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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Statement By MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai on allegations that he plotted to eliminate President Mugabe.

I would like to reiterate that neither myself nor the MDC has ever taken part in any conspiracy to assassinate President Mugabe nor do we have any desire to do so. We believe in the democratic electoral process and that a change of government is delivered peacefully through people exercising their democratic rights via the ballot box.With regards to the allegations being leveled against myself and the MDC, in addition to the statement released yesterday, I would like to clarify the following:

1. The MDC was approached by Dickens and Madson, a Montreal based political consultancy, which said that it wanted to help build the MDC’s image abroad, in particular in North America where Mugabe was said to be winning the propaganda war through the work of Cohen and Woods, a political consultancy which according to Dickens and Madson was paid the sum of US$5m for the purpose of repairing Zanu PF’s image.

2. Dickens and Madson approached the MDC through a gentleman called Rupert Johnson who came through Renson Gasela, MDC Shadow minister for Agriculture. The two had known each other during the days when Renson Gasela was the general manager of the Zimbabwe’s Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and Rupert Johnson was a commercial trader based in South Africa.

3. The initiative to engage this political consultancy was not an MDC initiative. The MDC was approached by Dickens and Madson.

4.Pursuant to Dickens and Madson’s approach to the MDC, a total of four meetings were held with the consultancy. At the very first meeting Mr. Ari Ben-Menashe introduced himself and went on to say that the group wanted to help MDC on the communications front. He went on to explain that two years ago the group had been hired by the Clinton administration to negotiate an exit package for President Mugabe who initially accepted the package but susequenly reneged on the agreement before the parliamentary elections.

5. There were three subsequent meetings held after the first meeting. A total of four meetings were held. During the first three meetings, there was no mention of elimination or assassination of President Mugabe by Dickens and Madson. The meetings centred on the need to bridge the communications gap abroad, mainly in North America, in order to counter Zanu PF’s propaganda war. At no stage, during the first three meetings was the issue of elimination or assassination ever discussed.

6. The allegation by Dickens and Madson that the MDC had conceded that it had no confidence in winning the forthcoming presidential election in Zimbabwe because of the land issue is blatantly false.

It was in fact Dickens and Madson who produced a series of poll surveys suggesting that the MDC was going to win the forthcoming presidential election by a landslide majority.

7. At the fourth meeting, Mr Menashe kept on deviating from the issues discussed previously. He and his team raised the issue of elimination and kept on asking strange questions. It was this stage that I became suspicious of the motives of the Dickens and Madson representatives and walked out of the meeting. Dickens and Madson do not dispute the fact that I walked out of their meeting when I became disturbed by the approach they were taking in this meeting.

8. After the fourth meeting I briefed my colleagues about the suspicious conduct of Dickens and Madson at the last meeting. We then carried out research to ascertain the background and possible motive of the Mr Ben-Menashe and his company in initiating dialogue with us.

9. We established that Mr Menashe had actually written a book on dirty political tricks and that he had been hired by the Zanu government to set up the MDC under the guise that they wanted to be engaged as MDC political consultants. It was also established that from day one, the group had been working with Mr Nicholas Goche, Zimbabwe’s Minister of National Security and Mr George Charamba, the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Information and Publicity in the President’s Office.

10. When these facts became known to the party, the MDC cut off all communication in December 2001.

The MDC remains committed to peaceful and constitutional change of government as evidenced by the fact that the party will contest the forthcoming presidential election, which it is confident of winning. We therefore remain focused on our campaign programme and will not be diverted by side issues.

Morgan Tsvangirai

Harare, 14 February 2002


For Further Information Please Contact:

Learnmore Jongwe (Head of Information): 00 263 91 240029

Nkanyiso Maqueda: 00 263 91 248 570

James Littleton: 00 44 7771 501 401

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News - Leader Page

Search for a President of the new millennium

2/14/02 6:19:37 AM (GMT +2)

THE job of an African president is not a picnic. There is virtually no
honeymoon, for the urgency of tackling the pervasive poverty leaves very
little time for golf or shopping on the Internet.

This is assuming the president has noble principles and is determined to
fulfil his promises to the people to improve their lives the moment he takes
office. If he is nonchalant about keeping those promises, he could end up
with a bullet in his head, the victim of a military coup. Or he could lose
his job in a free and fair election forced upon him by the people.

Or he could flee to a foreign country, tail between his legs, after
discovering that his people intend to string him up from the nearest tree
unless he explains what happened to the billions of dollars they expected to
be used to build hospitals, schools and roads.

Or why so many unarmed people were killed as he struggled to maintain his
grip on power against the will of the people. In Africa, many presidents
have ended their careers that way. This has resulted in a serious slowdown
of development of the countries.

There are many examples - the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Rwanda,
Burundi, Algeria, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, to name a

In Zimbabwe, as we draw nearer to the presidential election, one candidate
has insisted he is not clinging to power, but is determined to finish what
he started.

Another candidate says he will only serve a single term in office. President
Mugabe has been at the helm for 22 years. What he says he wants to complete
is his much-vaunted and much-criticised land reform programme.

A report by the United Nations Development Programme on how the programme
has fared so far makes very depressing reading: the government has not kept
its promises.

At the launch of the programme, many people were killed, most of them
needlessly. Women were raped and many people left homeless. This is an
unforgettable legacy. Many who were victims or whose loved ones were
victims of the invasions are unlikely to vote for the party which condoned
the terrorism.

What Mugabe says about remaining in office until the land reform is
completed suggests he has no confidence in any of his colleagues to bring
the programme to its logical conclusion.

So he, at the age of 78, is determined to hang on until he is rewarded with
success. If he wins the election, he will theoretically hang on until he is
84 years old.

For Zanu PF, led by Mugabe since the ouster of Ndabaningi Sithole in 1975,
there may be nothing painful about this. But for the country and for the
tens of thousands of young people who hope for real change, this will be a
bitter disappointment.

Instead of a leader imbued with the go-getting spirit of the new millennium,
they will be lumbered for six more years with this old man who has been at
the helm since independence.

Tsvangirai, at 50 years old, says he would happily serve just one term. If
he won the election, that apparently would be victory enough for him. He
will have succeeded in achieving the change that his party has been
promising the people since its inception in 1999.

With Mugabe at the helm once more, there can be no realistic hope for a
change of direction. We may expect to see feverish attempts to justify the
bloodshed which heralded the land reform programme.

Ironically, all this could translate into more violence. After all, Mugabe
began the programme with violence. He might have to finish it off with more
violence. Could he be the ideal man for the new millennium?

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Mugabe vows to take more land

2/14/02 6:18:48 AM (GMT +2)

From Zerubabel Mudzingwa in Zvishavane

President Mugabe yesterday said he will continue taking over land despite
threats of sanctions by the European Union, led by Britain.

He was addressing a crowd of about 25 000 at Maglas Stadium. Most of the
people who came for the rally were bussed from Chirumanzi, Masvingo and
Shurugwi. Mugabe donated $30 000 to Mapanzure School in Zvishavane, where he
taught in 1944.

“I am black and my way shall always be linked to the armed struggle,
therefore I will not change,” he said, hitting back at the MDC slogan. Grace
Mugabe, the First Lady, donated six sewing machines to women’s

Mugabe was accompanied by senior Zanu PF officials, Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Cephas Msipa, Elliot Manyika, Josaya Hungwe, Olivia Muchena and Saviour
Kasukuwere. Earlier, Mugabe addressed a rally at Mataga, Mberengwa, where he
pledged food to the starving villagers

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

MDC denies plotting coup

2/14/02 5:51:56 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter/Reuter

THE MDC yesterday strongly denied allegations made in a documentary, that
its leader discussed a plot to kill President Mugabe.

An Australian network yesterday broadcast a video it said showed Zimbabwe’s
main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, discussing a plot allegedly to
assassinate Mugabe.

The Dateline programme on Australia’s government-funded Special Broadcasting
Service (SBS) broadcast a surveillance videotape of what it said was a
meeting in Montreal on 4 December.
The identity of those at the meeting is not clear from the tape, but one
speaker addresses a black man across the table as Tsvangirai, the president
of the MDC.

Dateline said a political consultancy firm had confirmed two of its partners
were at the meeting, along with Tsvangirai. In the video, one of the
consultancy partners says: “The MDC represented by the top man who’s sitting
here right now commits to let’s call it whatever
you want to call it, the coup d’etat or the elimination of the President.

“Okay, Mr Mugabe is eliminated. Now what? Are you in a position basically to
ensure a smooth transition of power?” The man across the table, said to be
Tsvangirai, replies: “Yes, I’ve no
doubt about it.”

In a separate interview with Dateline in Harare in January, Tsvangirai is
asked: “Has there been discussion to assassinate Mugabe?” “Why should we?”
he says. “He is a 78-year-old man. Crazy as he is, but we have no reason
whatsoever to make any harm to him. That is why we are
committed to the election process.”

Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC secretary for information and publicity, said in a
statement last night: “Tsvangirai has never taken part in any assassination
conspiracy. Tsvangirai believes that the video programme is part of a dirty
smear campaign by the ruling Zanu PF government against him. It is revealed
during the course of the programme that Dickens and Madison, a
Montreal-based political consultancy, now work for the Mugabe regime.

“The false allegations that Tsvangirai discussed assassination seem to arise
from Dickens and Madison.” He also questioned how the Australian TV company,
SBS, was allowed into the country and interviewed Mugabe when Zimbabwe
banned Australian election observers.

“The documentary in question has not yet been made available to us and we
have not seen its exact contents. This assassination story is similar to
other stories that have been run both inside and outside the country at the
instigation, involvement and political machinations of the ruling party.

“Some of the stories in this category include allegations that the MDC is
planning war in Zimbabwe, the party has assured the British government that
David Coltart, an MP, will be appointed the country’s Vice-President if the
MDC wins the election and that the MDC was behind South Africa’s biggest
robbery recently.”

He said while Tsvangirai finds it objectionable to dignify these unwarranted
allegations by commenting on them, the point has to be made that he has no
plan, desire or motive to eliminate Mugabe.

“Tsvangirai believes in a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power
through the ballot box. It was for this reason that the MDC nominated him to
stand as the party candidate in the forthcoming presidential election,”
Jongwe said in a statement.

Tsvangirai was held briefly at Harare International Airport on Tuesday after
being accused of using false travel documents, Jongwe said yesterday. “Mr
Tsvangirai was held for 20 minutes at the airport by State agents. They said
he had lost his passport and was using a false travel document, but they
found that he did have his passport and let him go,” Jongwe said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

(Dickens and Madson are the Canadian political consultants who provided the
"evidence" to SBS.)

........... copied off a message board.............

 "The Canadian company, Dickens & Madson, are paid by Zanu PF to lobby for them overseas. The company is headed by a sleazy Iranian, implicated in all sorts of dodgy things, including arms dealing. He has links with SBS (the Aus Government subsidised "voice of multicultural Australia").
When SBS came to Zim last year, they were given red carpet treatment by the government, and fully acreddited (when all other foreign journalists were being chased out of here) I think it is a disgrace that this hogwash can be shown on Aus TV, and it is sad that there are people out there gullible enough to believe it!"
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Rand should rise if Mugabe falls

Johan du Toit

Related Articles
'Zim could influence Nepad'

Cape Town - If the election in Zimbabwe is peaceful and President Robert
Mugabe is removed from office, the rand could strengthen to R10 to the
dollar by the end of the year, Zurich Re's chief economist David Hale said
on Thursday.

Hale was presenting an overview of prospects for Africa and the world
economy at the annual Indaba 2002 Africa mining investment conference.

According to Hale, Morgan Stanley's latest forecast is that the rand could
stabilise at R14 to the dollar this year.

But Hale said if the election in Zimbabwe is not free and fair and Mugabe
remains in power unfairly, the G8 countries will definitely implement
sanctions against the country.

"He (Mugabe) will not be welcome in any of these countries, and he and
senior members of his Zanu-PF party will not even be able to fly there to do
their shopping," Hale said.

What happens in Zimbabwe during and after the election will definitely have
an effect on the economy of the Southern African region, and if things go
wrong there it will have a further negative impact on investor sentiment,
Hale said.

He said the central question is of course what South Africa is going to do
and how determined President Thabo Mbeki will be to take a stand on Mugabe.

"Mugabe's presence is throwing a shadow over the whole Southern African
region," he said.

According to Hale, foreign direct investment in Africa has gradually fallen
over the past two decades. In 1980 Africa's share was about 13%, in 1990 it
was 14%, and in 1999 it was down to 7.6%.

"Capital flow to developing countries also fell, as did expenditure on
mining and exploration. The most important reason for this is the lack of
political stability. Mining nevertheless remains the backbone of a large
number of African countries."

The good news is that the US economy may lift its head this year after the
downturn in the past year. Hale says there are already encouraging signs of
a recovery, and he predicts a growth rate of between 2% and 3%.

Further encouraging news for Africa is that South Africa and the US may soon
sign the free trade agreement which will boost the economy of the Southern
African region.

"The events in Zimbabwe will play an important role in the short term in the
level of confidence investors have in the region," Hale concluded.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Catholic News

Zimbabwe's Jesuits offer sanctuary to those trying to escape violence

Jesuits working in Zimbabwe promised to turn their churches into safe havens
to offer sanctuary to anyone trying to escape the mounting political
violence in the country.

The 194 members of the Zimbabwean Jesuit province, which includes 35
Britons, unanimously agreed on two statements to condemn the state-sponsored
violence in the run-up to Zimbabwe's presidential elections in March,
reported the London-based newspaper The Catholic Herald.

The first statement makes the sanctuary offer, while the second attacks the
government's political indoctrination and manipulation of Zimbabwe's youth
and warns of civil war.

In the 9-10 March election, Robert Mugabe, a Jesuit-educated Catholic who
has ruled Zimbabwe since it won independence from Britain in 1980, is
running for re-election.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Independent (UK)

'Independent' reporter forced to flee Zimbabwe after smear campaign

By Leonard Doyle, Foreign Editor
15 February 2002
The Independent's Zimbabwe correspondent Basildon Peta fled the country last
night fearing for his life, after a unprecedented campaign of vilification
in the state-controlled media. The attacks reached a peak when Zimbabwe's
national television news led its evening bulletin with a smear based on an
erroneous front-page article in The Times in London on Tuesday.

That inaccurate allegation, dropped in subsequent editions, claimed Mr Peta
admitted to the paper that he fabricated a report about his arrest and
incarceration last week. The Times' account – seized on by Zimbabwe's state
print media – led to extraordinary claims on TV that Mr Peta's article
caused a drop in the value of the South African rand and was responsible for
a collapse in tourism bookings into Zimbabwe. The credibility of the Harare
newspaper for which he worked as an award-winning journalist, was also
attacked. As a result, Mr Peta left the Financial Gazette, an independent
newspaper critical of President Robert Mugabe, taking an evening flight out
of the country to join his wife and young child already in exile.

Mr Peta, who is secretary general of Zimbabwe's Union of Journalists has
been threatened with death. Last year his name appeared at the top of a
security service hit list of enemies of the state to be eliminated or put
out of the way before the national elections in three weeks.

The editor-in-chief of the Financial Gazette, Francis Mdlongwa last night
described Mr Peta "an outstanding journalist". He said he had every
confidence in him, [and] 'I will welcome [him] back when the dust has
settled. He added: "I advised [Mr Peta] to take the first flight out. There
are too many forces that want to hurt him. The important thing is that he
was arrested, but now our detractors are seizing on small aspects of the
story to make mischief." Mr Mdlongwa said the erroneous account in The Times
 made the situation far worse.

In The Independent Mr Peta left out the fact that detectives accompanied him
home in the middle of the night to pick up medication for his ulcers. He
returned to the police station at 3am and later that day all charges against
him were dropped. He promised not to reveal this act of kindness to protect
the detectives who had been ordered to ill-treat him.

Mr Peta's troubles began when reporters in Johannesburg and London picked up
on a whispering campaign by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa).
They accepted Misa's statement that he spent less than five hours in
custody, rather than the 15 hours he actually spent in the foul-smelling
police cell.

Although reports in the British press changed when MISA substantially
corrected its original allegations, Harare clung to the Times first-edition
account, written from Johannesburg and in London.

Mr Peta said: "There has been a big attempt to try to destroy me completely.
I will go back as soon as I feel it is safe, possibly before the election."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

Zimbabwe hints at compromise over EU observers
From Jan Raath in Harare

SOUTH Africa attempted to mediate yesterday in the three-day deadlock
between the Zimbabwean Government and the European Union over official
status for all of the EU’s observers to next month’s presidential elections.
“Our country and other countries in the Southern African Development
Community (the 14-nation regional economic bloc) are addressing that issue
at the highest level,” Sam Motsoenyane, a former diplomat and the head of
the South African observer mission, said when he arrived in Zimbabwe

He did not give any details of the initiative, but said that he believed
that “a credible election in Zimbabwe is still possible”.

There is growing anxiety among the opposition and human rights organisations
that with 24 days left before voting starts, state-driven violence is
continuing and not one international observer has been deployed.

Also yesterday, Zimbabwe’s state-controlled press hinted at a concession by
President Mugabe’s Government when it said that observers who were refused
official status would not be hindered in their duties, except to be excluded
from polling stations on the voting days on March 9 and 10.

Zimbabwe has refused to regard observers from Britain, Denmark, Finland,
Germany and Sweden as anything more than tourists. This includes Pierre
Schori, the Swedish diplomat chosen by the EU to head its 150-strong team of
officials. However, nearly all of the 30 observers to have arrived in the
country so far are from the other nine EU countries, which have received
official invitations.

“Those tourists who have a passion for watching elections are just as
welcome as those who want to look at elephants,” said an editorial in the
state-controlled Herald newspaper, which is a sure guide to state thinking.
“So any tourist who wants to see what goes on in Zimbabwe at election time
can do so. The only place they cannot enter are the actual polling stations
and counting halls, but if they want to stand outside a polling station,
they can, just as they can stand at a game platform and watch elephants.”

The EU mission is taking the suggestion seriously. Stefan Amer, the EU
spokesman, said that the mission’s intention was still to have all its final
tally of 160 observers accredited, although the newspaper’s statement was “a
postive line”. “But we need to have official clarification,” Mr Amer added.

“The main question is their security,” Francesca Mosca, the EU’s
representative in Harare, said. “Certainly, if we are able to deploy them
under reasonable security conditions we are going to do so.”

The EU observers are undergoing training and the mission wants to deploy
them on Friday.

EU diplomats said privately that the mission would be prepared to compromise
on the status of a proportion of its officials “however flawed the election
may be”.

Heads of observer missions in Harare had agreed “that our presence would
give people confidence to vote according to their wishes, and deter people
who want to rig the results”, one said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Booksellers Industry Faces Collapse

The Herald (Harare)

February 14, 2002
Posted to the web February 14, 2002

Stewart Muchapera

The booksellers' industry faces collapse following the closure of shop by
most booksellers owing largely to the tough economic environment.

A series of closures and streamlining of operations has hit the once vibrant

The downtrend in the industry began to manifest itself in 1999 when 59
booksellers closed shop in a space of six months following escalating
operational costs and a stalemate between publishers and booksellers over
discount percentages.

The booksellers later successfully negotiated for a review of the discount
that was being offered by the publishers, which was pegged at 25 percent.

In an interview, the chairman of National Booksellers Association, Mr Alex
Mashamhanda confirmed that the industry was going through a lean spell and
close to 48 booksellers have closed shop in the past three months.

"The industry has been hit like anyone else and this has been worsened by
the sky-rocketing distribution costs," said Mr Mashamhanda

The association has a membership of 160 predominantly indigenous
entrepreneurs, employing over 5 000 people.

Spiralling production costs of textbooks has pushed the retail price of the
books beyond the cost of most schools whose funding has been strained
because of other costs incurred in running the schools.

Already publishers are mooting ideas to print the textbooks on newsprint and
not on bond paper to cut costs.

"We are looking at the idea of printing textbooks on newsprint and not bond
paper as had been the norm but we are worried by the fast wear and tear of
the material," said one official with a leading book publisher.

The sector has been exposed to exorbitant foreign exchanges on the parallel
market to source the bond paper, which is mainly imported from South Africa.

One reel of bond paper cost between $1500 and $2500.

A reel has 500 sheets, which use to cost between $250 and $500.

Films used to make the plates and ink for printing are now five times higher
than February last year.

Despite newsprint being cheaper than bond paper it has also increased fast
than inflation in the past year.

A tonne of newsprint was pegged at $49 640 at the beginning of last year and
the same tonnage closed at $131 354 in December 2001.

Exercise book manufacturers have struggled to contain the production costs
eventually passing it on to retailers who in turn passed it on to the
schools whose budgets are already strained.

This has seen a substantial decrease in the revenue of the booksellers, as
they are heavily dependent on the sale of exercise books to recoup on the
minimum earnings from textbook sales.

The wholesale price of exercise books is pegged at $22 and $16 for an A4 and
A5 respectively.

"Our lifeblood was the sale of the exercise books which has been under
severe strain from ever increasing prices of newsprint and considering that
most schools budgets are already overstretched most operators are going to
close shop," said Mr Mashamhanda.

He added that his association had to bear the brunt of the high distribution
costs, as 75 percent of its market was predominantly rural.

"Because our market is mainly rural we have to incur extreme costs because
of the distribution considering that we have to purchase fuel and expensive
parts," he said.

He however called on the Government to set up incentives so as to save the
industry from collapse.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News - Leader Page

What will happen if Zanu PF wins presidential poll?

2/14/02 6:22:56 AM (GMT +2)

Dumisani O. Nkomo

JUST the other day, a thought, which filled me with fear and trepidation,
crossed my mind: What if Zanu PF wins the presidential election?

Under normal circumstances such an analysis would require one to give the
contesting parties a fair chance of winning. If the situation were normal in
Zimbabwe pundits of democracy would be saying regardless of who wins the
election, democracy would have won.

Tragically the country has slid into some form of “theatre for the absurd”
and it has become extremely tragic to surrender the destiny of this country
to any party, especially Zanu PF who seem to be obsessed with the past and
want the rest of us to share their nostalgia.

I am prompted to make these strong sentiments by the ruling party’s
consistent commitment to terrorising of its own people through repressive
State apparatus such as law enforcement agencies - or is it lawlessness
enforcement agencies - and a plethora of repressive laws which reduce people
to “trespassers” in their own land.

Zanu PF has had two decades to prove itself and for many Zimbabweans these
20 years have turned from euphoria to utter despondency. Ten years ago it
was difficult to find relish for our sadza, but now it is difficult to find
sadza for no relish.

Many young people will never own houses. The dream of housing for all has
become an endless nightmare.This nightmare has been perpetuated by a
shockingly underperforming economy. If the truth be told, Zanu PF will be
judged by history - a history that acknowledges their role in liberating the
country, but which condemns them for reducing the country to a nation of

Whether the Zanu PF government has been solely to blame for these problems
is a totally different question and possibly the subject of an entirely
different discourse. The bare, naked truth is that Zanu PF has presided over
this orgy of economic genocide and political haemorrhage.

This being the case, I will then proceed with a diagnosis of the current
situation and after (hopefully) a prognosis of the situation, or the
situation that will obtain if Zanu PF wins the election.

Firstly, I will elaborate on the political implications of a Zanu PF-Mugabe
victory. Even if Zanu PF won, they would have won through a fraudulent
electoral process that gives the ruling party an unfair advantage.

Laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and the General Laws
Amendment Act discredit the entire electoral process because of their
undemocratic and unjust content.

These laws violate fundamental rights such as freedom of association,
assembly, expression and movement. They are a brutal affront and assault to
and on the fundamental human rights enshrined in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In March the Zanu PF government will have to answer to the Commonwealth
about these legalised violations of human rights. The question which emerges
from this analysis is whether the European Union (EU) and the rest of the
international community will recognise a Zanu PF victory attained through a
fraudulent electoral process.

Already the EU has expressed the desirability of smart sanctions against
Zimbabwe as a result of the government’s failure to meet the basic
requirements of the Brussels talks. If Zanu PF wins it will face a
multi-dimensional crisis.

This will be in the form of political legitimacy, credibility and morality
of a Zanu PF government which has ostracised itself from the rest of the

In terms of political legitimacy, Zanu PF is likely to get most of its votes
from the rural areas, hence reference to it as a “rural party” as opposed to
the ruling party. This means that though on paper they will be running the
whole country, they would have no political legitimacy in the urban areas
which are largely the seats of decision-making.

If Zanu PF wins, it will also face another political crisis - that of moral
authority. I am convinced that the current government does not have a grain
of moral authority to govern the nation effectively for another term.

A government with no moral authority is unlikely to receive support, let
alone sympathy, from vital national institutions such as the Church and
civic groups.

Any government which alienates itself from these institutions will not
survive for long because these constitute the moral voice of the nation.
Without their active, positive voice and collaboration, things will fall

Most importantly, a Zanu PF victory will have serious economic consequences.
Already inflation is at a record of 112 percent and unemployment at almost
50 percent, while the economy registered a negative growth of about minus 8

These are sure indicators that the government is unable to initiate and
sustain economic recovery. Part of the problem is lack of confidence in the
government from the business community who have been affected by arbitrary
decision-making, lack of respect of property rights, and lawlessness.

No investor would consider investing in Zimbabwe under the current political
environment. The government has shown that it is neither able nor willing to
create an atmosphere conducive to investment which will result in economic
growth, which will translate into employment creation.

As long as the same faces are back in government after March, prospects of
Zimbabwe attracting both direct foreign and domestic investment range from
“slim to none”.

The international community will continue to isolate Zimbabwe economically
since the government will retain its “impressive” collection of repressive
laws which affect good governance and fundamental human rights.

The government might then respond with populist interventionist policies
such as price controls and subsidies. These will result in companies closing
down because of increasing production costs. Unemployment will increase
further, resulting in more people having less disposable income.

This will inevitably affect the commercial sector which might be forced to
cut down on production and, subsequently, labour. The end result will be an
economic crisis of unimaginable proportions. If this situation obtains,
there are likely to be a couple of scenarios.
Firstly, Zimbabweans will leave the country en masse as economic refugees.
Secondly, thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans who at this time will have
nothing to lose, will take to the streets out of frustration and anger.

They will not ever require to be organised by any political party, because
the people themselves would have decided to take the destiny of the country
into their own hands.

Maybe Zanu PF will reform after the election. All the violence and mayhem
might be part of their Machiavellian election strategy. They could turn
around and offer to engage Britain and other “evil imperialistic powers” in

Sadly, this scenario is neither realistic nor possible because the Zanu PF
has made too many enemies on its path to retaining political power. I do not
think the people of Zimbabwe will forget the trauma of 22 years of Zanu PF
rule. One day they will say “enough is enough”.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News - Feature

Mining town of Hwange enjoying peace amid the violence

2/14/02 5:47:22 AM (GMT +2)

From Chris Gande in Hwange

POLITICAL maturity and tolerance which pervades the coal-mining town of
Hwange, about 300 kilometres north of Bulawayo, is in sharp contrast to the
volatile situation elsewhere in the country.

Just walk into Jabulani Tavern, which is a favourite watering hole for the
mine labourers and other workers, and see how a group of MDC supporters can
drink opaque beer while their party’s flag is hoisted near them.

Just a few metres from the men, a few women with T-shirts emblazoned with
the words Hondo Yeminda sing Zanu PF songs and clap their hands,
interspersing the raucous singing with sips of the traditional brew.
Occasionally, the MDC youths point at the women, ridiculing them and
bursting into boisterous laughter.

The scene resembles two rival groups of supporters of opposing football
teams, not two political parties whose rivalry has led to bloodshed. About
100 people throughout the country have died since the 2000 parliamentary
election last June. How many more lives will the presidential election due
next month claim?

None of those who have been killed in the name of politics are from Hwange,
nor do any of the thousands of others who have been flogged, bludgeoned or
brutally assaulted by marauding ruling party youths, stay in the mining

Hundred kilometres from Hwange, the town of Victoria Falls, is caught up in
a different political scenario. The tension and mayhem that has gripped
Victoria Falls, a premier tourist destination, epitomises what has become
the order of the day in most parts of the country.

Hwange has an estimated population of 80 000 people, of whom about 35 000
are registered voters. cThe people in this town are united,” says Jairos
Sibanda, a resident. “We are surprised when we hear reports of people
beating each other up or killing each other, all because they belong to
different political parties.”

He said at the end of the day it was unwise for people to fight for
political leaders who forget about them in the comfort of their palatial

As in other parts of Matabeleland, the opposition MDC rules the roost here.
The people have been united by the devastating drought in this semi-arid
region which has low rainfall and infertile sandy soils.

The people of Hwange are blaming Zanu PF for the hunger they are facing
because they believe that the marginalisation of the area has much to do
with the grinding poverty.

Apart from the coal mine, most people in Hwange rely on tourism to raise
money for their livelihood. However, tourism in the area is in the throes of
its worst decline since independence because of the country’s negative image
abroad. Tourists have stopped coming. “Where is the maize-meal?” has become
the slogan, rather than Zanu PF’s Hondo Yeminda because people in Hwange
town have not benefited from the land reform programme.

The Hwange National Game Park takes up a large chunk of land in the area. A
few lucky Zanu PF supporters have been resettled on infertile land suitable
only for establishing expensive safari ventures.

Shadreck Sibanda, a resident, said people in the Matabeleland province had
matured politically since the days of the Gukurahundi disturbances of the
early 1980s.

Thousands were killed by the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade. Sibanda said:
“We would rather talk about where to get food from than worry about
politics. Yes, we can talk about who is going to win the presidential
election but we don’t need to fight and kill each other because of our
divergent political convictions.”

He said the community in Hwange was so closely knit that they knew that
fighting each other would be as good as fighting their neighbours or
relatives. The population of Hwange, which is predominantly Nambya, has a
mixture of Shona, Ndebele and people of Malawian and Zambian descent.

Peter Nyoni, the Member of Parliament for Hwange East, which encompasses
Victoria Falls and surrounding areas, said Zanu PF was trying to make
campaigning difficult for the MDC in the constituency.

He said the level of intolerance in Victoria Falls was higher than that of
nearby Hwange town. The people in Hwange town said they have made up their
minds who to vote for in the presidential election.

Said Joseph Phiri: “There is nothing that will change the people from voting
for the party which they want. Zanu PF knows that no matter how much they
beat the people, they will never vote for the ruling party.

“That is why political hooligans have failed to shatter the peace in this
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Poet banned from schools

2/14/02 7:20:11 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture has banned a popular
Australian poet, Michael Darby, from performing in local schools.

On 5 February, soon after arriving in Harare, Darby contacted the deputy
headmaster of Mount Pleasant High School and offered to perform traditional
Australian poetry for the students.

He was advised that he should seek permission from the Regional Director of
Education, Bessie Nhandara. Darby was asked to put the request in writing,
and told that a decision would be made by Thompson Tsodzo, the ministry’s
Permanent Secretary.

On 6 February, Darby said he was surprised to receive a letter turning down
his request and the planned performance at Mount Pleasant was cancelled.
“The official attitude is very different from the warm and friendly welcome
which I have received from Zimbabweans of all walks of life, from the first
visa officer whom I met at the airport to the staff at Internet cafes and
the taxi drivers of Harare.”

Darby is a professional performer who specialises in presenting the works of
Australia’s best known traditional poets AB “Banjo” Paterson, CJ Dennis and
Henry Lawson. The works of these poets were most popular in the early years
of the 20th Century, but are presently enjoying a strong revival.

Darby has left Zimbabwe for Ghana where he will perform in schools.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

EU observer team vows to stay

2/14/02 7:20:57 AM (GMT +2)

Political Editor/Reuter

THE European Union (EU) team that is here to observe the 9 and 10 March
presidential election, on Tuesday said it was not moving out of the country
because the government had refused to accredit Pierre Schori, the delegation
head, but had sought “clarification” from the State on its views on the

Speaking to The Daily News after the delegation’s meeting with resident EU
heads of mission, spokesman Stephan Amer said: “All the statements we have
heard about the mission from the government of Zimbabwe have been through
the media and they have not communicated with us so we are now seeking a
clarification from them.”

He said it would only be after the government has made the clarifications to
them that the mission would be able to make a substantive statement. The
government had by the time of going to press not responded to queries from
the team.

Human rights groups have warned of a “climate of fear and terror” in the
run-up to the polls.
Mugabe is seeking a further six-year term after 22 years in power since
independence from Britain in 1980.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

SA refutes Herald story

2/14/02 5:52:44 AM (GMT +2)

Political Editor

THE South African election observer team yesterday dealt the government’s
propaganda a blow when it dismissed reports they had hailed government
preparations for the presidential election due on 9-10 March.

The State-controlled Herald newspaper yesterday declared that South Africa
was “happy with the progress” Zimbabwe was making in preparation for the
presidential poll. A former ambassador, Sam Motsuenyane, head of the
50-strong South African team, told a Press conference in Harare yesterday:
“We couldn’t have said that. We haven’t said anything in that regard.

“Whatever the information in that story is, it is a distortion.” He said it
was too soon for them to have commented that everything was fine and would
lead to a free and fair election.
The government mouthpiece quoted a member of the team as saying South Africa
was happy with the election preparations.

Motsuenyane is leading a multi-sectoral observer mission of business people,
trade unions, religious, women’s and youth groups, non-governmental
organisations and government departments.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Zanu PF youths bar MDC from recruiting polling agents in Mt Darwin,

2/14/02 7:19:30 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

OFFICIALS of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been barred by
Zanu PF youths from recruiting polling agents in Mt Darwin and Chitungwiza.

At Dema shopping centre, about 20km outside Chitungwiza, the MDC has been
banned from displaying its campaign material. But MDC party leaders in the
area have vowed to defy all threats, saying they had a democratic right to
campaign for a leader of their choice.

Chrispen Mutamba, an MDC official in Chitungwiza said on Tuesday: “We will
go ahead and display Tsvangirai’s posters in Dema. “The time has come for
all men of goodwill to stand up against Zanu PF and we are determined to do
just that,” Mutamba said. “We can never allow Zanu PF to abuse our parents
and the whole nation.”

MDC officials in Mt Darwin, who included Gift Sambama, Lloyd Benhura,
Cleopas Mavhunga, Tendai Sambama, Tonderai Shanya and Pedzisai Muzawazi were
captured and taken hostage for two days.
They were assaulted and tortured at various Zanu PF bases before they were
released after the intervention of a CIO officer based in Mt Darwin.

The intelligence officer is said to have told the Zanu PF supporters to stop
harassing the MDC officials as they risked imprisonment. The MDC chairman
for Mt Darwin, Raphael Shanya said scores of innocent MDC supporters killed
in politically-motivated violence did not die in vain.
He said several MDC supporters in Mt Darwin had their homes burnt to ashes
in the past few weeks.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Woods’ application for treatment outside country deferred

2/14/02 7:18:47 AM (GMT +2)

Court Reporter

THE Supreme Court, sitting as a constitutional court, on Tuesday postponed
indefinitely an application by Kevin Woods, one of the South Africans
serving life imprisonment for murder and sabotage, to seek medical treatment
outside the country for heart problems.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Justices Wilson Sandura, Vernanda
Ziyambi, Misheck Cheda and Luke Malaba made the decision after Woods’
lawyer, Julia Wood, said she needed time to study the supplementary heads of
arguments by the State and to get the results of the tests if the State
facilitated them.

For the State, Michael Majuru said he would make arrangements for Woods to
be examined locally, but was opposed to any medical examinations outside the

Chidyausiku said if the two parties were ready they could approach the
registrar of the court so that the case could be heard. But he indicated
there was little time before the first term of the court ends some time next

In his affidavit, Woods, 48, complained of poor treatment at Chikurubi
Maximum Security Prison. He alleged he has been kept in solitary confinement
since his arrest and conviction in 1988. A report released in January last
year by a medical doctor, identified only as Freemantle who examined Woods,
recommended a brain scan and an assessment of Woods’ neck vessels to confirm
arterial blood supply to his brain

Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZIMBABWE: Media standards falling says watchdog

JOHANNESBURG, 14 February (IRIN) - Journalism standards appear to be the latest victim of Zimbabwe's hotly contested presidential election, according to an independent media watchdog.

In its latest report released on Thursday, the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) said: "Public media organisations are clearly the worst offenders in the manufacture of unsubstantiated stories, but recent developments suggest the contagion may have started to affect the privately owned press too."

It noted: "The widespread use of unidentified 'sources' to provide credibility for unsubstantiated, inaccurate and often inflammatory stories about individuals and organisations, even in circumstances where such anonymity is unwarranted, amounts to a clear abuse of practice."

MMPZ said examples abound in the public media, clearly aimed at tarnishing the image of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The unsubstantiated reports include "the ongoing 'MDC anthrax terror' stories, MDC 'killer houses' and more recently (in the week under review) the claim that the 'MDC plans war' after the election.

"In none of these stories has there ever been any substantiation of the central 'facts' upon which these stories are based, and in the anthrax stories anthrax has never been identified as ever being present," the media group said, in reference to fraudulent reports that an anthrax contaminated letter had been addressed to the minister of state for information.

"While it is expected that the public media will remain slaves to government propaganda, at least for the duration of the presidential election campaign, MMPZ calls on all media organisations to desist from the practise of publishing or broadcasting unsubstantiated allegations and to restore to their newsrooms the internationally accepted standards of ethical journalistic practice," the organisation said.

In politically polarised Zimbabwe, there is only one independent daily, the Daily News, but it is the biggest selling newspaper. However, the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation enjoys an effective monopoly of radio and television news production.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From the Financial Gazette, 14 February

Zanu PF unleashes militia on Byo

Bulawayo – Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF has stationed its militia at most Bulawayo municipal halls and community clubs to conduct door-to-door campaigns on behalf of President Robert Mugabe, it was established this week. Week-long investigations by the Financial Gazette have shown that so-called re-education camps have been set up at Nketa Hall, Sizinda Hall, Entumbane Hall, Nkulumane Hall and Venture Camp, an abandoned municipal youth centre a few kilometres away from the Khami Ruins, about 20 kms southwest of here. A huge residential council property in Nkulumane 12, known as The Yellow House and earmarked for a pre-school, has also been taken over. Between 4 000 and 5 000 youths from around the country have been stationed inside and outside the property to put up Zanu PF posters in the city and to campaign for Mugabe, who is fighting for his political life in a landmark presidential ballot on March 9 and 10.

Mugabe, his political support sapped by a deepening economic crisis, faces opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the ballot which, according to opinion surveys and most analysts, will be won by the MDC chief. The ruling party has also set up a camp at Ezalukazini, an abandoned council beer hall in the high-density suburb of Njube. Tents housing about 3 000 youths have also been pitched up at Rangemore, a smallholder farming area a few kilometres from the city centre. The Zanu PF militia at Venture Camp is said to be the most notorious, with about 1 000 youths camped there. The youths are understood to be paid $500 a day to conduct the ruling party’s presidential campaign in a city which overwhelmingly voted for the MDC in the June 2000 parliamentary elections as well as in the September 2001 mayoral elections.

At the weekend, the youths from Venture Camp toyi-toyed in and around the western suburbs of Old Pumula, Magwegwe, Luveve, Gwabalanda and Pelandaba and distributed Zanu PF campaign materials. Other camps have been established in municipal community halls and government schools in the low-density suburbs such as in Sauerstown, where the militia recently staged a demonstration outside the house of Moses Mzila Ndlovu, the MDC legislator for Bulilimamangwe South. The noisy camps have angered city residents, some of whom have accused the Zanu PF militia of orchestrating an orgy of violence in and around the city, especially after 8 pm. Several residents this week alleged that they had been systematically whipped and assaulted by the youths, mostly clad in white Zanu PF T-shirts, for not chanting the party’s slogans.

Charles Mpofu, the outspoken councillor for Bulawayo’s Nketa suburb, said he had also been inundated by angry calls from residents over the presence of the militia in their usually quiet surroundings. "It is a shame that a desperate government has sunk so low as to set up terrorist camps such as those in my ward," said Mpofu, who quit the ruling party in 1999 to be an independent before joining the MDC. "The militia have invaded our council facilities in the same manner the war veterans have invaded farms. Residents are complaining and are very angry. We have launched a strong complaint with the executive mayor about these terrorist camps. We have also notified the police but nothing is being done about these thugs." Sainet Dube, Zanu PF’s political commissar for Bulawayo province, said there was nothing sinister about the camps. "We are campaigning. The boys are not terrorising anyone. People should not be afraid when they see them in our campaign T-shirts. People are not being truthful if they say they have been assaulted by the boys," Dube said. Zanu PF youths have already been accused of waging violence against opponents nationwide and of illegally setting up roadblocks on some roads, where they force motorists and bus passengers to buy costly membership cards of the party. Two senior Zanu PF officials recently ordered the youths to end the roadblocks.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From AFP, 14 February

Fair Zimbabwe vote key to Africa's recovery plan: South Africa

Cape Town - A free and fair presidential election in Zimbabwe in the eyes of Europe and North America will be important to the success of Africa's recovery plan, a South African cabinet minister said Wednesday, less than a month before the polls. "It is not sufficient for South Africa to satisfy itself (that elections are free and fair)," Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said, a day after a first election monitoring team left Johannesburg for Zimbabwe, pledging neutrality. "You want to hold an election that objective, non-participatory people – people that are not party to the election process - must feel was ... a credible process," the minister told a parliamentary briefing on behalf of South Africa's government. "To the extent that we are seen to be sincere and firm about deepening democracy, respect for democratic institutions and a determination to eliminate conflict, that that will strengthen the resolve of the developed North to contribute to NEPAD programmes," Lekota added.

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), spearheaded by President Thabo Mbeki and four other African heads of state, sets out targets for democracy and good governance, including sustainable economic development in exchange for aid from the developed world. Lekota acknowledged that the crisis in Zimbabwe - along with other conflicts on the continent - was impeding Africa's efforts to attract support for NEPAD. "To the extent that we are seen not to be serious, we will not be able to inspire countries of the North or our friends to contribute to what we are trying to do," Lekota said.

South Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, however, questioned the idea that NEPAD's success or failure depended on the outcome in Zimbabwe. Repeating a statement by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma over the weekend, Pahad told the briefing that a notion of "collective punishment" by countries to withhold aid for the continent because of one "problem area" was unacceptable. "There has been some suggestion by analysts that NEPAD will stand or fall on the basis of how we respond to the situation in certain countries, and in this case Zimbabwe," he said. "We have made it clear that events in Zimbabwe or in any other country cannot be the basis on which people support the NEPAD process," he said. "Either we agree the NEPAD programme is an African programme and we support it on that basis or we don't support it. We cannot have this constant threat of collective punishment," he said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index