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Daily Telegraph

Extract from :
Yesterday in Parliament
(Filed: 08/04/2003)

Reports by Michael Kallenbach, Parliamentary Correspondent

Honorary knighthood for Mugabe 'should be axed'

Robert Mugabe should be stripped of his honorary knighthood, bestowed in
1994, because of deteriorating human rights in Zimbabwe, the Government was
urged yesterday.

But a minister told the House of Lords that the Government had other
priorities and could not deal with the request at the present time.

Lord Watson (Lib Dem) told peers during Question Time: "Many people in this
country will be deeply shocked and indeed offended that Mr Mugabe bears an
honorary knighthood in this country."

He went on to talk about the continuing and rapidly worsening human rights
situation and abuse in Zimbabwe and the arrest of the opposition leader.

He asked Lady Amos, a junior Foreign Office minister: "Will you not consider
as a matter of some real urgency, albeit it is symbolic, that this honour
now be removed? It is an honour which has been dishonoured."

She told him: "We may well re-visit this question in the future, but I think
that there are other priorities right now."

Lady Amos said withdrawal of the honorary rank of Knight Commander of the
Bath was "not our immediate priority".

Lord Howell (C) asked: "Why isn't that a priority now? It should be."

Lady Amos replied: "This question of the honour is something which is
symbolic. It cannot be a priority right now, in terms of the day-to-day
issues which are confronting the people of Zimbabwe."

Lord Hughes (Lab) intervened and said: "Are we really expected to believe
that President Mugabe, who has described himself as being a Hitler, is going
to be moved by the threat of the removal of an honorary knighthood? And are
the people who are starving and facing grave tortures in Zimbabwe likely to
be moved by the plea to remove this honour? Aren't they more likely to say,
'Is that the best you can do'?"

Last week, during a debate in Westminster Hall, Peter Luff, the Tory MP for
Mid Worcestershire, called for a full day's debate in the Commons on what he
called "the winter of discontent in Zimbabwe".

He added: "Today, Zimbabwe bears an uncanny resemblance to Nazi Germany
during the 1930s. President Mugabe is going through the opposition with a
fine-tooth comb. There is a programme of imprisonment, torture and sexual
assault on opposition activists."
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      Mobilise for mass action, MDC urged

      4/8/2003 10:47:16 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      MDC leaders have been called upon to mobilise people for mass action
in order to force President Mugabe's government to address the deepening
political and economic crisis in the country.

      "We should go for mass action as life is now unbearable," Vanessa
Manuel, a resident of Mutare, said in a snap survey by The Daily News to
sound out people on the party's proposed second mass action.

      "It's time we stood up as a nation and fought for our rights and all
the things which ought to be plentiful but are no longer available."

      Tongogara Ndirwo, a University of Zimbabwe student, said: "Passiveness
is over. It's time for collective action. We're ready to march on to the
streets and fight to the end when the call for the mass action comes."

      Takura Zhangazha, a political activist, said the MDC had no choice but
to resort to mass action because nothing had changed and none of their
demands were attended to by the government.

      "It would be a mistake for the MDC to call off mass stayaways unless
they have identified other avenues to achieve their objective of changing
the government," Zhangazha said. "They have to continue to build public
momentum and anticipation so that when it comes to decisive action the
people are ready."

      Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a lecturer at the UZ, said there were
two possible reasons why the MDC did not have a clear position on mass

      "It's either that when the party called for a mass stayaway last
month, there was no clear programme to follow it up or that different views
have emerged between the leadership and the MDC membership," Dzinotyiwei

      He said reports that the MDC had shelved its plans for mass action
could not have emerged from its members because they were raring to go on
another mass stayaway if it was called for by the party.

      Tendai Mapuranga, a Harare businessman, said it was very clear that
the MDC leadership was dithering on the issue of mass action because they
feared that they may be arrested.

      But Steven Mutenya, a Mutare resident, said the planned mass action
was likely to lead to injuries, even deaths, and the destruction of

      Mutenya said: "We should be talking of bringing warring parties to the
negotiating table. The danger with mass action is that thugs would exploit
the situation and take the opportunity to destroy, rob and even kill."

      Lazarus Ndlovu, an Emakhandeni resident in Bulawayo, said the stayaway
was an effective way of sending a message to the government.

      Mabel Phiri said although she supported the stayaway she did not want
it to be violent.

      "The last stayaway sent a bold message to Zanu PF. Look at how the
police are panicking," she said.

      Tapera Mudzingwa, a businessman, said although the stayaway was
detrimental to his business he supported it.

      "Business will obviously be affected, but if it is the only way that
we can tell Zanu PF that we are tired of its misrule, then it's fine with
me," he said.
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Daily News

      Nyathi arrested

      4/8/2003 10:24:30 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesman, was arrested in Bulawayo

      He was picked up soon after the party's vice-president, Gibson
Sibanda, had been freed on $1 million bail.

      Sibanda, who had been in custody for the past week, is facing charges
under the Public Order and Security Act for allegedly organising last month'
s successful two-day stayaway.

      Nyathi was arrested outside the Bulawayo Magistrates' Courts where he
had attended Sibanda's bail application hearing together with Morgan
Tsvangirai, the MDC leader.

      As Sibanda's lawyers were preparing to pay the bail deposit, the
police pounced on Nyathi.

      Later, they forced their way into Nyathi's house which they searched
without a warrant.

      They also seized documents which were mainly congratulatory messages
to the MDC for its victory in the recent by-elections in Kuwadzana and

      Sibanda was ordered to surrender his passport and to report to
Hillside Police Station twice a week, on Monday and Friday.

      Sibanda was arrested last Tuesday in connection with the 18 and 19
March mass stayaway organised by the MDC to protest against the
deteriorating economic and human rights situation in the country.

      Nicholas Mathonsi, Nyathi's lawyer, said although the police had
recorded a warned and cautioned statement from the MDC spokesman, they still
refused to release him.

      As police arrested Nyathi the multitude of MDC supporters who had
thronged the court buildings could only mumble their displeasure as heavily
armed policemen stood on guard.

      Mathonsi said police were charging Nyathi for contravening POSA after
he, Sibanda and other MDC members met and organised the mass stayaway.

      Said Mathonsi: "The police insisted on locking up Nyathi despite
having taken a warned and cautioned statement from him. I don't know when he
will appear in court."

      Both Nyathi and Sibanda are being charged for contravening Section 5
of the Public Order and Security Act.
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Daily News

      Facilities for refugees expanded

      4/8/2003 10:44:39 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      THE unprecedented influx of refugees into Zimbabwe has forced the
United Nations to expand facilities at Tongogara refugee camp, a UN official
has said.

      John Adu, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
representative to Zimbabwe said: "We have to expand the camp because the
number of refugees coming to Zimbabwe has increased."

      Tongogara camp, 188 kilometres, south of Mutare, accommodates about 1
000 refugees.
      But with the number increasing by the day, the UNHCR said the
expansion of the camp became a priority.

      Since January this year, Zimbabwe has experienced an unprecedented
increase in the number of asylum seekers.

      An average of 300 asylum seekers arrives in the country every month up
from a monthly average of 50 last year.

      Since last week, more than 200 new arrivals were resettled at the

      Zimbabwe is home to 10 000 refugees.

      Adu said most of the asylum seekers were from war-torn countries such
as Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC.

      The majority of the Rwandese are coming from Tanzania where they are
expelled by the Dar es Salaam government.

      The number of asylum seekers from Burundi has increased amid
heightening tension between the Tutsi-led government and Hutu rebels.

      In the DRC, thousands of people continue to flee the country despite a
peace deal signed in South Africa recently.

      Other refugees are from Congo-Brazzaville, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan
and Liberia.
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Daily News

      Poll agent's wife gang-raped

      4/8/2003 10:48:51 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      AN MDC election agent's wife was gang-raped by about a dozen suspected
Zanu PF youths in Kuwadzana last Thursday.

      The youths broke into the family house in Kuwadzana 6, Harare,
claiming to be policemen.

      The victim made a report at Kuwadzana 2 Police Station, record number
OB3646/03 but was advised to bring back a medical report.

      Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, refused
to comment yesterday, saying this paper's reporters should not seek his
comment on any issue, not even traffic accidents.

      The intruders allegedly blindfolded the agent's 23-year-old wife with
a napkin and took turns to rape her before force-marching her husband to a
nearby hill where they severely tortured him.

      Nelson Chamisa, the party's national youth chairman and the MP-elect
for the area, called upon the police to take action immediately to rid the
community of such people.

      He said: "A report was made to the police and we will assist
professional policemen to make arrests. It's shocking that there are still
some youngsters who are so misguided. It's totally unfair. These rapists are
known criminals. They have become a security threat to Kuwadzana residents.

      "As the MP-elect, I will not rest until they are brought to book."

      The couple was accused of voting for Chamisa in the parliamentary
by-election held on 28 and 29 March.

      According to a medical report compiled by Dr D Zhakata, at the Avenues
Clinic Casualty Unit, the woman was gang-raped by five males.

      Zhakata's report reads: "She was slapped in the face and has a severe
headache, an itching vulva and painful lower limbs. In a stable condition."

      On Sunday, the rape victim, who is in hiding, said about 12 youths
broke into their house at about 1am.

      She said: "My husband has always been on the run from Zanu PF
supporters so he hid under the bed when the youths knocked on the door.

      "I responded to the knock, asking who they were. They asked if I was
his wife and when I confirmed that they broke down the door and entered.
They pulled my husband from underneath the bed and started striking him in
the face before taking him out of the house. Five of the youths remained
behind. They pulled me and forcibly removed my clothes."

      She said they then proceeded to rape her as she screamed and was
struck. They threatened her with death if she cried for help or reported the
matter to the police.

      She said her ordeal lasted about two hours and she remembers hearing
the youths ordering her husband to watch it.

      She said they turned the house upside down searching for MDC T-shirts
and membership cards which they did not find.

      They allegedly took away the couple's identity documents, stole $10
000 in cash and 10 napkins belonging to their eight-month-old daughter.

      She said: "After some time, the youths resumed raping me again. They
said nothing would be done to them because they were the country's police

      She said her husband only returned home around 4am limping, his
clothes torn and his body soaked in blood. The husband was taken to the
Avenues Clinic before being transferred to a private home from which he is
being treated.

      He said: "I hid under the bed when the youths banged on my door. They
said they wanted to show me that they could do anything with impunity. I
didn't think they would rape my wife in my presence. I was shocked. They
made me chant Zanu PF slogans while they raped her."
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Daily News

      MDC man battles for life after arson attack

      4/8/2003 10:49:46 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      NQOBILE Ndlovu, a 25-year-old MDC supporter, is battling for life at
Gwanda Provincial Hospital after sustaining extensive burns when the hut he
was sleeping in was set ablaze by suspected Zanu PF supporters on Monday
last week.

      Earlier, the ruling party supporters are reported to have threatened
him for openly celebrating the opposition party's victory in the recent
Kuwadzana and Highfield by-elections.

      The arson attack took place in the Mafuko communal lands, about 35km
west of Gwanda, on Monday night.

      Ndlovu was alone when the incident took place.

      Matabeleland South police spokesman, Inspector Alfred Zvenyika, would
neither confirm nor deny the incident.

      "I am not aware of the incident or arrests related to it. I will,
however, find out about it," he said.

      MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi, described the attack as "callous
thuggery being perpetrated on the masses by a desperate Zanu PF regime".

      Relatives who declined to be identified for fear of victimisation said
Ndlovu, who was drinking with friends at a local bottle store when the
results were announced, was threatened by identified Zanu PF supporters
after celebrating the MDC victory.

      "He has not told us who exactly threatened him, but there is a
notorious group of Zanu PF supporters who were drinking at the same bottle
store the same day.

      "We heard that Nqobile ignored their threats before retiring to his
home. He woke up at about midnight to find his hut on fire."

      Although hospital officials declined to discuss Ndlovu's condition, a
nurse at the hospital confirmed that he was in bad shape.

      "The burns are so bad that at the moment we can only administer
anti-burn creams and ointments on him."

      Meanwhile, in Bulawayo, one woman was raped by a Zanu PF supporter who
claimed he wanted to revenge his party's loss in the Kuwadzana and Highfield
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Daily News

      MDC denies link to terror gang

      4/8/2003 10:50:35 AM (GMT +2)

      By Fanuel Jongwe

      TWENTY-THREE alleged rogue soldiers and army deserters said to be part
of terror gangs which have been assaulting residents and opposition party
supporters in Harare and Chitungwiza in the past three weeks, were allegedly
arrested last week in a joint operation by the army and the police.

      Army uniform, boots, belts and MDC T-shirts and banners were allegedly
recovered during raids at the suspects' homes and hide-outs.

      One of them said he said was persuaded by a member of the MDC,
identified as Sox, to join the party in planned bombings of strategic
buildings in Harare during the mass stayaway.

      However, MDC presidential spokesman William Bango said "these are all
hired Zanu PF thugs. They have nothing to do with the MDC. This is an
attempt by a cornered regime to destroy the party in the townships.

      "If there are some people who have committed an offence, the normal
thing is to charge them and make them appear in a court of law rather than
parade them on television before those charges are brought against them.
That is what happens in a normal democracy."

      The suspects included a female corporal, said to have been picked up
in Chitungwiza, and a private, said to have performed guard duties at the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's Pockets Hill studios.

      They were paraded during a media conference yesterday at the army's 2
Brigade headquarters in Cranborne where they are being detained.

      Major Alphios Makotore, the Zimbabwe National Army's deputy director
of public relations, said the suspects targeted areas where the police and
army had been deployed to monitor the situation during the two-day stayaway
on 18 and 19 March.

      They allegedly beat up members of the public under the pretext of
performing army duties.

      "Some of them moved in groups of two or three people while others wore
civilian clothes and used Mazda 323 vehicles which are never used during
army operations," Makotore said.

      Hundreds of residents were beaten up and severely injured by gangs of
youths in army uniform following the stayaway called by the MDC to press the
government to address the deteriorating economic and human rights situation.
Two weeks ago, one such gang allegedly paired patrons at a Chitungwiza
night-club and forced them to have unprotected sex.

      The army exonerated its members from the incidents.

      "The army has never been involved," Makotore said. "It's so plain that
we are there to protect people. It's logical that you don't beat up people
when you want to win them to your side." He said it was unfortunate the
police, army and the CIO were implicated in the alleged beatings.
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Daily News

      Mutare war vets threaten prosecutor

      4/8/2003 10:39:30 AM (GMT +2)

      A GROUP of war veterans last week threatened to assault Levison
Chikafu, a senior prosecutor at the Mutare Magistrates' Court, accusing him
of granting bail to 17 MDC supporters being charged under the Public Order
and Security Act.

      Last week 17 MDC supporters, including Giles Mutsekwa, the MP for
Mutare North and Patrick Chitaka, the chairman for Mutare North, were
granted bail by magistrate Lloyd Kuvheya.

      The MDC activists were accused of organising and inciting people to
participate in a mass action called by the opposition party three weeks ago.

      Chikafu last week said a war veteran identified only as Makanyisa led
a group of seven war veterans to his offices.

      They bulldozed into his office and demanded to know why he had granted
bail to the MDC supporters.

      Chikafu said the war veterans said the 17 opposition members were
supposed to have been remanded in custody.

      Robert Gumbo, the provincial chairman for the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans' Association could not be reached for comment.

      Chikafu said he has since reported the case to Mutare Central Police
and a docket has been opened. Edmund Maingire, the provincial police
spokesperson could not be reached for comment as he was said to be out of
his office.

      Hosea Mujaya, the provincial magistrate refused to comment on the
matter. He referred questions to David Mangota, the Permanent Secretary in
the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, who could also not
be reached for comment.
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Daily News

      Mnangagwa's nephew says he was set up

      4/8/2003 10:46:05 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      GRANGER Tongogara, one of the three men who allegedly robbed Emmerson
Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament, has claimed that he was set up by
Charles Janga and Richard Chawashira in the matter.

      Tongogara told prosecutor, Fungai Nyahunzvi, during cross-examination,
that Janga and Chawashira implicated him when he brought the stolen items to
his house and said they belonged to their son-in-law.

      Janga is a State witness.

      He said although he was related to Mnangagwa, it did not occur to him
that he should report to the police that Janga and Chawashira asked him to
keep the property they had stolen.

      "Your Worship, I omitted to ask Charles why he was giving me stolen
bags for safe-keeping during cross-examination last week," Tongogara said.

      Mnangagwa is Tongogara's uncle.

      He told regional magistrate, Leonard Chitunhu, that the police wanted
to recover Parliamentary documents and were not bothered about the stolen
bags he was keeping.

      "The police indicated to me that I was lying and they barged into my
house saying I could not tell them where the stolen property was stored," he

      Dyvon Takawira Masona, another suspect, said Janga gave him $100 000
so that Tongogara would "fix" his uncle, Mnangagwa.

      "Charles was assisting the police to implicate his friends and Jamare
was given money and promised more money," Masona said.

      The trial is due to resume tomorrow when the suspects were expected to
bring their own witnesses in court.

      The three have been in custody since their arrest in December last
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Leader Page

      Muchinguri is a cut above the rest

      4/8/2003 10:22:02 AM (GMT +2)

      Once in a very long while, someone in the now thoroughly discredited
government of President Mugabe acts in a manner that, refreshingly, puts a
human face to the fearsome monster that Zanu PF has transformed into since
it was rejected by the people in the year 2000.

      The bold move last weekend by Oppah Muchinguri, the Manicaland
provincial governor, to deal decisively with the horrendous humanitarian
tragedy at Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani by effectively reversing the
unlawful and barbaric action taken against the farm's employees, constitutes
one such rare action.

      To put the governor's action in perspective, it is necessary to recap
briefly events that provoked her understandably angry reaction. About 1 000
farm workers were evicted from the estate last week, allegedly by a large
posse of the police, soldiers, C CIO agents and Zanu PF activists. The farm
belongs to Roy Bennet, the MDC MP for Chimanimani.

      The evicted workers, together with their families, were then dumped at
an open space. And then, as if their plight was not bad enough, their
tormentors also denied them humanitarian assistance from Zimrights. As far
as is known, Charleswood Estate has not been designated for resettlement
purposes and the harassed farm workers had done nothing to deserve that
cruel treatment. The only logical explanation for the group's grossly
inhuman action against the workers would seem to be that they worked for an
MP from the opposition party.

      Judging by the relentless campaign of violence that its activists,
vigorously supported by agents from all the State security organs, are
directing against the MDC, it would appear that, as far as Zanu PF is
concerned, there is an unwritten law to the effect that there is no place in
Zimbabwe for anybody who belongs to or supports any political organisation
other than Zanu PF.

      But then of course every Zimbabwean who knows anything about the law
knows that no such law exists and that Zanu PF does not have a monopoly over
political activity. And Muchinguri certainly knows it too.

      Which is why, being the sensible person that she so very often has
shown herself to be, she saw it as a her responsibility, to come to the
rescue of the workers. Most of Mugabe's governors - notably the likes of
Josaya Hungwe and Obert Mpofu who know that their meal ticket comes from
doing a ruthless hatchet job on the MDC - would have conveniently looked the
other way in the face of this moral crisis.

      Not Muchinguri. Not surprisingly, therefore, several of her other
actions and pronouncements in the past have clearly marked her out as not
only possessing a good conscience but also being a cut above the rest of
Mugabe's governors. Her advice to war veterans should equally be embraced by
the rest of Zanu PF supporters.

      During an address at a political rally in Buhera almost two years ago,
she warned war veterans to desist from their violent ways and pointedly
warned that whatever they did, they should always remember that they, and
not Zanu PF, would ultimately pay for their sins.

      In her latest move to protect the rights of Charleswood farm workers,
Muchinguri has shown that, unlike other high-ranking officials in Mugabe's
government, she knows that she is not paid from the taxpayers' money to look
after the welfare of only those Zimbabweans who support Zanu PF but that of
every citizen.

      The only criticism her detractors could have is that she is rather
inconsistent. Her arbitrary - and illegal - resettlement of 66 villagers on
Brian James' Grange Farm in Mutasa, which was not designated, was probably
the most outstanding example of that inconsistency.

      Nevertheless, it is encouraging to hear that she has promised to deal
with the individuals who masterminded the Charleswood Estate eviction. She
has said that "heads will roll". Roll they must - and publicly!
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Leader Page

      Sex brutality now a vital tool of political repression

      4/8/2003 10:23:08 AM (GMT +2)

      By Tawanda waMagaisa

      Man's brutality towards another is at its worst during times of social

      In recent weeks tales of torture have been shocking and disgusting.
The political crisis has produced conditions that nurture cruelty and the
repercussions will be felt for years to come.

      At one point last year, I indicated that what we are doing in Zimbabwe
is tantamount to sowing the seeds of hatred that will one day consume our
very children. Today, I wish to elaborate on the subject of our cruelty and
show how low we have sunk. Sex and human genitalia have become tools in the
political struggle in Zimbabwe.

      It is notable that the most sensitive parts of our bodies and the most
private of human activities have become important players in a political
game in which they have no control. I am talking here of the abuse of male
and female genitalia and sex in the political struggle in Zimbabwe today.
Some may object to the focus on these sensitive issues in a family
newspaper, but I have thought long and hard about it and believe that it is
not only useful, but necessary in the current political climate to talk
about these things, in order to show how inhuman and insensitive we have

      We cannot stand by and seal our mouths when these things are being
done each day. I do not for a moment think that this article is out of order
in a respectable national newspaper - we have to expose these obscenities.
We cannot run away from indecency but must expose it.

      Perhaps one does not begin to appreciate the relevance of genitals on
the political landscape until they experience pain. Every so often we hear
horrendous tales of men and women being tortured by others. Is it surprising
that when the agents of torture harass people, they often focus on the
genitals? We often hear stories of how electric wires are connected to the
testicles for the purposes of inflicting the most excruciating pain
possible. Sometimes we hear stories of how torturers insert wires into the
urethra of the penis. Now, any man reading this will probably be wincing
with pain because even the thought alone is extremely painful.

      It is so hard to imagine without feeling the utmost pain because these
are extremely sensitive parts of our anatomy. Now consider experiencing the
pain in reality. I cannot even begin to imagine that any man in his right
senses would do this to a fellow man. It is evidence of the depths to which
some of us have sunk, to have the temerity to inflict such pain on another

      The focus on male genitalia would be an incomplete picture of the
reality of our cruelty. Indeed, female genitalia have also been victimised
by agents of oppression. Stories abound of how men and women use AK 47
rifles to pierce into and perform sexual acts on the vagina. That is gross,
shameful and inhuman, but it is happening in our midst. The intention of the
torturers is to humiliate, conquer and dehumanise. Undoubtedly, the
psychological wounds of this political crisis will be hard to overcome.

      Sex is one of the most private and respected of human activities. So
when we see how sex has been abused as a tool in this political struggle, it
just indicates the brutality and inhumanity of the perpetrators of these
ghastly acts. We are told of how women and young girls are gang-raped by
vicious and cruel men in pursuit of political goals.

      Only recently we were told how men and women were forced to perform
sex in public at a local nightclub. It was worse that they were allegedly
forced to have sex without protection in these days of the HIV /Aids
pandemic. Forcing people to have sex is bad enough, but forcing them to do
so without protection is tantamount to imposing a death sentence on them.

      How different is that torturer from a man who wilfully inflicts fatal
injuries on another? Sex is supposed to be enjoyed in private, but when
people are forced to do it in public, it should bring shame to our political
leaders and those that purport to be enforcing the laws of this country.
Consider the chain reaction of possible HIV infections when those men and
women were forced to have unprotected sex. It is too gruesome to imagine.

      Sometimes children and husbands are forced to watch as their mothers
and wives are sexually abused by the agents of cruelty.

      Is this the price men and women have to pay for holding divergent
political views? And for how long shall we let this go on while we wait and
watch? Employing sex for political machinations is inexcusable and simply
exemplifies how low we have sunk.

      The shortage of sanitary pads is also an illustration of how genitalia
have become victims of the political and economic crisis. Women have had to
come out in the open and show how they have suffered as a result of the
shortage and expense of cotton wool and tampons, which are totally essential

      That we now have to buy these products at high cost on the black
market is a measure of how our economy and values have fallen. Today, when
the lucky ones go abroad, they return with bags of sanitary products for
their families. Torture, rape, punishment and shortages have made our
genitals the silent victims of the political malaise in Zimbabwe. And some
old men and women in charge of the country still think that all is well.
They consider themselves proud leaders of a sovereign nation called
Zimbabwe. What a shame! People are engaging in the most cruel and despicable
acts against their own countrymen.

      Often we do not realise the significance of these things until someone
actually inflicts pain on us. I feel for those among us who have had to
endure cruelty of this nature.

      We are all human beings, and whether we support Zanu PF, MDC, NAGG or
whatever party, we still need sanitary pads, we still feel the pain in our
testicles, we still wince when we read about someone inserting a wire into
the urethra, we still cry when someone inserts an AK 47 through another's
vagina and we all feel appalled and violated when someone forces us into
having unprotected and dangerous sex. Surely a line should be drawn

      The remaining vestiges of humanity must germinate, grow, flower and
produce something good among us. Maybe then these silent, suffering victims
of our national crisis will be at peace.
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Daily News


      African leaders ought to learn from the ordinary man

      4/8/2003 10:21:15 AM (GMT +2)

      By Cathy Buckle

      Zimbabwe was deeply shocked by the tragic death in police custody of
MDC MP Learnmore Jongwe in October 2002. There were then, and are still now,
so many horrors and questions associated with the MP's death.

      We have not forgotten that Jongwe did not receive medical treatment
when he became violently ill in the early hours of the morning in his prison
cell. Or that his family were not told personally of his death but learnt of
the tragedy on a radio news bulletin.

      Neither have we forgotten that the police invaded the home of mourners
and that later riot police fired tear-gas at the many thousands of people
who lined the streets of Kuwadzana to pay their last respects to Jongwe.

      The people of Kuwadzana did not run away from the police and their
tear-gas in October 2002 but instead were united in both their grief and
their immutable resolve.

      Last week the people of Kuwadzana again stood together and showed
extreme courage in voting for another man of their choice to represent them
in Parliament.

      Newly-elected MDC MP, Nelson Chamisa, told The Daily News: "I view my
victory as a tribute to my friend, Learnmore, who died under mysterious

      One ecstatic opposition supporter in Kuwadzana said on the day of the
by-election results: "We are so happy.

      We know the army will come and beat us tonight but we don't care."

      This courage is the new face of Zimbabwe in 2003 and it is being seen
with increasing regularity all over our ravaged country.

      The people of Highfield also stood firm in voting for the person they
wanted to represent them in Parliament.

      They took the plates of sadza that were handed out to them, they
hungrily bought the usually unavailable bags of roller-meal being used to
bribe them and they braved the taunts and intimidation at the polling

      They did not vote with their stomachs, but with their heads and they
were courageous in their stance.

      In other countries it may be regarded as the most basic of human
rights to vote for the person and party of your choice; in Zimbabwe it takes
enormous courage to do so.

      The ordinary men and women of Kuwadzana and Highfield have been
applauded and saluted for their bravery and determination.

      It does not matter one iota that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC)-TV chose to devote their top story on the night of the by-election
results to a soccer game.

      ZBC again showed themselves to be childish and unprincipled amateurs
in representing the news and views of Zimbabweans.

      The mayhem in Zimbabwe is separating the men from the boys and the ZBC
again showed us that they are still in shorts.

      The bravery of ordinary Zimbabweans in Highfield and Kuwadzana did not
only put the ZBC to shame but also the very important people who call
themselves our friends and neighbours.

      In the last fortnight hundreds of people have been arrested without
charge, tortured in police custody, beaten in their own homes by armed men
in military uniforms and suffered the foulest of abuses.

      On Sabc-TV last week, horrific video footage was shown of black and
white men and women who had been beaten shortly after the nationwide

      Zimbabwean diplomats in Harare trying to watch the recent Harare
by-elections were shocked at what they saw.

      One Western diplomat described the event as a "farce".

      An African diplomat said: "I would not like to see us have elections
like this at home."

      Even after these reports and the graphic television footage of bruised
and bloodied Zimbabweans, South African President Thabo Mbeki still chooses
to say nothing.

      Namibia's President Sam Nujoma stays silent. Zambian President Levy
Mwanawasa is quiet and Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano has no words to

      Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi also chooses to say nothing.

      Muluzi has at last announced that he will not change his country's
constitution and will step down from the presidency.

      Perhaps now that he has done this, President Muluzi will find the
courage to say something about the appalling human rights abuses and
oppression in Zimbabwe. Perhaps he will now show us if he is a man amongst
men or, like many other African presidents, just a little boy scared of
upsetting the Old Boys' Club?

      We pray that Muluzi and all the other African leaders will emulate the
admirable bravery being shown by ordinary Zimbabwean men and women.

      Cathy Buckle is a Zimbabwean housewife who lives in Marondera.

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MDC Weekly Brief

Key Developments:
MDC Vice-President Gibson Sibanda detained for 8 days then released on bail
MDC Spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi arrested and, at the time of writing, remains in police custody
Cosatu condemns Mugabe's reign of terror in Zimbabwe

Click here to read the complete document MDC Weekly Brief

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08 Apr 2003 05:00:31 GMT
FEATURE-Poor Africans to lose out as Iraq grabs limelight

By Alistair Thomson

JOHANNESBURG, April 8 (Reuters) - For Colin Kwanele, filling cars at a fuel station in one of Johannesburg's wealthy northern suburbs, war in Iraq seems a long way off.

Unlike many of his customers the 21-year-old Zimbabwean economic immigrant is unable to watch the battle unfold on satellite television at home. But that does not stop it affecting him.

"Last week unleaded was at 4.22 rand a litre. Now it's at 4.26," he said, the crisis having pushed up global oil prices.

With U.S.-led forces in Baghdad and the world's development gurus already looking to a future beyond Saddam Hussein, Africa and its poorest and most downtrodden inhabitants have all but fallen from view.

Rising oil prices would hurt Africa's fuel-buying economies, foreign aid is likely to be diverted to the Middle East and the world is turning a blind eye to abuses by opportunistic leaders.

"The Iraqi war is basically going to relegate African affairs in terms of the global stage," said Phumzile Langeni of Johannesburg brokerage Mazwai Securities.

"You just need to look at the amount of money that America is going to be paying for the war. George Bush asked for $74.7 billion and I would say whatever aid that has been earmarked for Africa is likely to be put on the back burner," she said.

Just weeks ago Angola, Guinea and Cameroon basked as the richest nations courted their U.N. Security Council votes for or against war on Iraq. That attention vanished when the United States and Britain gave up on U.N. backing for war, undermining the body which channels much foreign aid to Africa's poor.

"We are concerned that resources that should have been used for development are going to war," Mozambique's President Joaquim Chissano told Reuters.

"War will mean higher fuel prices for some on the continent. It also means uncertainty within financial markets and that is not good for investment," he said. "We will struggle to show that Africa must remain a major priority, as indeed it should."

Britain's minister with responsibility for Africa, Valerie Amos, promised that the need to rebuild post-war Iraq would not eclipse African development.

"Will that reconstruction be expensive? Yes. Will it affect the UK's commitment to Africa? No," she told reporters in South Africa during a visit to the region.

Yet, perhaps mindful of the exodus of aid and relief workers from Africa to stricken Afghanistan after U.S.-led operations there in 2001, many Africans are not convinced.


The war-induced fluctuations of world oil prices threaten to unsettle the economies of the poorest continent.

A lengthy war and soaring oil prices could boost the handful of net oil exporters in sub-Saharan Africa, encouraging Western firms to crank up capacity away from the volatile Middle East.

"For your importing countries, unfortunately the converse applies, unless their currency strengthens as we have seen with the South African currency," Mazwai's Langeni said.

But the region's biggest exporter, Nigeria, has seen ethnic violence slash its 2.2 million barrel-per-day (bpd) output by 800,000 bpd, and any war premium on exports may be short-lived.

"The economic effect hasn't happened the way they thought it would. The oil price hasn't gone through the roof," said Richard Cornwall of South Africa's Institute of Security Studies.

"In fact in the long run with the increase in oil output that would be accessible from Iraq under different circumstances, you could expect the oil price to decline."

In any event, uncertainty over oil prices and international security is likely to feed instability in Africa's economies.

Security worries have already cast a shadow over Kenya's $300 million-plus tourist industry, a key foreign exchange earner for sub-Saharan Africa's third-biggest economy. Since the war began, at least two cruise liners have cancelled stops at Mombasa, the port resort targeted in a bombing late last year.

Assistant Tourism Minister Beth Mugo said occupancy at Kenya's coastal hotels was down to 50 percent from 70 percent at the same time last year, and that reaching a target of two million foreign tourists this year would be a struggle.


Compounding its economic effects, war in Iraq is also giving leaders elsewhere a smokescreen for abuse.

March saw violent uprisings in the Central African Republic, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. All were rooted in local conflicts, but analysts say in some cases the timing smacks of opportunism.

"While the cat's away and people's attention is elsewhere, people are going to be up to some mischief," said Cornwall.

Any prolonged war against Iraq in the face of international opposition may stir memories of the Cold War, when Washington favoured sympathetic leaders above democracy and human rights.

The result -- dictators like Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko and debilitating foreign-bankrolled civil wars as in Angola -- left a scarred Africa wrestling with a legacy of violence.

In a chilling reminder of those days, Rwanda and Uganda, both accused of letting their troops loot the Democratic Republic of Congo during the former Zaire's 4-1/2 year war, jumped to Washington's side to voice support for the Iraq war.

Back in Colin Kwanele's native Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has launched a crackdown on the opposition after one of the biggest protests against his 23-year rule last month.

Torture allegations against Mugabe's police and supporters drew a terse rebuke from the U.S. State Department, but the criticism was all but lost in the media frenzy over Iraq.

Topping up another car, Kwanele said he was not sure whether Africa had yet been forgotten in the rush to depose Saddam. "Maybe Bush will come for Zimbabwe next," he said wryly. (Additional reporting by David Mageria in Nairobi, Manoah Esipisu in Maputo and Joseph Oesi and Mmatshwane Antoinette Mokgohloa in Johannesburg)
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