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

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East London Dispatch

Zim police brace for more protests

HARARE -- After bruising local elections won by the opposition, police said
yesterday they were on high alert ahead of a planned fresh wave of
anti-government demonstrations.

Roadblocks and random checkpoints were set up around Harare in what police
said was an operation "to ensure the safety of everyone coming in and out"
of the city.

"We are in a state of high alert to deal with lawlessness," said police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.

Yesterday police reinforcements were deployed on the approaches to President
Robert Mugabe's official residence and offices for a second day.

The increased security came after the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change promised a "final push" of anti-government protests, including a
march on Mugabe's colonial style palace.

The opposition deputy leader, Gibbon Sibanda, arrested on Monday in
Bulawayo, his hometown, was still in custody yesterday, his lawyer Josephat
Tshuma said.

State radio said Sibanda and a colleague identified as Regis Moyo were
accused under stringent security laws of helping to arrange illegal mass
demonstrations against the government.

A two-day anti-government strike called by the opposition shut down the
economy on March 18 and 19.

Tshuma said Sibanda was expected to appear in court tomorrow under charges
carrying a penalty of up to two years in jail.

State radio said yesterday that Sibanda and Moyo were to face charges of
inciting violence during the strike, declared illegal under the nation's
stringent security laws.

It said other "high level" opposition officials were also being investigated
for their role in allegedly inciting violent protests against the

Zimbabwe's political crisis deepened sharply on Saturday after Home Affairs
Minister Kembo Mohadi, who is in charge of the police, threatened to arrest
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition officials for
inciting violence by calling for more anti-government protests.

On Monday, Tsvangirai urged supporters to be on the alert for opposition
protests "soon and at a time and manner of our own choosing".

"This will be the final push that will restore our sovereignty, liberty and

"It will be a struggle that calls for extreme sacrifices, indeed even the
supreme sacrifice" of death, he said. -- Sapa-AP
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2 April 2003





The arbitrary arrest of the MDC Vice President and leader of the official opposition in Parliament, Mr. Gibson Sibanda on the flimsy accusation of demanding the accountability of the Mugabe regime to the people is a clear demonstration that the war against the people announced by Mugabe has now been fully declared.

Mr. Sibanda is being held like a common criminal, barred from visits even by his wife. His only alleged “crime” is to fulfil his democratic duties as a leader of a legal and legitimate opposition party challenging an illegitimate, murderous and dictatorial regime steeped in the blood of thousands and pegged on the skeletons of innocent Zimbabweans.

The reality of the situation is that the arrest of Sibanda, and the general threats to the entire leadership and supporters of the MDC, is the regime’s response to the resounding expression of the people’s democratic choices in the Kuwadzana and Highfield by-elections. This regime cannot handle, and rejects all, democratic processes.

Two weeks after the 18 and 19 March 2003 peaceful stay away by the people, the wave of state sponsored violence against defenceless citizens, which started during that period has now been intensified to the point whereby it is now extremely dangerous for ordinary citizens to go about their normal business, reside in peaceful neighbourhoods and enjoy the comfort of their own homes. They are routinely haunted and hounded in their neighbourhoods and brutalized and tortured in their homes.

As the chief enforcer of a violent and illegitimate regime Mugabe cannot handle peaceful protests that expose his dictatorship in the eyes of the world. Consequently the current violence and murder are intended to create dangerous situations similar to the conditions of a civil war in the context of which he will proceed to physically eliminate all the leaders of the MDC. We aware of active plans and the timing by the Mugabe regime to implement this genocidal policy.

We want to warn Mugabe once again that murder has never been an effective policy in the resolution of political problems. The inspiration he proudly draws from Adolf Hitler ought to inform him about that fact. The crimes against humanity which his regime perpetrates daily are pushing the people of Zimbabwe to levels of desperation the consequences of and reaction to which can never be foreseen. The people of Zimbabwe will not remain sitting ducks while an illegitimate regime continues to brutalize them.

We appeal to all democratic forces, civil society and the Church to stand up and confront this evil. We urge them to demand the immediate withdrawal of the police, the army and ZANU PF militia from all the residential areas. Life expectancy in the high density suburbs is now measured in seconds.

We want to state it on record that we are a peaceful, democratic political party committed to the pacific resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis. The people of Zimbabwe demonstrated this by staying in their homes during the mass stay away two weeks ago, but the agents of the regime brought violence into these homes.

Peaceful modes of protest are legitimate ways of expressing political views in all countries governed by elected governments. This is what Zimbabweans are being denied. We therefore ask all the elected heads of SADC states to take serious note of the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and Mugabe’s deliberate attempts to put in place the ingredients of a civil war. A civil war has serious repercussions for the entire region.

We further appeal to the international community to react to this murderous dictatorship in the same manner that it has always handled regimes that wage wars against innocent citizens.

Zimbabweans are determined to complete the change through collective action for national survival.

 Morgan Tsvangirai.


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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: J L Robinson

Dear Mr. Joubert,
It is now approaching one year since a few farmers approached Director
Hasluck, President Cloete and Vice President Hughs about the problems
facing commercial agriculture, almost exclusively by white farmers. At that
time we were advised on a number of occasions that there was a 'split in
the party' and that our leadership was working with the moderates, and that
the leadership had the mandate, the will and the intellect to solve the
problem. We were thanked for our concern and our presentations. In due
course we were advised by their Legal Representative that the split in the
party was the correct area of focus and that after one thousand farmers
were detained, the time would be ripe for any litigation. Naturally the
attorney concerned was entitled to his opinion, but so were the one
thousand potential detainees - if we accept Voltaire's thoughts.
I now ask of you as a union loyalist:
1.  To make a tally of what has been achieved by their approach to date.
2.  To make a tally of what the reformed leadership has achieved in the
last four months.
3.  To prepare a budget, or plan for the future, perhaps applying a few
gentle deadlines - ten targets or commandments could be a fair start?
4.  To keep a tally of items implemented or attempted, and results
5.  To assist the reformed leadership with new ideas, should there be
problems on one of the ten target areas in an attempt to find winning

I trust that this can be accepted in good faith. I believe that both
military operations and Big Business work on one year, two year, five year
plans etc. I am not sure about political operations, because I am told that
'politics is not an exact science' and have done my best to keep well out
of it. I prefer exact sciences, and hence would like to see you change the
union syllabus from one of political science to one of exact science.
I am fully aware that I have failed to change the syllabus, and that a
bigger player such as yourself is now required to assist the union. From
now on we will stick to the exact science of Justice for Agriculture - in
the Courts, in the Loss Document and publicity of the facts on the ground.
Yours faithfully,
J.L. Robinson.


Letter 2: Merle Grant

Is not the little green eyed monster that makes people say things about
farmers still farming.

We who lost all and are now working very hard far from home realise just
what a wonderful life we had --wonderful homes friends, workers. We were
very privileged to be part of a special life!  When I now leave home in
the dark and get back in the dark I am very jealous of you all but I don't
have to queue for fuel or bread!!!

Best wishes.  Unite not fight about unnecessary things.

Merle Grant
wilds of Botswana!!!


Letter 3: The Jewel of Africa by Doris Lessing

The New York Review of Books
April 10, 2003

"You have the jewel of Africa in your hands," said President Samora Machel
of Mozambique and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania to Robert Mugabe, at
the moment of independence, in 1980. "Now look after it."

Twenty-three years later, the "jewel" is ruined, dishonored, disgraced.

Southern Rhodesia had fine and functioning railways, good roads; its towns
were policed and clean. It could grow anything, tropical fruit like
pineapples, mangoes, bananas, plantains, pawpaws, passion fruit, temperate
fruits like apples, peaches, plums. The staple food, maize, grew like a
weed and fed surrounding countries as well. Peanuts, sunflowers, cotton,
the millets and small grains that used to be staple foods before maize,
flourished. Minerals: gold, chromium, asbestos, platinum, and rich
coalfields. The dammed Zambezi River created the Kariba Lake, which fed
electricity north and south. A paradise, and not only for the whites. The
blacks did well, too, at least physically. Not politically: it was a police
state and a harsh one. When the blacks rebelled and won their war in 1979
they looked forward to a plenty and competence that existed nowhere else in
Africa, not even in South Africa, which was bedeviled by its many mutually
hostile tribes and its vast shantytowns. But paradise has to have a
superstructure, an infrastructure, and by now it is going, going - almost

One man is associated with the calamity, Robert Mugabe. For a while I
wondered if the word "tragedy" could be applied here, greatness brought
low, but Mugabe, despite his early reputation, was never great; he was
always a frightened little man. There is a tragedy, all right, but it is

Mugabe is now widely execrated, and rightly, but blame for him began late.
Nothing is more astonishing than the silence about him for so many years
among liberals and well-wishers - the politically correct. What crimes have
been committed in the name of political correctness. A man may get away
with murder, if he is black. Mugabe did, for many years.


Early in his regime, we might have seen what he was when the infamous Fifth
Brigade, thugs from North Korea, hated by blacks and whites alike, became
Mugabe's bodyguards, and did his dirty work, notably when he attempted what
was virtually genocide of thousands of the Ndebele people (the
second-largest tribe) in Matabeleland. Hindsight gives us a clear picture
of his depredations: at the time mendacity ruled, all was confusion. But
the fact was, we knew the Fifth Brigade: it had already murdered and raped.

It was confusion, too, because Mugabe seemed to begin well. He was a
Marxist, true, but like other politicians before and since he said the
right things, for instance, that blacks and whites must flourish together.
And he passed a law against corruption, forbidding the top echelons of
officials from owning more than one property. When his officials only
laughed, and bought farm after farm, hotels, businesses, anything they
could grab, he did nothing. It was at that point that everyone should have
said, "This is no strongman, he is a weakling."

From the start Mugabe has been afraid to show his face out of doors without
outriders, guards, motorcades - all the defenses of paranoia.  When Queen
Elizabeth visited, refused to ride with him in an armored car, and insisted
on an open one, people jeered as the frightened man clung to the sides of
the car while the insouciant sovereign smiled and waved.


Here is the heart of the tragedy. Never has a ruler come to power with more
goodwill from his people. Virtually everybody, the people who voted for him
and the ones who did not, forgot their differences and expected from him
the fulfillment of their dreams - and of his promises. He could have done
practically anything in those early years. When you traveled around the
villages in the early Eighties you heard from everyone, "Mugabe will do
this.... Comrade Mugabe will do that...." He will see the value of this or
that plan, build this shop or clinic or road, help us with our school,
check that bullying official. If Mugabe had had the sense to trust what he
heard, he could have transformed the country. But he did not know how much
he was trusted, because he was too afraid to leave his self-created prison,
meeting only sycophants and cronies, and governing through inflexible
Marxist rules taken from textbooks.

Someone allowed into his presence who came looking for evidence of Mugabe's
reputation as a well-read man would have found only Marxist tracts. He had
come to Marxism late, converted by the Mozambique independence leader
Samora Machel, who was a sensible, large-minded man, unlike Mugabe, who
tended to be narrowly doctrinaire. (Machel was murdered by the South
African secret police in 1986.) There are those who blame Mugabe's wife
Sally, from Ghana, for what seemed like a change in his personality. She
was, this Mother of the Nation, corrupt and unashamed of it. Departing the
country for a trip home to Ghana and stopped at customs with the equivalent
of a million pounds' worth of Zimbabwean money, she protested it was her
money, and only laughed when she had to leave it and travel on without. But
that was when laws were still enforced.

Mugabe gave refuge to the brutal dictator Mengistu from Ethiopia - he is
still there, safe from the people who would try him as a war criminal. And
excuses were being made, as always. Mugabe had been in a brutal prison
under Ian Smith, the repressive prime minister of Rhodesia, who refused him
permission to attend his son's funeral. He had experienced nothing soft and
kind from the whites: Why should he now show kindness? As for Mengistu,
well, it was in the finest tradition of chivalrous hospitality to shelter
refugees from justice. Mugabe became a close friend of Mahathir bin
Mohammed, the infamous prime minister of Malaysia, and attempted to sell
him a controlling interest in Zimbabwe's electricity, but the quid pro quo
was not enough and the deal fell through.

In the early Nineties there was a savage drought in Zimbabwe. When members
of Mugabe's government sold the grain from the silos and pocketed the
money, by then the popular contempt for these ministers was such that the
crime was seen as just another little item of a much larger criminal
record. United Nations officials were saying as early as the mid-Eighties
that Mugabe's government was the most rapacious bunch of thieves in Africa.
Well, said his defenders, often members of his bureaucracy, corruption was
not unknown in Europe. The secret police were arbitrary and bullying? "But
you can't expect democracy of the European type in Africa."


If you visited Zimbabwe after Mugabe took control and met only the whites
and blacks who hardly ever leave Harare or Bulawayo, you heard laments for
the corruption, the incompetence, the general collapse of services. But if
you took the trouble to visit the villages then it was impossible not to be
inspired by the people. The Shona are a sane, humorous, enterprising
people, but they have a fault: they are too patient. I have heard a famous
Zimbabwean writer complain: What is wrong with us? We put up with you
whites far too long and now we are putting up with this gang of crooks.

The villagers joked about their oppressors, and continued to dream about
better times, which they were only too ready to help bring into being by
their own efforts. In the early years, promised free primary and secondary
and university education, they were helping to build schools, unpaid,
though soon free education or, in some places, any education at all would
be a memory. For education, they did much better under the whites.

Denied a decent education, or any, they hungered for books. At least two
surveys said that what they wanted was novels, particularly classics,
science fiction, poetry, historical fiction, fairy stories, and while at
the beginning these were books that were supplied, soon rocketing inflation
made it impossible to buy anything but the cheapest and locally published
instruction books. How to Run a Shop. How to Keep Poultry. Car Repairs.
That kind of thing. A box of even elementary books may transform a village.
A box of books, sent by a humanitarian organization, may be, often is,
greeted with tears. One man complained, "They taught us how to read, but
now there are no books." Three years ago a Penguin classic cost more than a
month's wage.

But even with books that were so far from what was originally dreamed of,
in no time study classes began, literacy classes, math lessons, citizenship
classes. The appearance of a box of books released (will release again?)
astonishing energies. A village sunk in apathy will come to life overnight.
This is not a people who wait for handouts: a little encouragement, help,
sets them off on all kinds of projects. In January I heard from a member of
a book team with which I'm associated that distributes books in villages,
"I was out this week. I was talking about books to people who haven't eaten
for three days."

And there it is, the tragedy, one that could not have happened if Mugabe
had been even half the man people took him for. People say, "Get rid of
Mugabe and we will get back on course." But he has created a whole caste of
greedy people like himself. Get rid of him and there will be others as bad.
If this is the merest pessimism and the crooks can be got rid of, then
there will remain the damage that has been done.

Sometimes an adage dulled with age comes startlingly to life. "There is a
tide in the affairs of men...." Had Mugabe ridden the tide that was running
at Independence, Zimbabwe could have been an example to all of Africa. But
he didn't, and the shallows and the miseries are there as evidence. Nothing
can now recover that opportunity. Those of us who are old enough can only
mourn lost possibilities. Familiar words carry a history lesson as sharp as
the bitterest experience. There are indeed tides that will never repeat

The racial hatred that Mugabe has fomented will not die. Throughout the
period from Independence onward, beginning in 1980, anti-white rhetoric
went alongside the Marxist slogans that were as primitive as they would be
if Marxism had been invented in Zimbabwe. Yet what everyone remarked on
was the amiable race relations, friendliness between whites and blacks,
compared to South Africa, where apartheid created such a bitter legacy.
Fiery articles in the government press were read in the same perfunctory
way as were the public pronouncements of the Soviet government, or any
Communist government. The official rhetoric in Zimbabwe was worse than
anywhere in Africa - so said a United Nations report. "Never has rhetoric
had so little to do with what actually went on."

This anti-white rhetoric was directed at whites generally, but particularly
at the white farmers, who owned sizable tracts of land and were growing
most of the food and earning Zimbabwe's foreign currency. They were well
aware of their anomalous position, and the Commercial Farmers Union, the
organization representing white farmers and some black ones, was putting
forward proposals for a redistribution of land that would not disrupt the
economy. Not one of these proposals was ever even acknowledged by Mugabe.
Meanwhile farms that had already been acquired by the government were not
being turned over to the poor blacks; that happened only at the beginning.
They were being acquired by Mugabe's greedy cronies.

Why then, when there was no need for confrontation, did Mugabe unexpectedly
launch an attack on the white farmers, in a clear attempt to drive them
from the country? Mugabe had enjoyed seeing himself as the senior black
leader in southern Africa: he did so at a time when he was increasingly
seen as an embarrassment. When Nelson Mandela appeared and became the
world's sweetheart, Mugabe, according to many accounts, was furious. There
were ridiculous scenes where Mugabe imagined he was establishing himself as
first in importance. At lunchtime during a conference of African leaders,
Mandela got in line with everyone else at the buffet, while Mugabe sat at a
table that had been moved so that it would be prominent in the room, and
had his followers bring dishes to him. This made everyone laugh at him; but
surrounded by flatterers, he never understood why people were laughing.

He became desperate to establish himself as the Great Leader. The issue of
land had always rankled, not least because during the War of Liberation in
the 1970s he had promised land to "every man, woman, and child." Why had he
made such foolish and impossible promises? Ah, but then it was by no means
certain that he would come first in the race to be leader. But now he,
Mugabe, the great statesman, the father of his people, would throw out the
white farmers, and Mandela, that paltry figure, would be forgotten. And in
some backward parts of Africa, and other places, he became famous. He did
so at the price of ruining his country, already so misgoverned by his
regime that it was on the edge of collapse. And there remains an unanswered
question: Why did he act so destructively? Mugabe isn't stupid. His cunning
as he established his position showed a scheming, guileful man. For
instance, the war in the Congo, which impoverished Zimbabwe when it was
already on its knees, enriched him personally with the loot he got from its
mines in return for his sending troops. And it enabled him to buy off his
greatest threat, the army officers who are the only force that can dislodge

Many people said he was mad - I among them. But perhaps one has to be a
sentimental liberal to doubt that a leader, particularly one so prolific
with resounding onward-and-upward rhetoric, could be making plans that
would ruin his people. Did he really not foresee what his campaign of
forcible acquisition of land would achieve? A friend of mine, meeting a
former friend, black, a Mugabe crony, in the street, was told, "We never
meant things to get out of hand like this" - this was spoken casually as if
about some unimportant failure. "The trouble is that Robert can think of
nothing but Tony Blair. He is convinced Blair wants to ruin him, even kill
him." It is true that Blair has been critical of Mugabe, but, as my friend
said, "I doubt whether Tony Blair thinks of Mugabe for as much as half a
minute a week." "Ah, but Robert would not like to believe that," was the


Now, with hindsight, it is easy to recall scenes and events that spelled
danger. First, and above all, there were the masses of unemployed black
youths. Anywhere in Zimbabwe, along the roads, in distant villages, outside
schools and colleges and missions, were very young black men just standing
about, or more often trying to sell pitiful carvings of wooden beasts -
elephants and giraffes and so forth. Also, some sculptures. Zimbabwe has
some fine black sculptors. Typical of the magical thinking that has always
bedeviled Zimbabwe were such statements as "If he can make all that money
from carving stone figures, then so can I." There are places in Zimbabwe
where sculptures cover acres. Most of it is rubbish.

The youths had no future because Mugabe's promises had come to nothing;
they were hungry and idle. It was these youths that Mugabe paid to harass
and take over the white farms (and the richer black farms too) in the name
of the war veterans. And they are still hanging around, brutalized, drunk,
and futureless, because if they have acquired a little plot of land, they
have no equipment, or seeds, or, above all, skills. Many have already
drifted back to town. They are heard to complain, "We did all these bad
things for Comrade Mugabe but now he has forgotten us."

Another scene: it is 1982, two years after Independence, and there is still
a sullen, raw, bitter postwar mood. But in an inn, formerly a white
drinking hole, in the mountains above the town of Mutare a group of young
black people are dressed for a night out. The men are in dinner jackets,
the girls in dance dresses. They look like an advertisement in a glossy
magazine from the Thirties. Nothing could be more incongruous in this
homely rural setting, which has probably never before seen a dinner jacket
or a d*collet* in its life. But they are thinking that this is what the
long war was about. Here they are in a hotel, formerly a white enclave,
dressed to the nines - just like the whites, drinking fancy drinks, and,
above all, waited on, like the whites, by black menials.

For the ninety years of white occupation, the blacks, most of them roughly
torn from their village life, had watched - unreachably above them - rich
whites with their cars and their black servants. The white people they saw
as rich included many poor ones, but most blacks were so far below an
apparently cohesive white layer that they could see only riches. Effortless
riches. Take the example of a white youth who left home in Britain because
of unemployment during the depression of the 1930s and went to work as an
assistant to an established farmer. Before he tried for a loan to make the
gamble on farming on his own account, he was a man without more than his
clothes; the family in Britain was probably only too pleased to get rid of
him. To the black waiter who served that young man beer at a district
Sports Day he seemed like some rich apparition for whom everything was
possible. The whites were all rich. And the most enticing of the dreams,
the unobtainable dreams, was the life of the white farmer, the life of the
verandas. When they thought of Mugabe's promise during the War of
Liberation, that everyone would have land, this is what they wanted. A
house like a white farmer's, the spreading acres, the black
menials - effortless ease.

A fact about the white farmers that must be recorded is that most of them
were very good farmers, inventive, industrious, with an ability to make do
and mend, even when Mugabe would not allow the import of spare parts,
supplies, sufficient gasoline. To visit a white farm was to be taken around
by people proud of their resourcefulness. "I invented this," one of them
might say, referring to a process in the curing of tobacco or a bit of
machinery. There was the farmer's wife who made a cottage industry out of
delicious crystallized preserves from the gourds the cattle eat. Many built
up their farms from nothing - from raw bush. By the Nineties their attitude
toward their black employees was changing. I was brought up with the
unregenerate white farmers of the early times. At best they had maternal
and paternal attitudes toward blacks, running basic clinics or elementary
schools. At worst they were brutal. Because of the enforced exodus of the
white farmers, attempts are being made now to soften their history. This
won't work; too much has been written and recorded about their domination
of blacks. But visiting them in the late Eighties or the Nineties, I found
that they were, most of them, making attempts to change.

As the collapse of the country worsens, few, however, can resist saying,
"We told you so. We always said they couldn't run a bicycle shop, let alone
a country." Such remarks come from people who had made sure there was not
merely a glass ceiling but a steel one, preventing blacks from rising, from
getting education and experience. In old Southern Rhodesia, when there were
too many blacks on the voters' roll for the whites' comfort, the
qualifications for voters were adjusted upward to exclude them. At Zambia's
independence celebrations, I saw a district commissioner radiant with
malicious delight because the black newcomers had mismanaged a minor aspect
of the festivities. Not very nice people, some of the white settlers and
administrators. But changing. Alan Paton, in Cry the Beloved Country:
"...By the time they have come to loving, we will have come to hating."

The reporting of the transfer of farmland has been biased. All the emphasis
has been on the white farmers who are losing their land. Not nearly enough
has been said about the hundreds of thousands of black farm workers who
lost their work and their homes, and also were beaten up (and are still
being beaten up), their wives raped, and their daughters too. Well-off
black farmers - some assisted by their white neighbors - and more modest
black farmers have had their land taken from them. A key fact, hardly
mentioned, is that since Independence 80 percent of the farms have changed
hands, and under the law they had to be offered first to the government,
which refused them. Mugabe's rhetoric about white farmers grabbing land
from the blacks is contradicted by this fact.

As a result of his campaign of misinformation, moreover, you meet people
who will tell you, "The whites threw my grandparents off their farm and
took their house." At the time of the whites' arrival in the area that is
now Zimbabwe there were a quarter of a million blacks, and they lived in
villages of mud-walled, grass-roofed huts. The women grew pumpkins and the
maize imported from South America, and gathered plants from the bush. The
men hunted. When I was a girl you met the men walking through the bush,
dressed in animal skins, carrying assegais, people a step or two up from
hunter-gatherers. On a BBC program you hear a young woman, in all
sincerity, saying that the playing of the mbira (thin strips of metal on a
sounding gourd, which whites called the hand piano) was formerly forbidden
under white rule. Yet when I was growing up the tinkling of the hand piano
could be heard everywhere, including black villages. It will take a long
time for Mugabe's version of history to be corrected, if it ever is.

He has recently set up compulsory indoctrination classes in villages
throughout the country, mostly for teachers, but for other officials too,
where they are taught that they should worship Mugabe and be totally
obedient to ZANU, the ruling party. All the ills of Zimbabwe are said to be
caused by machinations of Tony Blair in cahoots with the opposition
parties. The students learn useful skills like how to murder opponents with
a blow to sensitive parts of the body, and how to strangle them with
bootlaces. This type of sadistic cruelty is not part of their own
traditions and history, to which lip service is continually paid.

Many blacks I've talked to and heard about do not like their own history,
although they talk about "our customs." In fact, many I have seen and known
cannot wait to wear dance dresses, behave like whites, live the white life,
put the bush far behind them. A group of sophisticated, urban blacks will
make sentimental remarks about photographs of a traditional village, but
they haven't been near their villages for years.


If you want to see just how much "our customs" really mean, then visit the
park in Harare on Saturday or Sunday, where dozens of wedding groups
arrive, the brides in flouncy white and veils, with bridesmaids and pages.
The woman may be very pregnant, or with several small children. But this
rite of passage into the modern world, the white man's wedding, they must
have, and the photographers are there to preserve the beautiful sight for
posterity. (It should perhaps be asked why a ritual invented by
middle-class Victorians should have conquered the world from Japan to the
Virgin Islands.)

In fact, "our customs" are strongly valued when they have to do with the
subjection of women. The law of the land may say one thing on paper -
Zimbabwe's early Marxist phase, as in other Communist countries, imposed
many kinds of equality. But "our customs" still make sure that a woman has
no right to the money she has earned, or to her children. She is her
husband's vassal. When Mugabe was met at the airport by hand-clapping and
kowtowing maidens, and he was criticized (in the early days) for this sign
of backwardness, the reply was "it is our custom."

A man in a three-piece suit, in a government job, will still beat his
wife - or try to; the women are fighting back. And he will consult
soothsayers and shamans. Superstition still rules. It is "our custom" to
look for the evil eye when a family member gets sick or a cow falls lame
and then pay the witch doctor to exact revenge. It is becoming "our custom"
to try to find virgin partners if you are HIV-positive, for to have sex
with them will cure you of AIDS. (AIDS has spread widely in Zimbabwe.) The
use of human parts in medicine goes on; it is the custom.

By now the expulsion of the white farmers is nearly complete. It should be
evident that what we have been seeing is not principally about race; it is
a transfer of property. Many of the poor people who settled on white land
have been thrown off again by powerful blacks. Those still there may grow
maize and pumpkins and the plant called rape on their patches - when it
rains, that is. There is a bad drought again. The poor settlers are farming
without machinery or even, in some cases, basic implements, such as
shovels. The irrigation systems have broken down. I remember another
prophetic scene from the Eighties: a water tank of a certain school was not
working. A valve had gone. No one replaced it. The women went back to
getting water from the river, which was infested with bilharzia. Two years
later the water tank had not been mended.

The recent settlers who had depended on Mugabe ("Comrade Mugabe will look
after us"; "Comrade Mugabe will...") have no chance of getting their
children into school because school (unlike under the whites) costs a lot
of money; and how will they get money for clothes, even if they survive
this terrible time when there is nothing to eat and people are dying of
hunger? If they manage to stay on the land they will be as poor as
subsistence peasants anywhere in the world.


Every telephone conversation with people in Zimbabwe, every visitor from
there provides tales as bizarre as anything else out of Africa. The black
elite drive around the white farms and say, "I'll have that one." "No, I
want that one." Mugabe's wife had herself driven through the countryside,
picking among farms like fruit on a stall. She chose a really nice one. A
white farmer's wife watched a black woman arrive in her smart car. She was
pushed out of the way, while the interloper began measuring for curtains.
"Are you going to live here?" inquired the dispossessed wife. "Me? I
wouldn't live in this dump," the black woman said scornfully. "I'm going to
let it. I've already got three houses in Borrowdale" (the most fashionable
suburb in Harare).

Around Harare and Bulawayo, during weekends on the farms taken over by
blacks, cars arrive and out pile the city dwellers enjoying a rural
excursion. They set up a barbecue; music blares across the veld; they sing
and dance and eat, spread themselves for the night through the empty house,
and depart next morning back to Harare.

A farmer from Matabeleland, third generation, whose bore holes supplied
water not only to his laborers but to those on nearby farms, now
black-owned, saw a car driving up and some drunk black men get out. "We are
taking your farm," they said. "I shall take you to court," he said. "But we
are the law now." They had parked the car outside his gate. He asked them
to move it. "That's where the cattle come across to the dam," he said.

"We know why you want us to move. You don't like to look at black people."

"But I look at black people every day from sunup to sundown."

They drove off, returned drunk, and took over a wing of his house, where
they drank and caroused, day and night. After months the farmer gave up: he
had been maintaining the water machinery, but after he tried to show the
interlopers how to look after it, and failed, he simply left. "Why are you
taking away those ladders?" he was asked.

"They are my ladders," he said.

"No they aren't. They are our ladders. You are sabotaging us."

A farmer, observing how the white farmers around him were being stopped
from planting crops by the black mobs, thought he would accept his fate and
simply leave. But one of the leaders asked him to plant his crop, tobacco,
the chief currency earner. "What's the point, you'll only take it." "No,
you plant, you'll be safe." He planted, the crop was a good one, and when
it was reaped, baled, and ready, the mob leader told him that now he must
get off the farm. "I am taking your farm and your tobacco."


Some white farmers are in Mozambique; they had to begin again without
capital, implements, machinery. Skilled and hard-working, they will
survive. They are in Zambia, invited by the black government: white farmers
in Zambia produce nearly all the food. They are also in New Zealand,
Australia, Canada, while the people in Zimbabwe are starving.

A month ago the black occupiers of a white farm, a ranch, drove dozens of
cattle into a dam and drowned them. Traditionally Africans in Zimbabwe have
loved cattle, their "mombies" as they call them. Cattle are currency,
riches, links with the past, a promise for the future. It is hard to
believe that Africans would harm them.

Another story is more hopeful. On a pig farm the animals were dying because
they had not been fed and watered since the white farmers were thrown off
the land. Drunken blacks had hacked pieces of meat off some of the pigs and
left them to die. A white woman vet stood by weeping, forbidden to help the
pigs. But then one of the new black settlers, unseen by the others, came to
her and said, "We are townspeople, we have these animals now and don't know
how to look after them. Please help us." They had taken a couple of the
dying pigs and put them in a shed. The white woman went with him and began
showing him and his wife how to look after the animals.

The latest news is that Mugabe, under a contract with a Chinese company, is
importing Chinese farmers to grow food, since the forcibly acquired white
farms are not producing. He says this is because there is no farm
machinery. Yet all the expelled white farmers had been forced to leave
behind their machinery. If lack of machinery is the problem, then why not
import some? But is the story true? It has the tone of zany, brutal, hasty
improvisation that characterizes news from Mugabe. We can pity the Chinese,
who may not be protected against Mugabe's arbitrary cruelties. And what
about the poor blacks who will yet again watch their land being taken from

March 13, 2003


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

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The question is constantly asked, "Are we winning?"

The answer is quite simple "the straws are being piled up on the camel's
back and the last straw will break it".  JAG is doing its bit to pile the
straws on, but it needs everyone to do their bit too.  Your straw, however
small it might seem, might be the straw.  Working with the regime is: to
legitimise and lend credibility to it and in effect will be removing the
straws, thereby delaying justice.  So what has JAG done and how is it going
to continue?

· Legal: JAG continues to advise farmers to protect themselves and their
workers legally, and stand up for their legal and constitutional rights.
To fall on the wrong side of the law is a trap that hundreds of farmers
blindly walked into in August 2002.  They ended up in prison and evicted
off their farms for it.  At the time there was only one representative body
of commercial farmers and it refused to listen to all legal commonsense and
advice and take a representative action - hence the formation of the JAG

· The Quinnell Case: Well over half of the R180,000.00 required has been
raised by JAG through farmers, business and well wishers.  The case, which
JAG put together, challenges the whole constitutionality of the Land
Acquisition Act and illegal evictions, strengthening the claims for
restitution and compensation and ultimately bringing justice and
accountability to the perpetrators of this injustice.  Your further
contributions to this landmark case would be greatly appreciated, however
small.  We hope to have it heard in June.  We have raised eight points
that are inconsistent with our constitution.

· The Rule of Law Case: Affidavits continue to come in regarding the
blatant disregard for the law by the regime and complicity of the law
enforcement agencies in the breakdown of the rule of law.  We need as many
affidavits as we can get if we are to convincingly prove that the rule of
law has broken down in Zimbabwe.  Mbeki and the rest of this regime's
apologists will then find it a lot more difficult to say, "Zimbabwe is
complying with its own laws".  It also strengthens the case further for
restitution/compensation.  (We still await the pledged affidavits from the
CFU legal committee and have asked them to do a joint case with us to
demonstrate good faith and to verify the reality of a "change of heart" and
thereby add weight to the case).

· Civil Damages/Claims Suits: It is imperative in the light of a three-year
statute of limitation that farmers start these legal processes before it
becomes too late to do so.  A number of affidavits are now coming in.
Funding has been secured and Leith Bray and Colin Macmillan are doing an
excellent job in motivating farmers to compile affidavits regarding their
losses without cost to the farmer or his workers.  The JAG Loss Claim
Document is fundamental to this initiative but not at the submission phase.

· SI6 Challenges: JAG did all the groundwork for these challenges and CFU
eventually agreed to fund them.

· International Criminal Court: Work continues in pioneering legal
challenges here if our courts fail us in Zimbabwe.

· Compensation/Restitution: JAG negotiated and brokered the setting up of
the "Valuation Consortium" with the valuator fraternity in order to reduce
the cost of valuations to farmers.  It also consulted legal advisors and
loss assessors to put together a loss claim document and a database which
includes all losses you have incurred, including:

1. Land and improvements (valuation via valuation consortium),
2. Loss, theft, damage to and forced sale of moveable assets,
3. Loss of trading profits,
4. Non trading consequential losses,
5. Trauma (assessable from a diary of events which becomes a founding
affidavit for legal challenges and claims cases),
6. Relocation.

A comprehensive database has been pioneered and developed to store this
loss document data and input externalised.  Farmers need to continue to get
these JAG Loss Claim Documents in to us as a matter of urgency.

· Accountability: JAG has put together the "chef list" which so far has
over 3500 names (over 400 of them prominent) and details of those that have
illegally seized or broken the law on farms.  This is held externally and
will be essential for bringing justice in due course.

· Publicity: JAG believes implicitly in openness (glasnost).  Individuals
and organisations that continue to deal behind closed doors and
non-transparently are furthering the plight of the country and its
citizens.  JAG believes in fully publicising injustices and bringing the
deeds of darkness into the light.  We have an open door policy and welcome
farmers, the press and concerned citizens to visit or phone us, visit our
website or email us to remain updated.  Don't hide what is going on.  Our
story needs to be told.  JAG also believes in countering state propaganda
where the truth is being subverted.  As commercial farmers and farm workers
we have a lot to be proud of in terms of feeding not only our country but
the whole sub region for the past 22 years.  We need to do out utmost to
challenge the state inspired adverse and false propaganda image we have
been unjustly saddled with.

· Civic Society: JAG is a proud signatory to the Crisis Coalition "Freedom
Charter" and an active participant in civic society issues.  We believe the
Crisis Coalition is crucial to building a future for Zimbabwe.

· Environment: JAG believes environmental issues are of key concern to our
future as agriculturalists.  Our website has information and harrowing
pictures of the environmental disaster that is currently being created as a
direct result of the so-called "land reform" programme.  This is
particularly pertinent with regard to our wildlife heritage.  Without a
stable cared for environment, agriculture has no future.  JAG believes in
creating responsibility for land husbandry through direct ownership of it
and respect for property rights.

· International Lobbying: JAG continues to meet and lobby foreign
ambassadors and dignitaries giving briefings on injustices being
perpetrated.  We have also been involved internationally in this regard
lobbying MP's, businesses and other prominent individuals and organisations
particularly in South Africa and the region in order to garner support for
the cause of justice.

· Farm Worker Feeding and Support: JAG continues to assist in feeding
displaced and internally displaced farm workers with thousands of families
benefiting from this scheme.  JAG has also been able to assist other farm
workers with food as well.

· Human Rights Abuses: JAG continues to compile and send out information
on the human rights violations, which continue to escalate in Zimbabwe.
Please check our website for some of these.

· Farmer Assistance: JAG continues to assist farmers with finding job and
business opportunities, and provides counselling to help farming families
adapt to the traumatic situation that they face.

· The Vision: JAG has set up a steering committee to look at a vision for
the future of agriculture in Zimbabwe.  JAG sees the current situation as
an opportunity to create full independence of the individual by giving him
security of tenure, bankable title and full land ownership rights that have
always been denied to the communal and resettlement farmers in the past.
JAG strongly contends that freedom and empowerment of the people of
Zimbabwe will only be achieved through property ownership and respect
thereof as enshrined in our constitution.  The present so called land
reform programme and resettlement since 1980 has seen the destruction of
freehold title and nil transference to the recipients of the land.
Government targeting of 98% of the residual properties with compulsory
acquisition under the fast track programme clearly illustrates their intent
to destroy title and thereby control the people through absolute
dependency.  The vision for the future of agriculture in Zimbabwe will be a
forum for the inclusion of input from all stakeholders from grass roots
producer level up through ancillary industries.

· Prayer: JAG remains a Christian and democracy based organisation and can
mobilise prayer groups to assist in situations where people want prayer.

Your continued support of JAG would be greatly appreciated either in your
suggestions and input, your membership, or donations to support these
working initiatives which all add together for a just and secure future for
us all.  Our door and our lines of communication are always open.  Our
policy is one of participation and inclusion and we take the view that if
you want to eat you are automatically involved in agriculture!  So any
ideas are welcome.

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
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My wife, Linda Caine, has just completed her autobiography, and the book was officially launched in London on April 1st. The book "Out of the Dark", deals with her life growing up in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) from 1951 until she left in 1976, and then with ongoing events in both England and California.  The book is one of the "books of the month" on the Publishers web site.  The publishers, Transworld Publishers, are one of the biggest book publishers in Europe.  Please visit the site for further information. 
Thank You
Chris Caine
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            Zim opposition accuses Mugabe of seeking war
            April 02, 2003, 20:45

            Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, has accused
President Robert Mugabe of trying to sow the seeds for civil war and warned
other southern African nations it could affect the whole region.

            Tsvangirai said Mugabe's authorities underlined they were
stepping up a crackdown on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) by arresting and charging Gibson Sibanda, the party's vice president,
this week with plotting to overthrow the government. Police held Sibanda for
a third day today after arresting him in connection with his role in the
organisation of a two-day strike last month that turned into one of the
biggest protests in recent years against Mugabe's 23-year rule.

            The MDC has accused the army and supporters of Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF party of intensifying a crackdown in which hundreds of opposition
backers have been detained or assaulted since the strike. Authorities deny
allegations of violence.

            Tsvangirai said in a statement Sibanda's arrest was a "clear
demonstration that the war against the people announced by Mugabe has now
been fully declared". "Mugabe cannot handle peaceful protests that expose
his dictatorship in the eyes of the world," he said.

            MDC call to regional leaders
            "We therefore ask all the elected heads of (Southern African
Development Community) states to take serious note of the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe and Mugabe's deliberate attempts to put in place the
ingredients of a civil war. A civil war has serious repercussions for the
entire region."

            No immediate comment was available from the government or the
ruling Zanu-PF on Tsvangirai's comments. A senior Zanu-PF official said this
week that two parliamentary by-election wins by the MDC had shown Zimbabwe
was a democracy. Police say they arrested scores of people in connection
with violence during last month's strike, but deny allegations of torture.
The army has also denied that any of its members have been responsible for
political violence.

            Mugabe (79) won re-election for another six-year term as
president in polls last March deemed fraudulent by both the MDC and some
Western governments. The MDC and Western countries criticise what they say
is a sanitisation of Mugabe's alleged human rights abuses by fellow African
leaders, mainly South African President Thabo Mbeki.

            Mugabe has said the MDC is a puppet of the West, which he
charges wants to oust him in retaliation for his seizure of white owned
commercial farms to give to landless blacks. He denies mismanaging the
economy since winning power at independence from Britain in 1980, or that
his land grab is to blame for food shortages affecting half of Zimbabwe's 14
million people. The once vibrant economy has also been hit by fuel and
foreign currency woes.

            David Coltart, the MDC's legal affairs secretary, said a court
in the southern city of Bulawayo had remanded Sibanda for a third night in
custody in what he charged was a political ploy to extend the deputy
opposition leader's detention. "The conduct of this case so far smacks of
political interference. The regime will do everything in its power to deny
the leader his liberty for as long as possible," Coltart said.

            Police have maintained roadblocks on major routes through the
capital Harare since the expire of a Monday deadline by the MDC for Mugabe
to meet 15 demands or face further protests. The MDC's demands include an
end to arrests of opposition supporters and establishing the groundwork for
free elections. - Reuters
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Click here to read General Remarks from the MDC
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      Business Day

      SA leads bid to solve crisis in Zimbabwe


      WITH tension mounting in Zimbabwe, SA and its southern African
partners have launched a fresh initiative to resolve the crisis.

      Ahead of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministerial
meeting in Harare tomorrow, Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will
arrive in Harare today for a meeting with senior regional and Zimbabwean
officials .

      At the same time, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is expected at
Sun City this afternoon for the signing of a transitional arrangement for
the Democratic Republic of Congo. There, Mugabe could come face to face with
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, who in a break with his past silence
on the matter, said at the weekend that the Zimbabwe crisis was continuing
to have a negative effect on the region.

      Observers said last night that President Thabo Mbeki and Chissano had
finally come to realise that failure to demonstrate.... to be continued
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            Dlamini-Zuma attends SADC meeting in Zimbabwe
            April 02, 2003, 18:00

            Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Foreign Affairs Minister, is
expected to arrive in Harare tomorrow night ahead of the Southern African
Development Community's ministerial meeting, Ronnie Mamoepa, the Foreign
Affairs spokesperson said.

            Mamoepa said the meeting was scheduled for tomorrow and all SADC
member states under the chairmanship of Mozambique were expected to attend.

            "The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the regional political
and economic situation. The focus will also be on the situation in Angola,
Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe," he said.

            He said another important issue on the agenda would be the
evaluation of relations between SADC and USAID and the European Union. -
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Upcoming By-Elections Crucial for Zanu And MDC

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

April 2, 2003
Posted to the web April 2, 2003


Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF is within sight of a two-thirds majority in
parliament that would enable it to make constitutional amendments. This
makes three upcoming by-elections all the more important for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

ZANU-PF holds 95 of the 150 seats in parliament. The 150 seats include 30
that are appointed directly or indirectly by President Robert Mugabe - eight
provincial governors, 12 non-constituency MPs and ten chiefs appointed by
their peers and given final approval by Mugabe.

According to Zimbabwe's parliamentary records, the MDC holds 54 seats. The
ZANU-Ndonga party of the late Ndabaningi Sithole, veteran nationalist and
Mugabe critic, has one seat.

Five of the 150 seats are currently vacant. Two of these - the Mashonaland
West governor's seat and a replacement for deceased chief Mukwananzi - will
almost certainly be filled by ZANU-PF members, said Greg Linington, lecturer
in constitutional law at the University of Zimbabwe.

The others are the constituencies of Harare Central, following the
resignation of MDC Member of Parliament (MP) Michael Auret due to ill
health, and Makonde in the northwest of the country, vacant due to the
recent death of Education Minister Swithun Mombeshora of ZANU-PF. Also up
for grabs is Chiredzi South, in the northeast of the country, after the
suspension of ZANU-PF MP Aaron Baloyi.

It was recently reported that MDC MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa had fled to London to
escape alleged intimidation and had resigned his Harare seat. But a
parliamentary official as well as MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said they
had not yet received official notification of this, so his Zengeza
constituency is not considered vacant.

According to the constitution, if the ruling party holds "two thirds of the
full membership" of parliament, which is 100 of 150 seats, then it is
entitled to make constitutional amendments, Linington said.

ZANU-PF are therefore five seats short of the 100 seats required.

Analyst Chris Maroleng of the Institute of Security Studies Africa said the
issue of constitutional amendments becomes relevant in the context of recent
reports, denied by the government, of the search for an exit strategy for

"The constitution currently says that within 90 days of the president's
death or retirement, there has to be a presidential election to appoint a
successor," Maroleng explained. "But a constitutional amendment could allow
Mugabe to appoint a successor ahead of his departure and bypass an

The upcoming by-elections therefore become all the more critical, with the
attending risk of political violence and intimidation.

"During the presidential election the [ZANU-PF] strategy was to reduce the
number of voters, as a high voter turnout benefited the MDC and low turnout
benefited ZANU-PF," Maroleng said.

Other influences include whether a constituency is urban or rural - where
traditionally it is more difficult for the opposition to campaign. Most
rural seats are held by ZANU-PF, while the MDC tends to be urban-based.

Maroleng said that of the three by-elections, the Makonde seat was likely to
be a "borderline" MDC/ZANU-PF seat as it had been a close contest in the
last election, with reported incidents of violence.

The Electoral Supervisory Commission has yet to set a date for the closely
watched contests.
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MDC Backtracks On Planned March to State House

The Herald (Harare)

April 2, 2003
Posted to the web April 2, 2003


MDC yesterday backtracked on its plans to organise a march to State House,
President Mugabe's official residence, after an ultimatum it issued two
weeks ago expired on Monday and was largely ignored by the people.

It was business as usual in Harare and other cities throughout the country.

Shops, banks, offices and factories opened as usual.

Police maintained roadblocks on major roads leading into the city centre
while commuter omnibuses were plying their routes as usual.

Private cars criss-crossed the city causing normal traffic jams usually
experienced in the morning and evening peak periods.

The MDC issued an ultimatum to the Government two weeks ago saying it should
address a number of concerns, which included the restoration of law and
order and an end to alleged State-sponsored violence.

It warned that if its demands were not met by Monday, its supporters would
march to State House.

Observers said the MDC had timed the expiry of its ultimatum with the
announcement of the results of by-elections for Highfield and Kuwadzana as
it thought that it would lose the polls, leading to violent protests by its

This, the party leadership thought, would then result in a spontaneous,
violent and immediate action by its supporters who would then cause chaos in
Harare and march to State House.

However, despite its claims that the polls had already been rigged before
they took place, the MDC won in Highfield and Kuwadzana.

Others said the British-sponsored party was being advised to postpone the
action until the end of the Iraq invasion by United States-led forces so as
to get maximum Press coverage.

Its foreign advisers, the observers said, feared that whatever action the
MDC would take now would not get international Press attention as the
foreign media was covering the Iraq war.

Contacted for comment, MDC spokesman Mr Paul Themba-Nyathi said the party
would meet to decide on what steps to take after the ultimatum passed

"We will choose the time, the place and the mode of our response to the
failure by the Government to respond positively to our modest and moderate
demands," he said.

"The party is not pressing ahead with anything at the moment because the
party is not under pressure to press on with anything.

"The pressure is on the Government which must explain to the people of
Zimbabwe and the rest of the world why it has failed to respond to 15
demands," he said.

President Mugabe last month dismissed the MDC ultimatum saying he had no
time to listen to sell-outs like the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"Ultimatum inobva kunaani? Chimbwasungata Tsvangirai? (Ultimatum from whom?
From sellout Tsvangirai?) Let him measure his size," Cde Mugabe said at the
burial of the late Minister of Higher Education and Technology, Cde Swithun
Mombeshora at the National Heroes Acre.

MDC youths and hooligans last month went on a rampage during the two-day
mass action called by the opposition party.

They unleashed an orgy of violence in Chitungwiza, where they burnt a bus
carrying pre-school children, and in Harare where they burnt a Zupco bus
near Chans Shopping Centre in Hatfield.

The opposition party's thugs also detonated dynamite and explosives at
tuckshops, supermarkets and bridges in Kadoma and forced peace-loving people
from going about their daily chores in Harare.

Gangs of marauding youths stopped people from going to work by barricading

The MDC is said to have paid commuter omnibus operators to stop them from

Fears of violence by MDC hooligans resulted in Dominican Convent Primary
School in central Harare suspending lessons yesterday.

An official at the school said they had decided to suspend lessons due to
fears about pupils' safety.

The school on Monday gave pupils letters notifying parents that there would
be no lessons on Tuesday.

The official said the decision had nothing to do with politics and lessons
were expected to resume today on condition that pupils' safety was not at

However, police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena dismissed
the claim that pupils were at risk, saying police were ready to provide the
school with necessary security.

He said the school's closure was a surprise since its administration could
simply have approached the police for protection.

"The school should have gone ahead with the lessons as usual and approached
the police for security if they felt insecure," he said.

Asst Comm Bvudzijena said they would be on high alert and ready to thwart
any illegal and violent demonstration.

Police maintained roadblocks on all roads leading into the city centre,
stopping and searching some vehicles.

"We will always be there for the safety of the people," said Asst Comm Wayne

"We will certainly be there for some time. The police are there to ensure
the safety and security of everyone coming in and out of the city. We are in
a state of high alert to deal with lawlessness."

Last week, Home Affairs Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi warned that those
intending to join the opposition MDC in causing unrest in the country would
be severely dealt with.

In Bulawayo, MDC vice president Mr Gibson Sibanda was by late yesterday
still being held by the police for questioning over the recent two-day

Mr Sibanda was arrested on Monday and would be charged under a section of
the Public Order and Security Act for attempting to overthrow the Government
by unconstitutional means.

Asst Comm Bvudzijena said police investigations had showed that Mr Sibanda
and another MDC activist identified as Regis Moyo were involved in
co-ordinating the violence-riddled mass action that led to a two-day work

National Constitutional Assembly regional chairperson Mr Justin Ndlovu was
detained on Monday for allegedly being involved in the organisation of the
stayaway, the organisation said in a statement.

He was later released and police said they would proceed by way of summons.
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      Exporters bail out govt

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business News Editor
      4/3/03 11:55:11 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government has approached local exporting companies and financial
institutions for assistance in urgently raising US$200 million for critical
imports, and has undertaken to use Zimbabwe's export earnings as security
for the loans, the Financial Gazette has established.

      Sources close to the initiative however said companies were reluctant
to wait for export proceeds to begin trickling into the country before they
received payment because of fears that the government might fail to repay
loans due to increased demand for foreign currency.

      The sources said exporters and financial institutions might have to
wait for as long as six months before being repaid.

      They said the government was urgently trying to raise the hard cash to
buy fuel, pay electricity arrears and import food aid.

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of a crippling fuel crisis partly because of
hard cash shortages, while Mozambique and South Africa have threatened to
suspend electricity supplies if the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA) does not settle arrears.

      ZESA, which last week began load-shedding after Mozambique's power
utility reduced supplies, owed Mozambique and South Africa US$143 million as
of last December for electricity supplied and has arrears of US$6.4 million
on the debt.

      The government also has to import food for close to eight million
Zimbabweans who are in need of humanitarian assistance because of drought
and a controversial land reform programme that has slashed agricultural

      Sources said Anglo American Zimbabwe Limited (Amzim), the Cotton
Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) and about three other companies whose names
could not be established this week had been approached to help bail the
government out.

      The companies are believed to have pooled together US$50 million,
which would be paid back in local currency at a rate of $1 150 to the United
States dollar, instead of the $55 at which the government buys hard cash.

      Although the Zimbabwe dollar was at the end of February devalued from
$55 against the American greenback to $824, the rate of $55 is still used
when the government buys or sells foreign currency.

      "The government has approached exporting companies and financial
institutions to raise US$200 million and has pledged part of the country's
export earnings to repay the money," a source told the Financial Gazette.

      "But companies have indicated to the government that they cannot wait
for export revenue but will accept the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent at a rate
of $1 150. They ran around and came up with US$50 million for now."

      An Amzim spokesman this week would neither confirm nor deny that the
conglomerate was one of the firms approached by the government.

      "Anglo America, being a significant player in our economy, is
consulted from time to time about various matters by players from both the
public and private sectors," the spokesman said.

      Cottco managing director Slyvester Nguni said he was unable to comment
on the matter because his Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed firm had entered
its closed period.

      Companies listed on the local share bourse are not allowed to release
price sensitive information two weeks before their financial results are due
to be published.

      Sources however said Amzim had drawn down US$25 million from its
foreign currency resources, while Cottco had released US$15 million and the
other companies involved provided US$10 million.

      Representatives of the companies are said to have told the government
that they were not happy with its promise to repay the money when exporters
remitted their export proceeds.

      Exporters are required to remit 50 percent of their earnings to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and the remainder also has to be lodged with the
central bank and is held on their behalf.

      The sources said the companies had argued that because of Zimbabwe's
hard cash crisis, the government might be unable to repay the loans because
of its mounting commitments.

      Instead, the firms indicated they were willing to sell foreign
currency to the government at a rate more attractive than $55.

      Sources said representatives of the companies had indicated to the
government that, because of the transaction costs involved in securing the
foreign currency, a rate of $1 150 to the United States dollar would be

      The sources told the Financial Gazette that the five companies were
now waiting for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to work out the technical
details of the transaction, which could be concluded this week.

      Analysts this week said the arrangement would result in the government
paying billions of dollars in unbudgeted funds, further putting pressure on
its budget deficit and fuelling inflation, already expected to end the year
at more than 500 percent.

      They said the budget deficit was already under pressure because of
last month's devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar and the government's
decision to subsidise consumers after increasing the producer prices of
maize, wheat and other food crops.

      Zimbabwe's export earnings have plummeted in the past three years,
while foreign investors and donors have suspended assistance to the country
because of a severe economic crisis and policies that have lead to the
erosion of the rule of law and property rights.

      The decline in export proceeds and foreign currency inflows from
investors and donors has resulted in a hard cash squeeze that has affected
the operations of the government, local companies and other organisations.

      Banking executives said the central bank had in the past month
unsuccessfully tried to raise foreign currency for the government using
rates more attractive than $55 to US$1.

      They said the Finance Ministry's closure of bureaux de change last
November had also hampered attempts to raise hard cash. The executives said
in the past, the central bank had purchased some of its forex from the
bureaux de change.
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      US accuses Zim security forces of political killings

      Staff Reporter
      4/3/03 11:56:58 AM (GMT +2)

      THE United States of America this week accused Zimbabwe's security
forces of extrajudicial executions of government opponents and said Zimbabwe
's army and police had committed and aided ongoing political violence in the

      In a damning report that groups Zimbabwe with rogue states such as
North Korea, Iraq and Cambodia, where political murder is routine, the US
State Department said Harare had largely ignored the illegal political
killings by its forces.

      In several cases, the army and police took part in political violence
or provided logistical and material support to perpetrators of violence
against opponents of the government, the US said in the report, which forms
part of its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

      The report, which is widely consulted by international multilateral
institutions, donor groups and several other Western governments when
deciding on cooperation, foreign policy and development aid, was released
early this week.

      "Security forces committed several extrajudicial killings, and in
numerous other cases, army and police units participated or provided
transportation and other logistical support to perpetrators of political
violence and knowingly permitted their activities," the US report reads in

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena and his Zimbabwe Defence Forces
counterpart, Langton Mutanda, yesterday could not be reached for comment on
the allegations against security forces.

      But Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa dismissed the report as
"baseless and nonsensical" and said it was an attempt by Washington to wield
the human rights card on behalf of British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a
bid to hamper the Zimbabwe government's land reform programme.

      Chinamasa said: "It is not true. Everybody knows that the US is
writing these baseless and nonsensical reports about Zimbabwe in a bid to
scare us to retreat from our land reform programme.

      "It is payback time to (Tony) Blair for the support he has given the
US in its war against Iraq."

      Chinamasa, who claimed Zimbabwe upheld democracy and human rights more
than the US itself, said Washington and London were sponsoring Zimbabwe's
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change to commit violence against
the government and the ruling ZANU PF party.

      But the United States said besides turning a blind eye to the excesses
of security forces, President Robert Mugabe and his government subverted the
independence of Zimbabwe's judiciary by filling the bench with judges
sympathetic to their administration.

      In some cases, the state also refused to abide by court rulings it did
not agree with during the past year, the US state department said.

      "The government eroded its (judiciary) independence by installing
judges sympathetic to government policies, sanctioning intimidation against
sitting judges and ignoring or overturning judgments with which it did not
agree," the US report said.

      Mugabe and his embattled administration have been accused in the past
of human rights abuses. The US, European Union, Switzerland, Australia and
New Zealand have imposed targeted sanctions against the Zimbabwean leader
and his top officials for their negative human rights and democracy record.

      The US, which is lobbying the ongoing 59th session of the United
Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva to condemn rights abuses in
Zimbabwe, issued another blistering report on Zimbabwe's rights record two
weeks ago.

      However, the earlier report did not accuse Harare of committing
extrajudicial killings.

      The country report on Zimbabwe is the first by the United States that
accuses Mugabe and his government of permitting the murder by security
forces of political opponents, a crime that may be punishable under
international law.

      The report does not give complete statistics of how many opposition
activists may have been killed by state security forces but it contains
details of several cases of people who were either abducted, tortured or
murdered allegedly by state forces, especially the spy Central Intelligence

      Ruling ZANU PF party militias and so-called war veterans, who back the
government, are also accused of killing MDC supporters and civic movement

      The US said other rights such as freedom of expression and the Press,
right to privacy, freedom of peaceful assembly and association continued to
be restricted throughout last year especially through the government's
Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

      Several journalists from the country's small but vibrant independent
media were arrested under AIPPA last year.

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      Harare mulls 1 400% hike in water tariffs

      Staff Reporters
      4/3/03 11:57:39 AM (GMT +2)

      THE City of Harare could increase its water tariffs by as much as 1
400 percent in a bid to cover an $18.1 billion shortfall in its water
chemical import budget, as it emerged that the municipality had only 60
tonnes of the treatment chemical Ecol 2000, enough to provide clean water
for 20 days.

      City Treasurer Misheck Mubvumbi yesterday told Harare residents that
the $18.1 billion deficit was caused by the government's devaluation of the
local currency at the end of February. The Zimbabwe dollar was devalued from
$55 to US$1 to $824 in an attempt to boost forex in flows.

      Mubvumbi said the city council would now have to raise the $18.1
billion in addition to the $1.2 billion it had budgeted for April to

      "Despite the government's continued denial, as late as December 2002,
that it was going to devalue the Zimbabwe dollar, on February 24 2003 they
went ahead to devalue the dollar against the United States dollar by 1 400
percent," Mubvumbi told the meeting.

      "This means it is going to cost the city 1 400 percent more to provide
water to residents of Harare," he added.

      He said the council was yet to decide how much it would increase water
tariffs, but warned that the hike could be substantial.

      The $19.4 billion now needed to buy water treatment chemicals between
this month and December is more than half the council's total budget of
$38.6 billion for the whole of this year.

      Mubvumbi said the council had written to the government seeking
foreign currency through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe at the controlled
exchange rate, but its request had been turned down.

      He said the municipality was now left with very few options, which
included massive tariff hikes and tight water rationing.

      Yesterday's meeting was the first of a series of weekly discussions
lined up by the city's executive mayor, Elias Mudzuri, at which he will
interact with residents and explain the problems his council is facing.

      Wednesday's meeting comes at a time the city council is said to be
struggling to provide basic services because of serious shortages of fuel,
cement and water chemicals, which have prompted the municipality to ask the
government to intervene to save the city from grinding to a halt.

      Council officials said the city risked running out of Ecol 2000, a
critical water treatment chemical, while three fuel stations that service
Harare's fleet had run dry, affecting critical departments such as the Fire
and Ambulance Services, refuse collection and several projects the
municipality is undertaking.

      By yesterday, the council had only 60 tonnes of Ecol 2000, enough to
last Harare for 20 days.

      The council had only 100 bags of cement in stock yesterday instead of
the minimum of 1 000 required for the city's daily operations.

      Mudzuri said services would grind to a halt if the government did not
urgently provide critical foreign currency and fuel and grant the council
borrowing powers.

      "We are in a fix and services are in danger if the government does not
solve some of these economic problems," he said. "I have since appraised the
government of the situation."

      Mudzuri said he had written to Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo asking him to intervene, but had
received no response.

      It was not possible to secure comment from Chombo yesterday. His
secretary referred all questions to the ministry's permanent secretary,
Vincent Hungwe, who also could not be reached for comment.

      Mudzuri said he had told the minister that all fuel depots had run dry
while the critical shortage of cement had affected all engineering work in
Harare, especially construction works at the city's cemeteries.

      In another letter to the minister last Friday, Mudzuri said lack of
fuel and cement had seriously affected pothole-patching and maintenance of
street lights, traffic lights, water and sewer bursts.

      "The situation is very desperate and hence my appeal to you once
again, Honorable Minister, to come to the city's rescue through the
necessary interventions. These are national problems that must be addressed
at national level first and then the benefits will cascade to local
authorities in terms of service provision," he said in his letter.

      He said the supplier of Ecol 2000, purchased through foreign currency
disbursements from the RBZ, was owed 84 794 pound sterling as of March 7.

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      MDC to decide course of action

      Staff Reporter
      4/3/03 11:58:15 AM (GMT +2)

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leadership is
scheduled to meet this weekend to decide on its next course of action after
President Robert Mugabe failed to heed a two-week ultimatum to agree to a
negotiated political situation or face mass action.

      The MDC gave Mugabe until March 31 to meet its demands or face street
protests and marches to his Munhumutapa offices and his residence at State

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said the opposition party, which last
month called for a successful job stayaway that culminated in the two-week
ultimatum, would now take the mass action to a "new level".

      "This issue will come up for discussion when the leadership meets at
the weekend. A decision will definitely be taken at that meeting," he told
the Financial Gazette.

      He said the MDC was not under pressure to announce its next course of
action and would only do so after the party leadership had consulted.

      "I think we have to get rid of the thinking that because the ultimatum
expired on Monday, our next action should have been announced on Tuesday.
That is being naïve. It's being simplistic to say that we should have
marched to State House on Tuesday," Nyathi said.

      "The pressure is not on the MDC, the pressure is on government to
address our demands. We believe the demands we gave them are modest and
elementary to democratic governance."

      Among the issues raised by the MDC ultimatum are the legitimacy of
Mugabe's government, which the opposition party says is only in power
because the ruling ZANU PF rigged last year's presidential election.

      The MDC's demands also include the restoration of the rule law, the
depoliticisation of the police force and army, accused of serving ruling
party interests.

      The opposition party wants the militia disbanded, the repeal of the
Public Order and Security Act and an end to political violence.

      MDC officials this week declined to reveal how the party could proceed
now that the ultimatum deadline had expired, but said the next phase of its
action would be the "final push" against Mugabe's government.

      "We have to make sure that we come up with a sustainable and
reasonable outcome," Nyathi said.
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      Britain insists on fresh Zim elections

      Staff Reporter
      4/3/03 11:58:49 AM (GMT +2)

      BRITISH Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Valerie
Amos this week cited fresh elections under impartial international
supervision as a prime condition for the normalisation of relations with

      "The British government believes that ZANU PF should allow the
resumption of inter-party dialogue, work towards genuine national
reconciliation and stop intimidation and violence.

      She said the British government was ready to support efforts by South
Africa, Nigeria and other Southern Africa Development Community countries to
find a political solution in Zimbabwe.

      Amos added: "Zimbabwean people must be allowed a free and fair
election, in the presence of international observers and with an electoral
roll that is open to the scrutiny of all."

      She stressed that the country's land reform programme must be reviewed
with full respect for the rule of law and in the interests of all

      "If these changes do happen, and let me be clear about it, the UK
stands ready to resume its co-operation both on land reform and for
development with a Zimbabwean government accountable to its people."

      Relations between President Robert Mugabe and the United Kingdom have
been frosty for several years, with Mugabe accusing British Prime Minister
Tony Blair of funding the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and
trying to topple his regime.

      Harare accuses Britain of waging an international campaign to demonise
and isolate the Zimbabwean government because of its land reform programme,
under which most white-owned land has been taken over in what Mugabe says is
an attempt to rectify colonial imbalances.

      The resettlement programme, which has slashed agricultural output by
more than half, is however believed to have benefited ZANU PF officials and
their cronies at the expense of land-hungry peasants.

      Amos said of the land reform programme: "It has not been accompanied
by the means to enable new smallholders to make best use of the land. It is
a failure and facts on the ground speak for themselves."
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      Forum to discuss ZESA tariff hikes

      Staff Reporter
      4/3/03 11:59:24 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government-business-labour Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) will
today discuss tariff increases for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA), which were initially supposed to be announced by the Energy and
Power Development Ministry in February, it was learnt this week.

      According to the minutes of TNF meetings held on March 4, the ministry
was supposed to announce ZESA tariff increases by the end of February.

      But TNF sources said the announcement was deferred until the proposals
had been discussed and agreed to by the government, business and labour.

      They said the government wanted to avoid making a unilateral decision
on electricity tariffs, as had happened with fuel price increases, which
they said were announced in February before business and labour had agreed
to them.

      Sources said the tariff increases would be discussed today and
tomorrow by the TNF's energy sub-committee before proposals were tabled
before the entire TNF. If the TNF agrees to a tariff increase, further
proposals will be brought before Cabinet.

      According to a document before the energy sub-committee, among the
tariff proposals are those relating to cost effective electricity pricing,
which would have two components.

      These would involve raising base tariff levels to cover the cost of
supply and applying an automatic adjustment mechanism to cater for
fluctuations in major cost variables affecting ZESA.

      The automatic adjustment mechanism would take into account the
exchange rate, the price of coal and of diesel, as well as the consumer
price index.

      "The application of the automatic adjustment formula would protect
tariff levels that would have been attained by base tariff adjustments. The
automatic tariff adjustment formula seeks to hedge ZESA against increases in
the price of one or more of the variables," the document said.

      "At the end of every month, new figures of coal and diesel prices,
exchange rate and inflation are computed and tariffs are automatically
adjusted accordingly," the document added.

      Energy Minister Amos Midzi this week declined to comment on the
proposals, citing confidentiality and referring all questions to Labour
Minister July Moyo, whose ministry is involved in the TNF.

      "I am not talking about that, I am not competent on that proposal,"
said Midzi. "Get your comment from July Moyo whose ministry is heading those

      It was not possible to reach Moyo for comment before going to press.

      According to a TNF energy sub-committee document, Zimbabwe's tariff
levels have declined from an average of US4.5c a kilowatt hour ( KWh) in
1997 to an average tariff in real terms of US0.90c KWh in 2002.

      "This deterioration in tariff level has been a result of devaluation
of the Zimbabwe dollar since November 1997," the document said. "This tariff
level is also way below the weighted average cost of imported electricity of
US3.1c/ KWh."

      Analysts say ZESA's inability to charge competitive tariffs has
contributed to the power utility's financial problems, which have been
worsened by foreign currency shortages.

      ZESA, which imports power from the region, last week began
load-shedding after Mozambique reduced supplies because of unpaid debts.
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      Prof Sithole suffers stroke

      4/3/03 12:00:46 PM (GMT +2)

      PROMINENT political analyst and head of the Mass Public Opinion
Institute, Masipula Sithole, suffered a stroke at the weekend and has been
placed in intensive care at a United States hospital.

      Shari Bryan, the National Democratic Institute or International
Affairs director for southern and east Africa, said Sithole suffered the
stroke as the airplane he was travelling in was arriving at Dulles Airport
in Washington DC.

      "At present, Masipula is in critical care and cannot receive calls or
flowers. Alice (Sithole) and their son Masie are here, and some relatives
from New Jersey have travelled to DC to be with the family," Bryan said.

      Sithole is also a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe and the
author of one of the Financial Gazette's most popular columns, Public Eye. -
Staff Reporter
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      Zim High Commissioner to Tanzania threatens lawyer

      Staff Reporter
      4/3/03 12:01:21 PM (GMT +2)

      THE United States-based Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights (LCHR) has
asked the Tanzanian government to ensure the safety of human rights lawyer
Gabriel Shumba after he allegedly received threats from Zimbabwe's
ambassador to that country, Chipo Zindoga.

      In a letter to Tanzania's home affairs and foreign affairs ministers,
LCHR senior associate Lorna Davidson said Shumba's safety could be at risk.
Shumba fled Zimbabwe earlier in February, citing death threats from state
security agents, which were denied by the police.

      "We wish to bring this matter to your attention and request your
immediate action to ensure that Gabriel Shumba is provided with adequate
protection from threats and other forms of persecution from Zimbabwean
agents inside Tanzania," reads part of the letter.

      "We are most disturbed to learn that he has continued to be persecuted
by Zimbabwean state agents. We would greatly appreciate your prompt response
and further information about the action taken by your office to address our
concerns," Davidson said.

      Shumba, who now works for the United Nations International Criminal
Tribunal in Tanzania, this week alleged that Zindonga phoned him on Tuesday
and warned him he could face "serious consequences" because of his
involvement with the UN tribunal.

      According to Shumba, the diplomat accused him of using the UN tribunal
to have President Robert Mugabe charged with crimes against humanity under
international law.

      "She told me that I had come to the UN to work out the logistics on
how Mugabe can be brought to a British-inspired justice in the form of a UN
tribunal, like the one I work for," said Shumba.

      "She then warned me that I had neither hovel nor haven on earth to
hide in and I was dead meat if I thought I had escaped Zimbabwe's style of
dealing with hooligans like myself."

      However, Zindoga said she did not even know Shumba and therefore could
not have threatened him.

      "I don't know anybody called Shumba. Who is he?" she said yesterday.
"I don't know anything about it. It's news to me. I have never met this
Shumba you are talking about so I couldn't possibly have threatened him."

      But Shumba alleged that Zindoga had threatened to use her links within
the Tanzanian government to engineer his deportation back to Zimbabwe "to
defend Tsvangirai".

      Opposition Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai is on trial for treason for allegedly plotting to assassinate

      "I was threatened with deportation back to Zimbabwe on the allegation
that I am not a genuine UN employee, but I had come to advance the interests
of the MDC, an issue that was also raised by my tormentors when I was being
tortured in Zimbabwe," Shumba said.

      Shumba and St Mary's Member of Parliament Job Sikhala were detained
and allegedly tortured by the police, who accused them of planning to topple
Mugabe's government.

      The lawyer fled to South Africa after he was acquitted of the charges,
saying he had received death threats from state security agents.
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      Govt set to fork out $100bln in subsidies

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business News Editor
      4/3/03 12:04:24 PM (GMT +2)

      THE government could be forced to fork out close to $100 billion in
unbudgeted funds to subsidise consumers following a substantial hike in the
producer prices of food crops, further undermining attempts to curb
expenditure and stoking inflation, devastating an already embattled economy.

      The producer price of maize rose 364 percent to $130 000 a tonne with
effect from the beginning of this month, the start of the 2003 agricultural
marketing season. The pre-planting price of wheat has also risen by 144
percent to $150 000 a tonne.

      But the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the country's sole grain trader,
will continue to sell maize and wheat to millers at $9 600 and $29 500 a
tonne respectively, in what Agriculture Minister Joseph Made says is an
attempt to curb increases in the cost of mealie meal, flour and bread.

      Analysts this week said this would force the government to directly
subsidise the purchase of maize and wheat, a development that was not
provided for in the 2003 national budget.

      The analysts pointed out that on maize, the cash-strapped and
debt-ridden GMB would run a deficit of $120 400 for every tonne of the grain

      According to Made, farmers are expected to deliver between 200 000 and
300 000 tonnes of maize this year, resulting in a deficit of between $24.08
billion and $36.12 billion that would have to be met by the government.

      Wheat producers are expected to deliver 500 000 tonnes of the crop to
the GMB during this agricultural season, with the GMB incurring a deficit of
$120 500 on every tonne sold.

      Analysts said this would translate into a subsidy of $60.25 billion
for wheat and a total subsidy of between $84.3 billion and $96.3 billion for
both maize and wheat.

      Agricultural experts said the subsidy could be higher if measures were
not put in place to prevent the abuse of the huge discrepancy between grain
producer and retail prices.

      Farmers this week warned that the discrepancy could lead to the
emergence of shelf milling companies that could buy maize from the GMB on
the pretext that they would mill it.

      They said the companies could instead merely re-sell the grain to the
parastatal for a profit, a process they said could be repeated several times
especially if the firms were able to collude with GMB officials.

      Consultant economist John Robertson said: "We could see the emergence
of shelf milling companies whose purpose is to buy these commodities from
the GMB and then sell them back.

      "It is interesting to see how the GMB will plug this loophole because
there are people who will definitely do that."

      Commentators said given that Treasury had not provided for the
subsidies, the Finance Ministry would be forced to table a supplementary
budget before Parliament in the next few months.

      "We are seeing a situation where the Minister of Finance will come
back with a supplementary budget," Kingdom Financial Holdings analyst
Witness Chinyama told the Financial Gazette.

      "We are talking about a subsidy that has to be provided for in the
budget," he added.

      The Finance Ministry has budgeted for expenditure of $770.2 billion
and expects to raise $540 billion in revenues this year. This will translate
into a deficit of $230.2 billion or 11.5 percent of gross domestic product.

      Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa was expecting to reduce the deficit
from 14 percent in 2002, but analysts say the budget deficit is more likely
to shoot up because of unbudgeted expenditure such as the subsidy that will
have to be paid on grain.

      Commentators said further pressure on the deficit would come from the
devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar at the end of February from $55 against
the American greenback to $824. The devaluation, which will increase the
amount of money paid by the government to tobacco and gold producers, was
also not accounted for in the budget.

      The analysts said given that revenues to the Treasury were not
increasing, the government would have to finance the budget deficit by
borrowing from the domestic market, pushing up money supply growth and
further fuelling inflation.

      The latest figures on money supply growth show that it has shot up
from 98.6 percent last March to 148.9 percent in November. Inflation, which
increased 220.9 percent in the year to February, is expected to end 2003 at
more than 500 percent.

      Economists said escalating inflation would be devastating to companies
that are already struggling to survive under a harsh operating environment,
resulting in more closures and increased unemployment.

      Zimbabwe's rate of unemployment is already estimated at around 70

      Meanwhile, the analysts said the GMB was also likely to resort to
borrowing from the domestic market to pay producers for food crops.

      They pointed out that the parastatal's cash flow position was poor,
making it necessary for it to venture into the open market to issue grain
bills to raise funds to pay farmers.

      The GMB has in the past failed to pay farmers on time because of cash
flow problems, resulting in some grain producers selling their crops to
private buyers.

      But Century Holdings group economist David Mupamhadze said the
state-controlled firm was unlikely to raise enough money unless it offered
attractive rates to the market.

      "The challenge for the GMB is to start to look for the resources
because farmers would want the price they were promised," he said.

      "But there is a lot of resistance to GMB bills at the moment because
of the rates being offered and I think the GMB has to change the rate for
its bills," the economist added.

      Analysts said with money market rates upward bound in the past few
weeks, the only way the GMB could attract investors to subscribe to its
bills would be to offer higher yields on its paper.

      Interest rates have risen from around 35 percent to 60 percent in the
past five weeks.

      But the state company, which made a staggering $2.6 billion loss in
2001 and was expected to make another huge loss last year, is unlikely to be
in a position to pay rates commensurate with those prevailing on the market.

      Official statistics show that the GMB was last solvent during the
1995/1996 financial year, when it chalked up a profit of $29 million.

      The parastatal is also reeling under a $3 billion debt.

      Analysts however said the company could take comfort in the fact that
there was a huge appetite for long-dated paper on the market, but only if
the rate was attractive enough.

      "GMB can take advantage of the demand for long-term paper, but it has
to be at a good price," a money market dealer with Intermarket Discount
House said.

      "Last week, we saw a yield of 90 percent on a two-year bond and I
believe if GMB rates are good, people will subscribe."
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      Election reform needed, say poll observers

      4/3/03 12:05:31 PM (GMT +2)

      INDEPENDENT electoral observers have noted with concern "serious
anomalies in the conduct" of the latest by-elections in Zimbabwe, prompting
them to call for an independent electoral commission and impartial
enforcement of voting laws.

      The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), an umbrella body of 36
civic organisations, fielded 34 observers in the weekend by-elections at
Kuwadzana and Highfield constituencies of the capital, Harare.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) won both seats.

      ZESN's report on the polls said "the pre-election period was marred by
violence, visible vote buying and the failure of the registrar-general's
office to release the voters' roll to contesting candidates in time".

      "The actual polling days were characterised by vote buying, violence,
abductions of observers and party polling agents, intimidation, denial of
access to the polling stations by accredited observers... Also of grave
concern was the disruption of the voting process by the riot police on the
second day of polling in Kuwadzana," ZESN added.

      On the last day of polling at Kuwadzana, ZESN had to withdraw its
observers an hour before the end of polling "due to security considerations
as the riot police were throwing teargas and bashing people".

      Such events "denied citizens their right to freely choose their
leaders", the organisation said.

      However, the official Herald newspaper quoted authorities as saying
the two days of voting were peaceful and without incident.

      Electoral Supervisory Commission spokesman Thomas Bvuma was quoted, as
saying the situation was peaceful at all polling stations in both

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the situation had been very

      "We did not receive any adverse report during the voting days and we
commend the voters for displaying a high level of maturity," the Herald
quoted him as saying.

      But ZESN head Reginald Matshaba-Hove said that ZESN was concerned
about the conduct of the weekend by-elections as three more by-elections
were on the horizon.

      The rural Mashonaland West constituency of the late Higher Education
Minister Swithun Mombeshora is to be contested, as well as two more Harare

      Matshaba-Hove said elections would most likely be held on the same day
in the MDC Zengeza constituency of Tafadzwa Musekiwa, who resigned his seat,
and the Harare Central constituency of Mike Auret, who has been suffering
ill health and decided to quit.

      Ahead of these by-elections, ZESN called on the authorities to enforce
electoral laws.

      "We also urge Zimbabwe to abide by the Southern Africa Development
Community and other international electoral norms and standards which
Zimbabwe is party to," the organisation said in its report.

      "In view of all these anomalies that have become part of our election
(processes), we re-emphasise our call for an independent electoral
commission, and the need for electoral laws that encourage citizens to
participate freely and peacefully in any elections," ZESN added.

      - IRIN
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      ZANU PF Byo chief to appear before disciplinary panel

      4/3/03 12:06:03 PM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Suspended ruling ZANU PF Bulawayo chairman Jabulani Sibanda
will appear before a disciplinary committee to answer about 20 charges that
include insubordination towards senior Matabeleland party members, it was
learnt this week.

      Ruling party insiders said the Politburo, ZANU PF's supreme
decision-making body, and the Central Committee had unanimously endorsed the
suspension of Sibanda from his position.

      They said the ruling party organs had endorsed the immediate
suspension of Sibanda, a former bodyguard of the late Vice President Joshua
Nkomo, at a meeting held in Bulawayo last Tuesday.

      He is now expected to appear before a disciplinary committee that
insiders said could be chaired by ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo. It
was not possible to establish this week when the disciplinary hearing would

      Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni, ZANU PF's secretary for information and publicity
in the Bulawayo province, told the Financial Gazette: "He's history. His
fate is now with the disciplinary hearing. The chairman is going to look
into the issue."

      He added: "It's true that he has been suspended from the post of
chairman in the (Bulawayo) province. The province passed a vote of no
confidence against him. Both the Politburo and the Central Committee have
endorsed it.

      "We now have Silas Dlomo as the acting chairman of the province. We
are getting back to normal now. We envisage working as a team as we are
faced with local government elections."

      ZANU PF officials said among the charges faced by Sibanda were those
of showing disrespect towards senior party officials in the Matabeleland
region and interfering with the province's food taskforce.

      The taskforce oversees the distribution of food aid to people affected
by shortages partly caused by drought.

      Sibanda is also accused of masterminding a food riot at the Bulawayo
premises of the Grain Marketing Board in January and is also linked to
demonstrations by war veterans earlier this year.

      War veterans are said to have heckled several senior party officials,
including Vice President Joseph Msika, during the demonstrations.

      He is also charged with calling party meetings unconstitutionally,
without properly informing all Bulawayo province executive members.

      Sibanda has in the past denied the charges.

      -Staff Reporter
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      No smart sanctions against Zimbabwe

      4/3/03 12:07:20 PM (GMT +2)

      CAPE TOWN - President Thabo Mbeki has ruled out the possibility of
imposing "smart sanctions" against Zimbabwe.

      During question time in the National Assembly, Mbeki was asked by New
National Party parliamentary leader Boy Geldenhuys about the possible
imposition of smart sanctions against the Zimbabwean political elite.

      The president said there was "no possibility . . . we can't just say
let us break links . . . across the border".

      He instead welcomed indications by Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai that he was ready to restart talks with the Zimbabwean

      The MDC has claimed widespread intimidation by the ZANU PF government,
a traditional ally of the South African ruling party, the African National

      Tsvangirai was reported last week as saying that the country's
political crisis was deepening and "principled" dialogue between the
government "and the broad democratic forces" was needed to prevent anarchy
from taking hold.

      Tsvangirai said the situation had reached "unacceptable levels with
more than 1 000 innocent people being hounded from their homes, arrested and
detained as political prisoners whose only crime is to demand their right to
a legitimate and democratic government".

      Asked by Inkatha Freedom Party MP Farouk Cassim if South Africa could
provide a neutral venue for such talks between the opposition and ZANU PF,
Mbeki said: "That wouldn't be a problem . . . the problem is to get them
(the opposing parties) to sit together."

      Referring to the conflict over the land reform programme in that
country, he added: "We are in favour of land distribution in Zimbabwe . . .
you couldn't sustain a colonial legacy. You couldn't let it be . . .
everyone in the rest of the world agrees."

      But Mbeki said his government was discussing the matter with the
Zimbabwe government.

      He told MPs: "We have discussed that matter and have agreed it has to
be addressed. There are (also) something like 350 000 black farm workers who
came from Malawi and Mozambique . . . I don't hear any noise about them. You
can't sustain that.

      "These are people who came (from those countries) . . . as a result of
having stayed in Zimbabwe for a long period of time during the colonial
years, they were treated in Southern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe as Malawians and

      "It is an old problem . . . what we have agreed is that the position
of these people needs to be addressed," Mbeki said.

      - I-Net Bridge
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      AND NOW TO THE NOTEBOOK. . . Mukanya to join GMB

      4/3/03 11:43:55 AM (GMT +2)

      Courtesy of one comrade Doctor Joseph Made, the Agriculture Minister,
the loss-making Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is now a money-minting machine
for the clever guy.

      It seems it's going to be so easy making millions of dollars at the
GMB for literally doing nothing that Mukanya is seriously considering
leaving his low paying and thankless job to join the state-run grain

      The comrade doctor, in his infinite wisdom, has decreed that the GMB
shall buy maize from producers at $130 000 per tonne but the parastatal
shall continue selling maize to millers at $9 600 per tonne.

      So what does a clever fellow do to make money under this arrangement?

      He, or she, only needs to register as a maize producer, then register
a milling company. This will be very easy to do even if the company does not
actually exist. Next on the agenda is to find a corrupt GMB official to
ensure preferential treatment for the bogus milling company whenever it is
buying maize from the GMB.

      After this, one can sit back and relax as the money starts flowing in

      The bogus miller simply buys maize from the GMB at $9 600 a tonne,
takes it home and brings it back the next day, but this time posing as a
maize producer. The GMB will buy the same maize at $130 000 per tonne. You
can calculate the profit margin, but who said comrade Doctor Made was not a

      Did you hear this, Mbeki?

      Addressing his ruling ZANU PF party's central committee meeting in
Harare last weekend, party and state President Robert Mugabe had the
following to say about the worsening repression of opposition and civic
groups by government security agents:

      "It is now time for law and order to have the upper hand and we will
not seek the approval of outsiders to enforce law and order in our country."

      Of course this should not be a surprise, coming as it does from a man
who still insists that the murder and violence that was the illegal farm
invasions was just a peaceful demonstration for land by so-called war

      But Mukanya wonders what more South African President Thabo Mbeki
needs to appreciate what exactly he is dealing with in Mugabe.

      Mugabe uttered his statement barely a week after Mbeki had assured the
South African Parliament and the whole world that the Zimbabwean government
had undertaken to review their repressive policies.

      Well, we can only wonder whether Mbeki has heard what Mugabe thinks of
his and other regional leaders' efforts to help end the Zimbabwe crisis.
They are of little consequence.

      Comment for the chairman

      Fully aware of the politics and legal wrangles involving flat owners
and their tenants and knowing that people have to sing for their supper,
Mukanya can say with confidence that he knows who was behind the comment
that appeared in the Herald newspaper of March 31.

      Entitled "Allow flat owners to charge realistic rates", the editorial
pontificated about why the Rent Board should basically allow property
owners, some of them cut-throat crooks posing as professional
businesspeople, to milk dry their tenants by continuously hiking rentals.

      The Herald tried to tell us that allowing the property sharks to do as
they liked would somehow be the quick fix to accommodation problems in the

      Well, talk about people singing for their supper. Just one small
question to Herald editor Pikirayi Deketeke: any feedback from the big man
yet? Was he suitably impressed?

      Did you read this Uncle Bob?

      One Pierre Buyoya, a member of the Tutsi tribe in the poor African
republic of Burundi, last Friday told his country and the whole world that
he would be stepping down from power on May 1 as planned under a peace
agreement brokered by South Africa's Nelson Mandela.

      Buyoya said he was leaving the gravy train in the hope that the move
would help bring peace to his country after years of civil war that claimed
200 000 lives since October 1993.

      Mukanya does not know what Uncle Bob makes of this report from
Burundi. Indeed, Uncle Bob might not think it's relevant given that despite
the violence and murder committed by the war veterans, Zimbabwe cannot
really be said to be in a civil war.

      But if seven million Zimbabweans could starve to death because, some
people say, of Uncle Bob's land policies, then Mukanya's humble opinion is
that Uncle might do well to pull a leaf or two from Buyoya's book.

      Worried about his future

      In an open letter to MDC leader Tsvangirai, Sunday Mail political
editor Munyaradzi Huni makes a revealing comment about his fears that
Tsvangson might actually end Uncle Bob's political career.

      Huni writes: "I am worried, first as a peace-loving Zimbabwean, second
as a young man who doesn't want his future to be destroyed."

      We have always known Huni that your future will end the day Uncle Bob
is booted out of State House and the rocket scientist gets kicked in the
teeth. And given the way the tide is threatening to turn, we advise that you
start making preparations to resettle in some friendly country far away from

      The Democratic Republic of the Congo or North Korea might do.

      Parliament the winner

      The MDC retained its Kuwadzana and Highfield parliamentary seats in
the weekend's by-elections, but Mukanya thinks it is the august House of
Parliament that benefited most.

      Imagine if that vulgar buffoon Joseph Chinotimba had won in Highfield
and shown up in Parliament in his thatch-grass hat. Surely that would have
defiled Parliament beyond any redemption!

      And has anyone seen Munyaradzi Gwisai of late? Talk of a rebel without
a cause.
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      Use economic sense

      4/3/03 11:44:34 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government is flying in the face of economic sense yet again by
significantly hiking the producer prices of food crops while subsidising
consumers, a course of action that can only have disastrous consequences for
the Grain Marketing Board and a nation facing food insecurity for the
foreseeable future.

      The producer price of maize rose 364 percent from $28 000 to $130 000
a tonne with effect from April 1, the beginning of the 2003 agricultural
marketing season.

      To encourage farmers to grow wheat, the pre-planting price for the
crop has more than doubled from $70 000 to $150 000 a tonne.

      But illogically, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will still sell maize
and wheat to millers at $9 600 and $29 500 a tonne respectively.

      "The intention is to contain the price of flour, maize-meal and bread
so that it is affordable to consumers," according to Agriculture Minister
Joseph Made.

      Made's glib assurances aside, it must be clear even to a first year
student of economics that the ministry's stance is short-sighted and that
the government has solved one problem by creating another.

      On the one hand, the long overdue move to increase the producer price
of grains is a step in the right direction if Zimbabwe is to boost
production at a time it is battling the effects of drought and a land
resettlement programme that has destabilised the agricultural sector.

      Of course, the hike would have had better impact on the 2002/2003
agricultural season had it been coupled with comprehensive measures to make
inputs, farming implements and adequate finance available to farmers
resettled on land seized under the resettlement programme.

      As it is, output for this season is expected to fall significantly and
the new producer prices will merely encourage farmers to deliver to the GMB
whatever little crops they have produced and are not reserving for

      On the other hand, the GMB will be forced to sell maize and wheat at a
loss of $120 400 and $120 500 a tonne respectively, which will have to be
made up by the cash-strapped government in direct subsidies.

      This will translate into billions of dollars of likely unbudgeted
funds that Treasury does not have. The government is already struggling to
meet its commitments as revenues plummet because of the economic crisis
while expenditure soars as a result of escalating inflation.

      The implications for the budget deficit are astronomical. Faced with
dwindling revenues, the Finance Ministry will be forced to fund the
ballooning deficit by borrowing on the already over-stretched domestic
market, further pushing up inflation and worsening the operating environment
for companies, many of which are on the verge of collapse.

      While the government tries to court an increasingly disenchanted
population by suppressing basic food prices, the GMB, the national granary,
will meanwhile sink deeper into debt and will increasingly find it
impossible to fulfil its mandate.

      Given that the government very likely does not have the money to fund
subsidies to the parastatal, it even becomes questionable whether the GMB
will be able to pay for whatever grain is delivered by farmers.

      It is exactly this kind of mishandling of key parastatals, the refusal
to allow them to operate as viable entities because of populist policies,
that contributed to Zimbabwe's crippling fuel crisis and which has ruined
countless other state companies.

      It is alarming that the government still chooses to ignore its past
mistakes and to forge ahead with measures that are doomed to failure and
which, when they fail, will have far reaching consequences for the nation as
a whole.

      At a time when close to eight million Zimbabweans are in need of
emergency food aid that the government has failed to adequately provide, the
last thing that the nation needs are short-sighted policies that will in
future require more painful corrective measures.

      Clearly the government must re-examine its grain pricing policy and
come up with sober measures that are truly in the interests of the nation
and not political expediency.
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      Are we ready for another mass action?

      4/3/03 11:54:16 AM (GMT +2)

      If the MDC fails to carry out its mass protest threats in the
aftermath of its ultimatum that expired on March 31, it will never again be
taken seriously by Zimbabweans far and wide.

      Are we ready for mass action especially when very little significant
achievement has come about as a result of normal actions by normal people in
an abnormal situation?

      When people go about their daily activities as if everything is rosy,
as if they are happy with inflation, as if they are content with the food
shortages and transport blues, then they are not ready for mass action.

      Perhaps, they are not ready for mass action because they do not know
how to go about it successfully.

      National developments, inventions, advances in any field, democratic
change have almost always been a result of a steadfast revolution and not
evolution as other docile Zimbabweans would want it to be.

      A radical change from the status quo and a departure from the abnormal
requires stern focus, planning and perseverance. Therefore, if we are going
to achieve extraordinary success we must dare to prepare hard and fast.

      For mass action to work, Zimbabweans must be progress-minded for
progress is the brainchild of the daring.

      Zimbabweans also need to be bold for boldness is the hallmark of
outstanding achievers. We therefore, basically need the bold and daring to
hold the torch of liberty and march ahead of the dehumanised masses to mark
the end of servitude and the overdue beginning of a freedom we will never
again entrust to one man.

      It's crystal clear that as desperation, fatigue and agitation grips
our estranged government, the increasing public frustration will soon (maybe
this week, or next month but soon) turn into a revolution that will bring
the whole country to a standstill until inflation and shortages become a
thing of the past.

      I have a vision in which I see the miserable masses successfully
organise themselves in every high and low density location, in every rural
and farming area, to resist further servitude by holding meetings which will
resolve to give the ZANU PF government a torrid time until they consider the
opposition petition very seriously.

      I have another vision in which the vital information on a decided
popular consensus gets to the threshold of every home notifying every
tormented soul that the die is cast for the march enroute to Munhumutapa
house to call for nothing other than a complete change of government.

      I see yet another vision in which the army will be so overwhelmed by
the number of people in protest such that nature will compel the little
humanity they still possess to leave the people alone and let their will be

      In the final vision, I see the old man and his entourage doing what is
noble and in the best interests of Zimbabwe, the world and indeed all
humanity - yielding to the wishes of the long-suffering people who will have
carried out a successful mass action against his tyrannical regime as a last
resort to terminate their bondage.

      This lovely paradise can only come about when people cease to suffer
and start to act.

      I cannot over-emphasise the importance of taking mass action.

      We should always bear in mind that there is no other way we can
achieve a successful mass action except through undertaking what it really
is - action by the masses.

      Mass action to the MDC should be what the land reform is to ZANU PF.
It should be fostered now and again at whatever price regardless of the

      Our inability to take action is like a pregnancy that does not result
in a birth. Our opposition is pregnant with democracy but it is the labour
process that will determine the birth or still-birth of that very democracy.

      Even if we have the most upright purpose, the most impressive vision,
goals that others can only dream of, as long as we do not take action we are
no better than meaningless, visionless and purposeless losers.

      So if we are serious about succeeding through collective action then I
highly recommend that we take action now and that we continue to take
action, non-stop.

      As a matter-of-fact we should not let a day go by without taking some
form of mass action to move us closer to accomplishing our mission, which as
of now is only fertile in our imagination.

      For artists, who are usually the leaders of revolutions, imagination,
contemplation, meditation is sure to bring about the desired reality.

      William Shakespeare aptly put it in A Midsummer Night's Dream when he
said: "As imagination bodies forth the forms so things unknown the poets pen
turn's them to shapes and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a

      Similarly, ideas of a palpable mass action should be turned into the
desired reality.

      Cowards will be quick to note that mass action will not work but I
believe it will only be unsuccessful if people do not think about it
everyday and night, every hour, every moment, yet our minds have a
mysterious capacity to bring into reality those images that we constantly
hold or see in our mind's eye.

      We can actually create something new, something notable, something
revolutionary by first perceiving it in the clinic of imagination. What we
can only be afraid of are those who are afraid of contemplating and carrying
out mass action.

      We live in a world of unrelenting interferences and drawbacks so in
order for us to stay on course, on the road to redemption, we need some kind
of atlas with pointers and other markings which will notify us when and when
not to increase the tempo.

      Without this road map we will mostly likely get hopelessly lost or
lose count of a countdown all of us had already begun.

      Most successful mass actions are attained when failure appears to be
imminent so all we have to do as Zimbabweans is to firmly believe that not
only is mass action our last option but it is something we can triumphantly
achieve if we put our minds and bodies to it.

       Taungana Ndoro can be contacted at
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      Agriculture Ministry sets up new unit

      Staff Reporter
      4/3/03 11:33:08 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is setting
up a new unit, the Department of Livestock Production and Development,
mandated to boost flagging livestock production, according to Veterinary
Services director Stuart Hargreaves.

      The new department, for which a director has been appointed and staff
is now being recruited, was allocated $386 million in the 2003 national

      It replaces the Livestock and Development Trust, which was disbanded
by the government last year.

      Following the closure of the Livestock and Development Trust, the
Public Service Commission early this year approved the unbundling of the
country's Agricultural Service Directorate into four divisions.

      These are Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Research and
Extension, Veterinary Services and the department of Livestock Production
and Development.

      Hargreaves, said the creation of the new department would result in
increased livestock production.

      "Livestock production came under Agricultural Research and Extension
Services, whose main thrust was crop production, but with this new
department, whose thrust is on livestock production, the importance of
livestock has been recognised," he told the Financial Gazette.

      Hargreaves said interviews for senior staff for the department were
being conducted and the new unit was also recruiting 900 livestock
production extension workers to compliment the 1 052 employees needed for it
to be fully staffed.

      The new department's main functions will be to increase animal
production through the provision of technical advice, extension support as
well as farmer training and to facilitate the marketing of livestock and
livestock products.

      It will also be responsible for the management of the national
database on livestock species and animal production systems.

      It will also support the growth of the livestock sector through the
generation, promotion and provision of developmental, technical, advisory
and regulatory services.

      Hargreaves said the department was divided into two main branches, the
production and development divisions.

      The production programme will be coordinated by four chief production
specialists in the fields of dairy, beef cattle and animal feed as well as
smallstock and poultry production.

      The development and services branch will be run by the chief
development officer and the chief meat and livestock grader.

      This branch will be responsible for the development of the livestock
industry through the provision of improved livestock breeds, grasses and
forages as well as meat grading services.

      The creation of the Department of Livestock Production and Development
comes at a time Zimbabwe's livestock sector has been hard hit by drought and
by serious shortages of animal feed.

      Farmers have been forced to scale down output because of stockfeed
shortages, while some animals have died because of the drought in the past
six months.

      Most affected by the drought have been cattle herds, about 20 000 of
which are said to have died since October in Matabeleland alone.
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      I wish the old ZANU PF was still there

      4/3/03 11:45:16 AM (GMT +2)

      THERE was a breath of fresh air from the wilderness of the ruling ZANU
PF's political scrap heap last week when Masvingo South Member of Parliament
Eddison Zvobgo appeared on a television panel debating the invasion of Iraq.

      For all his shortcomings as a politician, I have great respect for

      After the panel discussion was over, there were several points that he
drove home fairly frankly and which I will forever remember.

      Zvobgo said of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein: "Dictators cannot hide
behind issues of sovereignty. When a leader is determined to kill his own
people, he should be flushed out." Hear! Hear!

      Quite a humbling statement. Need I say more?

      The long and short of Zvobgo's message was that there should be no
place for die-hard dictators on the face of this earth and those who have
the might should use it to flush them out.

      After listening to Zvobgo debating, I asked myself why, if ZANU PF has
all this human material within its ranks, did things go so wrong for the
party. How come President Robert Mugabe appears to be always ill advised, if
he has any advisers at all?

      In fact, the old ZANU PF - which I like to call ZANU PF "A" and
included the likes of Zvobgo, Edgar Tekere, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Moses Mvenge
the late Sydney Malunga, Lazarus Nzarayebani and Herbert Ushewokunze -
committed what is a cardinal sin in the party: to tell the truth to Mugabe.

      At one time, these politicians told the truth about the ruling party
and Mugabe and if the party had listened to them, I would venture to say
that the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change would have been a
mere academic exercise.

      Tekere saw in 1989 what most people in Zimbabwe have come to realise
in the past three years.

      He warned during the formation of his party, the Zimbabwe Unity
Movement, that ZANU PF had to be stopped in its tracks then before it
destroyed the country.

      He was prophetic. The ingredients for disaster were there for all to

      The old ZANU PF leadership, some of who have taken a back seat in
politics lately while others have been sidelined by Mugabe, was widely
respected by the people of this country.

      People respected the role they played in liberating the country and to
some extent their approach to issues. In short, the leadership then was not
arrogant, as is the case now.

      I have some respect for several individuals who were prominent in ZANU
PF for the first 15 years of independence.

      Mugabe would even be the last to disagree that there was a lot of
goodwill from Zimbabweans towards him and his government in the first 15
years of independence, despite the tell-tale signs that have manifested
themselves in the past three years.

      Never has a ruler come to power with more goodwill from his people.

      I can safely argue that Mugabe was more respected eight years ago than
he is now. In his heart of hearts, he must know that.

      I have some respect for ZANU PF "A" but not this rag-tag of elements
that I call ZANU PF B".

      This group suffers from an inferiority complex because none of them
has the capacity to stand up to Mugabe. Instead, day in day out, they are
pre-occupied with telling him what he wants to hear.

      ZANU PF "B" is replete with overzealous novices, opportunists,
upstarts, sycophants, you name it, whose main preoccupation is bootlicking.
In fact this seems to be their main function.

      When one thinks about the current crop, one is forced to recall a
famous statement made by Margaret Dongo in Parliament to the effect that
ZANU PF politicians bootlick and fear Mugabe to the extent that they behave
as if they were his wives.

      When one looks at the current set-up, one can only conclude that ZANU
PF celebrates mediocrity. Just look at how Joseph Chinotimba was chosen by
the party as a candidate to represent the people of Highfield in Parliament.

      Surely ZANU PF as a party has never been this cheap.

      If ZANU PF in its present state were a commodity on the green
vegetable market, it would be given to buyers for free, just like
semi-rotten produce
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