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

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Zim Standard

Only 9 cattle at show
By Valentine Maponga

AS a true testimony of how the livestock industry has been badly affected by
the government's controversial land reform programme, this year's
agricultural show, which ended yesterday, exhibited only nine cattle.

Apart from the nine cattle, there were also two East African goats and three
sheep two Marino and one Sabi in the dull livestock section.

This was in clear contrast to the period before the chaotic land invasions
when the livestock section at the agricultural show was the centre of
attraction for most people.

In previous years, there used to be exciting livestock parades but this
year's show saw no such activities.

Even President Robert Mugabe and the guest of honour Malawian P resident
Bingu wa Mutharika, who toured most sections in the show, did not go near
the cattle stalls.

According to banners at the stand, the cattle exhibited were from the
government-run Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) and
Agricultural Research Extension Services .

Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) spokesperson, Chido Makunike, admitted
that the situation has never been the same since the land invasions, which
were spearheaded by war veterans and Zanu PF supporters.

'The cattle industry has been disrupted by the agricultural reform and the
country's herd has shrunk significantly. However, there are also still some
restrictions in movement of cattle because of foot-and-mouth outbreaks,'
Makunike said.

He said individual exhibitors were failing to showcase their beasts
because most of the new farmers cannot afford to transport their livestock
to the show.

'There are no individual exhibitors in the livestock section because it is
very expensive to transport animals. Farmers also need to be sure that their
animals are of good quality and are going to win,' Makunike said.

Since 2001, no livestock have been showcased at the show because of fear of
the foot-and-mouth disease, as well as the destruction of the cattle
industry caused by the land invasions.

The land invasions have also resulted in the spread of foot-and-mouth
disease in the Midlands, Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces as new farmers
moved cattle from one farm to the other.

The farm invasions displaced more than 3 500 white commercial farmers, who
were the main cattle exhibitors at the annual s showcase.

War Veterans and Zanu PF supporters invaded commercial farms and destroyed
most of the infrastructure resulting in a sharp decrease of the national
herd.
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Zim Standard

Zimpapers illegal deals exposed
By Bertha Shoko

TOP executives at the state-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers group (Zimpapers)
allegedly defied government exchange control regulations since January by
illegally selling foreign currency to the company at inflated rates, The
Standard can reveal.

An investigation by this newspaper shows that some senior Zimpapers
officials, including group financial director Oswell Matore, and group
financial controller Adolf Makumbe, sold hard currency to Zimpapers after
the government announced in November that it was illegal to deal in foreign
currency.

Documents in possession of The Standard show that the scam is widespread
among senior executives of the newspaper group. It is understood the Reserve
Bank of Zi mbabwe has started investigations into some of the illegal
deals.

Sources at the newspaper company yesterday said Zimpapers' management were
likely to cover up the illegal trade by instructing accounts clerks to
indicate that the money paid out to those selling hard currency was entered
into the books officially as 'travel allowances'.

In three days in January alone, Zimpapers made hard currency purchases
amounting to US$1 606 from four executives at higher exchange rates of $5
500 and $5 600 against official auction exchange rate of $3 842.

It was only in July that the central bank devalued the Zimbabwe dollar to $5
600, an exchange rate that had already been in use at Zimpapers since
January.

Some of the transactions show t hat one S Taruza was paid $665 500 for
US$121 on January 6 instead of $464 882, while Information Technology
manager Thompson Ndovi was paid $632 500 for US$150 the previous day.

An S Simemeza was paid $935 000 on January 5 instead of $653 140 for US$150
while a J Chihota received $5 600 000 after selling US$1 000 on the same day
instead of $4 860 130 (at the government's auction rate).

Makumbe, who sold US$200 to Zimpapers on January 6, ended up collecting $1
100 000 instead of $768 400.

Zimpapers' titles have been at the forefront of reporting individuals and
companies caught illegally dealing in foreign currency.

Early this year, prominent businesswoman, Jane Mutasa, was convicted for
contravening the Exchange Control regulations after dealing in foreign
currency while not an authorised dealer
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Zim Standard

Zimdollar reels under pressure
By Rangarirai Mberi

THE Zimbabwe dollar will trade weaker in the coming weeks, under pressure
from a steeper rise in import demand and suppressed supply, economists
say.

Fuel importers, having to pay more for petroleum products, are expected to
drive much of that demand. World oil prices have risen to record highs on
global fears of supply disruptions in some of the key producers.

At Monday's foreign currency auction, the dollar eased to $5610,46 on the US
dollar from $5604,70 at the previous auction. The dollar has slipped below
the $5600 diaspora rate set by central bank Governor Gideon Gono only last
month, and is trading even weaker on the unofficial but more indicative
parallel market. The rate there has reached $7000 on the benchmark US unit.

Demand has firmed steadily since the auction opened in January, and bids
have consistently surpassed amounts put on offer. The number of rejected
bids has also been rising. At the August 20 auction, some 1056 of the total
of 1376 bids were rejected. Critics worry that unsuccessful bidders would
increasingly turn to the illegal market for their requirements, placing
further strain on the Zimdollar.

The economists said they see more foreign currency being taken out of the
RBZ's Homelink system, set up to divert forex inflows away from the black
market and into official hands. Homelink had, according to the RBZ,
accounted for US$23,8 million up to July 26. However, a controversial
decision to end payment in hard money has immediately placed the vulnerable
local unit back under pressure.

'The exchange rate at the auction has moved faster than we thought since the
(monetary policy) review. Demand has also risen strongly over the period.
This, perhaps, is as a sign that there is a belief that the market will
run short in the coming months,' an economist commented after Monday's
auction.

Other economists see the RBZ allowing the dollar to slide further, hoping to
find some stability towards the end of the last quarter on expectedly
improved supply from visiting non-resident Zimbabweans.

The market has taken Gono's 'Diaspora' rate as a cue; the US dollar has run
on both occasions that the Governor has set a rate. The rate went above the
first $5200 rate soon after its introduction, after having held steady at
around $4700.

The RBZ on Tuesday held the second of its new forex auctions for small
businesses and individuals, a further attempt by authorities \ to cut off
business to the black market. At the first auction, held a week earlier,
US$174 383,07 of the US$250 000 put on offer was taken up. However, experts
say the new auction will not ease the pressure on the dollar unless the rate
is allowed to float freely.

Foreign currency inflows in the first half-year amounted to US$778,6
million, up 385% from the US$160,7 million earned a year earlier. However,
despite concessionary funding to producers, Zimbabwean exporters still
maintain hazy forecasts on their future, given the uncertainty surrounding
movement of the exchange rate.
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Zim Standard

Zvobgo Jnr to take over
By Walter Marwizi

Daniel Shumba spits venom EDDISON Zvobgo Junior (41), son of veteran
nationalist Dr Eddison Zvobgo, who died on Monday last week, yesterday said
he was ready to continue the family's political dynasty.

Dr Zvobgo and his spouse, Julia, were very prominent politicians in both pre
and post-independent Zimbabwe.

The younger Zvobgo made the disclosure after thousands of grieving Masvingo
residents trooped into Mucheke Stadium, to pay their last respects to the
veteran nationalist.

He told The Standard that he was getting into full-time politics, setting
the stage for a showdown with TeleAccess boss Daniel Shumba in Masvingo
central constituency.

Zvobgo Junior, a lawyer, said he had seriously considered following in
his father's footsteps after many of the veteran politician's followers
implored him to continue the legacy left behind by his parents.

As he spoke the casket carrying the body of his father was less than 10
metres away and was the focus of grief-stricken Masvingo residents.

Residents and high profile local politicians such as Masvingo governor
Josiah Hungwe, foreign affairs minister Stan Mudenge, MDC executive mayor
Alois Chaimiti and some barefoot youths from Shonganiso communal area where
the national hero hails, were distraught.

Zvobgo Junior said: 'People have been asking me to consider standing as MP.
I have come to the realisation that if this request had been made to my
father, he would not have failed the people. And so it's impossible for me
to run away when it's time to serve the people in Masvingo Central.'

Hardly five minutes later, these pronouncements had raised the ire of the
Zanu PF provincial chairman, Daniel Shumba, who last December declared that
he was ready to 'evict' the opposition MDC from the Masvingo political
landscape.

Shumba dismissed the young Zvobgo whom many in the ruling party believe
could revive the fortunes of the Zvobgo faction in the province.

'Let him (Zvobgo Jnr) not mistake the turnout for an endorsement of his
candidature. He should also realise that he is not his father and he can
never be,' said Shumba.

Shumba said he had covered much ground and was prepared to meet the young
Zvobgo in Zanu PF primaries scheduled for the end of the year.

Gutu North MP Josiah Tungamirai, now the most senior politician in the
province following the death of Vice-President Simon Muzenda and Zvobgo,
said there was nothing wrong with Zvobgo Junior's entry into politics.

Silas Mangono of the MDC is the MP for Masvingo Central. Yesterday he and
scores of MDC officials and supporters were also at Mucheke Stadium where
the Roman Catholic Church led in prayers.

Mangono said: 'Zvobgo used to point out wrongs for what they were, whether
it was in MDC or Zanu PF. As MDC we found him to be a very sober and
rational man, hence our presence.'

Family spokesperson, Walter Mzembi said: 'This is an undiluted demonstration
of who Zvobgo was. The challenge facing whoever is going to replace him is
to fit the national and international stature to which Zvobgo belonged,
anything less will be a mockery of his legacy.'

Mzembi is interested in running for Masvingo South constituency.

As the blue and white Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopter carrying Zvobgo's
body took off for Harare late in the afternoon, an old woman cried loud:
'Aenda Zvobgo, mwene weruzivo.' (Zvobgo the fountain of knowledge and wisdom
is gone).
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Zim Standard

Fuel shortages return to Zim
By our own Staff

FUEL shortages have returned to haunt Zimbabweans, at least for the next
fortnight. Some filling stations in Harare ran dry on Friday, while small
towns like Gweru, Shurugwi, and Kwekwe had virtually run out of the
commodity.

A survey by The Standard established that petrol was available at a few
service stations in the capital but diesel was not.

Several Mobil service stations had not received supplies for days, while
some BP and Shell outlets were only supplying petrol.

Sources in the fuel industry said most players in the market could not
afford to pump their fuel through the Beira-Feruka-Masasa pipeline and were
using road transporters.

'The problem now is that Mozambican authorities have indicated that road
hauliers which carry fuel from the port of Beira to Zimbabwe are destroying
their road network and this has left many transporters in a lurch,' the
source said.

Most indigenous fuel suppliers, he said were busy trying to contribute money
in order to purchase fuel in bulk, which would be pumped straight to Harare.

A spokesman for the Petroleum Marketers of Zimbabwe, Rodrick Kusano, who is
also the corporate affairs manager at BP and Shell, confirmed the fuel
shortages.

'On the part of BP and Shell, we were experiencing a few logistical problems
in terms of transporting fuel around the country, but it is something that
we should soon have dealt with in no time at all,' Kusano said.

Within two weeks, fuel should be flowing through the pipeline, according to
Kusano.

He said Petroleum Marketers of Zimbabwe, whose members are fuel suppliers
around the country, floated a tender for the supply of 24 million litres of
petrol and 36 million litres of diesel every month.

'Ordering fuel in bulk as a consortium will make our members enjoy economies
of scale and because it will be piped straight to Harare, it will be faster
and convenient for our members,' Kusano said.
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Zim Standard

Skepticism over Mugabe commitment to reform
By Caiphas Chimhete

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is unlikely to conform with the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) principles on elections recently adopted in
Mauritius recently because that would expose the ruling Zanu PF party to its
stiffest electoral challenge in next year's general elections, analysts have
said.

They said Mugabe, accused of running down a once thriving economy and
perpetrating gross human rights violations, knows that Zanu PF cannot win an
election in a democratic environment.

Adhering to the principles, they said, would expose Zanu PF to a stiff
challenge from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which
last week threatened to pull out of next year's parliamentary poll if the
playing field remains uneven.

A researcher with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Choice Ndoro,
said Mugabe would not adhere to the principles, as that would be equivalent
to signing his death warrant.

She said implementing the SADC principles and guidelines would require the
government to repeal the country's repressive laws, apparatus that Mugabe
has been using to maintain political grip on and silence any dissenting
voices.

'Implementing the reforms would require revisiting the country's numerous
laws to make them conform to the SADC principles. It would mean doing a
way with laws such as POSA (Public Order and Security Act) and I don't
imagine the government doing that,' she said.

Ndoro, who was speaking at a post-SADC summit meeting in Harare organised by
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) last week, also said she does
not believe opposition parties would have access to State media as required
by SADC.

Collin Gwiyo, the deputy secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), shares her reservations. 'It's one thing to have good laws.
Implementing them is another thing. There is no political will in Zimbabwe
to implement the SADC principles,' Gwiyo said.

The SADC principles for conducting democratic elections call for freedom of
association, political tolerance and equal opportunity for all political
parties to access the State media.

It is also mandatory that the judiciary be independent as is the
impartiality of all electoral institutions.

However, in Zimbabwe, freedom of asso ciation is prohibited under the
draconian POSA while political intimidation, torture and murder have
characterised previous polls.

According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, most of the human rights
violations in 2001 and 2002 were committed by Zanu PF supporters, youth
militia and war veterans. The police and the army have also been accused of
being sympathetic to the ruling party.

Apart from this, there are also laws such as Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA),
which have to be repealed if Mugabe is to correctly implement the SADC
guidelines.

Gwiyo said: 'The government has to go back to the drawing board to make sure
that what it has started (electoral reforms) conform with re gional
standards.'

University of Zimbabwe political scientist, Professor Eldred Masunungure,
believes the government will partially implement' the reforms while gauging
the reaction of the region and international community. 'It will implement
them in small doses and wait for internal and international response. I
don't see comprehensive changes in the near future,' Masunungure said.

He said if the region and the international community failed to put pressure
on Zimbabwe, Mugabe would just ignore the SADC principles and guidelines.

But Zesn chairman, Dr Reginald Matchaba-Hove, was somehow upbeat that
Zimbabwe would adhere to the principles. 'The major stumbling block in
Zimbabwe is the issue of mistrust, where there are opportunities, let's give
them a chance,' Matchaba-Hove said.

Matchaba-Hove, however, expressed concern that the SADC charter was silent
on actions that would be taken against member states that do not adhere to
the principles.

'It is also silent on the role of civil society, it just talks about voter
education but does not say by who,' noted the Zesn chairman, whose
organisation has been advocating for electoral reforms to enable an even
playing field.
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Zim Standard

Deputy-mayor axed
By Foster Dongozi

BULAWAYO Fear of Zanu PF infiltration in the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has led to the removal of Bulawayo's deputy-mayor, Alderman
Charles Mpofu, from his position, insiders in the opposition have said.

Mpofu, a former Zanu PF councillor was removed from his position two
weeks ago at the same time another former ruling party councillor, Matson
Hlalo-Mpofu was suspended from the opposition party on allegations of
sponsoring a demonstration against incumbent Member of Parliament for
Makokoba, Thoko Khuphe.

Hlalo-Mpofu has denied sponsoring the demonstration.

The removal of the two Mpofus from their positions generated angry
protestations from government-controlled media organisations in Bulawayo,
which sympathised with the two councillors.

The two, together with former Sizinda councillor, Mika Parira-Mpofu,
were booted out of Zanu PF in 1999 on allegations of destabilising the
ruling party ahead of the 2000 parliamentary elections.

Hlalo-Mpofu had indicated that he wanted to contest Makokoba
constituency against Sithembiso Nyoni, while Charles Mpofu was ready to
battle it out with the incumbent MP, David Coltart in Bulawayo South
constituency.

Parira-Mpofu became even more daring after throwing his hat into the
ring against Russian-trained former Zipra intelligence supremo, Dumiso
Dabengwa, in primary elections for Nkulumane constituency.

Hlalo-Mpofu and Parira-Mpofu contested the parliamentary elections
as independents and performed dismally.

The trio then joined the MDC but Parira-Mpofu made a dramatic u-turn,
left the opposition and rejoined Zanu PF.

The sanctions against Charles Mpofu and Hlalo-Mpofu come at a time
when the MDC is still smarting from the defection of acting Harare executive
mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara, to the ruling party. Her actions all but handed
back control of the capital city to Zanu PF.

Makwavarara defended her actions saying she had been born in Zanu PF
and grown up in the same party and did not regret going back to her roots.

The ousted deputy mayor attacked the Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube, accusing him of influencing councillors not to vote him into
power for a second term.

'The mayor would rather work with ignorant people and is afraid to
work with intelligent people who know what they are doing. He did not want
me as deputy- mayor because I was hogging the limelight and he was feeling
threatened. It actually weakened my credibility to deputise somebody like
Ndabeni Ncube,' said the former deputy-mayor.

On suggestions that he could have been a victim of the opposition
taking precautionary measures to avoid another Makwavarara scenario, Mpofu
said: 'I do not vomit something and go back to eat it. I left Zanu PF
because I did not agree with their policies and I am an MDC member but I
will always question unscrupulous activities that take place. Zanu PF has
approached me in the past to rejoin them but I have always refused.'

Angilacala Ndlovu is the new Bulawayo deputy mayor.

Bulawayo mayor, Ndabeni Ncube said he had not in any way contributed
to the downfall of Mpofu.

'To start with, I am the executive mayor, voted into office by the
whole of Bulawayo while Mpofu represents a ward, which means there is a
world of difference between our offices and the constituencies that we
represent. There is nothing that can cause me to have differences with
him.,' Ndabeni Ncube said.
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Zim Standard

Porta evictions on
By Valentine Maponga

THE once defiant residents at Porta Farm squatter camp started moving out on
Friday under the watchful eye of anti-riot police.

They are being relocated to housing co-operatives on farms around Harare.

A sombre mood engulfed Porta Farm as squatters were being ferried to their
various 'new homes', including the Chenjerai Hunzvi Housing Co-operative at
Retreat Farm along Seke road in government trucks.

A representative of the squatters, Khumbulani Khumalo, told The Standard
that people were moving out because they feared the armed police, who have
descended on the farm.

Two lorries packed with anti-riot police arrived at the farm on Friday and
proceeded to Norton later.

'I do not know why they had to send all those police officers. We are not
refusing to go. What we want is security and assurances that we are not
going to be dumped just like they did in the first place when we came here,'
explained Khumalo.

The squatters are being taken to farms such as Retreat, Glen Eagles,
Saturday Retreat, Caledonia, Crest, and Eyecoat.

Khumalo said that some of the people were being put in 'holding camps' or
old farmhouses.

'We demanded title deeds but we were told that we should not worry about
that since we have managed to stay at Porta for 13 years without them,'
Khumalo said.

In an interview with The Standard, some of the squatters alleged that
they were being forced to pay contributions equivalent to those of existing
members in order to join the co-operatives.

'When we went to Caledonia Farm on Tuesday, we were told that we should pay
$2 million in joining fees and subsequent monthly subscriptions of $40 000
per stand in order for us to stay at the farm. It is very difficult for us.
Where do they expect us to get such amounts?' asked Stanley Moyo, one of the
residents.

However, when confronted by The Standard, an official at Retreat Farm denied
that people were being asked to pay money.

'They are just being helped. We are not going to ask for money from them,'
said the official.

He said he had facilitated the movement of more that 100 families on Friday.

Officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and y
National Housing had ordered that the squatters move out by Friday.

Some of the squatters said they feared for their security at the farms where
they were being relocated.

They said it could be difficult to co-exist with the people who invaded the
farms.

'We have always wanted to be resettled but not in such a manner. In any
case, how are we going to live with the war veterans who are at those
farms?' asked Lissa Makoni, one of the residents at Porta Farm.
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Zim Standard

US donates ARV drugs to Zim
By Our own Staff

THE United States government has donated Anti Retroviral (ARV) drugs valued
at over US$500 000 to the Ministry of Health an d Child Welfare. The ARV's
are going to benefit at least 500 people living with HIV/Aids at five
selected hospitals across the country for at least a year.

The donation was officially handed over at the Harare hospital Opportunistic
Infections (OI) clinic last week.

The ARV programme will support the initiation of Zimbabwe's National
Anti-retroviral Treatment Programme at two pilot sites Harare Central
Hospital and Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo.

Three other sites, Howard Mission Hospital in Mashonaland Central Province,
Khami Road Clinic in Bulawayo City's Health Department, and Colin Saunders
Hospital in Triangle Limited in Masvingo Province will also roll out the ARV
programme would also benefit by the end of the year.

Launching the ARV programme, US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Joseph Sullivan,
said he hoped his government would continue to work together with the
Zimbabwean government in order to avert the effects of the Aids pandemi c.
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Zim Standard

Bad politics scuttle anti-HIV/Aids aid

THE political situation in Zimbabwe is affecting various HIV/Aids
interventions in the country, as numerous donors continue to withdraw their
technical and financial support to Z imbabwe in protest against the
maladministration of the President Robert Mugabe-led government.

Recently, in a huge blow to Zimbabwe's fight against HIV/Aids, its
application to the fourth round of the Global HIV/Aids Fund was turned down,
in what was generally viewed as a political statement.

The refusal by the Global Fund to give money to the country gravely affected
Zimbabwe's chances of rolling out a large scale anti-retroviral (ARV)
programme.

At present, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has the national ARV
programme being run only at Harare and Parirenyatwa hospitals in the capital
and Mpilo and United Bulawayo hospitals in Bulawayo.

Soon after the launch of its national ARV programme, the government admitted
that it had no capacity to spread the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to other
clinics and hospitals in the country and would be counting on major donors
to come in and assist.

But as recent events have suggested, the donor community is reluctant t o
offer more humanitarian assistance to a country characterised by both
political and economic instability.

A recent study conducted by the United States Institute of Peace shows that
the health of the nation is on a 'downward spiral' and that poor leadership
by President Mugabe is hindering Zimbabwe's struggle against the HIV/Aids
epidemic.

The 50-page study, entitled Downward Spiral: HIV/Aids, State Capacity, and
Political Conflict in Zimbabwe was authored by Andrew T Price-Smith and John
L Daly, science professors at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

The study notes Zimbabwe 'exhibits one of the highest levels of HIV/Aids
sero-prevalence in the world, with approximately 34 percent of the adult
population now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus'.

More than 600 000 Zimbabweans have died from Aids since 1998 and at least 2
500 people are dying each week due to the dreaded disease.

'This health tragedy is compounded by President Mugabe's seizure of
white-owned farms and his muzzling of the Press and crackdown on political
opponents through intimidation and even physical torture,' says the report.

'The result has been an almost total breakdown of health and social services
that could help to stem the spread of the disease in what was once regarded
as one of Africa's most prosperous nations.'

According to the USIP study as long as there is continuing absence of the
rule of law, foreign aid will not come into the country, further worsening
the situation.

'The continuing absence of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, widespread
corruption, electoral fraud, and the government's renowned propensity to
default consistently on loans have generated significant mistrust of the
Mugabe regime by foreign donor countries.'

The report, however, credits Mugabe for recognising 'the HIV/Aids epidemic
constitutes a significant threat to Zimbabwe'.

'He has begun to give the issue a higher priority on the regime's agenda.
However, many of the funds raised to combat the disease have been lost to
corruption,' says the report.

'Schemes to fight the disease, such as a three percent tax on companies and
individuals, have come under fire for politicising medical services to the
sick by providing relief only to regime supporters.'

The study further asserts: 'The removal of Mugabe from power would probably
benefit the country enormously, as it would permit a new and accountable
leadership structure to be established.

'However, any successor regime would face a similar situation of worsening
economic and political destabilization while the HIV/Aids epidemic rages
unabated.'

The US Institute of Peace is an independent research institution created by
the US Congress in 1984 to promote conflict resolution worldwide.
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Zim Standard

Zim mourns a true 'son of the soil'
By David Masunda

EDDISON Jonas Mudadirwa Zvobgo, the veteran politician who died last Sunday
and will be buried at the National Heroes' Acre in Harare today, was one of
the sharpest minds to shape post-independent Zimbabwe.

An eloquent speaker, the Harvard-trained lawyer strode the political field
of his home province Masvingo like a colossus for the first two decades of
post independent Zimbabwe.

Such was his popularity in Masvingo, Zimbabwe's largest province by
population, that for years President Robert Mugabe would seek his mere
presence to be assured of a huge turnout in this very restive province when
addressing supporters of the governing Zanu PF party.

Zvobgo, one of the triumvirate of sharp 'Young Turks' close to Mugabe after
Zanu PF transformed itself from a Marxist guerrilla movement into a
formidable political party at independence in 1980, was for long considered
the man most likely to succeed Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe. (The
other two were Edgar Tekere, later thrown out of the party after a fallout
with Mugabe, and the late Dr Herbert Ushewokunze).

The fiery politician gained international recognition during the 1979
Lancaster House conference that brought Zimbabwe's independence when he and
the late Willie Dzawanda Musarurwa were appointed joint spokesmen for the
liberation movements Mugabe's Zanu and Joshua Nkomo's Zapu during the
talks.

Zvobgo was every journalist's dream a book of quotable quotes on two feet.

In the late 1980s he was to be embroiled in the political battle of his life
after Mugabe's trusted long-time deputy Simon Muzenda who with the tacit
approval of the Zanu PF leader (who was known to secretly despise Zvobgo's
rising popularity) abandoned his Midlands seat for Masvingo, which was also
his home area.

The move, which resulted in 'two bulls in one pen' precipitated one of the
bitterest turf wars seen in the governing Zanu PF party: a battle that still
rages on today even after the two mentors have died.

But Zvobgo was far from a saint.

An extremely boastful person, he would taunt Mugabe at some Zanu PF meetings
where the party leader was absent and one time reportedly said should he
ever be fired from Cabinet, he had a rosy future in the legal world where
he and his siblings who were both legal practitioners would form a legal
firm that could be called 'Zvobgo, Zvobgo and Zvobgo'.

In the 1980s, Zvobgo was also involved in a messy court struggle over the
ownership of his two hotels in Masvingo with a former white partner, Ian
MacIntosh, who accused Zvobgo of abusing his position in government to elbow
him out of the business. MacIntosh was soon deported.

Over the years, some Zimbabweans began to blame Zvobgo the architect of
most of country's post independence laws of creating the widely criticised
and sweeping Presidential Powers Amendment Act, which created the Executive
Presidency that the Zimbabwean ruler has used to subdue the opposition.

In one of his rare and widely quoted interviews, which I conducted with him
at his Flamboyant Hotel in Masvingo in July 2000, Zvobgo who for the first
time had been dropped from Mugabe's Cabinet was openly critical of 1/4how
the Zimbabwean President had abused the Act to suit his long-term grip on
power.

'The usual case is that I personally created a monstrosity of a Presidency
what we did was laying down simply a skeleton of powers and functions that
can be operated or applied by five different people in five different
formats,' in the interview that was carried by the private Financial
Gazette, of which I was deputy editor-in-chief.

He continued: 'Reading it (the amended Act) as I often do, it's fairly
innocuous but how certain powers have been used (by Mugabe) is what is the
issue.

'I am quite sure that the same document can be operated extremely
democratically with consultations throughout. But depending on the
temperament of the individual, it can be fairly a nefarious instrument.'

In the same interview, Zvobgo ever the lawyer hinted at his long-held
ambition to succeed Mugabe and let out that the only reason he had never
openly challenged the Zanu PF leader was because of the ideals they
shared when both were in the bush fighting the enemy.

'The idea never crossed my mind that I could, for example, stand against him
in an electoral contest because that would have violated the agreements
which we always had the understandings, the friendships.

'I continued to say that, but I have also said that should he decide not to
run, then I have to reconsider my options. In those circumstances, I might
decide to offer myself,' he said.

Of course, it is now history that a few weeks after the July 2000 interview,
Mugabe announced that he would run once more for the presidency against
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the newly formed Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), dashing the hopes of many Zimbabweans who had hoped that
Zvobgo or another top Zanu PF official would contest the watershed 2002
presidential election.

After Mugabe's announcement, the fallout between the tw o founding members
of Zanu PF was immediate.

Zvobgo openly told followers in Masvingo that he would not campaign for
Mugabe. Mugabe begged Zvobgo to help him win the tricky election at a rally
in Masvingo town a few months later, but the stubborn lawyer would hear none
of it.

He continued to make disparaging remarks about Mugabe, sometimes at Zanu PF
rallies, triggering rumours that the veteran lawyer would soon cross the
floor and join Tsvangirai at the MDC.

That though never happened but the damage had been done. The two Zanu PF
leaders never saw eye to eye.

There were even reports that Zvobgo was about to launch a new political
party of his own, as did Tekere when Mugabe booted him out of Zanu PF in the
late 1980s.

This was his response: 'I love Zanu, I can't leave it. I created it with
others, of course. I have no other home and so I wish the party well. This
is from my heart.' That was at a time when some polls were saying Tsvangirai
would wallop Mugabe.

'I say so even during these moments of serious adversities which have
visited the party. To form a new party? That's out of the question.'

On whether Mugabe should be pressurised to retire, Zvobgo once again
demonstrated his dexterity with words: 'In this business, individuals can
become masters of their own destiny. They decide whether they want to
continue or whether they want to retire. I express no view.'

Sadly for him, a horrific motor car accident while on his way to Harare from
Masvingo was the harbinger of bad things to come. Although he recovered
after surgery in South Africa and in Europe, Zvobgo was never the same: he
was soon in and out of hospitals.

Last year he was rushed to a hospital in South Africa where he spent months
recuperating. But the stress and the political battles had taken their toll
on Zvobgo and his wife Julia, another Zanu PF stalwart. Julia Zvobgo died in
February and was declared a national heroine.

Even at her f uneral, it was evident that it would not be long. Zvobgo,
now confined to a wheelchair, cut a lonely figure when he could only observe
proceedings of Julia's wake from the veranda of their Harare home.

Zvobgo spent about 10 years in Rhodesian prisons and joined other Zanu
leaders in Maputo, Mozambique, in 1976 to wage the last leg of the armed
struggle that forced the white Rhodesian government of Ian Smith to the
negotiating table in 1979.

Seven children and 12 grand children survive him. After Mugabe had fired him
in 2000, I posed this question: 'Do you feel let down by President Mugabe?'

Zvobgo said: 'Oh no, in fact I said (to Mugabe), I am relieved.'

Farewell Dr Zvobgo. If there is a court in heaven, then the heavens have
gained a brilliant lawyer.
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New Archbishop gets firm support
By our own Staff

DESPITE State media reports that the Catholic community was divided over the
appointment of former Hwange Bishop, Robert Christopher Ndlovu as the
Archbishop of Harare, the carnival atmosphere thousands witnessed at his
installation last Saturday indicates there is abundant support for the new
Archbishop.

Thousands of Catholics, including President Robert Mugabe and the First
Lady, Grace, thronged the City Sports Centre in Ha 'rare, while those who
could not find a seat on the bays, benches and chairs gladly sat on the
floor. The unlucky ones had to make do with following the proceedings from
outside the complex.

Several of the people who had packed the sporting complex fainted as the
venue had taken more people than could be accommodated.

The Pope's representative in Zimbabwe, Archibshop Joseph Edward Adams and
bishops from the Southern African region attended, ignoring attempts to
divide Catholics in Zimbabwe.

According to The Herald, some Catholics were reportedly not happy about the
two main Archdioceses of Bulawayo and Harare being led by people drawn from
Matabeleland. The anonymous critics of the appointment quoted by The Herald,
described the appointment as a slap in the face. Archbishop Pius Ncube is
the head of the Catholic Church in Bulawayo and comes from Matabeleland.

Quoting unnamed Catholics, including an unnamed cabinet minister, the
State-controlled newspaper said concerned church members were questioning
the rationale of appointing someone from Matabeleland to head the Harare
archdiocese, sidelining 'suitable' candidates from Mashonaland, Masvingo and
Manicaland.

Joseph Shumba, a member of the Catholic Church had his own explanation for
the story that appeared in The Herald.

'The Catholic Church is a very crucial institution and has a very
illustrious history in the affairs of Zimbabwe, including the liberation
struggle. Zanu PF naturally had its own favourite candidates for the post of
archbishop and when they were wrong-footed by Pope John Paul II, they
started panicking because they probably did not know anything about Ndlovu.
They were probably trying to cause confusion so that their preferred
candidate would be appointed archbishop of Harare.'

Catholics who attended the ceremony, which was punctuated by song and dance,
said they were not concerned about the origins of their priests and
archbishops.
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Zim Standard

Nyambuya warns MDC-dominated city council
By our own Staff

MUTARE Mike Nyambuya, the provincial governor for Manicaland has warned
the city council to improve service provision to residents, saying he is
keeping an eye on its activities.

He made the remarks last week at the commissioning of three refuse trucks
bought by the city of Mutare for $1,5 billion and the ground-breaking
ceremony of a six kilometre water pipeline from Christmas Pass to
Sakubva.

The pipeline which cost an estimated $9,2 billion is expected to end
perennial water woes for the residents of Dangamvura, Fern Valley and
Chikanga.

'I will continue to monitor and supervise their activities in this regard to
ensure that our communities are not short-changed in the process,' Nyambuya
said.

Nyambuya's comments come at a time when provincial governors are being
accused of interfering and meddling in the running and affairs of urban
councils in the country.

The interference has targeted local authorities mostly run by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Already in Harare, Witness Mangwende, the governor appears to have gained an
upper hand over the city council, previo usly dominated by the MDC.

Nyambuya also warned the council to act speedily against the problem of
squatters in Sakubva suburb.

He said: 'The high levels of squatting in Sakubva worry me. I want to see
the situation ameliorated as soon as possible. We need to prioritise these
people living in backyards in Sakubva, in terms of housing provision.'

Sakubva has a population of about 150 000 but half the people live in wooden
shacks or cabins.

The Mutare executive mayor Misheck Kagurabadza, speaking at the same
function, said the current MDC council assumed office with no financial
books to talk about.

He said the previous council had no refuse trucks and that the whole city
relied on three tractors for refuse collection.

'I want to make it categorically clear that I am not in anyway trying to
castigate the previous council. The old council (Zanu PF) could not buy the
same (refuse trucks) because of financial constraints,' the mayor said.

Kagurabadza said the council required at least 16 refuse trucks for it to
remove garbage effectively in the city.
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Zim Standard

Comment

Mugabe not ready for Sadc Charter

THE Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Charter of rules and
electoral guidelines represents one of the rapidly shrinking avenues of
returning Zimbabwe to the international fold.

William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar writes:

'There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which taken at the flood,

Leads on to fortune.

Omitted, all the voyage of their life,

Is bound in shallows and miseries,

On such a full sea we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures '

After the country's isolation and the attendant hardships, Zimbabwe
has suffered as a consequence of undemocratic practices at the hands of its
rulers. The Sadc Charter therefore offers the country the gateway to
normalisation of relations with the rest of the international community.

It is this assumption that led Paul Berenger, the Prime Minister of
Mauritius, to suggest at the just-ended Sadc summit in Grande Baie: '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 US.'

Regional leaders have agonised over the plight of the people in this
country and how they can assist its leaders in ensuring that Zimbabwe takes
its rightful place in thecommunity of nations. The ball is, therefore,
firmly in Zimbabwe's court.

However, the concern is whether they can persuade their colleague,
President Mugabe, to fully agree, as opposed to selective application of the
rules or how they will enforce implementation of the principles.

If they can persuade and achieve full compliance, they will have
allayed fears of the majority of Zimbabweans that Sadc leaders have
abandoned them to Zanu PF and its youth militia ahead of next March's
parliamentary elections.

President Mugabe's statement soon after his arrival from Mauritius
suggests he is disowning the document before the ink on it has dried.

In one of his comments on the Charter, the President said that
member-states could only observe elections at the invitation of the host
nation. He found support in President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania. But then
this is just two out of the 14 leaders of the regional grouping. It is
important to appreciate that Mkapa gave his support to Mugabe before, and
not after adoption of the Charter.

In the past, President Mugabe has said he would not countenance the
presence of foreign observers. This is one reason why Pierre Schorri's
European Union observer team was kicked out just before the 2000
parliamentary elections.

There appeared to be no problem in the eyes of Zanu PF with poll
observers and monitors from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) bloc,
the continent or the Sadc region.

But the President seems to suggest that the inviting authority is the
State. It isn't. The body empowered to organise, run and supervise the
election process is the proper authority to invite observers and monitors.

President Mugabe's comments suggest that his government is determined
to circumvent both the spirit and letter of the Sadc Charter. His government
is in the process of introducing a Bill for Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs), which is a far-reaching and draconian law clearly designed to
exert full and complete control over NGOs and other human rights
organisations in Zimbabwe.

We are clearly dealing with an oppressive regime in Zimbabwe. There
has been a systematic and unrelenting assault on the civil and political
rights of Zimbabweans during the last four years. And there is no let up on
this. The sooner the Sadc leaders understand this fact the better for all of
us.

Zimbabwe's history and track record of breaching its own commitments
is well documented. The October 1991 Harare Declaration by the Commonwealth
is one example of Zimbabwe's contempt of accords unless they serve its
interests. The case of Zimbabwe's forced withdrawal from the Commonwealth
can be traced to this declaration.

Implementing the Sadc principles will entail scrapping the Access to
Infor mation and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), Public Order and
Security Act (Posa), the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the proposed
NGO Bill.

These laws are nothing more than actions by the Zimbabwe government to
exert a stranglehold on those perceived to be in opposition to government
and government policies. It is a clampdown on the opposition, the
independent presss and the civil society. And it is common knowledge that
these laws are not consistent with an enlightened, open and democratic
system of government.

Zimbabwe would not be scared of regional and international poll
observers if it has no intention of doing anything undemocratic. But then,
the guilty are always afraid. Why close the door when you know that you
have nothing to hide?

The government of Zimbabwe and Zanu PF are clearly not ready to commit
themselves to the Sadc Charter of rules and electoral guidelines.

Little wonder therefore that the Movement for Democracy Change (MDC)
has decided to suspend participation in all forms of elections in this
country until the Zimbabwe government adheres to the Sadc protocol on
elections in its truest and broadest sense.
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Zim Standard

You have to be in it to win it
overthetop By Brian Latham

THE troubled central African nation's opposition More Drink Coming Party has
pulled out of all elections in the country in a move that means it cannot be
blamed for losing next year's polls.

The precipitous action came just days after the Southern African Disaster
Committee announced new protocols for holding elections in the region.

But while the troubled central African country's ruling Zany Party said
it would abide by the protocols, there was obviously considerable scepticism
in the opposition.

Without waiting to criticise the Zany Party for lying flagrantly about poll
reform, the More Drink Coming Party withdrew from the race.

The move means the Zany Party now has no need to institute electoral changes
because it will hold elections with itself.

Analysts said that without an opposition, the Zany Party could now hold
elections modelled on the North Korean model.

These are expected to see 99,8% of the vote going to the Zany Party. Anyone
who questions these amazing statistics when only 2% of the population turns
out to vote could find themselves deprived of their liberty and the soles
of their feet.

Still, the disturbed leader of an equally disturbed southern African nation
last week announced that any country that did not abide by the new protocols
could see itself kicked out of the Southern African Disaster Committee.

The news was treated with disdain by the Zany Party who said they were now
accomplished at resigning from regional and world bodies, thus depriving
anyone of the satisfaction of giving them the boot.

Meanwhile observers said they await the implementation of the new voting
rules with keen anticipation. Most observers, who said that officially they
could not be called observers because that might be illegal, said they would
hope for change, but that might also be considered illegal or at least a
sinister western plot.

'Actually we expect many announcements,' said one foreign diplomat who
cannot be named for the same reasons diplomats in the state-controlled press
cannot be named.

'We expect Zany officials to announce that the elections will be free, fair
and  a true expression of the people's will.'

The unnameable foreign diplomat went on to say: 'We also expect the results
to show that the Zany Party has won a landslide victory and that the results
will be accepted wholeheartedly by the Southern African Disaster Committee.'

Still, Over The Top can reveal that rumours that the results of next year's
elections are already available are vastly exaggerated. Had the More Drink
Coming Party not decided to withdraw from the race, the results might have
been available, but their withdrawal has created considerable work for
officials who must now return to the drawing board.

Meanwhile supporters of the More Drink Coming Party were not entirely in
support of the decision to withdraw from elections in the troubled central
African nation, pointing out that the move was likely to draw criticism from
the Southern African Disaster Committee.

And for it's part, the ruling Zany Party gloated predictably that the
announcement to withdraw signified surrender on the part of the opposition.
The interpretation was mirrored in the streets among ordinary members of the
More Drink Coming Party.

They said they wondered whether the move would really put pressure on the
Zany government or whether it would simply leave the opposition in a void
from which it could not garner official support from the rest of the region.
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Zim Standard

Letters

Harare rate increases do not make sense

The astronomical increase in the basic charges, from $180 to $8 600,
announced by the Harare city council is unacceptable. An increase of up to
$360, which is double the old rate makes sense.

It would be advisable for the City Council to refund ratepayers the
difference between $8 600 and $360. It seems the motorcades for acting
executive mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara, and Town Clerk, Nomutsa Chideya, have
necessitated these increases.

The Minister of Local Government, Dr Ignatius Chombo, should reassign these
 two officials, so that they continue to perform other duties in the City
Council that do not necessarily require them to have motorcades and
therefore punish residents through ever-rising rates.

Why should the Minister approve the increase knowing that the cost of living
in Zimbabwe is sky-rocketing and unemployment is on a run-away course. Where
on earth does he think we will get the money to meet such increases?

By taking action, Chombo will demonstrate to all residents that he is aware
of the economic hardships we are all suffering. The increases should be
suspended. We should revert to the December rates.

Critical resident

Mabelreign

Harare
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Zim Standard

Letters

Disband ZIMSEC forthwith

THIS is an appeal to the minister responsible for educating the future
leaders of this country, Aneas Chigwedere, that ZIMSEC has long been exposed
as an unreliable custodian of our examinations system,and now is the time to
call it off.

Over the years, the board has had chronic failures, not to mention
examination leakages, fraud, corruption and total systematic l (tm)oopholes
and doctoring of results. All these have eroded all the credibilty of our
examinations.

The board has failed to live up to our expectations or to come up with a
strategic turnaround programme and tight security measures.The only solution
to all this mess is to disband this ineffective scapegoat and replace it
with a more aggressive board.

This is the only way we can save our reputed education system which has
taken decades to build.

Asher Tarivona Mutsengi

Solusi University
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Zim Standard

Letters

Why buy these posh cars when health services are collapsing

To most readers, your article of last week regarding the government's
purchase of top notch vehicles for army chiefs is history and by now
forgotten. It is my habit also to do the same with most news I read,
regardless of the direct or indirect impact such issues have on my
livelihood.

I visited Parirenyatwa Hospital on Saturday 21/08/04 and the news about thes
e billions going into the purchase of such executive vehicles was
dismaying. The state of the country's major referral hospital is so
pathetic. I left Parirenyatwa Hospital three hours later having failed to
get attention. I do not begrudge the defence chiefs their windfall.

My concern is that whoever has the authority to use tax-payers money in this
manner should also stop to think about the state of our hospitals and the
service delivery one encounters there.

To have one doctor attending to out-patients and emergencies, no matter how
dedicated the guy was, was a sorry sight to witness. At the end of his/her
duty, the same professional gets into a dilapidated 323, headed for some
cheap flat that he calls home, somewhere, does make one even sadder.

Then on one extreme we have other professionals zooming to extra posh
low-density suburbs in even poshier vehicles.There is obviously a
misplacement of priorities.

To condone this misplacement of revenue is to sign the death warrant of
countless suffering people who cannot afford the fees charged at private
hospitals and whose revenue has been directed to buy Toyota Prados which
replace Peugeot 406s instead of medical equipment and medicine.

What about the welfare of the said doctor? Is it then a question of
political significance, with those who hold the sway benefitting at the
direct expense of such hard-working and dedicated medical staff and the
suffering ordinary people.

The Prados can be bought, but let us also see massive injection of billions
of dollars into institutions that benefit the common person.

Z Mukonowasauka

Harare
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Zim Standard

Letters

This is Zanu PF hypocrisy towards white Zimbabweans

I JOIN the many Zimbabweans, among them President Robert Mugabe, who have
congratulated Kirsty Coventry for winning three medals at the Athens
Olympics.

Many other Zanu PF officials, including Education, Sport and Culture
Minister, Aeneas Chigwedere, who could not himself attend the games because
of his government's human rights abuse record, also sent congratulatory
messages.

I tried har 'd to imagine what message Mugabe's Minister for Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, would have for Coventry, but I
am yet to come up with anything.

The world should remember that Chinamasa, a favourite of Mugabe, accused the
ancestors of white people in Zimbabwe of stealing 'our land and our cattle'
during a debate in parliament, resulting in Chimanimani Member of
Parliament, Roy Bennett, who was the target of Chimanasa's attack, getting
angry and pushing Chinamasa to the floor.

Juxtaposing the two developments, one can conclude that Mugabe and his
cronies hate white people, but only pretend to like them to give the world a
false impression that there is racial harmony in Zimbabwe.

What had Bennett done wrong when Chinamasa accused him and his ancestors
of being thieves? Nothing. I hear Bennett is loved by the people of
Chimanimani because of what he does for them. I also hear that before
joining the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), Bennett was in the Zanu PF
structures. In fact, some people say the MDC won the Chimanimani seat
because of Bennett's popularity.

He just has the ordinary people at heart, even during his days in Zanu PF.
But Zanu PF does not like such people in its ranks. Bennett left Zanu PF
because he could not put up with cruel, directionless dictators who pretend
to be what they are not.

The day Coventry reveals her political affiliation, and it happens to be not
in the interests of Zanu PF, Mugabe, Chinamasa and all the other  Mugabe
cronies will take turns to attack her mark my words.

Mugabe and his cronies are trying to use Coventry's victory to paint a false
and misleading impression that there is racial harmony in Zimbabwe. In turn,
the world should simply cross check that position with remarks that are
always made by Zanu PF when they refer to whites who are thought to support,
or are sympathetic to the MDC.

Benjamin Chitate

Harare
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Zim Standard

Letters

ESC still to pay poll monitors their allowances

PLEASE may I be allowed to tell the whole nation that the Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC) cheated the monitors who spent two-and-a-half
months in the bush carrying out voter education from the beginning of May to
mid July.

The monitors were promised $130 000.00 a day as their allowances as most
were working away from their homes. However, not even a single cent has been
paid and no they have just forgotten about them.

A lot of money was used for transport by the monitors because the commission
was not able to provide transport.

When one asks what happened to the promised allowances, one is told they are
still waiting for treasury to release the money. To me this only suggests
the inability of the commission to run elections in Zimbabwe.

There is a lot to suspect about the whole situation. Unfortunately most
monitors can not come out in the open to complain since they are state
employees. Please do your own investigations, Editor you will be able to
unearth skeletons,

Please do not publish my name as I fear I could be victimised

Cheated State Employee

Harare
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Zim Standard

Wankie targets rural deforestation
By our own Staff

LEADING coal extractor Wankie Colliery has entered into a partnership with
the Forestry Company of Zimbabwe (FCZ) and Zimcast that is intended to
arrest the wholesale chopping down of trees for firewood.

Wankie managing director Godfrey Dzinomwa told Standard Business that the
coal miner is supplying coal to newly resettled families who are using it as
alternative fuel.

Zimcast, a leading foundry firm based in Gweru, is providing solid fuel
stoves to the families. Currently most families rely on firewood as a form
of energy due to escalating costs of other forms of power.

Dzinomwa said the project which is still in its promotional phase and
is being rolled out freely will serve as a way of conserving resources for
future generations.

'If more people turn to coal they can allow trees to grow and we can help
preserve some forests,' he said.

Besides targeting newly resettled areas, the project is also being promoted
in deforested areas such as Ndabazinduna in Bulawayo. Some resettled
families in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central, have been the first beneficiaries
of the partnership.

In the past four years of State-sanctioned seizures of white-owned
productive farmland, resettled farmers have turned themselves into wood
poachers.
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Zim Standard

Cut empowerment stake, say mines firms
By Kumbirai Mafunda

MINING industry representatives are lobbying government to reduce and
stagger the share representation of empowered groups that they would be
forced to take on board as part of a proposed government directiv ye to
increase the participation of blacks in key industries, Standard Business
has learnt.

According to official sources, mining representatives want the government to
reduce the proposed 49 % equity set aside for indigenous blacks in mines
owned by foreign companies to a staggered 40 % over eight years.

The sources said the Chamber of Mines submitted such proposals to the
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development a fortnight ago.

According to a draft law that rattled mining barons and prospective
investors early this year, foreign companies have to relinquish 49% of their
shares in local operations to indigenous Zimbabweans within three years. For
public companies, the requirement is 25%.

The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill 2004 is expected to be tabled in
Parliament during its last sitting before key general elections slotted for
March next year.

The Chamber of Mines hashowever proposed that foreign firms sell their
shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans in a staggered process. The mines
body proposes that the mining houses sell 15% of their equity to locals
within the first three years and another 25% in five years.

This would bring down to 40% the amount of shares 'historically
disadvantaged people' will get in eight years as opposed to the proposed 49%
within three years.

In South Africa, a revised empowerment mining legislation requires that 15%
shareholding be taken by indigenous people within five years and the rest
26% within the next 10 years.

The chamber's recommendations, according to sources, were arrived at after
assessments were carried out of the current values of the Australian stock
exchange-listed Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) and Anglo Platinum.

A 15% empowerment portion set aside by Zimplats was recently snapped up by
Nkulul eko Rusununguko Mining Company (NRMC) ahead of Needgate and its
Grassroots partners in a hostile bid.

In another empowerment deal, Anglo Platinum says it has set aside a 20%
shareholding in its Unki platinum project for the participation of local
formerly disadvantaged groups.

According to sources, the chamber is also stressing that 'empowerment' be
accompanied by the ability of the disadvantaged to pay for their stake.

'Although empowerment is a very important key for the development of this
country it must be linked with growth,' a mining source said.

The chamber has also made its own proposals on mining claims, tenure and
Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs). Those holding a mining claim, the
chamber says, should use it or lose it if there is no significant work
progress.

'People can't hold mining claims in perpetuity,' said the mining source, in
reference to claims that some companies and individuals were sittin g on
mining claims that they have never developed since independence.

Several companies have also had their EPOs recently revoked as the
government tries to weed out those believed to be holding on to the rights
for speculative purposes.

EPOs are mining rights, which are given to mining companies to explore
possible mineral deposits in specific areas. They are issued by the Minister
of Mines and Mining Development in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act on
the recommendation of the Mining Affairs Board.

Since the announcement of the proposed amendments, there have been reports
that some new mining projects were put on hold by worried investors who have
adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Primary and secondary listing partners have
also withdrawn from future financing activities, it has been learnt
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Zim Standard

Kirsty Coventry is a light in the darkness
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

SOME pronounce her name as 'Kiristi', others as 'Kisiti'. If you want
funnier versions of the name just listen to ZBC Radio or watch ZTV.

What is common to both mispronouncers and proper pronouncers of the name,
however, is that they all mention it with much affection. The name is that
of Kirsty Coventry, a 20-year-old white Zimbabwean.

Coventry first became the toast of Zimbabwe when she won the country's only
gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games i \n Manchester, England. Not
only did she win the gold but, she set a new record in swimming with her
time of two minutes, 14,43 seconds. The whole country was proud of her.

Today Coventry's name is on the lips of most Zimbabweans again. She just won
her beloved Zimbabwe three medals a gold, silver and bronze, at the
Olympic Games in Greece.

Coventry's performance at the Olympics was a much-needed morale booster for
Zimbabwe, which is now a pariah among democratic and civilised countries of
the world.

Its once prosperous people are now hungry beggars existing on handouts from
well-wishers or money sent by relatives who are economic refugees in other
countries.

Zimbabwe's Minister of Education Sport an Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, could
not even accompany the Zimbabwean team to Greece. He is banned from
travelling there because the European Union imposed sanctions targeted at
Zimbabwe's ruling elite.

On Wednesday, last week, Zimbabweans forgot their misery for a change. They
came out in full force to welcome the swimming superstar home at the Harare
International Airport.

As soon as she disembarked from the plane, the smiling and very white
Coventry was mobbed and almost drowned in a sea of jubilant black faces with
arms outstretched to shake her hand.

In the background Oliver Mutukudzi's smooth voice sang the victory song,
'Nhasi Ndezveduwo', congratulating Coventry for elevating the people whose
ancestral home is Zimbabwe (Kupembedza dzinza).

After Coventry's win in Manchester, I wrote an article in The Daily News of
August 10, 2002. I wrote of how after reporters in Manchester had questioned
her about the situation in Zimbabwe, she had said: 'My parents and sister
still live there. It helped being in the US because I wasn't involved,
but knowing what they were going through was hard. But everyone pulled
together at a difficult time.'

In the article I asked about what the Zimbabwean heroine was talking about.
I answered myself thus: 'This actually is a stupid question because we all
know what she was talking about. She was talking about the hell that her
parents and most whites are going through today whether they are citizens or
not.

We all know that she was talking about the racial insults, threats,
extortion, rape, torture and murders that the white Zimbabwean community and
those blacks labelled 'British supporters' are going through at the hands of
the government.

'A reporter asked Coventry about her winning experience. Despite her
family's trauma, which she had alluded to in Manchester, she said: I was
ecstatic. Hearing the national anthem from the podium made me feel so
proud to be a Zimbabwean.''

I concluded the article by saying: 'I must say Coventry, all patriotic
Zimbabweans are proud of you. We hope you will win more medals for your
country and that you will continue to be the role model for your peers. Keep
your head high.'

Coventry did just that. She has won more medals and is indeed a role model
for young Zimbabweans. She should be doubly applauded for being proud of her
country of birth at this time in its history. There is not much to be proud
of except its beauty, which God created.

Some Zimbabweans are now ashamed to be called Zimbabweans. Henry Olonga,
Heath Streak and most white top cricketers for Zimbabwe left in disgust.

A few days ago, Edgar Rogers, former Secretary-General of the Zimbabwe
Olympic Committee and out-going Commonwealth Games Federation vice-president
for Africa, literary renounced his Zimbabwean citizenship and said he was
preparing to move to South Africa.

I can't say that I blame Zimbabweans who choose to leave. I can only say
that I admire those who choose to stay despite the appalling political,
social and economic hardships the country is facing, especially knowing that
a rabidly ethno-centric government causes them.

As I watched the enthusiasm with which Zimbabweans welcomed and
congratulated Coventry and how they took her glory as their own, I again
concluded that black Zimbabweans are not hate-filled racists at heart. If
that is the case, why is it that our government media propagate racial
hatred and negatively stereotype whites as part of their political
propaganda?

Don't get me wrong. I am not and will never be an apologist for white
racism. I am more aware, than some, of the evils of colonialism and the
racial discrimination of the past. I was a victim of that myself. However, I
am intelligent enough to realise that living in the past will not get us
anywhere.

In fact, it will eventually destroy us. For Zimbabwe's sake, I will not
replace white racism with black racism. I believe that this is the attitude
of the majority of black Zimbabweans.

The hate-filled racist propaganda we are daily bombarded with, through the
media comes from idiotic politicians who are good for nothing.

They have failed to run this country properly and are now finding scapegoats
to blame for their inability to govern. They, therefore blame the few whites
left in the country for all evils besetting Zimbabwe today. History, therefo
xre, becomes very convenient to them.

I laughed cynically when I read our President's congratulatory letter to
Coventry. I asked myself whether he realises that she is white.

Isn't he the one who, at the height of the white farm invasions, when
violence against whites was rampant, urged black Zimbabweans to 'instil fear
into the hearts of all whites?'

I don't remember him making any exceptions so that included Coventry and her
parents, too.

He, who has ears to hear, let him.
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Reuters

Sunday August 29, 03:08 PM

Mugabe claims Blair trying to oust him
By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has vowed he
will never retreat in the face of what he calls British and U.S. government
attempts to oust him.

In a speech to thousands of mourners on Sunday at the burial of
veteran Zimbabwean nationalist Eddison Zvobgo, Mugabe said the two countries
wanted to topple his government following his seizures of white-owned farms
to resettle landless blacks.

"They talk about regime change unashamedly ... Who are they to us?" he
said to loud applause.

"It's not going to happen in this country. There will not be regime
change except through the people of Zimbabwe. They are the only ones who can
bring about regime change," he said.

Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe won independence from Britain 24 years
ago, has been at the centre of a storm over charges he rigged his ZANU-PF
party's victory in parliamentary polls four years ago and his own
re-election in 2002.

Mugabe said his government's western opponents, led by Britain, had
deployed hundreds of people working under non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) to destabilise Zimbabwe, and to try to oust him.

"We are now wise, too wise to be cheated," he said. "We shall never
retreat."

Mugabe has previously drawn comparisons between the U.S. and
British-led ouster of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and their stance
against his own government, mainly over his land reforms and his
controversial re-election.

Both the main opposition and several western countries say that
election was rigged.

In June, Blair told parliament his government was working closely with
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change on measures to be taken
in Zimbabwe.

"It is still important that we give every chance to, and make every
effort to try to help, those in ... the southern part of Africa to put
pressure for change on the Mugabe regime, because there is no salvation for
the people of Zimbabwe until that regime is changed," Blair said.

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IOL

Coup attempt far more serious than it seems
August 29 2004 at 02:50PM

The story of Mark Thatcher's arrest in Cape Town, and the trial of
suspected mercenaries in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea, is so like a
far-out thriller about the Dogs of War that it's hard to realise its full
diplomatic significance.

The characters and situations seem fictional stereotypes: a former
prime minister's son with a dubious history arrested in Cape Town; his
friend, the Old Etonian mercenary Simon Mann, imprisoned by the black
villain Mugabe and convicted yesterday by a court in Zimbabwe; the Afrikaner
accomplice Nick du Toit facing the death sentence in a brutal dictatorship
Equatorial Guinea; an international network, including the crudely coded
"Scratcher" and "Smelly" and, allegedly, the ex-jailbird Lord Archer.

They all appear to belong to an old-fashioned story about white
adventurers intervening to safeguard the interests of Western businessmen.

But the truth is more interesting, and much less racial: the real
reason for South Africa's intervention was finally to move against the
networks of mercenaries which are the most dangerous legacy of the apartheid
government.

To understand South Africa's problem, we have to look back to the last
years of the apartheid government when it unleashed secret troops across the
continent to enforce its foreign policy. It provided the training ground of
many of the freelance mercenaries today.

South Africa became the world's chief base for mercenary activity,
while weak and corrupt governments across the continent were easy targets
for rebel leaders, backed by big-business interests, which could deploy
mercenaries against the ill-trained local armies.

It was this legacy which the ANC inherited 10 years ago. The continued
presence of mercenaries threatened the effectiveness of the army and
intelligence services, while other African states constantly feared
intervention from free-booting groups flying up from the south.

President Thabo Mbeki, after he took office, wanted to establish his
country's leadership and reputation in the rest of Africa.

The extraordinary story remains a thriller, but it is not about
intrepid white daredevils confronting black dictators. It is more serious;
about the need to move against lawless mercenaries who need to be checked
before they wreck the prospects of peace in Africa and elsewhere. - The
Independent

. This article was originally published on page 5 of Sunday
Tribune on August 29, 2004

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News24

Zim slams 'imperialist' NGOs
29/08/2004 13:15 - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe described on Sunday
non-governmental organisations in the country as imperialists working to
destabilise the southern African nation.

Speaking at the funeral of a veteran nationalist, Eddison Zvobgo, Mugabe
warned thousands of Zimbabwean spectators to guard against those who wanted
to work with Western nations to effect "regime change".

"We now know their tactics, these imperialists... as they deploy hoards of
their compatriots under the cover of innumerable non-governmental
organisations to destabilise our country and to try and effect the so-called
'regime change'," the 80-year-old head of state said.

The Zimbabwe government last week published a Non-governmental Organisations
Bill, which aims to tightly control the work of aid organisations, and ban
foreign human rights groups from operating in the country.

Mugabe also hit out at former colonial power Britain for "unashamedly"
talking about changing Mugabe's government, which has been in power since it
gained independence from white minority rule in 1980.

"We ask, what right do they have to effect that change, even to talk about
it. Who are they to us? Yesterday they were our colonisers, the British.
Today they still want by remote control to remain our colonisers."

Recently parliament, which is dominated by Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), adopted a motion to probe the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for alleged "treasonous
activities" in the country.

This came after British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons
that his goverment works "closely with the MDC on the measures that we
should take in respect of Zimbabwe".
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Independent (UK)

Britain helped to foil Africa 'coup' plot
By Raymond Whitaker, Francis Elliott and Paul Lashmar
29 August 2004

British intelligence services stepped in to foil an African coup plot which
Sir Mark Thatcher has been accused of helping to finance, according to
sources close to the affair.

Simon Mann, a former SAS officer, was convicted in Zimbabwe last week on
arms charges connected to a failed coup in the oil-rich West African state
of Equatorial Guinea last March. More than a dozen alleged mercenaries are
on trial for their lives in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea's capital, accused of
being the advance guard for Mr Mann and his colleagues. But it was the
arrest of Baroness Thatcher's son in South Africa last week that drew
worldwide attention to the plot.

Sir Mark, who is on bail of 165,000, is expected to face two charges under
South Africa's Foreign Military Assistance Act, which is intended to prevent
the country being a base for mercenary activity across the continent. The
South African intelligence service has announced publicly that it
infiltrated the alleged plot, but The Independent on Sunday has learnt that
British agencies were also monitoring preparations. Several figures in
Britain have been accused of helping to organise and finance the attempted
coup.

The US, whose oil giants have large contracts with the tiny West African
state, was also said to be aware of the alleged conspiracy to overthrow
Equatorial Guinea's president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, and replace him with
an opposition figure said to have been backed by foreign financiers who
would have been rewarded with oil concessions and other deals. Sources close
to the Obiang regime have accused the former Spanish government of Jose
Maria Aznar of complicity in the plot.

"Britain co-operated with South Africa in gathering information about the
planned coup and helped to put a stop to it, but its intelligence agencies
are happy to let the South Africans take the credit," said one well-informed
source.

The plan collapsed when Mr Mann was arrested in Zimbabwe and a plane
carrying 64 alleged mercenaries, most of them former members of South
Africa's apartheid-era special forces, was seized at Harare airport. Since
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe frequently accuses Britain of attempting
to undermine him, it was convenient for South Africa, which maintains
cordial relations with its unstable neighbour, to take the leading role.

Last week Zimbabwe acquitted most of Mr Mann's associates of the arms
charges, accepting their claim that they did not know what their mission was
to be. But South Africa is considering charging them under its
anti-mercenary law on their return, and a spokesman for its elite Scorpions
investigations squad said it could seek the extradition of Britons against
whom there is significant evidence. Neither South Africa nor Britain is
willing to extradite suspects to Equatorial Guinea, which retains the death
penalty. But a Home Office spokeswoman said that Britain had full
extradition relations with South Africa: "Requests for the extradition of
British nationals would be considered. The UK always stands ready to fulfil
its international obligations."

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Independent (UK)

How new Africa made fools of the white mischief-makers
The days when white mercenaries could walk into small African countries and
take them over appear to be gone. The coup plot against Equatorial Guinea,
with its cast of old Etonians, adventurers and shady money men, failed
because of its leaders' incompetence - and because of a new spirit of
co-operation among Africans
By Raymond Whitaker and Paul Lashmar
29 August 2004

"Things have changed in Africa over the past few years," said a friend of
Simon Mann, the old Etonian now awaiting sentence in Zimbabwe for attempting
to buy arms illegally. "The days are gone when you could recruit a bunch of
moustaches, load up some ammunition and take over a country - especially if
you are a white man."

Mr Mann says the weapons were for a mine security operation in the
Democratic Republic of Congo; the Zimbabweans and others say they were for a
coup in the oil-rich state of Equatorial Guinea. But the truth of his
friend's words are evident as the 51-year-old former SAS officer sits in
Chikurubi prison near Harare, facing a heavy sentence at his next hearing on
10 September.

In Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Nick du Toit, Mr Mann's
associate, is on trial for his life. And under house arrest behind heavy
iron gates in Constantia, one of Cape Town's smartest suburbs, Sir Mark
Thatcher is contemplating his future.

The indulged son of Baroness Thatcher got out of several scrapes when his
mother was Prime Minister, but there is nothing she can do to extricate him
from his most serious trouble yet. The businessman, also 51, has been
charged under South Africa's Foreign Military Assistance Act with
involvement in financing the coup plot, and faces up to 15 years in jail if
convicted. Although he is unlikely to be extradited to Equatorial Guinea -
no extradition treaty exists between the two countries, and South Africa,
like Britain, refuses to send suspects to states that retain the death
penalty - legal officers from there may be allowed to question him in Cape
Town.

According to legal statements by Mr Mann and Mr du Toit, a force of
mercenaries recruited in South Africa were to fly to Zimbabwe, pick up arms
and ammunition and fly on to Equatorial Guinea. In return for $1.8m (1m)
and lucrative contracts, they would help to depose President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema and replace him with Severo Moto, an exiled opposition politician
based in Madrid. If he was not killed in the operation, President Obiang was
to have been flown to Spain.

But how could the politics of a small, sweaty African microstate have
entangled such a varied cast of characters? These include not only Lady
Thatcher's son but some of her closest former aides, such as Lord Archer,
whose friend, the Lebanese-born, British-based oil trader Ely Calil, is
named by Mr Mann as the chief sponsor of the coup. (Both Lord Archer and Mr
Calil have denied any prior knowledge or involvement.) Add in ex-special
forces operatives from Britain and South Africa, not to mention two African
dictators - President Obiang and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe - and the story
begins to resemble a Frederick Forsyth thriller, a post-modernist Dogs of
War in which the "natives" actually win.

And that, an Independent on Sunday investigation shows, is the point. Not
only does the affair resurrect the era when white mercenaries attempted to
overturn regimes across Africa, it brings back half-forgotten figures from
the 1980s in Britain, when a class of deal-makers and influence-peddlers
operated in the shadow of the seemingly unconquerable Iron Lady, seeking to
turn her grip on the British electorate to profit.

When his mother took power Mark Thatcher was 26, with an undistinguished
career at school and in business (see box). There was little reason to
expect that 25 years later he would be worth an estimated 60m, with
mansions in Cape Town and Texas and a network of business contacts around
the world.

Like others, Sir Mark (who inherited a baronetcy when his father, Sir Denis,
died last year) did well out of his connection to one of the most
internationally admired British Prime Ministers of recent times. But the
questions and controversies arising from his use of the Thatcher name drove
him first to the United States and then to South Africa. There he made
friends with Simon Mann - who owns a luxury homestead in Hout Bay, another
up-market Cape Town enclave - Nick du Toit and other former military men
using their expertise to make money out of Africa's chronic instability.

Mr Mann appears to be the only person who really knows where all the pieces
of this jigsaw fit, who was really behind the coup plot and who is on the
mythical "wonga list" of investors. But the whole affair would never have
acquired such international notoriety if it were not for the letter he
smuggled out of prison.

"Please!" read the intercepted note to his advisers. "It is essential that
we get properly organised." It urges them to make maximum efforts to contact
"Smelly" - taken to refer to Mr Calil - and "Scratcher", a nickname for Sir
Mark. It also names David Hart, presumed to be the same businessman who
helped Lady Thatcher break the 1984-85 miners' strike. Mann writes: "What
will get us out is MAJOR CLOUT ... once we get into a real trial scenario we
are f****d."

On a page torn from a magazine, Mr Mann tells his team to chase up expected
"project funds" from investors including "Scratcher" who has the figure
"200" in brackets. This has been interpreted as meaning that Sir Mark had
promised a sum of $200,000, but gives no indication that it was intended for
any illegal activity, and indeed implies that no money was ever actually
handed over.

Among the four people to whom the note was addressed are Nigel Morgan, like
Mr Mann a former Guards officer, and James Kershaw, a 24-year-old who has
worked for both men. Mr Kershaw, who is said to have handled money transfers
for Mr Mann's company, Logo, is expected to testify against Sir Mark,
according to the Scorpions, the elite anti-corruption unit that arrested him
on Wednesday. His evidence may be crucial: despite voluminous paperwork
connected with the coup attempt, there have been no reports of any document
that carries Sir Mark's name.

But whatever their past friendship, "Scratcher" must be ruing the day he
ever met Simon Mann. The former secret soldier is a throwback to the days of
empire, a British public schoolboy adventurer prepared to interfere in the
Byzantine politics of third world countries. "He is very English, a
romantic, tremendously good company," said the film director Paul
Greengrass. In his first and only role as a professional actor, Mr Mann
played the part of Colonel Derek Wilford, commander of the paratroopers in
Londonderry in Greengrass's gritty television reconstruction of Bloody
Sunday.

After Eton and Sandhurst, the 19-year-old Mr Mann joined the Scots Guards in
1972, but his daredevil instincts soon drew him to the SAS. A troop
commander in 22 SAS, specialising in intelligence and counter-terrorism, he
served in Cyprus, Germany, Norway, Canada, central America and Northern
Ireland before leaving the Army in 1985.

Although he began by selling supposedly hack-proof computer software, like
many SAS veterans he also operated in the security business, reportedly
providing bodyguards to wealthy Arabs to protect their Scottish estates from
poachers. He remained part of 23 SAS, the Territorial Army section, and
briefly returned to the colours on the staff of General Sir Peter de la
Billiere during the first Gulf War in 1991.

Security consulting in the Gulf area followed, but his connection with
Africa predominated. He was hired by Eben Barlow, a South African, to help
run Executive Outcomes, the first of the many private military companies now
operating around the globe. Both men rapidly became rich, most notably from
a series of security deals in Angola, where Executive Outcomes not only
protected oil and diamond fields, but trained Angolan troops and fought
Unita rebels. The company also helped the Sierra Leone government fight off
rebels in the mid-1990s.

All this gained Mr Mann not only a mansion in Cape Town but Inchmery, a
20-acre riverside estate in Hampshire that once belonged to the Rothschilds.
Until recently it was rented out to Dame Marjorie Scardino, chief executive
of the Pearson group, owners of the Financial Times. Mr Mann, now a dual
citizen of Britain and South Africa, bought the estate through a company
registered in the offshore tax haven of Guernsey.

But why should a man past 50, who had earned enough to live in style without
ever working again, have become involved in such a hair-raising caper as the
Equatorial Guinea plot appears to have been? According to his friends, it
was the drug of adventure. One said he had been warned by the British as
well as the South African authorities that he should "hang up his boots",
but the ex-SAS man seems to have ignored the advice.

What is perhaps most surprising about the attempted coup is its
incompetence. A planeload of obvious mercenaries leaves South Africa, no
longer a country which encourages such activity, then lands in Zimbabwe. If
the receiving officials were supposed to have been bribed, it had not been
done effectively, but in any case the Zimbabweans appeared to have been
warned in advance. It took little time after that to arrest the alleged
advance guard in Equatorial Guinea, where Mr du Toit is on trial with seven
other South Africans, six Armenians and four local citizens. But the
greatest folly was the lack of security. Mr Mann's 66 fellow defendants in
Zimbabwe, including the 64 men who were travelling on South African
passports when their plane was seized, were acquitted on the arms charge,
with the magistrate accepting their plea that they did not know where they
were going. It would seem, however, that half of South Africa did. Rumours
of the impending coup attempt were circulating in Cape Town, Johannesburg
and London well in advance.

The paper trail linked to the plot was so extensive that some observers at
first believed that they had been faked to make a case. But Mr Mann, it
seems, wanted contracts signed for every part of this dubious scheme. Mr du
Toit was even required to sign a company-to-company contract to perform his
part of the coup. Why the former SAS officer might have wanted such a
document is a mystery: it could hardly have been produced in court in the
event of a dispute.

That the plot fell apart so damagingly is hardly surprising, given how wide
knowledge of it went in Britain as well as South Africa. "What Simon Mann
appears not to have realised is that there is much greater co-ordination
among African countries, including intelligence co-operation, to put a stop
to coups," said one source. "Nigeria, the regional power, stepped in
recently to reverse a coup in Sao Tom, and was ready to do the same in
Equatorial Guinea. The fact that the operation was penetrated by South
African intelligence prevented a lot of bloodshed."

Britain, as well as South Africa, has changed, but Mr Mann and his friends
seemed equally oblivious to that. Gone are the days when operators such as
Sir James Goldsmith and John Aspinall, both now dead, sought to convince a
Conservative government that Britain's interests as well as their own would
be served by backing such Africans as Angola's Jonas Savimbi, also deceased,
and South Africa's Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The two African leaders were promoted as the Christian, anti-Communist
alternative to the likes of Nelson Mandela, whom Lady Thatcher once
described as a terrorist. But the Conservatives are no longer in power, and
Mr Mandela has been welcomed here on a state visit as president of a free,
democratic South Africa - facts which appear to have been overlooked by the
heedless coup plotters.

The hapless Nick du Toit, a former South African special officer and member
of Executive Outcomes, stands to come off worst. He confessed to his role
within a day of arrest in Malabo, and has continued to help identify other
plotters since. Despite President Obiang's claim that he is not seeking the
death penalty, the prosecutor in the Malabo court has called for the
execution of those found guilty. The verdicts are expected by the end of
this week.

Unless Zimbabwe goes back on its decision not to extradite him to Equatorial
Guinea, Mr Mann will fare better, even if he receives the maximum sentence
of 10 years. He could well be extradited back to South Africa to face
further charges, but some believe that with his rich and influential
friends, he could receive a discreet pardon in a year or two, once the dust
has settled. He could even be in line for a healthy cheque from Hollywood.

As for Mark Thatcher, he is fighting back. His circle is claiming that much
disinformation has been spread to implicate him and distract attention from
the real culprits. But his past is troubled, and the proceedings against him
are likely to be protracted and messy. Clearing his name could require every
ounce of his much-touted influence.

THE MAKING OF MARK

Sir Mark Thatcher never seemed to have anything going for him but his name
and his mother's uncritical love.

He is famously charmless and not noted for his academic prowess. He left
Harrow School with three O-levels, and left his first job, at the City firm
Touche Ross, after failing his accountancy exams three times. But when it
comes to exploiting the opportunities afforded by the Thatcher surname, he
has graduated cum laude.

Mark and his twin sister, Carol, with whom relations are frosty, were 26
when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979. Various failed
ventures lay behind him, including an attempt to break into motor racing,
but it was not until he went missing on a rally in the Sahara in 1982,
causing his mother much public anguish, that his activities came to public
attention.

Two years later, it was reported that he had gained a commission on a 300m
deal won by the Cementation construction company after Lady Thatcher had
recommended it to the Sultan of Oman. It was a factor in his departure for
the US, and he has not lived in Britain since.

In Dallas, Mark met his wife Diane, from a super-rich Texas family, but
controversy continued to dog him. He was accused of exploiting his mother's
name to gain a 12m commission on the giant al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi
Arabia, and hit legal troubles in the US, including a charge, later dropped,
of alleged underpayment of taxes.

In 1995, Sir Mark moved to Cape Town with his family, although Diane and the
two children are reported to spend lengthy periods in Texas, where they are
now to attend school. Apart from a money-lending scheme to local policemen
which collapsed amid rancour, his business activities in South Africa have
attracted little attention - until now. But he will always have the Thatcher
name, with its lustre enhanced on the death of his father last year by an
inherited title. Once again, the family has helped. Raymond Whitaker

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