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

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Newark Advocate

U.N. should no longer ignore Zimbabwe's lack of human rights

By Nat Hentoff
Gannett News Service

      If there were a contest naming which nation's government is the most
vicious at crushing human rights and the human spirit, many countries would
be leading contenders. I would vote for Zimbabwe, ruled by Robert Mugabe --
once its liberator, now its tyrant.

      The United Nations' World Food program reported on Nov. 30 that food
shortages in Zimbabwe are so severe that half the population -- more than 6
million people -- will be in acute need of food by March. But Andrew
Natsios, the administrator for the United States Agency for International
Development, testified before Congress in August:

      "We now have confirmed reports in a number of areas in the most
severely affected region of the country, which is the south, that food is
being distributed to people who are members of Mugabe's political party and
is not being distributed based on need. The children of opposition party
members have been driven away from school supplementary feeding programs in
rural areas."

      In September, Adotei Akwei, Africa Advocacy director of Amnesty
International U.S.A., told The New York Times that "people have been
detained and tortured. In (Zimbabwe) now, literally, no one's safety and
security is guaranteed if there is even the slightest doubt of support for
President Mugabe."

      The Amani Trust in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, monitors and
treats black citizens of that country who have been tortured or otherwise
punished as enemies of the state. Tony Reeler, clinical director of the
Amani Trust -- which is supported by the U.N. Voluntary Fund for Victims of
Torture and the Swedish Red Cross -- told Christina Lamb the Sunday
Telegraph in London:

      "We're seeing an enormous prevalence of rape and enough cases to say
it's being used by the state as a political tool, with women and girls being
raped because they are the wives, girlfriends or daughters of political
activists. There are also horrific cases of girls as young as 12 or 13 being
taken off to militia camps, used and abused and kept in forced concubinage.
But I suspect, as with Bosnia, the real extent of what is happening is going
to take a hell of a long time to come out."

      Passed by Mugabe's controlled parliament, the Public Order and
Security Act was enacted this past January. Described by Lawyers Committee
for Human Rights in New York and Washington, the act makes it "an offense to
make a public statement with the intention to, or knowing there is a risk of
'undermining the authority of or insulting' the president. This prohibition
includes statements likely to engender 'feelings of hostility toward the

      In October, Sandra Nyaira, former political editor of The Daily News
in Zimbabwe, received this year's International Women's Media Foundation
Courage in Journalism Award in New York. Accepting it, she said that "day in
and day out, journalists in Zimbabwe work without knowing what the future
holds for them -- could it be a bomb? Could you be thrown behind bars for
being too critical?" Many have been arrested.

      Yet, in November, The New York Times reported that "the South African
foreign minister, Dr. Nkosazana Zuma, said it was time for Western nations
to consider ending penalties they imposed on Zimbabwe. South Africa hailed
Zimbabwe's presidential election in March as legitimate, even though
officials eliminated polling stations in opposition strongholds, and the
police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of people who were waiting to

      Where is Nelson Mandela, who fought so long and courageously for
democracy in South Africa? Where, in this country, are women's groups; the
black and white clergy that organized against slavery and gang rapes by
government militia in Sudan; editorial writers; and the clamorous
commentators on cable television? Where is Jesse Jackson?

      Zimbabwe, mind you, is a member of the Untied Nations Human Rights
Commission, seated comfortably with such other proudly undemocratic regimes
as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Libya and Sudan. But then, remember that the
United Nations ignored genocide in Rwanda, as did President Bill Clinton.
Well, at least Mugabe has yet to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

      I have yet to hear of any demonstrations on American college campuses
to help children in Zimbabwe who are going hungry because their parents are
in the wrong political party -- or to protest against the girls and women
being raped for political reasons.

      Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment
and the Bill of Rights.

      Originally published Thursday, December 19, 2002
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(AFX-Focus) 2002-12-19 13:05 GMT:
Zimbabwe rejects Commonwealth presidential poll report

      HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFX) - The government has formally rejected a report
by the Commonwealth that said the election which returned President Robert
Mugabe to power earlier this year was not free and fair.
      In March, Zimbabwe was suspended from the councils of the 54 nation
body on the basis of the report by the Commonwealth Observer Group that
witnessed the election.

      Willard Chiwewe, senior secretary for foreign affairs, said the
government has "come to the conclusion that the composition of the
(observer) group, its intentions, procedures, methodology and conclusions
were flawed in the extreme,".

      The report could therefore not "be a legitimate guide for Zimbabwe's
relations and status in the Commonwealth," he told a news conference.

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Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 15:02 GMT
Zimbabwe given green light
Nasser Hussain plays a square cut
England last played in Zimbabwe in October 2000
The International Cricket Council has given the go-ahead for Zimbabwe to stage matches during the World Cup.

The ICC's international development board (IDI) took the decision after receiving a 12-page report from a delegation which recently visited Zimbabwe to assess safety issues.

Although South Africa is the main host of the competition, six first round games will be played in Zimbawe and two in Kenya.

Controversy continues, however, with opposition leaders in Zimbabwe and a number of English MPs calling for a boycott because of the policies being pursued by president Robert Mugabe's government.

The ICC is a cricket organisation - not a political institution

ICC chief Malcolm Speed

Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram recently claimed that Mr. Mugabe would see the tournament as an opportunity for "strutting on the world stage".

But ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said they were only concerned with cricket-related issues.

"Some countries have issued limited sanctions on Zimbabwe, but no country has imposed sporting sanctions on Zimbabwe.

"Sporting sanctions are not a new weapon. The point here is they have not been used in relation to Zimbabwe and there have been many opportunities to adopt that course.

"Zimbabwe is one of the 10 full members of the ICC and has earned the right to host matches.

"There is common ground that Zimbabwe is a troubled country, but our aim is to try and bring a positive element to people in Zimbabwe, those who are interested in cricket and want to watch cricket."

Little impact

UK Sports Minister Richard Caborn has indicated that the government will abide by the decisions of the ICC and England and Wales Cricket Board.

And former England captain Mike Gatting said he doubted whether refusing to play in Zimbabwe would have a significant impact on the Mugabe government in any event.

World Cup games in Zimbabwe
10 Feb Zimbabwe v Namibia, Harare
13 Feb Zimbabwe v England, Harare
19 Feb Zimbabwe v India, Harare
24 Feb Zimbabwe v Australia, Bulawayo
28 Feb Zimbabwe v Netherlands, Bulawayo
4 Mar Zimbabwe v Pakistan, Bulawayo

"I don't think anybody likes what's going out there, sportsmen included. I think again the politicians have handed sports people a lovely hot potato to carry, when we can't do much about it.

"Even if the tour is cancelled, would that make any difference at all to Mr. Mugabe?

"In South Africa it might have done because they are much more sport-oriented, but I'm not sure it will do in Zimbabwe," Gatting commented.

The Australian Cricket Board pulled their team out of a tour to Zimbabwe earlier this year because of security concerns.

But a recent series against Pakistan passed off without incident, a series which coincided with the visit of the ICC delegation.

Should the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorate, however, the ICC has put contingency arrangements in place to switch games to South Africa.

Speed also said the Zimbabwe government has given assurances that all officially accredited journalists would be allowed into the country to report on the cricket.

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ABC News

Zimbabwe Imports Fuel as Pumps Run Dry

Reuters      Dec. 19

      - HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has ordered fuel worth more than $15
million from Kuwait and South Africa to ease a shortage that has brought the
country to a virtual standstill, a cabinet minister was quoted as saying

      A two-week shortage has nearly paralyzed Zimbabwe's public transport
system, plunging the southern African country deeper into its worst economic
crisis in decades and provoking anger at the government of President Robert

      Energy and Power Development Minister Amos Midzi told the official
Herald newspaper the state-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM)
had bought fuel worth more than $15 million from Kuwait's International
Petroleum Group and Engen Petroleum of South Africa to ease the crisis.

      Supplies were expected in the coming days, he said. It was not
immediately clear how the embattled government would pay.

      Midzi, who has been silent while fuel pumps run dry, said the state
oil procurement agency was not to blame for the crisis -- his first response
to charges of sabotage and corruption leveled at NOCZIM by the Herald
newspaper last week.

      He said foreign currency shortages, expenditure on food imports and
Zimbabwe's inability to meet all demands for beef, sugar and tobacco to pay
for Libyan oil imports were to blame.

      "We are going through a difficult time in terms of the availability of
foreign currency to enable the country to procure adequate stocks of fuel,"
he said.

      Midzi added that a deal with Libya to supply 70 percent of Zimbabwe's
oil needs in exchange for investment opportunities and agricultural
commodities had not collapsed -- as reported in the local media -- but had
run into problems because Harare could not provide all the goods required.

      "We did not have enough sugar, tobacco and we have not been able to
meet Libya's meat requirements," he said, adding that Zimbabwe had started
to export beef to Libya and tea would be next.

      Midzi said the government would not raise fuel prices because it
wanted to protect consumers hit by hardships as Zimbabwe struggles with
record high unemployment and inflation.

      Nearly half of the 14 million people in Zimbabwe, once Africa's bread
basket, now face severe food shortages caused by drought and Mugabe's
controversial land reform policies.

      Mugabe blames his problems on domestic and foreign opponents who he
says are trying to overthrow him for seizing white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.

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Sunday Times (SA)

Mugabe scorns coalition claims

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe today scorned claims by opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai that the government was seeking a meeting with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to form a coalition after
three years of political crisis.

Mugabe spokesman George Charamba accused Tsvangirai of "a silly attempt to
reposition the MDC" following a string of by-election defeats, which
indicated waning grassroots support.

A spokesman for the MDC today confirmed the authenticity of a leaked
statement, claiming that Mugabe was seeking a meeting with Tsvangirai.

"The cutting edge of the diabolical onslaught is supposed to come in the
form of a summit between Robert Mugabe and myself," said the statement. "I
am reliably informed that Mugabe is prepared to meet with me somewhere
outside the country to discuss his problems."

The statement was released at a hastily summoned meeting yesterday between
Tsvangirai, his 54 MPs, and MDC local councillors.

Tsvangirai's party rejects the result of March presidential elections, and
subsequent local polls, claiming widespread rigging, intimidation, and use
of famine relief as a political weapon.

Tsvangirai rejected any compromise with Mugabe until food supplies to eight
million famine victims is "de-politicised", free political activity is
allowed and Mugabe commits himself to fresh democratic elections.

Foreign minister Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma said on Tuesday she was preparing to
visit Zimbabwe in the hope of breaking political deadlock.

Previous South African sponsored talks between the MDC and Mugabe's ruling
Zanu(PF) broke down over the MDC's refusal to recognise the presidential
election result.

Zimbabwe's economy has been brought to the point of collapse by three years
of political turmoil. Alleging opposition was being orchestrated by whites
and Britain, Mugabe launched "fast track" redistribution of 5,000
white-owned farms to 350,000 black recipients.

The government today announced a new US$15-million Libyan import scheme, to
end petrol shortages that have paralysed road travel over the past week.
There are also shortages of maize meal, bread, cooking oil, salt, milk,
meat, and paraffin.

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Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

Opposition leader rejects meeting with Mugabe

Web posted on:Thursday, December 19, 2002

Zimbabwe's opposition leader has refused to meet President Robert Mugabe to
discuss the political and economic crisis.

Morgan Tsvangirai says that an "unholy alliance" of Britain, South Africa
and Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is trying to set up such a meeting.

But Mr Tsvangirai insists that Mr Mugabe must resign as the first part of
any solution to Zimbabwe's problems.

This must be followed by the establishment of a transitional government to
organise free and fair elections, he said.

He also demanded that the authorities stop using food aid as a political

Up to six million people, half of the population, face starvation and
western countries, human rights groups and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) say that MDC activists are being barred from
receiving food aid.

Former colonial power Britain and regional strongman South Africa are key
players in the Zimbabwe crisis.

Mr Mugabe accuses Britain of plotting to oust him, while the MDC wants South
Africa to take stronger action against the Zimbabwe authorities.

"I am reliably informed that Mugabe is prepared to meet with me somewhere
outside the country to discuss his problems," Mr Tsvangirai told a meeting
of MDC MPs in Harare.

"The Anglo-South African plan will fail to take off if it remains predicated
on the desire to legitimise the illegitimate Mugabe regime. We will never be
used to prop up this dying regime," he said.

A spokesman for the British Foreign Office neither confirmed nor denied the
claims that it was trying to organise a meeting between the bitter political

But he did tell BBC News Online that "dialogue is the only way of getting a
lasting solution" and that this was what the Commonwealth was currently
attempting to pursue.

From Mr Tsvangirai's speech, it appears that the plan would involve Mr
Mugabe resigning and being replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of

On Tuesday, Mr Mnangagwa was warmly received at the congress of South
Africa's ruling African National Congress.

"If Mugabe is to step down today, nothing will change as long as the
fundamentals that brought this country to where it is remain unresolved.

"We are ready to confront the Mugabe stooge at home and show him the way,"
Mr Tsvangirai said.

Government spokesman George Charamba told the French news agency, AFP, that
the comments were a "silly attempt to reposition the MDC".

Mr Mugabe accuses the MDC of being a front for Britain and white farmers.

A spokesman for the South African High Commission told AFP that he was not
aware of any plan to organise a meeting.

The MDC leader says that Mr Mugabe rigged the March election and that
opposition activists continue to be attacked and tortured for their
political beliefs.

Mr Mugabe has previously said that he will not leave power until he has
finished his "land revolution" of redistributing farms from whites to
blacks. Just a few hundred white farmers now remain on their land.

But the disruption to agriculture has worsened the food shortages and
contributed to the economic meltdown.

Inflation is currently running at 175 per cent, while unemployment is also
at a record high.
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Zim Independent

US$20m Mirror publishing deal flops
Mthulisi Mathuthu
Libyan investors have dropped a US$20 million publishing deal with Mirror
proprietor Ibbo Mandaza after he failed to produce what the investors called
a "credible feasibility study".

Mandaza lost the much-needed injection into his struggling company at the
last minute after he was unable to produce the feasibility study which he
claimed had been done by a Swedish company, Graphium Consult AB, Stockholm.

The Libyan Arab African Investment Company, who pulled the plug in October,
are said to have been galled by administrative complexities in Mandaza's

The Mirror boss failed to draw a clear distinction between the Southern
African Printing and Publishing House, Sapes, Sapem magazine, and the Mirror
raising fears of financial opacity.

A Tripoli source said the Libyans also cited legal barriers to media
investment in Zimbabwe which they were unaware of until the Zimbabwe
Independent broke the story of Libyan interest in the Mirror in July.

On that occasion, Mandaza denied any links with the Libyan Arab African
Investment Company, but chairman Mustafa Tayeb-Khattabi confirmed this week
that they had tried to enter into a partnership with him only for them to
withdraw due to "feasibility problems".

"We needed to know everything about the newspaper business in Zimbabwe,"
Tayeb-Khattabi said in an interview from Tripoli.

"We must know the chances of making profit, how many companies are in that
business and so on. We couldn't invest because we were not satisfied. We
didn't see the feasibility studies and we have to be satisfied as an
investment company," he said.

Mandaza said he had "no comment" to make on the issue when contacted on

Tayeb-Khattabi first met Mandaza together with Gideon Gono earlier this year
in Tripoli when they signed the Rainbow Tourism Group and Jewel Bank deals.

It emerged that the Libyans also pulled out of the related Juliasdale-based
Mvura-Amanzi water bottling project which they had "in principle" agreed to
fund, at least according to correspondence between Tayeb-Khattabi

and Mandaza in July.

Tayeb-Khattabi said they couldn't fund the water bottling project because
the board of directors was not satisfied with "some issues" and added that
they would consider it at a later stage.

Mandaza wants to set up a regional media project publishing his two
newspapers, the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror as well as other regional
publications. It is understood he had also hoped to purchase a printing
press with the money from the Libyans.

Mandaza had also promised that the Swedish company would help instal the
printing press and train staff at the Mirror. Mandaza has previously failed
to secure loans from Zimbank and Barbican Holdings.

The Independent also heard this week that four Libyan companies would arrive
in the country in January to build a hotel in Kariba and invest in shoe and
plastic manufacturing as well as in cold storage.
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Zim Independent

$2b set aside for militia centres
Loughty Dube

GOVERNMENT is setting up more national youth service training centres across
the country as it steps up measures to institutionalise its militias, the
Zimbabwe Independent has established.

The move is part of a programme by government to establish training centres
in each district of every province during the first half of the year

Sources within the Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment
Creation told the Independent that half of the ministry's 2003 $4 billion
budget had been set aside for the establishment of the national youth
service training scheme.

The sources said a large chunk of the funds would go towards the upgrading
of Kamativi Training Centre in Matabeleland North, which is expected to be
the largest national youth training camp in the country.

"At least half of the ministry's budget will go towards the setting up of
national youth training centres throughout the country," said the source.

"The $2 billion allocated in this year's budget is not enough to set up
enough centres as we anticipate an increased enrolment of youths for the
national service programme."

Currently there are five youth training centres in the country: Guyu in
Matabeleland South, Border Gezi in Mashonaland Central, Kamativi in
Matabeleland North, and Mushagashi and Dadaya in Midlands province.

Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation minister Elliot Manyika
confirmed the drive for more centres saying there was nothing sinister in
this as government announced the move a "long time ago".

"We are setting up national youth training centres in places where there are
none and places like Harare, Bulawayo and Mashonaland West are our top
priority," Manyika said.

He said there were people bent on disrupting the programme but vowed it
would go ahead despite public criticism.

"Even if you people criticise the programme, we will go ahead with it and
come January everything will be in place," Manyika said.

Graduates from the Border Gezi National Youth Training Centre have been used
by Zanu PF to harass opposition party supporters during election campaigns.

So far over 9 000 youths have graduated from the programme and the majority
have been absorbed into different ministries as reward for their support
during election campaigns.

The setting up of the new training centres, according to sources, will work
in tandem with government's policy announced two months ago which stipulates
that "O" Level certificate holders cannot proceed to "A" Level and
government institutions without a national youth service certificate.

The government has in the past defended the youth training programme as
essential for instilling a sense of patriotism among youths.
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Zim Independent

Libya sets tougher conditions for fuel
Dumisani Muleya

LIBYA'S Tamoil Trading Ltd, which until recently supplied 70% of Zimbabwe's
fuel needs, is piling pressure on government to mortgage more state assets
before its US$360 million supply deal can be resuscitated, it emerged

Fuel industry sources yesterday said BP/Shell assets in Harare and Gweru may
be forcibly acquired and handed over to keep the Libyans happy.

The industry sources said last week's talks between government and Tamoil
representatives collapsed after authorities failed to make a firm commitment
to cede more state properties.

This comes amid revelations that Zimbabwe owes Tamoil US$48,3 million for
fuel in addition to US$65 million owed to Independent Petroleum Group (IPG)
of Kuwait. Despite paying IPG US$10 million in October, government owes
other suppliers and different creditors over US$106 million. These include
BP South Africa, Engen South Africa, Mobil Africa, Caltex, Libya Arab
Foreign Bank and Bostwana.

The Libyan debt in local dollar terms is $22 billion because the exchange
rate agreed to between Zimbabwe and the Libyans, despite different official
claims, is US$1 to $455,96.

Two weeks ago, the Libyans demanded payment of $983,34 million, which is
part of the debt, to continue supplying fuel. Zimbabwe was unable to raise
the amount.

The Libyans also wanted state fuel procurement agency, Noczim's 50% equity
in Petrozim, which is jointly owned by the struggling parastatal and Lonrho.
They also intended to negotiate with Lonrho for a complete take-over. But
the Libyans were only prepared to fork out US$48 million for the company,
valued at US$100 million.

In addition, the Libyans intended to acquire government's 51% stake in the
vital Oil Blending Enterprises Ltd (Obel), a joint-venture between
government and Total. Obel is crucial because it is the major supplier of
lubricants. Tamoil officials also want a large chunk of the Industrial
Development Corporation.

Further, the Libyans want to increase their equity in the Jewel Bank from
11,68% to 24% but government declined because the bank would have ended up
under foreign control. South Africa's Absa holds a 25% stake.

The whole fuel infrastructure which the Libyans are eyeing is classified by
the state as "strategic".

"Government is reluctant torelease the pipeline and the Msasa depot because,
if Tamoil gets that and builds or acquires fuel distribution stations,
government automatically loses control and Noczim becomes redundant," a
source said.

"The Libyans will establish amonopoly because they will be-come the
supplier, wholesaler,and retailer of fuel."
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Zim Independent

Govt denies MDC food import permit
Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT has thwarted the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s efforts
to avert looming starvation in the country by denying it a permit to import
maize sourced from the donor community.

Non-governmental organisations have also been denied permits.

MDC Agriculture spokesman Renson Gasela said his party had secured over 100
000 tonnes of maize from international donors but government was denying
them a permit to bring in the grain to feed the starving millions.

"Government is frustrating our efforts to stave off the starvation of over
seven million people in the country," Gasela said.

"Over the past three weeks we have been tossed from one ministry to the
other as we try to obtain a permit to bring into the country food secured
from international donors. We have over 100 000 tonnes ready to be shipped
into the country for free distribution to the needy.

"Donors will not release the maize if we do not have a permit fearing that
government will again impound it as what happened to the first consignment,"
he said.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture referred him to the Labour and Social
Welfare ministry to obtain the permit.

"As far as we understand, it is the Agriculture ministry that awards permits
to import maize but the reason why we are tossed around is to frustrate our
efforts," he said.

The MDC imported about 132 tonnes of maize from South Africa under the
auspices of the Feed Zimbabwe Trust in September, but the maize is still
held at Beitbridge whilst thousands starve.

"You can't believe that the grain we brought into the country in September
is now rotting at Beitbridge holding sheds while over seven million
Zimbabweans, including those in the Bietbridge district, are on the verge of
starvation," Gasela said.

He said his party would soon file papers in court challenging the GMB's
monopoly over trading in grains.

The monopoly has also been challenged in court by Frontline Marketing (Pvt)
Ltd, which is seeking a court order to remove the parastatal's monopoly
saying it infringes on other companies' right to associate with clients of
their choice in commercial trade.
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Zim Independent - Comment

Zimbabweans await miracle in festive season

THE week ahead is generally known as "the festive season" but in the
Zimbabwe of today, there is little for most to be festive about. Rarely, if
ever before, has there been such widespread despondency and depression, and
hardly any believe that the year ahead can yield anything positive.

It is difficult to convince anyone that matters are not as bad as they seem,
and even more difficult to persuade the distressed that they can look
forward to better times.

It is undeniable that 2002 has been one of the most horrific years of
suffering experienced by Zimbabwe in many years. The tragedy is that most of
the year's negative occurrences need never have been.

Admittedly, there have been some most adverse, and not easily combatable,
factors which impacted severely upon Zimbabwe's wellbeing. These include the
effects of the blows to the global economy by an upsurge in terrorism,
heralded by the contempt for innocent human beings demonstrated by the
hijacking of United States aircraft and the crashing of those aircraft into
the World Trade Centre Twin Towers and into the Pentagon.

Zimbabwe was not immune to the sudden economic constraints for the
international economic decline, compounded by the most adverse international
perceptions of Zimbabwe, brought to a virtual standstill any foreign direct
investment in Zimbabwe, and contributed significantly to the immense
decrease in tourism from September 2001, and only now showing some slight

Similarly, the deleterious consequences of the 2001/2002 drought that
affected almost all of sub-Saharan Africa cannot be denied. Inevitably it
undermined the viability of the agricultural industry, which is the
foundation upon which the Zimbabwean economy is built.

In particular, the drought resulted in only minimal production of maize and
of other crops in the communal lands, where own-consumption needs have been
produced for many decades by the millions who live in those lands. That
commercial agricultural production which had not been destroyed by the
strong-arm approach to land acquisition also suffered.

But, however greatly the world economic circumstance and the drought
affected the Zimbabwean economy, they were of limited effect compared with
the Zimbabwean generated assaults upon an economy which had shown that it
had much potential for growth.

It did so very markedly from 1994 to 1997, in which period inflation fell by
almost 75%, numbers in employment increased, foreign and domestic investment
grew rapidly, currency exchange rates stabilised, shortages were eliminated,
taxation became much less, and all economic fronts advanced significantly.

Oblivious to the magnitude of economic growth achieved over a relatively
short period of time, government embarked upon ill-considered,
politically-driven policies which not only caused a total cessation of that
spectacular economic growth, but wholly reversed all that had been achieved
and reduced the economy to levels lower than had existed at any time during
the preceding one hundred years.

Government rejected all private sector advice from both domestic and
international sources, as to the detrimental consequences of its
resurrected, damaging economic policies which had debilitated the economy
from 1982 to 1993.

It took a stance, which it still has, that any that disagreed with it are
its enemies, and that their disagreements with government were deliberately
ill-intentioned and driven by self-centred motives and vested interests.

Whensoever such contrary policies were promoted by any of the international
community or by any in Zimbabwe's private sector, government would attack
those commending such policies and, more often that not, would intensify
implementation of its unsuccessful and counterproductive policies or would
embark upon policies and measures diametrically opposite to those
recommended to it in order to assert itself and its independence.

The results have been catastrophic. Yields from agriculture fell sharply,
for not only did drought limit production, but of far greater consequence,
the dogmatic pursuit of unjust land policies, founded upon racism, bigotry,
disregard for economic need, nepotism, self-enrichment and abuse of human
rights and of law resulted in sharply decreased agricultural production.

Farms in areas not affected by drought, and farms with substantial water
resources, were prevented from producing critically required crops and, in
many instances, even those who had been able to plant and grow crops were
prevented from harvesting or had to stand by helplessly whilst others
vandalised and destroyed the crops or misappropriated them.

Agriculture was not the only sector to suffer, and to do so greatly. Since
the last devaluation of Zimbabwe's currency in August 2000, government in
general, and President Mugabe in particular, have steadfastly resisted any
devaluation, notwithstanding that during the two years following upon that
last devaluation, inflation amounted to approximately 300%.

Production and operating costs for the mining industry, manufacturers,
horticultural enterprises and tourism operations, amongst others, increased
threefold over a two-year period, but no relief against those cost increases
was available to them through adjustment of currency exchange rates.

To increase selling prices was an unacceptable alternative, for to do so
would destroy all price competitiveness in export markets, resulting in
forfeiture of those markets and the bankruptcy of the exporter businesses.

The failure to devalue, caused by rigid adherence to ill-conceived economic
concepts and by an unfounded perception that devaluation would reflect
adversely upon the sovereignty of Zimbabwe, was the principal reason for a
parallel market in foreign exchange developing, reinforced by an
insufficiency of foreign currencies to service Zimbabwe's needs for import
funding, debt servicing, dividends to foreign investors, and other essential
foreign exchange commitments.

In turn, the exchange rates of the parallel market, and of a virile black
market, moved steadily upwards as demand consistently exceeded supply, and
that escalation of rates was catalytic of a continuing rise in inflation.

In the past year, a major factor of surging inflation and economic decline
has been the foolhardy and inequitable imposition of price controls and,
more recently, of a price freeze on many goods and services.

Those prices were established by the Ministry of Industry and International
Trade without considering the realities of costs, and of ongoing rises in
those costs.

Numerous products subjected to the controls could not be produced and sold
viably at the controlled prices. Continuing production could only cause huge
losses for the producer, culminating in eventual bankruptcy. As a result,
many ceased production, or diversified into products not subject to the

Shortages became intense, and that motivated black marketeers to source
whatsoever limited quantities of greatly needed commodities were available,
unlawfully selling them at massively increased prices to those desperately
seeking the commodities (inclusive of maize meal, flour, sugar, cooking oil,
salt, bread and much else). Thereby, real inflation, as distinct from
officially determined rates of inflation, soared upwards.

So great is the widespread economic distress, the poverty, the starvation
and the misery, unnecessarily due almost entirely to the state's adherence
to policies which should never have been embarked upon and, having been
pursued nevertheless, should be consigned to the nearest waste-bin, that
there will be very few imbued with any festive emotions next week.

Instead, there will be millions that will be viewing the future with great
fear and trepidation, unless government would belatedly demonstrate the
maturity necessary to acknowledge error, reverse all its harmful acts,
achieve national and international reconciliation, and thereby give all
something to celebrate and a hope for the future.

Its track record to date does not augur well for such a metamorphosis, but
very occasionally miracles do happen. This year the need for such a miracle
is desperate, failing which the festive season will sadly be one of tears.

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Zim Independent

Food shortages could trigger unrest, EIU warns
Godfrey Marawanyika

THE Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has said that the country's political
repression is set to continue as President Robert Mugabe consolidates his
hold on power against a background of worsening food shortages.

In its "Political Outlook" report, the EIU said that President Mugabe and
his party are set to remain in power for the next two years and possibly for
several years after that.

The report said that, supported by the country's military and party
militias, Mugabe would maintain the high level of political repression
against any form of opposition to his government.

"A central element of the overall pattern of political repression will be to
slowly, but steadily undermine the main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change," the just-released report said.

The repression was likely to be three-pronged, it said.

Firstly, the ruling party would try to reduce the number of parliamentary
and local council seats held by the MDC.

It would also persevere in its attempts to undermine the MDC leadership
through arbitrary arrests on a range of often spurious charges.

"Finally, the government will also limit the MDC's ability to organise any
anti-government protests through the use of some of its recently-passed
legislation, such as the Public Order and Security Act," the report said.

The report said in addition to attempts to undermine the MDC, Mugabe's
government would intensify its repression of the independent and foreign
press, non-governmental organisations, labour unions and ethnic minorities.

Already the government has used the draconian Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act to bar foreign journalists from coming to Zimbabwe
or refusing to renew the work permits of those already working in the

The EIU said it did not expect any substantial increase in food supplies
next year, adding Zanu PF supporters would continue to be rewarded with food
while those suspected to be from the opposition would be denied it.

"This will be particularly evident in southern Matabeleland which is
populated by Ndebele people.

"The government will also try to restrict food aid from being distributed in
urban areas which have broadly voted in favour of the MDC in recent
elections," the report said.

"The Mugabe government is taking a calculated gamble that food shortages,
coupled with the accelerating economic decline, will weaken the opposition,"
it added.

The EIU report noted that despite the politicisation of food aid, there
seemed to be very little sign of widespread anger against the government
that could lead to mass protest, but it did not rule out the possibility of
protest in the cities.

"However, there is a possibility that an enraged population, particularly in
the cities, will revolt," the report said.

"Worsening food and fuel shortages, triple digit inflation and rising
unemployment could all provide the spark that leads to mass protest against
government in 2003," it said. "Of the potential triggers, worsening food
shortages are the most likely to result in protest."

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Zim Independent

Govt mulls re-opening bureaux de change

Barnabas Thondhlana
GOVERNMENT is reportedly considering reversing its decision to close bureaux
de change as the flow of hard currency to the central bank has now been
reduced to a trickle, analysts have said.

Whereas in the past the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had access to foreign
currency traded on the bureaux market, the closure has seen even the little
inflows disappear, worsening an already serious situation.

"The foreign currency parallel market has gone underground," one money
market dealer said.

"Exporters with foreign currency will henceforth be banking their receipts
offshore to avoid remitting 100% to the RBZ," he said. "Even Zimbabweans in
the diaspora have now resorted to converting their foreign currency through
enterprising Zimbabweans in their adopted countries, with the local currency
being banked here."

An informal foreign currency market has sprouted which can neither be
monitored nor controlled.

"It is agreed there were leakages in the bureaux market, but the economy was
able to access the foreign currency for use in imports and production," said
a bank executive.

"Noczim, Zesa, even the central bank dipped into the parallel market to keep
the economy afloat and make vital payments, but this is no longer the case,"
the executive said.

It is an open secret in the financial services sector that leading banks
were commissioned by the RBZ to source foreign currency for it from the
parallel market.

The closure of bureaux was announced in tandem with a new ruling that
exporters remit 50% of their receipts to the RBZ and 50% to a pool from
which beneficiaries would be allocated currency on a needs basis. This led
to the closure of corporate Foreign Currency Accounts.

While government was of the view that the closure of FCAs would result in a
bonanza as about US$40 million was deposited in FCAs, all it managed to
access was a paltry US$4/5 million.

Most of the deposited funds had been sold or donated to other exporters to
avoid depositing them with the RBZ and reaping a pegged exchange rate.

The exchange rate, which at the end of November dipped against the
greenback, has crept back to its lofty heights of between $1 500/$1 800 to
the United States unit.

The central bank has reportedly issued a directive to banks to limit large
withdrawals of money in a bid to nip the foreign currency black market in
the bud.

Banking sources confirmed that any withdrawals of $5 million and above now
required central bank approval and one had to explain what one required the
currency for.

"Government was hoping closing bureaux would see inflows strengthen to about
US$3 million a day, but this has not materialised," said the money market

"Despite hard lobbying for bureaux not to close, government still went ahead
and shot itself in the foot. The only option left now is for the re-opening
of the bureaux and this is expected to occur sometime early next year."

Association of Bureaux de Change Zimbabwe chairman Nesbert Tinarwo said they
were still holding talks with government over the closure.

"We have not heard anything on re-opening but I can confirm we are holding
talks with a view to finding the best way forward," Tinarwo said.

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Zim Independent

MPs urge South Africa to get tough with Mugabe

Mthulisi Mathuthu
Members of the British House of Commons have urged South Africa to join the
rest of the world in tightening screws on President Mugabe's regime.

Andrew Mackay, MP for Bracknell, set the ball rolling on Tuesday at the
Westminster Hall when he accused African nations of damaging perceptions of
the continent and weakening the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad) and the African Union by letting Mugabe's regime off the hook.

"I hope that leaders elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, perhaps particularly
in South Africa, will reflect on this debate and the fact that the
continuing deterioration of the situation in Zimbabwe and the lack of
regional action are harming not only the people there but the whole of
southern Africa," he said.

Mackay said Zimbabwe could in the past withstand drought. But now "no proper
farming is going on. Grain has been sold on the black market to the obvious
benefit of government officials, although a large part of the country is

He said it was tragic that 75% of Zimbabwe's population now lives in

"That would be an extraordinarily high level anywhere in the world, but for
a country that was once prosperous, successful and a food exporter, it is
shocking and disgraceful."

Mackay said: "Our prime objective must be to isolate Zanu PF in every
possible way and make life so uncomfortable for that party so it will be
unable to function again in future.

"The whole Zanu PF apparatus is corrupt," Mackay said. "The senior civil
service is corrupt. Much of the commercial world that remains in Zimbabwe is
corrupt. Above all, the army is not only brutal but extremely corrupt as we
saw in the recent rape of the Congo which was hugely to the financial
benefit of senior army officers who pillaged diamonds and other reserves."

Mackay called for an expansion of the sanctions regime to net all Zanu PF
cronies, "commercial supporters", bankers and "safari operators". He singled
out Chris Pasipamire who he described as "an evil thug". He said anyone
responsible for human rights abuses should be held and tried.

Conservative spokesman on Foreign Affairs, Michael Ancram, said he had seen
displaced farm workers in Zimbabwe and food queues during his brief visit in
July. He said the country was facing a catastrophe. Ancram described
Pasipamire as "a brutal activist in farm evictions" and described as
"outrageous" the decision to allow him to study in Britain.

He accused Mugabe of manipulating food aid.

"The control of food in Mugabe's hands is in a sense a weapon of mass
destruction. He has created the shortages. His illegal farm seizure policy
has destroyed Zimbabwe's self-sufficiency."

Ancram referred toZanu PF's "gerrymandering" to give it a two-thirds
majority. He referred to the deaths of MDC MPs or their defeat in

"To put it simply (Mugabe) is terrorising and bribing, if not murdering his
way to the destruction of democracy," he said.

"Then there are the attacks on justice and press freedom. There is now no
justice to speak of and no protection to which people can turn."

The Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs, Mike O'Brien, also drew a connection between misrule and economic

"The tragedy is all the greater because, although southern Africa is
affected by drought, the policies of Zanu PF have turned a situation that
could have been managed into a humanitarian crisis," he said.

Several MPs urged England to withdraw from the Cricket World Cup matches in
Zimbabwe next year.

However, the International Cricket Council said yesterday that World Cup
matches should take place in Zimbabwe as planned. A 10-man ICC delegation
visited Zimbabwe last month to monitor the security situation in the light
of the crisis in the country.

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Zim Independent

Census riddled with anomalies - experts
Augustine Mukaro

THE recent Census 2002 exercise was fraught with anomalies which will result
in a gaping underestimation of the country's population, enumerators and
population experts have said.

The Zimbabwe Independent last week revealed that the exercise - which put
the population at 11,6 million - had missed over three million people but
new evidence suggests the figure could be much higher.

Bulawayo City Council rejected the preliminary findings which put the city's
population at 676 000 saying this was way below the figures shown by
municipal records.

"The preliminary results do not tally with our records," Bulawayo executive
mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said, adding: "There are more than a million
inhabitants in this city. Based on the preliminary report, planning would
now be difficult as too few resources would be channelled to the city whose
population is far above the said figures."

The report effectively means Bulawayo's population has grown by only 56 000
in the past 10 years.

Enumerators who participated in the census exercise said there was no way
the findings could reflect the situation on the ground because it was flawed
from the beginning. Estimates of the number of Zimbabweans living abroad
could not be regarded as anything more than "guestimates" given the lack of
official figures from neighbouring countries.

Census officials have been quoted in the official press as saying the total
population figure should be around 14 million based on estimates that some
three million people currently live outside the country.

Enumerators who called the Independent said they snubbed the reconnaissance
period where they were supposed to visit their enumeration areas to
familiarise themselves with the local leadership and the people at large.

"The crucial reconnaissance period was ignored by enumerators because it was
not paid for," one enumerator from Mashonaland East said.

Enumerators in Gokwe said maps used were based on Tsetse control fences as
boundaries and were hopelessly out of date. The fences have long since

"Tsetse control fences which were erected in the 1970s were shown on the
maps as boundaries but have since been removed and masses of people have
since occupied the then tsetse-infested area," one enumerator said.

"The boundaries could not be found, leaving vast stretches uncovered by
enumerators who did not want to encroach into each other's counting areas,"
he said.

Enumerators said field-mappers were unable to correct the anomalies because
there were too few of them and they had no transport to cover the whole

Enumerators in Gokwe said places such as Mangorowe gold panning area were
avoided by enumerators because of health risks.

"Mangorowe was overcrowded with gold-panners but no enumerator would go
there because there was no drinking water and there was a cholera outbreak,
one enumerator said.

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Zim Independent

EU/ACP still to decide on probe
Mthulisi Mathuthu

THE European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states
have yet to agree on the parameters of a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe,
raising fears it was unlikely to materialise any time soon.

Sources this week said the two parties, who have agreed to move forward
after the abandonment of the fifth joint parliamentary assembly last month,
would finalise the issue early next year.

They are also yet to agree on what course of action to take in the event of
evidence of human rights violations by President Mugabe's regime.

Mugabe, however, is expected to object to the demand that he admit the
delegation on the assembly's terms. But if he resists the mission it could
force the EU to tighten its sanctions regime.

A fortnight ago the Party of European Socialists (PES) set conditions for
Mugabe after they said he should admit MEPs banned from Zimbabwe who include
Glenys Kinnock as part of the mission. Zimbabwe has come up with its own
list of banned visitors in retaliation for similar sanctions imposed by the

The PES warned that any "prohibitions or restrictions" would not be

The ACP countries are said to be hoping for an end to the impasse between
the EU and Zimbabwe ahead of the EU/ACP joint plenary session to be held in
Congo-Brazzaville in April.

The PES is reportedly pushing for the dispatch of the mission in early
January before the EU sits to revise the sanctions list.

"The PES is keen on this because they want the findings to be the basis for
whatever action is taken in February," a source said.

"If Mugabe refuses to admit the mission, that will also determine the course
of action to be taken."

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Zim Independent

Zimbabwe/Malaysia deal collapses
Godfrey Marawanyika

A MUCH-TOUTED bilateral trade agreement with Malaysia has been cancelled
following Zimbabwe's failure to service a US$13,8 million debt due to the
Far East country.

The project was launched amid great fanfare in 2000 as part of government's
drive to promote South-South co-operation.

The cancellation comes as the country struggles to repay its ballooning
foreign debt.

Zimbabwe's domestic debt stands at $319 billion whilst foreign debt has shot
up to US$491,1 million.

Malaysia threw Harare a lifeline as traditional trading nations and donors
shunned Zimbabwe after the adoption of damaging economic policies.

Ministry of Finance sources said the non-settlement of the US$13,8 million
debt led to the collapse, forcing the Malaysians to suspend the whole deal.

However, Malaysian sources privately suggest it was not a "signed and
sealed" deal in the first place.

Failure of local exporters to utilise the facility due to concerns over the
applicable exchange rate compounded the problem.

The country has continued to accumulate arrears to various multilateral

By June 14 this year, Zimbabwe's debt to the International Monetary Fund
stood at US$131,3 million, and shot up to US$173, 6 million by December 6
due to interest accumulation.

Conservative figures from the Ministry of Finance show that for the first
six months of the year government owed the World Bank US$130,9 million, up
from US$92 million in December last year.

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Zim Independent

ANC seeks to revive Zanu PF/MDC talks
Dumisani Muleya

WHILE South Africa spent the first six months after the disputed March
presidential election trying to persuade the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) - and the rest of the world - to recognise President Robert Mugabe as
Zimbabwe's legitimate leader, it has changed tack and is now trying to get
Zanu PF to accept the MDC as the legitimate opposition.

Diplomatic sources said yesterday South Africa's ruling African National
Congress (ANC) is battling to get Mugabe and his party to end their
hostility towards the MDC as part of Pretoria's initiative to resolve
Zimbabwe's political crisis.

"The heat is now being turned on Zanu PF to stop treating the MDC like an
illegitimate party," a source said. "They want both parties to accept each
other and resume the inter-party dialogue."

South African Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said this week
during the ANC conference which ends today in Stellenbosch she would soon
visit Zimbabwe to engage government on the local situation.

Dlamini-Zuma seems to have been making a strenuous effort to secure Zanu
PF's cooperation ahead of her visit. Yesterday, she said the ANC saw Zanu PF
as a "progressive" party. She said the land reform programme was necessary
but expressed reservations on lawlessness and human rights abuses.

The minister, however, dismissed claims by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai that
an "unholy alliance" involving South Africa, Britain and Zanu PF was
planning to arrange talks between Mugabe and the opposition leader.

President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday said Zimbabwe was faced with multiple
challenges compounded by drought and food shortages and needed help.

"We are interested that these problems are addressed because they are having
a bad impact on the quality of life of the people of Zimbabwe," Mbeki said.
"What solutions do we find, what can be done?"

Mbeki said the ANC has been in contact with the ruling Zanu PF and the
opposition MDC.

"The ANC has been talking to Zanu PF and MDC and naturally the ANC would
also be in contact with all other political forces around the world that are
interested in Zimbabwe," he said.

Despite protestations from both Zanu PF and the MDC about getting into bed
with each other, diplomats said this week that South Africa was under
considerable pressure from the European Union and others to resolve the
Zimbabwe crisis and that this could only be effected through dialogue.

The South Africans recently applied their "Codesa model" to the Congo and
Burundi and will now seek to do so in Zimbabwe, one diplomat said.

Meanwhile, there were roars of approval from conference delegates on
Wednesday when a Zanu PF observer announced that 11-million hectares had
been "acquired" in the land-grab by government.

The exercise has however reduced the farming districts to zones of
desolation, a reality that is already costing South Africa dearly.

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Zim Independent


Who is hoarding food and fuel for elections?

THE Zanu PF National People's Conference hosted in Chinhoyi last weekend
confirmed Muckraker's worst fears that it is the ruining party and not the
retail outlets that are hoarding food.

Reports from Chinhoyi said that all basic commodities were available in the
town. We are wondering who provided these foodstuffs? Where did they come

The same thing happened in Insiza and is now happening in Kuwadzana and
Highfield. Zanu PF, it seems, is hoarding food in anticipation of
by-elections. This is surely disturbing because close to 6,5 million
Zimbabweans are starving and the party is keeping food for speculative
purposes. At the same time it is preventing the MDC from importing grain.

Still in Chinhoyi, Chenhamo Chakezha Chimutengwende was at it again last
weekend. The rumba-crazy Chen's contribution to the conference we gather was
a performance that sent delegates into a frenzy.

While Elliot Manyika once entranced the president with his choral exploits,
Chen might have caught the president's attention with his gyrations. Who
knows what the next reshuffle will hold in store for him!

Dancing ndombolo in front of delegates from all over the country and even
beyond is no mean achievement. Chen is indeed indoda sibili - at least in
the Zanu PF lexicon.

What on earth was President Mugabe doing poring over pictures of the body of
the late Rutendo Jongwe-Muusha?

"If I were to show you pictures of the post-mortem of Jongwe's wife you will
never want to hear about the MDC again," he told conference delegates in
Chinhoyi last weekend.

How did these pictures fall into the president's hands and is this the sort
of thing he should be discussing at a public forum? Should he be using
police post-mortem pictures for party-political gain?

Why did he not refer to the body of David Stevens who was murdered after
being abducted from a police station in the presence of policemen? Why did
he not disclose the appalling way Stevens' body was treated after it was
thrown into the back of a truck by armed Zanu PF supporters?

It took the police two years to bring that case to court and still they don'
t have a conviction. Learnmore Jongwe handed himself in and was incarcerated
for the rest of his life.

Mugabe didn't mention that. Nor did he mention the case of a CIO officer who
has been named in court as responsible for the deaths of Tichaona Chiminya
and Talent Mabika. That officer continues to preside over a regime of terror
in Chimanimani with impunity. Why weren't delegates in Chinhoyi invited to
reflect on the fate of his victims after they had been doused with petrol
and set on fire?

Mugabe should stop being an old hypocrite. His party is responsible for the
murder and mayhem of the last two years and no amount of dissembling or
unethical disclosures will persuade the nation otherwise.

But we were interested to hear from the president that he had told his wife
that when it came to serving his family and the people, "the people come

When did he tell her that? Was it on one of their many visits to London and
Paris in happier times? And exactly how much is it in foreign exchange they
consume on each trip abroad? We have never managed to nail that figure down
and invite patriotic officials at the Reserve Bank to pick up the phone and
tell us.

Nobody believes that Grace and the Mugabe tribe have gone without bread or
mealie meal or fuel even once. Nor do we ever imagine that she spares a
thought for the hundreds of fellow women who have been brutalised by Zanu PF
militia during elections.

Anyway, which "people" is Mugabe talking about when half the nation is
facing starvation because of his ill-thought-out land policies?

Readers will recall Didymus Mutasa's asinine remarks made in 1996 that
Mugabe was Zimbabwe's king. He told the BBC that "you have your Queen. Why
shouldn't we elect our king?"

Meeting the new Dutch ambassador recently, Mugabe noted that the Netherlands
had a monarchy while Zimbabwe had "its own system". He wondered why the
Dutch wanted to change Zimbabwe's system.

In fact the Dutch monarchy is almost entirely ceremonial. Mugabe as an
ostensibly republican head of state has far more powers than any crowned
head of state in Europe. Indeed, it would be easier to compare him to Louis
XIV of France who famously said: "L'etat? C'est moi (The state? It is I)".

The Dutch, we are sure, like everybody else, have only one wish: that
Zimbabwe's monarchy would resemble more the constitutional monarchies in
place around the world than those ensconced in Swaziland and North Korea.

We were interested to see that President Mugabe has been urging African
airlines to promote African countries as tourist destinations. He said while
Africa was endowed with numerous tourist attractions, it receives the least
share of tourists in the world. He challenged airlines to consider how best
to improve Africa's tourism industry.

African airlines should challenge him to provide a political and economic
environment conducive to tourism growth. That means one in which tourists
from Europe and the United States - the two largest catchment areas - feel
they are not targets of a venomous racist campaign led by the president
himself. That if they are in any danger the police will react swiftly and
impartially. And that necessities like fuel are available to them.

The fact is President Mugabe is the biggest disincentive to tourism in this
region, even frightening visitors away from Botswana's resorts, according to
President Festus Mogae. And when Mugabe speaks about the viability of
airlines, he should reflect on the damage caused by arbitrary diversion of
flights to collect him and his retinue. We do concede however that with
invitations drying up, his travel plans are less likely to impact on Air
Zimbabwe's service!

Muckraker was shocked to see a report that Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri has
given a long-service award to Joseph Chinotimba. The self-styled leader of
farm invasions was among 677 workers who have served the council for periods
ranging from 15 to 35 years. They were given certificates and cash.

Chinotimba has served 20 years. In 2000 and 2001 he was on leave for long
periods heading a violent campaign of land seizures on the environs of the
city which have added immensely to the cost and complexity of the council's
work. We never heard who had authorised that leave, whether Chinotimba was
paid while he was absent from work, and who gave him a Cherokee and other
perks, including promotion at a time when he was threatening the then Chief

It defies belief that ratepayers' money has now been used to reward him for
his "service" to the city.

The mayor did at least make one telling point when handing out the awards.
He warned workers against engaging in private business or political
activities during business hours. And he said the council would not be held
to ransom by incompetent and indolent employees. Did he have anybody
particular in mind, we wonder?

The Herald this week carried a long interview with Information minister
Jonathan Moyo that looked like an elaborate attempt to justify spending $65
million on Miss Malaika - arguably the biggest non-event of the year
organised by Moyo's pal Adjovi.

There was no hint of who the interview was conducted with and, given the
number of "I'm glad you asked me that" questions, speculation will naturally
arise as to whether this was not another self-interview.

Moyo complained about the "negativity and cynicism that have taken hold of
some of our few but vocal compatriots". Even if they were told Jesus was
coming they would protest and claim Zimbabwe did not deserve the honour,
Moyo suggested without elaborating on Miss Malaika's Marian virtues.

These were the same people seeking the cutting of fuel supplies, Moyo
opportunistically claimed. The money was well spent to counteract the
negative publicity being spread about Zimbabwe, he added.

In other words, Zimbabwe loses millions of dollars in tourism because of
Zanu PF's record of violence and lawlessness and then needs to spend $65
million in persuading people that it's not as bad as it seems!

There was value for money in African beauty, Moyo insisted, "because beauty
is by definition invaluable". If you had difficulty with that logic the next
sentence was even better.

"Even the most partisan and reckless among our detractors would concede that
point save for those who have gone bananas and are no longer capable of any
rationality and there are some like that around."

Indeed there are minister, indeed there are.

Zimbabwe's long-drawn-out fuel crisis doesn't seem to have an end in sight.
Not even President Mugabe seems to have a clue what to do. Instead what we
have from Mugabe are the usual, hard-to-believe accusations against Noczim

Noczim has become Mugabe's own Frankenstein monster. Allegations of
corruption at the oil procurement parastatal have gone on for a long time
but nothing has been done to the officials, which makes Muckraker believe
these guys are not entirely on their own. There are big fish protecting

But Mugabe was particularly furious that these Noczim officials had
alienated the Libyans who were ready to give us their fuel in exchange for a
stake in the petroleum sector such as pipelines, storage depots and, above
all, retail outlets such as service stations. That was the deal they were
negotiating last week, as this newspaper reported.

"Why offend the Libyans? What for?" fumed Mugabe in Chinhoyi at the weekend.

But he must know the Libyans have us over an oil barrel because we have no
foreign currency and have foolishly made it our national duty to alienate as
many erstwhile well-wishers as possible, thanks to Mugabe's private war
against the world.

In the end all we had was a promise: "I am going to look into this matter in
a serious way."

If that look will yield fuel that's fine but no more counter-productive
ranting against the petrol companies please. We need a few friends right

As for Mugabe's threat to take over the assets of the Big Five multinational
oil companies operating in Zimbabwe, apart from being unconstitutional this
would almost certainly put an end to even the small trickle of fuel we are
currently getting. As the London Times reported this week, total state
control over fuel distribution would condemn the industry to the same
failure affecting much of the country's agriculture, transport, mining,
telecommunications, railways and power industries.

When the Russians occupied Berlin in 1945, Soviet soldiers who had never
lived in towns unscrewed lightbulbs because they thought they produced light
and taps because they thought they made water. Western diplomats in Harare
covering the Chinhoyi conference think Mugabe's approach is much the same.

"Mugabe's thinking is that taps make water," a Western diplomat told the
Times. "If he goes ahead (with the takeover of multinational service
stations), the country will dry up far quicker than it is doing already."

Sounds like the president's idea of a Christmas present to his people!

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'Europe must save Africa summit'

Stellenbosch - The ball was now in Europe's court to save next year's key
European Union/Africa summit, under threat because Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe might be barred, according to Foreign Affairs Minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Portugal, who will host the European Union/African summit in April, has
indicated it may not allow Zimbabwe to attend the April summit because of
the travel sanctions imposed by EU countries on Zimbabwean government

"It's up to them (Europe) to see how they overcome the problem. It is in
their court. We as Africans are ready to go. The question is are they ready
to receive us," Dlamini-Zuma told reporters in Stellenbosch where she is
attending the ANC's 51st national congress.

"There is no Africa that can exist without Zimbabwe. Africa is indivisible."

Earlier this month, an EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific meeting of
parliamentarians in Brussels was cancelled, after European MPs barred two
Zimbabwean ministers from entering the Strasbourg parliament. The summit was
not about individual countries.

Dlamini-Zuma said she planned to visit Zimbabwe early next year to continue
talks with political leaders there in a bid to help resolve the crisis in
that country.

This was in line with President Thabo Mbeki's statement to conference on
Monday that Pretoria was "convinced that it is necessary to bring to a close
the controversial issues relating to our important neighbour, Zimbabwe".

Asked whether she believed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
should drop its legal challenge of the presidential election results, so
that talks with Zanu-PF could resume, Dlamini-Zuma said it was not up to
South Africa to prescribe what the party should do.

"The MDC has a legitimate right to take things to court if they so wish. I
don't think any of us should interfere. It's their judgement."

Dlamini-Zuma said she was not aware of a plan reportedly by South Africa and
Britain to get Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to the negotiating
table outside Zimbabwe.

Earlier, speaking in her capacity as chair of the ANC's commission on
international relations, Dlamini-Zuma said among the issues delegates
discussed was the need for the party to work closely with other progressive
parties on the continent.

Asked whether she believed Zanu-PF was a progressive party, Dlamini-Zuma
said: "For us (the ANC), yes, for very obvious reasons."

The ANC and Zanu-PF were sister organisations, who had fought colonialism
and oppression, and liberated both countries from the yoke of colonialism,
she said.

Zanu-PF was among the foreign guests invited to attend the ANC's summit.

Zimbabwe's Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa thanked the ANC for its
principled support.

"Indeed, on numerous occasions, you have sought to clarify the position in
Zimbabwe in response to our detractors.

"We treasure your advice and counsel, and assure you that in us you have
consistent and reliable allies who are fully aware that our destinies are
inextricably intertwined," he told conference delegates.

Dlamini-Zuma told reporters that Britain had abdicated its responsibilities
to purchase land in terms of the Lancaster House agreement which ushered in
Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.

The ANC supported Zanu-PF's policy of distributing land to Africans who had
been dispossed, but acknowledged there were problems with implementation
with Zimbabwe's land reform programme.
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