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

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From The Daily News Online Edition, 10 August

Air Zim graft sucks in Zanu PF bosses

A former Air Zimbabwe managing director was detained for three days for
alleged corruption but was saved from prosecution by powerful Zanu PF and
civil service allies, sources at the airline said this week. Rambai
Chingwena's subsequent resignation from the airline was apparently a direct
result of a political and business trade-off between influential government
officials and powerful Zanu PF politicians. A senior Air Zimbabwe official
speaking on condition of anonymity, said a retired army general who wields
enormous influence in the ruling party, and a former secretary in the
Ministry of Transport and Communications, had in the past shielded Chingwena
and his management from a possible government probe over alleged money
laundering and other incidents of corruption. The official said: "All
efforts by the three workers' unions at the State-owned airline to expose
the corruption failed. We first wrote to Katsande but he denied there was
corruption at Air Zimbabwe. Our chance came when the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Transport and Communication set up a probe into the airline. We
submitted reports on the corruption to the CID headquarters at Harare
Central Police Station. We pleaded with them to intervene before the airline
collapsed." Still, there was no action forthcoming, the official said.

The parliamentary committee reportedly recommended a probe into the senior
managers' theft of aircraft spare parts, underhand dealings with travel
agencies and misuse of workers' pensions contributions in the pensions'
fund. The police compiled a dossier on the activities of the managers,
leading to Chingwena's brief detention, the source said. "Chingwena had
always been at loggerheads with the workers, especially engineers who
constantly criticised him for destroying the airline by making suicidal
decisions against their advice," another official said. "The truth is that
things took a nasty turn for him and his handlers in the Ministry of
Transport could no longer protect him. "Chingwena was arrested around 15 or
17 May and detained for three days. But powerful people in Zanu PF used
money and political clout to ensure he was not brought to court." During the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications
investigations, the chairman, Silas Mangono (MDC Masvingo Central), said
some of the managers admitted that Zanu PF heavyweights in Mashonaland East
were often involved in Air Zimbabwe affairs. He said: "There was a high
level of indiscipline at the airline, especially among the top management.
Our findings were that there were powerful politicians in Zanu PF who flexed
their political clout in the management of the airline. Now we expect all
those implicated to answer for their indiscipline and corrupt dealings.
"There were a lot of shady deals which were going on at the airline when it
came to the importation of spares, repairs of aircraft. There were some
people benefiting from the transactions at the airline."

The workers alleged that Chingwena withdrew $400 million from the Pension
Fund without the consent of other trustee members. This was after the
workers discovered that the airline had not remitted their pension
contributions since September 2003. The workers claimed that pressure
mounted on Chingwena after a key ally was moved from the parent ministry.
Karikoga Kaseke, then new permanent secretary in the ministry, adopted most
of the committee's recommendations that urged the government to probe the
airline and punish those responsible for corruption and mismanagement. It
recommended that a turn-around strategy, drafted by all stakeholders be
implemented urgently to save the airline from collapse. Tendai Mujuru, the
acting CEO of the airline, was previously its company secretary and finance
director. She is said to be related to retired army commander, Solomon
Mujuru. Last Friday, Ms Mujuru was asked about the events preceding her
appointment. She said: "I am not at liberty to comment on the matter related
to the former managing director. I deny what has been said about me and will
not comment on the issue. His resignation has nothing to do with me. You
could speak to the board chairman, Livingstone Gwata. My relationship to
anyone powerful means nothing." Gwata was not available for comment.
Chingwena resigned in May while in South Africa and has not returned to
Zimbabwe since. Highly placed sources claim he is in Botswana. Sources at
the airline claim the Attorney General's Office is preparing papers to
consolidate the State case against Chingwena. They said he faces charges
under the Prevention of Corruption Act. In June, Chingwena told the Zimbabwe
Independent newspaper he would return to Harare to clear his name. He denied
allegations that he stole airline funds and entered into several corrupt
deals that prejudiced the airline. "I will be coming back to Zimbabwe soon
and will face anyone who believes I have a case to answer," Chingwena was
quoted as saying in one of the weekly papers recently. "My reason for
leaving Air Zimbabwe was purely personal. That's all."
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Zim Online

THE MUGABES BRING HOME MORE LUXURY GOODS FROM MALAYSIA
Wed 11 August 2004

      HARARE ­ Zimbabwe's  President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace last
week brought back several tonnes of timber and household goods from Malaysia
for their mansion under construction in Harare's exclusive Borrowdale
suburb, ZimOnline has learnt.

      Staff at Harare International airport said Mugabe, who was in Malaysia
on official business, arrived back in the country at about 4 o'clock in the
morning of August 3 aboard an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767.

      The 767, which Mugabe kept in Malaysia for more than a week, is one of
Air Zimbabwe's two remaining usable planes. The national flag carrier, which
had 15 working aeroplanes at independence 24 years ago, owns a third jet
presently not in operation because it needs extensive repairs.

      Airport staff who helped offload the jet said it was heavily laden
with several tonnes of dark redwood timber, kitchenware, household
electronic equipment, computers and television sets.

      A senior official, who did not want to be named,  said, "The timber
was offloaded and left lying at the airport hangar for some hours before a
7-tonnes Mercedes Benz open truck and a 30-tonnes lorry arrived to ferry the
timber to his (Mugabe's) house in Borrowdale."

      Before the trucks arrived at about 7.30 am, agents of the government's
Central Intelligence Organisation kept a watchful guard, preventing airport
workers from getting too close to the goods.

      "Several other personal goods like kitchenware and clothing were put
in the presidential vehicles. The First Lady (Grace Mugabe) monitored
everything while the airport crew loaded the goods," another airport
official said.

      As far as the officials could see, the Mugabes did not pay duty for
the goods whose value airport officials estimated could be several million
United States dollars.

      Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba could not be reached for comment.
His phone was not being answered when ZimOnline tried to call him from
Johannesburg.

      Mugabe has been building his retirement home for the last four years.
The property includes two man-made lakes and a small nature reserve. Most of
the material being used to construct the opulent building was imported from
Malaysia and other countries.

      The Malaysian Parliament last month queried why the country's former
prime minister Mahatir Mohammed donated timber to Mugabe.

      The Mugabes now do most of their shopping in Malaysia and South
Africa. The European Union and the United States of America have banned the
Zimbabwean President, his wife and other top officials from visiting their
territories because of gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe. ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Zimbabwe not yet on the agenda of SADC summit
Wed 11 August 2004

      HARARE  - Foreign ministers of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC)  are yet to decide whether to put Zimbabwe on the agenda of
the annual SADC heads of state and government meeting.

      The Council of Ministers meets from August 13 to 15, prior to the
summit which begins in Mauritius on August 16. It is still unclear whether
either Zimbabwe's human rights record and disputed electoral processes or
the problems in strife-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo will be placed
on the formal agenda.

      Public relations officer at the regional group's secretariat
Petronilla Ndebele could neither confirm nor deny that Zimbabwe would be
under the spotlight in Mauritius: 'It is the prerogative of the Summit to
choose which matters to be discussed. But all political matters happening in
the region will be discussed. The Council of Ministers  will set the agenda
for the Heads of Government meeting.'

      Zimbabwe's Minister of Foreign Affairs Stan Mudenge, who will take
part in the deliberations of the Council of Ministers, could not be reached
for comment.

      SADC has in the past refused to criticise the controversial
performance of President Robert Mugabe and his government. The Africa Human
Rights Commission, however,  last month submitted a damning report on
Zimbabwe to the African Union summit.  Harare managed to block the report
from being adopted by the AU, saying it had not been given an opportunity to
respond to the commission's findings and that it would do so within a week.
The response is still outstanding.

      A SADC official, who did not want to be named, said, 'Zimbabwe is one
of few countries in the region where SADC (parliamentary) electoral norms
and standards have been totally disregarded. Leaders (from the region) would
be interested to know how far the country has gone aligning its electoral
laws to the accepted SADC standards.'

      The SADC norms, long adopted by the SADC Parliamentary Forum,
stipulate minimum conditions for elections which include setting up
independent commissions to run elections, transparency, upholding the rule
of law and the protection of individual rights and freedoms.

      The heads of state summit is expected to adopt its own set of norms
and standards for elections. Among these are the setting up of impartial
electoral bodies, the safeguarding of human and civil liberties, measures to
prevent vote rigging and adequate security. ZimOnline

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Panel appointed for Zimbabwe race probe

Wisden Cricinfo staff

August 10, 2004

The International Cricket Council has appointed a two-man panel to
investigate the allegations of racism that have torn the Zimbabwean national
team apart. Nearly six months have passed since 15 white Zimbabwean
cricketers, led by their captain, Heath Streak, boycotted the national team
in protest at what they perceived as its biased selection policy.

India's Solicitor-General, Goolam Vahanvati, and South African High Court
judge Steven Majiedt have been appointed to carry out an independent review
into the claims. "The ICC regards allegations of racism as a serious
matter," said their president, Ehsan Mani. "The process which is now in
place to investigate these claims will ensure that the issues and concerns
are addressed thoroughly and independently.

"Judge Majiedt and Mr Vahanvati both have considerable experience in
overseeing legal hearings, and dealing within a fair and considered
framework for all parties," added Mani. "We have strong confidence and faith
in the approach they are undertaking, and the ICC executive board will
receive their findings and recommendations in October."

The row between the 15 players and the board escalated in June when, after a
string of dismal results, the ICC was forced to step in and suspend Zimbabwe
from Test cricket. Zimbabwe were, however, allowed to carry on competing in
one-day matches, and England are due to tour there in November.

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union, whose members were unanimously re-elected at
their annual general meeting last week, agreed to the arbitration process
last month, and the findings of the two-man panel will be binding.

© Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
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BOTSWANA-ZIMBABWE: Tensions continue to simmer

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

JOHANNESBURG, 10 Aug 2004 (IRIN) - Botswana has defended the practice of
caning people, including illegal immigrants, convicted of petty offences,
despite protests from neighbouring Zimbabwe over the "primitive" punishment
handed out to some of its citizens.

Tension between the two countries has been simmering in recent years as
increasing numbers of Zimbabweans enter Botswana, both legally and
illegally, in a bid to escape the economic crisis at home.

On Monday Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper quoted Junior Security
Minister Nicholas Goche as saying: "The act of flogging law-breakers in
public is primitive and unruly. We have even stopped flogging our children
in schools here in Zimbabwe, and feel Botswana should move with the times."
The practice of caning had to be "aborted", he said.

Zimbabwean officials have previously objected to Botswana court decisions
sentencing Zimbabwean immigrants to corporal punishment, but Botswana has
reiterated that its laws are applied universally within its borders and are
not targeted at Zimbabweans.

Presidential spokesman Jeff Ramsay told IRIN that "flogging under certain
circumstances is allowed and it would apply to anybody, it is not targeted
to any one group of people". However, "certain categories of people, such as
the youth, women, the elderly ... are excluded" from the sentencing option
of corporal punishment.

There were "two parallel legal systems" in Botswana, and "most of the
floggings have been in the context of customary courts run by traditional
authorities [deliberating] on minor cases", he explained.

"In the original case that caused something of a stir, the people who had
been caned happened to be Zimbabwean and admitted their guilt and opted for
caning. Some of the Zimbabweans [familiar with Botswana's customs] ...
frequently take the option of customary courts because they are quicker, and
people don't want to go to jail for petty theft," Ramsay said.

[ENDS]
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VOA

Greece Bars Burma, Zimbabwe Sports Ministers
VOA News
10 Aug 2004, 15:33 UTC

The Greek government has barred the sports ministers from Burma and Zimbabwe
as part of the EU's sanctions against the two countries for their human and
civil rights abuses.
Zimbabwe's Aeneas Chigwedere and Burma's Brigadier General Thura Aye Myint
were previously barred from entering the European Union. A Greek official
says his country is merely complying with the EU sanctions.

European Union governments accuse Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe of
rigging his re-election. Burma is frequently criticized for human rights
abuses.

The move comes after Greece said it would bar Belorussian Sports Minister
Yuri Sivakov because of allegations against the former interior minister
involving the disappearance of journalists.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.
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SABC

Mugabe to prioritise building of military

August 10, 2004, 14:53

Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president, says his government would continue to
give priority to building the military to defend the gains made since
independence from Britain in 1980. Speaking at a celebration marking the
24th anniversary of the country's defence forces, Mugabe said Zimbabwe must
be wary of "imperialists" who are desperate to destabilise the southern
African nation, and its defence forces must stand ready to fight back.

"As we enjoy the peace in our country we shall however remain vigilant and
wary of increasingly desperate and dangerous imperialist efforts to
destabilise our nation," Mugabe told a crowd of thousands in the capital
Harare. "The enemy machinations will never make us forget that we got
Zimbabwe after a protracted liberation struggle," he said.

Mugabe has previously singled out former colonial power Britain for trying
to topple his government over its land reforms, which have seen land seized
from whites for redistribution to landless blacks, and his controversial
re-election in 2002. Zimbabwe's main opposition and several Western
countries say that election was rigged, a charge Mugabe denies.

Yesterday, Mugabe took a new swipe at Tony Blair, the British prime
minister, who told parliament in June that his government was working with
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mugabe said today that
in the face of such threats, and what he has called British attempts to
bring "regime change", the country looked to the defence forces to safeguard
its territory. "The greater part of this national effort falls on the
defence forces who should always maintain a high level of preparedness in
order to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Mugabe, a former guerrilla leader who spearheaded Zimbabwe's war of
independence in the 1970s, has placed some of his most trusted military
lieutenants in political positions such as provincial governorships and the
intelligence services, moves seen as efforts to consolidate his grip on
power. The veteran leader, in power since 1980, charges that his local and
foreign opponents have sabotaged Zimbabwe's economy over the land seizures,
leading to record unemployment, inflation and erratic supplies of food and
foreign currency. - Reuters

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10 August 2004

PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI'S TUESDAY MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE

My reading of the Zimbabwean crisis agrees with a widely held view that a
lasting solution is now clearly in sight.

We are feeling the weight of a nation in its darkest hour. We have refused
to give in to a determined assault on our body and soul. We are on a winning
trail. All the signs point to an endgame.

The regime pulled out its last card, but nothing has come out of it: whites,
land, puppets, price controls, media controls, intolerance, nationalism,
anti-corruption, cosmetic electoral reforms, nothing. After five hectic
years, we are worse off than we were in 2000. We are, however, clearer on
what needs to be done to put Zimbabwe back on the rails.

Zimbabweans are amazed at Zanu PF's pronouncements that it can win a free
and fair election in these circumstances. The crisis has defined the
national, political and economic priorities and needs, their content and
their force in moulding our future choices.

We are not alone in this assessment. Reformers in Zanu PF have, at last,
realised that the country is in a cul-de-sac. They see a possibility of a
solution emerging from constructive engagement. But their efforts are being
thwarted by late-comer opportunists swirling their hard-line views around a
restless Zanu PF leadership.

The hardliners, mainly political speculators and a parasitic bureaucracy,
are exploiting an anxious and aged incumbency for a selfish end.

As is always the case in times of instability, the hardliners have no
political base. They fleece the country and manipulate the dictator in order
to secure sufficient time to launder their ill-gotten benefits and to
decontaminate their loot. Unless we push harder for change, their actions
may delay our freedom by an extra day.

At the moment, these hardliners give the impression that they are in charge
of the country - managing the judiciary, ruling by decree, muzzling the
media, closing down private schools, holding onto many stolen farms and
fiddling with the mind of the dictator.

The Zanu PF centre has fallen apart. The country is awash with contradictory
messages. The regime says it wants a general election in March 2005, but the
behaviour of its officials point to a different direction.

How does the regime explain the failure to open up the country to political
activity if it is serious that it wants a free and fair election? Are Robert
Mugabe and Zanu PF after another bout of violent confrontation or are they
keen to reconcile with the people and start afresh?

In a short space of two weeks, we are stopped from meeting our officials on
a dozen occasions. Trade unionists are jailed for doing their work. A new
law to criminalise civil society is in the horizon. The police have become
Zanu PF activists in the war against the nation. The public media has upped
the tempo against us. Works of fiction are on display as news, without any
shame. Who, in their right mind, could go into an election under such
conditions?

We went into all the elections and by-elections since 2000. We gained
tremendous experience during this period. You urged us to go, regardless of
the conditions. We now know what that means. Does it make sense to subject
the nation to that experience again?

Zanu PF must decide what it wants to do; otherwise Zimbabwe shall conduct a
one-party election. The choice is theirs.

As the nation commemorates the Heroes Holiday, those who sacrificed their
lives for the liberation of this country must be surprised at the level of
political decay that has blurred Zimbabwe's vision and corrupted the ideals
of a noble liberation struggle.

Our dignified revolution has been reduced to a mere racist or imperialist
conspiracy, through hysterical references to Tony Blair, George Bush and
colonialism as a cover for our own mistakes.

Our experience shows that our political independence from colonialism has
yet to translate into majority rule and freedom for all. Freedom has a deep
set of demands, none of which the current regime has addressed so far.  Only
an MDC government has the capacity to rectify the anomaly.

As I drove into Zhombe business centre on Saturday, a young police officer
insisted on running his fingers around my frame saying he was under orders
to conduct a body search on me and my staff. It occurred to me then that we
still had a long way to go in respecting people's civil liberties and
freedoms, legal entitlements and personal space.

Halfway through our private meeting with the MDC structures, another police
officer broke the news that Zanu PF youths, armed with bricks, stones,
sticks and all sorts of earthly weapons, had blocked our exit and wanted to
attack us. To ensure our safety, he ordered, we were to use an escape route
through the bush to the main Gokwe-Kwekwe Road.

Election campaigns encourage participation in the voting process. Election
campaigns provide forums for free discussion and uncensored distribution of
essential information necessary for people to make informed choices.

How do Mugabe and Zanu PF avoid a deeply defective electoral process if
their contestants are denied adequate opportunities to present their case to
the people? Or, as is the case today, when the MDC is blocked from accessing
to the public media? How do potential voters consider the views of all the
competing players when the state denies political parties the space to be
heard?

Majority rule and democracy are supposed to enrich our lives. To be
prevented from taking part in any aspect of life is a major form of
dispossession. That is the main reason why people have turned against Zanu
PF.

The message came out clearly at our Zhombe meeting. Despite their
humiliation at the hands of the police, the people vowed to remain resolute,
making concrete suggestions on the way forward. They stated that they were
determined reclaim their voice, in the face of the recruitment, training and
deployment of large contingents of Zanu PF militia into their villages.

We have no choice. We must arrest the current chaos, rescue our economy from
ceaseless convulsions and push Zanu PF out. We are getting there.

With the pressure from all Zimbabweans and from our neighbours in the SADC
region, the regime will pack up. We all know that flawed elections are a key
source of our problems.

Our objective is to raise the conduct of our elections to the SADC standards
to secure a legitimate result. We have argued that elections, which should
reflect the exercise of our sovereignty in the selection of our leaders
should never become open seasons for murder, torture, beatings and violence.
We shall guard against that kind of behaviour in the run-up to March 2005.

May I humbly ask southern Africa, through the SADC summit in Mauritius this
week, to assist us in this regard, in particular in making sure that the
next election is held in accordance with the SADC norms and standards?

We are aware that the region's development agenda has been affected by the
Zimbabwean crisis. We know you want the matter resolved through a legitimate
election.

Together, we shall win,

Morgan Tsvangirai
President.
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VOA

8/10/04 - SUPPRESSION IN ZIMBABWE
The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States
Government:

Zimbabwe is a nation in crisis. Its population faces a government-induced
famine. Human rights and the rule of law have been replaced by arbitrary
rule.
Many brave Zimbabweans continue to speak out against the violence,
corruption, and mismanagement that they are forced to endure. U.S. State
Department spokesman Richard Boucher says the closing of the Tribune
newspaper "is the latest in a series of assaults on press freedom and on
access to independent information in Zimbabwe":

"It follows the government's attempts to tighten controls on Internet use,
last year's forced closure of the Independent Daily News, and the ongoing
intimidation, harassment, and prosecution of independent journalists."

Journalists are not the only ones the Zimbabwean government is trying to
suppress. Musicians in Zimbabwe are having difficulty getting their protest
songs recorded. When they do, says an article in the Washington Post
newspaper, "the songs are almost never played on radio stations, all of
which are owned by the government."

Thomas Mapfumo is a Zimbabwean who moved to the U.S. in 2002 because he
feared for himself and his family. Today, says Mr. Mapafumo, "you are trying
to tell the people the truth, what is happening in their country, and
somebody is trying to shut you down."

The struggle in Zimbabwe is not about foreign values or foreign interests.
It is about the need for Zimbabwe to return to the democracy and rule of law
that it enjoyed during its first fifteen years of independence. For the
people of Zimbabwe, their freedoms have been curtailed and their economic
opportunities have been wasted. Their revolution has been betrayed by some
of its own authors.

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Zimbabwe : compliance, the litmus test of SADC protocol on democratic
elections

L'Express (Port Louis)

OPINION
10 Août 2004
Publié sur le web le 10 Août 2004

Pr. Welshman Ncube, MDC Secretary General
Port Louis

The guidelines for free and fair elections will be a major item of the SADC
summit. Zimbabwe's MDC opposition party leaders were in Mauritius last week
to lobby on that issue.

Free and fair elections are an essential component of the broader process of
democratic transition and the institutionalisation of democracy. The current
regional consultations on developing electoral norms and standards for the
SADC are an acknowledgment of this and signal the increasing maturity of the
region's nascent democracies; the deliberations underline the determination
of most SADC leaders to deepen democracy and consolidate the democratic
gains that have been made since the revival of multi-party democracy across
Southern Africa in the 1990s.

The twin evils of poverty and inequality can only be properly tackled in an
environment where people are free to participate in the democratic process,
make their voices heard and periodically have the power to vote out the
incumbents and elect leaders they believe are better equipped to address
their basic needs and grievances. Governments, whose authority to govern is
based on the people's will secured through a genuine ballot, are more likely
to drive and deliver a country's human development objectives.

When SADC leaders gather in Mauritius this week for their annual summit it
is hoped that the current deliberations will progress into a concrete set of
principles and guidelines for democratic elections that are agreed to by all
members. It is critical though that any norms and standards that are agreed
upon are comprehensive: they need to encourage both the establishment of
enabling political environments for democratic elections as well as legal,
institutional and administrative electoral frameworks that harness
transparency and fairness and therefore build public confidence in the
entire electoral process. In order to avoid undermining the credibility of
its democratic governance agenda, SADC must resist the temptation to produce
a "compromised protocol" based on narrow criteria, in order to secure
agreement from those member states who do not instinctively share the
commitment to democratic governance in its broadest context.

The recent electoral proposals tabled by the Zimbabwe government underline
the urgent need for SADC leaders to come up with a broad set of criteria for
elections. In the absence of a collectively agreed set of benchmarks, the
leverage, at the multi-lateral level, to encourage miscreant members (who
are reluctant to properly address flaws in their electoral processes) to
conform, is very much weakened. Moreover, the absence of binding rules and
regulations creates a dangerous vacuum in which the definition of what
constitutes a legitimate ballot is often subject to a very narrow and
politically expedient interpretation, a factor, which retards the growth of
democracy by impairing citizens' ability to have a free say in influencing
the type of society they wish to live in. This is technically what is
currently taking place in Zimbabwe.

Measures to level the playing field

In his address marking the opening of Parliament on Tuesday 20 July,
President Mugabe announced that a number of electoral reforms would be
introduced that are designed to level the playing field. These measures, he
believes, will go someway towards appeasing those who are critical of how
Zimbabwe manages and conducts its elections. Moreover, President Mugabe will
no doubt attempt to ensure that any agreement between SADC leaders on
election benchmarks is similar in scope to his own definition.

The proposals, which include the establishment of a new Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, the reduction of polling days from two days to one, the counting
of votes at polling stations and the use of translucent ballot boxes, whilst
a step in the right direction, do not tackle the more fundamental obstacles
to genuine democratic elections in Zimbabwe.

What the reforms clearly indicate is that Mugabe and the ruling Zanu PF
government define the concept of an election through a narrow prism and view
it purely in terms of the actual polling day. The reforms therefore are
primarily focused on addressing technical and administrative issues to
improve the levels of transparency associated with the casting and counting
of ballots. These reforms do not take into account the context and political
environment that has caused the democratic deficit in Zimbabwe.

The MDC is of the view that an election is a process, not an event; and the
minimum standards for elections that have been published by the party in our
'RESTORE document, are premised on this broader interpretation of what
constitutes an election. The proposals of the Zimbabwe government may well
secure the objective of ensuring transparency and fairness on polling day
but, given the context of the Zimbabwe's political crisis, they are woefully
inadequate and in no way build the crucial levels of transparency and
fairness in the entire electoral process necessary to ensure that the poll
will be an accurate reflection of the will of the people.

For instance, the appointments' procedure for the new electoral commission
casts serious doubt on whether this new body will discharge its mandate in a
non-partisan manner; its chair, for example will be appointed by Robert
Mugabe whilst the other members of the commission will be appointed subject
to parliamentary approval. Given Zanu PF's parliamentary majority, this
technically means that Zanu PF can submit a list of candidates and exploit
their parliamentary majority to rubber-stamp their appointment. Moreover,
the new commission will not have the mandate to carry out voter
registration; this remains in the hands of the office of the Registrar
General, which continues to manipulate the voter registration exercise in
the interests of the ruling party.

For genuine democratic elections to take place there has to be a free flow
of information and ideas; voters have to be able to access alternative
views, without fear of intimidation and violent retribution, so that they
can make informed choices when it comes to casting their ballots. These
democratic conditions can only exist within a political environment whereby
the rule of law is upheld, the independent media is allowed to flourish,
opposition parties enjoy equal access to the state media and all political
parties are able to campaign freely without fear of persecution and
violence.

Election: a process, not an event

Such democratic conditions do not exist at present in Zimbabwe; the
government remains dogmatically committed to shutting down the democratic
space, as illustrated by its refusal to consider amendments to draconian
pieces of legislation that curtail civil and political liberties, its
closure of three independent papers over the past six months and its recent
announcement of plans to introduce legislation aimed at controlling the
activities of civil society organisations. Unless the political space is
opened up a legitimate ballot is simply impossible, regardless of what
reforms are introduced to improve the transparency of electoral procedures
on polling day.

SADC leaders must therefore base their considerations for a protocol on
guidelines and principles for elections on the broad premise that an
election is a process, not an event. A failure to do so will play into the
hands of those who view elections as an opportunity to distort and
manipulate the democratic process to 'legitimise' their retention of power.

Finally, establishing consensus around electoral benchmarks is not in itself
an accurate measure of success; success in this context can only be measured
in terms of the level of compliance and how the SADC responds when member
states fail in this regard - this will be the real litmus test of any new
democratic election standards. If compliance is successfully enforced the
SADC region has the potential to act as the template and engine for
sustainable development and good governance across the African continent.
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The Herald

Morton Jaffray under refurbishment

Municipal Reporter
REFURBISHMENT of the oldest section of Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant
is now on course following the approval by Harare City Council of the
purchase of various replacement equipment such as engines, motors, blowers,
inflow and outflow meters, compressors and dosers.

The oldest part of the plant was installed in 1953 when Lake Chivero was
commissioned, and the planned rebuild was never done in the early 1990s.

Council also approved the procurement of similar equipment for the Prince
Edward Water Treatment Plant.

The Morton Jaffray plant has capacity to produce 614 megalitres of potable
water daily but is currently producing between 420 and 530 megalitres a day
while Prince Edward produces around 60 megalitres daily.

Repair work at the plants has partly been stalled because council failed to
meet for the greater part of the year and could therefore not approve the
purchases, and because of lack of finances.

But the Government gave council $10,7 billion under the Public Sector
Investment Programme for the refurbishment of the water and sewage treatment
works.

Of the total amount, $1,7 billion was committed towards the Morton Jaffray
Water Treatment Plant, an amount council said was inadequate.

Council is now awaiting approval by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe of a loan
for $15 billion to go towards the refurbishment of the plant.

The Government has also written to the central bank supporting the council's
application.

However, the amount is far short of the $31 billion needed for the total
refurbishment of the plant.

Council approved the procurement of filter sand at a cost of $20 million to
be used at the Prince Edward plant.

It has also approved that filter nozzles costing $45 million be purchased
for the same plant.

Council approved the refurbishment of the dry lime feeder gearboxes for the
Morton Jaffray plant.

The job costs $20 million.

Approval to acquire two Honda trash dewatering pumps for the Highfield
sewerage works unit was also given.

At least $30 million has been set aside for the job.

The use of another $400 million to procure a motorised forklift and conveyor
belt for the Morton Jaffray plant was approved and an additional $15 million
for the purchase of two mobile compressors for the same plant.

Other equipment to be bought are four bilge pumps for $80 million, five
electric motors at a cost R839 980.

Council will use at least $100 million for the construction of Dzivaresekwa
pipeline and booster pump station and $25 million for the construction of a
750mm diameter main from Warren Control to the Alexandra Park reservoirs.

Town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya said the equipment would be bought to the best
advantage of council but he said the procurement should be done with speed
because of time constraints.

"Time is not on our side. We have to move with speed and put the plant at
full throttle," he said.

Mr Chideya said council received encouraging support from Government and
would therefore live up to expectation. The director of works Mr Psychology
Chiwanga, in a report to council, said the refurbishment of the plant would
enhance investment and industrial development.

"Many housing developments cannot be implemented at this time due to the
unreliable water supply situation and once the situation is improved, many
people will have opportunity to own houses," he said.

He said increasing the water output would increase the city's revenue base
as reliable water supplies encourage investments that lead to the growth of
the national economy.

Harare has been facing water problems over the past few months, forcing the
council to introduce 24-hour water cuts.
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News24

Corruption still rife in Zim
10/08/2004 08:43  - (SA)

Blessings Mambara

Harare - It is being questioned whether the "anti-corruption" steps of
Gideon Gono, president of the Zimbabwean central bank, will be successful.

This follows the announcement last week that Royal Bank will be placed under
curatorship and the activities of the life-insurance company First Mutual
have been suspended.

Ever since Gono's appointed in December last year, six banks which could not
meet his strict capital requirements of Zim$10bn have closed their doors for
business. Royal Bank was placed under curatorship after the central bank's
bank-supervision division warned that Royal is not in a healthy financial
position.

Assets frozen

Royal Bank will be under the management of Robert McIndoe for the next six
months. All transactions and assets have been frozen, effective from August
4. This means no money can be withdrawn or deposited unless the curator
agrees.

Documents indicate that Royal Bank owes First Mutual Asset Management, a
subsidiary of First Mutual, more than Zim$60bn in unpaid interest on a loan.

According to First Mutual, the sad situation at First Mutual Asset
Management can be attributed to non-performance of the loan to Royal Bank.
For this reason an application for the compulsory liquidation of Royal Bank
was submitted in an attempt to recover some of the money. The subsidiary
effectively closed down last week.

Unauthorised deposits

The insurance commission last week commissioned the auditing firm KPMG to
investigate First Mutual as the latter's loan book indicates unauthorised
deposit to a bank.

The commissioner then ordered all First Mutual's activities to close down.
Earlier, the life insurer delisted from the Zimbabwean stock exchange.

According to the central bank, it is important to have placed Royal Bank
under curatorship to avoid panic withdrawals from account holders, who are
already having a tough time in Zimbabwe's current high-inflation
environment.

Weak corporate management

Gono said Royal Bank is currently experiencing liquidity and solveny
problems that can be attributed to bad corporate management. "We want the
economy to improve, and in this way want to remove those banks from the
system that make exorbitant profits at the expense of depositors," he said.

Analysists are skeptical if these plans will succeed because wide-spread
corruption and fraud are still rife in the financial sector, despite all
Gono's best attempts.

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Fellow Zimbabweans and concerned human rights activists

Following the successfu vigil we held http://www.mdczimbabwe.org/julynews/dallas2.htm We will be holding another vigil, one of many to come at the regular venue, at  Ferris Plaza, opposite Union Train Station and the Dallas-Morning-news downtown Dallas Texas on S. Houston street, Saturday 21, starting at 12:00 midday till 6:00 pm. We will contunue protesting the serious human rights abuses by the Zimbabwean government and we will also be demanding the right to vote from the diaspora. We will be signing a petition with our demands for restoration of human liberties the Zimbabwe government is denying its own citizens. We are counting on you to let your voice be heard by attending the vigil. There will be singing, dancing and we anticipate some serious drumming. We will cap it all up by holding hands in a circle and singing the National anthem. Together our voice will be heard.

Andrew Mudzingwa
MDC-DAllas Information and Publicity
 
If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that’s something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can’t live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time. Noam Chomsky
 
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Rochedale Observer, UK

Man held for wife's murder

THE DAUGHTERS of a wealthy woman, whose husband is now in a Zimbabwe jail
accused of her murder, have spoken about their heartbreak.

Former Littleborough taxi driver, 47-year-old old Michael Bamford was
arrested hours after the body of Mrs Ivy Sutcliffe was found in their luxury
home on the outskirts of the capital, Harare, last Monday.

Mrs Sutcliffe, who was 61, died from gunshot wounds to the head. It is
understood that neighbours raised the alarm after hearing shooting.

Mr Bamford is expected to appear before a Harare court today.

Two of Mrs Sutcliffe's three daughters, Rebecca Nash, who lives in the
Todmorden area, and Rachel Taylor, who has flown to this country from her
home in New Zealand, gave an exclusive statement to the Observer.

In it they said: "Our mother had the most supportive friends over there in
Zimbabwe and they have been wonderful. Our mother had been in Zimbabwe for
five years, she had known Michael Bamford for 10 years, but they only got
married in a hotel in Harare in May this year."

"We are completely heartbroken that her life should end at this point and in
this fashion. She was a very beautiful, vibrant, sociable, bubbly person. A
kind and wonderful woman."

They said their mother was a wealthy woman with homes in this country,
Zimbabwe and Spain and she had 'hundreds of friends' in all three countries.

"Everyone who knows what has happened is in absolute shock and we have had
phone calls and emails from all over Europe and America."

Mrs Sutcliffe was an avid golfer and had been a member of both Tunshill and
Rochdale Golf Clubs. Last Thursday the lady members of the Rochdale club
held a two-minutes silence.

Mrs Sutcliffe, who had been married three times, was an independently
wealthy woman well known in Wardle and Littleborough.

Her first marriage was to accountant Liam Taylor, with whom she had her
three daughters. The other daughter, Claire, lives in Farnborough.

She then married Brian Sutcliffe, the owner of a Littleborough haulage
company, and when he died she met Mr Bamford.

His parents, from Littleborough, lived in Zimbabwe, where Mr Bamford was
born. They returned to the Rochdale area when their son was a young boy and
became licensees of a local pub.

A Foreign Office spokesman in London said on Monday: "A British national,
Michael Bamford, has been charged with the murder of his wife, who died on 2
August."

"Consular staff in Harare have been in touch with the families of Mrs
Sutcliffe and Mr Bamford."
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New Zimbabwe
 

Shock report says 200 000 tortured in Zimbabwe


PRESIDENT Mugabe's regime has been accused of using torture against its opponents

By Agencies
Last updated: 08/11/2004 06:52:31 Last updated: 08/10/2004 21:09:44
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's government was accused on Monday of a "widespread, systematic and planned campaign of organised violence and torture to suppress normal democratic activities".

The British charity Redress, which assists torture survivors, gave documented examples of 8 871 human rights violations from 2001to 2003 to show that torture incidents were concentrated in election periods, especially the March 2002 presidential elections

Its report quotes estimates that more than 200 000 Zimbabweans have been tortured in recent years. "The most pressing conclusion is the association between serious violations of human rights and elections," it says.

It adds: "With the an nouncement that parliamentary elections will be held in March 2005, addressing the problem of organised torture in Zimbabwe becomes a matter of urgency."

It asks the international community to take steps to forestall torture and other acts of political violence in the election campaign.

The victims have included opposition MPs, trade union leaders, lawyers and ordinary citizens. State agents are blamed for 24% of the incidents and supporters of Mugabe's party, Zanu-PF, for 74%, Redress says.

Its executive director, Kathleen Rose-Sender, said: "This report presents a cool statistical analysis that shows a verifiable pattern of abuse during election periods. This needs to be recognised and, if possible, stopped.

"We hope that South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will not ignore the evidence put before it. Regional pressure is always the most effective, coming from neighbouring countries that share culture and values.

"For southern African countries to turn a blind eye in the face of such evidence would be irresponsible, because it damages them all," she said.

The report is backed up by the findings of the African Union's commission on human rights, whose factfinding mission to Zimbabwe led to a condemnation of Mugabe's government unprecedented by an African organisation.

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MDC PRESS

 

10 August 2004

 

 

NEWSPAPER CLAIMS THAT NIGERIA PLANS TO GIVE MONEY TO THE MDC ARE TOTALLY FALSE AND DEEPLY MISCHIEVIOUS

 

 

An article published in the government controlled ‘Sunday Mail’ on 8 August, alleging that the Nigerian government had agreed a deal with its British counterparts to channel funding to the MDC, is without foundation and wishful thinking on the part of the paper and its masters in Zanu PF. 

 

For the record, the purported meeting between an MDC delegation (comprising Morgan Tsvangirai, Gift Chimanikire, Gandi Mudzingwa and William Bango) and four Nigerian officials, led by Deputy Ambassador Ikeyado Laro, never took place. The article also claimed that the MDC Secretary General visited Nigeria. Again, this is not true; the Secretary General has not visited Nigeria since the formation of the MDC.

 

It is also important to state, for the record, that the Nigerian government has never, either directly or indirectly, given funding to the MDC and neither has it agreed to provide funding in future, either in its own capacity or as a conduit for the British government.

 

The article appears to be a mischievous attempt on the part of Mugabe and Zanu PF to smear the government of Nigeria. It is clear from the piece that the authorities in Harare remain determined to identify ways of punishing Nigeria for supporting the decision taken at the CHOGM conference in Abuja to suspend Zimbabwe indefinitely from all councils of the Commonwealth.

 

This is not the only reason, however, why Nigeria has now been placed firmly in the sights of the panicked marksmen within Zanu PF. By alluding to a sinister link between Nigeria, Britain and the MDC, the strategists within the ruling party no doubt believe they can malign Nigeria to such an extent that it will not risk using its position as the current chair of the African Union to push for the adoption of the report submitted by the AU Commission on Human and People’s Rights, which slammed human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

 

 

This desperate strategy reveals the extent of the disquiet caused within Zanu PF ranks by the contents of this report and their increasing fear of what the impact will be on their standing at the regional level if the report is adopted by the AU.

 

The MDC is confident however that attempts to intimidate Nigeria are doomed to failure.  We in the MDC believe that Nigeria is too proud a nation to be cowed and humiliated into a position of reticence. We hope that Nigeria will not allow its tenure as Chair of the AU to be tainted by the sinister machinations of a small, illegitimate, ruling clique in Harare.  

 

The attack on Nigeria also betrays the increasing vulnerability that Mugabe and his government now feel in light of the growing erosion of African solidarity for their predicament and the inevitable loss of friends. Vulnerability leads to desperate measures. Now that Africa is beginning to see through Mugabe’s rhetoric his minions are resorting to even more elaborate and treacherous ways to conceal the truth. What they are in fact doing is digging a deeper hole for themselves from which at some point there will be no way out.   

 

 

Paul Themba Nyathi

Secretary for Information and Publicity

 

 

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