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

Back to Index
Portal of truth 11
In the end,
we will remember not the words of our enemies,
but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Portal of truth 10

Robert Mugabe defied the European Union two days ago, announcing that
its observers would not be allowed to monitor Zimbabwe's presidential
The Harare government said Pierre Schori, the former Swedish Cabinet
minister chosen to lead the group, had arrived as a "tourist" and would not
be granted accreditation as an observer.

Comment:  Pierre Schori led the EU delegation during the June 2000
Parliamentary Elections.  Most agreed that the EU report was the most
credible of all the observer reports because of the relatively long time
spent in-country by the observation team and because of the relative
size of the team -- the largest of all observer missions.

Are there still any doubters out there on how free and fair our elections
will be?

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Poll may be re-run

ZIMBABWEANS must brace themselves for a re-run of the presidential poll in
the event that neither of the candidates is able to garner an outright

Leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zanu PF and the
National Alliance for Good Governance (NAGG) are the confirmed party
candidates in the 9/10 poll race, whilst Abel Siwela and Wilson Kumbula are
running as independents.

According to the Electoral Act, Chapter 101, Section 3, where two or more
candidates run for the presidential election and no prospective candidate
receives a majority of total votes cast, a run-off must be conducted.

"Where two or more candidates for president are nominated, and after a poll
taken in terms of subsection (2) no candidate receives a majority of the
total number of valid votes cast, a second election shall be held within
twenty-one days after the previous election in accordance with this Act,"
says the Electoral Act.

"In a second election held in terms of subsection (3), only the two
candidates who received the highest and next highest numbers of valid votes
cast in the previous election shall be eligible to contest the election,"
the Act says.

This would mean that whoever wins the poll must secure 51% of the total
number of votes cast.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairperson Reginald Matchaba-Hove
confirmed the regulations. "In Zimbabwe, the presidential hopeful must win
by a margin of 50% or more of all ballots cast," he said. - Staff Writers.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe police seal office ahead of protest

HARARE, Feb. 15 — Zimbabwe riot police on Friday sealed the offices of a
civic group that has called for protests over the government's refusal to
adopt a new national constitution, the group's spokesman said.

        Maxwell Saungweme of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) said
two dozen police armed with firearms, batons, sticks and teargas had
surrounded the NCA office block outside central Harare. ''We are in the
offices and they are milling outside,'' he told Reuters.
       Zimbabwe has become increasingly tense in the run-up to a March
presidential election, in which President Robert Mugabe faces a fierce
challenge from Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
       ''I think they are trying to stop the protest marches that we intend
to lead later today...but we are not planning to call off the protests in
Harare or other areas,'' he said.
       The NCA is a coalition of civic rights campaigners, church groups,
trade unions, opposition activists and professional bodies that has
spearheaded demands in the last two years for a new national constitution.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Government close to breaching RBZ borrowing ceiling
Godfrey Marawanyika

THE cash-strapped government is close to shooting through the ceiling of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s borrowing limit of 20% of revenues
collected after being advanced $19 billion in a space of eight weeks,
pushing the domestic debt to new highs of $210 billion up from $202 billion,
a week ago.

On average, the central bank is lending the debt-ridden government between
$4 billion and $5 billion a week.

According to the RBZ Act, the bank "shall not lend or advance moneys to or
directly buy, discount or rediscount bills, notes or other obligations from
the State or any fund established by the State so that the amount
outstanding at any time exceeds the equivalent of 20% of the previous year's
ordinary revenue of the State".

Since last year, the government through the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
managed to collect $131 billion against the targeted $132 billion. This
would effectively mean that government could only borrow $26,2 billion, or
20% of the revenue collected. One of the major weaknesses in the RBZ Act is
that it does not specify the interest rate payment on the borrowings.

Analysts said the increase in the debt has also been caused by continued
borrowing from the banking sector. This crowds out private, productive
sector investment through maintaining pressure on interest rates, while the
overdraft facility with the central bank adds to money supply growth, which
in turn intensifies inflation.

Zimbabwe's domestic debt is expected to shoot up to $230 billion by the time
the country goes to the March 9/10 presidential election, because of
expected continued borrowing to finance President Robert Mugabe's campaign
and pay for food imports.
By the end of January, Zimbabwe was beginning to feel the effects of serious
grain shortages.

Currently the government is not settling any of its debts - both domestic
and international, with the latter now at more than US$700 million.

The government budget was thrown into disarray because of the unbudgeted-for
grain imports from South Africa. Government's fast-track land resettlement
programme has destroyed the once viable commercial farming sector, replacing
it with peasant agriculture.

Kingdom Financial Holdings chief economist, Witness Chinyama said the
domestic debt has continued to grow because of the sustained borrowing
mainly through Treasury bills and the RBZ overdraft facility. He said the
use of the domestic banking sector has increased as government is no longer
able to access loans from multilateral finance institutions like the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Since 1997 Zimbabwe has failed to access any form of funding from major
donors who are taking a cue from the Bretton Woods institutions.

Although the RBZ has been resisting the upward pressure on interest rates by
rejecting bids by banks at its weekly and ad hoc Treasury bill tenders, the
current upward trend in interest rates is expected to remain until the high
inflationary pressures have been contained.

Currently Zimbabwe's inflation is 112,3%, way above her major trading
partners' rates.

"This excessive money supply growth, coupled with a strong parallel market
rate, has fuelled inflationary pressures and the situation is not expected
to improve until these factors are addressed," Chinyama said.

Due to the shortage of foreign currency in the country, Zimbabwe for the
past three years has had a dual exchange rate where a parallel market exists
alongside the interbank market.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Abubakar convicted of rights abuses
Dumisani Muleya

HEAD of the Commonwealth election observer mission in Zimbabwe General
Abdulsalami Abubakar has been convicted of human rights abuses and other
excesses during his military rule three years ago.

The ruling against Abubakar - Nigeria's last military ruler - was handed
down on Monday by Judge Bernard Friedman in a United States district court
for the eastern district of Michigan in Detroit.

Abubakar was sued last year by Nigerians living in the US for the abuses
perpetrated between 1998 and 1999 during his tenure as military ruler. The
former dictator, who had succeeded another military ruler, General Sani
Abacha, after his sudden death in 1998, relinquished power in 1999 to pave
way for civilian rule under President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The plaintiffs in the case were Hafsat Abiola, Chief Anthony Enahoro and Dr
Arthur Nwankwo. Other defendants apart from Abubakar included retired
generals Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida. The plaintiff's attorneys
were Kayode Oladele and Austin Agomuoh.

The US-based Nigerian Pro-Democracy Network said the ruling was a
"well-deserved mammoth victory" for the litigants.
"This is a precedent-setting case as it is the first time in history that an
African dictator has been sued abroad and found liable for human rights and
other abuses committed in his country," the group said.

"It is a clear warning to past, present and future African despots who think
they are above the law in their countries that they will be held accountable
for their actions even outside their countries."
The group said the ruling would discredit the Commonwealth observer mission
in Zimbabwe for the March 9/10 presidential election.

"In the light of the court action against General Abubakar and the ruling of
February 11, we would like to question his credibility as the leader of the
Commonwealth observer mission to the Zimbabwe election," it said. "We hope
the Commonwealth wants to be taken seriously by the rest of the world."

Abubakar and President Robert Mugabe appear to be close. The former military
ruler has of late offered solidarity messages to Harare, describing Mugabe
as "an African brother"
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

ESC warns monitors not to talk
Blessing Zulu

THE partiality of the government-sponsored Electoral Supervisory Commission
(ESC) is being questioned as details emerge that election monitors are being
told not to disclose any information about their training, the Zimbabwe
Independent has established.

Monitors who spoke on condition of anonymity said a lot of personal details
were being taken at the end of the training programme.
"We are made to fill in a lot of forms giving personal details," one monitor

"We were told that this was for security reasons and the trainers warned us
that if we did not behave ourselves we would be tracked down and dealt

The monitors have also been banned from talking to members of the press and
the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

"We were specifically told not to communicate with the NCA and members of
the press, notably independent newspapers.
"The Zanu PF agenda in all this is now very apparent and is very
disturbing," said the monitor.

But ESC chairman Sobuza Gula-Ndebele said there was nothing sinister in
taking down the personal details of the monitors.
"People who are saying that are not serious about the training. It is not a
secret that we are taking down those details. We need to have personal
details so that we can weed out criminal elements," Gula-Ndebele said.

"This is a high integrity job and as such we cannot afford to have people
with criminal records.

"We send those details to the police so that they can verify them. If this
election is run by criminals do you think people will take us seriously?"
asked Gula-Ndebele.

He refuted claims that the ESC sided with one political party.
"I am a private lawyer and I have a reputation to protect. Siding with any
political party will not do me any good. These people are civil servants and
I am not expected to know their party affiliation," he said.

The monitors are being given a two-day training in batches under the
supervision of the ESC. The first day deals with the training proper and the
second day is a question and answer session and this is apparently when the
riot act is read to the monitors.

Last July the Minister of State for Publicity and Information, Professor
Jonathan Moyo, said the government would ban foreign funding to civic
organisations for voter education, restrict election monitoring to civil
servants, and restrict voter education to the ESC and ESC- approved bodies

This legislation was rammed through parliament after the ruling party's
annual national conference in December.

This effectively meant that civic organisations which had been engaged in
intensive voter education campaigns and had assisted the ESC in the past
were excluded.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Zanu PF intensifies onslaught on MDC

RULING Zanu PF supporters have intensified their terror campaign throughout
the country ahead of the March presidential election.

On Monday, Zanu PF militias and war veterans stormed the shop of a prominent
businessman and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporter at Dema
growth point in Mashonaland East.

The businessman, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation,
said violence erupted after a group of MDC supporters went to Dema
campaigning for their party. Zanu PF members intercepted and attacked them.

"As the MDC supporters started retreating, gunshots were fired in the air
and luckily no-one was injured," the businessman said.

He said the Zanu PF youths' ring-leader has been identified only as Wonder,
a member of the Zimbabwe National Army, but no attempts by the police have
been made to apprehend him.

"Wonder instructed the militias to attack the MDC youths. It was during the
process that the marauding Zanu PF youths extensively shattered my shop
windows and assaulted my wife. They wielded knives and iron bars. They were
chanting party slogans and asked my wife about my whereabouts."

I reported the matter to the officer-in-charge at Dema police post and he
said they were still investigating the matter," the businessman said.

"If I get killed, the people responsible are already known. I have already
told my family about the issue."

In Zvimba communal lands villagers are living in fear following recent
politically motivated attacks by Zanu PF youths.
Most of the attacks and abductions have been targeted at suspected MDC
supporters or sympathisers.

Originally, the attacks were carried out in broad daylight and any visitor
to Zvimba had to have a Zanu PF party card and to know the party's slogan.

But of late, said the villagers, while the situation appeared to have
returned to normal, abductions were now being carried out at night making it
difficult to account for the victims.

While the exact number could not be established, the villagers said quite a
large number fell victim.

In late January, at Tafira School in Zvimba, an old woman and her grandson
were abducted at night by suspected Zanu PF youths. While the woman was
later found, the grandson is still missing and his fate is unknown.

Another villager and his wife were recently abducted and severely assaulted.
They were taken to Murombedzi clinic where their condition deteriorated.
They were later transferred to Chinhoyi Hospital where the husband's
condition is reported to be critical.

MDC supporters were said to have gone underground and are pretending to be
ruling party supporters.

MDC's chairman in Mashonaland West, Gift Konjana, said the whole province
has been affected by political violence. In Chegutu, the ongoing voter
registration is only admit- ting people identified as Zanu PF supporters.
Aspiring voters are asked to chant Zanu PF slogans before they can register.

In Chinhoyi, Konjana said, officials at the Registrar-General's office are
demanding letters from Zanu PF sitting councillors as the criteria for
registration. - Staff Writer.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Reinvent journalism says Ethics Committee
Dumisani Muleya

INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo’s Media Ethics Committee has urged
government to remodel journalism to suit official cultural views and tighten
media shackles.

In a report yet to be submitted to Moyo, the committee, chaired by Harare
Polytechnic head of Mass Communications, Tafataona Mahoso, suggests
government should reinvent the wheel of journalism in line with "African

"Government should come up with a clearly-defined media policy to guide the
operations of the media industry in Zimbabwe," the report says.

"This can only be done in the context of a clearly-defined cultural

The report claims respondents during the inquiry said media training
institutions should refashion their curricula to incorporate "patriotism".

"Most media professionals, media analysts, and trainers interviewed called
upon media training institutions to carry out a thorough review of their
curricula," it claims, "particularly in order to address the nation's
concerns about ethics, patriotism, African culture, African values, African
history and new information technologies."

The report asserts there is a fundamental ethical question about journalism,
which needs to be addressed.

"This ethical question arose out of the fact that journalism as a form of
communication came to Africa first as a weapon of intervention," it says.
"As such, it tended to be hostile to African communication systems and
techniques which were not part of the white settlers' intervention package."

The report tries to consolidate rigid official cultural prescriptions while
camouflaging crude repression by government.

"This observation raises a policy question: When did the African government
after independence stop this interventionist function of journalism, so that
the mass media from then on would operate in tandem with indigenous know-
ledge systems and indigenous communication media?"

The report - which states the mainstream media remains essentially
"Eurocentric" - takes a shot at this newspaper.
"What is the connection between the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper and
Zimbabwe's independence? Are these names merely based on location or real

It avers there is polarisation in the media, a view promoted by Moyo, Mahoso
and others as a pretext to target the free press, but it exonerates the
Zimbabwe Mirror.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Triple election process set to discourage urban voters
Blessing Zulu

THE insistence by Zanu PF on holding triple elections in Harare and
Chitungwiza may be a ploy by the ruling party to win the polls by
deliberately frustrating voters.

This tactic was ably used in Zambia by the ruling Movement for Multiparty
Democracy in its recent election. The ruling party in Zambia used delaying
tactics by starving opposition strongholds of ballot papers and
unnecessarily dragging the whole exercise out by asking a series of

This was revealed by Reginald Matchaba-Hove in his presentation at the
Zimbabwe Economic Society monthly meeting last week.
"In Harare, Chitungwiza (and possibly Gweru) there will be elections for the
president, mayor and councillors held at the same time as happened in Zambia
in December 2001," Matchaba-Hove said.

This was likely to cause a lot of confusion and inordinate delays in the
voting process in the urban areas, he said.

Matchaba-Hove cited the Electoral (Amendment) Regulations as providing
ingredients for the lengthy delays in the whole process.
"For example, a recent Statutory Instrument 8A of 2002, stipulates that
after presenting a valid identity document at the election, the presiding
officer...shall, before allowing a person to vote, put to him all or any of
the following questions... (i) Are you the person whose name appears as AB
and whose address appears as CD on the roll of voters now shown to you? (ii)
Have you already voted at a polling station or by post at this election in
this or that constituency? (iii) Have you received a postal ballot paper to
enable you to vote by post at this election?" Matchaba-Hove said the very
process of voting itself was equally demanding.

"When you add these questions to the long process of locating the voter's
name on the voters' roll, checking hands under the fluorescent lamp,
explaining how the ballot paper should be completed and deposited, then you
end up with an inordinately long, slow and tedious process which could
result in very long queues," he said.

Matchaba-Hove said the long queues would very much fit the Zanu PF election

"Impatient voters may decide to leave before voting. In addition there has
not been any inspection of the municipal voter's roll to date.

"This appears to be nothing but a shenanigan designed to create unfair
advantage for one contestant by confusing and frustrating the urban
electorate who may be perceived to be hostile to that candidate."

The candidates that the ruling party is fielding in both Harare and
Chitungwiza stand no chance against the opposition MDC which has strong
support in the urban centres. Zanu PF has lost mayoral elections in
Masvingo, Bulawayo and Chegutu.

In Harare the MDC will field Elias Mudzuri for the mayoral seat. The ruling
party is still struggling to come up with a candidate.
In Chitugwiza, the incumbent, controversial executive mayor, Joseph Macheka,
will battle it out with the MDC's Misheck Shoko, a war veteran and senior
master at Seke One High School.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Haphazard land reform bad for economy — UNDP

THE United Nations Development Programme’s interim report on land reform in
Zimbabwe says the exercise is not the product of a national consensus but
the result of one-off executive actions. It describes it as “an over-reach”
of the original objectives.

The report provides a comprehensive review of the fast track programme up to
November when the review mission was here. While it sharply dissects
structural failures in the programme, it generally accepts the fast track

"The overall assessment of the mission is that, while the political
philosophy and socio-economic rationale of the fast track land reform and
resettlement programme as defined by the government of Zimbabwe remain
sound, the current scope represents an over-reach of the original
objectives," it says.

The report notes that there has been little scope for formal debate on land
reform either among elected officials or those who stand to lose or gain by
the process. It says the current scope of the programme - at 9,2 million
hectares in November - was not the consequence of clear government policy
"but rather the aggregation of a series of one-off executive actions".

The report describes as impracticable the constitutional requirement that
compensation for land compulsorily acquired for resettlement is not payable
unless the UK government provides the money.

"The constitution of one country cannot place an obligation on a second
country unless that is based on a binding mutual agreement," it points out.
While there may be a moral obligation, there cannot be a legal one, it says.

It also criticises the use of ad hoc retroactive legislation to clean up
what are essentially political contradictions and problems of
implementation. The fact that many of these changes are openly at variance
with the doctrine of natural justice provide fertile ground for unproductive
litigation, it argues.
There is another dimension to this, it points out.

"The apparent disregard of accrued rights and interests (both social and
economic) of large-scale commercial farmers in the land acquisition process
is clearly injurious to the national economy," it declares, adding that
growth in other sectors of the economy will continue to be sluggish as long
as the land reform process remains problematic. This will in turn delay
poverty alleviation.

The report says full confidence in the land reform and land resettlement
process can be restored if all stakeholders are prepared to make a number of
long-term commitments.

It notes targets for land acquisition have been arbitrarily hiked from five
million hectares to nearly 10 million but does not comment on the political
motives behind this change of policy. The Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement
Initiative, which is given the UNDP's seal of approval in this report, is
already a dead letter.

"On the basis of the government's own justification for the resettlement of
an additional five million hectares in Phase II," it says, "the resettlement
of double that figure will have a serious detrimental impact on the
strategic role of the large-scale commercial farming sector in national
agricultural production."

The report comments on the likely consequences on production.
"The expectations of some officials implementing the fast track programme
that the settlers' production will more than make up for shortfalls in
production on commercial farms must be viewed as overly optimistic," it

It concludes there are "many problems the government needs to resolve if the
programme is to be efficient and environmentally sustainable".

But it doesn't refer to the toll on wildlife, forests and river systems. -
Staff Writer.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Zanu PF not ordained to rule Zim forever
By Marko Phiri

RELIGION has suddenly made a welcome encroachment into the realm of politics
in Zimbabwe after years of knuckle-rapping of the clergy by politicians
because the two are "inherently" immiscible.

Thus today Zimbabweans find themselves at a crossroads about whether to
challenge what basically has been a gift from above and court both
commination and perdition, or continue the twenty-something years walk to
freedom without any telling when that will come a-knocking. It is their
Hobson's choice.

What makes it more interesting is that religion is being evoked during a
time when nothing seems to convincingly depict that mood of "God-fearing"
that is an invariable cognate of all religions that claim to be

The canvassing of voters' allegiance hasn't been the most peaceful by any
standard, as the violence has seen the decapitation of opposition party
supporters, abductions, disappearances, rape, and other tactics borrowed
from the animal kingdom.

The election will in fact be a decider not only for the politicians but,
more importantly, for the people of this nation. And this for a country
which we have been endlessly reminded had so much promise as one of the
continent's beacons of hope, politically and economically!

Despite the not-so-abrupt turn of fortune for the country, we are being told
by seemingly devout patriots, who have turned out to be not-so-convincing
Bible scholars, that this government is here by the doings of a force whose
edicts are not to be disobeyed. While calls to change the government have
been dismissed by those students of the Bible as an attempt to defy divine
order, it is preposterous and inane when one imagines that the same theodicy
(religious explanation and justification) may still be claimed by any other
country that calls for an election. "Why hold an election? Our party was
installed by God!" every other party which seeks re-election would say.

But not even in those countries where religion is closely tied to the state
have the people heard such election manifestos. That is what the Mullah
Mahommeds told themselves after they punched their way to power in
Afghanistan with their brand of the Koran. But the God they claimed was on
their side when they forced women not to work or drive, when they destroyed
ancient Buddhist statues, was nowhere to give them divine armour when they
needed it most.

Today some of their loyalists are prisoners of war. And here we are as
remote as we could be from being a Christian state but that has not stopped
claims to this being a government given us by the "gods"! And we have the
election violence to condemn us as pagans, at least if we are to be
collectively adjudged by the politics of the ruling party! So ours becomes a
theocracy whose presence and authority cannot be challenged or questioned.

It is obvious that if nothing else will convince the voting public to put
their vote where they think their salvation lies, then the wrath of God is
the next sure thing after violence which will convince the people not to toy
with divine Providence. God gave you Zanu PF, we have been told, so stop
complaining about change. Let no man put asunder what God has put together,
that is what the voters are being told.

But anybody who claims even the most elementary religious instruction will
see through those untruths because what comes from above ideally seeks to
better the lives of the people - His people. Or is it still part of the
Great I AM's grand plan and we have to wait some 40 years before we get to
the Promised Land? But many are convinced that half that period has been
enough, and are still convinced it has nothing to do with their Maker!

The gospel being preached by folks who seem to think that what the people
themselves want is not important is not itself important because it is known
that this is being invoked to scare them into thinking any choice made which
is not Zanu PF is contrary to divine dictates. Why should anyone dice with
"divine punishment" just so as to rule till eternity, as if that were

But if this will not show the people of this nation that politicians will do
anything to win an election, with or without their approval, the electorate
condemns itself to a life with no sense of right and wrong and becomes a
mass of very gullible souls! What is curious though is that while God is
being summoned as the last "straw" which will presumably break the MDC's
back, the tactics to woo voters have been a story of blood, sweat and tears.
Could all this be part of our Creator's grand plan for mankind?

That is what makes this an election which will shake a lot of people's faith
if these assertions by Zanu PF and its God-fearing leader are believed.

Voter education is thus important in bringing awareness to the people about
making their choices volitionally and without coercion from forces that seek
to advance their own cause by appealing to their faith which for them has
been embedded in the image of a wrathful God whose will is not to be
reversed. But then this all remains the gospel according to people whose
knowledge of the scriptures has turned out to be nothing but dubious. So as
Zimbabwe decides, the issues of good governance, economic prosperity and
other ideals, have seemingly been superseded by whether the people of this
nation want to challenge what is essentially God-ordained, or just dare the
devil and do what they think has got to be done.

And this they do with the foresight that they may as well be inviting the
wrath of their Maker, as we have been told. Yet in all fairness, it has to
be asked, what does it profit a man to forfeit his soul and gain the
presidency, for we know that all that religious stuff has become another
victim of political expediency? And the whole farce is made worse by that it
has been endorsed by some clergy whose brief as spiritual guardians of the
faithful has been irrevocably dented. Nobody worth their Christ will ever
take them seriously.

Marko Phiri is a freelance writer based in Harare
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Editor's memo

Lodge your protest now
Iden Wetherell

I HAVE been inundated with letters and inquiries this week from people who
have received letters from the Registrar-General's Office saying that,
having renounced their Zimbabwean citizenship, they will be struck off the
voters roll unless an enclosed Notice of Objection is lodged with the
Constituency Registrar's Office within a number of days.

The letters were sent out on February 4. The deadline given was February 11.
But most of them have taken over a week to arrive and many people targeted
will therefore miss the deadline.
This is manifestly unjust and there are strong grounds for suspecting that
this is a deliberate policy to prevent people from exercising their
democratic right to vote. It does at least confirm the suspicion that the
whole exercise of obliging people to renounce foreign citizenship - both
real and assumed - was designed to strip them of the franchise.

If you were a resident of Zimbabwe prior to 1986 you are entitled to vote
whether you are a citizen or not now. Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede made
that clear in a ZTV interview last year and Justice Rita Makarau has
confirmed the legal position in a recent ruling. It should therefore be
unnecessary for residents to claim a right they already have in law. The
current exercise is therefore clearly intended to frustrate and thwart
legitimate voters.

Whatever the case, I advise you to complete the Notice of Objection and
submit it to the Registrar of Constituencies asserting your right to vote.
Point out the fact that you were unable to meet the ridiculously short
deadline because the registered letter was only delivered to your post
office a week after it was sent. Here is what you should say:

"Notice of Appeal.
"The grounds of my appeal are as follows: I have been a permanent resident
of this country since . . . , that is before 31 December 1985. I am
therefore entitled to register as a voter on the common roll in terms of
section 3 (1) (b) of Schedule 3 of the Constitution. I would be grateful
there- fore if you will retain my name on the voters' roll.

"I should mention that although your letter is dated . . . I note that the
postmark on the envelope containing your letter is dated . . In fact I only
received your letter on . . .from which date I presume the seven day notice
period commences."

Sign and date it. Then take it to Room 4 at Market Square where they will
give you a receipt. You will be charged $50 for this "service". Or send it
registered post plus the $50.

Note that the $50 fee has to be submitted by money order or cash - not
personal cheque. Apparently a $50 money order earns commission of $150 and
registration costs $88, so be prepared to pay out $288 if you want to return
your documents by registered post in this manner.

Some people have returned their notices by post with an enclosed cheque. As
there is nothing from the Constituency Registrar's office to say this is an
unacceptable procedure, I would think you have a good legal case for
regarding the notification as duly served. Why should you
be charged in the first place for a highly questionable procedure?

There is a group of people who are organising the legal side of the appeal
against this blatant violation of people's constitutional rights. It is
called the Citizenship Lobby Group. Their telephone number is 494363. If
possible, have a number of cases to cite rather than just your own. And make
sure you were a resident prior to 1986. If you have e-mail the address is Latest developments can be found at their website:

Bryant Elliot of Gill, Godlonton & Gerans continues to be involved in legal
action challenging the issuing of these Notices of Objection. He is being
kept informed of the information received through the Citizenship Lobby

If you are refused the right of appeal it is important to write and protest
to the relevant Constituency Registrar and the Registrar-General detailing
the date of receipt of the actual document, notwithstanding the date on
which it was posted by the Constituency Registrar, and the date on which
your appeal was refused. The RG's office may be in breach of Section 34(1)
of the Interpretation Act.

The Citizenship Lobby Group proposes to collate the information received
regarding these Notices of Objection and will be submitting them to the
electoral observers as proof of the RG's intention to disenfranchise voters
who have a legitimate right to participate in the forthcoming elections.

My heart goes out to the elderly and infirm who were first required to
undergo the ordeal of renunciation at Makombe Building last year and are now
expected to complete these forms and take them to Market Square.

Arbitrary and discriminatory governance of this sort is precisely what
distinguishes rogue regimes around the world from decent ones. What appalls
me is that we have judges who are not prepared to challenge clearly
overweening interventions by the executive in electoral procedures.

Fortunately, Justice Ebrahim provided the sort of judicial leadership the
country expects with his minority ruling that it was important for the
Supreme Court to determine the validity of Statutory Instruments of this
sort which are ultra vires the powers conferred on the president under
Section 158 of the Electoral Act.

It is clear Mugabe exceeded his authority in issuing the decree aimed at
thwarting the opposition's prospects in Harare and Chitungwiza and that this
represents another abuse of power designed to obstruct democratic outcomes.
The courts have a duty to uphold people's rights.

I hope all electoral observers over the next few weeks will be acquainted
with the many obstacles this government has erected to block a free and fair
poll. The exclusion of potential voters must be high on their list.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Tsvangirai - the plot thickens
Dumisani Muleya

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday
admitted he was set up by a former Israeli intelligence officer on behalf of
the Zimbabwe government. The operation involved implicating Tsvangirai in a
plot to assassinate President Mugabe.

Tsvangirai said Ari Ben-Menashe - a veteran Mossad spy involved in a number
of episodes ranging from the Iran/Contra affair to the Zambian US$6 million
maize scam last year - wanted to lure him into "gangland" and destroy him.

Ben-Menashe is chief executive officer of Dickens & Mad- son (Canada Inc), a
Canadian political consultancy firm which is linked to Zimbabwe Security
minister Nicholas Goche.

The MDC leader said Ben-Me-nashe contrived the assassination plot to
discredit him after a bid by the consultancy firm to represent the MDC in
North Ame- rica went sour. Despite the failure of the deal, Tsvangirai said
Ben-Menashe was still pursuing him through the media.

On Wednesday, Australia's Special Broadcasting Services (SBS) - a
multi-ethnic station covering, among other things, aboriginal issues -
broadcast a documentary which included surveillance video footage purporting
to show Tsvangirai agreeing to the "elimination" of Mugabe.

The video was provided by Dickens & Madson.

Tsvangirai, who has already instructed his foreign attorneys to institute
legal action against Ben-Menashe and his group, dismissed the documentary as
a "fabrication".
He said investigations revealed Ben-Menashe was working in cahoots with
Goche and presidential spokesman George Charamba in a "smear campaign"
against him.

The opposition chief told the Zimbabwe Independent how the problem started:

"We were approached by Rupert Johnson, a representative of Dickens & Madson,
for public relations work," he said.

"The group said it wanted to help us build our image abroad, mainly in North
America where Zanu PF was winning the propaganda war through its lobbyist
group Cohen & Woods."

Tsvangirai said Dickens & Madson urged the MDC to launch a
counter-offensive. Zanu PF had paid Cohen & Woods US$5 million.

He said the Canadian firm approached the MDC through its secretary for
Agriculture, Renson Gasela, because he knew Johnson, a South African
commodities broker, from his days as Grain Marketing Board general manager.

"We needed a counter consultancy group and that's why we agreed to engage
Dickens & Madson," Tsvangirai said. "It was solely their own initiative."

Meetings were later arranged to seal the deal. Tsvangirai, together with
senior MDC officials, travelled to meet Dickens & Madson representatives in
London in October last year. Ben-Menashe introduced himself at the meeting
as a national security advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak

Tsvangirai said the veteran spy said he wanted to deal with the MDC because
Mugabe was unreliable. Mugabe was said to have reneged on a retirement deal
with former US president Bill Clinton in 2000 .

After the first meeting the MDC, through its London consultancy BSMG, paid
US$50 000 to Dickens & Madson for public relations. A US$50 000 balance

The second meeting in London was just a "follow-up" to the first one,
Tsvangirai said.
At that meeting, Tsvangirai said, Ben-Menashe claimed contacts at the
"highest levels" in government and the army.

"Ben-Menashe is trying to be too clever by half," Tsvangirai said. "At the
Montreal meeting he is the one who introduced irrelevant issues like
eliminating the president, that his health is bad, and various political

The opposition leader said he could not have introduced the issue of
assassinating Mugabe to Dickens & Madson as they were unknown quantities to
him and could have been part of a "criminal underworld operation".

Tsvangirai said after the "frosty" Montreal meeting he reported
Ben-Menashe's antics to his party and investigations were launched. It was
after the probe that Dickens & Madson's undercover role became clear.

The maker of the Australian documentary, Mark Davis, was in Harare last
month and obtained an interview with Mugabe after speaking to Charamba
although he had no accreditation.

Approached by a news agency on Wednesday for comment, Ben-Menashe said:
"Don't bother speaking to me. Get in touch with Nick Goche. He's the one
handling it."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Menashe a master of 'dirty tricks'
Vincent Kahiya

ARI Ben-Menashe - the man who set up MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in an
elaborate operation involving an assassination plot against President Robert
Mugabe - is a master of "dirty tricks", the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
He was described by Time magazine as a "veteran spinner of
stunning-if-true-but... yarns".

Yesterday the Independent heard that Ben-Menashe's company Dickens & Madson
has been heavily involved in arms for diamonds trade together with senior
military officers in Zimbabwe. A source close to the dealings said the
company was flying diamonds from Harare to South Africa where they were
being cut before being flown to East European capitals to be exchanged for

Ben-Menashe - yesterday described by diplomatic sources as "one of the
dodgiest men in Canada" - is an Iranian-born veteran Israeli spy who worked
as a personal security advisor to former Israeli premier Yitzhak Shamir for
12 years.

He served in the external relations department of Israel's Military
Intelligence and is a former Mossad deputy chief.

Ben-Menashe is described as one of "six on Israel's top-secret Joint
Committee on Israel-Iran Relations, who spent years globe-trot- ting for
them, setting up fronts and transferring millions in cash".

The former Israeli spy gained international notoriety after his involvement
in the Iran-Contra Affair or "Irangate" in which he was accused of providing
false information to the media and lying to the US Congress under oath about
a shady arms deal.

Ben-Menashe's political consultancy, Dickens & Madson, has been working with
the Zimbabwe government for the past three years. It has connections with
several African despots.

Ben-Menashe has written a sensational book - Profits of War: Inside the
Secret US-Israeli Arms Network. It deals with a worldwide arms conspiracy.

In the mid-'80s he made unproven claims about the "October Surprise" in
which he alleged that former US president Ronald Reagan's election campaign
team arranged a deal with Iranian and Israeli officials to delay the release
of US hostages held in Tehran until after the poll in November 1979.

The unfounded allegations were that Reagan's campaign officials,
specifically William Casey, plotted to delay the release of the hostages for
electoral gain. This alleged act of sabotage was supposedly undertaken to
prevent Jimmy Carter from arranging a release of hostages in October, just
prior to the 1979 election.

Although Ben-Menashe was acquitted by a New York federal jury in 1990 of
charges involving the alleged illegal sale of Israeli-owned C-130 Hercules
aircraft to Iran, his record still remained riddled with controversy.

In November 1990, ABC News gave Ben-Menashe a lie detector test concerning
his allegations about the Iran-Contra affair. According to Christopher
Isham, an ABC
producer, Ben-Menashe failed it dismally.

In March 1992 Ben-Menashe was described by the Jerusalem Post as a
"notorious and chronic liar".

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

Soldiers seconded to ESC
Forward Maisokwadzo

THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has sanctioned the release of 72 of its
officers for an indefinite period to the Electoral Supervisory Commission
(ESC) amid growing concerns over whether the country is going to have a free
and fair presidential poll.

The list of army personnel assigned to the ESC in the possession of the
Zimbabwe Independent includes officers from senior ranks like major-generals
and extends down to lieutenants and NCOs.

"The following officers and others have been attached to the Electoral
Supervisory Commission for an indefinite period," the letter from Army HQ
endorsing their release says.
However, their role and functions were not specified.

Of the 72 officers, 15 are from army headquarters while the remainder are
drawn from different centres and departments.

Four major-generals, S Mukanga, J Mudzingwa, T Machivenyika, TM Ncube and R
Mapako, are among the top-ranked officers included in the list of those
attached to the ESC.

The army's careers department drafted the list and endorsed it by releasing
officer A Moyo, a major in the same section.
The drafting in of the army to the ESC has been viewed with suspicion by
civil society.

The ESC is struggling to find manpower to supervise the watershed election
with only three weeks left. Critics say the commission will accommodate the
army in the electioneering process to beef up its manpower after government
rejected independent monitors.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent

SA/Sadc lobby govt to accredit Schori
Godfrey Marawanyika/ Blessing Zulu

HIGH level lobbying by European Union and Sadc countries, including South
Africa, is currently taking place to force the Zimbabwean authorities to
back down and accredit Pierre Schori as the head of the EU’s election
observer team.

Schori, a Swede, has been chosen to lead the 150-strong EU team to monitor
the March 9/10 presidential election. But the government has vowed not to
accredit him.

Foreign minister Stan Mudenge has said Schori could remain as a "tourist"
and Information minister Jonathan Moyo described his coming to Zimbabwe and
demanding accreditation as lawless.
"We do not expect the parties involved to behave in a lawless manner or take
the law unto themselves," said Moyo.

Yesterday the government accredited 30 EU observers from countries that are
acceptable to Mugabe's government. The remaining batch of 120 will arrive in
the country on March 3. Schori's spokesperson Stefan Amer who is also a
Swede was not accredited either. But diplomatic initiatives are under way to
ensure that Schori is accredited.

Head of the South African delegation Sam Motsuenyane confirmed on Wednesday
that several meetings were taking place to solve the impasse.

"I will not be drawn into saying anything on the problems," said

"But I can confirm that our countries are addressing that issue at the
highest level."

Motsuenyane said the South African observer team, numbering only 50, would
not alone be able to effectively monitor the election process.

"Our intention is to deploy members (observers) in all strategic areas.
However, due to some constraints we cannot," said Motsuenyane.

Schori's position has arisen because of the apparent blacklisting of his
country by President Mugabe who considers it hostile.
He has also refused entry to observers from Britain, Germany, the
Netherlands, Den- mark, Finland and the United States.

The latest round of meetings comes amid debate on whether to impose
sanctions on Mugabe and his ruling elite by the EU this week.

Sadc has also been involved in the latest initiative. Its observer mission
is partly funded by the EU. If Zimbabwe fails to accredit Schori that could
have implications for the region as the EU funds Sadc election observers to
the tune of half a million Euros.

Schori has vowed to stay despite not being accredited.
European Commission envoy to Harare Franscesca Mosca confirmed the meetings
but would not be drawn into revealing details.

"We are going to see the outcome of the meetings but it is too early to say
anything as yet," Mosca said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Little time left to break Zanu's chain of violence

If regional, global players fail to act against Harare, democracy will be
the loser
FOR a long time now, the international community has seen the rule of law
being subverted by the government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Recently too, Harare has attempted to seek through a subverted legislative
process the effects of a state of emergency, such as martial law and rule by
decree, without actually declaring it.

In effect, what the international community has witnessed has been the
gradual installation of a civilmilitary junta. On the eve of the elections,
Zimbabwe is actually in the concluding phase of what is virtually a
slow-motion coup d'état.

In this light, the current regional and international debate about whether
or not there will be a free and fair presidential poll in the country is
simply idle talk and an excuse for inaction.

Under the prevailing conditions on the ground in Zimbabwe, there can never
be free and fair elections. The Southern African Development Community, the
Commonwealth, the European Union, the US and the rest of the international
community all no longer have any justifiable reason not to take drastic
action against Harare.

It is just not enough for the Mugabe regime to concede on the issues of poll
observers and the global press. The infrastructure of violence must be

If the international community does not impel Mugabe to abandon and revoke
his antidemocratic and authoritarian legislation and if it does not take
measures to ensure that Mugabe rolls back the frontiers of violence, then we
can all resign to the fact that the presidential poll stands rigged even
before the first ballot is cast.

In fact in circumstances such as these, normal elections cannot be held, so
there will be nothing to rig. What we will witness is a fatal defeat of
democracy on a violent electoral field. This is precisely Mugabe's intention
and he has prepared elaborately for it.

The ruling Zanu (PF)'s own security department concluded in early December
last year that, under free and fair electoral conditions, it faced the real
prospect of defeat by the opposition Movement for Democratic change (MDC).

This realisation impelled the party to put in place a violent survival
strategy. Its implementation has resulted in the current wave of violence
that has gripped Zimbabwe since the festive season.

The strategy is being co-ordinated by a shadowy group called the National
Command Centre based at Zanu (PF) headquarters in Harare.

This is a civil-military outfit linking together top Zanu (PF) officials,
the Central Intelligence Organisation, the army, police, parliamentary
forces, the so-called war veterans and key senior public servants.

This structure is replicated at the provincial and district level and in
each of the 120 parliamentary constituencies, thus establishing a violent
chain of command from the remotest villages up to Harare. They operate
virtually as freebooters sustaining themselves through extortion and theft.

However, what is laughable but tragic is Zanu (PF)'s pretence to adhere to
due process, because even when they are militarising the electoral process
to ensure it is thoroughly subverted, they are still finetuning the recent
amendment to the Electoral Act to plug all loopholes that might interfere
with rigging.

Last month the government introduced new statutory regulations in addition
to the amendment to the act, prohibiting monitors, polling agents and
election agents from travelling in vehicles transporting ballot boxes.

This is clearly meant to afford government agents the opportunity to break
the seals and stuff the ballot boxes on their way to counting centres. It is
as simple as that. They have even stopped bothering with the more
sophisticated forms of election rigging.

There is even a real possibility that Mugabe may, at the last minute, before
the poll, use his wide presidential powers to amend the act further so as to
require that the winner of the poll be decided by the number of
constituencies a candidate wins rather than the total number of popular
votes cast. Zanu (PF) has already been discussing this.

The strategy is that violence in rural areas will drive away potential
opposition supporters from the poll and Mugabe will then win in the majority
of constituencies, which are rural. This is why, for the first time in the
history of the presidential elections, Mugabe made legislative provisions to
ensure voting will, for the first time, be on a constituency basis rather
than the whole country being turned into one constituency.

The MDC has challenged this in the courts, with the high court ruling in its
favour but the supreme court (now packed with government supporters) may
still deliver a judgment favourable to Zanu (PF).

Other rigging strategies are also in the offing. Mugabe has always banked on
the rural vote, although evidence on the ground suggests rural support is
dwindling fast.

However, operating on this assumption, there are plans to saturate the rural
areas with polling stations and ballot boxes, with the hope of reducing
distances travelled for rural voters and thereby "net-in" a maximum number
of coerced votes to dilute the urban vote seen as predominantly sympathetic
to the opposition.

The idea is to drastically reduce the number of polling stations and ballot
boxes in the urban areas, and create congestion, which will automatically
and effectively disenfranchise a substantial percentage of the urban

As a result of Mugabe's "violence strategy", Zimbabwe's population of
internally displaced persons is growing rapidly. There is now a serious
internal refugee problem composed of a floating population of displaced farm
workers and victims of political violence. Sometimes the two cannot be

This, together with the looming food shortages, could speed up the exodus of
refugees to neighbouring countries. SA has already started preparing for
this eventuality.

The world must know that Mugabe's strategy is to rig the election and then
later negotiate with the global community for recognition.

Mukonoweshuro is Professor of Political Studies at the University of

Feb 14 2002 12:00:00:000AM Eliphas Mukonoweshuro Business Day 1st Edition

Back to the Top
Back to Index

tEric Bloch Column

After Argentina: cry for me Zimbabwe

ANDREW Lloyd Webber, in his wonderful musical, Evita, penned the following words for
his principal character, Evita Peron, the wife of the Argentinean president: "Don't cry for me, Argentina, The truth is I never left you. All through my wild days, My mad existence, I kept my promise - Don't keep your distance. And as for fortune, and as for fame, I never invited them in, Though it seems to the world they were all I desired: They are illusions. They're not the solutions they promised to be, The answer was here all the time ... Don't cry for me, Argentina."

Although a very different interpretation to that intended by the lyricist would need to be applied to those words, nevertheless today's circumstances are such that Zimbabwe could well be the songstress, with the words only minimally changed to a distraught appeal of "Cry for me, Argentina". Certainly, any who presently perceive the Zimbabwean environment favourably, are misguided by illusions, and government's solutions to the country's problems are not what they are promised to be. The answers to the economic ills are there, but constantly ignored.

For very long, Argentina's predominant claims to fame have been the revolutionary impact of its Peronist era, its vigorous endeavours to wrest the Falkland Islands from British control, the quality of its beef, and that its history (or rather, an era in that history) provided the setting for a spectacular stage musical, Evita, later made into an equally spectacular movie, starring Madonna.

But recently it has been the Argentinean economy which has been the primary focus of attention of the international community, and to such an extent that to a significant degree it diverted the attention of financiers, economists, invest- ors and governments from the circumstances of other economies.

Over recent years, the economy of Argentina, very heavily centred upon primary product exports to the world in general, and upon trade with neighbouring Brazil in particular, under- went continuing and very rapidly progressing decline. The collapse was of such a magnitude that over the last six months of 2001, the estimated decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) was over 11%. In that same period, unemployment doubled, and inflation soared.

By the end of 2001, key characteristics of the Argentine economy included a massive foreign debt of approximately US$150 billion, representing more than 50% of GDP, whilst government's domestic debt was of even greater magnitude. So great was the state's debt burden (equating to nearly 90% of GDP), and so inadequate its cash inflows, that it defaulted repeatedly on servicing its debts, and even delayed payment of state pensions. An inevitable consequence was the suspension of lines of credit and funding support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and most of the financial entities of the world. The intensification of the economic deterioration set in virtual perpetual motion a continuing, almost un-stoppable, worsening of every sector of the economy, until the economy was effectively in a mode of self-destruction. Inflation rose constantly, and the shrinking purchasing power of money resulted in progressively greater hardships for the majority of the populace.

As the meagre savings of the masses became worth less, and less, and less, in terms of that which they could buy, the people became increasingly distressed, despondent and agitated, confidence plum- meted until it became non-existent, all determined to withdraw their savings from the banks and spend them before they became even more worthless, and that caused a run on the banks placing their survival in great jeopardy and the entire monetary system parlously poised on the precipice of total collapse.

The government strove assiduously to halt the regression of the economy, but in doing so it stubbornly rejected all advice of the economic experts of the international community, and of any and all of the economists of the country other than those in the employ of the state or as were active members and supporters of the ruling regime. It flouted and rejected all the fundamental principles of economics and, in so doing, it accelerated the economic downfall.

The first of its grave errors was its failure to address the underlying causes of inflation, of which the most pronounced was the profligate spending of the state, and the consequential continuous recourse to borrowings. Government was recurrently urged to reduce the bloated public service, but did nothing to do so. The authorities were repeatedly encouraged to contain expenditure, but their intemperate squandering of funds continued unabated.

As inflation continued ever upwards, costs of production rose concomitantly, impacting not only upon prices of goods for domestic consumption, but also upon those of goods intended for export.

As a result, those goods became less and less price competitive in Argentina's traditional export markets, and could not compete in possible alternative markets. Only one thing could restore the ability of exporters to market their production, and that was a devaluation of Argentine currency, the Peso. But government refused to do so. It allowed political perceptions, patriotic arrogance, and self-centred conviction of invincibility to override economic dictates, and therefore rigidly adhered to a Peso/United States dollar linkage which bore no relationship to economic needs.

In consequence, exports fell more and more, and concurrently Argentina attracted ever less foreign investment. The loss of export earnings, investment inflows and ultimately of IMF support, caused a massive balance-of-payments deficit, and the availability of foreign ex- change diminished continuously. Soon the only manner whereby exporters could survive, even if only inadequately, and the only manner whereby those needing foreign exchange had a chance of obtaining some, was by trading currencies in what became known as "in the streets". (In Zimbabwe, that is known as parallel market or black market.)

As the deterioration became greater and greater, the only thriving and growing economic sector was that engaged in the closure and liquidation of businesses. Liquidators, auctioneers and the like experienced an increasing demand for their services, but they were the exceptions, not the rule. As enterprises fell like skittles, so more and more of the nation's employees (other than those in the public service) were retrenched, and few were fortunate enough to obtain alternative employment. Hardships and poverty increased, the health delivery system, the provision of utilities and the supply of other essential services became more and more inadequate and erratic.

In 1989, when Argentina had previously undergone a period of severe economic recession and hyperinflation, the dissatisfaction of the Argentinean people effectively forced the resignation of the then president, Alfonsin, whereafter the country experienced a marked change in economic policies and a significant upturn in the economy. But when the mistakes were repeated years later, bringing about, yet again, an economic decline, those responsible for that decline survived in office surprisingly long. However, eventually patience wore thin.

The populace was not prepared to continue suffering, and feared an intensification of that suffering. It also increasingly resented the proliferation of corrupt practices which enabled many in authority, and many bureaucrats, to live lives of extreme luxury and comfort despite the economic morass they had created for others. The people became ever more vociferous in voicing their displeasure and dissatisfaction and turned out in their tens of thousands in the streets.

Initially the protests were peaceful, but soon emotions subjugated reason and natural tendencies of compliance with law, and growing anger gave rise to riots, civil commotion and violence. The culmination was the resignation of President De La Rua to pre-empt being overthrown, and within days that of his successor and, soon thereafter, of his successor too.

The similarities between the Argentinean experiences and those of Zimbabwe are frighteningly great. Zimbabwe has emulated most of the economic mistakes of Argentina, including the spendthrift abuse of the exchequer, alienation of international sources of funding, fuelling of inflation, disregard of well-intended and the economic advice of international experts and the hard-press-ed captains of commerce, industry and other economic sectors, destruction of export markets, disdainful disregard for the economic well-being of the population, and vast accumulation of debt.

Will the similarities end there, or will the consequences and developments in Zimbabwe mirror those of Argentina? That country having suffered grievously, its witnessing of Zimbabwe's failure to learn from the mistakes of others must make it wish to cry for Zimbabwe!

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Jonathan Moyo insists he is no sellout, just 'honest'

WHY is Jonathan Moyo suddenly on the defensive? Having spent much of the last two years attacking everybody and anybody who gets in his way, he is now reduced to insisting that he is not a sellout.

In two exclusive interviews with the Herald, "Prof Moyo said he had never sold out to anyone because he was never part of any lobby group or political party and was simply playing his role as an academic".

So what prompted this anguished self-pitying insight at this point in time? Could it have something to do with growing opposition within his own party to his vaulting ambitions - or fresh accusations of fraud from South Africa? Then there was the 1993 article the Zimbabwe Independent published recently which evidently embarrassed him by recalling his attacks on the cult of the "Dear Leader", a cult which he now heads.

The Herald's explanation for the acres of space accorded to him last week was that Moyo was a victim of "a sustained campaign" by the British, South African and "local opposition" media to vilify him. This had culminated in "threats against his life", we were improbably informed - possibly a reference to the non-existent anthrax letter.

Moyo is clearly anxious to iron out all those mountainous inconsistencies that have erupted in his defence of the indefensible over the past two years. But his interviews with the Herald only exposed his intellectual dishonesty.

"There is nothing I said in the past that I regret," he told the paper. "When you are an academic you must be an honest academic, that is why I criticised the government, the churches, the NGOs, the British government, the Supreme Court and former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay...."

Really? We thought the dispute with Gubbay started when the then high court judge made a ruling in regard to the custody of Moyo's children? Wasn't that when the vendetta against Gubbay started? And we don't recall him attacking quite such a wide range of targets at the time, unless of course it was for supporting the Mugabe regime.

The Herald describes Moyo as a "renowned critic, researcher and lecturer". Surely, that is for his peers to decide? Or was the Herald told to print that description - just as it was told to carry the "interviews"?

Moyo says he took a cut in salary to join the constitutional commission although reports at the time suggested he negotiated a package equal to his income in South Africa.

We are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one although we would still like to know who picked up the tab at the Sheraton. The biggest problem arises over his claim that "it is only fools and ignoramuses who think I have changed".

"The same fools who formed Zum moved on to Forum. They are sellouts," he claimed.
But wasn't his book, Voting for Democracy, all about the triumph of Zum in rolling back the frontiers of the one-party state in the 1990 election? And when he last had something to say about Edgar Tekere we recall him retreating in disarray at the first whiff of gunshot from the direction of Mutare. Perhaps as an academic he had to be "honest". Not so as a politician.

It is a pity that the Herald allowed itself to be used as a vehicle for some rather unpleasant and certainly unprofessional attacks on Moeletsi Mbeki. How relevant is Mbeki's relationship with a Dutch woman? Can't Moyo get by without this sort of thing?

And nowhere does Moyo mention that all the projects he was associated with in South Africa were the result of introductions made by Mbeki to donors. Once again Moyo is biting the hand that fed him!

Moyo reveals that he still has a sense of humour when he tells readers that "I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories easily". He then proceeds to suggest that because Mbeki is a consultant to a number of multi-national corporations and, as chair of the South African Institute of International Affairs, had hosted seminars which "attack(ed) Zimbabwe" it therefore follows that he would see somebody like Moyo as a stumbling block.

This self-characterisation of Moyo as the authentic voice of African nationalism standing in the way of wicked South African, British and Dutch corporate interests is of course entirely delusional. Nobody, except perhaps in the depths of Harlem, regards Moyo or his sponsor as anything more than the spokesmen for a corrupt and violent regime intent upon suppressing democracy. The seminars referred to as "attacking Zimbabwe" included contributions from Simba Makoni, Aziz Pahad, Essop Pahad and Nigerian High Commissioner Tunji Olangunju as well as Morgan Tsvangirai.

Moyo calls Mbeki a "sellout or a prostitute" attempting to benefit from his family name. When he later complains about "unacceptable defamation" he should consider the impression on a court of his own intemperate and defamatory language.

The interview eventually descended into bathos. Moyo was asked about the support of his family as his enemies closed in.

"I am grateful for their support," he said, "and looking forward to a time when God gives me an opportunity to return the favour to my wife and kids, if not in this life, then certainly in another life."

Does he know something we don't? Or is this the phoney anthrax attack making a comeback?

We have always said that the best way to gauge which way the political wind is blowing is to watch the signs of desperation coming from Zanu PF and its media.

The Sunday Mail's political editor Munyaradzi Huni showed us just how bad things are for President Mugabe's campaign by inventing a story about David Coltart becoming vice-president and then another one about the MDC planning to cause terror.

Zanu PF, clearly oblivious to Coltart's majority, believes that it can stampede voters into the ruling party's camp by telling them Coltart will be vice-president. Let's see if it works.

But more revealing still was Huni's story about the MDC's alleged terror campaign based on an "interview" with an "MDC legislator".

"We definitely have a problem in the party," the mysterious "legislator" was quoted as saying. "You see our chances of winning in the presidential elections are fading with every passing day and the leadership thinks we have to find a way of making sure that the results are nullified. It's a big gamble to think that the observers will fall into our trap but we have very limited options."

Now who do you think said that? Does it sound anything like what an MDC MP would say? Or does it sound more like what Munyaradzi Huni would say?

The MDC currently has its tail up. All the surveys - including Zanu PF's own - are telling them that Mugabe is heading for defeat. Just ask anybody you meet and you will get the same answer. Even the army is convinced their C-in-C is on his way out.

Mugabe's rallies are dull and lifeless. All he can do is threaten voters with goblins while Grace hands out the sewing machines. Tsvangirai's meetings are full of enthusiasm. It is palpable.

So when Huni fabricates stories about MDC followers on farms being made to wear Zanu PF T-shirts and carry out violence nobody is likely to believe him. Everybody knows in their daily lives where the violence comes from. The people wearing the Zanu PF T-shirts are authentic thugs!

Huni's fiction had a purpose. It was timed to coincide with the arrival of election observers and mislead them about who is behind the terror campaign around the country.

They are unlikely to fall for it. But observers could earn immediate credibility if they moved around the country now and saw for themselves the mayhem taking place. A good starting point would be Matabeleland South where youth militias, supported by the police and army, are abducting and assaulting opposition supporters including MPs.

What sort of party is it that is reduced to placing adverts calling for British prime minister Tony Blair to be flushed down the toilet? We appreciate it must have been galling to see Blair received with such enthusiasm in Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone but can't the ruling party think of something better? Perhaps it is proving difficult for them to itemise what they have actually achieved over the past 21 years?

Apart from threatening voters with goblins if they don't support him Mugabe has also been threatening farmers and church leaders. He said in Chivi there were some churches that wanted the Zanu PF government removed from power. The government was going to investigate and if the reports were found to be true, "action would be taken against them", he warned.

What action? Why was it okay for delinquent church leaders to take part in the Sheraton shindig in support of Mugabe but not okay for others to endorse different leaders? What sort of freedom of conscience or choice is that?

White farmers were warned that they would lose their land if they "connived with" the MDC. Are there any white farms left to take? Whatever the case, it is useful to have the president's confiscatory approach to land reform on the record. There are some Zanu PF spokesmen like George Shire pretending that this is all about addressing historical anomalies - that whites still own 70% of the land. The Sunday Mail was still claiming last weekend that land was being taken from commercial farmers with more than one farm. And these guys are in the business of news. Mugabe has said he will take ALL white-owned farms. It's now a matter of record.

Perhaps we should not expect too much from government sources. Phillip Magwaza was telling Herald readers on Tuesday that Blair had yet to visit Sierra Leone and Senegal, "both members of the Commonwealth". In fact the British PM visited those two states last weekend and had been back in London two days when Magwaza's report appeared.

And Senegal will be interested to learn that it has joined the Commonwealth!

We are still waiting to hear from Paul Siwela which newspaper told him they would give him coverage if he dropped out of the race and supported the MDC. This is one of several lies he is telling on behalf of his paymasters. Siwela is a stooge. But does he have to be such an obvious one?

Deputy police commissioner Godwin Matanga is a soft touch for a weapons licence, according to evidence supplied in the Joseph Chinotimba case. He admitted to supplying the licence after Zanu PF had requested weapons for the defence of the Zanu PF headquarters.

"We issued the firearm and signed the voucher after Zanu PF had requested weapons to protect the Head of State and his Cabinet ministers," Matanga said.

But isn't it the duty of the police to protect President Mugabe, his ministers and Zanu PF HQ? Why are the police licensing people to take over their role?

Matanga told the court that the issuing of the firearm itself served as an issue voucher. There was no need for a certificate once the police had established "the calibre of the recipient".

Challenged by Brian Vito of the AG's office to show the section of the Firearms Act which said an issue voucher was equivalent to a certificate, Matanga admitted there had been "an administrative oversight".

"What I am telling you is what has been going on before I became the deputy commissioner," he blustered.

And after, by the look of it!

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Emergence of MDC proves a boon for Mugabe's forces of repression
By Forward Maisokwadzo

THE emergence of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on the Zimbabwean political scene has proved a boon for the defence forces and the police. They have received large pay hikes and other benefits to keep them sweet ahead of next month's election.

Zanu PF is fighting to have President Robert Mugabe re-elected in the watershed March 9/10 poll but its candidate is proving a tough product to sell to a restive electorate yearning for change after years of abuse, endemic corruption and economic mismanagement.

Joining the civil service payroll are chiefs, headmen, and war veterans - all seen as crucial to the ruling party's election campaign.

Critics say Mugabe has no chance of turning the economy around by March and as a result has to rely on three factors: land resettlement, which he hopes will swing the rural vote in his favour, intimidation which is now widespread, and bribery.

This includes buying the loyalty of the defence forces and security services through salary hikes unmatched elsewhere in the public sector.

Analysts say in such a volatile situation, the economy will take second place to politics - a reality reflected in the discrepancy in growth and inflation forecasts.

The root cause of Zimbabwe's current economic crisis lies in the president's unwillingness to bring the fiscal deficit under control, analysts say. The steep decline in the economy - combined with large salary increases prior to the general election in June 2000, rapidly mounting domestic debt and the country's involvement in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo conflict - caused the budget deficit to balloon to 22,3% of GDP in 2000.

However, even if the government managed to manipulate interest rates and kept wages under control, military expenditure is continuing to drain the country's fiscus, critics say. Coupled with the cost of food imports, this resulted in a budget deficit of 15,8% of GDP in 2001.

Having held public wages at well under the rate of inflation in 2001, government recently sanctioned a 100% salary increment for uniformed forces and up to 55% for other civil servants. Analysts say the increase will be accompanied by a gradual rise in interest rates in the second half of the year.

Therefore, even if a comprehensive economic reform programme is introduced after the election, economists forecast a budget deficit of 18,2% of GDP in 2002.

Although economists welcomed the wage increases for all civil servants, they were wary of the timing and the inflationary impact of 100% rises across the board.

"It's very strange to have only the uniformed forces have salary increments in tandem with inflation while the rest of the civil servants have theirs far below," said Professor Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe.

He said the selective awarding of high cost-of-living adjustments to a certain section of the civil service indicated that government had "no policy to address the current problems".

Hawkins said government, by offering unrealistic policies like free health, free education, price controls, and free land among other things, was charting a disastrous path for the economy.

"The current situation shows that our economy is heading for a hard landing," he said.

The opposition MDC said although they welcomed the award of 100% salary adjustments for civil servants as proposed by Finance minister Simba Makoni in his 2002 budget, the latest increases to a selected group was viewed as part of a widening campaign by Zanu PF to blindfold the civil service into "trading its professionalism for commissariat posts in Zanu PF".

The army was instrumental in Mugabe's land grab exercise and are believed to be playing another key role by assisting in his campaign of violent suppression of civil liberties.

Harare-based economist Witness Chinyama said it was clear that political considerations were over-riding economic considerations as the nation faces the election.

"The awarding of uniformed forces hefty salary increases is a just another populist policy by the authorities to try and keep them calm ahead of a critical election," said Chinyama.

"It's a matter of security," he said.

The police, who fall under the Home Affairs ministry received $17 billion in the 2002 budget. The police have also seen their powers beefed up by the recent enactment of the draconian Public Order and Security Act.

Bulawayo-based economist Erich Bloch said although the timing was regrettable, the salary increases for the unformed forces were justified considering that their salaries were low in the light of galloping inflation.

He said since the money was budgeted for, he doubted whether they were going to have an impact on the budget deficit.

However, Bloch castigated government's lavish spending which he said was inflationary and crowded out the private sector.

"All civil servants need to be remunerated on a legitimate rate," said Bloch, adding that government should try to stabilise the economy by reducing inflation which continues to squeeze consumer spending power.

The government spent $16 billion on salaries and bonuses to the civil service last year and it has been projected that by end of this year, the salary bill for the service, which takes 13,1% of the total national budget, would have surged by more than 60% if expenditure pressures were not addressed.

Independent economist John Robertson said Mugabe's govern ment should try to stabilise the economy by reducing inflation which continues to squeeze consumer spending power.

The government spent $16 billion on salaries and bonuses to the civil service last year and it has been projected that by end of this year, the salary bill for the public service, which takes 13,1% of the total national budget, would have surged by more than 60% if expenditure pressures were not addressed.

Independent economist John Robertson said Mugabe's government will not control expenditure in view of the election in March despite the issue being unsustainable.

Robertson said borrowing money to pay for salaries was a recipe for disaster considering that government was failing to service both its mounting domestic and foreign debt.

Asked what will happen, Robertson said: "It will come to an end some time but with a lot of disillusionment."

Analysts said it was also interesting to note that one of the major hindrances in reducing the country's budget deficit has been the escalating civil service salary bill.

They said it was critical to examine mechanisms to cut the escalating deficit.

Monetary and fiscal policy measures to be implemented should be revised in a way which tries to address the differentials between revenue and spending patterns of the government, they said.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) chief economist, Godfrey Kanyenze, said the bottom line is not only about numbers but the need to strategically restructure government departments and ministries.

"Salary adjustments alone are ad hoc but the problem requires a holistic approach so that we have a properly planned civil service," said Kanyenze.

He said the situation was worsened by the fact that government had politicised the whole exercise to such an extent that it had taken a wage-restrained policy. He said lack of institutional capacity, and absence of strategic planning, with so much emphasis on meeting numerical targets, meant that the goal of achieving development is lost.

The wage increments have also distorted salary trends. A police constable or an army private, the lowest ranks, now earn about $39 000 a month which is more than a high school teacher who gets about $30 000.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mugabe assassination plot another dirty trick

FACT or fiction? With just over three weeks to go to the potentially mould-breaking presidential poll and with international observers pouring into the country, the government is given a gift of a story about Morgan Tsvangirai plotting with ex-Rhodesians and others to assassinate President Mugabe.

The gift came in the form of a documentary broadcast by a small Australian television station, SBS, which is aimed at an ethnic minorities audience. It named a "political consultancy" firm in Canada, Dickens & Madson, as having been approached by Tsvangirai to arrange the assassination. The firm says when it realised the import of the request it was "horrified" and immediately approached the Zimbabwean authorities with the information.

There we have our first credibility problem. Dickens & Madson, it now transpires, are actually retained by the Zimbabwean government as consultants. Their chief executive, Ari Ben Menashe, a former Mossad agent, is reported to have said his contact in the Zimbabwe government is Security minister Nicholas Goche.

In its report yesterday the Herald omitted to mention this salient fact: that the firm claiming to be doing a public duty by revealing to the Zimbabwe government details of a plot by Tsvangirai was already retained by that government as its public relations agency. And their track record reveals a firm unlikely to be "horrified" about any such thing.

The question that now arises is: when did that contract commence? Did Dickens & Madson, as seems probable, already have a relationship with Mugabe's office when they first met Tsvangirai? Our information suggests they did. In fact the relationship stretches over several years. In other words Tsvangirai was set up.

The tape of the meetings was handed to the Zimbabwe government last month, we gather. The Australian film-maker who "uncovered" the evidence, Mark Davis, has been reluctant to say whether he was actually given the tape by Dickens & Madson. What we do know is that not long after arriving in Zimbabwe last month without accreditation as a journalist he saw officials of the President's Office and was quickly granted an interview with Mugabe.

As for the "evidence", nowhere is Tsvangirai shown plotting to assassinate Mugabe. Tsvangirai says he understood the meeting would focus on fundraising, but that the conversation also included political discussions and analysis of different scenarios in the coming months. That included the role of the military.

But anybody listening to the tape will quickly see that he was "led" in his remarks by Dickens & Madson executives and that the subsequent conversation was disjointed. Tsvangirai does appear to use the word "eliminate". But at no time does he speak of assassination or a coup. Those questions are put to him very obviously by Dickens & Madson executives. And it is evident the tape has been extensively edited. The questions about Mugabe's health, for instance, have been omitted.

What we do have is the word of three Dickens & Madson employees in the pay of the Zimbabwe government. Davis now reportedly admits Ben Menashe's word might not be credible in certain circles.

The MDC had been introduced to Dickens & Madson as a firm able to help them with their public relations thrust in North America. But by the time of the Montreal meeting Tsvangirai had woken up to the sting. He complained about items added to the agenda without his approval and the line of leading questions that ensued.

Dickens & Madson's statement carried in the Herald yesterday gives the game away. Here is a firm massaging the battered image of Mugabe's regime, portraying it as the victim of a plot by exiled Rhodesians. Its tone and content are borrowed wholesale from the Office of the President and are clearly aimed at an overseas audience.

The suggestion that Tsvangirai had no confidence in his ability to win the upcoming election is at variance with all the evidence on the ground that the MDC leader is heading for a landslide. That is the view not just of the MDC but of Zanu PF as well. The tapes do not reveal him saying he is likely to lose. And why should he want to share power with the army given the MDC's position on democratic governance and its expectation of a clear majority? On the other hand Ben Menashe made no secret of his contacts in the Zimbabwean military. It is he who introduced the subject.

That a political football was kicked around the room in Montreal we do not doubt. But the truth about the meeting is now emerging. It should be seen in the same context as the "discovery" of arms on Zapu farms in 1982 and the arrest of Ndabaningi Sithole for "plotting to assassinate" Mugabe in 1995.

These political stunts have one obvious source: The same people who colluded with a public relations firm to which they were already linked and a gullible Australian producer to deliver a story that shows President Mugabe's chief rival in a poor light. It is all too clumsily obvious.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Date: 16/2/02 Venue: outside the Zimbabwe High Commission
429 Strand London
Nearest tube: Charing Cross/Embankment
Time 11:00 to 14:00
In order to create a better visual impact please try and wear BLACK - for those that have died in the political violence and those that are suffering now. Also wear a gag (scarf or tape) to symbolize the repressive new legislation which  is  silencing the opposition in Zimbabwe: restricting the press and making it illegal  to hold public gatherings without permission or to criticize the authorities.
PLEASE try and come this is our last chance.
Please forward this email
Back to the Top
Back to Index