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

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ZIMBABWE: Children affected by political violence

JOHANNESBURG, 11 February (IRIN) - The impact on children of Zimbabwe's mounting political violence was condemned on Monday by a coalition of child rights NGOs.

The statement by a forum of nine NGOs noted with concern that there has been "consistent and persistent involvement and exposure of children and young persons in and to acts of violence. These include allegations of assaults, kidnappings, torture, rape, destruction of property and murder."

The NGOs warned that the "traumatisation of children not only occurs through their direct involvement in violence but through witnessing acts of brutality within their communities. In recent months, hundreds of children have witnessed their homes being destroyed and are consequently left destitute and displaced. We also note with particular concern the deteriorating situation on farms, where children of farm workers continue to be exposed to a climate of threat, intimidation and fear."

The forum also noted that the climate of violence "has led to disruption of children's education due to the flight of teachers in many parts of the country, for example, in Bikita, Zaka, Gokwe and some parts of Mashonaland Central".

The statement added that the names of children charged with crimes had been published by some sections of the media, contrary to the law, and also condemned "the detention of children and young persons with adults in detention centres".

"The forum welcomes recent calls by political parties to ensure that the forthcoming election is violence free and peaceful and would like to encourage all political parties to commit themselves to translate this into concrete action.

"In conclusion, therefore, we condemn the continued use of children in carrying out acts of violence against their elders and their peers, as well as their victimisation in the current environment in the country," the statement said.
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Stand and deliver on Africa

Blair will be judged by results

Monday February 11, 2002
The Guardian

The question that hangs in the air as Tony Blair returns from his
long-planned sojourn in Africa is not whether he should have gone at all.
Nor is it whether he went to the right places, or whether he might have been
better advised to stay at home battling measles and insurgent street
muggers. It is not even a matter of what substantive results were achieved:
as with his Middle East tour last autumn, nobody could reasonably have
expected Mr Blair to come up with instant solutions to intractable,
entrenched conundrums. The key question that remains is whether, having made
this high-profile effort, Mr Blair and his government, and by extension the
partner governments of the Group of Eight, can and will follow through. The
prime minister has a history of spreading himself thin. In setting out in
pursuit of concrete, lasting measures to help Africa, he has set a target
against which his ambitions for the NHS, Britain's schools, and public
services in general pale by comparison. Abroad, as at home, Mr Blair will be
judged by his ability to deliver results.
He was certainly right to go. Although it is possible to quibble about
timing; it is also probably true to say there is no good moment, politically
speaking, for a prime minister to appear to put the welfare of other peoples
ahead of the welfare of his own. By taking the time, even just four days, Mr
Blair has underscored his personal and political commitment to addressing
the sort of development problems he spoke of in more abstract terms at
Labour's Brighton conference. His speech to the Nigerian national assembly
in Abuja and his travels in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal at least have
the effect of bringing some kind of temporary focus. This concern is of a
piece with his internationalist vision of a "globally interdependent world"
in which Britain acts as "a force for good", as described in Bangalore. Like
it or not, here is man looking at the big picture. Agree with it or
otherwise, he offers a coherent, rational argument in notable contrast, for
example, to his Washington opposite.

Better this, too, however easily parodied and scorned, than the Tories'
blinkered introspection and slavish pro-Americanism, as propounded last
month by Iain Duncan Smith at Chatham House. The Conservatives' shadow
spokesmen, Bernard Jenkin and Michael Ancram, were especially crass in
claiming yesterday that Mr Blair dodged "tough" issues by avoiding Zimbabwe
or that he was somehow engaged in appeasement of totalitarianism. It is
possible to be unimpressed by the government's handling of Robert Mugabe and
to accept at the same time that British options are very limited. As
Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo asked, what would critics actually do?
Mount an invasion and parachute the SAS into Harare? Perhaps some Tories
would like to do just that - which is, if one thinks about it, the very
attitude that in the past created many of Africa's most crushing present

Mr Blair now has a better, first-hand appreciation of the scale of the
African task. Increased aid, lower western tariffs and enlarged trade, more
effective debt relief, improved conflict resolution, regional peacekeeping
and concerted action by industrialised countries are the means to success.
Encouraging good governance, curtailing corruption and western arms sales,
and stressing sustainable, environmentally sound development are some of the
main challenges. As Mr Blair says, it is as much in our own interest as in
Africa's that such good intentions and fond hopes translate into meaningful
achievements. This is (although it can be overstated) an "historic
opportunity" for all, not just prime ministers, who care about Africa. But
having shown such a prominent lead, it is upon Mr Blair that the onus to
deliver now principally falls.

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Melbourne Age

Zimbabwe stands by EU accreditation limits
HARARE, Published: Tuesday February 12, 5:47 AM

Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge today ruled out separate
accreditation for an EU observer delegation to a March presidential

"We are not accrediting separately an EU delegation. We will accredit an
ACP-EU delegation," he told state television, reiterating the government's
insistence that the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries
take the lead in a joint observer mission.

Mudenge said Zimbabwe has invited only nine individual member states of the
EU as part of the ACP-led team.
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Zimbabwe Mirror

Masvingo factions reconcile
Constantine Chimakure

FORMER cabinet minister Eddison Zvobgo, who earlier this year said would not
campaign for President Robert Mugabe’s re-election, now appears to have
changed his mind.

Sources in Zanu PF this week disclosed to The Zimbabwe Mirror that Zvobgo
had reconciled with his party rivals in Masvingo province, as part of
efforts to end the feuding factionalism there, which has pitted him and
Dzikamai Mavhaire on the one hand, against President Mugabe’s loyalists such
as governor Josaya Hungwe and foreign minister Stan Mudenge, led by Vice
President Simon Muzenda, on the other.

A fortnight ago, the sources said, Zvobgo met Mudenge, the Masvingo Zanu PF
executive and all members of parliament in the province to iron out their
differences. The Zvobgo-led faction, the sources claimed, pledged to work
with the current executive in campaigning for Mugabe in the province.

In a telephone interview from Johannesburg yesterday, Zvobgo confirmed that
he had met with Mudenge and senior politicians in the province, but said he
was not willing to disclose the nature of the discussions.

“I met Mudenge and parliamentarians in the province, but I am not willing to
be used in selling your newspaper by the the mere fact that I met them. What
we discussed and agreed on is a matter for deliberation by the party, not
newspapers,” said Zvobgo.

Pressed on whether he was now willing to campaign for Mugabe, the veteran
politician said he had never dumped Zanu PF. He accused the press of
disseminating falsehoods about him, especially on the presidential election
in Masvingo province.

“The problem is that newspapers sensationalise things for their benefit. I
founded Zanu PF and I will remain Zanu PF,” he added. Mudenge recently
announced that he had met with Zvobgo, and that they had agreed to bury
their differences for the benefit of the party. Mudenge said Zvobgo had
agreed to assist the party in seeking Mugabe’s re-election.

In the past, both Zvobgo and Mavhaire had been reported in the media as
vowing not to support Mugabe’s re-election campaign. Mavhaire was suspended
from his job as Zanu PF’s Masvingo provincial chairman in 1998 after calling
on President Mugabe to go. Upon reinstatement after one year, he went on to
win back his post in elections held in the province in 1999. But he was
eventually and unceremoniously dislodged from that office in a controversial
party restructuring process led by the late Border Gezi, soon after the June
2000 parliamentary elections. Meanwhile Zanu PF parliamentarians last week
censured Zvobgo and justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, for trading harsh
words in Parliament during a debate on the controversial Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Bill. They also accused Zvobgo of
behaving like a member of the opposition.

Zvobgo and Chinamasa were rapped at the party’s caucus meeting on January
30. This followed an altercation between the two, after Chinamasa chided the
Parliamentary Legal Committee, led by Zvobgo, for failing to table its
report on the constitutionality of the Bill on January 24.

Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo confirmed that the parliamentarians had
censured Zvobgo and Chinamasa.

Sources who attended the marathon caucus meeting said the Zanu PF
parliamentarians were concerned that Zvobgo was now using his leadership of
the Parliamentary Legal Committee to launch scathing attacks on party and
government policies brought to the House through proposed pieces of

“What irked the parliamentarians is that the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Bill was sent to the legal committee last December,
and when everyone expected it to go for its second reading a fortnight ago,
Zvobgo and his colleagues had not finalised their report.

“When Chinamasa pointed out this fact and accused the legal committee of
holding Parliament to ransom, Zvobgo went ballistic and accused the minister
of having failed to craft the bill more neatly. What kind of dishonesty is
this?” questioned one Zanu PF backbencher. Chinamasa told Parliament on
January 24, that the legal committee was to blame for delaying the second
reading of the information bill that was first introduced in December. This
irked Zvobgo. The chaos had not been caused by the legal committee, Zvobgo
said in response. It was, he added, the fault of “the government and the
minister in particular, who has failed to put his bill properly together”.

“The chaos is totally unassociated with my committee. The minister has held
this House to ransom by his failure and inability to put his things a bit
more neatly,” said a visibly infuriated Zvobgo, amid applause from MDC

The Parliamentary Legal Committee also comprises of Welshman Ncube of the
MDC and Kumbirai Kangai of Zanu PF.

Gumbo last week said Zanu PF parliamentarians, with the support of the top
hierarchy of the party, had also warned that in future, disciplinary action
would have to be taken against “errant” party members.

“We made it clear that Zvobgo should not have lashed out at Chinamasa. In
doing this, Zvobgo erred because the correct position was that the legal
committee was employing delaying tactics in coming up with its report,” said
Gumbo. Gumbo could neither confirm nor deny reports that the
parliamentarians had accused Zvobgo of siding with the opposition MDC.

But sources said some parliamentarians openly termed Zvobgo an MDC
sympathiser and wondered why he was not quitting Zanu PF. They allegedly
accused Zvobgo of undermining his own party’s government, as part of his
revenge for being dropped from cabinet and the supreme Zanu PF decision
making body, the politburo, by President Mugabe.

“If one traces and analyses events over the past two years, you will find
out that Zvobgo has been firing broadsides at the party and government and
this is very worrying. In fact, he is more of an MDC member of parliament
than Zanu PF,” said one irate Zanu PF parliamentarian.

Mugabe dropped Zvobgo from his cabinet in July 2000 and went on to dump him
from the politburo in December the same year. Zvobgo was the secretary for
legal affairs in the party’s highest organ. He retains his membership of the
central committee, and is the Zanu PF MP for Masvingo South.

This week Chinamasa confirmed that parliamentarians had raised their concern
over his verbal clash with Zvobgo, but declined to give details.

“It is true that the MPs were not happy with what happened in parliament
between myself and Dr Zvobgo. I can’t say much on the matter because it is a
party issue which was resolved using the proper channels,” said Chinamasa.

Zvobgo declined to comment on the matter. All he could say was: “Let bygones
be bygones”.

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Zimbabwe Mirror

Japan suspends tractor deal
Hebert Zharare

THE Zimbabwe-Japan tractor deal was this year temporarily suspended amid the
Japanese government’s reservations about the way in which the beneficiaries
of the scheme are identified.

This follows reports of allegations that influential politicians and
prominent businesspeople were “hijacking” tractors meant to improve tillage
programmes in draught power-starved communal areas. The reports have,
however, been dismissed as baseless.

Zimbabwe has been receiving an average of 200 tractors annually from Japan,
under the KR2 scheme. The programme was run by the ministry of lands,
agriculture and rural resettlement, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe
Farmers Union (ZFU), the Indigenous Commercial farmers Union (ICFU), Farmers
Development Trust (FDT), Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA),
Agricultural Technical Extension Services (AGRITEX) and government-owned
agriculture colleges.

However, sources in the ZFU, one of the largest beneficiaries of the
programme for the past three years, told The Zimbabwe Mirror this week that
the KR2 programme faces possible cancellation because the Japanese
government is not convinced that the implementation of the scheme is
transparent. “As soon as the tractors arrived at our offices, phone calls
from Cabinet ministers and their allies in the business sector inundated our
offices, with most of them demanding at least one or two tractors,” said an
official from the ZFU.

“Since the directive comes from above, people at the ZFU have no choice but
to let these people take the tractors despite the fact that they are meant
for small scale farmers in the communal areas,” said the official.

This week an official from the Japanese embassy confirmed that Zimbabwe
would not get any supplies of tractors this year. The official however,
declined to disclose the reasons why his government has decided to cancel
the programme.

“I can confirm that there are no immediate plans to release tractors and
other farming implements for Zimbabwe this year,” he said.

The official said although there were reports that some politicians were
benefiting from the tractors, he was not in a position to disclose the
reasons why his government was temporarily canceling the deal.

“We are not involved in the distribution of the tractors, but what we know
is that the tractors are for small-scale farmers.

“If ministers are small-scale farmers, which I doubt very much, there is no
problem in them benefiting from the tractors, although it raises some
eyebrows,” said the official.

For the past three years, beneficiaries of the scheme have been buying the
tractors for $600 000, which is spread over a period of three years after an
initial deposit of $272 000.

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Africa needs action, not kind words

THERE are many discomforting trends defining contemporary global politics in
the postSeptember 11 terrorist attacks.

Africa continues to be showered with kindest words that become a mockery
when judged against tangible deeds from the developed north.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in particular, makes the greatest noise
about Africa, declaring it to be one of his second term's foreign policy
priorities. In an article in a UK newspaper early this month, Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw argued that Blair's visit to Africa last week could
help bring peace to the continent and that the key purpose of British
foreign policy was to make the world safer for British citizens.

But Blair's African foreign policy needs critical analysis.

The main purpose of Blair's four-day trip to Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone,
and Senegal he says was to develop support for a new partnership between
Africa and the developed world.

But there is a growing view among Africans that Britain considers Africa
seriously only when its vital interests are threatened.

In this light, the way Blair and Straw have dealt with, and continue to
interact with Zimbabwe where British descendants own large tracts of land
and are in conflict with president Robert Mugabe's embattled government is a
big test of the UK's "new" relationship with Africa.

Notwithstanding Mugabe's undemocratic rule and disregard for the rule of
law, it has still to be seen whether Britain has the political willpower to
acknowledge its historical role in the Harare land crisis and its failure to
honour its part of the 1979 Lancaster House agreement which ushered in
Zimbabwe's independence. The UK has reneged on its promise to finance land
reform in the country.

Whatever Mugabe's shortcomings, land remains a source of potential conflict
in much of post-colonial Africa.

One way in which Britain could atone for its role in this historical
injustice is to pledge substantial amounts of money as London's contribution
to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). This could also be
followed by vigorous support for African countries in various global forums
where Britain has influence. The European Union should be the first arena in
which Britain should support attempts by Africa to improve its access to
richer markets, particularly agricultural products which Tanzanian Minister
of Industry and Trade Mohammed Simba calls "matters of life and debt for

The second platform that Blair can use is the G8 summit to be held in Canada
in June.

Here it would be useful if Blair demonstrated the same level of enthusiasm
as he showed in the war against terrorism, especially the reconstruction of
Afghanistan, followed by the Tokyo gathering where massive financial and
technical support was pledged to Kabul by the rich countries.

Having said that, Straw's recent utterances on Africa also need to be
understood within the context of the long history of British intervention in
Africa, especially in Zimbabwe. Mugabe's undemocratic rule creates lots of
room for Britain, as the former colonial master, to take a high moral ground
on issues that it partly created during the decolonisation process.

In his statement, Straw said Britain "cares about Africa because it is no
longer possible to neglect the world's problems without running the risk of
eventually suffering the consequences". The hope is that the UK makes good
on this promise as there is little doubt that British diplomatic and
humanitarian intervention in some parts of Africa have made profound
positive change. A case in point is Britain's participation in the Sierra
Leone peace-enforcement initiative which reversed a chaotic and desperate

Having said that, it is doubtful whether Britain's enthusiasm to rein in
Mugabe, for example, can be extended to deal with the likes of Ugandan
President Yoweri Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame.

One does not have to be a rock scientist to figure out that since the second
rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kagame and Museveni's
activities in that country went beyond protecting their national boundaries
from "negative forces" as they keep telling the world. The fact is like
Mugabe, Kagame and Museveni close allies of Britain have been involved in
atrocities and raping of natural resources of the Congo.

In a letter to the British Minister of Overseas Development, Claire Short,
Museveni made it clear recently that he relied on the goodwill of Britain to
strengthen his military hardware, not to improve the lot of his
poverty-stricken nation.

Kagame and Museveni are clearly not promising democratic African leaders
that Britain should encourage to underpin the success of Nepad. Multiparty
politics are not on the cards in Uganda, while Rwanda continues to wave the
"genocide card" in an attempt to stop travelling the road to a multiethnic
democracy in that country.

Blair's trip to the continent should not go down in history as yet another
African safari by a western leader, as last undertaken by Bill Clinton.

Africa should not be the continent reserved for empty kind words or
political symbolism.

If Blair can turn his promises into concrete action and tangible benefits,
he will truly become a friend of Africa. But he still has much ground to
cover before this can be realised.

Monyae lectures in the international relations department at Wits University
and is a member of the Centre for Africa International Relations.

If Blair can turn his promises into concrete action, he will truly be a
friend of Africa
Feb 11 2002 12:00:00:000AM David Monyae Business Day 1st Edition

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Zimbabwe Mirror

McKinnon on Zimbabwe, debt relief
Mirror Reporter

THE Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Don McKinnon, was in the United
States last month, holding talks in advance of the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting to be held in Coolum, Australia in March. While in
Washington, McKinnon discussed the issue of debt relief with officials from
the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also held talks with several Bush
administration officials on terrorism and the current crisis in Zimbabwe.

In an interview with in Washington, the Secretary General said
that, despite President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land reforms and
election policies, the Commonwealth is not in a position to bar him from
attending the Australia meeting.

Q: The United States is not part of the Commonwealth but you’re here in
Washington DC and you have had talks with Bush administration officials.
What did you tell them? A: The United States is of course not part of the
Commonwealth, but Washington DC is an important city, being the base for the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. We do a lot of work
with the World Bank on a number of projects around the world and of course
the influence of the IMF on a number of Commonwealth countries is

There is also the issue of terrorism, which is very much still dominating
the world. I had a very good discussion with Vice-President Dick Cheney …
talking about the kind of things that we in the Commonwealth are doing and
about the commitment by the Commonwealth’s 54 leaders to a very strong
statement related to terrorism - the fact that we don’t believe that
Commonwealth states should harbour terrorists. And of course we have a
Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting [at the end of January] to advance
the discussion on terrorism.

Q: Let’s talk about your discussions at the IMF. Are there any specific
areas that you tackled with regard to Commonwealth countries in Africa? A:
The biggest one of course is debt relief. You’ll be aware that the
Commonwealth was in the forefront of starting this whole programme on debt
relief about five years ago. We believe debt relief for a lot of African
countries is very important. One of our last Finance Ministers meetings
called for the speeding up of the process and for reducing the conditions
required prior to debt relief.

The talks I had with the IMF Managing Director, Horst Kohler, suggest that
he also understood these problems of conditionality. He also was very much
aware, of course, that there is not the amount of funds to write off debt
that they had hoped for, but they’ll continue to persevere. So the
Commonwealth is certainly on side with those nations that have done their
very best to not only change their economies, but can no longer move forward
until they get substantial debt relief.

Q: You are launching a Commonwealth fund for Africa. What is the fund about
and how does it fit in with what you have discussed with the IMF? A: This is
a fund which will be somewhat similar to our previous Commonwealth Fund for
Africa and which we hope will be launched pretty soon this year, with the
help of the World Bank, to make credit available to business people within
the African region who need support. The shortage of capital is quite
considerable. On the other hand, finding projects that suit our donors is a
major exercise as well. But I think if we can get this fund off the ground,
with the help of those in the subsidiaries of the World Bank, I believe we
can see some promising opportunities for entrepreneurs in Africa.

Q: If we may talk in terms of specific countries, who will benefit from this
fund? A: We have to say that the parameters of this fund will be the 19
Commonwealth countries in the African region. It will not extend to those
outside the Commonwealth.

Q: There is a Commonwealth country that is currently in the political as
well as economic limelight and that is Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe’s
land redistribution and election policies are causing a lot of concern in a
lot of places. You know President Robert Mugabe on a personal level. Can you
provide a little insight into the way he sees this whole situation? What is
his mindset at this particular point in his country’s history? A: Well, I am
not a psychoanalyst and I am not a psychiatrist. I am really a politician.
There are a lot of very sad things occurring in Zimbabwe at the present
time, not the least of which are the incredible food shortages that are
emerging in a country which was really self-sustainable in food for a very
long time, and exported a lot of food. Commonwealth ministers have expressed
their concern on numerous occasions about a number of activities in that
country. I certainly communicated to President Mugabe the concerns of other
countries about a lot of other activities going on there at the present
time. We obviously want to see a change. In the meantime, I do expect the
Commonwealth will be invited to provide observers for the elections in March
and also, of course, we would like to have people there on the ground fairly
soon to enable them to assist with the whole process of leading up to
elections. But we do remain concerned about a number of those issues that
have been dealt with by the legislature in recent times and certainly have
conveyed those concerns to the appropriate people.

Q: What was President Mugabe’s reaction when you communicated those concerns
to him? A: That’s something I can’t talk about; you have to talk to
President Mugabe about that. My job is to ensure that he is fully aware of
the concerns of other Commonwealth countries and leaders, particularly, of
course, African leaders who are, by and large, concerned about what’s
happening there.

Q: So in the build-up to the Commonwealth summit in Australia, do you think
President Mugabe will press you to accommodate him, or is the Commonwealth
likely to press him in the direction of change? A: I would not want to
prejudge any decision that will be taken by the Commonwealth foreign
ministers when they meet at the end of January. But, by and large, the
Commonwealth doesn’t have the capacity to say: “You shall not come”. The
Commonwealth is an extraordinarily diverse, widely spread, very
accommodating grouping of countries, some 54 countries, and at times they
have had to accommodate those they have had other views on. But certainly at
this stage, Zimbabwe will be represented at the Commonwealth heads of
government meeting.

Q: Even after that statement by General Vitalis Zvinavashe, that the army,
of which President Mugabe is Commander-in-Chief, will only support leaders
who fought in the liberation war against white rule? A: That is of concern,
because it does have a bearing on our active encouragement to have a free
and fair election. And of course it’s not considered a free and fair
election if there are threats from an element of the Zimbabwe government
apparatus towards what could be a political party that could take power.
What we want to see is the kind of election that can take place freely in
other parts of the world, where people can freely declare what they want to
happen without being intimidated by statements by such generals that to do
so would endanger either that particular party or support for it.

Q: So what is the Common-wealth going to do about it? What means do you have
at your disposal to bring pressure to bear on Mugabe, whether we’re talking
about the election or land reforms? A: We really are actively encouraging
other courses of action in a number of fields. For example, on the land
redistribution programme, we certainly believe that the involvement of the
United Nations and ourselves could make that whole process a lot easier and
a lot more acceptable and sustainable. But at the end of the day, we do not
have any battalions. We do not have the authority to mount a series of
sanctions against Zimbabwe. It is really only the moral authority of the
Commonwealth, backed by the other 53 members who expect a higher level of
standards on something like this.

Q: Did the issue of Zimbabwe come up in your discussions with the Bush
administration? A: I discussed a lot of things with a lot of people all in
different parts of the administration, and I wouldn’t wish to go into
details, but certainly the subject of Zimbabwe has come up.

Q: Does that mean combined pressure could be expected from the Bush
administration and the Commonwealth? A: There is already a lot of pressure,
but whether it is having the appropriate response is a judgement yet to be
made. After all, there has been a lot of critical comment about what’s
happening in Zimbabwe by a lot of the African leaders, apart from the
European Union, the United States and leaders from different parts of the
Commonwealth. A lot has been said, but the question is more if there has
been an appropriate response? The answer to that is probably negative.
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EU observer leader works to win over Zimbabwe govt

HARARE, Feb. 11 — The Swedish head of an EU observer team met Zimbabwe
officials on Monday to win permission to stay in the country after arriving
in defiance of a ban on observers from Sweden overseeing March elections.
        Former Swedish government minister Pierre Schori's meeting in the
capital Harare coincided with the petrol bombing of the southern African
country's only independent newspaper and a company printing opposition
election material.
       Human rights groups have warned of a ''climate of fear and terror''
in the run-up to the March 9-10 presidential poll, when President Robert
Mugabe is expected to face the biggest challenge to his 22 years in power.
       Mugabe has allowed European Union officials to monitor the poll but
objected to representatives from six EU states, including Sweden and former
colonial ruler Britain.
       Mugabe accuses Britain of seeking to undermine his rule after
disputes rooted in the often-violent seizures of white-controlled land since
2000. He is angry with Sweden, which supported Zimbabwe's liberation
struggle, for siding with Britain.
       Schori was meeting government officials on Monday to discuss his
accreditation to observe the election and was confident that he would sway
the government, his spokesman Stefan Amer said.
       ''We expect that it will be so, that he will get accreditation,''
Amer told Reuters.
       ''Meanwhile, we are working as normal, we're getting more observers
tomorrow and we will be training them and sending them out as soon as
       Amer said Schori, who arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday, expected the
first of his 150-strong team of observers to be in the field by Friday.
       The EU has threatened sanctions and warned it will freeze the assets
of Mugabe's family and inner circle and bar them from travel unless Harare
allows the deployment of the EU team.
       Apart from the select EU countries, Zimbabwe has also invited
Commonwealth, Organisation of African Unity and regional observer teams to
oversee the elections.
       Several Commonwealth observers were accredited on Monday, Thomas
Bvuma, a spokesman for the Electoral Supervisory Commission, told Reuters.

       British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw condemned Monday's petrol bomb
attacks on a printing house and the provincial office of the Daily News,
which Mugabe's government says is a mouthpiece for the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).
       MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai poses the main election threat to
Mugabe, who has been in power since leading Rhodesia to independence in 1980
after a protracted guerrilla war against white minority rule.
       ''As we get these reports they are obviously taken fully into account
by the European Union and by ourselves. It is a very unsatisfactory
situation,'' Straw said.
       A Daily News journalist told Reuters that two petrol bombs were
thrown into the newspaper's offices in the second city of Bulawayo. Another
two were hurled at the nearby Daily Print printing house. Nobody was injured
and damage was limited

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Newspaper Offices Bombed in Zimbabwe
The Associated Press, Mon 11 Feb 2002

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Two gasoline bombs were hurled Monday at provincial
offices of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper, which the government
has accused of supporting the opposition.

A gasoline bomb also was thrown at a nearby print shop in Bulawayo, about
230 miles southwest of Harare. The print shop had printed some opposition
election campaign material.

Neither premises was seriously damaged.

The attacks are the latest political violence ahead of presidential
elections on March 9-10. President Robert Mugabe, 77, and his increasingly
unpopular ruling party are fighting for political survival after nearly 22
years in power.

Mdududzi Mathuthu, The Daily News' chief reporter in Bulawayo, said the
bombs smashed a plate glass window at the entrance to the paper's offices,
burning a carpet in the lobby. No one was inside and there was no damage to
the upstairs offices.

On Thursday, ruling party militants pasted Mugabe's campaign posters on the
street-level windows. While cleaners were removing them, militants warned
staff to leave the posters or their office would be burned down, Mathuthu

Owners at printers Daily Print said the firm had produced campaign material
for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Damage to the shop was

No comment was immediately available from police.

Opposition activists on Sunday accused ruling party supporters of attacking
them to prevent an election rally at Gokwe, 200 miles west of Harare.

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Rainbow Network

Mugabe Challenged to ‘Name Gays’
Monday, 11th February 2002
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is being challenged to name the members
of the British Cabinet whom he alleges are gay.

The challenge comes from human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell following
remarks that Mugabe made at a recent presidential electoral campaign rally.

Mugabe said of UK prime minister Tony Blair’s cabinet: "I have people who
are married in my cabinet. He has homosexuals, and they make John marry
Joseph and let Mary get married to Rosemary.”

Mugabe went on to say: “We are saying they do not know biology because even
dogs and pigs know biology. We can form clubs, but we will never have
homosexual clubs. In fact, we will punish them.

”We were laughing yesterday and saying was it lack of the knowledge of
biology that led these people to do what they do. My dogs and pigs at home
always know which one of them is female and which is the male and it is
never the other way among them.”

Mugabe concluded: ”Let’s teach these people a little bit of biology,”,
referring to British government Ministers who he claims are gay.

Tatchell said: “Since President Mugabe claims that Tony Blair’s Cabinet is
full of homosexuals, he should substantiate his allegations. I challenge the
President to name the gay British Cabinet Ministers.”

Tatchell continued: “He won’t, and can’t, because there are none. Not one of
Tony Blair’s Cabinet is gay or lesbian. Of 50 government Ministers, only
Nick Brown – the Minister for Work – is gay. President Mugabe is not only
homophobic, he is also factually wrong."

The human rights campaigner, who has twice attempted citizen’s arrest of
Mugabe, added: “It is quite bizarre for Mugabe to make homosexuality a major
Presidential election issue. His obsession with gays in Tony Blair`s Cabinet
is an odd election priority."

He said: "Zimbabwe is facing ruin with rocketing inflation, mass
unemployment and semi-starvation in many rural areas. All Mugabe can think
about is homosexuals in Tony Blair`s government."

Tatchell remarked: “This is further proof that he has lost the plot and is
unfit to lead Zimbabwe."

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