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

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The Telegraph

Wildlife sanctuary now a hunting ground
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 14/08/2004)

Zimbabwe's information minister, Jonathan Moyo, has seized a celebrated
African wildlife sanctuary, government documents have shown, and turned it
over to hunting.

An agriculture department letter shows that Mr Moyo was allocated the
conservancy during President Robert Mugabe's land-grab, which began in 2000.

The minister has denied taking Sikumi Tree Lodge, one of the biggest prizes
on offer under the mass appropriation that has stripped 4,000 white farmers
and hundreds of thousands of their workers of their property.

The lodge was once a showpiece of eco-tourism and was where the Queen had
lunch during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in 1991. Now it
plays host to those willing to pay to shoot rare game.

The legal owner of Sikumi Tree Lodge and 45,000 acres of adjoining
conservancies that border the Hwange National Park in northern Matabeleland
is an ecologist, Thys de Vries, 44.

His wife, three children and staff fled after armed men invaded a year ago,
according to a complaint lodged by Mr de Vries in court. He is also
challenging the seizure of other conservancies by other cabinet ministers
and the ruling Zanu PF party's elite.

Mr de Vries said yesterday: "Jonathan Moyo staked out Sikumi Tree Lodge
several times before the invasion, but we couldn't prove his involvement
until now."

A document from the department of agriculture purports to show Mr Moyo's
"ownership"' of Sikumi Tree Lodge, via its registered name, Lot 2 of Dete
Valley.

Mr Mugabe decided earlier this year that he would no longer allow anyone to
own more than one farm, although several family members, including his wife,
Grace, have ignored him.

Mr Moyo is repeatedly accused by his enemies within Zanu PF and opposition
parliamentarians of having grabbed more than one formerly white-owned farm.

John Nkomo, the lands minister, told local journalists two weeks ago that
any (black) man who "occupies" more than one white-owned farm must withdraw.
But, in addition to Sikumi Tree Lodge, Mr Moyo said in the state-controlled
press recently that he had paid the government about 2,000 for a 1,000-acre
farm near Harare.

The farm is still legally owned by the estate of Tom Bayley, a Briton. Mr
Bayley, 88, was under siege in his homestead from Mr Mugabe's supporters for
35 days before he fell and broke a leg and abandoned the farm he had worked
for 66 years. He died a week later.

At the height of Zimbabwe's tourist boom, Sikumi Tree Lodge earned up to
3,000 a month, though tourism has collapsed in recent years. It appears
that those now running it are making up the shortfall by letting in hunters.
Mr Mugabe's supporters control most hunting licences and sell quotas of
trophy animals to safari operators. The Wildlife Association of Zimbabwe has
said the quotas are unsustainable and threaten cheetah, leopard and lion
populations.

A South African company, Out of Africa, takes hunters to Mr de Vries's land.
One of his partners was there this week with a group of about 10 Canadians.
Mr de Vries said: "The animals are being slaughtered there."

Mr Moyo was not available. He was appointed to Mr Mugabe's cabinet in 2000
and drafted media laws widely regarded as among the world's most repressive.

Many journalists have been beaten, arrested and deported under the
provisions of his Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
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Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2004 4:51 PM
Subject: Burgundy and Chocolate

Dear Family and Friends,

For two hours I have sat staring at a blank email on my screen wondering
what to write about this week. I was going to write about the report from
Redress which documents 8871 cases of human rights violations in Zimbabwe
in just two years. Its a shocking figure which includes torture, abduction
and murder and for a while I tried to count how many people I'd met or
written about who were victims but I gave up because just remembering the
names, faces and voices, engulfed me in anger and depression. Then I
thought maybe it would be more appropriate to write about how President
Mugabe and his wife have just jetted off to Mauritius for a SADC summit
and how I wondered if this time any of Africa's leaders would be brave
enough to publicly criticise events in Zimbabwe over the last 4 years or
if they were still not ready to stand up and be counted. That thought also
swamped with me anger and depression, so I thought maybe I should talk
about the rumoured impending visit to Zimbabwe of Kofi Annan. I wondered
how you get someone as important as Kofi Annan, to want to, or even be
allowed to leave his 5 star hotel and really see for himself what life is
like in Zimbabwe. How do you show him fear, people that are too scared to
tell their stories, newspapers that don't exist anymore, bills you cannot
pay, food you cannot afford, eight out of ten people unemployed? That
topic was also pretty depressing so I thought about the opening ceremony
of the Athens Olymics and how proud I felt watching the small Zimbabwean
team walking into the arena, and how ashamed I felt when the commentator
described us as "one of the poorest countries." Zimbabwe's Minister of
Sport wasn't even there in the stadium to stand and wave with pride at our
athletes because he is on the list of 95 Zimbabwean officials banned from
entering EU countries.

For the past two weeks the winds of natural change have been blowing very
strongly though Zimbabwe. The trees have been raining leaves. The Msasa
woodlands stood bare for what seemed like a day and now they are glorious
as they take on their new summer colours. All Zimbabweans, no matter where
they are in the world will know what I mean when I describe the Msasa
canopy as: Crimson, Red, Burgundy, Chocolate, Lime and Hot Green.
Zimbabweans long for more than seasonal change, but it feels as elusive as
ever. We long for some way to shake off the old and start again with new
colours. We long for a political summer, it has been winter too long.
Until next week, with love, cathy.

Copyright cathy buckle 14th August 2004
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This is Dorset
Readers go flat out to help young family

by Andy Davey



SO GRATEFUL: Bruce and Michelle Main-Baillie and children Dylan, Brendon, Kimberley and Nicole fled Zimbabwe
SO GRATEFUL: Bruce and Michelle Main-Baillie and children Dylan, Brendon, Kimberley and Nicole fled Zimbabwe

A DESPERATE family who fled Zimbabwe with just a handful of suitcases has paid tribute to the generosity of Echo readers.

A week ago the Echo reported how the family's friend Faith Jupp from Highcliffe, pleaded for a Good Samaritan to offer refuge to the family and their four children, aged between four and seven, because she did not have enough room in her flat.

The next day Penny Dicker, 61, from Hurn, telephoned the Echo to say she was so touched by the Main-Baillie's plight she had decided to offer them her three-bedroom flat in Canford Cliffs.

"I just thought one day that could be me and without further ado I got up and telephoned the newspaper," she said.

But she was not the only one as Echo readers from as far away as Scotland jammed the lines with offers of help for the family, including clothing, furniture, crockery, cutlery and cash.

Bruce Main-Baillie said: "It's been quite a traumatic experience, but we're just so grateful for all the incredible support we've received."

The former miner, from Gueru, in Zimbabwe's rural midlands, told how there the family had lived in constant fear and he received regular death threats. He said the family's livelihood was snatched away from them when veterans of the country's war of independence seized its gold mine and they were forced to sell everything they possessed to buy a ticket to the UK.

But Mr Main-Baillie is determined to rebuild his family's shattered life and is already looking for a new job.

"After arriving in the UK me and my wife had the first night of decent sleep in months," he said.

"It feels as if a huge burden has been lifted off our shoulders. We're not concerned about how we're going to make it to the end of the month, even though we had nothing when we arrived."

First published: August 14

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New Zimbabwe

Nigeria angrily denies funding Zimbabwe opposition

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 08/15/2004 06:04:33
NIGERIA has sent a strong protest to the Zimbabwean government over claims
that it was being used by Britain as a conduit to bankroll the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The claims were published by the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper, ostensibly
with the full backing of Zimbabwe's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo who
has cointrol over state media.

The Sunday Mail, an authority on Zimbabwe government policy, reported that
Nigeria, through its diplomats in Harare, had promised the MDC at least
Zim$200-million (about R225-million) for the March 2005 electoral campaign.

The promise reportedly was made at a meeting between top MDC officials,
including its leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Nigerian embassy officials in the
capital on July 28.

But Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olu Adeniji expressed the
Federal Government's displeasure over the publication to the Zimbabwean High
Commission in Nigeria.

The Minister described the allegations as "ludicrous and false".

Adeniji said Nigeria least expected such "patently untrue publication in the
press of a friendly country for which Nigeria has sacrificed so much."

He charged the High Commissioner to convey Nigeria's displeasure and
disappointment to his government over such periodic publications against
Nigeria, which he said had become a pattern in Zimbabwe.

The MDC rejected the allegations, denying ever meeting Nigerian officials in
Zimbabwe. "The allegation is completely without any merit," said MDC
spokesperson William Bango.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Nigeria have soured in recent months -
especially after Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to invite
Mugabe to last December's Commonwealth summit in Abuja and backed the
decision to prolong Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth.

Tensions are also high with former colonial ruler Britain over Zimbabwe's
land reform program that saw thousands of white farmers evicted from their
land that was handed to landless blacks.

Some of the evicted white farmers have been given farmland in Kwara state of
Nigeria.

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The Herald

Education to place emphasis on skills development: Chigwedere

IN an effort to provide life skills to pupils, the education system in
Zimbabwe will be placing more emphasis on vocational technical skills
starting from next year.

The Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Cde Aeneas Chigwedere, was
replying on Wednesday to Zengeza MP Mr Fidelis Mhashu who had alleged that
education standards were declining.

"There are a number of changes that need to be done," said Cde Chigwedere.

He said the Nziramasanga Commission of 1999 recommended most of the changes.

It had been noted that children who did not do well in academic subjects
were finding it difficult to support themselves after leaving school, he
said.

Many children left school with nothing except O level certificates that
reflected failures in most subjects, Cde Chigwedere said.

"Somebody who is not academically gifted is not useless. "That is why there
is need to shift to vocational technical education to give the pupils some
life skills." The ministry expected to come up with the proposed changes by
the end of the year for implementation next year. - New Ziana.
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New Zimbabwe

SADC denies adopting soft stance on Zimbabwe

By Agencies
Last updated: 08/15/2004 05:01:36
A SOUTHERN African political bloc on Saturday denied it had failed to tackle
Zimbabwe and Swaziland over charges of human rights abuses, saying it
discussed those issues behind closed doors.

Robert Mugabe's government has largely enjoyed the public support of fellow
African leaders despite a campaign for its international isolation by the
opposition and some key Western powers after a disputed election win in
2002.

A coalition of Zimbabwean non-governmental organisations (NGOs) issued a
statement urging the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to put
pressure on Mugabe to abandon proposals to restrict the operations of NGOs,
many linked to the opposition.

Zimbabwe's plans for electoral reforms ahead of parliamentary elections next
year are expected to make the agenda at the annual summit of the 13-member
SADC, in the island state of Mauritius. In a two-day meeting which starts on
Monday, SADC is expected to adopt common electoral rules - a sensitive
subject in a region where Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis dominates
the headlines.

Last absolute monarchies
At the end of a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers, Albert Muchanga,
the SADC deputy executive secretary, told reporters the organisation had
made progress since its formation in 1980 and it discussed some problems
facing its members internally.

Asked why the group appeared to have taken a soft stance on political and
human rights problems in both Zimbabwe and Swaziland one of the world's last
absolute monarchies he replied: "SADC has not". "SADC has been working with
member states. When we meet we get briefings from member states on what is
happening and we help each other," he added.

Swaziland has been ruled as an absolute monarchy since 1973 when King
Sobhuza, the father of ruling King Mswati III, tore up the tiny kingdom's
constitution. The existing monarch has been criticised by opposition and
human rights groups for what they say is a growing disregard for the rule of
law and increasingly lavish spending.

Regional political analysts say Mugabe's electoral proposals could win him
qualified endorsement at the Mauritius conference but the veteran leader
might still face pressure over his tough media and security laws. Also
applying pressure was the independent Zimbabwe National Election Support
Network which asked for support to ensure that the common SADC electoral
regime leads to real free and fair elections.

Mugabe and Benjamin Mkapa, the Tanzanian president, the outgoing SADC
chairperson, are already in Mauritius for the summit. - Reuters

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EU Business

Southern African leaders to seek stronger ties with EU, US

14 August 2004

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will seek to improves its
ties with Brussels and Washington under the presidency of Mauritius, the
bloc's incoming chairman said on Saturday.

"It is very important for there to be a normalisation of relations between
the SADC on the one hand, and the European Union and the United States on
the other," Mauritian Prime Minister Paul Berenger, whose country assumes
the rotating SADC presidency on Monday, told reporters.

"My deepest wish is for the SADC to evolve in that direction during my term
as chairman," he said.

Berenger will succeed Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa as SADC chair
during a two-day summit of the regional group, which opens Monday in
Mauritius.

The SADC's relations with the EU and the US took a turn for the worse
following the 2002 general and presidential elections in Zimbabwe, which
international observers condemned as marred by irregularities.

US and EU leaders have called on the leaders of southern African nations to
openly distance themselves from President Robert Mugabe's government,
rejecting calls for the lifting of sanctions against Harare.

Berenger refused, however, to comment specifically on Zimbabwe, whose
president flew into Mauritius on Friday.

"I am optimistic about the fact things will evolve positively," he said.
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