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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Online

Political violence on the rise ahead of poll: Human rights report
Fri 3 December 2004
  HARARE - Tension and political violence continue rising in Zimbabwe ahead
of a crucial general election scheduled for March next year, the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Forum (ZHRF) said in its latest report on the crisis-hit

      The ZHRF is a coalition of 17 of the biggest human rights and
pro-democracy non-governmental organisations in Zimbabwe. It regularly
monitors human rights violations and politically motivated violence in the

      In a report released this week highlighting political violence and
human rights abuses in the month of September, the forum said the
victimisation of mostly supporters of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party peaked up in the middle of the month during
the party's fifth anniversary celebrations.

      The group also noted the increasing and unlawful use of excessive
force by the police against perceived political opponents of the government
during the month.

      The report reads in part: "Incidents occurring in Zimbabwe in the
month of September continue to reflect lack of political tolerance . . .
political victimisation was relatively high around the opposition MDC's 5th
year anniversary celebrations on 11 and 12 September 2004."

      In September alone, the forum recorded six cases of torture of
opposition supporters, bringing the total cases of torture recorded since
January to 165. Torture is outlawed in Zimbabwe.

      There were six cases of kidnappings of mostly MDC supporters by
alleged ruling ZANU PF militants. Total politically-motivated kidnappings
since January stand at 57. In some cases the kidnap victims are later found
but in others, they are never found and are presumed dead.

      There were 141 cases of unlawful arrests of citizens by the police in
September, to bring the total of such human rights violations to 202 since
the beginning of the year.

      Political violence and human rights abuses allegedly committed by
militant ZANU PF supporters and government-trained militias have become
routine in Zimbabwe since the emergence of the MDC as the first real threat
to President Robert Mugabe's 24-year hold on power.

      Human rights abuses and political violence always peak towards
elections especially in remote rural areas away from the glare of the
international community.

      The MDC has said it will not participate in elections unless
Zimbabwe's electoral laws are sufficiently democratised and political
violence ended. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Tale of contrasting fortunes at ZANU PF congress
Fri 3 December 2004
  HARARE - It's still six in the morning but all routes eading from the city
centre to the Harare nternational Conference Centre, the venue of the uling
ZANU PF party's Fourth National People's Congress are already congested.

      Motorists battling to get to work on time blow horns almost in unison
to make the "chefs" - as the rich and powerful politicians are known in
local parlance - move their cars faster but to no avail.

      Unperturbed, the Who-is-who of ZANU PF parade their latest
acquisitions as they roll down towards the congress venue. The posh four
wheelers, BMWs, Mercedes Benz and Lexus are all here.

      "So how much fuel are they burning?" asked Fungai Chinhembe, a typist
at the Harare Magistrates' Court just across the giant conference centre.

      Chinhembe must certainly be speaking for a lot of Zimbabwean motorists
who must battle fuel shortages everyday as a four-year-old fuel crisis shows
signs of worsening again with several garages here in Harare and elsewhere
across the country without diesel or petrol because there is no hard cash to
pay foreign suppliers.

      But you can ignore the typist's distractions and admire the Italian
and French designer apparels on show here, a surprise one might say, given
that most of the senior ZANU PF officials here cannot go shopping virtually
in all of Europe or the United States after they were banned there because
of the government's failure to uphold human rights, the rule of law and

      Also on view at the four-day congress are the latest models of Nokias,
Samsungs, Motorolas and other leading cellphone brands.

      Is this a gathering of the blessed and rich only? Not quite!

      At the entrance to the conference hall, disgruntled lower and poorer
ranks of ZANU PF, most of them delegates representing their even poorer
fellow party members in rural areas, make their feelings known.

      "We have to be moved from Danhiko Centre (a school for disabled people
on the outskirts of Harare). The place is dirty, human waste is lying
around. I wonder how this school is being run," fumed Emma Guvava, a
delegate from the Midlands Province, as she sought the attention of the
administration team.

      "The place is stinking and the food is bad. This is not good," she
went on. According to her, male delegates accommodated at Danhiko, whose
patron is Mugabe's comfort-loving wife, Grace, had resorted to sleeping
outside as the dormitories where in a sorry state.

      And standing by her side is John Sithole from rural Matabeleland South
province who claims mosquitoes feasted on him and his fellow delegates at
the nearby Harare Poly Technical College where they are housed.

      "There are no windows and the beds are urine-stained. I cannot leave
my home to come and be housed in such conditions. Are the 'chefs' aware
these are the conditions we are having to put up with," he said.

      Although party spin-doctors are already passing off the congress that
ends on Sunday as a phenomenal success, evidence is abundant here of poor

      For example, the congress is now in its second day but some delegates,
who arrived here three days ago, are still queuing for access cards to be
able to enter the conference hall.

      There are three queues, one for submitting registration forms, another
for people to be taken photographs that are inserted on the accreditation
cards and another still for collecting the cards.

      "Its tedious, three queues for just a card valid for only four days.
The organisation is bad. The congress has started while we queue here," a
delegate, who only identified himself as Timothy, charged.

      It's already 12 noon, President Robert Mugabe, who is also First
Secretary of ZANU PF, is almost half-way through his keynote address as
Timothy and scores of other equally disgruntled delegates battle to get
access cards to the congress.

      "If this is how ZANU PF chefs will treat their own, then it is no
wonder they do not seem to care much even as Zimbabwe itself is burning,"
quipped my colleague, as we left the conference centre to cool ourselves by
the bar at the Sheraton Harare Hotel and Towers just adjacent to the
centre. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

ZANU PF congress to blow Z$10 billion
Fri 3 December 2004
  HARARE - The ongoing congress of the ruling ZANU PF party will gobble
close to Z$10 billion in transport, accommodation and food, investigations
by ZimOnline have shown.

      The costs also include airfares for about 60 ambassadors representing
the country outside who were flown back to Harare for the four-day congress
that ends on Sunday.

      Ten billion dollars is equivalent to about US$2 million at the
official exchange rate of one green back to $5 600.

      Investigations showed that nearly all of Harare's major hotels and
lodges were fully booked for the duration of the congress.

      An reservations official at the five-star Sheraton Harare Hotel and
Towers, where a single full-board booking costs $665 000, equivalent to a
school teacher's take-home salary, said the hotel had few rooms available
after senior ZANU PF officials based outside Harare had taken up most of

      The official, who did not want to be named, said: "Yes we have a very
big number of ZANU PF officials booked here until Sunday and this is big
business. They are having their lunch and dinner here as well."

      Another bookings official at Cresta Jameson Hotel, about a kilometre
from Sheraton said the four-star hotel was fully booked until Sunday when
ZANU PF delegates check out.

      ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira and the party's finance chief,
David Karimanzira, could not be reached last night to establish how the
party had financed its congress especially after most of its funds were
locked up in banks and other financial institutions shut down by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe earlier this year.

      But ZANU PF has in the past always received generous cash donations
from cronies in business out to curry favour with the party and enhance
chances of landing lucrative government contracts. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

IMF to review Zimbabwe's membership next week
Fri 3 December 2004
  HARARE - The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will
next week review Zimbabwe's continued membership to the multilateral lending

      Zimbabwe, already shunned by most of the international community
because of failure to uphold the rule of law, democracy and human rights,
could be expelled from the IMF for failing to pay money it owes the

      The Bretton Woods institution cut balance-of-payments support to
Zimbabwe in 1999 after disagreeing with President Robert Mugabe and his
government on fiscal policy, land and other governance issues. The
institution closed its Harare office in October.

      According to figures from the IMF, Zimbabwe's debt to the institution
declined from a peak of US$301 million in December last year to US$185.84
million at present, a development that could see the board sparing Harare
the axe next week.

      Zimbabwe's fate will also depend on a report an IMF team that arrived
in the country earlier this week to review economic policy and performance
will present to the board. - ZimOnline
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The Star

      Mugabe's attack a sure sign that Moyo 'is finished'
      December 2, 2004

      Harare - Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has blasted his one-time top
propagandist, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, accusing him of trying to
stage a coup in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

      Moyo endured the scathing attack and humiliation at the party's
central committee meeting yesterday.

      Mugabe, according to a source within the committee, was so furious
with Moyo that he said the party would disregard all that Moyo had done for
Zanu-PF and the Zimbabwean government.

      The attack came a day after the party's police committee reprimanded
Moyo and suspended six provincial chairmen for convening an "unauthorised"
meeting in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, two weeks ago.

      The meeting, dubbed the Tsholotsho Declaration, was intended to defy
Mugabe's endorsement of Joyce Mujuru, the Water Affairs Minister, as the
first-ever female candidate for the party's vice presidency.

      Moyo and his six supporters were lobbying for Zimbabwe's speaker of
parliament, Emmerson Mnagagwa, but Mujuru has the overwhelming backing of
seven of the 10 provinces.

      The position was left vacant when Simon Muzenda died last year.

      Mnagagwa was Mugabe's heir apparent until The Star revealed in March
that he had been implicated in a high court case for illicitly dealing in

      The Tsholotsho seven were also said to be plotting to replace Zanu-PF
chairperson John Nkomo with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

      Nkomo is said to have been targeted for speaking out about Zanu-PF
leaders who grabbed more than one farm in the controversial land reform

      Nkomo told Zanu-PF's official newspaper, The Voice, that the divisions
within the party were so rife that some of the "comrades" had resorted to
paying delegates to vote for their favourite candidates.

      Mugabe accused Moyo of masterminding a leadership coup in Zanu PF, an
offence the president described as "unforgivable".

      A diplomat has described the situation as the beginning of the end for
Moyo in politics.

      "He has given his detractors in Zanu-PF, the old Zanu-PF veterans,
ammunition for finishing him off, because he has never been welcome in the
organisation. He will be reminded that he is not that powerful after all. He
is finished," said the diplomat.

      The division in the ruling party has also claimed another close Mugabe
ally, Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri.

      The minister was arrested for illegally taking foreign currency out of
the country to build an eight-bedroom mansion in Cape Town.

      This week he was remanded in custody until December 15.

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Business Report

      Gono's mission is to save Zanu-PF, not the economy
      December 3, 2004

      By Alex Dawson

      Harare - In a whirlwind year, Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank governor, Gideon
Gono, has reintroduced discipline to the financial sector and slowed
Zimbabwe's economic decline. To the government, and some others, he is
Zimbabwe's saviour.

      But to most of the industrialists trying to keep factories going in a
dying economy, he is a mightily feared predator.

      His methods have been likened to those of the country's feared Central
Intelligence Organisation.

      While the intelligence agency is ruthless in pursuit of information,
he is as ruthless in pursuit of foreign currency - the commodity that has
become desperately scarce in an economy where politics has largely killed
off production, tourism and exports
            "We dread getting the call to go and see him. He won't believe

      Gono warmly greets visitors he has invited to see him in his plush
suite of offices on the 22nd floor of the Reserve Bank building in downtown
Harare. Most of these special visitors will have been phoned in the morning
to meet him at 5pm.

      While they wait, visitors may be diverted by the rare bird's eye view
of the city centre, which looks orderly and clean. Not like Maputo or
Luanda, and a whole lot better than Lusaka or Kampala, it's the view Gono
mostly sees.

      To paraphrase the song: from a distance, the Zimbabwean economy looks

      Gono often shows up two hours late, apologising profusely and claiming
pressure of work. He is hardworking and sometimes uses the sleeping quarters
in the executive suite at the bank
            "He believes we are stashing billions in forex overseas"

      But some visitors suspect his lateness is a deliberate strategy to
unbalance them. He envelopes his visitors in charm. For a while. First-time
visitors are usually disarmed and immediately put at ease.

      Those who have been before are wary, dreading the upcoming encounter
with the banker with the cheery public face who now gets more publicity in
the domestic press than his hero, President Robert Mugabe.

      Meetings with Gono begin with pleasantries, but often degenerate
within minutes into ugliness. The public would be astonished if they saw
Gono, the urbane banker, transformed into a political zealot in full
rhetorical flight.

      Those called in for these special meetings are usually exporters. He
accuses them of hiding foreign currency from him.

      Many emerge from the meetings convinced they will be arrested either
by police at the bank when they leave, or later that night. They are often

      One weekend recently, there were more than 20 businessmen and
businesswomen locked up in various police stations around the country,
horrified and mortified by their lice-infested accommodation and invariably
blocked toilets en suite.

      It is now a topic of debate in Harare as to who has sent more to
police cells, Gono, the scourge of business, or information minister
Jonathan Moyo, the scourge of the media.

      Some have simply paid the bribes that investigators from the bank
demand, rather than go to court. It's cheaper in the long run.

      Others, among them Zimbabwe's most talented bankers, have chosen
instead to flee into exile. Among these, of course, are some real crooks.

      But not all. Gono accuses them indiscriminately of externalising
foreign currency illegally. Most retort that all they have done is what all
their peers have to do if they want to survive - and that is trade on the
parallel market.

      They insist that they had resorted to the parallel market in
desperation after failing, for up to 10 weeks at a stretch, to win foreign
currency on Gono's weekly currency auctions, the only legal source.

      The auction rate is fixed by Gono within a range of a few cents at
US$1 for Z$5 600, way below the realistic parallel market rate. Only a fifth
of bidders get what they ask for.

      Most are ready to admit that they have indeed externalised foreign
currency, hundreds of thousands of US dollars in fact. But that, down to the
last cent, they can account for in payments for vital imports to keep their
factories going.

      Whistle-blowers are having a field day, for expected financial gain or
personal revenge, but they often nail the wrong people and it's too late for
tears after a weekend's lock-up.

      In the secrecy and paranoia that have now spread throughout the
business community, one exporter, who would speak only if he was not named,
said: "We dread getting the call to go in and see him.

      He won't believe us, no matter what documentation we show him.

      "He believes we are stashing billions in forex overseas."

      None of the really high-profile politicos in Zanu-PF have had the
dreaded call, with the exception of former finance minister Chris Kuruneri,
and insiders say he was arrested only because the Sunday Times exposed him
on its front page.

      This is how Gono is rescuing the Zimbabwean economy.

      It is a short-term strategy, designed, Mugabe's critics say, to suck
enough foreign currency out of every nook and cranny in the country to keep
things ticking over until after the elections due in the first quarter of
next year.

      Then drastic reforms will be needed, which will hurt ordinary
Zimbabweans, if the economy is to be given real, long-term medicine.

      In other words, Gono's whirlwind mission is not so much to save the
Zimbabwean economy as it is to save the ruling Zanu-PF party.

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The Times

            Zimbabwe open door for Streak comeback
            By Richard Hobson, One-Day Cricket Correspondent in Bulawayo

            HEATH STREAK has said that he could make a comeback for Zimbabwe
after Ehsan Mani, the ICC president, urged the country's governing body to
make peace with the former captain. But Streak will need assurances of
substance behind a commitment from Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) that the door
remains open for a return.
            He has been working at his father's ranch at Turk Mine, near
Bulawayo, since an ICC investigation in October failed to substantiate
allegations of racism inside what was then the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU).
When he plays against England for the Nicky Oppenheimer XI in South Africa
on Wednesday, it is likely to be his last game of 2004.

            Mani believes that Streak and his fellow "rebels" were badly
advised by their lawyer during a dispute that came to a head when Streak
resigned as captain over the selection of the team, the lack of a players'
union and the influence wielded by certain ZCU directors, including Ozias
Bvute, now the acting managing director of ZC.

            "I have been encouraging ZC very strongly to talk to the
 rebels," Mani said. "They should try to offer the hand of friendship, unite
and move forward. I think it would be wonderful if Heath could play for
Zimbabwe again. Cricketers are not familiar with legal positions and
sometimes I suspect they get used a little bit."

            Bvute, who insists that Zimbabwe have never employed a quota
system, said that ZC would be happy for Streak to return, even though a line
was drawn under the dispute with the publication of the ICC's findings. "I
spoke to Heath Streak two weeks ago," Bvute said. "Certainly the door is
still open for him."

            Streak offered a cautious response yesterday. "There honestly is
a chance that I can play again for Zimbabwe," he said. "I think it can
happen because we are in an environment where things are changing on a daily
basis. It could be anything between a 1 per cent or a 100 per cent chance,
it is impossible to say.

            "The door being open and the issues being resolved are two
different things. I hope some of the things mooted are not just on the
surface, that there are genuine moves in the ZC to rectify differences of
the past and that there will be no vindictiveness or bad blood if we do
return. It is difficult to know if they are being realistic.

            "I think we need assurances on the selection side in terms of
security because of integration and the manner in which integration is being
handled. There is also an issue with the lack of accountability certain
individuals have for their actions. That needs to be set straight."

            Since the dispute, an inexperienced national team have been
suspended from Test cricket until the end of the year and have lost their
past 15 one-day matches. Streak is now concerned about the weakness of the
team at a time when the ICC has undertaken a review of the international

            The "rebels" now consist of Streak, Stuart Carlisle and Trevor
Gripper. Gavin Ewing became the first of the 15 to reappear for Zimbabwe
when he played against England two days ago and Barney Rogers could soon
join him in the team. The others are playing abroad or finding new jobs.

            Streak hopes to be present for at least some of the cricket in
Bulawayo this weekend. "I think the side has underperformed in the series so
far," he said. "I hope they compete a little better. A lot of our concern is
that we do not want to lose cricket in Zimbabwe altogether while this is
going on."

            Zimbabwe are scheduled to return to Test cricket next month with
a tour to Bangladesh and Bvute will try to dissuade the ICC from restricting
their longer-term programme to home series until the team become more
competitive. "There seems to be a disparity between the ICC mandate to
spread cricket on the one hand and then think of cutting back on the other,"
Bvute said.

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Aids And Some Cultural Practices That Should Be Banned

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 2, 2004
Posted to the web December 2, 2004

Mbulawa Moyo

As we mark World Aids Day this year, perhaps we might do well to look at a
few cultural practices that must be prohibited by law as they are actually
instrumental in the rapid spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

We have often heard that there are sexual habits such as sleeping around
with too many partners and refusal or neglecting to take protective or
precautionary measures such as using condoms which are contributing to the
spread of the pandemic.

But we have hardly heard people talking about other cultural or traditional
practices such as the Shona kuzvarira, chigadzamapfihwa and kugarwa nhaka
all of which have something to do with forcing a woman who is not in love
with a particular man to whom she is being given away in marriage to marry
him regardless.

The custom of kuzvarira, which had become virtually extinct, has become very
rampant and widespread once again, not only in remote corners of rural
Zimbabwe but even in urban areas because of the acute poverty brought about
by the current economic malaise that has rendered more than three quarters
of our population so poor they cannot have enough to eat in their homes.

It involves marrying off, without her consent, a young, underage girl,
sometimes as young as eight, to a rich man who already has another wife or
even wives in exchange for money, food and other material gifts that
guarantee the family will not suffer acute economic deprivation ever again.

Because the man has many other sexual partners, the risk of the young girl
getting infected with HIV is very high as the husband can get it from any
one of his other wives and then pass it on to her.

A man who has so many wives is not very different from a man who sleeps
around with prostitutes because the many wives can never be trusted to be
faithful as they will often be sexually starved.

We must ban the practice.
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Zimbabwe: Draft Law Threatens Civil Society Groups
      03 Dec 2004 00:05:08 GMT

      Source: Human Rights Watch

(London, December 3, 2004) - The Zimbabwe government's draft law to regulate
nongovernmental organizations threatens the existence of civil society
groups in the country, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released
today. Scheduled for a vote in parliament next week, the bill substantially
restricts freedom of association and thus falls far short of the Southern
African Development Community's principles to protect human rights during
elections. "A vibrant civil society is crucial for a functioning democracy,"
said Georgette Gagnon, deputy director at Human Rights Watch's Africa
Division. "With elections coming up in March, Zimbabwe needs to allow
sufficient space for civil society groups, not pass a law that would stifle

The briefing paper details how the draft law-known as the Non-Governmental
Organizations Bill-would infringe on fundamental human rights, particularly
the freedom of association. The bill would also significantly increase
government control over civil society groups.

Moreover, the bill is inconsistent with the Principles and Guidelines
Governing Democratic Elections recently agreed by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), of which Zimbabwe is a member state. Agreed at
the SADC summit in August, the Principles and Guidelines commit member
states to protect "the human and civil liberties of all citizens, including
the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression ... during
electoral processes."

Compared with similar laws in five of the 14 SADC member states, the
Zimbabwean bill provides for substantially greater government surveillance
and control of nongovernmental organizations. The law would give the
Minister of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare and the
Non-Governmental Organization Council new intrusive powers.

"This law would enable the government to intervene in the reasonable
activities of civil society organizations and possibly force many of them to
close," Gagnon said. "It would undermine the fundamental freedoms of
association and expression in Zimbabwe."

Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned about the limitations that the
proposed law would place on nongovernmental organizations active on issues
of governance, including human rights. The draft law states that no foreign
nongovernmental organization will be registered if "its sole or principal
objects involve or include issues of governance," which includes the
protection of human rights. Similarly, local organizations working on
matters such as governance issues would be barred from receiving "any
foreign funding or donation." Both clauses are inconsistent with the SADC
Principles and Guidelines and with the Zimbabwean constitution as well.

Moreover, the bill broadly defines as "foreign" anyone who is not "a
permanent resident of Zimbabwe or a citizen of Zimbabwe domiciled in
Zimbabwe." Any Zimbabwean organization with membership that includes
expatriate Zimbabweans would thus be considered foreign. Many civil society
organizations in Zimbabwe currently depend on foreign and expatriate funding
for their activities.

Human Rights Watch called on SADC member states to urge the Zimbabwe
government to reconcile its proposed nongovernmental organization law with
the regional organization's standards, and especially those on protection of
freedom of association in elections.

"The government should immediately withdraw the bill or amend it to comply
with Zimbabwe's human rights commitments," Gagnon said.

Human Rights Watch news
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