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

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      Scramble for cash

      4/29/03 6:57:05 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Goko Business Reporter

      Fears of another opposition-sanctioned national strike took hold in
Harare and other urban centres triggering an unprecedented scramble for cash

      Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) principals, Washington
Matsaira, Jerry Tsodzai of Interfin Merchant Bank and Frank Read, a director
with BAZ, were unavailable for comment.

      But a snap survey showed that demand for notes and coins had
"dramatically increased".

      Small banks and building societies were the most affected, with some
reportedly running out of cash.

      Fears of fresh stayaways today, triggered huge-sum withdrawals as
people sought to catch up on lost shopping time and other month-end jaunts,
disrupted by last week's ZCTU-organised work stoppages.

      Panic was the order of the day as word filtered - right through
weekend - that the MDC was to call its own strike this week.

      Long queues started forming at banks, building societies and ATM
cash-points early yesterday.

      Tellers at a building society in Harare's First Street Mall said they
had received daily allocations of money late as anxious customers queued for
up to two hours.

      Beverly Building Society (BBS)'s First Street branch started
dispensing cash late yesterday, according to insiders.

      "We have been waiting for our daily orders from the Central Bank,"
said one teller around 4pm yesterday as he started serving clients.

      "But I am told the amount is less than what we had asked for," he
said, adding that they would only feed ATMs when satisfied that the problem
would not persist or recur today.

      Philip Chiradza, the BBS managing director, was not immediately
available for comment.

      At a cash dispenser outside Kingdom Bank First Street, people said
they had endured more than one hour of queueing.

      "I have been in the queue for more than an hour and am still waiting
for my turn. But the queue is moving," said Chris Rugare at Kingdom Bank.

      A Mabvuku businessman who declined to be named lamented the

      "I came here thinking that I would be done within an hour. My business
has been disrupted. I am disappointed," he said.

      It was the same in Bulawayo.

      Cash shortages surfaced about two weeks ago as demand outstripped

      Steep escalation of prices of goods and rampant inflation at 228
percent, has rendered the Zimbabwean dollar almost valueless, creating huge
demand for cash.

      Speculation was rife that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe authorities had cut
supplies of large denomination-notes to stem currency trading, especially in
British pounds, South African rands and United States dollars.

      Money supply grew to $632 billion as of last December, while $348,5
billion worth of cash circulated in the country in the same month.

      The December M3 standing represents a 165 percent change from the
corresponding figure of 2001.

      According to an analyst, the recent shortages at mortgage banks could
be explained by the fact that bankers were out of cash. Building societies
are not clearing houses and do not access cash from the Central Bank

      "Retail banks act on their behalf, but given the current scenario
where the Central Bank has imposed tougher conditions of borrowing for
financial institutions, shortages are likely to be experienced," said the

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has increased lending rates to 80
percent - way above the repo rate - for institutions without security.
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      Zinasu raps enrolment policy

      4/29/03 7:05:45 AM (GMT +2)

      From Energy Bara in Masvingo

      THE Zimbabwe National Students' Union (Zinasu) yesterday condemned the
preferential enrolment of national youth service graduates into State
colleges and universities.

      The union said the move caused divisions among students. Emmanuel
Samundombe, Zinasu's secretary-general, said the government was deliberately
trying to weaken student activism by enrolling only Zanu PF supporters in
institutions of higher learning.

      Samundombe claimed that the newly established Zimbabwe Congress of
Student Unions (Zicosu) was part of the government's efforts to destroy
Zinasu. The government is said to view Zinasu as an appendage of opposition

      He said: "We have widely condemned the partisan enrolment of these
Green Bombers into our colleges and universities. It has destroyed the idea
of meritocracy as a key requirement to enrol at college. The system gave
political spies a chance to get an education at the expense of deserving and
rightful citizens."

      Samundombe said Zicosu was a creation of the government and could not
fully represent the interests of students.

      The Zicosu leadership claimed that students could not be represented
by one union, hence the decision to form another one. They also accused
Zinasu of being affiliated to the MDC and the National Constitutional

      Samundombe denied all the allegations.
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      Mutare residents beaten up by suspected soldiers

      4/29/03 7:07:37 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      SOME residents of Sakubva and Dangamvura in Mutare yesterday
complained that they were beaten up by people in army uniforms they
suspected to be soldiers, who accused them of participating in a three-day
job stayaway organised by the ZCTU last week.

      The residents said the soldiers targeted those who were drinking beer
at bottle stores and beer halls.

      Edward Mupingo of Dangamvura said six men in army uniforms came to the
Dangamvura Tavern last Thursday and ordered everyone in the beerhall to sit
on the floor.

      "The soldiers ordered all the people in the bar , who were about 15,
to sit on the floor," Mupingo said.

      Richard Gwenzi, another Dangamvura resident, said he was forced to
pour the beer on the ground and to roll on the mud.

      "When I indicated that I could not swim in the beer one of them beat
me on the head with the butt of the gun he had," Gwenzi said.

      Edgar Nhamo, also from Dangamvura, said: "One patron who had not
realised the presence of the soldiers came in singing and was made to sing
the national anthem, which he could not."

      He said the man was beaten until he fell unconscious and was in that
state until the soldiers left approximately 10 minutes later.

      Wilson Chaguma of Sakubva said the suspected soldiers pounced on them
while playing a game of cards and accused them of holding an illegal

      "We were about 10 and playing cards when the soldiers accused us of
holding a meeting during the stayaway. They made us swim in a pond of muddy
water before setting us free," Chaguma said.

      Chaguma said the suspected soldiers told them they were in charge and
nothing would happen to them.

      There was no immediate comment from the army as one Lieutenant Gora,
of the army public relations at the 3 Brigade Chikanga Army Barracks, was
said to be out of his office.
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      South African MPs on fact-finding mission

      4/29/03 7:08:21 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      VISITING South African Members of Parliament yesterday heard from
various interest groups in Zimbabwe that the land reform programme, although
widely accepted, was heavily politicised and corrupted by government

      But Zanu PF MPs and traditional leaders disputed the allegations,
saying the programme was going on well.

      Roy Bennet, the MP for Chimanimani (MDC), said the government's
one-man one-farm policy had been grossly abused by senior government
officials who had acquired more than three farms each.

      The South African MPs are in the country to gather evidence from their
Zimbabwean counterparts in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands,
Agriculture, Water Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement on how the
government's land reform programme is progressing.

      Neo Masitela, the chairman of the South African Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs, said they were here
because there was a Communal Rights Bill before their parliament, and they
would wanted to gather as many views as possible from Zimbabwe.

      Daniel Mackenzie-Ncube, the chairman of the Zimbabwean committee and
Zhombe MP (Zanu PF), said the delegation was on a fact-finding mission on
the land reform exercise.

      "There is some land reform in South Africa which others say is too
slow," he said. "Whatever happens in Zimbabwe affects them politically and
economically, and they want to learn from our experiences based on
first-hand information."

      He said the major concern to the South Africans was Zimbabwe's land
policy and how it was being implemented.

      The land reforms had left thousands of farm workers displaced and
nearly 12 farmers dead. He said the delegation would tomorrow visit A1 and
A2 farms in the Midlands and Mashonaland West provinces.

      Andries Botha, a Democratic Alliance MP, in an interview said:
"Interest groups and other MPs said the land reform programme was chaotic.
They said it had a severe impact on food production. A lot of people had
been displaced causing rising unemployment, which had a negative impact on
the performance of the economy."
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      Rival unions line up May Day rallies

      4/29/03 7:09:55 AM (GMT +2)

      By Angela Makamure

      TWO trade union rallies have been scheduled in Harare to commemorate
this year's May Day on Thursday in what could be a test of popularity for
the country's two major labour bodies, the ZCTU and the Zanu PF-aligned
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU).

      Wellington Chibhebhe, the ZCTU secretary-general, yesterday said the
labour body would commemorate Workers' Day despite the deteriorating
economic and political situation.

      "Preparations are in full swing and we will still have the normal
celebrations at Rufaro Stadium," Chibhebhe said. "We know things are very
bad for workers and we understand their position, but all the same we must
all understand the history of this day."

      This year's commemoration comes at a time when the majority of workers
are reeling under worsening poverty with most families living below the
poverty datum line.

      "It is our day and we must commemorate it and at the same time
remember those workers who were protesting against the long working hours
and fought for the workers' rights," Chibhebhe said.

      He said apart from the Rufaro Stadium rally, there would be other
gatherings in various centres countrywide.

      However, Chibhebhe said he could not give more details on the
celebrations for what he termed security reasons.

      Joseph Chinotimba, the vice-president of the ZFTU, yesterday said in
Harare, celebrations would be held at Gwanzura Stadium.

      "We want to teach workers that stayaways are useless and are
meaningless. We will teach them how to claim their dues and not fight with
the government," Chinotimba said.

      But Chinotimba could not explain how his organisation could assist the
government to revive the ailing economy and improve the workers' conditions
of service.

      "We will have a $1,7 million May Day Cup soccer match in which Dynamos
and Black
      Rhinos will lock horns," Chinotimba said.

      "We will also have 20 cattle to slaughter so that people can have
something to eat as they enjoy themselves."

      Last week, the ZCTU organised a three-day stayaway against the massive
rise in fuel prices. It has threatened to continue with the protests until
its grievances are addressed by the government.

      With the recent fuel price increases of up to 350 percent, there are
fears that most low-income earners, will spend as much as 80 percent of
their earnings on transport alone.

      Confrontation is already looming between the State and the ZCTU after
the labour body rejected and dismissed as meaningless the new minimum
monthly wages announced by the government last week.

      Agricultural workers are to be paid a minimum of $23 070 a month,
employees in the agro-industry and horticulture sectors $42 168, and those
in industry and commerce $47 696.

      The ZCTU said it stood by its assessment that $125 000 was the
realistic poverty datum line.
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      Ndlovu fires 32 teachers for striking

      4/29/03 7:11:03 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      ABOUT 500 students at Zimbabwe Distance Education College (ZDECO)
failed to attend lectures yesterday after the institution's managing
director, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, dismissed 32 teachers following a sit-in
over poor salaries.

      Ndlovu is a member of Zanu PF's politburo, the party decision making

      Immediately after he fired the teachers, Ndlovu paid them between $8
000 and $20 000 as exit packages - amounts which are far below their monthly
salaries of up to $35 000.Those dismissed include full and part-time staff.

      Ndlovu could not be reached for comment yesterday.

      Students could be seen loitering around the premises yesterday .

      Two weeks ago, the teachers issued an ultimatum which expired last
Tuesday, to the institution's directors to award them a 500 percent salary

      They argued that their salaries had been eroded by the recent steep
rises in the price of fuel.

      A dismissal letter shown to The Daily News by one of the teachers
reads in part: "With reference to your ultimatum to the directors to award
you a 500 percent salary increment without negotiation and your boycott of
lecturers on 16, 17 and 22 April, 2003, up to now, the directors have
concluded that you no longer want your job.

      "Many students who registered for holiday classes have been left
stranded and others resigned.

      "You have engaged in an illegal strike. The directors have therefore
decided to dismiss you with immediate effect."
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      Chipangano members remanded in custody

      4/29/03 7:11:47 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      TEN members of Chipangano, the Zanu PF vigilante group facing assault
charges were yesterday further remanded in custody to 13 May when they
appeared before Mbare magistrate, Nicodemus Chivhunga.

      They are Zephania Ndhlovu, Lovemore Mafukidze, William Mangarai,
Charles Mangare, Cleno Takawira, Simbarashe Mukorera, Runesu Giwana,
Tafadzwa Gwara, Fradreck Kunyarimwe and Rot Moto.

      They were denied bail when they first appeared before Chivhunga on 8
April, when the police said that they needed time to check records for
previous convictions.

      In their written submissions to the court opposing bail, the police
said the group was facing serious allegations.

      As a result, it was likely that the gang would interfere with State
witnesses,the police said.

      Prosecutor, Ngoni Sivereki, said the 10, who confessed to being Zanu
PF activists, went to Shawasha flats in Mbare.

      There they ordered the 11 tenants of the block to vacate the flats
because they were "sell-outs."

      She said the tenants defied the orders and the group, acting in common
purpose, forcibly removed the tenants' property and heaped it outside the

      They then force-marched the complainants to an open space outside the
flats where they ordered them to sit next to their heaped belongings, the
State alleges.

      The group allegedly assaulted the tenants using various weapons which
included sticks, iron bars and stones fired from catapults.

      Throughout the night, the vigilantes allegedly held the tenants in
captivity until 6am when the police were alerted of the situation by one of
the tenants who had escaped.

      Meanwhile, in anticipation that their colleagues could be granted
bail, the other Chipangano members, who have not yet been netted, last week
forced vendors at Mbare's Mupedzanhamo and Siya-So markets to pay $300 each
to raise funds for bail for their counterparts who are languishing in remand

      An MDC official who preferred anonymity, yesterday said he had been
approached by several vendors who expressed dismay over Chipangano's terror
network in Mbare.

      "This should be strongly condemned because we cannot have a situation
where people continuously live in fear.

      "Residents are flocking to my house seeking protection, but there is
nothing I can do about it because I am also a victim," he said.

      Last month, Chipangano members force-marched commuters, Mbare
residents and commandeered vehicles to ferry people to demonstrate against
Harare Executive Mayor, Elias Mudzuri at Town House.
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      Munich council officials arrive

      4/29/03 7:12:23 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      A FIVE-MEMBER delegation from the Munich City Council in Germany
arrived in Harare yesterday on a week's visit.

      Harare has a twinning arrangement with Munich.

      Hep Monatzeder, the vice mayor, is leading the delegation. He was last
here in 1996 when he signed the twinning agreement.

      He said: "We will be visiting some places that we have helped. We
would like to see how Harare is now," Monatzeder said he had not had time to
form an impression of the city since he had just arrived.

      Told that the council was battling to get authority from the
government to borrow money for capital projects because it was
overwhelmingly dominated by MDC councillors, Monatzeder said: "You have to
have the opposition, otherwise there is no democracy."

      The relationship between Harare and Munich had become strained since
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      Mugabe hinted retirement: Mbeki

      4/29/03 7:13:33 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      PRESIDENT Mugabe has in the past indicated to his South African
counterpart, Thabo Mbeki, that he was willing to step down as consensus is
forming among regional and international leaders that he has become a
liability and a threat to regional stability.

      Bheki Khumalo, Mbeki's spokesman, yesterday said the South African
President said this when he was reacting in Pretoria to media reports that
Mugabe was ready to step down.

      According to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Mbeki
said Mugabe had said that before, in his presence.
      Khumalo said: "The President was reacting to media reports and he
never went beyond that."

      However, Khumalo said that he was unaware of any personal
communication in which Mbeki had asked Mugabe to relinquish power.

      "If a President wants to step down, the decision is his and his
 alone," Khumalo said. "Besides, if the two had communicated at a personal
level on that one, then I don't think that will be done through the Press."

      SABC reported that Mbeki said he was sure that Zanu PF had been
engaged in the process of renewing its leadership. "We want to wait for them
to finish that process before we can take matters up," Mbeki was quoted as
      John Nkomo, Zanu PF's national chairman, and Nathan Shamuyarira, the
ruling party's spokesman, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

      In November 2000, when some commercial farmers were murdered and
      some driven off their properties under the controversial land reform
programme, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo reportedly urged Mugabe to
step down to avoid more bloodshed.

      Last month, Obasanjo made a similar statement during an exclusive
interview with The Sunday Times of London, saying that it would be wise for
Mugabe, 79, to step down as leader of Zimbabwe.

      "It's entirely up to him, but obviously he knows he has to work out a
succession," Obasanjo, 66, said.
      "I don't need to tell him, but if I say I am thinking about my
succession, that's an indication that I think he should think of his.
      "In my part of the world, there are many ways you can tell a man to go
to hell."

      In an interview on ZBC/TV last week to mark 23 years of Zimbabwe's
independence, Mugabe hinted that he was willing to step down after the land
redistribution exercise had been completed.

      Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament's name is being touted
around as Mugabe's choice of successor, but this has not gone down well with
the ruling party's stalwarts.

      Mnangagwa is Zanu PF's secretary for administration. He was appointed
by Mugabe following his defeat in the June 2000 parliamentary election by
the MDC's Blessing Chebundo in Kwekwe.
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      Harare High School forced to close

      4/29/03 7:16:08 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      HARARE High School in Mbare has been forced to temporarily close
during the current school holidays by the Harare City Council and Ministry
of Health and Child Welfare officials over health concerns.

      The closure of the school has resulted in students failing to take
vacation studies. Vacation lessons are meant to prepare students for the
Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council examinations at the end of the year.

      Toilets at the school were said to be the most affected as they had
been out of order since last February.

      One concerned parent said: "Although we appreciate that the
authorities are doing something about the bad state of the sanitary
facilities at the school, we are worried that they took such a long time to
observe that they were putting the lives of the students at risk.

      "If it was not for the Harare City Council and the Ministry of Health
and Child Welfare, nothing would have been done by the school authorities,"
she said.

      The deputy headmaster of Harare High School refused to comment on the
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      ZCTU sticks to guns

      4/29/03 7:16:47 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The ZCTU has again demanded that the government "immediately" reverse
the fuel price increases it enforced two weeks ago or face another
nation-wide job stayaway.

      The umbrella labour body staged a three-day job stayaway last week
that saw business largely grind to a halt after the government ignored its
first demand for an immediate reversal of the increases.

      Wellington Chibhebhe, the ZCTU secretary-general, yesterday said the
general council, the union's supreme policy-making body, met on Saturday and
resolved to write to the government, through the Ministry of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare, presenting its demand.

      Chibhebhe said the ZCTU was demanding the immediate suspension of the
increases because the government itself had imposed the increases "with
immediate effect".

      He said: "This problem is of an immediate nature. We are giving it the
same haste with which the government announced the increases. Failure to
reverse the increases will result in workers taking action."

      He declined to say exactly when the ZCTU would call for another job
stayaway if the government disregarded its demand.

      Chibhebhe said: "History has shown us that it is not prudent to give
dates, but action is definitely on the agenda."

      He described as "unfortunate" the statement by Amos Midzi, the
Minister of Energy and Power Development, that the ZCTU could "keep on
dreaming" that the increases would be reversed.

      Midzi was quoted in The Standard newspaper on Sunday as saying: "The
ZCTU can keep on dreaming. We cannot reduce the prices of fuel."

      Chibhebhe said: "When people are suffering you cannot afford to be
arrogant. When you get a minister saying that, it shows how out of touch the
government is with the people. It also proves how careless he is."
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Leader Page

      Mugabe must pay the price

      4/29/03 6:57:37 AM (GMT +2)

      THE idea that a president responsible for so much bloodshed,
corruption and the destruction of the economy should be forgiven for all his
blunders in exchange for quietly stepping down from power is immoral and

      Not only that; it is an insult to the people of Zimbabwe whose
relatives died and whose previously much-admired living standards were the
envy of many African countries.

      Today, according to the official statistics, 80 percent of them are
living below the poverty datum line. Others may blame the Western countries,
the IMF and the World Bank, the drought, Cyclone Eline, Cyclone Japhet or
the MDC and even NAGG.

      But the people know that it is all President Mugabe's fault. He too is
aware of this. The recent decline in his own popularity among the people, as
well as the plummeting popularity of the party he leads, testify to a wish
by the majority of the people that he quits before it is too late.

      He cannot be unaware that it is this nationwide disenchantment with
his leadership which has forced his party to use terror and violence to cow
the people into supporting him.

      Mugabe ought to be man enough to face the music. He made his bed and
he must lie on it. If it turns out to be a bed of nails, so be it. He cannot
demand that the people put the softest mattress to eliminate the pain which
he must feel for turning their independence into one long nightmare of
death, terror, hunger, disease and poverty.

      Clearly, he is aware of the people's acute sense of betrayal. They
reposed so much faith in him, believing him to have their interests at heart
from beginning to end. Today, 23 years down the line, he has almost
abdicated his responsibilities to them, minding only about his own personal
survival. His wife has been scandalously shopping in South Africa while back
home people scrounge for food even in the dustbins outside State House.

      Constitutionally, his six-year term of office ought to end in 2008,
but not even he - at 79 today - would relish the prospect of continuing a
day longer. Logically, he ought to resign, and let the chips fall where they
may. If it is demanded of him by the people that he account for his wayward
behaviour during his presidency, so be it.

      He could continue until his term officially ends, but by that time,
according to many estimates, Zimbabwe will be in such desperate straits, it
may have degenerated beyond a basket case.

      A change is what the country needs, a change not only from Mugabe's
rule, but from Zanu PF rule. What Mugabe's friends are trying to concoct is
a change of presidency, but not a change of government. They would like to
perpetuate Zanu PF rule, even at the end of the nightmare of the Mugabe era.

      This could be achieved constitutionally, but at what price? Zanu PF
has become synonymous with murder, rape, terror and electoral fraud - and
with Mugabe himself.

      Relations with the rest of the world, so vital for a return to a
semblance of normality, would not improve, in the end. For many of Mugabe's
friends, the end of Zanu PF rule would be the end of the Zimbabwean dream.

      But for many Zimbabweans, as amply demonstrated during two stayaways
in which most of them took part voluntarily, it could be the beginning of a
bright future.

      An election may be problematical constitutionally, but the
alternative - a period of continuing Zanu PF rule with its attendant vices -
must be too ghastly to contemplate for many peace-loving citizens longing
for change.
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Leader Page

      Birth of a free, united Zimbabwe imminent

      4/29/03 6:58:20 AM (GMT +2)

      By Benji waMagaisa

      To all the citizens of Zimbabwe, I would like to say the following:
This is an important time for us, it marks the beginning of the realisation
of Zimbabwe's unity. Monetary, economic and social union make the
unification process irreversible.

      What the MDC is doing today and planning to do tomorrow constitutes a
decisive step towards our goal of achieving Zimbabwe's unity in freedom
within a peaceful African order.

      In a peaceful revolution in the last three years when our party was
formed, the people in the country broke the chains of the unjust regime
through their love of freedom.

      We share their pride and happiness in view of the success of this
revolution and are indebted to the hundreds of thousands who brought about
this change by dint of their courage in adversity. To our former MP,
Learnmore Jongwe, rest in peace. He worked hard and he wanted to live in
freedom, human dignity. He fought for the truth and against falsehoods,
against oppression by a regime that had been forced upon us by others.

      We must never forget, efface from our memories or play down their
fate. The crimes committed by Zimbabweans against Zimbabweans even after the
2000 election that they lost and they said they won, and presidential
election last year are an extortion to us all.

      They must never be repeated. What our party is witnessing is the birth
of a free and united Zimbabwe before the eyes of the world.

      This historic time of Zimbabwe establishing a monetary, economic and
social union also heralds a new phase of African history and is the first
decisive step on the way to unity.

      For the people in Zimbabwe it will make unity tangible in many areas
of their day-to-day lives. I am aware that the road to unity will be a
difficult one, but in the end our efforts will be rewarded. Achieving the
unity and freedom of Zimbabwe is a tremendous task in which everyone must

      We, Zimbabweans, must stand together and shape our common future with
confidence. Let us never lose sight of the fact that for 23 years we were
forcibly prevented from living the kind of life we enjoyed here in Zimbabwe.

      I also have a request to make of the people in Zimbabwe: Please
remember that the prosperity of Zimbabwe can only be the result of much hard

      Millions of people contributed to it through many years of
industriousness and diligence. They did not get anything for nothing.
National unity has drawn closer and it is now for us to hasten it.

      Let us seize this opportunity, let us do our duty and I appeal to
Zimbabweans to create a united nation for the coming years. Let's go
together into a happier future for all Zimbabweans. Today is a milestone
along this road.

      After 22 years which have brought people so much suffering, we are
being offered a unique opportunity to achieve in free self-determination the
unity and freedom of Zimbabwe and to serve the peace of the world in a
united Africa. This is the mandate of the basic law and this is what our
neighbours expect from us.

      Our country is well equipped to embark on a new promising chapter in
its history. We can put the clock forward, but this does not make time move
faster and the ability to wait while events take their course a precondition
of practical politics. The reverse is also true: those who want to stop the
wheel of history are in danger of forever chasing a lost opportunity and, as
we all know, those who came too late are punished by history.

      The people there, too, realise that after all the suffering inflicted
upon them they will have to roll up their sleeves. Monetary, economic and
social union is a promise which they can take us up on. They must seize the
opportunity and get down to it.

      They can leave the nooks and crannies where they could just about eke
out a livelihood under the socialist dictatorship and expose themselves to
the fresh breeze of a free market economy. We shall also help in coping with
the transitional problems.

      However, jobs, prosperity and social security will, in long term, have
to be gained by dint of the people's own efforts.

      Benji waMagaisa is a socio-political commentator
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Daily News

      Lending rates set to shoot up

      4/29/03 6:49:17 AM (GMT +2)

      By Hama Saburi Business Editor

      LENDING and parallel market rates are expected to skyrocket soon on
the back of excessive demand for cash by the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

      The beleaguered Noczim is on the market seeking to raise $60 billion
needed to import fuel, while the power utility, Zesa is under pressure to
raise foreign currency to off-set foreign debts in excess of US$143 million
(Z$7 865 million).

      Analysts said the insatiable appetite for resources would push
interest rates from last week's levels of 60 to 65 percent to above 70
percent. Parallel market rates may go beyond the $1 400/$1 500 levels
against the United States dollar to $1 600/$1 800 by the end of next month.

      The official exchange rate to the greenback is pegged at $824. The
price of money and the exchange rate is a function of demand. It goes up
when demand improves and softens when the appetite subsides.

      Zesa and Noczim are competing with the private sector, which requires
the greenback to import spare parts and raw materials. An increase in rates
adds to costs of production and often manifests itself through price
increases and high inflation.

      Gibson Maunganidze, a local investment analyst said: "Interest rates
are going to go up, as Noczim and Zesa turn to the market to finance their
mandates. If interest rates move up, parallel market rates will also move up
because it means the real value of the Zimbabwe dollar has gone down."

      Bulawayo chartered accountant, Eric Bloch said it would be difficult
for Zesa and Noczim to raise money because of prevailing shortages.

      Bloch said: "Its going to be a pointless exercise because there is no
foreign currency. At the same time they cannot raise funds outside Zimbabwe
because of the country's bad credit rating. The only ones to consider
advancing credit could be those bent on buying Zimbabwean assets, such as
the Libyans and other Arab countries."

      Institutional investors can raise the Zimbabwe dollar component
required by Noczim provided there is a government guarantee.

      Bloch said the government, which owns the two parastatals, should
improve economic viability and restore the country's credit worthiness as a
matter of priority.

      Noczim and Zesa are struggling to meet the country's energy
requirements due to the shortage of foreign currency caused by poor export
performance and donor fatigue.

      A number of desperate measures taken by government to improve foreign
exchange generation and curb leakages within the system have fallen flat.

      In fact, the situation seems to have worsened after the banning of
bureaux de change and the tightening of features on Customs Declaration 1
forms and other documents used in the tourism and hunting sectors.
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Daily News

      Government loses millions in tobacco-fuel deals

      4/29/03 6:51:23 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      THE government is believed to have lost foreign currency running into
millions of dollars through transactions where some tobacco buyers were
exchanging the crop for fuel.

      It is understood that a number of transactions went through during the
previous tobacco-marketing season where tobacco merchants sourced fuel from
Libya in exchange for tobacco.

      Herbert Murerwa, Finance and Economic Development Minister said no
such transactions would be allowed this year.

      Murerwa said: "All purchases by A class buyers will be settled in
United States dollars and those who fail to raise US dollars will be
assisted through a Memorandum of Deposit facility.

      "Barter deals will not be allowed this year."

      He was speaking to guests attending the launch of the
tobacco-marketing season last week.

      Government had allowed barter deals in a bid to avert the shortages of

      It has been prejudiced in the process because of the lack of tight

      Under normal circumstances, buyers release foreign currency used to
purchase tobacco to the central bank.

      Merchants with access to lines of credit are given United States
dollars by their off-shore banks, which is released to the central bank.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would then pay the buyers the Zimbabwe
dollar equivalence for the purchase of tobacco on the auction floors.

      John Chiweshe, chairman of the Tobacco Merchants Association, said
none of his members were involved in barter deals.

      Chiweshe said: " I am not aware of any of my members trading tobacco
for fuel.

      "What I am aware of is that my members were advocating the government
to introduce it."

      Sources in the tobacco industry however, said top government officials
were among buyers who benefited from the tobacco barter deals.
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Daily News


      Patriots must come forward

      4/29/03 7:17:36 AM (GMT +2)

      By Tanonoka Joseph Whande

      "Quite often we have ideas," the President said last week. The secret
is out at last: our government often has ideas. Unbelievable! I could never
have believed it if it had not been said by none other than the President

      I have always believed this government ran out of ideas the moment it
was sworn into office more than 20 years ago. The President's revelation
astounded me. I did not know whether to be happy or sad or both or which.

      "We think them out," the President continued, "but the ideas continue
to remain ideas." Oh dear, and whose fault is it? The President told invited
guests at the official opening of the Scientific and Industrial Research and
Development Centre that "feasibility studies are conducted - pre-feasibility
studies, post-feasibility studies - and they take time to shape out".

      Why do Zanu PF's ideas take more than 20 years to shape out?

      Anyway, the President was ambiguously attacking State officials that
he appointed himself. But exonerating himself by saying he has vision and
lots of ideas but the underlings that he appoints himself are letting him
down, would be dishonest and we would be employing the ambiguity and
evasiveness used by Polonius in reference to his powerful superior Hamlet:
      "Your noble son is mad, mad call I it, for to define true madness,
what isn't but to be nothing else but mad?"

      Polonius quickly added: "But let that go."

      I will be brief; I cannot let that go because the President must fire
his under-performing underlings with as much ease as he hires them. It is
not his money that pays them. It is the people's money. It does not do the
nation any good to attack them in public but still retain them even though
they are confirmed non-performers.

      The President must be aware that when the team that he picks fails, it
is he who gets the blame. I find it difficult to believe this country has a
government, a police force, an army and (surprise! surprise!) a President.
It is the duty of the President to identify where things are going wrong and
to find the solutions using his so-called war Cabinet. Otherwise, of what
use would they be to us?

      The failure of this government, particularly this unimaginative
Cabinet, has now prompted the call: "The whole gang must go!"

      We now associate the President with things that are anti-people.

      The parent who, on seeing the President on television hitting the
podium with his fist, tells his child to "switch off that TV!"

      The unspoken reaction to futility being: what the man is saying has
nothing to do with us and our problems; the unemployed newspaper reader on a
park bench who, on seeing a large photograph of Mugabe smiling at him on the
front page, flips to the next page totally convinced that whatever pleases
the President can't possibly be within reach or is not good for him; the war
veteran, proud owner of a welding shack at a growth point sitting under the
eaves by the door re-reading last year's copy of the People's Voice while
waiting for electricity for the second day running: load-shedding! And the
proud, hopeful medical student and her sister nurse rushing to work minus
sanitary pads. Condoms everywhere but no sanitary pads! And oh, look here! A
mother, baby strapped on her back, but now both hungry, thirsty and hot
after five hours standing in a queue and still hopeful that by the time she
reaches the point of sale there still will be a bottle of cooking oil left
for her.

      No matter how we look at the problems bedevilling the nation, it
always leads back to the President. That the country is unconscious is not
in dispute. I sit here, my dear compatriots, and wonder like so many of you
what role the Executive is playing.

      The Constitution seems to have been written on toilet paper. Nobody,
not the police, the army, the ruling party or the Executive pays any
attention to the Constitution. So help me, God!

      It does appear as if the government has declared war on the citizens
of this country.

      As a President, a husband and a leader, wasn't he nauseated by the
mangled posterior of 60-year-old Isobel Gardner?

      As a teacher, a father and a liberator, didn't he feel revulsion at
the dental carnage on 27-year-old Itayi Tinarwo? One old woman battered
almost to death by his soldiers; one young man with a hope for a productive
future brutalised, almost murdered by suspected supporters of the President'
s party.

      Fortunately, the President had something to say about this. "Those who
promote and unleash the ensuing violence and terrorism must be punished
under our laws," he warned the victims.

      Others have died. The victim is blamed.

      I salute my President.

      The danger we are facing now is that we have a government and a leader
who, in order to survive politically, have to kill, brutalise, main and
torture the citizens.

      My fear is that we are reaching that dangerous point where people
contemplate self-defence. (Zanu PF would cherish the excuse.)

      But when citizens collectively start to defend themselves against
their own government, it is more than anarchy. It is organised crime. And in
this case, crime will pay.

      I long and pray for a kinder, gentler President. I look over to my
President as I recall Yevtushenko's poetic words "not people die, but worlds
die in them."

      We are now people without a country, only a state of mind. I too
recognise the uniqueness of each life lived. But "because death is
inescapable, man's legacy is his philosophy, how he lived his life, how he
formed that world."

      Oh, Mr Mugabe!! My appeal to the President is that he employs furious
concentration and makes a serious effort to intervene.

      Of serious concern is not who is perpetrating the violence but that
there is violence in our midst. With all the state apparatus at his
disposal, the president can stem the violence.

      The fact that he is not stopping the violence when he is able to may
be the reason why he is inviting so much criticism. But what if the mayhem
is to Zanu PF's advantage?

      The late ANC strongman' Harry Gwala said once that it is very
difficult to organise people in the absence of violence. It need not be the

      My appeal to my fellow citizens is one of re-dedication. We are midway
through a crocodile infested and flooded river with water up to our armpits.
Whether we return to the bank or continue so as to reach the opposite one,
we are in equal danger. But if we return we will need to start all over
again so we should soldier on and get it over with. This has been going on
for too long; lives continue to be lost. We can stop this violence with or
without the help of the President if we dedicate ourselves to it.

      The heart of the matter is that patriots must come forward now and
help to stop this fanatical, half-crazed ordeal of state imposed violence.
Out there are patriots who fought to liberate this country. They
simulteneously protected the people they were trying to liberate. Obviously,
the job was not complete. We call upon them one more time. The patriots must
once again come in and protect the people while they liberate themselves.

      But dedication is essential. What Plato calls "the healing of our
unwisdom" must start now. We can neither be wise nor builders and we will
not know comfort or security if we accept that violence lives side by side
with us. The culture of violence is alien to us. It must be stopped by us,
the victims.
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Daily News


      ZBC cannot fool anyone any more

      4/29/03 6:59:52 AM (GMT +2)

      I wonder who the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation think they are
fooling by parading ill-informed and unintelligent individuals on television
in the guise of surveys.

      What the ZBC ought to know is that all right-thinking and progressive
Zimbabweans walk away from their TV sets once they see propaganda clowns,
since they do not expect any sensible contributions from those biased

      We all know that the ZBC interviews people who feel they have achieved
something merely by appearing on TV, regardless of the fact that these
people do so much to the disgust of most legitimate viewers, who regard
these stooges as brainless wannabes.

      Just watch how most of them stand grinning at the camera as if they
are sweepstakes winners being presented with a prize!

      I have met many people and their opinion is that ZBC cannot fool
anyone any more.

      I have also noticed that the Southern Africa Development Community
(Sadc) mission is coming at a time when Zanu PF is at the height of

      How else could one explain the circus that was paraded on TV as the
group behind the atrocities being committed all over Zimbabwe daily, for
some time now.

      What I can easily make out is that this is a well-orchestrated move to
mislead the Sadc mission. When I first saw the clowning on TV I thought that
Zanu PF had finally come up with some damning piece of propaganda this time

      People were not hoodwinked by the ZBC; they have learnt and perfected
the art of resisting propaganda to the fullest. Zanu PF is bound to fall,
come hell, come thunder.

      And to the MDC I want to say: we are still waiting for the list of
companies that are draining our blood. May I also suggest that we need to
have a list of those individuals who are advocating for the prolonged
suffering of the people.

      I also would like to commend moves to compile lists of those who are
perpetrating atrocities on behalf of the President and Grace Mugabe. Keep on
adding names to this list - we will need it for future justice.

      Memory Rambanapasi
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Daily News


      Green Bombers wouldn't wear army kit without ZDF approval

      4/29/03 6:59:08 AM (GMT +2)

      The article in The Daily News of 4 April 2003, on Page 4 entitled,
Green Bombers posing as army, says Mutsekwa, infuriates me.

      Giles Mutsekwa, the MDC shadow minister of defence, has the habit of
always exonerating the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), why?

      The ZDF and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) are well into the game
of terrorising the people of Zimbabwe since 2000. Orders to terrorise the
people are coming right from the top. It has even been said that a retired
brigadier is behind these nefarious activities.

      Is Mutsekwa not aware that there is no more a professional ZDF and ZRP
to talk about in Zimbabwe? There is only Zanu PF, ZDF and ZRP dominating the
scene now.

      The more Mutsekwa exonerates them, the more the masses are brutalised
under the cover that he (Mutsekwa) is giving them. The MDC are making these
people more brutal by covering up for them.

      Most of Mutsekwa's utterances which exonerate the ZDF remind me of one
bullyboy at school in the 1960s.

      As with bullies, most young boys - myself included - were at the mercy
of this bully. One day information reached me that the bully would descend
on me over a very trivial issue.

      I tried to be very friendly to the bully to the extent that I could
prepare some cucumbers by removing the prickles. I gave him to eat. He would
happily accept them and ate.

      To my surprise, he kept his promise to beat me regardless of my
friendly gesture to him. And as sure as he had promised, I did get a
thorough beating that day after school.

      This short story is true. I liken Mutsekwa to the young boy/s and the
ZDF as the bully.

      So, I want to say to Mutsekwa, no matter how much you want to befriend
the ZDF, their atrocities against Zimbabweans are increasing.

      "Green Bombers" in army uniforms confirms the ZDF's involvement in the
atrocities. The wearing of these uniforms and transportation of these Green
Bombers has the tacit approval of the ZDF.

      Therefore, the assertion by Zimbabweans that the ZDF and ZRP are
brutalising them holds water. If Mutsekwa continues to exonerate the ZDF,
Zimbabweans will be left with no option but to accuse Mutsekwa of conniving
with the ZDF in brutalising the nation.

      I guess he will also exonerate them over the raid on MP Fidelis Mhashu
's home.

      Mutsekwa is also jeopardising our chances of getting outside military
intervention like what took place in Iraq against the dictator Saddam
Hussein, like the intervention that took place in Uganda by Tanzanian
Defence Forces against dictator Idi Amin.

      His constant exoneration of the ZDF over what is happening is very
embarrassing and nauseates Zimbabweans.

      It lessens the will of those forces who may want to intervene and
rescue us.

      Lastly, I say: Wake up, Mutsekwa! Change your attitude. Let the world
know the officially-sanctioned brutality the ZDF and ZRP are unleashing on
Zimbabweans - all for the purpose of keeping the dictator Robert Mugabe in

      Robert Taruvinga
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Washington Times

Mugabe's wife outrages countrymen
By Geoff Hill

     JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean exiles living in South Africa have reacted
angrily to the news that President Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace, was staying
at a $700-a-day, five-star Caesar's Hotel and Casino at a time of widespread
poverty and suffering back home.
     "It is obscene," Jay Sibanda, leader of an exile lobby group, told The
Washington Times Saturday. "Millions of people are starving because of her
husband's dictatorship and this woman is spending [$700] a night to stay at
a luxury hotel."
     A recent United Nations report suggests that two-thirds of Zimbabwe's
12 million people live on less than a dollar a day. Mr. Mugabe, 79, and his
38-year-old second wife, known as "Comrade Grace," have become the subject
of wide criticism for their lavish lifestyle.
     While consumers line up for hours to buy meager supplies of corn meal,
sugar and soap, critics contend that groceries for the presidential palace
are flown in from London.
     A local radio journalist called the Caesar's switchboard late last week
and was put through to Mrs. Mugabe, who identified herself then slammed down
the phone after being told she was on the air.
     Mr. Sibanda said his group had tried to mount a peaceful protest
outside the casino over the weekend but were chased away by hotel security.
     "More than two million Zimbabweans have fled to this country," he said.
"At home we are being tortured, starved and beaten as part of Mugabe's
desperate bid to stay in power and we should at least be able to highlight
that in a peaceful demonstration."
     A U.S. firm, Park Place Entertainment, which also owns Caesar's Palace
in Las Vegas, has a significant ownership stake in the hotel.
     A spokesperson for Caesar's said it was company policy not to divulge
guest information.
     Mr. Mugabe was re-elected last year in a campaign marred by violence
and intimidation. Most Western governments including the United States
refused to recognize the result.
      Human rights organizations estimate that as many as 70,000 Zimbabweans
have been tortured or assaulted by government agents in the past year and
that 60 percent of the population requires food aid in the wake of Mr.
Mugabe's coercive land-reform program that has resulted in all but 300 of
the country's 4,000 white commercial farmers driven off their land.
     Last August, Mrs. Mugabe took over a large farm in the Mazowe district
near the capital, Harare, even though the government had earmarked it for
landless blacks.
     In the past year, shortages at home have forced Zimbabwe's elite to do
their shopping in South Africa, where the press has made a habit of exposing
their sprees.
      In January, Mr. Mugabe's information minister, Jonathan Moyo, was
pictured in the Johannesburg Sunday Times packing three four-wheel-drive
vehicles with groceries and luxury goods bound for Harare. A week earlier,
Mr. Moyo had made a statement denying that there were shortages in Zimbabwe
and accusing Western journalists of "publishing false reports" about his
     Mr. Mugabe met his first wife, Sally Hefron, when he was teaching in
Ghana in 1961. When Sally Mugabe died in 1995, it was revealed that her
husband had fathered two children with his secretary, a divorcee named Grace
Marufu. The couple were married in 1996.
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ABC Australia (Radio transcript)

      Mugabe suggests he will retire after finishing land reform program
      AM - Tuesday, 29 April , 2003 08:27:05
      Reporter: Sally Sara

      LINDA MOTTRAM: Zimbabwe's Government has confirmed that President
Robert Mugabe is considering retirement, after he completes the land reform
program that's been so violent and politically volatile - his final
assignment is how the President's spokesman has described it.

      Africa Correspondent Sally Sara reports.

      SALLY SARA: After more than twenty years in power President Robert
Mugabe is hinting that his political career may be coming to an end, but the
timing is unclear.

      Mr Mugabe says once his land reform program is settled, people can
retire. He's yet to directly refer to himself, but presidential spokesman
George Charamba says the message is clear. He says land reform will be Mr
Mugabe's grand finale.

      GEORGE CHARAMBA: Well the comments are very straightforward. He
indicated that he is working on what he considers to be his final assignment
for Zimbabwe, namely the delivery of land to the Zimbabwean people. It's a
process which is still underway and hasn't been quite concluded and it is
also the completion of that assignment that he will then consider possible

      SALLY SARA: But President Mugabe's opponents aren't holding their
breath. The Opposition Movement for Democratic Change is sceptical.

      MDC Spokesman Paul Nyathi says Mr Mugabe may be looking for a soft
exit, a way to escape responsibility for his actions during his time in

      PAUL NYATHI: You can't turn around and use that as a bargaining chip.
You can't turn around and say well for me to stop abusing you, for me to get
out of this scene, please guarantee me immunity. That is not the way to go,
it is wrong.

      SALLY SARA: The MDC says President Mugabe should be held accountable,
but many incidents, including the murder of thousands of civilians by ruling
party troops in the Matabeleland Province in the early 1980s, are yet to be

      If there's a risk of prosecution or retribution, Mr Mugabe may be
reluctant to let go of power.

      If he decides to stay in office, the President will be 84 years of age
by the time he finishes his current six year term. That's a long time to
wait for those who have been at the centre of his wrath.

      The Commercial Farmers Union says it is unclear how long it will take
for Mr Mugabe to finish his land reform program.

      CFU Director Hendrik Olivier says despite the Government's claims, the
process is far from over.

      HENDRIK OLIVIER: Well we would like this process to come to a
conclusion now. We need to get focussed on production issues, but
unfortunately this is not taking place.

      SALLY SARA: The waiting and watching have begun.

      Mr Mugabe's political career has spanned more than forty years. He
began his working life as a teacher, before spending a decade in jail for
his role in the fight against colonialism.

      He is a calculating performer. Mr Mugabe has six university degrees
and more political experience than most of his counterparts in Africa, but
the man who came into power promising to deliver democracy, has parted ways
with many of his people.

      As Robert Mugabe talks of retirement, his opponents are already
working to throw him out of office.
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      Financial Times

      Warning to 'conflict diamond' traders
      Nicol Degli Innocenti
      Published: April 29 2003 5:00 | Last Updated: April 29 2003 5:00

      Diamond-producing or trading countries that have agreed to the
international scheme to stop trade in diamonds from conflict areas but are
not complying face suspension, a summit heard yesterday.

      The warning came as representatives from 70 countries, the industry
and non-governmental organisations met in Johannesburg for the first day of
a summit aimed at tightening and enforcing the rules of the so-called
Kimberley Process.

      The meeting should "consider dissuasive and proportional penalties for
non-compliance by participants", Abbey Chikane, Kimberley Process chairman,
said yesterday. The "tolerance period" for countries that were not ready to
comply expires tomorrow and should not be renewed, he said. Suspension,
which would prevent a country from legitimately exporting diamonds and
discourage traders from buying, is one of the penalties under consideration.

      The Kimberley Process has until now worked on voluntary participation,
self-examination and peer review, rather than imposing penalties or
establishing an independent monitoring process, as non-governmental
organisations demand.

      That may change. "Until now we have established the principles, we
have looked at the wood. But now it is time to look at the trees. Soon we'll
be examining every single leaf," Mr Chikane said.

      South Africa, which chairs the process, is determined the summit
should be constructive and not shy from discussing penalties. "We have to
decide what to do about countries that have experienced an unlawful change
of government," said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, minister for mines.

      Countries that face scrutiny include Zimbabwe, Central African
Republic, Congo Brazzaville and Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Liberia, which is clamouring to join the process, will not be allowed
to until the UN Security Council has lifted the diamond trade embargo.

      The Johannesburg summit is the first meeting of the group since the
Kimberley Process was formally endorsed in Switzerland last November by
almost all the world's diamond-producing and trading countries.

      According to the certification scheme, which was officially launched
world-wide on January 1, diamonds can only be traded with a certificate of
origin from the producing country, which guarantees it is conflict-free.

      In the US, President George W. Bush signed the Clean Diamond Trade Act
into law last Friday, thereby allowing the US to implement the accord.

      According to the industry only 2 per cent of the world's diamonds
originate from conflict zones, but some NGOs estimate it is 20 per cent.
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