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

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Return of closed Daily News lauded
      Aug 23 2004 08:21:24:000AM Michael Mhlophe Business Day 1st Edition

An article with this title appeared on the Business Day website yesterday,
with the above byline. I then published it here. As that news has not appeared anywhere else, and seems to be the same as what was published in January, I think an error has
been made.  
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Zim Online

Tue 24 August 2004

      HARARE - The International Parliamentary Union (IPU) says the
government of Zimbabwe has done little to stop youth militias linked to the
ruling ZANU PF party from persecuting and torturing parliamentarians of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      In a preliminary report following a three-months mission to Zimbabwe,
the Geneva-based IPU said it had gathered enough evidence to confirm
"systematic harassment of the political opposition" in the country.

      The IPU said while there appeared  to be an official understanding of
the role of political opposition, government institutions such as the police
and state-owned media tended to adopt a negative view of the MDC.

      (They) "tend to disparage the MDC and its members with all the
consequences that attend such a negative and practical perception of a
political party by the authorities."

      "The MPs were either victims of fabricated charges, illegal
detentions, ill treatment, including cases of torture as well as being
victims of violent attacks generally led by youths groups linked to the
ruling party without authorities taking action to identify and prosecute the
attackers", the report says.

      Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
who met the IPU in Mexico City on April 24, could not be reached for

      The IPU mission, which visited Zimbabwe from March 28 to April 2, also
met Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, police authorities and MDC

      The mission was undertaken following several reports of the harassment
and attacks on opposition MPs. The MDC says in the last four years 24 of its
parliamentarians have been arrested or harassed by security agents or ZANU
PF militants.

      Besides Zimbabwe the IPU also investigated the ill treatment of
opposition parliamentarians in Malaysia, Burundi, Rwanda, Colombia and
Turkey. ZimOnline

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      23/8/2004 15:34
     Church/Religious Affairs, Brief

      "I am here for reconciliation. I will try to encourage people to work
together in every way possible," the new metropolitan archbishop of Harare,
monsignor Robert Ndlovu, has said. The prelate officiated at a Mass attended
by thousands of worshippers, including President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and
his consort, in the cathedral in the capital. The bishop also referred to
the political crisis in the country, where the tension between the
government and the opposition led by MDC (Movement for Democratic Change)
has risen in recent months. "We must not allow different political beliefs
to divide us," added monsignor Ndlovu in an interview with the French news
agency 'AFP'. Though he has expressed criticism towards some members of the
Church whom he considers too close to the opposition, the 80-year-old
Zimbabwean President has also said that he hopes things will be different in
the future. "I will use the window of opportunity presented by the President
to talk to him, and if I witness abuses I will go to talk to him directly,"
said the new bishop of Harare, welcoming Mugabe's invitation. Named
metropolitan archbishop of Harare by the Pope on 10 June, 48-year-old
monsignor Robert Christopher Ndlovu, who comes from western Zimbabwe, was
formerly bishop of Hwange. [LC]

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State Needs $500bn to Service Stands

The Herald (Harare)

August 23, 2004
Posted to the web August 23, 2004


GOVERNMENT needs at least $500 billion to service residential stands at the
farms acquired during the fast-track land reform programme, Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde Ignatius Chombo
has said.

At least 160 farms have been acquired by the Government to make way for
housing development.

"The exercise of servicing the stands is a mammoth and expensive task.

"It is for that reason that the Government has decided to work jointly with
other partners such as housing co-operatives and individuals to ensure that
all our citizens secure affordable accommodation," the minister said over
the weekend.

Cde Chombo said the proposed Housing and Infrastructure Bank would offer
loans to those intending to buy and develop the residential stands.

The Government is also considering the plight of the poor who cannot afford
the cost of building houses within the cities.

Cde Chombo said there were plans to build houses and hostels, which will be
offered for rent to low-income earners.

Locations have already been identified and some of the hostels would be
located within the new areas.

Cde Chombo said there were also plans to reduce the size of the residential
stands so as to accommodate more people.

At least 184 762 housing stands have already been allocated in towns and
cities under various housing schemes.

Servicing the residential stands, provision of roads, water and sewerage
mains is the most expensive part that is hampering development.

However, it is envisaged that the Housing and Infrastructure Development
Bank would enhance development in the new areas.

Demand for accommodation in Harare is high with a yearly target of 100 000,
while Bulawayo has 36 000, Mashonaland Central 9 730, Midlands 21 360,
Mashonaland East 12 820, Mashonaland West 24 000, Matabeleland North 6 220,
Matabeleland South 8 320 and Manicaland 16 250.
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Bata Operations Hit By Serious Shortage of Raw Materials

The Herald (Harare)

August 23, 2004
Posted to the web August 23, 2004


Operations at Zimbabwe's biggest shoe manufacturer, Bata, have been hit by a
serious shortage of raw materials.

E.G Eyelets, used in the production of canvas shoes, could be running out in
the next few weeks and Bata will fail meet the demand for canvas shoes.

"We have been unable to secure raw materials for the past couple of months
because of foreign currency limitations.

We will reach a stage when some strategic materials will be exhausted and we
will either have to close sections of the factory or work short time", said
the managing director Mr. Edwin Duthie.

Bata has twice been suspended from the auction system for non-acquittal of
the required CD1 forms by the Reserve Bank.

This has resulted in the company failing to pay its suppliers on time and
the raw materials are held in abeyance up until the time of payment.

"It would appear that we are being penalised for exporting because bad debts
occur when we are dealing with customers and I believe we have been harshly
treated in these instances", said Mr Duthie.

However, Mr Duthie refuted claims that the organisation has suspended
production and was working at a reduced capacity.

The statement said Bata is doing everything in its capacity to maintain
production at sustainable levels within the constraints being imposed upon
them owing to the lack of foreign currency.

There were currently container-loads of footwear from China finding their
way into Zimbabwe and being paid for in foreign currency. Bata questioned
the rationale behind encouraging import of finished goods at the expense of
a local manufacturer employing close to 4 000 people.

Bata said this was tantamount to wishing to become a country of traders
rather than a country of manufacturers supplying employment to the populace.
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Zim Online

No greener pastures on Botswana farms
Tue 24 August 2004

      GHANTSI, BOTSWANA - The clear silhouette of distant mountains
stretches behind the crumbling hut, situated somewhat forlornly in a corner
of a Botswana farm.

      Hundreds of miles from their homes in neighbouring Zimbabwe four
workers sit in front of the dwelling, gazing into a fire. They are satisfied
the isolated position of their current home, in a sparsely populated region
known as Ghantsi, is temporarily protecting them from the searching eyes of
local law enforcers.

      It's easy to see why the area, part of Botswana's farming belt, is a
drawing card for thousands of labourers who used to work on Zimbabwe¹s
formerly white-owned commercial farms.

      Some, like these four, have left their homeland to avoid repercussions
of the government's controversial land reform program.

      Refugees International says economic disruption in Zimbabwe, coupled
with political intimidation and harassment, has led to the displacement of
at least 150,000 farm workers.

      The men talk about their shared past at Greendale Farm in Nyamandlovu,
near Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo. The workers left the
property when it changed hands. "The new owner is a war veteran. He arrived
one day, with all his relatives. We were called sell-outs because we were
working for a white man," says Dumisani Magwe (not his real name).

      The four say they cannot remember where the white farmer, whom they
only identify as Mr. Jones, went when his farm was seized. They think he
must have sought refuge in neighbouring South Africa.

      Magwe says he has not had a steady job since that incident in early
2001. The others all worked at various farms in the Nyamandlovu area but
each time ended up being sent off for the same reason: because they had
worked for white farmers before.

      Tired of hopping from one job to another, the four joined the trek
west to Botswana which, they now admit, has not altogether been the greener
pasture they had expected to find.

      Foreign labourers do not get paid a lot to begin with. "We have to
accept the low salaries because we have no alternative," Thulani Nleya, one
of the four farm hands says. But he is quick to add: "One cannot think of
going home under the present circumstances."

      The P200 (about ZD 250 000 ­ about half the average worker's pay in
Zimbabwe) which they earn a month is carefully tucked under the mattress.
The four say the only time they can think of going home is in December,
before Christmas.

      While the pay is not much it enables the four to survive and save a
little. "We keep our money because the farm owner brings us everything. Food
and accommodation are provided, so we do not have to spend much of what we
earn," explains Nleya.

      The hut, home to the four while they are in Botswana, speaks volumes
about their situation. The single-room structure is their kitchen, bedroom
and lounge all in one.

      Their day begins at 5 a.m, when they feed ostriches, followed by an
array of tasks in the fields including irrigation and digging furrows. They
seldom return to the fire, in front of the hut, before 7pm.

      Magwe and his co-workers have no protection or legal recourse, partly
because Botswana authorities say government will not review farm workers'
conditions of employment. Also, the country's Employment Act does not
prescribe either minimum working hours or wages in the agricultural sector.

      Nleya says he feels, in his words, "left at the mercy" of employers.

      Botswana's minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Thebe Mogami, told
parliament in early August that the sector¹s working hours and wages are
subject to individual parties discussing, and then agreeing to, specific
terms. ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Police investigate examination fraud
Tue 24 August 2004

      HARARE - Police are investigating at least 44 high school students who
allegedly bribed corrupt Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC)
officials to obtain certificates for courses they either failed or never
studied at all.

      Some of the students are said to be already taking degree courses at
various universities in the country after fraudulently obtaining the
pre-requisite Advanced level certificate of education. Others are doing
their Advanced level studies after fraudulently obtaining their Ordinary
level certificates.

      In an interview with ZimOnline yesterday, police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena confirmed that the law enforcement agency was probing "about 44"
cases of corruption at ZIMSEC.

      ZIMSEC, which took over the running of public examinations in schools
in 2001, has been bedeviled by corruption and gross mismanagement. In some
cases corrupt council officials and school teachers have been caught selling
examination papers to candidates on the streets.

      Officials at the council have also been accused of printing
certificates for relatives and friends who never passed or even sat the
relevant examinations. The mixing up of results, with candidates failing to
get results from ZIMSEC or being awarded pass grades for subjects they never
studied, has become a yearly ritual in Zimbabwe's public schools.

      Prior to 2001 the O and A level examinations in Zimbabwe's schools
were administered by Britain's Cambridge University. The government then set
up ZIMSEC to run public examinations, also in a bid to save scarce foreign

      The government has threatened to de-register private schools that
still offer Cambridge's general certificate of education examinations in
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The Scotsman

Britons 'Led and Financed Coup Plot'

A trial in Africa's biggest mercenary case in decades opened today in
Equatorial Guinea, with soldiers of fortune from Europe, Africa and Asia
accused in an alleged plot to take control of oil-rich country.

Soldiers with automatic weapons ringed the makeshift courtroom in a
government-run convention centre as the trial got under way in the capital
Malabo, amid allegations the suspects were tortured into confessing and had
little chance of getting a fair hearing.

Equatorial Guinea accuses a total of 89 alleged mercenaries of signing up to
a five million dollar plot to oust President Teodoro Obiang, who has ruled
the isolated nation with an iron first since executing the former dictator -
his uncle - in 1979.

Seventy of the alleged plotters are on trial separately in Zimbabwe, where
they were arrested March 6 hours before they reportedly were to depart in a
leased plane for Equatorial Guinea.

A 90th defendant, a German, died in prison after what Amnesty International
said was suspected torture.

At stake in any takeover plot was hundreds of millions of dollars in annual
oil revenues.

Obiang's regime - accused by the US State Department and others of routine
torture and other abuses - is at the centre of an oil boom in the Gulf of
Guinea. The region is estimated to hold 10% of the world's oil reserves -
and some of its most corrupt governments.

Since the development of Equatorial Guinea's oil industry begin in the
mid-1990s, the nation of just 500,000 has had one of the fastest economic
growth rates in the world, at up to 70% a year.

Prosecutors told the courtroom today that a British and South African
financier and oil broker, Eli Calil, financed the plot, along with an
unidentified Lebanese businessmen - allegations denied by Calil's lawyers.

The plot's leader, Briton Simon Mann, an old Etonian turned leading African
mercenary, is being held in Zimbabwe.

Prosecutors say the plan was to violently oust Obiang and replace him with
Severo Moto, an opposition figure who lives in exile in Spain.

"I was told he would land in an aircraft 30 minutes after the main force has
landed," said Nick du Toit, a South African arms-dealer.

Mann, the top planner, "told me that the Spanish government would recognise
the Moto government, and that it had the blessing of some American higher-up
politicians," testified du Toit, who is the main defendant in the part of
the trial in Equatorial Guinea.

"Whether it's true or not, I don't know," he added, his legs and arms bound
by iron chains.

Mann and du Toit both appear to be giving crucial testimony against the
dozens of other defendants in the trials.

Families say du Toit and others were tortured into confessing. "They were
electrified, beaten with clubs, beaten with fists," his wife Belinda has

Du Toit repeated much of the same confessions in court today, saying he was
to have been paid one million dollars for supplying co-ordinates of the
president and other coup targets. He was also to have arranged for vehicles
for the mercenaries.

He and the other defendants - a motley collection of mostly middle-aged,
balding men who served in Europe's Cold War armies and South Africa's
apartheid military - appeared in court with unkempt beards. They were
dressed casually in T-shirts, shorts and jeans.

Diplomats monitoring the trial cited its obvious shortcomings: the criminal
charges were read out to the largely English-speaking defendants only in
Spanish after an electronic translation system failed, and defendants had
access to lawyers for only three hours shortly before the trial.

The formal charges against the men were also only revealed for the first
time today. The 19 defendants were charged with attempting to assassinate a
head of state, illegal possession of arms and explosives, terrorism, treason
and endangering the public.

Obiang had told an African news magazine that Equatorial Guinea would not
seek the death penalty. But prosecutors announced today they wanted du Toit
executed. It was not immediately clear whether the sentence request would be
lessened given his aid to the prosecution.

The other defendants, including six Armenians, several South Africans and
other Africans, face up to 86 years in prison if convicted. Authorities have
said the trial will end on Friday.

Prosecutors silenced du Toit when he mentioned his own business deals with
Obiang's family, after Obiang himself ruled out the idea that some within
his circle may have been involved in the alleged plot.

London-based Global Witness says Obiang, his family and associates have
stashed the majority of proceeds from the country's oil wealth into personal
overseas accounts.
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EQUATORIAL GUINEA: No translator for 14 suspected mercenaries as trial opens

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

LIBREVILLE, 23 Aug 2004 (IRIN) - Fourteen foreigners went on trial in the
tiny oil-rich state of Equatorial Guinea on Monday, charged with plotting a
mercenary invasion to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, a
government official in the capital Malabo said.

The eight South Africans and six Armenians were arrested in Malabo on 6
March. They were charged with conniving with 70 South African mercenaries
who were arrested 24 hours later in Zimbabwe as they were allegedly on their
way to Equatorial Guinea to mount an invasion.

An Amnesty International observer at the trial reported that all 14 were
charged with conspiracy to overthrow Obiang, who has ruled the former
Spanish colony since he ousted his uncle, Macias Nguema, in a coup 25 years

In addition, Nick du Toit, a South African accused of leading the advance
group inside Equatorial Guinea, was accused of treason, the observer said,
according to Amnesty International spokesman George Ngwa in London.

Ngwa noted that treason carried a mandatory death penalty in Equatorial
Guinea. However, President Obiang Nguema said in a radio broadcast on Sunday
that none of the accused would face execution.

Ngwa told IRIN that at Monday's opening session of the trial, the charges
were read out to the accused in Spanish. There were no translation
facilities available and the accused were not invited to plead. The
proceedings were then suspended until later this week when the prosecution
was due to cross-examine the accused, he added.

The court was expected to provide translators at that stage, the Amnesty
spokesman said.

A senior official at the Ministry of Information in Malabo, contacted by
telephone from Libreville in neighbouring Gabon, told IRIN: "The Interior
Minister of Equatorial Guinea has said that the presumed mercenaries were
planning to kill the entire family of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema."

"The mercenaries on trial in Malabo are mainly accused of planning a coup
d'etat against the head of state and of the illegal possession of arms and
ammunition. They risk a prison term of five to 15 years if convicted," he

Ngwa said the Equatorial Guinean government had invited Amnesty to send an
observer to the trial, indicating at the time that it expected the trial
proceedings to take about two weeks.

One suspect dead

The authorities originally arrested 15 foreigners in connection with the
alleged mercenary invasion plot, but one of them, a German called Gerhard
Eugen Nershz, died a few days later.

The government said he died from an attack of cerebral malaria. Amnesty
International quoted eye witnesses who had seen the German's corpse as
saying he was tortured to death.

Du Toit, the alleged leader of the mercenary group inside Equatorial Guinea,
is a former South African military officer who was once closely connected to
the now defunct South African security company Executive Outcomes. The
company supplied private guards to multinational oil and mining companies
and mercenary combatants to several governments, including Angola and Sierra

The six Armenians on trial are the flight crew of an Antonov 12 cargo plane
belonging to the small company Tiga Air, which operated in several countries
in Central Africa.

The group of suspected mercenaries arrested in Zimbabwe was detained after
their Boeing 727 jet landed in Harare on the night of 7 March to take on
arms and ammunition purchased from the Zimbabwe state arms factories.

The group, all of whom held South African passports, were led by former
British army officer Simon Mann, who co-founded Executive Outcomes in South
Africa in the late 1980s.

Executive Outcomes was officially dissolved at the end of 1998 after South
Africa passed a law banning mercenaries from operating from its soil, but
the company's former staff have resurfaced in several other private military
companies such as Sandline and Northbridge Services.

All those arrested in Harare said they were on their way to protect a mine
in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Zimbabwean government, which has announced plans to try them locally,
has accused the group of preparing to invade Equatorial Guinea to overthrow
Obiang. The president of Equatorial Guinea said in an interview with the
magazine Jeune Afrique Intelligent earlier this month that he would not seek
their extradition.

The government of Equatorial Guinea, has accused Severo Moto, an opposition
leader who heads a government-in-exile based in Madrid, of being behind the
mercenary invasion plan.

It claims that the plot was financed by Greg Wales, a London-based
businessman with previous links to Executive Outcomes, and Elie Khalil, an
international oil dealer of Lebanese origin, who has close links with Denis
Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville and who has been implicated in a bribes
scandal involving the French oil company Elf.

Oil puts country on map

Equatorial Guinea consists of a square of jungle covered territory wedged
between Cameroon and Gabon on the African mainland, plus the volcanic island
of Bioko, 200 km to the northwest in the Gulf of Guinea, where the capital
Malabo is situated.

The country has been ruled by Obiang's family since independence from Spain
in 1968, but until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1990s it was a
largely forgotten backwater.

Now, however, Equatorial Guinea produces 350,000 barrels of oil per day and
is gearing up to become a major exporter of liquefied natural gas. It is
Africa's third largest oil exporter after Nigeria and Angola and is regarded
as strategically important by the United States, which has undertaken most
of the investment in the local oil industry.

Although the country now boasts one of the highest per capita incomes in
Africa as a result of its new-found oil wealth, very little of this money
has been spent on improving the living standards of its people.

Despite a per capita income of more than US$6,000 per year, which puts the
country in the same league as Malaysia or the Czech Republic , Equatorial
Guinea ranks 109th out of 177 on the United Nations Human Development Index,
behind Algeria and Cape Verde, which have a per capita income of less than

Obiang's government has been widely criticised by western governments and
human rights organisations for rampant corruption and human rights abuse.
Suspected government opponents are frequently arrested and held without
trial and there have been numerous allegations of torture and extrajudicial

Last month, the US Senate published an investigation into Riggs Bank, a
Washington-based bank into which most of Equatorial Guinea's oil revenues
were paid until recently. This showed that at least $35 million were
siphoned off by Obiang, his family and senior officials of his regime. The
president has denied any wrongdoing.

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Agric Show Opens Today

The Herald (Harare)

August 23, 2004
Posted to the web August 23, 2004


ZIMBABWE'S premier farming display, the Harare Agricultural Show, begins
today with high expectations that more people will visit the exhibition this
year as compared to past years.

A visit by The Herald to the Exhibition Park yesterday revealed that most
participants were busy putting finishing touches to their stands.

This year sees the return of livestock.

Livestock displays have always been a big draw to the show but had cut back
over the past years due to the highly-contagious foot-and-mouth disease and
the changes in the agricultural sector.

Exhibitors in this year include bankers, miners, engineers and players in
the agricultural sector.

Others include the army, police and prison services.

There has also been an overwhelming response from those involved in cotton
and maize production, while the participation from other sectors has been

Entry fees are $5 000 and $10 000 respectively for children and adults,
while the charges will go up to $20 000 all-round on Saturday, the final

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has announced that it will
deploy a large contingent inside and outside the showgrounds to deter and
arrest trouble makers.

Assistant Inspector Memory Pamire said: "We are ready to deal with all those
who come with their own agendas of disturbing the normal flow of business.

"We can assure show-goers that everything is under control. We will have
patrols in uniforms and in civilian clothing," said Asst Insp Pamire.

Over the years, juveniles and other older people under the influence of
alcohol have been a nuisance at the show through their rowdiness.

The most common crimes at the show are pick-pocketing and public drinking.

The ZRP has also mounted its stand at the show grounds which is running
under the theme: "ZRP Committed to Excellent Crime Management thro-ugh
Adequately Managed Foot and Cycle Patrols, Targeting Individuals, Gangs and
Syndicated Hardcore Criminals."
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Dear Sir

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) would like to thank publicly those residents who responded so generously to our recent appeal for donations to assist the association in its battle for accountable local government. The funds were used primarily to oppose the dismissal of the democratically-elected Executive Mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri as well as bringing an urgent application to suspend the 2004 city budget . Unfortunately these efforts were unsuccessful but CHRA remains committed to securing genuine democracy at Town House and is engaged in a number of initiatives to this end.

We reject the fraudulent actions of the regime that have negated the gains we made in 2002 when the illegal Chanakira Commission was ejected. The incessant meddling by Chombo (including the subversion of Makwavarara and other weak councillors) makes a mockery of our democratic rights. Those councillors who are unhappy with membership of a particular party should resign from council and renew their mandate with the people who elected them.

The charade at Town House must cease. CHRA calls upon all remaining councillors who continue to participate in this sorry circus to resign en masse to send a clear message to the regime that they will no longer tolerate the farcical situation.

We further call upon ratepayers and residents to consider withholding payment of rates and other charges until the situation is rectified through free and fair elections and the end of the regime's interference.

We have recently filed papers to obtain a court order to compel the regime to hold elections for the post of Executive Mayor. The Urban Councils Act is very clear on the requirement to hold elections within two months of the dismissal of the Mayor. We are alarmed by the statement from Chombo that elections will not be held until 2006 as if our constitutional rights are bestowed at the pleasure of the minister. Such statements are indicative of the contempt that this regime has for basic civil rights, a contempt that forced us to go to the courts in 2001 on the very same issue. The respondents in this case include the Registrar-General Mudede, Ministers Chombo and Chinamasa, as well as Sekesai Makwavarara. Yet again the regime fails to observe its own laws.

CHRA believes that we cannot achieve our goals without substantive changes at the national level. The constant interference by the regime in the affairs of local councils is unacceptable. Residents have a constitutional right to elect local government representatives who, contrary to Chombo's delusions, are neither an extension of central government nor obliged to follow to his partisan interventions. Local councillors should represent the interests of their local community and of the city as a whole. The Urban Councils Act is fatally flawed and should be changed to reflect the needs of residents rather than the hegemonic interests of any party ruling at the national level. CHRA has been working with residents throughout the country to seek inputs on the changes needed and has submitted its recommendations to the Ministry. It remains to be seen whether or not the Minister will embrace our recommendations or not.

We appeal for further donations for the difficult period ahead of us. The threats from the regime are substantial and imminent.  If residents value the work CHRA has done, then it is up to you to support CHRA.. Donations in cash or kind can be sent to our offices at 11 Armagh Rd Eastlea.


M J Davies

Michael Davies
Combined Harare Residents Association
091 249 430

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JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM 23rd August 2004

Email: ;

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. "

                                       --- Theodore Roosevelt



Letter 1.  Subject: Open Letter Forum

This seems very pertinent to us in Zimbabwe at the moment, particularly
white farmers.  Let's hope we end up super refined and not just burnt up
ashes and that just by resisting this evil we may be able to improve the
situation in this country!
Colleen Taylor

Malachi 3:3 - "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this
statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women
offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the
group at their next Bible study.

      That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to
watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her
interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she
watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it
heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the
silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn
away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought
again about the verse that says:

 "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front
of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered
that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to
keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the
silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The
woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you
know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in
it." If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has
His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.
Pass this on because this very moment, someone might need to know that God
is watching over them.  And, whatever they're going through, they'll be a
better person in the end AMEN

Letter 2.  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

Letter 3.  Subject: Contact Address

I am trying to locate David Wheeler [Calgary Farm].

Please could anyone with knowledge of his contact details please let me
know them - preferably an email address.  I have been told he is living in
South Africa? Val Ingham-Thorpe

Tel / Fax : (263 4) 794478
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.


JAG Hotlines:
(091) 261 862 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 205 374
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
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Email: ;

Recently published results from the Afrobarometer poll threw up some
interesting figures.

Apparently only 4% of the people interviewed considered land reform a
national priority.

This figure does a great deal of damage to Mr Mugabe's claim that the third
chimurenga was a battle for land.

"Meanwhile 76% of Zimbabweans think that the land acquisitions should be
done by legal means, with compensation for owners."

"Land for the people" was never more than a war-cry in Mr Mugabe's vendetta
against white commercial farmers and farm workers.  He has won a pyrrhic
victory.  Hundreds of lives and hundreds of thousands of livelihoods have
been destroyed.  To what end?.

Justice for Agriculture

Vice Chairman
Justice for Agriculture



JAG Hotlines:
(091) 261 862 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 205 374
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
(011) 431 068
                                we're here to help!
263 4 799 410 Office Lines
Back to the Top
Back to Index