broadcasts not from Zimbabwe, but
from a studio in northwest London and is run by a group of exiled reporters
and DJs. The station's founder, Gerry Jackson, a veteran of 25 years
broadcasting experience in Africa, was fired from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) music station, Radio 3, for "insubordination"; after
airing live telephone calls from people on the scene during food riots in
in 1997.  In 2000, Jackson fought and won a legal battle in the Zimbabwean
Supreme Court to set up the country's first independent radio station,
Capital FM. After only six days, it was raided by armed police officers, who
broadcasting equipment, and used a presidential decree to shut down the
station.  Jackson went into hiding and - with presidential elections set for
March 2002 - decided to broadcast from outside Zimbabwe, setting up a new
radio station in London, where half a million Zimbabwean exiles live.

Featuring a successful mix of music, news and interviews, SW Radio Africa's
main aim is to give a "voice to the voiceless" by fostering a dialogue with
its Zimbabwean audience, who call in - often at great risk - to air their
opinions and give first-hand accounts of the deteriorating situation in the
country.  In the run-up to the March 2005 parliamentary elections, the
government of Zimbabwe mounted a concerted campaign to prevent SW Radio
Africa from being heard in the country, jamming their signals on several
frequencies. The government campaign against
the station continued unabated after the elections, which were widely
condemned as fraudulent, with continued deliberate jamming of its broadcasts
and plans to launch a new 24-hour shortwave radio station to counter SW
Radio Africa's "negative propaganda'.

The annual Free Media Pioneer Award was  established by IPI, the global
network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, in 1996 to
honour individuals or organisations that have fought against great odds to
ensure freer and more independent media in their country or region. The
Award is co-sponsored by the US-based Freedom Forum, a non-partisan,
international foundation dedicated to free press and free speech.

Previous winners of the Free Media Pioneer Award are CASCFEN - Central Asia
and Southern Caucasian Freedom of Expression Network (2004); the Media
Council of Tanzania (2003); the independent daily newspaper Danas, Serbia
(2002); the independent on-line newspaper (2001); IPYS -
Press and Society Institute, Peru (2000); EFJA - Ethiopian Free Press
Journalists' Association (1999); Radio B-92, Yugoslavia (1998); AJI -
Alliance of Independent Journalists, Indonesia (1997); and NTV, Russia

(Media Network blog via DXLD)

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Please send this to as many Zimbabweans, and those in solidarity with the
people of Zimbabwe, as possible, throughout the UK and RSA. We cannot afford
to lose this informative paper which goes a long way to counteingr the vile
propaganda emanating from Harare.

Subject:  information is power

Greetings!  Thank you very much to all of you who have subscribed to THE
ZIMBABWEAN. We are now two months  old.  Despite much sabre-rattling from
Harare we are still selling ut there every Friday and have upped the number
going in to 15 000 a week. We have received several reports of the paper
being sold second-hand for up to ZD10 000! (The cover price is ZD5000). We
have always made a huge loss on this part of the operation and now our
couriers have just upped their freight bill from Joburg to Harare by almost

For every subscription  taken out abroad, we can get 100 more newspapers
into Zimbabwe. We MUST increase sales in  the diaspora, particularly in the
UK.   Surely this is the least we can do for our suffering countrymen and
women - make it possible for them to get some independent, accurate news at
an affordable price?  We are totally  dependent on sales in the diaspora to
keep us going.

Our search for donor  funding continues, but regretfully largely in vain.

We have been disappointed  with the level of sales so far.  Our  choice of W
H Smith as distributors may be at fault but that's the way things are done
here. Three or four copies of The Zimbabwean are carried by 6000 W H Smith
outlets throughout the UK finding the Zimbabweans to buy them has been like
hunting for a needle in a haystack (despite helpful statistics from the
Census office).

So we appeal to you:  Please help! Please buy the paper if you  ever see it.
Please badger your  local WH Smith to order you a copy. Please subscribe
(online at Please take out a subscription for
somebody you know  who would be interested.  Please persuade your company,
local library, college or other institution to purchase a  subscription.
Please tell everyone  you know about The Zimbabwean. Please help us to make
a difference back home.

Information is power, which is why the present regime is so hell-bent on
preventing accurate information  getting to the people.

The paper is also now  available in SA via Exclusive Books, CNA and RNA in
the main centers. We also offer subscriptions from Joburg  via Johnnic.

Please also encourage those you know in SA to agitate for copies and to buy
the paper wherever they  see it.

No-one is an island.  We need your help  please.


Wilf &  Trish

Wilf Mbanga
The Zimbabwean Limited
Tel/Fax:  02380 879675
mobile Wilf: 07963963547
General:  07714736382
P O  Box 248, Hythe, SO45 4WX
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