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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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      Coventry takes backstroke

      Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry added gold to her silver and bronze medals
by storming to victory in the women's 200m backstroke final in Athens.
      The silver 100m backstroke and 200m medley bronze medallist never
relinquished her lead and won in two minutes, 09.19 seconds.

      Stanislava Komarova of Russia took the silver with joint bronze for
Antje Buschschulte and Reiko Nakamura.

      Britain's world champion Katy Sexton finished a disappointing seventh.

      The 22-year-old had the third fastest time in the world leading into
the Games and was tipped as a serious medal contender.

      But Sexton admitted she was struggling for confidence and finished in
2:12.11 - more than three seconds off her British record.

      "To not compete how I expected and not get what I feel I deserved at
the Olympics is just really really upsetting," said Sexton.

      "It's going to be a lot tougher to get over this because it's an
Olympic Games and they only come round every four years.

      "It's just really hard when you know how much work you've put in but
I'm sure I'll bounce back."

      Coventry will return to Zimbabwe with their first-ever swimming gold

      The 20-year-old opened up a narrow lead over Buschschulte but pulled
away to win by half a body length.

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Zimbabwe publishes bill banning rights groups

HARARE, Aug 20 (AFP) - Zimbabwe's government Friday published a bill that,
if passed by parliament, would see international human rights groups barred
from the country and foreign funding cut off to local rights groups.
The bill, a copy of which was circulated among aid groups last month, was
published in the Government Gazette, the last stop for draft laws before
reaching parliament, where President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) enjoys a majority.

A key clause of the bill states that "no foreign non-governmental
organisation shall be registered if its sole or principal objects involve or
include issues of governance."

The bill defines "issues of governance" as "the promotion and protection of
human rights and political governance issues".

The draft law also makes it an offence for local aid groups to receive
foreign funding "to carry out activities involving or including issues of

Rights activists say this will be a major blow to their work, much of which
is dependent on foreign aid.

The bill would also set up a council whose members would be appointed by
Zimbabwe's social welfare minister to oversee the activities of foreign and
local aid groups.

The government has repeatedly threatened to clamp down on non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) it accuses of meddling in the country's internal

However, the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO)
has warned that, if passed, the law would hit hardest at vulnerable groups
in the country, including the unemployed and people living with HIV.

"Unfortunately the bill criminalises a sector that is providing social
safety nets to a lot of communities throughout the country," it said.

The bill has also been condemned by international rights groups, including
Amnesty International.


Copyright (c) 2004 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 08/20/2004 09:37:06

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Just a Momentary Lapse?

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

August 20, 2004
Posted to the web August 20, 2004

Tomeletso Sereetsi

There is evidence of ineffective application of cross-border disease control
measures, as TOMELETSO SEREETSI found out.

"Although rona re tokafaditse seemo, the threat of Foot and Mouth Disease
(FMD) transmission at the border is still very high. Any idea that all
danger is past must be strongly resisted, as the danger is always present.
We have planted our officers at the border entry points to administer the
disinfectant soda and scan travellers luggage for raw meat," said a
veterinary disease control official on August 4.

Friday 30 July 2004. An old battered Combi struggles to slow down as it
squeaks to a seemingly anguished halt inside the fencing by the immigration
office in Matsiloje, about 40 kilometres from Francistown. A cloud of dust
takes flight behind its tracks, coaxing a few low-pitched dry coughs and
reflex tears from the eyes of old men and women in its vicinity.

Inside, commuters scramble to respond to the anticipated halt, rubbing
against each other to the sole door that slowly slides open with a screech
that upsets the ear.Then the commuters, largely women, silently move out of
the vehicle in a single desperate file whose progression is incessantly
being interrupted by the big luggage that often finds a way out through
fondling, caressing and - at times - brute violent pulling out of the
seemingly small opening.

"Ga ke ise ke o bone, moletlo o senang nama; bathong nna ga ke ise ke o
bone," Bhudaza Mapefane's township jazz hit is momentarily stuck to the
waves, let loose by the Combi as it departs for the city to complete its
daily circle that runs on without an end in sight. The echo of the melody
thuds in the ear and stirs the spirits of a dozen men sitting the day away
under a tree at the threshold of the immigration office, which is now lined
with commuters and their belongings as they surrender their passports for

From the pavement, leading to the gate manned by two weary looking
veterinary bouncers, one can discern an unmistakable bored demeanour
inscribed on faces probably brought about by the highly repetitive and
monotonous proceedings here. The travellers pass through these regulating
bodies that seem to be nodding approval to the Zimbabwean-bound travellers
who are happy to walk hassle-free across the dry Ramokgwebana River. It is
the traveller from Zimbabwe who is routinely stopped at this point to have
their shoes dipped in the basin of greyish disinfectant soda before being
allowed onto Botswana soil to process their stay in the country.

A little observation from this point later, I climb about four steps into
the immigration office where I come before a grey-uniformed woman officer
lying in wait for my entry. The heat is still raging on despite a somewhat
cool breeze tapping against our skins.

"Dumela mma", I let out the stock greeting. "Ee rra, o ya kae?" she mumbles
back impatiently, eyes still riveted to the old inexpensively-looking table
with her hand outstretched towards me. I hand over the passport and tell her
that I want to check on some people on the other side of the border. She
flips through a few pages and settles on one that she bangs the stamp hard
on, leaving a faint red evidence of the fact.

I exit the office and make my way towards the gate where I am let free to
wade across the Ramokgwebana into Zimbabwe with my small bag in hand. The
river sand cries out and crashes into potholes beneath my feet as I pass by
a few travellers emitting muted murmurings that are mutually understood as
greetings. On reaching the other side of the river, a few herds of cattle
are found silently gnawing away at anything edible.

A stone throw away from the herd sits the Zimbabwean immigration office. I
scan the many unfamiliar faces here for a little while before an officer
hands me a piece of paper to fill and sign my way in. With all the kindness
one can muster, I decline the gesture and explain how I am just here to see
someone who seems to have not yet come. After a little wait, I leave for the
Botswana border gate.

"Do you have Pula to change to Zim Dollars?," asks a man with uncombed hair
that I did not previously come across here. I sternly shake my head and
complement the gesture with a movement of my hands as I move past him. I
manage to crack a smile at my countrymen manning the gate and try to wave my
way past beside the basin of the disinfectant soda.

"Nyaa lekgoa lame feta jaana! Step on this solution before you leave," one
of the men tells me pointing at the soda, which I then proceed to do without
questioning as I read from their faces that no questions will be taken. I
look under my feet and smile as I feel the liquid making way into my soles
through the pores under my worn out sneakers.

"A ke feditse nka tsamaya chief?" I ask the official when he signals me to
move through the gate into the country. I wonder to myself seeing that the
bag I am slinging over my shoulder is under no threat of being searched for
meats and shoes for I think to have seen it done at other border gates in
the country before. I think about the raw juicy slab of steak inside the bag
that I bought from Matsiloje Butchery, as it re-enters Botswana.

Forty-something kilometres later and a few more hours, I carry the slab of
meat in the company of a colleague pondering on which watering hole to roast
the border trotting treat. I once more hear the lyrics to the song "Ga ke
ise ke bone moletlo o senang nama" - differently this time - echoing
distantly at the back of my mind, bringing to the fore memories of wedding
parties postponed over and over again because of the Foot and Mouth Disease
(FMD) crisis. No bogadi to herd over to the bride's clan or to even
celebrate the matrimonial union of man and woman. I cannot help thinking
about the cattle wealth of the Matsiloje farmers that went up in smoke as my
colleague suggests a plethora of places where the meat can be roasted.

What if it all started with one chunk of meat and then another... and? I
wonder how much uncooked meat makes it over the border everyday. The song
plays on as if it is a sort of an ominous bell to the history of the village
that might soon be helped to repeat itself.
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New Zimbabwe

Alleged mercenaries 'just pawns' - lawyers

By Agencies
Last updated: 08/21/2004 02:52:20
LAWYERS representing 70 suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe on charges of
plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea asked the court on Friday to acquit
most of the men.

The men were arrested in March when their Boeing 727 landed in Harare to
pick up a consignment of weapons, including rifles, grenades,
rocket-launchers and mortars which Zimbabwe says were to be used to oust the
regime in Equatorial Guinea.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Samkange said charges of "conspiracy to possess
dangerous weapons" against 66 of the men should be dropped as the alleged
soldiers of fortune knew nothing of the arms purchases in Harare.

"The charge is incompetent and therefore I ask that the accused be acquitted
on that basis," said Samkange.

The detained group included three crew members, and three men on the ground
who allegedly went to Harare International Airport to inspect the firearms
to be purchased from Zimbabwe's state arms manufacturer.

The court has heard that the weapons were needed to guard diamond mines in
the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where most of men claim they
were going to do security work after being recruited in South Africa.

They are accused of plotting to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema's
25-year regime in the small central African state of Equatorial Guinea, a
former Spanish colony.

However, some of the men have testified that they knew nothing about landing
in Harare to pick up weapons, and Samkange said in closing arguments on
Friday that they could therefore not be charged with conspiracy.

"In this case there is deafening silence as regards the form of agreement,
and the court cannot therefore find any way of convicting these people," he

"I would ask this court to act judiciously and when it acts judiciously and
in fairness to all parties, it has no option but to acquit the accused,"
said Samkange.

If convicted under Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act (POSA) the men
could face a 10-year jail term.

The trial was adjourned until August 27.

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From The Daily News Online Edition, 20 August

Zanu PF revives terror bases

Zanu PF has begun reviving terror bases on resettled farms around the
country as the party prepares to launch a violent campaign against the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ahead of next year's
parliamentary election. Party sources told the Daily News Online that the
bases would provide a launch pad for the ruling party's campaign against the
MDC. More bases would be set up in rural and urban areas, the sources said.
Youths drawn from the resettled farm and surrounding rural areas were
already staying at the bases were they were undergoing "political
mobilization", some ruling party officials said who could not be named. "The
party wants to make sure that the farming areas are sealed off from the
opposition. We will then venture into the rural areas from the farms. We
realized that the MDC would target the farms and the rural areas for its
campaign because it already has urban support. But they will find us in a
state of preparedness," said a party official.

The officials said a recent politburo meeting had tasked national political
commissar Elliot Manyika and secretary for the youth league Absalom
Sikhosana with the revival of the terror bases. Sources said the youth would
undergo political mobilization and physical training but said this did not
include firearm handling. War veterans and some retired army personnel were
involved in the training, while militia from the government-sponsored
national youth training service had also been incorporated, it was
established. Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira refused to comment: "These
are the usual lies to discredit us. Goand seek comment from the MDC because
they are the ones who manufacture such stories." The ruling party has
consistently denied charges that it uses violence and intimidation against
political rivals. But the MDC shadow minister for defence, Giles Mutsekwa
said he was aware of such activities on resettled farms. Mutsekwa said two
farms, The Grange and Meikle Farm, were being used for such activities in
his Mutare North constituency.

Efforts to alert the police had been fruitless, the former army major said.
"I have been aware of such training going on at the farms. Of late the
training has been intensified as we head towards the elections. I am pleased
to say that they have failed to mobilize a lot of youths from the
constituency so they have to rely on their usual militia. I understand that
the youths would be unleashed in the rural areas when election time is near
to intimidate villagers. My reports indicate that this is happening
nationwide," said Mutsekwa. Mutsekwa said he had informed the police about
the activities taking place at the farms: "Innocent Gonese (MP for Mutare
Central) and I advised the police but instead of investigating the matter,
the police have now turned on us. The officer commanding law and order
section, Superintendent (Godfrey) Chikwanda threatened us with unspecified
action for mentioning the activities." Chikwanda refused to comment on the
matter yesterday when contacted for comment. "It's a matter between me and
them. Anyway you have to come to my office if you want more details because
I wouldn't talk to you over the phone," said Chikwanda
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 19 August

Taught to hate

Godwin Gandu

Border Gezi, one of Zimbabwe's national heroes, is buried at Heroes Acre.
The former Zanu PF secretary for the commissariat and minister of youth and
employment creation died in a car accident. Gezi is best remembered as the
running mate for "war veterans" leader Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi in the 2000
election campaign, in which he is alleged to have engineered about 200
murders. To honour Gezi, the national youth service training camp 250km
north of Harare was named after him. Border Gezi National Youth Camp is
where 23-year-old Dumisani Phiri* was trained and now lectures others on
patriotism. Phiri was not forced to don the dark green military outfit of
the infamous "Green Bombers". It was a career move. When he completed high
school in a Harare township, he knew his parents, who live off state
pensions, could not afford to pay for him to further his studies.
Unemployed, he would drown his sorrows in Harare's townships. He believed
his only alternative was to enlist for the national youth service in the
hope of securing a job in the police, army or government. "That's why I went
kwaBorder Gezi," he said. His bloodshot eyes and nicotine-stained teeth
reveal his liking for Madison cigarettes. "I had no [political] party, I
just enjoyed fun. Like other young men I liked machinja [the Movement for
Democratic Change], but I was not committed." Border Gezi changed all this.
"Yes, I came to understand Zanu PF and its principles, why they went to war
to fight Ian Smith, why they need to take land now and teach Tony Blair a

To visit the youth training camps you have to seek permission from the
Ministry of Gender and Employment Creation. As in a prison set-up, a
ministry official monitors all interviews and your every move. I made
arrangements to meet Phiri in Harare town. He was frank and forthright in
his responses and had very little bad to say about the camps. He described
the daily routine at the camp as similar to boarding school: "We wake up
every morning about 5.30am, go for military drills with instructors - a
retired army colonel and a retired major." At 6.30am they have yeKenya
porridge (yellow maize), followed by tea at about 9am with bread, no
margarine, no eggs and no milk. You bring your own toothpaste because the
government has no money. "Those that went to war never had these
essentials," he says with pride. Lunch is served at 12.30pm, mainly beans,
meat, cabbage and, on the odd occasion, chicken. Afternoon is leisure time.
Most of the day is spent in lectures where "we were taught the background of
the Zimbabwe war of liberation, the Chinese revolution, the Cuban revolution
and the land reform", he said. He spoke passionately of Fidel Castro, about
pan-Africanism, and remembered the dates when the country's heroes passed
away and what they mean to him.

There are no examinations at the camp. "Your commitment is measured by your
discipline, ability to perform military drills and to understand the
revolution and land reform. The national anthem we sang in the morning, and
late in the afternoon." The youth are told that the MDC, acting in cahoots
with the British, has a strategy to derail land reform. Phiri is convinced
that if the MDC gets to power, the land will go back to whites. Morgan
Tsvangirai's speeches are printed, photocopied and distributed at the camps,
especially his infamous quote at Rufaro stadium in September 2001 where he
declared his party would remove President Robert Mugabe's government
"violently" if he does not go "peacefully". Recruits are drilled until they
come to believe that the people who vote for the MDC are lost. They feel
they are fortunate to be at the camps. He gave the official line: recruits
are taught patriotism, agriculture and military drills - but not violence.
He scoffed at reports that recruits have been harassing civilians in
township nightclubs and rural areas where scores of people have been
displaced. "At our training camp, we are never taught to fight others, but
are taught self-defence. I don't know about other camps," he said.

And on allegations of rape at the camps, he said: "I was told the police did
investigate, but I'm not sure what happened to them. Others we were told
were just in love. Some came [to the camp already] pregnant - like the woman
who named her son after Border Gezi. It's not that she fell pregnant there.
"Even during the war there were cases of rape. There is nothing unique about
Gezi." Harassment, he said, is done to instil discipline. Female recruits
get equal treatment. Phiri said recruits attend national events and, as per
their military training, have to salute Mugabe and all government officials,
something he will never do for Tsvangirai should he become president. His
explanation was simple: "You should understand he never went to war. We have
no respect for someone who never went to war." Retired General Gava
Zvinavashe expressed the same sentiment prior to the 2002 presidential
election. The defence forces, too, are on record saying that they will not
salute anybody who did not participate in Zimbabwe's liberation war. Another
youth-camp graduate, Gift Dube*, is 18 years old. He did his stint at Dadaya
National Youth Service from September to November last year and was awarded
his certificate from the resident minister, Cephas Msipa. It is proudly
displayed in his home in Harare's Mabvuku township. Dadaya National Youth
Service Training is about 500km south of Harare. It is located next to Five
Brigade military quarters. Recruits live with the army, talk to the army and
learn military drills at Five Brigade.

Dube did not mention poverty as a reason to enlist, as Phiri did. He had
heard that a national youth certificate would be a prerequisite for a place
at a training college, and so he signed up. "I applied and went for training
last year. The food was atrocious," he said, pointing out that he lost 10kg
during his stay at the camps. He does not understand why recruits had to do
military drills but "no mathematics, science or geography. We were taught
about globalisation, the struggle, liberation war songs and land reform. "We
were provided just three blankets and would sleep in the barracks," he said.
"We were barricaded by a big fence and we rarely interacted with women after
hours. There was strict military discipline." His superiors were the only
people with access to the camps at night. "We were taught in a particular
way to hate the MDC ... that was the agenda." Dube now works at a government
office in Harare. He believes he will get a job in the army, police or
prison service, and is convinced that with a youth certificate in hand he's
eligible for further studies, which could lead to a job as a lawyer,
prosecutor or judge.

* Not his real name
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Zim Observer

      Air Zim unearths fraud involving corpses
      by STAFF EDITORS (8/20/2004)

 Air Zimbabwe is investigating the alleged misappropriation of funds
generated from the ferrying of human bodies from abroad. Sources alleged the
airline had been prejudiced of billions of dollars after money paid in
foreign currency never found its way into the airline's coffers. The sources
said the bulk of the funds were generated from the United Kingdom and South
Africa, where the bulk of Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora are resident.

" People privy to the transactions can tell you that the number of bodies
that were carried and what is indicated as having been generated do not
tally. This scam is not new, but spans a couple of years back.

Air Zimbabwe spokesperson, Arthur Manase, said although management was of
the view that no such underhand dealings were taking place, investigations
had been launched to clear the air, since the allegations had been doing the
rounds for some time.

" The usual payment policy for freighting human remains is cash up-front
through our appointed GSAs. However, to allay any suspicions, a thorough
probe into all the transactions undertaken has been ordered and is
 underway," said Manase.

The Minister of Transport and Communications, Christopher Mushowe, said he
had not been appraised on the developments leading to the probe, but called
on anyone with relevant information to approach him.

Source: Daily Mirror By Clemence Manyukwe
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