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

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Sent: Saturday, August 21, 2004 5:46 PM
Subject: Light headed

Dear Family and Friends,
I have lost count of the number of meetings, workshops, summits,
conferences and gatherings of African leaders that have taken place in the
last 54 months. As each one has come, and gone, our hopes have been
raised, and then dashed, that just one leader would publicly speak out
about events in Zimbabwe. Each time I have watched TV coverage of the
gatherings and tried to make sense of it from the perspective of an
ordinary person. I have watched the shiny limousines pull up and the
impeccably dressed people emerge. I have looked at Africa's leaders and
even though I know they are Big Men, I also know that they are ordinary
people who have to do exactly the same things as me every day in order to
survive. I have watched the body language as handshakes, kisses and
embraces have passed between leaders. I have listened to the speeches,
looked at the audience reaction and tried to read between the lines,
wondering what really went on behind closed doors.

Judging by the TV coverage, there was something different about the SADC
Summit which has just ended in Mauritius. There was the predictable rant
at the West and the predictable silence about the crisis in Zimbabwe but
there was also the distinct impression that things had gone on behind
closed doors, the distinct feeling of democracy being born. The faces of
Africa's leaders who sat at the top table spoke volumes. Most of the faces
showed pride, dignity and achievement but one or two did not. It was a
delight to watch gifts being presented to, and accepted by, the two
African leaders who are at the end of their terms of presidency and will
be handing the governance of their countries on to new blood.

Zimbabwe was one of the 13 African countries representing 212 million
people in the SADC region who unanimously ratified common electoral
principles and guidelines at the Summit in Mauritius. Among the agreed
guidelines are freedom of the press, equal access to the media, judicial
independence, upholding civil and political liberties and impartial
electoral institutions.

Zimbabwe has parliamentary elections due in just 6 months time and if we
are to come remotely near to achieving even one of the SADC electoral
principles our government have got a huge amount of changes to make. It
makes me feel giddy to think that I could actually wear an opposition T
shirt without being stoned. Or to believe that one of these days I will
switch on my TV or radio and hear a member of the opposition speaking
about the state of affairs in Zimbabwe. I can hardly believe that police
permission will not be needed to hold a meeting at which politics is
discussed. I cannot imagine how it will feel to be able to buy, read or
write for a daily independent newspaper again. I find feelings of hysteria
rising within me to think that a judge might uphold my constitutional
rights and that the Zimbabwean police would then enforce the court's
rulings. I think I'll stop here because it all leaves me feeling very
light headed. Until next week, love cathy. Copyright cathy buckle
21 August 2004
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available outside Africa  from: ; ; ;  in Australia and New Zealand: ;  Africa:
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East African Standard

Sunday, August 22, 2004

            African Union and Nepad should rein in the tyrants
            By Makau Mutua

            Last year, amid doom and gloom, Eritreans observed 10 years of
their independent republic, born after the bitter divorce with Ethiopia in
1993. Although a decade is a fleeting moment in the life of a nation, the
future of Eritrea does not augur well. The problem is all too familiar.
After three decades of a deadly war for independence from Ethiopia,
Eritreans now find themselves in the claws of a maniacal dictator who has
dashed their hopes of paradise.

            What is sad is that Eritrea is bucking the trend of more open,
democratic, and progressive states that are steadily growing in sub-Saharan

            Over the last decade, we have witnessed an irreversible, if
uneven, movement towards more accountable governments in many formally
one-party or military dictatorships in Africa.

            Even veiled dictators like President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
have been subjected to elective politics. At the continental level, new
institutions for regional governance are more openly, even if only
rhetorically, committed to democracy.

            Two important continental initiatives bear this out. In June
2002, in Durban, South Africa, African states formally buried the
Organisation of African Unity and triumphantly inaugurated the African
Union, on which all hopes for a renaissance have been pinned. The other
equally interesting initiative is the New Partnership for Africa's
Development, which is supposed to lead to good governance and economic
renewal. The bet by African states is that if you clean house, more
assistance and better terms of trade and investment will be forthcoming from
the West.

            But neither the African Union nor Nepad, touted as the master
plan for Africa's rebirth, will deliver the continent from damnation if
leaders like President Isayas Afewerki of Eritrea continue to be the rule
rather than the exception in Africa. Africa's hands are already full with
the negative effects of globalisation. African states have little choice
today in the global market. They have to remove whatever obstacles exist for

            But Mr Afewerki, a freedom-fighter-turned-despot, is not alone
in defying popular demands for democratic reform. Several long time African
dictators, such as Presidents Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Omar Bashir of
Sudan, have made a career out of pillaging their own states. In Rwanda, the
post-genocide state is busy entrenching Tutsi exceptionalism and domination,
a basis for a future genocide. What is shocking is that Mr Afewerki, dubbed
in the 1990s by the Clinton administration as one of a new breed of African
leaders, has turned out to be more Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and nothing
like Nelson Mandela of South Africa.

            Eritrea was much admired both in Africa and the West after it
gained freedom from an oppressive and backward Ethiopian state. But
everything has been downhill ever since. Led by the then popular Mr
Afewerki, Eritreans and their supporters abroad viewed the new state as
tabula rasa on which a utopian democracy would be established, a shining
example to other African states. But in the last six years, Mr Afewerki has
dashed those hopes, instead bucking the democratic trend that has haltingly
swept most of Africa in the last decade.

            In 1997, after Eritreans ratified the country's first democratic
constitution, Mr Afewerki refused to promulgate it. He has rejected free
elections, and now rules by fiat. Since 2001, he has instituted a sweeping
crackdown on democratic reformers and outspoken government critics. He has
detained without trial senior government officials. Afewerki has closed down
all independent media and employed the Judiciary as an instrument of

            Yet it is Afewerki and his ilk who the African Union and Nepad
must target if the continent is to be pulled back from the abyss. Unlike the
defunct OAU, the African Union promises not to be a club of dictators.

            A new African Army should have the authority to enter member
states to stop genocide, war crimes, and other gross violations of human
rights. These are commitments of enormous significance because they most
probably would have stemmed the Rwandan genocide of 1994 or helped prevent
the catastrophic dismemberment of the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

            The African Union hopes that the democratisation of African
states will open the way to regional economic integration.

            That is why member states have agreed to establish an African
Central Bank, a common currency, a Pan-African Parliament, and a regional
security council.

            But African leaders must be careful not to put the cart before
the horse. Theories of regional economic integration presume the existence
of viable, legitimate states. That is why the African Union cannot simply
mimic the European Union. It is absolutely essential that the internal
structures of African states be rewritten. Otherwise, there will not be any
political and economic revival.

            Both the African Union and Nepad must not be cost free
receptacles, ready to embrace any and all African states. Nepad requires
that member states establish democratic, honest, and accountable governments
to be eligible for participation. The African Union should follow suit. The
peer review system of Nepad - in which African states oversee the compliance
of each other to the tenets of the body - must be extended to the African
Union so that unfaithful member states are excluded. It will be
counterproductive to launch these new bodies, only to allow Afewerki and his
fellow travellers to hijack them.

            The African Union and Nepad will only succeed if the West
forgives Africa's crushing debts, substitutes fair trade and investment for
aid, removes domestic subsidies for agriculture, and gives Africa a larger
voice within the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World
Trade Organisation.

            But defiant and recalcitrant leaders like Mugabe and Afewerki
are first and foremost the responsibility of the African Union and Nepad,
and not the West. In the case of Zimbabwe, for example, the African Union
ought to kick Mugabe out of the club.

            African leaders such as President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa
should not, as he did at the Commonwealth, defend the decrepit and totally
objectionable Mugabe.

            The case of Afewerki is equally blatant. In the past two years,
he has embarked on the construction of a republic of fear, a police state.
All independent media has been vanquished. Political opponents rot in jail.
The judiciary is completely meaningless. Unless something is done, both the
African Union and Nepad will become sad shadows of the OAU.

            It is true that running a liberation movement is not the same as
ruling a state. The guerrilla freedom fighter must be transformed into a
statesman. This is a difficult transition to make. Just look at the slow
mutation of former freedom fighters or guerrillas like President Museveni
when they capture power. We should appreciate these difficulties. But we
should not use them as an excuse to apologise for dictatorships. The AU and
Nepad must squeeze Afewerki - and hard - if they are to fulfill their

            Mutua is Professor of Law at the State University of New York at
Buffalo and Chair of the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

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Zim Standard

State buys Prados for defence chiefs
By Valentine Maponga

. Vehicles cost $450-600 million each THE government has splashed billions
of dollars in taxpayers' money buying Toyota Prados for top Army and Air
Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) chiefs, The Standard can reveal.

Sources said the more than 40 luxury vehicles were meant for Air Commodores,
Army Brigadiers and other senior officials, in a move widely seen as an
attempt to ensure key defence officials are as comfortable as possible ahead
of next years' parliamentary elections.

Over the past few years President Mugabe's regime has successfully
maintained its tight grip on power in the face of mounting unrest
characterised by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) mass actions, thanks
to the unwavering support of the defence forces.

Last year the forces ruthlessly crushed what was dubbed the "Final Push" by
the opposition, supported by some civic society organisations.

Sources told The Standard that some of the brand new vehicles were parked at
a garage at Manyame Air Base, waiting to be distributed to their new AFZ
owners on Friday.

Visits by The Standard to some of Harare's major car dealers in the capital
specialising in latest Toyota makes revealed that the all-terrain vehicles
were going for amounts varying from $450 - $600 million.

Conservative estimates indicate that the government may have forked about
$18 billion at a time when many Zimbabweans are threatened with starvation.

"It's good deal for our defence chefs," remarked a source.

Before the latest acquisitions, Air Commodores were allocated Peugeot 605
models, which they will now to dump in favour of the Prados.

Lieutenant Colonel Ben Ncube, the Zimbabwe National Army spokesperson,
yesterday confirmed that the Prados had been acquired for the senior army
officers but could not give the exact figure involved.

"It's true that the Prados were bought, but I would not know the exact
number since I am not in the office today. They are going to be given to
brigadier generals as part of their packages and conditions of service.

"Do you expect to see senior guys like brigadiers moving around in 323s?
They are senior, they deserve cars like that," said Lt. Colonel Ncube.

He, however, said he thought the figure was much less than 40 Prados.

Efforts to get a comment from the Air Force of Zimbabwe yesterday proved
fruitless, but sources at Manyame Air Base confirmed that their bosses had
been issued with top-of-the range vehicles.

"All I can say is that some of the vehicles are parked in a garage here,"
said the source.

Analysts say the vehicles are a latest attempt by Mugabe to keep the defence
chiefs happy and in full support of his government.

The government this year also gave generous car loans to traditional chiefs,
who are increasingly becoming a cog in the Zanu PF's rural campaign
machinery, ahead of the general elections scheduled for March next year.

Retired Army commander, Vitalis Zvinavashe, together with other service
chiefs, just before the March 9 - 11 2002 presidential election, made their
political position clear by declaring the service chiefs would not salute
anyone who did not have liberation war credentials.
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Zim Standard

Mugabe should halt political violence - Arcbishop Ncube
By Foster Dongozi

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe should play a leading role in stopping the political
violence perpetrated by Zanu PF supporters against their perceived political
opponents in Zimbabwe, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, said in
Harare yesterday.

He was speaking in an interview after the installation of the new Harare
Archbishop, Robert Christopher Ndlovu.

President Mugabe and the First Lady, Grace, were among thousands of Harare
residents who thronged the City Sports Centre to witness the installation of
Archbishop Ndlovu.

President Mugabe is a devout Roman Catholic.

Speaking at the end of the installation, Mugabe urged the church to engage
the government in dialogue, especially on issues pertaining to human rights
and basic freedoms.

He told thousands of Roman Catholics, who had converged on the City Sports
Centre to witness the installation that he recently sought a meeting with
Archbishop Ncube and that he waited for an hour in vain but the Bulawayo
Archbishop did not turn up. However, Archbishop Ncube fired back, saying he
had only been informed of the proposed meeting when it was too late.

"I had already made prior arrangements to attend to other issues and I could
not just change my plans for Mugabe."

Archbishop Ncube said meetings between the president and him would not solve
anything unless the President used his position as Head of State and First
Secretary and President of Zanu PF to end political violence.

"In fact, four Catholic bishops met Mugabe in October last year, expressing
their concern about violence but nothing came out of that meeting. The
problem with Mugabe is that he can be a very charming and sweet person when
you discuss some of these problems and you would think that he also has
similar concerns.

"The problem is that he never seems to tell his supporters to stop beating
up people they think are their rivals and this means people will continue to
be beaten and killed in politically-motivated violence."

The new Archbishop, Robert Christopher Ndlovu, the former bishop of Hwange
was born in Lupane, in 1955 and attended Tshongogwe primary School. He
attended Dete Marist Brothers for his secondary education before proceeding
to study theology and philosophy at Chishawasha Seminary.

He attained a Masters in Biblical Theology at the Catholic University in
Nairobi, Kenya, before being appointed Archbishop of Harare by Pope John
Paul II on 21 May this year. In his acceptance speech, Archbishop Ndlovu
praised his predecessor, the late Archbishop Patrick Chakaipa.

"I feel humbled by the great missionary work done by my predecessor. I ask
for your prayers that God can help us carry the heavy loads together and
that he will guide His people though difficult times," said the new
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Zim Standard

NANGO, lawyers slam NGO's Bill
By Valentine Maponga

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's increasingly paranoid government totally ignored
contributions from the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) community in
the drafting of the repressive NGO bill that was gazetted on Friday, The
Standard has established.

The Bill, which will repeal the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Act to
establish the NGO Act, bars organisations from receiving foreign funding or
donations to carry out activities involving governance issues and also
provides for the establishment of a new State-controlled council that will
regulate the conduct of the organisations.

The council, to be called the Non Governmental Organisations Council will
consider and determine every application for registration, proposed
cancellation of NGOs and amendments of certificates for registration.

If the bill becomes law, the NGO council "may at anytime cancel any
certificate of registration on the grounds that the organisation has ceased
to operate bona fide in furtherance of the objects for which it is

Analysts say the council will follow the footsteps of the Media and
Information Commission which has ordered the closure of newspapers such as
the The Daily News, The Daily News on Sunday and The Tribune in Zimbabwe.

Gugulethu Moyo, Media Relations Adviser on Southern African Issues for the
International Bar Association, said it was starkly obvious that this statute
was not designed to create an "enabling environment", in which civil society
can flourish in Zimbabwe.

"It would appear that the Zimbabwean government has been emboldened by the
effectivesness of similar, draconian legislation such as AIPPA and POSA in
shackling the free will of Zimbabweans.

"Much like AIPPA did in the media sector, this legislation grants boundless
power to functionaries of the State to determine which NGOs will continue to
operate in Zimbabwe and on what terms," said Moyo, the former Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) company lawyer.

The government claims the Bill follows concerns that some NGOs, most of
which survive on foreign financial donations, were funding opposition
activities to effect regime change in the country.

The director of National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
(NANGO), Jonah Mudehwe, said the final bill was "totally the opposite" of
what they had been proposing to government since 2002.

The NGOs had proposed a self-regulating bill to monitor their own activities
through an independent council.

"It's actually the complete opposite of what we proposed to the government
and a complete disregard of the NGOs input. As it is right now, the bill is
going to provide serious hardships to most, if not all, NGOs in this
country," he said.

Mudehwe added that NGOs would lobby parliamentarians to reject the bill,
which totally closes operational space particularly to those organisations
involved in governance issues.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director, Arnold Tsunga, said some of the
definitions in the bill generalise issues making it very difficult for them
to operate.

"The whole bill should be reworded so that we can accept it. The issue of
registration of NGOs is very serious, apart from that they can be asked to
close at any given time.

"There are so many communities that are benefiting from NGOs and if they are
closed just like that, a number people are going to suffer," said Tsunga,
who is of the opinion the bill has generated panic in the whole NGO sector.

Brian Kagoro of the Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe said the government believes
if they close ranks on NGOs, donor funds would be directed to government's
bankrupt departments. He said this was very unlikely.
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Zim Standard

Rotary answers food SOS
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO: International charity organisation, Rotary International, has
responded to reports about deaths arising from acute food shortages in
Bulawayo by donating 100 tonnes of maize-meal to over 20 families in the
city, The Standard can reveal.

The organisation was moved by a report of at least 62 more people who died
in Bulawayo because of hunger and decided to assist the less privileged
people who were facing difficult times. The Standard carried the report of
the deaths two weeks ago.

Speaking to The Standard shortly after receiving her 20 kg bag of
maize-meal, Pretty Ndimande, a mother of four, said her family survived by
scavenging for food from the Bulawayo city dumpsites.

"On numerous occasions we have been appealing to the government for food aid
but to no avail. The government says that we are not properly settled in the

"Had it not been for the Rotary International, who came with this maize meal
all of our children, whom you found asleep as a result of hunger would have
gone the next few days without proper food," Ndimande said.

She said two of her children were not going to school while the other two
attend Umguza Primary School.

Several other villagers, who have resorted to gold panning in order to
survive, accused the government of turning a blind eye to their plight,
while channelling a lot of government resources towards political campaigns.

"I am very thankful about the donation we received today and I hope other
international food donor agencies will follow suit," Ndimande said.

Some elderly men, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised
by the government said the donation came at a time when almost all of their
children in the village had pulled out of school due to a combination of
poverty and hunger.

Speaking at the same function, Rotary International Public Relations
Officer, Charles Chiponda, said his organisation would continue assisting
the people with food.
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Zim Standard

Hungry Zanu PF youths gatecrash chefs' party
By Richard Musazulwa

GWERU - NEARLY 30 hungry Zanu PF youths tried to gate-crash a lavish Heroes'
Day luncheon at the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) Thornhill Airbase in Gweru
recently. Only swift reaction from the police and the army saved the day.

A Zanu PF official, who was in charge of the entrance to the venue and was
tasked with verifying the invitations, fled and sought refuge in a nearby
toilet after the marauding youths, resplendent in party regalia threatened
to beat him up.

The police and soldiers moved in swiftly and dispersed the youths, but not
before a nasty verbal exchange.

The youths felt discriminated against by their own masters, who they alleged
were favouring top officials of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). They
vented their frustration by shouting obscenities at the MDC officials, as
well as Midlands provincial administrator, Martin Rushwaya.

Rushwaya's office organised the luncheon and compiled the list of invited
guests. He, however, refused to comment on the matter when approached.

After a salvo of obscenities from the youths, one Zanu PF official asked the
police to arrest them. Surprisingly, no action was taken. The police
officers on duty appeared to be waiting for orders from the police
hierarchy, who were "feasting" inside the venue.

Police and the army have for a long time been accused of treading softly on
Zanu PF supporters who disrupt activities, beating up members of the
opposition party. The youths were also angry that Zanu PF officials left
them at Mkoba Stadium, venue of the celebrations, while they went for the
lavish bash at Thornhill Airbase.

One of the youths, who said he could be identified only as Peter of Mkoba,
complained: "As youths, we have been used for a long time by these
officials. It's high time they included us on some of these bashes."

Two months ago, Zanu PF youths and some elderly people, were bussed from
rural areas to demonstrate against Gweru executive mayor, Sesel Zvidzai.
They later turned violent and destroyed war veterans' offices after they
were denied food, which had been promised in exchange for taking part in the
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Zim Standard

Chombo bid to evict Porta Farm residents hits brick wall
By Valentine Maponga

ATTEMPTS by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and National
Housing to evict residents of Porta Farm have run into a brick wall amid
reports that authorities cannot secure a suitable place for them, The
Standard has learnt.

For the better part of last week, the settlers were waiting anxiously for
the soldiers they were told would ferry them to their new homes on
government farms, but nothing transpired.

The settlers were given up to August 15 to prepare themselves for the
eviction in order to make way for the construction of a sewage plant.

However, when The Standard visited the farm, about 25 kilometres from Harare
along Bulawayo road last week, the residents said they would not move out
until serviced land was secured for them.

"Yesterday (Wednesday) we went to Caledonia farm, one of the farms earmarked
for us and found that there already were some people staying there.
Furthermore, the farm is not serviced," said Khumbulani Khumalo, the
chairman of the residents' association.

He said they found two co-operatives already at the farm. One is called
Tafara-Mabvuku Housing Co-operative, and the other one is called Tongoville
Housing Co-operative. They claim farm is theirs.

"The leaders of these co-operatives openly told us that we were not welcome
at the farm," explained Khumalo.

Alarmed by their predicament, the settlers told The Standard they felt the
intentions of the government were not in their best interests.

They said Dr Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, told them sometime last month they would be
evicted from the farm, despite their objections.

"We have been victims of these evictions for some time now. At one time we
were staying in Epworth, but we were removed because they said that place
was not suited for residential purposes. But if you go to Epworth today
people are building very nice houses at the same place," Khumalo said.

Ishmael Kadela, a former employee of the National Railways of Zimbabwe, said
the people had adapted to the situation at the area and were happy with the
way they lived at Porta Farm.

"The majority of the people have been employed in businesses around Lake
Chivero. The unemployed are surviving on fishing, so moving us will be
taking away our livelihood. Our children are going to be back on the streets
again," he said.

The settlers get their income mainly from fishing in the nearby water
reservoir while some sell firewood. Some of the residents said they
previously found part-time work on commercial farms in the area, but such
opportunities had dwindled as a result of the land redistribution programme,
which has seen a new class of "struggling" farmers taking over the once
productive plots.

One of the leaders of the residents, Wilbert Mushipe, said the authorities
were treating them as outlaws.

"We were shocked by the government's intention to evict us and build a
sewage plant here. We've been here for more that 13 years and we have
invested a lot into our lives here. Now we have a school and an orphanage
centre. What is going to happen to all these developments," said Mushipe
adding that they were working towards having the school electrified.

"Our argument is that we cannot move from here into the wilderness, until
and unless the government gives us a credible promise that we are going to
find the relevant infrastructure that we have here," Mushipe said.

Serbia Chikonhi (72) fears the move might force her two grandchildren onto
the streets after they fail to write their final examinations in October as
a result of being resettled. "My grandchildren registered to write their
examinations here. Where will they write the exams from if we are moved?"
she asked.

Although more than 10 000 families, The Standard discovered, were calling
Porta Farm home, they have remained officially unrecognised as a community,
compounding their despair.

Analysts following the saga closely said they feared that the decision by
government to move the settlers could be politically motivated. "The move is
very tricky. You have to look at where exactly these people are being moved
to. This may be aimed at pampering a certain constituency at the expense of
these people' right to livelihood," said one analyst.

Brian Kagoro of the Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe, said it was important to look
at the history of the people at Porta Farm and how they got there.

Porta Farm was initially meant to be a temporary settlement to accommodate
the homeless people, cleared out of the capital by the image-conscious
authorities when Queen Elizabeth II visited Harare to open the Commonwealth
Heads of State and Government Summit in October 1991.

"This only shows the lack of a proper policy on poverty alleviation by this
regime. These people are victims of the double standards by our government,"
Kagoro said.

Efforts to get a comment from the government last week proved fruitless.
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Zim Standard

Kombayi becomes MDC spokesman for Midlands
By Richard Musazulwa

GWERU - THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has elected
nationalist and former Gweru mayor Patrick Kombayi as the party's
spokesperson for Midlands province.

MDC officials confirmed that Kombayi, known to have contributed financially
towards the liberation struggle while in Zambia, was elected to the post of
Information and Publicity Secretary at the end of last month.

"Yes, it is true. I can confirm that Kombayi was elected to the post of
Information and Publicity Secretary for Midlands South province.

"Kombayi will be the voice on all matters concerning the party in the
province. Everyone in the party is happy with Kombayi's achievements and
political involvement," said MDC national executive member, Bethel
Makwembere, who is also the MP for Mkoba Constituency.

MDC national chairman, Isaac Matongo, and Midlands South provincial
chairperson Lyson Mlambo also confirmed Kombayi's election to the post.

Kombayi recently accompanied MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai to Zvishavane,
Lower Gweru and Chiwundura where they held District Assembly meetings with
party leadership in those areas.

During last year's Urban Councils elections, Kombayi campaigned vigorously
in all the 17 wards in the city of Gweru and helped MDC win 16 wards and the
mayoral post.
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Zim Standard

Regional leaders war of Mugabe
By Caiphas Chimhete

WITH calls for democratic governance intensifying across the continent,
African leaders appear to be gradually distancing themselves from President
Robert Mugabe's autocratic rule, which is widely blamed for burgeoning
poverty among Zimbabweans, analysts have said.

Events in the past two months, they said, point to a well-orchestrated
strategy by African leaders, including those from the 14-member Southern
African Development Community (SADC), to isolate the 80-year-old leader now
clearly viewed as a pariah head of State at regional and international

This was clearly demonstrated at the recent African Union (AU) summit in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and last week at the SADC gathering in Mauritius,
where Mugabe was not accorded a platform to address the regional gathering.

In the past few years, no summit was complete without Mugabe taking the
podium to harangue his favourite adversaries - Tony Blair, the British Prime
Minister and President George W Bush of the USA. A swashbuckling Mugabe had
become the top bill at all important continental or regional summits where
he would launch vitriolic tirades against the British and the Americans for
what he said were attempts to recolonise Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean strongman had on his side his reputation as one of longest
surviving founder members of the Frontline States, credited for fighting
against apartheid in South Africa.

Another of his his strongest points was his lucid and articulate arguments,
whether for development, reforms at international organisations, or against
remaining pockets of oppression in the world, which enabled him to hog the

But reverence for ageing leader is now on the wane as accusations mount that
he is responsible for dragging a once thriving economy into the quagmire,
while he has allowed basic freedoms and human rights to be trampled upon by
members of his government while he looked the other way.

Mugabe, his critics say, is presiding over a country that is fast
degenerating into chaos and disorder, while younger and more energetic "new
kids on the bloc" - the likes of Mauritian Prime Minister Paul Berenger and
South African President Thabo Mbeki are increasingly commanding more respect
among their peers.

Outspoken deputy secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU), Collin Gwiyo, said African leaders have started pushing Mugabe, once
regarded as the icon of regional stability, to the periphery as he continues
his anachronistic crusade against imperialism.

"They have been playing to Mugabe's tune for a long time. Now they want
things to work on the ground. They want issues of good governance, Aids and
economic development addressed but it appears Mugabe lacks the political
will," Gwiyo said.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) deputy secretary general,
Gift Chimanikire, who attended the regional summit in Mauritius, said it was
clear that SADC leaders were tired of Mugabe's intransigence.

Sources at the summit said Botswana, South Africa and Mauritius were the
most vocal in exhorting Mugabe to hold free and fair elections, in
accordance with the electoral norms and guidelines adopted at the summit, so
that the results would be accepted by the majority of contesting parties.

Berenger, the new SADC chairman is said to have issued a stern warning that
free and fair elections needed an independent electoral commission, access
to State media by all contesting political parties, an unfettered Press and
credible observation. These requirements are contained in a Charter adopted
by the SADC leaders at the end of the Mauritius summit.

Chimanikire said Berenger and Mbeki complained bitterly about the way their
citizens were driven out of the farms and companies in Zimbabwe. "They said
it is black-on-black violence. The naivety of Mugabe is becoming clear to
them and they can no longer take it.

"This is why countries advocated for a body to police countries that break
the SADC Charter. It is designed to rein in Mugabe," said Chimanikire.

On whether Mugabe will implement the SADC Charter, Gwiyo said: "It will all
depend on the main actors in the country. They will have to put pressure on

Media analysts were convinced it is because Mugabe was denied a platform to
address both the AU and SADC summit that Zimbabwe Television failed to
flight the their usual" specials" as is the norm immediately following such
meetings. "What we were only shown were Mugabe's interview with the national
TV," noted one analyst.

ZTV screened a summary of the summit only three days after returning from

But while pressure appears to be mounting on Mugabe, there are some African
leaders who still support him. Tanzanian President, Benjamin Mkapa and
Namibian head of State, Sam Nujoma remain Mugabe's staunchest supporters.
The two have openly supported Mugabe's land seizures under the guise of
reclaiming land expropriated by former colonialists.

But while some African leaders openly praise Mugabe's scorched-earth
policies, they have however, maintained cordial relations with the
international community and some have even lured white commercial farmers,
who were dispossessed of their farms under the government's land reform
programme, and allocated them land in their own countries

"Perhaps they want to sell food to the starving millions in Zimbabwe after
the collapse of agriculture in that country," concluded The Business Day of
South Africa rather cynically.
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Zim Standard

Chigwedere now turns to 'national dress'
By Caiphas Chimhete

AENEAS Chigwedere, the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, who shut
down private schools early this year for increasing fees without his
approval is at it again. This time he is reviving an old debate on the
national dress, which was abandoned decades ago.

His critics say during the time he has presided over the ministry,
Chigwedere has concentrated on trivial issues such as calling for one
national school uniform, change of "colonial" schools to indigenous names
and meddling in the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) affairs.

The collapse of the economy has seriously affected the education sector in
the country but this has been compounded by Chigwedere's lack of ideas and
misplaced priorities, some educationists say.

A circular signed by secretary for Education, Sport and Culture, Dr. Stephen
Mahere, says the department of culture in Chigwedere's ministry is working
towards the production of a national dress by end of this year.

It is already calling on groups or individuals to come up with possible
designs that incorporate the colours of the national flag as much as
possible as well as "features that tend to unite us rather than divide us".

The designs should cover a wide spectrum of items including scarves, doeks,
wrappers, blouses, shirts, skirts, caps, jackets and ties.

The Ministry has set aside $150 million for prizes for designers and is
prepared to double that figure.

"All interested parties, groups and individuals should indicate their
interest to the director in charge of culture (Mr L C Bowora) at Ministry
Head Office, Ambassador Building, by 31 August 2004," reads a circular
signed by Mahere.

Former University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor, Professor Gordon Chavunduka,
said the revival of the debate on the national dress by Chigwedere was an
attempt to divert people's attention from problems in the education sector.

"It is irrelevant. Why should people discuss the issue of national dress.
but we remain silent on the collapse of the education sector. We should find
solutions today not tomorrow. People should choose what they want to put
 on," Chavunduka said.

He said the debate must be discontinued and the money should "be used to buy
furniture for pupils who sit on the floor country-wide."

MDC shadow minister of education and sport, Fidelis Mhashu, said Chigwedere
should stop meddling in petty issues and concentrate on improving the
quality of education.

"As Minister of Education he should concentrate on improving the quality of
education . improving the curriculum. He should introduce and improve the
working conditions of teachers and learning environment of students," Mhashu

President Robert Mugabe recently blasted Chigwedere for concentrating on
minor issues instead of tackling matters of national significance in the
education sector.

Addressing delegates at a luncheon after officially opening the Fifth
session of Fifth Parliament, Mugabe told Chigwedere to be practical in
improving Zimbabwe's education system.

"VaChigwedere, chimbosiyai ZIFA mumbofunga nezvenzira yatakaisirwa
navaNziramasanga). Mr Chigwedere, leave ZIFA alone and think about
implementing (Professor Caiphas) Nziramasanga's recommendations," Mugabe was
quoted by The Voice, Zanu PF's official mouthpiece.

The Nziramasanga Commission of the late 1990s was constituted to look into
the problems affecting education and training in the country and to make
recommendations on the way forward.
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Zim Standard

Torture, violence likely in 2005 poll - report
By Our Own Staff

TORTURE, intimidation, murder and other forms of organised political
violence in Zimbabwe, which characterised previous polls, are likely to be
repeated during the next year's parliamentary elections, a recent
preliminary report by an international human rights organisation, Redress,
has warned.

The report, a preliminary study of trends and association in the patterns of
torture and organised violence in Zimbabwe carried out during the period
between July 2001 and 2003, says there were indications that the pattern of
violence of the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential polls magnitude,
could be repeated during next year's general elections.

There is a strong correlation between torture and other forms of political
crimes in the run-up to elections, says the report.

It adds that a consistent picture of torture and other serious violations of
human rights in the country, during the last four years, are beginning to

"There is little sign that the Zimbabwe Government now intends to create a
climate in which free and fair elections can take place and consequently
there is serious concern that patterns will be repeated in the months
leading to the upcoming elections," the report says.

The report was widely circulated at a conference on initiatives on electoral
reforms in southern Africa organised by the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network (Zesn) and the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) at the
beginning of this month.

The conference was attended by members of parliament for the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) region, including those from Zanu PF
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The latest revelations come at a time the embattled Zanu PF government is
frantically trying to regain acceptance of the international community by
introducing electoral reforms ahead of the 2005 parliamentary elections.

Independent analysts say that the introduction of electoral reforms by Zanu
PF were being undermined by violence and intimidation perpetrated by war
veterans and the youth militia, officially known to support the ruling

According to the report, there were 8 871 reported cases of gross human
rights violations between July 2001 and December 2003.

Of the reported human rights violations, there were 105 cases of murder, 2
572 involved torture, 1 041 unlawful detentions and 32 of people who
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Zim Standard

'Ethnic cleansing' has killed exports, says CFU
By our own staff

THE fall in the country's foreign exchange earnings reflects a production
decline in large-scale commercial agriculture, documents presented to the
recent Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) congress show.

The commercial beef herd from the large-scale commercial sector now stands
at 10 percent of what it was four years ago.

Raw milk production has declined by six million litres over the past year,
according to the documents.

Efforts taken by Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited, the nation's main milk
purchaser, were largely responsible for arresting the fall in milk

Coffee production experienced a 50% decline - from 4 000 tonnes to 2 000
tonnes over the past 12 months. Factors responsible for this are the
"relentless interference" on coffee farms in the northern and eastern areas
of the country, coupled with labour shortages during the weeding and
harvesting seasons.

The viability of coffee production at current interest and exchange rate
levels have rendered coffee - along with other export crops - uneconomic and
internationally expensive to produce.

Over the past year tobacco production has declined from 83 million kgs sold
last year to an expected 60 million kgs this year, with an anticipated 47
million kgs next year.

Horticulture declined by a further 11 % in the current year compared to last
year. The exported value fell from US$118,5 million in 2003 to less than
US$105 million in the current year.

The documents show that at the beginning of 2002 there were approximately
200 registered flower growers, 150 registered export vegetable growers, 120
registered citrus growers and 35 registered deciduous fruit growers.

"By December 2003, following on-going disruption to production activity in
horticultural operations, these had beenreduced to 150 flower growers, 70
vegetable growers, 45 citrus growers and 16 deciduous fruit growers," says
one of the documents.

This, according to the documents, is before the devastating effects on the
viability of export horticulture caused by radical changes in monetary
policy and the effective halving of exchange rates and consequently, returns
to producers.

Tobacco is the traditional cash cow and the main source of foreign currency

It will require a secure operating environment to grow the crop, coupled
with an end to production interferences in the large-scale sector and policy
adjustments to encourage production through both exchange and interest rate

Factors responsible for the lower decline in milk production include a
review in the price of raw milk; an increase in food supplies both grazing
and stock-feed raw materials, stock-feed price increments at lower levels
and a generally low level of disruption over the past year.

Barley production by the sector has been maintained at 50 000 tonnes, while
soybean production at 60 000 tonnes is roughly the same as last year, which
was 59 000 tonnes.

Maize production from the sector shows an increase of about 100 000 tonnes,
while wheat is expected to increase by 12 000 tonnes.

Cotton, according to the documents, is the one commodity where a significant
increase in national production in the current year has been experienced.

"This is nearly totally from the small-scale sector, as less than 10
large-scale commercial farmers are engaged in cotton production. Large-scale
commercial agriculture has only accounted for 1 000 tonnes of seed cotton
this year," according to the documents.

CFU president Doug Taylor-Freeme told delegates to the congress that the
union has attempted to engage the various responsible authorities "that can
make a difference".

"I believe, in the last 12 months my team has laid a foundation to deal with
the various categories of stress that our farmers find themselves in. I wish
to ensure the economic well-being of our members and sincerely want to take
away the conflict that is in agriculture," said Taylor-Freeme.

The large-scale commercial sector has lost about 3 000 members since 2000
and it is estimated there are now 500 to 1 000 CFU members remaining. But he
warned even these were threatened.

For example, Karoi had 200 large-scale commercial farmers, but only 12
remain - a development he referred to as "ethnic cleansing". This,
Taylor-Freeme, said did not bode well for summer plantings.
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Zim Standard

Forex black market resurfaces
By Kumbirai Mafunda

SOME would like to call them innovative, others: unrepentant law beakers.
But by and large and by whatever means, some Zimbabweans have shown their
resourcefulness in defying government orders for them to survive. The latest
are reports of the rampant emergence of corrupt Money Transfer Agencies
(MTAs), registered or operating illegally.

In a joint swoop, the central bank and the Zimbabwe Republic Police last
week announced that it had caught some officials of unregistered MTAs
illegally trading in foreign exchange and thereby dampening efforts to cull
parallel market trading.

Despite the feisty efforts to bring orderliness in the financial sector and
rein in the illegal foreign exchange market, some sophisticated Zimbabweans
continue to soldier on with their past "business" conduct of buying and
selling hard currency on the streets.

For some, once it is clear that they have failed to register with the
central bank, there was only but one route to continue operating - that is
to deal illegally on foreign currency in Zimbabwe and abroad.

But even those that are registered continue to defy the law and buy and sell
foreign currency outside the stipulated official rates - the RBZ's auction
and "Diaspora" rates.

Documents in the possession of Standard Business show how some of the
registered MTAs are defying the law to stay in "business".

They compile two separate reports, one for RBZ officers who make spot checks
and these would show the "correct" transactions done at the stipulated
exchange rates should the officers pounce.

The other reports, which were discovered during the joint police and RBZ
swoop, are kept secretly by the companies for their own records and clearly
show the huge rates they are offering to Zimbabweans outside the country,
and even the locals with a bit of hard cash.

"It is all about speculative behaviour on the market. The moment we have
deviant behaviour and characters on the market ... it makes it difficult for
policy makers to achieve their goals," says David Mupamhadzi Trust Holdings'
Group Economist.

Dealers blame the unrealistic official exchange rates for the mushrooming of
the illicit trade in hard currency. They say since the July ban to receive
foreign currency remitted through the "Homelink" facility in its original
form, the Zimbabwe dollar has taken a hard knock on the parallel market.

"You have all the ingredients of a strong demand and strong supply. When the
gap between the parallel exchange rate and the official exchange rate is
big, the risk is worth taking. So it is the government's fault for allowing
the gap to grow big," said John Robertson, a Harare-based independent
economic commentator.

Major currencies are fetching a higher premium on the parallel market than
at the weekly controlled foreign currency auctions, a Standard Business
survey found.

According to other reports, the recent onslaught on private schools by the
Ministry of Education that has made standards to decline and qualified staff
to emigrate, is one of the causes of the flourishing parallel market.

The market is currently awash with properties whose previous owners are
fleeing Zimbabwe because of the collapse of the education system and the
general decay of the economy.

Those selling properties in the local currency are snapping up any available
foreign exchange resulting in the Zimbabwe dollar losing out against the
major currencies, said experts.

On the parallel market the American greenback was last week fetching as much
as $7 500; the pound $11 000 while the rand traded at between $1 200 and $1

This is against an auction rate for the US dollar, for example, of $5 599,91
and a "Diaspora" rate of $5 600.

"More people are trying to leave the country because of the attacks on
schools. So they don't mind the price dealers attach to their hard
 currency," Robertson observed.
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Zim Standard

After Mauritius, can Zimbabwe now hope?
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

SOUTHERN African leaders adopted a new regional charter of rules and
electoral guidelines for their countries at the just concluded Southern
African Development Community (SADC) summit held in Mauritius.

This has revived optimism and hope in many Zimbabweans who had despaired of
ever having free and fair elections in their country.

SADC chairman, Mauritian Prime Minister, Paul Berenger, explained the
Charter, saying, "free and fair elections mean not only an independent
electoral commission but also include freedom of assembly and absence of
physical harassment by the police or another entity, freedom of the Press
and access to national radio and television, and external and credible
observation of the whole electoral process".

The Mauritian leader was upbeat about the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe
in the light of the new charter. He said: With free and fair elections due
in Zimbabwe at the beginning of next year, we can already start preparing
for the normalisation of relations between SADC, the European Union and the

In Zimbabwe, The Herald, the government-controlled daily, said President
Mugabe hailed the new election guidelines. I am not quite sure what that

Without explaining how Zimbabwe was going to implement the new Charter, as
most of us expected, Mugabe went on to say that African countries should not
allow the West to impose electoral systems on them.

He said Africa should never make former colonial powers, which denied
Africans freedom, to believe that they could dictate the way the continent
should run its affairs.

He went on, in his usual anti-West style to castigate the Europeans, the
Americans and the British for wanting to dictate to Africa.

President Mugabe also said that the outgoing SADC chairman, Tanzanian
President Benjamin Mkapa had told him, during a private meeting prior to the
summit, that even when the region had its own electoral standards, there
should never be compulsory intervention in the affairs of another

He said President Mkapa had emphasized that when a SADC country has
elections or problems, fellow member-states should observe the polls or
intervene only at the invitation of the concerned member.

Just prior to the SADC summit Zimbabwe's Zanu PF government had proposed
some electoral reforms and called upon the opposition MDC to join the
government in effecting them through constitutional amendments before next
year's polls.

The government needs four votes from the opposition to enact the electoral
reforms. The MDC refused to support these reforms. They regard them as
insufficient to create a level playing field. David Coltart, the MDC legal
secretary said: "We want constitutional reforms but this process should not
be piecemeal as is being suggested by Zanu PF. We, as a party, want and will
support comprehensive reforms."

In an interview with the Voice of America's Studio 7 Radio, Morgan
Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition MDC welcomed the SADC Charter but
said his party would wait to see how the rules and guidelines would be
implemented in Zimbabwe before giving a definitive answer as to whether his
party would contest the next elections or not.

The man did not sound optimistic at all. I share his pessimism. In fact, I
am actually cynical about the SADC Charter being enacted in Zimbabwe.

Unlike some Zimbabweans who are desperately grasping at any straw in the
hope of salvation from our political, social and economic woes, I don't see
any light at the end of this particular tunnel, yet.

I tend to believe that some SADC leaders were sincere in their desire to see
the region become truly democratic but others, especially the Zimbabweans,
it was all hot air to pass the time.

Some may accuse me of being a perennial pessimist, but knowing our president
and Zanu PF as I do, I can only plead guilty to being a perennial realist.
Putting the SADC Charter into effect would spell doom for the ruling party.
It can never win a free and fair election given its dismal record and
violent tendencies. And, Zanu PF is not prepared to commit suicide.

We may just have to wait until its elderly leadership passes on naturally,
one by one, for there to be real change in Zimbabwe. Or, unless SADC really
means business and makes its Charter mandatory upon all member states. This
was actually suggested by Namibia's Electoral Commissioner, Shafimana
Uietele who, speaking at a SADC conference in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe,
three weeks ago, said: "There must be an enforcement mechanism to make sure
that member states adhere to SADC norms and standards. SADC has to adopt a
tribunal that will look into any given member of SADC that would have
flouted the norms and standards and bring it to book. The call for adherence
to the SADC norms and standards should no longer be just lip-service, but
should be translated into reality."

As far as I know Uietele's recommendation was not taken seriously. The
adopted SADC Charter is not mandatory and, therefore, just lip-service.

According to Mugabe and Mkapa, SADC does not even have the mandate to send
an observer team to any member State to observe elections until invited by
that country.

The MDC is correct in refusing to support Zanu PF's deceptive electoral
reforms. That party is not at all sincere. This is clearly seen in its
decision to silence civic society by forbidding non-governmental
organizations from receiving external funds and forcing them to be
registered, if approved by some Zanu PF appointed commission.

If the government is really sincere then it should immediately repeal the
nefarious and offensive provisions of AIPPA and POSA, which make it
impossible for any opposition to campaign freely. It should uphold the
Constitution, establish the rule of law and outlaw political intimidation in
any form. It should uphold the independent authority, integrity and
impartiality of the judiciary and restrain the government Press from
portraying the opposition as unpatriotic traitors.

I would like, in conclusion, to echo the words of South African judge,
Justice Johann Kriegler, ex-chairperson of the Independent Electoral
Commission of South Africa, who spoke at the SADC conference on electoral
reforms in Victoria Falls. He said: "Electoral reform is not a matter of
changing laws, but a change in attitude. Without a change of heart, reforms
will remain meaningless. A change of the laws without a change of the mind
is deception. Elections are about credibility, truth, integrity and

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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